Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Naked Truth About The National Science Foundation

This gives new meaning to the notion of stimulus spending. Some employees at the National Science Foundation have been way too busy viewing pornography on their agency computers instead of promoting science and engineering. And the disclosure, which was contained in the NSF's own semiannual report about abuses of agency resources, prompted Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican on the US Senate Finance Committee, to launch a probe into the titillating tidbits.

One particularly eye-catching example - an NSF employee spent up to 20 percent of his official work time viewing pornography, which amounted to a potential loss of $58,000 in employee compensation. Over a 24-month period, the employee charged more than $40,300, to cover his on-duty extracurricular activity, according to a letter sent by Grassley to the NSF. And this has, in some cases, been going on for years.

The agency's own investigators uncovered hard-core images and suggestively titled bookmarks on hard drives after sampling an internal server. In response to the embarrassing revelation, the NSF issued a statement maintaining that filtering software was installed; a policy against viewing sexually explicit material on computers was reiterated; and employees and contractors have been reminded they can be terminated and face civil and criminal penalties for peeking at porn.

And what of the NSF employees who got their rocks off? The senior official named in the report has retired after he received a final decision to remove him from federal service, according to the NSF statement. And the "small handful of employees" who also couldn't help themselves were notified that they were either going to be dismissed from the agency or suspended. That should get a rise out of them.

(hat tip: Politico, Fox News)

Bonus Youtube: Thomas Dolby's "She Blinded Me With Science"

image by flickr user jasonr611 used under a creative commons license.


Anonymous said...

Putting the NSF in NSFW!

Anonymous said...

Classic, Ed!

It is well with me -- to see your spot-on sense of humor is intact!

Me? I've been in a bit of a carmelized funk -- ever since you pulled up stakes -- but it is a relief to read you again!

Kind Regards,

-- Condor

Anonymous said...

Not to sound too much like Beavis or Butthead, but you used "probe" (snort) and "titillating" (snort) in the same sentence (snort-snort).

Unknown said...

Hi Ed and good luck in your new job; just a few observations on this post:

Where was the IT Department; as a former Manager of Labor Relations for a Government Agency I was routinely apprised of employee computer abuse particularly when it involved employees viewing pornography on company time. After several such instances our IT Department installed Firewalls to try and prevent employees from accessing pornography.