Wednesday, January 28, 2009

good grief.

I don't know what's more mortifying: this story, or the possibility that the Senate will strip NSF funding out of the stimulus bill because of the actions of a small number of idiots.


gs said...

Grassley is an equal-opportunity busybody whose kind is disappearing.

This isn't the first report I've seen about government workers looking at porn. If anything, the NSF deserves commendation for not covering the issue up. Unfortunately, commendation is not what it's likely to get.

Lazy journalism by the Politico.

Douglas Natelson said...

I can never understand these idiots who use work computers to look at porn. What the hell are they thinking? Companies, government agencies, universities - if you don't think that they keep track of your web surfing (at least on some statistical level) for legal liability reasons, you're crazy. Back when I was a postdoc at Bell Labs, the IT folks would use a screensaver that would randomly sample external web pages recently accessed by employees. Ironically, at the time the issue was not so much porn, but employees spending hours out of their work day day-trading stocks.

CarlBrannen said...

Well if humans didn't have sex drives the NSF wouldn't be here for sure.

As far as using 20% of their time at work goofing off, this is also fairly common human behavior. If a person gets their work done early, they feel that they can reward themselves by not making more work.

People should retain their jobs based on how much they get done, not on what other things they do.

Phys Student said...


I would agree with you, but only if once their job is done, the activities they involve in do not cost anything directly (money) or indirectly (resources) to the company, university, country. I am not sure how they came up with the 58k, but if it's true that is a good reason to get fired in my opinion.

Your idea assumes that you can actually write down what tasks are expected from someone in a given day. I think people at NSF will ALWAYS have stuff to do.

gs said...

Irrespective of differing opinions about diligence in government agencies and about appropriate limitations on personal use of workplace resources, I'll be surprised if Grassley's little foray materially affects the NSF budget.

CarlBrannen said...

I assumed they got the 58K by computing what fraction of their day at work was spent on the whatever instead of working.

It requires massive will power to actually make a human do white collar work for 7.5 hours per day. Having done both, I think blue collar is easier, more satisfying, pays better, and is healthier.

Anonymous said...

Me, I spend all my days at work goofing off reading physics blogs... er, never mind.