Out of Scope September 2009

By Baselinemag  |  Posted 2009-09-22 Email Print this article Print

NASA pays people to do a job that's not rocket science.

IT Worker Gives New Meaning to Goodnight Moon

Wired Science asked, “Do you have the right stuff to be a NASA ‘pillownaut’?” IT specialist Heather Archuletta did. It seems that NASA will pay $160 per day for people to lie in bed, and Heather—like most IT folks, a real trooper—took them up on it.

Scientists at NASA’s Human Test Subject Facility in Galveston, Texas, are trying a new type of bed rest to simulate the moon’s gravitational field. They put you face up on a bed tilted exactly 9.5 degrees with your feet planted on a panel, and voila! you’re on the moon. According to Wired’s interview with Ronita Cromwell, senior research scientist on the project, the experiment removes “some of the effects of 1 G,” thus achieving one-sixth G “along the long axis of the body.”

Heather recently finished the lunar bed-rest feasibility study. Her blog offers a peek into just what it’s like to be one of “a community of people united by their duty to stay in bed, tilted in one direction or another.” According to the article, she found the bed-rest studies through the Wired Science blog while looking for a new IT position. “If I hadn’t done it, I would have just gotten another IT job, probably,” Heather said.

IBM Serves Ace App at Wimbledon

Reuters reported that tennis fans at Wimbledon were served a smartphone application developed by IBM that “could transform the way spectators access information at sporting events.” Running on Google’s Android mobile OS, the application “superimposes real-time statistics and updates from social networking site Twitter, including comments from players, onto a video feed from a handset’s camera.”

Said Alan Flack (who has the job that many of you weekend tennis players out there would love to have), IBM’s client executive for the All England Lawn Tennis Club, “It’s about visualizing data in a different way. By exploring new technologies, we can bring information to life by making it useful, engaging and accessible.”

The service is called See Android, and it uses T-Mobile’s G1 mobile system. According to the article, it works like this: “Pointing a G1 phone at a court would tell the user the court number, details of the current and previous matches, and Twitter comments from experts and players.” This sounds like a modern ace for the maker of the 360 mainframe.

Corruption Now Costs Only $3.95

Ever have a deadline for a presentation or a budget, and you just didn’t get it done—not satisfactorily, in any event? Well, now there’s a service that, though aimed at students, can come to the rescue: It’s called Corrupted-Files. com, says an article on GlobeCampus.ca. For just $3.95, the site purports to sell Word, Excel and PowerPoint files “that have been intentionally corrupted.”

The drill is that after a student—or even a professional, I would imagine—buys the file, it can be renamed and sent as an e-mail attachment to a professor or a boss. According to the GlobeCampus account: “It will take your professor several hours, if not days, to notice your file is unfortunately corrupted,” the site says, ”buying you some valuable extra time to finish an assignment.”

Asked if professors are beginning to crack down on the practice, the site’s anonymous owner said even if professors suspect that a file has been intentionally corrupted, they can’t prove it. He (or she) adds, “A corrupted file happens to all of us. It’s like a flat tire. It does happen.” As IT folks surely know.


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