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NASA Offers $5000 a Month For You to Lie in Bed

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the I-know-someone-perfect-for-this dept.

NASA 239

tracer818 writes "In order to study a person as if they were in space without gravity, NASA scientists are paying subjects $17,000 to stay in bed for 90 straight days. The study will follow the Bed Rest Project standard model and be conducted at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. Participants will live in a special research unit for the entire study and be fed a carefully controlled diet."

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239 comments

I'm in. (5, Insightful)

Mattygfunk1 (596840) | more than 5 years ago | (#23335700)

Can I bring a friend? In all seriousness, what if you need to rub one out?

Re:I'm in. (4, Funny)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 5 years ago | (#23335770)

Ninety days? I can do that standing on my head! Oh, wait ... I guess not.

Re:I'm in. (5, Funny)

Mattygfunk1 (596840) | more than 5 years ago | (#23336132)

GEORGE: (Vowing) Well, I'll tell you this, though - I am never doing.. that , again.
ELAINE: What, you mean, in your mother's house, or all together?
GEORGE: (Definite) All together.
(The next three lines are said at the exact same time)
ELAINE: Oh, gimme a break..
JERRY: (Skeptical) Ohhh yeah.. right.
KRAMER: Oh, like you're gonna stop?
JERRY AND ELAINE: C'mon..
GEORGE: You don't think I can?
JERRY: No chance.
GEORGE: (Daring) You think you could?
JERRY: Well, I know I could hold out longer than you.
GEORGE: Care to make it interesting?
JERRY: Sure, how much?
GEORGE: A hundred dollars.
JERRY: (Pointing) You're on.
KRAMER: (Butting in) Wait a second, wait a second. Count me in on this. (Clicks his tongue)
JERRY: You?
KRAMER: Yeah.
JERRY: You'll be out before we get the check.
ELAINE: (Smiling) I want to be in on this, too.
GEORGE AND JERRY: (Rejecting) Ohh, no. No, no, no..
ELAINE: Why?
JERRY: (Showing difference) It's apples and oranges..
ELAINE: What? Why? (More 'no, no, no's from Jerry and George. Persistent) Why?
JERRY: Because you're a woman!
ELAINE: So what?
JERRY: It's easier for a woman not to do it than a man.
ELAINE: (Sarcastic) Oh.
JERRY: We have to do it. It's part of our lifestyle. It's like, uh.. shaving.
ELAINE: Oh, that is such bologna. I shave my legs.
KRAMER: (Making a point) Not everyday.
GEORGE: Alright, look, you want to be in?
ELAINE: Yeah!
GEORGE: You gotta give us odds. At least two to one - you gotta put up two-hundred dollars.
KRAMER: No, a thousand!
ELAINE: No, I'll - I'll put up one-fifty.
GEORGE: Alright, you're in for one-fifty.
JERRY: (Nodding) Okay, one-fifty.

Re:I'm in. (3, Interesting)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 5 years ago | (#23336266)

I have a feeling those 90 days would be really, really boring. They probably don't let you watch TV or surf the net or anything else interesting.

Also, it would be a cut in pay for me.

Re:I'm in. (5, Funny)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 5 years ago | (#23335892)

what if you need to rub one out?

Is that the latest 'hood slang for masturbation? Genuine question.

Re:I'm in. (2, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#23336018)

I don't know if it is the latest. I heard it at least 5 years ago. It's been in the urban dictionary that long also:

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=rub+one+out [urbandictionary.com]

I imagine that it was first said decades ago.

Re:I'm in. (4, Informative)

Carthag (643047) | more than 5 years ago | (#23336216)

I can't believe I researched this. It goes back at least 15 years. I tried searching in Google Books & IMDB quotes as well, but the only citations prior to 1993 were in different contexts.

http://groups.google.com/group/alt.beer/browse_frm/thread/66eb379b321b2433/11e668a230018072?lnk=st&q=%22rub+one+out%22#11e668a230018072 [google.com]
http://groups.google.com/group/alt.tasteless.jokes/browse_frm/thread/1299b8d6d59e0f1e/45022260920fd617?lnk=st&q=%22rub+one+out%22#45022260920fd617 [google.com]

Re:I'm in. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#23336342)

Meh, language is language.

If it was posted to the internet in 1993, it seems pretty likely that it has been in use for quite a while at that point.

Re:I'm in. (1)

Carthag (643047) | more than 5 years ago | (#23336486)

Ya. That's why I said "at least". It wouldn't surprise me if it was earlier, just couldn't find any evidence of it.

Re:I'm in. (2, Informative)

genner (694963) | more than 5 years ago | (#23336114)

From the article. "It's unclear, however, whether you'll be allowed to read with a flashlight under the covers."

Re:I'm in. (5, Funny)

coren2000 (788204) | more than 5 years ago | (#23336290)

You think they are paying people just to watch them sleep? I assume that them watching you rub one out is part of the payment. I also assume they will stream the webcam watching you onto the internet to recoup their losses during these periods.

I lie in bed all the time (5, Funny)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 5 years ago | (#23335704)

I lie in bed all the time:
"Yes, I love you"
"Yes, it was good"
"No, I was not thinking about _her_"

Re:I lie in bed all the time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23336460)

"I'll leave the money on the nightstand."

I know some people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23335708)

who would love this since they do that anyway. They just lay in bed playing WoW. Now they could actually earn real money.

Depends on who's sleeping with me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23335718)

Forget the carefully controlled diet. There are other interesting things to do on a bed than eating and sleeping :-) Specially under zero gravity!!!

Re:Depends on who's sleeping with me... (3, Insightful)

Nullav (1053766) | more than 5 years ago | (#23335790)

Who would want to lay next to someone for three months? Tolerating one's own smell would be enough of a problem at that point.

Re:Depends on who's sleeping with me... (1)

aplusjimages (939458) | more than 5 years ago | (#23336552)

So there won't be showers? I understand they are trying to see what happens in space, but at least let them shower.

What's that movie? (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#23335736)

The one with Martin Sheen in it and they keep sending the soldiers into nuclear fallout to test whether or not they can advance to ground zero.. oh yeah, that's right Nightbreaker [imdb.com] . How many times exactly does NASA need to study the effect of weightlessness? It's bad, ok? Long term exposure to "micro-gravity" causes not too nice symptoms. Great, move on. NASA never seems to approach anything as a problem that needs to be overcome - or at least they haven't since the '60s. Problem: without some form of gravity, long term space flight is bad for humans. Solution: provide some form of gravity. There's two that readily come to mind; either accelerate the vehicle at 9.8m/s/s or make the vehicle big enough so that you can spin it and not get dizzy. The first uses up way too much energy and just isn't an option at the moment. The second is so damn obvious that Von Braun was talking about it in the '40s. But it has never been done.

Re:What's that movie? (5, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#23335786)

Look, you know and I know that NASA has probably got better things to do than pay some labrats to learn how to eat, piss, and shit sitting down. The effects are, as you say, well known and obvious to anyone who has ever studied space travel and microgravity environments. Muscular atrophy, loss of balance, and other problems are well known.

But the department needs to spend its budget or else face cuts next year. With Obama already looking for ways to divert NASA funds into edumacation, the need is dire and if NASA engineers and scientists can't be busy, at least they can look busy.

I get paid a lot of money to do what I do. But sometimes I just sit around and stare at the monitor and space out. In order to not look like I'm wasting time, I run a Perl script in a command window that prints the text of random files on the filesystem until I stop it. It makes me look like I'm waiting for a compile to finish, and that's enough to keep me in the green.

Re:What's that movie? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#23335936)

In order to not look like I'm wasting time, I run a Perl script in a command window that prints the text of random files on the filesystem until I stop it. It makes me look like I'm waiting for a compile to finish, and that's enough to keep me in the green.
Do you mean your files, or just any files? The latter sounds very educational, like picking up other peoples stuff from the printer and reading old layers on the meeting room whiteboard.

Re:What's that movie? (1)

SomeoneGotMyNick (200685) | more than 5 years ago | (#23336296)

I run a Perl script in a command window that prints the text of random files on the filesystem until I stop it. It makes me look like I'm waiting for a compile to finish, and that's enough to keep me in the green.
But I program ASP.NET apps, you insensitive clod!!!!

How can I simulate the endless compiling of programs in my environment, and look busy doing it?

Re:What's that movie? (2, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#23336334)

I program ASP.NET apps, you insensitive clod!!!!

How can I simulate the endless compiling of programs in my environment, and look busy doing it?


Serious answer. Look into the Visual Studio macro system.

Holy shit, it's like Microsoft's own engineers built it into the product just to give loafers a means to look busy while actually wasting tons of time.

Re:What's that movie? (4, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#23335912)

make the vehicle big enough so that you can spin it and not get dizzy. [..] so damn obvious that Von Braun was talking about it in the '40s. But it has never been done.
Actually something like that was done on skylab. You don't need to spin the spacecraft. You just need a cylindrical track which you can run around. It works very well.

Re:What's that movie? (5, Informative)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#23335916)

Actually, on a more serious note, I saw something like this on Discovery (or NatGeo, I can't remember). The purpose of the study wasn't just to observe patients suffering from bed sores and blood clots. They were subjected to 2 minute exercise regimens every day which were designed to keep them in good physical health even though the rest of the day they were bedridden. The goal was to create exercise devices that could be used quickly and simply without the need for gravity that would provide enough exercise to replace the amount we normally perform here on Earth.

It looked pretty grueling, even if only for 2 minutes a day.

Re:What's that movie? (1)

Tom (822) | more than 5 years ago | (#23336022)

The second is so damn obvious that Von Braun was talking about it in the '40s. But it has never been done.
Which might be a good sign that while it's obvious, it may not be quite as easy to actually do it. You already mentioned the first problem: Size. "Just make it big enough" isn't a very good answer when you realize that the ISS has a "living volume" of about 425 m^3 - that's a large appartment, no a spaceship like you see in the movies.

Re:What's that movie? (2, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#23336080)

TYou already mentioned the first problem: Size. "Just make it big enough" isn't a very good answer when you realize that the ISS has a "living volume" of about 425 m^3 - that's a large appartment, no a spaceship like you see in the movies.
This was proposed for the Apollo LM and CM. Run a tether between them and use the RCS to spin them up. The LM (being lighter) gets 1G and the CM gets 1/4 G.

You don't need to build a huge space station.

Re:What's that movie? (2, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 5 years ago | (#23336268)

I also saw the tether idea proposed in one of the brainstorms for a Mars mission. The travel vehicle and the supplies that would be used while actually on Mars would be in seperate containers, and they'd be tethered together by a long retractable cable. They'd essentially rotate around the common center of gravity (somewhere near the middle of the tether) and that would be what moved towards Mars.

Seemed very interesting. Everything was still small, and it would provide approximately Earth-level gravity if the spin was the right speed. Truthfully though, it seems like such a thing would work best for long duration non-stop journeys like a Mars mission. On a Lunar mission it's not long enough to really need it. On space stations, it seems like docking with a spinning module on the end of a tether would be nearly impossible, so they'd have to spin it down and then back up between dockings, which would be very energy intensive.

Re:What's that movie? (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 5 years ago | (#23336278)

The difficulty isn't in creating the forces, it's in making the forces uniform enough that people don't get dizzy. Humans can detect (and are disoriented) by very small variations in gravity. I can't remember the article, but there was one on it in something from the 80s which indicated the minimum size of such a "space station", and it was definitely non-trivial.

Deeper understanding (4, Interesting)

AlpineR (32307) | more than 5 years ago | (#23336456)

How much artificial gravity do you need? 1.0 G? 0.2 G?

Will some experimental drugs help counteract the effects of weightlessness?

Can the problems be alleviated with specific exercises during weightlessness?

How long will it take to recover after returning to gravity? If an astronaut is weightless on a trip to Mars, can he be back up in a week or a month?

If you want to treat something as a problem to overcome, you might need to know more than "It's bad", ok?

Sounds easy.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23335740)

Sounds easy, but I wouldn't want to do it. At first, of course the offer to get paid to sleep sounds great, but 90 days of being constantly watched and fed a carefully planned diet?! I would go crazy.

2001: A Space Odyssey (5, Funny)

Airw0lf (795770) | more than 5 years ago | (#23335746)

Is it just me or did anyone else imagine a test subject waking up one day to see a big black monolith standing at the foot of his bed?

Re:2001: A Space Odyssey (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 5 years ago | (#23335872)

Not me. I imagined the person waking to find an autonomous bolo

Re:2001: A Space Odyssey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23335906)

Peppermint or spearmint?

Re:2001: A Space Odyssey (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 5 years ago | (#23335968)

Coding the AI for that thing must be fun:

with AutonomousBolo do
begin
      Job := GetNextJob();
end;

// I have achieved the holy grail! Bow in awe!
AutonomousBolo.Job.Go(Self);

Re:2001: A Space Odyssey (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#23335944)

Is it just me or did anyone else imagine a test subject waking up one day to see a big black monolith standing at the foot of his bed?
Actually I imagined being switched off during the night by a computer being fed conflicting requirements.

Bedpan or Catheter? (4, Funny)

mikelieman (35628) | more than 5 years ago | (#23335750)

I think it makes a world of difference in considering the "opportunity".

And probably prepare to see some syringes more... (1)

D4C5CE (578304) | more than 5 years ago | (#23335842)

take a blood test
I doubt the appropriate figure isn't closer to "one each of the 2,160 hours"... and the bed & lab presumably won't be quite as comfy as shown in TFA.

ESA Has Done Studies Long Ago (4, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#23335756)

The US is very badly lagging in the international bed rest race! I thought I read somewhere about the ESA doing this two years ago [esa.int] for female astronauts at least. There's some interesting comments on their WISE page [esa.int] such as:

All volunteers were surprised how fast the time passed by.
I'll bet that month you spend in bed is completely lost with little or no memories for it.

And if you really want to know more, they published all their findings for all their experiments in five hefty PDFs [esa.int] .

Re:ESA Has Done Studies Long Ago (2, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 5 years ago | (#23336016)

Well, you could read a few books, or have a HDTV (for movies/games) in the ceiling above you :) I've been tempted before to just get a TV mounted above my bed but the outcomes of such a thing could be disastrous..! If I get paid to do it on the other hand.. where do I sign up? :)

Federal Government (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23335760)

Why spend money on this research, just test federal employees, it's about the same.

To do today: (5, Insightful)

bryanp (160522) | more than 5 years ago | (#23335762)

Things to do today:

Find out if NASA will let me have a laptop in that bed.
Find out if my boss will let me telecommute for the next 90 days.

And then...? (5, Insightful)

snarfies (115214) | more than 5 years ago | (#23335774)

Will they also pay to rehabilitate you and your degenerated muscles afterwards?

Re:And then...? (4, Insightful)

techpawn (969834) | more than 5 years ago | (#23335832)

That was my first thought. Then there's the worry of blood clots and bed sores. Being bed bound is not as fun as people think and only for 17K? Your medical bills will be higher to fix all this messes up.

Re:And then...? (2, Informative)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#23336144)

Bed sores, or decubitus ulcers, are most often caused when the person laying down either cannot move around readily to relieve the pressure of laying in one place or cannot feel the discomfort caused from laying in one place.

If you use some isometric exercises, you could minimize the damage of the time in bed.

Re:And then...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23336426)

Also consider it only works out to about $7.80 per hour. That's about 16k/yr at a regular job.

That's pretty shitty pay for possibly damaging your health.

Re:And then...? (1)

Liath (950770) | more than 5 years ago | (#23336028)

muscles?

*examines the current trolls* I don't think we're going to have a problem!

may be more difficult than some may imagine (3, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 5 years ago | (#23335776)

I know I cannot lay on my back or side for that matter for too much time. More than 6 hrs on my back and my back starts hurting. More than 3 hrs on a side and my shoulder starts aching, so I have to change position at least once a night. I would expect for most, after about two straight weeks things would start getting torturous as there would be no side you wanted to lay on anymore.

Learned To Do that in College (2, Funny)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | more than 5 years ago | (#23335782)

NASA wants me to lie in bed? I learned to do that in college: "Yes, I'll love you tomorrow." / "No, there are no other girls in my life but you..." / "Of course I'll respect you tomorrow..."

Not worth it (1)

bkr1_2k (237627) | more than 5 years ago | (#23335784)

This is just not worth the money. It may be good for someone who pretty much sits around doing nothing but watching tv all day anyway (if there is such a person) but for anyone who actually enjoys life this will be a miserable experience.

Misery deserves far more compensation than 17K.

A few questions first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23335854)

1) Must I shit on myself?

2) Can I play Quake?

Re:A few questions first (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#23336198)

I was just thinking that there are a certain number of Slashdot readers who probably clicked on this story faster than any other in /. history.

In fact even though I am generally considered to be an active (and virile) man by most people who are not my wife, I am somewhat surprised by how quickly I wanted to find out about making five grand from laying in bed.

Alone? (1)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | more than 5 years ago | (#23335864)

Definitely not worth it!

Re:Alone? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 5 years ago | (#23336048)

I dunno, it's slightly more than I'm earning at the moment, and getting up in the mornings is the hardest part of my day.. most of my friends are students and gone over the summer anyway.. this sounds like a good plan!

Well, can I get paid beforehand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23335884)

... and in euros, please?

This sounds like a statup idea from 1999 (3, Funny)

abolitiontheory (1138999) | more than 5 years ago | (#23335932)

alright boys, here's the plan:

1. lie in bed.

2. get fed.

3. profit!

sound good? let's get to bed!

They should call up Blizzard (4, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 5 years ago | (#23335976)

and do a cross promotion, in particular concentrate on World of Warcraft players. With Season 4 PvP gear coming down these people will have lots of reason to spend all their time in one place

Paying People To Lie in Bed (-1, Flamebait)

superyooser (100462) | more than 5 years ago | (#23336082)

The government's been doing that for years. It's called welfare.

Re:Paying People To Lie in Bed (2, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#23336280)

The government's been doing that for years. It's called welfare.
I hope you never need any help. People who think welfare is for lazy people don't generally do well when they are in a position of need.

Re:Paying People To Lie in Bed (4, Funny)

superyooser (100462) | more than 5 years ago | (#23336396)

I'm not against it for the truly needy, but it is commonly abused. The government is paying some people to sit around and watch Oprah. Welfare shouldn't be used to promote a lifestyle of laziness for those who could work.

Ok, let me have a Take #2:
The government's been doing that for people for years. They're called federal employees.

not for anyone (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 5 years ago | (#23336088)

This should not be for just anyone....how about doing this experiment with patients in hospitals that could use the money and are already pretty much in bed all day to to something or other...
make good use of your experiments, no???

day 89, and you have to bail? (2, Interesting)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 5 years ago | (#23336206)

$5000/month? or $15,000 for 90 days?

It'd really suck if you got to day 89, and then had a family emergency.

I you get DIRECTV with and will be able to use PPV (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 5 years ago | (#23336258)

I you get DIRECTV with and will be able to use PPV as there some good movies that you will miss be doing this.

Attention Brian Wilson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23336270)

Brian Wilson, this sounds like a job for you.

Brian Wilson: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Wilson

Not even nearly worth it (2, Interesting)

mserms (878098) | more than 5 years ago | (#23336286)

I broke my back a few years ago and needed to lie flat on my back for three weeks (nurses rolled me onto my side once a day to wash my back). In that time my legs had become about 1/3 thinner. Not that I cared too much - I wasn't paralysed.

If I had chosen not to have surgery, I would have needed to lie on my back for twelve weeks. I was told that it would take about two years to get back to normal strength if I'd gone down that route...

You couldn't pay me enough to be in bed for 90 days.

Sign me up! (1)

Slacksoft (1066064) | more than 5 years ago | (#23336300)

Just give me a computer, TV, radio, shipping address for Amazon purchases, and a privacy curtain and I'm in! It'll be just like it is now, except instead of a chair I have a bed. I wonder if work would let me tele-commute....

What, none of them has a teen at home? (1)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 5 years ago | (#23336308)

Though I guess the "carefully controlled diet" probably isn't twinkies, Raman, and Monster, eh?

Script availabilty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23336330)

Is this script standard available in Hardy yet?

I applied for this a week ago (1)

nicklikesfire (720684) | more than 5 years ago | (#23336352)

I swear, this story was on /. before, or at least mentioned in a similar article, but I might be wrong. After actually applying, and realizing it's something I might end up getting picked to do, I realized just how much this would suck. I'm almost positive I will not go through with it. That being said, anyone know of any other good PAID research studies to participate in?

You couldn't pay me enough to do this (1)

thebigbadwolf (958397) | more than 5 years ago | (#23336432)

Imagine how bored you would get. It would take me a day or two before I would be craving some physical activity. Think of all the things you could think about, all the philosophical existential questions you could ponder over... for 90 days. Am I scaring you yet? There's nothing in the article about what NASA or the people conducting the test would do keep you entertained. Presumably you can play the wii lying down, watch movies and listen to music? Anyway, just the thought of no physical activity for that much is killing me (I'm saying this even though I'm not a fitness lets run 10-miles-a-day type). It's one thing to stay in bed for months to go to Mars (I would), its completely another to do it here.

Under $8/hour to ruin your health? (2, Interesting)

guidryp (702488) | more than 5 years ago | (#23336480)

Considering you are working 24/7, that is pretty low pay rate of under $8/hr. Maybe starving students might take them up on this. I think only 20 year olds would fully recover from this as well.

I might consider doing it for Ten Times that amount $150k to $200K. Not worth risking my health otherwise.

Not to mention this would probably feel like torture after a week. My back gets sore if I lay in bed too long on Sunday mornings.

Is it really a deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23336496)

$17,000 - tax = around $11,000 take home money
So with $11000 remaining
Factor in months of Therapy (PT and Counseling) - you might end up in the red!

BTW - where did they get $17000?
$5000 per month x 3 months = $15000.
Is the $2000 bonus when you complete the 90 days?

friS7 stop (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23336546)

So there are peop7e OpenBSD, 4s the
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