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NASA Knows How To Party

CowboyNeal posted more than 6 years ago | from the open-bar-so-drink-up dept.

NASA 341

doug141 writes "NASA spends between $400,000 and $1.3 million on a party at every shuttle launch, according to CBS. Select personnel are treated to 5 days at a 4 star hotel. This year alone, they've spent $4 million on parties. NASA asked for, and was given, $1 billion more from the Senate this year. NASA proponents argue it makes more sense to give money to talented, productive people in exchange for scientific knowledge, than spend in on unproductive people in the form of straight welfare."

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Nothing to see here... (5, Funny)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306525)

Nothing to see here, please move along
Great. Another party to which I'm not invited...

Re:Nothing to see here... (2, Funny)

phaggood (690955) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306681)

>NASA spends between $400,000 and $1.3 million on a party at every shuttle launch,

So, that's like, 3-4 times per year? Feh, they've got a long way to go before they reach Lohan-esque fete-tification.

Automatic disqualification (5, Funny)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306729)

Great. Another party to which I'm not invited..
Well, they did say that they were spending it on "...talented, productive people...", and you're posting on slashdot.

Don't see anything wrong here (1, Troll)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306535)

Afterall, it might be some of the guests' last night on Earth.

The truth hurts. (0, Troll)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306547)

News at Eleven! Some people are more valuable than others!

The real problem is, Congress can get more votes by paying Welfare than paying for celebrations for people taking our country forward.

Re:The truth hurts. (5, Insightful)

apparently (756613) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306605)

The real problem is, Congress can get more votes by paying Welfare than paying for celebrations for people taking our country forward


Yes, taking care of citizens surely is the antithesis of "forward" progress. Oh, that silly congress!

Re:The truth hurts. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21306643)

Yes, that should be taken care of. Taken care of in the same way you "take care" of a useless, unwanted puppy. Eliminate their asses German style. They are a drain on society and contribute nothing toward moving things forward.

Re:The truth hurts. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21306699)

Let's see your contributions.

Re:The truth hurts. (2, Insightful)

NeonVice (1173479) | more than 6 years ago | (#21307005)

Yes, taking care of citizens surely is the antithesis of "forward" progress. Oh, that silly congress!


Paying out welfare does not contribute to the forward progress of our country. The judgments of many people are hindered when they have a fall back plan that they are entitled to for simply being United States citizens. For example, my sister had a job as a dental assistant and decided to quit because she would be eligible for food stamps, subsidized housing, and she could live off of the child support given to her by her ex-boyfriend. Contrary to popular wisdom, a lack of welfare contributes to the progress of a society by encouraging work and discouraging poor decisions.

Re:The truth hurts. (2, Insightful)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#21307077)

There is some room for debate on the meaning of "taking care of citizens" in terms of acute and chronic problems.
We can all agree (even some serious libertarians, I think) that in the acute case of a natural disaster, we like a government that is equipped to take care of pressing needs.
It's those chronic concerns, where the concept of "victim" occasionally becomes ambiguous, that a bring about the bulk of the debate.

Re:The truth hurts. (4, Insightful)

Zeinfeld (263942) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306629)

The real problem is, Congress can get more votes by paying Welfare than paying for celebrations for people taking our country forward.

The real problem is that corrupt Republican congressmen like Ney and Cunningham received millions of dollars in bribes while kicking hundreds of millions of dollars of business to their corrupt contractor friends.

And part of the reason it went on so long is the fact that Bush's Attorney General Gonzalez sacked the Federal Prosecutors who brought prosecutions against corrupt GOP pols (some were sacked for not bringing trumped up charges against Democrats).

And that is just the illegal corruption, there is also the legal corruption of billions of dollars wasted on 'defense' projects like the Osprey that simply do not work.

That said, the whole shuttle program is a farce at this point. The space station is pointless and should be shut immediately. Put the money in robotic exploration. Hubbel is worth the money and the risk, the ISS is not.

Re:The truth hurts. (4, Insightful)

nharmon (97591) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306645)

Should the government spend $1 million patting the backs of those already more "valuable", or should it use that money to make those who are less "valuable" more "valuable"?

Re:The truth hurts. (2, Insightful)

Jubedgy (319420) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306773)

Query: How does paying welfare to someone who has no intention of ever being productive make make them more valuable? By keeping them alive to leech more money?

I'd rather my tax money go towards throwing parties for NASA employees than towards food stamps for joe-blow white trash McFatty who uses them to buy cigarettes and alcohol on the way to the unemployment line to pick up his (or her) check for being worthless.

Re:The truth hurts. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21306893)

You can't possibly know that EVERYONE on welfare is "joe-blow white trash McFatty" (if you knew that much you'd be at the party). There must be many people on welfare who are genuinely hard workers or good people down on their luck. As long as we're whinging about how/where money is allocated, why not take the $1M party fund (and probably a little more, $1M doesn't get as far as it used to) and reformulate welfare, so that it's paid to people who are deserving - query the employers that the places the welfare recipient applied to about whether or not they made an effort (I'm of course assuming that, like in my country, welfare is contingent on proving that you've actually tried to get a job). If they do make an effort, and apply at enough places (that they have a reasonable chance of getting into; another thing that welfare could be contingent on), then they certainly risk actually landing the job. If not, they'll simply lose welfare.

Re:The truth hurts. (2, Insightful)

KiahZero (610862) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306961)

How does participating in work activities for at least 30 hours a week constitute "no intention of ever being productive?" How does one use non-transferable food stamps to purchase items which the stamps don't cover, since stores won't accept them and they're much harder, if not impossible, to trade to someone else? How does losing your job in the past 26 weeks - the cutoff for unemployment benefits in most states - mean that you will always be worthless?

Oh, right, you're just another Slashdot libertarian fucktard. Carry on.

Re:The truth hurts. (0)

v01d (122215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306821)

Should the government spend $1 million patting the backs of those already more "valuable", or should it use that money to make those who are less "valuable" more "valuable"?


There is a genetic cap on how valuable an individual can become. Unfortunately that cap is very, very low on most people. We can train these genetically challenged people for jobs, but only those jobs that are going to be made obsolete anyway. I'd rather we skip training people for bad jobs and spend the money on furthering science and technology.

Re:The truth hurts. (1)

tsj5j (1159013) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306927)

Such will probably produce an elitist society where the famous gets more opportunity and those striving to improve gets none.

In addition, this will widen the divide between those whom you term "smart" and "less-capable".

Re:The truth hurts. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21306945)

We should probably prevent them from voting too, their inferior genes would probably result in poor choices. I got a great idea, why don't we just divide society into classes, one for the elite and one for the rest of them!!!

Scary thoughts you're playing with there.

Re:The truth hurts. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21307113)

Scary thoughts indeed. As bad as some people keep reminding us how bad the United States have gotten, things would be far, far worse if some of these Slashdotters ever got into power.

Re:The truth hurts. (1)

deftones_325 (1159693) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306935)

It might depend on whether the "less valuable" people would spend the money on education, or an 8-ball and some Pall Malls. ...Not saying either one is wrong..

Morale booster? (5, Insightful)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306553)

While expensive, keeping the morale high at NASA means keeping the even more expensive astronauts alive.

Re:Morale booster? (-1, Troll)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306573)

Wouldn't it be more useful for them to spend that money designing a spacecraft that doesn't blow up half the time? If I had NASAs track record, I wouldn't be talking about rewarding smart people, because they've proven pretty well that they're not.

Re:Morale booster? (2)

SagSaw (219314) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306619)

Wouldn't it be more useful for them to spend that money designing a spacecraft that doesn't blow up half the time? If I had NASAs track record, I wouldn't be talking about rewarding smart people, because they've proven pretty well that they're not.

You're confusing the people who compose the organization with the organization itself. NASA clearly has a number of management problems which, sadly, have contributed to the loss of missions and lives. However that does not prove or disprove the intelligence of the individual people who work for NASA.

Re:Morale booster? (3, Insightful)

427_ci_505 (1009677) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306633)

Yeah, the people at NASA could easily be outdone at their own job by a crowd of slashdot reading armchair-rocket-scientists, right?

Re:Morale booster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21306661)

Yeah, the people at NASA could easily be outdone at their own job by a crowd of slashdot reading armchair-rocket-scientists, right?


Carmack? is that you? How's Armadillo Aerospace going this week?

Re:Morale booster? (1)

427_ci_505 (1009677) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306727)

I am not John Carmack, but I have played his video-games. :)

Re:Morale booster? (5, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306731)

Yeah, the people at NASA could easily be outdone at their own job by a crowd of slashdot reading armchair-rocket-scientists, right?
This armchair-rocket you speak of seems like an interesting concept. Could you tell me more about it?

Re:Morale booster? (1)

ta bu shi da yu (687699) | more than 6 years ago | (#21307139)

Hilarious :-) Someone mod that guy up!

Re:Morale booster? (1)

yotto (590067) | more than 6 years ago | (#21307305)

Yeah! You can have your flying car. I want an armchair rocket!

Well, yes (2, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306807)

ME as manager at NASA: What do you engineers say about the launch of this mission.

Engineers who know what they are doing because that is what they been trained for AND are required to stand behind if they want those letters after their name: We say X.

ME as manager at NASA: Okay, we do X.

Doesn't sound too hard, can I have my fat salary and golden parachute and parties now?

The two disasters were warned against by NASA owns personel, had the managers listened to their rocket-scientists then those 'accidents' would not have happened.

Do you want to know what I think about especially the first 'accident'? Do the math, cancel the mission and you get some bad press from an audience that doesn't care. If it goes wrong, you get massive public sympathy and can hopefully call it an accident with a straight face.

Re:Well, yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21307265)

You've made this over-simplified showing that you really don't know what you're talking about. First, the engineers for the CONTRACTOR (NOT NASA Personell) that designed the booster rockets did come to the correct conclusion about there being added danger when launching in the cold. They failed to properly communicate this with NASA personell. This is not saying that NASA was without fault in this case. If you want to know what you're talking about, then I suggest reading Edward R. Tufte's "Visual and Statistical Thinking: Displays of Evidence for Making Decisions."

As for the "Fat Salaries", NASA engineers make less than they could working at Boeing or LM or Raytheon.

As for the parties during launch, NASA does not have box seats at ball games or any of the other perks of working for private industry. Remember that the government contractors that do have these perks are also paying for them with government money.

Re:Morale booster? (1)

risk one (1013529) | more than 6 years ago | (#21307035)

These armchair rockets you speak of intrigue me. Are they available for purchase?

Re:Morale booster? (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 6 years ago | (#21307237)

These armchair rockets you speak of intrigue me. Are they available for purchase?

Is that you mr. Balmer?

Re:Morale booster? (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 6 years ago | (#21307267)

Yeah, the people at NASA could easily be outdone at their own job by a crowd of slashdot reading armchair-rocket-scientists, right?

Yes. Literally, yes.

It's hard to even imagine how anybody, even amateurs, could design a launch system that's more expensive, fragile, dangerous and overweight than the space shuttle.

Re:Morale booster? (5, Insightful)

s4m7 (519684) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306851)

If I had NASAs track record, I wouldn't be talking about rewarding smart people, because they've proven pretty well that they're not.

Quite the contrary. Getting that bucket of bolts off the pad without a fireball is enough of a miracle to warrant a million-dollar party.

There's no funding for a new shuttle design. A billion goes missing in Iraq and that announcement barely lasts a single news cycle. Spend it on NASA and you'll hear people bitching about it for years and years.

Re:Morale booster? (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#21307165)


There's no funding for a new shuttle design. A billion goes missing in Iraq and that announcement barely lasts a single news cycle. Spend it on NASA and you'll hear people bitching about it for years and years.

I'd have modded you insightful, if I had points.

This is largely the issue with NASA, and that is when things are going well, frequently programs like the climate monitoring one are axed or cut back because it would threaten the world view of a few fundamentalists that don't want to acknowledge the climate change happens. And so to protect that world view the studies that would answer the question are axed so that they don't have to worry about being contradicted by scientific evidence.

It amazes me how much NASA gets done between an anemic budget and political interference from people with no clue as to the purpose of science.

Re:Morale booster? (4, Insightful)

sarahbau (692647) | more than 6 years ago | (#21307319)

Two accidents out of 120 flights is half of the time? I also don't see how either accident proves that the NASA engineers aren't smart. Neither accident was really a design failure.

Re:Morale booster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21306647)

God forbid we have any positive feedback for NASA employees. We must castigate them for technological failures on one of mankind's most ambitious projects.

Re:Morale booster? No, contractor pleaser. (4, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306837)


While expensive, keeping the morale high at NASA means keeping the even more expensive astronauts alive.

Yah, except if the article is correct, most of the people at this party are NASA contractors. Why NASA is spending money on wining and dining contractors instead of the other way around, I don't really understand.

On the other hand I'm not sure I just immediately accept the truth of this article. It's written in a rather sensationalist tone, and presents NASA's side of the argument as a one sentence reply, no doubt taken out of context. That doesn't mean this isn't accurate of course, it's just a bit suspicious.

Re:Morale booster? No, contractor pleaser. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21307145)

It's fairly routine for key consultants to be treated exactly like the true employees when it comes to celebrations. After all, if Jane shows up to work every day, has a cubicle with everybody else and is a key employee, the detail that her pay has a few extra steps is irrelevant. She is, essentially, just like everybody else.

That said, there's nothing worth discussing here. This is just propaganda.

If the real issue was fiscal responsibility, the reporters would be sorting the budget by largest to smallest amounts, and then examining each line. After all, you don't balance a budget starting with something that is, literally, less than a millionth of the total spending. That'd be like balancing the family budget by eating one less ramen noodle per day.

Re:Morale booster? No, contractor pleaser. (5, Insightful)

teridon (139550) | more than 6 years ago | (#21307153)

Why NASA is spending money on wining and dining contractors instead of the other way around, I don't really understand.

Contractors wining and dining federal employees is illegal.

Re:Morale booster? No, contractor pleaser. (2, Funny)

Viper Daimao (911947) | more than 6 years ago | (#21307245)

tell that to congress...

Re:Morale booster? No, contractor pleaser. (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 6 years ago | (#21307351)


Contractors wining and dining federal employees is illegal.

Yah, but we all know this kind of thing happens all the time. I'm not saying it's right or even should be tolerated, but why are we trying to impress or reward the contractors we've already given billions of dollars to?

I can't get too upset at this of course. As a waste item this one is a tiny part of the problem.

Re:Morale booster? (1)

mezron (132274) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306863)

The article doesn't specifically say anything about the astronauts, but it does say this

And most of the honorees? They're not NASA employees. They're from Boeing and other billion-dollar contractors that aren't picking up the tab.

Trained monkeys. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21306957)

Where did they film the hoax?

Re:Morale booster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21307183)

What rot. They're not supermen, they're pilots. Sure it takes a lot of investment in training, but how much more than a doctor?

The only "Morale booster" was in the 1960s, the morale of the American people. Space has served its purpose as that political football long ago.
Face it, the American space obsession is about military prowess, always was right since the cold war. The neofascists want to weaponise space, against international law. It will all end in tears when some Chinese hacker with a $100 computer points the systems at the USA. Then the fools realise they've manufactured their own destruction and it's completely out of control. Classic Sci Fi armageddon scenario and the USA is following it
to the letter like a recipe book.

In fact some would argue that any manned exploraton of space is dumb at our stage of species development. And don't spout that rubbish about spinoff technologies, every apologist for military spending leans on that straw man. If the budgets went directly to target immediate research needs they'd get there a lot quicker and better than "spinoff" technology (a lot of which are solutions looking for problems). $1 billion would go a long way towards producing renewable energy here on Earth, you know, *this* planet. But they didn't even spend it on research, they spent it on parties! What utter cocks!

Certainly some things like zero G science labs and communication sats are useful, but the survival and welfare of humanity hardly depends on them. Besides, they're getting smaller and smaller. I predict a coms sat will weigh less than 1kg within 20 years and be launched from a balloon and small rocket. Problem with manned space exploration is it gives some people ideas beyond their capacity. It gives wingnuts and pathological optimists (brought up on Star Trek who can't distinguish fantasy from reality) the idea that we can somehow suddenly escape to Mars or the Moon when we've finished fucking up this planet.

That's dangerous thinking and it aint gonna happen boys and girls.

And this is news why? (5, Insightful)

Sosetta (702368) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306567)

They spend less than one tenth of 1% of their budget celebrating their continued technological successes. That's probably less than ANY private company anywhere. It's not like they're not getting stuff done. Sosetta

Re:And this is news why? (1, Insightful)

smack.addict (116174) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306623)

* They are not a private company spending their own dollars; they are a government organization spending taxpayer money.
* Most organizations, public or private, don't send people to 4-star resorts for a week, all expenses paid.
* They have done nothing with manned spaceflight in the last 30 years, achieving only low earth orbit.

This is bullshit.

Re:And this is news why? (1)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306721)

Boo hoo.

NASA proponents argue it makes more sense to give money to talented, productive people in exchange for scientific knowledge, than spend it on unproductive people in the form of straight welfare.

Yeah, I'm OK with that. Perish the thought that we actually reward those who contribute to society, since we already lavish multi-zillions on pop stars, athletes, and CEO's who get fired.

Re:And this is news why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21306781)

I can't speak for "most organizations", but every position I've had included all expenses paid trips to important events. If those events are held at 4-star hotels, then that's were we stay. I've been forced to stay at 5-star hotels when the conference was held there - http://www.thedavenporthotel.com/ [thedavenporthotel.com] highly recommended.

For shuttle stuff like launches, Orlando happens to be nearby, so almost every hotel will be listed as a "resort".

I take offense at your last statement as a former GN&C programmer for the shuttle. Everyone deserves to feel appreciated. Perhaps your attitude has prevented that from happening for you? Don't get me wrong, the vendors should be paying their own airfare and hotel, but the banquet and awards are an important part of every industry.

Re:And this is news why? (1)

smack.addict (116174) | more than 6 years ago | (#21307031)

People from NASA go to conferences and on business trips as well.

That's not what we are talking about.

We are talking about a party.

And you can take offense all you like. Your appreciation comes in the form of your paycheck.

Re:And this is news why? (1)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 6 years ago | (#21307335)

Would you like to work in a company that pays you a little more than competition, but it's a nightmare to work there? Or would you instead want to work in a company where there is normal pay, but you have parties? Maybe you're statistic error, but most people would like it in latter company (myself including, that's why I still work for small company and have only one boss over me instead of earning two times as much (really, I had such offers)).

Re:And this is news why? (3, Insightful)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 6 years ago | (#21307195)

They are not a private company with private money, its tax payer's money. If you had a box that said "NASA 4-star hotel celebration party" box on your tax form, how much would you put in? What if it was a "United States Postal Service celebration party"?

As had been mentioned here many times, NASA has an important and worthwhile job yet lacks funding for many things. Is this how they spend their funds instead of spending it to do what they are mandated for? As you said, they are getting things done, so why should their budget increase (or in fact decrease) when they can just easily cut back the big budget parties?

making sense (3, Insightful)

philmack (796529) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306583)

NASA proponents argue it makes more sense to give money to talented, productive people in exchange for scientific knowledge, than spend in on unproductive people in the form of straight welfare
It Makes sense to me, too.
~Phil

The editiorial! (0, Troll)

Flossymike (461164) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306585)

What is this nonsense?

NASA proponents argue it makes more sense to give money to talented, productive people in exchange for scientific knowledge, than spend in on unproductive people in the form of straight welfare


Re:The editiorial! (1)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306963)

Looks like a false dichotomy to me. Also looks like a gratuitous, incendiary editorial comment pretty much unrelated to the article.

Re:The editiorial! (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 6 years ago | (#21307063)

It implies that they pay for Defence, Education, yada yada yada, NASA, then if anything's left it goes to welfare.

Re:The editiorial! (4, Insightful)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306967)

What is this nonsense?

NASA proponents argue it makes more sense to give money to talented, productive people in exchange for scientific knowledge, than spend in on unproductive people in the form of straight welfare


It's the usual nonsense. Propaganda masquerading as journalism. It's a rather transparent ploy, usually the work of rank amateurs. Say, for example, Department X is doing scientific research on a vaccine for [disease] that involves testing on rabbits. In order to make them look as bad as possible you say the following:

"Dept X kills baby bunnies!"

Then, in order to give the appearance of fairness, you find (or just fabricate) some kooks who generally support the works of Dept X who will assert something fun, like the following:

"Supporters of Dept X argue that killing baby bunnies is often quite pleasurable, especially if it is done slowly."

See? Both sides have been presented, and it's obvious that Dept X is the spawn of Satan. Surely you're not on THEIR side, right?

Liver scanners (0)

k.ovaska (752790) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306613)

NASA is committed to quality of service and safety of its employees. If they scan the livers of each personnel with a microscope to detect any liver damage after each party, that's gonna cost a bit.

Contractors? (3, Interesting)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306627)

I don't see the value in doing this for employees of companies like Boeing - and after every launch? And I'd love to see if it is worker bees. Probably what it is, is managers. I don't know that, but it would surprise me if it's not the case.

But in the big picture, it's not that big a deal.

Re:Contractors? (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306777)

95% of the actual work is done by contractors. NASA's role is primarily management.

Re:Contractors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21306791)

Contractors aren't always really contractors, by the way. Many who work full time on NASA projects and at NASA facilities hold the status of "contractor".

I would dig a lot deeper before accusing NASA of that much money on celebrating external resources.

Moreover, even if they are, it's still good for NASA to reward the best in the industry. Plus, it's done in such a way that it's compensation/incentive that is equivallent to much more had it been translated to $$ amount. You get to see a shuttle launch.

Haven't read an article with this much spin in a while, and I read both /. and CNN regularly.

Re:Contractors? (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306827)

But in the big picture, it's not that big a deal.

The dollar amounts? Not really, you're right. But in terms of mindset ... that's a different story.

Otoh (5, Funny)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306631)

There are probably no girls at the party

Re:Otoh (1)

diggsIt (987979) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306665)

The robot dancing at the Mars Rover party was some of the best I ever seen.

Re:Otoh (5, Funny)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306709)

Yea, we at the more mature stage in our lives call them "Women". I know the term scares you in a deep and profound way, but some day you will come to actually appreciate them, until you marry one, and then you will move from "Women" to "Bloodsucking Demons". It's all part of the natural order of thing.

And then you divorce them, get into girls (1, Offtopic)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306829)

And then you divorce the bloodsucking demon, discover girls all over again, on the internet.

Setup a date, and get a heart to heart with Chris Hansen from dateline.

Eh, or so I heard. Say, you ain't an undercover agent are you?

As a previous boss once told me... (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 6 years ago | (#21307191)

After his 4th divorce:

Women. Can't live with them, and it's illegal to kill them.

Somehow, though, I thought his viewpoint was a bit jaded...

Re:Otoh (1)

jumperboy (1054800) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306771)

Girls were banned from the parties when they began appearing in diapers, black wigs and latex gloves. Partygoers complained that the pepper spray was a turnoff...

Re:Otoh (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#21307297)

...but they do have the biggest fireworks!

Money... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21306653)

If they are looking for wastes of money, I'm sure there are far more critical targets than a party at NASA. Take the article the other day, just as a convenient example - how much government money is blown (directly or indirectly) on the textbook rackets for K-12 schools? If you make THAT process more cost effective (how about selecting standard material and sticking with it, rather than updating every few years?) I'm quite sure you'll save a LOT more money than we're talking about here.

Plus, the reality of the situation is that people who can make a shuttle fly are a scarce resource, and private industry is most likely looking for the same set of people to do their hard work (and will probably pay very well too.) If keeping them happy via these means is one way to help keep them at NASA, I think it's a very logical move.

Alternately, we could shut down NASA and anything else in the government that requires smart people, because smart people are too expensive and to keep them you have to do things like give parties. Given the way the current administration works that step wouldn't surprise me one bit...

Sure, but (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306697)

Have they had their Filboid Studge?

Vaild for NASA, not so for TSA (4, Insightful)

bxwatso (1059160) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306725)

It's a valid business tactic to give valuable employees a party or vacation. It forces them to relax and savor their accomplishments, which money does not. I have known a couple of NASA engineers, and they were smart and dedicated.

On the other hand, the TSA hosted a $500K party for its top employees a few years ago. I interact with TSA employees about 100 times per year, and they are generally lazy, sloth like goons. They are a disaster that does nothing to improve air safety.

In the real world, a company run like the TSA wouldn't have a spare $500K to throw a party because they would be out of business, replaced by a more efficient contractor that does a better job. There is no mechanism for rewarding achievement and punishing failure in the government. Nearly all programs (yes, even under Bush) live on and expand despite proven failure.

The problem with NASA throwing parties for its deserving employees is that it justifies throwing parties for the far more typical ineffective government hack that should really be let go.

Re:Vaild for NASA, not so for TSA (1)

Bombula (670389) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306993)

In the real world, a company run like the TSA wouldn't have a spare $500K to throw a party because they would be out of business, replaced by a more efficient contractor that does a better job.

Maybe Blackwater, perhaps?

Honestly (5, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306737)

The cost to launch a shuttle is somewhere between 0.5 billion and 1 billion. That is one launch. The cost of a week at war is between 2-3 billion. The additional burden placed on local taxpayers for standardized testing, testing that was based on fabricated data during Bush's first education secretary's tenure at HISD, is immeasurable. And the head of heads of major private firms receive hundred of millions of dollars for borking the company to nearly bankruptcy.

I add this last bit because if the wisdom of the free market indicates that a little money thrown away is a good investment, how can those low life in government be so arrogant as not follow suite.

I certainly agree that it would be good if everyone would be deny themselves every available luxury. My food would be cheaper if the owner of my local restaurant would not own a hummer, not to mention my tax bill. My city could afford better education if they did not pay for downtown luxury offices and did not subsidize luxury sports arenas. School taxes would be much lower if we did not have luxury classrooms with lights and air conditioning. But everyone of us knows human nature is to do better work when on is appreciated, and when the environment is conformable. And if it takes .1% of the project budget to encourage the people to do a better a job, that might be a good investment. I would sooner see the parasites that leech off the education and military budget cut off than a single nasa party be canceled.

Re:Honestly (2, Insightful)

NonSequor (230139) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306901)

Our national budget is insane. And even though each expenditure is just a drop in the bucket, it all adds up to a huge amount. If we ever want to get the budget under control we have to look at every little thing and ask, is this really worth the money we're spending on it?

Million dollar parties just strike me as a bit excessive, even if they are just a tiny fraction of the budget.

Re:Honestly (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 6 years ago | (#21307015)


If we ever want to get the budget under control we have to look at every little thing and ask, is this really worth the money we're spending on it?

There's a limited amount of attention and oversight available. We simply just CAN'T look at every little thing. Do you sweat every single purchase, no matter how trivial (5 cents extra for toilet paper) and wonder "is it really worth it?" I doubt it, because you've got bigger concerns.

If you really want to get the budget under control, you'd identify the biggest places where we're spending tons of money, and not getting anything out of it. You might just start with the largest of those items, the war in Iraq.

Million dollar parties just strike me as a bit excessive, even if they are just a tiny fraction of the budget.

Maybe they are.. but how much of a distraction is this over billion dollar wastes of money? Do you really want to chase down 1000 different million dollar wastes and get all pissed about it to save a billion dollars, or would you rather focus on the billion dollar wastes?

What a scandal! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21306743)

Four million spent on parties in one year and now they want a billion dollars? Why not just force them to not hold pre-launch parties for the next 250 years so they can have the billion they want?

The news media is just hyping this out of proportions; we're spending close to three billion a week in Iraq - most of it wasted on dishonest and inefficient contractors - and we raise eyebrows at a few million spent on rewarding people who work in a difficult and thankless job?

Re:What a scandal! (1)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 6 years ago | (#21307201)

That's a false dichotomy. It isn't or or. No I don't want to spend money on a lost war but I also don't want to spend money on someone else's parties.

Don't you love sensational summaries (5, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306763)

Okay, I just RTFA, and here's the real scoop:

There is an awards banquet for flight safety held, apparently, at each launch, which occurs about three times a year. The awards cover 750 of what is likely tens of thousands of employees working for NASA and the contractors in the shuttle program. We're talking about a 1.5M awards banquet for an $8B/yr operation, or somewhere in the 0.01% range. Now I'm not saying that it's not a waste, though I'm curious where the seating costs of $20,000 for the shuttle launch come from, but the costs are not all that outlandish. Remember that one shuttle launch can really mean 4-16 different payloads, so there are a lot of people involved.

Go figure out what a similar party costs just about anywhere. Flying someone in coach is going to run about $300-500, minimum, if you book in advance and choose non-refundable. 4 nights hotel (we assume you are travelling on day 1 and day 5, day 2 is the banquet, day 3 is the launch, day four is a cape tour and the show), $120/night is bare minimum in a metro area unless you like sleeping with roaches. You get a night banquet at a banquet hall - nice dinner, dessert, a little entertainment. Hell, my high school reunion was $80 a head, and it was pretty basic. $150 is probably more reasonable for the service. One night you get a free show. Wow. Somebody call the fun police. Cirque tickets are $200; a broadway production in an off town is $80. Transportation to/from/between - you aren't going to walk to the cape from Orlando - would you have preferred we rented them a car for $300?

Where am I?...$300 plane + $480 hotel + $150 banquet and awards + nice show $120 + $300/2 for the car (we'll make them share) = $1200. Now, they came up with 400k-500k per banquet with 750 people...that's only $675 a person. I'd say they got a pretty good deal. $675 for 5 days and 4 nights plus a shuttle launch, dinner, and show? That's a freakin' bargain if you ask me.

Anyway...you go find out what the budget is for the awards banquet of any 10,000 person company. Go find out what just the CEO and his/her spouse spend. This really will look like chump change.

Somethings Never Change (1)

Rainbird98 (186939) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306835)

There is nothing new here and somethings never change. A number of years ago I was at a Culligan Water Conditioning store when two men from the Vandenberg NASA Office came in. They started talking to the store manager. It was the end of the fiscal year and they needed to spend remaining money in their budget or lose the funds. A purchase order was cut for 500 gallons of purified drinking water for use in their coffee makers.

Re:Somethings Never Change (3, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 6 years ago | (#21307163)

What's worse is that if they didn't spend that money, they would have had their budget reduced the next year. If they happened to have been otherwise efficient, they would be penalized the next year for that efficiency. You can't win, really.

Well... (1)

kitsunewarlock (971818) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306845)

1.3 Million dollars for how many hotel rooms? And what would you prefer: 1.3 million dollars as reward money for advancing science, or 1.3 million dollars in the pockets of these individuals if they successfully launch a rocket or not?

Re:Well... (1)

edittard (805475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21307115)

And what would you prefer: 1.3 million dollars as reward money for advancing science, or 1.3 million dollars in the pockets of these individuals if they successfully launch a rocket or not?
Are there any other options? Some schoolbooks or something?

They deserve a party (4, Insightful)

amightywind (691887) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306853)

Sad that Slashdot chooses to be relentlessly negative about NASA, while touting the lilliputian efforts of Russia and China. The STS-120 repair mission on the ISS I saw last week was about the most amazing thing I have ever seen. Russia or China won't be able to build something like that for 50 years! NASA deserves a party.

No they deserve a war (2, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 6 years ago | (#21307225)

I'd love to see NASA actually hire (not contract) the best and brightest to create the next generation flight vehicle. Build it all in house, and contract out nothing. If we could just declare a war on moon terrorists and get hold of $100-$150B in funding over the next 6 years, I'm pretty certain we could do a pretty damned good job.

Nowhere in the article was 'welfare' mentioned. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21306911)

Someone's throwing their own twisted politics into the article summary. Thinly-veiled 'isms, as usual on this Website.

My father attended one of these 'parties' (4, Interesting)

Firemeboy44 (1187205) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306919)

My father has worked on the booster rockets for 30 years as an engineer. This summer he was flown to Florida to watch a launch. They put him up in a hotel, had a receptions (where there were a hundred or so other folks), and in a small way showed their appreciation for the work he and the others had done. As I mentioned, he has worked there 30 years, and this was the first time he has been invited. There are hundreds of thousands of people who work on the shuttle program. I think it's a nice gesture.

Here's an idea (1)

Leuf (918654) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306925)

How bout instead of flying all those people to a 4 star hotel party, fly them to the FREAKING LAUNCH. I don't care how much money you throw at your party, you aint gonna top the launch. And then it becomes rather more difficult for people to bitch about it.

When you spend *billions* (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21306973)

What is a few hundred grand for an office party? Thats like the rest of us spending a few hundred on pitch-in when the boss tosses in free drinks.

We pay, they play ... the only astronomical thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21306987)

... at NASA are the salaries. Sadly, imho, NASA has become the single biggest impediment to space exploration. I say put NASA's headquarters on the ISS, limit management to former astronauts and let some real engineers and explorers extend our frontiers.

I'm so bloody tired of watching the decline of space exploration!

Fireworks (0, Troll)

Kenoli (934612) | more than 6 years ago | (#21307013)

NASA has the best fireworks.

The article doesn't mention welfare... (1)

xIcemanx (741672) | more than 6 years ago | (#21307019)

I've just read the article and I see no mention of that stupid "we should spend it on smart people instead of welfare" claim. Did the submitter just insert that line in at the end, on his own?

That's nothing... (2, Funny)

kbox (980541) | more than 6 years ago | (#21307033)

... The IRS spend $6 million on cocaine and hookers alone.

Tip of the iceberg (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21307079)

Having worked for a NASA contractor, I would guess that they spend $1 - $2M a year on just promo crap. We were constantly given badges, pins, patches, t-shirts, models, pen sets, plaques, certificates, hats, stickers, you name it. We had 8 - 10 people in our office area and a big box (probably about 10 cubic feet) that we would throw this crap in. It was filled on average about once every 2 months. And that was just our office. For an actual post launch swag party, we would throw out 2 or 3 boxes of crap. To console ourselves, we decided that we would rather them spend their money on this junk than hire more paper-pushing do-nothings...

NASA's business is stars (2, Funny)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21307091)

Because NASA's business is stars, with billions of stars you'd think NASA could manage more than 4 stars in the hotels.

Strawman (3, Insightful)

shaitand (626655) | more than 6 years ago | (#21307131)

'NASA proponents argue it makes more sense to give money to talented, productive people in exchange for scientific knowledge, than spend in on unproductive people in the form of straight welfare.'

Yes, of course it makes more sense to reward productive people than unproductive ones but that isn't the issue. Those productive people are being given a million dollar party in exchange for nothing, they got their salaries and great benefits in exchange for their knowledge. There are numerous places that money could go that have nothing to do with welfare. It could be left in the hands of the productive people who earned it. It could be used to raise the ridiculous federal poverty level a few dollars so that those who are BOTH productive AND poor in this country can breath a little easier and maybe scrounge together enough to start to make something of themselves and easily repay that debt in taxes later. It could be used to partially fund a federal medical/prescription/vision/dental insurance program that is a fundemental public service, not welfare.

govt/contractor relationship (1)

brennz (715237) | more than 6 years ago | (#21307235)

Government handles the development of huge projects via competitive procurements. That means big aerospace/defense contractors doing great work for us. NASA is very mission focused, so NASA needs to keep contractor churn to a minimum until the end of a mission (preferably) while retaining skilled contractors that want to work for their particular aerospace firms.

I'm all for NASA rewarding their hard working contractors and government personnel.

NASA can do no wrong (2, Insightful)

odo graphic (1187229) | more than 6 years ago | (#21307247)

What we are seeing in the comments above is an emotional response. The gut for many says "NASA good!" and so parties must be good, or harmless, or justified. The thing is, that's the way it works with every constituency in government. Is Social Security good? Maybe they should have a party! Is the Center for Disease Control good? Maybe they should have a million dollar party too! If you want to be rational you've got to rise above this stuff. You have to decide what exactly is good about NASA and praise them for doing that ... and not praise them for falling victim to the classic hubris of a 30 year old governmental institution. NASA is not good when it is being bad.

So, the fat paycheck isn't enough? (1)

BarnabyWilde (948425) | more than 6 years ago | (#21307303)

Then screw you all... party's over once the taxpayers find out.
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