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Government Idle Science

Porn Surfing Rampant At US Science Foundation 504

Posted by samzenpus
from the when-science-gets-dirty dept.
schwit1 writes "The Washington Times reports, 'The problems at the National Science Foundation (NSF) were so pervasive they swamped the agency's inspector general and forced the internal watchdog to cut back on its primary mission of investigating grant fraud and recovering misspent tax dollars.' One senior executive at the National Science Foundation spent at least 331 days looking at pornography on his government computer, records show. The cost to taxpayers: up to $58,000. Why aren't they running a product like Websense?"

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Porn Surfing Rampant at US Science Foundation

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  • Not too surprised (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jonpublic (676412) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @12:34PM (#29581981)

    I know one of my friends told her supervisor of porn she found on her "hand me down computer" that came from the new director of a major metropolitan museum. There was no investigation, no action taken, no nothing.

  • by heretic108 (454817) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @12:44PM (#29582141)

    What is it about porn that provokes such an outrage?

    If I was a manager in that organisation, I'd be putting the porn-surfing under the larger categories of "non-work activity" and "non-work-related use of NSF resources" and disciplinging employees on that basis.

    If employees did ridiculous amounts of porn-surfing, I'd be addressing matters of how they feel about their job, and whether they had a psychological issue that drove their porn addiction; at their next review I'd prescribe a course of counselling as an assessable item of job performance.

    If someone is so heavily pulled to porn, something is badly off-track in his/her life. S/he might otherwise be an excellent worker, but needing to be brought into line and pushed in a direction of emotional/psychological healing.

    What I'd like to ask is - why is it a scandal if employees wasted company resources accessing porn, but not if they waste similar resources accessing (say) medieval re-enactment sites and forums?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @12:46PM (#29582163)

    senior executive says I want full web or I can find a new IT GUY

  • Re:bad idea... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lord Ender (156273) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @01:24PM (#29582715) Homepage

    I would love to see which study proves the causality of adult entertainment causing mental disease.

    But even if what you said were true, it's stupid. Smoking causes disease, and that's allowed at work. Sedentary lifestyle causes disease, and that's required at work. All forms of "screwing around" at work should be treated equally; employers should not use their power to force their religious beliefs on workers.

  • Re:bad idea... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Zarf (5735) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @01:50PM (#29583099) Journal

    *lol* yeah. fych issues. Nasty.

    As for actual documentation? Some studies in the 70's and 80's showed domestic violence, rape, and childhood traumas can be linked to people with excessive exposure to porn. A few minutes with google scholar will point to relevant articles and avoid getting sucked down into the depraved depths.

    Google Scholar [google.com] and arjounals [annualreviews.org]

    I think this might be like the "video games" cause violence argument. I think any reasonable person can see how it's not healthy to stare at violence all day everyday... it's also probably not healthy to stare at sex all day everyday... hell... it's probably not healthy to stare at slashdot all day everyday. Most obsessions are similarly destructive of people's lives.

    I think 300+ days a year looking at porn might be like the guy who drinks two pots of coffee a day. I think it's a symptom of something bad evolving in the person's life. Symptom... not root cause. I don't have a DSM IV in front of me but I'm fairly certain that behavior alone could get you a diagnosis.

  • by GoodNicksAreTaken (1140859) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @01:57PM (#29583215)
    There should be a mod to 6+ (each additional mod worth 1/8 value?) when something is this insightful.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @02:04PM (#29583307)

    As long as watching porn doesn't impact your work or offend colleagues, then why should it be considered any worse than surfing YouTube, Facebook, or even Slashdot?

    Question automatically being: and how would you know you're not offending anyone?. That question alone is enough for me to state that I think pr0n should be banned from the office period. For all you know you are offending people but also giving them a huge dilemma with the question "Should I come forward or not?".

    Just for the record; I have experienced such a situation myself and do know what I'm talking about, I'm not some hypocrite whining "no pr0n" while secretly being the biggest surfer himself. I'm a big fan of the Neon Genesis Evangelion series, enough to keep a few backgrounds. One of them, you can see an example here [eriol.org] (NSFW!), is a pictures one of the main characters ("Rei Ayanami", 2nd from the top) now in the form of Lillith busy in the process of, as I like to describe, "reshaping the world". You'll notice that she's nude. I really love that picture, its also being used at the back of the original sound track CD. Its not just because of the naked girl, its also because of the whole story behind that scene, the way its being drawn, the almost expressionless face and yes; I do admit that her body also is a factor in the beauty of this picture. At least IMO.

    And so here I was using this picture (amongst others, KDE multiple desktop) at the dorm where I lived with other students. It took one several months to tell me that he didn't feel comfortable at all when that background would show on my PC. Sure; this is not fully comparable since this is sort of a "home situation" but still. You can't just state that "as long as it doesn't offend people" because in most cases you wouldn't even know it.

    I sure didn't and eventually used the particular wallpaper, and desktop section, when that specific guy wasn't around. IMO things are a bit different when the whole situation is "home based" but at the office? No way, I think thats not a very social thing to do.

  • by Fumigator (1611917) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @02:07PM (#29583339)
    Yes yes, this is all Bush's fault, and always will be. What isn't?
  • by Fumigator (1611917) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @02:17PM (#29583469)
    I guess you were raised in an amoral household...? Geez can't we at least just pretend our society hasn't become completely depraved? Let me make just one more point. We all "view" porn for one reason and one reason only: the money shot. Your post suggests we should allow gov't employees to work one handed. I _really_ don't want to turn the corner and see 3 co-workers busy with this activity. I really don't. Some things just need to be kept out of the workplace!
  • Re:bad idea... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by swb (14022) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @02:53PM (#29583971)

    If you can control their sex and their economics, they are at your disposal.

    I will cut religion one small break, though. I think most cultures have rules regarding sexual behavior; the problem is, we're not living in 5th century Europe where the major provider of social order as long as anyone can remember, the Roman Empire, is collapsing and we need some rules to live by other than fucking anything you can get your hands on.

    In an ancient civilization, the rules help keep the order. Unwanted offspring create succession problems (which in those civilizations is often a political problem, too), lack of sexual restraint can lead to your wife or daughter getting raped, and then there's the question of what to do with the women and the unwanted offspring.

    The problem is they keep trying to enforce rules that maybe made sense in rural Europe in the 6th century in the 21st century when technology generally has solved the unwanted offspring problem and better socialization largely encourages people to not use violent means to satisfy their desires, sexual or otherwise.

  • Re:bad idea... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Eli Gottlieb (917758) <eligottlieb@COFF ... m minus caffeine> on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @05:50PM (#29585917) Homepage Journal

    Please stop calling sex-phobia Judeo-Christian. We Jews had nothing to do with it. In our religion we're positively commanded to get it on, with specific regulations on how often you must satisfy your wife based on your occupation. Oh, and we used to have concubines!

  • Re:I'm baffled (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Wowlapalooza (1339989) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @06:08PM (#29586077)

    It's completely beyond my comprehension why anyone would think it's ok to surf for porn at work. Clearly common sense is no longer a factor in hiring.

    For some, it might not be so much a matter of lacking common sense, it might actually be a form of protest against the lingering Puritanism that labels "surfing porn" as such a special category in the first place.

    I would wager that far more workplace productivity is lost by people who waste their company's time by checking up on their personal finances via the web, than those few who "surf porn".

    And I would also wager that far more workplace peace and harmony is shattered by hearing objectionable political and/or social commentary from the next cube over, than could possibly be caused by the occasional glimpse of unsavory pornographic content on a coworker's monitor screen.

    "Common sense" would dictate that anything that is disruptive and/or wasteful in the workplace should be combatted and punished where found, but that we shouldn't give special attention to conduct that is sexual in nature, while turning a blind eye to other forms of workplace misconduct that are equally or more draining/damaging.

  • Re:bad idea... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by IgnoramusMaximus (692000) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @06:36PM (#29586291)

    Uhm, no. The Old Testament is full of "immorality pisses off God and he nukes the fornicating sinners, their children and their children's children, cousins, second-cousins, cats, dogs etc" type of stuff. As to modernity, why, one has to only take a look at what the Hasidic characters are up to ....

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