User Profile: Chris

Chris

Member Since: November 29, 2010

Comments

123
  • October 29, 2014 at 9:33pm

    I have yet to see **ANY** indication of an emphasis on “Muslim outreach” within the Agency, at least at the level of the average engineer or scientist. Every other major emphasis area ends up being reflected all the way down to individual performance plans.

  • [2] October 14, 2014 at 11:51pm

    My manager reviews my credit card purchases every month, or at least every month that I make a purchase. The people running the program review all of those approvals and they (and the whole program) get audited every year. Larger purchases get made by the procurement division with the people on my level developing the technical specs and reviewing the bids for compliance with the specifications but we don’t make the award, we make a recommendation.

  • October 14, 2014 at 11:45pm

    Actually, for purchase cards it is the bank that issues the card that doesn’t get paid until all of the month’s charges are reconciled. On the travel card the employee is on the hook to pay the bill when it comes due whether or not the government has paid them for it. If I have to travel the airline ticket (in the cheap seats, of course) gets paid for on my travel card and I pay the bill out of my own pocket when it comes. Normally the charges get through travel audit quickly enough that the government reimburses me before the bill comes but if they don’t I still have to front the government the money until they do.
    The purchase limit on the purchase card is $3000 per transaction. I have to reconcile my part of the bill every month – to the penny – then my supervisor reviews it and the people running the purchase card program review it after that.
    We aren’t allowed to mix government and personal purchases on either the purchase or the travel card. We also get training every year on what you can and can’t use the cards for.

    And, $3000 and below is considered a micro-purchase. Above that has to be done on a PR (which, it turns out, costs something like $140 to process) . The rules change at about $25,000 and again above $100,000. I think that in my 26+ years I’ve probably purchased two items above $100K and that was because I got handed the job of leading the process of buying a couple of major instruments for the rest of my group to use.

  • [1] September 29, 2014 at 9:03pm

    No, it just proves that most mutations aren’t improvements!

  • [1] September 17, 2014 at 11:28pm

    I was on a flight like that once. This was a 15-seat twin turboprop operated by the place I work. The cabin was pressurized, but it had been something like -20 the day before and the morning the flight left it was around 0. The trip to our destination was fine but on the way back we were fighting a strong headwind so they weren’t wasting any bypass air to warm up the cabin. I spent the whole two hours with my winter coat on and my feet tucked up under me to try to keep warm. Once we got home, my car, which had been cold-soaking in the parking lot all day actually felt warmer than the airplane had.
    That was a great plane, but as it got more and more expensive to operate we eventually discontinued its use and went all commercial.

  • September 14, 2014 at 11:11pm

    I saw that movie.

  • August 13, 2014 at 9:52pm

    This may be a choice, but it isn’t like choosing between McDonalds and Burger King for lunch. The problem is that when somebody is that deeply depressed they can’t see a lot of the other options. They can get to the point where they only see one option – they can’t believe/understand that there is any way that things can get better or that the pain will stop. It isn’t rational, but being rational is not one of the hallmarks of clinical depression.

  • [2] August 13, 2014 at 9:40pm

    I saw bits & pieces of the megaldon program and there was NO indication that it was a fake. I have to admit that I was skeptical, wondering how you could maintain a big enough breeding population of an animal that big without somebody noticing it. I wondered if they were overly enthusiastic about their conclusion that it was megalodon but didn’t suspect that they were basically just faking it all. “Sharknado”, on the other hand, was clearly one of Sci-Fi channels cheesy Saturday night movies although it was greatly improved when the Rifftrax guys got a hold of it.

  • July 19, 2014 at 10:07am

    The congress decided a long time ago that federal employees had to take ethics training every year. It is about time that the members of the House had to do he same thing. Of course, if the politicians had to live under the same rules that the feds do they wouldn’t be happy at all – and the rules for feds are pretty reasonable although they do sometimes make life a little bit awkward.

  • June 28, 2014 at 12:16pm

    Flexible hours where I work mean that you have to put in 40 hours a week. You can do it as five 8 hour days or, if your job allows it and management agrees four 10 hour days per week. I know somebody that works this schedule so she has Fridays available to get her elderly mother to doctor’s appointments, etc.
    If I start at 9:00am I work until 5:30pm. (we have 30 min for lunch) If I start at 8:15 am I work until 4:45pm. If I take an hour for lunch, I work an extra half hour to make up the time.
    If I have a meeting at 9:00 am I can’t start at 9:30, obviously.
    Part of the push for telecommuting is to allow us to stay open when, for instance, the weather gets really bad. Eventually a goal is to save money by closing buildings, on the theory that you need fewer offices if part of your workforce is telecommuting regularly.
    There are some jobs that are going to require fixed schedules and some kinds of jobs where you cant work from home. but a lot of us have at least some computational work as part of our jobs and we can work from home a lot of days.

  • June 28, 2014 at 11:57am

    The last numbers I saw said that about 30% of federal workers were union members. If you omit the Postal Service that drops to something like 15%.
    In a lot of cases federal unions have to “represent” everybody that works at their site no matter how many are actual members of the union. When you hear a union rep say that they represent “500 workers at the XYZ facility” probably only between 50 and 100 are actually dues-paying members. The rest have chosen not to join.

  • [2] June 11, 2014 at 11:15pm

    This is a great story. Unfortunately it isn’t true. Both the American astronauts and Russian cosmonauts used pencils since regular ballpoint pens don’t work in space since they depend on gravity to pull ink toward the ball. Fisher invested their own money to develop their pressurized “space pen” primarily as a improvement on a conventional ballpoint pen. Once it was working both NASA and the Russians used them in space.

  • [4] June 2, 2014 at 11:31pm

    Notice that they said that the fibers are stronger than aluminum or steel “per weight”. This sounds like “specific strength” which is the actual strength divided by the weight. (the strength to weight ratio) You can get a high specific strength if the material is really strong OR really light. A piece of this material isn’t necessarily stronger than an equal sized piece of steel or aluminum, it weighs a lot less. The ultimate breaking strength of steel is probably going to be a lot higher but the steel is a lot heavier.

    Responses (3) +
  • [4] May 31, 2014 at 12:15pm

    Generally, the more emotion surrounding a subject the less reliable Wikipedia is. People get all fired up discussing people like G. W. Bush so they start editing and reediting the page to make him look better or worse based on their own beliefs.

    Strongly technical issues that aren’t particularly controversial seem to be more reliable, but beware of anything that brings out the “true believers”

    And yes, it isn’t a primary source, you always need to go the the real literature.

  • [-11] May 28, 2014 at 11:32pm

    Didn’t he say at one point that he took the job so he could reveal secrets? If that is true that clearly makes him a traitor even if he did reveal dirt that the American people needed to know. Doing the ‘Famous commies Tour” didn’t help!.

    Responses (1) +
  • May 24, 2014 at 12:51am

    Actually if you look into what the book actually says the DO NOT say that it was made by aliens. The point that they are making is that this was made by people and we have no idea what it means. Same species, same planet. Imagine how hard it would be to figure out something left by aliens if we can’t figure out something that our ancestors did.

  • May 20, 2014 at 9:11pm

    I work in a civilian agency and contribute to CFC every year. There are limits to the overhead a charity can charge and still be allowed in the program. We get encouraged to contribute but from what I’ve seen we exceed the monetary goal every year but with only about 65% of the people contributing.
    One thing I like about CFC is that you get to choose what charities get your money instead of the people running the charity funding whoever they like. I’ve known people that were “loaned executives” who were detailed into the job meaning that they are employed by their agency but assigned to run the CFC program.

  • May 18, 2014 at 1:22am

    Super glue has been used as a surgical adhesive for years. They make medical grade adhesives for use in place of sutures or staples. It doesn’t completely replace them but there are apparently a number of places where it works well.

  • May 5, 2014 at 11:41pm

    For all this talk about muslim outreach I still haven’t found anybody that has it as an item on their performance plan.

  • May 5, 2014 at 11:37pm

    A gravity tractor is nothing more or less than a spacecraft that you park close to the asteroid. As the gravitational pull of the asteroid pulls the spacecraft toward it the spacecraft’s thrusters back it away so that they never touch. Remember that gravity works both ways – the spacecraft’s gravitational pull attracts the asteroid the same way that the asteroid attracts the spacecraft. The fact that the asteroid is a lot more massive makes the whole thing take quite a while but it would work for an asteroid of almost any composition. The trick is that you have to see it far enough out to have time to get the tractor there and still have time to make the deflection.

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