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Government United States Politics

Top U.S. Scientific Misconduct Official Quits In Frustration With Bureaucracy 172

Posted by timothy
from the an-exit-interview-I'd-like-to-overhear dept.
sandbagger writes "The director of the U.S. government office that monitors scientific misconduct in biomedical research has resigned after 2 years out of frustration with the 'remarkably dysfunctional' federal bureaucracy. Officials at the Office of Scientific Integrity spent 'exorbitant amounts of time' in meetings and generating data and reports to make their divisions look productive, David Wright writes. He huge amount of time he spent trying to get things done made much of his time at ORI 'the very worst job I have ever had.'"
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Top U.S. Scientific Misconduct Official Quits In Frustration With Bureaucracy

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  • by Old97 (1341297) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @09:18AM (#46472989)
    and its a large corporation in the private sector. Its hard for very large organizations to be efficient.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I've worked in both. Government is an order of magnitude worse in my experience.

      • That is so true, in my experience also. Large companies have slow bureaucracies because they're large, and there's a lot of management overhead. The federal government is several orders of magnitude larger, and there's no incentive to succeed. Google is big, but Google employees know that if they don't get the job done , Apple and Microsoft will eat their lunch. If the federal bureau of whatever doesn't get the job done ... nothing, they'll still be there next year. Add to that the extra layers and layer

        • by GerryGilmore (663905) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @12:19PM (#46474717)
          I'd say that you're buying into the whole "governments are bad, mkay..." syndrome that affects a large swath of the population these days. In my experience, I've had great government work experiences and ultra-crappy private sector experiences and vice-versa. Perhaps the reason that government project failures get more attention is a combination of a very active propaganda machine always on the lookout for any government failure so that they can hype it mercilessly and that - overall - government projects tend to be larger. Just a thought....
          • by khallow (566160)
            And of course, mind-bogglingly vast government excess. That's a contributing factor too. When you do something for three orders of magnitude less than a corresponding government effort, here, launching an airship to 18 miles, 4 miles higher than anyone else, including two US defense companies has done, you tend to get cynical about such things.

            One of those defense companies, which was funded more than a billion dollars over the past couple of decades to develop high altitude airships, managed to hit abou
        • by ultranova (717540)

          If the federal bureau of whatever doesn't get the job done ... nothing, they'll still be there next year.

          Because, as we all know, nations are eternal, can never collapse or experience hardship, and don't compete with each other.

          • The NSA hasn't been cancelled, or even had a major budget cut. Ergo clearly bad government programs and agencies continue. Has even one person responsible for that mess been fired?

            "Temporary" programs designed to address conditions during the great depression continue to this day.

            Of course you can also find ridiculous examples of programs that worked well being shut down. It doesn't appear that there is any logic to it.

            • by ultranova (717540)

              The NSA hasn't been cancelled, or even had a major budget cut. Ergo clearly bad government programs and agencies continue. Has even one person responsible for that mess been fired?

              Why would they be? The NSA "gets the job done". The job it's doing is dirty, but the fault for that lies on the feet of the people who gave it its mandate - ultimately American people.

              Besides, even if the NSA was destroyed, the problem that gave it birth would still exist: taking national security to be a concern overriding all o

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I greatly enjoy telling people stuff like that. People labor under the misconception that Corporate America is "efficient". Sadly, even in small businesses, there are many forces at work that make them disgustingly inefficient. In large organizations, every layer of management invariably imposes yet another layer of paperwork and delay to the simple process of DOING THE WORK. That's just normal inclination and doesn't even touch of each layer engaging in "empire building".

      • by tomhath (637240)

        People labor under the misconception that Corporate America is "efficient".

        I've never heard anyone make that claim. Perhaps "least bad" compared to Socialist or Totalitarian, but not efficient.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by firex726 (1188453)

          You can often see such a position argues in favor of having Private industry take over Public work in some areas.

          > The Government is bloated and slow and has no incentive, but the Private sector is competitive and results driven, so they should manage our prisons, red light cameras, etc...

          But then as it turns out the Private firm overestimated the cost savings and ends up cutting costs while costing the government the same or more for less quality service.

          • by dcw3 (649211)

            This is a fact of life in government contracting. The govt. attempts to get something at the lowest cost, so everyone lowballs in an attempt to win.

            I've been on both sides of the equation. On the govt. side, there's virtually no competition, and little incentive to work hard. Try that in the private sector, and see how long you last.

          • by Grishnakh (216268)

            The problem with privatization is that it ends up being worse than having the government do it directly, because there's no consequences for failure. Several companies bid on the project, but they low-ball the bid to win the project because the lowest bidder almost always wins. But then the project costs much more, and somehow the government is on the hook for these cost overruns, instead of the contractor being responsible (since they did, after all, bid a certain amount). The problem here is the govern

            • Obviously you've never been involved in a government contract. Often, one of the biggest reasons for cost overruns is because the government has no clue what they actually want and then change their mind on a daily basis. In some cases the government spends years (yes years) putting together the requirements for an RFP and after submitting several 1000's of pages of response material, interviews, shortlisting, etc, etc, etc. Some company is awarded a contract. Then the fun begins, because most of the requi
              • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                by Grishnakh (216268)

                Again, this should all be covered by the company that wins the bid. If they don't like it, they shouldn't bid on the contract.

                >because most of the requirements are out of date,

                Contractor's fault. If the requirements are impossible, tell the customer and don't bid.

                >were written by somone who had no idea what they were asking for

                Same as above.

                >or are missing critical pieces of functionality or details.

                Same as above.

                >Then you find out you need to integrate with a 35 year old Wang mainframe that r

                • Ahh, so your "solution" is either that no one should bid on a government contract, ever... or, deliver a car with square wheels and no steering wheel.. gotcha "Telling the customer" also doesn't work in government, because you arn't allowed to "talk to the customer". In order to ensure "fairness and transparency" you are only allowed to talk to a procurement officer who knows precicely zero about the project in question (They do however know everything about government procurement procedures and rules).
                  • by Grishnakh (216268)

                    Exactly. If no one bids on anything (because the consequences are too grave), then the government will be forced to change its procurement procedures. Doing things the way they're working now obviously isn't working, and the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing and expect a different result, yet that's exactly what most people seem to want to do.

                    • So in order to force the government to change their procurement processes, all we need them to do is change their procurement processes (to impose the grave consequences needed to drive companies not to bid on anything, so government will change their procurement processes). This would also mean that government procurement would grind to a halt for several years as they develop these new procurement procedures. (Hope their stocked up on pens and paper) There is a difference between advocating that everyon
                    • by Grishnakh (216268)

                      Sometime you have to tear things down and start all over in order to rebuild something better.

          • This is an important distinction. A competitive environment encourages at least some level of efficiency, as long as there are real consequences. "Private" isn't some magic wand that will solve problems. If you take a government run monopoly and turn it over to a privately run monopoly, you aren't going to see much improvement.
    • by tiberus (258517)

      and its a large corporation in the private sector. Its hard for very large organizations to be efficient.

      I'd add a couple corollaries to that:

      1. when you don't trust your co-workers and/or subordinates
      2. when you don't know how to run a meeting

      .

    • by Anonymous Coward

      His baseline for comparison is University politics.
          This is not a high standard of efficiency.

      The fact that DHS compares so poorly to this not so high standard is quite outstanding.

    • And yet, in spite of your accurate assessment, there are still legions of dogmatic libertarians and "conservatives" who resolutely insist that Big Government is inefficient and evil but Big Business is saintly and svelte and can efficiently solve all the world's problems where those inefficiently evil governments are doomed to fail.

      To those dogmatists I ask a simple question: when have you ever seen a business who customer base was exactly the size of the entire United States population? Or asked another w

  • Been there. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Narcocide (102829) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @09:20AM (#46473011) Homepage

    The sickness is endemic, and not just in government either; pretty much all big business suffers from this once it reaches critical mass. Basically, when you have a hierarchy of people who are so separated by degrees of management tier that the bulk of them no longer care about the actual stated goal or task of the organization and don't interact socially or even actually know anyone high enough up in the organization who does, and then you let them self-schedule their time in business meetings, every business meeting will become an elaborate excuse to not do any work. The meetings themselves look like work from a distance though, so this type of dysfunctional situation can persist for decades without anyone who cares actually noticing.

    • Re:Been there. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 50000BTU_barbecue (588132) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @09:26AM (#46473073) Homepage Journal
      The reason is quite simple: we have all the technology and resources required so that people DON'T need to work, that was the whole concept behind the leisure society.

      But instead we choose to continue with this outdated mentality of "40 hours a week for everyone" otherwise you're not a worthy human being.

      So, what do you do with all these people? Well, you make them spend exorbitant amounts of time in meetings and generating data and reports to make them look productive.

      We are squandering the most glorious time in history in terms of energy resources, technology and machinery in order to maintain a social order that comes from the caves.

      Everyone is *so* productive in today's world! Oh my yes! That's why it takes two people working in a household today to barely maintain the lifestyle my single-income parents had 40 years ago!

      We're so productive, but *what* are we producing and for *who*?

      • Great post, thanks.
      • Re:Been there. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by kilfarsnar (561956) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @09:56AM (#46473357)

        We're so productive, but *what* are we producing and for *who*?

        Great post. That's the million dollar question, right there. We certainly are propping up an outdated socio-economic system. But powerful people retain their power through this system. That's the obstacle I see. Otherwise we could all be working much less, have full employment and much more time for personal pursuits.

        • Re:Been there. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by CaptSlaq (1491233) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @10:26AM (#46473607)

          We're so productive, but *what* are we producing and for *who*?

          Great post. That's the million dollar question, right there. We certainly are propping up an outdated socio-economic system. But powerful people retain their power through this system. That's the obstacle I see. Otherwise we could all be working much less, have full employment and much more time for personal pursuits.

          Your "outdated socio-economic system" is someone else's "reality". While we are rapidly eliminating jobs for people on the left side of whatever IQ test you wish to use, we still have to pay people for food and to build stuff. When we automate THOSE jobs, we'll STILL have to pay for the energy production, energy usage, and maintenance of said automation, energy production and energy distribution.

          "Powerful people" aren't the problem. Energy and materials science is. Until energy production and transmission is zero cost, or close enough to it that it becomes an advertising expense, the leisure society isn't going to happen. I also don't believe that "Powerful people" are hiding the near zero cost energy production silver bullet. To speculate that it is so leads down the dark hole of conspiracy. Near zero cost energy not going to be in my lifetime, and probably not in my child's either. If the NIF (or any of its analogs) produce a self-sustaining fusion reaction, that will be tipping point. The materials science problem is nearly taken care of, but said materials (Iconel, among others) are too expensive and (again) energy intensive to produce in large quantities.

          There is speculation that if we actually get to the zero cost for energy society, mankind will inadvertently self-exterminate. I can see this being a very real possibility.

          • by acid_andy (534219)
            The other problem (arguably greater in Europe than the States) is increased competition over land. As a local population increases due to a high birth rate and / or net immigration, individuals need careers to make a profit relative to their competitors so they can stake a claim to a patch of land to live on. If human population growth is expected to continue indefinitely, the competition over land will become more and more fierce so working hours and desire for income will not reduce. Population growth is
          • Re:Been there. (Score:5, Interesting)

            by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday March 13, 2014 @11:22AM (#46474131) Homepage Journal

            Your "outdated socio-economic system" is someone else's "reality".

            The reality is that as worker productivity has increased by orders of magnitude, worker pay adjusted for inflation has decreased sharply. There's no defense for that.

            • by jader3rd (2222716)

              The reality is that as worker productivity has increased by orders of magnitude, worker pay adjusted for inflation has decreased sharply. There's no defense for that.

              What if the worker productivity isn't due to anything the workers have done, but from capitol investments the employers have made to increase their employee's productivity?

            • by khallow (566160)

              The reality is that as worker productivity has increased by orders of magnitude, worker pay adjusted for inflation has decreased sharply.

              People who say things like this don't get that there is more to the world than their little slice of developed world. The rest of the world's wages, which is considerably more numerous, is improving when adjusted for inflation.

            • by Livius (318358)

              There's no defense for that.

              Unless worker pay is determined by supply and demand, as in, say, a capitalist economy.

              • by drinkypoo (153816)

                Unless worker pay is determined by supply and demand, as in, say, a capitalist economy.

                When workers become commodities, we call that slavery.

          • Your "outdated socio-economic system" is someone else's "reality". While we are rapidly eliminating jobs for people on the left side of whatever IQ test you wish to use, we still have to pay people for food and to build stuff. When we automate THOSE jobs, we'll STILL have to pay for the energy production, energy usage, and maintenance of said automation, energy production and energy distribution.

            I dig that. The outdated economic system is my reality too, but I can only speak for my society. I'm not saying that people wouldn't have to work. I'm saying we could all work less. Stuff will still need to be manufactured and energy produced. But I also know that i live in a society who's needs (overall) are overfilled. Businesses create new markets now to sell their products. They are not meeting a need, they are creating one. It seems that we could reduce our production, work less, and still meet

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Racemaniac (1099281)

        i gues for the most we're producing money to go up the chain to those who deserve it?

      • by boristdog (133725) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @10:09AM (#46473471)

        "Bob, I'd say in a week I do an average of 15 minutes of real work."

        • Seriously this. Before I owned my company, had a start up which we turned into a successful company and sold for enough that I now can live comfortably.

          After about a year off, I had spent the last 5 working 70 hours a week or more at times, a new start up approached me. They had all the technical talent they ever needed, but wanted some help on the business side. I had been in their shoes and I worked about 30 - 40 hours a week for the first 5 months developing and getting their sales/marketing implement

      • by tiberus (258517) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @10:16AM (#46473527)

        Add to this the lack of incentive to save money and you've got a right good mess. After spending time and effort to save funds on a program (government in this case), we ended the year with a surplus of funds (in the 10x of 1,000's range, I know it's a drop in the bucket but, we were quite proud at the time). When next year rolled around we were suddenly "poor estimators" and had "poor financial management", so our budget was cut by several times over our savings from last year.

        That was many years ago but, since then I experienced a similar mentality in the private sector, especially when dealing with government contracts.

        Also, our parent company recently took over management of our capital purchases. We have the money, we have the need, we have reviewed the data but, now it takes and extra 4-6 months to purchase something (e.g. a upgraded SAN). It seems that another subsidiary had some issue with their purchasing process, so rather than deal with the problem, Mother (our loving term for our parent company), created several more.

        • hahahahah "mother" I love that, I will use it
        • by rnturn (11092)

          I actually heard some stuffed shirt in the government who decided to sit in on a project meeting (I think he'd been invited as he was new to the department) state that our having completed a project ahead of schedule and under budget indicated poor project planning. Apparently, for some government bureaucrats, you should not build in any time to deal with problems that are likely to crop up. A schedule and/or budget overrun seems to be preferable because more meetings! (To justify, I guess, Mr. Stuffedshirt

      • ...Everyone is *so* productive in today's world! Oh my yes! That's why it takes two people working in a household today to barely maintain the lifestyle my single-income parents had 40 years ago!...

        I would guess that 40 years ago your parents had...

        1 single family home, less than 2000 sq.ft., 3 bedrooms or less, 1 bathroom
        1 car (maybe 2?)
        1 television (maybe a second in a basement that was old?) with over-the-air programming of less than 20 channels
        1 landline telephone
        1 still, film camera
        1 stay at home mom

        Whereas today I am guessing your two incomes support...
        1 single family home, greater than 2000 sq.ft., 3 bedrooms or more, 2 bathrooms or more
        2 cars (or more)
        3 or more televisions with pa

      • by khallow (566160)

        The reason is quite simple: we have all the technology and resources required so that people DON'T need to work, that was the whole concept behind the leisure society.

        There's an even simpler reason. Because people make choices. They may not want to work, but they do want the things they can get by working.

        So, what do you do with all these people? Well, you make them spend exorbitant amounts of time in meetings and generating data and reports to make them look productive.

        Or their employer can have them doing useful work when they're doing work. That in turn creates more opportunities for useful work elsewhere in the economy, should anyone be interested enough in it.

        We are squandering the most glorious time in history in terms of energy resources, technology and machinery in order to maintain a social order that comes from the caves.

        Nah, that's an agrarian society thing. I'd say the leisure society ideal is actually more the caveman thing since both have a strong emphasis on doing as little work as possi

      • See my reply here agreeing with your main points:
        http://politics.slashdot.org/c... [slashdot.org]

        Here is an essay I put together with about 100 positive and negative responses to the situation.
        http://pdfernhout.net/beyond-a... [pdfernhout.net]
        "There are a large number of possible cures that can be tried either to create jobs or to deal with the problems posed by widespread chronic unemployment, each with various different long term societal consequences (both good and bad). There are also other possible economic models like a gift economy

    • Re:Been there. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Frobnicator (565869) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @09:34AM (#46473169) Journal

      The sickness is endemic, and not just in government either; pretty much all big business suffers from this once it reaches critical mass. ... every business meeting will become an elaborate excuse to not do any work.

      I think the description in his resignation goes far beyond the sickness you describe. In big business it gets broken up, either by intervention or by just firing everybody. This is far beyond just not working.

      One paragraph of the resignation letter that shows it off spectacularly:

      "On another occasion I asked your deputy why you didn’t conduct an evaluation by the Op-Divs of the immediate office administrative services to try to improve them. She responded that that had been tried a few years ago and the results were so negative that no further evaluations have been conducted."

      So the person in charge says they tried to make it better years ago, but the environment was such a cesspool that they decided to not even bother trying to make it better.

      How do you even...?

  • by luckytroll (68214) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @09:22AM (#46473019) Homepage

    I spent a lost year of my life working for a similar agency. The systematic fear and redundant covering of asses made for endless meetings.

    The only thing worse than busywork is busywork with a profound sense of importance attached to it.

    • by alen (225700) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @09:30AM (#46473117)

      the micromanaging is there due to the media

      no one is perfect and sometimes something happens where the media picks up on it, turns it into a major issue and starts calling for people in the government who made the decision to be fired.
      government workers know this and so they CYA everything they do down to the exact letter of the law or regulation

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 13, 2014 @09:42AM (#46473237)

        It's not just the media. It's also Congress. Any member of Congress could decide to turn your group into a political football at any time. This is especially likely if you have spent money on something that is easy to mock.

        The problem is that "something that is easy to mock" can be fruit fly research or volcano monitoring. So basically any time you do your job, it could have negative political consequences. The only solution is to not do your job....

        • by alen (225700)

          yep

          worked for a DoD agency one time that was a major conduit of pork money for infrastructure projects. the PHB's would go to DC to testify to congress on a regular basis and they had briefing books for every member of congress of every committee that they reported to

  • by MetalliQaZ (539913) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @09:23AM (#46473031)

    In a system where your rewards are based on the look of powerpoint presentations that are delivered to directors, you end up spending all your time optimizing the data on the slides. The same principle is applied all over the place, in almost every human endeavor. Using the wrong measure of progress means we waste time and effort. It also has a side effect of making everyone miserable, like the guy in this story. See health care, prison system, etc.

    By the way, this isn't a problem unique to the government. His gripes sound very similar to my reality. I work in a large aerospace company.

    • Heck I saw the same level of politicking, bureaucracy and CYA'ing in a small start up with SIX people! (and believe it or not, the company STILL exists now 20 years on)

  • Feynman (Score:5, Informative)

    by scottnix (951749) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @09:25AM (#46473051)

    This reminds me of what Richard Feynman went through while investigating the Shuttle Discovery disaster.
    They made a movie about it: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt24... [imdb.com]

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Came here to say exactly that.

      Also, when he had to deal with the school books bullshit. (in surely you're joking)

    • by Headrick (25371)

      I haven't seen the movie but this is also covered in Feynman's book "What Do You Care What Other People Think?". Lots of other good stuff in there too.

      Of course don't forget to read "Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman". Feynman was a guy I would've really have liked to have known.

  • by edibobb (113989) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @10:03AM (#46473421) Homepage
    Why is Fox News politics on Slashdot?
    • Science magazine is not published by News Corp.

    • Hi. SCIENCE. Turn in your nerd card if you don't see why this is slashdot material. We need more nerds engaged in politics, not more nerds being apathetic about it. Especially on this issue.

      Bureaucracy getting in the way of research is a very real issue. Administration of research funding has increased dramatically more than actual funding for research. Not unique to research of course, that's just bureaucracy. It's getting in the way of science. From the guy's letter

      On one occasion, I was invited to give a talk on research integrity and misconduct to a large group of AAAS fellows. I needed to spend $35 to convert some old cassette tapes to CDs for use in the presentation. The immediate office denied my request after a couple of days of noodling. A university did the conversion for me in twenty minutes, and refused payment when I told them it was for an educational purpose.

      I would disagree with his p

  • by JoeyRox (2711699) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @10:18AM (#46473539)
    Oh the irony.
  • Given his recent experience with the ORI, I wonder if David Wright's talents might serve the public better by forming a watchdog group that essentially does the same thing as the ORI. It wouldn't have the teeth the ORI has in terms of access to data, that in itself may make it a non-starter; but if possible the group could serve to inform the public, and when necessary, embarrass the ORI by pointing out inaction.

  • He huge (Score:4, Funny)

    by Megahard (1053072) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @10:30AM (#46473655)

    If true he could get another job where there's no paperwork.

  • by erp_consultant (2614861) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @10:39AM (#46473743)

    I spent a few years as a public servant before doing what I do now. It was, to say the least, an eye opening experience. If you want to learn exactly how NOT to run a business go work for the government for a while.

    The procurement system is completely whacked. Everyone seems to know it but nobody wants to do anything to fix it. Democrats and Republicans alike have both had ample opportunity to fix it and both have shied away from it.

    It is nearly impossible to fire an incompetent federal employee. The best management can do is put the person in a crummy job and hope they quit. Likewise, management is forbidden from giving bonuses to top performing employees. It doesn't take long before people realize that they get paid the same whether they put in an honest days work or sit there with their feet up on the desk.

    Efficiency in government is punished, not rewarded. If you find a way to save money your reward is a reduced budget for next year. No raise, no promotion, no bonus, no thanks. So you end up with year end spending sprees to ensure that you spend every penny allocated to your department.

    It's very difficult to measure success in government. If you are selling a product you can say we sold X last year and this year we sold X+2. Therefore, this year was better than last. In public service how do you measure it? We had fewer complaints this year than last?

    It seemed to me that if you worked in government you had one of two choices. You could either suck it up and wait for your pension or leave and do something else. I chose to leave. I did find a lot of good, hard working people in government. I also found a lot of lazy, good for nothing doorstops. Such is life.

    • Reforms are being put in place, though are being partially ignored.

      For example, in our Gov't organization, we are on a 'contribution based' system. In theory, low performers get pay decreases and if not remedied, get fired. In theory, high performers get raises.

      In practice, it seems that high performers get raises and the only pay decreases handed out are due to inflation: (I know of only one outright pay cut) outright cuts rarely happen and no one is ever fired. This is argueably a misadminstration of

      • Well, that's a step in the right direction. But having rules in place and enforcing those rules are two different matters entirely. It's a big ship and it takes a long time to change the direction.

  • Parkinson's Law (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tomhath (637240) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @10:53AM (#46473883)
    Government exemplifies Parkinson's Law [wikipedia.org]. With essentially unlimited resources (just raise taxes) the bureaucracy can expand indefinitely until all "work" being done is perpetuating the bureaucracy and nothing useful is accomplished.
  • He huge amount of time he spent trying to get things done made much of his time at ORI 'the very worst job I have ever had'.

    Have people stopped reading the last sentence of the typically summary altogether with the part of the brain that doesn't type?

    On a not-so-tangential side note, it would be nice in the eagerly awaited Beta Redux to be able to click preview prior to furnishing the subject line, and actually get the preview to go along with the lecture. Just about every time this happens to me I want

    • s/basis rule/basic rule

      That's a natural error, where my brain had the right word, and my speedy fingers went "close enough" as they often do when there's a hot, fresh, unfinished coffee on my desk they're trying to rush off and levitate.

      Semantic interference often contributes. I think my brain went square dancing for a brief moment with the Peano postulates.

    • by rnturn (11092)
      I very nearly gave up on it when I saw "ORI". Shouldn't that "R" have been "S"? Or did the OP, all of a sudden, start talking about a different government office?
  • by magarity (164372) on Thursday March 13, 2014 @11:20AM (#46474115)

    What good is it to be director of the agency if he couldn't streamline their processes? Don't like frivilous reports? Give bad performance reviews to people who write them. Don't like meetings? Remove all the chairs from meeting rooms. Etc.

  • I hear all the time that Americans are scared of their government. How can they be scared of a government that is apparently to inefficient to get something scary done?

The tree of research must from time to time be refreshed with the blood of bean counters. -- Alan Kay

Working...