Saturday, August 19, 2006

---More on VFS, NASA Science Advisors Resign, IDF Returns, The Chocolate Virgin Mary 

Looks like it’s government incompetence day at the weblog. Check your Dramamine™ supply; it’s going to get all swirly in here:

Who needs to make computer games?
Washington Post: The FBI's Upgrade That Wasn't[found on BlogsNow]
The big money
is in fleecing gigantic, dysfunctional government bureaucracies with less collective technical skill than the fry cook at Wendy’s™ for one-off software projects. Better yet, as a non-cybernetic character in the ancient movie “RoboCop” once said, “It’s for the government---It doesn’t have to actually work!”.
The WP article reveals more details of SAIC’s $170 Million vaporware monster known as the “Virtual File System”. The FBI, under fire in 2001 for botching its surveillance of terrorist activities so badly that it subjected the American people to a horrific attack on their own soil that a playground full of 8-year-olds could have seen through, decided that it needed to upgrade its internal handling of information at least to the level of about 1980 or so. It really needed to catch up on sophisticated computer concepts like “networks” and “databases” that had eluded its collective understanding, and to make its data handling competitive with the average American household...And none of this silly already-existing-technology stuff---it had to be done from scratch. It hired giant government contractor SAIC. Months and hundreds of thousands of lines of bloated committee (or is it “spaghetti”?) code later, in 2005, an audit determined that “the system delivered by SAIC was so incomplete and unusable that it left the FBI with little choice but to scuttle the effort altogether.”
The answer? Start over, over, with a whole new concept “...named Sentinel, that is projected to cost $425 million and will not be fully operational until 2009....”, to be developed by LockMart.

The new candor at NASA only goes so far...
SPACE.com -- NASA Advisers Opposed to Science Cuts Resign
...as far as the point where it conflicts with what the management has decided it wants to hear. Three advisors who opposed the gutting of NASA’s reasonably successful science programs to save funds for construction of the still-almost-entirely-imaginary Space Station have turned in their resignations. Two of the three resignees were apparently “asked” to leave. The NASA press secretary explained, “The administrator is looking for ... members to advise him based on the priority that the agency has and based on what our parameters are.'' I don’t have the management experience to fully explain what that actually means....but I think it's something close to what I already said.

My Way News [AP]- Israeli Troops Criticize Army, Equipment
Returning Israeli troops are revealing more about the conditions in Lebanon which probably contributed to their disappointing standoff with Iranian-trained and -equipped terrorists. The stories include having to drink water from canteens taken from the bodies of dead terrorists, and slow evacuation of wounded. Militarily speaking, the big question would be whether it ever happens again.

They’re baaack.....
My Way News [AP]- Workers Discover Chocolate Virgin Mary
This time it’s a drip. ISINMTU*, they are praying to a little drip of chocolate. It’s a little more tolerable than the sacred ground-water seepage, but not very much more. The AP story may have been unintentionally candid near the end: this week's brush with the image of a 2,000-year-old idol has left even Angiano star-struck. But they’re only adoring it---honest.
I have personally seen the benefits of telling the Truth to people affected by these foolish psuedo-Christian fables. Everyone who really wants to know about God is already smarter than this. Freedom from ignorance about God is the beginning of all sorts of good things. As the Apostle Paul said,

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God.... [2 Corinthians 10:5, NIV]

*I Swear I’m Not Making This Up

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