By Soulskill from Slashdot's $15000-for-porpoise-sweaters department
An anonymous reader writes: The National Science Foundation (NSF) and a contractor have been accused by both an audit and by Congress of a significant misuse of funds in a major ecological monitoring project costing almost a half a billion dollars. From the article: "With a construction budget of $433.7 million, NEON is planned to consist of 106 sites across the United States. Arrays of sensors at each site will monitor climate change and human impacts for 30 years, building an unprecedented continental-scale data set. Although some initially doubted its merits, the allure of big-data ecology eventually won over most scientists.
But a 2011 audit of the project's proposed construction budget stalled three times when, according to the independent Defense Contract Audit Agency, NEON's accounting proved so poor that the review could not be completed. Eventually, DCAA issued an adverse ruling, concluding that nearly 36% of NEON's budget proposal was questionable or undocumented.
When the NSF green-lit the project, the agency's inspector-general ordered the audit released on 24 November, which found unallowable expenses including a $25,000 winter holiday party, $11,000 to provide coffee for employees, $3,000 for board-of-directors dinners that included alcohol, $3,000 for t-shirts and other clothes, $83,000 for "business development" and $112,000 for lobbying."Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's that-sounds-super-helpful department
writes: One of the EU's selling points is that it provides a single regulatory apparatus for the entire European market — but this isn't the case for everything. Data protection laws, for instance, provide a confusing thicket of different regulations across the continent, and now, much to the frustration of large American Internet companies, it seems that a plan to consolidate these rules under a single EU agency are coming apart.
In other EU news, reader Presto Vivace points out that German Chancellor Angel Merkel has spoken out against net neutrality
. She said, "An innovation-friendly internet means that there is a guaranteed reliability for special services
. These can only develop when predictable quality standards are available."Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's why-that's-barely-a-dozen department
writes While NASA's Orion spacecraft, which blasted off on a successful test flight today, may be preparing for a first-of-its-kind mission to carry astronauts to Mars and other deep-space missions, the technology inside of it is no where near leading edge. In fact, its computers and its processors are 12 years old — making them ancient in tech years. The spacecraft, according to one NASA engineer, is built to be rugged and reliable in the face of G forces, massive amounts of radiation and the other rigors of space."Compared to the [Intel] Core i5 in your laptop, it's much slower — much less powerful. It's probably not any faster than your smartphone," Matt Lemke, NASA's deputy manager for Orion's avionics, power and software team, told Computerworld. Lemke said the spacecraft was built to be rugged and reliable — not necessarily smart. That's why there are two flight computers. Orion's main computer was built by Honeywell as a flight computer originally for Boeing's 787 jet airliner.
Not only was the launch itself successful, but the sensor-laden craft's splashdown was smooth
," as NASA puts it), and NASA has now recovered the capsule
. ABC News has some good photos
, too.Read Replies (0)
By Roblimo from Slashdot's faster-than-a-speeding-toddler! department
You can spend less than $500 if you like. That's the maximum
amount allowed if you're competing in the Power Racing Series
. Interviewee Josh Lee is a member of the Southern Polytechnic State University Electric Vehicle Team
. The modified electric 'ride on' toy they showed off and raced at Maker Faire Atlanta
(where this video was made) is just one of their many projects. And, obviously, they're just one of many 'slightly deranged' teams
involved in learning about and building electric vehicles. (Alternate Video Link
)Read Replies (0)