recommended reading

NASA can explain why the world won't end, still mystified by Internet commenters

David Morrison is the senior scientist at the NASA Astrobiology Institute.

David Morrison is the senior scientist at the NASA Astrobiology Institute. // NASA

Dr. David Morrison is well-educated, smart, and was an astronomer at the University of Hawaii for 17 years before heading to NASA in 1988. For the past four years, as The Awl's Dan Duray reports, Morrison's day job has involved answering over 5,000 e-mails from concerned earthlings regarding doomsday and the fictional planet of Nibiru. Duray's feature on Morrison, NASA's "apocalypse astronomer", hits that sweet spot of fascination with the macabre, job envy, and semi-assurance that there are people out there who are far more worried about the end of the world than you are. Morrison, as Duray explains, has been running NASA's "Ask an Astrobiologist" feature on the institute's website for the past eight years, and in the past four years the column has been hijacked by doomsday worrywarts primarily concerned about the Earth colliding with a fictional planet called Nibiru--so much so that an in-depth Q&A about the end of the world has been blown out, and expanded upon. (Here, have a look, the Q&A is about 20 questions long with several sub-sections and linkouts.) That is a lot of work for Morrison, who reportedly spends an hour every day corresponding with emailers about the apocalypse. Though, as Duray notes, Morrison's answers aren't always met with kindness (which Morrison blames on a "conspiracy meme" that's grown stronger since Obama's election).

Read more at The Atlantic Wire.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

    Download
  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.