Today, in the United States of America, our government has told many of our best and brightest not to come to work. For example, almost all of NASA has been furloughed until further notice thanks to the government shutdown.
While it's quite irritating for a journalist like myself, who spends a big chunk of his time keeping track of the space agency's myriad groundbreaking projects, to suddenly find the entire NASA.gov Web site taken offline and all my press contacts unavailable to answer calls and e-mails, I'm sure it's creating much more anxiety for the actual furloughed NASA employees.
But just a few days after the Web sites for NASA and many other federal agencies went offline, a new site, Unfurlough.US, popped up to connect furloughed employees with part-time or freelance work to help replace that lost federal income. It's like a highly targeted TaskRabbit for public servants caught in the political crossfire.
Right now just a few dozen gigs have been posted, but that's not bad for a site that was built in just 5 hours and only went live Thursday. There's also a section for furloughed workers to post their profile and declare themselves available for work.
So far, there don't appear to be any NASA rocket scientists on the board, but plenty of the furloughees seem eminently qualified in other areas, like Washington-based Dave Smith, who has been furloughed from his job as National Program Manager for the US Environmental Protection Agency's Facility Registry System.
As for our friends at NASA, perhaps it's time to let Elon Musk and SpaceX know that there may be an opening to commercialize the rest of the agency's projects, or at least put some of their people to work for a little while.
(Via The Daily Dot)