During the shutdown, some scientists can't talk about science


A more nonsense. Budget cuts already forced american scientist to not go to international conferences, but this is just insane. What if they say they only speak for themselves?

1 Like

…the 143-year-old Antideficiency Act makes it a crime (punishable by fines and imprisonment) for government employees to volunteer to do their own jobs…

Just out of curiosity, who enforces the Antideficiency Act in the event of a government shutdown?


If you read any biographies of that era, one of the things that stands out is the amount of time Lincoln and others spent on ‘patronage’. Most of this day, especially early on, was spent talking people who wanted to be postmaster, inspector, etc. One even sneaked into Lincoln’s wake to talk to Johnson. When asked if he realized he what was going on, the office seeker said something like, ‘the matter I wish to speak with you about is especially important’. So I see why they have this law. There are still a lot of people who see the gov as a giant cash cow.

That doesn’t make a lick of sense. Aren’t tens of thousands of government workers - those deemed “essential staff” - working for free right now? If that’s not volunteering, then what is?

Vigilante government employees, obviously. No, wait…

1 Like

“a kind of Civil War era version of red-light windscreen squeegeeing.”

The suburban version would be the friendly curbside address number painter. They usually claim some non-profit connection to further annoy your suspicious side.

This has actually been going on since sequestration took effect. Agencies cut travel funds to preserve salary, so government scientists can’t go to conferences, even on their own dime. I was in a panel to which were invited two Feds with offices in our city. They were precluded from attending, even though their conference fees were waived.

1 Like

It’s my understanding that the essential staff will get paid retroactively once the Republicans stop their hissy fit. I could be completely wrong on this though.

Well, the Antideficiency Act is now officially my favorite Act of all time, just for its absurd name. No one could possibly guess what that was referring to without actually knowing in the first place.

Shouldn’t it be the post-hoc invoicing that’s the illegal bit? This is like outlawing candy because sometimes people spit gum out on the sidewalk.

Lol, windscreen.

I hate to invoke slippery slope, but employers would be all over that shit. If some people came in, and some didn’t, guess which would be kept in next budget cut. How long before turning up for no pay is expected, rather than exceptional? After all, teachers do waaaaaay more than contracted hours. (as a random example, other careers also overwork.)

If said scientists aren’t prevented from being physically present, the workaround could be as simple as cancelling the talk formally, moving it informally to a local bar, and turning it to a larger-group science chat with beers.

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.