The Thanksgiving gag that ended NASA pranks forever

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/11/24/the-thanksgiving-gag-that-ended-nasa-pranks-forever.html

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This makes perfect sense to me. Blowing off steam at work can be fun and sometimes important, but making someone think that people’s lives are at stake, especially ones under their care, isn’t a prank, it’s cruel.

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Practical jokes are the tool of the wannabe class clown who wouldn’t know funny if it bit them on the ass.

Organisations should value a sense of humor, and that’s why pranksmanship oughta be grounds for dismissal.

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In space, no one can hear you laugh.

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Yeah, a crudely drawn Turkey on the monitor might have been funny if he had looked at the screen right away, which I assume is what was expected. But as soon as he didn’t, you have to abandon joke.

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As the shuttle entered its “loss of signal” period early on Thanksgiving morning, with the vehicle’s fate hanging in the balance but knowing there was nothing he could do about it, Heflin recalls stepping out of Flight Control Room 1 to use the restroom.

“Sir, a Turkish satellite is about to crash into the shuttle and there’s nothing we can do about it!”

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While only one Caltech grad (Harrison Schmitt) has walked on the moon, there are many of them at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. All of them have been through twelve quarters’ Finals Weeks being commemorated at 8 AM each morning by many people playing, as loud as their stereos can handle, Wagner’s The Ride of the Valkyries. Thanks to these painful associations, playing the Ride at any other time is forbidden, punishable by ponding (Millikan Pond for a lesser offense, Baxter Pond for the more egregious).

“Time to wake up the astronauts so they can get to their daily chores, by playing some nice wakey-wakey music at them. What shall we use?” – NASA official. “I think The RIde of the Valkyries would be nice” – JPL worker… and Techer. Heart monitors on two of the astronauts show them waking to the nice music. On Harrison Schmitt: "IT’S FINALS WEEK! IT’S FINALS WEEK!"

Reference: https://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/a17/a17.eva2wake.html

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Years ago our “team” informally gathered together to discuss (and to high five) the completion of a very trying — but ultimately satisfying ---- long series of long tests. We were very happy and there was a great afterglow at the very end of the last test. Then from a 20’ foot height a tech intentionally dropped a 2’ long section of unistrut channel that landed a few feet from our group. Just to see our reaction. Sounded like an explosion when it hit our diamond plate deck. We just looked up at him as he got back down to our level. He just walked over to us like nothing had happened. In our group was an instrumentation engineer who had previously been with McDonald-Douglas; he picked up the channel and began flipping it catching it flipping it catching it. “See this? A union guy at my old job was seen doing this with a stick at one of our test sites. Because of that they walked him out the door.”

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Back in the 60s, well rather than type this all out, and I am still a member?
You bet your sweet ass I am…

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liebergot-panic-640x426

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Meanwhile, NORAD still claims they’re tracking Santa (wink wink, nudge nudge).

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What happens to ‘Opera Lovers’ at Caltech who just want to cycle their Ring?

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