Friday, May 09, 2008

Kilroy was Here

In "Elvis, bin Laden and Hitler Join Mission to Mars," National Public Radio reported on one of the hazards of user-generated content gathered from the website of a government agency: the fact that many will give fake comic or offensive names despite what are intended to be inspirational or aspirational circumstances. For example, from looking at the lists of named persons entered into the databases for the Stardust Comet Sample Return Mission, I knew that cult member, sex swinger, and suspected spy Jack Parsons was memorialized, which seemed appropriate given that he was a founding member of the Jet Propulsion Lab, whose acronym is frequently decoded as "Jack Parsons Lives." The NPR story described tongue-in-cheek entries on the "Send your name to the Moon!" page on the Lunar Reconnaisance Orbiter website and similar programs to transport names to Mars. A simple computer program screens out obscenities, but else is done to police the entries. In contrast, the data gathered at the Lunar Legacy project run by the X-prize is more carefully monitored for funny business, and users are encouraged to report offenders who post inappropriate photographs or messages to the site.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home