Thursday, October 17, 2013

Welcome back, APOD!

A couple of days ago I went to NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day ( to catch up on goings-on in the sky.  The site wouldn't load.  Hmm ... is my network connection OK?  And then, I realized that I was trying to access NASA's site, at a, and it was down because, well, the government was down.

Because I don't live under a rock, or at least not all the time, I already knew the federal government was (partially) shut down, and that even with only a partial shutdown, many people were experiencing effects a good deal worse than not being able to load a favorite web site.  What I'd forgotten -- despite the .gov in the URL -- was that APOD was run by a government agency.

That's probably partly because we don't notice URLs so much these days, which is a theme worth revisiting here one of these days, but it's also because a government web site just isn't that much different from any other.  My city's web site, and my school district's, the National Hurricane Center's, and APOD are just web sites, just as government officials from the federal level on down have social media accounts, home pages and so forth just like other people.

I don't think there's any profound lesson to be drawn there, just one of those things you notice every once in a while when the occasion arises.

Lessons or not, it's nice to see APOD again.

[Note: Because APOD is only hosted by NASA, the same content was available during the shutdown from various mirror sites]


earl said...

So. The shutdown was partial (this time and last). The news media seem to be silent (ignorant?) as to why and how. Who decides what parts? Many people, of course, have noticed that Congress got paid.
I expect that the executive was in charge of the choices, and that they had a motive to focus on the inexpensive but popular.

David Hull said...

I think it's safe to say there was a lot of political calculation going on all around, some of it more successful and some of it less.

But this is a geek blog about the web and I've veered far enough already.