Phys .org: As shutdown drags on, scientists scramble to keep insects, plants and microbes alive. “Three days a week, Don Weber shows up to work at the U.S. Department of Agriculture campus in Beltsville, Md. The parking lot is empty and the hallways are dark. Like other federal facilities across the country, the lab is closed because of the partial government shutdown. ‘It’s like a ghost town,’ said Weber, an entomologist. But he has to perform an important task: feeding the hundreds of insects he raises in his lab, which keep hatching, mating and dying, oblivious to the political showdown in Washington, D.C.”
TechCrunch: These are all the federal HTTPS websites that’ll expire soon because of the US government shutdown . “During the government shutdown, security experts noticed several federal websites were throwing back browser errors because the TLS certificate, which lights up your browser with ‘HTTPS’ or flashes a padlock, had expired on many domains. And because so many federal workers have been sent home on unpaid leave — or worse, working without pay but trying to fill in for most of their furloughed department — expired certificates aren’t getting renewed. Renewing certificates doesn’t take much time or effort — sometimes just a click of a mouse. But some do cost money, and during a government shutdown, there isn’t any. Depending on the security level, most websites will kick back browser errors. Some won’t let you in at all until the expired certificate is renewed.”
Chronicle of Higher Education: If History Is Any Guide, End of Federal Shutdown Won’t Bring Quick Relief for College Researchers. “Neal F. Lane didn’t mince words when he spoke at the 1996 American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting, in Baltimore. On the heels of a 21-day government shutdown, then the longest in U.S. history, the National Science Foundation’s director was reeling. Funds for many continuing grants had run out. He expected funding gaps for renewals and delays in funding new awards. New programs could be pushed back significantly — perhaps six months to a year — or canceled. The shutdown, he said, had ‘demoralized our work force and destroyed any efficient timetable for our already pressured work.'”
The Verge: How The Government Shutdown Could Harm The Future Of American Science. “Graduate students and early-career researchers are watching what the government has done to their colleagues at shuttered federal agencies like the National Science Foundation and the Department of the Interior, and they’re not liking what they’re seeing. For some, the ongoing threat of government shutdowns isn’t enough to change their career goals. But for others, it’s making them rethink whether a career in the federal government is really worth the frustration. ‘I don’t know if I want a job that could be used as a pawn to further someone’s agenda,’ says Kathleen Farley, a graduate student at Rutgers University-Newark.”
CBR: US TLS Certificates Left to Die As 20th Day of Shutdown Passes. “As 400,000 federal staff are furloughed and many received a pay check this week that had zero dollars in it, government employees are remaining at home, while essential staff are calling in sick in protest. This is causing the day-to-day maintenance and upkeep of department websites to lag into dangerous territory. It is estimated that over 80 websites with the .gov domain now have expired TLS certificates as no IT staff are currently being paid to maintain the .gov websites.”
CNET: Federal employees set up 1,000 GoFundMe pages amid government shutdown. “Government employees have set up roughly 1,000 fundraising pages as they seek help in meeting their expenses, said a GoFundMe spokeswoman in an email statement. Campaigns on the crowdfunding platform seek anywhere from a few hundred to thousands of dollars for everyday expenses, such as utilities and groceries.” 1. Don’t read the comments unless you’ve just given up on a healthy blood pressure. 2. There is some concern on Twitter (search gofundme ethics) that this kind of crowdfunding might violate ethics rules.
The Verge: The government shutdown is driving users to illegal router settings. “On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission closed the majority of its operations, a result of the ongoing government shutdown. The FCC enforces the rules for all the wireless broadcasts in the United States, and many of most of its important enforcement mechanisms are now closed for the duration of the shutdown, which President Trump recently warned could last months or even years. This means that — hypothetically! — if you wanted to illegally broadcast in violation of someone else’s spectrum rights, this would be the perfect time to do it.” I would not recommend this as part of a balanced breakfast.