Pandas, Goats and Asteroids: The Shutdown’s Other Effects

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    (CNN) — Furloughed workers. Shuttered offices. Lost pay.

    By now, we know well the awful mess we’re in due to the government grinding to a halt.

    But the shutdown has also had some lesser-known effects.

    To wit:

    ASTEROIDS

    Armageddon? You’re on your own

    Thanks to the shutdown, no one will be watching out for rocks the size of politicians’ egos careening toward earth. At least, that’s what many of us thought when NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Near Earth Object Office sent out this tweet:

    “In the event of government shutdown, we will not be posting or responding from this account. We sincerely hope to resume tweets soon,” the tweet said.

    Much (faux) weeping and gnashing of teeth ensued.

    .@AsteroidWatch has shutdown its twitter account. there is no hope,” Kyle Lishok tweeted.

    Fortunately, the NASA office cleared things up:

    “To clarify: Many observatories, astronomers are watching the skies,” it tweeted.

    For some though, that wasn’t assurance enough.

    “But we’re all still gonna die, right?” Benjamin Barnes joked.

    PANDAS

    Move along. Nothing to see here

    Need your panda fix? Look elsewhere. The red and blue bickering has claimed a black and white casualty. The National Zoo’s beloved panda cam is going dark. The Smithsonian Institution has to shutter its non-essential programs — and the zoo’s considered one of those. So, bye bye, panda cam, you portal of maximum cuteness. The giant pandas — Tian Tian, Mei Xiang, and an unnamed newborn cub — will still be fed and cared for. But we won’t be able to ooh and aah over them.

    “Argh! The panda cam is off,” tweeted Anjali Mullany. “Just when our nation needed it most.”

    Fret not. You can always head over to China’s ipanda.com. That site has 28 high-def cameras!

    GOATS

    Chew on this. They certainly aren’t

    A herd of goats had been grazing their way through the poison ivy-infested Gateway National Recreation Area in Sandy Hook, New Jersey. But thanks to the Washington shenanigans, the goats had to be taken off their assignment with no clear Plan B in place. You see, the program’s run by the National Park Service, a victim of the shutdown.

    This is how USA Today began its story on this: “For months now they’ve bleated at each other, locked horns and whiled away their days on the hill. But enough about Congress.” Ooh, burn!

    TOURISTS

    (Stay) Beyond these hallowed halls

    Among the tours suspended due to the shutdown is that of the U.S. Capitol.

    “Due to a lapse in government funding, the Capitol Visitor Center will be closed beginning Oct. 1 and all tours have been suspended,” the U.S. Capitol tweeted.

    Ironic, no, that tourists won’t be able to check out the digs where this all began?

    Maybe it’s a good thing. Congress’ approval rating is a dismal 10%. It’s probably best that the lawmakers stay out of sight.

    CNN’s Jethro Mullen contributed to this report.

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