What would I do with $20,000,000,000?

Bad Astronomy
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Jan. 8 2009 3:37 PM

What would I do with $20,000,000,000?

Update (20:00 MT): I am now at nearly 1200! I love me my BABloggees!

When I was interviewed on The Takeaway last week, I was asked what I'd do with NASA were Obama to pick me to run it. I said I'd make sure programs were run on budget and on time. Once the various programs proved they could do it, I'd open up the budget and see what NASA could really do.

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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Of course, in the pre-interview, when they asked me the same question, I said I'd embezzle several billion dollars and disappear. I'm hard to pin down.

Well, maybe I'll get my chance. An anonymous source -- she knows who she is -- informed me that informally, I'm in the running to be the next NASA Administrator. And by informal, I mean really informal: a website has been set up to allow people to nominate and vote for people they'd like to see run the space agency.

As I write this, it's an uphill battle. Pete Worden has over 300 votes, and my friend Alan Stern has 100+. I have 14.

The thing is, Wil Wheaton has 23! CURSE YOU, WIL WHEATON!


You took me down once, Wil, but this attempt at a second smackdown SHALL NOT STAND. Flying a starship does not give you the necessary background to run the agency, nor should you accept. How many times did Picard turn down a post at Starfleet Command? And look what happened to Kirk when he took a post there: he gained twenty kilos and lost his hair.

Wil: we like you with hair, whereas I have nothing to lose. The only honorable action is for you to withdraw and give your votes to me. I'll show that Worden a thing or two.

... and if you do, I'll shave a nice couple of hundred mil off the top of my embezzlement. How many velvet paintings could you commission for that?

Pic of Wil and me from A.Real.Girl's Flickr pics. Again, my thanks to My Anonymous NASA Mole.

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