FEDERAL BYTES

Thompson retirement watch

The General Services Administration's chief information officer Joe Thompson caught our attention this month as he began his speech at the Industry Advisory Council conference in Richmond Va.

Thompson opened with a not-so-subtle allusion to his retirement plans. He reiterated his longstanding vow that he would not retire until his work on reinventing GSA and pushing forward the CIO concept is completed.

Then he said it now appeared that those tasks are nearing completion.

Pretty clear signal no?

Well no according to Thompson. In an e-mail message to Federal Computer Week last week he wrote: "I have not decided to retire and do not have a retirement date in mind. I'll be pleased to inform you when I do decide."

Stay tuned.

The bald truth about procurement reform

Also at the IAC conference lunch speaker Emmett Paige Jr. assistant secretary of Defense for command control communications and intelligence took a couple of (we hope) friendly jabs at Paul Brubaker deputy staff director on the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee. Paige hit Brubaker where it hurts: on the hairline.

Paige noted that when he and Brubaker set out on the road to procurement reform Brubaker had a bit more hair. Then the kind general suggested that Brubaker get himself a hair weave.

We think Brubaker took the joking and the ensuing laughter rather well. He wisely chose not to respond at least not publicly.

Counting to a million

NASA has entered the controversy about how many people actually attended the Million Man March a year ago this month.

Organizers contended that more than 1 million people attended the event established as a national day of atonement for African-American men. But National Park Service officials asserted that the figure was closer to 400 000.

Now NASA's Observatorium a program to promote NASA technology via the Internet has set up a World Wide Web site that gives users "a bird's-eye view of the crowds gathered below" at the march.

Farouk El-Baz a Boston University professor guides the user through the process of how he used remote sensing and aerial photography to count the participants.

The conclusion: Around 878 587 attended the march - substantially higher than the Park Service's estimate but lower than the attendance figure provided by the Nation of Islam.

Want to see for yourself? Access the site at observe.ivv.nasa.gov/observe/exhibit/rem_sen/march/march_1.html.

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