In recent days, an e-mail and a set of cool-but-silly pictures has been making the rounds, showing an airplane hangar overflowing with foam. Now, the public affairs officers at Ellsworth Air Base -- who have some time on their hands, obviously -- have gone to the trouble of writing up a "news" article to dis that e-mail, complaining that it "has caused considerable work in correcting wrong information."One Air Force insider's reaction to the overreaction: "It was a dang foam test. What does it matter if people think it went a little overboard?" This is "the first time I have seen a news release to disprove an email," he adds. "Especially one that is relatively innocuous."
The misrepresentation of this test has raised the level of awareness about the far-reaching effects of e-mail and technology.Master Sgt. Dana Rogers, 28th Communications Squadron superintendent of network security, said e-mails such as the one depicting the foam test misrepresent our capabilities and can even cause damage to computer networks.You think its so funny, so you send it to 10 people. Then, they send it to 10 more. This takes up an extremely large amount of e-mail space and can lead to the loss of resources, he said.Another aspect of e-mails that miscommunicate facts is the amount of time someone may have to take in order to set the record straight. An e-mail that took two seconds to send caused a large number of man-hours to set straight."This is supposed to be a lesson about misuse of government resources," the insider replies. "But in an age where I can buy a terabyte of storage for a relatively small amount of money, who really cares about 'email space'? Besides, they put a hard cap on my storage space at work, so I am forced to delete things (and email) before I can log off if I go above it."It seems to me that some PA type at Ellsworth is a bit anal that the story got outside of their control, and they felt they had to spend 'a large number of man-hours to set straight.'"And you wonder why Pentagon higher-ups think their PR shops are so lame?