Print 42 comment(s) - last by TomZ.. on Feb 26 at 9:03 PM

Fly me to the moon, let me play...

Life must be lonely at NASA. Travis Johnson, a 23-year old researcher at NASA, was busted for soliciting sex from a cop posing as a 13-year old over the Internet. Police officers arrested him on NASA's property and seized computers and peripherals from his home. NASA officials are also going to probe their computers to see if they can find any evidence to help police with the investigation.

McGuire said that Johnson, a graduate of the University of Arizona, was doing post-graduate research at NASA on the effects of zero gravity on the muscles of astronauts. Johnson has a research grant through UH, and used the UH Internet for his e-mail, McGuire said.

What's interesting to note (from anyone that has caught NBC's recent specials on Internet predators) is that Johnson used the most often quoted line from the "Child Predator's Handbook:"

He said this was the first time he had ever talked to somebody who was 13, and look where it got him.

I'm sure that Johnson will meet a few new unwanted "research partners" in jail.

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By Sunbird on 2/24/2006 1:23:29 PM , Rating: 2
Soliciting sex (probably with a IM program) isn't online porn (or any kind of porn) :/

RE: Porn?
By Sunbird on 2/24/2006 1:28:20 PM , Rating: 2
Im just critisising the headline chosen by DailyTech, what the guy did was wrong.

RE: Porn?
By Sunbird on 2/24/2006 1:30:18 PM , Rating: 2
Now they went and changed it and my rant is useless, someone delete my posts then, thanks

RE: Porn?
By msva124 on 2/24/06, Rating: -1
RE: Porn?
RE: Porn?
By Sunbird on 2/24/2006 2:42:35 PM , Rating: 2
Are you saying DailyTech baited me?

Because it does feel "embarrassing to the user in question", yet strangely it makes me feel important too :P

RE: Porn?
By HWAddict77 on 2/24/2006 5:38:17 PM , Rating: 2
heh. I realized after it was too late that I should have gone with this:
But I'm getting the idea that's not fitting either, because you're really that incensed. I believe in pointing out the mistakes, but I don't think they're malicious, and I don't understand being so outraged over it.

RE: Porn?
By Sunbird on 2/24/2006 6:54:06 PM , Rating: 2
I'm wasn't incensed, I just wanted to stop the "The evil porn makes the men want our kiddies" crowd before they started pitching up. Dont worry, I see lots of humour in it, though it embarrased me :)

RE: Porn?
By Tebor0 on 2/24/06, Rating: 0
RE: Porn?
By rushnrockt on 2/24/2006 3:52:37 PM , Rating: 3
Check out any news site that has hundred times the workfoce of this one, they make mistakes daily. has had a mistake or error in one of their headline news topics just about everyday i've read it for the past 5 years. And that's not counting blatanlty biased reporting. May be DailyTech is not setting new standards for news reporting, but I don't see them as any different than other news sources out there.

RE: Porn?
By Ringold on 2/24/2006 4:28:35 PM , Rating: 2
I second that. I don't know how many times I've loaded other news sites, seen a typo, thought, holy crap, an international news agency with such a simple typo ON THE FRONT PAGE. I'd wait 30 seconds, hit refresh, and it was usually taken care of :)

Although the number of errors seem like a lack of decent proofreading before posting. I'm sure I make typos in my comments here, but I'm not doing this professionally, I dont need to double check. These guys should put a wee bit extra work in to it. Unless they dont care about their job performance anyway.

RE: Porn?
By mikeblas on 2/25/2006 1:21:13 PM , Rating: 2
I agree: the story is still pretty ragged. What is "UH", for example? The story doesn't define it before it uses it, and there's not enough context to guess what it might mean.

That's not good writing.

RE: Porn?
By bobbyhc on 2/24/2006 5:21:46 PM , Rating: 3
embarrassed? i certainly wouldn't be, you notice the daily edits and corrections, so it's safe to say you're visiting daily. as a news site i think they're accomplishing their goal by keeping you coming back for more.

RE: Porn?
By Tebor0 on 2/24/2006 5:27:03 PM , Rating: 1
They should start worrying then as I'm not married to this site and can change any day.

No Sympathy
By TomZ on 2/24/2006 2:00:17 PM , Rating: 3
I have absolutely no sympathy for anyone who try to involve children in their sexuality. I just hope there is a "special" place in hell for these predators. Jail is not enough.

RE: No Sympathy
By bersl2 on 2/24/06, Rating: 0
RE: No Sympathy
By commonsense on 2/24/2006 2:55:48 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds more like a personal statement, otherwise categorizing the growth of pedophilia as 'beyond someone's control' or 'genetic' or any other such ignorant nonsense - is just that.

Do the gay community a tremendous favor, and do not lump us in with pedophiles to make such a foolish, and useless, personal statement.

RE: No Sympathy
By bersl2 on 2/24/2006 3:34:23 PM , Rating: 4
I'm sorry if I offended you or anyone else. I'm simply trying to make a point that all of the "monsters" in the world are people too; they can't all be "evil". I also did not mean to imply impossibility of self-control, genetic predisposition, or the like; I simply wished to say that controlling something as powerful as one's sex drive is one of the hardest things one can do. Furthermore, I hope that no one stoops to the level of inferring from my previous statements that I somehow approve of the practice.

I do, however, disagree with your statement that there is somehow a recent epidemic of pedophilia; it's always been there throughout human history, but due to our ability to (mis)communicate, you are simply hearing about more instances. Also, demonizing it will not make it go away.

RE: No Sympathy
By TomZ on 2/24/2006 4:09:58 PM , Rating: 2
What is different now is that the Internet provides a new, very easy, seemingly anonymous way for pedophiles to lure victims. In the past, they had to go out and find children. Now they just jump on the Internet.

I'm glad that law enforcement is taking this seriously.

RE: No Sympathy
By Calidore on 2/24/2006 9:45:32 PM , Rating: 2
I think the conflict in this thread is coming from a distinction not being made: pedophiles (those sexually attracted to children) vs. predatory pedophiles (those who act on it). Even Andrew Vachss makes this distinction.

I believe you're right that pedophiles can't help how they feel. We all have hard-wired attractions--zaftig woman with pretty smiles in my case (Kate Winslet! Yowza!)--that we have zero control over: Same sex, opposite sex, tall, short, thin, heavy, bald, hairy, etc. And just as the vast majority of people have a moral sense and would never consider sexually assaulting their preferred type, so I'd bet that the vast majority of pedophiles know these feelings are wrong and would never act on them.

The problem is the predators, those who are willing to victimize those who can't protect themselves--adults and children.

Happily, though the internet has offered more ways for predators to find victims, it's also become easier to trap the predators. I wish these big stings could be ongoing 24/7 things instead of annual ratings-grabber specials.

RE: No Sympathy
By NullSubroutine on 2/24/2006 4:20:43 PM , Rating: 2
Ignorant nonsense? The fact is people treat pedophiles the same way they always have, they punish them, or kill you see any less pedophiles now days than that have existed throughout history? No, you dont, simply branding an punishing these offenders do nothing to prevent it in the future.

The fact is for many pedophiles it IS beyond their control, they have found that pedophiles have same brain chemistry than those with obsessive compulsive disorder, basically they have OCD toward children. Yes, this is wrong and should not be allowed, many feel it is wrong, but cannot help what their mind is telling them what to do.

There are current trials for using OCD medication for pedophiles, the results are pretty decent, it just goes to show that our 'ignorant' view of pedophila prevented someone else from abusing a child, for people that have done it before, and people who NEVER have.

Retritbution style justice does not work with those that are sick, and those who wish it to be the sole answer to protect children only cause them more harm by doing nothing to prevent it.

RE: No Sympathy
By TomZ on 2/24/2006 4:43:39 PM , Rating: 2
You can justify many crimes by saying the person is sick, e.g., the guy who pulled a gun and robbed me has OCD and needs medication, the guy who raped that woman...etc. You get the picture.

I'm sure that there is a percentage of cases where there is a legitimate medical condition. But in any case, whether there is a condition or not, until it is brought under control, by medication or otherwise, then society needs to be protected, and that is one of the more important functions of jail.

I have a special concern for protecting children, since they are not capable of protecting themselves.

RE: No Sympathy
By DrMrLordX on 2/25/2006 2:59:41 AM , Rating: 2
Not to try and excuse what this guy did, but uh, your notions regarding the way pedophiles have always been treated is way off the mark.

The notion of a 13-year-old girl being a girl is a fairly modern one dating back to the rise of the bourgeois merchant class within Western culture. 13 would still be a fairly young age at which to marry off one's daughters in "the old days", but it still happened. In some cultures, sexual intercourse often started at ages as young as 11(ancient Egypt, for example).

A predisposition to seek out young mates may not be a sickness at all, but rather a mating instinct that helps men select potentially fertile mates. Many women begin suffering a loss in fertility after the age of 18 to the point that 80% of their ovulations fail by the age of 32. In contrast, teenage girls are usually at their most fertile somewhere between the ages of 14-18 before they begin undergoing significant pH changes in their reproductive tract.

Of course, that just doesn't hold water when you're dealing with men who attempt to have sex with pre-pubescent children.

In any case, most of our modern notions regarding who or what is a woman and who isn't are based on money and one's ability to earn it. We typically regard women to have come of age(both in a cultural and legal sense) when they are supposedly old enough to either sustain themselves or attract a mate that can sustain a potential family. We also take many, many steps to guarentee that our children stay children as long as possible, which makes the notion of a 13-year-old being able to consent to sex even more absurd. She can't take care of herself or a prospective family, she is unlikely to attract a man who can take care of her, and her mental and emotional growth is retarded to the point that she will be incapable of adult levels of decision-making until she is well into her 20s(if then).

Anyone who still wants to have sex with a girl like this is labeled a monster, and this is probably a proper label given what modern 13-year-old girls are like. Of course, this is hardly an ideal situation at all, but there is more wrong with how we raise post-pubescent children than there is with how we treat those who take advantage of sexually-developed-yet-naive teens.

RE: No Sympathy
By 8steve8 on 2/25/2006 11:17:21 AM , Rating: 2
wow someoneon here has an iq above 130.. amazing.


it needed to be said.

while i dont endorce 100% of ur text... its pretty good.

RE: No Sympathy
By TomZ on 2/24/2006 3:00:44 PM , Rating: 2
So by your argument, it is okay to victimize children because pedophiles cannot control their desires? No, that's pure BS! It is a crime for a reason, and we as a society have to protect children from these types of predators. I'm glad to see these types of sting operations, since it seems like folks think they can otherwise act with impunity.

RE: No Sympathy
By Kilim on 2/24/2006 4:03:59 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think he disagrees with the need for pedophiles to be put in jail and that they are sick people. I think what he is trying to say is that sexual attraction to children is not what that person asked for. A pedophile did not freely choose to be attracted to children.

However, commiting the crimes he does, he does deserve to be punished and for a very long time. It is a social need to banish these people but pedophiles do have urges we "normal" people cannot understand.

this site sucks :p
By OCedHrt on 2/24/2006 10:20:39 PM , Rating: 3
Well, after writing like 500 words and getting an asp error, forget it.

RE: this site sucks :p
By OCedHrt on 2/24/2006 10:32:29 PM , Rating: 2
If I were to pose as a 13 year old girl over the internet, and seduce a guy, is that my fault or his? It is true that he is a 23 year old adult, but age is no measure for maturity and sound judgement (Look at GB, jk!). The method employed, in my opinion, is questionable at best.

I think children these days are given a lot less credit than they deserve. If anything, they are the best out of all of us, at getting what they want. From tantrums to what we want to hear, how many parents have given in to their children. I don't see any tantrums getting promotions and pay increases in the workplace.

Furthermore, considering that "this was the first time he had ever talked to somebody who was 13" (if true, that is), we could conclude that he was most likely a social outcast at that age. Now is that his fault (a hermit), or the fault of other children (the adults today) around him (rejected).

Rather than posing as innocent victims, I think we need to educate our children on the dangers they often expose themselves to, especially on the internet. This is just like "don't run across the street," "look both ways," etc. Don't talk to strangers on the internet.

Seriously, how many adults today fall for virused attachments, phishing scams, free money from Nigeria, and all the other evil things that come in our email? Many of these are run by children!

RE: this site sucks :p
By TomZ on 2/25/2006 8:04:07 AM , Rating: 2
Are you suggesting that if a 23-year old man talks sexually with what he believes to be a 13-year girl, including sending her nude photos of himself, that she is to blame? Are you kidding me?!?

Because this is a police sting operation, we can assume he wasn't entrapped. Otherwise, the guy's lawyer will get the charges dismissed in 5 minutes, and the police know that.

Look, the problem is that there are a lot of perverts online looking to have sex with underage girls. It is not the case of the girls trying to seduce them. These guys are in chat room looking to lure girls into sexual conversions. They ask the age, find out they are underage, and continue the conversation including sexually explicit talk and sending photos of themselves. This is just plan simply wrong.

There has been lots of coverage of this in the US media lately, and this practice is clearly a really serious problem.

RE: this site sucks :p
By stephenbrooks on 2/25/2006 2:45:03 PM , Rating: 2
--[There has been lots of coverage of this in the US media lately, and this practice is clearly a really serious problem.]--

Got to love that logic. You expect the news media to have things in perspective ?! Dream on :)

RE: this site sucks :p
By TomZ on 2/25/2006 9:28:09 PM , Rating: 3
The media's coverage is spot on for this issue. Your implication that it is not, is wrong.

RE: this site sucks :p
By stephenbrooks on 2/26/2006 4:30:07 PM , Rating: 2
No, you're completely right, and witches were a serious problem in the middle ages. Just as well they stoned them all to death, eh?

RE: this site sucks :p
By TomZ on 2/26/2006 9:03:29 PM , Rating: 2
I think you need to gain emphathy for the victims of these crimes, which are young girls and boys. Their situation is real, not mythical, and very serious. These kids are at risk. Maybe think of how you might feel if you were raped/abused when you were 13 (or whatever age), and how that might affect your life. That is what we are talking about here, and what law enforcement are trying to avoid in these types of operations.

Is DailyTech a news site or an editorial site?
By Homerboy on 2/24/2006 3:49:39 PM , Rating: 1
1st off Im not quite sure how this story is even related to "dailyTech" except that the guy worked at NASA. So are we going to get police reports on anyone that is arrested/fined/questioned and works at someplace that has a computer terminal?

Secondly, the editorial comments in the article (like the closing line about him "meeting new friends in jail" or whatever)are totally unnecessary and hardly news-like.

DailyTech should report the TECHNICAL news (which this is not) and not add their editorial comments on the news within article itself IMHO.

By stephenbrooks on 2/24/2006 4:41:13 PM , Rating: 3

RE: Is DailyTech a news site or an editorial site?
By tenguman on 2/24/2006 4:50:48 PM , Rating: 3
Makes you wonder where some of these "researches" have the Hubble Space Telescope pointed...

By stephenbrooks on 2/25/2006 2:47:08 PM , Rating: 2
OK, I can't add score to your post, but it made me laugh. +1 funny

By Bonesdad on 2/24/2006 5:28:00 PM , Rating: 2
The reason it's on here is cuz this junk makes people read or watch the news. The news agencies use of these stories, tho not as abhorrent as the crime, is sickening nonetheless.

Too cynical?
By AndreasM on 2/24/2006 4:52:35 PM , Rating: 2
First thing I thought when I read the title was 'I wonder if he was a global warming researcher'.

23 year old?
By broly8877 on 2/24/2006 5:05:05 PM , Rating: 2
Neat, I didn't know NASA had such young researchers.

By porkster on 2/25/2006 3:57:14 PM , Rating: 1
Some religions allow paedophilia, like Talmud, if taken fundamentally.

"It seems as though my state-funded math degree has failed me. Let the lashings commence." -- DailyTech Editor-in-Chief Kristopher Kubicki

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