The government shutdown was ironic from the moment it began — It all happened over the health care law, which started registration the moment the government shut down at midnight on Oct. 1.
Over the two-plus days since, the United States has witnessed a variety of strange consequences. Here's a look at the weirdest effects of the shutdown, from a panda cam going dark to bored Congressional workers.
- Space will go silent. The NASA social media staff behind @MarsCuriosity, a prolific and wildly popular account, have been furloughed. Nasa.gov, the site that gave you Karen Nyburg washing her hair in space, is also offline.
- Businesses that operate on federally managed lands or public parks — such as privately owned campgrounds, concession stands and tour companies — will close.
- Federal employees on furlough are barred from checking their work emails during the shutdown. In case the agencies need to contact employees on furlough, they can send emails to "home email accounts." Workers whose smartphones are provided and paid for by their agency, had to turn in their devices.
- Most research activities at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will go dark. Those agencies study topics including long-term climate change. Real-time hurricane and flight-planning models will still be available.
- Towns impacted by the recent flooding in Colorado could wait longer for assistance.
- Charges of on-the-job discrimination complaints will not be investigated. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which oversee these investigations, will record the charges and hold them until after the shutdown.
- Only 15 people will care for the White House and the Obama family, down from their usual 90.
- E-Verify will go offline. More than 400,000 employers use the popular system to check their employees’ immigration and eligibility status.
- Whales will be on their own. The scientific advisory committee that monitors their safety will shutter all operations, save for a few members, appointed by the president, who will watch for emergencies.
- The famous Panda cam went dark. The National Zoo in Washington D.C. was forced to turn off its Panda Cam. While thousands of online fans expressed their sadness over not being able to see the mother and baby panda, born to Mei Xian on Aug. 23. The zoo tweeted Monday, Oct. 1, that "The cams (incl. the panda cams) require federal resources, especially staff, to run. They have not been deemed essential during a #shutdown."