Dec 1, 2007

Lab Budget Update: Possible Deal in the Works

Interesting post by reporter John Fleck at his Albuquerque Journal blog,
Lab Budget Update: Possible Deal in the Works (click here)

The implications here are murky, and the process remains fairly opaque to me. But to match the sort of cuts necessary to meet even the $10.6 billion target, the overall amount of money available for the Energy and Water appropriations bill (which the lab budgets share - uncomfortably - with the nation's water projects) is going to be very tight. Given my coversations with Pete Domenici earlier in the year about the difficulties associated with a tight overall E&W bill, it's hard to see how an omnibus bill would be good for the labs.

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

If we don't get adequately funded I'm going to sit outside the Director's office and hold my breath until my face turns blue. I've had it!

Then again, on second thought... maybe I ought to just lay low, maybe even kiss up a little more than usual. Who knows, maybe the guy in the next cubicle will get nailed in the riff instead of me. Yea...that's the ticket! Let some other dummy stick out his neck. Not me!

..baaaa...baaaaaa...

Anonymous said...

Your "Headline" speaks much louder than the story..I can't help but laugh at:Followed by a (brief) confrence between the House and Senate. LANL would be far better off with a Continuing Resolution for the remainder of the FY.

Anonymous said...

As Bush indicated to Sen. Domenici and all of Congress. "If this years Energy & Water bill exceeds the Administrations spending limits Pres. Bush Will Veto...The House has passed a 25% less funding for LANL, it's now up to the Seante to compromise.

Anonymous said...

As per Fleck's observations, the Perfect Storm analogy is beginning to solidify for LANL.

Expect to see the full 750 number implemented for staff reductions. After that, we'll probably see work hour reductions implemented across the board as an emergency means to cut costs for the last two quarters of this year. Plan on getting paid for a 35 hour work week and no more. This may be followed by some additional layoffs shortly after FY09 begins. It's not a pretty scenario but a likely one, given our dismal budget situation.

Anonymous said...

"No reductions in the paid hourly work week, and no plans to do so."

-- Mikey

scooby said...

On another subject, does anyone know what happened to
http://llnlthefinalstory.blogspot.com/
?

Anonymous said...

Question: If Congress passes a 25% cut for LANL 6 months into the fiscal year, is that retroactive to the beginning of FY08? Or do we receive funding under CR (flat funding) for the first six months, then go to a 25% reduced budget for the remaining six months?

Given the numbers involved for as long as they are dragging out the CR, it's a substantial difference.

Anonymous said...

"On another subject, does anyone know what happened to
http://llnlthefinalstory.blogspot.com/
?"

Apparently, budget reductions and RIFs continue to have impact.

Anonymous said...

The 25% cut will be based on the "total" funding package, the CR has covered the first six months(if they pass the bill in Feb-Mar)the funding will then be 1/2 of the total for the remaining 6 months.

Anonymous said...

"..the funding will then be 1/2 of the total for the remaining 6 months." - 9:34 PM


Is this true? If so, then the "exclusion" category given to some of the staff last week may be null and void by sometime later this year. How in the world could LANL operate at 50% funding for half of the year? At that point we might as well shut off the lights, lock up, and call it quits.

Anonymous said...

Look, folks, just suck it up. There isn't going to be any white knight; there isn't going to be any last-minute savior. Just play it simple - get done and out. The joy ride at LANL (that I rode for over 30 years) is now over. Complaining will not cut it, neither will posting on the blog. Get it done for you and your family, and move on in life. All of the whining on this blog makes LANL employees look just pathetic, not professional. Professionals have one response to an untenable job environment: move!

Anonymous said...

The LLNL Final Story blog:
http://llnlthefinalstory.blogspot.com/

would seem to have gone away.

Too bad. It was the only source of the truth that the livermites had.

Anonymous said...

The "exeptions" catagory is only wishfull thinking...If the Congress cuts the 25%, all bets are off. This is MIkeys last ditch effort to maintain a Lab...Hey get a grip...the writing has been on the wall for quite some time, why can't you all get it? The Gravey Train wreck will be here for just before Christmas. But then we knew it was coming...

Anonymous said...

Why do these Livermore blogs completely disappear, rather than go inactive? Is someone applying some sort of pressure to eradicate the posts?

Gussie Fink-Nottle said...

Kind of makes you appreciate the stable, quality management of LANL, The Rest of the Story, doesn't it?

-Gus

Anonymous said...

I do not see a deal to save the additional 750 jobs that will have to be cut when the House budget is passed. The 750 cuts now being enacted are covering the bloated Bechtel award fee for poor management and Mike's salary. Let's not forget the increased costs to run this place, and provide more funding (welfare) for northern New Mexico through taxes.
What is really bad here is that the problems created by the NNSA do not get fixed with reduced budgets. The poor management here only continues to impact us. It is time to demand change. Unfortunately, Congress is not providing a mechanism for change. Nor is Mike, Bechtel and the other incompetent folks minding the store.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely, Gus. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hey 8:35, these are legitimate taxes paid by a private company. Why do you characterize them as welfare?

Anonymous said...

The Livermore blog had value. There was too much disinformation being spread though. This blog is superior in that respect.

Anonymous said...

Gussie Fink-Nottle said...

"Kind of makes you appreciate the stable, quality management of LANL, The Rest of the Story, doesn't it?"


Yes. THANKS!
Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 12/2/07 8:35 AM said...

"What is really bad here is that the problems created by the NNSA do not get fixed with reduced budgets."

ABSOLUTELY CORRECT!

Anonymous said...

The problem with predicting Congress is budgets are Laws. Congress can do anything it wants. It could decide LANL is so wounded they'll just shut it down completely. The only plus side is that once(if) Congress decides the citizens are told what the law is. This is the opposite of LANS refusing to tell anybody about their pension, their SSP, or just about anything else.

Anonymous said...

Here's the latest from John Fleck's excellent NukeBeat site.

LANL is going to be the "Pits'R'Us" site. No surprise with that one, is there? After all, it's the main reason that Bechtel and BWXT are here. The science is just a quaint after thought for LANS.

www.inkstain.net/nukebeat/?p=1044


** Nuclear Weapons "Complex Transformation" Plan Due Soon **

December 2nd, 2007 | by John Fleck |
The National Nuclear Security Administration is expected to unveil its “complex transformation” plan in early December. Expect to to say pits for new bombs will be made at Los Alamos, and old ones will be taken apart at Pantex:

Pantex is one of five sites vying for a new center that would conduct plutonium research and manufacture about 125 plutonium triggers for nuclear warheads each year.

Although the DOE has not formally announced its preferred site for the new plutonium production and research center, that facility is expected to be located at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

Pantex, however, will take on an expanded role dismantling nuclear warheads.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry, people. The Los Alamos Vomiter says this will safe us! ...

Immerse yourself - Los Alamos Monitor, Dec 2

By ROGER SNODGRAS, Monitor Assistant Editor

SANTA FE – A town that not so long ago had to live without any movie theaters may be about to make up for lost time in a big way.
Los Alamos is a front runner to become the location for the world’s first Immersive Visualization Theater.

Peter Rogina, president of WorldScape Inc., said he has begun discussions with Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation with an eye to installing a new multi-dimensional immersion facility in the Research Park. The theater would be located outside the security perimeter and adjacent to the main administrative buildings at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Rogina said the theater could be a major new attraction for the county.

“To use a Star Wars analogy,” he said, “it would be the world’s first holodeck.”
The holodeck, a geek icon, enabled crewmembers in the television series to fuse imagination and reality.

Rogina appeared on a panel Saturday presented by the Santa Fe Film Festival on “Entering the Third Dimension,” about new 3-D media technologies.

Moderator Peter Warzel, senior vice president of Veriana Networks, introduced the participants and what he called the “hot topic” and “hot product” of the hour, 3-D and immersive imaging technologies.
“These technologies are moving beyond the big screen, conceptually, if not in fact,” he said. “Everything will be 3-D from now on.”

Rogina’s company is putting together a partnership that involves the laboratory’s Tech Transfer Division and the New Mexico Film Studios.

Steve Stringer, an Industrial Fellow at the lab, also participated in the panel. He was involved in creating the laboratory’s visualization room in the Nicholas C. Metropolis Center for Modeling and Simulation.
The “Cave,” as it is known, is one of the highest resolution visualization spaces in the world It links 33 stereoscopic digital projectors to provide a 43-million-pixel display on and within three walls and the floor and ceiling.

The Cave is used in advanced research projects including nuclear weapons simulations in an environment that is 15 feet wide by 10 feet deep and 12 feet high.
Stringer said a “non-disclosure agreement umbrella” was in the works with WorldScape.

“We have talked about a couple of projects,” Stringer said. “When they have funding we will be able to do something together.”
Rogina said his New Jersey company would have space in and become part of New Mexico Film Studios, the newly announced occupants of the outlet mall in Algodones, formerly known as Traditions.

Warzel, who is a former president and chief operating officer of United Artists Theaters noted the dramatic box office success of the 3-D version of the Robert Zemecki’s new “Beowulf” movie.
“The 3-D version is being shown on 20 percent of the screens and bringing in 40 percent of the revenue,” he said. “Is it a drive to higher ticket prices by providing a different experience, or is it the wave of the future?”
He said many people in the media are saying that everything will have to be shot in 3-D from now on.
He also outlined the past history of 3-D, going back to 1915 in the Astor Theater in New York and forward through the “golden era” of the 50s, including “ House of Wax,” and “It Came from Outer Space.”
Rogina said he was drawn to New Mexico by LANL’s Cave and by financial incentives available through the state film production program.

Much of the work he has done in this area has been under contract with the Navy for immersive training videos, and what he called “early adapters” in the government, including a “battle laboratory” at Fort Dix.
Asked if he had thought about what the first production might be for the new theater, Rogina said he was inspired by Disney’s nine camera, nine-screen, 360-degree film “America the Beautiful” shown in the company’s theme parks.
“Maybe a ‘New Mexico the Beautiful,’” he said.

Also on the panel were George Johnsen, a veteran producer who works extensively in 3-D, who talked about the conceptual differences in the new technologies; and Rod Fleck, a fellow with AMD who talked about the microchips that would be expected to convert large-scale new media content into the home environment.

Anonymous said...

God, this is depressing. We've reached a new low. Turning Los Alamos into Disneyland is not the answer! Good grief, who are these con-men? Oh, wait a minute. I see that LANL's Tech Transfer is involved in this effort. That explains everything. Steve Stringer was the installation manager for the LANL CAVE project, a most useless and expensive project if there ever was one at LANL.

So let's do a little digging here...

Wordlscape appears like it use to be nothing more than a run-of-the-mill ADP programming shop doing enterprise software (Oracle, SQL, etc). What experience do they have working in hi-end visualization? None that I can see from their original site. Here's their original site:

www.worldscapeinc.com/services.html


Of course, it now appears they've remade themselves into a much sexier outfit. This is the new and improved site after they apparently hopped onto the defense bandwagon boom in the early 2000's after 911.

www.wscapeinc.com/about.html


With this, my BS meter goes into full sensitivity. Can I buy stock options? When is the IPO?

SEC filings show that Worldscape CEO Peter Rogina had a former background as CEO and chief stockholder of a little Chapter 11 tech boom-bust outfit called Oasys Mobile (creators of "Girls Gone Wild" mobile phone entertainment!).

SEC Notice:

www.secinfo.com/d1zrpn.52n.htm


Oasys Mobile:

www.oasysmobile.com/page/press_art102907


This begins to raise questions. Previous to this, he seems to have been involved with a wavelet compression company back in the late 90's called HSNS where he headed up the sales and marketing.


Standout Hewlett Packard (HWP) Veteran To Direct Sales Development And Management For High Speed Net Solutions:

www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-53976695.html


Alas, like Oasys Mobile, things didn't go very well for Peter Rogina at this company, either:

**NEWS** LETS WAKE UP, If this is for real there is big money to be made here!!

siliconinvestor.advfn.com/
readmsg.aspx?msgid=9212972


A check of Peter Rogina and Hewlett Packard doesn't turn up any definitive evidence the man worked for HP. Maybe he did, but I can't tell. Heck, maybe he worked in their mailroom in high school. I don't know. He claims he worked at HP for 15 years as an engineer:

Moving the military into 21st century training

goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/
summary_0199-1629304_ITM


A check of Peter Rogina (Peter R. Rogina) at Google Scholar shows only one or two technical papers and a couple of patents in his name:

scholar.google.com/schhp?hl=en&lr= (Search under "Peter Rogina" and "Peter R. Rogina")


I'm sure Steve Stringer and the Tech Transfer office at LANL has done their due diligence with this outfit called Worldscape and its CEO, Peter Rogina, right? After all, he's going to be bringing Disneyland and Hollywood right here to little ol' Los Alamos. Maybe we'll even get to shake hands with Brad Pitt! Wow, thanks, Steve.

I think I'll "immerse" myself and take an extra Prozac pill today.

Anonymous said...

Could we be looking at the next billion dollar marketing idea right here in Los Alamos?

Think of it... Immersive 3-D movies with the "Girl's Gone Wild"!

I hope they hand out lube and handi-wipes to all those who enter the 3-D theater!

Pinky and The Brain said...

“To use a Star Wars analogy,” he said, “it would be the world’s first holodeck.”

A minor point I suppose, but holodecks are Star Trek not Star Wars.

Anonymous said...

"Think of it... Immersive 3-D movies with the "Girl's Gone Wild"! "

You laugh but the GGW guy is worth
well over 100mil. You have to know what really matters in life.

Anonymous said...

The Girl's Gone Wild (GGW) guy is now in jail for tax fraud. He also has other charges pending against him involving sex with a minor. Perhaps you weren't aware of this.

Yeah, you have to know what is really important in life... like avoiding getting thrown into a bang-bang pound-me-in-the-ass federal prison!

Anonymous said...

Seems like LLNS does have some extra money. This is from our PR department.

MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR ON HOME CAMPAIGN

Our annual HOME Campaign is well under way, and with the holiday season upon us, I would
like take this opportunity to encourage you to make a contribution to this seasonal
community outreach effort. I truly believe we can make a difference and I hope you will
join me in supporting these important non-profit organizations.

Recently, I had the opportunity to share information on the HOME Campaign with the LLNS
Board of Governors. They were very impressed with the history, effort and significant
impact that this campaign has had over the years. I'm pleased to tell you that the LLNS
Board of Governors agreed to match our employee contributions up to a total of $1
million. This means that for every $1 you contribute to HOME and to the agency you
select, LLNS will match this contribution up to $1 million. This is a wonderful gift for
our community and with the combined totals of what we (as employees) contribute, matched
with the LLNS donation, it will truly be "A New Era of Giving."

Local non-profits have greatly benefited from the generosity of Laboratory employees for
decades and our contributions often directly affect those whose lives are in very
difficult situations. Thanks to those of you who have already contributed to the HOME
Campaign, and as we enter the last two weeks of our drive, I would encourage those
employees who have not yet participated to please do so. In the end, we are all in this
together.

If you would like to learn more about the HOME Campaign, or make a donation, please visit
the Website at blah, blah.gov

Thank you in advance for your good will and generosity.

George Miller

Anonymous said...

"Look, folks, just suck it up. There isn't going to be any white knight; there isn't going to be any last-minute savior."

Well, I had this thought. Sandia lab could offer a VSP plan that allowed more people than they needed to go. They could then take those extra funds, and hire LANL people to do the work. It would be a bit altruistic, but would be a win-win for the employees of both labs, and for New Mexico.
How who pays for the Sandia severance packages? That is the interesting part. :)

darko said...

2:55

I think you were a little too eager to smear here. This is the kind of loose cannon commentary that makes this blog seem really lame at times (no disrespect to Pinko or Finko here, I now it is the idiot commentators,not you guys).

What in all hell makes you think wscapeinc.com and worldscape.com are the same thing? Don't you imagine that the "newer, sexier" version would take the "sexier" domain name and leave the "run of the mill ADP shop" with the truncated one?

And so what if *YOU* can't find this gentleman's former role with Hewlitt-Packard? Some reason to imagine he would make that part up? Did you go further than typing into google?

And patents and technical papers? The few that turn up don't look too shabby actually. Don't you imagine there might also be some "trade secrets" involved? Not everyone gives their best ideas away under full-disclosure... not in private industry.

So... you think "the CAVE is the most useless and expensive project" at LANL? *If* it is useless *and* expensive, I don't think it comes close to the real errors in judgment that have come along at LANL (or for that matter throughout the industry). Do you actually know anything about it or it's use? Or are you just mouthing off?

The original poster of this article obviously didn't like the tone of the article suggesting that somehow this one small project would "safe" (save?) Los Alamos. But it does look like the kind of project that might help a little.

Also... don't forget that journalists have a way of spinning stories to their own liking, even mangling direct quotes at times.

Get over yourselves and go out and see if you can get something like this started in the area.

The Coffee guy at the Y is talking about moving away, why don't one of you pick up where he is leaving off. It would give you a forum to bitch and moan... you could be the new Coffee Nazi for Los Alamos!

Pinky and The Brain said...

So Fleck didn't watch Star Trek, eh? I suspect he still watches the reruns and mangled the quote to hide it.