Mar 29, 2009

Comment of the Week

150 comments this week, and the signal/noise ratio seemed a bit better than usual, leaving some good stuff to pick from. Here are this week's categories from which COW entries were selected:
  • Reality Check
  • Too Little, Too Late
  • Three-Martini Posting
  • Hot gold (?!)
  • I'm More Bitter Than You Are
Reality Check

A couple of pointed comments made the cut in this category. The first one comes from the Pushing Frontiers post, in which the wonders of LANL are extolled.

The video forgot to mention that (a) DARHT is down, yet again, due to problems with the 2nd beam, (b) Roadrunner won't be needed for much longer because NNSA has decided to kill off the ASC program, (c) Congress is unlikely to allow for any more construction funding to go to CMRR, and (d) every bright scientist who can is attempting to somehow flee this lab due to the crushingly low morale.

Other than that, everything at LANL is going just swell.

The other one was left on last week's Comment of the Week post, in which LANL and SNL's WFO portfolios were being compared.

4:45 pm: "Somehow SNL has managed to overcome all of these problems."

Sandia has done this by demonstrating that it will survive with or without NNSA, and that NNSA's need for Sandia is greater than Sandia's need for NNSA. Contrast this to LANL, where LANS only exists as a company in the context of the NNSA contract It was created out of thin air for the only purpose of bidding on the LANL NNSA contract). No NNSA contract, no LANS, no LANL. It's that simple.

Too Little, Too Late

From the U.S. Agency Readies Controversial Shift of Nuclear... post, one astute reader noted the following:

""In the spirit of Complex Transformation, what we're trying to do is set up centers of excellence," Smolen explained. "We want Los Alamos to stay focused on its primary mission, which is plutonium. "

Got it now everyone. Pits. RF:2.0
No ASC, no science, no computers.
Pits.


To which another reader pointed out,

"All laboratories support the decision."

A little late for a fight.
Old news & a done deal

Three-Martini Posting

I confess, this next candidate is one of my favorites for the week. From the same post as the previous contris, we have this gem in which the obviously sincerely-felt content is somewhat spoiled by a failed delivery. Suggestion: blog first, then drink.

To 5'33, Its not the misinformation that has gooten us here, it the incompetence that caused all of the "misinformation", that was never cleared up. But thats only the tip, Congress has not been content with LANLs operation since the Nanos days. We had a chance some time ago to show the (Congress and the American people) that we could function as a Lab, in unison and work as part of a team (with other Labs and NNSA) but the whinning and incompetence contined. Individual employees complaining directly to their sponsors claiming that their project were more important than so and so. The Congress and DOE consider LANL the cry-babies of the complex, and along with their (our)certian misteps we are going down fast. Smolen stated "We are setting up Centers of Exellence" Does LANL fit this new senerio?

Hot Gold


While I was reading the Los Alamos' security flaws exposed post the other night, first this comment came in

anyone wanna buy some hot gold?

Followed about 15 minutes later by this one:

post the gold comment it will be relevant!!!!!!

Well, ok. We're all waiting for the relevance.

I'm More Bitter Than You Are

Plenty to choose from in this category, as usual. These were the "best of the bitter" for this week, also from the "security flaws" post:

3/26/09 6:30 PM, you trot these stories out at least once a month to prove how incompetent LANL is. I finally took a second to google "neutral particle beam" on the LANL website. It showed up in a bio on Dick Burick, about three layers deep in the "and before that, he worked on..." section. For crying out loud, the US was still doing underground testing in those days.

Go back to your shuffleboard game, old man. You don't know dick about today's LANL.

Followed of course by

7:02 pm: "Go back to your shuffleboard game, old man. You don't know dick about today's LANL."

"Today's LANL" is full of arrogant, yet poignantly ignorant, young assholes. Which is why LANL has the problems it has today. That's right, the past means nothing, is unimportant and irrelevant. OK then. Your future awaits you. Glad I won't be part of it. I'll be enjoying my very comfortable, even lucrative, UC retirement, treasuring my memories of the LANL that once was, while you run it into the ground and struggle to keep your worthless LANS 401k. Good luck. Hint: read some LANL history. The Archivist can help.


We'll conclude on that note. Until next week,

--Doug

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

Three-Martini Posting

Odd I know but, my spell checker has a tendency to fail after the 3rd glass of wine.

Anonymous said...

Hey, at least there were several posts that offered some variety for your viewing pleasure, Doug!

Oh, and you missed about 4 errors on the Three-Martini Posting although after making a great call on the headline, it's an oversight we can forgive.

Doug Roberts said...

I was being generous, 1:40. The person was clearly trying to get a point across, but his words kept getting in the way.

Anonymous said...

"Today's LANL" is full of arrogant, yet poignantly ignorant, young assholes. Which is why LANL has the problems it has today."

I totally agree with Doug's observation but want to point out that some old-timer assholes exist as well.

I am just hanging on until retirement. Do my job, take my pills, avoid meetings and ignore all the bullshit coming down. Lets face it, even if we speak up and bitch no one is going to listen and change a thing. It is what it is.

Doug Roberts said...

Point of clarification: none of the comments replayed in this week's COW post were mine. I may have agreed with some of them, but that's another story.

Regarding the age demographics of assholes at LANL: based on my 20 years there the whole spectrum is well covered. The same observation applies to nice folks who work there.

Anonymous said...

Doug makes a grammatical error:

"signal/noise ratio seemed a bit better then usual"

I no longer respect him.

Doug Roberts said...

Crushed though I may be to learn that I have lost the respect of an anonymous blogger, 4:03, I am nevertheless thankful for the proofreading.

Anonymous said...

The age spread of assholes at LANL may be fairly evenly distributed, but based on what I see every day at work, and on what we read here on this blog leads me to suspect that we are a couple of sigmas above the national average in terms of per capita assholes.

We may, in fact, be number 1.

Anonymous said...

LANL kicks ass!!!

Anonymous said...

Clearly, you have not been to LLNL. We, not you, are the asshole center of excellence

Anonymous said...

Sadly, 6:50, I have been to LLNL. Several times.

You're number 2.

Concannon and and Wente Brothers have made you guys much more mellow than us.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, 6:50, I have been to LLNL. Several times.

You're number 2.

Concannon and and Wente Brothers have made you guys much more mellow than us.

3/29/09 6:57 PM

Ha, ANL is number 1, and don't you losers forget it! Ura! Ura! Ura!

Anonymous said...

If this were us . . .

Y-12's handling of classified electronic media
An Inspector General audit found some issues with Y-12's handling of "accountable classified removable electronic media" (ACREM)," but the problems apparently were rectified in response to the inspection. A federal spokesman at the plant said there was never any danger of classified data being compromised.

In background info on the audit, the IG noted, "Y-12 is responsible for ensuring the safety and reliability of the nation's nuclear weapon stockpile and handles and stores some of the nation's most sensitive information. . . . Y-12 utilizes removable electronic media, such as hard drives, compact discs, data tapes, etc., to store vast amounts of classified information."

The IG notified the Y-12 Site Office of the audit results in a March 16 letter.

According to the letter, auditors found an unmarked hard drive that had not been properly marked as "secret/restricted data" and placed into the accountability as required by new rules instituted about five years ago (following a number of security incidents within the DOE complex). It was later placed into ACREM accountability during the inspection.

In addition, the auditors found that 332 metal flat discs and data tapes located in an ACREM safe may not have been properly controlled and had been stored elsewhere before, perhaps awaiting destruction for as long as six years. They were destroyed following the audit.

The letter, signed by Elise Ennis, the assistant IG for inspections and special inquiries, concluded, "Since immediate corrective actions were taken, no formal recommendations are being made. However, given the extended length of time the discs and data tapes were awaiting destruction, we suggested the manager of the Y-12 Site Office (Ted Sherry) take action to ensure destruction of unneeded media is accomplished timely."

Steven Wyatt, a federal spokesman at Y-12, provided this statement in response to questions about the IG audit.

"The IG letter is reporting on obsolete pieces of media that were being stored securely while awaiting destruction. The media were stored in approved . . . ACREM storage containers, but not properly labeled. There was no danger of any residual information on the media being compromised. Y-12 has a strong ACREM program and efforts have now been stepped up to eliminate any remaining legacy media awaiting disposal. The items in question have since been destroyed."

He added: "The obsolete hard drive was being stored, pending a final disposition decision. The final destruction was delayed because of a lack of a destruction method for this particular media. The 332 discs were actually dismantled hard drives that had been secured in a vault awaiting disposal since before ACREM rules took place and before classified media destruction methods had been developed. Those items were physically secured at all times and subsequently destroyed in accordance with current procedures."




Posted by Frank Munger on March 29, 2009 at 7:32 PM

Anonymous said...

Unmarked SRD disks at Y-12? All it takes at LANL to cause LASO and LANS to completely freak out is to lose a few unclassified laptops.

I wonder why no one in Y-12 thought to send a copy of the memo about all this over to POGO? How thoughtless of them!

And will Congressman Barton be sending a nasty letter to NNSA demanding that they respond with all the details of what happened out at Y-12 and that they do so within 30 days? Nah, probably not.

Anonymous said...

If this were us . . .


Ahh excuse me but the public has never heard of Y-12 so who cares.
Sandia can have their employees use tax payer money and resources to stalk celebrities
http://www.wired.com/entertainment/music/news/2007/05/ff_linkinpark?currentPage=all

but who cares since no one has ever heard of Sandia. Pass

Oak Ridge can have cases of espionage
http://intelligencenews.wordpress.com/2009/02/09/02-58/

Thats cool, what is Oak Ridge? Never heard of it. Pass.

Now LANL that is a whole differnt story. The news media already has all the background material from previous stories so FARK it is.

That is the media today. Britney counts, Paris Hilton counts, and hell LANL counts.

Ok now does anyone really beleive that the United States will be superpower in 15-20yrs?

Anonymous said...

3/29/09 7:45 PM ... wrote, " Ok now does anyone really beleive that the United States will be superpower in 15-20yrs?"

Nope, not so much, when you see businesses like LANS in charge of National Labs. But, maybe that is what Congress is after...

Anonymous said...

Ok now does anyone really beleive (sic) that the United States will be superpower in 15-20yrs?

3/29/09 7:45 PM

The US will begin to look more and more like a developing nation in just the next 5 years. The descent of America will be breath-taking in scope, but realize that we've spent the last 20 years or so preparing the ground for it. The simplest answer for why it all happened will be this: Greed did us in.

Anonymous said...

"Got it now everyone. Pits. RF:2.0
No ASC, no science, no computers.
Pits." (Comment of the week)

Pits? Yet, but less than 20 a year according to the latest estimates from NNSA. And according to the latest whims of Congress, it will all have to be done using existing facilities.

LANL looks like it is being prepped from some fairly radical down-sizing over the next few years. The comments about SNL not needing NNSA so badly are true. SNL will make out much better than LANL with the budget axe hits the NNSA labs.

Anonymous said...

Ok, so what's the story with "hot gold"?

Anonymous said...

Rumor has it that someone tried to smuggle a crucible used to process gold out of TA-55, but was since it was "hot" it triggered the rad detectors.

Anonymous said...

We wouldn't be super power much longer if the country were populated with a bunch of doom and gloom naysayers the likes of which post here. Fortunately for the rest of us there aren't many of you. The rest of us will see to it that we prevail in spite of you.

Anonymous said...

Um, ok, 6:16.

Whatever.

Ok, now that that's out of the way, wanna buy some gold? Cheap?

Anonymous said...

> The comments about SNL not needing NNSA so badly are true.

"So badly" is a matter of degree. SNL has done a good job of leveraging the DP udder to create other opportunities. They wouldn't want to see their LDRD cut in half either, they're just not into counting publications.

Anonymous said...

Where have we heard this before?...

newmexicoindependent.com/
23488/tom-udall-tells-energy-secretary-
the-labs-needs-diversification

............................
Tom Udall tells energy secretary the labs needs diversification

NM Independent, 3/30/09

In a letter to the head of the U.S. Department of Energy, New Mexico’s junior senator urged diversification as a way to grow the role of Los Alamos and Sandia national labs.

“Focusing on their national security enterprise capabilities and cooperating with other agencies is a perfect way for NNSA labs to use their unparalleled skills and infrastructure to address the problems America faces today,” said Sen. Tom Udall.

Udall, a Democrat, said in a letter to Secretary of Energy Steven Chu that Los Alamos and Sandia are “two of America’s premier national security labs” and “can and should continue to play a critical role in securing our nation from existing and future threats.”

Udall wrote that the labs’ funding are still “supported fundamentally by a shrinking budget of [the] core mission” — that of the Stockpile Stewardship Program (SSP). This is despite the labs having “continued to support a broad national security objective” beyond the SSP.

Secretary Chu is a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and the 12th United States Secretary of Energy.

The full text of the letter is available below...

Anonymous said...

Your hands will blister when you hold this gold.

Or is it "you're" or "youre" or "yer." I ferget sum deys.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have the memo from the LDRD office about the DR call for full proposals? We should post it since LDRD ALWAYS gets a good discussion, especially when the corruption gets exposed.

Anonymous said...

We are all going to be forced to drink the "kool-aid" now. No more filtered bottled water.

A sad day.

Anonymous said...

If the FY2010 budget is designed to heavily cut defense spending, can we expect that it will also cut NNSA spending, too? The bankers may be getting enormous bailouts from Washington DC, but this Administration appears to have no plan for any "bailouts" for America's national security workers...


Senator: Expect painful cuts in Pentagon budget - AP News

Mar 31 11:54 AM US/Eastern

WASHINGTON (AP) - A Senate defense committee chairman says Pentagon budget will include large, painful cuts. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin said Tuesday that major program cuts will not be pushed off until the 2011 budget, but will be included when Defense Secretary Robert Gates sends his spending plan to the president later this month.

Levin's comments confirmed what many contractors and military leaders have expected, but he offered no details on which programs may be axed. He said Pentagon officials have indicated they will not be able to submit the much-anticipated spending plan by April 21, as initially hoped.

www.breitbart.com/article.php?
id=D9794LL81&show_article=1

Anonymous said...

"We are all going to be forced to drink the "kool-aid" now. No more filtered bottled water.

A sad day."

you drink the kool-aid, i'm gonna start loading up gallon jugs and getting RO water from smiths. does anyone in this town actually believe the county's report that the drinking water is "above standards?" i sure as hell don't...especially when the lab has a Pu spillover and doesn't tell us for 6 mo.

Anonymous said...

Well, the "hot gold" now makes sense. An employee was caught trying to sneak out radioactive gold:

Security stops gold theft at lab

By CAROL A. CLARK

The first of eight layers of security mechanisms in place at the Plutonium Facility at Technical Area 55 stopped an alleged thief from exiting Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The man has reportedly worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory for more than 20 years and, according to reports, recently tried to take gold out of the plutonium facility undetected.

He was reportedly caught carrying an estimated $2,000 worth of the gold shavings in a plastic sandwich bag concealed inside his clenched fist.

Gold is currently trading at more than $917 per Troy ounce.

The attempted theft reportedly occurred early last week and the case was turned over to the FBI on Wednesday for further investigation.

The gold is used to seal cracks in platinum-lined containers used for plutonium-related work, according to information provided to the Monitor.

LANL spokesman Kevin Roark confirmed in a statement this morning that the employee attempted to remove two ounces of gold contaminated with a “small amount of radioactive material” last week.

“The gold was detected by a radiation monitor as the employee attempted to leave an internal work area … at the lab,” Roark said. “The employee’s security clearance has been suspended ... a full investigation by the laboratory, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the FBI is underway.”

...

Anonymous said...

"does anyone in this town actually believe the county's report that the drinking water is "above standards?" "

Hell noooo! I am not touching that crap. I bring in my own bottled water.

Anonymous said...

3/31/09 7:26 PM

So when is this going to be in NYT.

Anonymous said...

6:46 pm: "does anyone in this town actually believe the county's report that the drinking water is "above standards?" i sure as hell don't...especially when the lab has a Pu spillover and doesn't tell us for 6 mo."

Hey stupid, the county water supply does not come from groundwater, contaminated or not. Get a grip. The state and feds oversee the county's drinking water testing operations. Oh, wait, they're ALL out to get you, right?? Find another audience that will buy into your paranoid rants.

Anonymous said...

3/31/09 7:26 PM

Mustangs...gold.

Anonymous said...

8:07 pm: "Hell noooo! I am not touching that crap. I bring in my own bottled water."

From where?? Are you really that stupid? Don't you know your bottled water comes from some other town's tap water? Geez, get a clue. If you think LANL's tap water is different from Los Alamos County's, you are mistaken. If you think either comes from ground water, you are stupid.

Anonymous said...

3/31/09 11:53 AM

If you had read or watched, you would already have known your posted information, and/or extrapolated from history:

(1) http://defensenewsstand.com/ (Inside The Pentagon, Inside the Army, Inside the Navy, Inside the Airforce, Inside Missile Defense.)

(2) http://www.militarytimes.com/, and http://www.dodbuzz.com/

(3) http://www.defensetech.org/

(4) http://www.defenselink.mil/, and http://www.dodvclips.mil/

(5) http://www.defensenewstv.com

(6) http://www.heritage.org/

(7) http://www.aei.org/

(8) Congressional Quarterly (CQ).

(9) http://nnsa.energy.gov/

(10) http://pubs.acs.org/cen/index.html

(C&EN, Chemical&Engineering News)

(10.1) C&EN has a video link to Dr. Steven Chu at BNL, 63+ minutes.

(10.2) Dr. Chu believes in the AGW theory, I don´t, I think it´s a hoax, unfortunately for the AGW alarmnists, the UFO-phenomenon could be real, but not the AGW theory. (The CO2-levels are rising, "but the trend in mean temperatures since 2001 has been flat, said [Anastasios] Tsonis, and is beginning to fall." (http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/41870692.html)

(10.3) Dr. Chu and Pres. Obama are never specific of the nuclear weapons complex (NWC), and nuclear power, I view that as during his first term, and hopefully only term, they will never go beyond the status quo as of today, regarding nukes and nuclear power, to be more precise, the US national security will go downwards, due to the following, his (Obama´s) forthcoming arbitrary number of 1,000 deployed U.S. nuclear weapons, their aggressive no to RRW or any other future nuclear weapons systems, and delivery systems, the future risk that the Senate will ratify the CTBT, i.e. never in the future should US do an underground test, I don´t agree in this naivite of US nuclear weapons policy, peace through weakness, the right formula is: "If you want peace, prepare for war." (Ancient Chinese general Sun Tzu, this was also the imperative for Pres. Ronald Reagan.)

(11) http://www.exchangemonitor.com/nuc_weapons.htm (Nuclear Weapons & Materials Monitor, NW&M.)

(12) http://blog.wired.com/defense/

(13) http://blogs.knoxnews.com/knx/munger

(14) http://www.armscontrolwonk.com

(15) http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/

(16) LANL:: The Rest of the Story, some of the information you seek is already posted on this blog, two examples, 3/17/09 6:19 PM, and 3/17/09 7:48 PM, et cetera.

Do you know that the next tanker aircraft is delayed with 5 years, and the next generation bomber (NGB) is canceled?!

Anonymous said...

There is a reason why the NPB, a $100 Million project, appears only as a minor comment in Dick Burick's obituary. It was an embarrassing scam that would easily be exposed if it saw light-of-day. I suggest a more careful search for references. This program, incidentally, is not so old and the same machine was being sold beyond the year 2000 for Tritium Production.
The custom of resurrecting old, failed, programs seems to go on but the DOE officials are, in some sense, getting smarter.
The lab, I believe, is better served by remembering failure.

Anonymous said...

"The lab, I believe, is better served by remembering failure."

Unfortunately, many of LANL staff say, "Nanos who?" when that particular failure is brought up in conversation.

Anonymous said...

"Hey stupid, the county water supply does not come from groundwater, contaminated or not. Get a grip. The state and feds oversee the county's drinking water testing operations. Oh, wait, they're ALL out to get you, right?? Find another audience that will buy into your paranoid rants."

hmmm...this sounds like the groundwater to me. it doesn't come from the ground, it comes from your faucet? btw, it's not paranoid, it's called dumping chemicals in the ground, whether it be intentional like the good ol' days, or accidental.

"The water source for Los Alamos
County is groundwater pumped
from twelve wells, which tap the main
aquifer under the Pajarito Plateau,
part of the Santa Fe Formation."

Anonymous said...

"Groundwater" is a term of art in the water-supply world. It doesn't mean "water on the ground" in this context.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe someone has to post this for a scientific community. Of course groundwater does not mean "water on the ground"...let's go back to third grade science.

http://bottledh20.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/groundwater_1.jpg

Anonymous said...

4/1/09 12:51 AM

What are your credentials? The name tag on your shirt doesn't count. What a moron.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe someone has to post this for a scientific community.

Actually it was posted for a blog called "LANL: The Rest of the Story" - meaning that not only LANL scientists blog here (although I seriously start to doubt that) but also 3rd graders.