Apr 9, 2009

Comment of the Week (rare mid-week edition)

From the Secretary Chu to Visit New Mexico’s Nuclear Security Laboratories post. Thank you, 7:00pm.

Just in case you all want to make sure Chu sees this: The.Secretary@hq.doe.gov

-----------------------
Update, 4-10: DOE is watching. Click for larger image.




Today's Lab Email (April 9, 2009)...

Message from the Director
Subject: Welcome to Secretary Chu

Los Alamos National Laboratory has a long history of world-class science on behalf of the nation, and we continue to be at the forefront of many of the world's scientific advances. This afternoon, I am pleased to host Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu and NNSA Administrator Tom D'Agostino here at LANL. This is Secretary Chu's first visit to our Laboratory since he was named DOE Secretary by President Obama.

While Secretary Chu is here, he will view computer simulations at our Power Wall and receive briefings from Lab scientists whose research is helping address some of our nation's most pressing problems. Per his request, we have also arranged a roundtable discussion with roughly a dozen LANL scientists to allow him to have open, candid conversations about the state of science here at the Lab.

Following his visit here, Secretary Chu will travel to Albuquerque for Friday morning briefings at Sandia National Laboratories. And on Friday morning, he will speak from Sandia to employees at all three NNSA Labs on "The Role of the Nuclear Security Laboratories in Meeting National Challenges." We have arranged for Secretary Chu's talk to be broadcast live beginning at 9 a.m. on LABNET Channel 9.

We have much to be proud of at the Lab, and this is a wonderful opportunity to offer Secretary Chu a window into the important national security science we do here to serve our nation.


---------------------------------------

Why did LANS wait until the very day of Dr. Chu's visit to inform the staff that he would be here? And who were the hand-picked scientists who met with him for a "candid discussion" this afternoon about the state of science at LANL. Were Mike and Terry allowed in the room?

Shame on you, Mike Anastasio! LANS secretive handling of this visit is a new low.

72 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't know who was there but it sure looks like Chu delighted them.

Chu visits Los Alamos National Laboratory

Associated Press - April 9, 2009 8:35 PM ET

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) - Steven Chu made his first visit since becoming U.S. energy secretary to Los Alamos National Laboratory on Thursday.

It marked the beginning of a 2-day New Mexico visit that includes a Friday stop at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque.

Chu chatted informally with a handful of scientists who are working on issues that include climate change, hydrogen storage and HIV research.

The Nobel Prize-winning physicist listened intently and delighted them with his detailed questions.

Chu also went on a classified tour of the lab that was to include a briefing on the nuclear weapons program.

The administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, Thomas D'Agostino, says the focus of Chu's visit was the broad science done at the lab and its capabilities for tackling a range of issues.

Anonymous said...

From the TV news reports, Mikey and Terry were front and center, as was Udall. Looked like the NSSB lobby. No conversations were recorded, but everyone was smiling. No regular employees were allowed into the crush of bigwigs.

Anonymous said...

There was also a dinner with him at the Lujan center that was not announced publicly (why?). Senior managers only were invited. Bottled water was available, courtesy of the generosity of Bechtel.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Chu, so glad you could come for a short visit. Just know that all the scientists here at LANL are deliriously happy with NNSA and LANS. We love our extremely high overhead costs coupled with work free safety zones and a decline in funding. PBIs have given us all a whole new level of dedication to our research work. If we could just put some more high cost LANS executive management into this lab, I'm sure things would be even better!

Don't listen to the vocal minority of whiners who say this lab is in decline. Listen to Mike and Terry. They're the best-est managers EVER!!!!

P.S: When will we be allowed to transfer from being scientists into those cool new cleanup and plant operation positions being created at LANL under the direction of our fantastic Bechtel management team? We're all eager beavers to put on some Hazmat suits and get to work make science at this lab GREAAAATTT!

Anonymous said...

"Shame on you, Mike Anastasio! LANS secretive handling of this visit is a new low."

Yes, but lower lows await. Just be patient and you'll see. This is LANS (Bechtel) we are talking about here, after all.

Anonymous said...

Mikey is clearly a self-serving prick!

Anonymous said...

The Santa Fe New Mexican has some more details about Dr. Chu's visit. However, it doesn't sound like much in the way of "candid discussions" took place with any of LANL scientists that Mike and Terry picked to meet with him:

Chu visits Los Alamos National Laboratory

http://hosted.ap.org/
dynamic/stories
/N/NM_ENERGY_SECRETARY_VISIT_
NMOL-?SITE=NMSAN&SECTION=
HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

Anonymous said...

Looks like Chu prefers to talk with SNL employees...

Energy secretary
assessing labs

Future missions in question
Updated: Thursday, 09 Apr 2009, 11:29 PM MDT
Published : Thursday, 09 Apr 2009, 10:51 PM MDT
• Reporter: Bob Martin
• Web Producer: Bill Diven
http://www.krqe.com/dpp/news/technology/technology_krqe_los_alamos_energy_secretary_assessing_labs_200904092305

"While the secretary did not have anything to say today on policy he will Friday at Sandia."

"During the tour there he is scheduled address all lab employees and let them know more details of the Obama administration's plans for their workplace."

Anonymous said...

The message is pretty clear. I've been present for two past DOE Secretary visits to LANL: Bill Richardson and Sam Bodman. They both gave talks which all staff were invited to attend.

The fact that Chu ignored us, and yet is talking to Sandia staff tells us very clearly what our standing is.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Chu ignored LANL employees because he has recused himself from making decisions that could affect the University of California, his former employer. That's why he can talk to Sandia's employees but not to LANL's.

If he wants to address the LANS and LLNS debacle, he will have to establish an independent panel of experts to evaluate the DOE laboratories' management. If he establishes a panel he cares, otherwise not.

Anonymous said...

7:22,

You're saying that Chu chose not to speak to LANL staff because of his recusal? Perhaps, but I don't think so.

I suspect the decision to drastically downsize LANL has already been made, and he did not want to be the one who told us about it.

Anonymous said...

I don't think many people here grasp how sour the opinions of LANL are in Washington.

Anonymous said...

8:13,

Since you imply that you do know how sour the opinions of LANL are in Washington, perhaps you'd share with us what the opinions are regarding LANS, LLC: their "leadership team", their operational capabilities, and their strategic capabilities.

Anonymous said...

8:13
I have found the same sour opinions in DC.

There is no point in sharing details on this blog since the commenters here seem to be self destructive with respect to LANL's future not productive.

Many commenters have asked for productive discussion. So far, nothing just sniping.

Anonymous said...

9:19,

Frank has provided the discussion forum; what LANL staff choose to do with it is up to them.

However, if you are in fact a DC "insider" as you imply, then you have no real grasp of how poorly the LANS management "team" is exercising their leadership responsibilities at LANL.

PBIs, baby! That's what it's all about.

You have to work here to realize how hopeless LANL's future is under LANS, LLC.

Anonymous said...

hydrogen storage? so he met with klimov. i hope he enjoyed his visit with the lab's hand selected scientists.

btw, did anyone see this in links this morning?

Return-to-Research Procedure Cancelled:
The original Return-to-Research (P782-8) program was created to allow senior managers to return to scientific research positions without losing the higher level of salary that went with their management role. Current policy provides that managers' salaries will be adjusted to reflect their new duties.
Contact: policy@lanl.gov

Anonymous said...

hydrogen storage? so he met with klimov. i hope he enjoyed his visit with the lab's hand selected scientists.

And HIV research would imply Korber and/or Perelson.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for coming by to visit our little Potemkin village, Dr. Chu. The villagers are sad to see you leave so soon, but they all say they'll be working extra hard on Dear Leader Mikey's PBIs in hopes that you'll come visit us again!

Anonymous said...

Anyone hear Chu's 9am speech to the employees over at SNL? What did he have to say?

Anonymous said...

Here's the local LA Monitor's take on the visit:

LANL: DOE head engages scientists at lab

http://www.lcni5.com/
cgi-bin/c2.cgi?075+article+
News+20090410075805075075007

It doesn't sound like much in the way of a candid discussion of the condition of science at LANL took place during his brief visit.

Steven Chu said...

Hi, great to be here!

Man, I can't tell you how glad I am to not be up at LANL again today. That place really gives me the creeps!

But enough about me, how about you guys? Need any more money? NNSA treating you OK?

Oops, look at the time! Gotta go, bye.

Anonymous said...

Have you looked around at the people working at LANL lately? I guessing that most of the employees at LANL (a) didn't even know Dr. Chu visited the lab on Thursday, (b) haven't the foggiest idea who this man is, and (c) don't care. The sheeplization process is running full throttle at LANL.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Chu toured the PowerWall while here at LANL. Back in 2003, the PowerWall might have been impressive but today you can go to your local theater and watch Disney's "Monsters & Aliens" in hi-res 3D and have a much more pleasant viewing experience than the PowerWall. Even worse, most of the top visualization experts who were here when PowerWall was built several years ago have all since left the lab.

Anonymous said...

9:27,

I would have agreed with you completely if you had said, "You have to work here to realize how hopeless LANL's future is under NNSA and LANS, LLC".

As it is, I still agree with you. LANL's future prospects under LANS, LLC are very dim indeed.

I would have loved to see Paul Robinson's team running the place. Even with the crippling influence of NNSA, LANL would have been a much nicer to work than how it has turned out under LANS.

Anonymous said...

Friday, April 10, 2009, 2:43pm MDT | Modified: Friday, April 10, 2009, 2:53pm
Chu wants labs to work on energy, climate changeNew Mexico Business Weekly - by Kevin Robinson-Avila NMBW Staff

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu
View Larger In a speech today at Sandia National Laboratories, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu compared unchecked global warming to riding on the Titanic.

“Lots of people see there’s an iceberg ahead, but it takes a long time to turn the boat around,” Chu said. “If we turn it now, we can mitigate the blow.”

To help turn the ship, Chu wants to expand work at the Department of Energy’s national laboratories to include research on climate change and development of alternative energy.

Nuclear security remains critical to the labs’ core mission, especially maintenance of a safe and reliable weapons stockpile and efforts to enforce nonproliferation.

“Those are incredibly important missions that will continue for the foreseeable future,” Chu said.

But the labs’ human and technical resources can also be used to help solve other national problems, such as energy security, Chu said.

The secretary toured installations at Los Alamos National Laboratory on April 9, and then discussed his views on the labs’ future in a forum at Sandia in Albuquerque on April 10.

Chu said supercomputing capability at LANL and Sandia can help in studying climate change and predicting its impact. It also can help in developing new technologies in energy and other fields.

“Research and development are key to U.S. prosperity, and the labs are a key part of that,” Chu told reporters after his presentation. “The labs are an incredible resource for the country.”

Before becoming secretary, Chu was director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California. Under his leadership, Lawrence conducted research on biofuels and solar energy technologies.

Chu won the Nobel Prize in physics in 1997.

In other comments, Chu said he opposes proposals to turn management of nuclear security at the labs over to the Department of Defense.

“The national security needs of the country must be tied to a very strong scientific base,” Chu said. “That goes all the way back to the Manhattan Project, and it’s even more true today than back then.”

Anonymous said...

Kevin "Jackass" Ott was on the front of the Journal North this morning, talking to Chu about hydrogen storage.

Best & Brightest!

No doubt Terry trotted out his buddy Dubey to talk about climate change, too.

Anonymous said...

I just want to say two words to you. Just two words. Carbon dioxide.

Anonymous said...

The video of Sec. of Energy Steven Chu´s visit to LANL, April 9, 2009, and also including Dr. Michael R. Anastasio, Sen Tom Udall, Dr. Terry Wallace, Dr. Kevin Ott, and the HIV/AIDS scientist can be found here:

(http://krqe.com/dpp/news/technology/technology_krqe_los_alamos_energy_secretary_assessing_labs_200904092305)

Another option, no text:

(http://www.krqe.com/subindex/video)

Anonymous said...

Someone correct me if it's not true that previous visits by heads of DOE have been often followed by frozen salaries (no raises).

Signed,

Most Skeptical

Anonymous said...

Jackass Ott is a nasty sexist pig who openly admits that he hates women in science and refers to his female bosses in an unpublishable manner - can't believe the bastard was allowed to even speak with Chu. What a disgrace to the institution.

Anonymous said...

Oh, 6:44 PM, are you truly that surprised? look who put the event together - Mr. "I hate women cuz' they make my pee-pee look small" Wallace. I guess that is why ALL women at this Lab earn much, much less than the men in the same category. Of course, this means the women were actually placed in the right categories during the CPD exercise.

Anonymous said...

Who cares about Chu? Like he'll make a difference?

Anonymous said...

Congress will make all the final decision about funding amounts for the NNSA weapon labs. Any words of Dr. Chu on that matter don't really mean too much.

I don't expect to see Congress dump tons of new funding on either LANL or LLNL to do more climate research or alternative energy research. I do expect them to cut the heck out of the weapons side of the budget. In that respect, SNL is much better prepared to ride out this approaching budget storm due to their diversification.

Layoffs are probably coming within the next 12 months or so to LANL. At that time, Dr. Chu will say: "So sorry, but it couldn't be stopped." There is no St. Pete to save LANL anymore. Get ready to deal with it as best as you can.

Anonymous said...

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The country's national laboratories will retain a nuclear-weapons mission although there will be a definite shift toward work on energy issues and helping the economy, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Friday in Albuquerque.

For workers in the audience and listening in from labs across America, it was comforting news that the Obama administration is not advocating a shutdown of nuclear weapons work when so many rogue nations pose a threat.


Dr. Chu appears rather certain about the global warming issue while many others in the scientific community seem to disagree with the IPCC models & conclusions. Turning the Titanic is not quite the same as trying to turn the world.

As to the comforting news that the “administration is not advocating a shutdown of nuclear weapons work”, the real concern is letting this national capability erode into mediocrity.

Anonymous said...

"the real concern is letting this national capability erode into mediocrity"

Already happened.

Anonymous said...

LANL has a very limited number of experts in climate modeling and alternative energy research. Conversely, it has a vary large number of scientists who know nuclear weapons physics. You can't simply turn LANL into a climate and alternative energy lab overnight. The experts to do this type of research are few and far between at LANL. Be very careful in taking what Dr. Chu says at face value. He's a nice man and all, but I fear he has a poor grasp on using LANL and LLNL for these major new missions.

The outcome of all this is that LANL and LLNL will likely be shrinking due to weapons budget cuts. Little in the way of block funding will be dumped on LANL and LLNL for alternative missions. We'll get extra cleanup money, but little else. The NNSA labs will be told to go out and "earn" new mission funding with winning proposals. However, the high costs and extreme bureaucracy at the NNSA labs put them at a severe disadvantage when it comes to winning research grants and WFOs.

SNL, per usual, will fare much better, especially in the area of alternative energy research. SNL is also much more accepting and aggressive about the idea of lab diversification and their lab executive management actually seems to work. Ours clearly does not.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Chu has no idea just how bad the scientific decline has become at LANL. He also has no idea just how low the morale has become under both LANS (Bechtel/BWXT) and a totally dysfunctional NNSA.

He does have ideas about climate modeling and energy research, but those ideas are of little worth when LANL is hemorrhaging talent and most of the scientific staff can't stand their bloated and broken management system with its ever increasing overhead and work stifling policies.

Dr. Chu can say what he wants to lull the remaining staff into comfort, but those on the ground can probably see the true extent of the rot taking place at LANL. The foundation has become very weak under the current regime and there are no plans to beef up this rotting foundation.

Anonymous said...

I listen to Dr. Chu on Labnet and found him delightfully refreshing. His talk was very interesting, but after about an hour Labnet went down. We'll have to see reruns next week.

Anonymous said...

"...but after about an hour Labnet went down." (12:31 PM)

All too typical of late, right? You could almost say it's symbolic in some manner.

Anonymous said...

"when LANL is hemorrhaging talent and most of the scientific staff can't stand their bloated and broken management system with its ever increasing overhead and work stifling policies."

I just heard about another person
in CCS who most likely will be leaving with his funding. It just keeps getting worse.

Anonymous said...

Chu's obvious snubbing of LANL employees was intended to send a very clear message. I don't believe for a second that his earlier statement about "recusal" had anything to do with it. Smart people with smart lawyers can figure out how to address employees without violating any perceived boundaries. Nope, this was an intentional poke in the eye of LANL employees, and indicates more to come. Chu is smart enough to know that he was also setting the tone for all other DOE and NNSA folks when dealing with LANL. If I worked at LANL, I'd be worried. Even the remaining good, productive, loyal LANL employees have now been painted with the same brush. Too bad.

Anonymous said...

Wear shoes that grip!

Anonymous said...

"but after about an hour Labnet went down." 12:31 PM

Excellent. My plan for denying the staff any updates on important visits and other critical information is obviously working.

We'll need to keep piling on the manure in the dark so that the mushrooms can blossom to the ceiling! I need to go inform Terry to produce another bag of his excellent sh*t. We're running low after expending large amounts of it for Dr. Chu's visit.

- Mikey

Anonymous said...

Mike Anastasio is a sick joke being played on LANL by UC. Somewhere out at UCOP is an old, senile fart by the name of Adm. Bob Foley who is laughing his wrinkled ass off.

Anonymous said...

Chu sees changing focus for NM labs - KOB TV (April 10th)

The nation's new energy secretary says the success of New Mexico's two national labs depends on its diversity.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu toured Sandia Labs Friday. He was at Los Alamos National Lab Thursday.

Chu says expanding beyond nuclear weapons is key.

www.kob.com/article/
stories/S875377.shtml?cat=517

****

Go tell that to our for-profit management team, Bechtel and BWXT. Amazing as it seems, LANL is now being run by a construction company! Let that thought sink it for a while, Dr. Chu.

If Dr. Chu is at all serious about changing the mission of LANL and creating a diversified research portfolio, he'll need to start at the root. Get rid of LANS LLC and consider radical surgery to NNSA. Unless he takes these steps, all he is offering is cheap talk and more of the same. Does this man have any real idea of what's going on at the NNSA research labs? Does he even know what a PBI is? I highly doubt it.

Anonymous said...

I just heard about another person
in CCS who most likely will be leaving with his funding. It just keeps getting worse.

4/11/09 12:53 PM


That won't affect my bonus for this year, will it? F*ck no, it won't! What do I care, it's just one less scientist to have to worry about on this next year's thread bare lab budget. Good riddance. Just don't say anything about it to Dr. Chu. We got him to believe that science at this place really ROCKS! I'm the man.

(MIKEY the Ewok)

Anonymous said...

Let's see, last week I cut off the bottle water. I say this next week we drop all the restroom soap and Kleenex tissues. I've suddenly discovered deep within the regs that it's an unallowed federal expense. Bwa-ha-ha-ha-haaaaa!

(MIKEY the Ewok)

Anonymous said...

"Does he even know what a PBI is?"

Yes, he does. LANL has a mission, and the contractor gets paid to perform that mission. What is so hard about understanding this?

Anonymous said...

LANL is now being run by a construction company!

Indeed. A construction company privately owned by people intimately connected with the republican party, with a professional record that has made many lawyers rich beyond their wildest dreams.

Some projects that contributed to Bechtel's brillaint reputation allowing it to run LANL were:

- Trojan nuclear power station near Portland, OR (Architect)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trojan_Nuclear_Power_Plant

"The Trojan steam generators were designed to last the life of the plant, but it was only four years before premature cracking of the steam tubes was observed."

- San Onofre nuclear power plant, San Onofre, CA (Architect)

Reactor installed backward

http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=6669

- Bolivian water system (Operator)

Raised water rates, triggering protests and riots.

http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/bolivia/thestory.html

- Big Dig, Boston, MA

Paid $352 million to settle claims precipitated by concrete ceiling panels falling on a passing vehicle, killing one of its occupants

http://www.bechtel.com/2008-01-23.html

Wow! With a record like that, who would not want Bechtel to run LANL?

Anonymous said...

Please use both sides of the toilet paper.

Anonymous said...

"The nation's new energy secretary says the success of New Mexico's two national labs depends on its diversity."

What would be the motive for LANS to push for diversity? What is in it for them? No profit, no motive, so no diversity.

Anonymous said...

7:16 Since you are obviously a Bechtelian, perhaps you can tell us this: what, exactly, is "the mission" of LANL? How, exactly, does LANS advance that mission?

Anonymous said...

It's no different at LLNL.

Anonymous said...

"Chu said he hoped to fund the best proposals, creating new “lablets” and “steeples of excellence” that would lift science and research at the national laboratories to a different plane."

Oh man, are you guys in trouble. If the small mined whining on this blog is any indication of the local approach to challenges, including the challenge of poor management, we're about to become a very small part of the nation's future. I mean a very small part. Never mind all the stupid "Mikey" bashing. Get off your asses, accept the challenge, and do some good science.

Anonymous said...

8:00am blathered:

"Oh man, are you guys in trouble. If the small mined whining on this blog is any indication of the local approach to challenges,..."

That's "small minded", thank you very much. For future reference, you should be aware that advice from the more literate members of the peanut gallery is generally better accepted than something written by a person who quite probably spent three of the best years of his live in the 5th grade.

Anonymous said...

"LANL has a very limited number of experts in climate modeling and alternative energy research..." [4/11, 12:04 pm]

Relative to Secretary Chu's remarks, this is the most substantive comment so far to have emerged from this entire discussion.

(Sidebar: 8:12, remember about people who live in glass houses? Typos happen. Live with it. Be nice.)

I was recruited to LANL about the time John Browne became Director, and I was attracted by his statements to the effect that his vision for LANL's future was in environmental sciences (including climate and alternative energy). That vision, of course, turned out to be something of a mirage due to the combination of DOE dithering and the Wen Ho Lee business a couple of years later.

But during my time at LANL, it became quite painfully obvious that Really Good Physicists are not (necessarily) really good climate scientists or any other variety either. LANL had then, and undoubtedly still has, far, far to go if it's going to transform from high-energy and nuclear science to environmental science.

And because the train has left the station, just like I and so many other scientists have left the Lab, it's doubtful that this transformation is feasible in any timely fashion.

Good luck to all.

Anonymous said...

""Does he even know what a PBI is?"

Yes, he does. LANL has a mission, and the contractor gets paid to perform that mission. What is so hard about understanding this?"

Now you got it my boy! LANL does have a mission however LANS does not get paid to perform that mission. LANS gets paid for PBI's not mission work and that is why the whole thing has been a total failure. Clear now?

Anonymous said...

8:12 am: "best years of his live in the 5th grade..."

That's "life," thank you very much.

Doug Roberts said...

Living in a glass house can be a shattering experience...

Anonymous said...

Hey 8:12,

Unlike you, the 5th grade wasn't the longest, hardest thing on me. I misspelled a word. I don't spend my time whining because I don't like my job. I make changes in my life when I need to. For all your schooling, you're just a useless piece of self important excrement.

8:00

PS I ended a sentence with a proposition. Go ahead and nitpick that, you soon to be out of work knuckle dragger.

Anonymous said...

12:25 am: "proposition"

People who insist on pointing out others' spelling and grammar errors should endeavor to do so without making spelling and grammar errors.

Anonymous said...

Like so much else in this blog this note is entirely at odds with the facts.

"Dr. Chu toured the PowerWall while here at LANL."I believe they brought Dr. Chu to the PowerWall to see scientific progress, not to see a PowerWall. My understanding is that he was engaged in detailed scientific discussions during this session.

"Back in 2003, the PowerWall might have been impressive but today you can go to your local theater and watch Disney's "Monsters & Aliens" in hi-res 3D and have a much more pleasant viewing experience than the PowerWall."The local theater or your living room might be more "pleasant", but the PowerWall is an interactive, scientific tool which is tied to live data. It has far more resolution & brightness than a theater, its stereo is at full resolution, and was designed to be run by regular scientists (no "expert" required). Not bad for a still unique facility completed 6 years ago.

"Even worse, most of the top visualization experts who were here when PowerWall was built several years ago have all since left the lab."Entirely incorrect. ALL the key people continue to work at the laboratory. One person involved now works across the street and contracts some of his time back to the lab.

Like so much else in this blog, the facts seem to be irrelevant. It appears that a vicious, or cleverly worded attack is what's valued around here.

Anonymous said...

"...the PowerWall is an interactive, scientific tool which is tied to live data."

So is my desktop PC.

"It has far more resolution & brightness than a theater"

So does my desktop PC.

"..its stereo is at full resolution"

Ditto.

"..and was designed to be run by regular scientists"

My desktop PC was designed to be run by just about anybody and it costs a whole lot less than the PowerWall. I can also use it anytime I want and visitors are free to view it, too. Even better, it is so cheap that I can replaced it about every two years and get a new one that runs a lot faster.

Like many of the LANL defenders on this blog, the high costs and low productivity of computer hardware are completely irrelevant to 1:53 PM. A cleverly worded defense is all that is important.

Anonymous said...

My desktop PC was designed to be run by just about anybody and it costs a whole lot less than the PowerWall. I can also use it anytime I want and visitors are free to view it, too. Even better, it is so cheap that I can replaced it about every two years and get a new one that runs a lot faster.Yup. That's alls I need: My desktop PC and a hammer. I can solve the worlds problems cause they're all mine.

You better start your own lab.

Anonymous said...

You better start your own lab.

4/15/09 2:32 AM
This is exactly what some LANL scientists are doing right now - particularly FN computer scientists. With the paranoid cyber-security setup at LANL, access to computer infrastructure is becoming increasingly difficult. Thus they are purchasing their one computer hardware and develop their software or run their simulations at home.
For experimentalists such an endeavor requires more planning. But I know of at least one scientists who is in the process to take his funding and establish his own lab as either a company or non-profit organization.

Anonymous said...

Expensive toys like the PowerWall are largely irrelevant to achieving good scientific results. However, there are a group of employees at LANL who largely owe their job's existence to keeping these expensive toys up and running.

Anonymous said...

"ALL the key people continue to work at the laboratory." (1:53 PM)

Oh, really? Maybe all the people involved with replacing projector light bulbs for PowerWall are still here, but plenty of good computer related scientists have left LANL over the last couple of years.

Names like Ron Minnich, Richard Graham, Maya Gokhale, Matthew Sottile, Tom Asaki and John Turner come to mind. I'm sure there are many others.

Anonymous said...

4/15/09 10:02 AM ..."
But I know of at least one scientists who is in the process to take his funding and establish his own lab as either a company or non-profit organization."

Ruh-roh, Terry not going to be a happy boy. He will make sure the money - not the scientist - stays at LANL. He has f*cked over many this way ...

Anonymous said...

"Maybe all the people involved with replacing projector light bulbs for PowerWall are still here, but plenty of good computer related scientists have left LANL over the last couple of years. Names like Ron Minnich, Richard Graham,..." (8:29)

No, the original slander and this discussion was about the people who actually designed the system and developed/spec'ed the related clusters, software, etc. They're all still at LANL.

The people you mention are all fine people and it's bad that they're gone, but they had nothing to do with this system.

Anonymous said...

You obviously must have worked on the PowerWall system, 6:17 AM. I guess that makes you brilliant. Feel better now?

Anonymous said...

Nobody who means anything to, or who can make a difference to, LANL's future gives a shit about power wall. Give it a rest. In today's world, it's an interesting curiosity, no relevance to real life. And, no one really needs it. In a pure research context - good tool. In a weapons-exclusive context, useless extravagance. Turn it into an IMAX theater for the town of Los Alamos to enjoy. Taxpayer money at work!

Anonymous said...

Turn it into an IMAX theater for the town of Los Alamos to enjoy. Taxpayer money at work!

4/16/09 9:38 PM

Funny you should say this. About two years ago there was a LANL announcement that the lab was going to link up with a film industry tech company. They were going to build a PowerWall type sytems in the Motorola building for the public's amusement.

Like a lot of the ideas coming out of LANL, this one seems to have died off after the initial media buzz.