Apr 25, 2009

Comment of the Week

The theme for this week's COW is Yin vs. Yang. As those of you who follow eastern philosophy no doubt already know, these are two opposing forces, or perspectives. "Yin" would be dark, passive, downward, cold, contracting, and weak, "yang" would be bright, active, upward, hot, expanding, and strong.

The following are selected comments that exemplify the light and the dark perspectives on what it is like to work at today's LANL:

From last week's Comment of the Week post, a Yang view:

"more idealistic motifs are reasons for work, such as making great discoveries, serving the country or mankind."

all of the above. i am one of the lucky ones at LANL, since i still get to do science, and i look forward to coming to work every day to do so. yeah, the bureaucracy is a big, ridiculous pain, but i know a lot of very talented unemployed people these days, so i count my blessings that i have a good job; one that is intellectually fulfilling/challenging, and that i enjoy very much. and, yes, it pays very well.

any bad thing could happen at any time, but until that time comes, i am going to try to get as much good science in as i can. what else is there to look forward to? if i pay too much attention to the fact that i have no trust in top management, my quality of life diminishes.

This was followed immediately, of course, by a nugget of Yin:

Nicely said, 7:54. Thanks. Too bad that will never make the comment of the week. Too coherent and not anit[sic]-LANL enough.

More Yang, from the Will this be a problem? post:

By all means be honest about the DWI. And, be prepared for several follow-on questions regarding your use of alcohol since the incident.

Alcohol related history can also drive several questions regarding any use of controlled substances.

Best of Luck.

This triggered some more Yin:

To the original poster: Is coming to LANL the best you could do? You reference an "internship" - does that mean a post-doc? Be aware you will be subject to so many safety and security rules (regardless of your area of work or clearance) that you will not be allowed to get any actual work done. If you can, avoid LANL like the plague. Your career will not be advanced here, but retarded. Your stint at LANL will always be seen as a negative. You will not be happy working at LANL, and your spouse (if any) will find the Los Alamos social, cultural, and shopping wasteland a hell on earth. Stay away if you can - you do not want to be sunk in this swamp.


If you've been reading this blog and you still think working at the Lab is a great idea you may not be so young anymore. But dumb?

and this one, which sort of straddles the fence between Yin and Yang.

If I were you, I'd run, not walk, to just about any other job you can find. If you decide to stay, check your ethics at the door. The only way to advance these days is as a LANS manager with no moral code whatsoever. Good luck.

Comments this which week which notably did not make the COW list included political spammings, such as verbatim repostings (including footnotes) of press releases of political speeches, and claims that this or that posting originated from Chris Mechels. The latter, as usual, didn't even survive the comment rejection process.

Keep trying, though. You'll get the Yang of it eventually.



Anonymous said...

Is there a coherent strategy within the NNSA, and the national labs, LANL, LLNL, SNL to combat the spread of the deadly swine flu virus, that already have killed 60+ people in Mexico?

Will there be a future quarantine?

Anonymous said...

Is it too coarse to comment on Neu's spectacular yinyangs?

Anonymous said...

There's no call to make the conversation titillating.

Anonymous said...

You're asking the wrong people, 8:32. Check with the CDC, and the NIH.

NNSA is all about making nuclear weapons.

You're not from around here, are you?

Anonymous said...

What do you expect the labs to do, assuming NNSA approval? Some emergency modeling? A database? Get real, and leave this to people who actually have relevant skills.

Anonymous said...

If the virus continue to spread further into US from Mexico, then NNSA, CDC, and NIH has to collaborate with a coherent strategy, and you can´t rule out in the future that the national labs has to be quarantined. Is that difficult to understand?

Anonymous said...

One thing that could be done is to watch as LANS employees spread the swine flu through the convenient and ubiquituous use of hand scanners as a transmission medium. Don't forget, wear shoes that grip!

Anonymous said...

"What do you expect the labs to do, assuming NNSA approval? Some emergency modeling? A database? Get real, and leave this to people who actually have relevant skills."
4/25/09 9:44 PM
And while you're at it, could ya'll take a look at this Maunder Minimum thingy?

Anonymous said...

9:31 PM, 9:44PM you don't seem to know much about what LANL at least did in the past either. Does EpiSims or the "Influenza Sequence Database (ISD)" tell you anything? It is called "Work for Others" and it started at LANL. But you are right in one aspect. These capabilities went away.

Anonymous said...


You clearly do not understand what has happened to LANL over the past 5 years. Either you are brand new and totally ignorant, or you don't even work here.

LANL lost almost all of its core capabilities to do epidemiological modeling in 2005, when the team responsible for the development of EpiSims and TRANSIMS all left at about the same time.

And yes, they took EpiSims with them and have been using it ever since, with NIH being one of their sponsors.

There were a couple of people left at LANL back then who had some limited experience with EpiSims, but most of those have now left LANL as well.

EpiSims has not been funded at LANL for over a year, and the core capabilities required to effectively use EpiSims to perform studies, such as a swine flu pandemic analysis have long since absented LANL.

Is *that* difficult to understand? Or is it just difficult to accept?

Anonymous said...

Remember how SARS was going to kill everyone. Then it was the avian flu. Now it's the swine flu. Bunch of hoopla about nothing.

Anonymous said...

Update on the swine flu virus:

From http://gatewaypundit.blogspot.com/2009/04/swine-flu-outbrakes-in-5-states.html:

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Swine Flu Outbreaks In 5 States--President Goes Golfing
Swine Flu Confirmed in Texas, California, New York, Kansas and Ohio

U.S. Human Cases of Swine Flu Infection

State # of laboratory confirmed cases

California: 7 cases
Kansas: 2 cases
New York City: 8 cases
Ohio: 1 case
Texas: 2 cases
Total Count: 20 cases
International Human Cases of Swine Flu Infection
See: World Health Organization
As of April 26, 2009 9:00 AM ET

CDC website
CDC is working very closely with officials in states where human cases of swine influenza A (H1NN1) have been identified, as well as with health officials in Mexico, Canada and the World Health Organization. This includes deploying staff domestically and internationally to provide guidance and technical support. CDC has activated its Emergency Operations Center to coordinate this investigation.

From 2005 to 2009 there were 12 cases of swine flu in the US.
There have been 20 cases so far this month.

Here is a Google map of the flu cases so far:


South Korea and Japan are screening flights coming from US and Mexico.
DHS Secretary Napolitano says US will not screen flights coming from Mexico.

President Obama went golfing today.
Posted by Gateway Pundit at 4/26/09 09:57:00 AM

PS: The swine flu virus has killed 81 people in Mexico.

PPS: The distinguished archeologist Felipe Solis, director of the Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City, greeted Pres. Barack Obama, April 16, 2009, at the museum for dinner, Solis died the next day, maybe in swine flu. (http://gatewaypundit.blogspot.com, Bloomberg, and Reforma newspaper.)

PPPS: Pres. Bush always used a hand sanitizer, he knew better than Obama.

Anonymous said...

posts are being sensored again! looks like the blog-people have favorits.

Anonymous said...

Doug, why didn´t the leading national security analyst of Heritage Foundation, Baker Spring, win with his, "Incompatible Pronouncements on the Future of the U.S. Nuclear Force," http//www.heritage.org/Research/NationalSecurity/wm2400.cfm.

IMO, Baker Spring was a clear winner, and the most advanced and important post, during this extremely short week, and lazy blogging as usual.

Doug Roberts said...

A couple of news items here, 6:48:

1) Comments to posts have always been "sensored"[sic], because some posters are just plain dumber than a post (yourself, perhaps?), and

2) It's Frank's blog. If you want a blog where any idiot can repeatedly demonstrate his IQ, feel free to start your own.

Also: it's "favorites", not "favorits". Now, please help yourself to another Bud Light.

Doug Roberts said...

Good question, 6:48. I suspect that the answer is that on the issue of Science-Based Stockpile Stewardship, politics trumps merit.

Anonymous said...

"One thing that could be done is to watch as LANS employees spread the swine flu through the convenient and ubiquituous use of hand scanners as a transmission medium. Don't forget, wear shoes that grip!" - 4:28 AM

LANS seems to care intently about workers' foot wear. Trips and falls are, of course, part of the PBI safety metrics. It remains to be seen if LANS truly cares about worker safety. Note that spreading viral disease among employees is not PBI metric.

If LANS truly cares about worker safety, Anastasio will get off his fat ass and see to it than sanitizing foam dispensers are placed on the secure side of every hand geometry portal by the end of the week. These hand geometry devices are an excellent medium for spreading viral infections. But, then again, perhaps LANS upper management is interested in supporting further lab "attrition" of a particularly brutal kind?

Also, too bad that LANS and NNSA decided to destroy the usability of VPN. It might have come in handy if quarantines hit the lab and people are forced to stay home during a pandemic.

It's also too bad that LANS and NNSA have so horribly mis-managed the lab that big name WFO projects like Episims have fled to more supportive environments.

Heckavajob, LANS and NNSA! You make the Mexican National Health Services look good by comparison.

Anonymous said...

We don't need the EpiSims project at LANL anymore. We've got MaRIE!

- Terry the Terrific

Anonymous said...

Get real!

LANS and Anastasio, aka "the Ework," do not give a shit about worker safety. All that matters is the PBIs.

Anonymous said...

Hey Doug!

Have you noticed how LANL employees have suddenly become a bit more reticent with the garbage they post now that you have turned the spotlight upon them and their "contributions"?

Keep them under the magnifying glass. Maybe they'll eventually begin to see what a sorry collection of over-paid, over-privileged complainers they really are.

Doug Roberts said...


You should see some of the comments to my COW posts that I reject. There aren't that many comment submissions which manage to not pass the minimal eligibility requirements for being accepted on Frank's blog, but the ones that don't make the cut are "special". As, I suspect, are their authors.

They are invariably written at about the 6th-grade level, and reek of righteous indignation over all kinds of perceived sleights, ranging from claimed impingements on their First Amendment rights to assertions of favoritism regarding Anonymous posters.

I know, that last bit doesn't make much sense. After all anonymous contributions are

[wait for it]


Oh well. One of these weeks I'll show you what some of the "offerings" which fell into the reject basket look like.

Anonymous said...

I suspect the "reject basket" contains mostly negative comments about Frank and Doug. Just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

Most bloggers tend to fall into one of several categories (Hmmm, Doug, is that you at #6, The Moderator?):

It Takes a Village Idiot: The Jerks of Online Forums - PC World


Anonymous said...

daily dilbert, sticking it to the man!


Anonymous said...

"Keep them under the magnifying glass. Maybe they'll eventually begin to see what a sorry collection of over-paid, over-privileged complainers they really are."

Perhaps they're just a subset of the larger class of workers -

Job satisfaction: new class at Wellness Center

By Tatjana K. Rosev
April 28, 2009

Take this job and love it

In a 2007 survey, the Conference Board reported that, for the first time, less than half of all Americans said that they are satisfied with their jobs.

A new health education class May 5 at the Wellness Center teaches employees how to stay positive in the workplace. The class “Take this Job and Love It: Finding Satisfaction in Your Current Job” is from noon to 12:50 p.m. in Room 106.

Participants will identify what is contributing to their job dissatisfaction, develop a picture of what job satisfaction would look like, and select some initial actions to move in the direction of a more satisfying job situation...

Anonymous said...

Have you noticed how LANL employees have suddenly become a bit more reticent with the garbage they post now that you have turned the spotlight upon them and their "contributions"?
I personally cannot detect too many contributions from current LANL employees on this blog. There are some precious information distributed but they are certainly in the minority. What I can read are some suggestions and sarcastic comments from other lab employees or former LANL employees, the rant of LANL haters and the incoherent babble of 6th graders.

Anonymous said...

Did Terry have anything of value to say to his people during the All-Hands this morning?

Anonymous said...

Terry's pearls of wisdom. Thread killer.

Anonymous said...

No one really cares about what Terry has to say any longer. He's mostly talking to himself.