Jun 14, 2009

Comment of the Week

It is somewhat reluctantly that I pick a COW this week, because there just was not that much that stood out in any positive sense. There were plenty of mediocre, shallow, or just plain immature contributions. I'm sure we will get a number of expert opinions as to why that is.

Among the more literate comments this week were several that discussed a perceived general decline in the quality of science associated with LANL under NNSA and LANS. Here are a couple of those from last week's Comment of the Week post:

I left LANL and went to work for a small company on the west coast. The company has a number of former LANL employees.

We have been told by a few potential customers that they were leery of doing business with us because "we had too many ex-LANL employees."

Believe me, LANL's reputation is in the toilet!


I don't think that we are getting the quality of PDs that we did five years ago. That has something to do with why our PDs are not getting good jobs. The smart PDs are going to places where science, not the Director's bonus, is important.

In a similar vein from the Lockout at TA-48/RC-1 post, one reader was interested in who was investigating last Wednesday's lockout event, to which 12:09pm replied,

"But if so, what agencies are the most interested?"

6/13/09 10:37 PM

No one is interested in Los Alamos anymore. You overestimate the importance of the place.

Finally, I've noted any number of wild, near-hysterical claims that LANL's continued existence was in some way essential to maintaining and/or establishing global nuclear security. Commenter 10:54am on the Radioactive Releases Documented at LANL post left a nice, clear, rational rebuttal to one of those comments:

Shutting down LANL and cleaning up its mess is not tantamount to unilateral disarmament. LANL's future in Plutonium pit manufacture has nothing to do with detection of a nuclear weapon in a container in the Port of Los Angeles. Geez-get a clue yourself.

LANL is not a necessary condition for non proliferation, although I understand your desire to keep your job, 8:26, and thus your rhetoric trying to defend LANL's continued operation. Fair enough. But please understand that many of us in the state think LANL's first priority should be to clean up its 60 year legacy of toxic dumping. To us, LANL's mess is more of an immediate threat than eliminating any role LANL might realistically play in stopping a mythical nuclear catastrophe in the Port of Los Angeles.

BTW, if you grew up in Los Alamos like I did, or worked there for any period of time (ditto) you really owe yourself a read of the CDC document that was released last week which details many of the accidents and chemical and radiological releases during Los Alamos' history. It is an eye-opener. The Los Alamos Historical Document Retrieval and Assessment report is available online at http://www.lahdra.org/pubs/pubs.htm.

Until next week,



Anonymous said...

That "Shooting Yourself In The Foot" image is the *perfect* new logo for LANL.

Anonymous said...

On the subject of "mediocre, shallow, or just plain immature" contributions, may I suggest that LANS has managed, in their infinite wisdom and undisputed depths of business acumen, to replace the 3,000+ staff who have left since their takeover with mediocre, shallow, or just plain immature staff?

Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Oh, yeah. That official CDC documentation of all the Pu, U, Be, and God knows what else which was dispersed all over the Los Alamos townsight since 1946 should do wonders for home sales in LA county.

Anonymous said...

If you were a buyer you would want to know.

Anonymous said...

That iconic figure shooting himself in the foot is not wearing foot wear with proper GRIP.

Don't SLIP -- wear shoes that GRIP!*

* Note: This is obviously LANS' replacement for the old LANL motto of "World's best science helping to protect America". Times have changed and the new LANS motto better reflects present reality. In fact, they've even placed this motto in a prominent position right in front of the NSSB so you can't miss it! Be sure to add this fantastic new LANL motto to all of your future view-graphs, per LANS mandated policy.

Anonymous said...

9:37 pm: "Oh, yeah. That official CDC documentation of all the Pu, U, Be, and God knows what else which was dispersed all over the Los Alamos townsight since 1946 should do wonders for home sales in LA county."

"Townsight"?? Is that like "hindsight"? Look, either read the damn documents and comment knowledgably, or just shut up. Your knee-jerk anti-LANL reaction is sickening. "all the ... which was dispered all over..." Where does the LAHDRA document say that??

Anonymous said...

There isn't much in the draft final document that hasn't already been released in public documents, or spoken in various public meetings over the past decade. To be surprised and project that it will "do wonders to home sales" is ignorant of this fact.

Doug Roberts said...


You should try actually reading the report. Here's one excerpt:

Radioactive fallout from most test shots was monitored to the extent practical as LANL acknowledged that some downwind areas surrounding Bayo Canyon were inaccessible due to the rugged terrain in part of New Mexico. Following test shots, the road from the Main Tech area (TA-1) to the East Gate was often closed to vehicle traffic to allow time for removal and/or decay of radioactive contamination to levels deemed acceptable to allow resumption of public access on the roads. For example, the radioactive plume from a RaLa shot conducted on April 20, 1949 passed over and contaminated the area from the East Main Gate to Los Alamos town site. The incident required decontamination of the main road (Highway 285) before the road was reopened to the public or other workers. Because of these incidences, LANL sought to improve their weather and fallout predictions by requesting the assistance from meteorologists from the Kirkland Air Force Base in Albuquerque (LASL 1949a).

Debris from another shot on May 20 of the same year drifted out of the canyon and contaminated the main road to Los Alamos at the Frijoles junction and resulted in maximum gamma-beta readings of 10 mR h-1 (LASL 1949b). Throughout this time period, staff from the Biophysics section focused their efforts on further defining and predicting fallout from the RaLa shots to minimize exposures to workers and members of the public. In 1949, the fallout problem became more acute when LANL discovered a new mining operation in Guaje Canyon operated by the Santa Fe Pumice Company located about 3 mi away from Bayo Canyon. To minimize the spread of contamination and better characterize potential environmental and public health impacts from RaLa test shots, LANL increased their efforts to measure wind rose patterns including prevailing wind directions and maximum and average wind velocities of prevailing winds (LASL 1949c). As reported in a 1949 monthly H Division progress report, the plume from an implosion test shot rose and spread contamination easterly as far away as 10 mi at a location known as “Camp May” (LASL 1949d).

Descriptions in the 1952 H Division annual report indicate that LANL continued to monitor dispersion and fallout of radioactive material from Bayo Canyon test shots. These surveys focused on tracking contamination in areas north and east of Bayo Canyon, White Rock, Totavi, Puje, and Espanola and to address growing concerns about releases from RaLa shots and from other facilities such as DP Site as production increased significantly during this period. In the report it was noted that additional sampling was conducted along East Road to assess impacts and hazards from DP Site as well as from Bayo Canyon releases. Health Division members from the H-1 and H-6 monitoring groups also expanded the on-site and off-site monitoring program to further address the growing concerns about impacts to the environment (Shipman 1953).

Laboratory safety personnel also expressed concerns about personnel and public exposures associated with RaLa test shots as well as airborne effluents from RaLa hot cell operations and operations at TA-2 (Omega), TA-3 (CMR Building), and TA-21 (DP Sites). The TA-35 hot cell facility was used to handle, store, and prepare the RaLa sources for test shots conducted in Bayo Canyon. The excerpt from a 1952 LANL document shown in Fig. 14-3 represents another example of LANL activities used during this time to assess the impacts from the TA-35 radioactive airborne effluents (Buckland, 1952).

If you would prefer to read about more recent contamination events, I suggest that you review the sections on Acid Canyon, or the sections on LAMPF and LANSCE.

Anonymous said...

Get real, 11:35,

Having all of the Los Alamos contamination information collected into one report by the CDC, and having the report advertised in the Albuquerque Journal is going to cause a negative impact on housing sales in Los Alamos. To pretend otherwise is to be ignorant of reality.

Anonymous said...

"Get real, 11:35, Having all of the Los Alamos contamination information collected into one report... is going to cause a negative impact on housing sales in Los Alamos." (6:27 AM)

You may wish that homes will go down in value in Los Alamos but it's an idle wish born of hatred for LANL and the citizens of this town, 6:27 AM. As of now, I'm seeing a lot of "Sold" signs in this town. Los Alamos real estate appears to be selling very well, at least for now.

Doug Roberts said...

Interesting response, 11:27. I didn't read any hatred into 6:27's comment, just an observation that the CDC contamination report would have a negative effect on the Los Alamos housing market.

You seem quite prepared to attribute hatred as the motivation for a point of view that apparently disagrees with your own.

Anonymous said...

Hi, wondering about something, are the real negative comments from the same IP addresses, like are there 20 people in the whole lab who hate everything?

Doug Roberts said...

Look at the statcounter logs yourself, 12:09. You will see that there is no way to associate a given comment with an IP address. To get that information you'd have to go to blogspot.com with a court order for their server logs.

Anonymous said...

In the News...
Miller to head nuclear energy at DOE, Norris Nominee for Commissioner, Federal Energy Reulatory Commission

The White House today released another round of political appointments, including the nomination of Warren F. "Pete" Miller Jr. as DOE's assistant secretary for nuclear energy.
Miller, a former researcher and administrator at Los Alamos, is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
Here is the background info on Miller released by the Dept. of Energy:

Warren F. "Pete" Miller, Jr., PhD, presently serves as a part time Professor at Texas A&M University and is a resident of Albuquerque, NM. Dr. Miller is originally from Chicago, Illinois. He holds a BS from the United States Military Academy at West Point; is a Vietnam veteran; and holds a PhD in Nuclear Engineering from Northwestern University. Dr. Miller served for many years as a researcher and administrator at Los Alamos National Laboratory, retiring in 2001. He was elected as Fellow of the American Nuclear Society in 1982. He was elected to membership in the National Academy of Engineering in 1996.

Anonymous said...

Pete Miller was a good guy. Too bad LANL is now an NNSA lab with a singular Plutonium pit production mission. There won't be much Pete can do to help us, assuming he even thought LANS was worth helping. Which I suspect he doesn't.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Pete was a good guy.

Doug Roberts said...

I remember once when Pete and somebody else (John Birely?) were walking back to SM-43 after lunch. As a joke, they exchanged badges to see if the guards would notice.

They didn't.

Can you imagine any of LANS's anal retentive managers doing something as light-hearted as that?

Me neither.

Anonymous said...

The incident required decontamination of the main road (Highway 285) before the road was reopened to the public or other workers.

The main road into Los Alamos is not 285. It is NM 502.

US 285 is about 20 miles east.

These guys sure know how to make their detail-oriented report credible.

Doug Roberts said...

Just as an FYI:

I worked a LANL for a fairly long while, and during that period I got to know a good number of the managers. As a result, I know first-hand who was good, who was mediocre, and who was pretty much worthless.

This gives me a pretty good basis for knowing what posts are of the mean, vindictive, and worthless category when it comes to comments that address these people. Not coincidentally, I just rejected a couple of comments that fell squarely into this category.

Anonymous said...


You're no slouch at demonstrating the art of self-discreditation yourself.

Back in the 40's and 50's, that stretch of road was officially named State Road 4. In fact, it remained so until the 80's when they changed it to 502.

Anonymous said...

Well, I have been personally impacted by John Birely's unwillingness to counter Terry Wallace. So, stick up for who you want, but I was told what a great guy he was and then he stood up for Terry's cause and UC keeping the contract ... just think Americium.

Anonymous said...

Yes, indeed Pete Miller was one of the good guys. He was a very strong supporter of science.

Anonymous said...

7:14, could you restate your case so that people can follow what you are talking about? Thank you in advance.

Anonymous said...

Forget my request on county, greg posted it, hooray!

Anonymous said...

"Can you imagine any of LANS's anal retentive managers doing something as light-hearted as that?" (Doug)

Thanks for re-telling that wonderful story about Pete Miller, Doug. It reminds me of the LANL stories associated with Feynman. The newbies at LANL (which now seem to make up the majority of the staff) have no idea what it use to be like during the better times.

Unfortunately, the soul of LANL began to die under Nanos and was completely cut out, stamped into the ground and burned to ashes by the LANS/Bechtel crew. It's now an empty shell of its former lively self, but that's the way both LANS and NNSA like it.

At least Anastasio gets a swell looking sports cars supplied by LANS to help make up for the fact that he gave up his soul. I'm guessing he probably sleeps very well at night. The huge increase in executive salaries under LANS management must also help both him and his top associates ease any soul searching pains they might occasionally feel.

Doug Roberts said...


As I was heading down to Santa Fe this evening it occured to me that many of today's LANL employees don't know who Pete Miller is, nor John Birely, for that matter.

So, regarding the badge switch episode picture this: it was a busy after-lunch crowd heading back to SM-43 after lunch. John is about 6'4", and has kind of a florid pinkish complexion.

Pete is, what, maybe 5'7". And black.

The guards didn't even bat an eye when they showed each other's badge to get in. It was hilarious.

Anonymous said...

lanl is now trash. accept it. get over it. move on.....what is that .....worlds greatst joke serving....corporate greed?

Anonymous said...

So, I guess Pete Miller and John Birely should now be considered... buttheads and cowboys?

Hmmm, how in the world did Dr. Chu ever let one of these proverbial LANL "buttheads" into a top position over at DOE?

Unless, just maybe, these two gentlemen really aren't buttheads and cowboys. Perhaps the real buttheads and cowboys are running NNSA and the top spots within LANS LLC. Could it be?

Anonymous said...

OMG!!! Just what kind of guards is LANS hiring at LANL?....

Police: Guard pimped wife on Craigslist (KRQE)

Police say husband encouraged acts to "pay bills"

Monday, 15 Jun 2009, 11:22 PM MDT

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - A man given the responsibility of protecting one of America's top nuclear labs is accused of prostituting his wife through Craigslist.

Some of the country's most guarded secrets sit behind the walls at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

One of the men asked to guard them, Christopher Anaya, is accused of taking part in a sleazy operation involving his own wife — Edonila Anaya.

In July 2008, Albuquerque Police Department vice detectives spotted a posting on Craigslist titled "Lustful Latina." The posting had a picture of Edonila showing her breasts.

Officers set up a sting operation at the Grand Albuquerque Hotel near Yale and arranged a meeting with Edonila.

Police said she was arrested after she showed up and agreed to perform sex acts with the undercover officer.

They also said she quickly implicated her husband.

"During the course of the arrest, she offered that he was an officer and they followed up and learned that Christopher Anaya apparently had produced the ad online on Craigslist and the grand jury alleges that he delivered her and solicited patrons for her," Spokesperson for the District Attorney Pat Davis said.

The grand jury handed down a two count indictment against Christopher Anaya Monday morning. He faces one count of promoting prostitution and of one count of conspiracy.

The District Attorney's Office said it has already pursued charges of prostitution against Edonila, but they said the investigation showed her husband was really the mastermind behind the prostitution plot.

"In this case, APD alleges in the investigation that he asked her and encouraged her to do this to pay bills," Davis said.

News 13 went to the Anaya's home Monday to seek comment, but no one answered the door.

News 13 also contacted LANL about the status of Christopher Anaya's employment. The private company that runs the guard unit confirmed that he was no longer employed, but would not say if he quit or was fired.


Anonymous said...

"Police: Guard pimped wife on Craigslist"

What's the big deal? Mikey pimps out himself everyday here at LANL for the money. He just has the good sense not to do it by selling his fuzzy Ewok body. Instead, he rents out his soul.

Anonymous said...

It's not rented, it's paid bought and paid for.


Anonymous said...

Los Alamos will began to fade, as will LANL, yes it is downhill from here. Your either "crazy" or in denial if you think that the housing market will prosper in LA.

Anonymous said...

Back in the 40's and 50's, that stretch of road was officially named State Road 4. In fact, it remained so until the 80's when they changed it to 502.

And that makes the road US-285 how?

Anonymous said...


It doesn't. It makes it State Road 4.


Anonymous said...

Fundamentally, the problem is that we have a caste system at Los Alamos. It has three levels. The top level are the LANS folks who were brought in under the contract. They actually do not have any allegiance with Los Alamos. Their allegiance is with their home organizations (BWXT, Bechtel, WGI, and good ole U of California). The drive the next level, which are the employees hired by LANS to remake good ole Los Alamos. And then there is the third group, which are the old time Los Alamos employees who were here before the contract transition. We have the knowledge and represent the slave work force that is required to make the top level rich by getting their performance bonuses. I see it in action all the time. All the top cares about is not how to make this a better place, and fix the problems. They just want to know where they are with their PBI and when it will be completed so that they can cash their bonus.

We cannot continue to survive if this continues.

Anonymous said...

I agree wholeheartedly with 8:10.

7:05/6:53 sure are total asswipes for not referring to a road by a 25 year old number.

Oh, wait, I got that backwards. I mean that 8:10 is an overly pedantic goat-fellator.

Anonymous said...

"We cannot continue to survive if this continues.

6/16/09 8:20 PM"

Yep just a matter of time.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, 8:20 PM, for putting into words the situation now present at LANL. Your analysis of the LANS caste system hit the mark and elucidated what many at LANL have observed. As for your comment:

"We cannot continue to survive if this continues."

Well, "we" (the pre-LANS old timers) can't and won't survive this present situation.

I believe that wiping out most of the existing LANL work force was part of the NNSA plan from the beginning of the RFP selection process back in 2005. It's why D'Agostino personally selected Bechtel/BWXT to do NNSA's dirty work. It's why LANL has been put on a strict PBI diet of Work Free Safety Zones and zero level of incidents involving security and safety infractions. It's why LANS has allowed TSM FTE rates to skyrocket out of control to the point that LANL research has become largely un-fundable outside of the NNSA programs. As Sig Hecker has said, LANL has become a drab, risk adverse scientific "prison" under the for-profit contractorization process and NNSA's micro-mananged oversight.

However, the two upper levels of the LANS caste system (aka, the "carpet baggers") will do very well under the present LANS structure. They have no loyalty or long term plans to stay in this community. It's a corporate "rape and pillage" operation. The original staff who are left at the lab are all attempting to duck and cover as best they can during this mess.

When it's over, most of the great research which LANL was known for will be gone. We'll be left with gung-ho signs informing us: "Don't SLIP -- wear shoes that GRIP!". We'll inherit a broken management structure that is more bloated, unwieldy and dysfunctional than the present one. And to pay for this managerial muck, overhead costs will have to go even higher.

The words "National Lab" can be removed from the name LANL. We'll soon become known as the Los Alamos Facility (LAF, or "laugh"), which I think accurately sums up how the rest of the research community will begin to view this once great institution.

Heckavajob, LANS and NNSA! I hope you guys at least enjoy the money you make off of your cluster-f*ck of LANL.

Anonymous said...

Ghost town coming! Bring out your dead! Bring out your dead!

Anonymous said...

From first comment to this thread - "That "Shooting Yourself In The Foot" image is the *perfect* new logo for LANL."

So instead of saying Don't SLIP -- wear shoes that GRIP!*

should be saying: Wear rubber boots with grip soles to wade through the BullShit without getting a disease that would hurt our work-free safety zone image?

When incredibly talented people are treating like a commodity, this is truly what it comes to. Managed care did this to physicians in the 1990s and LANS is doing the same to some of the most brilliant people in the world. I am not one of the geniuses but I love working around people who challenge me, teach me...

Anonymous said...

I grew up in White Rock in the 50's and lived with big bangs, clouds of dust floating by, chunks of dark heavy metal turning green laying around. We used to see who could throw them the farthest. Ended up with black hands for our troubles. Mom would call the Zia Company guys to take the chunks and throw them back over State Rd 4 onto Lab property. I noticed they used gloves to prevent black hand.

I used to worry about Black Hand Disease or something stupid killing me but was always glad we didn't live up on Orange St by Acid Canyon in LA. Some of them ended up with worse than just Black Hand, I heard.

I wonder if the whole story will ever come out?

Anonymous said...

I think the new Lab logo should be a picture of a scientist dressed up as a bird, crapping in a nest containing his wife and kids, and the caption being..."Los Alamos, where science always trumps common sense"

Anonymous said...

Two things

1. What organization has done the most to compromise nuclear national security--Al Qaeda, NNSA, or LANS. Reply with details or at least humor.

2. What is the difference between LANL and 'Jurassic Park"?

One is an amusement park for dinosaurs. The other

is a Stephen Spielberg film.


Anonymous said...

Los Alamos is not much of a science lab any longer. I'm not quite sure what kind of strange creature it is, but it is no longer much of a science lab.

Given the $80 million annual profit fees for Bechtel and BWXT, plus the $120 million in GRT taxes for local and state politicians and the perk jobs being offered to retired NNSA bureaucrats, perhaps it is best now seen as some type of money making venture.

Anonymous said...

WTF is black hand disease?

Anonymous said...

WTF is black hand disease?

This disease is typically co-occurring with "brown ass disorder".

Anonymous said...

Anon, 12:33 asks "WTF is Black Hand!" Haven't you heard of all us lab employees who machined, filed, and handled tuballoy over the years with hands permanently stained black? Some, I've heard, have two black marks on their penis now...one on top, one on the bottom from who knows where? Conceivably, this could be because the α ray lesions, more localized in each chromosome because of the higher ion density associated with this radiation, are more easily engaged by the repair complexes.

Does that help?

Anonymous said...

Come on Frank, pathetic comments on Comment of the Week?

Shut it down. LANL’s worth much more than these few whiners.

The quantity of hits – it’s just entertainment, nothing serious any longer.

Doug Roberts said...

Right on schedule: our (one) weekly "Frank, shut the blog down!" comment.

I actually think I'll miss these, if our phantom blogger ever gives up.

Points for persistence, however.

Kevin, that's not you, is it?


Anonymous said...

Sorry 3:27 pm, I've never heard of hands being stained black by machining tuballoy. We mostly work with Pu and all machining is done in a glovebox, of course.

Black marks on the penis and your explanation as to why, made NO sense at all. Regardless, thank you for enlightening us.

Anonymous said...

"Black marks on the penis and your explanation as to why, made NO sense at all."

Once you go black...

Anonymous said...

I can see you boys got to sit up in the Ad Bldg and shuffle papers and never had to pick up and load out DU that has oxidized out on the ground for 6 months or so. Zia company has the Black Hand files hidden away. The two-dot penis is news to me. Maybe pissing without washing first?

Anonymous said...

"...an amusement park for dinosaurs."

6/17/09 9:30 AM ought to know that the dinosaurs were the most successful land animals ever.

Anonymous said...

“Kevin, that's not you, is it?”

Nope. Sorry to disappoint you Doug.

I’m surprised you didn’t make your favorite post about “Cowards ;)

LANL: The Rest of The Story is essentially gone. What’s left is a blog of a few measly whiners.

I’m hoping the current blog is replaced by one that’s more productive & representative of LANL as a whole.

Doug Roberts said...

Go for it, 6:09!

A good starting point would be blogspot.com. Or wordpress.com, if you prefer.

Anonymous said...

Good for you, 6:09! Everybody knows that Frank and Doug only let folks who have a negative view of LANL contribute to this blog. Right? I just can't wait until you start your pro-LANS, er, I mean pro-LANL blog.

I suggest that you host it on a lanl.gov machine that nobody from the outside will have access to. And then disallow anonymous comments and track IP addresses of anybody who visits it. That way I'm *sure* you'll have your LANS, er, I mean LANL Happy Face Blog!

Anonymous said...

Well 8:32am, this would be a solution to a very quiet blog. As I heard numerous times from my former colleagues, only the frustrated LANL employees read and post on this blog. Others with existing funding are too busy getting work done.


Anonymous said...

"I’m hoping the current blog is replaced by one that’s more productive & representative of LANL as a whole."

Oh, like the Laboratory Newsbulletin? That's what you want, right? Something "fair and balanced" like FIXed News?

Anonymous said...

Ignore 6:09/8:52. It's probably just Eric Fairchild wet-dreaming that he can start another pro-LANL blog like his last one which nobody ever visited.

Frank Young said...

Everyone who hasn't seen the official LANL blog, please take a look.

Doug Roberts said...

Re: that third item on the LANL blog, see this other swine flu article that was also published at the same time in the SFR by another LANL alumni.

Frank Young said...


Anonymous said...

> A good starting point would be
> blogspot.com. Or wordpress.com, if
> you prefer.

Blogspot, if you want anyone at the Lab to read it. For some reason the Lab's network nazis have blocked access to all Wordpress sites.

Anonymous said...

That official LANL blog doesn't allow any comments. What good is that? It's nothing more than a LANS news feed straight out of the PR office. Was this one of Mikey's lame ideas to help invigorate the lab?

MIKEY said...

We don't want any stinking comments. There are no Performance Based Initiatives for any stinking comments on our official propaganda blog.

Now go away so that I can continue to rape and pillag..., er, manage LANL in the style to which I have become accustomed.

Eric said...

To 9:11 AM,

You got every fact wrong.

Thanks for the laugh.

Anonymous said...

10:49 AM said "That official LANL blog doesn't allow any comments. What good is that?"

I think you're missing the point of the product there, 10:49. . . it's obviously not a blog, it's a compilation of news stories to show offsite folks what's running in the category known on site as "LANL in the News." It makes it harder for Washington folks to say "there's no good news about Los Alamos" if they've just gotten an email showing them the stories that ran that week.

Anonymous said...

Doug Roberts worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory for 20 years, during which time he and his team developed a large-scale epidemiological simulation named EpiSims.

Very charming. Although, I would guess, Eubank is still the principal force behind EpiSims. On the other hand, the SFReeper is not really a scientific journal, so I go back to sleep.

Doug Roberts said...

Actually, not. I am the "principal force" for the branch of EpiSims that we are using at the company where I now work; Stephen & his folks maintain & run their own branch at VBI.

Also, FYI, there have been approximately 30 people who worked on EpiSims at one point or another during it's ~8 year lifetime, including Stephen and me.

Stephen and I still collaborate regarding EpiSims every now & then.

Nice to see that you are paying attention, though, 1:28!

Anonymous said...

I don't know where else to post this, but I just wanted to say...

Adios LANL

After years of debate, I have finally decided I am taking my ball and going to play elsewhere. Today I quit my job at the lab.

I came to LANL straight out of grad school and have worked here now for several years. During that time, I regularly brought in multi-million dollars of funding each FY, scored in the top 3 on ORC scores in my group, blah, blah, blah. And during that time I can't say that I was allowed to do any science. In fact, LANL killed my scientific career -- many of my colleagues from other institutions pointed out how little of my potential I was being allowed to reach by staying here.

What Mikey and Terry and their LANS management croanies fail to realize is that LANL's reputation is SO bad right now, that most of the top universities are telling their students not to apply here. Many of them (a few that I have had relationships with) won't even let our scientists speak to their students anymore.

But the bigger problem to me is that LANS management just doesn't care. They don't care about getting science done or recruiting and retaining the best of the best. The only thing they care about are their bonuses and it doesn't matter to them who they step on or what science they crush along the way. Make no mistake, fellow bloggers. THEY DO NOT CARE. We can complain all we want on this blog, in the censored Reader's Forum, or wherever about how bad conditions have become. But the bottom line is that if those complaints don't put money into their pockets, it just doesn't matter to them.

So this junior staffer has had enough and is finally going to stand up and try to recreate a technical reputation. I am going someplace where I am being given the resources to do my job, not being punished for self-reporting cell phone incidents, and where I will actually be allowed to do science.

I would wish the LANS management "good luck," but from what I can tell, they were brought in to get LANL shut down and that is just not something I want to wish them well on.

Anonymous said...

Sad letter, 3:56 PM, but right on target. I wish you well as you re-start your career at a better and saner institute of science.

Eric said...

Above I said that 9:11 got every detail wrong.

For those who have not followed the multi-year, slow motion responses of 9:11, all that I have ever wanted was LANL to be a place where 3:56 would be delighted to work and would fight others to come to, a place from which 3:56 would be recruited heavily for good jobs.

I don't care who runs LANL or what weapons work beyond science is done at LANL.

I just wanted LANL to be the Bell Labs of the 21st Century--a place where great, multidisciplinary science could be completed.

I would be happy if LANL became the LANL of the 1970s--the top rated physics lab on the planet.

I have no idea why 9:11 would rather have the death of LANL as a science lab and is so persistent about wanting this death.

Anonymous said...

We have seen lots of reports come out recently clearly documenting the key problems at the NNSA research labs. Sig Hecker even refers to LANL as some type of science "prison" at which no self respecting researcher would ever want to work. Still, we see no action to improve the situation.

Why is that? I can only surmise that it must be because Congress and the Administration no longer care about the destruction of America's nuclear weapon labs. Even the local NM Congressional delegation is no where to be seen on this subject of late.

From this, I surmise that the COW poster must be correct. LANS is the "shut down" crew. That's what they are being well paid to do.

When the process is complete in the next couple of years, there will be a minimal amount of pit production work, lots of cleanup efforts and some efforts at facilities maintenance. Not much else will be left, other than small amounts of science kept on life support by LANS mainly for its PR value.

The previously reported NNSA figure of a 6500 work force at LANL was no mistake. LANL will need to shed at least 2000 more jobs (mainly scientists) in order to reach the end of the path on which it is currently headed. The 5% attrition rate which NNSA wants for this next year is only the beginning of the next wave of the destruction process at LANL.

Anonymous said...

Bechtel is a modern corporate version of the secretive Freemasons of old. They are an extremely well connected group and once they get their meat hooks into an assets, they will milk it to death and never give it up.

There is no chance in hell that LANL will ever be pulled out of Bechtel's clutches. The whole process of picking Bechtel for the RFP was usually secretive and will remain that way.

On the bright side, perhaps it will get Mike Anastasio or Tom D'Agostino and invitation to this summer's grand Bohemian Grove encampment hosted by Riley Bechtel in the Redwoods north of SanFran.

Got your invitation yet, Mikey?