Aug 2, 2009

Comment of the Week

Short & sweet. From the Direct Line to Washington post, where the conversation had once again drifted back to the topic of how LANL/NNSA/LANS (in roughly that order) have chosen to narrow LANL's mission to focus primarily NW plutonium work.

Yes, I know there are other WFO programs at LANL. But I am also aware that NNSA has clearly stated that the new, improved LANL was to have a core mission centered around plutonium weapons work. I'm just glad that I'm not still at LANL trying to continue to bring in WFO within current management environment.

I admit that the term LDRD Welfare Queen kind of tickled me. I had not heard it before, but in retrospect it is oddly fitting, based on my past LDRD experiences.

Our comment of the Week:

To a certain extent I agree with you. When the cold war ended, the lab made a conscious decision to retreat back into its core mission (NW) rather than to try to keep and expand a diversified portfolio. The only science facility that they really worked to protect was LANSCE. While this was politically expedient and worked reasonably well for over a decade, LANL is now paying for that decision. You can blame that decision on Sig Hecker.


If LANL truly wanted to maintain its science and its staff, what they should consider doing is to give any staff member who brings in a new contract a certain percentage of it as a bonus. That would probably solve any funding shortfalls in short order. Of course, that isn’t going to happen because the primary goal of LANS/NNSA/DOE is control, not performance or doing good science. It took the DOE ~60 years to finally get LANL to knuckle under and accept “guidance” from Washington. If either the LANL managers or the NNSA managers don’t control LANL’s budget, then they don’t have any leverage. They don’t like staff members ignoring them.

The reason I made my earlier comments about bringing money into the lab is that when I worked at LANL it used to really frost my butt to go out and bring in outside funding only to have it taxed and given to some LDRD welfare queen who was spending their entire career living off of the largess of the laboratory. If these people are really as good as they think they are, then they are the ones who should be developing new programs for the lab. LDRD should be seed money for programs, but it has largely deteriorated into a mechanism to maintain the lab’s technical base.

--Doug

132 comments:

Anonymous said...

Love the photo !

Anonymous said...

when i first heard the term "LDRD welfare queen", i lmfao'd too. leave it to the blog to come up with these creative terms.

Anonymous said...

I don't work at LANL any more, but, based on my memories, a mirror would be much more appropriate that the chosen photo. A mirror is only appropriate statistically, of course, but the time has come to identify the huge fraction of non-performers that remain on the payroll.
By any standard of performance, the RIFs of the 90's seems to have missed some people.

Anonymous said...

"LDRD welfare queen," aka Tony Taylor

Anonymous said...

Actually, I didn't have nearly as much heartburn over the LDRD costs as the out of control overhead costs.

It wasn't just LANL management. Division management didn't give a shit about us except that we were cash cows. They were forever hiring more people into the division office.

Anonymous said...

"The only science facility that they really worked to protect was LANSCE. While this was politically expedient and worked reasonably well for over a decade, LANL is now paying for that decision."

LANSCE has been incredibly mismanaged since it opened in the late 1960s.

Anonymous said...

I sat on LDRD committees. In large part, LDRD was used to fund the chronically unemployable.

Anonymous said...

Echoing a common theme here. Most of the LDRD-funded staff that I know simply could not find work outside of LANL if their lives depended on it. Unless you count being an assistant professor at some second-rate university as working. A few of the LDRD Queens might be able to land an assistant professorship at, say, NMSU or UNM. Or Tech. Probably not, though.

Anonymous said...

I sat on LDRD committees. In large part, LDRD was used to fund the chronically unemployable.

8/2/09 8:21 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Echoing a common theme here. Most of the LDRD-funded staff that I know simply could not find work outside of LANL if their lives depended on it. Unless you count being an assistant professor at some second-rate university as working. A few of the LDRD Queens might be able to land an assistant professorship at, say, NMSU or UNM. Or Tech. Probably not, though.

8/2/09 8:52 PM"

Doug I know you will never post this and it is your blog which I respect. I think the above posts are total bs and I am getting real sick of this LDRD bashing. I have nothing but respect for Stephen Eubank who was at LANL. Why not get his opinion on LDRD? If he says it is all of it is junk than I will have to reconsider my point.

In my opinion there is no such thing as the LDRD welfare queen.

Anonymous said...

P1 "I sat on LDRD committees. In large part, LDRD was used to fund the chronically unemployable.

8/2/09 8:21 PM"

Is that so?

P2 ""LDRD welfare queen," aka Tony Taylor

8/2/09 8:17 PM"

Well, well, since it is a known fact that Tony Talyor has had some very impressive external offers we can only conclude that either P1 or P2 are full of sh*t. Another possibility of course is that they are both full of it.

Anonymous said...

Echoing a common theme here. Most of the LDRD-funded staff that "I know simply could not find work outside of LANL if their lives depended on it. Unless you count being an assistant professor at some second-rate university as working. A few of the LDRD Queens might be able to land an assistant professorship at, say, NMSU or UNM. Or Tech. Probably not, though.

8/2/09 8:52 PM"

You are so full of it it is not funny. There are well more than 100 people I think of who have had offers for full professors at top universities. We already went through this on the blog before. We named the people and the places. We went through this time and time again. Facts will get you every time, every time. Facts, get them, use them and know them. Facts baby!

Where are your facts?

Anonymous said...

8/2/09 10:28 PM

Thanks Doug, I was wrong.

Doug Roberts said...

10:28,

I also have nothing but respect for Stephen. In fact he and I were Co-P/Is on an LDRD project back in 2004. Unfortunately we both left LANL before we had a chance to finish that particular study. But as far as I can tell, neither Stephen nor I are queens, welfare or otherwise.

I'm glad you have respect for this blog, but I must remind you that it is Frank's blog, not mine. I'm just helping out while Frank takes care of a few personal issues, like building his new house, losing his cat during a tornado, and various and sundry other distractions.

But that's another story. Since you respect the blog, I'm sure you will also respect people's rights to express their opinions here regarding issues at LANL, like LDRD, which could possibly stand some scrutiny.

Regards,

--Doug

Anonymous said...

What is LDRD?

Anonymous said...

Looks like Doug has insulted a couple of LDRD welfare queens with his post. You have to admit, most LDRDs have very little to show for their "efforts" after 3 years.

Anonymous said...

I think that it would make sense to have "term limits" on LDRD funding. Allow a person to be funded on LDRD for six years continuously and then require the person to have three years of programmatic funding before applying for LDRD funding again.

Anonymous said...

This is off topic but it looks like the deal for the shopping plaza and restaurants and canyon trail on Trinity is falling apart. Unfortunately some $75 million has spent to vacate the warehouse and school bus site so that the shopping plaza can be built. Council is now going to appoint the person responsible for the financial fiasco to be the new Administrator over there. They apparently welcome feedback at countycouncil@lacnm.us before they do whatever the hell they please.

Anonymous said...

Nice idea, 7:58.

Unfortunately most LDRD-funded staff are uniquely unqualified to do programmatic (i.e. "actual") work. The "I'm entitled" attitude is only part of the reason. Most of them have not done any practical applications work in their entire careers and wouldn't know a "client" if one came up and bit them on the ass.

As an earlier poster suggested, most of the chronically funded LDRD queens are best suited to a university environment, if they could find one that would have them.

Anonymous said...

LDRD, in my opinion, had its genesis in the 50's 60's and 70's, when the Labs hired lots and lots of really bright people, thinking that someday they would need their skills. Even if they didn't have a particular purpose at the time. I had a couple of these people working for me in the 80's and 90's. Their attitude was "I'm a really smart guy. The Lab hired me because I am so smart. They figured that eventually, I would come up with an idea or otherwise be useful, just because I am so smart. I am entitled to sit here and doodle equations all day, waiting for the day when that big idea hits me. So leave me alone with your menial tasks on your simple project that is beneath me and my intellect." LDRD became simply a way to collect money from real, funded projects in order to support laggards like these (when management was unable to force the real projects to take them on).

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that it would make sense to have "term limits" on LDRD funding. Allow a person to be funded on LDRD for six years continuously and then require the person to have three years of programmatic funding before applying for LDRD funding again.

8/3/09 7:58 AM"


Actually most people who have had LDRD also spend part of their time on programmatic work.

There is a small number of people who usually always have LDRD funding however they also large amounts of external funding, NIH, BES, DARPA and other sources, which more than makes up for the LDRD funding. In fact the so called welfare queens bring in far more money that they get from LDRD. These are the facts. Get a clue people.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with
8/3/09 8:22 AM about LDRD. Of course there has been some cases where these people did come up with some great things for the lab and the nation, and yes it is also true that a large portion of the programmatic staff came in under LDRD projects, and I guess most of the new new programs that get other sources of money started with LDRD, and I suppose many of the people who left to take University positions continued to support LANL and the mission, but other than that 8:22 is dead on.

Anonymous said...

I guess the fact that LDRD is a highly polarizing subject comes as no surprise. Those involved with LDRD, either in administering it, or in sucking off its rather generous tit think that they are a bunch of Really Smart People.

The rest the staff who have to work for a living see the 8% LDRD tax that is levied on all incoming funds as a useless drain on programmatic resources that are already strained to the limit by LANS' infuckingcredible overhead.

Other than that, LDRD is a huge success, as its supporters will readily tell you.

Anonymous said...

I sat on a Chemistry LDRD review panel back in the 1980s. LDRD was used to fund most of the academic types who could bolster their resumes with publications. It was a job shop for the chronically unemployed even back then. Nothing much of value came out of most of the LDRD funded research; unless you consider publications to have redeeming value.

Anonymous said...

The "circular firing squad" of employees who attack each other continues to grow ever wider as LANL's unsustainable overhead puts a hard squeeze on those funded outside of LANS protected areas of support and management.

This series of posts is sign of what's happening inside LANL at the moment. However, instead of attacking LDRD, which is only 8% of overhead, people need to pay attention to the much larger sources of overhead at LANL. It's not LDRD which is pulling LANL down with unsustainable high costs.

Anonymous said...

"If LANL truly wanted to maintain its science and its staff, what they should consider doing is to give any staff member who brings in a new contract a certain percentage of it as a bonus." (Post)

No, no, no, no, NO! That bonus for the hard work of bringing in outside projects is all for ME!

- MIKEY

Anonymous said...

"It was a job shop for the chronically unemployed even back then. Nothing much of value came out of most of the LDRD funded research; unless you consider publications to have redeeming value."

Bullshit, pure bullshit all around.

Again we went through this before many times about all the good things that have come out of LDRD. All we can say over and over again is get your facts straight before you post your bullshit.

Anonymous said...

8/3/09 10:43 AM

Where are your facts to back your statements? Let us hear some facts.

Anonymous said...

Our LDRD proponent sure is protesting a lot. I'd also like to see some facts that substantiate his glowing assessment of the LDRD program, because his claims of LDRD's huge successes just don't tally with my experiences with it.

Over the years LDRD was first supported by a 4% tax on incoming funds, then 6%, and now 8%. That's a lot of money. What do we have to show for it, aside from a huge sense of entitlement on the part of LDRD recipients?

Anonymous said...

I is only anecdotal evidence but I only know a couple of people who really hate LDRD and in all these cases these people are the total dregs of the laboratory, they are utterly useless and cannot do a single thing. Everyone I know wants to get rid of these parasites. It is not just LDRD they hate, but they hate the program managers, the programs, and most other workers. All they do is complain about how they have been screwed their entire lives. It is really hard to listen to these guys. I am not sure if these are the same ones who are posting on the blog but on the whole it sure sounds like these people or someone like them. There is plenty to complain about at the lab but LDRD is not one of them. If LANL is to be a science lab than you need LDRD. Every single lab in the country has something like LDRD.

Anonymous said...

question: who are the ldrd welfare queens? are they the PIs who have been funded by the program for 15 years or are they the leeches who have no idea what's going on and lobby the PIs to get some funding? From my perspective, there appears to be two types of queens.

Anonymous said...

I did the original posting, and perhaps I should clarify some things. I have served on LDRD committees and while in principle I think it is a good idea, in practice it needs some improvement. First of all, I think the process is rather incestuous. The people who serve on the committee are generally people who already have LDRD or are people who are known at the laboratory. Of course, who you put on the committee has a large impact on which proposals get chosen.

Secondly, so few proposals get chosen that if you have even one adversary on the committee, you’re dead. Since anything that is truly innovative is going to be controversial, the process naturally down-selects against innovation. Good, conventional science plays a lot better than innovation does.

Thirdly, if you look at the top one half to one third of the proposals, virtually any of those proposals will produce good science. You really can’t make a mistake. This is where the factions and personalities on the committees come into play. In actuality, I believe you could take those proposals, tape them to a wall, and select them by throwing darts and come up with just as good a portfolio as the committee’s final selection does.
However, if at this stage you don’t have a strong advocate on the committee, you’re dead. You really need to have someone on the committee who is personally familiar with your work and thinks highly of it.

So the last time I served on an LDRD committee, I instituted a few procedures of my own. The first thing I did was to look down the list of proposals and see who already had LDRD funding. This was quite illuminating. I saw one individual who had at one point 5 LDRD programs going simultaneously. This person had also, coincidentally, been the chairman of one of the LDRD committees. I vaguely remember that back in the 90s someone had done a correlation and found a two-thirds to three-quarters correlation between LDRD awards and people serving on the committees. I marked down proposals where people already were a PI on an existing LDRD.

A second thing I did is I checked people’s publication records with Sci-Search. If they had been working on LDRD and not publishing, I marked them down. Generally, most LDRD projects produce publications so this didn’t have much effect.

Finally, I assessed whether or not I thought these proposals would lead to new programs at the laboratory. In other words, was there potentially anything in this proposal for the people who were being taxed to pay for it. Very few proposals passed this test.

When I told people on the committee how I was rating proposals, they were mortified. I didn’t get invited back. Apparently I have a bad attitude.

Anonymous said...

When you must TRY to explain Lab overhead rates to WFO sponsors, who ALWAYS can't believe the rates and what it costs to hire someone through the Labs, LDRD really sticks in their collective craws. They know it's simply slush fund/play money for management and they resent having to pony it up (even if you explain it's the equivalent of private company R&D/future development funds). To argue that 8% is a small amount doesn't help, especially when overhead rates are over 100% collectively. It's one of the things that makes obtaining WFO funding nearly impossible.

Doug Roberts said...

I suspect you're not letting get you down, 12:38. I was also told that I had a bad attitude when I started the original LTRS blog in 2004. Not a team player.

It should come as no surprise that the system doesn't want to hear about its flaws.

Anonymous said...

8/3/09 12:38 PM has it right on. LDRD is a wired deal. It's about who you know, not what you are proposing. Complete BS. I know, let's tax the programs at 8% (even more for WFO contracts), take the money, get a bunch of our buddies to sit on the committee, then use the money to fund our pet projects being proposed by our other buddies. Then, we'll congratulate ourselves on what a great system it is, whether or not it ever leads to scientific advances or future REAL funding. Crap, it's run more like a frat house than an open and objective competition.

Anonymous said...

8/3/09 12:47 PM

One can always say, "why do we even have WFO programs at LANL". We are a weapons lab, that is all we should do. Go elswhere for WFO work.

Of course I know a number of WFO programs that started out as LDRD programs. You cannot have it both ways.

LDRD has flaws but it is the same flaws that NSF, and NIH have, buddy systems etc. We have to do our best to reduce these flaws but on the whole LDRD is a good thing and I am always for making it better.

Anonymous said...

"8/3/09 12:55 PM"

You sound rather bitter. I think 11:59 may be right about some of the posters. Let's hear you story then, do you feel that the systems has abused you for your whole life?

Anonymous said...

Doug:

No, I'm not terribly upset about having a "bad attitude". I suspect that I earned that moniker when I published "Tiger Turds" back during the Watkins administration. However, I do hope that this discussion sheds some light on why LDRD has a problem with a substantial fraction of the staff. We could have all done without all of the political maneuvering that surrounds the selection process.

Anonymous said...

12:38 PM is a maverick at the lab. This person understood the importance of their job. I'm glad you stood up to The Man.

The comments also make you wonder about the newly funded DRs. Man, is this place corrupt or what?!?

Frank Young said...

Doug,
I really appreciate your help for the past few, well years actually. I haven't said much about what's going on with me lately. I'll try to do a post in a few days. Meanwhile, here are a few details.

The cat was named Georg and we adopted him seven years ago. He passed away Saturday morning at age 15. I was with him and he did not suffer. I wish I could say the same about me.

I'm also overseeing the building of our retirement home in South Carolina. I've been here three months now living in a tent getting pounded by the weather almost every day. I'm still weeks away from having walls, plumbing, ect. I just wanted everyone to know that I'm not sick nor sick of blogging, only a little busy at the moment. The Pinky you know and love (or hate) will be back soon!

Anonymous said...

5:18,

LANL's petty little LDRD selection committee politics is not corruption. That's just your plain old vanilla typical run of the mill University back-stabbing politics. The real corruption is in the way that NNSA and Congress allowed Bechtel & Buddies peddle influence to "win" the LANL contract. Cost of that particular little bit of corruption: $200 million per year to LANL's operating budget.

Now *that's* corruption. Don't get me wrong: the way LDRD is managed at LANL is, as another poster put it, incestuous, at best. But that's not where the true corruption lies at LANL. You need to look further up the chain for that.

Doug Roberts said...

Sorry to hear about Georg, Frank. Sorry^B^B^B^B^BHappy to have been available to help you with the blog.

Anonymous said...

Here's the rub: we common folk have to accept that we'll never be allowed to play the upper echelon corruption game (Bechtel et al., ULM, big money). BUT, we were constantly sold a bill of goods re: LDRD. "Come up with a good idea, show how it will benefit the Lab and country, show how it the 'seed money' will lead to bigger and better funding down the road, show how organizations across the Lab can collaborate together, spend time writing a comprehensive proposal, make a big presentation in front of our 'blue-ribbon' selection committee, and you'll get funded....." Bullshit. They should have said "Make sure you have all the right politics in order, that all the right people are on board, that you have sucked up (and off) all the 'right' people....and don't waste your time unless you have all of that accomplished. It doesn't matter what you know, what your idea is, or how good your presentation will be. It's only important that you have done all the 'correct prep work', if you know what I mean." Period. LDRD ought to use outside reviewers, who review the submitted proposals without knowing the identities of the authors, and who judge the proposals on the scientific merits alone. Screw the politics.

Anonymous said...

LDRD and WFO are both corrupting influences at LANL. Both allow some staff to feel that they are "above" the crap that direct funded people have to deal with every day. WFO lets folks feel they need have no loyalty or concern for their colleagues in DOE/NNSA programs, or really any loyalty to the Lab. Ditto for the LDRD "prima donnas" who feel they can behave as if they were at a university with no responsibility to the institution or its real missions. Perhaps some WFO- or LDRD-funded folks don't feel/act that way, but I've never met them.

Anonymous said...

6:56:

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the pure, unadulterated NNSA view on WFO and LDRD at LANL.

Don't worry, D'Ag. you've taken care of the WFO problem at LANL. Happy now? I'm sure you'll figure out how to kill LDRD next.

Anonymous said...

LDRD and WFO are both corrupting influences at LANL. Both allow some staff to feel that they are "above" the crap that direct funded people have to deal with every day. WFO lets folks feel they need have no loyalty or "concern for their colleagues in DOE/NNSA programs, or really any loyalty to the Lab. Ditto for the LDRD "prima donnas" who feel they can behave as if they were at a university with no responsibility to the institution or its real missions. Perhaps some WFO- or LDRD-funded folks don't feel/act that way, but I've never met them.

8/3/09 6:56 PM"

Fake, try again phony.

Anonymous said...

"Period. LDRD ought to use outside reviewers, who review the submitted proposals without knowing the identities of the authors, and who judge the proposals on the scientific merits alone. Screw the politics.

8/3/09 6:12 PM"

This is a good idea that I have been pushing for awhile now. We should at least have a few outside people. There is always a few junk LDRD projects that you have to wonder about. The same is true for NSF and NIH, but we can try and do better.

Anonymous said...

anything negative = fake

Anonymous said...

LDRD has some outside reviewers already, but maybe not enough. When a new project is reviewed, none of the reviewers know who submitted the proposal. Bill Priedhorsky has added some transparency since he was placed in charge which for years David Watkins did not.

Anonymous said...

anything negative = fake

8/3/09 8:33 PM

fake = fake = 8.33 PM

Anonymous said...

LDRD is rigged for sure. Still, some RD actually occurs.

Anonymous said...

My interaction with LDRD was straightforward.

1. Wrote a proposal and got outside collaborators.
2. I submitted the proposal to LDRD.
3. They funded it.

They did not fund me to do it. They gave the proposal to a guy in another division who was their buddy and who needed funding. He did not make much progress on my proposal because he did not have the collaborators and did not know the science but he did get funded.

This funding was a surprise to him since he had not submitted or even written a proposal.

Your results may differ.

Anonymous said...

Actually, for all your "LDRD is fake" comments, since Bill P. took over it has become a quantum-dot, nano-fest, can solve everything affair. Who gives a shiT? Why are we a nuclear weapons lab again?

Anonymous said...

8/3/09 8:39 PM, WTF are you talking about? "None of the reviewers know who submitted the proposal"? Uh, wrong. I've sat on a committee the past few years and the PI's name was front and center.

As for Priedhorsky's "transparency" - yes that's a word he likes to throw around a lot. Anyone notice the extra seed funds that he's decided to throw at a few "promising new ideas"? (Check the LDRD web page for this list). At least one of these ideas failed to pass the first technical reveiew in both its ER and DR formats. But Bill P, presumably in collaboration with Terry Wallace, decided to fund it anyway.

He pulls this stuff constantly... puts together an ad hoc committee to do technical reviews on reserve funding requests, and then ignores the committees recommendations and funds whatever he wants.

It's good to be king, eh Bill? What a corrupt m*****f***** that man is.

Anonymous said...

I guess I am one of the LDRD welfare queens. In my ~5 years at LANL, I was a PI, co-PI or a major contributor to ~30 LDRD submissions, got multiple DRs funded, an ER, and multiple postdoc projects. I have been funded almost exclusively by LDRD over these years. And while on LDRD, I wrote ~40 external projects to NIH, NSF, DTRA, DARPA, DOE/OS, and shaped many calls for these agencies. Quite a few of these proposals and calls resulted in money to LANL, and, by my estimate, I bring in about twice as much funding for others at LANL as it costs LDRD to fund me. The same is true for most other people routinely funded by LDRD that I know. And, in fact, most of such people do get great job offers elsewhere-- e.g., I am leaving shortly to a top-20 university. LDRD is not perfect, but it's much better than much of the rest of LANL. The DR section is political (any $5M grant must be somewhat political), the ERs and PRDs are quite a bit random (and how could they not be if the success rate is below 10%?), but, overall, LDRD is not the first place at this lab where I would start changing things. In many respects, LDRD is what makes this lab fun, and I will miss it at my new job.

Anonymous said...

I've been amused watching some people who left the lab a few years ago who were "rich" on LDRDs face reality outside at universities where competitive NSF, NIH and Office of Science funding doesn't come as easily as LDRD. Amazing how, when cast out in the larger pool of researchers around the country to compete with, ideas that sound good when compared with ~50 others from inside LANL begin to sound pretty weak when competing with hundreds of others. For all the good that it does in supporting new ideas, I think LDRD gives some people (the "queens") a false sense of relevance if they're only competing internally.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 8/3/09 6:56 PM said...

"WFO lets folks feel they need have no loyalty or concern for their colleagues in DOE/NNSA programs, or really any loyalty to the Lab."

This person needs to try and get some WFO funding then try to get the work done within that budget when LANS changes the rules.

S/he must be one of those who hides behind the fence on the weapons program.

Anonymous said...

This whole thread has gone from amusing reading to a grand display of dysfunctional infighting (what else is new?). Anyway, perhaps a different perspective is in order.

First, LDRD is driven by some very specific congressional language, but it is not very different than what all government contractors have, which is called IRAD, or Internal Research And Development Funds. Most government contractors are allowed to tax their contracts to perform IRAD, and often the government reviews those efforts. Industry uses IRAD to develop new capabilities that will be used to bid on future contracts and is highly competed for within companies.

Second, I am getting the impression that some people think that all WFO is pure R&D $$ from places like NSF or NIH or the like. We do lots of WFO for government agencies to meet important national security needs, often in partnership with NNSA and DOE.

Third, if the lab is to grow and stay healthy, we need to truly become a National Security Laboratory, doing things that industry or academia alone can not do. WFO of the second type above is the only way this will happen, as the trend lines for all DOE/NNSA funding is likely to continue to decline in the far term. Sandia gets more WFO funding of the second type above than its traditional DOE mission.

Finally, given these three points, most of LDRD should execute the intersection of the Venn diagram of leading edge science and technology, and efforts that will lead to future solutions to hard problems for the country will lead to new programs for DOE/NNSA or WFO. We should also give more than lip service to transition issues of LDRD results to new programs. Some fraction, say %10 of LDRD, should still be completely blue sky bleeding edge work with no obvious or immediate programmatic linkage since pure scientific excellence is still a good thing for this lab and the nation.

Anonymous said...

6:28 -

"Third, if the lab is to grow and stay healthy, we need to truly become a National Security Laboratory, doing things that industry or academia alone can not do. WFO of the second type above is the only way this will happen, as the trend lines for all DOE/NNSA funding is likely to continue to decline in the far term."

The theory is beautiful, but it ignores one little bit of harsh reality -- NNSA has explicitly and officially deprecated non-NNSA, non-Plutonium WFO at LANL. To put it another way, NNSA has no desire for the lab to *become* healthy and grow. NNSA has LANL right were it wants us: a captive Plutonium-missioned facility.

As an aside, I almost spewed my coffee when I got to the part of your comment that said, "if the lab is to grow and stay healthy." The lab is not now healthy, nor has it been since the day Peter G. Nanos became director.

As a further aside, nobody has used Venn diagrams at LANL since Feynman's time.

As a further, further aside: you talk like a fuzzy-headed academic, but thanks for your insights anyhow.

Anonymous said...

The theory is beautiful, but it ignores one little bit of harsh reality -- NNSA has explicitly and officially deprecated non-NNSA, non-Plutonium WFO at LANL."

Interesting conspiracy theory, but why does this apply to LANL and not Sandia?

And what fraction of LANL would you say actually works on plutonium research? (Or pit production for that matter?)

All in all, I think 6:28 AM is one of the more coherent posters.

Doug Roberts said...

1:47am (having trouble sleeping?):

"I've been amused watching some people who left the lab a few years ago who were "rich" on LDRDs face reality outside at universities where competitive NSF, NIH and Office of Science funding doesn't come as easily as LDRD. Amazing how, when cast out in the larger pool of researchers around the country to compete with, ideas that sound good when compared with ~50 others from inside LANL begin to sound pretty weak when competing with hundreds of others. For all the good that it does in supporting new ideas, I think LDRD gives some people (the "queens") a false sense of relevance if they're only competing internally."

The last round of NIH Challenge Grant competition had 20,000 responses, against a total of 200 grants to be awarded.

Anonymous said...

"I've been amused watching some people who left the lab a few years ago who were "rich" on LDRDs face reality outside at universities where competitive NSF, NIH and Office of Science funding doesn't come as easily as LDRD. Amazing how, when cast out in the larger pool of researchers around the country to compete with, ideas that sound good when compared with ~50 others from inside LANL begin to sound pretty weak when competing with hundreds of others. For all the good that it does in supporting new ideas, I think LDRD gives some people (the "queens") a false sense of relevance if they're only competing internally.

8/4/09 1:47 AM"

This does not square with my experience. All the people that I know that have left, and I know a very large number, have done very well and are funded. I think you are just making this up. I can name names. If what you say is true that names some names. I think you are just some bitter loser who makes crap up.

Anonymous said...

The theory is beautiful, but it ignores one little bit of harsh reality -- NNSA has explicitly and officially deprecated non-NNSA, non-Plutonium WFO at LANL." - 8:12 AM

Interesting conspiracy theory, but why does this apply to LANL and not Sandia? - 9:21 AM

--

SNL launched their diversification campaign almost 15 years ago when NNSA didn't even exist and DOE was encouraging the weapon labs to diversify.

Times have changed. NNSA is much more tightly focused on nuclear weapons and the dysfunctional bureaucrats who run this agency want to micro-manage LANL with absolute control. Given this, it is unlikely that LANL will be given the necessary managerial slack to effectively diversify using WFOs like SNL. The window of opportunity to diversify LANL into a national security lab has closed.

Anonymous said...

How about some actual names of these so-called people who left, 10:00am, so we can check your allegations.

Anonymous said...

10:39, your comment is interesting. 15 years ago, Sig was encouraging us to diversify too. We were all supposed to go out and build CRADA's with industry, and the like. There were a few major efforts that welled up as a result, but they were not particularly sustainable. In part I think this was due to staff burnout - the ROI for this effort was dimes on the dollar, more often than not. Most of those who were mature enough in their careers to really be successful at in that era have retired or moved to other instiutions.

This was all pre-NNSA too. So why was Sandia successful when we were not?

More than once I've heard Terry Wallace say that "Sandia builds widgets. We don't build widgets, we develop the science underlying the widgets." I find this notion jarring - not only because we have a number of divisions that do, in fact, build widgets. But also, because it gives me pause: is there a real market for the "science underlying the widgets"? If so... where is it?

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that 2:06 is talking about Sig Hecker and diversification. Hecker is a lot of the problem. In 90-91 CTR division got Graham-Rudmanized at the last minute in the budget process. Domenici didn't even show up for the vote. Hecker stood by and let it happen.

This represented a loss of about $25,000,000/year in non-weapons funding at the lab. ZT-H, which was under construction and somewhere between 70% and 90% complete, got flushed down the toilet. Millions of dollars worth of coils came in through the front door and went out the back door as scrap metal. The waste was astounding.

Four years later every concept that CTR division pioneered got resurrected, but not at LANL. They were picked up by other institutions, and they are still being pursued.

Anonymous said...

"How about some actual names of these so-called people who left, 10:00am, so we can check your allegations.

8/4/09 11:22 AM"

If you are legit you should already know these names. We also did this before on the blog. You never listen or choose not to listen.

N. Curro, UC Davis
C. Hammel, OSU
C. Jarzynski, U of Maryland.
Y. Shirman, UC Irvine
S. Lamoreux, Yale
P. Ginsbarg, Cornell
L. Pratt, Tulane
E. Knill, U of Colorado Boulder,
G. Ortiz, U of Indiana
L Viola, Dartmouth
A. Heeger, U of Minnesota
A. Garcia, RPI
Asakai, WSU
J. Terning, UC Davis
W Press, U of Texas
D. Holm, Imperial College
T. Sewall, U of Missouri
R. LeSar, ISU
R. LeFlame, Waterloo
R Averitt, Boston U
P. Kwiat, U of Illinois
I. Gabitov, U of Airzona
Feader, U of Pittsburg
F. Cordova, Purdue
Camasa, UNC

and it goes on and on.

Anonymous said...

You list does not prove your point. Many of these people left years ago.

2007, N. Curro, UC Davis
2002?, C. Hammel, OSU
2006, C. Jarzynski, U of Maryland.
Y. Shirman, UC Irvine
S. Lamoreux, Yale
P. Ginsbarg, Cornell
2008, L. Pratt, Tulane
2003, E. Knill, U of Colorado Boulder,
prior to 2007, G. Ortiz, U of Indiana
2004. L Viola, Dartmouth
Huh, you mean the nobel laureate? He never worked at LANL. A. Heeger, U of Minnesota.
2005, A. Garcia, RPI
Asakai, WSU
2004, J. Terning, UC Davis
2004, W Press, U of Texas
D. Holm, Imperial College
T. Sewall, U of Missouri
2006, R. LeSar, ISU
R. LeFlame, Waterloo
2006, R Averitt, Boston U
2001, P. Kwiat, U of Illinois
2002, I. Gabitov, U of Airzona
Feader, U of Pittsburg
The president of Purdue, who left LANL in 1989? Are you kidding? F. Cordova, Purdue
Camasa, UNC

Anonymous said...

Wow, 8/4/09 4:18 PM
You compiled quite a list of names there. Too bad that is your only contribution to anything. You should never call anyone else a loser. If you weren't such a loser you could have spent the time doing something useful. Of course that would have been far beyond your "talents." But then, hey you compiled a list of (fictitious) names.
That nobody has ever heard of. Did you include Kermit the Frog? Obviously you need to get back to "work."

Anonymous said...

It used to be that people came to Los Alamos to do BIG experiments that could never be done anywhere else. BIG Vela astronomy, BIG CO2 lasers, BIG motor generator driven plasmas, BIG theta pinches, BIG accelerators, BIG shock physics, BIG hydrodynamics, BIG high explosive pulsed power, BIG classified shit, ..., and the BIGGEST of all -- nuclear explosions and the physics add-on experiments driven by them. Anyone who has felt the ground shake at the CP, knowing that the data reurned from their experiment is the first, and probably last, of the kind, knows the meaning of BIG experiments. More than likely unpublishable, and probably never to be repeated. In those days we welcomed the participation of our colleagues that were mostly supported by LDRD. The intellectual return was fantastic on a tax that was only a pittance in the BIG picture of BIG experiments at what used to be Los Alamos -- and we were proud to be Lost, Almost !

Anonymous said...

" But then, hey you compiled a list of (fictitious) names.
That nobody has ever heard of. Did you include Kermit the Frog?

8/4/09 6:11 PM"

??????? What the hell are talking about??????

Anonymous said...

Things have taken a BIG turn for the worse, with today's HUGELY mismanaged LANL. Enjoy the memory of your glory days, 7:22. They're gone forever. LANL is now just a BIG money maker for Bechtel & buddies. Although, I guess the new official LANL slogan is still BIG:

"Wear shoes that GRIP!"

Anonymous said...

"You list does not prove your point. Many of these people left years ago."

You wanted a list of people who left and have been funded. I did not include the people that just left since they need time to see if they are funded. Generally startup money lasts a few years. We could do another list than if you like. What is your point? Where is your list?

Anonymous said...

From 8/4/09 10:00 AM ...This does not square with my experience. All the people that I know that have left, and I know a very large number, have done very well and are funded. I think you are just making this up. I can name names. If what you say is true that names some names. I think you are just some bitter loser who makes crap up.

Another data point ... Joe Martz is leaving for Stanford. Another gift from Sig. LANL will pay dearly for this. THank you for supporting plutonium scienc Wallace, you big spineless pussy.

Anonymous said...

"Huh, you mean the nobel laureate? He never worked at LANL. A. Heeger, U of Minnesota. "

There is an Alex Heger who left LANL in 2008 to start as an Assoc Prof at UMN.

We should also remember K. Schelter is leaving for U Penn.

Anonymous said...

I apologize for the misunderstanding 10:00. Apparently you simply meant that some of the people who leave LANL are competent enough to do their next jobs. Yes, I agree.

Anonymous said...

K. Schelter??? Are you high? Who is K. Schelter??

Anonymous said...

The point is, anyone who has an ounce of self-motivation has left LANL far behind for a job where s/he can be creative, can be productive (not just have a job), can have some self-respect because s/he is not ripping off the taxpayer with the non-deserved salary and benefits.

I left the Lab in 2004 to enter the private workforce because of Nanos and other reasons. It was really difficult at first because I was not used to real 'work' and the need to meet deadlines and produce deliverables.

Now, I look back and I am relieved that I left the 6-figure salary and enticing benefits...because now I feel good about myself and my contribution to society - and did I mention? I am so very happy not to live in Los Alamos County - so many angry and negative people.

LANL was and is NOT the place for people who can cut it in the competitive private workplace where people have to earn their pay.

If the taxpayer who lives in states other than NM truly knew the return on investment their tax dollars produced at LANL, the place would be shut down tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

7:50, postdocs who couldn't get an offer for a TSM position at LANL really don't figure into this discussion.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous Anonymous said...

K. Schelter??? Are you high? Who is K. Schelter??

8/4/09 9:06 PM"

I just threw that in there to piss you off and it worked. ;)

Anonymous said...

"The point is, anyone who has an ounce of self-motivation has left LANL far behind for a job where s/he can be creative, "

Oh come on, people said this in 2004, and people left in 2005. They said this in 2005 and people left in 2006, they said this in 2006 and people left in 2007, they said this in 2007 and people left in 2008, they said this in 2008, and people left in 2009. You are saying this now but people will also leave in 2010 and so on. In fact I know of many people that had offered but stayed on. There are plenty of good people left at LANL and we still get a few good ones.

It is just a bunch of crap when people say anyone who can leave has already left, it just is not true. Get your facts straight.

Anonymous said...

"Another data point ... Joe Martz is leaving for Stanford." - 7:43 PM

So what? As I stated at my April All-Hands meeting, it's good that our scientists are leaving LANL to escape LANS. We'll be able to replace them with much cheaper post docs.

- TERRY

Anonymous said...

"I left the Lab in 2004 to enter the private workforce."

Left, fired, or about to be fired.
I suspect you have some kind of agenda.

"If the taxpayer who lives in states other than NM truly knew the return on investment their tax dollars produced at LANL, "

And why should we believe you? What is your proof. We have gone over this on the blog before, over and over. The facts prove you wrong over and over and you still will not listen. You never provide facts, just a bunch of statements, "I hate LANL, they are bad". Why are they bad? Do you have some facts? "I said so, so ha ha". Give it a rest already".

I really doubt you have a job. I think you are just a pathetic little person who is angry at the world. Stop blaming other!!!

Anonymous said...

"LANL was and is NOT the place for people who can cut it in the competitive private workplace where people have to earn their pay." (8/4/09 9:16 PM)

But it's a great place to work if you love coming up with crazy new policies and then playing 'policy police' to enforce these policies on what's left of the lab's shrinking work force.

There are lots of well paying jobs at LANL for bureaucratic policy makers. Heck, under LANS, these types of positions are quickly becoming the majority of the lab's work force!

Anonymous said...

8/4/09 9:16 PM

LANL is both a leading part in the nuclear weapons complex (NWC), and a corner-stone in the US nuclear deterrence since 1943, but to address simplistic economic ideas towards LANL, and only LANL, is bad economics and bad nuclear deterrence, in short, bad policy, due to the fact that the NWC, the nuclear arsenal and its delivery systems have to be well funded if US wants to remain as a superpower.

Anonymous said...

I don't see LANL listed anywhere in this article below of Recovery Act funding for science.

I guess that's because Congress specifically forbid LANL from getting any of the vast pile of stimulus money for the purpose of doing science. Almost all of the Recovery Act science funding seems to be flowing into the DOE energy labs.

---------------------------------
New round of stimulus funds includes $327M for DOE science

August 4, 2009 | 5:31 pm

From today’s US Department of Energy press release:

Of the $327 million in Recovery Act funding announced today, $107.5 million is slated to go to universities, nonprofit organizations, and private firms, generally on a competitive, peer-reviewed basis. The remaining $220 million will go to U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratories for a range of research, instrumentation, and infrastructure projects, including $164.7 million for projects already allocated as follows:

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory; Batavia, IL—$60.2 million, including $52.7 million for research on next-generation particle accelerator technologies; and $7.5 for neutrino research in collaboration with Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Berkeley, CA—$ 37.8 million, including $13.1 million to upgrade equipment at the DOE Joint Genome Institute; $11 million for fusion energy research; $8.8 million for equipment improvements at the Advanced Light Source; $4 million for new instrumentation at the DOE Joint BioEnergy Institute, one of three DOE Bioenergy Research Centers; and $875,000 for mathematical analysis related to the development of Smart Grid technology.

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory; Stanford, CA—$21.8 million, including $20 million for an experimental end station at the Linac Coherent Light Source to study high energy density plasmas; and $1.8 million for improvements at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource.

Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory; Princeton, NJ—$13.8 million, including $8.8 million for a variety of initiatives in fusion energy research and $5 million for infrastructure improvements at the laboratory.

Brookhaven National Laboratory; Upton, NY—$9.5 million, including $3 million for improvements at the National Synchrotron Light Source; and $6.5 million for neutrino research.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Oak Ridge, TN—$8.7 million, including $5.4 million for equipment at the DOE BioEnergy Science Center, a DOE Bioenergy Research Center; $3.2 million to seed development of computerized knowledgebase to integrate masses of data flowing from DOE-supported genomics and systems biology research; and $180,000 for fusion energy research.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; Richland, WA—$5.7 million, including $4.9 million for integrated assessment modeling for climate; and $867,000 for mathematical analysis related to the development of Smart Grid.

Argonne National Laboratory; Argonne, IL—$5.6 million for improvements at the Advanced Photon Source.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; Livermore, CA—$810,000 for fusion energy research.

Sandia National Laboratories; Sandia, NM, and Sandia, CA—$800,000, including $688,000 for mathematical analysis related to the development of Smart Grid; and $75,000 for fusion energy research.

In March Secretary Chu announced $1.2 billion in DOE Office of Science Recovery Act projects. In July, DOE announced a new Office of Science Early Career Research Program to be funded with $85 million in Recovery Act funds. With this third and final round of projects, the Obama Administration has now approved projects covering the full $1.6 billion that the DOE Office of Science received from Congress under the Recovery Act.

http://www.symmetrymagazine.org/
breaking/2009/08/04/
new-round-of-stimulus-funds-includes-327m-for-doe-science/

Anonymous said...

Joe Martz has a naive worldview, first, he follows Hans Bethe, better is, as history has shown, Edward Teller.

He also beliefs that the nuclear genie can be put back into the bottle - it´s not possible under real-world conditions.

He further beliefs in the idea of global denuclearization - it´s not possible under real-world conditions. The only one country on earth that Joe Martz, and the Obama administration can absolutely, positively denuclearize: Ours, e.g. United States, but not Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, et cetera.

Anonymous said...

"You wanted a list of people who left and have been funded."

Interesting. Looked up A. Heger (different from A. Heeger, thank god I wasn't the only one confused there!) and this is on his webpage. Still looks like a lot of LDRD and DOE money to me.

http://www.physics.umn.edu/people/alex.html

PI, LANL DR "Coming out of the Cosmic Dark Ages - The First Stars in the Universe" (2004-2007); PI LANL ER "Finding the First Cosmic Explosions" (2007-2010); Co-I LANL DR "Cosmic Explosions Probing the Extreme: X-Ray Bursts, Superbursts, and Giant Flares on Neutron Stars" (2007-2010); Co-I DOE "SciDAC Center for Supernova Research" (2004-2006); Co-I DOE SciDAC "Computational Astrophysics Consortium - 3. Supernovae, Gamma-Ray Bursts, and Nucleosynthesis" (2006-2011); Co-I DOE Block Grant "Research in Nuclear Astrophysics" (2007-2011). Organizer "Chemical Enrichment of the Early Universe", 2004, Santa Fe, NM; Organizer "The First Stars and Evolution of the Early Universe", 2006, INT (UW); Organizer "First Stars III", 2007, Santa Fe, NM.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone care to speculate (or know) what today's meeting with the Director and all of the PADWP folks is all about? My guess is it is budget related.

Anonymous said...

"8/5/09 4:46 AM"

4:46AM? What is up with you?

Anonymous said...

"4:46AM? What is up with you?"

Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. Benjamin Franklin

Anonymous said...

""4:46AM? What is up with you?"

Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. Benjamin Franklin

8/5/09 9:18 AM"

OOOOOOOOKAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY

I think you might want to consider getting some psychiatric counseling.

Anonymous said...

Brian Dyer left LANL in June for Auburn University. Dyer was a mid-career Fellow, for goodness sakes!

LANS/Bechtel is certainly moving 'em out. The strange thing is, LANS upper management seems to have almost no concern for this loss of scientific talent. It's sad to watch this play out.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone care to speculate (or know) what today's meeting with the Director and all of the PADWP folks is all about? My guess is it is budget related.

8/5/09 7:39 AM

Any flies on the wall want to key us in on what is said at this meeting? Where, exactly, does the PADWP budget stand?

Anonymous said...

Some people get a lot done before 10 AM...others are night owls...get over it.

Auburn??? what is it like to be consistently wrong??

http://www.chemistry.emory.edu/faculty/dyer.html

Anonymous said...

"Some people get a lot done before 10 AM...others are night owls...get over it."

And others are just batshit crazy.

Anonymous said...

Morning people, night owls - all true. There are also those pesky little things called time zones. Blogger records the local time of the blog as the posting time, regardless of local time of the person posting. Last time I checked, the internet does extend outside of the mountain time zone, and some of us who left the lab left it. I got zinged by some anonymous asshole (and Doug) for posting something at, *oh no*, too late of an hour in the mountain time zone, even though it was a comfortably normal hour where I was living. Time zones are just so darn confusing, aren't they?

Anonymous said...

People need to understand that LDRD and WFO are not very important to upper management. In fact, they would probably be happy if both went away. There are no PBIs for either of them.

LDRD allows those arrogant people to pad their resumes with refereed publications. WFO work has that aweful thing about accountability.

Anonymous said...

I have about given up on bringing WFO projects. First, you have to try to explain the unreasonable and ever-increasing LANS taxes.

Then, you must understand that there is no accountability at all above your level. Your Division Leader, AD, etc., have done their part by taking the taxes.

If the project is big enough
(> $1M), it will be assigned to some program office which will also tax the project. I once had a project where I found some unknown people charging time to it. The Program Office informed me that they "needed a place to charge their time" and I should make economies in other areas of the project.
The Program Office is free to change its tax at any time.

After that, you have to deal with stand-downs. That time should be charged to overhead but that is not allowed.

Anonymous said...

"After that, you have to deal with stand-downs. That time should be charged to overhead but that is not allowed."

Bingo! I vaguely remember this little 7-month stand-down back in 2004 (we called it a shutdown back then). Yep, all WFO projects continued to have staff time charged to them while we all sat on our collective asses.

The shutdown did prove to be an effective method of trimming some of that troublesome WFO from LANL's budget, though. In the first few weeks of the shutdown several WFO sponsors pulled back approx. $200M of their funding from the lab. More followed in the ensuing months. Before you could say "Bob's your uncle", the WFO component of LANL's total budget dropped from ~24% to the piddlin' little 7 percent we have today. Try to tell me this was not a planned transition.

Anonymous said...

"I once had a project where I found some unknown people charging time to it. The Program Office informed me that they "needed a place to charge their time" and I should make economies in other areas of the project."

why are they able to get away with this? the DOE needs to come in and clean house. unfortunately, they don't care about LANL anymore.

Anonymous said...

"why are they able to get away with this? the DOE needs to come in and clean house. unfortunately, they don't care about LANL anymore. "

Why are you acting all surprised, 4:55? This kind of time mismanagement has been the norm at LANL for as long as I can remember. Everybody knows about it. DOE knows about it. Overhead is for our fine management to charge to. Everybody else needs to be on a program code.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, maybe the all hands was to introduce McMillan as the new AD for PADNWP.

Anonymous said...

" Time zones are just so darn confusing, aren't they?

8/5/09 12:35 PM"

What time was it in China?

Anonymous said...

LDRD Queen = Jenn Hollingsworth, and NOT Toni Taylor.

Hollingsworth continues to fuck the system royally and LDRD and Wallace and company are looking the other way wrt augmentation because she has - like Victor Klimov - threated to leave LANL if they don't treat her right. This year, she managed to score multiple LDRD's from different committees with only a nominal change in proposal title. She "lead" a DR proposal, and then divvy it into several ER proposals, and then tossed it over to Office of Science for good measure.

She did this all on the same concept, Quantum Dots to Solve the Solid State Lighting Initiative: 2 ERs (one with her as co-PI w/ Han Htoon - identical proposals, different committees), a DR, and then a multi-year, multi million dollar BES SISGR (with Han Htoon as co-PI). Oh and let's not forget, she and Htoon are part of CINT and get 50% of their salary covered.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, maybe the all hands was to introduce McMillan as the new AD for PADNWP.

8/5/09 8:33 PM

Let's face it, PADNWP is Mikey's fair-haired, price winning prima donna Directorate that he gotta suck hard up to and kiss their butts. In fact, I understood they were handing out mid-year raises last month in X-Division while the rest of will wait until January, if were so lucky to get one. Outside of this Directorate the rest of us are overhead. When Mikey has something to say PADNWP get the news first.

Anonymous said...

8/5/09 12:35 PM

Ok you say you are in some random time zone, left the lab in 2004, and yet you spend all your time on this blog.

So are batshit crazy, a liar, or a liar who is batshit crazy?

12:35PM there is something very very odd about you.

Anonymous said...

From NW&MM, at http://www.exchangemonitor.com/publications/current_toc/toc_nuc_weap.pdf, August 3, 2009, Inside Highlights:

"The head of U.S. Strategic Command last week said [Gen. Kevin Chilton, "First Annual Strategic Deterrence Symposium"] he is comfortable with the stockpile reductions proposed by the Obama Administration as part of negotiations with Russia on a replacement to the START treaty, even while he continued to press for a modernization proogram for the nation´s warheads and weapons complex."

"The heads of the NNSA´s two main weapons design laboratories endorsed a tailored approach to modernizing the nation´s nuclear arsenal last week [ibid], one that Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Michael Anastasio said could mesh with changes to the nation´s weapons complex."

"A bipartisan group of six Senators [Jon Kyl: "Defense Authorization Bill," at http://www.nationalledger.com/artman/publish/article_27267131.shtml] is pushing President Barack Obama to submit a plan to upgrade the nation´s nuclear weapons stockpile and complex along with a replacement to the START treaty, adding weight to language in the Senate´s version of the FY2011 Defense Authorization Act that calls for the same thing."

Anonymous said...

"Morning people, night owls - all true. There are also those pesky little things called time zones. Blogger records the local time of the blog as the posting time, regardless of local time of the person posting. Last time I checked, the internet does extend outside of the mountain time zone, and some of us who left the lab left it. I got zinged by some anonymous asshole (and Doug) for posting something at, *oh no*, too late of an hour in the mountain time zone, even though it was a comfortably normal hour where I was living. Time zones are just so darn confusing, aren't they?

8/5/09 12:35 PM"

Bullshit 12:35PM this does not make any since, so you are liar, even if you are on the east coat than your post would be at 6:30AM, so far so good, however we also have the post "1:47am (having trouble sleeping?):" that would put you at 3:48AM. If you are on the West cost than we get 3:48AM and 12:47AM, either way your point does not hold up.

I would say you are firmly in in the N New Mexico area and have some series mental issues that keep up at night. Or maybe you are
in China? I would figure the Chinese are smarter than that so the safer bet is that you are just some bitter nutcase.

Anonymous said...

No matter the time or time zone, I yawn when I see such feeble attempts at logic as that from 9:28 PM.

Anonymous said...

"No matter the time or time zone, I yawn when I see such feeble attempts at logic as that from 9:28 PM.

8/5/09 10:12 PM"

The logic looked sound. How was it feeble?

Anonymous said...

According to Mike, one of the tough interview questions he asked Charlie was, "who could replace you?". By now, Charlie knows the right answer. "I'll bet somebody from Livermore or Bechtel, Mike. Somebody who is just like us."

The PADWP all-hands was a giant yawn. Now get to work on those shoes that grip.

Anonymous said...

It looks like, in addition to Brian Dyer, Emory got a few more LANL folks recently:
http://www.emory.edu/PROVOST/provostoffice/officers/richardeluce.php
http://www.physics.emory.edu/news/nemenman.html

Anonymous said...

"LDRD Queen = Jenn Hollingsworth"

She better be careful because those types of "negotiations" can backfire on junior staff. I'd call her on her bluff.

Since I'm posting this at 2 am, does that make me a morning person or a night owl? Why is this even a debate?

Anonymous said...

8/6/09 1:59 AM asked ..."Since I'm posting this at 2 am, does that make me a morning person or a night owl? Why is this even a debate?"

It is a debate because a lot of assholes read this blog and are not happy unless they can argue about ANYTHING.

Anonymous said...

"LDRD Queen = Jenn Hollingsworth"

She better be careful because those types of "negotiations" can backfire on junior staff. I'd call her on her bluff.

Well, I guess you are wrong because she is making a lot of people nervous as the thought of losing her unique Quantum Dot program. You know, her dots don't blink.

I would not be surprised if this year - and you heard it hear first - she not only gets promoted to a Scientist 5, gets a substantial pay raise (since she brought in all this money)but also gets inserted into the CINT Quantum Dot leader position that Klimov just vacated. I am sure this will all be part of her "let's keep Hollingsworth happy so she stays here" deal.

Anonymous said...

But...but, we're the best of the best and brightest!!
--LDRD Queen

Anonymous said...

To 7:17 am: Her dots don't blink and her shit don't stink! However, her "non-blinking" dots do still blink and she has been scooped in Nature by her Rochester competitors. Furthermore, her participation in the Sandia Solid-State Lighting EFRC (also from BES), represents ... uh ... triple dipping?

Anonymous said...

According to Mike, one of the tough interview questions he asked Charlie was, "who could replace you?". By now, Charlie knows the right answer. "I'll bet somebody from Livermore or Bechtel, Mike. Somebody who is just like us." (11:32 pm)

Anastasio's performance as Director is getting to the point that puking seems like the proper response any time he shows off his fuzzy fat face.

Anonymous said...

"But...but, we're the best of the best and brightest!!
--LDRD Queen"

But...but, you are an idiot!!

Anonymous said...

I'm serious! If she thinks she's so good, let her go! This attitude of "if you don't make me happy, I'll take my research elsewhere" is nothing more than a bunch of BS. She can be easily replaced, just like the rest of 'em.

Anonymous said...

The picture is great! Always wondered what one could use those things for once they've "outgrown" their usefulness. Great cup holder, excellent drink warmer!

Anonymous said...

"She can be easily replaced, just like the rest of 'em.

8/6/09 12:09 PM"

Nope, it does not work that way.

Anonymous said...

6:56 PM is correct. Hollingsworth is a female and the Lab needs to keep this special group happy. All women scientists get treated like royalty and don't have to work hard to get their bloated salaries. Yeah, fuck the hard working men at LANL. Case in point is Hollingsworth. She gets scooped on the "non-blinking" quantum dots but LANL management and the LDRD office look the other way and not only give her 50% of her salary (all people who work in CINT get this perk) and a reclass to a Scientist 5 with a huge salary increase, but also, count 'em - 3 ERs, a DR, a SISGR, and an EFRC (shhh, I mean Sandia). Wow, I would be willing to get a sex change to get that kind of money to stay at LANL. Heck, to boot I would be a protected class and a diversity token for the Lab. Hmmm.

Anonymous said...

8/7/09 3:04 AM

3:04AM? what is up with you?

You are just one total freaking nutcase, do you read your own posts? You are one sick little puppy.

Anonymous said...

someone got a cookie...or half a breakfast burrito

--

Smart recycling deal at TA-18 yields cash for rare gas

A sought-after form of helium, the gas used in neutron detection equipment, has turned into a big “store credit” for Los Alamos


Large increase in use of Helium-3 for homeland security created a shortage
Extracted from scores of retired neutron detectors, Helium-3 has been accumulating on site in a storage limbo fraught with paperwork challenges. In the course of cleaning up old detection equipment at Technical Area 18 on Pajarito Road, former home of the Los Alamos Critical Experiments Facility, Leonard Trujillo of the Advanced Nuclear Technology group (N-2) had set aside some 1,000 liters of the recovered gas, but had no channel for its disposal.

The U. S. Department of Transportation has guidelines for the safe transport of pressurized gas. Here at LANL, though, additional rules govern its packaging and removal: one-time shipments can be expensive, even prohibitive.

However, detectors are in short supply throughout the country, and William Myers (N-2), also working on the TA-18 cleanup, saw an opportunity. He contacted General Electric Reuter-Stokes, a vendor for a wide variety of the devices, to ask about returning the gas. The reply was enthusiastic; Reuter-Stokes was searching for new supplies of gas to build new detectors. So, along with Johnny Lovato (OS-PT), Leonard Trujillo worked with company representatives to package and move more than 300 detector tubes of the gas from TA-18 to the manufacturer’s facility in Ohio.

The idea of recycling the gas is not new, but “instead of recycling the tubes, people tended to hold on to their stash for later use in appropriate new projects,” said Myers. “We had gathered up the collections left at TA-18 by people who had retired or moved on, then segregated the useful tubes from others deemed as excess.”

Scarce supply and high demand
In nature, helium (a blend of isotopes Helium-4 and a small amount of Helium-3) is scarce; experts have been predicting a shortage for years. Helium-3, even rarer in nature than the blended form, is a byproduct of the decay of tritium and is not radioactive. “The U.S. supply of Helium-3 comes almost entirely from the decay of tritium used in nuclear weapons in the U.S. and Russia. A few other countries contribute a small amount to the world’s supply. Due to the large increase in use of Helium-3 for homeland security, the supply has dwindled and can no longer meet the demand,” noted Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s R.L. Kouzes in an April 2009 report, “The 3He Supply Problem.”

Helium-3 is valued in neutron detection for its large probability of interacting with thermal neutrons. When struck by one, Helium-3 produces a tritium nucleus (triton) and a proton that share 765 keV of energy. This energy is then available for the ionization of the gas in the detector tube which - when a high voltage is applied to the tube - generates an electronic pulse. This is the most common detection method for neutrons in applications for nuclear safeguards and homeland security. Since 9-11, demand for the gas vastly outstrips supplies.

Because of the shortage of Helium-3 gas, said Myers, “Reuter-Stokes was more than happy to work with us to recycle, the company had zero gas to make new tubes. This supply of recycled Helium-3 gas would allow RS to fill some LANL tube orders that had been stalled because of the lack.”

Recycling the product from research and weapons-related equipment is a valuable concept, Baker said. “The company is selling this gas for $500 per liter, so we now have half a million dollars in Helium-3 that we’ve been able to turn in.”

Anonymous said...

Science key to nuclear labs future says Chu
By Physics Today
August 7, 2009

In the first public meeting of the President’s Council of Advisers in Science and Technology (PCAST), US Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the loss of basic science and technology funding at the nuclear-weapons labs Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore have had an inverse effect in the labs ability to attract "the best and the brightest."

During the 1990s the labs basic research funding was on an “10-year-glide-path” to be cut in half he said, which was only stopped in 1998. "To be blunt," said Chu, "the best and the brightest didn’t want to be weapons designers...they wanted to do good science."

Chu pointed out that this model—of using basic science as the carrot which would eventually lead to an interest in more applied work—has been common at all the major innovation incubators such as the Bell Laboratories or in the weapons labs early history.

How to attract high caliber staff to the weapons labs in the current climate “is an unsolved problem” said Chu, who asked for PCAST to assess ways to attract the best staff to DOE. In the meeting Chu implied that there is currently a review underway of the nuclear weapons management structure.

Chu also expanded on the principles behind his request to Congress to fund centers of excellence in energy research in which DOE would act more like a venture capitalist fund and invest in people, not in individual projects. "In World War II you just picked out outstanding people and gave them a problem and told them to solve it," he said. "They treated problems as triage. You would tackle the hard problem first and move onto the next if it didn't work." A similar attitude needs to exist in energy research he said.

"The key would be the management team and whether they are willing to take on this task," he said. "There are a couple of experiments I want to do in this regard."

Paul Guinnessy

http://blogs.physicstoday.org/politics/2009/08/science-key-to-nuclear-labs-fu.html

Anonymous said...

oh, so that's why we are keeping our women scientist's like Hollingsworth happy. Hate to see a star like her leave LANL.

Anonymous said...

"Science key to nuclear labs future says Chu" -- Physics Today

Oh, really? So why, then, do we have NNSA labs being run by a sleazy, for-profit construction company (Bechtel)?

And why does Tom D'Agostino's Complex Transformation plan seems to emphasize the importance of shiny new facilities over the idea of retraining scientists to do lab research?

I'm confused. Somebody help me understand all of this.

Anonymous said...

"Wow, I would be willing to get a sex change to get that kind of money to stay at LANL. Heck, to boot I would be a protected class and a diversity token for the Lab. Hmmm.

8/7/09 3:04 AM"

The operation you need is at the other end. Think amputation of tongue.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't that look like Mikey
d wfir?

Anonymous said...

Funny, LDRD Welfare Queen Hollingswoth couldn't be bothered to send back the comments to the rejected proposals from the ER committee she chaired this year.

She has had over a month to get comments back but her schedule was simply too busy - she is now almost 3 weeks late. That adds up to almost two months.

No accountability.

Maybe she figures if she waits long enough nobody will remember what they submitted and how they got screwed over again while she has been in charge?

Anonymous said...

Hollingsworth is a skank, just let it go. She is protected just like people from the valley, she will get funding for doing nothing.