Thursday, January 20, 2005

"Worlds Greatest Science ..." making bad parking lots

From the 1/20/2005 LANL NewsBulletin

Jan. 19, 2005

"Worlds Greatest Science ..." making bad parking lots

I am having just as much of a hard time stomaching the phrase "The Worlds Greatest Science Protecting America" as anyone else. I am sure that anyone who has been to a conference lately understands just how in error this phrase is. (Like Carl Gable in his Dec. 10, 2004 letter, I too refuse to get business cards that say this.) Yet I am trying to remain optimistic looking for reasons that it might be true, even by seeking examples close to home.

As a resident of Technical Area 3, I frequently use the new west parking structure. However, I have noticed over the past several months that the upper floor of the four-floor structure has not been open. That means that 25 percent of the structure is not usable. Having come recently from academia in a town where parking was far worse, I don't complain about how it is here because we really, in fact, have it quite good. But the fact that this floor was closed for months with no apparent work being done puzzled me. When I asked what was going on, I was told that the Lab couldn't figure out how to remove snow from the upper deck and therefore could not open it during the winter.

Ok, so I can understand that maybe nobody thought about this when that structure was initially built. However, if we really have the "World's Greatest Science ...." that should imply some intelligence is actually based here, right? One sign of intelligence is that we don't make the same mistakes twice.

So why are we building that huge parking structure in front of the Otowi Building (of the very same design, but twice in size) with the very same flaw?

Perhaps we should rephrase it to the "World's Most Expensive Science ..." or the "World's Least Planned Science ..."

--Clair Sullivan

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