Tuesday, February 01, 2005

The Director Speaks

From Anonymous:

To/MS:  All Employees

From/MS: G. Peter Nanos, DIR, MS A100
Phone/Fax: 7-5101/Fax 7-2997
Symbol: DIR-05-044
Date: February 1, 2005
Subject: Thank You, Happy New Year


This is hardly the time for a New Years message, but yesterday I
finally felt as if a new year had arrived as we announced that
Los Alamos had resumed operations. That this has been a dark
time for most of us goes without saying. Many don't fully
understand why what we have been through was necessary and many
think that some lesser response would have been sufficient.
Those are valid feelings and opinions and will either be upheld
or fade over time. What is beyond dispute is that this was a
time of uncertainty and hard work. That we suspended operations
at a laboratory of this size and brought it back into operation
is an unprecedented accomplishment for Department of Energy
nuclear facilities.

This was accomplished by personal sacrifice and dedication by the
vast majority of our colleagues in the Laboratory. Those who
organized the inventory of CREM and set up the new media
libraries, those who organized the resumption process, those who
manned the resumption review board and performed site walk-downs,
all the division and group leaders who performed the self-
assessments and prepared their divisions for resumption, those
who kept critical national security work going, those who
conducted the MOX shipment operation and the TA-18 early moves,
and those who gave up hundreds of hours of personal time on
weekends and holidays are worthy of our respect and appreciation.
I am extremely grateful for what they have done and tremendously
proud of the results they have achieved for our Laboratory. Some
start-up work remains to be done before we are fully back on
schedule. For example, many employees in DX division are working
weekends to restart our hydro experiments.

Of course, there is still the anxiety that we all share about the
impending competition. There is not much that we can do that we
haven't already done collectively and individually to affect the
competition process. What we can do is to continue to improve
the operation of our laboratory and the quality of our science as
we build the future of Los Alamos. I believe that this will have
a profound effect on the outcome. The Laboratory that shut
itself down, identified 3,000 elements of operational risk,
corrected over 300 of the most serious elements and restarted in
six months is a Laboratory capable of any challenge. I believe
in Los Alamos and I especially believe in the capability and
dedication of those who work here.

Thank you for getting us restarted and all the best in the
New Year.

Noticibly absent in this missive is any reference to non-missing CREM, non-bad safety trends, missing issues of the December, 2004 Physics Today.

Go figure.
This is like the guy who knows he's done something wrong, but is too proud to apologize, so he tries to atone with syrupy messages of good will and friendship.

Does this guy really think I'm going to appreciate a sentimental Christmas or New Year's "card" from a guy who has insulted me and my co-workers by every possible means, with no intervening expression of remorse?
Oh great! DX-Division has been shut down for six months, and now they are working weekends to catch up on hydros. Would it not be better to work during the week instead? I hope nobody gets killed in the rush.
Well, Hydros may be going on a 0/3 exemption, but someone should ask Pete whether DX's High Explosives Science or Processing people are back up and running. They are not! Don't let him fool you into thinking that the entire lab is back to normal. It's not. We over in DX land continue to sit.

Pronunciation: 'smär-mE
Function: adjective
Etymology: smarm to gush, slobber
1 : revealing or marked by a smug, ingratiating, or false earnestness [a tone of smarmy self-satisfaction -- New Yorker]
2 : of low sleazy taste or quality [smarmy eroticism]
- smarm·i·ly /-m&-lE/ adverb
- smarm·i·ness /-mE-n&s/ noun
You are getting paid and should be using that time to better train yourself on your job, how to do it better, or some related issue. If you feel you are wasting tax payer money, you could quit your job and work in the real world for a while. I hear that the economy is getting better if you want 'Fries with that'.
Counting the above, I haven't heard a single pro-shutdown viewpoint expressed that was NOT smug and anti-intellectual. Does the above author not have enough sense of his own good to know how much Los Alamos scientists have contributed to the safety of the nation over the past 60 years?
I don't see any activity at DX-1 yet, nor do I expect them to be operational soon considering the fact that the operations have been totally idle for more than six months. Some equipment may have rendered beyond repair from lack of use, and no funds are available for replacements. It will be hard to do a Hydro test without a CDU, firing cables or dets.
The above poster does know quite well what LANL scientists have done in the PAST. The case is that LANL has not made any headway of really promoting what it has done in the present in the last 10 to 15 years. So even though it has done stuff since testing ended.. tell me how many people off the hill know it.

To too many tax payers in this country, we have been a 11 billion pork barrel for Saint Pete... and most of these 'anti-shutdown' posts come across as smug or whining. We have well paying jobs, we don't have bullets firing at us, we do not have to wear body armour at work. If it came down to a democratic vote, this country would vote clearly that money scientists whining that they had to sit in nice comfy chairs for 6 months should go instead to buying body armour for people crawling in ditches elsewhere. And the reason is that for too long this lab has said 'We have done so much in the past..' and this country is a very much ' What have you done for me now.'

Do not try to paint the above as being anti-intellectual right wing crap. I am neither.. I am a realist who knows that you cant just sit up on your island in the clouds and expect that the outside world to send you 11 billion and leave you alone.

Here are some more things for you all to ponder. The anti-LANL attitude in outside universities, governments , and elsewhere is not new or something that Nanos somehow started. I have been touring college campuses since the early 1990's and have heard big schools (MIT, UIUC, UC schools too) advice their students that going to LANL was a dead-end and a career killer. People in government and companies, I worked with wanted to know what in the world the lab did still since it got so much money but didnt seem to do anything that fed people or saved their lives. Heck people I have known for several decades at MIT considered LANL to have a bigger culture of arrogance than what they were used to in Boston.

People here being told these comments poo-pooed them as anti-intellectuals, that didnt matter. People here get monthly reports on the national news about missing disks and screwed up spying investigations.. and it is poo-pooed as uninformed people blathering that wont affect people here. People here get told that DOE has lost all confidence in UC and is putting up the contract for bid, and people here start to react but there is still the old 'Saint Pete will save us' attitude with many. The lab is shutdown for 6 months for safety and security measures, people lose their every other friday off, and all of the last 10 years is Nanos's fault.

Wake up people. We are all at fault here.. we have had our collective heads stuck in the sands for too long and blaming some figurehead is only sticking our heads in further. Sadly, I think that comments in these blogs like this, letters to the editor, etc are just re-inforcing the image to the people we really work for (taxpayers in California and the US) that we are the arrogant, whining, dont care about security or safety SOB's that both FoxNews and the New York Times label us as (and if those two can agree on anything.. its really bad).

And for the record, I do think that the term of 'cowboy' was insulting to people here who are real cowboys and play by the rules. I do believe the Admiral should have done a better apology for that comment. I also believe from the vitriol here, that many people would not accept any apology ever.
"What have you done for me now"?!? This lab is working on novel approaches of characterizing HIV that could contribute to an AIDS vaccine. We've developed systems to quickly detect and respond to biological, chemical, and nuclear terrorism. And we're working to make sure the US continues to have a nuclear deterrent in case Iran or North Korea deploy something that threatens the continental US. Do you think this is trivial?

You talk about sending science money to buy body armor. Who do you think developed the materials that make up that armor? Who do you think writes the software that guides the missiles that destroy the enemy so our soldiers don't have to rely on that body armor as much? How do you suppose the GPS system that coordinates soldiers' movements to avoid friendly fire accidents came into being? If not for scientists, the soldiers in Iraq would be fighting on horseback with spears!

Josef Stalin and Chairman Mao had famously anti-intellectual and anti-scientist attitudes. Mao nearly destroyed China sending his scientists into the countryside to forge iron. Stalin nearly lost his country to Hitler while he was imprisoning his weapons scientists. That this sort of attitude is arisen in our country reflects the failure of the educational system to inculcate the value of anything beyond football and trendy clothes. Our society needs to get serious about science if it intends to survive.
Happy New year???? Believe me, it is neither happy, nor a new year especially for the groups that are still shut down. What an insulting message.
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