Saturday, March 19, 2005

I don't normally respond to trolls, but I will make an exception in this case

Troll \Troll\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Trolled; p. pr. & vb. n.
Trolling.] [OE. trollen to roll, F. tr[^o]ler, Of. troller
to drag about, to ramble; probably of Teutonic origin; cf. G.
trollen to roll, ramble, sich trollen to be gone; or perhaps
for trotler, fr. F. trotter to trot (cf. Trot.). Cf.

4. To angle for with a trolling line, or with a hook drawn
along the surface of the water; hence, to allure.

I don't normally respond to trolls, but I will make an exception in this case. There have been a few comments to posts recently which (putting it politely) attacked my motivations for having created this blog. I would like to say a few words to those specific individuals.

My dad came to Los Alamos in 1949. I was born a year later and grew up there. I love the place, it's my home. I have worked at LANL for 20 years, where for most of that time I got to do what I loved: designing and implementing large complex computer simulations while working with people that I liked and respected. These were not just fun toys that we played with; most of the finished simulations are now being used to perform useful studies around our nation. The most recent of these simulations to be fielded, EpiSims, is an epidemiological simulation that is being used by several of our customers (DHS and NIH included) to study remediation approaches in the event of biological terrorist attacks against large urban areas in the United States.

When LANL effectively shut down the NewsBulletin, the one venue we all had to openly air and discuss important issues at LANL, I created this communications venue where people are allowed to discuss the current serious problems at LANL, openly and without fear of retribution. If there are individuals who think that by so doing I am attacking LANL, then perhaps those individuals are a part of the problem being addressed by the contributors of this blog, and should consider leaving.

--Doug Roberts


This blog has served as an exceptionally useful outlet for the unbelievable frustrations that loyal LANL staff members have felt ever since Director Nanos' unwarranted shutdown eight months ago. At that time, or possibly within a few days, the rumor sprang up that Nanos would be gone in two weeks. Like clockwork, that rumor has sprung up every two weeks, ever since.

I am now retired from LANL, not because I really wanted to do so this early in my career, but because I wanted to protect my 32.5 years invested in the UC retirement system. My years at LANL have had their ups and downs, but never such a down as the last eight months.

I got my doctorate at UC Berkeley, and I have, until the last half year, been proud of the University. Its present spineless response to Nanos' attack on that other institution that I care about--the Los Alamos Laboratory--has left me demoralized about the future. But only about the obstacles that daily mount to the Lab's recovery from the damage Nanos has done, not about the scientists and workers themselves.

I would call upon UC to read this blog and consider appointing an interim Director, who would have the moral authority to sweep out the sycophants in upper management, and set LANL back on a rational course. I would hope that someone (possibly even a former Lab Director) would respond to this crisis and serve the Lab and the nation between now and the awarding of the new contract. Such a move could possibly stem the tide of high quality people, who are presently contemplating leaving the Lab, one way or another.

The future of a truly scientific Laboratory may well be critical to the nation and the world in the next couple of years, and it would be a shame to hear people say, "Too bad LANL is so weak and wounded; we could have used them at their full strength."

It's also a shame that more people have not had the courage to step forward and truly serve the Lab and the nation, as has Doug Roberts with this blog.

Thanks, Doug.

-Brad Lee Holian, former LANL staff member

This blog is a public service, one of the finest examples I have seen of that tradition. It provides a venue for free sxpression to say things that justice demands to be said.

Wall Tapper
DITTO to 11:08 & 2:01! On the latter, this blog is truly a public service to all of us (I am an SSM, not eligible to retire, and probably don't fit the demographics of most posters here). Doug's venue is the only outlet to express our 1st amendment rights without fear of retaliation, and for that I'm truly appreciative. You go, Doug!
-- Lil' Troller
We are all in this struggle together, SSMs, Techs, Admins, and TSMs.

Hang in there. This blog should not be needed, but the Lab has closed down the vehicles, such as the Newsbulletin, which once were open to critical voices, but are no longer. Under Nanos, who has done some good things, "openness" means open to communication from the top, with voices from the staff ignored. Pete really is a Navy Admiral, lots of brass and little sense. Same with Foley.
Not only does the Newsbulletin not print critical voices, their "news" is mostly propaganda, and they will not print letters that criticize their news coverage; unlike most newspapers.
All of this is not like UC campuses of course, but then UC management is just a mirage.
This blog therefore serves a useful purpose, and will as long as Pete Nanos is here; and perhaps as long as UC is here. The voices that speak to LANL's problems, which UC has no interest in.
You could serve the lab and the nation by getting out of your deep denial. The shutdown was needed to get your attention and start the process of correcting long term deficiencies.

Quit focusing of Nanos. The lab was in dire staights long before he got here.

Is anyone else tired of hearing about someone that had to leave to protect their retirement? And exactly how much did you invest in 32.5 years? Logging time is not investing.

The worn out theme of people leaving is also wearing thin. Leave or stay, just be quiet about it. Get your attention elsewhere.

Yes Doug, the ability to provide a counterpoint is appreciated. Thanks.

You are providing a great service. Thanks!

You can argue about whether the shutdown was needed or not, but the way the restart was handled is indefensible. Making all of DX level 3 and keeping it down for more than 7 months was ridiculous.
This blog is wonderful for the counterpoint it provides to the abusive nonsense coming out of LANL management and its sycophants. It means we don't have to listen silently to people who accuse others of being "in denial" to deflect attention away from their own incompetance.

Unlike many others, I love the presence of the one or two trolls here, because they get everybody fired up and provide a reminder about everything that is unethical and ignorant about Nanos' approach at LANL. Every time the memory of what an arrogant SOB the Director is begins to fade, one of his pawns drops by and provides us a reprise. The more we make the trolls hollar, the better job we're doing at getting the truth out there. Mr. Nanos' ship may be at the tipping point, but I'm just getting started.
Well there is one thing about this blog that shows Nanos isnt as big a jerk as people make him out to be. Look at the number of bloggers who have been fired for posting about internal problems.. Doug still has his job after a month of posting.

In that time, Doug has posted internal memo's, pictures of DOE facilities, and various other things. I am getting worried he will go further to try to get himself fired because he isnt getting in as much trouble as a guy from Google or the Apple Insider people.

Personally, I would be very worried that one of the newspapers he has taken articles from will sue for copyright violation. The full quotation goes beyond the liberal definition of fair use and even with the attribution violates various copyright statutes.

And with this.. and the knowledge that things will be better someday for most people here. I will try to post no more.

Thank you, gruntled. I'm sure you won't be missed.
As far as the copyright issues: Just goes to show how the rules are regarded whether its copyright law, security or safety!
Thanks Doug for providing this service. No one has mentioned the benefit of the emotional outlet provided herein. Across my career in both private industry and at LANL I have learned people are pretty much the same on this point: uncertainty about employment raises the stress level generally resulting in increased absenteeism, injury & illness rates, and other unproductive outcomes. Something positive needs to be said about LANL's "culture." It has hung incredibly tough in the face of one stress inducing crisis after another starting at least with the RIF fiasco in 1995. For example the successful effort to reestablish a pit production capability in this country. The newer upper managers including our current Director may lack the perspective to appreciate this. But I don't and I'll say it. It is neither Congress, nor its regulatory zombies, not even great public universities like UC that make this country great and worth defending to me as much as it is the resourceful, resilient, courageous workers like yourself and many others at LANL too numerous to mention here. Thank you all.
Thanks, Doug, for having the brass-balled arrogance to imply that the posters on your blog are representative of the entire LANL work force, and insuring that everyone within LANL and the community is tarred with a broad brush as being entitlement minded soiciopaths who live in a world of paranoia and privilege.
10:06 AM:

The blog is open to anyone who wants to post there. Are you implying that the blog somehow only represents those who are unhappy with current LANL leadership? Perhaps you are suggesting that those who are perfectly happy with Nanos and his crew are somehow incapable of expressing this? Or maybe you are hinting the Doug has been filtering out any pro-Nanos posts, and not telling the rest of us? Or maybe, umm, its just a "small but highly vocal group of malcontents" who post on the blog.

Yeah, that last one. That's it. Yes.
Actually, I believe there is a small, but highly non-vocal group of Nanos supporters at the lab.
"Small?" "Minute" is more like it. And highly non-vocal, yes. The word used about the environment of these very few supporters is "terrified" to speak their mind of question anything that might goe again the will/desire of Heir Nanos.
11:31 AM:

You are correct, of course. A small, terrified group of non-vocal Nanos supporters is a much more accurate description of that particular demographic.
To the poster at 10:14 PM:
Instead of advising the blog on legal matters, perhaps you should advise your director on legal matters. The 1976 Copyright Act, 17 USC ยง 107, states: "the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as CRITICISM, COMMENT, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

Furthermore, you possibly need to review in detail the "fair use doctrine" applicable to posting of news articles on the web by the publishers themselves and the subsequent fully attributed use of those articles by others. An article placed on the web by the newspaper publisher can be accessed and read by every reader on the web (all 5 billion of them). Therefore, it would appear, excepting subsequent publication for compensation, that permission to use copyrighted information in quo especiall for comment and criticism has already extended to all readers on the web that of course would include every reader of this blog.
"Gruntled" suggested that Nanos' not firing people for blogging is evidence of his magnanimity. Surely, provincialism finds solace in the strangest of places. The Director is already facing multiple lawsuits for, shall we say, a "lack of formality" in his terminations of employees. "Concerted action" by employees is specifically protected by law. Our actions and speeches here clearly fall in that category.

What you say, dug. Not only that, "gruntled" is an asshole.
In my group of about sixty staff members, Nanos has one supporter.
I routinely talk to a folks represening everyone from guards, janitors, TSMs, Fellows, SSMs, ADMs, Middle Managers, Division Leaders, and and Program Directors. I wish I could report a wide base of Support for the Director. However, I cannot recall a single person who supports his mistreatment of people who have made significant contributions to the Laboraotry, a single person who supports the Nanos Stand Down, or a single person who is not ashamed of Nano's lack of management skills, communicative skills, or basic honesty.
In my group of over 100, there are NO nanos supporters.
p.s.--Not all trollers are bad, only the dark nasty ones that roam the 4th floor. I'm a good troll. ~~~
I have spoke to many employees, mostly TSMs, TEDs, & SSMs, about a dozen GLs, three or four DLs, and two PMs. All were vocally negative about Admiral Butthead. In particular, the managers were extremely upset about the permanent damage that has been done to LANL's reputation. In no other organization would the leader (Director) publicly criticize the employees.
Doug and LANL bloggers - I fully support your right to comment and defend your position with the Director and administration. I'm an informed bystander and have worked in the federal world for 25 years (DoD, DOE, and other civilian agencies). DOE (i.e, the labs) has made great accomplishments but security and safety have not consistently been on the top of the list. Maybe the total shutdown was over the top but UC needed a wakeup. Steady state will find itself...good luck.
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