Tuesday, March 22, 2005

To all the (especially outside) blog readers:

From Anonymous:

To all the (especially outside) blog readers:
I am in one of the many LANL science groups, which has a variety of small to medium NNSA projects and some LDRD. (research grants). My coworkers at Los Alamos are the hardest-working people I have ever known. Los Alamos may not do everything right, but it has assembled a very bright and talented workforce.

Most of you would love to have a staff like this. Their dedication is remarkable; people stay late and work weekends. While on a 9/80 schedule, many came in routinely on their ‘Fridays off’. And our technicians, most not eligible for overtime, often put in long days voluntarily on 'their' science projects. You can’t buy this kind of energy- you get it by hiring good people and valuing their individual efforts. In current corporate lingo, motivational speakers call this buy-in. During the shutdown- my group jumped in on the hundred or so safety and security tasks with as much vigor as they routinely gave to their regular tasks. (I think ‘shutdown’ was a misnomer, as I worked my tail off...) We took the task quite seriously.

There has been a lot of discussion here about LANL’s culture. Let's not forget that culture's best feature is its truly dedicated workforce. I hope this gives visitors a better sense of what is right with Los Alamos Lab.

Comments:
There is lot in this post that applies labwdie. Unforetunately, as we have all learned, working hard at LANL is like wetting your pants while wearing a dark suit: it gives you a warm feeling but nobody notices!
 
I have to agree with 6:13 AM. LANL management has a poor history of rewarding excellence. Excellence for its own sake is a powerful motivator, but demonstrated appreciation (not the false, empty bullshit we get occasionally from Nanos as he tries to repair his image with us) from one's management is what keeps employees happy.
 
Yes, LANL does possess some very decent, smart, hardworking folks who are dedicated to their jobs and to protecting the US security. Most of these are the rank-and-file workers: scientists, technicians, administrators. It is the arrogant, self-serving upper managers that have led this institution into so much trouble.
 
I have a very strong link with LANL. I live in Kansas and, for the most part, the stuff at LANL does not affect me. However, I know the strong work ethic, the dedication to excellence and the willingness to discover new worlds that the people of LANL express. If our Congress would simply let you do your jobs, then maybe LANL could return to the glory days!

Have a good day at work!
 
Glory days are gone. Just like in the Bruce Springsteen song, people will just be sitting around and talking about them.
 
For a minute there I thought that the discontent with CBS might pull people together to rally for the survival of LANL. Then this post seemed to be an attempt to uplift people's spirits.

No as it turns out, it’s more of the same-old, whiny, self-centered, poor me being abused by mom and dad (Nanos and the executive team).

I was hoping that people would start to take the high road and display a level of emotional intelligence and maturity that has been lacking within these pages....

This troll will sit back quietly for another week and see if things improve. Of course, it is fun to wind them up and listen to them scream and shout (figuratively speaking).
 
To the post at 12:25: Thank you, very much.
 
I have a feeling that the repeated poster of LANL’s success in publishing is not a contributor to those publications. LANL has distinct populations that do not interact. One group includes theoretical scientists that have highly qualified post-docs and publish constantly. These people submit to genuine peer review, don’t exactly pay for LANL overhead, don’t see much nepotism and don’t let their eyes focus on “programs” that have little technical legitimacy. The arguments about “diversity” don’t appear in this part of LANL because there are few positions that need no skills or abilities. They try to minimize secrecy and take pains to interact in the open world of science. They can find jobs elsewhere.
Another part of the lab is funded by the acronym projects. These include satellites, lasers and beams that appear at the lab without ever seeing the light of criticism. Funding is immediately in place and the organization is top-down. Scientists are enrolled in these programs without any exercise of choice. They learn quickly that the basis of the program is severely flawed but criticism is not welcome. It is up to them to find some legitimacy before the program ends. This piece is, of course, a much bigger portion of the budgets and personnel.
There are ways to demonstrate this “split” like a casual examination of where these much-admired publications arise. The problem, however, is how to live with a situation where LANL has no more beams or lasers. Nobody has been very impressed by a series of defective satellites and outside scientists don’t confuse LANL’s missions with its publications. The programs are seen as the county’s research money being thrown down a hole and LANL’s overpaid scientists are not seen as vital or heroic when they don’t ever blow the whistle on the most obvious travesties of “Great Science.” Add to this the secrecy and safety problems and the health of LANL’s patron and it might be time for those who can leave to find new employment.
 
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