Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Comical Ali Strikes Again (With Baghdad Bob’s Approval I Am Sure)

From Anonymous:

In an article in the Santa Fe New Mexican titled “Interim LANL Chief’s First Message Stresses Open Communication,” the following quote was made:

“During a 90-minute presentation by Kuckuck and two officials from the University of California, lab employees complained about the bureaucracy of safety – such as burdensome paperwork – that makes it hard to do science, according to lab spokesman Kevin Roark. Kuckuck agreed to investigate whether the safety procedures are overblown, Roark said.”

Roark went on to state “the interim director said his top goal is to change the world’s perception of Los Alamos…” Too bad our own Public Affairs Office doesn’t have the same goal.

I may be interpreting this all wrong, but to the outside world one of our problems was we didn’t take safety seriously and according to Roark we still don’t. With friends like this, who needs enemies?

In the Army we had slick briefers that gave daily intelligence briefing to the general staff. They read the text of their presentation like it was writen on the inside of their eyelids without knowing what they ere saying and what it meant. These briefers, which we called 'talking dogs' (shame on us), were so polished that senior officers being briefed would ask the briefers questions. Some officers would continue the one way dialogue for thirty minutes until they realized they were talking to cyborgs that had not been programmed to actually know anything.

Roark and company are only reading off the back of their eyelids and to carry on a conversation with them at this point is a foolish endeavor.
I think it's time for a "sick-out".

Let's choose a Friday. An "A" Friday.

We're the camel's back. The individual straws coming down right now are surprisingly heavy.
01:41:15 said "Roark and company are only reading off the back of their eyelids and to carry on a conversation with them at this point is a foolish endeavor. "

Ouch, you guys! Not everyone in PA is a cyborg, I promise!
I take it back. Some cyborgs are good.
You can slam PA all you want, but next time you want someone else other than your mother and your colleagues to hear about something important you've done scientifically, or you're in some kind of trouble that the media finds appetizing you'd better find (and pay for your own publicist). We're poking sticks at people who could help us if their leadership would only let them and if you think reporters are only good at ripping institutions, not personal careers, to shreds, think again. I've been on the end of the reporter's mean stick and it isn't fun at all. I was happy to have a PA person in the mix. Keep it up and next time we ask for help in publicizing some nice science they might just say "stick it up your blog!"

Oops, I mean "stick it up on your blog!"
9:16 AM poster

You are out of your mind. The good press
on science never comes from PA. It comes
from external sources. For example if
a good paper is published in Nature or
Science there is a good chance that outside
news sources pick it up including the NYT.
Of course PA actually missed these things.
By the way why is everybody so up in arms
with "save the science at LANL"? The real
science is done by the LDRD funds which
is a very small fraction of money. Lets
face it X and DX are not nor where they
every science groups. That is ok
but let us be honest here. If LM or
NG come in and wipe out the scince that
will effect maybe 500 people. For the rest
it really will not matter.
9:54, I think you got it about right regarding the number of people that "Do Science". For some reason, many people assume everyone up here "Does Science", instead of the mundane day-to-day jobs that most people really have.

I think you are basically correct, other than benefits, it really won't matter to most people up here.
The previous two comments sell us short. There is a lot of science done in B and P Divisions as well as at the LANSCE facilities.
Wasn't trying to sell anyone short - just don't think the number of people doing science is more than about 5-10% of the lab workforce. Whatever division they're in and wherever their funding comes from.
I deleted an earlier comment relating to an individual's health. It's probably not a good idea to post private information about someone without their express permission.

9:54, you're obviously not a scientist. If you think that getting a paper in Nature or Science gives you "a good chance that outside news sources (will) pick it up including the NYT" you've never had a paper in Nature or Science.

I talk occasionally with Jim Glanz, one of the NYT's best science writers and former editor at Science magazine, he has said he will not pick up a story from Nature or Science. It seems that if it's in those publications, and somehow the NYT has missed the development of the story, they won't play catch up. They're not that kind of paper.

So, the lesson is that if anyone here really wants to get known for your science, you can't sit back and wait for the NYT, or any other paper to come to you.

Above all you can't wait for ol' Baghdad Bob or Comic Ali to help you out - neither one gives a rat's butt about science, just politics and baseball. The way PA promotes the team every year, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Baghdad thinks the Albuquerque Isotopes are a Lab research group. Anyway, I digress. You've got to help yourself.

As for your comments about how many people actually do science at LANL, that's too inane a line of discussion to even address.
Uh, 2:13 poster.

You are wrong my son. I am who I am.
Also you are wrong about NYT. Here is
the proof my kitten.

"With 6 degrees of Separation, Cumputers
Stay in Sync"
NYT Feb 27, 2003.

This is about a paper from LANL
Science 299, 677 (2003).

I have spoken
To be fair to the PA folks, I'd have to say they've been pretty good at keeping tabs on high-visibility publications, invited talks, etc.

When I gave an invited talk at a fairly prominent conference, Public Affairs contacted me (of their own volition, as far as I know), conducted an interview, and issued a press release. Similarly, PA interviewed me and my colleagues and issued a press release when we published in Nature a few years back.

Those two instances were both pre-Nanos. I haven't published much the last year or so, for some reason. Have things with PA and scientific press releases changed?
Say what you like about Roark, et al, but there are LOTS of news releases that go out to an extensive and frequently updated list of news media -- check out the news release archive just for this year to see. These folks are not your enemies!


News Releases Archive - 2005
Other years: 2004 | 03 | 02 | 01 | 00 | 99 | 98 | 97

UC San Diego and Los Alamos National Laboratory establish engineering institute May 18

Robotic telescope discovery sheds new light on gamma-ray bursts May 18

Scientists develop novel multi-color light-emitting diodes May 17

Laboratory employees again are top contributors to Santa Fe County 2004 United Way campaign May 13

Talk on reducing the global nuclear threat May 17 at Laboratory's Bradbury Science Museum May 13

Laboratory names new Chemistry division leader May 11

Laboratory to provide technical assistance to Valles Caldera National Preserve May 10

SERF's up May 3

New parking garage opens May 2


Cancer study earns top honors for ABQ Academy's Baca, Shah at Los Alamos Supercomputing Challenge April 26

Nuclear physics for stockpile stewardship focus of talk April 26 at Laboratory's Bradbury Science Museum April 21

Adventures in Supercomputing Challenge awards at Los Alamos on April 26 April 20

Scientists propose new method for studying ion channel kinetics April 18

Study uncovers bacteria's worst enemy April 14

Scientists model physics of stellar burning April 14

Los Alamos helps Texas schools remove radioactive gammators April 12

Los Alamos developing new eclipse-based tools for high-performance parallel computers April 12

Airborne Los Alamos instruments test for toxins from fires April 12

Los Alamos Employees' Scholarship Fund awards scholarships April 6

Successful Los Alamos experiment supports weapon maintenance April 4


Researchers bridge superconductivity gap March 31

Researchers develop fingerprint detection technology March 21

Northern New Mexico girls learn about math, science through Expanding Your Horizons program March 18

Snow brings green machining to Laboratory March 16

Los Alamos and UNM begin medical isotope collaboration March 7

Wallace named Strategic Research Directorate leader March 4

Bradbury Science Museum celebrates Women's History Month with talks, exhibit March 4


Lab to host catalog-contracts pre-solicitation conference February 28

Los Alamos scientist named Asian American Engineer of the Year February 24

Los Alamos muon detector could thwart nuclear smugglers February 19

Los Alamos scientist featured in NASA science update February 17

Wojciech H. Zurek named Phi Beta Kappa visiting scholar February 16

Four Los Alamos physicists honored by American Physical Society February 15

Los Alamos National Laboratory organizations earn seven out of 13 NNSA Pollution Prevention Awards February 9

Carter Hydrick returns to the Bradbury Science Museum Feb. 15 February 7

Laboratory supports summer science program February 4


New NASA IBEX mission to carry Los Alamos instrument January 28

Beason takes top threat reduction post at Los Alamos January 27

Los Alamos National Laboratory and the University of New Mexico collaborate on tech-transfer education January 18

Skill of search dogs focus of Jan. 19 talk at Bradbury Science Museum January 14

Scientists develop split green for tagging protein January 3
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