Thursday, May 05, 2005

It occurs to me that your leader may be a wakusoyo

As a former representative of several vendors to the lab, I've been reading the blog to see how things might be going with my old friends at LANL (perhaps the real focus was first lost when the name changed from LASL).

It occurs to me that your leader may be a wakusoyo - a Tewa term of considerable derision but perhaps relevant given the cultural context(s). The Mimbres bowl shown is a possible example according to Brody and Swentzell in To Touch the Past - The Painted Pottery of the Mimbres People of an ancient wakusoyo. "In modern Pueblo thinking, any man who thinks himself bigger - that is, better - than others and does not do his own work or assume equal responsibility for the welfare of the group is called a wakusoyo, a person with a penis that is too big... and not required to carry his own weight." (pg 35)

Both I and my wife have worked closely with a couple retired admirals and found them to be politically adroit and able to lead effectively even when they seem uncertain of the real mission. I suspect you are the victims of an exception that was chosen because he was "exceptional" and the quality of that choice is now becoming apparent. As a Colorado resident, I am grateful that you are now the keepers of the Rocky Flats inventory and hope that at least that mission survives the current woes.

I have listened to the Win Ho Lee story (5 CDs of material told from his POV). I suspect that you're now collectively paying the penalty for that travesty foisted on you by Lee's carelessness, Richardson's inquisitorial zeal (great that he now may get some payback though I grieve for my native state) and FBI/Chris Cox stupidity, all choreographed by the Lab management of the day. I was sorry to see Sig H depart and believe that even his detractors would be more comfortable with him back at the helm (please forgive the Navy metaphor). Hard to imagine that much has gotten done in the last 10 months (I thought things might be better for the labs and for the holy grail of national security under King George - bunker busters and maybe the NTS revived, you know...) and that's inexcusable - heads must roll but will they be the right ones?


Yours in tragicomedy,

Anon (I may wish to again someday sell something to the Lab)

Comments:
Pete is a racist! I remeber hearing him talk at Starbucks about how his people brought civilization to the red man. I couldn't believe my ears. Pete is nuts and I knew we were doomed!

A Santa Clara Native American
 
Pete is a Greek. The Greeks and Romans brought civilization to my northern european barbarian (and occasionally cannibalistic)ancestors. Haven't any of you seen Gladiator?!!
 
go pete go...
 
It's time to stop talking about your present director and look at yourselves. I listened to the House hearing today and heard talk of shutting LANL down and moving programs. I agree that the lab should be shut down or diminished. I have friends whom, like myself, have left LANL in disgust. We knew plenty of good people at LANL but they stood by when programs came in that could never be exposed to view. The combination of secrecy, lack of peer review and powerful support in Congress led to a lab that didn’t have to perform, that initiated programs that were bogus from their first day. I’m sorry to include the minority of scientists performing peer-reviewed research, but they stood by without “seeing” anything.. Take a good look at the principles and accomplishments of the Neutral Particle Beam and BEAR, for example. With shut down so close, I don’t have the heart to list a current program.
 
Regarding the 5/5/2005 04:25:25 PM post: You are an idiot and very clearly did NOT work on nor were ever associated with the BEAR or NPB Programs. You are spouting off about things that you know absolutely nothing about. Are you a retired US Navy Admiral?

Both of those programs accomplished their technical objectives. In both cases, the funding profiles led to cost and schedule overruns but did not compromise the technical objectives. In the case of the NPB Program, we were chasing a moving target and did so quite successfully.
 
Who is 4:25? Probably someone who worked on the xray laser program.
 
I do not think 4:25 poster was ever at LANL.
You need to back you statements up with
facts. LANL has some of the best people
in the world. If LANL is lost or
scaled back it will hurt the US both
in terms of basic science and weapons
science. You need to compare our
science to that of LLNL and Sandia and
you will see who has far more impact in the
reseach world. Just go to Sci-Seach it
is all there. Get the facts. Remember to
think before you speak. Facts for a change.
 
Is it true that LANL takes programs without Peer review? How common is that circumstance? That would explain lots of what I see and hear. The hysterical response at 4:34 suggests that something is very wrong at your lab.
 
I knew it. The 4:25 poster has for
some time has been putting these stupid
posts on without a single number to back
it up. I have been thinking that the
4:25 poster is some fomer LANL person who
was fired. Now they admit they where once at LANL. Well since you do not have to worry about you job here why do you not say who you are?
 
To 4:54 - I worked at the Lab for over 35 years. Rigorous peer reviews were much more common during my last 10 years, so the peer review situation actually improved!
 
Sensitive?
 
If any of you is confident of what he says let him identify himself.
How do we know that any one of you is a native american or a scientist. As an outsider, with some scientific background,I'm curious about the peer review, too. I'm also surprised that so many people brag about their scientific accomplishments while deploring their scientific leadership. Are many managers respectable scientists? Do the deplorable managers degrade the work? Does anybody get fired?
 
Programs at LANL are peer reviewed. But that doesn't prevent some branch of the government from coming in and saying you will do x even when respectable scientists say x is a bad idea. Many LANL scientists publish in peer reviewed journals and you will find their citations in the Citation Index. There are programs at LANL that are classified which makes peer review difficult and publication impossible except in classified journals. Still you will find publications by LANL scientists in the open and in peer reviewed journals.
Anyone who works in science knows that LANL science is peer reviewed.
 
Do the deplorable managers get fired? Yes. Does anybody get fired? Yes. Do the right people get fired -- rarely. The trouble is that only the weak get fired. The deplorable managers are yes persons and are usually replaced with yes persons. Those who speak the truth are frequently punished for saying it. (Retaliation). Sadly, some of the deplorable managers are excellent scientists. Almost all are scientists or engineers. They just have no clue about how to manage. They think that because they are in charge they can do things any way they want. If any of them would read just one book on HR and take the message to heart, their management skills would be much improved. Unfortunately, the problems at LANL are all about power corrupting everyone it touches.
 
The Neutral Particle Beam was a “Star Wars” weapon, wasn’t it. Our professor used it as an example of the corruption that comes from what he called “Directed Science” He said, if I recall properly, that the program did not come close to achieving a directable, narrow beam and that a multi-million Volt beam of excited hydrogen atoms would re-ionize in a short distance. He gave us a Russian reference which I might find and post if this discussion goes on. It also seems obvious that it is not even being considered by the current administration.
 
I was near the NPB program at LANL. It did not meet its goals and it was milked for its funding. If it had met its goals it was still far too weak to use as a weapon. Its final purpose, supposedly, was to distinguish a balloon decoy from a warhead in space. If one reflects on how little it costs to make a balloon, one will realize the dishonesty of the program. Do we know where this program came from?
 
GOD I miss Harold, hell, I even miss Don.
 
Spent some time working with BMD. I was a fly on the wall and I heard General Fox’s comment just after the LANL NPB presentation. He simply said in a loud voice to no one in particular, “It’s the Emperor’s new clothes!” Haven’t you noticed that LANL is not being trusted with lasers or beams? Some so-called LANL programs are being run out of Sandia. Our nation’s scientists and non-scientists see LANL as a pariah and good post-docs are being discouraged from working in anything called a “Program.” Face the fact that when the multi-million dollar programs: a. ends without even a whimper and b. nobody ever refers to the results, if any and c. there’s no “lessons learned” it’s a huge, embarrassing flop!
 
To 5:45 - If the NPB had been weaponized, it would have been very effective. Your esteemed professor doesn't know a fresh corprolite from shinola.
 
Santa Clara Native American
5/5/2005 02:06:54 PM

Interesting comment. Why should we be surprised that Nanos' understanding of history is as faulty as his understanding of physics and management? One of the first and most fatal mistakes Nanos made as director was the scapegoating of a shaman of the Cherokee Nation. While Nanos may have done this in pure ignorance (apparently the usual venue of many of his actions), he and his collaborators immediately fell within a curse older than that of his Greek and Irish traditions. Their downfalls began immediately after this insult and will continue independent of the shaman's wishes. It is amazing how ancient avenging spirits still move freely among the citadels of modern physics.

Just kidding of course, or am I?

Posted by Chief Ga-no-du
 
Note that "nanos" means small or dwarf, "wakusoyo" doesn't seem to fit.
 
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