Saturday, July 16, 2005

Blast from the past

Hidden in the mountains of New Mexico, Los Alamos is the dark heart of the US nuclear weapons industry. But, 60 years after the horror of Hiroshima, the birthplace of the bomb is now facing oblivion. Brian Cathcart reveals why the world's most infamous laboratory could go out with a whimper

Sunday July 17, 2005
The Observer


Imagine a big ski resort, but out of season - Los Alamos has that feel. Drive in after the ear-popping climb from the valley and you find the air as fresh and clear as you would expect at 7,500ft. Above the town, pine-covered slopes rise to the lip of the Valles Caldera massif, while overhead, huge, guttural ravens twist in the thermals.

[...]

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Comments:
This appears to be a well researched article. Sadly, most of it is eerily accurate. I am certain that it will receive many scathing comments to denounce it. It will not be popular on this blog.
 
Interesting response. I thought the article catuptured the the essense of present life on the hill. Why would you think it would be unpopular on the blog? Ok, perhaps the author relied a bit heavily on "Baghdad Bob" Fallin for his background material regarding the shutdown, but in spite of that the story pretty much accurately captured the tone of Los Alamos these days.
 
Oh man was that out there. Hey posters
10:10 and 10:26 how on earth do you say that represents LANL? Lay off the weed kids. I dig how they say that standing down the lab was the least Nanos could do. Hey? ever think about what it must really be like deep in places like the FBI and the CIA? No peer review whatsoever.

Alot of that post was just bs. Where are the facts? Please get the facts?
By the way who is laughing at us. I travel to unversities all the time. Most of the faculty think what happned to LANL is disgrace not by the people at LANL but by the DOE.
Name someone who is laughing at us?
You can say what you want about Ph.d not wanting to come here but they still do because we still are the very best DOE lab in science. Facts
kids. No matter what, reality is still out there. The truth will still be truth.
 
Read the article. Read some of the blog. You'll get a reasonable feel for the place.

If no time to read the article, here is the sentence I found most interesting: "No one believed the zip drives were stolen by a spy, while the injured student was not blinded. But because of the recent history of the place, these incidents were enough to tip Nanos over the edge." It evidently didn't take much to tip that guy over the edge.

For post-docs looking for a place to spend some time, LANL might or might not be good. Just be prepared for little things, like the fact you can't take a nice, safe weekend bike ride on Pajaratio Road with a friend, relative, or family member unless you're on a tandem. All persons granted access by one lab badge and photo ID for non-lab personnel must be in the same vehicle. For "security purposes," a bicycle is a "vehicle."

Note to adversaries: The guards on duty aren't as dumb as their superiors. Don't try anything stupid unless you're a suicide bomber in a big pick-up truck full of fertilizer. You can't get close enough to anything to hurt it with the explosives you can carry on a bike.
 
I'm not sure I understand the point of the article. Still, it was nice to find some explanation for the enduring pathos of my longtime neighbor through the investigative reporting revelation, "Ed Grothus is hard of hearing".
I was intrigued by the question to Nanos, "If Feynmann were alive today, would you allow him to work at Los Alamos?". Not surprisingly, Nanos apparently said he would not. The question, unfortunately, is generated from entirely the wrong point of view. The real question we should be asking ourselves is, "If Feynmann were alive today would he even want to work at Los Alamos?". Given the recent exodus of many Feynman-like, and perhaps even Feynman-level scientists, my guess is that he would not. If we tried to understand why, we would be on the track to putting things right.

Scott A. Watson
 
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