BLOG purpose

This BLOG is for LLNL present and past employees, friends of LLNL and anyone impacted by the privatization of the Lab to express their opinions and expose the waste, wrongdoing and any kind of injustice against employees and taxpayers by LLNS/DOE/NNSA. The opinions stated are personal opinions. Therefore, The BLOG author may or may not agree with them before making the decision to post them. Opinions not conforming to BLOG rules are deleted. Blog author serves as a moderator.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Ash Carter is looking for the "coolness factor"


http://www.politico.com/story/2015/04/ash-carter-silicon-valley-appeal-117293.html

Wonder if these Silicon Valley engineers will enjoy their polygraphs and reporting all their foreign contacts. Should be easy to find companies with no foreign nationals and no connections with overseas investors or suppliers. Every Silicon Valley startup will want their own SCIF so they can get instructions from Washington. You go Ash!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Federally funded R&D center spending down

Federally funded R&D center spending declined, latest figures say. Spending has fallen since one-time federal infusion of funds in fiscal year 2009

National Science Foundation
April 21, 2015
News Release

The majority of the nation's federally funded R&D centers (FFRDCs) reported spending less on research and development in fiscal year 2013 than they had the previous year, according to a new InfoBrief from the National Science Foundation's National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES).

The report details that the 40 federally-funded centers spent $16.9 billion on research and development in fiscal year 2013. Of those, 24 reported declines from fiscal year 2012, and 17 reported two straight years of decreased spending.

Federal funding for the centers has been declining since a high of $18 billion in total spending was reported in fiscal year 2010. That peak corresponded with the one-time American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), which accounted for more than $1 billion of federal R&D expenditures to FFRDCs in fiscal year 2010. In contrast, ARRA-funded expenditures to all FFRDCs combined amounted to $170 million in fiscal year 2013, or 1 percent of federal R&D expenditures.

Basic research accounted for 24.8 percent of total FFRDC research and development expenditures in fiscal year 2013, a significant drop from the reported 35.2-percent share for the previous year. A major contributor to that decrease was a re-evaluation of the reported distribution of activities by Los Alamos National Laboratory. Five of the 40 laboratories--Los Alamos, Sandia, Oak Ridge, Lawrence Livermore and the NASA-sponsored Jet Propulsion Laboratory--account for half of the total reported R&D spending.

FFRDCs are privately operated organizations that the government funds exclusively or substantially. Since 2001, federal funding accounted for over 96 percent of their total R&D spending.

See more from this report: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/2015/nsf15319/

Anything from Empyrean?

Anyone gotten their health insurance bill from Empyrean ?

Atomic Labs Across the U.S. Race to Stop Iran

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/22/us/in-atomic-labs-across-us-a-race-to-stop-iran.html?rref=homepage&module=Ribbon&version=origin&region=Header&action=click&contentCollection=Home%20Page&pgtype=article&_r=0

Friday, April 17, 2015

Killer robots

Mark Gubrud has just posted an excellent examination of the distinction (or lack thereof) between autonomous and semi-autonomous lethal weapons systems.
Best regards,
Janice

Semi-autonomous and on their own: Killer robots in Plato's Cave:  http://ow.ly/LxHuZ 


-- 
Janice Sinclaire
Internet Outreach Coordinator

Final DOE report on WIPP blames LANL

Nothing much new here, other than the information on foaming and smoking drums that were apparently sent from LANL to WIPP.

http://www.abqjournal.com/570812/news/final-report-on-wipp-leak-blames-lanl-doe.html

New sick and vacation time reporting

What does all the salaried employees at Livermore think about the new hour for hour sick and vacation leave reporting coming in July?

Latest GAO report on NNSA: not much has changed

NATIONAL NUCLEAR SECURITY ADMINISTRATION:
Observations on Management Challenges and Steps Taken to Address Them
GAO-15-532T: Published: Apr 15, 2015. Publicly Released: Apr 15, 2015.


http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-532T

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Employee 360 review

"Will LANS and LLNS employees have an opportunity for a "360 review" of their respective LLC employer to be evaluated by DOE and NNSA?" 

Lab employee opinions of their relatively new "for-profit" employers varies from "they are the best thing to happen to the labs" to "they hijacked the labs for their own non-mission related interests". 

From a mission objective perspective, why wouldn't the DOE and NNSA leverage the unedited and anonymous experiences of "boots on the ground" lab employees to help formulate a plan forward for these two labs? 

Sandia involved in hacking private citizens

Sandia involved in hacking private citizens

At the 2012 TCB Jamboree, presenters from Sandia National Laboratories, which is a contractor for the Department of Energy, described an attack on Xcode, the Apple software used to compile applications in Mac OS X and iOS. The “whacked” Xcode exploit, called Strawhorse, enables intelligence agents to implant a version of Xcode on developers' computers which, unbeknownst to the developers, would cause software they compile to include a backdoor or other compromise. If successful, the attack could enable a range of surveillance-friendly applications to be covertly made available to the public. The report suggests that the Sandia team discovered and employed a number of additional vulnerabilities in Apple’s hardware and software, including a vulnerability in Apple's secure element that enabled them to extract a secret key, and one that allowed modification of the OS X updater to install a keylogger

Ernie Moniz

Ernie Moniz is doing a better job of preventing nuclear weapon production in the US than he is doing to prevent nuclear weapon production in Iran!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

PRIVATIZATION DOGMA CONFRONTS REALITY AT LAWRENCE LIVERMORE LAB



Robert Weissman 
President, Public Citizen

PRIVATIZATION DOGMA CONFRONTS REALITY AT LAWRENCE LIVERMORE LAB
Posted: 04/07/2015 5:32 pm EDT Updated: 9 minutes ago


In instance after instance, privatization reduces quality and fails to save money. The cost "savings" achieved through privatization - if any -- simply involve laying off workers (and doing less) or reducing workers' wages and benefits. The Government Accounting Office has found that contractors routinely fail to pay required wages. These aren't the kinds of efficiency gains promised through privatization. And, these "savings" in wages are commonly offset by the profits extracted by corporate privateers.
One apparent case in point is the privatization of management of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the Bay Area. Long managed by the University of California as part of the nation's nuclear research infrastructure, Livermore had serious management problems, including significant security-related issues. But privatization of the university management arrangement turned out to make things worse, according to numerous published reports.
A consortium headed by Bechtel took over operation of Lawrence Livermore in 2007. Although the Bechtel group had said it would add jobs at Livermore, in fact it slashed them, from 9,400 in 2005 to 6,800 several years after the privatization. Part of the job loss was due to cuts in federal spending on the lab, though funding losses would eventually be restored. The lost jobs were not.
In 2011, the New York Times reported that "Lynda Seaver, a lab spokesperson, said spending on staff and operations had fallen because of a substantial increase in management fees."
Read that again: Spending on staff and operations was reduced to cover management expenses. And that's according to the privatized management!
Indeed, reports are that management costs have drained a couple hundred million dollars -- $40 million a year - from the operations of Lawrence Livermore and of Los Alamos National Laboratory (operated now by the same Bechtel consortium) since privatization.
This exercise in waste and profiteering is not just a rip off of taxpayers. There's accompanying human tragedy, allegedly made far worse by the way in which the Bechtel consortium laid off workers.
A consolidated lawsuit on behalf of 130 employees alleges that Bechtel violated seniority rules at Livermore and engaged in illegal age discrimination in laying off older, more expensive workers. The Bechtel consortium denies the allegations.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-weissman/privatization-dogma-confr_b_7020702.html

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Salary facts


"OFCCP Announces Proposed Rule Barring Contractor Pay Secrecy Policies, Retaliation"

"...Sept. 15 — The Labor Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Sept. 15 announced a proposed rule under Executive Order 11,246 that would prohibit federal contractors and subcontractors from maintaining pay secrecy policies and from discriminating against employees and applicants who discuss, disclose or inquire about compensation.

“Workers cannot solve a problem unless they are able to identify it,” OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu said in a statement. “And they cannot identify it if they aren't free to talk about it without fear of reprisal.”

According to a notice of proposed rule-making (RIN 1250-AA06) published in the Sept. 17 Federal Register (79 Fed. Reg. 55,712), contractors must incorporate the new nondiscrimination requirement into their employee manuals or handbooks, as well as disseminate it to employees and applicants..."

http://www.bna.com/ofccp-announces-proposed-n17179895170/

http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/PayTransparencyFactSheet.html

Empyrean Customer Care Center for LANL

Finally received my "Empyrean Customer Care Center for LANL" bill for April retiree medical coverage today (April 6th). 

Noticed the bill was made of thin, very cheap quality paper with no easy-tear perforations on the payment invoice (had to use scissors to separate it) and they don't bother to put a return envelope in the letter. Haven't yet tried to login to their web site but others have reported problems.

My impressions of the mail received is one of "cheesy-ness" and corner cutting. Hopefully, the company performs well. We'll see how it all goes from here....

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