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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Fond memories at LLNL

Anonymously contributed:

Pining for the good old days?

Let's remember some golden moments.

Alchohol onsite. Old Rad Lab punch made from reagent-grade ethanol. Popular until someone barfed in the stairwell in B-111.

A Lab Director trying to hop the fence and getting caught.

The Star supercomputer.

One of the lead scientists in MFE who was a notorious womaniser and loved to flim-flam Congress with outrageous promises about progress on fusion.

Using bolts and a steel girdle to "repair" quake-damaged buildings. Ones with asbestos in them.

Not knowing how to operate high-power switches properly ends up launching one of the main lab transformers into low orbit.

Forged x-ray laser data.

Associate Directors openly defying the Director's new IT policies.

Having machinists manufacture awards for Directorates.

An employee getting approval for more disk drives to soup up his onsite porn server.

Credit card abuse.

Another Director whose testimony in congress indicated he knew nothing about existing computer security practices at his own lab.

The new "fairer" job-ranking system.

Off-site "planning sessions" at luxery resorts.

A steel trampoline for car-bombs along East Avenue. Two flatbed trucks blow through Echo-1 gate and get 3/4 of the way down the road before being stopped.

High-power weapons are too dangerous to the local populace. So LLNL buys 6 miniguns that will cut a car in half and run for maybe 30 secs at best.

Anyone have more fond memories?


Anonymous said...

Nope but it sure was better than LLNS where I've done more in my first 25 years than I will ever get to do on my last 10-15. It's more like a sentence now days.

Anonymous said...

Fond memories abruptly stopped as soon as LLNS came marching through the doors, goose step style.

Cherish those memories from the past because the future at LLNL looks mighty bleak. I doubt many people working at LLNL two years ago had any idea it would turn out the way it did once for-profit LLNS took over. A few people warned what was coming, but most employees didn't pay any attention to them. They do now!

Anonymous said...

I remember when the work we did was so important to the United States
When we actually accomplished something and felt good about it
When we had the respect of the scientific community and the citizens of the United States
Calibrating with coworkers over lunch the success of an experiment or project
Enjoying working with the best of the best
Frustrated with UC policies, while realizing that UC looked out for me (I worked for private industry; similar to LLNS prior to coming to the LLNL, and know what the difference is between the UC and the corporate world)
Watching my retirement grown each year and planning the day for retirement with the UCRP (I kept what I had in the UC)

Now I just do whatever job is passed my way and hope to survive long enough to retire.

God I miss the good old days.

Anonymous said...

Writing up several Purchase Orders, one for a motherboard, one for a case, a keyboard and a monitor. (Computers were subject to special rules.) Getting ONE signature, and then walking the PO's through Purchasing, in under an hour.

STORES, where you could buy real mechanical and electronics, for rush projects.

Daily flights to the Test Site, where people actually performed experiments.

Anonymous said...

I look back at my 30 years of service and have many good memories. While UC was managing the Lab, I had a secure job and was not affected by the downturns in the economy. I always had lots of work and never worried about getting laid off. I always knew the work I was doing made the Lab a better place. I considered myself lucky to work with many fine people that were smart and had good attitudes.

Many things changed when LLNS took over the management of the Lab. LLNS has been a disaster. The new management is way overpaid and have made many bad decisions. They do not value the workforce. They have changed the culture of the Lab and should be ashamed of themselves.

Anonymous said...

"The new management is way overpaid and have made many bad decisions. They do not value the workforce. They have changed the culture of the Lab and should be ashamed of themselves." (10:37 AM)

All of what you say is very true, but remember that this is exactly what NNSA wanted!

That is why keeping the nuclear weapon research labs under NNSA management is a non-starter if they are to have *any* hope of surviving over the next decade.

Anonymous said...

I remember:

- the Swimming pool
- the Softball fields
- an employee store
- three cafeterias
- the lab plane's daily trips to NTS

Anonymous said...

Fond Memories:
Pencil sharpeners with a lead brick base. Dewars for coffee cups. It's amazing that we took such risks and survived.

Anonymous said...

I remember:

Driving Army Surplus vehicles

Old Rad Lab punch during the holidays

The pool, the softball fields, the softball leagues

Having one of the first Macs ever made

Sharing desktop calculators

Doing work without email or computers

Family Days

Taking your son/daughter to work

Getting parts at Salvage, Stores

Walking POs through Purchasing

Buying supplies from downtown merchants using Petty Cash

Film badge dosimeters

3-Wheel Carts

Summer Students who were excited to be here

Being proud of the Visitors' Center and having the displays changed regularly

The Biomed Farm and Greenhouse

Corn and alfalfa growing in the NE corner

Doing meaningful research

Being allowed to venture out into the community and local schools to promote science and the Lab without having to worry about what account to charge

Management that cared about what you did, not just how much money you brought in

A university atmosphere, not a corporate one

Being rewarded for doing a good job, not for kissing ass

PIs being in the field and getting their hands dirty along with us grunts

Everybody having a team spirit and being on a first-name basis

Being proud of the Lab and the work we were doing

All, sadly, now long, long gone.............

Anonymous said...

Now, only memories:

Believing that you were part of the UC Family.

Believing that you could retire under UC, with both UC pension and UC provided medical benefits.

Believing what management told you about most anything and that you could trust them.

Believing that the country and its leaders appreciated you and the work you did.

Believing in science to solve problems.

Believing that if you did great science, you would get ahead and be rewarded.

Believing in scientific method, hard work, and documentable/defensible results, instead of fluff, flim-flam, and spin.

Believing that it was wrong to chase BS funding just because you could get it. Believing that scientific integrity was valued by DOE and LLNL management.

Believing that sacrificing yourself and your career at LLNL was worth it.

Anonymous said...

Not having the constant fear of being laid off.

Anonymous said...

A more competent staff, better management, more focused effort, fewer intrusive mandated distractions...

...and a Congress that appreciated what we did, even if the anti-War, anti-Nuc elements of the public hated us then as much as the current Congress does now.

Anonymous said...

The very powerful Associate Director who "forgot" to get his phD, got busted by anonymous faxes, and disappeared overnight.

Anonymous said...

Burning millions on a failed system conversion that was doomed from the start. Trying to convert to a new system in 8 months that would have taken 24. Having 8 $250/hour contractors come in and sell inept project management on an unworkable project. Watching inept management get their due while some stellar people rise to the occasion and shine.

Anonymous said...

March 10, 2009 9:19 AM,

Lemmee guess: PIP?


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