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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Bret Knapp All-Hands

Bret Knapp All-Hands - any comments of note?

159 comments:

Anonymous said...

You can get all the information you need on Bret's blog.
http://www.idontdoblogs.llnl.gov

Anonymous said...

Me neither. Ain't do blog. Just lying to my teeth, just like Bret.

Anonymous said...

I'll give the man a chance, but can't say I was impressed. Bret struck me as very much in the weapons camp -- but the lab has grown to be so much more. Really afraid he'll turn off young scientists. Why the emphasis on "I won't blog?" Does he "get" social media at all?

Anonymous said...

Bret mentioned that he was not much of a public speaker. He seemed scared. Both of speaking in front of a large group of people and of the responsibility that he had taken on.

He is the first Lab director that I've seen who is not comfortable speaking in front of people. I don't understand how he gained the position he did, but then I don't even know who his masters are. Out of a line up of possible Lab directors, Bret Knapp is not the person that you'd guess would be Director, even acting director.

Scared people can do irrational things. Given the consistently negative commentary here on Bret, perhaps this is the reason for his bad, and some say, vicious reputation. Of course this is a crowd that makes Eeyore look like an optimist.

He did explicitly deny that he had come to the Lab to lay off a bunch of people.

Bret mentioned that NIF had suffered big budget cuts.

A lot of us have been wondering what happened to Parney. Bret seemed to allude to this in his talk.

He mentioned that he saw one of his jobs as (my words) mending fences with sponsors. He said that sponsors didn't want to hear that if they didn't support the Lab there would be no Lab. Basically, that sponsors don't care about the Lab's problems, they want solutions.

My interpretation was that Parney was too loud in his insistence that if sponsors wanted a National Lab to support their mission, they needed to provide consistent funding. And that sponsors didn't want to hear this. I can fully believe that they care about their problems now and didn't want to hear about supporting another organization that was not even in their chain of command.

This said, there was a lot that was correct in what Parney (may) have been saying. The Lab is constantly struggling for funding and having a hard time supporting a staff that delivers on the kind of work that the Lab is selling to sponsors.

The one thing that I'm not sure is on Bret's radar is the fact that the Lab is in danger of entering a destructive spiral. If there are more layoffs, there will be more people leaving the Lab. Basically, anyone who can get out, will get out. Los Alamos does not have such a delicate balance, since there are no other jobs in the area. But here there is Silicon Valley.

The Lab has been benefiting from the long recession. Engineers are not head hunted as much as they would be in a more robust economy.

This means that the Lab can still attract talent because Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, Square etc... are very tough interviews, especially for people right out of school. But the moment that these people get some experience and can leave, they will.

The Lab still needs vision to lead it into the future. I'm not sure what Bret is at the Lab to do. If Bret is a visionary, it was not apparent at the All Hands.


Anonymous said...

My take - he is a breath of fresh air. This guy is a down-to-earth gentleman who wants LLNL to "get real" about what we can do with the restricted NIF budget (lucky NIF is getting only a 20% cut rather than deeper). LLNL is being asked to put an end to the unrealistic demands and stop the complaining (from NIF). It even seems possible that the rest of the lab will no longer be forced to subsidize NIF to the tune of nearly all LDRD, extra taxes off the top of non-NIF NNSA funds, and all the other sweetheart arrangements the former directors allowed. He is off to a good start, based on what he presented today. The lab needs to bolster its core weapons work in WCI, in addition to diversifying the work portfolio in GS, and stop taxing small projects out of existence. If this new director really signals the return to sanity and fairness, after so many years of the "Emperor's New Clothes" story that is NIF, he will have our support. He stated several times that no layoffs are expected.

Anonymous said...

George Miller said " no layoff." Albright said "looks pretty good." Knapp said "I a not coming to lay you off."

Three times is a charm.

Anonymous said...

Bret is not eloquent, but I don't think he is scared about the responsibility he has taken on. He'd prefer to tell you what's on his mind, and if you don't like it, he can live with that. Queue up the decisions: he'll start making them.

Anonymous said...

Poster @ 9:08 pm - November 12

Thank you very much for the summary of Knapp All Hands. It was informative for those who missed the meeting. I hope the assurance of "no lay off " remains to be true for FY14. Although there are still some evil supervisors who try to terminate employees not on the basis of SKA, but on internal politics.

Anonymous said...


"Why the emphasis on "I won't blog?""

If one has to say that one does not blog than for sure one is reading blogs.

"Here's one point that I'll agree with Bret on: "Social Media" is destroying our society. "

I do not recall Bret saying that social media is destroying our society. It is sort like saying the printing press destroyed society. The point of the press is access to information that is way we have freedom of the press as one of our fundamental rights.

As for the speech that part about mending fences is pretty strong. It seems hard to imagine that in less than 2 years Parney could have done that badly that has got to be a record.

Anonymous said...

Thank you to the thoughtful synopsis provided by the second November 12, 2013 9:03PM. I missed the presentation due to an important meeting. I am curious as many (if not most of us) are.

To the first November 12, 2013 9:03PM. Do you "feel good about yourself" now? Curious about that as well although not nearly as much. I'm not a &*$#*& twenty-something, but that rant deserves an emoticon: ;P

Anonymous said...

George Miller said " no layoff." Albright said "looks pretty good." Knapp said "I a not coming to lay you off."

Three times is a charm.

November 12, 2013 at 9:14 PM

Bret will have no choice but to lay off people every year for at least the next few decades until our debts are paid. http://www.usdebtclock.org/

Anonymous said...

"He is the first Lab director that I've seen who is not comfortable speaking in front of people." - I agree that he seemed uncomfortable, but he was much more comfortable than George Miller ever was, plus he took questions, which George was always afraid to do.

Anonymous said...

I like how he answered the first question about lay-offs.............

He said" If that were true he doesn't need a job that bad" (to come here with a pre-conceived notion to lay-off).

He seems straight forward and as honest as he can be so he has my vote.

Also he seems more personable and likes the in person thing rather than blogging.
Well you young social media types get over it
(no disrespect, Omg :))
because the next Director may not be so personable...

Anonymous said...

He tried to cover for how Paul Rosenkoetter messed up the pension - just say it was messed up and now we're stuck. The comparison to BART workers was depressing.

Anonymous said...

No Director is going to come into a new job and tell you that layoffs are likely to follow. Get real.

The current budgetary problems will force him to do it in due time, nevertheless. And Bret Knapp is very effective at "doing layoffs".

Anonymous said...

Bret is being brought in as the "trash removal" specialist in a similar way that Parney was hoped to be to "turnaround" specialist. Bret is gonna take out the trash and hopefully save WCI from the oppression of a failed NIF. Or maybe his job is to slowly dismantle the lab. After all, LLNLhas very few friends in DC. It's well known how much LLNL people lie and fabricate.

Anonymous said...

If he sold NIF for scrap we could probably stay in business at the current staffing level through the end of the century. NIF scientist would have to be given a real project to work on, but they'll be grateful for that.

Anonymous said...

Bret mentioned he visited Site 300 and HEAF in the all hands. I believe he would strengthen WCI funding. Although he is not as polished as Parney in public speaking, he seems to be honest. I would give him a chance to succeed.

Mark Henesian said...

"If he sold NIF for scrap we could probably stay in business at the current staffing level through the end of the century. NIF scientist would have to be given a real project to work on, but they'll be grateful for that."

Honestly, you people that say things like this are either extremely jealous that YOU DID NOT contribute to NIF, or are really, really morons of the first rank. You have no business working at a National Lab. Go get a job at Best Buy ! That's what you are qualified for !

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for the summary of Knapp All Hands. It was informative for those who missed the meeting. I hope the assurance of "no lay off " remains to be true for FY14. Although there are still some evil supervisors who try to terminate employees not on the basis of SKA, but on internal politics. In all actuality they've let their funding go on for far too long. It should have been nipped in the butt back in 2006.

November 12, 2013 at 9:27 PM

LOL - Is this the joke of the century or what. There will be lay-offs and they'll continue for decades to come. Period.... There is no way the tax payers can continue to fund the labs, their toys or many other none essential programs.

Anonymous said...

What's with the tri-valley cares folks who are constantly posting on this blog? Do they know how irelevant they are? Their understanding of the NWC and the Programs would be laughable if it wasn't so ignorant...

Anonymous said...

"If he sold NIF for scrap we could probably stay in business at the current staffing level through the end of the century. NIF scientist would have to be given a real project to work on, but they'll be grateful for that."

Honestly, you people that say things like this are either extremely jealous that YOU DID NOT contribute to NIF, or are really, really morons of the first rank. You have no business working at a National Lab. Go get a job at Best Buy ! That's what you are qualified for !

November 14, 2013 at 10:45 PM

I think what it boils down to is nobody gives a rats ass about NIF since 99% are batting against it, don't want it and do not view NIF as the next nuclear reactor or a power source that'll keep the lights on at a cheap energy rate nor will they ever see little NIF's in their cars and therefore it’s of NO VALUE to them or the general public. They see NIF as an expensive toy for the sole purpose of keeping the elite employed and in the end nothing to be gained.

Anonymous said...

Yeah the laughable thing about the lab is that they are trying to publish their 14kJ "breakeven" "accomplishment." That is truly an embarrassment.

Anonymous said...

If an attempt is being made to publish, it will be to Physical Review Letters. Referees will be assigned to review the paper and they will be from the ICF community, since those are the "experts". These referees have to accept the paper because to make NIF look bad hurts the whole ICF community, and risks funding for the whole community. This is how it works for a lot of science, not only ICF.

Anonymous said...

If an attempt is being made to publish, it will be to Physical Review Letters. Referees will be assigned to review the paper and they will be from the ICF community, since those are the "experts". These referees have to accept the paper because to make NIF look bad hurts the whole ICF community, and risks funding for the whole community. This is how it works for a lot of science, not only ICF.

November 15, 2013 at 5:31 PM


So they're liers. Time to top all funding... I think Diane Feinstein picked up on that on her 2013 visit as will many more which is why funding will continue to decline.

Anonymous said...

Yes, they are liars, the whole lot of them. That is part of the culture in NIF/Lasers, lie and mislead and pull the wool over the eyes of the people paying for it all, and its been part of the culture for decades.

Mark Henesian said...

Again, the posters/imposters above are only qualified to work at Best Buy ! And then only in the DVD section !

Anonymous said...

Best Buy? That's a pretty pathetic attempt to insult or discredit.

14kJ breakeven. What a joke. Ha Ha Ha. Only a bunch of morons would spout off to the BBC like the lab did. It really tells you an important thing about these people... not very intelligent.

Anonymous said...

This is the bottom line

NIF is not going to be the next nuclear reactor or a power source that'll keep the lights on at a cheap energy rate nor will they ever see little NIF's in their cars and therefore it’s of NO VALUE to them or the general public. They see NIF as an expensive toy for the sole purpose of keeping the elite employed and in the end nothing to be gained.

People want results for their money and those results must bring profits, cheaper rate and cost them less in the future.


November 15, 2013 at 1:56 PM

Anonymous said...

And then only in the DVD section !

November 15, 2013 at 10:58 PM

Now, there's a use for lasers that really has benefitted mankind! NIF? Not so much.

Anonymous said...

And then only in the DVD section !

November 15, 2013 at 10:58 PM

Now, there's a use for lasers that really has benefitted mankind! NIF? Not so much.

Anonymous said...

My friend who is an EE with NIF since its inception says " it will either be the greatest invention of out time or the greatest pizza oven on the planet".....PAPA Johns, are you paying attention?

Anonymous said...

What ever happened to the nuclear pumped x-ray laser?

Alien Visiting Scientist said...

We advised our Star Wars sponsors in '85 that it would be a bad idea to try this in orbit, since our clocked craft would be exposed to USSR imaging. Anyway our LLNL colleagues demonstrated that X-ray lasers would work using NOVA. It would be easy using NIF with some final optics modifications !

Anonymous said...

oh. I just recall a book "Edward Teller's War" that talked about how Roy Woodruff was not so sure about it.

Anonymous said...

Based on what Bret is "saying" and his kiss ass behavior to the LLNL folks, it's become very clear that Bret came to LANL with an "agenda" to destroy it. Regardless of what people think about Bret, I can attest that the guy is a "prick".

Anonymous said...

What ever happend to scientific project Genesis? I was hoping it would be functional by now.

POS

Anonymous said...

To Mark Henesian: posting with your name is more stupid than your comments. Although it is a tough call.

Mark Henesian said...

Well at least you know who I am and that I am exceedingly proud to have helped design, build and activate the NIF laser with my equally outstanding LLNL colleagues ! That's more than I can say for any of you bloggers.
Anyway, go back to your boring jobs at Best Buy !

Mark Henesian said...

And good luck to the new Lab director Brett Knapp. I know that he's proud of the NIF, it's many outstanding achievements, with the best yet to come, and proud of the outstanding LLNL (and also LANL and LLE) personnel that work on it's many projects.

Anonymous said...

Mark,

Rah, rah, rah! Go team! Losing 3-0 in the playoffs, so what? Go team! (Get me another beer).

Anonymous said...

"Mark Henesian said...

Well at least you know who I am and that I am exceedingly proud to have helped design, build and activate the NIF laser with my equally outstanding LLNL colleagues ! That's more than I can say for any of you bloggers.
Anyway, go back to your boring jobs at Best Buy !

November 18, 2013 at 6:09 PM"

Mark you are not doing any service to NIF or yourself. First of all why do you want to insult employees at Best Buy? It is is ignorant and mean spirited. It is also utterly inaccurate as many Best Buy employees are probably very smart, competent happy with their jobs.

Second, the posters on this blog are entitled to their opinions and like it or not a good portion of them do not work at Best Buy but are indeed your peers. Some of the NIF comments are said without a serious thought but in this forum that is often what you get, in other words everyone knows the rules of the blog. I withhold judgment on NIF, however I know many very smart people who are better scientists and in much for prestigious positions than you have have expressed serious doubts and concerns about NIF in terms of cost benefit and how much is really feasible with such a device. Some of these concerns are not even new and have been around for some time. I understand that someone who spebr a considerable amount of time into a device would feel committed and even proud of what has been accomplished, however a well known danger in science occurs when people become too emotionally attached to their experiments, theories, ideas, or data. This leads to loss of scientific objectivity and integrity. NIF should and must be given full scientific scrutiny if it is to further pursued or other ideas like it are to pursued in the future.

Anonymous said...

November 18, 2013 at 8:38 PM

Obviously you have some experience with NIF or closely related programs. However, even though your ideas merit thoughtful response, you may not get it unless you spend more time editing and proofreading your posts. Misspelling, typos, and grammar errors are emblematic of someone lacking education, which puts you at a serious disadvantage on the this blog. Just some friendly advice: take some time to look it over before you "publish."

Mark Henesian said...

Well if any of you are my peers (and I doubt it), then let's find out who you are. If you don't use your "real" name then you have very little credibility as far as I'm concerned, particularly when you are "dumping" on NIF. Have any of you attended any target campaign reviews (open to all LLNL employees) or talks on NIF laser system performance ? If not then please shut-up ! You don't need a Q-clearance to keep up with the latest NIF results.

Mark Henesian said...

And get me another beer ! Now !

Anonymous said...

All we want to know is how many people LLNL is going to lay off or has laid off since Oct 2013 and how many are going to go between now and Dec 31st. Ten we need to know how many are going to hit the road after Jan 15th.

Anonymous said...

Do you realize that when the Lab changed its employment policy from the beginning of this year,each division can lay off its employees up to 50 persons, and there is no need to announce it as the WARN Act requires. So, even the new Acting Director Brett Knapp stating that he is not coming here to lay off Lab employees, individual directorate can still lay off employees. You just don't hear about it .

Be prepared that the evil supervisors will manufacture the reasons why they terminate your job, for lack of skills or lack of funding! It is already happening still the Lab!

Anonymous said...

NIF is a fantastic technical achievement as a giant laser, the problem is, what is it for. It is not going to "ignite" a target, ever, not without vast longterm funding that will not ever come because management (read, Ed and George) misled DOE and everyone else and blew it with blind religious faith. So now what, "weapons physics"? Ha. "University use"? Impossible without huge subsidies, no university can afford it. Meanwhile it costs hundreds of millions just to keep it going, as a tourist destination and maybe as an occasional hollywood movie set. It is no wonder that many, many people throughout the lab and outside the lab resent its existence, and would like to shut it down and cut losses.

Anonymous said...

"November 19, 2013 at 7:23 AM" hit the nail on the head.

At the end of the day I ask myself, is the lab better off today than it was when NIF was initiated and the answer is a very clear "hell no". The years of subsidies have taken a deep and possibly fatal toll.

I'm not questioning the value of the science or the enjoyment and feeling of personal satisfaction that people involved with NIF feel but it would be nice if said people tried to understand the larger context and why many of us have a hard time sharing your positive feelings.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
NIF is a fantastic technical achievement as a giant laser, the problem is, what is it for. It is not going to "ignite" a target, ever, not without vast longterm funding that will not ever come because management (read, Ed and George) misled DOE and everyone else and blew it with blind religious faith. So now what, "weapons physics"? Ha. "University use"? Impossible without huge subsidies, no university can afford it. Meanwhile it costs hundreds of millions just to keep it going, as a tourist destination and maybe as an occasional hollywood movie set. It is no wonder that many, many people throughout the lab and outside the lab resent its existence, and would like to shut it down and cut losses.

November 19, 2013 at 7:23 AM

Shutting it down and cut the losses is what needs to be done by Dec 31st 2013 so we can on with something new or use the allocated funds for something useful to society.

Anonymous said...

Mark

You seem to know a little of what is going on. I know that a decision was made to not shot beryllium capsules shortly before the NIC started in earnest. It was in the literature and was after over a decade of planning to use beryllium. The reason given was that there is too much air void in the shell. The health problems from using beryllium were not given as a reason for the decision. Later it was found that the copper doping was migrating, perhaps an even bigger problem. I know that the copper problem is being worked on with oxide layers a possible solution, but I have seen no news for about a year now. I have talked to one manager about this but was told that he could not talk about it. In the monthly updates there has been no mention of beryllium shots, even though it has been said beryllium is a possible solution for the NIC. I would like to know the status of all this and hope that you can help out.

Anonymous said...

NIF is a Potemkin village. It has failed in its three missions of ignition, energy, and material science. HQ does not care about any of the "science" of NIF, they just are concerned about the money pouring into it.

Also, this Henesian should be aware that ULM does not care about his work on NIF as they are focused on distinguished member physicists who take all credit for any positive results.

Furthermore, this 14 MJ "break even" shot is a joke. It represents the optimization for yield of a failed design. The game now is to claim "scientific understanding" as a substitution for success. LLNL has forgot Lindl's predictions of getting 20 MJ, three orders of magnitude more yield, at this stage of the game. Predictably the plan is to apply "magical thinking" to the problem. That is, if one can model a low yield capsule design it follows that one will eventually get ignition.

Anonymous said...

Correction. I meant to write "14 kJ break even shot"

Anonymous said...

Beryllium is a Hail-Mary pass, another one. The same codes that say it should work better also say NIF ignited in 2011, with multi-MJ yield, using a plastic target, but real yield was kJ. The codes are wrong.

Anonymous said...

NIF is the ship that is ready to sail. Why deny its journey when it's already built. Science doesn't operate on a schedule. If we don't try these experiments then we will never know. In addition there are so many unknown unknowns waiting to be revealed in the universe. NIF will be our microscope for so many discoveries and Nobel prizes to come.

Anonymous said...

New and improved NIF Kool-Aid!

Anonymous said...

<< laughs and pukes

Anonymous said...

Did you know that NIF is training the first generation of fusioneers who will be the giants on whose shoulders the future of unlimited energy will be built.

Anonymous said...

Yeah they have PhDs in the field of confirmation bias and Ed is their rat king.

Anonymous said...

"Did you know that NIF is training the first generation of fusioneers who will be the giants on whose shoulders the future of unlimited energy will be built".

I'll start the slow clap now.

Anonymous said...

There has never been any confirmation bias associated with the design of NIF. Any information contradicting this is to be ignored anyways, since only what mgmt says matters anyways.

Anonymous said...

NIF is welfare for PhDs and giant corporate contractors and nothing more.

Without NIF, what is the US to do with all us PhD in the Bay Area and how would we keep the big institutional contractors going?

NIF serves an incredibly important purpose. PhDs have to be kept busy doing something, right?

It's not like we can go watch bombs explode in the desert or Fiji anymore. (God that was fun!) It might as well be building frickin giant lasers as much as anything else!!!

Let's face it. There really is not much for PhDs to do until we are really needed again for WW III in order to design some new super dooms day level gadgets. (They require no delivery system. Just fire and forget! Absolutely guaranteed to take out your enemy - and everything else on your planet. No defense is possible. Just don't drop it accidentally or your warranty is totally invalidated!)

Keeping guys busy with frickin giant lasers, that pays your kids tuition and keeps the big contractors cruising in their bright red Ferraris and Teslas.

Everyone is happy!

Nobody in their right mind really expects any actual results from NIF, so relax, drink a few margaritas, sack up with a hot bitch or two and propose making an even bigger frickin laser!!!, one that Gold Finger would be proud of. (Would James Bond's balls be a better target then beryllium, if you coat them in copper? hmmmmm.. Somebody quick, write a paper! I'm pretty sure that would get funded.)

Congress: "We like big lasers, we cannot deny."

Anonymous said...

That is spot on. Far too many PhDs go unemployed, hit the streets, take up the bottle and even are forced to engage in very old and unvenerable forms of market capitalism. Just last seen an unemployed PhD was hospitalized after being found in a back alley unconscious after drinking bong water, having run out of his "supply." For god's sake, man. Keep these NIF guys employed.

Anonymous said...

Bret Knapp cracks me up. For 7-years he has terrorized Los Alamos employees and returns to Livermore and "waves the olive branch" to Livermore employees. The guy is a two-faced bastard.

Anonymous said...

Knapp may be a rotten bastard, but he isn't two-faced. He has been Livermore's strongest advocate the entire time he worked in Los Alamos. He would be the perfect Livermore Director. I sincerely hope he gets the job of closing that place for good. Nobody is more qualified.

Anonymous said...

Knapp is a bastard! Goldstein is a bastard! this makes 2 bastards at llnl. Is there anymore bastard in hiding at llnl?

Anonymous said...

"Bastard" has a factual definition and an emotional, opinion-laden, totally subjective definition. Given that the factual definition is demonstrably false in this instance, why pay overmuch attention to the other? How about some factual, verifiable, objective examples of behavior that might qualify, in the opinion of a rational person? Or else, shut up already.

Anonymous said...

You think Knapp is bad? You haven't seen the totally incompetent folks running the Engineering Directorate...they embarass us!

Anonymous said...

"demonstrably false in this instance." Loh and behold. I personally do not know Knapp. So I cannot certify if he is bastard or non-bastard. But about Goldstein, I can easily qualify and quantify him as one. The day Goldstein selected Schwartz as division leader of, Goldstein immediately became a bastard if he was not before. Schwartz has not done one good thing ever since excepted terrorrizing his used to be co workers. I know at least 6 of us in PSL who would classify Goldstein/Schwartz team as evil.

Anonymous said...

Bills a good guy, I worked with him years ago and he seems to have stayed pretty much the same despite the suit and the big office. Shoots straight.

Anonymous said...

Worked with Goldstein years ago and seems to be the same? Thanks for the great laugh. BTW, it was a straight shot.

Anonymous said...

November 20, 2013 at 9:17 PM

See? If you read November 20, 2013 at 9:29 PM, you understand that it is all about opinion and not fact, so if you are a reasonable person, and not driven by some personal hatred, you might moderate your stance. Or not, depending on your character. Choose to hate and be unhappy, or choose to be forgiving and have some perspective that allows you to go home each night and enjoy your family. What is the purpose of all your vitriol? Does it make you feel better, or sleep better, or treat your wife better? I bet not. Try to remember, it is just work, not real life. If your job is your life, you are in big, big trouble.

Anonymous said...

People please get it right. They are "rat bastards," not garden variety bastards.

Anonymous said...

What did Schwartz do? He seems to be such a nice guy!

Anonymous said...

You don't want to go down that path. Some things should be left buried. Just be glad that Goldstein made the best decisions for the right reasons. He chose the far lesser of several evils.

Anonymous said...

There is definitely alot of rot at the lower levels of LLNL mgmt that makes your beloved knapp and Goldstein look like angels. That's the funny thing about LLNL. A bit of the Wild West with alot of empire building left unchecked. The place has no sense of institutional values even though There are corporate values listed on the website. These have nothing to do with reality.

Anonymous said...

11:12 and 11:22!
You made super comments. I just circled a black halo on the head of Goldstein and a pitch dark halo on the head of Schwartz. All done. Angels of LLNL.

Anonymous said...

Okay I admit my ignorance. Who the heck is Schwartz? Goldstein and knapp and so on are considered public figures. Who is Schwartz, and why is he so "famous" or "infamous?"

Anonymous said...

I know a Schwartz who very much wanted to be famous that he became infamous. But we can rely on reliable sources of November 21 at 6:53 AM to tell us pretty stories about Schwartz. And also November 21 at 11:12 who knows Schwartz is lesser of several evils.

Anonymous said...

I love the reference to "rat king" in this thread. For those of you who are not familiar with the term, a rat king is a collection of rodents that happen to be permanently stuck together, due to the tangling of their tails and other debris. You can google the term to see photos and learn more about rat kings.

Rat kings are very appropriate for the lab. The lab is a rat king with so many of the managers and employees being the rats permanently stuck together. So while the rat king can move around as a group, many can never escape their fate in the rat king because they are lifers unable to compete, let alone survive, in the private sector. The bizarre circumstances of the rat king also makes it a very appropriate analogy for the lab.

Anonymous said...

He is just some mid level manager, not famous, not even a public figure. Just leave him alone. Until he commits a crime or accomplishes something big and great, there is no point in bashing him or any other private citizen under similar circumstances.

Anonymous said...

Who is "he" 2:57 PM? The one that is just some mid level manager.

Anonymous said...

the one referenced in 1:42pm

Anonymous said...

Okay, back to the original question. How many people are going to be shit-canned before christmas and what's the word on lay offs. 466? +

Anonymous said...

How many people are going to be shit-canned before christmas and what's the word on lay offs. 466? +

November 23, 2013 at 10:15 AM

Even the people with their fingers on the trigger don't know. The rumor is 1500. It is completely made up, like everything else on this blog.

Anonymous said...

So how's he doing in the first weeks of his caretaker role?

Anonymous said...

Reading in this month's Politico how disconnected and defamed Muniz and Chu are, what a joke they are to the presidential-staff lackies; it is not a surprise LLL and LASL are poorly supported.

Need another Teller who can phone the president and get him. Until then, DC sparring dominates events and the labs mean little.

Anonymous said...

November 23, 2013 at 10:15 AM

Even the people with their fingers on the trigger don't know. The rumor is 1500. It is completely made up, like everything else on this blog.

November 23, 2013 at 11:21 AM

Since they've been laying off people since Oct and it'll continue well after Jan 15th the 1500 # may in fact be more real than you think and if NIF's budget gets cut by 50% next year it will be fore real. Wheee Haw !!

Anonymous said...

NIF funding will be increased because of the successful 14 kJ shot which reproduced the calculations made by the physicists. Within five years ground will be broken on the the new LIFE machine. Within ten years LIFE will be a working reactor funded largely by VC's in Silicon Valley. Also at this time the scientists involved in the 14 kJ shot will receive the Nobel prize in physics.

Anonymous said...

Likewise the term "cure for cancer" will be redefined in such a way that aspirin manufacturers will receive the Nobel prize for curing cancer. This will be in spite of the continual increase in the number of cancer deaths each year. What matters is that someone can claim success by moving the bar low or even setting the bar on the ground.

Anonymous said...

Also at this time the scientists involved in the 14 kJ shot will receive the Nobel prize in physics.

November 24, 2013 at 10:05 AM

At which point, the Nobel prize in physics will have been rendered meaningless, as the Nobel Peace Prize already has, for having been bestowed on Obama not for what he accomplished, but for what he was expected to accomplish.

Anonymous said...

10:05. Stay off the drugs. You are hallucinating.

Anonymous said...

The 14 kJ shot used a different target design, that cannot ignite but produces gobs of neutrons. It looks like non-optimized target designs from Nova and Omega, just bigger - and because the capsules do not converge so much, they match simulations better, because of all the data and past work matching low-convergence implosions. So it does not move the program forward very much at all, but it does make a splash. Whopee.

Anonymous said...

the "gobs" of neutrons is still atleast 4-5 orders of magnitude short. They still have a long long long way to go.

Anonymous said...

explosively driven pulsed power compression on DT produces alot more neutrons.

Anonymous said...

This is for anonymous on Nov 19 at 11:03 AM. You asked about the status of the idea to return to beryllium targets at NIF.

I have been watching NIF and its target design since it was first conceived in the LLNL Site-Wide EIS of 1992.

Around the mid-1990s, I recall Hahn stating that the Lab was considering 2 types of plastic targets and a beryllium target for ignition.

Decades later, LLNL has consistently gone back and forth and back between the two (i.e., CH and Be)without making much headway. Each material (CH or Be) has its own problems for achieving ignition.

So, decades of time and billions of dollars later, there is still no baseline ignition capable target.

Below, is the front page of a study done at LANL this year suggesting that the NIF folks give beryllium a fresh try (again).

I trust you can find it on the web through having the front page and its ID#.

LA-UR-13-25977
Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
Title:
Author(s):
Ignition with Beryllium - Rev 6 Target Design
Wilson, Douglas C. Simakov, Andrei N. Yi, Sunghwan Kline, John L. Salmonson, Jay Clark, Dan
Milovich, Jose Marinak, Martin Callahan, Debborah
Ignition Strategic Review, 2013-07-23/2013-07-24 (Livermore, California, United States)
2013-07-30
Intended for:
Issued:

Anonymous said...

In response to 11:26 am, are you saying that the NNSA is spending 400 million dollars a year on a low convergence non igniting capsule design for the the purpose of reproducing calculations? And this was already done years ago on Omega and Nova? What about the PRLs that are going to be published on this "new" design? What about the APS fellowships that are going to awarded to those involved? Are you saying there is nothing new here?

Anonymous said...

They handed out APS fellowships for the discredited work behind the deuterium equation of state fiasco from the lab... should tell you something.

Anonymous said...

"NIF funding will be increased because of the successful 14 kJ shot which reproduced the calculations made by the physicists. Within five years ground will be broken on the the new LIFE machine. Within ten years LIFE will be a working reactor funded largely by VC's in Silicon Valley. Also at this time the scientists involved in the 14 kJ shot will receive the Nobel prize in physics.

November 24, 2013 at 10:05 AM"

I agree with you but it may take a year or more for the funding to increase. NIF will yield many Nobel prizes, some will be physics, one or more chemistry and the in the long term one in economics. New physics is there... it has to be, there is no way around that fact. Science marches to its own beat not to naysayers on the blog. Many people put their lives into this thing and we have to remember this and put these people as our priority. We are on the cusp of greatness so be part of the future or become history, and do not disparage NIF.

Anonymous said...

The only thing new is alpha deposition resulting in substantial heating, but there is nothing unexpected there. Alphas stop in calculable ways, and if you make enough of them they will heat the plasma in calculable ways. They backed off the ignition target design to something they can calculate, and surprise, they can calculate it because it is not so far off in from what they have benchmarked their codes on at Nova and Omega. That does not mean it helps them understand why their point design is several orders of magnitude off. Writing PRLs and getting fellowships is entirely political, surely you realize that. They will milk this for all they can, in an effort to show progress and get more of our tax dollars so they can play in their sandbox. It is a very, very expensive sandbox.

Anonymous said...

do not disparage NIF.

November 24, 2013 at 7:48 PM

Why not? If NIF deserves disparagement, it will be disparaged. Get used to it and either get a thicker skin, or do something real (i.e., of real value to the taxpayers who support your sorry asses).

Anonymous said...

The 14kj break even publicity stunt was a real embarrassment for the lab. NIF needs to go. Let the lab have its weapons focus back, not this NIF monstrosity whose "science" is led by mediocre "scienticians."

Anonymous said...

I guess the question is what does Bret believe. He is probably being surrounded by people who are promising ignition and 1.5 billion dollars of venture capital for LIFE. Also, this 14 kJ shot has probably created a bandwagon effect. Maybe people think this will save the lab? There was similar enthusiasm for the NIF EOS experiments before it was revealed that the tantalum phase transition data was erroneous and the the platform could not drive samples without producing strong shocks.

Anonymous said...

Say what you will, the 14kJ shot did something that has never been done before, despite a great deal of effort. The magnetic fusion effort is still far away from this point, as are all other ICF approaches.

It certainly is not achievement of the "break even" that the public cares about. But it's probably a noteworthy step in that direction.

If you're paying attention, you'll note that LLNL has not played this up. There is no "publicity stunt" since there has been no publicity. Like all scientific achievements, this result will be published and then scrutinized. Then we'll see.

Anonymous said...

It certainly is not achievement of the "break even" that the public cares about.

November 25, 2013 at 9:08 AM

Your statement is correct but doesn't go far enough. The ONLY thing about NIF that the public cares about is the huge number of taxpayer dollars that go in with absolutely nothing of value coming out. The public is slow to anger about waste of this sort because few understand the science aspects. However, when the argument is made solely in terms of money, and there is no counter argument that taxpayers can accept, bad things start to happen. I want to see an analysis of what the average NIF-based job costs the taxpayer, with design and construction costs included. How long would the early US space program have retained funding if the moon landing were always "just a few more years away"?

Anonymous said...

Whatever NIF does or doesn't do, it would be refreshing if they operated within their budget, and paid their fair share of burden costs.

All programs do this. It was a mistake to let NIF believe they were immune from these fiscal realities.

Anonymous said...

The 14 kJ shot is a bait and switch. Being able to calculate the low yield capsule gives management a warm fuzzy. This is consistent with the WCI design effort whose sole purpose is to reproduce UGT data with the codes. However, if the design can never ignite or reveal the unknown unknowns behind the NIF failure, it's a waste of time.

Anonymous said...

However, if the design can never ignite or reveal the unknown unknowns behind the NIF failure, it's a waste of time.

November 25, 2013 at 10:19 AM

The waste of money is far more important than the waste of time. The public doesn't care what scientists do with their time.

Anonymous said...

The Tantalum phase transition fiasco was another one where the lab ran around proclaiming success when it turned out to be a riyal screw-up. But hey they keep the same people in charger and even reward them with awards regardless of their inability to perform top notch world class research. Remember this: the lab chooses winners in advance. Then they think they can throw money and promotions to make it true. The lab also chooses the outcome or conclusion, and throw money at problems thinking they can realize their conclusion. If it means suppressing dissent or engaging in confirmation bias and fact distortion, come hell or high water they will try to shove their pre-determined conclusions down your throat one way or another.

Anonymous said...

The lab the way you described it makes it out to be a kind of religion or cult where the truth is engineered and facts are optional.

Anonymous said...

November 25, 2013 at 12:19 PM

Ding Ding Ding!!!

Anonymous said...

The mantra at LLNL is "We tell Washington what to do, not the other way around." I'm not a fan of Washington. But atleast they are accountable to someone. LLNL behaves as if it is the customer, accountable to no one. Add the bizarre religiosity associated with NIF and the history of systematically black balling dissenters. Yes it is like a cult.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why you keep whining and flapping your lips. If you don't like it here then get out. If you can't handle the heat then get out of the kitchen. We got this far despite having the likes of you trying to drag us down. Do us a favor and just leave.

Anonymous said...

AVLIS; Deuterium EoS; Ta phase transition; alpha heating milestone;

Anonymous said...

Add 14kJ "break even" to that list of notable fiascos and failures.

Anonymous said...

LLNLs is not going away so you better get behind it or get out.

November 25, 2013 at 6:14 PM

Yes it is. No we won't. LLNL does not exist. LLNS will end the laboratory. Any other questions?

Anonymous said...

Hey... lets not forget. LLNL got to have NIF while LANL lost CMRR, LLNL won the RRW competition while LANL lost, LLNL has takes systems from LANL and now LLNL has taken a top leader from LANL.

And oh by the way, Feinstein signs the checks and she's a local.

Cooler heads will prevail and so will LLNL...
just chill. Its gonna be way OK. LLNL cannot lose and never will.

Anonymous said...

"...LLNL is a for profit corporation now..."

"...LLNLs is not going away so you better get behind it or get out..."

FYI: "for profit" corporations like LLNS do "go away"
when they fail to deliver. Otherwise its capitalism
(for profit) on the way up and government
socialism on the way down. If we want both, lets
not criticize the tax payers for giving their
opinions. LLNS fee structure and performance
metrics do not map well to Microsoft. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

"We can get through this", as the roof catches fire and the walls start collapsing around us. Your own colleagues are getting canned under your nose, you might be next - what is not obvious about what is happening to the lab?

Anonymous said...

LLNLs is not going away so you better get behind it or get out.

November 25, 2013 at 6:14 PM

Yes it is. No we won't. LLNS will spell the end of LLNL. You just hang in there, bucko. Hope you can swim in a really strong current (swirling down the bowl).

Anonymous said...

A lab like LLNL is only going to experience a slow death. There is not enough political will to just pull the rug from out under. The game is for the lab to lose. The fact that they are trying Hail Mary passes doesn't bode well.

Anonymous said...


"Yes it is. No we won't. LLNS will spell the end of LLNL. You just hang in there, bucko. Hope you can swim in a really strong current (swirling down the bowl).

November 25, 2013 at 8:47 PM"

With attitudes like this LLNL may just indeed fail. LLNLs inherited a lot of problems and turning it around is no easy task but it is happening. These problems included arrogant scientists and a culture of of "we know better". Cultures are not easy things to change it can take many years to root these problems out. You can complain all you want but we can all agree LLNL and LANL are much better places then they where 10-20 years ago. There was just scandal after scandal of what was seen to be an out of control labs. These scandals are gone now, so you have give LLNLs and LANS some credit. In the eyes of congress this is all that matters and it should be all that matters. Sure there are budget problems but this is due to the nature of our current economy. If LLNLs and LANLs did not come in they would have shut these places down years ago.

Anonymous said...

November 26, 2013 at 10:22 PM

Paid by Bechtel.

"but we can all agree LLNL and LANL are much better places then they where 10-20 years ago."
Careful, when you bring statements like this.
I have worked for a long time at LANS, and I can tell you, it went down. We can't even build a fence, let alone anything else without
a: huge cost overruns
b: not functioning.


Please also list the scandals you are referring to.

In my opinion, the biggest scandal is how the managing fee went from 8M$ at UC to 75M$ to LANS and another 64M$ gross receipt tax to NM.

But I guess, enriching useless, incompetent businesses like Bechtel is more important than actually producing anything real.

Anonymous said...

"Please also list the scandals you are referring to."

1 Wen Ho Lee

2 Disks behind copier

3 Stolen Mustangs

4 Culture of Theft with the firing of of investigators that looked into culture of theft.

5 Large Fires (Not fair to count this)

6 Meth for secrets

7 Missing Disks

8 Laser incident that blinded student.

9 Lab stand down.

10 Tommy Hook beaten up.

11 There are lots of other events that I would have to look back on.

Now, the only "scandals" are things like the fence not getting done on time. Sure it is problem but it not seen at the same magnitude of the other problems from before in terms of PERCEPTION. I know someone will say that alot of the things on this list are overblown or are not really true but the perception was that they where real and they where serious. I would also add that LANL never made a single attempt to defend itself when these things occurs.

It really is about safety and security and since LANS came in we are have not had any of these scandals. They have to be doing something right. At they very least they seem to get the perception thing right. If a minor incident happens they seem to contain it or adequately explain that it was minor. Before LANS there was only silence or worse amplification of perceived problems from the management. Take Nanos, he publicly went on about how things where much worse at LANL than they seemed.

The corporate mindset may have its disadvantageous but a CEO never goes out and says, "it is much worse than it looks, I have no idea what is going on, or we all suck..." and so on. With Nanos you had "the lab is the problem", with Brown you had "I have no idea what is going on so ya maybe we have lots of problems, but hell if I know." McMillan is not going to say any of these things.

Anonymous said...

5 Large Fires (Not fair to count this)

November 27, 2013 at 8:33 AM

Yeah, and also not fair to count a couple of other things on your list that certainly were not the fault of LANL management. Not to mention the two things on your list that never happened at all.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"Please also list the scandals you are referring to."

1 Wen Ho Lee DOE's mishandled this one

2 Disks behind copier, so what is the problem

3 Stolen Mustangs never happened

4 Culture of Theft with the firing of of investigators that looked into culture of theft. That is jus an accusation. EWhat culture of theft

5 Large Fires (Not fair to count this) So why do you bring it up

6 Meth for secrets What, jsut because you had a druggie you leap to that conclusion

7 Missing Disks Again? They never existed

8 Laser incident that blinded student. That I let stand, okay so far the only problem

9 Lab stand down. That was not LANL culture, but Navy.

10 Tommy Hook beaten up. Guess you blame Anastasio for this one

11 There are lots of other events that I would have to look back on. Go on, if they are as good as the ones you brought, you have a problem convincing me.


You don't like LANL that is fine, but please stay truthful.

Anonymous said...

10:22. Please do us all a favor and stay away from the Bechtel punch bowl. You have no idea what you are talking about.

Anonymous said...

I was at the lab 10 and 20 years ago, and I can assure you it is far from better now.

Anonymous said...

"You don't like LANL that is fine, but please stay truthful.

November 27, 2013 at 3:37 PM"

First of all I never said that I do not like LANL. I agree that most of the incidents where was you said, either non-incidents or greatly overblown. With that being said they where made into big incidents by that fact that the management, would never stand up. In the modern day, if you do not deny an accusation than it is assumed to be true. I do not think it is fair or correct but in the modern 5 sec news bite this is how it is. You can say all the bad things you want about LANS but they will make an attempt to address issues. In the last five years there has been plenty of incidents that could be spun to make it sound like they where just as bad as any of the previous incidents but the spinning never happened. I some ideas why this is the case now. In the new lab the management cannot make the lab look bad or they may lose some of the fee and the bonus. In the old lab there was no reward for defending the lab, so it was better to defenseless or to even makes things worse. The latter pathologies are common in government run institutes. The new corporate model is not really suited to scientific work so it fails in that sense.

Anonymous said...

November 27, 2013 at 9:07 PM:

Your completely irrational and non-too-grammatical attempt to whitewash the LANS response to "accusations" is laughable. What you call "not standing up" by UC management was simply trying to investigate and get real facts before "attempting to address" issues. I know because I was part of the response to every one of the issues you listed. It takes a long time to interview people, put together hypotheses, and complete an investigation to get the real story. Which UC did in each case. Their "failure" to "stand up" and simply stonewall the issue and assume they could just get away with that, as LANS now does routinely, is a sign of responsibility and accountability on the part of UC. LANS, on the other hand, just spins it and waits for the uproar to die, definitely not better for the public or the taxpayers.

"if you do not deny an accusation than it is assumed to be true" Should you deny it before you know whether it is true?? You either find out the truth and tell it, or you immediately "stand up" and defend yourself not knowing whether or not you are guilty, truth be damned. Your choice.

Errors in your post:

"where was you said"
"I some ideas"
"it was better to defenseless"

Try to proofread.

Anonymous said...

Please be Honest. UC was never interested in the "truth" about the hard drives or the mustang. All they ever sought was a credible story that left their hands clean. Bechtel is exactly the same. UC was at least smart enough to leave the scientific mission to the scientists.

Anonymous said...

I'm getting the feeling no one from LANL likes Bret Knapp and LLNL is soon going to find out why. Afterward this post will be far more than 132 comments long and none of them are going to be positive. I look forward to the outcome of LLNL budget shortfall come Jan 15th, 2014. Will they be laying off even more people?

Anonymous said...

Is 134 comments a record Scooby?

Anonymous said...

UC was never interested in the "truth" about the hard drives or the mustang. All they ever sought was a credible story that left their hands clean.

November 28, 2013 at 4:58 AM

Sorry, I was there. I was involved. You are wrong. UC's error was in failing to give strong, unequivocal direction to some elements of LANL security. That is unfortunate.

Anonymous said...

10:20 You were there? You were involved? Really? I don't recall ever hearing the POV you describe during the crisis. Then again, I really was in the middle of it and the lives and careers of many of my friends and colleagues were destroyed in the game of hide-and-seek that followed. It was and remains a management disaster from top to bottom. There is not enough perfume for this pig.

Anonymous said...

November 28, 2013 at 3:49 PM

Sorry you can only see it from your "POV". If you lose the blinders, you might see more of what actually happened. Hint: nobody you dealt with personally was doing anything but what he/she was told to do (sometimes by the wrong person, for the wrong reasons). Unfortunately the right people who should have been in charge were too caught up in what the DOE and FBI wanted, instead of caring about employees, and I'm not talking about UC people.

Anonymous said...

The public parade of "scandals" some years back were politically motivated, both by a liberal media that hates the weapons labs and by a conservative congress that pushed private-sector management on ideological grounds. No one liked university-managed weapons labs, no one except those of us who worked there. Just the reality on the ground.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
The public parade of "scandals" some years back were politically motivated, both by a liberal media that hates the weapons labs and by a conservative congress that pushed private-sector management on ideological grounds. No one liked university-managed weapons labs, no one except those of us who worked there. Just the reality on the ground.

November 29, 2013 at 7:09 AM

And without the national labs weapons programs all the bleeding heart anti-nuclear freeloading tree hugging hippy bastard would have been under communist rule decades ago.

Anonymous said...

So many registered democrats at top level management posts at the lab. It's not about ideology. They all are greedy bastards trying to hold onto power in an environment where we don't need the kind of capability to support such a small stockpile. Something has got to give. But we need one good lab, not two mediocre ones. And NIF has no stockpile stewardship mission anyways. Stick it in some NSF funded institution. Let the real weapons engineers do real weapons work. Not this NIF quasi science.

Anonymous said...

A merged (and scaled down) LANL + Sandia lab would cover all the needs for NNSA that the national labs cover. Gutting LLNL and Sandia CA will have little adverse impact on NNSA as top performers and rainmakers would be cherry picked anyways.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
So many registered democrats at top level management posts at the lab. It's not about ideology. They all are greedy bastards trying to hold onto power in an environment where we don't need the kind of capability to support such a small stockpile. Something has got to give. But we need one good lab, not two mediocre ones. And NIF has no stockpile stewardship mission anyways. Stick it in some NSF funded institution. Let the real weapons engineers do real weapons work. Not this NIF quasi science.

Go team go! Go team go! L-L-N-L what's it spell looser.

POS

Anonymous said...

what's it spell looser.

POS

December 2, 2013 at 5:22 PM

Yeah, except that you can't spell "loser." Living up to your moniker.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, except that you can't spell "loser." Living up to your moniker.

December 2, 2013 at 7:27 PM


hahaha so classic.

Anonymous said...

This email was interesting,
============
"An informational meeting will be offered this week to assist the Laboratory in responding to the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation's (NA-22) call for proposals. Note: Some of the dates and times have changed.

A meeting about an overview of FY15 call for proposals will be held in the Bldg. 132S auditorium on Wednesday, Dec. 4, at 1:30 p.m. and is unclassified.

This week's session, sponsored by the Office of Strategic Outcomes, Engineering and Global Security, are designed to seek creative ideas for solutions to pressing national needs to address the annual call for proposals from the NNSA's nuclear nonproliferation organization.

In addition, on Dec. 10, Engineering will host an "Idea Days" open to all employees to attract innovative solutions for responding to the NA-22 call for proposals.

"A greater effort is being made this year to engage technical staff from across the Lab in developing ideas and the white papers to describe them," said Steve Bohlen, the program director for nuclear and domestic security.

"If you have not engaged in the response to this proposal call, recently or previously, but feel you have ideas that may be valuable to the goals of the program, you are encouraged to engage in this process," Bohlen added.
============
OSO is even involved. Maybe this is the filter, if you are not fully supported and you don't participate in this, you are on the layoff list.

Anonymous said...

Any lab scientist who gives up his ideas to bring in WFO is a fool. The WFO money that comes in is controlled by managers, not the PI who got the money in the first place. Simply put, if you give management a good idea they will steal the project out from under you. I've seen it happen several times.

Anonymous said...

The WFO money that comes in is controlled by managers, not the PI who got the money in the first place. Simply put, if you give management a good idea they will steal the project out from under you. I've seen it happen several times.

December 3, 2013 at 6:21 AM

So it is better to never get the money rather than have management control it? That's sick. Let's see how fast you can shoot yourself in the other foot.

Anonymous said...

That's right, it's better not to have your ideas stolen from you and used by management assholes to advance their careers. Get it? Also, there is no reason to bring more money into the lab. You still get paid regardless.

Real labs like LBL have a PI structure where the money goes directly to PI's, not to the director and his cronies.

The lab doesn't care about new money. Some of the most successful people at the lab work on NIF, a shrinking program which is despised at HQ. Also, people who worked on RRW, a cancelled program, are highly ranked and valued by the lab management.

Anonymous said...

Lab management taking away WFO money is what is called a kleptocracy, or "rule by thieves".

Anonymous said...

there is no reason to bring more money into the lab. You still get paid regardless.

December 3, 2013 at 9:56 AM

If you are funded by a WFO program, and that money goes away, it will be a very short time before you go away too.

Anonymous said...

Upper management support for WFOs at the NNSA labs is an illusion. They don't like it, don't want it and don't care to help make it possible.

They'll give lip service to it for political reasons but then do little to nothing to help nurse it along at their labs. It's been like this for decades.

The only programs they really care about are those that delivery huge pots of "sugar daddy" money from NNSA for weapons work on a regular (and non-competitive) basis. That's the way it is and will likely always be. It's stupid to base your career at an NNSA weapon lab on WFO work. It will only put your career in danger at some point.

Anonymous said...

Upper management support for WFOs at the NNSA labs is an illusion...

They'll give lip service to it for political reasons but then do little to nothing to help nurse it along at their labs...

The only programs they really care about are those that delivery huge pots of "sugar daddy" money from NNSA...

December 4, 2013 at 10:02 PM

According to the Stimson Report referenced on another thread, http://www.stimson.org/images/uploads/research-pdfs/Leveraging_Science_for_Security_FINAL.pdf, This is exactly what lab management SHOULD be doing. WFO as currently practiced at the labs is unsustainable, lacks strategic vision, and is based more on ad hoc personal relationships rather than real competition. Your reference to WFO need to be "nursed along" is telling.

Anonymous said...

WFO is killing the lab. If you want to be a PI for small-fry projects, there are other places you can base yourself. The lab as an organization is just not good at that, instead it is good at the big stuff.

Anonymous said...

Bit of quandary there...since there isn't going to be any more "big stuff"....

Anonymous said...

Bit of quandary there...since there isn't going to be any more "big stuff"....

December 6, 2013 at 7:43 PM


Read the Stimson report. With enough vision and purpose, the weapons labs could have a bright future. However, I fear our elected leaders have no vision and no intelligence. We got what we deserved.

Anonymous said...

We deserve more big stuff. Didn't MFE, AVLIS, the X-ray Laser, Shiva, Nova, NIF, the S1 computer, and Brilliant Pebbles all deliver as promised? I'm sure that there were other major successes that I forgot---there were so many.

Anonymous said...

Who was it, Hal Graboske, who said "if you're going to fail, fail big?" I'm sure that saying came from someone who actually is famous or imfamous.

Anonymous said...

The last "big stuff" project was the NIF, and while a technology tour de force, it did not accomplish what it was built to accomplish. This very public failure reverberates throughout DOE, and there are no more big-stuff projects on the horizon. That's why the new Director needs to be truly visionary - think Edward Teller here - or the lab is doomed.

Anonymous said...

Dark energy weapons will do the trick. Get crackin' folks!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
The last "big stuff" project was the NIF, and while a technology tour de force, it did not accomplish what it was built to accomplish. This very public failure reverberates throughout DOE, and there are no more big-stuff projects on the horizon. That's why the new Director needs to be truly visionary - think Edward Teller here - or the lab is doomed.

December 7, 2013 at 8:42 AM

It's over my friend. Bret should start with a 50% before Jan 1st, 2014 and get-r-done. That would be a good start in prep for the next lay-off come June 2014

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