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Monday, January 4, 2016

Was Nanos right all along?

Is there a culture of arrogance that dooms LANL, no matter who is the contractor?

http://www.abqjournal.com/699238/opinion/new-lab-contractor-needs-to-sweat-the-small-stuff.html

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Is there a culture of arrogance that dooms LANL, no matter who is the contractor?"

We have been over this before, there was never a culture arrogance.

Anonymous said...

Nanos was wrong. He elevated issues which created the beginning of the end. Bring in Bechtel and you have the person/s that will beat the horse to death.... and there isn't a cowboy in sight! The Laboratories should never have been put out to bid as for profit. Now people are making millions in salary and don't even get me started on the $30,000 rolex watches!

Anonymous said...


Nanos did ot even believe any of it himself he simply thought he could move up or profit if attacked the lab. He turned on his own people for 30 pieces of silver.
Dante says the ninth and lowest level of Hell is for treachery and betrayal so I guess we know where Nanos belongs.

Anonymous said...

There always has been a culture of arrogance at LANL, and nothing changed under LANS. They are worse than LLNL, which is a stunning statement. Just shutter the place, because there is no solution that does not involve firing large numbers of people.

Anonymous said...

"There always has been a culture of arrogance at LANL, and nothing changed under LANS. They are worse than LLNL, which is a stunning statement. Just shutter the place, because there is no solution that does not involve firing large numbers of people.

January 4, 2016 at 9:14 PM"

You have no evidence of a cultural of arrogance. Who specially are you going to fire, scientists, managers, guards, and admins? Would you have said the same thing in 1980, 1990, 1999, and 2010? Where does you "culture" arrogance start? Do you even know what a culture is? Try getting some facts before you spewing your BS.

Anonymous said...

Mr. "Where is your evidence?!?" is back. Talk about arrogance. It comes from people like you.

Anonymous said...

"Mr. "Where is your evidence?!?" is back. Talk about arrogance. It comes from people like you.

January 5, 2016 at 7:24 AM"

How on earth is asking for evidence equivalent to being arrogant? Just stating some vague and sweeping generalization and saying it is true because I said so sounds like arrogance. It seems ironic that you do not even see your own extreme arrogance.

Anonymous said...

7:34 am must work at LANL.

Anonymous said...

The LANL culture, arrogance or otherwise, was on full display in Wallace's exploding drum fiasco. Tens of thousands of "experiments" at a cost to taxpayers of tens of millions of dollars, and a bully presentation of the "results."

His bottom line was "since I am so great at experimental design, and LANL is so great at experimental execution, and we can not duplicate the WIPP drum explosion, then there is no possible chance at all that any part of the explosion was LANL's fault."

Many coworkers, all of them long term LANL scientists, were deeply embarrassed by Wallace and his debacle.

Anonymous said...

Many coworkers, all of them long term LANL scientists, were deeply embarrassed by Wallace and his debacle.

January 5, 2016 at 8:29 AM

This would point to exactly the opposite of the culture of arrogance. It might say that Wallace is arrogant but it would say that LANL scientists are not.

Anonymous said...

7:34 am must work at LANL.

January 5, 2016 at 8:06 AM

How is this a reply to statements of 7:34 am?

Anonymous said...

How is this a reply to statements of 7:34 am?

January 5, 2016 at 8:44 AM

I took it as a compliment. Any good scientist will require evidence for a hypothesis.

Anonymous said...

"I took it as a compliment. Any good scientist will require evidence for a hypothesis.

January 5, 2016 at 10:17 AM"

And this my friends is proof of the cultural of arrogance at Los Alamos, out there for you all to see.

Anonymous said...

A surreal discussion.

"Los Alamos scientists are all arrogant cowboy!"

"Can you explain why?"

"Ah, you see, arrogance!"

"No, really, please tell us why you think so."

"What an arrogant request!"

"Can you explain yourself? In science, we use evidence."

"You want evidence?! That, right there is evidence of your arrogance, arrogance, arrogance! Just based on this exchange, this nuclear weapons lab needs to shut down immediately! Nanos was right!"

Anonymous said...

No. Nanos was a misfit.

LANL deserved a great persuasive, scientific leader who could sell the mission, plan the strategy, cultivate future scientists and leaders and rally the troops.

Nanos was none of those. Typical establishment navy. Follows orders.

Anonymous said...

" Typical establishment navy. Follows orders."

Nanos was not typical navy, he was never even allowed command of a ship, that tells you need to know about what the navy thought of him.

Anonymous said...

There are many great scientists that are not arrogant, unfortunately there are more arrogant scientists that are not great.

Anonymous said...

There are many great scientists that are not arrogant, unfortunately there are more arrogant scientists that are not great.

January 6, 2016 at 7:31 AM

Could you please provide some proof for this grandiose and sweeping statement. It sounds like something you just made up to sound clever.

Anonymous said...

Could you please provide some proof for this grandiose and sweeping statement. It sounds like something you just made up to sound clever.

January 6, 2016 at 8:20 AM

Arrogant poster.

Anonymous said...

Call it whatever you want. Arrogant, cowboy, whatever. Here are a few:

Why did PF-4 and WETF shut down? Arrogance followed by a pride swallowing thump.

Does LANL follow federal regulations in regards to waste, explosives, classified information? Does LANL even read the regs?

How does LANL approach the other labs? Let's see, LLNL is a joke about lasers to them. Sandi is not a lab to them it is a production facility. ORNL is a bunch of hicks.

I personally have not met an arrogant scientist, in fact the ones I have met are generally quiet and humble but I have met a heck of a lot of arrogant non scientist and they were here at LANL way before LANS was even a thought.

Deny all you want but at the end of the day, the world will keep spinning if they do shut the place down.



Anonymous said...

January 7, 2016 at 10:04 PM


Huh, do you have any evidence whatsoever to back up these claims, any? No one at LANL says LLNL is joke, or that "Sandia" is a productions faculty, how on earth would any think that the scientists at ORNL are a bunch of hicks. This is just crazy talk and makes you sound like some kind of unhinged crackpot.

Anonymous said...

What do you want? Names? Do you want your coworkers outed? Deny all you want. This is first hand info. I have even seen slams on ORNL on this blog. I have worked at ORNL and I know they are not hicks, but that goes to the attitudes at LANL.

Any comment on the other parts regarding regs and operating facilities. I would bet not.

Anonymous said...

And it's not the scientists who are arrogant. See my previous post.

Anonymous said...

It's an old trick for the arrogant, including the sociopathic trolls with PhDs who fill the halls at LANL. Take the role of accuser and put someone's opinion on defense by saying "Prove it, show me evidence!". Then, take the role of judge, and rule on whether or not that "evidence" is enough. Of course, it can never be enough. Then, declare "victory". All a response does is feed the trolls, who are incapable of seeing what others see anyways.

Anonymous said...

January 8, 2016 at 7:32 AM

Well you have provided some evidence that you are a bit of a wack job. Just out of curiosity could you explain what is wrong with you or why you have a problem with LANL scientists? You wouldn't happen to be an ex lab employee by chance?

Anonymous said...

The poor guy lives in the Cuckoo Land, where no external input can change his preconceived notions and delusions. Even a simple request for evidence to explain his sweeping assertions is immediately perceived as further evidence for the assertion.

You can debate him, ask to explain his views, or decline to answer altogether. Any response will be interpreted as further proof that you are one of "the sociopathic trolls with PhDs who fill the halls at LANL".

Anonymous said...

Just so I am clear, there are two people rebutting. I have no issue with the scientists to date. I have not met a scientist with an arrogant attitude that has created issues for the lab. I do not care for the arrogance you seem to display but I do not believe you work at LANL. Now, there is an arrogance at LaNL. I have given you the examples. I stand by them. Most of the arrogance is in the middle management and executives. They believe that regulations are not Necessarily to be followed. They believe that LAnL is above any rule because of their greatness. The reality is that the people applying this arrogance are not great but instead wrong and dangerous which is proven every day, you only here a fraction of the goings on. Last, this has been going on for decades. This is not LANS, LANS was nothing more than a vehicle for UC to keep the contract.

Now that LANS is out, the NNsA will cut more benefits and freeze the pension program. Watch Sandia and learn. Be careful what you wish for because the real problem may be the NNsA.

Anonymous said...

"I stand by them. Most of the arrogance is in the middle management and executives."

Even if this is true you cannot make a sweeping generalization the LANL has a culture of arrogance. At best some subsections of the lab have a culture of arrogance but not the whole lab. When Nanos used the world culture or other people in the media use the word they imply non-management scientists. In fact one congresswomen in Colorado even said that "management" at LANL gets it, but not the workforce.

Also the idea that management thinks "LANL is great" does not seem to ring true, I would say that management looks down on the workforce at LANL and consider LANL to be a hustle for easy money and believe if you work hard at your job or believe in your job you are some kind of sucker. The arrogance comes into part by thinking they themselves are "great" and "above it all" not because of science or ability but because they have figured out how the real world works. Now I believe this worldview will fail in the long run and it looks like it has but please do not blame working scientists, engineers, technical and non-technical staff at the lab for a culture of arrogance.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if we agree or disagree. Understand the outcome of the arrogance I am suggesting. It goes like this, we don't need to do that regulatory thing, we are LANL, we know better. Boom. Wait, what happened.

This is every week. I know. I've watch it for decades. You only hear part of it. It is not scientists but it is driven but people who think they are.

Anonymous said...

It goes like this, we don't need to do that regulatory thing, we are LANL, we know better.
January 9, 2016 at 10:33 AM

Bingo, 10:33 am gets it. Except it includes scientists, and was started by scientists decades ago. Louis Slotin was an early example.

Anonymous said...

It goes like this, we don't need to do that regulatory thing, we are LANL, we know better.
January 9, 2016 at 10:33 AM

Bingo, 10:33 am gets it. Except it includes scientists, and was started by scientists decades ago. Louis Slotin was an early example.

January 9, 2016 at 11:12 AM


Terry Wallace is another example.

Anonymous said...

"Bingo, 10:33 am gets it. Except it includes scientists, and was started by scientists decades ago. Louis Slotin was an early example."


BS, it does not include scientists. The fact that you have to go back to someone who died in May 1946, is an example of how wrong you are. You are completely lost in some la la land in your hate for Los Alamos and scientists in general. I think you have some personal issues that you should deal with before you blame all your failures in life on LANL, scientists, and people with college degrees.

Anonymous said...

10:33 here, I do not see it in the scientists. They are mostly humble people in my experience to date but I think that is why the scientists on this blog are so emphatic that the cowboy culture does not exist. It does, but it is not in science and it has made the lab what it is post Cold War.

Anonymous said...

Wen Ho Lee is a shining recent example. Cremers, PI of 2004 laser eye injury fame (http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/manuals/laser/losalamos.pdf) is another.

Anonymous said...

We have made terrific progress here. We started with blanket, slanderous and abusive statements about "the sociopathic trolls with PhDs who fill the halls at LANL" and ended with an accurate diagnosis of the institutional sickness: "Most of the arrogance is in the middle management and executives." This last observation is spot on.

To have a shot at curing this patient, you have to put LANL not only "under new contract", but "under new management". Which means that with the contract change all current managers, division leaders and above, should be sent packing. Come to think of it, many group leaders should also be included.

All these people right now are maneuvering to position themselves for the change. Don't let them stay. To cure this patient, make sure all the pathogens are completely gone.

At least half of the vacated management positions can then be safely eliminated. They were created after LANS came in, as cushy jobs with no useful functions and outrageous salaries. Compete the remaining positions externally, to bring in much needed fresh blood and purge the crony corruption, misconduct, and, yes, arrogance.

Anonymous said...

"Wen Ho Lee is a shining recent example. Cremers, PI of 2004 laser eye injury fame (http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/manuals/laser/losalamos.pdf) is another."

January 9, 2016 at 4:27 PM

So you have 3 people since 1945, and even then this could be due utter incompetence and not arrogance. If anything is says that exact opposite of your point that there is a culture of arrogance. Back in the Nanos shut down Brad Hollian got some statistics which was published in Physics Today.
www.npr.org/healthscience/documents/holian_alamos.pdfNPR

The data clearly showed had better safety records than LLNL, SNL, ORNL, and was slightly better than ANL, BNL, and significantly better than the Chemical and Manufacturing Industry. I would also add that over the last 10 years there has been a number deaths at University laboratories as well many which where in the news such the incident at Yale. The idea that there was some kind of culture of arrogance or a cowboy culture that does not take safety or security seriously is simply does not pan out when compared against any actual data.

You never present facts just some isolated cases which mean nothing without comparison to other institutions. You keep using your own personal opinion which sounds it is tainted by some personal grievance.

Anonymous said...

8:01 seems to see the same imaginary tiger behind every post. Thanks for the chuckles.

Anonymous said...

January 9, 2016 at 8:55 PM

Say what you want about the 8:01 poster but the data in the Holian document counters the claim that LANL was ever filled with some kind of arrogant cowboy culture.

Anonymous said...

8:01 is spot on.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps 7:32 AM was right. We see 8:01 PM taking the role of judge after being presented with the evidence he asked for, and then declaring victory. By the way, one form of cultural arrogance is to under-report safety incidents.

Anonymous said...

We have made terrific progress here. We started with blanket, slanderous and abusive statements about "the sociopathic trolls with PhDs who fill the halls at LANL" and ended with an accurate diagnosis of the institutional sickness: "Most of the arrogance is in the middle management and executives." This last observation is spot on.

To have a shot at curing this patient, you have to put LANL not only "under new contract", but "under new management". Which means that with the contract change all current managers, division leaders and above, should be sent packing. Come to think of it, many group leaders should also be included.

All these people right now are maneuvering to position themselves for the change. Don't let them stay. To cure this patient, make sure all the pathogens are completely gone.

At least half of the vacated management positions can then be safely eliminated. They were created after LANS came in, as cushy jobs with no useful functions and outrageous salaries. Compete the remaining positions externally, to bring in much needed fresh blood and purge the crony corruption, misconduct, and, yes, arrogance.

January 9, 2016 at 7:19 PM


7:19 PM presents about the best option that has been offered. LANL requires both "new contract" and "new management" if it has any hope at all of recovery. Anything less will yield enduring illness.

Anonymous said...

"Perhaps 7:32 AM was right. We see 8:01 PM taking the role of judge after being presented with the evidence he asked for, and then declaring victory. By the way, one form of cultural arrogance is to under-report safety incidents.

January 10, 2016 at 7:52 AM"

How do you come to this conclusion? 7:32 AM presented 3 names from 1946-2016 as evidence for a culture of arrogance, this is hardly evidence. 8:01PM than replied with
by presenting a rigorous study that was peer reviewed and published in Physics Today and the actual statics of safety incidents showing that LANL was lower than most of other comparable institutes. Again please explain how you come to your conclusion.

Anonymous said...

January 9, 2016 at 7:19 PM

The only choice for LANL to survive is a "new management" that replaces all division leaders and above with external managers.

Anonymous said...

January 10, 2016 at 7:52 AM

We have yet hear a logical reply to points raised. Can you please provide some quantifiable evidence and comparison with comparable institutes that would justify you opinion that LANL has a culture of arrogance.

Anonymous said...

Can you please provide some quantifiable evidence and comparison with comparable institutes that would justify you opinion that LANL has a culture of arrogance.

January 10, 2016 at 6:27 PM

Cute, the "scientist" demanding "quantifiable evidence" for an undefined, subjective opinion. Your world view is a little narrow, dude.

Anonymous said...

I doubt one can find any evidence that LANL scientists are "arrogant". If anything, after 10 years of LANS it is the opposite. On my recent visit, I observed that many of the best people are gone and the remaining ones are sheepish, beaten down, obedient.

The managers, on the other hand, are astoundingly arrogant. Much more so than before LANS came in.

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