Friday, March 18, 2005

Wouldn't It Be Neat If ...

One of the great things about traveling the blogosphere is that, given time, you'll eventually find a stop along the way with a focus that is especially interesting ... a group of people posting on a topic-of-interest that seems to answer the question, "Wouldn't it be neat if ..."

I found one earlier this week while perusing the following on the Associated Press wire:


Disgruntled Los Alamos workers share insights and gripes on blog

If loose lips sink ships, then what can a blog at a top-secret nuclear lab do? Many of the mostly anonymous Los Alamos National Laboratory employees who post to
"LANL: The Real Story" take aim on work conditions and perceived weak morale at the federal lab. Others are bent on ridiculing -- and perhaps sinking -- their boss, lab director Pete Nanos.

Whatever its effect, the blog that debuted in December has become a lively public forum for current and former Los Alamos lab workers who share articles, gripes, rumors and observations.

A computer scientist at the New Mexico lab, Doug Roberts, says he launched the site after an online publication for employees stopped accepting submissions critical of Los Alamos.


Wouldn't it be neat to sit down in a virtual room somewhere and listen in on a bunch of people from Los Alamos?

I think it would. Any of you out there with some experience in northern New Mexico know that Los Alamos is one of the most storied communities in the state ... and one of the most unique in America. It's population once had probably the highest concentration of scientists and technicians gathered in one place, from around the world, to pursue am awesome objective.

Oh, and the stories they could tell ... about some things at least. Back in the seventies, at the University of New Mexico, my professor in "Physics for Non-Majors" was a Manhattan alumnus. When lectures were finished for the day, and the last questions had been answered, he would often share a humorous tale of life in Los Alamos in the 1940s, featuring people like Oppenheimer, Fermi and others.

And, while Los Alamos today is a far cry from the early days of Manhattan and Trinity, there is still much going on there that is kept well out of the public eye ... which makes me wonder just how far contributors to this blog will be allowed to go.


Pancho said...

In the last year or so, I've talked to some folks there. They are developing new methods of "microhole" drilling aimed at the oil and gas business. They drill a very small hole and then insert a nuclear device......

Just kiddin' about the nuclear device, but their technology is amazing and I've been interested in the applications for certain types of drilling projects.

Jeff said...

Wallace, you've brought up a point that many don't realize about Los Alamos ... the application of what is developed there, to a variety of other fields.

One case cited by Tad Bartimus and Scott McCartney in their book, "Trinity's Children" ... there was a time when the most sophisticated, most precise timers on the world's ski slopes were in northern New Mexico. They were developed by Los Alamos technicians with a taste for winter sport, and applied what they had learned in 'trigger' research.

A nuclear device would do a major frac job, though, wouldn't it? :-)