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Submission + - 'General Motors quietly removes software defeat device from diesel cars' (deredactie.be)

An anonymous reader writes: Belgian public broadcasting station VRT has discovered that GM Opel dealerships in Belgium seem to be updating engine management code when Zafira cars equipped with the 1.6 litre CDTI diesel engine are brought in for service. After the software change, the nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions drop sharply, at the cost of reduced power output.

Bern University of Applied Sciences and environmental lobby club DUH previously found this model to pass European emissions standards only when the rear wheels are not rotating. When the rear wheels are made to spin along, NOx emissions increase to several times the limit set by European regulations. General Motors denied using defeat devices as well as well as the update programme that seems to be taking place. However, an anonymous mechanic at an Opel dealership states that GM started pushing updates shortly after the Dieselgate scandal broke.

Submission + - Because having 7,100 nuclear weapons just isn't enough (santafenewmexican.com)

DougDot writes: Ever since The Rocky Flats plant was shut down in 1992 it has been the wet dream of Los Alamos National Laboratory management to take over the production of those plutonium bomb trigger pits that Rocky Flats used to make. LANL wants to become the new pit manufacturer. Production scale. That's where the big bucks are. It's all about the money.

Comment Re:The herd's moving (Score 1) 508

You're not looking at the big picture: if we live in a society that promotes stupidity (Trump, anti-vaxxers, chemtrail believers), then a non-vaccinated person making someone else sick, perhaps even fatally so, is just Darwin doing his job at the societal scale.

Comment Re:One major culprit unnamed (Score 2) 85

I grew up in Los Alamos and I worked there during my high school years through some of graduate school. The article completely failed to mention one of the main culprits for a lot of these problems: The Department of Energy. While I do not have knowledge beyond what is in the press for most of the incidents mentioned, the ones where I do mostly include a major role in the problem played by DOE ranging from their screwed up policies to direct involvement. Given this, a new contractor can only do so much.

Or only so much less, in the case lf Bechtel-led LANS.

But I basically agree with you. BTW, I also grew up in Los Alamos, and worked there during some of my undergrad days. Oh, and then spent two decades there as a staff member.

Comment Re:fire the coach (Score 2) 85

There are ingrained issues at the labs. A new management company can't come in a get rid of existing dysfunctional subcontractors. Their employees often have bad attitudes and live in an entitlement culture. The DOE needs to let new companies displace the existing ones completely and just hire the existing people that want to get jobs done.

With that said, their are sections of the labs that do great work and have talented people. Those are usually in the smaller, more focused programs.

Wow, sounds like the voice of experience from an actual current or past LANL employee. I spent 20 years at LANL. During the last 15 years there my group brought in all of our own funding from external, non-DOE sources for non-weapons work. We had to fight LANL management and the DOE to do this, because they resented us doing work for others.

We brought in work from other agencies in spite of the fact that due to LANL's exorbitant overhead costs the annual FTE rate (the amount of money we we had to charge outside agencies for one year of a staff person's time) was more than $500,000.

These days, due to Bechtel/UC's top-heavy management structure, and the general inefficiency with which they run the place, the overhead rates are even higher than they were when I left the lab in 2005. Current FTE rates for staff at LANL now exceeds $600,000 per year.

The question is: why would anybody want to spend that much money to do scientific research when it could be done elsewhere much more cost effectively?

Comment Re: Private industry... (Score 1) 85

Really ?

Cosmic Background Radiation, Bell Labs
Band Theory of Semiconductors, Bell Labs
Information Theory, Bell Labs
Atomic Force Microscope, IBM
Josephson Junction Circuitry, IBM
LASER, Bell Labs
High Temperature Superconductors, IBM

That's off the top of my head. I see the Zampolits in the universities have worked their magic on you very well.

Yes, well: The big dog in the current LANL contractor LLC is Bechtel. A construction company. Running a National Lab. No wonder everything is screwed up at LANL. A huge paradigm mismatch occurred when Bechtel took over the LANL contract in 2006.

Comment Re:Private industry... (Score 1) 85

Two people died while I was there (industrial accident) back in the 80's when it was solely a Berkeley contract. IIRC, White Sands was the private operator and LA was the University operated arms.

Um, no. White Sands (?) is a National Monument just south of Alamagordo, NM. The University of California managed the LANL contract from the mid-40's through 2006, when i tlost the contract to the current LLC, LANS.

Submission + - A history of innovation and dysfunction at Los Alamos National Laboratory (santafenewmexican.com)

DougDot writes: Federal officials told Congress in December that they will put the LANL contract up for competitive bid for only the second time since the lab opened in 1943. The current LANS contract ends Sept 30, 2017.

Identifying what went wrong, and why the lab has proven so difficult to manage, will play an important role for the Department of Energy as it seeks out new managers to run the lab.


DougDot writes: I have trouble believing that this is true, but if it is customers of Verizon need to take some action. From TFA:

"If email contains a hyperlink to a website, the email is rejected and not sent to the recipient, according to 95.1 FM in New York City.

After a customer complained about the policy the corporation told him there isn’t a way to op-put of the program.

“Verizon scans the digital signatures of all inbound and outbound email messages to reduce the overall volume of spam on our network” and all email containing a hyperlink will be considered spam.

“So if a business person needs to get information to a colleague, or a student needs to get research to a fellow student, or if a wife wants to share an interesting recipe with a friend . . . all those emails will be rejected by Verizon!” the radio station website explains."

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