I wrote a comment last summer at the LANL Blog about the lack of discussion of the impending privatization of one of the nation’s nuclear weapons laboratories. It was, like most serious comments at that blog, either ignored or jumped upon by those who preferred venting. I don’t recall.
A Physics Today editor e-mailed me to suggest that I rewrite the comment so that it would be suitable for publication as a letter to the editor. I did so and submitted it. That was August. I had pretty much given up hearing from them, when an e-mail arrived in early December with a few author queries. I responded, and the letter is now online. I understand it will be in the January print edition.
Of course, my letter was late, even in August. The DOE had earlier decided that the University of California, or any other university, was ineligible to bid for the management of Los Alamos. The discussion should have begun when those decisions were being made. I am as guilty as anyone of not raising the issues earlier.
The contrast between print and Web is striking. Although August to January is reasonable for peer and editorial review, I find that getting something out today for WhirledView is compelling, and late has acquired a whole new meaning for me since I started blogging.
The letter appeared on the Physics Today web site within the last few days and rapidly was copied whole onto the LANL Blog, as is Doug Roberts’s modus operandi. Comments now accrue. Doug e-mailed me to invite me to comment.
I don’t have a Blogger identity and don’t intend to acquire one. WhirledView’s Friends and Neighbors who use Blogger are civil enough that they don’t need the limitations Doug has had to impose. If the guys (and they are almost all guys) at the LANL Blog want a policy discussion, they’re going to have to come over here. Yes, we hold deletion privileges, but we’ve been permissive so far, deleting only spam.
I suggest that any discussion on policy be held here because the comment thread at the LANL Blog is already lapsing into the usual mix of personal attacks and irrelevancies. It’s tempting to reply, point by point, but my experience with discussion groups on the Web suggests that it’s not always the best route. I’ve already implicitly responded in this post to some of the comments at the LANL Blog. Additionally, I’ll note that discussions about the wisdom of privatizing the management of a weapons design laboratory need involve no classified information, and that the DoD document on nuclear doctrine was ferreted out by one of my bloggy colleagues (see here, here, and here).
And I’ve written about some of these issues before. You can access the articles via the “Nuclear Issues” and “Science” categories in the left-hand sidebar.
Welcome, Doug and others!