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Friday, May 20, 2005

Foiled by Javascript and my Inadequacies

Well, I've just wasted more time than I can stand to admit attempting to load a poll onto this blog. Apparently, it won't load or, possibly, I am html-challenged. Sigh. Anyone who can help me troubleshoot this will be given a major shout-out (I know, very motivating).
In other news:

It is like so summer. I wasn't quite ready for the sudden 90 degrees. On the bright side, my friend Darius' pool is open. On the downside, people may go spontaneously blind upon viewing me in a bathing suit. Or turn to salt. Or stone. Or something.
But, toward the goal of less jiggle I have joined the WOW Sunbelt Challenge. Info on this project from the Office of women's Health can be found at this website Basically, I've attached a pedometer to my jeans which is now tracking my every step. My goal is to walk 10,000 steps a day which, in the course of three months will put me on a virtual course through Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico (which are not, for the record, the states I would choose to walk through if, for some reason, I decided to spend three months walking across states). Now, for those of you who know me, you might find the prospect of me signing up for some health-related walking challenge a little out of character, and you wouldn't be wrong. This is what happens when you accidentally become friends with people involved in public health issues. God I miss my crack-addict friends (note to FBI: I'm joking). So, wish me luck. How many times do you think I have to walk around the block to reach 10,000 steps a day? A million? In all seriousness, I have a very competitive nature and plan to try very hard to make it to Louisiana. Maybe we all get imaginary gumbo when we're done.
In other news, yesterday the papers announced that City Councilor David Coss had announced his possible consideration of running for mayor. Coss mentioned this to me a month or two back when we were both at a social function, but I guess I didn't realize it was news (so much for that killer news nose). In all seriousness, Coss is one of several councilors rumored to be a mayoral contender. Also Pfeffer, and Wurzburger, and I wouldn't be supershocked if Ortiz jumped in either. Not to mention Larry running again. And realtor Karen Walker, who already said she was running. And Muni Judge Fran Gallegos, also "considering" running. And God knows who else. This is why it would be a good idea for the city's Charter Commision to revamp the charter for runoffs before the next mayoral election. First of all, the city needs some shaking up and it doesn't need a mayor elected by 25 or 30 percent of voters. Runoffs will clarify and change the entire tenor of the election and help ensure that the next mayor was, at least, the majority of voters' first or second choice. So go charter commission.
On another note, I think these stories about people "considering" running for office stuff BS. Basically, it really isn't a news story, it's a cheap way for prospective candidates to let as many people as they can know (without lifting a finger or spending a dime, except to call the dailies' city reporters) that they might run if they get enough support. You get a page 1 story about a potential candidacy and no one calls, you're in trouble.
Speaking of trouble, this story about wild horses really bothered me. In a nutshell, the House is blocking the government from selling wild horses because those horses have been "ending up in processing plants and on the tables of foreign restaurants." I mean, I'm glad they are blocking it, but I just feel really sickened at some of the things that happen in this world of ours. And things that happen to animals and children, who can't protect themselves, are the worst.
I can't offer a segue, but here's my next topic.
Both The New and The Journal had stories today about the RFP for the next LANL manager. The New Mex's story seemed more thorough (which was surprising, I usually think of The Journal as having much better LANL coverage), but there were several things in The New Mex's story that seemed weirdly unexplained for the average reader. Or, perhaps I should say, for this reader. They were:

1. In discussing the criteria for the RFP, one of the areas given the greatest weight is science and technology, "bidders must show they can foster an environment of scientific skepticism..."

Now, a quick google search helped me out here, as I learned that scientific skepticism is not the same as good 'ol regular skepticism. According to Wikepidia:

"Scientific skepticism or rational skepticism (UK spelling, scepticism) sometimes referred to as skeptical inquiry, is a scientific, or practical, epistemological position (or paradigm) in which one does not accept the veracity of claims unless they can be scientifically verified.
This article does not deal with philosophical skepticism which is the school of thought in which one critically examines whether the knowledge and perceptions one has are true, and whether or not one can ever be said to have true knowledge."

In other words, the next LANL manager needs to test the science to make sure it works, not just walk around saying things like, "Yeah, right, that's gonna clean up radioactive waste."

2. I didn't really understand how one is supposed to synthesize the idea that the RFP scores each contender on a variety of factors numerically with the fact that "the person selecting the winning proposal" is Thomas Paul D'Agostino..."he is functioning now as the landlord for Los Alamos..."

Um, three things.

1. Why is he choosing if they are being scored? That doesn't sound like the most epistemological thing I've ever heard. I mean, even the hot dog vending permits in Santa Fe had a committee evaluate their proposals.
2. What the hell is "the landlord for Los Alamos"
3. Who is this guy again?

I have, at this time, gotten nowhere in answering the first two questions, and made little headway with the third, except to learn that in the late '90s, D'Agostino was a DOE representative who attended a 10-month program at the College of Naval Warfare. This from an online government newsletter archived on the Internet:

"The CNW, the senior-level program at the Naval War College located in Newport, Rhode Island, focuses on national security policy and strategy, national security decision-making, and joint military operations. Tom D'Agostino, who was recognized as a "Distinguished Graduate" for his contributions and for graduating in the top 10% of his class, states that "my experience at the Naval War College was exceptional and unique. The College provided me with the knowledge and expertise to deal with national security policy issues, understand and implement different decision-making processes and tools, and most importantly, interact with senior civilians and military service members on a variety of national security concerns." According to Mr. D'Agostino, "a significant benefit of having a DOE representative at the Naval War College was that it provided the opportunity to explain the Department's role in national security." Upon completion of this program, graduates receive a Masters of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies."

Believe it or not, there is almost nothing else about this guy out there. But I've only done a perfunctory search. I thought I might go do my work now and play Crazed Internet Detective later.

Still, I have to say, when it comes to this whole LANL RFP my guess (or vote, if I could figure out how to put this freaking javascript poll up) is that the fix is in already as to who the next manager will be.
But, ya know, I'm a bit of a skeptic, the regular—not scientific—kind.