My wife Betty recently showed me an interesting article about a proposal to turn parts of the original Los Alamos Laboratory property into a national park. The proposal would include 17 buildings in six industrial sites within the lab’s boundaries.
The Pajarito site and some buildings in downtown Los Alamos are also a part of the proposed park, as is the V-site, where the Trinity device (the “Gadget”) was assembled and the Fat Man device was tested before being dropped on Nagasaki. It has been some time since I have been to Los Alamos, but I would enjoy seeing some of the historic areas of the labs turned into a national park or museum.
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I am sure by now you have seen the video of Amazon’s proposed Prime Air delivery system, which uses drones to deliver items to customers within 30 minutes after an order is placed. I am impressed with this idea — it is an ingenious use of something originally built for military purposes.
This is similar to what happened with the Internet, which was originally developed by the Department of Defense, and was eventually transitioned to commercial use — in great part by Network Solutions when it was a part of SAIC. According to Jeff Bezos, there are a number of hurdles to get over before Amazon will be able to roll out this new service, but they are regulatory in nature, not technical.
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We had a good Thanksgiving at the Beach and Tennis Club. It was a beautiful day at the beach. In addition to Betty and the kids, we were joined by Joe Pasquale and Paul Kouris. The dogs had to stay home this year.
The big news in Washington today seems to be the deal that President Obama reached with Iran on their nuclear technology program. As you probably know by now, there are a number of limits placed on Iran which are meant to prevent the country from developing a nuclear device.
This includes limiting the number of centrifuges to 11,000, stopping the production of uranium beyond the 5% level, and diluting or converting any existing uranium that is above that percentage to the 5% level or below. In exchange, we will provide Iran with between $6-7 billion in sanctions relief.
While I understand the Administration’s desire to strike a deal with Iran, I personally do not believe that we can trust them to follow through on their promises. Their track record has been poor at best.
Israel has much more to lose from a nuclear Iran than we do here in the United States, so I hope that they decide for themselves what they want to do to respond to Iran’s growing threat. They have much more flexibility than we do.
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We will be doing our traditional Thanksgiving at the Beach and Tennis Club this year. I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving.
You may recall from a previous post on my blog that I contributed a bronze statue of a lion to my old fraternity at the University of Michigan, SAE. The lion, which represents bravery, is one of the symbols of the fraternity. I had hoped to make it out for the dedication of the statue during Homecoming weekend, but I was unable to make the trip.
I have included a couple of photos from the cold and rainy ceremony. I hope that my fraternity brothers enjoy their new lion.
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I was pleased to recently receive a message and update from Cal Burgart. Cal included a photo of him standing next to an SAIC-sponsored sailboat back in 2007. Here’s part of his message to me:
The attached photo was taken in April 2007 after I competed in a mountain bike race in South Africa. The SAIC boat was in Cape Town as a stop on the around the world race.
Thank you, Cal, for the message — I got a kick out of seeing both you and that sailboat. I have attached a copy of the photo Cal sent to me.
I was pleased to learn today that the event for our new book on Network Solutions held on November 1 at the University of Michigan College of Engineering School of Entrepreneurship was well attended. Mike Daniels sent me a note that read in part, “We had about 400 students and faculty who attended the book presentation and had lots of good questions from the students. It was a fun day and they seemed to really enjoy hearing our story. There were lots of smart budding entrepreneurs in the crowd.”
The moderator for the event, David Thompson—an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Center for Entrepreneurship—and Mike covered a variety of topics, from research funded by government, to recruiting the best talent, managing through a political process, charging a fee on the Internet, and creating regional innovation focused on doing things important for the country. I have included a couple of photos from the event. I am looking forward to hearing how the George Mason University event went.
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Monday, November 4 is my wife Betty’s birthday. I’m not sure what plans are for a birthday cake tonight, but I hope Betty likes the flowers I bought her. I also hope the birthday cake is angel food and not chocolate.
I am happy to announce that my book about Network Solutions written with Mike Daniels has been published and is now available for purchase on Amazon.com in both softcover and Kindle eBook formats. The book is called Names, Numbers, and Network Solutions, and if you’ve been following this blog, you know that we have been working on it for a number of years.
As far as I know, this is the only book that tells the complete story of NSI’s beginnings, its cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation to administer the domain name system, and its acquisition by SAIC in 1995. The company played a key role in the commercialization of the Internet and in presiding over its exponential growth during the 1990s. We bought the company for $4.7 million and sold it to VeriSign five years later for $19.3 billion.
Vint Cerf wrote the foreword to the book, and I am pleased with the final result. You can read a preview of the book here.
There are a number of events planned around the book, including programs at the University of Michigan College of Engineering Center for Entrepreneurship on November 1, and the George Mason University School of Management on November 4. You can find more information about these events here. If you buy the book, I hope you will post here what you think about it.
On Friday, September 27, SAIC officially split into two separate companies: the $4 billion government-services company SAIC, and the $6 technology company Leidos. This was a difficult day for me, and I received messages from many SAIC employees who were also having a difficult time with this fundamental change to the company. The old SAIC is now officially gone. I wish the new companies well. Although they have lost many good people, many still remain.
I thought you might enjoy this photo sent to me by Phil Young. This is the very last product shipment made by the original SAIC. Here’s the message that Phil sent to his team to mark the occasion:
As tomorrow will be the end of the original SAIC and the start of a new adventure with leidos, the Xpose unit that will ship tomorrow for India will be the very last product shipped from our SAIC. SAIC has had a 40 year history of building very unique, science driven products for our customers throughout the world. This is something we all can be very proud of. Thanks for taking the time to gather for a final SAIC product picture (attached, I’m sorry we could not gather everybody). You are all part of the team that has made this company unique and very, very special.
I would personally like to thank all my old friends and colleagues at SAIC one last time for the very best years of my life. We accomplished great things together, and we can all be proud of the company we built.