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Evelyn Mullen named American Nuclear Society Fellow | US Department of Energy Science News

13-Oct-2020

DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory

Evelyn Mullen, chief operating officer for Global Security at Los Alamos National Laboratory, was named a fellow of the American Nuclear Society.


LOS ALAMOS, N.M., Oct. 13, 2020–Evelyn Mullen, chief operating officer for Global Security at Los Alamos National Laboratory, was named a fellow of the American Nuclear Society for her leadership in nuclear national security and ensuring the nation’s experimental capability in nuclear criticality.

“For more than 25 years, Evelyn Mullen has displayed outstanding leadership in nuclear and radiological threat response,” said Nancy Jo Nicholas, associate Laboratory director for Global Security at Los Alamos. “She has provided intellectual leadership for planning and executing science and technology for nuclear nonproliferation, detection, render safe, and attribution; foreign nuclear weapon analysis; and nuclear detonation response and recovery issues. Being named an ANS Fellow is a well-deserved honor for someone who has contributed so much to the field.”

Mullen was instrumental in developing plans for new diagnostic capabilities for subcritical plutonium-integrated experiments at the Nevada National Security Site that will become operational in 2025. Furthermore, she currently leads a major effort for recovery from a radiation source accident in Seattle, Wash.

Mullen joined Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1992. She holds bachelor and master of science degrees in nuclear engineering and is a registered professional engineer in the State of New Mexico. She currently serves on the Army Science Board. Mullen has volunteered with the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation on the scholarship and grants committees for many years and is a founding member of the Legacy Society. Mullen is also a founding member of the Los Alamos Community Foundation and has been recognized by the Los Alamos Engineering Council with their community service award.

Established in 1954, the American Nuclear Society is an international professional organization of engineers and scientists devoted to the peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology. Its more than 9,500 members represent government, academia, research laboratories, medical facilities, and private industry. ANS’s mission is to advance, foster, and spur the development and application of nuclear science, engineering, and technology to benefit society.


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About Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, is managed by Triad, a public service oriented, national security science organization equally owned by its three founding members: Battelle Memorial Institute (Battelle), the Texas A&M University System (TAMUS), and the Regents of the University of California (UC) for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

Los Alamos enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health, and global security concerns.

 

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Google’s merger with ITA helped it grow into the giant that the Justice Department is scrutinizing

Google critics and rivals have long warned the search engine is threatening countless industries from shopping to travel by consistently pointing people to its own products and services on the biggest search platform on the Web. And those competing against Google to win over consumers say that the search engine forces them to pay their biggest rival in advertising dollars just to show up.

Google’s dominance in search has drawn more regulatory scrutiny and criticism from rivals and lawmakers in recent months, something that is expected to culminate in the Department of Justice filing an antitrust suit against the company in the coming weeks. Lawmakers are also preparing new legislation to rein in tech’s power, following the publication last week of a congressional investigation that found Google engaged in anticompetitive tactics.

The case by the Justice Department would be its biggest swing yet to rein in the power of tech giants in decades, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. But some who warned the government a decade ago say it may be too late.

Google “is a monopoly, without question,” Barry Diller, chairman of Expedia and IAC, said in an interview. Google has been great for consumers, Diller said, but it increasingly restricts competitors by making it more expensive to compete in online advertising. Expedia and IAC sites are pushed down the page in favor of Google’s own services, he said.

“Google is essentially competing with our services while taking our money,” he said. “I don’t want the person I’m spending billions of dollars with to compete directly against me.”

Ten years ago, the government had a chance to block the purchase of a travel software company that now powers Google’s flight searches. Even though the government found it might cut into consumer choice, regulators approved it with just a few conditions.

The travel company, ITA Software, made a powerful engine used by Hotwire, Orbitz and other online companies to search flight options and quickly show fares and schedules. Google, which had a sparse travel presence at the time, scooped it up for $700 million.

Some of Google’s acquisitions over the past decade-and-a-half have triggered federal government reviews, but the company has emerged largely unscathed. Its $2.1 billion purchase of Fitbit, which would give it valuable health data, is under review now.

And over time, its search results page has evolved to include more readily accessible answers — and more of Google’s own products.

“It’s such a gradual process,” said Pete Meyers, an expert on Google Search algorithms who works as a marketing scientist at search engine optimization company Moz. “It’s often subtle in the moment. Six months later, when all of these small changes accumulate, Search can look very different.”

The congressional report specifically called out Google’s tendency to fill out search results with its own content or ads, effectively limiting traffic to the outside while simultaneously allowing it to charge more. The report also said Google gives its own products a boost even when inferior to competitors. Google

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UK Government’s Department For Education Broke GDPR Data Protection Laws

The UK’s Department for Eduction (DfE) breaches GDPR in the way it handles pupil data, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has found.

The ICO first began probing the DfE last year after it became the subject of numerous complaints. Human rights groups Liberty and DefendDigitalMe raised complaints about the department for failing to allow parents to see their child’s record in the National Pupil Data, its refusal to correct inaccurate date, and for “secretly” sharing information belonging to minors with the UK Home Office.

At the time, the ICO said: “DFE is failing to comply fully with its data protection obligations, primarily in the areas of transparency and accountability, where there are far-reaching issues, impacting a huge number of individuals in a variety of ways.”

The ICO released the findings of its months-long audit this week and has concluded that there are widespread data protection failings at the DfE. Of its 139 recommendations for improvement, 60% are classed as urgent or high priority.

It found, for example, that the DfE is not providing “sufficient privacy information to data subjects”, that no data protection impact assessments (DPIAs) are being carried out at the correct and early stages of cases, and that no experts are involved in the creation of data storage or retention record system.

The ICO also found that there is a lack of awareness among staff of data protection, “potentially upping the risk of data breaches”.

“There is no formal proactive oversight of any function of information governance, including data protection, records management, risk management, data sharing and information security within the DfE, which along with a lack of formal documentation, means the DfE cannot demonstrate accountability to the GDPR,” the ICO’s report noted.

“Limited reporting lines, monitoring activity and reporting means there is no central oversight of data processing activities. As a result, there are no controls in place to provide assurance that all personal data processing activities are carried out in line with legislative requirements.”

In a statement, the DfE said it treats the handling of personal data “extremely seriously” and “thanks the ICO for its report which will help us further improve in this area.”

“Since the ICO completed its audit, we’ve taken a number of steps to address the findings and recommendations, including a review of all processes for the use of personal data and significantly increasing the number of staff dedicated to the effective management of it,” a DfE spokesperson said.

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Arkansas Department of Transportation, NIC Arkansas Earn Government Experience Award

IDrive Arkansas recognized for leveraging innovative IT to enhance services and citizen experience

The Center for Digital Government (CDG) awarded the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) a State Project Experience Award for its IDrive Arkansas platform. The IDrive Arkansas platform was developed in partnership with the Information Network of Arkansas (INA) and NIC Arkansas.

ARDOT was one of 10 national winners and was recognized for using the web to radically improve the government experience while innovating how services are delivered.

“We are honored to be recognized for enhancing the citizen travel experience across the state,” said Denise Powell, Digital Content Coordinator for ARDOT. “By allowing Arkansas motorists to view real-time road and weather conditions from any device, IDrive makes it possible to plan safer travel routes and potentially reduce traffic jams, vehicle accidents, injuries and deaths on Arkansas roadways.”

As the first interactive travel map in the state, IDrive Arkansas pulls together current highway construction zones, live traffic conditions, weather radars, locations of welcome centers and rest stops, and other critical travel information into a dynamic, responsive website and mobile app. Behind the scenes, ARDOT’s Construction and Travel Information System (ACTIS) powers a robust cross-agency communication hub allowing multiple state, county and city organizations to collaborate in real time.

IDriveArkansas.com and its mobile app are hosted in the Amazon Web Services cloud, providing accessibility, reliability and scalability to over 1 million users per year.

The Government Experience Awards recognize the achievements and best practices of states, cities and counties that excel at creating useful online government services and applications. The Center for Digital Government is a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and sets the standard for measuring best practices in state and local government.

About NIC Arkansas

Little-Rock-based NIC Arkansas is celebrating 23 years as the state’s official digital government services partner and is part of digital government firm NIC’s family of companies. NIC Arkansas operates Arkansas.gov, the official website of the State of Arkansas, which offers more than 1,000 state and local online services, and works with the Information Network of Arkansas (INA) to help state government entities web-enable their information and services.

About NIC Inc.

NIC (Nasdaq: EGOV) is a leading digital government solutions and payments company, serving more than 7,000 federal, state and local government agencies across the nation. With headquarters in Olathe, Kan., NIC partners with the majority of U.S. states to deliver user-friendly digital services that make it easier and more efficient to interact with government – providing valuable conveniences like applying for unemployment insurance, submitting business filings, renewing licenses, accessing information and making secure payments without visiting a government office. In the COVID-19 era and beyond, NIC helps government agencies rapidly deliver digital solutions to provide essential services to citizens and businesses alike. Having served the public sector for nearly 30 years, NIC continues to evolve with its federal, state and local government partners to deliver innovative and cost-effective digital government to constituents. Learn more at www.egov.com.

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Baltimore City Council approves worker recall bill over law department, hotel industry objections

The Baltimore City Council on Monday passed legislation aimed at protecting hospitality workers’ jobs, despite objections from the city’s law department and the hotel industry.

The bill would require hospitality businesses to hire laid-off workers once they reopen. Thousands of housekeepers, banquet servers and other employees have lost their jobs as the industry suffers from the coronavirus pandemic and related shutdowns.

The council also passed a second, less-contested bill that would ensure a hotel retains its staff if the business’ ownership changes hands.

The bills now head to the mayor’s desk for his consideration. Democratic Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young has not indicated whether he plans to sign them, but issued a statement via a spokesman saying he will review the legislation.

Hotel workers have rallied around the bills, saying they’re looking for some certainty that they will eventually get to go back to work.

More than 1,500 hospitality workers had lost their jobs as of mid-September at hotels, the Baltimore Convention Center, Royal Farms Arena and other event centers, according to UNITE HERE Local 7, the union that represents them.

Other cities, including Los Angeles, have taken similar steps to protect workers.

But the Young administration’s law department said the return-to-work bill was not the right way to help workers. It said legislation mandating an employer rehire a laid-off person is “an unconstitutional impairment of the employer/employee freedom of contract.”

That legal interpretation was dismissed by other attorneys who testified before the City Council, including those with the Public Justice Center.

The Maryland Hotel Lodging Association also opposed the legislation. Representatives said the bills would strip them of flexibility to recover from the economic crisis, as it would require them to hire employees back based on seniority. That may not align with their immediate needs, they said.

Workers with years of experience in the industry testified to the council in favor of the bill. William Murray, a longtime banquet server at Baltimore Marriott Waterfront, told the council he’s been laid off since March.

“The COVID-19 crisis has hit our industry hard,” he said. “We have stood by our employer and made them successful for years. We deserve the right to have some certainty that we will be able to return to our jobs.”

Also at Monday’s meeting, Democratic City Council President Brandon Scott introduced a bill to establish a program to provide some tenants with legal counsel during eviction proceedings.

Housing activists are bracing for a wave of evictions as COVID-19 continues to wreak economic turmoil. They’ve long pushed for the city to provide tenants with free lawyers when they face being kicked out of their homes.

A recent study, funded by the Abell Foundation, estimates it would cost $5.7 million to provide about 7,000 tenants with representation. By keeping people out of homelessness, the study said it would save more than six times that. It also found that 96% of landlords had representation to argue their cases in rent court, while only 1% of tenants had

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U.S. government tried to “intimidate” California county health department to keep poultry plant open after COVID deaths, director says

There have reportedly been tens of thousands of coronavirus cases at meat and poultry plants. More than 44,000 workers nationwide have tested positive for the virus, and more than 200 have died, according to the Food & Environment Reporting Network, an investigative nonprofit.

In late April, President Trump issued an executive order urging plants to stay open. Since then, CBS News has only been able to identify a couple of plants that were temporarily closed by government agencies due to COVID-19 outbreaks. One is the Foster Farms poultry plant in California’s Merced County.

Despite what it says was political pressure, the small county’s health department closed down the plant in Livingston for one week due to a COVID-19 outbreak that claimed some workers’ lives. 

One of those workers was Perla Meza’s 61-year-old father Filiberto, who she says worked unloading trucks at Foster Farms for years until he came down with COVID-19. 

“He was in quarantine for three days when everything got worse,” Meza said. 

In August, he went to the hospital and then into a coma for three days, Meza said. He later died.  

Some 2,600 people work at the plant. Merced County public health officials declared an outbreak there in late June, and during a visit, recommended Foster Farms test all of its workers, said department director Rebecca Nanyonjo-Kemp.

“You need to conduct universal screening of all of your staff. You have way too many staff here to be able to control one factor. You’re being controlled by the factors because you have so many people here,” Nanyonjo-Kemp said. “Don’t let your illness take over your facility.”

The plant said they would listen to the advice, Nanyonjo-Kemp said.

“Unfortunately, that did not materialize,” she told CBS News consumer investigative correspondent Anna Werner.

Only limited testing occurred, she said. In July, two workers died of COVID-19.  

The county continued to monitor the outbreak, and on August 7, Foster Farms provided a list showing the number of workers actively infected and those whose cases they described as “resolved.”

But county health officer Dr. Salvador Sandoval noticed the list contained no deaths, even though county health staff said workers had told them there were more.

So the health department emailed Foster Farms to ask if there were “any known deaths,” and the next week, received a new list. This time, Sandoval said, five names previously listed only as “resolved” were now listed as “deaths.”

The company put the names “in a category that made it difficult for our investigators to tag them as being people who had died,” Sandoval said.

He described what the company did as “misleading.” “I feel it’s wrong,” he said.

The company told CBS News, “There was no intentional effort on the part of Foster Farms to deceive the Merced (County) Public Health Department,” and said, “All issues related to the reporting of data were quickly resolved.”

But late in August, with eight deaths and over 350 confirmed cases, county health officials told Foster Farms the plant would

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