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In this issue:
The Fiscal Year 2008 Budget
Safety Today: Christmas Tree Fire Hazard
SLAC to Celebrate the Holidays on Wednesday
Shipping and Receiving to Remain Open During Shutdown

SLAC Today

Tuesday - December 18, 2007

(Photo - Capitol dome)

The Fiscal Year 2008 Budget

The omnibus funding bill for the fiscal year 2008 budget is now public. It has still to be approved by the Senate and signed by the President and nothing is definite or settled until that happens. The bill includes the FY 2008 budget for the Office of Science. The FY08 budget figure is significantly reduced from the original FY08 President's request that came out in February. It is too early for me to say exactly what this means for SLAC and U.S. physical sciences, but both High-Energy Physics (HEP) and Basic Energy Sciences (BES) budgets are lower than anticipated. I will keep you informed and updated as the implications of the 2008 budget become clearer.

The President's FY08 request asked for $1499M for BES—the figure in the omnibus bill is $1282M. The President's FY08 request was $782M for HEP—the HEP budget in the omnibus bill is $695M.

The bill gives specific information on funding changes for HEP. The International Linear Collider (ILC) R&D will receive $15M, as opposed to $60M in the President's request. R&D for Super Conducting Radio Frequency (SCRF) work—which is relevant to the ILC—will be $5.45M, down from $23M in the President's request. These decisions will certainly be a major blow to ILC progress both at SLAC and internationally. No funds are provided to NOvA in the Tevatron complex improvements.

There is very welcome news that the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) will be fully funded for FY08. We don't yet know the details of the other BES programs.

Overall, the reduction in the Office of Science budget is not good news for the physical sciences in the U.S.  SLAC and other national labs will certainly feel the impact of these budget figures.

(Column - Safety Today)

Christmas Tree
Fire Hazard

Many people purchase cut evergreen trees during the holiday season. Well-watered trees are quite safe; however, a tree that is allowed to dry out in your home becomes a severe fire hazard. A dry tree is easily ignited and can become a blazing torch within seconds.

To determine if a tree is too dry, grasp a tree branch with a reasonably firm pressure and pull your hand towards you, allowing the branch to slip through your grasp. If the needles fall off readily, the tree is not safe and should be removed from the house immediately. To prevent this from happening, keep the tree well watered.

Here are four tips from the National Fire Protection Association for ensuring your cut tree remains fire safe:

• Keep the tree moist: When you purchase the tree, ensure that the bottom receives a fresh cut at least two inches above the previous cut and return home promptly to get the tree into water. As an alternative, you can recut the base of the tree yourself when you get home. The container should be capable of holding at least a gallon of water. For very large trees, provide at least one quart of water per inch of tree diameter. Trees can be very thirsty; check the water at least once every day.

• Watch tree placement: Hot air dries out trees fast. Keep the tree at least three feet away from heaters and open heating vents. Also, place the tree well away from any main exit paths out of your house.

• Use safe wiring: Approximately half of all Christmas tree fires are caused by an electrical malfunction. Make sure any electrical wiring in or below the tree is listed by a recognized testing laboratory and is in good working order.

• Keep a four-week limit: Don't keep the tree beyond about four weeks, as even a well-watered tree will begin to dry out significantly at this point. Trees put up shortly after Thanksgiving should be taken down shortly after New Year's.

To get an idea of how rapidly a tree can ignite and cause fire to spread, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has conducted live fire experiments. This YouTube video clip speaks for itself. Please ensure the safety of you and your family.

Have a safe and happy holiday season!

SLAC to Celebrate the Holidays on Wednesday

Holiday Party 2006

It's that time of year again—you are cordially invited to SLAC's annual holiday party. So put down your tools, power down your instruments or log off your computer and head to the Panofsky Auditorium breezeway tomorrow starting at 11:00 a.m.

Small prizes will be awarded for those who show the most holiday spirit by dressing in holiday colors.

A buffet lunch will be available from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. in the cafeteria, with three entree choices: oven-roasted turkey breast with cranberry sauce, smoked ham with pineapple-honey glaze and butternut squash ravioli with marinara sauce.

At 11:15 a.m. the movie The Polar Express will be shown in the Panofsky Auditorium, and raffle prizes will be given away continuously between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. You must be present to win, unless you work on owl or swing shift.

More information is available at the holiday party webpage.

Hope to see you there!

Shipping and Receiving to Remain Open
During Shutdown

Do you have an important package coming in over the next two weeks? Never fear! Shipping and Receiving will remain open during the shutdown, albeit with limited hours. Shipping and Receiving will be staffed between 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. on December 26, 27 and 28 as well as January 2. During this time packages may be picked up, but will not be delivered. Regular hours and operations will resume on Thursday, January 3.

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