Monday, December 31, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Prediction isn't the right method to learn about the past

Happy New Year 2013 = 33 * 61!

The last day of the year is a natural moment for a blog entry about time. At various moments, I wanted to write about the things that the year 2012 brought us.

The most important event in science was the discovery of the \(126\GeV\) Higgs boson (something that made me $500 richer but that's of course the least important consequence of the discovery) but those of us who were following the events and thinking about them rationally have known about the \(126\GeV\) Higgs boson since December 2011.

Lots of other generic popular science sources recall the landing of Curiosity and other things. But let's discuss something else. Something related to time.

Saturday, December 29, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Richard Dawkins vs Peter Higgs

The reverse fundamentalist vs the peaceful atheist

Two days ago, the Daily Mail, the Guardian, and other mostly British outlets amplified an amusing yet potentially serious battle between two famous scientists, Richard Dawkins and Peter Higgs:

Battle of the professors: Richard Dawkins branded a fundamentalist by expert behind the 'God particle' (The Daily Mail)

Peter Higgs criticises Richard Dawkins over anti-religious 'fundamentalism' (The Guardian)

Google News (other sources)
As you surely know, Dawkins is a proud militant atheist. In fact, he is a self-described Darwin's rottweiler. Last week, he concluded that it was worse to educate a child in a Catholic family than to let it be sexually raped by priests. ;-)

Peter Higgs has decided that the discovery of "his" boson has made him powerful enough so that his criticism may matter and in an interview with El Mundo (Spain, video), he criticized Dawkins as a "fundamentalist" for his "embarrassing" attacks on religion – or, if you wish, attacks on one of the individuals after whom the Higgs boson is also sometimes named, namely Mr God. ;-)

Incidentally, I think that many people's hateful reactions to the innocent term "God particle" reflects their anti-religious fundamentalism, too.

Thursday, December 27, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Amplitudes, permutations, Grassmannians

Back in July, I mentioned some new highly intriguing results by a group of physicists and mathematicians including Nima Arkani-Hamed and others:

Permutations join twistor minirevolution
That report echoed a talk at Strings 2012. Finally, the paper is out.

One of the 263 figures in the paper.

On the 154 pages of their new article,
Scattering Amplitudes and the Positive Grassmannian (PDF),
Nima Arkani-Hamed, Jacob L. Bourjaily, Freddy Cachazo, Alexander B. Goncharov, Alexander Postnikov, and Jaroslav Trnka expose the power of their new formalism based on the positive Grassmannians (a Grassmannian in this sense is a space of \(k\)-dimensional hyperplans in an \(n\)-dimensional hyperspace; the positivity condition means that all minors i.e. sign-corrected subdeterminants or minors have the positive sign).

Tuesday, December 25, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Christmas rumor: \(105\GeV\) dimuon excess at 5 sigma

Update: The best physicist on the territory of Argentina right now, Paul Frampton, wrote me that the signal could perhaps be a sign of a dilepton from the 331 models which enhance the electroweak \(SU(2)_L\) to an \(SU(3)_L\). The lower limit on the mass of such states also seems to be \(1\TeV\) but weaker coupling constants could perhaps work. Check e.g. this 2000 paper for a quick review of the particle content of the 331 models or, even more relevantly, this 1992 paper discussing dileptons in 331 models and highlighting Paul Frampton's own pioneering contributions (thanks, Joseph S.!).

Also, the 331 gauge group may be embedded into \(E_6\) GUT which offers additional possible explanations of like-sign dileptons, for example a leptophobic \(Z'\) boson.
I hope that the TRF readers are enjoying their Christmas, their Saturnalia, their Hanukkah, or at least their first days after the winter solstice (except for TRF readers in Islamic countries where all such pagan holidays are banned: those readers are wished to survive instead).

We have gotten used to the news from the LHC that meticulously and precisely confirms every small feature of every graph of every final state that may possibly occur when a proton pair collides. Because of this "habit" of ours, the following rumor may sound shocking, stunning, unbelievable.

Well, it's a rumor – and one posted at a highly unreliable place – so it should remain unbelievable for some time and at least to some extent. But it's interesting enough so that I can't miss it because if the rumor is true, it's an amazing Christmas gift from the LHC.

Phil Gibbs claims that he has been browsing through some really stinky garbage at a notorious crackpots' discussion forum led by an immoral sourball when...

Sunday, December 23, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Obama gives medal to Drell, Gates, Mazur

I hate honors but this list is kind of interesting. Barack Obama gave the National Medal of Science to 12 scientists and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation to 11 technologists and innovators:

Obama names 23 scientists and innovators as medal winners (Cosmic Log)
The scientists include Sidney Drell, an accomplished violinist, hadron collisions specialist, and arms control expert at SLAC who is also the father of Persis Drell, the current SLAC director.

Saturday, December 22, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

SciAm, firewalls, and deterioration of the physics community

Jennifer Ouellette wrote a nice piece on black hole firewalls for the Simons Foundation and for Scientific American:

Black Hole Firewalls Confound Theoretical Physicists (via Synch).
Well, more precisely, it's nice and informative if you assume that her task was to uncritically promote the views of Joe Polchinski, Leonard Susskind, Raphael Bousso, and a few others. From a more objective viewpoint, the article's main message is wrong and the text misinterprets the state of the research, too.

Somewhat but not entirely typical Czech skeptical and blasphemous attitude to Christmas. Xindl X: Christmas Eve arrived when I guzzled at home. He feels like being in shackles, much like his Christmas tree. He also has a tip and hanging balls. No reason to celebrate another lost year, he wants to return to the Saturnalia again. By the New Year, he switched from guzzling to light drugs.

Over the last decade or so, my great respect for some of the most famous names in high-energy physics was diminishing and this trend has become undeniable by now. It seems to me that my previous worries about the apparent deterioration of meritocracy within the field have turned out to be a tangible reality.

Friday, December 21, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Subir Sachdev on AdS/CMT

Yes, it's the date of another major failed end of the world ;-)

My ex-colleague and fellow superhero, condensed matter physicist Subir Sachdev wrote a neat article for a mostly bad magazine called Scientific American,

Strange and Stringy
It does a good job in explaining one skill of string theory from a viewpoint of someone who was definitely not trained as a string theorist. In condensed matter physics, there are various phases of matter displaying numerous kinds of behavior (and critical behavior) and things can get very complicated. However, under somewhat general circumstances, when the complexity becomes really extreme, there is another, alternative description of the situation that becomes easy, at least once you know its formalism.

Thursday, December 20, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Czechia opposes harsh anti-smoking EU policies

European health commissioner Tonio Borg (Malta) – who has been in this job just for one month – is behind the latest insanely harsh EU proposals to fight against the smokers. See e.g. The Guardian.

Horror-like pictures – such as the Australian graphics above – could become mandatory across the Old Continent. Flavored cigarettes – with menthol, vanilla, strawberries etc. – would also be banned, much like slim (and "natural" and "organic") cigarettes and much like packages with fewer than 20 cigarettes. That's no detail; for example, just slim and menthol cigarettes make 38% of cigarettes in Poland.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Hawking, Nurse, Rees, lords demand Alan Turing's pardon

The Atlantic and others reveal that Stephen Hawking along with Paul Nurse, Martin Rees, and many lords I don't know wrote a petition to David Cameron in which they urge the leader to formally rehabilitate a British hero and top computer scientist, Alan Turing, who was born 100 years ago.

Even though this man invented the concept of a Turing machine, a cornerstone of computer science, and led the team of Enigma codebreakers during the war, he wasn't immune against accusations of active homosexuality, especially because they were manifestly true.

Energy from man-made tornadoes

Peter Thiel, a favorite venture capitalist of mine, just paid $300,000 to Louis Michaud, a Canadian inventor on the picture below who plans to build artificial tornadoes – the so-called [atmospheric] vortex engines: Wikipedia, Michaud's web – that may supply us with lots of energy.

This idea surely sounds provoking at first – way too close to a description of a perpetual motion machine – but I am already in a different stage in which I tend to think that this most elementary criticism is unjustified. However, it is still not clear how ambitious a change in the energy sector is being promised here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Anti-string delusions and political correctness

A science babe working for the Huffington Post left-wing website recorded a video interview with Mark Jackson who is now in Paris:

The title matches the first sentence of the interview and it is annoying.

Monday, December 17, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Victor Hess, Joseph Henry: anniversaries

Victor Franz Hess (24 June 1883 – 17 December 1964) was born to a royal forester in Waldstein Castle, Styria (South Austria proper). He attended various local schools and was interested in radiation.

His key work was done between 1911-1913. Hess wanted to show that, as expected, the radiation we detect decreases with the altitude – because it originates in the Earth and gets absorbed by the atmosphere. So he took risky balloon trips to 5 kilometers and found out that instead, it was getting stronger. Well, "cosmic rays", as Robert Millikan called them in 1925 when he verified Hess' claims. Their discovery brought Hess the 1936 Nobel prize in physics.

He married a Jewish wife, had to flee the Third Reich because of that, and became a U.S. citizen. After her wife died, he married her last nurse.

Exorcising Maxwell's daemons

And the lowest allowed power consumption of PCs

In our discussions about information and heat, James Gallagher said some of the usual wrong things about irreversibility – for example, he believes that the proof of the H-theorem is invalid because of the molecular chaos assumption (this assumption is a pure technicality allowing explicit calculations but the overall conclusion, the increasing entropy, is independent of any such Ansatz!).

However, he has also made a statement about an algorithm to reduce the entropy with the help of his PC:

I mean I can simulate deterministic dynamical systems on my computer and reverse all the dynamics at any time - which MUST then result in a decreasing entropy if the previous system had increasing entropy.
I assure you, James, that your method doesn't work. What you suggested has been known as Maxwell's daemon and the 20th century analyses have made it clear that no such proposed device may actually reduce the total entropy.

Sunday, December 16, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Taxes: Depardieu, Delon escape Hollande

Today, the Japanese voters ended a ludicrous 3-year-long experiment with the left-wing politicians at the top that began in 2009, after decades of right-wing governments that were able to rebuild Japan after the loss in the world war and bring its economy to the #2 spot.

Shinzo Abe of the LDP will return to the chair of the prime minister; the DPJ socialists have lost approximately 3/4 of their seats gained in 2009. The voters realized that the leftists emit lots of big words and promises but they're just dirty lies. Of course, the leftists faced some event they couldn't quite have influenced – e.g. the tsunami or the fact that China surpassed Japan as the world's #2 economy (probably a coincidence) but it's clear they were bringing nothing good to the country.

Japan has a reason for some more optimistic Japanese music – what about Vltava? :-)

Meanwhile, France has a left-wing government that codified a breathtaking 75 percent tax rate for the rich that should come into force in 2 weeks. Now, would you be pleased to work hard and pay 75 percent of your income to a group of dirty gangsters who call themselves the government? If you would, you are a psychopath; it's a kind of a psychiatric disorder that many other people may support you in having – for various not too mysterious reasons – but that doesn't change anything about the fact that you're profoundly sick. ;-)

Information and heat

When they're rather young, children learn about hot and cold things. They learn to say "heiss" when their tongue gets burned a little bit and "brrr" when they're freezing. Much like our ancestors, the Monkey Americans, little kids learn that they may heat objects up by fire; and they may cool them down in the refrigerator if they have one.

In ancient Greece about 2,000 years ago, Philo of Byzantium and Hero of Alexandria constructed the first thermometers when they observed that materials generally expand when the temperature is higher. People would eventually learn that the feeling "how hot or cold" an object is may be expressed by a quantity, the temperature, and objects in mutual contact love to converge to the state in which their temperatures are equal.

The industrial revolution has ignited the expansion of heat engines, steam engines, and many other kinds of engines. During the 19th century, a discipline of physics called thermodynamics began to thrive. It is a different type of physics than the physics in which one tries to find the most elementary laws that determine, as uniquely as possible, the evolution of Nature. Instead, thermodynamics is about some properties of temperature, heat, energy, entropy, and related quantities that are inevitably "emergent" but that emerge rather simply in any sufficiently complicated or macroscopic physical system.

Ordering ambiguities and renormalization ambiguities

Greta asked:

I have been told that \[

[\hat x^2,\hat p^2]=2i\hbar (\hat x\hat p+\hat p\hat x)

\] illustrates ordering ambiguity.

What does that mean?
I tried googling but to no avail.

Thank you.

Friday, December 14, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

IPCC AR5 not acknowledging cosmoclimatology

In a few years, the IPCC climate panel plans to release the fifth assessment report, AR5. Alec Rawls (firstname at lastname dot org) has leaked the current draft (he thinks it's 100% legal to do so) and he, much like other skeptics, seemed to be enthusiastic about the IPCC's finally admitting the existence of natural climate drivers, especially those related to the Sun.

Dana Nuccitelli, a notorious climate demagogue and fearmonger writing for Skeptical, wrote a guest blog for the Guardian blogs where he claims that the IPCC isn't saying anything of the sort even though he thinks it's possible to determine what the IPCC is saying by not looking in the IPCC draft at all – it's enough to look in some pet pro-alarmist maximally anthropogenic papers of himself, he thinks. The Earth isn't spinning, it's just the human hot air that matters. Is that really to hard for you, Mr Nuccitelli, to figure out that by your ostrich methodology, you simply can't determine what the IPCC AR5 draft is admitting and what is not?

I was agnostic about both claims but now I see that Rawls is surely having a point but my excitement is much weaker than his. In fact, I would say that not much is changing in the IPCC.

Nima Arkani-Hamed on visions of particle physics

If you have 100.25 minutes, you may want to watch Nima's Wednesday talk about naturalness and his favorite class of SUSY models in Santa Barbara:

Get the Flash Player to see this video.
Other formats via KITP. The player above has a fullscreen button.

A goal is to determined the interactions of the newly found Higgs boson. If its spin equals two, Nima will quit physics, and if the particle is a techni-dilaton, he will kill himself.

Thursday, December 13, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

A schizophrenic Higgs mass?

Some readers have asked me what I think about the updated ATLAS, CMS Higgs results that were released today. I would say that they are as un-new as possible. The details will be discussed momentarily.

But at the beginning, let's say that it's not shocking that we don't get any game-changing data when the amount of collisions included into the analysis less than doubles. When the dataset is doubled, the relative errors of measured quantities should decrease \(\sqrt{2}\) times, the statistical significances in sigmas should increase by the same factor, the exclusion levels should strengthen as well, and so on. But these changes are averages and when one is "unlucky", nothing changes at all. And inconclusive questions may stay inconclusive.

And that seems to be the case of the newest update, too. The possible discrepancies stayed inconclusive and in this sense, the today's update was as uninteresting as possible.

U.N. vaguely votes to vaguely censor the Internet

ITU has made the first vote of the U.N. countries on whether or not the governments want to make the Internet more regulated and censored. If you click at the link, you will see that the answer is a worrisome "Yes".

How was the outcome determined? It was determined according to the "temperature in the room": I kid you not. That's how Mohamed Nasser al-Ghanim, director general of the UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, explained the outcome. Pretty much because of global warming, totalitarian opinions gained the upper hand in the U.N. In this way, the director breached several promises he previously made.

But we don't need censorship in Czechia: the temperature outside is –7 °C, well below the temperature in Dubai. The temperature they experience in the rooms of Dubai is just a local temperature.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Doomsday in 9 days

It's 12/12/12, 12:12:12 pm now, the Pope tweeted for the first time 12+12+12 minutes ago, and many people are worried about the doom that arrives in 9 days from now.

NASA even recorded a special 6-minute monologue by astronomer David Morrison that tries to disagree with the fearful predictions.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Yuri Milner adds some winners

Off-topic: Half a year ago, Alan Alda told folks to record clips explaining What is flame? to 11-year-olds. Now it's What is time? see a related TRF article for 25-year-old.
According to The New York Times and others, Yuri Milner has found a few more physicists to get millions of dollars.

A visualization of the big money – although Milner is so far giving away less than the U.S. debt. ;-)

When the inaugural prize was given away, I said that Stephen Hawking was somewhat anomalously missing in the list. The omission has been fixed; he will spend it on holiday at home and his autistic grandson. Another $3 million package is to be shared by seven physicists at CERN: Evans $1m, $1m split to CMS spokespersons Della, Virdee, Tonelli, Incandela; $1 split to ATLAS spokespeople Jenni, Gianotti.

Competitors for the next big prize are Polchinski, Polyakov, and a group of solid state physicists led by Charles Kane.

Bjørn Lomborg moves to Prague

I was told about a fun interview last night on the Czech Public TV Channel called ČT24 (a news channel of a sort). Click at the screenshot below to watch the 6-minute video:

Transcript (autom. EN)

The host asks about the Kyoto protocol (extended through 2020 in Doha, but covering a minority of the CO2 emitters only; U.S., Canada, Japan, China, and others are out, only the EU etc. will suffer) and they exchange a few words about the reasons of failure of similar efforts. He says that there are more important things to solve, such as the genuine pollution in the air and water.

All these things may have been expected but there's one piece of information that could be viewed as novel – a bombshell of a sort.

Monday, December 10, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Leonard Susskind: black hole wars

If you have 51 minutes, you may want to watch this July 2012 (and possibly much older) talk.

Leonard Susskind is offering a verbal version of the amusing story about black hole wars in which he and Gerard 't Hooft were defending the conservative side against the progressive chap named Stephen Hawking or Evil Karn Evil for short, while chatting in a house owned by a guy obsessed by self-promotion.

Klaus: speech at Euro Business Breakfast

Mlýnec Restaurant, Novotný's footbridge, Prague, December 7th, 2012
Translation from

Time flies very fast. It seems to me that our previous meeting didn't take place one year ago but just several weeks ago. And not only that. I feel tempted to say that it may be possible to repeat my contribution from the last year because I am afraid that the basic characteristics – the situation in our country as well as the situation in Europe – haven't changed during that year. And if they have, it was a change to the worse. Because diverse unfavorable trends have continued, the situation – and its amplified reflection in the thinking of the Czech citizens as well as the citizens of other EU countries, i.e. inhabitants of Europe – has self-evidently deteriorated. This is another initial thesis of mine. That's not due to any aprioristic pessimism or hostile undermining of our coalition government by myself, as we sometimes hear. Instead, it is a neutral analytic appraisal.

Sunday, December 09, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Snow covers Europe

Hundreds of countries signed an extension to the Kyoto protocol – it will annoy and steal from Europe and others (while bringing no benefits whatsoever) – until the year 2020.

Nature has seen how well-behaved all of us have been and it immediately rewarded us with a continental snowfall which replaced the temperatures going up to –30 °C at various places of Czechia (and Switzerland and other countries) in recent days.

For example, we think of Croatia as one of the Czech tourists' most typical summer destinations. It's warm over there because the Forefather Croat wasn't as lazy and stupid as Forefather Czech when he was walking to the South with his entourage. There's been no Forefather Croat but I hope you don't care because they do have some version of the Czech-Lech[-Rus] legend, too. ;-)

Saturday, December 08, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Last man on the Moon: 40 years ago

Some technologies such as the communication technologies have experienced unbelievable progress which seems to be continuing.

But there are some technological challenges in which the mankind has apparently become weaker. We may argue hundreds of times that it's silly and unscientific to send the humans into the outer space. But aren't you worried that we may have grown unable – or unwilling so that it's effectively equivalent to unable – to send the people to the Moon? Isn't it obvious that such a fading potency affects more useful dreams as well?

In total, 12 Americans have walked on the Moon – and no one else. The last folks walking on the Moon went there with the Apollo 17 mission that was launched on December 7th, 1972, i.e. fourty years ago. It's a pretty long time ago, isn't it? I wasn't born yet. In twelve days, it landed back on Earth.

The electron is spinning, after all

First, a brand new movie, Decay (2012), was released by the LHC students 12 seconds ago. If you have 75 minutes for a truly independent (I warned you!) underground bound state of comedy, unexplained quenches, VW New Beetles, unfaithful girlfriends, extra shifts ordered by CERN's Russian Director General (who may be less innocent than you think), LHC waking up spontaneously, radiation alerts, zombies running through the LHC tunnels (horror starts at 24:50 or so and then 26:50) and outside (1:02:00, 1:09:00), and Higgs bosons and Higgs bioentanglement, watch the video above. See also their website, Wikipedia, their Twitter, and HD downloads. To say the least, it's a great opportunity to look into the interiors of the LHC and how the "real people" use it. And let me admit, I was totally terrified when I was watching the film: you don't want to be an experimenter! ;-)

Now, to mention one of them in a less terrifying context, Aidan Randle-Conde of the U.S. LHC blogs is recording some kind of a particle physics advent calendar. For the December 5th, he talks about pentaquarks, and so on. December 7th was all about the spin:

Advent Calendar 2012 December 7th
He thinks the electron is not spinning in any way. Moreover, he thinks that the very term "spin" is just some blunder caused by historical misunderstandings and it perhaps depends on the outdated old Bohr model of the atom.

I disagree with these (widespread) musings and I view them as contributors to the general misunderstanding of quantum mechanics.

Friday, December 07, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

What is background independence and how important is it?

Bugmenot asked:

  1. What is background independence and how important is it?

  2. In order to be a theory of everything, will the final string-theory/m-theory have to be background independent?

  3. Does the current lack of background independence show string theory is currently NOT a theory of everything?
My understanding from Wikipedia is that the ADS/CFT shows hopeful hints. Are there any recent papers that have made progress in this direction?

I've tried google but get haven't been able to get a definitive answer to this question.

I found this interesting post by Lubos Motl, but it is from 2005.

Czech president won't sign ESM

When the Treaty of Lisbon was debated, Czech president Václav Klaus displayed some resistance, reflecting the will of all the Europeans who realize that such treaties are counterproductive. At the end, due to the nearly unanimous agreement of the "European political elite", he surrendered.

A related issue is being debated these days: ESM, the European Stability Mechanism known as the "eurowall" in Czechia (well, more precisely, "euroval" in Czech and Slovak but the similarly sounding English term is an almost exact translation, "val" is something like an embankment). It's been de facto working as an EU institution since October which is unusual because the Czech Republic hasn't ratified it yet. One hears diverse opinions on whether or not the ESM requires a modification of the Treaty of Lisbon.

This increasing vagueness of our legislative framework affected by the EU – even when it comes to rather big questions – seems worrisome to me.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Sheldon Glashow, Werner Heisenberg: birthdays

Also celebrating: Arnold Sommerfeld, Cecil Frank Powell, Giuseppe Occhialini, Franco Rasetti (RIP 2001)

For some mysterious reason, maybe because I am too shy (and I will remain shy, as you will see below) ;-), I have never written about physicists' anniversaries celebrated on December 5th. While Czech children are served a trio of an angel, St Nicholas, and a devil tonight (only 20% of the Czech households ordered one this year, however),

people are being born and they're dying, too. Believe me, I know something about it – thankfully about the former only so far. The physicists born on December 5th could have felt discriminated against. Let's try to correct this injustice.

December 5th is a pretty black day for music: in 1791, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died. In fact, many other composers made the same serious mistake – I would even call it a fatal mistake – on the same date. The day was dark for literature and painting as well: Alexander Dumas and Claude Monet died on December 5th. However, the day isn't so bad for physics.

Climate delegates in Qatar agree to wear gas masks

CFACT – via and Planet Gore – went to Doha, Qatar, and asked the delegates of the annual anti-climate-change conference to test a gas mask that "sequesters" carbon dioxide (which it didn't, of course):

You may watch the people from numerous countries of the world to agree that the horrible mask is comfortable, they're ready to wear it for hours a day and while they're sleeping, recommend it to children, pets, and so on.

What makes it even more amazing is that the pranksters say that they're from CFACT, Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow. I think that everyone who follows the climate issue must kind of know that it's one of the rather visible skeptical groups. Those people don't have a clue.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Hawking radiation: pure and thermal mixed states are a micron away

I think that the recent paper by Raju and Papadodimas (arXiv) is the most convincing and least confusing paper about the black hole information available to the infalling observer that has been written on this planet so far.

However, I also think that the initial sections with the precise formulae for the bulk fields written in terms of the CFT variables – while being a professional piece of work that shows that the authors have been heavily trained in the AdS/CFT technology – are too long and tedious and may discourage many readers from getting to the most conceptually important part of the paper that may appear in Sections 4 and especially 5 and 6.

Because their picture seems to be the final word on many general puzzles concerning the infalling observer and black hole information – and I think that the people who won't be familiar with the basic results in a month shouldn't be counted as world's top quantum gravity experts – it may be meaningful to write short and separate summaries of some clearest results that everyone may read in minutes.

The following discussion covers some results of Subsection 6.2.2. See the paper for their original discussion and/or references.

Can physics blogs reach the general public?

The Higgs boson, apparently considered to be a musician or athlete of a sort, was nominated as the Time Magazine person of the year 2012, among 39 other candidates:

Who Should Be TIME's Person of the Year 2012? (Higgs boson)
It's fun that particle physics has some impact on the mass culture; everything else that will be said about the nomination is going to be mostly negative.

Jeffrey Kluger wrote five sentences. Amusingly enough, Matt Strassler wanted to correct all the flagrant mistakes in these five sentences so he wrote something like a book (a somewhat angry book):
TIME for a Little Soul-Searching
See also Particles Are People Too.

Of course, I agree with Matt Strassler, well, almost entirely, but this particular thing just doesn't drive me up the wall as intensely as it annoys himself because it's been many, many years when I abandoned the idea that ordinary people – and ordinary journalists who are really just average people – could understand the meaning of cutting-edge fundamental physics. Since that time, I have only been angry about the ignorance of people whom I still expected to know better – but of course, my expectations are gradually decreasing with the people's knowledge, too.

Monday, December 03, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Hillary wants to build (nuclear) Temelín 3, 4

Hillary Clinton is visiting Prague today – and even the official Iranian newspapers took notice. Her visit has one goal: she will try to convince Karel Schwarzenberg, her Czech counterpart, that Westinghouse, Toshiba's U.S. branch, is the better candidate to complete the Temelín nuclear power plant.

Both Clinton and Schwarzenberg are ministers of foreign affairs; both of them are potential future presidents, too. However, Hillary's candidacy isn't yet official while Schwarzenberg whose candidacy already is official doesn't have too high chances to win the office in the January 2013 direct elections.

Temelín in South Bohemia (Google Maps) has been running two 1,000 MW reactors for a decade; two more 1,000 MW are likely to be built. There were three candidates – French, American, Russian. France's Areva was said by our semi-state-owned electric utility company ČEZ not to obey the conditions of the tender. It was eliminated but appealed so its case is being studied by the anti-monopoly office now.

Saturday, December 01, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Sea level rise is the most reliable way to see global temperature trends

Tonight, I skipped another (3-hour) catastrophic movie on TV, Flood (2007). Some skeptics are writing lots of e-mails about a silly study that says that the sea level rise proves man-made global warming – without a glimpse of evidence supporting the attribution. It apparently has some impact in the U.S.

I am already way too bored by this junk. People who keep on writing this stuff are inferior inkspillers and one of the goals of my writing about the climate in recent years has been to convince sensible people that they should pay no attention to these liars and idiots. So it would be hypocritical – and a sort of masochism at the same time – if I were reading much of the alarmist garbage that is being published.

Via NOAA. Battery, NY is named after artillery batteries that use to stand there to protect the settlers from David Cameron's predecessors. If you think the trend is only this straight in New York, try Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, and London.

But concerning sea level rise, I want to say one thing. It is a great benchmark to estimate the rate of something that could be called the global mean temperature – a better method than the manual averaging of weather stations or satellites. The main reason why I say such a thing is that unlike the graphs of the global mean temperature reconstructed from weather stations or satellites, the graphs of the sea level rise are unbelievably straight. And you don't need to measure the sea level at lots of places in the whole world. One place, e.g. Southwest of Manhattan – see the graph above – is enough.

Enrico Fermi started nuclear era 70 years ago

An unusually well written article appeared in the financial section of the Czech Press Agency's server. Here's the translation into Lumo English.

Chicago/Prague – Exactly seven decades ago, on December 2nd, 1942, the mankind found itself on the threshold of the nuclear era. A team led by Italian physicist Enrico Fermi managed to ignite a controlled nuclear reaction for the first time in the history. The experiment opened doors towards the usage of the mysterious energy from the cores of atoms which is able to both kill and help.

Friday, November 30, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Does the Bigfoot exist?

You must have noticed that two days ago, news sources were hyping a claim of Melba Ketchum, a Texan veterinarian, that she has sequenced the DNA taken from Mr Bigfoot Sasquatch Jr.

After a 5-year-long research, her DNA team in Nacogdoches has allegedly determined that he exists and he is the son of an American woman (because the mitochondrial DNA inherited from the mother matches homo sapiens sapiens) and her hairy male primate partner whose ancestors split from "us" (apologies to TRF readers who are Sasquatch Americans whom I don't count right now) about 15,000 years ago (because they are said to have discovered a new nuDNA related to humans and primates).

Oh, I see. The Register says that they claim that the sex between the human female and the exotic creature took place 15,000 years ago.

Firewalls vs analytic continuation

Two new interesting anti-firewall papers and one pro-firewall paper

The black hole firewall argument by AMPS is probably invalid but it has already led to a significant new wave of research and discussions about the black hole information puzzle which is a good thing.

There are some new papers since my most recent comments on the firewall controversy. But what happened today is kind of remarkable: just today, there are a whopping three papers on the black hole firewalls!

Thursday, November 29, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Dark matter discovery: behind the corner?

Clara Moskowitz did a pretty good job

Two days ago, I read a popular article about dark matter:

Dark Matter Mystery May Soon Be Solved
It was written by Clara Moskowitz, an important editor of, and I thought that the article was unusually good.

The article sketched what dark matter is, what it is composed of according to the most convincing theories (WIMP or axion, and speculations on hidden dimensions properly identified as a cherry on top of the pie), the arguments in favor and against of the superpartners as dark matter particle candidates, and the ongoing experiments as well as those that are getting started such as LUX that are trying or will be trying to directly detect the dark matter particle.

Palestinian statehood and the U.N.

Update, vote: 138 Yes, 9 No (including Czechia), 41 Abstain
The State of Judenfrei Palestine was painfully accepted to UNESCO one year ago. Today, another vote of this kind is expected. It's almost certain that a vote will determine that the Israeli Arabs will win the same status in the U.N. that the Vatican enjoys – the status of a non-member state recognized by the U.N.

It doesn't seem fortunate to me that just weeks after the Israeli Arabs launched a missile campaign against Israel, the world's "peace organization" is going to declare by a vote that they're a suppressed group of victims who may be living on an occupied territory. If the opposite of occupation is that they are free to throw rockets to any neighbor they find, then occupation is a necessary condition for peace.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

David Ian Olive: 1937-2012

Clifford Johnson mentioned some sad news.

Off-topic but good news: Mathematica 9 is released today and it's big, offering the first useful "predictive interface" with suggestions in the world of software, analysis of social networks, interactive gauges, system-wide support for 4,500 units, systematic addition of legends, support for Markov and random processes, integration of Steve McIntyre's language R, and more
British field theorist and string theorist David Olive, Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales, and Fellow of the Royal Society died on November 7th, at the age of 75.

If I remember well, I've never met him. But I've experienced lots of his key and beautiful insights.

Five greatest physicists' sex scandals

This is an extremely, extremely light topic. wrote a new article

5 Of Physics's Greatest Sex Scandals
A TRF guest blogger finds himself in a pretty good company.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

It's wrong to worry about the "fiscal cliff"

Starting from January 2013, America has a chance to restore some balance in its federal budget that's been getting worse since Clinton's surplus years around 2000 and that switched to seemingly permanent astronomical figures after the 2008 recession.

If no bills were changed or added in the following 6 weeks, spending cuts would come into force and some temporary (mainly Bush) tax cuts would be abolished again. The deficits would instantly start to improve, see the brown curve:

However, some people invented the term "fiscal cliff" for the relatively sudden improvement of the U.S. budget deficit in order to suggest that this good thing is actually a bad thing. It's a fiscal cliff but the sign is such that the U.S. may start to climb out of the deep Greek $hit it's been sinking into. But a "hike from the mud in the Mariana Trench towards the summit at Mount Everest on a sunny day" doesn't sound as catchy as the "fiscal cliff".

Martin Rees' center studies 4 worst threats for mankind

Climate change is on par with robot uprising

The cataclysm on December 21st, 2012 is less than a month away and I am regularly asked by people in the real life as well as those on the Internet whether a particular doomsday scenario they read about will happen. They are just polite when they ask; of course that if I explain to them that they don't have to worry, they keep on $hitting into their pants, anyway. ;-)

Nude Socialist, Fox News, BBC, AP, and the rest of the pack told us about CSER.ORG, a center founded by the Lord [Martin] Rees of Ludlow, among others (including a co-founder of Skype), that will study the huge one-time risks that can make us extinct and everyone underestimates. What are they? Well, they are:

  1. robot uprising
  2. Hiroshimas all over the world
  3. artificial germs making all of us sick and die
  4. global warming
As you can see, the global warming hysteria finds itself in a good company of comparably (un)realistic worries.

Monday, November 26, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Many worlds vs positivism and symmetries

About a dozen of TRF articles mention Hugh Everett and his "many-worlds interpretation" of quantum mechanics. Exactly three months ago, I showed that "many worlds" don't exist as long as one uses the standard rules of quantum mechanics to answer the very question about their existence.

If we use the same rules to answer the question "Do many worlds exist?" as we use for answering questions about the electrons' spins and other questions "obviously accessible to the experiments", the answer of quantum mechanics is a resounding No. There can't be any "multiple worlds". After all, the splitting of the worlds would correspond to a quantum xeroxing machine and that's prohibited by the linearity of the evolution operators in quantum mechanics. Also, the conservation laws would be violated whenever the worlds split, assuming that they were not split before the "measurement" or another critical moment. And if they were split in advance, the interpretation would violate causality because the "Everett multiverse" would have know about the measurements in advance.

Quantum mechanics unambiguously says that the linear superposition of orthogonal states, \(\ket\alpha+\ket\beta\), doesn't mean that "both the things described by \(\ket\alpha\) and \(\ket\beta\) exist at the same time". Instead, the plus sign means "OR", not "AND". The state says "only \(\ket\alpha\) is possible AND only \(\ket\beta\) is possible" but when we want to omit the words "possible", the only right translation is "Nature realized \(\ket\alpha\) OR \(\ket\beta\)". It's the usual probabilistic mixture. Well, there is a difference: in quantum mechanics, we first add the complex probability amplitudes, and then we square the absolute values of the results (the probabilities). In classical statistical physics, we sum up the probabilities directly so the "mixed" or "interference" terms would be absent.

So the "many worlds" are obviously prohibited when the rules of quantum mechanics are being used for all physical questions, including the questions that some people could be religiously prejudiced about. (I really think it's analogous to religious beliefs because many otherwise rational people abandon all rational thinking when it comes to questions that have the potential to unseat or otherwise disturb their God. Their boundary behind which rational thinking is prohibited is as arbitrary and surprising as it is for those who love to refuse the quantum character of quantum mechanics.) In the following text, I will discuss another part of this issue and explain that if you wanted to use some non-quantum, more classical rules in which quantum mechanics would be embedded, you would be forced to defend an indefensible theoretical framework, too.

Sunday, November 25, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

December 3rd: ITU, U.N. could end the free Internet

Lots of worried voices have claimed that various large corporations such as Microsoft, Google, or others would restrict the freedom of the exchange of information on the Internet.

I have always considered these worries silly – and I will always count the people with a hardwired corporation-phobia to be hardcore communists. In particular, none of the IT or communication corporations has ever had a sufficient monopoly to stop the flow of the information – and most of the largest ones are literally motivated to support as diverse ways of exchanging the information as possible because their profit really boils down to these processes.

The free market works, stupid.

But here is a similar threat I find much more credible. Between December 3rd and December 14th, there will be a conference of the ITU, the 1865 International Telegraph Union (that changed the middle word to "Telecommunication" to create the illusion that its core has been modernized but it has not) which became a U.N. agency, in Dubai.

A majority vote behind the closed door may bring a radical power grab which could seriously cripple the freedom of the online exchange of information.

The 234-bit gene that turns an ape into a man

You must have wondered why some of us are human while others are just apes. As I learned from an article that was sent to me by Peter F., all the difference may boil down to 117 base pairs on the 20th chromosome.

Study: Single Gene, Plus Some "Junk" DNA Turned Ape Ancestors Into Modern Man (Daily Tech)
Recall that all the information needed to create and run an organism is digitally stored in the DNA molecule, a sequence of base pairs. Each base pair is either AT or TA or CG or GC (the first and second letter correspond to the 1st strand and the 2nd strand of the double helix and they're locally distinguishable). Because you have 4 possibilities, the base pair carries roughly 2 bits of information.

The DNA sequence is divided into chromosomes. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes; all apes have 24 pairs of chromosomes. In total, they carry a few gigabytes of genetic information (3.08 billion base pairs or 6.16 billion bits), not far from an operating system. It's somewhat hard to believe that our not having one of the chromosomes is what makes us – apparently and only in some cases – superior relatively to the apes. There has to be a "positive difference" that favors us, too.

Saturday, November 24, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Lost City Raiders, a B movie

My newly favorite Czech TV channel, Prima Cool (which airs not only The Big Bang Theory), was broadcasting a silly 2008 U.S.-German-Austrian science-fiction catastrophic global warming film, Lost City Raiders, tonight.

If you have 98 minutes, the whole movie is right here on this blog.

I kind of enjoy watching catastrophic movies – and view it as 1% of my job, too. In this case, I feel satisfied and you should also feel satisfied because this cheap $6 million movie scored the worst grades you may think of, see e.g. 39% at IMDb.

The rest of the blog entry is full of spoilers.

Climate propaganda in Australia

Joanne Nova (see also Anthony Watts) made sure that my pressure didn't stay relatively low for too much time in the morning. Why? I have listened to a 16-minute long show on the ABC, the Australian public radio, called

Attitudes to climate change (audio)
We used to hear some remotely similar propaganda programs until 1989 – although not too many have been this hardcore in the 1980s, I would say (in particular, I don't remember a single radio program against Havel or dissidents etc. that would be this nasty) – but the public radio and TV simply can't produce programs that would be this dishonest, manipulative, hateful, and insulting anymore. It's surely a part of the reasons why I think that my homeland is already well ahead of countries such as Australia when it comes to democracy.

Friday, November 23, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Clashes over EU budget

Leaders of the EU countries met in Brussels and they are trying to agree about the 2014-2020 EU budget – about a trillion of dollars. And as the Washington Post and almost everyone else notices, it ain't pretty. France clashes with Britain and smaller countries play their own small games, suggesting possible vetoes.

Click for the Guardian infographics on EU finances...

One could say that it's possible to define "overall fair rules" how to redistribute the resources. However, there's still a subtle question: How large is the overall budget? Now, the countries that are net payers obviously want the overall budget to shrink; David Cameron is a clear advocate of that. Countries that have been overall recipients, including Czechia, want to stay recipients and they typically want the budget for solidarity ("cohesion spending") to grow.

(Except for Prague, all regions of Czechia are counted as poorer regions that should be receiving this kind of aid. Czechia is a net recipient but on a per-capita basis, we're the smallest recipients among the post-socialist EU member states. Among the net recipients, we're the per-capita smallest ones after Cyprus, Spain, Ireland, and Belgium.)

Thursday, November 22, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

SUSY exists because the number 3/2 can't be missing

Paul Frampton: Off-topic sad news: he gets 4.67 years in prison for drug smuggling; Google News. He may be moved to the U.S. in 2014 if he applies. They found a note, "1grm/200U$S. 2000grms/400000 U$S", handwritten by Frampton himself on which he calculated the price of the stuff. He admitted he wrote it but only after the stuff was found, weighed, and he was accused. So the curious Paul calculated what he was supposed to earn, too. When cops accuse you of anything in Argentina, shut up and don't calculate anything! Even more seriously, however, Paul's e-mail to (fake) Ms Denisa Krajíčková a day before he was caught allegedly "worried about sniffer dogs looking after the small suitcase".
This blog entry elaborates upon a simple point made by Nima Arkani-Hamed in a recent talk (and by others). First, look at this IQ test. What is missing in the box?\[

j& 0 & 1/2 & 1 & ??? & 2\\

\] Those of you who have figured out that \(???=3/2\) earned a ticket and they may continue to read. ;-)

Stuart Freedman: RIP

Stuart Jay Freedman, UC Berkeley physicist, died at the age of 68. He joined Princeton in 1972 and Berkeley in 1991. A former particle theorist became an unusually versatile experimenter even though he used to dislike the Berkeley labs as "Big Science" (in a pejorative sense, similar to the "Big Government").

Picture via Rolf Kaltschmidt

A famous paper he wrote with John Clauser in April 1972 experimentally disproved local hidden variable models of quantum mechanics. The PRL document is wonderfully free of nonsense. They measure a correlation of photons' polarizations in calcium, verify quantum mechanics, and with some help from the CHSH inequality, they explain why local hidden variables couldn't agree with their results. Not too much conceptual progress occurred in that activity during the following 10 years when Alain Aspect got pretty famous by doing similar, slightly improved experiments.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Rumors at NPR: almost life found on Mars

Update Dec 3rd: Just some perchlorates etc. so far

NPR offered us a provoking story yesterday:

Big News From Mars? Rover Scientists Mum For Now (audio, video)
The Curiosity rover's SAM device, Sample Analysis at Mars, found something "Earth-shaking" and ready for "history books" in the Martian soil, according to John Rotzinger, the principal investigator of the whole rover mission.

Papers refuting black hole firewalls spread

Some research activity following the provoking black hole firewall claim by AMPS (Polchinski et al.) continues. The papers that say – or pretty much say – that black holes don't have any firewalls at/near the event horizon start do prevail.

It's interesting to mention that Samir Mathur's idea of fuzzballs used to look as an early predecessor of "firewalls". Many of us were slightly skeptical because it looked like Mathur was saying that the black hole interior never looks empty.

But he never did. While the interior has a complicated structure if you can measure all the degrees of freedom, macroscopic infalling observers will see the empty region that general relativity implies. Samir Mathur and David Turton made this point explicit in the August 2012 paper about fuzzball complementarity.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Leonard Susskind on Higgs boson

If you have 75 minutes, you may want to listen to the July 30th, 2012 post-discovery talk about the Higgs boson by Leonard Susskind that was addressed to the curious pensioners in Palo Alto, California.

At the beginning, he reminds you that you have already heard that the Higgs boson – called the Weinberg toilet by Sheldon Glashow – is the best thing since the invention of the flush toilet.

Instead, he discusses the quantization of spin and he shows you his hat and semitechnical properties of the Higgs potential, the relationship between fields and particles, the impact of the vacuum condensate (compared to dipoles) on other particles, the role of the uncertainty principle for the finite i.e. short range of the weak force.

Polish Breivik Wannabe: Dr Brunon Kwiecień, a chemist

I guess you have heard about the foiled plan (thank God) by a Polish nationalist to bomb the lower chamber of the Polish Parliament and to kill the president, the prime minister, and lots of lawmakers.


He has had accumulated tons of explosives, detonators, guns, and lots of other equipment in his apartment and the threat was credible. A ready-to-explode vehicle contained 4 tons of explosives. The assassin was working hard to recruit accomplices. He has already confessed.

But chances are you haven't heard the name and occupation of the attacker. Well, you are fortunately a TRF reader.

His name is Dr Brunon Kwiecień (45 years) and he is an analytic chemist from the Agricultural University in Krakow. The name means "Bruno April". It's puzzling for Czechs because the last name sounds like "květen" which is the Czech word for the following month, May.

You would think that in the North, in Poland, the counterpart of the Czech May (the words "květen" and "kwiecień" are masculine nouns related to flowers or blossoming) will be June because flowers should blossom later but for some reason, it's the other way around.

Monday, November 19, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

BaBar directly measures time reversal violation

Microscopic processes involving particles proceed differently if forced to go backwards

One of them is Babar the Elephant. Don't ask me which one – I would guess it's the daddy. Instead, I can offer you Peter F.'s elephant who can paint an elephant with a flower.

Physical Review Letters just published a paper

Observation of Time Reversal Violation in the B0 Meson System (arXiv, July 2012)
by the BaBar collaboration at Stanford's SLAC that directly proves the violation of T, or the time-reversal symmetry. Even though the result isn't new anymore, the publication was an opportunity for some vibrations in the media:
Stanford press release

Ars Technica, Google News
The T-violation is equivalent to the CP-violation, via the CPT-theorem, as I discuss below, but comments about the discovered "microscopic arrow of time" weren't just a new sexy way to describe experiments looking for CP-violation. They have actually seen the T-violation "directly". Physicists have known what would happen in this experiment for decades; but they actually performed it for the first time now (the detailed idea behind this experiment has been around since the late 1990s when the long experiment was actually getting started).

What did they do?

Finite SUSY GUT theories

Heinemeyer, Mondragon, and Zoupanos discuss an interesting subset of supersymmetric grand unified theories, the so-called FUTs:

Finite Theories after the discovery of a Higgs-like boson at the LHC
These theories are finite – i.e. cancelling all UV divergences – to all orders in perturbation theories. One may guarantee that supersymmetric grand unified theories are finite to all orders if he cancels the beta-functions for gauge couplings and anomalous dimensions of the Yukawa couplings up to one-loop and/or two-loop level; and if he also relates the Yukawa couplings with the gauge couplings in certain ways. Linear relationships for the squared masses – certain sum rules – are natural conditions that arise.

World Bank abuses AGW lies to grow its bureaucracy

Jim Yong Kim is a Korean-American physician and a former president of Dartmouth College who was recently named the president of the World Bank after Barack Obama nominated him half a year ago.

Let me confess that I simply can't stand similar superficial careerist assholes. In an apparent effort to strengthen my strongly held sentiment, this man quickly transformed the World Bank into a hardcore fortress defending the climate change propaganda. The organization just published a booklet

Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4 °C warmer world must be avoided (executive summary, full, media)
The World Bank hired the climate Nazis around Hans Joachim Schellnhuber in Potsdam and the document repeats all the usual myths about the 4 °C (increased from the IPCC) that is somewhat likely to expect us in this century, about the poor folks who will suffer because of that, about the need to declare a 2 °C threshold (relatively to an ill-defined base line, of course) that isn't allowed to be surpassed, and so on, and so on.

Sunday, November 18, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Davis Cup + Fed Cup + Hopman Cup = Czechia

Czechoslovakia has always been a country of tennis. This is how the Czechoslovak team looked like when it won the 1980 Davis Cup:

You see Tomáš Šmíd of Pilsen, Ivan Lendl, Pavel Složil, and Jan Kodeš (only the former two players played the 5 final matches against Italy; none of the four players was Slovak – there have been no quota). This picture shows some funny fashion 32 years ago – in this case, it also combines some ultrashort shorts with a communist military-style suit decorated by our double-tailed lion "improved" by a communist star above his head.

Tennis has been a path for people to travel across the world and live in a Western lifestyle. Lots of families made immense investments for their children to become top tennis players – and sources of money and freedom – and most of these investments were lost, of course. The sport was tolerated by the communist regime but maybe they made a mistake, given the negative publicity they won by all those tennis players who emigrated to the U.S., especially Ivan Lendl and Martina Navrátilová. Incidentally, Lendl left our homeland after some politically correct communist assholes criticized him and fined him in 1983 for his participation in a tournament held in a South African bantustan.

Saturday, November 17, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Albert Einstein destroyed 37 Hitler's submarines

Czech high school teacher's idea wouldn't be realized without the top physicist

The top Czech news server iDNES.CZ (CZ) just published a very interesting #3 story of the day, after our defeat of Spain in the doubles of the 100th final of the Davis Cup and after #2 reports from the November 17th anniversary rallies.

We usually consider Albert Einstein to be the ultimate pacifist although we also acknowledge his and Szilárd's abstract letter that contributed to the Manhattan Project. But Einstein's steps strengthening the U.S. military power have been much more intense than we usually admit.

Anniversaries: Wigner, Néel, Hofstadter

On November 17th, I usually dedicated space to the anniversary of the 1989 Velvet Revolution, the beginning of the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia, which occurred on the 50th anniversary of the clash between Czech students and the Nazi regime in 1939, a clash from which the students emerged (in 1,200 cases, in concentration camps) as losers (temporarily).

However, physicists are being born and dying on November 17th, too.

In 1990, Robert Hofstadter died. He was born in 1915 into a family of a salesman, studied or was affiliated with CUNY, General Electric, Princeton, Upenn, and most recently Stanford. He is the grandfather of a fictitious grandson, Leonard Hofstadter, who is famous for being Sheldon Cooper's roommate, and the father of a Pulitzer-winning author Douglas Hofstadter.

Friday, November 16, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Do nation states belong to the 19th century? Is it bad?

Czech president Klaus had to go through another memorable, tense moment when he was giving an interview in Vienna:

DER STANDARD: Václav Klaus: Is that clear? Yes? Good. (autom. transl. from German)
After some sentences, he decided that the journalists from Der Standard, a major [social liberal] Austrian daily, didn't deserve more than he has already given to them. And I understand him very well.

The journalists pretended that they were asking questions but in reality, they were trying to bully the interviewee or impose the politically correct ideology upon him. It quickly became very clear that these PC bastards had already depleted even the capital needed for Klaus' "Auf wiedersehen". ;-)

Music star Al Gore plans a virtual reality drop

The king of pop is dead; long live Al Gore.

Honestly, I think this "adjust frequencies" music genre is pretty good. He could join the young rapping Australian climate alarmists, too.

Yesterday, I watched Al Gore's "Dirty Weather" show for about 30 minutes in total and Anthony Watts' competing TV program for more than hour; it was especially Roy Spencer that made the watching irresistible.

The difference couldn't be more striking. It's often being said that the climate panic is driven by scientists. But Al Gore's show offered virtually no scientists. It offered lots of ordinary people who constantly and repetitively complained that they only had one planet and the planet's weather should be called the climate, it was dirty, and the dirt was caused by fossil fuels. If you have read the previous sentence and if you have listened the 3-minute song above, it's equivalent to watching of the 24-hour-long program.

I have just saved your day. ;-)

Thursday, November 15, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

There are no hospitals for theories

Just offices and cemeteries

It's refreshing that I may sometimes fully agree with a text by Matt Strassler:

Why Theories Don’t Go Into Hospitals
BBC's Pallab Ghosh has quoted Christopher Parkes of LHCb who has said "Supersymmetry may not be dead but these latest results have certainly put it into hospital."

Even if one (or two) gets into a hospital, it doesn't mean he's not a supersymmetric hero (a superhero for short). A shoulder surgery isn't the end of the world.

But nothing like that is possible in science.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

ATLAS 1 lepton, 7 jets: a 4-sigma excess

Update: YK has pointed out (page 8: yess, passwords, I didn't have them, either) that the expectation was 6.5, not 4, so the confidence level is correspondingly weaker, about 3 sigma. Sorry.

Lots of new data were presented at the particle physics conference in Kyoto; lots of data (possibly much more important data) have been saved for the March 2013 Moriond conference, however.

Some papers by ATLAS and CMS continue to endorse the validity of the Standard Model at \(\sqrt{s}=8\TeV\). Even the branching ratios of the Higgs boson decay seem to return to their expected Standard Model intervals. In particular, ATLAS and CMS have published some studies with a similar outcome that used \(13/{\rm fb}\) and \(12.1/{\rm fb}\) of the 2012 data, respectively. The \(H\to\tau^+\tau^-\) decay seems to be compatible with the Standard Model now. CMS now sees a 4.5-sigma spin-0 scalar (not pseudoscalar) Higgs bump at \(126.2\GeV\) just in the ZZ channel. No new results on the diphoton channel. See Phil Gibbs on other Higgs news.

All this stuff is rather boring and we're used to it – it may be the not-so-new standard or it may be the silence before the thunderstorm. However, Matt Strassler has told us about the most interesting discrepancy unmasked in Japan.

Anthony Watts' television channel

Al Gore has a new TV competitor

Last year, Al Gore's Climate Parody Day spent millions of dollars and attracted a few thousand viewers in the whole world who watched the boring show for a few minutes in average.

Journey towards idiocracy may have begun 2,000 years ago

In the 2006 Idiocracy film (Wiki), an average soldier is hibernated and appears in the year 2505 AD to find out he is the brightest person in the world. So he is elected the U.S. president and tries to save the world that will have been plagued by centuries of deterioration and brainwashing.

The U.S. president in 2505 AD

Now, the geneticist Gerald Crabtree of Stanford has published two papers in Trends in Genetics:

Our fragile intellect. Part I
Our fragile intellect. Part II.
He argues that the decline isn't starting now; it began 2,000-6,000 years ago.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

BBC's 30 "experts" who decided in 2006 that balance on AGW wasn't needed

The British Broadcast Corporation is legally obliged to be impartial. However, at one point, the BBC Trust has boldly informed the public that after a seminar held on January 26th, 2006, the public news organization has decided that no balance was needed in climate reporting anymore and the organization would continue to spread the demagogy of the unhinged climate alarmists only.

The organization would insist that the decision was made by a few dozens of top invited scientific experts and it would use every trick to hide the identity of these "experts". Indeed, last Friday, a judge decided that the BBC wasn't obliged to reveal the identity of its "experts" so blogger Tony Newbery, the plaintiff, lost.

However, climate blogger Maurizio Morabito legally made the bizarre legal decision irrelevant. He found out a web copy of the list of participants on the Web.Archive.ORG internet archive time machine.

And it is a very powerful stuff. See comments at The Register (plus page 2).

Monday, November 12, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Superstringy compactifications compatible with the \(B\to\mu^+\mu^-\) decays seen by LHCb

Originally posted on November 12th, Gordon Kane's answers added in the comments on November 16th

By Gordon Kane, Distinguished University Professor of Physics, University of Michigan and a Lilienfeld Prize winner

Intro by LM: The HCP 2012 conference in Kyoto, Japan began today. Pallab Ghosh of BBC immediately told us that "SUSY has been certainly put in the hospital". This statement boils down to the recently exposed measurements at the LHCb detector of the rarest decay of the B-mesons so far (paper in PDF, public info), namely \(B_s^0\to\mu^+\mu^-\), whose observed branching ratio \(3.2^{+1.5}_{-1.2}\times 10^{-9}\) (about 99% certainty it is nonzero) agrees with the Standard Model's prediction of \((3.54\pm0.30)\times 10^{-9}\). See also a few days old LHCb paper on another decay and texts by Harry Cliff at the Science Museum Discovery blog, Michael Schmitt, Tommaso Dorigo, and Prof Matt Strassler on the muon decay. But what do actual supersymmetric stringy compactifications predict about this decay? Are they dead?
I want to thank Luboš Motl for his interest and for inviting me to summarize our rare decay predictions for the data that is appearing this week. Basically the prediction for supersymmetry based on compactified string/M theories is that any rare decay rate should equal the Standard Model one within an accuracy of a few per cent.

NASA, BAS agree that the Antarctic ice growth contradicts climate models

Peter F. sent me an interesting link commenting on the interpretations of the growth of the Antarctic ice:

Steady Antarctic ice growth 'limits confidence in climate predictions': Top NASA, Brit boffins probe baffling polar mystery (The Register)
Minutes later, Marc Morano exposed another article referring to some of the very same people that already solved the mystery:
Antarctic sea ice increase caused by winds (TG Daily)
The main person who was used as the source in both stories published on the very same day – the story saying that the "growth of ice is puzzling" and the story saying that "the growth of ice has been explaining" – is Paul Holland of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). You might think that this Gentleman must suffer from schizophrenia.

Saturday, November 10, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Obama and Earth-Moon L2 Lagrange point base

Some media including spread rumors about a possible imminent Branco Bamma's plan to announce a new space station.

Yellow is the Earth, blue is the Moon. And 1,2,3,4,5 are the Lx Lagrange points.

Instead of resembling the International Space Station that orbits the Earth just 400+ km above the surface (see current location to check whether you may see the dot above you), it would be placed in a more exotic place – the Earth-Moon L2 Lagrange point.

Fermi may be seeing a 6 GeV WIMP, too

According to the internal counter, this text is the 5,000th published blog entry on this blog.

At a Fermi Telescope Symposium, the Fermi Collaboration revealed its opinion about the celebrated Christoph Weniger's \(130\GeV\) line:

Search for gamma-ray spectral lines in the Milky Way diffuse with the Fermi Large Area Telescope (PDF by Andrea Albert)
As Jester mentions, the glass they offer is half-full or half-empty, according to your personal taste. There's some confessed excess near \(135\GeV\), which is their new central value of the energy after some adjustments, but they only admit a 2+ or 3+ sigma result, depending on whether they zoom near the Galactic center.

Moreover, they see "similar" excesses at other frequencies located in other portions of the sky and the would-be signal near \(135\GeV\) is less continuous than the dark matter interpretation would suggest.

But there's something else interesting in the data.