## Thursday, October 31, 2013 ... /////

### Stock markets and random walks

I was surprised how widespread the misunderstanding of Eugene Fama's observations about the economy was. Fama explained that the QE program is just about buying one type of bonds for others so its effect is similar to removing $100 bills from the circulation and replacing them with a 10 times greater number of$10 bills: the effect is pretty much non-existent.

Critics of these insights seem to be grouped into two not quite disjoint sets – those who believe that the Feds' permutation games are extremely helpful for reviving the economy and those who believe that those things are extremely dangerous. But despite the apparent differences in the sign, the misunderstanding by both groups has the same origin.

It's hard to summarize what the reason for their misunderstanding is. But I would say that they don't realize that bonds are a kind of "money", too; and they don't understand that the balance sheet isn't "wealth" or "equity" or "debt" because it's just some unphysical number that is immediately subtracted from itself, yielding zero for the quantities that actually matter. So it doesn't matter whether you increase your balance sheet. If you print $50 trillion and lock the bills in the basement, the effect on the economy is zero even though you may boast that someone (you) owes you$50 trillion.

### Fiat LUX

Guest blog by Dr Adam Falkowski, Orsay, France

A new episode of the dark matter detection saga was just broadcast live from Sanford Lab. LUX is a new direct detection experiment located in a South Dakota mine, not far from Mt Rushmore. Today they presented their results based on the first 3 months of data taking.

## Wednesday, October 30, 2013 ... /////

### Dark matter wars are over: LUX safely excludes all the hints

The dark matter wars are over.

Many TRF readers were watching the sequence of talks in Lead, South Dakota. A gold mine was rebuilt as a top laboratory, thanks to many folks including the philantropist Danny Sanford.

Today, we learned that LUX has instantly become the clear leader of the direct dark matter search experiments. I was immensely impressed by the methods, sensitivity, clever calibration, and so on. Some of the magic of this experiment is the accurate localization of the nuclear events inside the tank.

### Eugene Fama is right on QE

Eugene Fama of Chicago Booth School of Business is one of the three winners of the 2013 memorial Nobel prize in economics – and a rare winner of one of these softer prizes whom I consider extremely well-chosen (the efficient market hypothesis will be discussed later).

## Tuesday, October 29, 2013 ... /////

### Gravity (2013)

I finally went to see Gravity, the new blockbuster with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney (I won't use their codenames Ryan Stone and Matt Kowalski: isn't it a good idea to simply use real actors' names in the movies?).

It's a visually impressive movie that can and should make you cry, be terrified, as well as think about the empty space, the human courage, the orbits, the angular momentum, and the hard job of astronauts on spacecrafts that experience problems. (But it isn't such a bad job to be a Hollywood star in a movie where astronauts experience problems.) Buzz Aldrin has said that the movie should re-energize the people's interest in space research. The box office results are highly encouraging but I am still afraid that most people in 2013 are distinguishing Hollywood and Houston and they prefer the former.

### List of superpartners

Today could be a good time for many readers to remind themselves of the known elementary particles – and to try to understand which particles exist if supersymmetry is true and relevant even at LHC energies (or for the direct dark matter searches).

You must have seen this table. What we see around seems to be made out of atoms. They have electrons $e^-$ orbiting around nuclei and nuclei seem to be composed of protons $p$ and neutrons $n$. For over 40 years, we have known that protons and neutrons aren't elementary. Each of them is composed (mostly) of three quarks, $uud$ and $udd$ where $u,d$ stand for the up-quark and down-quark, respectively.

We also experience light and electromagnetic waves which may be shown to be composed of elementary quanta, the photons $\gamma$. For quite some time, people could have thought that everything was made out of $e^-,u,d,\gamma$. Well, once the quarks were known, physics has had learned about other particles as well, but there exists an alternative history in which this subtlety didn't arise. ;-)

## Monday, October 28, 2013 ... /////

### Czechoslovakia: 95th anniversary

We've had another beautiful, summer-like day today.

It was the Czech national holiday, an anniversary of the 1918 birth of Czechoslovakia. Slovakia isn't celebrating – I respect that but frankly speaking, I do think that it's a sign of their partial national immaturity.

Prof Tomáš Garrigue [American wife's surname] Masaryk returned from the exile where he convinced Woodrow Wilson and other leaders of the Western powers to agree that the dissolution of the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy was inevitable and the creation of a new state of the Czechoslovak nation would make Central Europe more stable. As the ultimate authority, he's been the president-founder of the "First Republic" through the late 1930s. Other key founders of Czechoslovakia were Edvard Beneš who would become the second president (one who had to see the devouring of his democracy by Hitler and then Stalin/communism) and the Slovak diplomat/politician/pilot/astronomer/meteorologist Milan Rastislav Štefánik. None of these leaders of the resistance movement were fanatics or angry radicals we know from other nations; up to some moment, they favored some autonomy within Austria-Hungary, in fact. There were many important politicians who worked "internally" (Karel Kramář, Alois Rašín, and others).

Masaryk would still ride horses when he was 84. Troubles began to pile up soon after his death.

Similar TRF articles: 2007, 2008, others.

### Raju, Papadodimas isolate the reasons why there aren't firewalls

Wonderful new papers refine the black hole complementarity and show that the black hole interior operators are included in the CFT and other descriptions of the bulk while locality holds more exactly than previously thought (by most experts)

Kyriakos Papadodimas and Suvrat Raju, two careful and bright researchers with a refined Harvard pedigree, wrote their first paper about the black hole information puzzle in November 2012.

Yesterday, they released two new papers that make the incorporation of the infalling observer's observations into a description of quantum gravity – especially the AdS/CFT correspondence – clearer than ever before. But before I will discuss their new insights, let me look at a fresh hype by Clara Moskowitz in Scientific American,

which seems extremely unfortunate to me. My memory isn't too bad but I really don't remember the last article in Scientific American about theoretical physics, climatology, or sociology of science that didn't look painful to me.

## Sunday, October 27, 2013 ... /////

### Masterminds of spying against Merkel have to be brought to justice

In the previous texts about the global spying by the NSA, I was sort of neutral but times are changing.

Spiegel and Bild claim to have the testimony of an anonymous NSA official who claims that Angela Merkel's phone was not only eavesdropped between 2002 and 2013 but in 2010, Barack Obama explicitly requested the continuation of the program because "he didn't believe her". The U.S. embassy in Berlin – a building near the Brandenburger Gate – was used to collect the information.

## Saturday, October 26, 2013 ... /////

### Unreadable rich men's parties impress in Czech elections

The Parliamentary elections in Czechia ended 2 hours 50 minutes ago and what we see now are already the more-or-less final results because 94% of the election districts have been counted. The remaining ones are largely random, slightly leaning towards the larger cities (in average, larger districts take a longer time to be counted) where the leftists might be slightly weaker, so an improvement of the results will occur but it will be very slight.

Three hours after the voting ended, 97% of districts have been counted and the lawmaker counts changed to 51, 47, 35, 25, 15, 13, 14 relatively to the screenshot above.

The chart above (via iDNES.cz) shows that the leftists' result was much poorer i.e. less frustrating than expected. Social democrats won with 21-% (51/200 deputies) and commies have 15+ percent (37/200 deputies).

There won't be any "really right-wing" lawmakers in the Parliament. The center-right parties – Klaus-founded ODS, TOP 09, and the Christian democratic KDU–ČSL (decreasingly right-wing parties) – have 7.5%, 11+%, and 7-% (16, 24, 14 deputies – 54 in total, slightly more than the social democrats by themselves).

## Thursday, October 24, 2013 ... /////

### Pan-STARRS1 survey: dark energy up to $w=-1.19$, 2-sigma deviation

Cosmological constant as an explanation of the accelerated expansion under attack

Scientific American chose a dramatic title for a 1-week old astro-ph preprint that the astro/physics blogosphere missed:

Leading Dark Energy Theory Incompatible with New Measurement (SciAm)

Cosmological Constraints from Measurements of Type Ia Supernovae discovered during the first 1.5 years of the Pan-STARRS1 Survey (astro-ph arXiv)
A "medium deep survey" looked at 146 Type Ia supernovae, found a small deviation, and allowed the experimental cosmologists to claim that Einstein's cosmological constant no longer plays the role of dark energy well.

Well, I find this claim exaggerated and/or premature.

### UN's new 26 science advisers are not representative of science

Six days ago, the UN boss Ban Ki-moon announced 26 members of a Scientific Advisory Board for the U.N. that will be hosted by UNESCO:

UN Secretary-General’s Scientific Advisory Board to strengthen connection between science and policy
I learned about this news story because Fabiola Gianotti, the former spokeswoman for the ATLAS collaboration at CERN (who led the discovery of the Higgs boson), is one of the 26 folks who were appointed – one of the 3-4 "real top scientists" in the board.

Otherwise I must say that the selection underscores the world organization's political and ideological distortion of the scientific process. You would expect that if scientists are advising the world organization, they should be representative of the scientific community, kind of.

However, you don't need to look too carefully if you want to see how the members of the board were actually being identified.

## Tuesday, October 22, 2013 ... /////

### Is space and time emergent? ER-EPR correspondence adds a voice

After a cold September and early October, an Indian summer finally arrived to Central Europe. Well, it's only called "Indian summer" in Northern America. In Europe, we have a different meteorological phenomenon, the grandma summer (at least in Czech we call it this way – because the floating spider webs resemble grandmas' grey hair) ;-), and it's disputable whether the grandma summer and the Indian summer may be viewed as equivalents. Europe and Northern America are allowed to differ in other respects than just the human history and politics.

Such a nice weather keeps one offline. But another reason was a repulsion from an overwhelming avalanche of anti-quantum zealots who filled my very own blog. Everyone who knows me can confirm that I am holier than Jesus Christ, trying to self-sacrifice as much as I can, hurt no one, and so on. But I returned back to my senses an hour ago. This is my blog, in fact, my parttime job of a sort, so I am responsible for the management and maintenance here. A comment thread with 180+ comments from which those who should learn something don't learn anything at all is just too huge a waste of time (and space).

Related and hopefully free of misinteractions: Andreas Karch (a TRF guest blogger, among more important things) just released a nice text about the black hole interior for the APS. I endorse the content and it's similar e.g. to this text of mine.
James Gallagher was placed on the blacklist because he's been such a pain in the neck (we have also heard that John Bell was a greater mind and made greater contributions than John von Neumann – holy cow, how insane someone has to be to believe a similar thing) and I will do the same thing with analogous lunatics much more quickly than I was doing it before because being repelled from one's own blog isn't how things should work. The ban(s) may be temporary but this feeling of being overwhelmed with the repetitive nonsense is something I am likely to remember at least for a week.

## Saturday, October 19, 2013 ... /////

### 2013 TV135: 1 in 14,000 impact in 2032

NASA's Near Earth Object Program finally has another candidate rock whose Torino scale is positive, even though it's just 1 so far.

Its name is 2013 TV135. It's been observed for 9 days or so. During the recent hours, the probability of collision on August 26th, 2032 – Witten's 81st birthday (he wishes I would never have used his name in this sentence, but I've already heard this comment from him on 9/11/2001 right after my PhD defense) – has grown from 1 in 48,000 to 1 in 14,000.

### Van Kampen, a pro-QM warrior: 1921-2013

Nicolaas 'Nico' Godfried van Kampen, a Dutch physicist and an uncle of Gerard 't Hooft, died in Nieuwegein two weeks ago, on Sunday, October 6th.

He was born in Leiden in 1921 and studied there under Kramers (yes, this Hendrik Anthony one who worked with Bohr on the interactions of electromagnetic waves with matter). He figured out how to deal with singularities in quantum scattering problems; Kramers would say that this insight was important in the development of renormalization.

Later, he would move to Utrecht (for the whole career) and do research on statistical physics in general and stochastic processes in particular. For example, the book you see (and you may buy) on the left side has collected 10 thousand citations. Wow.

## Friday, October 18, 2013 ... /////

### Shut up and calculate, especially if you're a lousy thinker

...and if you can't calculate, please leave hard science...

I was led to see a preprint by a Spanish anti-quantum zealot on steroids called Pablo Echenique-Robba called

Shut up and let me think. Or why you should work on the foundations of quantum mechanics as much as you please (August 2013)
which is nothing else than an inconsistent, dishonest, and demagogic assault against quantum physics and everything fundamental we know about it, and against many pillars of the scientific method. This Spanish rant has elevated my adrenaline level substantially but even now, once the level has returned close to the long-term average, I am still amazed how it's possible for the arXiv to allow such rants with zero scientific content to be posted in the quant-ph sub-archive. The endorsement system is clearly not working too well.

## Thursday, October 17, 2013 ... /////

### HadCRUT4: Decembers cooling by 9 °C per century

All data refer to the Northern Hemisphere

A blog named Sunshine Hours calculated some slopes in a simple case of linear regression: the warming or cooling trends in the last $7\times 12=84$ months (since September 2006) restricted to each of the 12 months in a year according to HadCRUT4, the latest version of the British leading weather-station-based global temperature dataset:

See the New Climate Model blog for related earlier calculations.

The results look sort of shocking.

### The arXiv, Aaronson adopt Mathjax

ArXiv authors expected to use dollar signs in abstracts

This blog, the world's most important personal physics blog, celebrated its 9th birthday last week. Because it has always been focusing on mathematically heavy topics, there has always been the question whether the dominant expert method to type mathematical formalism – $\rm \TeX$ and/or $\rm\LaTeX$ – should be implemented.

For long years, there would be many solutions but all of them had some serious bugs that made me sure rather quickly that I wouldn't get used to them. Or you, the readers, wouldn't get used to them.

Techexplorer required the readers to install a plugin, something that a sensible blogger simply shouldn't expect from most readers. LaTeXMathML.js produced a rather ugly outcome; it wasn't using fonts that look fine at any resolution; and there were probably problems with background colors. CodeCogs had also trouble with the background color and high-resolution outcomes. And I wasn't satisfied with Mimetex and its variations, either. There were probably a few other attempts I forgot.

Things changed in Summer 2011, more than two years ago.

## Wednesday, October 16, 2013 ... /////

### LUX dark matter event: October 30th

The broadcast starts at 4 pm Prague Winter Time. More info about the event. TRF doesn't say whether I endorse Mt Rushmore in SD; see Penn and Teller to restore some balance. ;-)

The paper (you can only read it if you're a LUX member) probably says "strong nothing", I've heard.

Originally posted on October 16th
The dark matter particle may become visible to us in 14 days; or even darker

One of the potentially coming discoveries in particle physics is – no, it's not the discovery what happens when you hit the debt ceiling, it is – the discovery of the dark matter particle.

Update (October 24th): One week from now, we will know what LUX is going to tell us. What's your guess? Answer in this poll:

 What will LUX announce on October 30th? No dark matter signal in their dataApparent confirmation of a sub-10-GeV particleApparent particle much heavier than 10 GeVSomething else: explain pollcode.com free polls

Approximate results after 250 votes or so: 59% nothing, 27% light new particle, 8% heavy new particle, 7% something else. The majority was right.
A war has been taking place between (and within) direct dark matter search experiments. Some teams claim that they have already glimpsed the evidence for a dark matter particle that would be surprisingly light – beneath $10\GeV$ (I like to quote the figure from CDMS II-silicon, $8.6\GeV$). Others, most notably XENON100, keep on imposing upper limits on the cross sections and shout that everyone who has claimed a discovery must be wrong.

LUX in South Dakota is a new player in the war that's been collecting the data for a couple of months. We were promised the first results before the end of 2013.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the moment is coming; it's exactly two weeks away.

## Tuesday, October 15, 2013 ... /////

### Alexander Unzicker: The Higgs Fake

While browsing random websites, I was offered an ad promoting a new book by an author we already know well. It's no one else than Germany's answer to Peter Woit and Lee Smolin, Herr Alexander Unzicker.

He released a new minibook (160 pages, available both in Kindle edition and in paperback) on October 6th,

The Higgs Fake: How Particle Physicists Fooled the Nobel Committee
Cool. I must praise him for being able to predict that the Nobel prize would be awarded for the Higgs boson in 2013.

Unzicker has created a special website of the book and if you click at the amazon.com link on the left side, you may be the first person in the world who buys the book.

### Insolent Czechia plans to double reliance on coal

For Czech readers only: My article about the IPCC report in the October 2013 Václav Klaus Institute Newsletter is now out: PDF

The second edition of The Elegant Universe (in my translation) will be out in 2-3 weeks. More info about the book.
(Yes, I wrote Czechia: I've been using the word at least for 9 years, since the beginning of this blog. Last week, President Zeman visited Israel and praised Shimon Peres for his usage of the word Czechia - which isn't hard for Peres because the common Hebrew word for Czechia sounds exactly the same. I don't expect that foreigners will actually start to use the short apolitical name but Zeman and your humble correspondent did their best.)

In July 2013, the Czech government finally approved the complete end for subsidies for all "renewable energy" projects after the end of 2013. We've been obedient toadies for quite some time. Despite our being a medium-size EU country, we have become the #3 photovoltaic EU power in absolute numbers at some point. The price was substantial and everyone could realize that we simply didn't want increasing energy prices, arguments who pays for all of that, and so on. So the plan to avoid all similar "renewable" hysterias in the future seems to be a completely general consensus of all the political parties, including those that otherwise suck and that will win the snap elections in less than 2 weeks.

## Monday, October 14, 2013 ... /////

### Debt ceiling collision risk is being underestimated

Two weeks ago, I discussed the partial government shutdown that was coming and it indeed came and turned out to be the non-event I expected.

## Thursday, October 03, 2013 ... /////

### String-string duality: irrational exuberance of sophistication

As is well-known, any consistent quantum description of forces including gravity has to be based on one of the equivalence approaches to string/M-theory. It is the supersymmetric vacua of string/M-theory (where SUSY is at most spontaneously broken) that are relevant for any stable world with fermions and without tachyons.

From K3, the simplest one after the torus.

Five 9+1-dimensional "string theories" in the old jargon – maximally decompactified vacua of string/M-theory in the new jargon – and one 10+1-dimensional theory (M-theory) are known. They are all connected to one network thanks to dualities, i.e. highly non-trivial equivalences that look impossible to a beginner and that a beginner wouldn't guess immediately but once he guesses them, they may be verified to hold absolutely exactly.

## Wednesday, October 02, 2013 ... /////

### Android tablet: first experience

For 11 hours or so, mostly nighttime, I had a new Android tablet.

After having looked at several candidates and reviews describing them, I decided this 10-inch tablet (Asus MeMO Pad ME301T) looked OK. Well, Nexus 7 (7 stands for 7 inches) was a frontrunner but at the end, I concluded that those 7 inches just looked too small to me and I wanted something larger. Female readers will surely forgive me but there's some sense in which even 10 inches is too little.

Naively, the 1280 x 800 resolution (the Pythagorean hypotenuse is 1509 pixels) seems like a lot for a 10.1-inch screen (it's 149 pixels per inch or 5.88 pixels per millimeter). How could I see finer patterns? But it turns out that you can see it. If you want real quality, I am telling you that those 2560 x 1600 pixels of e.g. Google Nexus 10 (its 2nd, Axus-not-Samsung, edition will be out in two weeks) are surely improving things visibly. That's an important lesson for those who don't care whether or not the price of their new device doubles.

## Tuesday, October 01, 2013 ... /////

### APS prizes: Zajc; Moore; Kosower, Dixon, Bern; Volovik, Mineev

Due to its unprofessional activities in the climate debate, I am not exactly a fan of the American Physical Society. But let me mention the new winners of some of its prizes that were announced today.

Most importantly for the TRF community, and this sentence was added one day after the blog post was originally written, the 2014 Tom W. Bonner Prize in Nuclear Physics was awarded to experimental physicist and TRF reader and commenter William A. Zajc, the chairman of Columbia University's physics department "[f]or his contributions to Relativistic Heavy-Ion Physics, in particular for his leading role in the PHENIX experiment, as well as for his seminal work on identical two-particle density interferometry as an experimental tool.". Congratulations, Bill!