Wednesday, April 26, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Google Translate made a stunning AI quantum leap

Translators will have nothing to eat. Soon.

As I learned from, Google Translate was switched to a revolutionary new version of itself on the night between April 18th and April 19th. It's rather likely that you may already see the improvements now. The new software should result from the September 2016 scholarly work submitted to

Up to that moment, Google Translate was exploiting more or less old-fashioned computer algorithms. However, it uses deep neural networks now. Google had to create its own processing units, the TPUs. Those "tensor processing units" are counterparts of GPUs, "graphics processing units", and they are capable of performing the tasks effectively. These TPUs have trained themselves by looking at millions of texts, including the corpus available through Google Books. They can "automatically", in an emulation of the human brain, learn some patterns and rules how to work not only with individual words and groups of words but even very complex sentences.

Marine Le Pen's victory is unlikely but not very unlikely

Many of us were carefully following the first round of the 2017 French presidential elections.

Dark blue Le Pen won much of the East or Northeast, yellow Macron won much of the West or Southwest, red Mélenchon was #1 on some islands and two spots near Spain, and light blue Fillon scored a victory in a spot West from Paris and in the French "Middle East" – although he was predicted to take Paris.

At the end, the results almost exactly agreed with the predictions – which has been unusual in recent times. Centrist Macron (24%) and patriot Le Pen (21.30%) made it to the second round while mainstream post-Sarkozy Republican Fillon (20%) and the holographic green Bolshevik Mélenchon (19.5%) had comparably good results. Socialist Hamon (6%) was the winner among the losers.

Because of the lack of surprises, the euro jumped by 2% relatively to the dollar and the European markets added some 3% on top of that on Monday. It's generally believed that Macron will beat Le Pen roughly by 60-to-40 percent in the second round on May 8th.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Berkeley pop scientist denies the orbital cause of ice ages

Thankfully, the March For Science was a dud. A couple of extremists showed their childish banners such as this one by computer scientist Scott Aaronson. Indeed, the two claims on the banner are as unrelated as two sentences in a typical leftist demagogic rant. Moreover, I think it is strategically misguided for a Jewish scholar to claim that a non-Jewish man "stinks", or vice versa. It can backfire easily because the numbers aren't on your side, Mr Aaronson.

On the same day, "the Earth Day", someone attempted to assassinate climate skeptic John Christy in his office (Roy, WUWT). Seven shots were fired on Lenin's birthday against a climate skeptic who recently testified in the U.S. Congress and who issued an inconvenient press release just days before the shots. While it's rather self-evident that a foe of the "deniers" wanted to turn The Earth Day to a Night of Broken Glass, the local police investigation decided that these seven shots in the same window of the skeptic were just "random shooting, nothing to see here". A gun randomly quantum tunneled, jumped in front of the climate scientists' office, and then the trigger quantum tunneled and shot at the same window of Christy seven times. That's the most likely explanation that the cops were capable of producing.

For years, I have stressed that the climate alarmist groups were dangerous terrorist organizations but I am afraid that lots of people will have to die before the society will realize this obvious point, outlaw them, execute their leaders, and treat them on par with the likes of Al Qaeda.

Monday, April 24, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

How and why strings generalize geometry

Erwin reminded us how excited he was by the fact that string theory provides us with a quantum generalization of the rules of geometry. What does it mean and how does it work?

Well, all previous theories in physics have used the classical manifold geometry (whose definition will be sketched momentarily) as one of the basic prerequisites that the theories had to accept and elaborate upon. This made the classical manifold geometry and its calculations directly relevant for all these theories and the rules of the geometry were therefore rigid dogmas.

In other words, the theories followed the template:

Dear theory, listen, here you have a classical manifold with some shape.

What can you achieve with this pre-existing shape?
And the theories just couldn't do anything else. They were dependent on the geometry of a classical manifold. If there were no manifold, there was no physical theory. And if two manifolds were geometrically different, the physical theories on them had to be distinguishable, too.

Before the discovery of special relativity, physics was also dividing spacetime to the absolute time and the space that exists with it. That meant that the "spacetime" as we understood it today had to be basically factorized to \(\RR \times M^3\) where \(\RR\) was the real axis representing time and \(M^3\) was a purely spatial manifold (OK, some time-dependent fibration with a different \(M^3(t)\) at each moment time was sometimes allowed, too). At most, you could have picked time-dependent coordinates on that \(M^3\) in order to celebrate the Galilean relativity.

Saturday, April 22, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Einstein's job in 1911: he liked the city of Prague, not so much the people of Prague

The new series about Einstein will start to be aired (in CZ) tomorrow

Two years ago when I switched my Internet provider and cable TV to UPC, the European (much more beloved) counterpart of Comcast, I could pick a bunch of bonus channels for free. Most people pick the sports channels, unless the fans of the erotica channels obfuscate what they have chosen ;-), and you could predict that I chose the science documentary channels which include National Geographic, among many others.

Well, I must admit that I have spent virtually 0 minutes in these two years by watching them – and I would have watched the sports channel much more than that (even though I am in no way a sports junkie). But things could change tomorrow. At 9 pm, the "Genius" TV series about Einstein starts at my National Geographic #89 channel. I hope that I won't forget to watch it because I am sort of looking forward to it. The serial was filmed almost entirely in Czechia, including my hometown of Pilsen (mostly in Prague – several schools, two ministries, galleries etc. but also: the Elbow/Loket castle area, campuses in Pilsen and Brno, the town of hops Saaz/Žatec, Northern Bohemia Reichenberg/Liberec and the Warm/Teplá Monastery). Meeting Einstein in Pilsen is an offer I can't refuse – much like meeting Richard Lindzen (and his wife) in Pilsen in early May 2017., a daily sold in the Prague subway, just published a fun interview of journalist Pavel Urban with one of my undergraduate instructors of general relativity, Dr Jiří Podolský:

Einstein liked Prague
Even though I have previously written about Einstein in Prague, let me translate it because it's pretty insightful.

March For Science is deeply misguided, unethical

Comrade Vladimir Lenin celebrates his birthday in his mausoleum today (I have been there) – congratulations to all left-wing readers. Some activists have chosen this date associated with a man who believed he had a "scientific thinking" (although he believed that each electron is an inexhaustible galaxy with small electrons inside, and then smaller ones inside, like in a Matryoshka) but made a huge impact on the world of politics as the date for the "March For Science".

The rally in D.C. should be decent; the accompanying 500 rallies across the world are pretty much guaranteed to be tiny. See a live report from Asia. For example, the picture above is the full group photo of the participants in Tokyo: it includes 50-60 people depending on how many babies in the carriage you count.

The march in Busan, the second largest city of South Korea, is similar: this is the picture of participants 20 minutes before the march began. ;-) Despite their diversity, none of the four cute scientists looks Korean to me, by the way.

Friday, April 21, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Physicists, smart folks use same symbols for Lie groups, algebras for good reasons

I have always been amazed by the sheer stupidity and tastelessness of the people who aren't ashamed of the likes of Peter Woit. He is obviously a mediocre man with no talents, no achievements, no ethics, and no charisma but because of the existence of many people who have no taste and who want to have a leader in their jihad against modern physics, he was allowed to talk about physics as if his opinions mattered.

Woit is a typical failing-grade student who simply isn't and has never been the right material for college. His inability to learn string theory is a well-known aspect of this fact. But most people in the world – and maybe even most of the physics students – misunderstand string theory. But his low math-related intelligence is often manifested in things that are comprehensible to all average or better students of physics.

Two years ago, Woit argued that

the West Coast metric is the wrong one.
Now, unless you are a complete idiot, you must understand that the choice of the metric tensor – either \(({+}{-}{-}{-})\) or \(({-}{+}{+}{+})\) – is a pure convention. The metric tensor \(g^E_{\mu\nu}\) of the first culture is simply equal to minus the metric tensor of the second culture \(g^W_{\mu\nu}\), i.e. \(g^E_{\mu\nu} = - g^W_{\mu\nu}\), and every statement or formula written with one set of conventions may obviously be translated to a statement written in the other, and vice versa. The equations or statements basically differ just by some signs. The translation from one convention to another is always possible and is no more mysterious than the translation from British to U.S. English or vice versa.

How stupid do you have to be to misunderstand this point, that there can't be any "wrong" convention for the sign? And how many people are willing to believe that someone's inability to get this simple point is compatible with the credibility of his comments about string theory?

Thursday, April 20, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

The O'Reilly Factor was the #1 news program in history

Fox News has fired the veteran journalist Bill O'Reilly. He was supposed to return from vacations in Italy on April 24th but "according to an agreement" of both sides, he won't. The agreement clearly wasn't as symmetric as the Fox News P.R. demagogues paint it because O'Reilly said he was "disheartened" by the decision.

The O'Reilly Factor was renamed to The Factor and Tucker Carlson will be taking the slot, anyway. This is weird because just weeks ago, Tucker Carlson was announced to take the slot from Megyn Kelly. Megyn Kelly could have worsened the situation of Bill O'Reilly. Nevertheless, Fox will have neither O'Reilly nor Kelly and this may be a detectable loss, indeed. However, if you want me to predict whether these changes will lead to the bankruptcy of Fox News, I don't think so. But you know, Carlson is a good journalist and I praised him in several recent blog posts. But the experience of watching him isn't in the O'Reilly category.

O'Reilly's program – called The Report in the first two years – began in 1996 when Fox News was a relatively newborn TV channel itself which focused on some of the widely discussed topics of the (first and only) Clinton presidency. I believe that he has contributed to the growth of Fox News. You shouldn't imagine that I am a regular viewer of The O'Reilly Factor – it's hard and far, especially from Central Europe. But there was a period of my life, in the first half of 2000, when I actually was a regular viewer of O'Reilly's show at least for several months.

I was in Santa Cruz, California, and the channel with the O'Reilly show was just conveniently located on a TV I found in my room, and I loved it, despite the fact that – with hindsight – I must say that I always disagreed on some issues with him. In my eyes, O'Reilly is at most a global warming lukewarmer. And I also count him as one of the knee-jerk Russophobes.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

All of string theory's power, beauty depends on quantum mechanics

Wednesday papers: Arkani-Hamed et al. show that the amplituhedron is all about sign flips. Maldacena et al. study the double-trace deformations that make a wormhole traversable. Among other things, they argue that the cloning is avoided because the extraction (by "Bob") eliminates the interior copy of the quantum information.
String/M-theory is the most beautiful, powerful, and predictive theory we know – and, most likely, the #1 with these adjectives among those that are mathematically possible – but the degree of one's appreciation for its exceptional credentials depends on one's general knowledge of physics, especially quantum mechanics.

Click to see an animation (info).

Quantum mechanics was basically discovered at one point in the mid 1920s and forced physics to make a one-time quantum jump. On the other hand, it also defines a trend because the novelties of quantum mechanics may be taken more or less seriously, exploited more or less cleverly and completely, and as physics was evolving towards more advanced, stringy theories and explanations of things, the role of the quantum mechanical thinking was undoubtedly increasing.

When we say "classical string theory", it is a slightly ambiguous term. We can take various classical limits of various theories that emerge from string theory, e.g. the classical field theory limit of some effective field theories in the spacetime. But the most typical representation of "classical string theory" is given by the dull yellow animation above. A classical string is literally a curve in a pre-existing spacetime that oscillates according to a wave equation of a sort.

LHCb insists on tension with lepton universality in \(1\)-\(6\GeV^2\)

The number of references to B-mesons on this blog significantly exceeds my degree of excitement about these bound states of quarks and antiquarks but what can I do? They are among the leaders of the revolt against the Standard Model.

Various physicists have mentioned a new announcement by the LHCb collaboration which is smaller than ATLAS and CMS but at least equally assertive.

Another physicist has embedded the key graph where you should notice that the black crosses sit well below the dotted line where they're predicted to sit

and we were told about the LHCb PowerPoint presentation where this graph was taken from.

Monday, April 17, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Climate whackos abandon NYT because it hired a skeptic

The Gray Lady is a left-leaning daily which is immensely unpopular with many of you and with a big part of the Republican base.

But I must admit that I have always considered The New York Times a mostly credible, conventional daily which has sometimes joined the left-wing witch hunts but which always kept more decency than most of the truly ideological counterparts. Maybe their article about me in 2001 has contributed to this relative respect of me, maybe Dennis Overbye's articles about physics did so many times afterwards, who knows. But I am convinced that even their pieces about politics are more tolerable in average – although I have seen a lot of the very bad ones, too.

But despite the superficial similarity, I have grown a significantly different attitude to The New York Times and The Washington Post, to pick the most obvious benchmark for a comparison.

Well, there's another reason not to abandon The New York Times now. It has hired a new op-ed writer, Bret Stephens, who is still in the Wall Street Journal now but will join The New York Times since the early May. Stephens is a Pulitzer prize winner (for commentary in 2013), he is a conservative opponent of Donald Trump. But what is more important now is that he is a climate change skeptic. And that makes quite some difference.

Sunday, April 16, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Czechia absorbed 12 out of 1600 proposed refugees, that's it

The Czech politicians would prefer to pay fines

Czech minister of interior Mr Milan Chovanec (formerly a vegetable clerk, local politician here in Pilsen, and a fast alumnus of the notorious local law school here) gave an interview to a leading news server (and the associated printed daily Právo):

Chovanec: Out of the quota for 1,591 (which arose after the first agreed upon quota for 1,100 was raised once), we took 12 refugees, we won't increase that number anymore
He talks about terrorism, the results of the quota program, and the Czech plans to deal with it in the future.

What I find remarkable is that the only reports about this development in the English language seem to be written in the Russian sources: RT, Sputnik, and TASS. It really looks like the Anglo-Saxon and Western European media are playing a dirty propaganda game of hiding all facts that are inconvenient for the grand plan to Islamize Europe. They just don't want to show calm, rational nations that nevertheless think it's common sense to fight against mass migration.

So much for the claims that the press freedom in Russia is worse than in the traditional Western countries.

Saturday, April 15, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

My Windows Creators Update froze at 82%

Every year, Microsoft is upgrading its "last" operating system for PC, Windows 10. Sometimes there are two medium-size upgrades a year. The first upgrade was the Anniversary Update and the coming one is the Creators Update.

They are gradually offering the update via Windows Update to selected subgroups of users across the world – to be sure that the Microsoft servers aren't overloaded and to hire the first users of the new update as guinea pigs. I was moderately looking forward to have the update – with things like the 3D paint and other things for creators and gamers. My upgrades from Windows 7 to Windows 10 as well as the upgrade to Windows 10 Anniversary Edition were straightforward and free of visible problems – but still very time-consuming, eating some two hours per update "away from the desktop screen".

Unfortunately, I was among the selected ones who were offered the Creators Update this week. First of all, the download ended up with errors on two previous days. I haven't gotten Windows Update errors for a long time – maybe never with Windows 10 – but the Creators Update download and preparation ended up with an error 5 times – with at least 3 different error codes.

Friday, April 14, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

John Preskill's strange anti-quantum zeal

On his blog, I've had some exchanges with John Preskill concerned with the black hole information puzzle. He knows a lot about these matters and he has done some nontrivial research as well so much of the time, you're inclined to think that he agrees with the general rules of the game – the postulates of quantum mechanics and things like that.

But at some places, you get some suggestive evidence that it isn't the case. The first time I noticed some anti-quantum zeal inside John Preskill was in late 2014 when he hysterically celebrated John Bell. As far as I can say, John Bell hasn't done any important thing in the foundations of quantum mechanics in his life. He has just proposed another experimental setup in which classical physics and quantum mechanics gave different predictions. Well, classical and quantum physics give differing predictions at almost all times. The difference between classical and quantum physics is absolutely obvious and has been absolutely realized by everybody since the first moment when quantum mechanics was formulated. You don't need – or you shouldn't need – another example of that phenomenon every day to appreciate the difference.

His theorem was an inequality that only worked with the classical side of this comparison. So John Bell has never really applied the laws of quantum mechanics to calculate or explain anything. And if you look carefully, you will easily convince yourself that John Bell didn't believe quantum mechanics; and he didn't understand quantum mechanics. So while his theorem about the local classical theories was correct, he had no understanding of the laws of Nature beyond classical physics. He always assumed the world to be classical which is why he – absolutely incorrectly – interpreted his theorem as evidence of nonlocality in Nature.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

When black hole remnant nonsense is sold as science

One of the things I simply couldn't stand – and still cannot stand – about the university environment was its complete inability to do something about 100% self-evident fraudsters that live as parasites on the system. Competent people want to be "nice" which means that much of the environment is controlled by filth like Lee Smolin that has nothing whatever to do with the professional science.

Genius: Off-topic, there is a new cool 2-minute excerpt from Genius showing how Einstein met Mileva Marić, his first wife, after she trumped him in a physics exam and some ancient Greek physical philosophy. ;-)
In early 2009, Smolin and another crackpot often mentioned on this blog wrote a paper promoting hippie non-solutions to the black hole information paradox which they laughably called "conservative solutions". More or less every aspect of that paper was completely wrong and ludicrously wrong – Smolin's co-author recently admitted (bragged, I would say) that she realizes that every paper she has ever written on quantum gravity has been worthless garbage but she wrote them, anyway, because she was able to actually get money for this garbage.

I think that fraudulent scumbags like that should be spending years in prison or minutes on a rope. The reality is different: actual physicists can't even shout at this scum. In fact, they are even afraid of publishing their name while overly politely criticizing them, as we will see momentarily.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Nature Magazine applauds Hitler's occupation of a part of Czechoslovakia

Willie Soon sent me the PDF file with the original layout of a Nature Magazine article applauding the Munich Treaty, the September 30th 1938 agreement between the four main powers of Europe. Here you have a HTML version of the one-page text:

The Promotion of Peace (Editorial, Nature, vol. 142, No. 3597, October 8, 1938)
I didn't know about that text. It is a great example showing how bad idea it may be for magazines such as Nature to write about things they don't really understand – especially politics. Willie also sent me three articles published in Nature between 1939 and 1940 – those were significantly more pro-Czech and anti-Nazi. But let me discuss The Promotion of Peace.
The agreement arrived at by the four-power conference, which met at Munich on September 30 to find a peaceful solution of the conflicting rights of Czechs and Germans to territory assigned to Czechoslovakia by peace treaties which followed the Great War, ...
This half-sentence tries to sound as a neutral, matter-of-fact historical proposition but it's very far from it. Since 1918, both Czechs and Germans who lived in the Sudetenland were citizens of Czechoslovakia and they only had "rights to territory" that are expected for individual citizens. And the laws of Czechoslovakia guaranteed that these rights simply couldn't be conflicting.

Collectively, only Czechoslovakia as a whole had a right to the territory. Czechs and Slovaks were a majority in Czechoslovakia which meant that they had the upper hand – but this asymmetry was nothing else than the mirror image of the role of German-speaking folks and others within Austria-Hungary up to 1918.

The sentence above is also highly misleading because it indicates that the Prague control over the Sudetenland was invented after the First World War. While the loss of Germany and Austria in the Great War implied their reduced political power after 1918, it is simply not true that the Sudetenland belonged under Prague because of peace conferences after the First World War. The Sudetenland had had a local capital in Prague for the previous 900 years or so. Bohemia was never split into pieces in that period.

Sometimes, Prague was just an autonomous local capital while the main capital was the imperial one in Vienna. Sometimes, Czechia was independent. Twice, Prague was the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. And the Bohemian Kingdom sometimes lived in the personal union with the Poles or the Hungarians and it sometimes controlled territories up to the Baltic or Adriatic Sea. During the late 19th century, Austria-Hungary respected many autonomous rights of the nation states within the empire so many bureaus were located and many decisions affecting the Czech lands were made in Prague, anyway.

Marshall plan for North Korea

Russia and Iran have issued a joint statement that they will attack the United States if the superpower repeats something like the – ineffective – raid against the Syrian government airbase. Under some circumstances, the Third World War may really be just a tweet away.

I want to believe that the U.S. won't do it. In fact, I want to believe that Trump has made the exercise – which has alienated his numerous supporters – in order to get rid of the criticisms that he is a puppet of Putin's if not Assad's. While many of us are disappointed by what Trump has done, most of the people who have said that Trump was a Russian agent look like idiots now. Well, they have always looked like idiots (because they really are idiots, after all) but a much larger number of people may see this trivial point now.

North Korea may ultimately be more dangerous and the tensions have risen, too. The official TV of the crazy country has threatened a nuclear attack once again. If the U.S. warships don't behave, the North Korean nukes can show their muscles.

I would find the occupation and normalization of North Korea very intriguing. South Korea doesn't seem to be too enthusiastic about doing anything about their Northern brothers. It could be up to others. Well, North Korea might be an example in which I would recommend the politics of carrot to be tried first. Has it been tried at all?

Monday, April 10, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Bill Nye not wanted at "March For Science": a wrong race, sex

Extremist lunatics behind the farce want to outlaw white males

On April 22nd i.e. the birthday of Vladimir Lenin, radical left-wing activists plan to organize the March For Science where they want to reiterate Lenin's opinion that Marxism-Leninism-Progressivism is one (and perhaps the only) scientific world view. Willis Eschenbach at Anthony Watts' blog and William Briggs at have had lots of fun with some developments that have turned the event into a truly ludicrous farce.

The most amusing development is that numerous enthusiastic and important organizers have attacked the idea that Bill Nye should be a leader of the parade – for a funny reason.

Just to be sure, the reason is not that Bill Nye is just a "clown the scientist" who starred as a cool scientist on a TV show for kids two decades ago – rather than a real scientist. No one behind the March For Science cares whether the leaders of the parade know something or nothing about science as long as their ideology is sufficiently left-wing.

The trouble with Bill Nye is that he is a white male! Your parents have just doubly screwed it, Bill, or triply if I count Bill Nye himself as the third screw-up.

Saturday, April 08, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Science works even when it is not trusted

There have been some topics in which Sabine Hossenfelder wrote sensible things recently – the Universe as a simulation is a top example – but she can't live without her anti-science whining which is why she wrote the diatribe titled

Science needs reason to be trusted.
As long as you have a vagina and you claim to be a scientist, PC journals like Nature will publish literally anything you submit, as this disturbing example shows. I don't want to discuss – or read – every sentence in this diatribe but it makes sense to pick a representative subcollection.

First, the title says "Science needs reason to be trusted". The title is ambiguous. She may have meant that science needs reason or reasoning – rational thinking – if science wants to be trustworthy. That would be a meaningless tautology because science itself is a refined type of reason. Instead, as the third sentence beneath the subtitle indicates, she apparently meant "The public needs a reason if the public wants to trust science".

Is it true? Is it false? It's probably mostly true but it's absolutely irrelevant for any discussion about science itself – for a simple reason:
Science doesn't need any public
So it's up to everyone – individually or collectively – whether he thinks scientifically or whether he uses scientific results. Those who do have a certain advantage. Those who don't have other advantages – for example, they may be applauded in communities that hate science.

Now, statements claimed to reflect science may be right or wrong – but science itself is mostly about the process that decides which statements are trustworthy and which aren't. As long as you believe that the scientific method works, the only thing that science needs to produce conclusions that are trustworthy is that the method is respected and pursued carefully. You can't construct any true sentence similar to the title that would be much more than a meaningless tautological cliché.

Friday, April 07, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

It was wrong for America to bomb Syrian airfields

Mentioning an apparent chemical attack in Syria that has killed dozens, the U.S. has launched an air strike against some Syrian government airfields near Homs. There are reports that ISIS launched an offensive near Homs soon afterwards – and Christians are likely to be the targets. If true, it means that the Pentagon has basically provided Daesh with an air force.

So much for Trump's promises to focus on Daesh as the main enemy. (See these 2013 Trump tweets against a U.S. attack against Syria.)

These developments are terribly disappointing and indicate that Donald Trump is very unlikely to bring rationality to the U.S. approach to the Middle East. We shouldn't hope that he will stop the string of U.S. interventions in the region in recent years that have basically led to bad outcomes only. And indeed, there may be reasons to be worried that these matters will become even worse.

Thursday, April 06, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Czech currency liberated

After the Velvet Revolution and Velvet Divorce, we experienced the Velvet Unpegging

I was doing lots of things online. Suddenly, I looked at a window with the exchange rates and... the euro was below 27 for the first time since the 2013 anniversary of the Great October Revolution. The central bankers removed the controversial policy on April 6th, half an hour after the noon, after a "regular" meeting of that 7-member board. Thankfully, they only announced their evaporation minutes later – otherwise traders would have bought trillions of crowns within seconds.

It could have been much earlier but some of them were tempted to do the step much later, too. I really expected that event for almost a week – and was watching the rates by peripheral vision, while multi-tasking, for many many hours.

A watch with a 50-crown coin in it. CZK 50 should soon be over $2 again

As I already said, sorry for that, the moment of the liberation was unannounced – the Czech National Bank has only confirmed to have evaporated minutes later, via Twitter and other resources. The motion of the exchange rate was rather smooth, going from the cap level 27.02 to 26.80 or so, and returning back to 27.11 during the first backlash when the hottest investors were closing their positions. So the rate stayed within 1% from the cap level for an hour.

A billion of dollars or two went into the crown in recent days, being satisfied with a 10-heller if not smaller profit. Those are different strategies. Instead of "different", the word might be "stupid", too. For a few days, the crown may stay above 26.60 because lots of traders have bought the crowns who are satisfied with a 40-heller profit. But this hot cash is eventually depleted and the supply of crowns at these rates disappears – the remaining holders are medium- or long-term holders who really want to see the rate 26 if not 25 before they consider selling CZK.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Manbearpig lectured by a third-world leader

Willie Soon sent me a wonderful conversation from the Davos 2017 meeting.

A story is here, too

A former vice-president of a highly developed country tried to offer his "wisdom" – that coal power plants shouldn't be built, not even in countries like Bangladesh. Instead, they should double the amount of cash they waste for the uneconomic sources of energy. This junk would be okayed at many places of the degenerated Western civilization.

Fortunately, Ms Sheikh Hasina, the prime minister of Bangladesh, thought differently.

Causality and cloning by black holes

On his and his junior colleagues' blog, John Preskill describes a recent Stanford workshop where black hole information puzzle big shots met with quantum information folks:

Here’s one way to get out of a black hole!
If a black hole wants to hire you, I recommend you to treat the pledge above as oversimplified hype in order to avoid a bad career move. ;-)

We're promised that Maldacena, Stanford (coincidence, I hope: Leland Stanford only had one son, Leland Jr), and Yang will soon release a paper that should be related to the recent double-trace paper by Gao, Jafferis, and Wall. Various people were trying to make the wormholes in ER=EPR traversable etc. One can "almost" get there but something stops you from fully completing the task.

A big potential paradox that is being addressed by these thoughts is the cloning of information in quantum mechanics – which, under a certain scenario and with a certain interpretation, seems to materialize in the presence of black holes. Preskill talks about his and Patrick Hayden's paper that argued that after the Page time, the information can be extracted from the radiation quickly, and he seems most excited by the idea that a black hole entangled with a quantum computer is equivalent to a (short) wormhole.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

ATLAS: locally 3.3-sigma \(ZH\) evidence for a new \(3\TeV\) boson

About two dozens of new ATLAS and CMS papers seem absolutely well-behaved. It's hard to find even a glimpse of an emerging deviation from the Standard Model. A week ago, I mentioned an outstanding B-meson anomaly which is 4.9-sigma strong.

Here I want to mention this Figure 3 upper-left on Page 12 of ATLAS'

Search for Heavy Resonances Decaying to a \(W\) or \(Z\) Boson and a Higgs Boson in the \(q\bar q^{(\prime)} b\bar b\) Final State in \(pp\) Collisions at \(\sqrt s = 13\TeV\) with the ATLAS Detector
You may also look at Page 14 of the paper, Figure 4, where the Brazilian bands show a wide 3-sigmaish excess near \(m_{Z'}\sim 3\TeV\).

Monday, April 03, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Who is evil and who is nice?

By Václav Klaus Jr, a son of the ex-president and a Czech shadow minister of education, from Czech

Schools should primarily teach. Their purpose is to transfer knowledge. They may try to cultivate as well [the English word "education" unfortunately covers both meanings, the Czech language tends to differentiate, LM] but it shouldn't be done within standard subjects or in campaigns. However, to indoctrinate the children in topics where one half of the nation disagrees with the other half – please, don't do that. NO.
It is normal that people have different opinions about the government/state and the public affairs. Even Plato and Aristotle saw the society differently. However, schools should transfer knowledge. They may teach what Aristotle or Plato were writing. To hope that several top pupils read the original essays in Greek would probably be too much to ask (even though the students at gymnasiums 130 years ago were often able to do it) but it shouldn't be taught that Aristotle was a cretin who didn't understand the interests of the whole while Plato was progressive.

Saturday, April 01, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Location, timing of mental processes is irrelevant for foundations of quantum mechanics

In the latest episode of The Big Bang Theory, S10E19, Leonard felt left (eftl ftle) out while Penny was getting closer to Rajesh.

Meanwhile, Sheldon and Amy began their natural and thought-provoking collaboration. Sheldon has the same background as I do so it's natural for him to think about foundations of quantum mechanics. And Amy is a neuroscientist – much like the actress Mayim Bialik PhD. At some moment, they decided to cooperate. During the cooperation, they found out that fights make their thinking sharper so they fought about the way how to use this discovery.

The interdisciplinary topic they investigated is very natural and many people have asked similar questions. Amy knows a lot about processes in the brain and building blocks of the brain, Sheldon knows a lot about the foundations of quantum mechanics. Can or should these two self-evidently scientific topics be combined? Does the neuroscience actually tell us where and when the collapse of the wave function associated with the measurement – with the perception of its results – takes place?

Thursday, March 30, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Should Congress debate black holes?

Donald Trump's efforts concerning travel bans and healthcare have been slowed down by judges and the GOP, respectively, but it seems that Trump was able to sign the Peace Treaty With Coal. The war is over, it seems!

Champagne is just an inferior, overpriced counterpart of Bohemia Sekt

His steps to return sanity to the energy industry and the branches of the society hurt by the politicization of the climate science may be the most successful steps of the new administration.

I wanted to write about numerous topics affecting the Trump family. For example, some cloth company in California has sued Ivanka Trump because they think it's unfair for their competitor to be a beautiful lady whose father has won the race for the White House – and he wishes his daughter to be successful and helps her beat those who would like to "punish" her for being Trump's daughter. Is it unfair that she's beautiful and that her dad is fighting back? From the viewpoint of a jealous fag in an unknown Californian company, maybe. But grow up, fags! This is no fraud. Trump has really won, he gives the beef to fame of the White House now, Ivanka is his real daughter, and she could have helped her dad to win, too. Their pride is absolutely justified!

And if it is legal for some malls to discontinue Ivanka's products because she's the daughter of the president, surely it's OK for the president to encourage people to buy her products because she's the daughter of the president, right? America isn't a totalitarian society where only the things that are against the folks unpopular in much of California are allowed.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

ER=EPR as Schur orthogonality relations

The AdS/CFT correspondence relates a murky, effective description with quantum theory in the bulk – in AdS – to a well-defined, microscopic, non-gravitational theory on the boundary – CFT. I think that most people would agree that at least at present, the CFT side is the "more well-defined one", and the relationship therefore helps us to understand what quantum gravity (in this case in AdS) actually is.

I would like to have a more universal definition of quantum gravity that works for any superselection sector, whether the boundary behavior of the spacetime is flat Minkowski, AdS, or otherwise. What is the relationship between the low-energy field and some "detailed microscopic theory" in the most general case?

Witten's monstrous model of pure gravity in \(AdS_3\) has been one of my favorite toy models that I have employed to check and refine various tools that I proposed for quantum gravity in general. Just to recall, the AdS/CFT dual should describe pure gravity in a 3-dimensional space. In \(D=3\), the Ricci-tensor \(R_{\mu\nu}\) and the Riemann tensor \(R_{\kappa\lambda\mu\nu}\) both have six components. So the Ricci-flatness, i.e. Einstein's vacuum equations, imply the Riemann flatness. The vacuum must be flat. However, sources may create a deficit angle.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

\(B\)-meson \(b\)-\(s\)-\(\mu\)-\(\mu\) anomaly remains at 4.9 sigma after Moriond

There was no obvious announcement of new physics at Moriond 2017, one that would have settled supersymmetry or other bets in a groundbreaking direction, but that doesn't mean that the Standard Model is absolutely consistent with all observations.

In recent years, the LHCb collaboration has claimed various deviations of their observations of mostly \(B\)-meson decays from the Standard Model predictions. A new paper was released yesterday, summarizing the situation after Moriond 2017:

Status of the \(B\to K^*\mu^+\mu^−\) anomaly after Moriond 2017
Wolfgang Altmannshofer, Christoph Niehoff, Peter Stangl, David M. Straub (the German language is so effective with these one-syllable surnames, isn't it?) and Matthias Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz have looked at the tension with the newest data.

The Good-lookers, Matterhorn (1975): In the morning, they started their journey at CERN (or in Bern). I've made the would-be witty replacement of Bern with CERN so many times that I am not capable of singing this verse reliably correctly anymore!

The new data include the angular distribution of the decay mentioned in the title, as measured by the major (ATLAS and CMS) detectors.

Monday, March 27, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Pizza and simulations vs renormalization

Physicist Moshe Rozali has challenged Aaronson's fantasies about the simulation of the Universe. Let me begin with his traditionalist complaints that are more comprehensible, to make sure that the number of readers of this blog post will monotonically decrease with time:

Incidentally, my main problem with the simulation story is not (only) that it is intellectually lazy or that it is masquerading as some deep foundational issue. As far as metaphysical speculation goes it is remarkably unromantic, I mean, your best attempt as a creation myth involves someone sitting in front of a computer running code? What else do those omnipotent gods do, eat pizza? Do their taxes?
Right. The "universe as a computer simulation" should be viewed as a competitor of Genesis and in this competition struggle, the "simulation" loses to Genesis because it's a superficial kitschy fad, an uninspiring work of socialist realism.

Genesis according to Scott Aaronson. I don't want to revolt against our overlords but the sticky fingers just suck, Ms Simulator. Incidentally, the pizza is a computer case. Click at the picture to see a video by Aaronson's twin brother who explains all the details.

Sunday, March 26, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

The true face of feminism

Four days ago, The Harvard Crimson published a rant by its staff writer Miss Nian Hu,

Beware the male feminist
which sheds some light on the insane claims that the purpose of feminism is equality between sexes – instead of a totalitarian arrangement of the society that is or was analogous to the plans of Nazis, Islamists, communists, climate alarmists, and other -ists that pick a privileged part of the society and systematically terrorize (and sometimes exterminate) the rest. Superficially, the article is an attack on the male feminists – the pathetic would-be men who vote for Hillary, call themselves feminists, wear feminist T-shirts, encourage true, female feminists around them to whine, and think how this strategy could bring them advantages – which it sometimes does, mostly in socially putrified environments where the concentration of similar opportunists grows too high.

Needless to say, I don't find it existentially important to defend these male feminists for their own sake – I despise these spineless and despicable parodies of men about as much as I despise their female counterparts if not more so. However, what you can actually extract from Miss Hu's rant is primarily a snapshot of her views about the sexes and the character of the movement she considers her own. And maybe the spineless shameful opportunists could use Miss Hu's rant to figure out that their immoral strategy could ultimately be suicidal, too.

When a layman has no chance to comprehend the bit-qubit difference

I am often dreaming about being able to extract 1/2 of my brain and donate parts to others. Why?

Because, as Sheldon Cooper has observed, being stupid isn't a reason to cry. Being sad is a reason to cry. For example, I am sad because other people are so stupid!

The Internet events that maximally influenced this beautiful sunny Sunday morning were comments by the Kansas-based user AP under the June 2016 blog post Leaning of information, not an interaction, is what causes the collapse. As you may recall, and as you can see by thinking about the title, the main point of the blog post was to say that ordinary small quantum objects' evolution – including interactions that make them entangled – doesn't cause any collapse, any irreversible change of the wave function, anything that we associate with the observations.

Saturday, March 25, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

An isolated standard model contradicts nothing we know

Today, the Moriond 2017 particle physics conference ends. Especially the CMS has presented the newest results – analyses of some 35 inverse femtobarns of the data collected at the two protons' total energy of \(13\TeV\).

Almost a decade ago, I made an asymmetric bet against Adam Falkowski, a particle phenomenologist now in Paris. He claimed that supersymmetry wouldn't be found before a deadline and I claimed it could be. If it were found, I would have won $10,000. If it weren't found, I would pay $100. So it was a 100-to-1 bet, basically implying the consensus probability of the early enough supersymmetry discovery at 1%. I accepted the bet because my subjective probability of a SUSY discovery was much higher than 1% and I still think it was reasonable – and an analogous assumption is still reasonable for the next collider.

The deadline was defined a bit arbitrarily – but it was "after the results of at least 30/fb of the data at design energy are collected". The design energy was \(14\TeV\) and \(8\TeV\) is clearly lower – the collisions at this lower energy may produce SUSY particles about 10 times less frequently than those at \(14\TeV\) – but \(14\TeV\) is close enough to \(13\TeV\) so it's obvious that those 35/fb at \(13\TeV\) that we have are basically equivalent to 30/fb at \(14\TeV\). So right now it's the ideal balanced moment that almost exactly agrees with the conditions of our bet, I think, and because supersymmetry hasn't been discovered yet, I should pay $100 to Adam.

As I have already mentioned, this lost bet is a technicality for me and doesn't change my belief that supersymmetry somewhere in Nature, beneath the Planck scale, is very likely and SUSY around the corner is always a possibility. I am sure that many of you agree that the opposite result would be way more interesting – from the financial viewpoint, from the viewpoint of our TRF community, and because of the excitement it would create among physicists.

Friday, March 24, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Learning about the laws of physics isn't a "yes we can" pissing contest

After Sabine Hossenfelder wrote her critique of "the world is a simulation" paradigm, I was a bit jealous about one apparent phenomenon: that her readers seemed to agree with her. Well, it didn't last long. After Scott Aaronson vented his absolutely stupid ideas about the same problem, many of his computer-science-worshiping but otherwise uneducated readers were apparently redirected to Hossenfelder's blog and started to give her a hard time.

The most obnoxious troll that repeatedly posted at Backreaction is nicknamed _Shorty, a man from the British Columbia who loves his air gun, guitar, and video games. For some reasons, this self-evident mediocre know-nothing thinks that it's very important for the world to hear what he thinks about the character of the physical law. It wouldn't be too hard to predict what an interaction between a physicist, even one such as Hossenfelder, and a stupid yet aggressive man who is "into the computer games" is going to look like.

Thursday, March 23, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

What mathematical thinking looks like and why schools should teach it

Go to the Character of the Mathematical Thought list...
A week ago, Doug K. sent me an essay
Why We Should Reduce Skills Teaching in the Math Class
by Dr Keith Devlin, a British American set theorist and mathematics teacher.

Like many postmodern promoters of feel-good education, Devlin argues that we should reduce the teaching of all hard mathematics at school. After all, almost no one actually needs mathematics in his life so it's fine. This change will reduce the math anxieties and math phobia in the society, make the world a better place, and so on. At the same time, most people will understand what is mathematics, how and where it is used, they will have a positive attitude to it, and they will be ready to learn it as soon as they need some because math phobia won't be deterring them.

Please, give me a break.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Aaronson's delusions about the universe as a simulation

Four days ago, I praised Sabine Hossenfelder's remarks about the hypothesis that our Universe is a simulation. It's rather clear that complexity theorist Scott Aaronson disagrees on some fundamental issues, as he wrote in his

Your yearly dose of is-the-universe-a-simulation,
and Aaronson is just completely wrong about all these points. Some of these two folks' views were mentioned at Gizmodo. Aaronson summarized the core of his opinion as follows:
In short: blame it for being unfalsifiable rather than for being falsified!
He claims that it's not a problem to reconcile the universe-as-a-computer with the Lorentz invariance, too. On the other hand, Hossenfelder (like your humble correspondent) emphasizes that all the predictions similar to "certain computer-like glitches, such as the failure of accuracy or continuity and deja vu cats" seem to be falsified. So at some imperfect but high confidence level, the "simulation hypothesis" has been ruled out. Aaronson doesn't like it and he's wrong.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Antiviruses: when the cure is worse than the disease

In the morning, my antivirus software suddenly told me that my main defragmenter is a virus.

Just to be specific: I have used the German AVIRA software (web) with the red umbrella icon for over 15 years. It's probably not the most patriotic thing to do because Czechia has turned into an antivirus superpower largely thanks to Avast which recently devoured its competitor AVG (for $1.3 bn) and the company's headquarters stayed in Prague. Avast actually has more employees than Avira etc. Avast was founded as a communist-era co-op in 1988, AVIRA is two years older. Almost all people on the Avast board are non-Czech today, however.

I think that AVIRA does a good job and I've seen some reports that it's among the antiviruses that don't slow down the PC too much.

The other part of the story is that I believe that fragmentation of files slows down PC and I am running a defragmentation periodically. I've tried many but Auslogics Disk Defrag Free seems like the best choice on the market – it's much faster than most others and it visualizes things appropriately and gives you all the information about the fragmented files, the number of fragments, and other things.

Monday, March 20, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Germans should be ashamed of their candidate Martin Schulz

Off-topic: I know that many ex-fans have already grown tired of The Big Bang Theory but I haven't and for folks like me, CBS has approved the 11th and 12th seasons of TBBT. Via syndication, the show has earned over $1 billion for Warner, I haven't been sent a penny (let alone Penny) yet.
In the recent decade, the German politician elite has drifted towards the arrogant, politically correct far left corner. Recall that Angela Merkel's predecessor was the social democrat Gerhard Schröder.

This 2002 parody of a famous Spanish ketchup pop song, "The Tax Song", still showed the innocent politics that Western politics had known for decades. Schröder was a social democrat and it was therefore sensible to assume that he wants too high taxes, too many taxes (I can't even tell you with any certainty whether high taxes were characteristic for his tenure), and he's making fun of the citizens who probably don't like to pay this much. The only other theme of the song I can identify are the accusations that Schröder had to color his hair, otherwise they couldn't have been so youthful.

Although Merkel's CDU should be more conservative than Schröder's SPD, I find it obvious that Merkel is more left-wing than Schröder was. He was really a guy with some common sense who was immune towards most of the insanities – and he's still resistant towards e.g. the postmodern Russophobia that is largely driven by Vladimir Putin's being too conservative for the self-anointed progressive ideologues who have multiplied like locusts in the West.

Sunday, March 19, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Do you really think the Moon is a planet, Kirby? informs us about lots of legitimate news but sometimes it loves to spread hype about some absolute nonsense. When it switches to the nonsense mode, it usually promotes the craziest articles to the "featured" category. On Friday, they posted a crazy article about a topic that everyone should be able to understand,

Scientists make the case to restore Pluto's planet status
Pluto is a hero of the title but this very fact is ludicrous. Some people feel sad about the downgraded status of a piece of rock they have never seen with their eyes. But there's something else that the title doesn't convey: The people who want to redefine a "planet" again intend to make sure that there are over 100 planets in the Solar System so that the list would include the Earth's Moon – where some TRF readers have been – among many others.

Two Plutos, taken from the article about a Daesh astronomer who wants to rename Pluto to the Moon of Mohammed LOL. See also ISIS plans to carry attacks on Pluto.

The main proponent of the new definition is Mr Kirby Runyon (and "Mr" should be understood in the same way as when Dr Gablehauser talks to Mr Howard Wolowitz), a graduate student at John Hopkins, a Christian, and an owner of a cat. Quite some credentials.

Saturday, March 18, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Hossenfelder sensibly critical of our "simulated" world

Sabine Hossenfelder writes a lot of wrong texts, especially about issues that depend on some nontrivial calculation. But she is often reasonable when she discusses certain conceptual issues, including the general properties of quantum mechanics (and the absence of non-local influences in QFT etc.).

The latest example of the penetrating texts is

No, we probably don’t live in a computer simulation
I've discussed the proposals that "our world has been programmed by our overlord, Ms Simulator" in 2011, 2013, 2016, aside from other moments.

But let's look primarily at the comments by Hossenfelder and her readers – who surprisingly seem to agree.

Particles' wave functions always spread superluminally

It's been almost a week since we discussed Jacques Distler's confusion about some basics of quantum field theory. He posts several blog posts a year, a quantum field theory course is probably the only one he teaches, and he was "driven up the wall" by a point that almost every good introductory textbook makes at the very beginning. I expected that within a day or two, he would post a detailed text with the derivations saying "Oops, I've been silly [for 50 years]".

It just didn't happen. He still insists that the one-particle truncation of a quantum field theory is perfectly consistent and causal. In particular, he repeated many times in his blog post (search for the word "superluminal") that the relativistically modified Schrödinger's equation for one particle (with a square root) guarantees that the wave packets never spread faster than the speed of light. Oops, it's just too bad.

Friday, March 17, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Budget 2018: America will eliminate funding for climate hysteria

For more than a decade, I've been urging the responsible people to stop their support and especially government funding for the climate hysteria, a political movement that pretends to be all about science even though it brutally violates even the basic principles of the scientific method and threatens the integrity of the institutionalized science, prosperity of whole countries, and the freedom of their citizens.

There have been partial victories that have made us smile at one moment or another. But up to 2007, it seemed clear that the movement was growing and after 2007-2009, whatever the exact date of the Peak Climate Alarm was, it still seemed extremely likely that the climate alarmists were here to stay and consolidate their influence – much like we thought that communists were here to stay in Czechoslovakia in the late 1980s.

Well, the victory of Donald Trump was the first event that seems to change the big picture and reverse the trends in major ways – the first sign that the climate hysteria could be unsustainable, after all, much like Nazism, eugenics, communism, and other fads currently residing at the dumping ground of history. We didn't know whether Ivanka Trump and Rex Tillerson would "allow" the U.S. president to do something that has been a not so negligible part of the campaign. But things look better again.

Thursday, March 16, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Why research at Czech institutions sucks

Yesterday, a Czech expert in spintronics and nanoelectronics Mr Tomáš Jungwirth has provoked some naive Czech patriots who think that their homeland is very good in things like science:

Researcher: Czech science is average, wins few ERC grants (Prague Monitor, widely discussed in Czech press)
Jungwirth is a member of the European Research Council. Well, I think that I was still a high school student when I was pretty much decided that the Czech contributions to science in general and physics in particular are pretty much negligible. In fact, before I came to the college, I was already worried whether there could be someone in our homeland who could teach me/us things needed for the cutting-edge physics etc.

Just to be sure, the Czech education bringing you up to the early 1970s or so is very good, I still think. But at the research level, the numbers speak clearly:
Researchers from other EU countries submit two or three times more applications for ERC grants than those from the Czech Republic, Jungwirth said. Moreover, 12 percent of the grant applications are successful on average, while Czech projects succeed only in 5 percent of cases. Czech projects have won ERC 25 grants worth 41 million euros since 2007, while Austrian and Hungarian projects have won 189 and 54 grants, respectively.
Austrian and Hungary - totally comparable countries – have won 7.6 and 2.2 times more grants than Czechia, respectively. The deviation of these numbers from 1 obviously cannot be considered noise and – despite the EU's numerous fundamental shortcomings – I don't think that it's an effort of the evil EU organs to hurt Czechia, either.

LHCb discovers five \(css\) bound states at once

The LHCb detector is way smaller and cheaper than its fat ATLAS and CMS siblings. But it doesn't mean that it can't discover cool things – and many things. The letter \(b\) refers to the bottom quark. It's often said that the bottom quark is the best path towards the research of CP-violation and similar things.

But for some reasons, the LHCb managed to discover five new particles without any bottom quark – at once:

The collaboration proudly tweeted about the new discovery and linked to their new paper,

Observation of five new narrow \(\Omega^0_c\) states decaying to \(\Xi^+_c K^−\)
You may count the new peaks on the graph above. If you haven't forgotten some rather rudimentary number theory, you know that the counting goes as follows: One, two, three, four, five. TRF contains new stuff to learn for everybody, including those who would consider any mathematics exam unconstitutional and inhuman. ;-)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

This Nye's monologue is no "big think" was founded in 2007 and Larry Summers and Peter Thiel were among the initial financial and intellectual investors in the project. I am confident that it used to interview many exceptionally intelligent people and they were talking about nontrivial topics and arguments. Five years ago, I mentioned an interview with Lisa Randall about string theory.

If you look at the recent videos at the BigThink YouTube channel, they look like rather lame pop scientific and pseudoscientific topics that you find everywhere on the Internet. You don't need a pedigree of famous founders for such a website.

The 4-minute monologue of Bill Nye is a great example of the intellectual deterioration of in recent years. The diatribe seems to be a response to a Fox News exchange between Tucker Carlson and Bill Nye. Recall that Carlson mainly wanted Nye to say to what extent the humans have driven climate change. Nye wasn't capable to say a damn thing that would be relevant in that 9-minute-long Fox News interview. He had weeks to "think big" about these matters and now, when he added a 4-minute monologue, he still failed to say anything that would be relevant or at least intelligent.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Czechs vow defiance after irrational EU gun ban

The country in the heart of Europe is terrified by the counterproductive, treacherous approach of the EU apparatchiks to gun laws

Czech political parties experienced a somewhat rare wave of unity today which was unfortunately not shared by most of the European Union. The European Parliament voted 491yes-197no-28abstain to ban the sales of new semi-automatic guns.

The largest community in my homeland that is affected are the owners of Model 58. It's known by the Czechoslovak acronym Vz 58 and "vz" stands for "vzor" i.e. "template". After Kalashnikovs appeared, all socialist countries were basically forced to adopt the exact Soviet design. Czechoslovakia got an exception because if a country with this somewhat legendary arms industry were forced to accept the Soviet technology, it would be rather offensive. Vz 58 appeared as a Czechoslovak answer to the Kalashnikovs. It's a full replacement but all the parts are actually different and the Czechoslovak rifle is arguably better than the Soviet competitor.

Monday, March 13, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Should mathematics exams be required at the end of high school?

In recent weeks, I was involved in various discussions about the education of mathematics in Czechia. One of the topics was the "playful" Hejný method (a long CZ thread) to teach mathematics to kids which may be fun and useful but it's simply not a legitimate replacement for mathematics as I define it.

Yesterday, someone asked me to solve one page of undergraduate problems in mathematical statistics. Compute the averages, variances and standard deviations, medians, quantiles, draw some histograms, use computer software to do a quadratic fit. And also compute the probability that you get all 4 kings out of 32 cards in a pile of 7. An hour of work. I did consider the problems nicely chosen and adequate for someone who should have background in any experimental science etc.

But they were taken from an exam (a take-home exam?) for mostly female students who want to get a bachelor degree and become nurses. That's tough because I do think that most nurses just can't do a big majority of these things. But the statistics course is mandatory and right now, unlimited nurses do need the bachelor degree. It looks like an anomaly: Ways to deal with a senior who urinated himself could be more useful for them than the calculations of the residual variance of a quadratic fit. ;-) Some lawmakers are preparing a reform that will allow nurses to work without the bachelor degree – the high school plus a year of a "higher school" will be enough. But it's not reality yet.

At the end, however, I have big sympathies for the instructor who is trying hard to convince the students to learn these things. If you asked me, I would probably agree that people with college degrees in science-related disciplines – and medicine is one of them – should be able to do most of these things, at least in principle. It's not possible for most people to know such things and again, I do agree that nurses shouldn't necessarily be "college-educated folks".

The mathematics instructor is universally hated by his students, of course. This is the level that primarily determines my emotions. I just couldn't support the students in their bitter jihad against the noble man. The fact that some soon-to-be-nurses are being pushed to learn things they don't need is one thing. But this guy was hired to teach college-level mathematical statistics and it's simply right to do it right. It's in no way insane to expect the college students majoring in a science-based discipline to know how to do these standard things after two semesters of statistics!

Sunday, March 12, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Jacques Distler vs some QFT lore

Young physicists in Austin, be careful about some toxic junk in your city

Three weeks ago, in the article titled

physicist Jacques Distler of UT Austin mentioned a statement by Sasha Polyakov that he was "responsible" for quantum field theory. That comment was particularly relevant when Distler taught an undergraduate particle physics course and was frustrated by the following:
The textbooks (and I mean all of them) start off by “explaining” that relativistic quantum mechanics (e.g. replacing the Schrödinger equation with Klein-Gordon) make no sense (negative probabilities and all that …). And they then proceed to use it anyway (supplemented by some Feynman rules pulled out of thin air).

This drives me up the fúçkïñg wall. It is precisely wrong.

There is a perfectly consistent quantum mechanical theory of free particles. The problem arises when you want to introduce interactions.
Did the following text defend the legitimacy of Distler's frustration? Well, partly... but I would pick the answer No if I had to.

A stringy interview with Petr Hořava

Giotis has pointed out that the Czech Public Radio recorded a 15-minute English-language interview with Czech string theorist Petr Hořava while he was visiting his old homeland.

I hope that this cutely simple HTML5 audio tag with the MP3 file works for everybody.

For years, Petr has been working at Berkeley. He's well-known as the co-author of the Hořava-Witten "M-theory on spaces with boundaries" that carry the \(E_8\) gauge supermultiplet, as they demonstrated.

Friday, March 10, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Selection of climate model survivors isn't the scientific method

I was surprised that several TRF readers (Marthe, Abbyyorker, John Moore, and perhaps others) don't understand why the methodology keeping "ensembles of inequivalent models" that have survived some tests isn't science i.e. why Scott Adams is right in the recommendation #1 to climate fearmongers.

On Monday, Scott Adams actually dedicated a special blog post exactly to this problem. He wrote that when some media promote an old paper from the 1980s that apparently made rather accurate predictions of the climate for the following decades, it doesn't mean anything because it was one paper among many and we're not told about the number of similar models whose predictions were wrong. So everything he knows is compatible with the assumption that the successful model was just one that was right by chance – it was cherry-picked but there doesn't have to be any reason to think that its authors know something that others don't. They were just lucky. Adams mentioned analogies dealing with financial scams. If you send thousands of e-mails with various investment recommendations, it's almost unavoidable that one of them will be successful thrice in a row. If you later cherry-pick this successful recommendation and sell it as a proof of your prophetic skills, then you are a crook and your clients are gullible morons.

Some people apparently really believe that it's an example of OK science when the climate modelers are working with an ensemble of mutually inequivalent models, sometimes eliminate some of them, and they implicitly if not explicitly say that all the "survivors" in their ensemble of models are simultaneously or collectively right. Well, different theories just cannot be simultaneously right and this process of mindless selection of "packages that seem to work well" just isn't science. When we're trying to address a physical system in which many factors matter at the same moment, it's obvious that we must still try to answer questions separately.

I embedded the Feynman monologue above because he says that many activities try to pretend to be scientific but they're pseudosciences. These pseudosciences – social sciences are examples – haven't gotten anywhere (yet). They didn't get any laws. This is exactly true for the "model ensemble enterprise" in the climate science, too. They're not proposing and separately testing any actual laws or statements. People who are doing these things just play with some complex mushed potatoes and when they have a sufficient number of moving parts, it's unavoidable that for some choices of these moving parts, a good enough agreement – within any pre-agreed error margins – will be achieved for some of them.

Thursday, March 09, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Scott Adams sees through 15 of 20 main alarmists' tricks, still calls himself a believer

Eclectikus told us that Dilbert's creator Scott Adams – who has correctly predicted Trump's triumph and described a psychological theory behind Trump's victory – has written a wonderful guide telling the climate alarmist propagandists

How to Convince Skeptics that Climate Change is a Problem.
It's basically a detailed list of 14-15 features in the alarmists' talk – or their interactions with the skeptics – that obviously look fishy to a rational person such as himself. Nevertheless, at the top, he still introduces himself as a believer in the claims of the currently (and for a few more months?) dominant (i.e. alarmist) climate scientists. Some alarmists have reacted angrily. Some of them claimed that Adams doesn't actually believe the alarmists and he doesn't actually want to help them.

I tend to agree with this "insight into Adams' skull". It seems hard to imagine that someone would understand these "15 things that are fishy about the alarmists' claims" so clearly and he would still take the alarmists' statements seriously. In fact, I think that Adams' isolation of the problems, clarity of his understanding of these problems, and the comprehensiveness of his list places him above most of the "amateur climate skeptics" whom I have met. If he understands some of the skeptics' arguments more clearly than most of the skeptics, is it plausible that he ends up as an alarmist?

It's plausible. I just find it very unlikely. It seems much more likely to me that he is just playfully rewriting his identity, much like when John Cook was signing 3% of the comments on his server as Luboš Motl. ;-)

The climate lynch mob at MIT

Last week, Charles Murray, a prominent sociologist known for his analyses of the IQ distributions (he co-wrote "The Bell Curve" with a Harvard colleague) was planning to give a talk at the Middlebury College in Vermont.

This 43-minute-long video shows what happened. Before his speech was supposed to begin, several officials were explaining how important it was for the university to listen and participate in peaceful discussions, even about unpopular views.

It didn't help. Around 19:10 in the video, after Murray articulated his first sentence, a mob composed of young people began to chant and do mess – the last 25 minutes in the video – and prevented Murray from saying anything. They were chanting all those primitive far left extremist slogans which were not only offensive but also proved that the young people didn't have a clue what Murray's work is all about. So the lecture was cancelled. The professor Ms Allison Stanger who accompanied Murray was physically attacked and had to be hospitalized, despite two big bodyguards who generally tried to protect these two.

Jay Parini and other professors at that college realize that some basic rules of Free Speech 101 were grossly neglected. However, the wild young people keep on calling themselves "college students" and they are basically dictating the atmosphere – and what is possible and what is impossible – on that college.

I am sorry but the officials at that college should dismiss these students. The fact that it hasn't taken place indicates that the college president is either incompetent or a coward. These young people are obviously not intelligent, disciplined, and ethical enough to be college students. We often talk about the decreasing standards of the college education but sometimes this deterioration shows up clearly in front of our eyes.

A zoo would be a much more appropriate place to keep these young people than a college. Let me emphasize that I recommend this habitat to the participants of that protest regardless of their race, gender, or ethnic background.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

No, energy non-conservation is a lousy approach to the cosmological constant problem

In mid January, Chad Orzel didn't like some hype about a "proposed solution to the cosmological constant problem":

An article in the Physics World promoted an April 2016 paper by Josset, Perez, and Sudarsky recently published in PRL
Dark energy as the weight of violating energy conservation
that has claimed the the apparently observed cosmological constant is just the accumulated amount of energy that was created when Nature violated the energy conservation law – and that's supposed to make things more natural.

The 97% crackpot Lee Smolin praised the idea as a speculative approach in the best possible sense that is revolutionary if true. The 60% crackpot George Ellis said that the proposal was viable and no more fanciful than what's being explored by contemporary theoretical physicists – his English isn't as good as mine so I had to improve this man's prose.

Orzel found these comments too diplomatic and, as a "progressive" (a far left whacko), he decided to look for the best possible debunker with the only politically correct number of penises (zero) who should debunk this stuff: Sabine Hossenfelder.

Proof of RH from Hurwitz eigenstates

Under my previous (QM-on-graphs) blog post about the Riemann Hypothesis, Dilaton was forgiven for having brought us some cute internet banalities ;-)

while Akhmeteli pointed out a paper that seems even more promising than my most recent specific attacks:

Hamiltonian for the zeros of the Riemann zeta function
In their PRL paper, Carl M. Bender, Dorje C. Brody, and Markus P. Müller (BBM) actually constructed a Hamiltonian whose eigenvalues seem to be the zeroes of the zeta function and that seems to be Hermitian, after some straightforward change of the metric. How does it work?

Tuesday, March 07, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Czechs produce a graphene-based magnet

First non-metallic magnet at room temperatures

One month ago, I mentioned that Harvard's Isaac Silvera and his collaborator claimed to have developed metallic hydrogen. Unfortunately, four weeks later, the small piece of this possibly amazing matter was eaten by Ike's dog, in an incident that resembles the burning of the microscopic Japanese art by a magnifying glass during a vernissage in the Czech 1974 comedy "Joachim, throw him to the machine". and UPI were among the first English-language sources that revealed a result that could be equally cool and more controllable (because larger) – a non-metallic magnet:

Room temperature organic magnets derived from \(sp^3\) functionalized graphene (Nature Communications)
Mr Jiří Tuček [George Smallfat] was the lead author of the 12-member collaboration in a regional material center at the Palacký University in Olomouc, Moravia, Czech Republic. Belgian and Japanese colleagues have already joined the search for applications and better theoretical descriptions.

Sunday, March 05, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

NYT: Randall reviews Rovelli's oversalted book

Lisa Randall has argued in her review in The New York Times that

A Physicist’s Crash Course in Unpeeling the Universe
that reality isn't always what it seems to those who read Carlo Rovelli's book, Reality Is Not What It Seems, a popular text that was successful in Europe, translated to English, and that I discussed in January.

Randall says that the best popular books bring something both to the beginners as well as the readers who already know something. However, Rovelli only chose the audiences without any physics background and adjusted his writing appropriately. He nicely communicated the grandiose revolutionary changes that took place in the recent century or so. Because of the adjustments and other things, the result isn't great.

Saturday, March 04, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Quantum mechanics on graphs and Riemann hypothesis

I still like to spend some time with the Riemann Hypothesis. In this 2016 blog post, I explained that the Riemann zeta zeroes roughly appear in a Fourier transform of delta-functions located at places \(\ln(n)\) or \(\ln(p)\) where \(n\in\ZZ\) or \(p\) are primes.

Is there a way to prove that all the nontrivial zeroes \(s\) of the zeta function, i.e. values of \(s\) obeying \(\zeta(s)=0\), satisfy \(s=1/2+it\) where \(t\in \RR\)? Riemann thought he could prove that theorem but the proof wasn't ever found and it seems likely now that he didn't have one.

Friday, March 03, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Interference patterns of two entangled photons

Ahmed Adel Emara was asking interesting questions about the delayed choice quantum eraser and various modifications of it.

In the experiment, see this chart, a photon first goes through the double slit. Right behind both slits, a "BBO" makes sure that the photon gets split into an entangled pair.

The upper photon is encouraged to land on a photographic plate, D0, where a single photon normally contributes to an interference pattern. The entangled lower partner, the idler photon, goes to some mirrors and undergoes another treatment. In the delayed choice quantum eraser experiment, it ultimately lands in one of the detectors D1,D2,D3,D4. It's designed in such a way that if the detection of the idler photon occurs in D3 or D4, the which-slit information can be extracted, so the interference pattern is gone for the upper photon as well (the slit is the same for both photons). If the idler photon lands in D1 or D2, respectively, the which-slit information cannot be extracted, and the upper photons in these cases do create an interference pattern in D0, but only if you treat the D1 and D2 cases separately – these two interference patterns are "complementary" to each other.

One of the questions that Ahmed basically asked was whether there would be an interference pattern if you replaced all the detectors D1,D2,D3,D4 for the idler by another photographic plate D0' (dee-zero-prime).

Thursday, March 02, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Totalitarian MEPs steal immunity from Le Pen to strengthen their monopoly on power

To say the least, Marine Le Pen is one of the three top (bold face) candidates in the April-and-May presidential elections in France. All the other candidates are elementary particles: Fillon, Proton, Macron, Neutron, Hamon, Meson, Mélenchon, and Positron. It's an eye-catching sign of the lack of diversity that all of the men who run have names that end with an "-on" given the fact that none of the men in the list Bidault, Blum, Auriol, Coty, De Gaulle, Poher, d'Estaing, Mitterrand, Chirac, Sarkozy, and Hollande did. You may be forced to go back to Napoleon to find the most recent previous elementary particle that led France. ;-)

She's too complex for them and the elementary particles and their allies do everything they can to get rid of their competitor who is so different.

Two days ago, a committee of the European Parliament voted 18-to-3 to strip her of her immunity in the case of some tweets. Today, the whole Parliament has confirmed that decision by an "overwhelming majority" – we were not told what the numbers actually were. Thankfully, my MEP voted against the proposal. He wrote that "he doesn't like when the political contest is waged through the criminalization of the competitors". Exactly.