Tuesday, May 23, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Salman Abedi (23) strikes in Manchester

My condolences to the friends and families of the (so far) 21 innocent victims of a suicide attack (involving a home-made explosive device with nails) in Manchester's MEN arena. The victims were mostly kids and young teenagers, fans of Ariana Grande (*1993), an American singer.

The explosion occurred at 22:32 local time, Monday night. Few hours before the massacre, at 18:28 and 18:32 local time, the Twitter account @Owys663 warned in broken English that "the just terror" was coming to the #ManchesterArena – this hash tag was included in one of the two relevant tweets.

Monday, May 22, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Conceptual penis drives climate change

The 1996 Sokal hoax has shown that the social scientists' journals considered prestigious didn't have any standards, the "research" done by that community had no content, and its editors were indeed unable to distinguish absurd satirical nonsense from something they were ready to call "true scholarship".

You could have thought that the publication of Sokal's ludicrous article was an anomalous mistake and nothing of the sort would be repeated because the editors in similar journals would become more cautious. However, this improvement hasn't happened. In fact, it couldn't have happened because there is really no well-defined difference between the work done by scholars in "gender studies" and the jokes that you may invent about them in minutes to mock them. The jokes about these "social scientists" are funny because they are true.

As Breitbart, WUWT, CFACT, and others told us, a new hoax of the same kind was just published in "Cogent Social Sciences", a peer-reviewed journal in sociology.

Sunday, May 21, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

EURCZK: the distortions of the market may fade away now

About two weeks ago, my broker (similarly to at least some others) increased the margin requirements for CZK-based pairs by a factor of 20 – the justifiable reasons seem non-existent to me. It was the 4th annoying shocking change of the rules (and the most far-reaching one) so I decided that it was no longer usable and closed my position – and extracted all the money – with a nontrivial but modest 50% return on the money I reserved for that account. The plan was at least 300% – and even by this point, I could have easily achieved 200% if I were a little bit less cowardly.

I am not rich but I am more impartial now which is a more precious value. ;-)

You may still make big profits if your broker is more well-behaved. This is the chart of EURCZK since Fall 2004. Click to magnify the graph. You see that at the end of 2004, one euro was some 31 crowns (CZK). It was strengthening by some 4% i.e. one crown per year and reached the low of 23 crowns per euro in mid 2008. The Lehman Brothers-like events weakened the crown almost up to 29 in 2009. CZK strengthened back towards 24 or so by 2011 and was expected to return to the 4% strengthening per year.

Saturday, May 20, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Quantum mechanics is another example of deductive reasoning

Objectivity of the truth is separate, unnecessary, and non-existent

For various psychological, metaphysical, and quasi-religious reasons, many people find it insanely hard to understand an extremely simple fact – namely that quantum mechanics allows you to reason to pretty much the same extent (when it comes to the applicability) as classical physics did before the birth of quantum mechanics; but it fundamentally rejects the idea that there are statements about Nature that are objective in character.

I say it's simple and it really is. The point is that the laws of a quantum mechanical theory are tools to produce lots of statements of the form

"IF... THEN..."
These two words, "IF" and "THEN", basically cover everything that you need to understand the basic character of quantum mechanics. You don't need 43 pages of rubbish about Jesus Christ, John Wheeler, and random statements by 150 philosophers and physicists.

Quantum mechanics requires that you know some assumptions – the propositions behind the "IF". Those are the latest measurements that you, an observer, did in the past. And it allows you to derive or calculate some conclusions – the propositions behind the word "THEN". Because of this structure, "propositions are derived from others", we may say that the reasoning is deductive.

Well, the conclusions sometimes include the word "probably" or "with the probability \(P\)" where \(P\) is a number. For this reason, it may sometimes be better to say that some of the quantum mechanical reasoning is inductive or abductive. But the differences between the adjectives inductive, abductive, and deductive are not what really matters.

What matters is that it's normal that there are some assumptions or inputs – the observations that have been made – and one shouldn't be surprised that there is no objective way to decide whether the assumptions are right. The truth value depends on the observer's perspective.

Friday, May 19, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Flynn-Trump witch hunt is McCarthyism reloaded

Astro breaking news: Tabby's star is dropping again
What our finance minister Mr Babiš has been doing – and how our president has provided him with his marginally unconstitutional support – was pretty bad but in recent days, I was reminded of the poor level of the political culture in the world's only superpower. Some of the events that have followed Trump's decision to fire the FBI's boss Comey look incredible to me.

Under a Washington Times article about some events, I added my vote "Yes, it's the greatest witch hunt in the U.S. history". 77% of the readers of that news outlet have answered in this way. I answered not because I am certain that it's the greatest one – I have also been to the Salem, Massachusetts museum of the literal witch hunts ;-) which is another fact that makes me uncertain – but it seems as the greatest witch hunt among the obvious ones I can think of right now.

The Washington Times article says that an investigation of Comey's departure has turned into a "criminal investigation". In a similar context, what can this phrase possibly mean outside a banana republic? The only act that has taken place is Trump's "you're fired" for Comey which was partly powered by Trump's dissatisfaction with Comey's harassment of Flynn that the president considered inappropriate. And so did I: if I were the U.S. president, I would probably order waterboarding of those who gave Mr Flynn such a hard time for no good reason. It seems utterly obvious to me that according to the laws, Trump has had the right to fire Comey – he has extracted this political power directly from the American electorate. Aside from Trump, no one else has done anything that would matter.

Spacetimes as thick (objects and) amplifiers of information

There are a whopping 23 new hep-th papers today, not counting the cross-listed ones, and some of them are very interesting. For example, Kachru and Tripathy find some cute number theory inside the engine of \(K3\times T^2\) compactifications of type II string theory. Max Guillen shows the equivalence of the 11-dimensional pure spinor formalism to an older one.

Dvali studies the chiral symmetry breaking, a physicist named Wu presents a theory of everything based on "gauge theory in a hyperspacetime". Some paper answers whether patience is a virtue by references to cosmic censorship LOL. But mainly the following two papers look like they belong to the black hole (or spacetime's) quantum information industry:

Spacetime has a `thickness' (Samir Mathur)

Classical Spacetimes as Amplified Information in Holographic Quantum Theories (Nomura, Rath, Salzetta)
Mathur wrote a (silver medal) essay for a "gravity foundation" and the point is right. However, the suggestion that these are new ideas is not really valid. He says that the spacetime (or its state) isn't just given by a shape. One must also specify the "thickness" of the wave functional defined on the configuration space (the space of 3-geometries).

[The 4th prize in the same contest went to Shahar Hod, also cross-listed today, who claims to have proven our weak gravity conjecture as a consequence of "generalized Bekenstein's" [I wouldn't use these words] second law of thermodynamics within quantum gravity. The second law implies that the relaxation time is \(\tau\gt 1/(\pi T)\). When the imaginary parts of quasinormal models of a charged black hole are used to extract the relaxation time, one proves the weak gravity inequality. If it were a correct paper, he would have repaid my proof and our proof of his log-3 numerical observation. Well, I would still view it as "another" proof among many – similar to the proofs we already had in the original paper. It's surely personally intriguing that he has combined two things I've studied, the quasinormal modes and the weak gravity conjecture.]

If you think just a little bit, you will realize that it's an equivalent statement to my 2013 observation that coherent states form an overcomplete basis which implies that that field operators in QG cannot be localized in a background-independent way. Derivations with similar or stronger consequences have appeared in papers by Raju and Papadodimas, Berenstein and Miller, and a few others.

Even if the content of papers like Mathur were totally right, it's an unfortunate development – trend towards Smolinization of physics – for researchers not to follow their colleagues' work.

Thursday, May 18, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Young Sheldon: a first look

Sheldon Cooper is arguably the centerpiece of The Big Bang Theory which has been the most successful TV sitcom in the world in the recent decade. Jim Parsons – who just got "married" (the quotes indicate that the verb is incorrect according to the conventions in which I live) – was getting the same $1 million per episode as "Leonard" and "Penny" but he's had a little extra X-factor.

Watch the trailer at IMDB (5:16)
It was therefore logical for CBS to build on his success. As I mentioned in March, Iain Armitage, a 9-year-old literary critic, became the filmmakers' boy of choice to star as the young Sheldon. The TV station chose the most obvious no-nonsense name for the new series that will actually compete against the 11th season of The Big Bang Theory, namely Young Sheldon. I would have recommended them the same title.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

US, sane European countries should warn EU against anti-Hungarian blackmail

First, off-topic news from particle physics:

A new paper looking for a Z'-boson in the quark-quark-jet channel finds a modest excess (2.9 sigma locally, 2.2 globally) for the Z' mass around \(115\GeV\). No, the bump is not exactly the at the \(125\GeV\) regular Higgs' place. But record that LEP as well as some early LHC hints suggested a new boson at \(115\GeV\) in some easier channels.

Today, the Parliament of the European Union – whose members are "lawmakers" that are not allowed to propose any laws – has adopted a new pathological resolution directed against Hungary (393 yes, 221 no, 64 abstain). Hungary's minister of foreign affairs has already classified the resolution as a new attack by the Soros network. The EU-Hungarian exchanges sound like a post-modern addition to the Hungarian dances.

Aside from Hungarian dances, don't forget about the Slavonic ones, either. The latter may be a bit less spicy, much like Czech cuisine is more bland than the Hungarian one (and except for Dumka, all of them are in X-major, not X-minor), but they're underappreciated in the West, anyway.

Recently, Hungary adopted laws allowing the migrants to be transferred to Serbia and laws regulating foreign NGOs and foreign citizens' owned universities on the Hungarian territory. The algorithm proposed by the EU Parliament to blackmail Hungary was described in a press release.

The members of the Soros network don't like the Hungarian laws – or any common sense let alone signs of a European country's sovereignty – so they decided to harass Hungary as a nation state. They claim that Hungary is violating Article 2 of the EU treaty which should lead to the activation of the Article 7(1) of the EU treaty – preliminary work on sanctions that could strip Hungary of the voting rights and/or EU funds, among other things.

Richard Lindzen's talk in Prague

I am still a bit overloaded (also because the new phone I bought yesterday had a defective charging/battery and speaker so I returned it). So let me post some material that deviates from the most typical genre. John Archer wanted some report about Lindzen's talk in Prague. Here you have a fast translation of an initial draft of a report in Czech that I have to write.

Richard Lindzen's talk in Prague

Richard Lindzen, prof emeritus at MIT, is the most famous atmospheric physicist among the climate skeptics. I know him from Greater Boston, and because he spends several months in every year in Paris, I have convinced him that Czechia (Prague but even Pilsen) is worth seeing.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

QBism: Fuchs vs Bohr+Motl

Quantum Bayesianist Christopher Fuchs wrote a laughable, 43-page-long reply (titled Notwithstanding Bohr, the Reasons for QBism) to two blog posts of mine,

Bohr, Heisenberg, Landau wouldn't find QBism new [116]

Is quantum reality "personal"? [117]
which tries to claim that he has found something that Bohr and other founders of quantum mechanics didn't know about the meaning of the laws of quantum mechanics and the probabilities that they predict. Fuchs thanks two people who live in "time portals to our history", several other uninteresting names,
and Luboš Motl for showing off just how poor the scholarship on this subject can be in some corners of physics [116, 117].
Because of an extreme time and sleeping deficit (days of hosting Richard Lindzen and his wife, including a rather intense yesterday's trip to Prague where Lindzen gave a wonderful talk masterminded by your humble correspondent, hosted by Czech ex-president Václav Klaus, and we ate in two expensive restaurants and meeting with a top archaeologist at noon and Václav Klaus and his aides in the evening, new phone I just received, and many other things), I won't read this preprint carefully and I think that credible physicists won't read it, either, but the abstract will be enough for them to be rather certain that I am right and Fuchs is wrong: He just hasn't added anything on top of Bohr that would make sense.

Sunday, May 14, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

I doubt Mileva contributed much to Einstein's work

Tonight, National Geographic CZ airs the fourth episode of "Genius" about Einstein. (I will have to watch it later because of another cultural event.) There's physics in it but the series is obviously focused on Einstein's relationship to other people, especially (but not only) women.

Ms Emily Jordan at Salon.com was inspired by the series yesterday and she published a piece titled

Well Hello, Dolly: Mileva Marić, Albert Einstein and the myth of the Great Man
emphasizing Einstein's flaws as a male and the idea that women may also be geniuses. Women may surely be geniuses but I am not sure whether Mileva Marić is a great example of that. She was very smart... but a genius is a slightly different category.

Saturday, May 13, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Journalists respond to the inflation wars

Two days ago, I wrote about two open letters about the cosmic inflation published in Scientific American. In February, critics ILS claimed that it wasn't even a science. Days ago, GLKN (Guth, Linde...) along with 29 other heavyweights who just signed defended the inflationary cosmology.

There have been some reactions in the pop science media.

First, Amy Adams wrote a Stanford press release:

Despite a popular media story, rumors of inflationary theory’s demise is premature, Stanford researchers say
It was later copied to Phys.Org. You may see that Amy Adams is working for Stanford which is proud about Linde, so it is a pro-Linde, pro-inflation story – which is reasonable. Similar comments apply to the text in the Stanford Daily
Stanford scientist defends inflationary origin theory of the universe
by Sarah Wishingrad. Stanford may be considered the world's headquarters of research on inflation. Aside from the inflation's co-founder Andrei Linde – who thrilled us by posting a comment on Thursday – Stanford also has numerous other brilliant researchers of the cosmic inflation. Some of them have written TRF blog posts in the past.

Aside from some self-evidently credible technical research on inflation, Stanford is also one of the hotbeds of the anthropic reasoning which I don't find so nice. But it's clear that it's a kind of metaphysics that is somewhat naturally suggested by the technical results surrounding inflation – and its realization within string theory – and Stanford is arguably contributing the more rational things to the anthropic reasoning, too.

Friday, May 12, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

How Tim Maudlin "solved" the information loss puzzle

I believe that I have encountered the name "Tim Maudlin" of a self-described "philosopher" before 2011 but Fall 2011 was the first season when I was first fully exposed to his staggering arrogance combined with his utter stupidity. As discussed in Tom Banks and anti-quantum zealots, Maudlin was the most combative troll in the comment section of a guest blog about the foundations of quantum mechanics written by my former PhD adviser on Sean Carroll's blog.

Maudlin's name has appeared in the following years several times. But I honestly don't remember anything special about this particular "Gentleman's" opinions about quantum mechanics. He is just another anti-quantum zealot who accepts classical physics as a fact and says all the wrong things that "therefore the world is surely nonlocal" and the stuff that the anti-quantum zealots share. Mr Maudlin, don't you think that if it were enough to be a worthless peabrain like you that only understands the rough basics of classical physics to solve all problems in modern physics, the physicists would have already noticed?

Well, his "answers" to all questions in quantum mechanics based on the dictum that only classical physics is allowed wasn't enough for him. He decided to address a famous puzzle in contemporary decades, the black hole information paradox, too. The result was the fresh paper (Information) Paradox Lost whose content is equivalent to the following sentences:

The final slice after a black hole evaporated isn't a Cauchy surface – because some timelike trajectories don't quite get there (they end in the singularity). That is why this late surface shouldn't be expected to hold the whole information about the spacetime. Some information got clearly lost in the singularity. My solution is so straightforward that I refuse to call this trivial thing a "paradox" and all people working on complementarity, ER=EPR etc. have been idiots.
Maudlin is a stuttering moron so he needs 25 pages of rubbish to convey this point. The pages are full of trivial introductions to some aspects of the black hole geometry, repetitions, and variations of the basic claims that theoretical physicist are idiots.

So has Maudlin given us the right answer to the questions about the information loss so that we may stop thinking about it? Well, he hasn't. His answer is simple but a slight problem with it is that for some two decades, we have known for certain that it is wrong. The information is not lost.

Thursday, May 11, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Why the "testability" criticisms of inflation are silly

Because the inflation revolution is analogous to having eaten a forbidden apple

In February, three critics of inflation Ijjas, Steinhardt, Loeb (ILS) published a diatribe in Scientific American titled "Cosmic Inflation Theory Faces Challenges". They tried to defend the seemingly indefensible – the claim that there exist reasons to abandon the inflationary cosmology. They combined various unflatteringly sounding, mostly irrational sentences about the experimental status of inflation as well as its theoretical underpinnings.

As Sean Carroll and Peter W*it have mentioned, a day or two ago, dozens of authors signed under the response (also) in Scientific American named "A Cosmic Controversy". Note that ILS's title already tried to summarize their opinion while the title of the pro-inflation article doesn't make it clear that it's pro-inflation. This pattern can be seen repeatedly: Wrong statements often appear as titles but correct ones almost never do. Why is it so? I think that the journalists believe that more readers are attracted when the title is a wrong proposition.

The new pro-inflation text was penned by folks like Guth, Linde, Kaiser, Nomura (GLKN) but also by famous folks like Hawking, Witten, Maldacena, Susskind, occasional TRF guest bloggers Randall, Silverstein, but also by Sean Carroll, among others.

Most cosmologists would agree that the inflationary cosmology is a vital fundamental building block in most of the thinking about cosmology in the modern era. In its rather general form, the theory of inflation says that the Universe has undergone a period of intense, approximately exponential expansion driven by a scalar field that was away from the minimum where it's sitting now. The previous sentence is a huge insight but it's not a complete theory so most of the detailed questions may remain – and indeed do remain – unanswered even if you deduce all derivable consequences from the paradigm that I have already described.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

What 30% of Czech voters tolerate to Babiš is incredible

I have written critical blog posts about the political culture, the atmosphere of cowardliness, collective irrationality, and the evaporating democracy in Germany. So it's somewhat refreshing to see a series of events in the Czech basin that make Germans think and behave in a more civilized way than Czechs. Such events show that the world is still alright. ;-) The West is in the West and the East is in the East.

Czech billionaire (second wealthiest Czech after financier Petr Kellner who [also] funds the Klaus Institute but is otherwise not interested in politics) and former Slovak communist snitch Mr Andrej Babiš has been a villain in numerous scandals and about one-half of them emerged in the recent weeks or a month. First of all, he shouldn't have become a minister because he was a snitch and the "lustration" law declared it impossible for these 160,000 citizens (1%) of Czechoslovakia who were reporting their politically inconvenient compatriots to become ministers or similar top politicians.

He also became a billionaire – his Agrofert Holding, held through a trust since February, is worth some $3 billion. Babiš is about as wealthy as Trump. Lots of recent data show that he simply stole the assets of the communist company Petrimex. He also stole the share of his former classmates in Switzerland. Yes, during communism, much like in the case of Kim Jong Un, the elite communist parents sent their spoiled brat to study to Switzerland.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

PBS hypes Tyson and his simulation stupidities

The PBS spacetime is a textbook example of a pop-science channel that collects and sells the most widespread laymen's and journalists' misconceptions about science as if they were real science. Sometimes the videos summarize the insights or views of the somewhat informed laymen, too, but more often, they don't. I have criticized their takes on the foundations of quantum mechanics and other things.

Just to be sure, there are also some episodes on elementary enough things that are basically OK and maybe even helpful to educate the public.

In this 6-days-old episode, the main host Matt invited Neil deGrasse Tyson, probably to attract some truly superficial viewers who consider this obnoxious moron to be a symbol of science. Relatively to Tyson, Matt talks like a genius. Tyson is reduced to offensively idiotic comments about an extraterrestrial or futuristic teenager in their parents' garage. This kind of a talk is probably expected to make the whole picture "hip" and that's enough for it to be widely accepted among the degenerated youth that pretends to be "into science" but they are really "into pseudoscientific stupidities".

Monday, May 08, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Hawking: mankind, leave Earth in 100 years

As The Independent and dozens of other sources told us, Stephen Hawking has "improved" his previous recommendation on a recently aired BBC program.

Half a year ago, he said that the mankind had to leave the Earth in 1,000 years if it wants to survive. He has corrected the number and what he says now is the following: all the men have to shoot themselves to another celestial body in 100 years if the mankind and/or the Earth wants to survive.

The stupidity of all these proclamations seems breathtaking to me.

Sunday, May 07, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Macron beats Le Pen

Right now, I believe that my statement that the "Macron defeat wasn't very unlikely" was incorrect, after all. It's still being predicted, based on partial results, that he will score a 65-to-35 victory over Le Pen. If something changes dramatically, I will revise or delete this blog post.

But the data available now do indicate that some 3-sigma fluke was needed so the probability of a Macron victory was close to 99.7% and the bookmakers have overstated the chances of a surprising result. I hope that Tom Vonk has kept his bet and won some modest interest. On the other hand, my condolences to John Archer who has made a bet on Le Pen.

Saturday, May 06, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Techmania: physics fun but something is missing without the maths

On Friday, we spent almost five hours in Techmania, Pilsen's science center built on the land that belonged to Škoda Works: the Pilsner episode of War of Tanks (where tanks can fly) is taking place almost exactly in Techmania. The only Czech 3D planetarium is a part of the facility. With a friend, we went to the planetarium last year or so.

But I haven't seen the main expositions for more than 2 years. So yesterday I could see that things got much more polished (even though you can still see in most of the area that the place used to be a factory), some gadgets were added. Sadly, some helpful gadgets have apparently disappeared, too.

Thursday, May 04, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Czech government crisis is tense, fun to watch

Two days ago, the Czech prime minister Sobotka announced his intent to resign – and, according to the traditions, this includes the removal of the whole government. The move was unexpected for almost everybody including myself (we assumed that he could only say "it's OK" or "fire Babiš only"). People have lots of opinions about the usefulness or legitimacy of the step.

I think that my opinion that it was a potentially ingenious chess move is a rare one but some other pundits, like the former ideologue of center-right ODS Vlastimil Tlustý, seem to agree with my view. It's rather likely that a similar government will complete the term that ends by the Fall 2017 elections but the details matter, the events may be spun in totally new unexpected ways, and there exists some chance that the elections will end up very differently than the outcome that people have been taking for granted for years.

The unexpected plan to resign was similar to the decision of an ice-hockey coach to remove the goalkeeper to increase the chance of a victory. The "temperature" increases and so does the probability of otherwise unlikely events.

The populist billionaire Babiš would normally be expected to get some 30+ percent of the votes but things may be very different because of the havoc that started on Tuesday. To say the least, Babiš seems extremely anxious. Things aren't evolving according to his plans.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Ann Nelson's embarrassing essay about "minorities" in physics

Ann Nelson is a physics professor in Seattle. I think that she is a very good particle physicist and when I was visiting their place, I wasn't forced to abandon the implicit assumption that she was basically a sensible person. Well, like so many women in physics, she became a part-time feminist activist. In the May issue of Physics Today, she "enriched" us with the following diatribe:

Commentary: Diversity in physics: Are you part of the problem?
What an amazing pile of junk, Ann. She complains that she doesn't have a black colleague at the University of Washington's physics faculty. If this particular comment were meant to be a tool to hire a smart black guy whom I knew as a Harvard graduate student, it's a very painful way to push the pendulum in similar questions.

After a few sentences about shame, forced guilt, and self-celebration of this self-anointed pioneer of the female penetration to physics departments, Nelson writes:
I often get asked, “Why are there so few women in physics?” That anyone would ask that question shows how oblivious many people are to the sexism and bias that permeate our society and physics culture.
If you often get asked why there are few women in physics, it's pretty painful that you have made no progress in understanding the answer – even though it's so simple. The average women's IQ is only smaller by 2-3 points than men's and wouldn't make a big impact. What's more important is that the IQ distribution (much like distributions of many other quantities) is wider among men, by about 10%, relatively to the women. And this makes the number of men above the (math-related) IQ score of 140 greater than the number of women by almost one order of magnitude. See e.g. this article by La Griffe du Lion for some simple numbers extracted from the normal distribution.

Aristotle's Sudoku puzzle

...and a metaphor for the exceptional structures in algebra, theoretical physics, string theory...

The most mentally demanding gift I received for our spring Xmas last night ;-) is the "Great Minds Aristotle's Number Classic Wooden Puzzle" which you may buy at amazon.com. Aristotle must have not only played with that – I think that he invented it. Unless it was invented by the Chinese because it's also sometimes named the "Lo Shu puzzle". And it may be just a modern (Chinese?) invention inspired by more primitive work of Aristotle's, I am not sure. If you hate Sudoku, you will hate this puzzle because it's Sudoku on steroids.

At those times, thinkers must have played with such wooden pieces and marbles a lot. I just verified that up to the obvious 12-element symmetry transformations, the solution to this puzzle is unique. This fact seems rather shocking. Why is the number of solutions exactly one? How could he invent it?

Tuesday, May 02, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Resignation of Czech government

More than three years ago, the Czech social democracy won the elections ahead of the populist billionaire Andrej Babiš's "ANO" (="YES", an acronym for "Alliance of the Pissed-off Citizens") – it was almost a tie. A calm, uncharismatic leader of the social democrats, Mr Sobotka, a life-long politician, became the prime minister because the ANO's result was just slightly worse than that of the social democrats. But it has been generally understood that the "de facto prime minister" was the somewhat charismatic, aggressive billionaire Andrej Babiš, the finance minister.

This wasn't the first time when the finance minister was considered the "de facto prime minister". In the government of center-right plasma physicist Mr Petr Nečas, the finance minister Mr Miroslav Kalousek was the by far louder and more controversial and combative guy. Kalousek is not only Babiš's predecessor as the finance minister – but also the "personification of all evil" that Babiš constantly talks about in his sermons addressed to his brain-dead quasi-religious sect. Babiš and his sheep seem as obsessed with Kalousek as some believers are obsessed with the Devil.

In late 2013, the Christian Democratic Union – the Czechoslovak People's Party (yes, they keep this name) – became a junior coalition partner. They liked to join most governments after the 1989 Velvet Revolution.

OK, when Sobotka joined forces with Babiš, the social democracy wanted to build on what they have in common: the hatred towards the small businesses, populism, licking of the aßes of the losers who are always easier to be manipulated than the people who depend on themselves. But there were lots of differences and time bombs. Babiš sometimes acts as if he were a rightwinger – all owners of "very big corporations" unavoidably do so at some times. More seriously, Babiš is a completely "apolitical" politician who has no values, no ideology, no spine. That's different from the social democrats who try to extend the tradition of a party that has existed for more than a century.

Monday, May 01, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Gerry's postcard from 1895 and an unknown town

Beneath the blog post about Google Translate, Gerry told us about a postcard that his wife's grandparents stored in the attic since 1895.

They didn't have time to read it up to May Day 2017 ;-) but Gerry is rather certain that the writing is in German. Well, I am rather sure as well. In fact, my German is more or less enough to understand what's going on.

Saturday, April 29, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Bret Stephens' skepticism will spread from NYT to other mainstream sources

Bill Z. has sent me a link to the New York Times op-ed

Climate of Complete Certainty
by Bret Stephens, recently taken away from WSJ. The New York Times have promoted this first op-ed by the new guy as a "top story" and lots of readers have reacted.

The content of the op-ed is simple. Stephens – who looks like a classic lukewarmer to me here, not too much more skeptical than Andy Revkin – says that it's wrong to expect that one is 100% certain. Only fanatics do so, sane people know that they're 65% right if they're really good, and the climate alarmists claiming certainty should be ashamed.

OK, that's a simple message. Everything else are redundant decorations and fancy language. I do see that Stephens' writing resembles that of some true masters of literature as an art but I am not quite sure whether I am the kind of guy who fully appreciates this aspect of someone's writing. Clarity, efficiency, and especially accuracy of the content are way more important for me.

Friday, April 28, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Our guru Bill Nye, the science and arts guy, revolutionized the evolution theory

Guest blog by April Horgan, the CEO of the Ivy League World Salvation

I am grateful to comrade Motl for the opportunity to speak to readers of this wonderful progressive website. You may know Bill Nye as one of the most brilliant and famous scientists of all times – and the best dancer at Dancing with the Stars. But what you don't know is that he is also the best musician and musical host ever.

In his new Netflix show appropriately named Bill Nye Saves the World, he introduced a very special guest, the best non-male pansexual singer of the world, Rachel Bloom. Ze is absolutely brilliant, everyone talks about zer all the time, zer singing isn't out-of-tune at all, and ze has so much breath left.

Thursday, April 27, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Like James Bond, Nature loves to walk a micron from the cliff

Inconsistencies, like the death of 007, are often avoided by microns or "almost" miracles. Nature abhors arbitrary bans on "potentially dangerous" things.

If you are a realist and you watch a movie about James Bond or a similar film, you may be annoyed by some scenes that seem very unlikely. In the real world, you may argue, the hero would have died about 20 times throughout the movie. It's implausible that the hero could have survived so many lethal challenges. And if he has survived them, it would be much more likely that he escaped them an hour, and not a second, before the last moment.

These movies may be said to be "unrealistic" and you could rephrase the adjective as "unnatural". James Bond's survival is "unnatural", some people could say. The word "unnatural" indicates that this is not how Nature normally behaves. And when you apply this reasoning to the laws of physics, you may be led to think that Nature actually avoids this last-minute and last-micron salvation, all the miracles that keep the likes of James Bond alive – and that allow him to beat the foes. Nature is insured and many layers of insurance policies are protecting Her from being fatally hurt – from being inconsistent.

But you would be completely wrong. Nature loves to survive – and Her laws are consistent – but She doesn't have numerous levels of insurance. She actually is and loves to be similar to James Bond. Her goal is to survive, not to "safely" survive, and She does it, often walking an infinitesimal distance away from a cataclysm.

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 Technet.cz, 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 arXiv.org.

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.

Metro.cz, 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 Novinky.cz (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 Stream.org 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.