Wednesday, October 01, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Post-socialist EU members find climate alarmist policies undesirable

Websites focusing on policies inspired by the climate hysteria have noticed that

Six EU states cast doubt on proposed 2030 climate goals (RTCC)

Visegrad Group dissatisfied with EU climate policy (Hungary Today)

Poland on course for battle on new EU climate change targets (Financial Times)
Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland (so far, you may call it the Visegrad Group), as well as Bulgaria and Romania (now you may call it the Warsaw Pact, too) have protested against the "renewable energy targets" that some of the EU apparatchiks may have the arrogance to release in October 2014. Also, the countries think that the burden is unfair and the wishful thinking – such as the 40% decrease of carbon emissions by 2030 – seem unrealistic.

Donetsk airport swap canard

Like most wars in the modern era, the Ukrainian civil war is a war between propaganda machines, too. I think that one of the sides of this conflict is more excited about the fabrication of misintepretations and downright lies and I don't need to tell you which side I mean.



The story about the "swap negotiations" involving the Donetsk airport is a rather incredible example of the propaganda war that sometimes reaches ludicrous proportions. Around 10 a.m. Czech Summer Time, some Ukrainian media would report that the pro-Kiev de iure governor of the Donetsk Region Mr Serhij Taruta informed everyone that his side and the representatives of Novorussia would negotiate about an exchange.

The Kiev forces would vacate the Donetsk airport, one of the last islands they were capable of holding but they were gradually losing, while they would acquire "huge territories" near Donetsk currently controlled by Novorussia. Novoazovsk was sadly not among the places Kiev was supposed to win, we were told.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Glimpsed second Higgs at \(137\GeV\) OK with BLSSM, not MSSM

Fifteen months ago, I discussed a very interesting paper by CMS that has seen a 2.73-sigma or 2.93-sigma (depending on details) excess suggesting the existence of a second CP-even neutral Higgs boson at mass \(m_{h'}=136.5\GeV\).



Three months later, I mentioned some weak dilepton evidence in favor of this new particle. Today, W. Abdallah, S. Khalil, and S. Moretti released a hep-ph preprint that tests the incorporation of this hypothetical second Higgs boson into supersymmetric models:

Double Higgs peak in the minimal SUSY \(B-L\) model
It may be the most interesting paper on the arXiv today.

Hong Kong's homogenization within China is unstoppable

"Pro-democratic" protests in Hong Kong continue to cause havoc in that province – and the global markets.

I find most of the chaos and the attention to these protesters incomprehensible. Apparently, they are protesting the planned non-democratic character of some 2017 elections (or perhaps I should say "appointments"). Some sources say that they just want to express sympathies with the protesters in Ferguson, too. ;-) These two explanations seem very different but no one is quite sure which of them is more accurate.



I couldn't learn how to walk on such a street, let alone how to learn the 3,000 Kung Fu characters. At least, when two Chinese Germans asked me how to get to a river in Ejpovice, I could teach them that here in Czechia, it's not a "livel" but a "rrrriverrrrrr". :-)

First, some basic background. I would isolate three "more capitalist provinces" of Greater China – places that we would know from the "MADE IN ***" on lots of electronics products since the 1980s. First, there is Singapore. 75% of its 5 million people are Chinese but Singapore is a tip of the Malay Peninsula (the peninsula consisting mostly of Malaysia and connected to the thicker peninsula of Indochina – with Vietnam, Thailand etc.). Singapore isn't "too close" to mainland China but it's heavily Chinese because China has used it for trade.

Monday, September 29, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Peacefully redrawing Middle East borders

Several years ago, Dr Sheldon Cooper FTW outlined a clever plan to solve the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Dr Gablehauser said that Dr Cooper was a nut but everyone knows that Sheldon's IQ is 187 which means something.



This map is perverse but it also shows that these loons have some visions, unless most of the civilized world.

Here, we are going to solve not just one problem of the Middle East but all of them. ;-) A general problem is that the existing borders don't really reflect the conditions on the ground too well which is why there are civil wars and why the current borders are being questioned. Despite the constant interventions, the U.S. and others have no clue how they want the region to evolve and what the supposed political map will be in 2030, for example.

On the other hand, the Islamic State has drawn ambitious maps – see the example above. What I am going to present is less ambitious but much more reasonable and could actually win the support of a large fraction of the people in the region as well as the international community, thus reducing the desire of everyone to fight. Of course that the regional and/or international armies would have to co-operate to bring the planned rearrangement into reality. The plan was prepared from the viewpoint of maximum pragmatism which isn't something that many people in the region (and even in the West!) are used to but they may get used to it, anyway.

A surge of attacks against classical GR

A decade ago, an organized movement of hardcore crackpots began its public assaults against string theory.

Because most of the central results of the string theory paradigm have been established with as much rigor as you may ever get in natural science, it was pretty clear to me that given someone's semi-successful efforts to obfuscate some of the pillars of state-of-the-art science, it would soon or later become possible to attack any result in science and team up with journalists who will do the job.

The deterioration of the public discourse was faster than I could imagine. To quantify some of these processes, note that the resistance to string theory requires one to reject some of the most important results of science of the 1990s and sometimes the 1980s. You could say that they're still "recent enough" so that the people interested in science haven't had enough time to absorb them yet – 20 or 30 years may be considered "too short a period".

However, what we saw later was the escalating questioning of the very basic postulates of quantum mechanics which is really a framework of modern physics almost fully uncovered in the 1920s. That's almost 90 years ago. We have been seeing totally idiotic articles about the foundations of quantum mechanics in the media that call themselves "science media", pretty much on a daily basis.

Influence of parity violation on biochemistry measured

Parity violation could matter in biology, after all

Up to the 1950s, people would believe that the laws of physics were invariant under the simple left-right mirror reflection. However, neutrinos were found to be left-handed and other processes linked to the weak nuclear force that violate the left-right symmetry were found in the 1950s. You know, the direction of the electron that leaves a nucleus after it beta-radiates is correlated with the nucleon's spin even though the velocity is a polar vector and the spin is an axial vector – such a correlation couldn't exist in a left-right-symmetric world.

A prejudice has been falsified. Ten years later, the CP symmetry was shown to be invalid as well although its violation in Nature is even tinier. The combined CPT symmetry has to hold and does hold (at least so far), as implied by Pauli's CPT theorem.



Bromocamphor, to become a player below

With the help of chiral spinors (and perhaps self-dual or anti-self-dual middle, (\(2k+1\))-forms i.e. antisymmetric tensors if the spacetime dimension is \(4k+2\)) particle physicists learned to build left-right-asymmetric theories and it became a mundane business. The electroweak theory included in the Standard Model is the most tangible real-world example of a left-right-asymmetric theory.

We also observe some left-right asymmetry in the world around us. Most of us have a heart on the left side – which could be an accident. But such left-right asymmetries exist at a more elementary level. Amino acids and other molecules look different than their images in the mirror – and all the life we know seems to use only one of the two images, typically a "left-handed-screwed" version of such molecules.

Is there a relationship to the violation of the parity at the fundamental level?

Saturday, September 27, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

RT: Dawkins on biology, psychology of ISIS, religion

I've liked some of the intellectual videos about atheism (like Jonathan Miller's Atheism Tapes with Steve Weinberg and others) but it just happens that these profound enough intellectual debates began to be moved to places such as the Russian media in recent years.



Russia Today has just posted this video of its program "Worlds Apart" hosted by Oxana Bojko. I am confident that she is so advanced that she will be able to peacefully read my comment that there are hotter babes on Russia Today – both those from the post-Soviet realm as well as those imported from the U.S. But holy cow, she is intelligent, indeed. To say the least, she looked like a peer of Dawkins'.

Hartle, Srednicki on foundations of QM

In August, there was a workshop on the foundations of quantum mechanics (see 12 videos) where lots of nonsense has been said but there were smart and reasonable people, too. Santa Barbara is a nice and sunny place in California but it's also a source of almost reliably sensible comments on quantum mechanics.



Because we discussed Murray Gell-Mann's comments about quantum mechanics a few days ago, I think it's natural to start with Gell-Mann's co-father of the Consistent Histories, Jim Hartle. He gave a talk about the emergence of classical physics.

I could obviously describe the talk in the usual detailed TRF way but let me avoid it this time. The main points is that the default behavior of physical systems is the quantum behavior, classical physics is just a limit, and whether this limit is relevant must be judged by the approximate validity of the classical dynamical laws as extracted from the probabilities of some coarse-grained histories. The degree of "classicality" may be quantified and Hartle was discussing some relationships between classicality and complexity.

Thursday, September 25, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Bash ShellShock: upgrade your Linux-like platforms

I have often emphasized that Linux is an example of non-commercial, communism-based software architecture where no one is financially motivated to take his responsibility for the quality and safety of his products seriously.

Today happens to be a day which makes my words much more important than they have been for many previous years. Yesterday, a serious bug that the media often declare to be worse than Heartbleed was found in Bash, the world's most widespread command line shell for Unix (a Unix counterpart of DOS, you could say).



The bug affects all versions of Unix and Linux released between 1994 and 2014 (yesterday) and everything that is sufficiently Unix-like so that it incorporates "Bash" in some form – in particular, lots of "things" on the Internet of things, routers, Apple's MacOS X system, but in principle also Android and iOS – and applications that may call "Bash" during their routine tasks.

Everything with "*nix" and "*nux" in it is in danger; the only exception is Richard Nixon who is already safe. He died in 1994, exactly when the flaw was introduced to the Unix system by Brian Fox (not Cox) who was ordered to create "Bash" by the hardcore communist named Richard Stallman. Thank you, comrade. So much for the claims that open-source software is safe because everyone can look into it. The problem is that almost no one does because this extra work creates no profit.

The mobile devices with Android and iOS – like the newest bendable iPhone 6 Plus – are less likely to be targets because "Bash" isn't used that often. However, MacOS X is a full-fledged target. Attacks against the vulnerabilities have already been detected and because "Bash" is comprehensible to millions of people, the creativity of the attacks is likely to grow exponentially in coming weeks.

Czech ex-PM Nečas: stop hostility towards Russia

Related: see also "The lies Europe tells about Russia are monstrous" by Czech ex-president Klaus in The Spectator (where they called him – generously yet deeply pessimistically – the last outspoken leader in the West)
There are folks in Czech politics who enjoy repeating the mindless Obama-style, and sometimes even Bandera-style if not Hitler-style, hateful proclamations against Russia and designing silly methods intended to harm Russia (which is often the goal even if they also harm themselves or their citizens or allies).

But I think that it is getting increasingly clear every day that the majority of the Czech political representatives do view Russia as a partner. It's true about President Zeman, Ex-president Klaus, PM Sobotka, the billionaire and deputy PM Babiš, and, we were just reminded by the Czech and Slovak media and by RIA, among others, former PM Nečas (2010-2013, see the picture).

Petr Nečas, a guy with a PhD in plasma physics, was the boss of ODS, the Klaus-founded conservative party (for decades after 1989, the main Czech right-wing party) that became much less conservative a decade ago when it diverged away from Klaus and that turned into a small party a year or two ago. I met him on Klaus' birthday party in June, he was smiling and was shaven, having reverted his temporary image from the times when he was harassed by some malicious and frivolous Czech investigators.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Murray Gell-Mann on foundations of quantum mechanics

Last Monday, Murray Gell-Mann celebrated his 85th birthday: congratulations!



As far as I remember, I have never published a blog post that would be primarily dedicated to Gell-Mann's comments about the foundations of quantum mechanics. So this is the first time. The 17-minute-long video monologue above was taken from multi-hour interviews with him (and analogously, many others) on the "Web of Stories".

Smug condescension, other signatures of Sagan, Tyson eras

Honza U. sent me a link to a wonderful text by Robert Tracinski,

Neil deGrasse Tyson and the Science of Smug Condescension (thefederalist.com)
That website seems to be all about Neil deGrasse Tyson whom I don't consider too important in one way or another (perhaps just because I have never been exposed to his recent TV program: I have no idea whether I would like most of it!) but he plays the role of the "symbol" of some undesirable trends in the attitude to science that the laymen are being led to in this world.

Neil deGrasse Tyson – and before him, to some extent, even Carl Sagan – often create the picture that it's important for the viewers to get familiar with the scientific thinking, have appreciation for it, and ignore the invalidity or inaccuracy of the facts that are sometimes sold to make a "bigger point".

But as Tracinski rightfully mentions, the respect for the facts – and for accuracy – is really a cornerstone of the actual scientific method so there's no way for the Tyson "facts-ignoring" and "facts-twisting" style to educate people to think in a way that is actually scientific. Instead, these methods only strengthen the point that "it is the show that matters" and create low-brow cults of personality and not really any understanding for science. If a presenter is as smart and as educated as an average undergrad, he is also likely to err equally frequently – but the cult of an "infallible science guy" prevents some people from understanding this simple point.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

An interview with Edward Witten at a bizarre place

Most events in the "science journalism" of the recent years have been really strange, to put it extremely mildly. So the following thing is probably just another example of the rule. But listen.

John Horgan is a loud, violent, and obnoxious critic of science who believes that science has ended. In fact, he has also written extensive texts about the end of mathematics. The oppressive numbers, functions, and groups have collapsed and all this fantasy called mathematics is over, Horgan has informed his readers.

Before he published a loony "book" titled "The End of Science" sometime in the mid 1990s, he would also interview Edward Witten (in 1991). Well, the word "interview" is too strong. Horgan himself had to admit that it was a childish yet brutally malicious assault on theoretical physics in general, string theory in particular, and Witten as a person.

Now, in the wake of the Kyoto Prize that Witten won – congratulations but no surprise – we may read another interview with Witten in the Scientific American's blogs hosted by... John Horgan.

Physics Titan Edward Witten Still Thinks String Theory “On the Right Track”
I don't actually know whether Witten knew that he was being interviewed by the e-mail but the text surely makes you believe that he did and we're told that some "publicist" behind the Kyoto Prize had to choose Horgan as the "interviewer". Oh my God.

Monday, September 22, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Why I remain a BICEP2 believer

Because I can see the non-dust pattern with naked eyes...

Just three days ago, I wrote a blog post about BICEP2. So I wasn't terribly excited to write down another blog post once the Planck Collaboration published a paper claiming that the BICEP2 could be due to dust, especially because I don't find the Planck paper to be terribly new, interesting, insightful, or game-changing.



A random image, taken from Perceiving randomness: egalitarian bias

They've been saying similar things since the spring and the arguments they presented today don't seem stronger than the previous ones.

Their fits don't seem to be too good without the error margins and as far as I can say, they are inflating the errors by inventing various kinds of "extra errors" (such as the "conversion error") in order to dilute and obfuscate the signal that they may have failed to discover, despite their superior gadgets and huge funding. This production of spurious errors sort of reminds me of Gerhard Schröder's invention of new taxes such as the environmental tax, the beverage tax, the bad weather tax, and others (Schröder wasn't a sufficiently arrogant hardcore thief to propose a carbon tax, however!).

Much of this tension is a clash of personalities. I think that what BICEP2 has shown is the experimental science of the best kind and unless some embarrassing error emerges (I really mean something like a loosened OPERA cable: it hasn't emerged so far), I will continue to think of them highly even if their discovery is ultimately reduced to dust (or another background). Like proper stereotypical experimenters, they didn't really believe a word that the theorists like to say (all proper experimenters think that gravity is actually caused by leprechauns and GR is just a theorists' fairy-tale for babies to sleep smoothly; but if a theorist needs the experimenters to empirically determine something, the good experimenters are as reliable as a vacuum cleaner). However, after they spent a very long time by efforts to show that their signal is due to something else, they published a paper with the discovery claim and it was undoubtedly right that they did so. Science couldn't operate if the publication of a discovery were viewed as a blasphemy.

A simple explanation behind AMS' electron+positron flux power law?

Aside from tweets about the latest, not so interesting, and inconclusive Planck paper on the dust and polarized CMB, Francis Emulenews Villatoro tweeted the following suggestive graphs to his 7,000+ Twitter followers:



The newest data from the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer are fully compatible with the positron flux curve resulting from an annihilating lighter than \(1\TeV\) dark matter particle. But the steep drop itself hasn't been seen yet (the AMS' dark matter discovery is one seminar away but it may always be so in the future LOL) and the power-law description seems really accurate and attractive.

What if neither dirty pulsars nor dark matter is the cause of these curves? All of those who claim to love simple explanations and who sometimes feel annoyed that physics has gotten too complicated are invited to think about the question.

NYPD was only able to arrest 100 "climate" communist criminals so far

...along with 1 polar bear...

Off-topic: the 8th season of The Big Bang Theory was started yesterday. If you have missed those episodes, don't miss the next ones.
On Sunday, "The People's Climate March" took place in Manhattan. According to their counts, it was attended by 310,000 communist and socialist hecklers; the figure includes about 100,000 hecklers who were actually observable in the visible spectrum.

These individuals brought the world another clear piece of evidence that the global warming movement has nothing whatever to do with science, despite the often repeated outrageous lies that it has; it's all about the extremist ideology and some people's straightforward strategy to make profit out of this political junk that controls the hearts of a not quite negligible fraction of the bottom of the contemporary human society.

According to their yelling and banners, most of the demonstrators wanted to undermine and burn capitalism and corporations and establish communism or socialism or the same inhuman regime described by other words. It's very clear that the extremist communist fringe of the political spectrum is what represents the "grassroot movement" behind the delusions about "climate change". These people have been loud, obnoxious, and manageable – but they may potentially become dangerous.

Meanwhile, Avaaz and 350.org, two fraudulent organizations promoting the climate hysteria, have abused the large amount of rabble that has accumulated on the streets of New York to get some extra funding. The immorality of all these mechanisms couldn't be clearer.

Sunday, September 21, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

A conversation with Nima Arkani-Hamed

On behalf of the Science Museum in London, science historian Graham Farmelo hosted a conversation with a top particle physicist of his generation, Nima Arkani-Hamed, on November 14th, 2013.



A 55-minute video of excerpts from the event was posted just two months ago. You may speed the video up by a factor of 1.25 or 1.5, if you wish ("options" wheel).

Nima has said lots of interesting and important things about theoretical physics of the 20th century (it's easy to highlight the breakthroughs of the 20th century in 3 minutes: relativity, quanta, and their cooperative applications: as a team, relativity and QM are hugely constraining), the recent past, the present, and the future; the LHC and the Higgs boson, and lots of related things. What the fundamental laws can and can't explain (the theories are effective and hierarchical)?

We're at a rather special era because we're beginning to ask a new type of questions that are deeper and more structured, Nima said.

Kaggle: quantifying the African soil

If the most important task for the mankind and the computerkind (the fourth best friend of man's, after puppies, books, and women) was to recognize tau-tau semileptonic decays of the Higgs boson, the second most important task was to

predict the properties of the African soil.
Currently it's the only open Kaggle contest whose data aren't huge – in gigabytes – and that also offers the winners a few bucks.



You download a 13 MB training file and an 8 MB test file – an order of magnitude smaller files than what one needed in the Higgs contest.

Saturday, September 20, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Antarctica is a climate denier, too

Absolute record high in sea ice area improved by a few percent

These days, the climate alarmist media are full of tirades against the penguins.



Children should only be allowed to play with the polar bears and not the penguins, we often read, because penguins are evil conservatives, anti-Gore and anti-Stalinist mavericks and contrarians paid by the Koch brothers and the dirty Big Oil. Why did the climate alarmist whackos begin to hate these cute animals (and even erase Linux from their hard disks and stop rooting for the ice-hockey team in Pittsburgh)?

If you open the Cryosphere Today and especially a graph of the absolute Southern Hemisphere sea ice area, a graph from the places where the penguins live, you will see that these days, the sea ice area is surpassing the all-time record high. Well, "all-time" only means the recent 35 years but this period of time is still longer than most people's memory.

It's apparently politically incorrect for ice to accumulate and to say "f*ck you, you f*cked up alarmist aßes". A well-behaved ice with civil awareness should melt away and scream "help to save the planet and introduce a new tax and new bans!".

Friday, September 19, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

A pro-BICEP2 paper

Update Sep 22nd: a Planck paper on polarization is out, suggesting dust could explain the BICEP2 signal – or just 1/2 of it – but lacking the resolution to settle anything. A joint Planck-BICEP2 paper should be out in November but it seems predetermined that they only want to impose an upper bound on \(r\) so it won't be too strong or interesting, either.
It's generally expected that the Planck collaboration should present their new results on the CMB polarization data within days, weeks, or a month. Will they be capable of confirming the BICEP2 discovery – or refute it by convincing data?

Ten days ago, Planck published a paper on dust modelling:
Planck intermediate results. XXIX. All-sky dust modelling with Planck, IRAS, and WISE observations
I am not able to decide whether this paper has anything to say about the discovery of the primordial gravitational waves. It could be relevant but note that the paper doesn't discuss the polarization of the radiation at all.

Perhaps more interestingly, Wesley Colley and Richard Gott released their preprint
Genus Topology and Cross-Correlation of BICEP2 and Planck 353 GHz B-Modes: Further Evidence Favoring Gravity Wave Detection
that seems to claim that the data are powerful enough to confirm some influence of the dust yet defend the notion that the primordial gravitational waves have to represent a big part of the BICEP2 observation, too.