Friday, April 30, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Greece: a nation of irresponsible freeloaders

In January, I wrote about Greece, the Trojan horse in the eurozone. Of course, the problem has been getting more serious in the 3 months that followed so it may be a good idea to revisit the topic.

Their socialist governments have been piling a massive debt. Nowadays, a typical employee of the Greek public sector only deserves 60% of what he or she earns. In other words, the salaries have to drop by 40%.



The Greeks have been living completely unrealistic, unsustainable lives for quite some time. The debt they have accumulated ca no longer be "naturally repaid". The interest rates required by the markets, together with the expected decrease of the GDP, make it ever more unlikely that Greece can get rid of the debt. Without an "unnatural intervention", they're clearly on their final steps towards bankruptcy.

String Axiverse

One year ago, five phenomenologists have introduced the notion of the String Axiverse, a typically stringy realization of a set of axions whose masses are distributed quasi-uniformly on the log scale.

Asimina Arvanitaki, Savas Dimopoulos, Sergei Dubovsky, Nemanja Kaloper, and John March-Russell called the paper simply

String Axiverse.
Today, three string theorists - namely Bobby Samir Acharya, Konstantin Bobkov, and Piyush Kumar - posted one of the most interesting follow-ups:
An M Theory Solution to the Strong CP Problem and Constraints on the Axiverse
which gives a natural realization of the axiverse within string theory, therefore confirming the prophesies of the authors above.

Thursday, April 29, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

The analogy between the Universe and a black hole

A Spanish translation is available!

Sean Carroll is irritated by the analogies between the black holes and our Universe - and by the claims about the depth of such comparisons. Instead, he claims that such analogies are cheaper than a cup of grande latte at Starbucks (by 4 dollars or so):

The Universe is Not a Black Hole (Cosmic Variance)
Well, while I agree with most of the detailed technical statements by Carroll, I do think that the relationship is deep and probably hides some insights - and intuition - that we haven't yet fully mastered and that may uncover some additional mysteries of gravity (and quantum gravity).



But let's start with some facts.

A black hole is defined as a region whose interior is separated by the event horizon from the exterior (because of the curvature caused by a sufficient mass, according to the rules of general relativity): a black hole is an object from which it's causally impossible to ever return to the exterior world which is why not even light is allowed to ever escape from the black hole again.

Al Gore's new villa in California

Los Angeles Times told us that Al Gore - who remains at large - has bought a new villa for $8,875,000 in Montecito, just on the Eastern side from Santa Barbara, California.

(Well, I am more familiar with the Western side, around Goleta.)





Click either picture to zoom in. See more better pictures here. A cool visual tour in Flash (incl. interior and music).

Because it was the 7th most expensive Montecito real estate sale of 2009 and the price exactly agrees (much like other details), it was not hard for your humble correspondent to find the address:

The Top 10 Most Expensive Real Estate Sales in Montecito, CA in 2009
If you possess some excessive gasoline and you don't know what to do with this potential CO2 source, you may find the right answer in front of Gore's villa - assuming that the new owner shows up to sufficiently raise your adrenaline level. The address is

Wednesday, April 28, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

US government: AGW causes cancer, insanity, all other diseases

To show what kind of incredible mess my dear American readers allowed to thrive in their very own formerly exceptional country, I offer you the following link:

A human health perspective on climate change (PDF)
Twenty-one authors affiliated with official U.S. government institutions argue that global warming leads to the increase of cancer, mental and neurological illnesses, impotence, asthma, allergies, foodborne diseases, nutrition disorders, human development dysfunctions, heat-related and weather-related morbidity and mortality, vectorborne, zoonotic, and waterborne diseases, as well as all other diseases.

Discover interviews Shing-Tung Yau


The Math Behind the Physics Behind the Universe (click)
The interview looks at this exceptional mathematician in a somewhat more positive and more fair light than various recent anti-scientific diatribes.

It talks about young Yau's gang and fistfights, his modest background, the influence of his father, Yau's contributions to the unification of geometry and physics, clarification of hidden dimensions in string theory, efforts to reform the Academia in China and beyond, early love with maths, first happy encounters with California, the meaning of topology, the complexity of nonlinear equations, important teachers in Yau's career, the special beauty of complex manifold, the importance of Ricci curvature, his early opinions that the Calabi conjecture had to be wrong, the new air when it was known it was right, the way how string theory non-trivially solves many old puzzles, Chinese institutes influenced or founded by Yau, Chinese-U.S. relations, degree to which Perelman's proof was complete, and his viewpoint on the beauty of maths.

Quite a lot of things to cover! Recommended.

Hat tip: Wilie Soon

Alexa ranks of climate blogs

Willis Eschenbach has created a self-explanatory chart showing the traffic on climate blogs:



This chart was posted under an essay written by a guest blogger, Al Gore, on Anthony Watts' blog. You can see that WUWT is the most visited climate blog, ahead of Romm's blog, McIntyre's blog, RealClimate, Morano's portal, and DeSmogBlog.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Angela Merkel gives up binding carbon treaties

According to Spiegel, German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives up the possibility of future binding "climate agreements",

Merkel Abandons Aim of Binding Climate Agreement,
because she was too frustrated in Copenhagen. She only wants to look for non-binding solutions of the climate Armageddon.

That's bad news for German Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen who gave a talk about his three children last week. "The global mean temperature is 14.5 °C right now but when the global mean temperature increases to 16.5 °C, the life of my children and the life as we know it becomes impossible," Röttgen explained the universal evaporation of all compounds that apparently occurs near 16.49999 °C.

Dark matter news

In July, the space shuttle Endeavour was supposed to bring a few things to the International Space Station. The most important one was supposed to be the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. However, as The New York Times reveal in

Change in Experiment Will Delay Shuttle’s End,
a serious problem related to the very design of key parts has been found in this gadget that should look at dark matter and antimatter through unusual patterns in cosmic rays.



All the poor souls including experts at CERN, MIT, and NASA just realized - a few months before the scheduled launch - that the helium used in the superconducting magnets would boil away in 2-3 years, effectively killing the apparatus. Some experience with the LHC "explosions" was helpful to remind the people that helium can boil, too. ;-)

While it remains a controversial issue whether they should take the new discovery about the helium boiling into account at such an advanced point of the project, they're working to replace the superconducting magnets by ordinary ones. Sometimes, when you make a mistake, you have to return to the Stone Age. ;-)

But they were told that it doesn't matter whether the space shuttle is launched once or twice - because $0.6 billion is nothing (especially relatively to the $12 trillion debt) - so nothing bad has happened. :-)

Via David Berenstein and other sources

Monday, April 26, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Fuzzballs can melt wound strings

Stefano Giusto and Samir Mathur have a nice preprint today,

Unwinding of strings thrown into a fuzzball
that gives a pretty specific description of the way how black hole microstates can manage to spread the electric and magnetic fields, as dictated by the membrane paradigm.

Even individual microstates of a two-charge D1-D5 black hole, the fuzzballs, are apparently able to dilute the winding number of a string. The fuzzball contains a special curve inside the black hole, "S", whose location depends on the microstate and where the radius of the circle on which the string is wound is always shrunk to zero.

The spatial portion of the geometry near "S" resembles a Kaluza-Klein monopole while the temporal part is different - among other things, the "g_{tt}" redshift factor goes to zero. When a piece of an F-string approaches the curve "S", it can unwind over there and the corresponding flux quickly dilutes all over "S".

Saturday, April 24, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

LHC squeezed beams: luminosity jumped 10 times

Imagine that you produce a product and your production suddenly jumps 10 times. It would be a pretty good improvement, wouldn't it?



A quadrupole magnet: it plays a similar role to "lens" that can focus the beam in optics.

The LHC is producing collisions - a similar job to that of a heavyweight champion. And as CERN's twitter tweeted an hour ago, the collider has just improved the number of collisions per second by a factor of ten today!

Friday, April 23, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Red edge: entropy and life

If you take a photograph of plants in the infrared, they appear extremely bright, especially the leaves:



Click to get additional pictures.

In fact, as Sean Carroll correctly explains in The Red Edge, this behavior of the plants on the photographs can be reduced to their spectrum:

LHC and antimatter

The LHC began its routine work at 7 TeV. After the first preprint, ALICE has also submitted its

second preprint and third preprint
Both of them are about the multiplicity of charged particles. But the last one is extracted from the state-of-the-art 7 TeV collisions. As expected, the number of charged particles seems to grow with energy significantly faster than the existing models predicted. It seems unlikely that it's a real problem with the QCD - but it's a problem with the methods used to calculate the "composition" of the protons at high energies.



Meanwhile, another detector, LHCb, has discovered "its" first particle, the bottom quark. Various media somewhat superficially announce that the LHCb is going to investigate the antimatter: they probably mostly mean the CP violation that can be seen in B meson decays etc.

Thursday, April 22, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Richard Lindzen marks the Earth Day

Global warming alarmists have been discredited, but you wouldn't know it from the rhetoric this Earth Day.

See the full opinion piece by Richard Lindzen of MIT:

Climate science in denial (Wall Street Journal)
The GWPF copy of the whole essay
A long discussion exploded in the Wall Street Journal.

Join us for Harvard's Green Carpet Awards

I used to receive similar officially allowed - and encouraged - spam many times a month.

This correspondence would never make me angry but I was always depressed by the penetration depth of this fashionable ideology into the official structures of Harvard - and surely not just Harvard.

Ms Kirwan should be deeply ashamed and spitted upon for abusing her position for the promotion of this garbage. "Green Carpet Awards" is not just a silly pissing contest of a few retarded grown-up kids.

It is an officially sponsored event that tries to rotate the moral values upside down and to intimidate those people at Harvard who understand the climate 100 times more than Mrs Kirwan, like the source who sent me this e-mail:


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Join us for Harvard's Green Carpet Awards
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 2010 22:40:43 -0400
From: Leslie A. Kirwan, Dean for Administration and Finance <s*****@*****.harvard.edu>
To: Luboš Motl <president.elect@harvard.edu>

Dear FAS Faculty and Staff Colleagues:

In recent years, thousands of people across the university -- including staff, students and faculty -- have worked tirelessly to help Harvard advance the kinds of changes to our buildings and behaviors that will reduce our Greenhouse Gas emissions and other environmental impacts on campus. As Harvard's largest division, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) has been on the forefront of this effort. On behalf of Dean Michael D. Smith, I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge these accomplishments, thank you for your work to green the FAS and alert you to the upcoming Green Carpet Awards, where a number of our FAS colleagues will be honored.

Václav Klaus: When will the eurozone collapse?

Translation from Czech: L.M.

The editors of the "Ekonom" magazine invited me to answer the question above. I happily accept the offer even though I would probably prefer a somewhat less dramatic title. Even as a long-term critic of the concept of the shared European currency, I see no reason to celebrate that the situation has developed so that similar questions can be formulated at all - especially in such a sharp tone.

First, it's necessary to give at least a working definition of the verb "collapse". It's not as simple as we might think. When I speak about the eurozone, there are at least two interpretations of the word.

Earth Day: Lenin's 140th birthday

Today, on April 22nd, the posthumous children of Vladimir Lenin celebrate their great holiday, the so-called Earth Day.

Vladimir Lenin was born in Simbirsk (later Ulyanovsk) on April 22nd, 1870 - or April 10th, according to the Old System. The first Earth Day was celebrated exactly on Lenin's 100th birthday, on April 22nd, 1970, a "coincidence" that the Time magazine called a "communist trick".

Lenin's mother, Maria Blank, was a schoolmistress. If you think that this is already pretty close to physics, you should notice that Lenin's father, Ilya Ulyanov, was actually a physics instructor!

Much like his posthumous children, the environmentalists, he was obsessed with the writings of Marx. And he promoted them to a pragmatic realistic version, Marxism-Leninism. It was so realistic that it managed to cripple Russia, surrounding nations, and most of Central and Eastern Europe for much of the 20th century.

So congratulations to all the people who celebrate on April 22nd. Kindly accept 700 peer-reviewed articles against AGW as a gift. And please, notice that you have already vastly exceeded the tolerable level of murders and economic and moral devastation that can be forgiven to one such a movement. So if you want to keep the whole planet red or green or whatever color you choose, you will really have to look for a different planet, Planet B, where you may try to realize your pathological desires.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

A new $100 note



A new one-hundred dollar banknote has been released.

The American currency is finally getting some basic security features that other currencies have had for many years - watermarks, metallic strips with changing colors, motley colors differently seen under the ultraviolet radiation depending on the angle, and so on.

Compare e.g. with the CZK 2000 bill (about $105) updated in 2007. We also have a CZK 5000 bill.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Robbert Dijkgraaf: ClimateGate unrelated to IPCC

NRC Handelsblad in the Netherlands has printed an interview with Robbert Dijkgraaf, the main reviewer of the IPCC panel who was invited by a letter from Pachauri and Ban Ki-Moon to look at the functioning of the IPCC:

IPCC reviewer: 'Every good scientist is a sceptic by nature' (interview)
Dijkgraaf says many idealistic things about the scientists' duty to be skeptics; general observations about the complexity of the information flows in the modern society; the co-existence of science and politics; the inability of politicians and laymen to understand the margins of errors and probabilities; and so on.

I think that Robbert shows that he is wise and knows a lot, although some kind of separation from the real world is still penetrating his answers. However, I completely share Steve McIntyre's surprise - if I avoid the word "shock" for a while - caused by the following comment of Robbert about the ClimateGate:

Pyramid scheme

My ex-adviser posted a written version of his talk dedicated to Murray Gell-Mann for his 80th birthday,

Holographic space-time and its phenomenological implications.


Tom Banks is presenting several cute yet profoundly controversial pet ideas he has been nurturing for a decade. I would see four different ideas:
  1. Formulation of a full theory of quantum gravity from a set of holographic axioms about the Hilbert spaces
  2. The importance of a black hole fluid, with the "p = +rho" equation of state
  3. A solution to the cosmological constant problem based on SUSY breaking induced by virtual black-hole states near the cosmic horizon
  4. A phenomenological model of particle phenomenology, extending "trinification" unified theories to a tetrahedron: the Pyramid Scheme
Tom usually presents these four ideas as a coherent whole. Frankly speaking, I don't really understand the full logical relationship between any pair among the four entries above. The main unifying theme that connects them seems to be Tom himself. But I admit that there can exist some links that I simply haven't appreciated yet. And the individual ideas are arguably appealing - and conceivably viable - in isolation, at least some of them.

Czech schools: handwriting vs handprinting

Czech media (EN) just reported that the Czech schools may no longer teach neat handwriting in the future.



Click to zoom in.

Children could learn handprinting only. If you don't know what the difference is, check the picture above. The proponents of the change argue that the handwriting is useless and differs from the texts that the kids can see in the external world. That makes the kids confused.

Also, a five-year-old boy who was writing books at home and who was obviously better than William Shakespeare, Mark Twain, and George W. Bush combined began to hate writing after his teacher forced him to use neat handwriting instead of his ingenious script. ;-)

Monday, April 19, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Precautionary principle and flight bans

The Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption (I want to make you sure that your humble correspondent can copy-and-paste the word, too!) has led to a flight ban over much of Europe that has been obeyed for several days. Some countries such as Czechia re-opened their airspaces today.



The weather and the visibility during the weekend were just great and it looked kind of absurd that the flights were banned. But was it really absurd?

Play a Flash game in which you are the volcano trying to shoot down the airplanes.
The airlines have been losing approximately $200 million per day. That's a lot but it's not an infinite amount of money. A part of this loss was happily earned and therefore "compensated" by the railways that have seen a visible increase in the demand for their services. ;-) After all, Czech President Klaus (and the prime minister and Prague's Catholic Archbishop) had to take a train to Lech Kaczynski's funeral, too.

Nevertheless, this financial loss of the airlines - which has already exceeded the impact of flight bans after the 2001 terrorist attacks - is by far the most significant consequence of the recent average volcano eruption. I can assure you that the changes of CO2 or the temperature are negligible in comparison.

Pure spinors, SUGRA, and BV formalism

In an e-mail exchange about the consistency of the pure spinor formalism in the Minkowski spacetime - of course that it is consistent - Nathan Berkovits pointed out interesting recent papers by Martin Cederwall who has been working on similar issues mostly in silence for a decade:

Towards a manifestly supersymmetric action for 11-dimensional supergravity (Dec 2009)

D=11 supergravity with manifest supersymmetry (Jan 2010)
Nathan Berkovits has mostly used the pure spinor machinery in the context of perturbative string theory. However, the productivity of the pure spinors has been seen in the N=4 d=4 supersymmetric Yang-Mills theory as well as the BLG/ABJM membrane mini-revolution theories, too.

Are the pure spinors useful in d=11 supergravity with the maximal amount of 32 supercharges?

Sunday, April 18, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Dark energy, the holographic principle, and IPMU

By Paul Frampton, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Chapel Hill, NC
A Spanish translation of this text is available.

It is a high honor to be invited, by Luboš, to write about dark energy. I first met Luboš, when he was an assistant professor, at Harvard University, and found him extremely intelligent and charming in person, quite different from the aggressively strident blogger. I confess to joking that Luboš is afflicted by "blog-rage", when he sits at his keyboard, by analogy with the road-rage suffered by drivers in California when they shoot dead the other driver, after a minor fender-bender.

I take this opportunity to write, so as not to keep repeating the same thing in e-mails. I will not respond to e-mails about only dark energy, more likely to e-mails about cyclic cosmology. Also, I accept, because this is, in a real sense, outreach.

Saturday, April 17, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Help to fight against climate skeptics

Honorary president George Monbiot and his equally green colleagues at CampaignCC.ORG, Campaign against Climate Change, are already tired of the denialist propaganda. So they ask you to register your e-mail at the following page,

Skeptic Alerts (read it!)
and you will be receiving one e-mail a day with a list of new websites, resources, and articles where you - together with thousands of alarmists who are also going to be subscribed - should politely explain that the world is just going to fry and there is a scientific consensus that the Earth will evaporate soon and the SUVs are to blame. You should also bully the awful deniers and explain that they're funded by the fossil fuel companies.

Another task of yours is to spam all the websites you will receive every day with pre-collected links to RealClimate.ORG, David Suzuki, John Cook, Grist, DeSmogBlog, Nude Socialist, Zero Carbon Britain, Kyoto 2, and others. ;-)

Or you can contribute whatever comments you find more sensible. George Monbiot et al. assume that whoever gets to the page "Skeptics Alerts" above is a godless spamming machine or a mindless chicken little zombie who will obey every weird order of George Monbiot, the honorary president. Let's help him to verify his bold hypothesis! If you're George Monbiot and you want to thank me for spreading the awareness, I can just tell you: you're welcome! :-)

Alternatively, you don't have to give them your e-mail: you may watch the feed they'll be receiving at this URL (also in web form).

Thanks to Joanne Nova

Roy Glauber's Nobel Prize stolen

On April 10th, Stephen Beaulieu was arrested for having broken into the home of my former Harvard colleague, the 2005 physics Nobel prize winner Roy Glauber (84). He did it in March: Boston Herald, Google News.



It just happened that the Nobel Prize - the medal plated with 24-carat gold - has been missing for weeks.

Friday, April 16, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Aspects of Eyjafjallajökull volcano

This article is mainly a thread to discuss various aspects of the volcano that erupted beneath the Eyjafjallajökull glacier in Iceland - which I will call the E-word glacier for obvious reasons.



Global warming has evaporated the glacier ;-) so thousands of tons of ash are flying above Europe. Yes, of course: volcano eruptions are caused by climate change, much like everything else.



Even if global warming were causing eruptions ;-), it's irrelevant now because there's been no warming in Iceland since 1941.

You should ignore the data from 1947 (incorrectly lowered average) and 1948 (completely absent) - the downward peak - because the daily data from April 1947 through December 1948 are unavailable.

Mathematica command used to produce the graph above:

DateListPlot[WeatherData["Reykjavik", "MeanTemperature", {{1900, 1, 1}, {2009, 12, 31}, "Year"}], Joined -> True]
If you don't believe global warming, the only alternative is that Iceland is trying to punish Europe for its cheeky attempts to get Iceland's debt - and it is revenging for the reductions of its rating. :-)

Poor America, Mars not in sight

In the State of the Union address, president Obama announced that he would liquidate the Constellation Program, an ambitious Bush-era project to return Americans to the Moon by 2020, to build some bases, and to plan how to send people on Mars.

Components of the program, the new Ares rockets and the Orion capsule, would probably also die. Obama's explanation was that he would privatize the rocket industry. Commercial entities would be bringing people and gadgets on the orbit, he speculated.

The private investors may or may not succeed. But the space industry will still be missing e.g. $108 billion for the Constellation Program. Such Moon/Mars trips are unlikely to be paid by Richard Branson whose worth is $2 billion and who only plans some gliders to fly 100 km above the ground.



Neil Armstrong took the "From the New World" symphony with him to the Moon. Unfortunately, Antonín Dvořák's classical music may really create a more realistic background for the Apollo pictures than techno sounds from the future because the space research may be becoming a classic story from the history textbook rather than a set of plans and dreams that help to shape our future.

Neil Armstrong who rarely says something found it necessary to identify Obama's cuts as a "devastating" hit that will lead America's space program to a "long downhill slide to mediocrity" in a letter he sent on Tuesday: story. Most U.S. astronauts obviously share Armstrong's sentiments. So it was ironically climate skeptic Buzz Aldrin - a previous critic of Constellation - who has endorsed Obama's plans.

CERN TV: The LHC is GO



Some pictures from the end of March when the two 3.5 TeV beams collided for the first time. It's time for the woman with the Italian accent (Paola Catapano) to review that great day.

Thursday, April 15, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Spain produces solar energy at night

Bloomberg and various German media (EN) and Spanish media (EN) have revealed that Spain is able to produce solar energy at night, too. The global warming has breached the tipping point so that the Sun is shining not only during the daytime but during the nighttime, too.

Unless the solar energy was actually lunar energy, we're doomed. ;-)



Between November 2009 and January 2010, about 4,500 megawatt-hours of electricity was pumped by "solar sources" into the Spanish grid after the midnight but before 7 a.m. The subsidized price paid for this amount of solar energy is about 2.5 million euros and the authorities assume that this is the total amount of fraud.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

President Klaus vetoes a cap-and-trade bill

If you think that the Czech Republic is protected against all the AGW insanities - and they're not allowed to enter our territory - you're unfortunately wrong.

Two weeks ago, the Czech Parliament has copied an EU bill that wants to define the rules how to trade with the carbon indulgences, especially when it comes to the airlines.



Well, we still have a president who can veto such things.

That's why the airlines don't have to buy the carbon indulgences so far. However, the veto is pretty likely to be overruled by an "enhanced majority" of deputies in the Parliament who are afraid that they will be spanked by their EU masters and mistresses.

In many similar situations, the Czech constitution only allows Klaus to be a "delayer".

President has vetoed an amendment to a bill about the conditions of trading with greenhouse gas permits

Non-perturbative BRST and two other shallow solved non-problems

Physics vs formalism

Peter Woit wrote a text showing that if someone doesn't learn the formalism well, he always gets stuck with a technicality which prevents him from ever getting to real physical questions. The title is

Three Mysteries
but none of these three things is really a mystery, none of them is deep, none of them is important or fundamental, and most of them have been solved. The "three mysteries" are supposed to be the following:
  1. Non-perturbative BRST
  2. Non-perturbative chiral gauge theory
  3. Euclideanized fermions
In all cases, Woit shows a complete inability to distinguish physics from irrelevant technical features of the formalism. As a child who has only learned one half of the alphabet, he can never get to reading Shakespeare - and surely not to writing his own novels.

His confusion is penetrated by several misconceptions that many laymen, physics newbies, and weak physicists often believe. In particular, I mean the following myths:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Desertec: Club of Rome to spend USD 550 billion



Desertec is an ambitious project initiated by the Club of Rome and TREC, i.e. Trans-Mediterranean Renewable Energy Corporation of Germany. They want to spend more than half a trillion dollars and build solar power plants on area equal to that of a "130 km x 130 km" square around Sahara that would cover 15% of the energy consumption of Europe.

The two "advantages" of the project are that the solar energy will be about twice more expensive than the energy based on the fossil fuels. Also, 15% of the dependence on Russia will be replaced by the dependence on the regimes led by bashi-bazooks in Africa. What a win-win situation. ;-)

The media disagree whether this project - that is only conceivable assuming huge subsidies justified by the global warming panic - will materialize. At any rate, there's still a chance that the project will make some sense: planning will continue through 2012 and the construction could end by 2050. By that time, the solar energy may become more economical.

Sunday, April 11, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Pachauri won't leave even if he is fired

The Hindustan Times brought us some news about Rajendra Pachauri. Even if the independent panel finds that something is terribly wrong with the IPCC and Pachauri should go, he will refuse to leave. See also a longer interview in IBNlive.



"I am just a f**king nobody, a mediocre railway engineer who managed to be elected the boss of a U.N. climate panel so you may bet that I will do everything to keep this feeding trough of mine," Pachauri thought but he used slightly different words. "The world has elected me by acclamation so I am destined to be your dictator forever," he said pretty much with the same words.

The journalists asked him whether he felt embarrassed that Ban Ki-Moon has ordered another independent panel to check the activities of the IPCC. However, Pachauri protested: "That's wrong. Ban Ki-Moon and myself have both chosen the Inter-Academic Council [to produce another whitewash] and both of us signed the letter to them," Pachauri proudly stated.

Lee Smolin & DSR: defending the indefensible

One week ago, I mentioned the renewed realization of many former DSR researchers that "doubly special relativity", "variable speed of light", and similar mental masturbations lead to contradictions with the empirical facts.

In particular, even Sabine Hossenfelder - and she is really, really incompetent - has managed to understand that the non-linear "Lorentz" transformations of the energy-momentum vector lead to non-local transformations of spacetime which make the very question about the "coincidence of two events" observer-dependent. This "ambiguity about locality" clearly doesn't occur in reality, so the theory is ruled out.

Saturday, April 10, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Lech Kaczynski (1949-2010)

Sadly, Polish president Lech Kaczynski and his wife died today in the morning above the Smolensk airport in Russia, together with 94 other passengers and crew members. Foggy weather, four attempts to land, crew's error, collision with a tree, fire, broken aircraft, no survivors.

Wikipedia on the tragedy
It's very hard to imagine a malicious role played by Russia (or by Donald Tusk - who was even claimed to cry today). He's been much less anti-Russian than most other Polish politicians. On the other hand, he wasn't invited to Prague by Obama two days ago. Lech Kaczynski himself may have forced the pilot - Arkadiusz Protasiuk - to land, despite the disapproval of the airport staff. Lech Kaczynski has previously survived 5 other air accidents and has a record of telling the pilots to land.

The 88 passengers plus 8 crew members traveled to Katyn to commemorate the massacre, exactly 70 years ago, of approximately 22,000 (hopefully not 22,096) Polish generals, intellectuals, and clerics by the Red Army.

Ocean acidification: a non-problem

Ocean acidification has been called "global warming's evil twin" which apparently admits that if global warming existed as a twin, it would be a good one. Is ocean acidification a problem?



Some of the biggest unknowns hide in biology which is not exactly my field but I have spent whole days with it, too. Concerning the figures that are normally listed and that describe the changing pH of the oceans, I have almost no doubt that they're pretty much correct. See

Wikipedia: Ocean acidification
Since 1751 to 1994, the oceans' pH went down from 8.180 to 8.105 or so. The neutral level of pH is 7.

The pH scale is logarithmic: the actual concentration of H3O+ ions is proportional to 10^{-pH} while the concentration of the OH- ions is inversely proportional to the same thing or directly proportional to 10^{+pH}.

The changing pH can be traced to the changing concentration of CO2, and the corresponding ions in water, which pretty easily follows the changes in the atmosphere, by Henry's law and some simple chemistry looking at a few chemical reactions, at least in the short run (in the long run, the extra CO2 in the oceans is being consumed). It is not hard to estimate that the pH indeed has changed by something like almost 0.1 in the last 200 years.

Do quasars ignore time dilation?

Leo Vuyk was intrigued by a new interesting paper by Mike Hawkins:

On time dilation in quasar light curves
Phys Org, Nude Socialist
Sadly, the author instantly gets 5 points according to rule 8 of Baez's index. ;-)

Hawkins has observed power variations of 900 quasars with frequencies between inverse months and inverse decades. Because quasars at apparent distances 6 or 10 billion years differ by the redshift as seen through the frequency of the electromagnetic waves, the corresponding light variations should be slowed down or sped up by the same factors.

But they're not.

Hawkins offers two explanations. One of them tries to cancel the time dilation by the black hole growth. The size of the black holes inside the quasars depends on the redshift (age) in such a way that the spectrum ends up to be nearly identical.

Friday, April 09, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Kerr black hole: the CFT entropy works for all M,J

In September 2009, TRF readers could have learned about the work by

Monica Guica et al. about Kerr black hole entropy
calculated using the AdS/CFT methods. Some people may have argued that the correct black hole entropy in the known examples has been linked to supersymmetry and it didn't work in general. Well, we've known since mid 1990s that it wasn't the case - but some people would still claim that.



The extremal Kerr black hole in the conventional 3+1 dimensions has no supersymmetry but Guica et al. could calculate its entropy from the states in a two-dimensional CFT, anyway. However, you may still say that the black holes had to be "extremal" which plays the same role as "supersymmetric" even though these are not supersymmetric. However, in a new paper by Alejandra Fidel Castro, Alexander Maloney, and Andy Strominger (CMS, not to be confused with ATLAS),
Hidden conformal symmetry of the Kerr black hole,
it's been actually shown that the right entropy emerges from the CFT for any value of the mass M and any angular momentum J. If you take the J=0 limit, that actually includes the conventional Schwarzschild black hole! So the entropy of all these "astrophysical" black holes can now be correctly calculated by stringy microscopic methods.

Thursday, April 08, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

K3 and Mathieu M24 group: a new moonshine



Click the picture to create the M24 Mathieu group out of a mutated Rubik snake. You will need to hire 56 kindergartens.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

U.S.-Russian nuclear treaty to be signed in the Spanish Hall

See Czech TV 24 about the Obama-Medvedev summit.

Barack Obama is going to do something to "prove" that he deserved the Nobel peace prize.



Mr Forejt, the director of the Prague Castle protocol, is checking the Spanish Hall.

One year after his nuclear speech in the Czech capital, on Thursday, he will meet with Dmitry Medvedev in Prague and they will sign a new treaty about the nuclear warheads which will replace START-1, a treaty to expire in December. For example, the number of deployed strategic warheards will be reduced to 1550 on each side.

So after this diplomatic breakthrough, Russia will only be able to destroy New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, and 1545 other U.S. cities. ;-) Moreover, Russia may still reject to sign if it invents some new complaints against the U.S. missile shield.

Dubna: ununseptium 117 discovered

Various media report that a new element was created in JINR, Dubna, Russia: it's called ununseptium which means one-one-seven-ium in Latin. ;-)

Another element with Z=118, ununoctium, had actually been already created some time ago so they were filling a gap.

The 117th element was created by fusion of Ca(48) and Bk(249). An excited isotope of the new element, Uus(297), decayed either to Uus(294) - with half-life of 78 ms - and 3 neutrons or Uus(293) - with half-life of 14 ms - and 4 neutrons.

Nature: eccentricity negatively drives big climate variations

Nature GeoScience published an interesting paper:

Links between eccentricity forcing and the 100,000-year glacial cycle (abstract)
Press release (UCSB)
Google News
Lorraine Lisiecki of UC Santa Barbara has looked at the timing of the ice ages - as seen through 57 sediment core proxies - in the most recent 1.2 million years. The slowest cycles are believed to be linked to oscillations in the eccentricity - the deviation of our elliptical orbit from a circle. The seemingly stronger oscillation of the eccentricity has a period of 400,000 years.

However, the glaciation cycle data seem to ignore this cycle. Instead, they contain a stronger approximate 100,000-year periodicity which may be linked to calculably weaker variations in 90,000-year and 125,000-year cycles.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

James Hansen and Huffington Post

Dr James Hansen published an essay at the Huffington Post. It has a modest title,

Obama's Second Chance on the Predominant Moral Issue of This Century,
and the bulk of the is similarly low-key. If you don't know what's the "predominant moral issue of this century", yes, it's nothing else than the most overrated pseudoscientific media fad of the five years 2005-2009, namely the man-made global warming.

Hansen praises Obama for the healthcare bill and the peace efforts with Russia. However, the AGW plays the same role for Obama as Hitler played for Churchill and slavery played for Lincoln, we learn. Our fossil fuel "addiction" - normally known as the importance of fossil fuels - threatens Hansen's children and grandchildren.

Right. The only AGW threat to Hansen's children and grandchildren is that they could be led to realize that their dad or granddad was mentally impaired.

IMF encouraged crisis to get a job



On April 1st, a vice-governor of the Czech National Bank, Dr Mojmír Hampl, gave an interview to the Der Standard daily in Austria:

Ausgerechnet der IWF beschleunigte die Krise (German)

Ironically, the IMF accelerated the crisis (autom. English)

Reactions via Google News (English)
Although he may soon be forced to apologize and recant his opinions by an international gang, I would subscribe to every word he said in that interview. In fact, I have written similar things on my blog.

Claude Allègre and gravity

A corrected version: a multiplicative error of 1,000 fixed



Pétanque balls

When I posted about Claude Allègre, it had to be expected that some green mujahideens would instantly try to attack him personally. Indeed, one of them came to this blog and informed us about two episodes that are supposed to discredit him forever. These two memes that have been repeated by Wikipedia and many activist websites are related to asbestos and gravity:

  1. In 1996, Allègre voted against the removal of asbestos from a campus
  2. In 1999, Allègre said that there was a popular misconception that when a tennis ball and a much heavier pétanque ball fall from a tower, the pétanque ball will reach the ground before the tennis ball. However, as children should learn at school, all bodies accelerate in the same way.
Concerning the first issue, I am mostly convinced that asbestos is a carcinogen (and a commenter suggests that Allègre in principle believes it, too).

But that doesn't mean that I can endorse the precise counting of the deaths that were caused by asbestos on that campus: 22. And it doesn't mean I would necessarily vote to remove it. The removal is risky and expensive, too. And even those 22 people - however sad and huge a loss they may sound as - are much less than 1/1,000 of the people who have spent years on the campus since the war (and many more have died because of other reasons). There are 20,000 students living on the campus at each moment - and add the non-students and the "older generations" of the students etc.

Monday, April 05, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

LHC arrested a savior from the future



On April 1st, CNET in the U.K. ran an appropriate story about a strange man who was arrested at the LHC:

Man arrested at Large Hadron Collider claims he's from the future
The young Gentleman with a bow tie and too much tweed for his age came from a scary future where the Higgs boson discovery has led to unlimited energy, the lack of poverty, and free Kit-Kats for everyone. Eloi Cole came back in time to protect the world from becoming the nation-less communist hellhole that our civilization is apparently destined to become.

Saturday, April 03, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Greenpeace: we know where you live



Happy Easter

The official Greenpeace website has published a two-part memorandum written by Gene Hashmi, the communication director for Greenpeace in India (see the picture below or Twitter or watch a video from his vacations in Poland) which is mostly dedicated to the "climate criminals":

Will the real ClimateGate please stand up? (part 1)
Will the real ClimateGate please stand up? (part 2)
Don't forget to check the discussion, especially the long one under Part 2. There seems to be a consensus that Greenpeace is bad.

The first part is mainly an attack on Charles & David Koch. In an accompanying video, Greenpeace creates a special "climate police" car and they're going after the two Gentlemen whom I have never heard of and who clearly haven't done anything wrong - except that one of them once bought a drink to one of the pedestrians who were asked. ;-) (Koch brothers and Exxon deserve a medal, Roger Gay of Men's News Daily argues.) Greenpeace activists are screaming at the people on the street that the Koch brothers are climate deniers who need to be caught.

Claude Allègre dismisses a useless and stupid petition

As Science News reported, esteemed French geologist and former science minister Claude Allègre wrote a new book, L'imposture climatique (The Climate Fraud), deconstructing a mafia-like system that propagates a baseless myth, namely the IPCC.

The book has sold more than 110,000 copies by now and it's roughly the #20 bestseller at amazon.fr.

But that's not the news that Science Magazine found to be the most important one. The magazine thinks that the most important event was something that Claude Allègre "couldn't care less" about, namely a "useless and stupid petition" by 400 people who "have wasted a lot of public money [officially for the research of AGW] and they're afraid of losing their funding and jobs," using the words of the ex-science minister.

They demand that various officials curse the inconvenient heretic.

It's kind of incredible but just in France, there are 400 activist climate scientists. Add an order of magnitude or two to get an estimate for the whole world. This community of thousands or tens of thousands of people has been receiving the money for a decade or two - the community was engineered out of this money that got out of control - but they haven't managed to improve our understanding of the climate in any significant way for more than a decade.

Sabine Hossenfelder vs variable speed of light

In December 2009, Sabine Hossenfelder wrote a mostly correct (yes!) paper,

The box-problem in deformed special relativity
which was good news because after several years of intermittent communication between the two of us about this point, she finally understood that the theories trying to impose nonlinear Lorentz transformation laws for the momentum and energy, and theories trying to half-obey the postulates of special relativity, can't be right.

We're talking about various "doubly special relativity" or "deformed special relativity" theories that have been shown incorrect in many texts on this blog.

For example, in February 2006 and December 2006, I explained why nonlinear transformations needed for the hypothetical nonlinear dispersion relations in the so-called "doubly special relativity" act non-locally on the spacetime: if two events coincide in one inertial frame, they won't coincide in the other reference frame. That's the basic observation behind Hossenfelder's paper.

Friday, April 02, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Lisi, Distler, Garibaldi, and chirality

Last August, when I met Lenny Susskind in Prague, he told me that it was OK for Garrett Lisi to propose his revolutionary idea. People decided it wasn't correct, the story ended, and there's no reason to say anything else.



Garrett Lisi organized a surfer dude physics conference in the middle of Prague. The speaker above gave a talk called "How we're chirally correlated with the direction of the wave in Lisi's TOE."

That surely sounds nice except that Lenny must live outside reality if he thinks that this is how the story ended. In reality, the idea of a surfer dude who found a theory of everything started to live its own life. It has never ended.

In the media, the surfer dude has been more frequently discussed than Susskind, Witten, and Maldacena combined ;-), his "theory of everything" is continued to be mentioned by popular magazines as a leading contender for a unifying theory - on par with string theory - and pretty much everyone who is interested in physics but who lives outside a top high-energy physics theory group is influenced by a powerful, huge, omnipresent hype surrounding this piece of crap.

Ed Roberts (1941-2010): the father of PC

On April 1st, Henry Edward Roberts died of repeated pneumonia episodes.

His Altair 8800 was the first Intel 8080-based computer that could be used by the masses. It also helped Micro-Soft (as it used to be called) to earn the first well-deserved money.

Roberts had a company with Forrest Mims III, an eminent amateur scientist and advocate of Intelligent Design ;-) (and an AGW skeptic) who is still alive - together with two more people who joined. They would be building rockets for the amateurs, and calculators.



Altair 8800 - their first personal computer - had Intel 8080 in it, besides an 8-inch floppy disk drive. It would be extremely tough to write programs for it. But instead of 100 do-it-yourself packages with the computer that Edwards expected to sell to the hobbyists, he had sold thousands within a month. Things were still tough.

On the importance of black bodies

During the discussions about the limits on climate sensitivity parameter resulting from the constraint that emissivity can't exceed one, I noticed several things:

  • Despite decades of the prominence of the greenhouse effect, people interested in this discipline haven't discussed the mechanism much
  • The fact above creates a large amount of disagreement and misunderstanding
  • People don't want to listen to others or think about the matters differently
  • Most people brutally underestimate the role of the black bodies in the discussions about the radiation and energy flows
While the last item may seem somewhat technical, it's important enough to deserve a special text. Make no mistake about it: the black body is one of the most crucial and most universal concepts in thermodynamics.

Thursday, April 01, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Barack Obama solves problems of America



Guam will tip over