Saturday, June 30, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Klaus vs Dallara on European citizenship

For days ago, the Center for Economics and Politics (CEP), a Czech libertarian think tank, organized a seminar called The Eurozone Sovereign Debt Crisis: A Way Forward.

The host was no one else than CEP's founder, Czech President Václav Klaus (who recently corrected some soccer newsmen – very aptly – and who was just critical about the initial movie of the International Film Festival in Carlsbad that just began), and the main other star was Charles Dallara, a banker who has held very important positions in the administrations of Reagan and Bush Sr.



A 46-minute video from the event.

I have previously attended such CEP seminars, both as a regular guy in the audience and a panelist.

You may view the friendly but sharp disagreements between Dallara and Klaus as a rather apt characterization of the politically correct wing of the U.S. Republican Party.

Stop squark rumors and R-parity violation

At the beginning of this year, Murray Gell-Mann as well as the rest of us were exposed to gossip about stop squarks seen at the LHC. In the four months that followed, no discovery was announced, some observations that could have made the discovery were published and they didn't make it, and no new comprehensible leaks were added.

However, I've been watching various phenomenology papers for suggestions that some people could know more about these things than others; and for possible proposed models for which the assumed validity of the gossip was a key pillar although the authors obviously didn't admit it. (I don't claim that the authors of any particular paper mentioned below know some detailed gossip!)

It's been getting increasingly likely from my perspective that if the gossip is true, the processes in which the stop squarks appeared were probably processes requiring R-parity-violating supersymmetry.

On the importance of conformal field theories

Scale-invariant theories may look like a too special, measure-zero subset of all quantum field theories. But in the scheme of the world, they play a very important role which is why you should dedicate more than a measure-zero fraction of your thinking life to them.

In this text, I will review some of their basic properties, virtues, and applications.

Friday, June 29, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Modest Peter Higgs: yes, the boson is like Margaret Thatcher

Physics World offers us a 20-minute audio interview with Peter Higgs:

Peter Higgs in the spotlight
Among other things, he sensibly says that others may deserve to appear in the name for the Higgs mechanism but it's probably OK for the boson to be called after Higgs himself because he was the unique guy who promoted the boson's existence around 1964. He reviews some history involving a rejected paper etc.

Thursday, June 28, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Why we should combine Higgs searches across experiments

Aidan Randle-Conde of the U.S. LHC blogs argues

Why we shouldn’t combine Higgs searches across experiments.
On July 4th, the CMS and ATLAS will present their current state of the Higgs searches. There is no reliable information on whether or not one of these experiments (or both) will claim the discovery of the Higgs boson – at least a 5-sigma signal.



The data collected by each experiment may be calculated to be approximately enough for a 5-sigma discovery right now so we will have to be surprised whether they have been "lucky" or not.

Some rumors coming from extremely unreliable places say that they have been lucky enough. Chances are not far from 50% that the rumors are right. However, if you believe that the 4.5-sigma combined excesses from 2011 show that the Higgs boson is there, it's guaranteed that there will be enough evidence to discover the Higgs boson in the combined charts that include the collisions recorded both inside the ATLAS detector as well as the CMS detector. I am confident that the combined significance level will be above 6 if not 7 sigma.

Aidan finds it inappropriate to combine the data. He argues as follows:
The next obvious step would be to combine the results from the two experiments and count the sigma. Despite being an obvious next step, this is the worst thing we could do at the moment. The Higgs field was postulated nearly 50 years ago, the LHC was proposed about 30 years ago, the experiments have been in design and development for about 20 years, and we’ve been taking data for about 18 months. Rushing to get a result a few weeks early is an act of impatience and frustration, and we should resist the temptation to get an answer now. Providing good quality physics results is more important than getting an answer we want.
From these paragraphs, assuming that Aidan is a rank-and-file member who must obey his bosses, we are learning that ATLAS and CMS will not combine their charts on July 4th (although the two Tevatron experiments did exactly that when they officially discovered the top quark). However, I think that his explanations why the two experiments' data shouldn't be combined are pure emotions. The quality isn't lowered in any way if one combines the results.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

CMS leak: Higgs cross section will be announced with a 30% error

The pirate at the top, next to the flags, opens the mobile format of this blog entry: try it.

A member of the CMS collaboration has leaked the information that on July 4th (see the counter in the sidebar), the discovery of the Higgs boson will be accompanied by the information that the cross section for its production will have been measured with the 30% error margin.



While this error may look large, it doesn't mean that the significance of the discovery is only 3 sigma. In reality, the large uncertainty of the cross section may be partly if not mostly explained by the nonzero background events' cross section, its uncertainty, and the uncertainty of the overall luminosity of the LHC. One may roughly estimate that 30% of the Higgs cross section (which is comparable to 20 picobarns) is less than 20% of the total cross section for the Higgs and (i.e. plus) the background events which is why one is more than 5-sigma certain that the Higgs contribution is nonzero.

Murray Gell-Mann on testing superstring theory

A "Web of Stories" interviewer was under a visible influence of several crackpots who have polluted the science (and other) popular media in recent years so he asked Nobel laureate Murray Gell-Mann what he thought about the testing of superstring theory.



Murray Gell-Mann was obviously surprised by the question, thinking it was a strange one, and he enumerated some important successful postdictions (especially Einstein's equations derived from a deeper starting point) as well as some predictions waiting to be checked (SUSY: watch also Crucial tests of string theory).

Microsoft Surface: serious about details of hardware

A few weeks ago, I downloaded Windows 8 Release Preview and tested it inside the VirtualBox: here's how.



It's a great Windows operating system. The newest feature is that there's an independent user interface (aside from the Windows desktop) behind everything – the Metro UI – in which you have dynamically updated square or rectangular tiles which you may drag back and forth in the way you know from iDevices. Clicking at them opens full-screen minimalistic iPad-style applications.

Some totally healthy SUSY models

Matthew W. Cahill-Rowley, JoAnne L. Hewett, Ahmed Ismail, and Thomas G. Rizzo have looked at millions of phenomenological MSSM models (to be explained later) and they have found some "totally ordinarily looking" models which are not fine-tuned, which have light superpartners, and which are compatible with the 125 GeV Higgs boson as well as all published constraints on SUSY:

The Higgs Sector and Fine-Tuning in the pMSSM
Just to be sure, our ignorance about the precise way how SUSY is broken in the MSSM may be quantified by 100+ parameters. There is a subspace of this parameter space that has 19-20 parameters, the phenomenological MSSM or pMSSM, in which we require no new sources of CP violation, minimal flavor violation, degenerate 1st and 2nd generation squarks and sleptons, and vanishing A-terms and Yukawa couplings for the first two generations.

The LSP is the gravitino or a neutralino in these models. Incidentally, I've been thinking about the possibility that the LSP is charged, a stau, and we observe lots of "very heavy" hydrogen atoms (with the same spectrum) that have a stau or antistau in the nucleus which makes them hundreds of times heavier than the ordinary hydrogen atoms. Chemically, they're indistinguishable but their extra mass could replace dark matter, couldn't it? The main problem is that one would probably get too much of this stuff as the staus wouldn't be good enough in annihilation...

At any rate, starting from page 36, they showed the superpartner spectra of models that are not only compatible with all published measurements including the 125 GeV Higgs boson but that have also an unusually low amount of fine-tuning, \(\Delta\lt 100\). Here is the first one they show:



Click to zoom in.

They offer 12 other charts like that – and each of these models looks substantially different from others. Note that many superpartner masses are well below 1 TeV in these models.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Climate skepticism is just being born in Brazil

Luis Dias from Brazil's former European headquarters kindly translates the essence of the video in the comments

Rio de Janeiro has witnessed another preposterous environmentalist summit a few days ago. The only tangible outcome of Rio+20 was that Jesus Christ was forced to join the Green Party: click the picture for a BBC story. It was quite a good selection of the place because when it comes to the climate panic, Brazil is one of the most brainwashed countries in the world although the hysterics are doing very "well" in India, China, and France as well.

There is no clear proportionality between the ignorance, poverty, and the influence of the pseudoscientific doctrine on global warming. However, it shouldn't be hard for you to imagine "communication-challenged nations" that honestly depend on the inflow of U.N.-filtered and U.N.-fabricated news and that haven't even heard some basic facts about the climate and its natural change, that haven't even heard the statement that this whole panic is a pile of junk. I am pretty sure that this is true for most of the natives of Micronesia who are being constantly told that their islands will sink because of the Czech power plant's CO2 emissions.

But this description of Brazil may be changing.

Feynman's 1986 Dirac Memorial Lecture

He talked about antiparticles, CPT, spin, and statistics



You may watch those 70 minutes. Feynman starts by saying that Dirac has been his hero so he was honored to give a Dirac lecture. Dirac was a magician because he could guess the right equation, a new strategy to do science.

However, Feynman also says that Dirac also invented Zitterbewegung which wasn't terribly useful. Well, not only that: Zitterbewegung is completely unphysical. However, it wasn't invented by Dirac but by Schrödinger as the German name of the non-effect indicates. ;-) Dirac wouldn't make such an elementary mistake when it came to basic quantum mechanics.

TRF mobile template may be right for you

In recent two weeks, the template of this blog has undergone a larger number of changes than it did in previous 3 or so years combined. What we have primarily changed is the provider of the comments.

Instead of two commenting systems that have co-existed for 7 years – built-in Blogger.com "slow" comments and the Echo/JS-Kit/Haloscan "fast" comments that will go out of business in 3 months – we have a new system, DISQUS 2012, that didn't exist at all.

Monday, June 25, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Higgs boson, scalar fields, and a victory for string theory

A celebration of scalar fields in string theory

Because the Higgs boson became such a standard player in mainstream particle physics in the recent 50 years, people underestimate the importance of the looming discovery of the first spinless elementary particle we know in Nature as a sign that string theory is on the right track.



The God particle may look boring: it seems like just another elementary particle in Nature. One may understand the Higgs mechanism – one with the Mexican hat potential sketched above – which gives masses to all particles and that's it. However, this intellectual content is limited only because the people's way of looking at the field is so narrow-minded and skewed, based purely on the philosophy of elementary courses in quantum field theory.

However, string theory tells us that there are many ways how to think different, many new angles from which we should look at similar particles and related mechanisms. Also, the Higgs boson has many close cousins in almost all vacua of string/M-theory and they play several vital theories in Nature as described by string/M-theory.

I would like to look at all these questions – look at elementary scalar fields from a stringy perspective.

Sunday, June 24, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Xena: Rio+20 failed to mention billions of casualties

Among many other things I experienced today, my nephew told me about various incredible catastrophes he is going to experience in his lifetime according to everything he is told at school and in the media so I decided to look at some of the sources again.

Before I did so, I also tried to explain to him the gases in the atmosphere, the fate of polar bears, projections on various energy sources in the next 50 years, and other things. But you should have no doubt that Goebbels knew why he said that a 100 times repeated lie becomes a truth. When it comes to repetition, I (and we) just can't compete with the huge industry of propaganda spreading utter insanities about global warming and similar degenerative hardcore pseudoscientific delusions. Much of this garbage is directed at children and youth – because some people apparently think they're legitimate targets of shameless brainwashing. As Ian Plimer and Václav Klaus said, the main danger of the global warming doctrine is that the children have already been indoctrinated. Even when the adults manage to defeat the hysteria and all the nonsense it has brought with it, we will be living with a kind of a time bomb because this junk has already been hardwired into the brains of the present children who will become adults in the future.

I am sure that many men would self-confidently consider Lucy Lawless as their female counterpart or potential companion – what they would look like and how they would speak if they were female or how their partner could look like. However, she's dumb as a doorknob; it's really unbelievable.



Yesterday, she gave an interview to some New Zealand media. She complained about her surprise that so little was achieved at Rio+20. Well, this is the first sign that she is living outside the reality. Everyone who follows this topic and who has at least traces of sanity had to know that Rio+20 would achieve nothing except for ideological clichés detached from any policymaking that had to be formulated in a totally impotent way because no one really want to implement any of the psychopathological policies that are recommended by the climate hysteria movement and that would cost trillions of dollars.

But her comments are gradually getting even worse if you keep on listening to the video above.

Have Starkman and pals shown that the hierarchy problem doesn't exist?

The Higgs mass around \(125\GeV\) together with the Higgs vev around \(246\GeV\) and the masses of related particles such as the W-bosons and Z-bosons are much smaller than some other energy scales, e.g. the GUT scale and the Planck scale, where some new interesting effects almost certainly occur.



If we calculate the correction to the Higgs mass from quantum loops of virtual particles whose energy may be very high because we know that physics should make sense up to these very high energy scales, we obtain a quadratically divergent term, too:\[

\delta m_h^2 = \mp C\cdot \Lambda^2.

\] Here, \(\Lambda\) is the maximum energy that particles may carry; of course, you would like to send it to infinity or at least \(m_\text{GUT}\sim 10^{16}\GeV\) or \(m_\text{Planck}\sim 10^{19}\GeV\) except that you can't as it creates havoc in the equations. Dimensional analysis shows that there's enough potential for such terms to arise and unless there is an explanation why they shouldn't arise, Gell-Mann's totalitarian principle pretty much guarantees that they will arise.

Saturday, June 23, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Alan Turing: 100th birthday

Echo comments migrated: The migration process was underway when I was originally writing these paragraphs and was completed in 2-3 hours, around 6:40 pm Pilsner Summer Time (Saturday).

As expected, the reply from DISQUS hadn't been too helpful. The avatars and recognized identities are lost during import (much like "Liked by [Echo users]" lists, of course); maybe an offer to merge your unregistered comments from the past with your DISQUS account will ultimately catch you. Also, the reply structure "should be preserved" except that it isn't. They told me to try another format of XML – DISQUS' most current format – to import which would mean to rebuild a 100-megabyte file with 20 renamed different types of tags, differently formatted dates, differently formatted CDATA, different character sets etc., with an outcome that could fail to work, anyway.

My answer is no, sorry: I won't do that if even a company with only 33 employees that earns millions for this very job doesn't do it right.

I had preemptively prepared a reaction to such an outcome of my conversation with the DISQUS support team. The decision prepared for this unhelpful reply was not to waste additional dozens of hours for some professionals' lousy job and to immediately start the import of my current XML file which has been cured (especially when it comes to the right URLs and missing author names) by tens of hours and a rather long Mathematica code. This plan became a reality within minutes and the import started to proceed a few hours later, after some time in the queue. So the old Echo comments will be preserved but:
  1. The reply structure is lost. Only if you sketch a full plan to retroactively build the nested structure, e.g. by some DISQUS API commands (I have no experience with any API), I will revisit the problem.
  2. All imported Echo comments have the same anonymous avatar and their authors can't "overtake them" by their current DISQUS accounts: the true identities of the authors aren't recognized.
  3. Some special characters are screwed due to wrong character sets – which was changing between ANSI and UTF-8 during the Haloscan history. So you will see lots of Lubo Motl's, to mention a damaged name of a random TRF Echo commenter. ;-) Sorry, Alexander Aè-Ač, that you were not picked as the toy model.
The attached 171 pictures from js-kit.com should be preserved and linked by an extra paragraph and URL that I have added. See how a thread with 16 comments recently imported from Echo to DISQUS looks like. This thread has 24 DISQUS comments that combine 14 formerly Blogger.com "slow" comments with 10 Echo comments: they're just mixed with each other into a multiracial society and have the same anonymous feel. ;-)

DISQUS has no image-based smileys and my attempts to insert scripts that replace the smileys by GIFs would probably be futile because DISQUS comments get displayed in a separate iframe (which I consider a rather good policy, by the way). The pirate icon under the blog entries sends you to the Echo archives (with all the good old smileys and like-by's and reply structure) but you can no longer add new Echo comments which is why you may want to get familiar with DISQUS 2012 which is arguably a superior system, anyway. The Echo archives will disappear on October 1st; the pirates will go extinct soon afterwards.

I recommend regular users to look at the capabilities of DISQUS. You may surely have your "D" account that displays a nickname, not a real name, and you may choose your avatar etc. in gear-icons (right upper corner of DISQUS), Edit your profile, go through the menus. The conversations may be ordered from the newest, oldest, or best comments (click at the Discussion in the upper left corner of the DISQUS iframe). Choosing e.g. "oldest" again is a fast way to reload the DISQUS iframe, by the way. Try to go through the buttons to see what DISQUS allows you. Non-troll commenters are being quickly placed on the white list, to avoid the "due to abuse" message (which is a buggy message that stands for "this comment awaits a moderator").
As Google's Doodle reminds us today, Alan Turing would celebrate his 100th birthday on this very day if he hadn't swallowed some cyanide when he was 41.



Because he may be considered the forefather of computer science, it's kind of incredible to realize how fast the progress in computer science and computer industry has been in the recent 100 years. Given the current state of medicine, the forefather of these fields could easily be with us today.

He's not but that's just due to an unlucky accident.

About a 2007 Higgs boson $500 bet

The truth ultimately prevails. The equivalent Latin slogan, "Veritas vincit", has been a part of the Czechoslovak and – more recently – Czech presidential flag since 1920. Its origin dates back to the 15th century Czech reformer of the Catholic Church, Mr John Huss.



Sometimes it takes a lot of time. And what the truth actually is? It is often unclear for quite some time, too.

Friday, June 22, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Higgs and drawing boards: Overbye right, Strassler wrong

Dennis Overbye of the New York Times wrote one of the articles about the possible announcement of the discovery of the God particle on July 4th (press release by CERN), before all the talks at ICHEP 2012 in Melbourne between July 4th and July 11th:

New Data on Elusive Particle Shrouded in Secrecy
First, I find this whole "sport" of talking about the Higgs rumors unbelievably stupid. In December 2011, we were told that there were excesses and the overall combined statistical significance of the excesses could have been seen to be 4.5 sigma or so. This translates to the probability of a "false positive" – probability that the excesses were just flukes – equal to 1 part in 100,000 or so.

For half a year, sensible people who followed the announcements and who know basic statistics knew that there was a 99.999% chance that there's a new very Higgs-like particle whose mass is near 125 GeV. It also follows that the probability is extremely high that new excesses caused by this particle must be found in the 2012 data, too. Because the data in 2012 already contain "slightly more information" than the data in 2011, it's obvious that the ATLAS and CMS folks see very similar excesses as they did in 2011, and perhaps a bit stronger ones (plus minus some errors because the statistical significance is a quantity with some uncertainty and noise, too).

All these claims follow from the December 2011 announcements. We're kind of 99.999% certain that there must be excesses in the 2012 data, too. So why would we use rumors and blogs to decide whether the 2011 excesses were flukes? The 2011 excesses only have a 0.001% chance of being wrong; rumors have approximately 50% chance to be wrong. How could you possibly use the latter – unreliable rumors – to decide about the validity of the former – the statistically significant and "almost certain" cold hard data? It's crazy. It's a textbook example of a tail wagging the dog. One should use the strong, 99.999% certainly real 2011 excesses to conclude that the rumors now are correct. But doing it in the other way is just silly.

It's even crazier if you realize that the rumor actually appeared on a website of the New York City's most notorious crackpot in high energy physics, Mr Peter Woit. It has appeared on a blog whose 95% is composed of shameful lies, distortions, misintepretations, and extremely dumb attacks against the world's best scientists. A blog run by an immoral jerk who refused to accompany his girlfriend to the police station once she was raped by a black rapist. A disgraceful parody of a human being.

It's just distasteful that someone would quote this individual.

EU top politicians: Science: It's a girl thing

A reader named Cristian has sent me a link to the following 1-minute video produced by the European Commission, a sort of a federal government of Europe (thanks!):



The original copy of the video was made "private" after a day.

They even created a special domain for this project, science-girl-thing.eu. Science is all about the lipsticks and expensive shoes, we learn.

SUSY broken by extra dimensions is viable

Technical: Because js-kit.com serving the old Echo comments started to randomly get stuck, preventing the TRF pages from being fully loaded (sometimes DISQUS didn't show up as a result: Echo may be deliberately trying to encourage the users to leave the platform earlier), I disabled the Echo comments counters everywhere.

You may still see the archived Echo discussions (which are empty for new blog entries since June 15th or so) if you click at the pirate icon anywhere at the bottom of the posts. Patience may sometimes be needed when you click at the pirates.

The Echo threads will be merged into the DISQUS ones soon. After lots of programming, the rough process has been verified to work in a testing "shortname". Sometime today, I should get an answer from DISQUS support whether or not there is a way to preserve the reply structure of the comment threads (which comments are nested replies to others) and the identity and avatars of some Echo posters. It's unfortunately likely that the answers to both questions will be No.

In that case, I feel that I can't or I shouldn't waste dozens of hours in a futile fight against the wind mills of the institutionalized dysfunction and I will start the conversion of those 73,842 Echo comments into DISQUS comments very soon – perhaps within days – and after October 1st, the Echo discussions will only be preserved without the reply structure, without any true recognizable identity (except for properly spelled names of the anonymous users) or avatars, and without all the yellow smileys as well, of course.
Supersymmetry hasn't been discovered yet but it remains the most likely candidate for the first "physics beyond the Standard Model" that the colliders may see on a sunny day in the future – and possibly not too distant one.

In many recent entries (see the category "string vacua and phenomenology"), I discussed various paradigms, new models, and regions in the parameter space of older models that remain attractive and compatible with all the upper bounds on the cross sections – i.e. with the fact that the experimenters haven't proved SUSY yet.

Dirac gluinos, maximal mixing in the stop sector, and various non-minimal models such as the Nanopoulos et al. aromatic flippons are examples. Chances are high that supersymmetry is there and one of its roles is to solve the hierarchy problem i.e. guarantee that the Higgs boson (and related particles) remain much lighter than the Planck scale.



But there is a new preprint on how SUSY may naturally avoid the LHC's attempts to find it – so far – which is very natural to read, especially for people who have internalized the stringy thinking. The paper by four Japanese-born physicists located at Berkeley, Kašiwa, and Tokyo is called
Compact supersymmetry
Hitoši Murayama, Yasunori Nomura, Satoši Širai, and Kohsaku Tobioka – the list includes some phenomenologist(s) whose name sounds very serious – claim that if supersymmetry is broken geometrically, i.e. by topologically nontrivial properties of the configuration that requires extra dimensions, one naturally explains why SUSY hasn't been found yet even though the framework is more constrained than some SUSY frameworks we are familiar with.

What are the models and how do they achieve the ambitious goal?

Thursday, June 21, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Agent Higgs: the game!

Guest blog by Andy Hall

The whole world is after the elusive Higgs boson. Accelerators the size of cities are being used to create truly awesome concentrations of energy in a vast number of collisions. We've detected the other particles of the Standard Model. Muons, quarks, neutrinos, the whole gambit. But not the Higgs. How is it avoiding detection?

Turns out, he doesn't want to be found! In the iPhone/flash game Agent Higgs you take the side of Higgs, keeping him hidden from view. The protagonist: a hapless Higgs boson wearing funny glasses. The setting: a particle detector. You can learn more about my game here:

TestTubeGames.COM/higgs.html,
and we’ll get to the details of it in a moment. As you can imagine, it has been a fun experiment for me (Andy Hall of TestTubeGames), trying to pull together a captivating game about Particle Physics. But first: WHY make a game about the Standard Model?

Why Feynman's path integral doesn't contradict the uncertainty principle

I just decided to write a short (but not too short) text elaborating on the April 2011 Physics Stack Exchange question by Jane.

Are the Lagrangians in the Feynman path integrals operators? And if they're not, why doesn't it conflict with the basic fact of quantum mechanics that observables are represented by noncommuting objects, or \(q\)-numbers, to use Dirac's terminology, rather than \(c\)-numbers?

These questions and several related ones are what I want to be clarified by this text although no one can guarantee that it will.

Financial natural selection: how to easily earn billions of dollars

A typical TRF reader has tens of millions of dollars and is somewhat bored. A half of those would like to transform the millions to billions. It's easy, just read and follow these instructions. By doing so, you promise that you will send your humble correspondent 1% if you earn big bucks and you won't hold him responsible for your failure if any.



In Nature, random mutations may be both good and bad. So in some sense, you could think it's a zero-sum game. There's no progress because the number of things improved by the random mutations is the same as those that worsen. However, this argument is wrong because of natural selection. The successful mutations spread while the unsuccessful ones die out. As a result, it is a positive-sum game, not a zero-sum game, and life has been doing progress.

Now, how to reformulate this simple observation due to Darwin so that you earn those billions? It's simple.

John Kerry slams "disgraceful climate denial"

If you need to raise your blood pressure, here is the newest tool.



Click to get to the page with the video.

The links point to The Hill and they are here:

Sen. Kerry attacks 'campaign of disinformation' on climate change (Senate video, 1 minute)

Ben Geman's extra story

Full transcript of his speech (Senate.gov)
I have lived in communism for years but I have never listened to a similarly fanatical, ideologically motivated speech.

What he says is both ideologically motivated as well as untrue. It is not true that people like us want delays and backpedaling. What I want is to punish the criminal activity of certain climate alarmists as soon as possible.

It is somewhat scary to see a politician whose scientific credentials are zero – Kerry studied political science and his knowledge of natural science is truly non-existent – to use his political power for threatening the people who actually know lots of science just because their knowledge is politically inconvenient for this would-be green Gestapo cop.

I don't think that his behavior should be tolerated.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Higgs: Does science require to hide data?

Collider-related, Wednesday: Lyn Evans was chosen the director of the CLIC+ILC linear collider unification governance body. I think it's a very good choice.
Unofficial reports say that the Higgs signals after more than 5/fb of the 8 TeV 2012 data boast the same same strength that you would expect based on the 2011 5/fb 7 TeV data.

Up to this point, almost 12.5/fb of data were delivered to each detector in the 2010-2012 runs and about 92%, or 11.5/fb, have been recorded.



In particular, the diphoton (\(\gamma\gamma\)) channel shows the same strength as it did in 2011, reaching 4 sigma per detector just from the 2012 data. This fact makes it more likely that at least one of the major detectors – ATLAS or CMS – will be able to announce a 5-sigma discovery at the ICHEP 2012 conference in Melbourne that starts on the Independence Day and lasts for a week.

Yes, over 50% of TRF readers are Americans.

The probability of an "individual detector's Summer 2012 discovery" has increased substantially (discovery using one detector, a combination of channel – or one detector, the diphoton channel only). Although we don't know too many details, I would say that even the suspicion that the diphoton channel is stronger than expected from the Standard Model will increase, too.

Of course, the Higgs discovery – more precisely, a discovery of something that surely differs from a Higgsless part of the Standard Model and that is close to the Standard Model Higgs but may be something else (and may gradually acquire properties that are significantly and demonstrably different) – is just a formality. For people who follow the published data and sensible evaluate them, the existence of a 124-126 GeV Higgs boson has been a sure thing at least since December 14th, 2011.

If you wanted to say that your humble correspondent seems to be always right and always ahead of others, then you're very correct, too! ;-)

JollyJoker has pointed out the following article on these developments by Prof Dr Matt Strassler CSc:
New Higgs Rumors Have Arrived
JollyJoker has reacted to some of Matt's words, especially those about withholding scientific information and asymmetric ways to use the data. I still think that Matt is a highly technically potent scientist – but make no doubts about it, JollyJoker is right.

Google Maps StreetView covers almost all of Czechia

Google's car sees unreal colors beneath the same power lines where your humble correspondent was feeling electric shocks: see the bottom

When I used Google Maps in the morning, I noticed that all streets of Pilsen have been mapped via StreetView and the photographs are available online right now. In fact, it turns out that most of Czechia (over one hundred of towns and sightseeings) has been mapped and it was made accessible yesterday. My homeland has become Google's #1 country in the world when it comes to the completeness of the StreetView.



A comparison of Czechia's StreetView coverage with that of adjacent developing countries such as Germany and Austria.

Can you find people on Google Maps StreetView whom you know very well? ;-) Well, I can...



Click to zoom in.

You see that they have anonymized her face just a little bit and her car's license number a lot. ;-)

Sorry, I won't provide you with the name or exact coordinates and please don't ask me. Because the picture is from July 2011, some details of the picture are no longer current. For example, the chimney on the picture has been totally deconstructed during the recent year.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Steve Pinker vs group selection

Steve Pinker is an evolutionary psychologist, a great thinker, a popular author, an impressive speaker (I remember one of his talks about the evolutionary explanation of the religion: it was cool), and also one of the few brave Harvard professors who have defended Larry Summers when professional women and professional blacks slammed the former Harvard president for the very suggestion that there may exist group differences.



Now, I want to discuss another scholarly issue that is related to groups: group selection. It's the idea that natural selection applies to groups and societies as well. In particular, societies composed of members who are willing to sacrifice themselves in ways that benefit the society prevail – because of analogous rules as the natural selection that is routinely applied to individuals or genes. In an Edge.org article called

The False Allure of Group Selection,
Pinker explains in quite some detail why he has a problem with the very concept and philosophy of group selection.

IPCC votes to eliminate last traces of excellence

First, let me begin with another climate-related story I know from Benny Peiser.

Four days ago, I mentioned two articles in The Guardian, the leading British left-wing daily, that presented the opinions of James Lovelock, the father of Mother Gaia, who now supports fracking, among other things.

The Grauniad's center-right competitor, The Telegraph, didn't want to be out of the game so they just published an article by Prof Fritz Vahrenholt, one of the fathers of Germany's environmental movement and the director of RWE Innogy, one of Europe's largest renewable energy companies (however, ordinary RWE supplies the ordinary natural gas to my home):

Global warming: second thoughts of an environmentalist
The author shouldn't be confused with Mr Fritzl, despite similarities in the name and in the face. ;-) I must say that I don't see any clear difference between my opinions and his.

He was led to check the IPCC claims when he was a reviewer of an IPCC task force on renewable energy in 2010 and he noticed that the work had little to do with science and fact-checking and everything to do with the leadership of Greenpeace. So he figured out that similarly low standards could plague all other IPCC reports, too.

He studied other things and learned about the significant natural variability in the past thousands of years, the likely role of the Sun, and other things. He says that instead of a global warming catastrophe, we may worry about an economic one, but of course he still wants to gradually decarbonize the economy because he still has money in it.

Back to the IPCC

But I mostly want to point out the following article in Nude Socialist.

Saturday, June 16, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Nuclear energy: Japan is back

Technicality: TRF stopped accepting all new Echo comments. Use DISQUS instead. Echo comments will remain visible and will be hopefully imported to DISQUS before October 1st.
Japanese PM orders to restart two reactors

On March 11th, 2011, Japan was crippled by a magnitude 8.9 earthquake followed by a giant tsunami. The number of casualties was clearly high. A week later, Gene made the following prediction in the Echo comments that will hopefully be converted to DISQUS soon (once I prepare all the code and get in the mood):
A prediction:  

When this is finally over, in one or two years, the total fatalities will be:  

1) Tsunami-50,000 to 60,000.  
2) Radiation-zero.   



LM: I don't know what Melody Miyuki Ishikawa thinks about nuclear energy but I know what she should think about it. I embedded the video because 30% of the energy in the chandelier etc. in the video was produced by Japanese nuclear power plants (half a year before the earthquake).

I have found no evidence of earthquake damage to the reactors and they were functioning just fine after the quake.  The problem was the failure of the emergency core cooling systems (ECCS).  It is not difficult to make ECCS systems earthquake proof.  The air intake and exhaust ports need to be elevated sixty feet or so, of course, and electrical cabling and water piping flexible enough to withstand even grade disruption.    

The only problem, it seems, was the assumption of a 5-meter maximum tsunami.    

I do assume that radiation dosage effects are rate dependent.  It just doesn't make sense that the integrated dosage is the only factor.  There may or may not be long-term mortality effects caused by minor exposures to ionizing radiation so 2) above requires some qualification.  Are there any real experts out there?
With 15 months of hindsight, we may ask: How did Gene do? Well, we're told that tsunami has "only" killed 15,861 people, one third of Gene's estimate. But as far as I know, correct me if I am wrong, his second number was right on the money: the radiation emerging from the Fukushima I power plant has killed zero people. We may effectively argue that the tsunami has only retired a power plant commissioned in 1982 which wasn't too far from a natural retirement age, anyway.

Friday, June 15, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Sid Meier's Civilization, doom, and Cosmic Variance

It's remarkable how diametrically opposite conclusions may be reached by various people when they look at the very same data. Sean Carroll talks about Sid Meier's Civilization I-V, a famous series of computer games

Dismal Global Equilibria
and the message they're telling us about the future. He concludes that the year 3991 AD is a hell inhabited by a triplet of starving civilizations fighting for the remaining square feet of grasslands in amid the last melting glaciers, endless wars, and suffering.

Humans will need to leave the Earth, we're assured. The Washington Post tells us that Rio+20 in next week will have to agree that everyone must become a vegetarian. Alternatively, we have to create a sustainable society. Holy cow. I have played Civilization quite passionately as an undergrad and my conclusions were completely but completely different! And by the way, James Lovelock of the Gaia fame already sees the future and energy industry very differently, too. See two wonderful interviews organized by Leo Hickman for the Guardian: fracking rules, shale gas is good, greens less so.

George Musser's occult musings on Erik Verlinde's entropic gravity

Commenting technicality: On Friday, 2:20 pm Pilsner Summer Time, the slow Blogger.com comments have been switched to DISQUS 2012 comments. Try them. Right now, TRF has 3 independent comment systems. The Blogger.com comments should be abolished sometimes on Saturday when the import of these comments to DISQUS 2012 is completed (they may still be reached from mobile templates). Before October, the fast Echo comments should undergo the same fate and TRF will probably have one commenting system only, DISQUS 2012, that you have probably not tried yet.

Fun pictures: Here I collected all 169 pictures plus thumbnails that have been attached to Echo comments so far. Do you remember in what context? ;-) I plan to preserve them during the DISQUS transition, too.
Among the editors of Scientific American whose names I can recognize, George Musser is the most reasonable one.



The relevance of this babe will be clarified below.

Nevertheless, I still find his reasoning and approach to questions to be largely incompatible with the scientific discourse. He has just started a new SciAm blog named Critical Opalescence and dedicated the first article to Erik Verlinde's entropic gravity and related (and unrelated) efforts to transform everything we think about gravity and cosmology:
Is Dark Matter a Glimpse of a Deeper Level of Reality?
Just to remind you, Erik Verlinde conjectured two years ago that the gravitational force results from the desire of the system to reduce its entropy. However, gravity cannot be entropic because entropic forces inevitably lead to irreversible behavior (while the distance between the Earth and the Sun oscillates back and forth) and the interference patterns would be broken if there were very many microstates whose number depends on the distance, a point that was independently made by Archil Kobakhidze of Melbourne.

Thursday, June 14, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Grexit and learning from Czecho-Slovak currency split

The Prague Post has published an interesting interview with the guy who was in charge of the Czech side of the Czechoslovak currency split:

Lessons for Greece from Czech-Slovak split
The man was Mr Pavel Kysilka, now the chief economist of Česká spořitelna [chess-car spaw-rzih-tel-nuh], a commercial bank. See the historical list of the Czechoslovak and Czech national bank governors.



A 1993-Slovak-stamped 1,000-Czechoslovak-crown banknote (printed in 1985) with Czech composer Bedřich Smetana.

His main message to Greece – which may drive itself out of the eurozone after the looming Sunday elections (and the world's central banks are already coordinating their intervention to compensate the collapses that may result from the polls) – is that the scenario is simple in principle but it is not very difficult to botch it. If you leave it to professionals, they won't; if you leave it to politicians, they will.

Strings with low GUT scale, high SUSY breaking scale

There are various interesting papers on the arXiv today, including new proposed models (based on NMSSM) for the 130 GeV Fermi gamma-ray line. One of the papers notices that the CP-odd Higgs mass is cutely and accidentally close to 260 GeV which provides the WIMP pairs with a resonance.



But I feel that this blog has been excessively flooded with articles about possibly emerging hints of new physics at the LHC, in the Fermi telescopes, direct dark matter searches, and others. While those things are appropriately exciting for this experiment-driven era and I am very excited about almost all of them myself, it's also plausible that none of the hints will survive the test of time. It's conceivable that Nature has prepared nothing new for us to see by the ongoing experiments. Despite the screaming of the sourballs, fundamental physics – the search for the deepest explanation of the known effective laws of physics – wouldn't be over if this conservative scenario were right.

In his fresh article, Bayes and String Theory, Phil Gibbs quantitatively explains why the non-discovery of SUSY by the LHC would have a smaller impact on the odds that string theory is right than the discovery of SUSY. I agree with his maths and words, of course. But what I want to discuss a little bit is a new paper about string models that predict there is no new physics in the ongoing experiments, thus showing that the non-discovery doesn't contradict string theory (whether or not we would wish string theory to tell us clear answers to everything right now):

The Intermediate Scale MSSM, the Higgs Mass and F-theory Unification
Luis E. Ibáñez, Fernando Marchesano, Diego Regalado, and Irene Valenzuela elaborate upon one of the most neglected possible explanations why the 125 GeV Higgs boson is somewhat heavier than the garden variety models with low-energy supersymmetry.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

NASDAQ press release on a denier video

Globe Newswire, one of the world's largest distribution networks belonging to the NASDAQ OMX group and specializing in the delivery corporate press releases, has just released one of the most important press releases in the history of humanity:

REAP Releases Latest Satirical Video Parody "Most Ignorant Man in the World" on Climate Crisis Denial
In this press release, The Renewable Energy Accountability Project (REAP) announces the newest YouTube video called "The Most Ignorant Man in the World".



The video has already accumulated more than 400 views and the figure will soon double due to the TRF exposure. Needless to say, the most ignorant man in the world is a climate denier, the man who drinks Coca Coal much like the people in the previous, somewhat more successful video.

By the way, see also a divorced mother of 7 (billion, Mother Earth: well, they think that the world population is just 6 billion, but that's OK), who is choosing her favorite bachelor among the solar, coal, and nuclear. ;-)

TRF comments and posts: migration and statistics

Quick note: Please feel more than free to register with Disqus and post testing comments at the Stuxnet playground blog. If you already have a Disqus comment, sign with "D" for "Disqus". If you don't, click a check box and register. The e-mail you use during registration will only be visible to me (and I will not abuse it, and not even notice it, for that matter); if you really need to hide it, let me say that the e-mail won't be used so it probably doesn't have to be a fully real one.
On October 1st, the "fast" Echo comments will disappear from this blog and all other websites in the world. The employees of Echo simply found out that they're too greedy and the services including comment systems of small consumers aren't bringing them enough profit. And they're just not too good and/or motivated to maintain such comment systems. My current plan is to switch to DISQUS, an alternative comment system that seems to enjoy many advantages of Echo.

See, for example, The Smallest Minority, a fellow blogspot blog that has switched from Echo to DISQUS. That owner hasn't been able to preserve all the Echo comments but this is not DISQUS' fault as I am going to discuss momentarily.

It seems to me that I have in principle understood – and collected all the required data – for the successful import of the 70,000+ Echo comments to the new system. This has eaten many hours of my time and is likely to eat additional ones. Because this is really about the preservation of your work, not just mine, you may financially contribute via PayPal (using either the red heart or the green piglet) if you think that this is work that shouldn't be sponsored purely from my resources.

The detailed text below will tell you something about the amount of data and the formatting.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Fermi \(130\GeV\) line claimed to reach 5 sigma

Evidence for WIMP dark matter could have gotten strong

Christoph Weniger's observation of a gamma-ray line in the Fermi photographs of the galaxy has ignited some activity in the astroparticle physics boundary.

In eight weeks, the paper has collected 20 citations. Most of the followups tend to be positive; some papers prefer to claim that "nothing can be seen here". The list of mostly negative papers includes a report by the Fermi collaboration itself.



The newest paper (an astro-ph paper that is one week old)

Strong Evidence for Gamma-ray Lines from the Inner Galaxy
was written by Meng Su and Douglas P. Finkbeiner who are Harvard- and Harvard-Smithsonian-affiliated – and seem kind of trustworthy to me for various reasons. In particular, they're two of the four people who found the Fermi bubbles, see the picture above.

Currency exchange rates

Just a widget:



Just testing whether their widgets work...

Speculating on CMS hints of \(320\GeV\) MSSM Higgs

TRF has considered that \(125\GeV\) Higgs to be a sure thing since December 14th, 2011. New signals appear every day as experimental physicists say that they're indeed closer to the most official discovery you may get.

But I am convinced that even those people who say that they remain "open-minded" won't really be thrilled once the signal reaches the "official discovery" threshold. A convention may say that 4.5 sigma (the highest confidence level obtained from the 2011 combinations) and 6 sigma (which you may get now) are qualitatively different signals – only the latter is a discovery – but everyone correctly feels that the difference between them is relatively small.

In the absence of clear enough deviations of the published LHC data from the Standard Model, we may focus on the Higgs charts. If you play with the viXra combo Higgs java applet, you may try to search for other excesses besides the obvious \(125\GeV\) line.

Bank of America will waste its whole bailout on AGW hysteria

During the financial crisis, Bank of America – where I still maintain a checking account with a minimum allowed balance – received a $45 billion bailout.

You could think that this kind of money is being used to bolster the bank's finances and make their business safer so that the taxpayer won't have to save the bank again. You would be wrong. A few years ago, $45 billion could have been a vital amount of money to save the bank's life. Now, $50 billion is just a piece of trash that may be thrown to a random dumping ground without any hesitation:

Bank of America Pledges $50 Billion to Combat Climate Change
The new article above, posted in a domain with a rather characteristic name, capital.gr, describes the Greek way in which the bank is dealing with its capital. They proudly announce that they have already wasted $20 billion on the climate change hysteria. It wasn't enough for the irresponsible and breathtakingly arrogant imbeciles that must obviously control the bank so they will increase the amount to $50 billion to cover the energy efficiency hysteria and to help schoolkids in San Jose to install solar panels – no kidding.

Monday, June 11, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

ILC to be launched in Japan around 2026

It's more likely than other places and times...

Spanish and Latin American sources just reported that Japan seems to be the most likely place where the International Linear Collider could be built.



When it comes to the design, the project is ready, François Richard, the representative of the European Commission for Future Accelerators (ECFA) said at a conference in Spain today.

Noncommutative magic of the star-product

This essay is a natural continuation of my article explaining Why Matrix theory contains membranes.

The fuzzy sphere and the fuzzy torus – two of the allowed shapes that membranes in Matrix theory may possess – were the simplest examples of "noncommutative geometries". What does it mean? What is noncommutative about them?

If you have an ordinary shape, space, or a manifold, the functions \(f(x^\mu)\) and \(g(x^\mu)\) defined on these shapes commute with each other; it means that their ordering in the product doesn't matter,\[

f(x^\mu) g(x^\mu) = g(x^\mu) f(x^\mu).

\] After all, they are just numbers at each point. For noncommutative geometries, \(=\) has to be replaced by \(\neq\); the identity above no longer holds. We have already seen that in the case of the fuzzy torus and the fuzzy sphere. Because functions are at least locally written as functions of coordinates, the noncommutative property of the noncommutative geometry effectively means that the coordinates don't commute with each other. We're going to understand this statement in the simplest possible context, the case of 2 coordinates on a plane.

Sunday, June 10, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Global warming has stunted black holes

Anthony Watts has brought my attention to the following incredible preprint and a report about it in Nude Socialist:

X-ray emission from high-redshift miniquasars: self-regulating the population of massive black holes through global warming by Tanaka, Perna, Haiman (arXiv, astro-ph)

Cosmic climate change may have stunted black holes (New Scientist)

Quote of the Week: ‘global warming stunts black holes’ (WUWT)
The first author, Takamitsu Tanaka, summarizes the paper by saying that "This global warming process could have basically quenched the latecomers." Wow. :-)



Motivational poster by WUWT

Recall that the term "black hole" was invented by scientists because the scientific culture is racist. Why didn't they call them white holes? ;-)

I haven't yet decided whether or not there is some meaningful core in the preprint – the very claim about the "warming" in the Universe sounds bizarre. One may heat some gas locally but in average, the Universe has been cooling pretty much from the beginning as it was expanding.

At some moments, it was far from thermal equilibrium but if you calculated an average temperature, it would be cooling and not warming at all times.

Lidice burnout: 70th anniversary

A week after Reinhard Heydrich passed away in the wake of the execution of this mass murderer ordered by the Czechoslovak government in London and assisted by the British intelligence agencies, Nazi regime began its intense revenge.



On June 10th, 1942, exactly 70 years ago, hundreds of men in a village five miles from the Prague Václav Havel Airport – a village that hasn't even participated in the final solution of the Heydrich problem – were shot while women and children were sent to gas chambers (with some exceptions, babies who were Germanized). See Wikipedia on the massacre and TRF articles on the topic.

Saturday, June 09, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

A man lives without a heart

Surgeons from IKEM in Prague, the Czech Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine, have done something that no other doctors had successfuly done before.

iDNES.cz reports (automatic translation, includes a picture of the patient and the doctor, 64-year-old conservative Dr Jan Pirk)

China Daily (in English)
This challenge was previously attempted in Texas but their patient had died a week later.

There ain't no nearby tipping points

The RIO+20 summit is less than two weeks away and the environmentalist apparatchiks are trying to invent methods to show the public that it has to hand out its freedoms and a significant part of its income to the new saviors of the world.

"Scientists" turned out to be a convenient vehicle for such political plans years ago and even though their trustworthiness dramatically decreased after some incidents that have shown why they're actually doing what they're doing, they're still a part of the game.

The environmentalist potentates control approximately two types of "scientists" whom they may pick to produce the desired results: the totally corrupt ones and the totally incompetent ones. In June 2012, much like at many previous moments, the United Nations chose the Goldilocks solution: scientists who can be bought and they're stupid as well.

When I opened cnn.com on Saturday morning, I was offered this top article:

More record warmth as scientists warn of global tipping point
Well, our current temperature in Pilsen is 3-4 Celsius degrees below the normal temperature for this date so I think it would be ludicrous to talk about record warmth etc. If some readers live somewhere in Northern Siberia and their temperature is above the normal, well, let me mention that it's a coincidence. Some places are warmer than the normal, some places are cooler: see global temperature maps. It's been like that for billions of years.

The second meme that the CNN article tries to spread is that there are "tipping points"; you find similar articles in many other outlets, too. Physical scientists probably already found such comments too ludicrous so the environmentalist apparatchiks hired biologists to write about such tipping points. Now, biologists aren't educated enough to talk about such matters at all but that's the smallest detail in the environmentalist scheme of things. They tell us that we are approaching a rapture point in which the food supplies suddenly disappear and everything will die. Sure.

A tipping point looks or would look like this:



There is a value of a physical quantity – e.g. the position of a ship – that has the following property. On the right, safe side, the system is stable or quasi-stable, destined to oscillate around some "ordinary" positions for a long period of time. On the left side of the tipping point, the ship switches to a qualitatively different behavior in which the distance from the "stable valley" is increasing and the motion is accelerating.

Does the picture above correspond to the reality?

Friday, June 08, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Paul Frampton diagnosed as a beautiful mind

Paul Frampton, arrested in Latin America, is an unusual personality. Standard.net just wrote:

Professor accused of smuggling drugs says he has personality disorder
Sheldon Cooper isn't insane; his mother got him tested. The result of a recent test of Paul Frampton was different, Paul said. It's not a surprise for those who know him very well – more intimately than I do.

Holographically gluing an AdS space out of Rindler wedges

In some previous articles, I discussed Mark van Raamsdonk's clever efforts to explain how the spacetime in quantum gravity may be glued out of pieces whose individual microstates are being entangled.

Today, he and three collaborators in Vancouver apply these ideas to Rindler wedges in an AdS space:

Rindler Quantum Gravity
Bartlomiej Czech, Joanna L. Karczmarek, Fernando Nogueira, and Mark Van Raamsdonk (I know two of them and the Czech guy isn't among them, greetings to them!) consider an X-shaped wedge inside the anti de Sitter spacetime.

Thursday, June 07, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Estonian president right, Paul Krugman wrong

Paul Krugman, a left-wing economist, wrote an article called

Estonian Rhapsody
on his blog harbored by the New York Times. Krugman correctly observed that Estonia, the newest member of the eurozone (from 2011) that recorded an 7.6% growth in 2011, has become a poster child of austerity. However and more importantly, Krugman couldn't hide that this fact drove him up the wall.

This man who wants the "scientists" to fabricate an alien invasion in order to raise the government spending – or, more precisely, acts of wasting – simply hates austerity, fiscal responsibility, living out of one's own work, or economic common sense in general. The worst thing he can imagine is expansionary austerity, the economists' opinion that a major reduction of government spending that makes people believe that taxes will decrease helps to increase the consumption and GDP in general: this thesis contradicts everything that this Big Government champion stands for. That's why he started to hate Estonia, too.

This blog entry will ultimately mention some reactions by the Estonian president, a relatively conservative social democrat born in Stockholm who grew up in New Jersey.

Why M(atrix) theory contains membranes

A week ago, I wrote a long article on Matrix theory. I planned a few shorter additions and this is the first one.

M-theory may stand for "mother", "magic", "mystery", "matrix", upside down "W" for "Witten" (this interpretation was discovered by Sheldon Glashow), but it may also stand for "membrane". And Matrix theory actually contains states that look like membranes. It has to contain such states because M-theory contains membranes and Matrix theory should be physically equivalent to M-theory.



The BFSS, discoverers of Matrix theory. I am only able to identify Willy Fischler, a part-time paramedic, in the middle.

In this text, I want to explain why the matrix model contains configurations (and quantum states) that look like two-dimensional sheets of a supersmooth atomless Lorentz-invariant charged paper. We will focus on membranes of spherical and toroidal topology but the conclusion is more general.

The insight that the matrix model describes membranes wasn't quite new in 1996. In fact, the matrix model was encountered a decade earlier in efforts to "discretize" a theory of membranes in order to make it as well-defined as a theory of strings. However, only in 1996, BFSS were able to find out that the matrix model is actually an exact description of the M-theoretical membranes as well as everything else. They also resolved some puzzling issues about degenerate shapes of membranes and their topology change.

All this discussion is linked to noncommutative geometry, a subdiscipline of mathematics whose physically meaningful part has been tightly incorporated (by Nature) into string/M-theory. The particular constructions of noncommutative geometry resembling a sphere and a torus are known as the fuzzy sphere and fuzzy torus, respectively.

Political dialog in cradle of democracy

These are the typical people we may expect in the Greek government after the new June 17th elections – top people from the parties that made the greatest gains in the recent polls and whose success is likely to get amplified:



First of all, what I was surprised by was the apparent complete absence of a moderator in this TV debate. It seems that the Greeks haven't yet rediscovered the concept of a moderator (see how an effective moderator of political debates looks or one who moderates a Stalin-Hitler debate). So people are simultaneously screaming stuff past each other. They probably compete in a contest who can scream a higher number of incoherent words during the debate.

At any rate, the video gets more dramatic in the second minute.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Institute named after Adam Smith defends new taxes, central planning

While Adam Smith is turning in his grave

A vast majority of the staunch advocates of the climate panic are left-wing people and left-wing institutions. But I was just amazed by a fresh Forbes article called

iPads on a Plane and Why a Carbon Tax Would Solve Global Warming
by Tim Worstall, a fellow at the Adam Smith Institute in London. You would think that this is a free-market think tank analogous to CEI or Heartland Institute or Czechia's CEP or others. You would be wrong. At least one fellow of this institute is much closer to the Union of Concerned Scientists and other far left-wing NGOs.

Supersymmetry in the shadow of photini

You may find many copies of the following sentence on TRF but here we go again: The most interesting hep-ph preprint on the arXiv today is the first one:

Supersymmetry in the shadow of photini
The authors are Masha Baryakhtar, Nathaniel Craig, Ken Van Tilburg – three very young but self-evident big shots in string phenomenology and related issues. As far as I can remember, I only know Nathan. To say the least, he was one of the 5 smartest young (undergraduate and freshman graduate) students I have ever met at Harvard, the kind of kids who just make you say WOW – according to my courses and other pieces of data. I also remember his folder when I was admitting him to the Harvard grad school; even in the context of 400 folders with spectacular grades and recommendation letters, he looked like the real deal to me. (He chose Stanford and it's healthy to try various coasts.)

The title is poetic enough so that I kept it without modifications but their stringy scenario for SUSY is even more exciting. What is it?

Tuesday, June 05, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Multiverse, low entropy, and ontological commitments

Sean Carroll has ignited another Cosmic Variance discussion on the legitimacy and predictivity of multiverse theories,

Does This Ontological Commitment Make Me Look Fat?
About one-half of the points that people make in that thread are right (and some of the people, such as Moshe Rozali, are likely to make valid points only); the other half is demonstrably wrong. It always puzzles me how so many people fail to think rationally about so many rudimentary issues.

Carroll begins by quoting an interview with Craig Callender, a San Diego philosopher. He says that positing too many universes is too high a price to pay for an explanation of the low entropy of the newborn universe. Carroll correctly disagrees that it's not a price at all, it's really a prediction of the theory; I will discuss this point later, too.

However, Callender is right when he says that one shouldn't pay a high price for a new explanation of the low entropy. The reason is that there is actually no open problem associated with this general fact at all. The interviewer was pushing Callender to an irrational mode of reasoning by these misleading comments:
... But there is nothing in the second law of thermodynamics to explain why the universe starts with low entropy. Now maybe its just a brute fact that there’s nothing to explain. But some physicists believe they need to explain it. So Sean Carroll develops an idea of a multiverse to explain the low entropy. ...
We are told that some scientists may believe that they need to search for an explanation of the low entropy our world started with. However, science is not about beliefs, science is about facts and explanations. The low entropy of the initial state is a fact and another fact (one that proves the previous one) is that it trivially follows from the second law of thermodynamics, in contradiction with the first sentence above.

Monday, June 04, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Bill McKibben about your humble correspondent and others

Willie S. has told me about an interesting article (more precisely, a not so interesting article written by an interesting author, more precisely by a highly notorious author) that mentions your humble correspondent, among others.



Initially, I didn't want to believe that Willie really meant that my name has appeared in that article. The essay I am talking about was published by various sources such as The Asia Times online:

Climate-change deniers on the ropes by Bill McKibben
Of course, I must admit of being flattered by this new status.

If you have never heard the author's name, Bill McKibben was called "probably the nation's leading" verbal eco-terrorist potentate by the Boston Globe two years ago. He is the father of 350.org, a movement that tries to "undo" the evil imperialist CO2 emissions and "return" the CO2 concentration to where it was 20-25 years ago (everything above this arbitrary threshold of 350 ppm is lethal, he says), and he together with his 350.org and the 10:10 movement have also masterminded the 10/10/10 global party that had created the famous "No Pressure" video to promote the "special" day that turned out to be "not special at all".

His efforts designed to weaken the modern capitalist industrial civilization are intense and uninterrupted. Incidentally, if you don't know who funds 350.org, then neither does Bill McKibben.

What is a flame? Ben Ames' answer to Alan Alda

... and 6,000 kids like Alan Alda ...

I was greatly impressed (scientifically, visually, musically, and otherwise) by this 7.5-minute video by Ben Ames, a 31-year-old Missouri-born grad student in Innsbruck, Austria where he does quantum optics:



YouTube version is here...

It explains what a flame is (I am convinced that most readers will learn something new out of it) and I think it does so really well.

On Saturday, Alan Alda – a famous actor who starred as Hawkeye Pierce as well as Richard Feynman and a passionate science communicator – announced Ames' video as the winner of the Flames Challenge.

Sunday, June 03, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Bobby Acharya's talk in Stony Brook

This is a somewhat technical talk that Bobby Acharya gave in Stony Brook 5-6 weeks ago.

Talk via Flash player, MP4 file direct link (75 minutes)
The talk is about his generic string/M models with Gordy Kane and others.



Bobby is not only a full-fledged and stellar formal string theorist and a full-fledged ATLAS experimenter but also a smooth speaker who may make you love the imperial English accent and – as the initial frame of the video above shows – an Olympic sprinter who likes to train in the Long Island classrooms.

Czech president shuns Rio+20 "sustainable" conference

Between June 20th and 22nd, i.e. 20 years after a notorious conference that helped to energize the climate hysteria, Rio de Janeiro will organize the Rio+20 conference on the so-called "sustainable development".

Make no mistake about it: it's still the same attempt to cripple and reorganize the industrial capitalist civilization as the climate alarmist movement has been trying to achieve for decades (and Marxists for 150 years); they just don't emphasize the climate doctrine too much because they started to realize that it's been largely discredited.



Dr Klaus talks to Mr Fischer, an ex-prime-minister of a technocratic government, during the recent conference on gas and energy in Prague. Fischer is a presidential hopeful trying to replace Klaus at the Prague Castle in March 2013. Klaus has already endorsed another candidate and another ex-prime-minister, Mr Miloš Zeman, his (moderately) social democratic ex-rival from the early 1990s and a forecaster (who is also a sort of a climate skeptic and who is worried about the "Islamic anticivilization"), and I've been a Zeman-for-president supporter for quite some time, too.

Many websites indicate that almost all the heads of state will attend this "event". There are even petitions that demand all the heads of state to attend.

Expense cuts or pro-growth measures?

By Dr Václav Klaus, published in Hospodářské noviny (a Czech WSJ), June 1st, 2012

During the recent regular lunch together with 27 ambassadors of the EU countries, one Western European ambassador asked me what I thought about the present European dilemma that he saw in the Merkel-Hollande dichotomy and that – in his terminology – was described as "austerity vs pro-growtth measures". The word "austerity" – according to the Great English-Czech Dictionary – may mean "cost-saving measures" as well as "hardship" or "suffering".



I have mentioned the ambiguous meaning of the word "austerity" for a good reason. The reason is that many European politicians populistically suck up to various critics by their defense of the thesis that we may choose between "hardship and economic growth". However, we don't have such options. The problem can't be defined in this way at all. "Hardship" isn't what the current Europe is all about. The word "hardship" should be reserved for other, genuinely serious situations. We are solving a problem what to do with the fact that Europe has lived beyond its means in the long run and even today, it is living out of a growing debt. We can't allow the interpretation of the efforts to stop the life beyond our means as an invitation to hardship and starvation.

Saturday, June 02, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Arctic stratospheric clouds unrelated to tropospheric temperature

Radiative cooling (and warming) isn't a key effect: a piece of the man-made climate change "lore" is shaken

This particular paper which may have isolated a major mistake in the would-be mainstream "lore" of the climate science – and in all the climate models – hasn't gotten a sufficient amount of attention in the climate blogosphere. An article by The Hockey Schtick at the end of April and The Orange Punch yesterday are two exceptions.



A polar stratospheric cloud.

We're talking about a paper in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics that studied the conditions under which the clouds form in an upper layer of the atmosphere above the Arctic (the stratosphere):

On the linkage between tropospheric and polar stratospheric clouds in the Arctic as observed by space–borne lidar (abstract, PDF full text for free)
If you need to know, a lidar is a radar that is emitting light waves instead of radio waves but it still looks at the reflected ones. For the same reason, a wadar is a garden hose.

The four authors, P. Achtert, M. Karlsson Andersson, F. Khosrawi, and J. Gumbel of Stockholm, actually try to do some proper science i.e. compare the predictions by various a priori possible theories/answers/hypothesis/explanations with the observations (instead of, for example, inventing interpretations of phenomena – arbitrarily contrived interpretations – that are compatible with a predetermined belief: I hope that 97%-98% of the "climate scientists" will appreciate my description of their corrupt work).

Perimeter Institute says good-bye to Joy Christian

In the final paragraph of a March 2012 blog entry, I encouraged the Perimeter Institute and Oxford University to cut their ties with an anti-Bell-theorem activist and the author of repetitive and smug, yet almost uncited (if you remove self-citations) and nonsensical papers irrationally assaulting this important theorem in particular and quantum mechanics in general, namely with Joy Christian.

They have listened – either to me or someone else who gave an equivalent recommendation.

The last transit of Venus in this century

It may seem as though the 21st century is still just getting started. But there is one event that will occur on Tuesday night UTC and its next repetition will have to wait until the year 2117. And in the "hectic" 20th century, this event hasn't occurred at all. What is it?



The Venus will perforate the Sun: the sky is falling. Paul Krugman proposes to build high-speed rails to fight against the effects of the perforation, to triple the U.S. public debt, and to increase the government, the only entity that is allowed to spend big.

It's the rarest astronomical event among the predictable ones: the transit of Venus. The 2012 transit of Venus will begin on Tuesday, June 5th, 2012, at 18:09 Boston Daylight Savings Time (or 6 hours later according to the Pilsner Summer Time) and will last for 6 hours 40 minutes or so.

Incidentally, right in the middle of the transit of Venus, the IPv6 Internet Protocol will be launched and good enough internet services will become available both in IPv6 and IPv4 permanently – for many years in which both protocols will co-exist.

Some common sense disclaimer: Europeans will see almost nothing because the Sun can't be seen at night! ;-) Only an (extended/reduced) hemisphere will see (the-whole/at-least-part-of-the) transit of Venus.

You surely want a no-nonsense list of the "recent" years when it has occurred or will occur and here it is: 1639; 1761, 1769; 1874, 1882; 2004, 2012; 2117, 2125...