Friday, November 30, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Does the Bigfoot exist?

You must have noticed that two days ago, news sources were hyping a claim of Melba Ketchum, a Texan veterinarian, that she has sequenced the DNA taken from Mr Bigfoot Sasquatch Jr.

After a 5-year-long research, her DNA team in Nacogdoches has allegedly determined that he exists and he is the son of an American woman (because the mitochondrial DNA inherited from the mother matches homo sapiens sapiens) and her hairy male primate partner whose ancestors split from "us" (apologies to TRF readers who are Sasquatch Americans whom I don't count right now) about 15,000 years ago (because they are said to have discovered a new nuDNA related to humans and primates).

Oh, I see. The Register says that they claim that the sex between the human female and the exotic creature took place 15,000 years ago.

Firewalls vs analytic continuation

Two new interesting anti-firewall papers and one pro-firewall paper

The black hole firewall argument by AMPS is probably invalid but it has already led to a significant new wave of research and discussions about the black hole information puzzle which is a good thing.



There are some new papers since my most recent comments on the firewall controversy. But what happened today is kind of remarkable: just today, there are a whopping three papers on the black hole firewalls!

Thursday, November 29, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Dark matter discovery: behind the corner?

Clara Moskowitz did a pretty good job

Two days ago, I read a popular article about dark matter:

Dark Matter Mystery May Soon Be Solved
It was written by Clara Moskowitz, an important editor of Space.com, and I thought that the article was unusually good.

The article sketched what dark matter is, what it is composed of according to the most convincing theories (WIMP or axion, and speculations on hidden dimensions properly identified as a cherry on top of the pie), the arguments in favor and against of the superpartners as dark matter particle candidates, and the ongoing experiments as well as those that are getting started such as LUX that are trying or will be trying to directly detect the dark matter particle.

Palestinian statehood and the U.N.

Update, vote: 138 Yes, 9 No (including Czechia), 41 Abstain
The State of Judenfrei Palestine was painfully accepted to UNESCO one year ago. Today, another vote of this kind is expected. It's almost certain that a vote will determine that the Israeli Arabs will win the same status in the U.N. that the Vatican enjoys – the status of a non-member state recognized by the U.N.

It doesn't seem fortunate to me that just weeks after the Israeli Arabs launched a missile campaign against Israel, the world's "peace organization" is going to declare by a vote that they're a suppressed group of victims who may be living on an occupied territory. If the opposite of occupation is that they are free to throw rockets to any neighbor they find, then occupation is a necessary condition for peace.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

David Ian Olive: 1937-2012

Clifford Johnson mentioned some sad news.

Off-topic but good news: Mathematica 9 is released today and it's big, offering the first useful "predictive interface" with suggestions in the world of software, analysis of social networks, interactive gauges, system-wide support for 4,500 units, systematic addition of legends, support for Markov and random processes, integration of Steve McIntyre's language R, and more
British field theorist and string theorist David Olive, Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales, and Fellow of the Royal Society died on November 7th, at the age of 75.

If I remember well, I've never met him. But I've experienced lots of his key and beautiful insights.

Five greatest physicists' sex scandals

This is an extremely, extremely light topic. Popsci.com wrote a new article

5 Of Physics's Greatest Sex Scandals
A TRF guest blogger finds himself in a pretty good company.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

It's wrong to worry about the "fiscal cliff"

Starting from January 2013, America has a chance to restore some balance in its federal budget that's been getting worse since Clinton's surplus years around 2000 and that switched to seemingly permanent astronomical figures after the 2008 recession.

If no bills were changed or added in the following 6 weeks, spending cuts would come into force and some temporary (mainly Bush) tax cuts would be abolished again. The deficits would instantly start to improve, see the brown curve:



However, some people invented the term "fiscal cliff" for the relatively sudden improvement of the U.S. budget deficit in order to suggest that this good thing is actually a bad thing. It's a fiscal cliff but the sign is such that the U.S. may start to climb out of the deep Greek $hit it's been sinking into. But a "hike from the mud in the Mariana Trench towards the summit at Mount Everest on a sunny day" doesn't sound as catchy as the "fiscal cliff".

Martin Rees' center studies 4 worst threats for mankind

Climate change is on par with robot uprising

The cataclysm on December 21st, 2012 is less than a month away and I am regularly asked by people in the real life as well as those on the Internet whether a particular doomsday scenario they read about will happen. They are just polite when they ask; of course that if I explain to them that they don't have to worry, they keep on $hitting into their pants, anyway. ;-)



Nude Socialist, Fox News, BBC, AP, and the rest of the pack told us about CSER.ORG, a center founded by the Lord [Martin] Rees of Ludlow, among others (including a co-founder of Skype), that will study the huge one-time risks that can make us extinct and everyone underestimates. What are they? Well, they are:

  1. robot uprising
  2. Hiroshimas all over the world
  3. artificial germs making all of us sick and die
  4. global warming
As you can see, the global warming hysteria finds itself in a good company of comparably (un)realistic worries.

Monday, November 26, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Many worlds vs positivism and symmetries

About a dozen of TRF articles mention Hugh Everett and his "many-worlds interpretation" of quantum mechanics. Exactly three months ago, I showed that "many worlds" don't exist as long as one uses the standard rules of quantum mechanics to answer the very question about their existence.

If we use the same rules to answer the question "Do many worlds exist?" as we use for answering questions about the electrons' spins and other questions "obviously accessible to the experiments", the answer of quantum mechanics is a resounding No. There can't be any "multiple worlds". After all, the splitting of the worlds would correspond to a quantum xeroxing machine and that's prohibited by the linearity of the evolution operators in quantum mechanics. Also, the conservation laws would be violated whenever the worlds split, assuming that they were not split before the "measurement" or another critical moment. And if they were split in advance, the interpretation would violate causality because the "Everett multiverse" would have know about the measurements in advance.

Quantum mechanics unambiguously says that the linear superposition of orthogonal states, \(\ket\alpha+\ket\beta\), doesn't mean that "both the things described by \(\ket\alpha\) and \(\ket\beta\) exist at the same time". Instead, the plus sign means "OR", not "AND". The state says "only \(\ket\alpha\) is possible AND only \(\ket\beta\) is possible" but when we want to omit the words "possible", the only right translation is "Nature realized \(\ket\alpha\) OR \(\ket\beta\)". It's the usual probabilistic mixture. Well, there is a difference: in quantum mechanics, we first add the complex probability amplitudes, and then we square the absolute values of the results (the probabilities). In classical statistical physics, we sum up the probabilities directly so the "mixed" or "interference" terms would be absent.

So the "many worlds" are obviously prohibited when the rules of quantum mechanics are being used for all physical questions, including the questions that some people could be religiously prejudiced about. (I really think it's analogous to religious beliefs because many otherwise rational people abandon all rational thinking when it comes to questions that have the potential to unseat or otherwise disturb their God. Their boundary behind which rational thinking is prohibited is as arbitrary and surprising as it is for those who love to refuse the quantum character of quantum mechanics.) In the following text, I will discuss another part of this issue and explain that if you wanted to use some non-quantum, more classical rules in which quantum mechanics would be embedded, you would be forced to defend an indefensible theoretical framework, too.

Sunday, November 25, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

December 3rd: ITU, U.N. could end the free Internet

Lots of worried voices have claimed that various large corporations such as Microsoft, Google, or others would restrict the freedom of the exchange of information on the Internet.

I have always considered these worries silly – and I will always count the people with a hardwired corporation-phobia to be hardcore communists. In particular, none of the IT or communication corporations has ever had a sufficient monopoly to stop the flow of the information – and most of the largest ones are literally motivated to support as diverse ways of exchanging the information as possible because their profit really boils down to these processes.

The free market works, stupid.



But here is a similar threat I find much more credible. Between December 3rd and December 14th, there will be a conference of the ITU, the 1865 International Telegraph Union (that changed the middle word to "Telecommunication" to create the illusion that its core has been modernized but it has not) which became a U.N. agency, in Dubai.



A majority vote behind the closed door may bring a radical power grab which could seriously cripple the freedom of the online exchange of information.

The 234-bit gene that turns an ape into a man

You must have wondered why some of us are human while others are just apes. As I learned from an article that was sent to me by Peter F., all the difference may boil down to 117 base pairs on the 20th chromosome.

Study: Single Gene, Plus Some "Junk" DNA Turned Ape Ancestors Into Modern Man (Daily Tech)
Recall that all the information needed to create and run an organism is digitally stored in the DNA molecule, a sequence of base pairs. Each base pair is either AT or TA or CG or GC (the first and second letter correspond to the 1st strand and the 2nd strand of the double helix and they're locally distinguishable). Because you have 4 possibilities, the base pair carries roughly 2 bits of information.



The DNA sequence is divided into chromosomes. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes; all apes have 24 pairs of chromosomes. In total, they carry a few gigabytes of genetic information (3.08 billion base pairs or 6.16 billion bits), not far from an operating system. It's somewhat hard to believe that our not having one of the chromosomes is what makes us – apparently and only in some cases – superior relatively to the apes. There has to be a "positive difference" that favors us, too.

Saturday, November 24, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Lost City Raiders, a B movie

My newly favorite Czech TV channel, Prima Cool (which airs not only The Big Bang Theory), was broadcasting a silly 2008 U.S.-German-Austrian science-fiction catastrophic global warming film, Lost City Raiders, tonight.

If you have 98 minutes, the whole movie is right here on this blog.



I kind of enjoy watching catastrophic movies – and view it as 1% of my job, too. In this case, I feel satisfied and you should also feel satisfied because this cheap $6 million movie scored the worst grades you may think of, see e.g. 39% at IMDb.

The rest of the blog entry is full of spoilers.

Climate propaganda in Australia

Joanne Nova (see also Anthony Watts) made sure that my pressure didn't stay relatively low for too much time in the morning. Why? I have listened to a 16-minute long show on the ABC, the Australian public radio, called

Attitudes to climate change (audio)
We used to hear some remotely similar propaganda programs until 1989 – although not too many have been this hardcore in the 1980s, I would say (in particular, I don't remember a single radio program against Havel or dissidents etc. that would be this nasty) – but the public radio and TV simply can't produce programs that would be this dishonest, manipulative, hateful, and insulting anymore. It's surely a part of the reasons why I think that my homeland is already well ahead of countries such as Australia when it comes to democracy.

Friday, November 23, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Clashes over EU budget

Leaders of the EU countries met in Brussels and they are trying to agree about the 2014-2020 EU budget – about a trillion of dollars. And as the Washington Post and almost everyone else notices, it ain't pretty. France clashes with Britain and smaller countries play their own small games, suggesting possible vetoes.



Click for the Guardian infographics on EU finances...

One could say that it's possible to define "overall fair rules" how to redistribute the resources. However, there's still a subtle question: How large is the overall budget? Now, the countries that are net payers obviously want the overall budget to shrink; David Cameron is a clear advocate of that. Countries that have been overall recipients, including Czechia, want to stay recipients and they typically want the budget for solidarity ("cohesion spending") to grow.

(Except for Prague, all regions of Czechia are counted as poorer regions that should be receiving this kind of aid. Czechia is a net recipient but on a per-capita basis, we're the smallest recipients among the post-socialist EU member states. Among the net recipients, we're the per-capita smallest ones after Cyprus, Spain, Ireland, and Belgium.)

Thursday, November 22, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

SUSY exists because the number 3/2 can't be missing

Paul Frampton: Off-topic sad news: he gets 4.67 years in prison for drug smuggling; Google News. He may be moved to the U.S. in 2014 if he applies. They found a note, "1grm/200U$S. 2000grms/400000 U$S", handwritten by Frampton himself on which he calculated the price of the stuff. He admitted he wrote it but only after the stuff was found, weighed, and he was accused. So the curious Paul calculated what he was supposed to earn, too. When cops accuse you of anything in Argentina, shut up and don't calculate anything! Even more seriously, however, Paul's e-mail to (fake) Ms Denisa Krajíčková a day before he was caught allegedly "worried about sniffer dogs looking after the small suitcase".
This blog entry elaborates upon a simple point made by Nima Arkani-Hamed in a recent talk (and by others). First, look at this IQ test. What is missing in the box?\[

\begin{array}{|c|c|c|c|c|c|}
\hline
j& 0 & 1/2 & 1 & ??? & 2\\
\hline
\end{array}

\] Those of you who have figured out that \(???=3/2\) earned a ticket and they may continue to read. ;-)

Stuart Freedman: RIP

Stuart Jay Freedman, UC Berkeley physicist, died at the age of 68. He joined Princeton in 1972 and Berkeley in 1991. A former particle theorist became an unusually versatile experimenter even though he used to dislike the Berkeley labs as "Big Science" (in a pejorative sense, similar to the "Big Government").



Picture via Rolf Kaltschmidt

A famous paper he wrote with John Clauser in April 1972 experimentally disproved local hidden variable models of quantum mechanics. The PRL document is wonderfully free of nonsense. They measure a correlation of photons' polarizations in calcium, verify quantum mechanics, and with some help from the CHSH inequality, they explain why local hidden variables couldn't agree with their results. Not too much conceptual progress occurred in that activity during the following 10 years when Alain Aspect got pretty famous by doing similar, slightly improved experiments.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Rumors at NPR: almost life found on Mars

Update Dec 3rd: Just some perchlorates etc. so far

NPR offered us a provoking story yesterday:

Big News From Mars? Rover Scientists Mum For Now (audio, video)
The Curiosity rover's SAM device, Sample Analysis at Mars, found something "Earth-shaking" and ready for "history books" in the Martian soil, according to John Rotzinger, the principal investigator of the whole rover mission.

Papers refuting black hole firewalls spread

Some research activity following the provoking black hole firewall claim by AMPS (Polchinski et al.) continues. The papers that say – or pretty much say – that black holes don't have any firewalls at/near the event horizon start do prevail.

It's interesting to mention that Samir Mathur's idea of fuzzballs used to look as an early predecessor of "firewalls". Many of us were slightly skeptical because it looked like Mathur was saying that the black hole interior never looks empty.

But he never did. While the interior has a complicated structure if you can measure all the degrees of freedom, macroscopic infalling observers will see the empty region that general relativity implies. Samir Mathur and David Turton made this point explicit in the August 2012 paper about fuzzball complementarity.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Leonard Susskind on Higgs boson

If you have 75 minutes, you may want to listen to the July 30th, 2012 post-discovery talk about the Higgs boson by Leonard Susskind that was addressed to the curious pensioners in Palo Alto, California.



At the beginning, he reminds you that you have already heard that the Higgs boson – called the Weinberg toilet by Sheldon Glashow – is the best thing since the invention of the flush toilet.

Instead, he discusses the quantization of spin and he shows you his hat and semitechnical properties of the Higgs potential, the relationship between fields and particles, the impact of the vacuum condensate (compared to dipoles) on other particles, the role of the uncertainty principle for the finite i.e. short range of the weak force.

Polish Breivik Wannabe: Dr Brunon Kwiecień, a chemist

I guess you have heard about the foiled plan (thank God) by a Polish nationalist to bomb the lower chamber of the Polish Parliament and to kill the president, the prime minister, and lots of lawmakers.



Via Gazeta.pl

He has had accumulated tons of explosives, detonators, guns, and lots of other equipment in his apartment and the threat was credible. A ready-to-explode vehicle contained 4 tons of explosives. The assassin was working hard to recruit accomplices. He has already confessed.

But chances are you haven't heard the name and occupation of the attacker. Well, you are fortunately a TRF reader.

His name is Dr Brunon Kwiecień (45 years) and he is an analytic chemist from the Agricultural University in Krakow. The name means "Bruno April". It's puzzling for Czechs because the last name sounds like "květen" which is the Czech word for the following month, May.

You would think that in the North, in Poland, the counterpart of the Czech May (the words "květen" and "kwiecień" are masculine nouns related to flowers or blossoming) will be June because flowers should blossom later but for some reason, it's the other way around.

Monday, November 19, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

BaBar directly measures time reversal violation

Microscopic processes involving particles proceed differently if forced to go backwards



One of them is Babar the Elephant. Don't ask me which one – I would guess it's the daddy. Instead, I can offer you Peter F.'s elephant who can paint an elephant with a flower.

Physical Review Letters just published a paper

Observation of Time Reversal Violation in the B0 Meson System (arXiv, July 2012)
by the BaBar collaboration at Stanford's SLAC that directly proves the violation of T, or the time-reversal symmetry. Even though the result isn't new anymore, the publication was an opportunity for some vibrations in the media:
Stanford press release

Ars Technica, Google News
The T-violation is equivalent to the CP-violation, via the CPT-theorem, as I discuss below, but comments about the discovered "microscopic arrow of time" weren't just a new sexy way to describe experiments looking for CP-violation. They have actually seen the T-violation "directly". Physicists have known what would happen in this experiment for decades; but they actually performed it for the first time now (the detailed idea behind this experiment has been around since the late 1990s when the long experiment was actually getting started).

What did they do?

Finite SUSY GUT theories

Heinemeyer, Mondragon, and Zoupanos discuss an interesting subset of supersymmetric grand unified theories, the so-called FUTs:

Finite Theories after the discovery of a Higgs-like boson at the LHC
These theories are finite – i.e. cancelling all UV divergences – to all orders in perturbation theories. One may guarantee that supersymmetric grand unified theories are finite to all orders if he cancels the beta-functions for gauge couplings and anomalous dimensions of the Yukawa couplings up to one-loop and/or two-loop level; and if he also relates the Yukawa couplings with the gauge couplings in certain ways. Linear relationships for the squared masses – certain sum rules – are natural conditions that arise.

World Bank abuses AGW lies to grow its bureaucracy

Jim Yong Kim is a Korean-American physician and a former president of Dartmouth College who was recently named the president of the World Bank after Barack Obama nominated him half a year ago.



Let me confess that I simply can't stand similar superficial careerist assholes. In an apparent effort to strengthen my strongly held sentiment, this man quickly transformed the World Bank into a hardcore fortress defending the climate change propaganda. The organization just published a booklet

Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4 °C warmer world must be avoided (executive summary, full, media)
The World Bank hired the climate Nazis around Hans Joachim Schellnhuber in Potsdam and the document repeats all the usual myths about the 4 °C (increased from the IPCC) that is somewhat likely to expect us in this century, about the poor folks who will suffer because of that, about the need to declare a 2 °C threshold (relatively to an ill-defined base line, of course) that isn't allowed to be surpassed, and so on, and so on.

Sunday, November 18, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Davis Cup + Fed Cup + Hopman Cup = Czechia

Czechoslovakia has always been a country of tennis. This is how the Czechoslovak team looked like when it won the 1980 Davis Cup:



You see Tomáš Šmíd of Pilsen, Ivan Lendl, Pavel Složil, and Jan Kodeš (only the former two players played the 5 final matches against Italy; none of the four players was Slovak – there have been no quota). This picture shows some funny fashion 32 years ago – in this case, it also combines some ultrashort shorts with a communist military-style suit decorated by our double-tailed lion "improved" by a communist star above his head.

Tennis has been a path for people to travel across the world and live in a Western lifestyle. Lots of families made immense investments for their children to become top tennis players – and sources of money and freedom – and most of these investments were lost, of course. The sport was tolerated by the communist regime but maybe they made a mistake, given the negative publicity they won by all those tennis players who emigrated to the U.S., especially Ivan Lendl and Martina Navrátilová. Incidentally, Lendl left our homeland after some politically correct communist assholes criticized him and fined him in 1983 for his participation in a tournament held in a South African bantustan.

Saturday, November 17, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Albert Einstein destroyed 37 Hitler's submarines

Czech high school teacher's idea wouldn't be realized without the top physicist

The top Czech news server iDNES.CZ (CZ) just published a very interesting #3 story of the day, after our defeat of Spain in the doubles of the 100th final of the Davis Cup and after #2 reports from the November 17th anniversary rallies.

We usually consider Albert Einstein to be the ultimate pacifist although we also acknowledge his and Szilárd's abstract letter that contributed to the Manhattan Project. But Einstein's steps strengthening the U.S. military power have been much more intense than we usually admit.

Anniversaries: Wigner, Néel, Hofstadter

On November 17th, I usually dedicated space to the anniversary of the 1989 Velvet Revolution, the beginning of the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia, which occurred on the 50th anniversary of the clash between Czech students and the Nazi regime in 1939, a clash from which the students emerged (in 1,200 cases, in concentration camps) as losers (temporarily).

However, physicists are being born and dying on November 17th, too.

In 1990, Robert Hofstadter died. He was born in 1915 into a family of a salesman, studied or was affiliated with CUNY, General Electric, Princeton, Upenn, and most recently Stanford. He is the grandfather of a fictitious grandson, Leonard Hofstadter, who is famous for being Sheldon Cooper's roommate, and the father of a Pulitzer-winning author Douglas Hofstadter.

Friday, November 16, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Do nation states belong to the 19th century? Is it bad?

Czech president Klaus had to go through another memorable, tense moment when he was giving an interview in Vienna:

DER STANDARD: Václav Klaus: Is that clear? Yes? Good. (autom. transl. from German)
After some sentences, he decided that the journalists from Der Standard, a major [social liberal] Austrian daily, didn't deserve more than he has already given to them. And I understand him very well.



The journalists pretended that they were asking questions but in reality, they were trying to bully the interviewee or impose the politically correct ideology upon him. It quickly became very clear that these PC bastards had already depleted even the capital needed for Klaus' "Auf wiedersehen". ;-)

Music star Al Gore plans a virtual reality drop

The king of pop is dead; long live Al Gore.



Honestly, I think this "adjust frequencies" music genre is pretty good. He could join the young rapping Australian climate alarmists, too.

Yesterday, I watched Al Gore's "Dirty Weather" show for about 30 minutes in total and Anthony Watts' competing TV program for more than hour; it was especially Roy Spencer that made the watching irresistible.

The difference couldn't be more striking. It's often being said that the climate panic is driven by scientists. But Al Gore's show offered virtually no scientists. It offered lots of ordinary people who constantly and repetitively complained that they only had one planet and the planet's weather should be called the climate, it was dirty, and the dirt was caused by fossil fuels. If you have read the previous sentence and if you have listened the 3-minute song above, it's equivalent to watching of the 24-hour-long program.

I have just saved your day. ;-)

Thursday, November 15, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

There are no hospitals for theories

Just offices and cemeteries

It's refreshing that I may sometimes fully agree with a text by Matt Strassler:

Why Theories Don’t Go Into Hospitals
BBC's Pallab Ghosh has quoted Christopher Parkes of LHCb who has said "Supersymmetry may not be dead but these latest results have certainly put it into hospital."



Even if one (or two) gets into a hospital, it doesn't mean he's not a supersymmetric hero (a superhero for short). A shoulder surgery isn't the end of the world.

But nothing like that is possible in science.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

ATLAS 1 lepton, 7 jets: a 4-sigma excess

Update: YK has pointed out (page 8: yess, passwords, I didn't have them, either) that the expectation was 6.5, not 4, so the confidence level is correspondingly weaker, about 3 sigma. Sorry.

Lots of new data were presented at the particle physics conference in Kyoto; lots of data (possibly much more important data) have been saved for the March 2013 Moriond conference, however.

Some papers by ATLAS and CMS continue to endorse the validity of the Standard Model at \(\sqrt{s}=8\TeV\). Even the branching ratios of the Higgs boson decay seem to return to their expected Standard Model intervals. In particular, ATLAS and CMS have published some studies with a similar outcome that used \(13/{\rm fb}\) and \(12.1/{\rm fb}\) of the 2012 data, respectively. The \(H\to\tau^+\tau^-\) decay seems to be compatible with the Standard Model now. CMS now sees a 4.5-sigma spin-0 scalar (not pseudoscalar) Higgs bump at \(126.2\GeV\) just in the ZZ channel. No new results on the diphoton channel. See Phil Gibbs on other Higgs news.

All this stuff is rather boring and we're used to it – it may be the not-so-new standard or it may be the silence before the thunderstorm. However, Matt Strassler has told us about the most interesting discrepancy unmasked in Japan.

Anthony Watts' television channel

Al Gore has a new TV competitor

Last year, Al Gore's Climate Parody Day spent millions of dollars and attracted a few thousand viewers in the whole world who watched the boring show for a few minutes in average.

Journey towards idiocracy may have begun 2,000 years ago

In the 2006 Idiocracy film (Wiki), an average soldier is hibernated and appears in the year 2505 AD to find out he is the brightest person in the world. So he is elected the U.S. president and tries to save the world that will have been plagued by centuries of deterioration and brainwashing.



The U.S. president in 2505 AD

Now, the geneticist Gerald Crabtree of Stanford has published two papers in Trends in Genetics:

Our fragile intellect. Part I
Our fragile intellect. Part II.
He argues that the decline isn't starting now; it began 2,000-6,000 years ago.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

BBC's 30 "experts" who decided in 2006 that balance on AGW wasn't needed

The British Broadcast Corporation is legally obliged to be impartial. However, at one point, the BBC Trust has boldly informed the public that after a seminar held on January 26th, 2006, the public news organization has decided that no balance was needed in climate reporting anymore and the organization would continue to spread the demagogy of the unhinged climate alarmists only.



The organization would insist that the decision was made by a few dozens of top invited scientific experts and it would use every trick to hide the identity of these "experts". Indeed, last Friday, a judge decided that the BBC wasn't obliged to reveal the identity of its "experts" so blogger Tony Newbery, the plaintiff, lost.

However, climate blogger Maurizio Morabito legally made the bizarre legal decision irrelevant. He found out a web copy of the list of participants on the Web.Archive.ORG internet archive time machine.

And it is a very powerful stuff. See comments at The Register (plus page 2).

Monday, November 12, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Superstringy compactifications compatible with the \(B\to\mu^+\mu^-\) decays seen by LHCb

Originally posted on November 12th, Gordon Kane's answers added in the comments on November 16th

By Gordon Kane, Distinguished University Professor of Physics, University of Michigan and a Lilienfeld Prize winner

Intro by LM: The HCP 2012 conference in Kyoto, Japan began today. Pallab Ghosh of BBC immediately told us that "SUSY has been certainly put in the hospital". This statement boils down to the recently exposed measurements at the LHCb detector of the rarest decay of the B-mesons so far (paper in PDF, public info), namely \(B_s^0\to\mu^+\mu^-\), whose observed branching ratio \(3.2^{+1.5}_{-1.2}\times 10^{-9}\) (about 99% certainty it is nonzero) agrees with the Standard Model's prediction of \((3.54\pm0.30)\times 10^{-9}\). See also a few days old LHCb paper on another decay and texts by Harry Cliff at the Science Museum Discovery blog, Michael Schmitt, Tommaso Dorigo, and Prof Matt Strassler on the muon decay. But what do actual supersymmetric stringy compactifications predict about this decay? Are they dead?
I want to thank Luboš Motl for his interest and for inviting me to summarize our rare decay predictions for the data that is appearing this week. Basically the prediction for supersymmetry based on compactified string/M theories is that any rare decay rate should equal the Standard Model one within an accuracy of a few per cent.

NASA, BAS agree that the Antarctic ice growth contradicts climate models



Peter F. sent me an interesting link commenting on the interpretations of the growth of the Antarctic ice:

Steady Antarctic ice growth 'limits confidence in climate predictions': Top NASA, Brit boffins probe baffling polar mystery (The Register)
Minutes later, Marc Morano exposed another article referring to some of the very same people that already solved the mystery:
Antarctic sea ice increase caused by winds (TG Daily)
The main person who was used as the source in both stories published on the very same day – the story saying that the "growth of ice is puzzling" and the story saying that "the growth of ice has been explaining" – is Paul Holland of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). You might think that this Gentleman must suffer from schizophrenia.

Saturday, November 10, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Obama and Earth-Moon L2 Lagrange point base

Some media including Dvice.com spread rumors about a possible imminent Branco Bamma's plan to announce a new space station.



Yellow is the Earth, blue is the Moon. And 1,2,3,4,5 are the Lx Lagrange points.

Instead of resembling the International Space Station that orbits the Earth just 400+ km above the surface (see current location to check whether you may see the dot above you), it would be placed in a more exotic place – the Earth-Moon L2 Lagrange point.

Fermi may be seeing a 6 GeV WIMP, too

According to the internal counter, this text is the 5,000th published blog entry on this blog.

At a Fermi Telescope Symposium, the Fermi Collaboration revealed its opinion about the celebrated Christoph Weniger's \(130\GeV\) line:

Search for gamma-ray spectral lines in the Milky Way diffuse with the Fermi Large Area Telescope (PDF by Andrea Albert)
As Jester mentions, the glass they offer is half-full or half-empty, according to your personal taste. There's some confessed excess near \(135\GeV\), which is their new central value of the energy after some adjustments, but they only admit a 2+ or 3+ sigma result, depending on whether they zoom near the Galactic center.

Moreover, they see "similar" excesses at other frequencies located in other portions of the sky and the would-be signal near \(135\GeV\) is less continuous than the dark matter interpretation would suggest.

But there's something else interesting in the data.

Friday, November 09, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

The \(125.7\GeV\) Higgs could have lighter siblings

The official discovery of a \(125.7\GeV\) Higgs boson is (so far) this year's greatest addition to the knowledge of parameters in particle physics. A German-Swedish-Spanish group of fitting professionals has just updated their fits concerning the Higgs data in the new paper

MSSM Interpretations of the LHC Discovery: Light or Heavy Higgs?
and the title already tells us that something many people consider impossible is actually possible.



A lighter Peter Higgs (by half a century)

The \(125.7\GeV\) Higgs boson may be one of the five faces of the God particles in the supersymmetric model building and it may be the lightest one. In that case, the heavier (and perhaps much heavier bosons) might be discovered in the future as the energy reach goes up. The MSSM – well, especially points like pMSSM-7 they study – are as compatible with all the known data as the Standard Model.

However, ...

Thursday, November 08, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

A slower speed of light: MIT relativistic action game

In the past, this blog focused on relativistic optical effects and visualizations of Einstein's theory: special relativity (download Real Time Relativity), general relativity, and Andy Hall's relativistic raptor.



But there's some new competition on the market:

MIT Gamelab: A slower speed of light

Downloads: Windows (98 MB), Mac (105 MB)

Wednesday, November 07, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

When truths don't commute. Inconsistent histories.

A short introduction to Consistent Histories after some trivial appetizer

When the uncertainty principle is being presented, people usually – if not always – talk about the position and the momentum or analogous dimensionful quantities. That leads most people to either ignore the principle completely or think that it describes just some technicality about the accuracy of apparatuses.

However, most people don't change their idea what the information is and how it behaves. They believe that there exists some sharp objective information, after all. Nevertheless, these ideas are incompatible with the uncertainty principle. Let me explain why the uncertainty principle applies to the truth, too.

Cosmic GDP drops 97% since peak star

Staunch Chicken Littles such as Alexander Ač love to talk about "peak oil", a hypothetical moment (and, in their opinion, a predictable and important moment) at which the global oil production reaches its global maximum.



But Phys.ORG has discussed an even more far-reaching peak of something, namely "peak star". The popular article is based on this paper:

A large H\(\alpha\) survey at \(z=2.23,\, 1.47,\, 0.84\, \&\, 0.40\): the \(11\,{\rm Gyr}\) evolution of star-forming galaxies from HiZELS (arXiv, published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society)
If we denote the number of produced stars per year as the "cosmic GDP", the years at which the cosmic GDP were maximized belongs to the distant memories. Since that time, the star production slowed down considerably. In fact, the "cosmic GDP" has decreased by a whopping 97% since that moment!

RSS AMSU: 2012 seems to be 11th warmest on record

For almost 15 years, the climate alarmist bigots have been dreaming about another warm year that would dethrone 1998 as the warmest year on the satellite temperature record. It's totally clear by now that year 2012 won't become this divine signal of their holy global warming they have been desperately waiting and praying for. In fact, after the first 10 months, it doesn't seem to make it into the top ten.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Obama-Romney: TRF poll

Update: About 1/3 of U.S. TRF readers voted for Obama and 3/5 of them expected Obama to win. Only 1% of TRF readers voted for Obama but expected Romney to win. Among the non-TRF readers, Romney slightly won the popular vote but by the electoral votes, Obama safely defended his presidency. Dow Jones collapsed by more than two percent after the results.
This poll is very simple and unsurprising.



I want the U.S. readers – which make up 1/2 of the TRF visitors – to report whom they voted for and whom they expect to win. Well, I only mean the U.S. readers who are not crying of being tired of Bronko Báma and Mitt Romney yet.

Who did you vote for, whom do you expect to win?

  


pollcode.com free polls 



If you didn't actually physically vote but you have an opinion, please pretend that you did vote. Your vote counts here.

Monday, November 05, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Why subjective quantum mechanics allows objective science

Short answer: Because subjective knowledge (and ignorance) is and has always been compatible with objective science and quantum mechanics simply transmutes all of science to a novel treatment of fundamentally subjective knowledge.

I've had an exchange about the subjective/objective nature of the observation in quantum mechanics with Arnold Neumaier, a mathematician in Vienna.

In my answer, I clarified that what is sometimes called the "collapse of the wave function" is actually a subjective process – it's a change of someone's knowledge because he or she or it or they is/are learning about the value of an observable. This "collapse" is the change of the subjective probabilistic distributions which is also why it may occur "faster than light". The collapse "only occurs in your head".

Sunday, November 04, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Steven Weinberg defends linear collider, science

Last week, Steven Weinberg gave a talk in Arlington, Texas. This is the questions-and-answers part of the talk:



It's 28 minutes. At the end of the regular talk, he mentioned various indirect advantages from building a new linear collider etc. He makes a good joke when they prepare an award for his memorable talk: How did you know in advance that my talk would be memorable? I would be inclined to make exactly the same comment.

Saturday, November 03, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Quantum casino: less than zero chance

Guest blog by Johannes Koelman, the Hammock Physicist

Human thought has led to a variety of remarkable and profound insights. Many of these insights are well established and have been embraced by a significant portion of the global population.

The earth being round, the atomistic nature of matter, our unremarkable place in the universe, and us being a product of evolution, all being examples of such insights. Other insights, although unanimously embraced by experts, have a long way to go for a larger population to accept them. More than for any other subject, this holds for quantum physics. No other product of human thought is as profoundly mysterious as quantum theory.

Friday, November 02, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Supersymmetric Lagrangians

Supersymmetry has been discussed many times on this blog but a particular question on the Physics Stack Exchange today,

Why is the lightest Higgs not a free parameter in SUSY? (SE)
convinced me to write a new, not too long text about the way to construct minimally supersymmetric Lagrangians for \(d=4\) supersymmetric quantum field theories.

Just to be sure, the poster above asked why the Higgs mass seems to be freely adjustable in the Standard Model but there are various constraints on the Higgs mass in the Minimal Supersymmetric Standard Model – for example, the lighter Higgs mass can't be too much heavier than the Z-boson.

I answered that a heavy Higgs boson in the Standard Model also leads to some trouble such as instabilities but the bulk of my answer – which you can read if you click at the SE link above – was dedicated to an explanation why the Higgs masses can't be arbitrarily scaled in supersymmetric theories.



A short answer is that the quartic coupling \(\lambda\) in the \(\lambda h^4\) quartic (fourth-order) self-interaction of the Higgs field – which is an increasing function of the Higgs mass, assuming a fixed given vacuum expectation value (vev) – is no longer arbitrary in the MSSM. Instead, it is given by various combinations of \(g^2\) and \(g^{\prime 2}\) gauge couplings for the \(SU(2)\times U(1)\) electroweak gauge group. This follows from some insights from "101 SUSY model building". In this text, I would like to sketch how the \(\NNN=1\) supersymmetric Lagrangians in \(d=4\) may be constructed in some more detail.

All Souls' Day

It's All Souls' Day today (yesterday, we had All Saints' Day). I am just learning that it's a mostly Catholic event – but one that pretty remarkably survived even in places such as the atheist Czech Republic.



I am learning that the event expresses the people's belief in eternal life – it isn't the most accurate description of mine, what about you? – and that the prayers on this day are meant to help the dead to get to the Heaven because they're still not fully cleansed and they must continue the treatment in the Purgatory.

Paul Frampton: from prison to house arrest

For everyone who have been at least a bit worried about Paul Frampton who got fooled by a fake Czech Californian supermodel in Argentine whose gang inserted some drugs to his luggage, there is some semi-good news.

Drugs suspect freed from jail, Google News
The officials finally noticed that Paul coughs badly. Paul will stay with an old friend who lives in Buenos Aires.

Thursday, November 01, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Edward Teller's great H-day: 60 years ago

Ivy Mike released 188 times more energy than Hurricane Sandy
Update: All claims below based on the Sandy energy numbers are wrong and reflecting a temporary credulity and stupidity of mine. See comments for some discussion

Hungarian-Jewish-American physicist Edward Teller had a great day exactly 60 years ago, on November 1st, 1952. For some years, he's been working on an idea originally due to the great physics guru Enrico Fermi (most likely, and one invented in Summer 1942) which totally fascinated him: a bomb getting its energy from thermonuclear fusion.

While fission only releases about \(0.001E=0.001mc^2\) from some mass, fusion is able to get to \(0.01E=0.01mc^2\), one percent of the total latent energy, and it may employ as omnipresent "fuels" as hydrogen.



See the explosion here – the blast (the "Mike shot") takes place at 4:39 – or here at 1:40. There's also a one-hour 1952 program where the explosion occurs at 40:47. Is it just me who feels that the 1950s Americans sound more British? ;-)

Ivy Mike, the pioneering device based on the Teller-Ulam design, was finally ready for detonation on the Enewetak Atoll (atoll = coral island encircling a lagoon) in the Pacific Ocean: Google Maps, crater (yes, the Elugelab [codenamed Flora] island in the the atoll [not the whole atoll whose radius is 15 km!] ceased to exist and was filled with water; before, after, source).

This device was one of the main reasons we have had peace for many and many decades; Edward Teller should have clearly gotten the Peace Nobel Prize that was jokingly given to the "European Union". How strong was the explosion? And how did the device work?