Monday, June 26, 2017 ... /////

Genius: after the last Einstein episode

Last night, the Czech National Geographic aired the last episode of "Genius" about Einstein.

The program was rescheduled for another season that will cover the life of Pablo Picasso. I think it was very well done and I have learned some new things about Einstein's life. Despite the systemic importance of Einstein in theoretical physics, the questions whom he argued with or whom he had sex with haven't been the things I've been immensely interested in – people who aren't into physics are often puzzled by this fact but those who have a clue aren't – but I think that it made sense to learn about these matters.

The series was filmed in Czechia and folks like me could see many familiar places – ministries in Prague recycled as Nazi headquarters, spa towns and castles in Northwestern Bohemia used as Switzerland, and many others.

A Pilsner guy like me had to laugh out loud when I was shown the building above – the Great Synagogue of Pilsen, the second largest synagogue in Europe and about fourth in the world (Street View) – with the caption "Bronx, New York, USA". ;-) So at least I know one place in Bronx very well now. Sometime during a pro-Israel fundraiser before the Second World War, inside the Pilsner synagogue, Einstein touchingly collected one quarter (of a dollar) from a Jewish boy whose father was arrested as a Bolshevik. I believe that the Pilsner synagogue must have represented this one in Bronx.

Sunday, June 25, 2017 ... /////

Czech Miss High School finalists admire a cooling tower of a nuclear power plant

Strings 2017 begins in Tel Aviv tomorrow.
Germany will be shutting down all of its nuclear power plants in 2022. In many Western beauty contests, the participants vow to be green and only eat insects while emphasizing that things like nuclear energy and the human race are catastrophic for Mother Earth.

Deutsche Welle has noticed that the atmosphere in my Czech homeland is a little bit different. The story was titled Czech Republic nuclear power station hosts bikini contest to choose interns.

The contestants who have just passed their maturity (final high school) exam were invited to the cooling tower of the Temelín power plant in Southern Bohemia.

Saturday, June 24, 2017 ... /////

Charles Munger, a famous investor, the generous $65m sponsor of new housing at KITP Santa Barbara, and the #2 in Warren Buffett's company made some interesting comments in February that were only noticed by news organizations such as CNBC yesterday. Munger has described the weird story how someone like Al Gore could have become a near-half-billionaire. Friday, June 23, 2017 ... ///// Decoherence doesn't make observers unnecessary Philip Ball wrote a long aeon.co essay titled Quantum Common Sense which argues that quantum mechanics isn't really "weird" and everything that was mysterious was basically explained... by decoherence. I sympathize with the text to some extent and the extent could have approached 100% some 25 years ago. In particular, decoherence is a legitimate insight and quantum mechanics isn't weird when you look at it calmly. But there are lots of claims that Ball makes that I heavily disagree with, too. OK, what is decoherence? And equally importantly, what decoherence isn't? Well, starting with the positive things, decoherence is a process that 1. allows one to calculate at what "point" in the parameter space, classical physics (gradually) becomes a decent approximate theory for a given physical system 2. puts severe constraints on the possible "basis of states" that may arise as "the states" after a measurement 3. eliminates the physical visibility of the complex phases in the probability amplitudes, so that the probability amplitudes may effectively be replaced with their absolute values How does it work? Macron is a just a pseudo-Napoleon A union in Europe should primarily be a supermarket For years, we have known France as a little flaccid organ squeezed in between two giant German muscles. While this description will remain accurate for many years, France's new left-wing star decided to change at least the perception of this reality among its gullible frogeaters so during an EU summit in Brussels, he painted himself as the new Napoleon who will be a tougher warrior against the evils of the world such as the United States of America (which has "partly disappeared from the world"), climate change (no comment), Islamic terrorism (he wants to fight it by smuggling millions of new terrorists into Europe), and especially the Central and Eastern Europe. He wants to be tougher on these Untermenschen than even the Germans. Macron: Some political representatives of Eastern Europe have displayed a cynical attitude to the European Union. But the European Union isn't a supermarket. It is a fatal union [or common destiny]. That's both serious and amusing. I assure you that if the EU were really bound to be a "fatal union", the support in our part of Europe for the plans to dissolve it would surpass 90%. The word "fate" or "destiny" indicates that the people no longer have a control over the detailed events – which are being imposed on them. We surely don't want that. Indeed, whether a left-wing babbler likes it or not, our political representatives mostly view the future of the European Union – if the bloc survives at all – as a supermarket. They do so because most of their constituencies see it in this rational, pragmatic way. This word "supermarket" nicely summarizes several dimensions: 1. A free trade zone – which is the aspect of the European integration that is widely and most universally viewed as a benefit. 2. Maybe, a unified labor market – but the free movement of the European citizens in between the member countries is much more questionable and was the main reason behind Brexit, among other things. 3. Cherry-picking of the products, rules, and parts of the life that the European nations want to share with others, get from others, or otherwise coordinate or unify. The third point is more general and the "supermarket" buzzword may very well mean exactly the same thing as "cherry-picking" I discussed previously. Free European nations should choose what is good for them and only codify and develop those policies at the EU level that seem good for them – just like a buyer in the supermarket picks what is good for her. If the nations find out that there isn't enough consensus that it is a benefit to share XY, then XY shouldn't be shared. Years ago, even the EU acknowledged this common sense constructive principle. It was known as the principle of subsidiarity in the Eurospeak. But this principle was too rational and democratic so it is being gradually eliminated from the EU ideology. Such a pragmatic, supermarket-like approach is a necessary condition for the European Union – or any entity in the world – to get improved as time goes by. The good things are being picked, the bad things are not. And the mechanisms that determine what is good and what is bad must be working well, they must allow the nations to have their say, and they must ultimately boil down to some democratic decisions of the European nations. If Mr Macron has a problem with these common sense things, it is very, very bad because he misunderstands absolutely everything about the human psychology and the progress of the economies and human societies. Thursday, June 22, 2017 ... ///// Dwarf galaxies: gravity really, really is not entropic Verlinde has already joined the community of fraudulent pseudoscientists who keep on "working" on something they must know to be complete rubbish In the text Researchers Check Space-Time to See if It’s Made of Quantum Bits, the Quanta Magazine describes a fresh paper by Kris Pardo (Princeton U.) Testing Emergent Gravity with Isolated Dwarf Galaxies which tested some 2016 dark matter "application" of Erik Verlinde's completely wrong "entropic gravity" meme. Verlinde has irrationally linked his "entropic gravity" meme with some phenomenological, parameter-free fit for the behavior of galaxies. What a surprise, when this formula is compared to dwarf galaxies which are, you know, a bit smaller, it doesn't seem to work. The maximum circular velocities are observed to reach up to 280 km/s but the predicted ones are at most 165 km/s. So it doesn't work, the model is falsified. This moment of the death of the model is where the discussion of the model should end and this is indeed where my discussion of the model ends. Wednesday, June 21, 2017 ... ///// "Weak gravity" sometimes enforces "cosmic censorship" Clarifying the truth value status of WGC, CCC, loop quantum gravity, and their relationships Natalie Wolchover wrote a Quanta Magazine story Where Gravity Is Weak and Naked Singularities Are Verboten which is promoting some fun May 2017 work by Jorge Santos (Prof) and Toby Crisford (student, both Cambridge UK). I guess that just like in many other cases, the reason why a popular article was scheduled was that the February 2017 preprint (which has about 1 citation so far) has recently appeared in a prestigious printed journal: Violating the Weak Cosmic Censorship Conjecture in Four-Dimensional Anti–de Sitter Space (PRL; arXiv) They considered GR coupled to electromagnetism – the Einstein-Maxwell system – in $AdS_4$ and found a counterexample to the 1969 Cosmic Censorship Conjecture by Roger Penrose. It's the electromagnetic force that allows them to achieve the outcome (which Penrose considered forbidden) with the naked singularity. And they argue that exactly when the 2006 Weak Gravity Conjecture by ArkaniHamed-Motl-Nicolis-Vafa is obeyed, the cosmic censorship will be defended and the pathological singularity will be hidden within a black hole. Tuesday, June 20, 2017 ... ///// Top green MEP wants to move Syria to Eastern Europe, one village at a time Drang nach Osten reloaded, Mohammed edition The story that attracted the greatest attention of the Czech readers today was an incredible interview (in German) with Ms Franziska "Ska" Keller, a co-chairwoman of the Greens in the European Parliament. The journalist was familiar with her proposal – which we haven't previously heard about. Even though Ms Keller later lied about the content of the interview and claimed that the media have misreported it, the relevant part of the interview speaks a clear language: Keller: ...The main problem is the lack of solidarity in between the member states. Governments rely on a treaty with Libya that should be solving our problems. This is naive. We need a system of shared asylum policies that guarantees the same standards everywhere and distributes the solidarity. Journalist: You are proposing to relocate whole groups of refugees into a country – for example, a whole village should be moved to Latvia. Do you really believe that the Eastern Europeans will cooperate? Keller: The idea about the Syrian village is just one of the tools that we could employ. For example in the situation when refugees don't want to go to a country where no other refugees have moved so far. People want to go to places where their compatriots already live which makes the integration easier. The refusal of the Czech Republic and others to accept the refugees violates the laws of the EU. That's why the European Commission has started proceedings against these countries. Journalist: How would you convince critics that this Union has a future? Keller: This Union has a future because the member states can't solve the problems facing the world separately. Globalization and the climate change but also migration, those don't have any solutions at the national level. I am among those millions of people who just say Wow. Decades ago, everyone used to agree that the greens were loons. But Western Europe has been so disrupted that this loon is very powerful in the would-be Parliament of a bloc claiming to dominate a whole civilized continent. Overbye on "ominous silence" in particle physics Dennis Overbye is a top science writer and his new text in the New York Times, Yearning for New Physics at CERN, in a Post-Higgs Way is also pretty good. He quotes various particle physicists, including fans of SUSY and critics of SUSY, and those give him different ideas about the probability that new physics is going to be observed in coming years, but he decides to make a conclusion in one direction, anyway: the silence in particle physics is ominous, the subtitle says. In particular, Overbye talks about the silence after the $750\GeV$ hint faded away. It's been just a year or so when this bump disappeared. Should one be using ominous words such as "ominous" when there has been no similar intense wave of activity for a year? I don't think so. Monday, June 19, 2017 ... ///// A reverse Muslim van attack in London? At midnight, an event that was seemingly just another Islam-powered terrorist attack has taken place in London's Finsbury Park. A van ran over people. It seems that we have been there. No casualties are reported at this point but the event is "novel", anyway: The injured people are... worshipers from the Finsbury Park Mosque. This adds a new dimension to the messy co-existence of Muslims and infidels in Western Europe. The mosque is a Salafist-and-Muslim-Brotherhood-supporting one and has co-produced numerous Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists in the past such as one 9/11 culprit, one who got famous in the U.S. in December 2001, and numerous holy warriors against the U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Despite this productive publication record, the mosque keeps on working just fine. So it would make sense to conjecture that the van attack was organized by a private individual Western anti-terror activist who thinks that he needs to do something that his government fails to do. (Update: The suspect was named as Darren Osborne, 47.) If that's the case, the incident clearly turns him or her into a terrorist as well but conflicts usually end up more symmetric than the words might suggest. Saturday, June 17, 2017 ... ///// Danish "LIGO discovery is noise" paper is hogwash All of them (and maybe lots or even all of LIGO folks) are missing that the two LIGO detectors aren't predicted to see signals that are exactly proportional to each other At a Forbes blog, Sabine Hossenfelder uncritically promotes a combative Danish paper in her article Was It All Just Noise? Independent Analysis Casts Doubt On LIGO's Detections It is all about a fresh paper On the time lags of the LIGO signals by Andrew Jackson and pals (Creswell, von Hausegger, Liu, and Naselsky). They say that the LIGO discoveries could be noise or based on completely fake data (as Bulgarian crank Pentcho Valev helpfully says under Hossenfelder's article). ATdotDE and Telescoper claim to be agnostic. Has everyone lost his or her mind? Please give me a break. Friday, June 16, 2017 ... ///// Loop quantum gravity was Aryan physics of aether reloaded Philipp Lenard won a physics Nobel prize and was widely regarded as a top ethnic German physicist as recently as in the 1930s and 1940s. This fact sounds utterly bizarre today (but yes, aside from Heisenberg, Born, and Jordan, plus the founder of "quantum theory" Max Planck, all the German-sounding founders of quantum mechanics tended to be Swiss or Austrian etc. – maybe this weakness of Germany was affected by the enhanced anti-Semitism and other ideologies in that country). He got his Nobel for cathode rays. They were streams of electrons – I think that you need this to be explained because the very phrase doesn't sound important today. Moreover, J.J. Thomson, Johann Hittorf, and Eugen Goldstein were arguably more vital and earlier discoverers of the cathode ray, in the same way in which Conrad Röntgen was the actual discoverer of the X-rays, even though Lenard wanted to take credit for those, too. As the "Genius" series on National Geographic reminds us, Lenard was a top Nazi hater of Einstein – and a top warrior against modern physics which he called "Jewish physics". In 2015, Bruce Hillman wrote the book The Man Who Stalked Einstein: How Nazi Scientist Philipp Lenard Changed the Course of History which is extremely interesting because it reveals that the Šmoit-style criticism of modern physics which I considered to be a recent phenomenon isn't new, after all. It's just the crackpottery of the Aryan physics reloaded. Czech Senate boss' Stalinist proposal faces a surprising backlash Last night, before I went to bed, I saw an article about a proclamation by the social democratic chairman of the Czech Senate – the upper chamber of the Parliament – Mr Milan Štěch (I know he has been a top politician for many years but I don't remember a single thing he has done or said in his life so far), a former communist, who said: I think that there exists a large enough set of people, the pseudo-entrepreneurs, who are working as self-employed people or entrepreneurs (i.e. as OSVČ, please get used to this acronym) and they are not effectively exploited from the viewpoint of the national economy. We should gradually double or triple the minimum payments (healthcare insurance and contributions to the pension funds) that these people make to the government so that tens of thousands of them will prefer to be hired by someone and become employees. Well, yes, I was somewhat scared – not that the doubling or tripling would be totally devastating. It would be unpleasant, anyway. During the tenure of the current government, I got so used to this kind of left-wing intimidation directed against OSVČ and the increasing bureaucratic and other harassment of the people who lead businesses or who work independently to make their living that I assumed that there will be silence and this proposal may be gradually supported by lots of people and maybe adopted after the elections. The number of extra bureaucratic burdens, forms, and bans that the current government introduced in recent years was substantial. The "verification reports" for the payers of the value-added tax. The Croatian-style "fiscalization" – mandatory real-time reporting of all cash transactions done by businesses through Internet-connected devices that every businessman has to buy and maintain. Most recently, just days ago, the smokers' super-liberal Czechia turned into another hell of prohibition when the almost complete permission to smoke in pubs was changed to a nearly complete ban. And there were other events like that. Do svidánija, khalif How will Daesh deal with its constitutional crisis? The Russian defense ministry announced that it believes that its May 28th strike has also killed Al-Baghdadi, the chieftain of the Islamic State. Al-Baghdadi, an intrinsically average terrorist, was elected the caliph i.e. the successor of Prophet Mohammed. If you want a good enough approximation what Mohammed looked like, Al-Baghdadi's mugshot is probably the best answer you may get. If the reports are true, and I find it more likely than not that they are true, it is our duty to express deep condolences to those fellow terrorists who weren't killed along with their caliph (330 have been, including 30 commissars in the ISIS' version of the European Commission). And my condolences also go to John Kerry who was already previously deeply frustrated that the expansion of his ISIS allies stopped. George Soros is also sad but he should fund a cry-in room for the likes of Kerry now. Thursday, June 15, 2017 ... ///// Wise politics is all about cherry-picking In recent months and at several inequivalent places, I have repeatedly collided with an incredible meme promoted by the globalists. They say that we – their political opponents – must be bad because we want to "cherry-pick the good things". Wow, what an accusation. Angela Merkel and numerous parrots on her side have pledged to block cherry-picking during Brexit negotiations. And yesterday, a Russian globalist Bloomberg writer tried to criticize Poland, Hungary, and Czechia because we're cherry-pickers, too. There are probably other examples, too. And it's conceivable that the two examples above aren't independent of one another – the Russian writer could have just gotten the meme from Angela Merkel or someone in between. Imagine that you feel somewhat hungry and you find yourself in a cherry orchard. What will you do? You should better find something to eat. There is some soil beneath your feet. There are rocks in it. And some sand. Then you observe wooden branches of the tree. And nicely green leaves. What will you do? Well, you will pick the damn cherries. Oops, they're so yummy. If you are at least somewhat rational, you will ignore the rocks, grass, and leaves; instead, you will cherry-pick. In fact, most of the TRF readers are so smart that they will pick the red cherries, more precisely red cherries without caterpillars. And to show how brutally picky you are, you will probably spit out the cherry stones, I mean the pits, too. Is there a relationship between spit and pits? ;-) What is the cherry-picking that I have just described? It's also called the "rational behavior". People (and more primitive animals) as well as politicians representing themselves, their parties, or their nations are doing it, too. You just want to eat or have the things that are good for you – and ignore or avoid the things that are bad or irrelevant for you. Wednesday, June 14, 2017 ... ///// LHC null results haven't changed the qualitative big picture in HEP Two years ago, I wrote about relaxions, a new way to create awkward theories – that could be said "to be rather natural according to some criteria but not all criteria" – which are capable of "explaining" the existence of large numbers in physics. One starts with a large, but only logarithmically large, number of fields and assigns somewhat exotic values of charges under a $U(1)$ gauge group – and yes, it has to be an Abelian group which may be considered a damning flaw of the whole paradigm. Consequently, one finds that there exists a scalar boson with a periodic range of values whose periodicity is "exponentially large" in the number of elementary fields we have used. Backreaction discusses those papers and some of their recent followups under the new brand, Clockworks. It is an OK idea – which is probably irrelevant in physics but has some chance to be relevant – but it can in no way be classified as the "#1 idea" of a decade or something big like that. Instead of discussing the somewhat modest and vague idea again, let me express my disbelief about a general statement made at Backreaction. Tuesday, June 13, 2017 ... ///// EU migrant quota infringement proceedings against PL, HU, CZ not to be taken seriously In late 2015, multiculturalist activists within the European Union launched a new program to accelerate the Islamization of Europe – migrant quotas. Every country was ordered to embrace roughly 1 new Muslim per 300 citizens – everyone was convinced that it was just the first testing number that would grow. Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania voted against but because of the Treaty of Lisbon, a simple majority was enough to make this extremely sensitive vote "official". Poland approved the quota system at that time but a new government came just weeks later and it's very clear that this new government would surely join the red bloc above. Czechia, Hungary, and Poland have officially stopped all the efforts to incorporate Muslim migrants because of security concerns (recent terrorist attacks), insurmountable logistic problems (they just can't sit at one place), impossibility to find reliable information about the migrants (most of them lie about their age as well as nationality), and the migrants' own lack of will to stay in our countries. More seriously, our nations and its political representatives realize that the very idea is wrong because these efforts encourage a further growth of the illegal immigration. If this migration is caused by a conflict outside Europe, the problems must be solved at the place of the conflict. Monday, June 12, 2017 ... ///// CZ, NL resist Paris Agreement: ODS heroically filibusters Reuters has reminded us that Juncker will work hard tomorrow to start legal proceedings against the Visegrád Group countries – although Slovakia is missing in his list because "it made some pledge in recent 12 months" (Slovakia just banned the registration of Islam as religion, thankfully, it's not viewed as a problem yet LOL) – because we won't participate in the intentional Islamization of the European continent. The Czech government has officially stopped all procedures that were meant to embrace some Muslim migrants (or, ideally, refugees) and it's probably similar in Poland and Hungary. I have often felt jealous when only Poland and Hungary were mentioned as the beacons of the European culture's fight against these suicidal efforts. So at least Juncker himself has managed to return my homeland to the club, after our ambiguous PM Sobotka almost left us behind. ;-) Slovakia and Hungary have already sued the EU over the unacceptable decision on the quotas. For some strange reason, the government of the Czech nation – whose opinion is far clearer than the opinion of Slovaks and Hungarians – hasn't joined this lawsuit. Needless to say, this decision will have a deep emotional impact on the EU's approval rate in our countries – the EU and its unelected officials will be hated even more strongly than so far (the comment sections under the Czech articles sound rather tough) – and on the other hand, they will only want us to pay a symbolic fine, like$10 million, which makes absolutely no difference for any government's budget. So I think that Juncker really sucks as a politician, he is shooting himself in the foot. He doesn't seem to understand that he's losing his influence over a big part of the EU – and what is reasonable to do in such a situation. What he does must either end with his marginal loss of influence; or with some greater EU-Visegrád rift which would probably lead to a more widespread decay of the whole EU.

Now, I want to mention another pet cause of the EU's far left: the Paris climate agreement.

Deep-learning the landscape

Two hep-th papers are "conceptual" today. First, Eva Silverstein wrote her report from the December 2015 German meeting with philosophers "Why Trust a Theory",

The dangerous irrelevance of string theory
"Dangerous irrelevance" isn't a special example of "irrelevance" in the colloquial sense. Instead, it's the dependence of physics on the laws that are valid at "higher than probed" energy scales. She discusses some totally standard technical questions that are being settled by the ongoing research of string cosmology – and explains why this research is an unquestionable example of the scientific method even when it comes to the seemingly most abstract questions such as the "existence of the landscape".

Yang-Hui He (London, Oxford, Tianjin) wrote something fascinating,
Deep-Learning the Landscape
He uses Wolfram Mathematica (the word "He" is correct even if the author is female! But in this case, he is not) to turn a computer to a hard-working string theorist. I've been calling for such advances for years but he actually did it. Using the machine learning functions, He can train His PC to find new patterns (methods to classify) in the "landscape data" as well as predict some properties of a compactification.

Sunday, June 11, 2017 ... /////

Should, could Czechia build its nuclear weapons?

Mr Ondřej Šupka is a young student of international and security studies in Brno, Czechia's second largest city, and he has ignited an unusual wave of interest – and controversy – by his essay at Technet.cz titled

A hypothesis: Czechia could acquire an atomic weapon easily and quickly (autom. EN)
He analyzes various aspects of the human capital, traditions, industry, public support, uranium deposits, the nuclear students' "Sparrow" reactor in Prague (here with global Miss contestants; the reactor is in the building where I attended most of my undergraduate lectures), and other things to justify the conclusion summarized by the title. At the same moment, he says that he doesn't find the current geopolitical conditions to favor such efforts.

Some commenters admire him, others – including a nuclear physicist who is good and whom I know – have attacked Mr Šupka vigorously. Well, even though I know that the criticisms are technically correct, I am surely closer to the fans of this boy.

Saturday, June 10, 2017 ... /////

The DUP should join a formal coalition with May

Corbyn's Labour Party has increased its power over the Parliament while the Conservatives have lost their majority in the U.K. elections. Some "overly enthusiastic" members of the Czech social democratic party have claimed that the Labour Party has basically won the elections. Well, not so fast.

The resulting government may very well be more conservative than the "not so conservative" government of the Conservative Party's Theresa May has been so far. Why? Because the Democratic Unionist Party (the DUP) seems to be the only plausible ally that could allow May to form either a minority government or a straight coalition government Tories-DUP.

Lidice massacre 75 years ago: Hitler wanted to murder top 10,000 Czechs instead

Today, on June 10th, it's been exactly 75 years since the Lidice massacre. The Nazis fully eradicated a village West from Prague as a revenge for the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, the acting protector of Bohemia and Moravia and a co-father of the Holocaust. (Previously, Heydrich was also the director of Gestapo and Reich Main Security Office, and the president of the IPCC – before Pachauri.)

The sculpture of 82 Lidice (=Peopleville) kids murdered in 1942 by Ms Marie Uchytilová, also the author of the classic one-crown coin. For the sake of confidentiality, faces aren't precise but the distribution of the ages matches the reality.

In May 1942, the assassins were sent by the British secret services and the Czechoslovak government in exile. They were supposed to parachute here near Pilsen but they landed on the other side of Prague, due to navigation glitches. They got to Prague and on May 27th, the Operation Anthropoid [=beast resembling a human being] began.

Heydrich and his driver were going from his home in Panenské Břežany (Virgin Pregnantville) to his Prague Castle office in their Mercedes 320 Convertible B. At 10:32 am, they appeared in a curve in a Northern suburb of Prague. Jozef Gabčík – the Slovak assassin – revealed his Sten submachine gun under his coat but it jammed (see the assassination from Lidice 2011). So his pal and backup, Czech assassin Jan Kubiš, threw a grenade. It didn't immediately kill the Butcher of Prague but caused an injury which allowed the mass killer to die on June 4th, after a week of futile struggles.

Back to the grenade scene. The driver was trying to catch an assassin, failed. Ms Marie Navarová was trying to help Mr Heydrich. She was finally compensated for her exemplary attitude before she was found to be feeding the resistance movement as well and she was arrested. After the war, communists arrested her as well for her collaboration with the Nazis. At any rate, a big hunt began to find the assassins. They were ultimately found in an orthodox church (of St Cyril and Methodius) in Prague. The church was flooded, the assassins were forced to commit suicide (a standard rule for resistance fighters, one to prevent their leaking important secrets during interrogation).

Turok's bogus criticism of Hartle-Hawking, Vilenkin calculable big bangs

In his blog post You can't smooth the big bang, Tetragraviton mentions a string group meeting at the Perimeter Institute where an anti-string pundit – who also happens to be the current director of the Perimeter Institute – led the debate about "why the Hartle-Hawking and Vilenkin pictures of the big bang are equivalent and wrong".

The discussion was revolving around their 5-weeks-old preprint

No smooth beginning for spacetime.
When Feldbrugge, Lehners, and Turok released that paper, I saw the title and it looked fine and unsurprising (some quantities grow big near the Big Bang and the initial singularity in the Lorentzian causal diagram is basically unavoidable). Well, I surely wasn't aware of the fact that they claim to find a general problem with the Hartle-Hawking or Vilenkin approach to the wave function of the Universe, i.e. the initial conditions.

OK, so Mr Director wasn't satisfied with giving nonsensical negative monologues about the inflationary cosmology and string theory. He has added the Hartle-Hawking paradigm, too. And Tetragraviton seems to be an obedient, 100% corrupt employee of Mr Neil Turok's so he presented his rant totally uncritically.

Friday, June 09, 2017 ... /////

Was Veronika Hubeny being mansplained?

A week ago, six panelists plus host Jim Holt (of the New Yorker) debated cosmology during the World Science Festival in New York:

The panelists included the fathers of inflation Alan Guth and Andrei Linde, philosophers Barry Loewer (Rutgers) and his occasional collaborator David Albert (Columbia), cosmo-philosopher George Ellis (South Africa), and – as Melvin overlooked – UC Davis string cosmologist Veronika Hubeny. She's Czech American.

She was telling me these things in Colorado in 1999 so I might have forgotten but I think that she was still a kid when her dad Dr Hubený, an astronomer, emigrated to the U.S. with his family, but it's fun to hear that behind her refined English, you may still safely discover the pure Czech accent which is somewhat close to the Russian or German or Hungarian one but still different. I guess that they had to speak Czech at home. ("Hubený" means "skinny" and Czech daughters and wives modify the surname to the feminime adjective, "Hubená", which Veronika didn't do in order to agree with the American myth that the surnames of all members of a family should be exactly the same.)

Thursday, June 08, 2017 ... /////

What is reality? Nicely done popularization turns into a full-blown crackpottery

Peter F. sent me this 3-months-old 30-minute-long video "What is reality" on the Quantum Gravity Research YouTube channel. It has over 200,000 views.

Marion Kerr, who is not only a cute actress but she is clearly also a brain-alive one (at least outside physics), makes the show fun to watch. And for many minutes, I was happy to see that it was a nice introduction to something – namely crystals and quasicrystals (see also Penrose tiles).

ALEPH at LEP strangely "discovers" new 25 GeV, 55 GeV, 80 GeV particles in four-jets

A different paper on condensed-matter and particle physics interface: Zhao and Liu argue that SUSY doesn't emerge at critical points as proposed by several others
Once upon a time, there was no LHC collider in the LHC tunnel. Instead, LEP, the large electron-positron collider, was thriving over there. It had several runs and the LEP2 run is what we will talk about.

Just like LHC has ATLAS and CMS and the Tevatron had D0 and CDF, LEP had several detectors: ALEPH, DELPHI, OPAL, and L3. We will talk about ALEPH. You must have heard me as saying that it's sometimes bizarre how much time it takes to the LHC experimenters to analyze their data. Isn't is weird that we're still getting new papers based on the 2012 data?

Well, the LEP collider was dismantled around 2001 and only historians focusing on the Holy Roman Empire remember it very well. (OK, that was an exaggeration.) In spite of that, Julian (unaffiliated) and Jennifer (CFTP Lisbon; just two names is unusual in the experimental particle physics run by big teams these days) released a fun article today:
Localized 4σ and 5σ Dijet Mass Excesses in ALEPH LEP2 Four-Jet Events
What did they discover in the dataset that is older than 16 years?

Tuesday, June 06, 2017 ... /////

In the future, people will marvel how hysterical mankind has been, Lindzen says

Guest blog by Daniel Kaiser, writer at conservative Echo & Echo24.cz, original in Czech

An interview with Richard Lindzen in Prague in mid May 2017

The U.S. president Donald Trump has turned his back to the international treaties to reduce emissions when he announced in the White House's Rose Garden that the U.S. will leave the Paris climate treaty that 195 countries signed in 2015. We use this opportunity to unlock the full interview with one of the most famous climate skeptics among the world's scientists Richard Lindzen which was published in Echo at the end of May. In February, Lindzen organized a public letter to Trump signed by hundreds of scientists, urging the president to revoke the U.S. signature under the 1992 treaty signed in Rio which became a cornerstone for the subsequent Kyoto and Paris treaties. In these treaties, the countries-signatories pledge to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to make sure that the planet won't heat up by more than 2 °C relatively to the pre-industrial era.

What did Trump mean by covfefe?

The world's favorite theory of covfefe

Some reasons behind the 3 days without a blog post are confidential. One additional reason is that I have spent some hours with Quora – which still annoys me for various reasons, but I had a period in which I believed that some influence over Quora may make it less sickening.

Among 100+ answers that I rather quickly wrote to questions about Czechia, history, Europe, linguistics, physics etc., one of the widely read ones is an answer to the question

What do you think Trump meant by "covfefe"?
Well, I didn't exactly get my PhD for covfefe but it is close enough. A curious person is interested in many questions adjacent to his field and covfefe is close enough to theoretical physics.

So among the 56 answers, the most upvoted one is an answer with over 400+ votes which isn't a real answer. It just says that it's saddening and politically incorrect that people aren't trying to save the world from Trump who is destroying it, and instead, they are interested in Trump's covfefe. I have made the answer more concise and articulate – it was written by an obnoxious leftist and their brains aren't too good.

Saturday, June 03, 2017 ... /////

Was the U.S. created by int'l community in 1783?

The American departure from the insane Paris climate treaty has made the behavior of many extreme leftists extraordinary. After Donald Trump was accused of being a servant of Russia – in the absence of a glimpse of evidence – our EU overlords kindly informed us that the U.S. is no longer a good friend and we the Europeans are obliged to befriend China, India, and Russia instead.

Just imagine it, after a long time when Trump was demonized for the possibility that he could have met a Russian citizen in a coffee shop sometime in his life, the likes of Juncker instantly jump into bed and sleep with all the King Kings, Ping Pongs, Ivaňuškas, Natašas, and Bollywoods in it.

Also, Willie Soon sent me a story

Cruz Shuts Down Harvard Professor

Well, Ms Joyce Chaplin isn't just an extreme leftist. She's been also hired by Harvard University as an expert in the early American history, probably because she doesn't even know when the U.S. was created. Cruz has mocked her, The Weekly Standard has mocked her, The American Thinker did it as well, and she deserves some words from me, too.

Friday, June 02, 2017 ... /////

Cosmic inflation is no politics

...despite some nasty people's efforts to change that...

Some two or three weeks ago, we followed the inflationary wars. A bunch of famous cosmologists and physicists has explained why they found the inflationary cosmology attractive and likely. I explained a simple reason why the criticisms of inflation are silly (see Mitchell's concise summary that was unsurprisingly censored at Not Even Wrong because it made sense) and we looked how the journalists have responded to all these exchanges.

Most of the journalists had a detectable anti-inflation bias. But in Nautilus, Amanda Gefter dared to write a sophisticated, entertaining, and sensible pro-inflation article yesterday. The subtitle said that she would explain why the majority of physicists are on the pro-inflation side. Well, that was courageous. (The article is fun and starts with a record fast SLAC biking of an excited 32-year-old Guth; and Linde's waking up of his wife at night while saying that he knew how the Universe began. Gefter has gotten a good TRF press in the past, too.) She has explained lots of things, e.g. why it's utterly silly to expect that a paradigm in science must be easily falsifiable as a whole; or why numerical calculations showed by 2015 that inflation is almost guaranteed to start, even from generic crumpled initial conditions. Crackpots have immediately labeled the article politically incorrect and blasphemous.

The prominent and stuttering crackpot Peter Woit has described these exchanges as multiverse politics. Well, there are at least two problems with this title: the word "multiverse" and the word "politics" (and also their combination). A great majority of the inflationary topics that are discussed and researched by the scientists themselves have nothing to do with the multiverse; and the multiverse let alone inflationary cosmology has nothing to do with politics. The ludicrous claims that the explanations by Guth, Linde, and others are "politics" become particularly comical when Woit offers you an example. Guth discusses the inflationary prediction that the total charge and angular momentum of the Universe has to be zero. Well, inflation is not the only reason to think so but at any rate: What sort of garbage do you have to store in your skull to call similar ideas "politics"?

Thursday, June 01, 2017 ... /////

LIGO announces a new gravitational wave, GW170104

When 30+20 Suns merge

The discovery of the first gravitational wave by LIGO that was officially announced last February – and that you could have learned about at TRF quite some time before the announcement – was unsurprising for a physicist but it has still made us excited. Even if you know that the waves have to be out there, it's still a new thing when you actually hear one. Soon afterwards, we heard about another "Christmas" gravitational wave and a "candidate one" – a wave whose intensity wasn't enough for an official discovery but that was almost certainly created by a black hole merger, too.

For a very long time, it seemed like the large LIGO collaboration was doing almost nothing. Finally, there is a new wave which arrived to Earth on January 4th, the birthday of James Bond the real one:

Cool. When you read the abstract of the new PRL paper (or the full PDF), you will learn that black holes of masses 30 Suns and 20 Suns have merged. You may also check a press release.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017 ... /////

Trump will liberate America from the Paris climate pact

Thankfully, lots of things have changed from the previous blog post when it comes to the climate hysteria. A White House official has sort of officially announced – so that the AP and CNN described it in these words – that Donald Trump has made the decision and the U.S. will leave the Paris climate pact.

I agree with a Fox News pundit that

Trump pulls out of Paris climate deal and does something right (and brave)
Left-wing demagogues say that the only other countries that don't support the pact are Syria and Nicaragua. That's ludicrous. You must really count the countries that have and haven't ratified the Paris Agreement and those that haven't ratified include Switzerland, the Netherlands, Czechia (my homeland), Romania, Serbia, Russia, one-half of Africa and the Arab world, and a fraction of South America, too.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017 ... /////

America, Visegrád vs globalist Paris climate pact loons

The tension between the U.S. and the politically correct Western Europe has become obvious. After she met Donald Trump in Sicily, Angela Merkel said that the U.S. was no longer a reliable partner, Europe should become self-sufficient (Trump has been saying the same thing for some time!), and her discussions with Trump about the climate hysteria were "very dissatisfying". Merkel is so annoyed by Trump's attitudes that she wants to "work with Russia". Putin's being rather conservative was always the main reason why radical PC fanatics such as Merkel have escalated their Russophobia and now, when Trump has arguably trumped the center-right Putin, Russia no longer looks so bad to the far left loons.

A previous German-American rift that had just ended in Pilsen.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump has said that the "Germans were very very bad" because the BMW, Mercedes, and other German carmakers sell lots of cars in the U.S. Well, this is the only thing in this collection where I won't agree with the Donald at all. You know, Mr President, the fact that the BMW and other German companies can sell so many cars in the prestigious American markets so easily means that "they are very very good", not that "they are very very bad". Fix your signs! ;-) To say the least, lots of American consumers – and Trump's voters – still think that these German cars are immensely good and reliable – although some numbers indicate otherwise.

Monday, May 29, 2017 ... /////

Is the Millennials' dependence on smartphones dangerous?

25 years after the final high school exam, we had a reunion in the open-air museum in Chanovice, a village 40 miles South of Pilsen. The open-air museum (or "skanzen" as we call them in Czech) was built in recent decades and my classmates have been one of the key groups of workers that made it possible. Historical buildings from the rural Klatovy area (between Pilsen and the Bohemian/Bavarian forest) were accumulated in a village that had previously had a chateau, a church, a rather impressive granary, and now also has an observatory.

It was fun to meet them. 21 people – a clear majority of the class – has attended. I surely don't claim that such reunions that are much more than "a few hours in the pub" are rare at the global level but they're rare enough. We had fun, drank beer and ate sausages, visited the skanzen, chateau, observatory, and received some expert stories about the history of the rural buildings from a local guru and our classmate LK whose knowledge – and contributions to the place – was amazing. He was born in the countryside and knows a lot – theoretically and practically – about the rural life in the recent as well as distant past.

We would rarely talk about serious topics but e.g. U.S. politics couldn't be avoided when we talked to PS who has been the U.S. citizen for some time and works for CDC (epidemics) in Atlanta, GA. Well, he voted for Mickey Mouse and almost none of my classmates are really interested in politics. They may have better things to do. But I could talk about things such as electron-positron annihilation in medicine (PET/PAS) and the status of the theory of the photoelectric effect with a classmate – named Camille, an X-ray professional and physics enthusiast – too. ;-)

Friday, May 26, 2017 ... /////

Zuckerberg's embarrassing degree, commencement speech

I have avoided Facebook for years but I think it's right that its primary founder is a billionaire. When billions of people think that this particular social network qualitatively trumps all others that have existed before or at the same time (something I could never see), it's simply unavoidable in a fair business environment for the owner of that network to get very wealthy. He has also demonstrated lots of programming, social, and other skills and lots of good luck, too.

Hackers have improved the main page of The Harvard Crimson.

But I don't think it's right for a credible university to give him a doctorate because of this commercial success. And yes, the dropout has just bought an honorary degree to become the doctor of law (a four-minute video). I think it's formally a PhD although it could be some JD, too. Add any adjectives you like (honorary) but the degree for a dropout demonstrates that at the end, the money trumps any values that Harvard ultimately tries to defend.

Many Americans love to imagine that it's some other countries, perhaps in Latin America, Asia, or Eastern Europe, that are corrupt. But this is plain corruption standing in front of your eyes.

Physics World insults me, simultaneously promotes climate alarmism and crackpottery in HEP

The writer's cognitive dissonance is amazing

Most readers of news outlets about science have begun to notice that most of the conventional semipopular news sources about physics – but also most other topics – are fading away.

They haven't been sufficiently financially rewarded for the quality of their writing so they reduced the quality of the writing and focused on cheap things that were enough for the undemanding readers. That decreased their attractiveness among the demanding readers as well as their revenue which led to a further, forced decrease of the quality because it's increasingly obvious that almost anyone can produce similar low-quality texts.

The actual, especially big shot, professional physicists know that The Reference Frame is arguably the highest-quality medium discussing current events in physics – especially those whose status is being misinterpreted elsewhere – and while they are sometimes cowardly and don't want to associate themselves with your humble correspondent too tightly, most people have noticed that this weblog actually is the spokesman of the world's scientific elite which is a little bit under attack from a coalition of aggressive simpletons.

So the simpletons and their mouthpieces increasingly frequently react to my texts. Well, there are many inkspillers on their side but they're missing a detail: The truth is not on their side.

Thursday, May 25, 2017 ... /////

W-Z-Unruh's solution to the cosmological constant problem is intriguing

Several folks have asked me how I reacted to the paper

How the huge energy of quantum vacuum gravitates to drive the slow accelerating expansion of the Universe (March 2017)
by Qingdi Wang, Zhen Zhu, William G. Unruh (who is famous for the Unruh radiation i.e. the simpler Hawking radiation in the flat Rindler space). They claim that the Hubble constant implied by some vacuum energy density – which arises thanks to the quantum fluctuations in the vacuum – isn't the usual$H \sim \frac{\Lambda^2}{M_{Pl}}$ but instead, it contains some shocking exponentially decreasing factor$H \sim \Lambda \exp(-c \Lambda / M_{Pl} ), \quad c\sim O(1).$ If true, the decreasing exponential could be identified with the tiny factor of $\exp(-123)$ and this mechanism could explain at least the "old" cosmological constant problem. My first reactions were skeptical or "incomplete" but the more I look into the paper, the more it reminds me of an attempt of mine that I first invented some 15 years ago. And that's an encouraging sign. ;-)

A new finance minister: a typically gradual Czech resolution of a crisis

First, different news from Czech politics: the Czech Parliament recognized Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and criticized UNESCO for its anti-Israeli stances. It has asked the government to stop the Czech funding of UNESCO because of its politicization. Not bad. Sadly, the government is much more "supervised" by the likes of Merkel whose positions aren't that pure.

The Czech government crisis sparked by the scandals of the former billionaire and finance minister Andrej Babiš looked very dramatic, serious, and comical but all the tension is gone and the resolution looks like a non-event. I would say that it is a typically Czech development.

So the government hasn't collapsed and the social democratic prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka – dissatisfied with Babiš's growing pile of scandals – has basically succeeded because the president accepted the proposed firing of Babiš and named Mr Ivan Pilný as a new finance minister. Pilný (see the picture above) is a former Microsoft executive and a member of Babiš's populist ANO movement – often considered to be rather independent from Babiš. At any rate, Pilný at least looks independent enough so that the other politicians could have been satisfied. Perhaps, it was just enough for them to pretend that they're satisfied.

I actually do believe that Pilný is independent of Babiš – and by his membership in ANO, Pilný basically fooled Babiš. Why? Because it seems to me that Pilný is "mostly" an admirer of Václav Klaus, one of the top "evil people" whom Babiš has claimed as the reason why he became a politician. (These days, Babiš's references to Klaus are totally negligible relatively to those about his predecessor Kalousek.)

Needless to say, this is not necessarily the end of Babiš. He is still expected to safely win the October 2017 elections. Assuming that he will have less than 50% of the Parliament, and I am convinced that he will, we will see whether he has any coalition potential left. A grand left-right anti-Babiš coalition is rather possible and for the sake of freedom and democracy, I would personally prefer it over almost any government with Babiš in it.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017 ... /////

Hep-ph arXiv conquered by GAMBIT

Most of the new hep-ph papers on the arXiv were released by the same large collaboration called GAMBIT which stands for The Global And Modular BSM Inference Tool. Note that BSM stands for Beyond the Standard Model. Most but not all BSM models that people study or want to study are supersymmetric.

This stack of cards may actually be seen in the lower right corner of all graphs produced by GAMBIT. ;-)

Click at the hyperlink to learn about their project. I have always called for the creation of such systems and it's great that one of them seems to be born by now.

Much of the work of model builders is really about some routine work – one works with some new fields and interaction terms in the Lagrangian, some methods to calculate particle physics predictions, scan the parameter spaces, compute probability distributions, and compare predictions with the experimental data etc.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017 ... /////

Salman Abedi (23) strikes in Manchester

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

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

Monday, May 22, 2017 ... /////

Conceptual penis drives climate change

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

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

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

Sunday, May 21, 2017 ... /////

EURCZK: the distortions of the market may fade away now

About two weeks ago, my broker (similarly to at least some others) increased the margin requirements for CZK-based pairs by a factor of 20 – the justifiable reasons seem non-existent to me. (Update: They warned by a factor up to 20 to make the clients close the position, but then they increased it 5-fold "only", still too high for me.) It was the 4th annoying shocking change of the rules (and the most far-reaching one) so I decided that it was no longer usable and closed my position – and extracted all the money – with a nontrivial but modest 50% return on the money I reserved for that account. The plan was at least 300% – and even by this point, I could have easily achieved 200% if I were a little bit less cowardly.

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

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

Saturday, May 20, 2017 ... /////

Quantum mechanics is another example of deductive reasoning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, May 19, 2017 ... /////

Flynn-Trump witch hunt is McCarthyism reloaded

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

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

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

Spacetimes as thick (objects and) amplifiers of information

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

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

Spacetime has a `thickness' (Samir Mathur)

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, May 09, 2017 ... /////

PBS hypes Tyson and his simulation stupidities

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

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

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

Monday, May 08, 2017 ... /////

Hawking: mankind, leave Earth in 100 years

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

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

The stupidity of all these proclamations seems breathtaking to me.

Sunday, May 07, 2017 ... /////

Macron beats Le Pen

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

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

Saturday, May 06, 2017 ... /////

Techmania: physics fun but something is missing without the maths

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

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