## Sunday, April 22, 2018 ... /////

### Brian Keating's Nobel prize obsession surprised me

Brian Keating will release his first book, "Losing the Nobel Prize", on April 24th. I don't own it and I haven't read it. But I was still intrigued by some of the discussions about it.

Backreation wrote a review and Keating responded.

I used to think that the title was just a trick to emphasize the importance of Keating's work: He has done work that could have led to a Nobel prize but Nature wasn't generous enough, it has seemed for some 3 years. But the two articles linked to in the previous paragraph suggest that Keating is much more obsessed with the Nobel prize. That's ironic because the book seems to say that Keating is not obsessed, and he doesn't even want such a lame prize, but it's his colleagues, the spherical bastards, who are obsessed. ;-)

## Saturday, April 21, 2018 ... /////

### Tractor, paint, and what kids should learn about pi

Days ago, Czech kids who are 14-15 years old were trying to pass their high school entry exams designed by CERMAT, a centralized institution producing exams for schools. The most difficult problem was an exercise involving a tractor and a tube of paint in mathematics.

This El Risitas parody got over 100,000 views. El Risitas' German counterpart, Adolf Hitler, was just a little bit less successful.

Zetor Major

The problem is the following:

A tractor ran over a tube of paint. The tube exploded, paint was all around, and the tractor was leaving a mark on the road every 252 centimeters. What is the height of the center of the contaminated tractor's wheel?
Many people who follow the education of mathematics agreed that it was an easy enough, well-chosen, yet "somewhat nontrivial" problem that the good enough kids really should be able to solve. Just to be sure, the solution is $252\,{\rm cm} / 2\pi \approx 40.16\,{\rm cm}$.

Tons of kids whined and claimed that it was harder than a year ago – and it was like a problem in an entry exam for a university. Oh, really?

## Friday, April 20, 2018 ... /////

### Door to door energy vendors: I actually called police

Minutes ago, I called police and complained about the door-to-door energy vendors because among dozens of similar incidents, they were by far the most aggressive ones. I have never had anything resembling a real "argument" with such visitors – and there have been many. I made a search and decided that door-to-door vendors have been banned on the whole territory of Pilsen which is why I reported it.

This approach to "connect to the people" is widespread. Jehovah's Witnesses frequently come in pairs, they ring the bell – outside the building – and they're very pleasant. I have actually allowed them to get in about 10 times in my life, both in the U.S. and in Czechia – the experience was very similar in both countries. Also, some utility and communication companies did the same thing. That's why I switched from ČEZ to Centropol (energy) a few years ago, from O2 to Czech Radiocommunications (later bought by T-Mobile, but now I use the services of UPC) also a few years ago, and so on.

## Thursday, April 19, 2018 ... /////

### A two-hour introduction to the climate change

Last night, I gave a "Science Café" public talk about global warming and climate change and stuff like that (in Czech) which was substantially longer than any previous presentation of mine about the topic – it was something like two hours plus a discussion.

One may talk about lots of the sociology and history of the movement and it's interesting – and often infuriating. But I still think it's more relevant to focus on the hard science and the physical basis of all the phenomena.

## Tuesday, April 17, 2018 ... /////

### Can kids learn to think mathematically from granddaddy's animals?

On Saturday night, we had a reunion – the end of elementary school after 30 years. Lots of beer, memories, personal stuff. I always discuss some serious topics. So one classmate (DS) holds impressive 3 bitcoins and is a full-blown hodler ;-) while your humble correspondent and another classmate (JK) were arguing why the Bitcoin pricing was a bubble and what it meant.

I asked lots of people about Hejný's method to teach mathematics. (Teachers must be silent in the method, kids must invent everything by themselves, they solve some 10+ types of problems in recreational mathematics for 8 years, without any conceptual progress, and at the end, they tell you how much they love and understand mathematics because of this method.) By the end of the exchanges, 10 people were familiar with the topic, 8 of them were familiar to start with. Only 2 were sort of positive about that "constructivist" method in education – and one of them (VK) arguably changed his mind to a large extent. The rest was highly critical, just like I am.

In March, I discussed particular problems, as seen on the matika.in website. All of them are recreational mathematics of some kind and they are supposed to be solved by guesswork – by the trial and error. That brute force strategy is a typical non-mathematical approach to the problems – mathematics is all about searching for patterns and clever things to solve otherwise hard or unsolvable problems.

## Monday, April 16, 2018 ... /////

### Einstein's amateur popularizer in Florida sketched 10D (stringy) spacetime in 1928

Thanks to Willie Soon, Paul Halpern.

St Petersburg Times, Sunday, November 11th, 1928
Guest blog by John Nations, 3141 Twenty-sixth avenue South, City (St. Petersburg), Nov. 9, 1928

Mr Nations played with glimpses of string theory in 1928 and in that year, Lonnie Johnson recorded "Playing with the strings" about that achievement.

Open forum (on the right side from the picture)
UNDERSTANDING EINSTEIN

Editor The Times:

A lot of people believe that Einstein is as transparent as boiler iron, one able authority estimating roughly that at least eight people in the world understand him.

## Sunday, April 15, 2018 ... /////

### Green fanaticism kills, fossil fuels prolong lives

An important pro-gay-marriage New York lawyer David Buckel – who was portrayed in the 1999 movie "Boy's Don't Cry" – committed suicide by self-immolation. In his farewell letter, he claimed that he was blessed to be completely healthy (which we can't properly verify) and the act was done to protest the people's usage of fossil fuels. He prepared a graphic scenery for joggers and bicyclists in a New York park.

First, condolences to his relatives and friends.

Second, regardless of my deep disagreement with everything he wanted to promote, I have respect for a certain kind of courage that is needed for such an act. After all, Jan Palach was a Czech student who protested the 1968 Soviet-led occupation in the same way and I tend to be among those who call him a hero.

Third, this act unmasks the degree of radicalization within the movement that fights global warming. Because the green people are ready to sacrifice their own lives and the benefits seem to be non-existent, we may claim that they are as radicalized as the Islamic suicide attackers.

## Saturday, April 14, 2018 ... /////

### Bad news: bombardment of Syria, Michael Cohen in Prague

Last night, it seemed that the Syrian tension was fading away. Erdogan also claimed that it did. Suddenly, we woke up on Saturday to see the news. In a 7-minute speech, Trump announced a new bombardment of Syria justified by the alleged chemical attacks. Friday 13th looked like a lucky date for that to him.

Damascus in 2010: more crosses than in the West

America, Britain, and France are participating. I was terribly angry at the beginning but was careful not to prematurely add fuel to the fire.

After a few minutes, details emerged suggesting that it's not so bad. First, Trump et al. are trying (so far successfully) to avoid the bombardment of any Russian interests and personnel – because Russia has promised to defend those. (It seems clear by now that Russia isn't defending all Syrian interests and only Syria's own defense missiles have been used to counter the 103 attacks – and in 71 of them, Assad turned out to be the winner and Trump was the loser.) Second, Trump et al. bombard "just" some (civilian and military) "chemical infrastructure". That would be bad but not so bad – not even for Assad.

The attack is being justified by claims about Assad's chemical attack in a suburb of Damascus that has targeted some 500 people. Now, I am uncertain about the very existence of such an attack let alone its perpetrator. I am half-persuaded by the Russian claims that Russia has evidence that this was staged and Britons helped in the false flag operation. In fact, even months or years ago, some people have said that a false flag chemical attack was being prepared by the best and the White Helmets (a P.R. group designed to whitewash the Islamic terrorists), see e.g. this February 2018 claim.

## Friday, April 13, 2018 ... /////

### Sheldon and pals visited Grothendieck in his cabin

If you missed Young Sheldon, the main hero decided to temporarily become adult from his mother's perspective after his mother didn't like some blue superhero's nude buttocks in a magazine. The adulthood was abruptly ended after a tornado in Eastern Texas.

Saint-Lizier on the Salat River, near the Spanish border. Grothendieck didn't pick such a bad place to spend a part of his life.

Meanwhile, the Big Sheldon had some correspondence with Dr Wolcott, a top topologist who is interested in Sheldon's work in string theory and who lives "off the grid" in his cabin in the mountains.

## Thursday, April 12, 2018 ... /////

### Frauchiger-Renner: trivial to see that QM has no contradictions

Click at the pirate icon above the title for a no-nonsense mobile version of this blog post.

Maken has pointed out the new paper

In Defense of a "Single-World" Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics
by Jeffrey Bub which negates a 2016 paper by Frauchiger and Renner (see a superficial comment at TRF or a PI journal club by barefoot and hot Lídia del Rio; she's the first girl from the obnoxiously PC Renner's political video).

Bub is right about the main claims – there is a single world, there is no contradiction, quantum mechanics is consistent etc. – and he presents a wonderfully concise explanation of the alleged Frauchiger-Renner paradox. But I am still dissatisfied with Bub's paper as well. He doesn't really address some incorrect formulations by Frauchiger and Renner – about "stories" etc. – and he adds some unfortunate new non-quantum sentences involving super-observers (quantum mechanics only has observers and all of them follow the same rules), measurements of wave functions (wave functions cannot be measured), and others.

## Wednesday, April 11, 2018 ... /////

### Wrong thinking behind MOND and climate hysteria

MIT mindreader: AlterEgo is the new MIT device that monitors nerves going to speaking muscles and knows what you think about. It can recognize 100 words now. I guess it would work for Hawking. Too bad he's gone.
Solution aversion often has very good reasons

Ohwilleke has promoted the Wordpress blog TritonStation written by Stacy McCaugh, a MOND cosmologist. He claimed that some speed was incorrectly calculated in the recent paper about a galaxy without dark matter and a better calculation is compatible with MOND predictions. I have no opinion about that but I think it's unwise to trust such blog posts uncritically; at least, you should also read lead author Van Dokkum's polite response to McCaugh and others. (My previous blog post was about the ludicrous claim that in MOND theories, the MOND effect may be turned off by changing the initial conditions.)

However, McCaugh's blog also has a climate change category – with one text, Solution Aversion. In his opinion, it's a logical mistake to be skeptical about MOND and the climate hysteria because such a skepticism amounts to "solution aversion" which he claims to be a logical fallacy of a sort.