Saturday, January 31, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Czech web users about Merkel and Greece

Angela Merkel ruled out additional debt write-off for Greece, after the 2010 bailout – which meant to artificially reduce some interest rates, too – and the 2012 haircut, i.e. orderly default. Germany will be kind to anyone who follows the rules, she wants Greece to stay in the eurozone if possible, but a new write-off is really not possible.

The BBC chose a picture of a frustrated meditating Merkel in the dark. The top Czech news server (CZ) decided that a very different picture is appropriate for this kind of news. ;-)

As you can see, even if you are surrounded by carnival Mädchen who are arguably more sexy than you are, you may still be the most powerful one – the most powerful woman in the world.

I found the most popular reader comments under the article entertaining (with some traces of the characteristic Czech humor) – and the consensus which probably applies to the whole Czech Republic is rather clear. Here is the translation of these comments. The header contains the author and the count of the helpful-unhelpful votes.

Planck+BICEP2+KeckArray: diluting the discovery

No certainty yet about the validity of the BICEP2's 2014 discovery

Two or three days before the preprint will appear on the arXiv, BICEP2/KeckArray have released their joint analysis with Planck:

Last March, the discovery papers were and still are offered at BICEPkeck.ORG.

The new joint paper is framed as a discovery of the B-modes at 7 standard deviations but these B-modes are presented as "dust and gravitational waves combined". This literally means that all probabilities of their model are obtained as sums (integrals, the so-called marginalization) over models with all possible values of the tensor-to-scalar ratio, \(r\).

When the high-depth, window-only BICEP2 data are mixed with the low-depth, global Planck data – just like if you dilute your favorite whisky in water at a 100-to-1 ratio, it becomes impossible to discover the primordial gravitational waves separately, the paper confirms. Instead, one may impose one of the usual Planck-like upper bounds on \(r\), namely \(r\lt 0.12\) at the 95% confidence level. This is slightly higher – more signal-like – than all the previous upper bounds coming from Planck.

Friday, January 30, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Will Russia bailout Greece?

The "mainstream" politicians in the EU countries – and the U.S. as well – lack not only the strategic thinking but also creativity, the ability to act cleverly yet surprisingly. We are pretty much facing a bunch of sterile, impotent, redundant, uninspiring, politically correct self-described "good doers".

Fortunately, there are other countries in the world as well. The Russian finance minister just said that he won't rule out that Russia will bailout Greece! Nice, that's what I call a twist. Greece may run out of funds as early as the end of February.

What does it exactly mean? I think it is rather unlikely that Russia will want to repay the Greek debt. At €320 billion, it is almost equal to all of Russia's foreign currency reserves! And the reserves turned out to be rather useful in the recent month when the rouble was under attack.

Well, surprising events may happen so one can imagine that Russia could even sacrifice all of its reserves for this move ;-) but I just find it unlikely.

Paul Frampton releases a book about his supermodel-drug story

For years, many of us have been following the real-life story of Prof Paul Frampton of North Carolina, a well-known physicist and a repeated TRF guest blogger, who ran into trouble in South America.

It all started very nicely.

Czech supermodel Ms Denisa Krajíčková or, if you wish, Californian supermodel Denise Milani fell in love with Paul. That shouldn't be shocking because theoretical physicists are very sexy, especially because of their sexy brains.

Thursday, January 29, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Deflategate: a view from Central Europe

Between 1972 and 1974, America was excited about Watergate. Similarly, the most important event that decides about the future of the United States in 2015 is the so-called Deflategate. In fact, Bill Nye the Science Guy has changed his occupation and began to give lectures about Deflategate rather than climate change, his previous favorite scandal that is – as he equally pointed out – approximately equally fatal as Deflategate.

During a semifinal game in a competition ("NFL") revolving around an esoteric sport named "football" although it is in no way "football" in the conventional sense, the team that I would have encountered in Greater Boston for six years, The New England Patriots (yes, if you wake me up at 3 am, I won't tell you the difference between The New England Patriots and The Boston Red Sox LOL), was found to have provided the game with underinflated balls. Well, 11 of the 12 balls had a lower pressure.

(Incidentally, Czechia is excited about low pressure these days, too: the pressure dropped to 970 kPa, close to the February 1989 record of 967 kPa.)

Because their January 18th, 2015 defeat of the Indianapolis Colts, 45-to-7, was apparently a statistical tie that could very well have ended up differently, people keep on repeating questions such as: Were the balls underinflated deliberately, to help the Patriots? Was it just negligence? Did the underinflation result from a low temperature or high humidity? And so on.

I find the spectrum of these questions to be ludicrous.

Ukraine: how Cyborgs' fame evaporated

The first month of 2015 is ending, various ceasefire treaties are being forgotten, and the meaningless Ukrainian civil war is gradually getting restarted.

When I wrote about the battles of the Donetsk airport in October 2014, I was implicitly assuming it would take days or at most weeks before Novorussia would get the Sergei Prokofiev International Airport, or whatever would be left of it.

Please don't allow kids to watch this 22-minute video.

Instead, it took more than three months. Last week, the Donetsk Militia was finally able to take control of the airport again. The Ukrainian troops who used to defend the airport for months have previously earned the status of legends. They were named the Cyborgs which means that they must have some superhero skills or be hybridized with killing robots.

If you watch the video above, you will see that Novorussia didn't allow these rather ordinary guys to enjoy their celebrity status. The well-known Novorussian commander Givi forces them to memorize his name – I am Givi, a big boy here (oh, you didn't know I was Givi? Slap!) – and he forces them to eat their Ukrainian medals and reveal their birth places. They are shown the devastation they have brought to the Donetsk Region and some of them are chosen for the "parade of shame" through the street during which the ordinary citizens of Donetsk treat these Banderistas in an unflattering way.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Value of Greece dropped by 15% in 3 days, 50% in 10 months

Bloomberg's page about the Athens Stock Exchange informs us about the significant changes in the Greek market in the wake of the catastrophic elections three days ago. The main index has dropped from 1,300+ in March 2014 and 840+ on January 23rd, 2015 to 711 today. The total damages of the elections on the capitalization of the companies exceed the total effect of all Greco-Persian wars by many orders of magnitude.

The Greek banks were doing worse, of course. They dropped by almost 70% in the recent year and by almost 40% years since the elections. Thankfully, the markets are behaving much more rationally than in 2010 or 2012 and most people seem to realize that Tsipras et al. is only a cataclysm for Greece, not so much for Europe or the world in which Greece is a small, unimportant, and largely disconnected territory. All major market players seem to be aware of the fact that Europe is pretty much ready to disconnect Greece formally, too, and it may be almost as smooth as the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, at least on the European side.

The holographic Da Vinci code and quantum error correction

Since the wrong 2012 papers, I have been encouraging

Dr Polchinski, tear down this firewall!
He's an exceptional physicist who has done cool things and can do many more so the earlier he can escape from the firewall, or extinguish it, the better. Finally, there is a fun paper about the holographic code co-authored by Polchinski that doesn't mention the firewall and it is pretty cool and, in my opinion, at least morally correct:
Bulk-Boundary Duality, Gauge Invariance, and Quantum Error Correction
by Mintun, Polchinski, Rosenhaus (Santa Barbara). Their primary question is how to reconstruct bulk operators from the boundary operators in AdS/CFT. But I actually think that closely analogous claims are valid for the microstates of the black holes and the black hole interior, too.

They try to clarify some previous ideas about the relationship between the holographic dictionary in quantum gravity on one side; and quantum error correction in quantum information science on the other side.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Czech president: a UNSC raid needed to erase ISIS from the face of Earth

Exactly 70 years ago, on January 27th, 1945, the worst extermination camp in the world history, Auschwitz, was liberated by the Red Army. Many politicians who came to that place have completely misunderstood the fact that the main official commemorative ceremonies actually don't take place in Poland but in Czechia – in Prague and Terezín, a smaller concentration camp – where they are organized by Moshe Kantor's ECJ (European Jewish Congress).

At the end, the two different ceremonies didn't overlap because they were remembering different events. In Czechia, people were remembering the war started by Nazi Germany and the liberation of the camp by the USSR. In Poland, they were recalling the Second World War according to Mr Yatsenyuk in which Russia invaded Germany and Auschwitz was liberated by Ukraine, troops from Lvov and Zhitomir.

The attendants were not overlapping, either. No top officials from Moscow were invited to Poland because Moscow didn't have anything to do with the liberation of Auschwitz according to the history favored by the Polish event. On the other side, the Czech events were attended e.g. by the Czech president Zeman, the Slovak president Kiska, and by Mr Yakunin, Zeman's friend and the boss of Russian railways who is on sanctions lists of some irrelevant countries (the U.S. and Australia).

Monday, January 26, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

A reply to an anti-physics rant by Ms Hossenfelder

S.H. of Tokyo University sent me a link to another text about the "problems with physics". The write-up is one month old and for quite some time, I refused to read it in its entirety. Now I did so and the text I will respond to is really, really terrible. The author is Sabine Hossenfelder and the title reads

Does the scientific method need revision?

Does the prevalence of untestable theories in cosmology and quantum gravity require us to change what we mean by a scientific theory?
To answer this, No. Only people who have always misunderstood how science works – at least science since the discoveries by Albert Einstein – need to change their opinions what a scientific theory is and how it is being looked for. Let me immediately get to the propositions in the body of the write-up and respond.

Sunday, January 25, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Greeks have spoken: we want to nullify debt, live as Prince of Monaco, avoid work

Your counterparts in Zimbabwe want the same thing
Will the freeloaders finally be given the finger?

Greeks have been living well beyond their means for several generations. Responsible politicians whom mature, sensible voters could pick went extinct a long time ago - maybe during the life of Pythagoras. When Greece was using its own currency, the drachma, the invisible hand of the free markets was able to fix some of the harmful trends. The increasing nominal salaries paid by the populist governments were translated to less quickly increasing real incomes because the drachma was constantly losing value. This was restoring some of the competitiveness.

Syriza's mascot

When Greece managed to fraudulently obey the conditions and entered the eurozone, it lost its independent currency. The increasing nominal salaries in euros suddenly translated to increasing real salaries. The competitiveness was dropping like a stone. The public debt began to grow really quickly. It wasn't supposed to happen because the members of the eurozone were assumed to be nations with at least rudimentary responsibility and economic literacy. But it did happen.

Saturday, January 24, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Exile and dissent are emerging in America

Leftists', fearmongers', and warmongers' treatment of the opponents in the U.S. increasingly resembles the practices in totalitarian countries

Sometime in 1982 or so, when I was nine, I decided to play with the radio somewhat systematically. So I went through all the frequencies and caught assorted radio stations.

At one moment, I would hear someone who said (in Slovak):

This was our editorial commentary. You are listening to the Czech and Slovak broadcasting of the Radio Free Europe [station].
It just happens that I was recording that experiment on a tape so I still probably have these first words I heard from RFE somewhere. Listening to RFE became my standard daily exercise between 1982 and 1990. For this and other reasons, you could have counted me as a child dissident but at the (very good, then) basic school, I was really highly loyal and my opposition only became clear at the high school – where I also hated many other things.

Sometimes, the radio jammers were running at a full speed and the signal was bad but most of the time, I had no trouble to listen to the program. At any rate, your humble correspondent doesn't remember the time when the opponents of communism were routinely executed or something like that. By the 1980s, communism in Czechoslovakia ran out of steam and was becoming obsolete. No one was believing in it anymore. One could still be fired from schools and jobs for political reasons – and (with uncles on both sides in emigration etc.) I could only get to the high school thanks to the repeated victories in the mathematical and physical olympiads. But it was a diluted tea, indeed.

Czechoslovakia would have a few thousand of full-fledged dissidents (a small number) and 300,000 people fled Czechoslovakia after the 1968 Warsaw Pact occupation (and there was a similar "first wave" of emigrants after 1948 or at least after 1945). Many of those emigrants were economically motivated, of course. We like to think that the U.S. is a free country but I think it is accurate to say that this claim is becoming questionable and the rise of both "dissidents" and "exile" – especially very skillful Americans who are being rejected by virtually every "mainstream" institution connected with power and wealth in the U.S. for ideological reasons – is a clear symptom of the disappearing freedom in America.

Friday, January 23, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Tom Siegfried's delusions about the reality of the wave function

In recent days, I've received links to many texts that looked insultingly and fundamentally wrong. One of these hyperlinks was contributed by Bill Zajc. Tom Siegfried, a journalist who can be good at times, wrote

Physicists debate whether quantum math is as real as atoms
in ScienceNews.ORG. It's the second part of a series. The first part said some basic things about Bell's theorem and except that the importance of that paper of Bell's was overstated by an order of magnitude (and except for the popular derogatory "weird" adjective used against quantum mechanics), the content was marginally OK. That can't be said about the second part. I was seeing red for an hour after I read that thing. This text is just terrible and serves as a testimony of the catastrophic degradation of the intelligence of science journalists and some loud people calling themselves scientists, too.

Thursday, January 22, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Windows 10, Microsoft HoloLens, wow

I gave a near 3-hour interactive talk at a local Science Café tonight which was fun. Well, the number of guys who followed it at the technical level was close to \(\pi\) but everything was relaxed, no one was tired, so the talk could have been made entertaining even for those ladies and gentlemen who didn't really follow all those things about escape speeds, special relativity, general relativity, quantum mechanics, Hawking and Bekenstein, second laws and black hole entropy, Strominger and Vafa, ER=EPR, quasinormal modes, landscape and swampland, LHC destructive black holes, and so on. I won't bother you with all the jokes because some of them were childish but enough to make people laugh. ;-)

But I think that if I were giving the talk now, five hours later, it could have been affected by the latest Microsoft press conference.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

A new paper connecting heterotic strings with an LHC anomaly

Is the LHC going to experimentally support details of string theory in a few months?

Just one week ago, I discussed a paper that has presented a model capable of explaining three approximately 2.5-sigma anomalies seen by the LHC, including the \(\tau\mu\) decay of the Higgs boson \(h\), by using a doubled Higgs sector along with the gauged \(L_\mu-L_\tau\) symmetry.

I have mentioned a speculative addition of mine: those gauge groups could somewhat naturally appear in \(E_8\times E_8\) heterotic string models, my still preferred class of string/M-theory compactifications to describe the Universe around us.

Today, there is a new paper

Explaining the CMS \(eejj\) and \(e /\!\!\!\!{p}_T jj\) Excess and Leptogenesis in Superstring Inspired \(E_6\) Models
by Dhuria and 3 more Indian co-authors that apparently connects an emerging, so far small and inconclusive experimental anomaly at the LHC, with heterotic strings.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Norway's theft of two Czech boys is a shocking story

The image of Norway in Czechia has dramatically deteriorated and may be compared to that of Afghanistan or the ISIS right now, except that we don't care about the latter two so much.

Update Jan 2016: a text about the stolen 5 Romanian Christian kids
Two boys stolen from their Czech parents are the reason. Most compatriots including your humble correspondent endorse an invasion of the special units of the Czech army that would kill the members of "Barnevernet" (which translates as "The Pedophiles" to Greek and the institution is the Norwegian counterpart of Lebensborn in Germany up to 1945), a child kidnapping ring that operates legally at many places of Norway, and bring the boys back to their homeland.

In 2011, Mrs Eva Michaláková and her (now former, much older) husband Joseph Michalák who is deaf-mute (due to an explosion in the wake of the 1968 Warsaw Pact occupation) lived in a Norwegian village; all these 4 people are Czech citizens. A police came to their house claiming that some folks in the kindergarten decided that one of the boys must have been sexually abused because of the color of his stool. This accusation was shown to be invalid by tests in the hospital as well as additional police experts but this fact has apparently had no effect on the following events.

Prof Collins explains string theory

Prof Emeritus Walter Lewin has been an excellent physics instructor who loved to include truly physical demonstrations of certain principles, laws, and concepts.

(YouTube video z_KMBFy6kb8 removed.)

After you understand string theory, don't forget about inertia, either. ;-)

When the SJWs fired him and tried to erase him from the history of the Universe, a vacuum was created at MIT.

Sunday, January 18, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Freedom: the difference between brains and machines

Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking teamed up to fight the rise of evil, artificially intelligent machines that are about to conquer the world. At least, the world revolution seems imminent according to the PayPal-Tesla-SpaceX entrepreneur who has paid $10 million to fight the threat in order to make his words louder.

The annual question was "What do you think about machines that think?". Some of the answers were nontrivial and interesting. In fact, I actually liked the answer by James O'Donnell, a classical scholar, who said that "no one would ask a thinking machine what it or he or she thinks about machines that think", and he actually warned about the sloppy diverse ways in which the verb "think" is being used.

Octopuses from the 2nd floor (full), "the blue male one" and "the green female one", also known as Formeláks, were famous Czechoslovak 1986 examples of artificial intelligence. Yup, the mother would marry Václav Havel a decade later but when the movie was shot, she was as loyal to the communist regime as you can get.

Many people just stated the obvious – that brains and machines are analogous to some extent. Sure, they are. Every science-fiction-fed kid can write stories about that. But there are actually big differences between "what we call brains" and "what we call machines" as well and these differences are totally crucial for a qualified attitude to the question whether artificial intelligence is about to threaten us.

NOAA, NASA: 2014 was probably not the warmest year on our record

A direct proof that the professional alarmists are intentionally lying

As I discussed in detail, the surface temperature record significantly disagrees with the satellite datasets when it comes to the question whether 2014 was a warmest or near-warmest year.

Satellites answer this question with a clear "No": 1998 was 0.3 °C warmer than 2014. This difference (decrease of temperature) is rather safely greater than their error margin which allows you to say that the global mean temperature as defined and calculated via the RSS methodology, for example, almost certainly didn't peak in 2014. (If it did, it would be no big deal, anyway, but it did not.) The year 2014 was tied on the 6th and 7th place among the 36 according to the RSS AMSU satellite methodology, for example.

On the other hand, NOAA's NCDC and NASA's GISS ended up with the mean value of the global mean temperature for 2014 to be about 0.02 °C higher than the second warmest year on their record, with their (different) definition of the global mean temperature, and the second year on their record is 2010 (closely followed by 2005).

Immediately, sensible people – including several climate scientists – were telling them that this difference – 0.02 °C – is so tiny that it is easily beaten by the error margin which prevents you from acquiring any confidence while deciding which year was actually *the* warmest one.

Saturday, January 17, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

There is nothing extreme about anti-Islam groups

When the Western societies became secular, religion was largely downgraded to a personal spiritual issue of every individual that only affects his or her own decisions and not the lives of others, at least not directly. Christianity turned out to be capable of this transformation.

This is not the case of Islam which keeps its very strong "political Islam" branch and wants to dictate how people should live, what they cannot do, what they cannot say or draw, what they learn about everything, who cannot win in the court, and who has to be stoned to death.

That's why all citizens must have the right to reject Islam as a short-term political proposal as well as a long-term political proposal.

Pilsen: it's no easy task to install new bells

If you need to install new bells to the St Bartholomew's Cathedral, it is harder than to overwrite a few MP3 files by new ones.

The logo has been optimized for those artists who haven't quite learned the digit "5" yet. It's replaced by a more intuitive character.

You need the new physical bells (I was actually there also when the bells – paid for by private sponsors – were installed to the cathedral some month or two ago), a son of film director Miloš Forman (named Petr) as the director of the show, you need lots of big LCD displays, projectors for a monstrous videomapping on Czechia's largest near-square-shaped square and Czechia's tallest church tower, a Swiss ropewalker, a huge mechanical robotic angel controlled by about 6 puppet masters, several bands and dozens of weird dancers and musicians, and about 50,000 people (not a strict subset of Pilsen's 170,000 inhabitants) who watch it.

You will only enjoy this 100-minute show if you click at the "full screen" in the right lower corner and increase the brightness and contrast of your display.

I was there – and the show that kickstarted Pilsen's role as the 2015 European capital of culture was more impressive than what I expected.

Friday, January 16, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Papers by BICEP2, Keck, and Planck out soon

...and other news from the CMB Minnesota conference...

Off-topic: I won't post a new blog post on the "warmest 2014" measurements and claims. See an updated blog post on RRSS AMSU for a few new comments and a graph on the GISS and NCDC results.
The Twitter account of Kevork Abazajian of UC Irvine seems to be the most useful public source where you may learn about some of the most important announcements made at a recent CMB+Pol conference in Minnesota (January 14th-16th, 2015).

Is BICEP2's more powerful successor still seeing the gravitational waves?

Thursday, January 15, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Artificially engineered jumps of currency exchange rates are uncivilized

...they hurt financial planning, create easy profits and easy losses...

In Fall 2011, the €1 euro was worth CHF 1.2 Swiss francs and the franc had the tendency to climb further towards parity. The Swiss Central Bank decided to protect its domestic importers and pegged the currency to the euro. For 15 months or so, the euro was worth CHF 1.2.

Leonhard Euler (not Gauss, LOL, thanks) only appeared in the seventh series of the banknotes, one printed in 1984. The current eighth one, printed in 1995, contains no mathematician or scientist whom I can recognize. Am I overlooking someone?

Some lucky-yet-realistic folks must have known that the peg wouldn't last forever. They bought lots of francs – or shorted the euro against the franc. They waited – and they were vindicated today. The peg was abolished, the Swiss franc jumped over 15 percent within minutes. Due to some instability, the CHFEUR exchange rate was up to 30 percent stronger than yesterday at some moments.

In similar circumstances, people who have the "right currency" benefit a lot and quickly – and those who have the "wrong currency" lose. It's wrong for numerous reasons.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

An act of war? Critics of cartoons should be arrested for death threats

The first post-attack, "survivor" issue of Charlie Hebdo is out. Instead of the usual 60,000 copies, it was printed in 3 million copies. One copy costs €3. Most of these nine million euros will go to the victims' families and the magazine. Some of the jokes in the magazine are simple yet cute. For example: An advance copy contained cartoons mocking the two Islamist gunmen who carried out the attack. One has them arriving in paradise and asking, "Where are the 70 virgins?" — "With the Charlie team, losers," comes the reply.

If it were possible to quantify the value of one human life as €0.5 million, one could easily conclude that this tragic story has been profitable for the magazine.

Well, such a quantification is ethically problematic – even though insurance companies have to be aware of such conversion factors. Who may have become a winner is e.g. Luz, now a top cartoonist, who wasn't killed because he overslept. The image on the cover is his.

The cover shows a crying Mohammed who says "I am Charlie" and the situation is described as "all is forgiven". Well, the generosity involved in this image is amazing. I, for one, have not forgiven Mohammed – and indeed, it's Mohammed and Allah, the religion's pillars themselves, who should be primarily blamed for the tragedy. Relatively to Mohammed, the two brothers only played a passive role of mindless tools.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

A model that agrees with tau-mu Higgs decays and 2 other anomalies

...and its incomplete divine stringy incarnation...

I originally missed a hep-ph preprint almost a week ago,

Explaining \(h\to \mu^\pm \tau^\mp\), \(B\to K^*\mu^+\mu^-\), and \(B\to K\mu^+\mu^-/B\to Ke^+e^−\) in a two-Higgs-doublet model with gauged \(L_\mu−L_\tau\)
by Crivellin, D'Ambrosio, and Heeck, probably because it had such a repulsively boring title. By the way, do you agree with the hype saying that the new Mathjax 2.5 beta is loading 30-40 percent faster than Mathjax 2.4 that was used on this blog up to yesterday morning?

The title of the preprint is uninspiring even though it contains all the good stuff. Less is sometimes more. At any rate, CMS recently reported a 2.4-sigma excess in the search for the decays of the Higgs boson\[

h\to \mu^\pm \tau^\mp

\] which is flavor-violating. A muon plus an antitau; or an antimuon plus a tau. Bizarre. The 2.4-sigma excess corresponds to the claim that about 1% of the Higgs bosons decay in this weird way! Correct me if I am wrong but I think that this excess has only been discussed in the comment section of this blog but I was very excited about it in July.

Don Lincoln on superstrings

Fermilab's talking head, Don Lincoln, has recorded numerous videos on cool physical topics so it shouldn't be surprising that he has added the coolest topic of all as well, superstrings.

This 8-minute video begins with the classification of elementary particles in the Standard Model, says that the list of ingredients is messy, and argues that there should be a simpler picture. Superstrings represent particles of different species as different "Chladni patterns" of white powder on a speaker. He mentions that the real superstrings vibrate in 11 spacetime dimensions – well, there are no 1-dimensional strings in 11 dimensions (in M-theory) but I don't want to be picky here. ;-)

Monday, January 12, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

PRL endorses a pro-DAMA model of dark matter

An hour ago, Physics World decided to promote a paper claiming that dark matter may have already been seen:

New calculations support dark-matter discovery by DAMA, say physicists
The relevant paper has just appeared in the prestigious Physical Review Letters under the title
Dark Matter with Pseudoscalar-Mediated Interactions Explains the DAMA Signal and the Galactic Center Excess
although the readers who have memorized all 1 million preprints at know very well that the identical paper was submitted under a different title,
Not so Coy Dark Matter explains DAMA (and the Galactic Center excess)
in June 2014. Recall that in October 2013, LUX has pretty much won the "dark matter is not seen" war and excluded lots of theories with light dark matter particles that were suggested by the positive experiments from the opposing alliance in the war.

American religious attitude to cartoons of Mohammed

Paris saw the greatest rally in its history – between 1.5 and 3 million people were attending the Charlie Hebdo march. Barack Obama wasn't among them. Neither was Joe Biden. Or any other top U.S. official. The only visible public representative was the U.S. ambassador to France. Is that a coincidence?

In September 2012, Barack Obama spoke to the United Nations and articulated a chilling sentence "The future does not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam." One could have asked: What was he going to do to make sure that the people who slander the prophet of Islam had no future? Was he going to encourage his Algerian French friends to act?

He quotes Gandhi who said that intolerance is a form of violence. Perhaps, it is a form. But it is a totally legitimate, ethical, moral, and legal form of violence and our social system is proud about protecting our freedom to be intolerant. The miracle of the European civilization in the recent 5 centuries – which includes the U.S. – was about similar principles.

In practice, what Europe needed a few centuries ago was not just the freedom but some active defense against Islam, too.

Sunday, January 11, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

The monstrous beer conjecture

Numerologists of the world, unite!

You may win a 5-liter barrel of Pilsner Urquell if you find a physically motivated mathematical proof of a fascinating identity.

Pictures are sometimes hiding very different messages than what meets the eye.

Monstrous moonshine started with the observation that the bizarre number \(196883+1\) appears at two seemingly totally unrelated pieces of mathematics. \(1,196883\) are the dimensions of the two smallest irreducible representations of the monster group, the most complete sporadic group in group theory, while \(196884\) is the second subleading coefficient in the expansion of the important function of a complex variable, the \(j\)-function\[

j(\tau) = \frac{1}{q} + 744 + 196884q+ \dots, \,\, q= e^{2\pi i \tau}.

\] Later, it was proven that the appearance of this number is no coincidence once the appropriate string-theory-like CFT with the monster group symmetry was constructed. The same two-dimensional CFT dealing with the Leech lattice, up to a possibly different treatment of the left- and right-movers and their correlation, is the dual boundary CFT of pure 3-dimensional gravity in \(AdS_3\), as Witten showed (see around 2007).

The holographic duality seems to work for \(k=1\) only, as Gaiotto showed in a newer negative result, but this highly curved \(k=1\) model of quantum gravity became one of my 5 most favorite models of quantum gravity on which I am testing ideas about the deepest wisdom about the spacetime and information.

What about the number of elements of the monster group?

Saturday, January 10, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Do sunspots during pregnancy shorten baby's life by 5 years?

The Huffington Post, SciAm, and others bring our attention to a new spooky Norwegian paper

Solar activity at birth predicted infant survival and women's fertility in historical Norway
by Skjærvø, Fossøy, and Røskaft in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Yes, a proper Norwegian citizen is obliged to have an o-slash (or, in simple terms, \(o_\mu\gamma^\mu\)) in her or his name. They've looked at 8,662 lives of people in Norway begun between 1676 and 1878.

The number of sunspots is approximately changing in 11-year-long cycles. They seem to believe that the solar maxima increase the amount of ultraviolet radiation – and that's known to inhibit some vital cellular processes. But you wouldn't believe that the sunspots should significantly affect the life expectancy, would you?

Contradicting several similar surveys in the past that ended with the negative result, these three folks claim that the effect of the solar maxima on the life expectancy (and women's fertility) exists and is rather large. Most shockingly, the babies born during solar maxima are claimed to have lives shorter by 5.2 years than those born during the solar minima. The barchart above says that the probability of dying before the adulthood is about 3 percentage points higher for the babies from the solar maxima.

The Dirac roundtable

The latest Dirac medal went to string theorists Gabriele Veneziano, Ashoke Sen, and Andrew Strominger. See TRF, August 2014.

This October 2014 roundtable with the winners was hosted by Atish Dabholkar, a physicist at the Abdus Salam Institute for Theoretical Physics.

Friday, January 09, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Charlie Hebdo: an almost happy end

A black hole brainstorming; a meeting of a political party

Around 5:15 pm, units of French police used explosives and guns to storm both the printing press in Dammartin-en-Goële and the kosher shop in Paris. All the terrorists (and no theorists) were killed, all the hostages were freed. The synchronization was a wise idea I wanted to recommend them – but these professionals didn't need it!

I can't read this book but I wrote it. ;-)

Condolences to Shannon who is equally sad that her Algerian French countrymates had to wrap up their lives. But I feel sort of a relief. The assassination in Charlie Hebdo has slightly thrown me out of balance, emotionally speaking, but maybe it's time for everyone to be happier now.

This is a Lumo idea about a French music playlist. The ultimate love song, the ultimate revolutionary anthem, Lumo Hit 2006, Jean Michel Marre's magnetic fields, Michel Magne's Angelique theme song, Ballade pour Adeline, how to learn fake French (try fake English and other fake languages), ABBA's Waterloo (in the language of the loser), and so on. At the end, in total, Germans may have composed better music makers but I think that some of French music is much more able to make me cry, not to mention other emotions.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Charlie Hebdo: France mustn't allow to be changed by murders

Street view: Interestingly, the Google Maps photograph from August 2014 shows a police car at the place of the tragedy. Unfortunately, the protection wasn't permanent and perfect. But the assigned bodyguard for Charb, the editor-in-chief, was there yesterday as well and he was killed, too.
Two hours ago, gunmen invaded the French satirical anti-religious left-wing magazine Charlie Hebdo ("Charlie Weekly") and shot at least 12 people (which includes two cops and the cartoonists named Cabu, Charb, Tignous, and Wolinski). See Wikipedia on the terror attack. The publication has had a long record of controversies involving Islam (and other religions).

In November 2011, the magazine tried to please the Muslims. They renamed themselves as "Charia Hebdo" and named Prophet Mohammed as their new editor-in-chief. Even this gesture of peace wasn't enough. One day later, the headquarters were fire-bombed and the servers hacked.

Now, we've seen the mass murder – Kalashnikovs and rocket launchers were used half a mile from Notre-Dame today – and it is no longer funny.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Carbon tax: the Pope and Larry Summers are not dealing with facts fairly

The Catholic Church enjoys its first left-wing Pope, in the modern sense of the word. He often talks – about egalitarianism and other things – as if he were just another left-wing activist. It doesn't mean that no previous Pope had a similar social thinking. But no previous Pope operated in the world where the left-wing activism represented a powerful mainstream movement.

Just to remind you, John Paul II was still a politically neutral religious figure with a strongly anti-communist image while Benedict XVI was a conservative religious leader and, to a large extent, a right-wing thinker. Francis is different. He is also planning to issue an encyclical, a Pope-authored bulletin, dedicated to the climate hysteria, a psychiatric disease whose proliferation the religious leader plans to endorse. Given the ideological roots of the climate hysteria and Pope Francis' left-wing bias, I am simply not surprised.

It doesn't make sense to waste much time with Francis' proclamations – they don't really differ from mediocre left-wing kibitzers' comments about the same issues. Pope Francis could easily go to the pub with Leonardo DiCaprio, Prince Charles, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, to mention a few other science-illiterate nuts who love to imagine themselves as the saviors of the world. But the Pope's views be more far-reaching due to his influence on 1.2 billion Catholics in the world.

As a Christian atheist, I have mixed feelings about the power of the Catholic Church. It's a church that has given our civilization – and perhaps, it is still giving us – some good stuff. Religious belief has some virtues and many of the moral standards believed by good contemporary atheists have Judeo-Christian origin. But faith – especially blind faith – may also hurt and the Catholic Church turned out to be the church that is able to reform, adapt, adjust, and modernize itself and this is a part of the reason why the modern industrial capitalist civilization was born in nominally Christian countries.

Monday, January 05, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Zero gravity day: millions Facebook users were getting ready

Some people must have been weightless yesterday, celebrating the Zero Gravity Day.

On December 15th, 2014, – a fake news website – posted the following story that first appeared in 1974:

Planetary Alignment On Jan 4, 2015 Will Decrease Gravity For 5 Minutes Causing Partial Weightlessness
The story starts with a tweet from NASA where British astronomer Patrick Moore is credited with figuring out that for five minutes on January 4th, Earth's gravity will drop to less than 10% of its value due to some alignment of Pluto and Jupiter or something like that. (The astronomer died in December 2012 but he was the actual original author of the hoax many years ago – realizing it was a hoax, of course.)

Publisher of Islamic book may spend up to 10 years in prison

Police expert on extremism confirms that the book promotes a kind of fascism which is outlawed

Six or seven weeks ago, I was defending our Czech (and similar German) laws that outlaw the promotion of ideologies and movements whose goal is to suppress some basic individual human rights and freedoms, usually according to criteria derived from their ethnicity or class.

The logic behind this law is that sustainable freedom and democracy needs some defense, those spreading hatred against nations or classes share some guilt for the future crimes, and a new Hitler might be stopped or slowed down when he is a small-scale criminal – and not when it is too late and this new Hitler is already unstoppable.

Our traditional explanations of the bill used to quote fascism and communism as the "threats" that are being targeted by this law. In practice, the prosecution of promoters of communism has been very weak or non-existent so far.

This asymmetric treatment of the two evils seems unfair from most points of view. On the other hand, it seems legitimate to me to say that in communism, it is possible to separate the self-evident evil of the ideology from the rest. In fascism, the self-evident evil is closer to the heart of the ideology. And this difference – and not just the much more open support of the communist party by more than 10 percent of the society – may explain why we couldn't have enjoyed much prosecution of communists according to this bill.

Sunday, January 04, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Does it make sense to impose standards for notation and conventions?

It often does but each reform should be a separate struggle

At the end of 1928, big Czechoslovak companies teamed up and created the Czechoslovak Normalization Society (the word "normalization" only acquired its terrible new meaning 40 years later), ČSN, which was telling members what shape nuts and bolts should have, among millions of analogous things. Since 1964, ČSN has been used to label individual "Czechoslovak State Norms".

Just to be sure, we still use the acronym ČSN for the Czech technical norms, despite the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, because doing otherwise would violate about 1,000 norms. ;-) Aside from Czechoslovak and Czech ČSN norms, we are being regulated by millions of DIN German norms, EN European standards, and ISO international standards.

"Germany" and "standardization" rhyme very well ;-) which is why it was so natural for Sabine Hossenfelder to write a blog post about this topic, Your \(g\) is my \(e\) – Has time come for a physics notation standard?.

Saturday, January 03, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

RSS AMSU: temperatures 1979-2014 grouped in many ways

Climate apparently jumped to a warmer basin of attraction in 1998, noise ever since

One month ago, I discussed the ranking of the global mean temperature in 2014 according to the UAH, RSS AMSU satellite datasets. The December 2014 figures weren't out yet but it turns out that my system of predictions always works very well and the ranking of the years may be more or less predicted before the last month is known.

RSS AMSU have published their December 2014 values. The global mean temperature anomaly was +0.284 °C, just 0.04 °C warmer than the value in November which increases the annual average estimate just by +0.0035 °C relatively to my previous expectations – a negligible figure. With this tiny correction, 2014 is pretty much tied with 2007 as the 6th-7th warmest year in the RSS AMSU dataset, after 1998, 2010, 2005, 2003, and 2002.

RSS claims that 2014 was a whopping 0.3 °C cooler than 1998. Please laugh out loud when someone will be telling you that it was the warmest year.

Friday, January 02, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Mysterious positivity of the Amplituhedron

Some comments on papers by Susskind; and Arkani-Hamed et al. (twice)

So far, the latest arXiv preprints emerged on December 31st. The paper arXiv:1501.00001 (with the new redundant zero) should be out on Monday.

On the Sylvester day (for Yankees: 1/2 of Europe plus Israel uses this name for New Year's Eve), three hep-th papers were authored or co-authored by very famous physicists. One was by Nima, another one was by Arkani, and the third one was... by Susskind. ;-)

Leonard Susskind wrote an essay about the ER-EPR (worhhole-entanglement) correspondence and especially about the interpretation of the GHZ states and quantum teleportation within the paradigm started by Maldacena and Susskind. It's fun to read Lenny's papers but I found the issues in this new paper sort of obvious, so I don't think that there's something new for me to learn here.

Scott Aaronson and sheer lunacy of U.S. academic feminism

Larry Summers is a 90% feminist. In fact, he was giving a proof of these "credentials" right before his conflicts with that movement began.

During his January 2005 speech about women in STEM fields, he was just talking about his two twin daughters. He was educating them in a "gender neutral" way so he bought them trucks. (Enough for 99% Czechs to consider him a victim of a craze.) One girl placed a smaller truck on top of a bigger truck and told the other one: "Look, the daddy truck is carrying the baby truck." Even for a feminist of Summers' caliber, that may have been enough to learn a potential message. When he offered that summary, a hardcore MIT feminist named Nancy Hopkins immediately left the seminar room and called her equally obnoxious friends in the New York Times and the Boston Globe. She would later explain that she would vomit if she didn't ignite this nationwide "scandal" which was the main reason why I decided to leave the utterly screwed Academic environment.

Leftists love to destroy their less radical fellow leftists. Stalin has murdered tens of millions of leftists (aside from other people). Even the last Czechoslovak communist president, Dr Gustáv Husák, had escaped from a life-in-prison sentence by his comrades in the 1950s. The feminists boast the very same DNA so they are doing the same thing. Prof Emeritus Walter Lewin has been serving female students for decades. The feminists – of both sexes – decided to destroy him after he used a tweet saying "queefing is yours" in a playful conversation that two fans/students started with him. Not really a big deal. If "queefing" had a good Czech translation, it would become another favorite word of the current Czech president whenever he would be talking to annoying and stupid female journalists. ;-) The Prague Lumpencafé would give Zeman a hard time but unlike MIT, they wouldn't be able to fire him. If the PC folks at MIT could rewrite the memories of everyone in the Universe and make them think that Lewin hasn't spent a life as a successful MIT instructor, they would do it, too. In fact, they apparently think that they have actually done that (and made Lewin "not being an emeritus professor")!

Scott Aaronson, an MIT computer scientist, is a self-described 97% feminist. Note that the figure is higher than Summer's value. He doesn't just bombard his daughter(s) with trucks. In his notorious comment #171 under his first article about Lewin (where he supported feminism but also dared to mention that he at least opposed the removal or Lewin's lectures), Aaronson informed us that a decade ago, he was begging his psychiatrist to chemically castrate him (Aaronson) because he decided that with his penis, balls, and hormones, he is a threat to billions of women in the world!

Syriza-led Greece shouldn't get a penny

A financially collapsing Greece has been damaging the world markets throughout 2011 before the country bankrupted in Spring 2012. Center-right Antonis Samaras (New Democracy) became the prime minister in June 2012. Since that moment, Greece was pretty much going in the right direction. It even managed to achieve a modest budget surplus.

I should have written about those relative successes. We should have praised them because this anomalous era of relative sanity may soon be over. A few days ago, the Parliament gave less than 60% of votes to Stavros Dimas, a former EU commissioner and a presidential candidate (I think that the 60% lower limit is too demanding and creates too much instability in the Greek system, but that's just another bad "detail" in Greece). By the rules of the game, this Parliament's "veto" led to the automatic dissolution of the Parliament within 10 days and new elections on January 25th.

The problem is that according to polls, the elections will be won by Syriza led by Alexis Tsipras. If you need to be reminded, Syriza is a mixture of green left, Maoist, Trotskyist, Leninist, Stalinist, left-wing populist, democratic socialist, and other groups. Think of a random stinky piece of left-wing šit and chances are high that this piece will be an important portion of Syriza.

Thursday, January 01, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

2015: International Year of Light and Soils

Man's evolving understanding of light

Welcome to the year 2015 = MMXV = 13*5*31 (it took me a minute to write the product in this nicely symmetric way). Hours ago, my hometown of Pilsen (along with Mons, Belgium) became the European Capital of Culture. One of the minor advantages is that whatever I will write on this blog in this year will automatically become the official opinion of the European Union.

I could talk for hours about every place shown in this video. For example, around 2:34-2:36, you see the spot where I enjoyed a collision with a big dog in the summer. ;-) Big celebrations of our capital status should begin on January 17th with a mass communist-style rally of 50,000 not only children whose flow through the streets will emulate the 4 rivers whose confluence modern Pilsen was built around in 1295.

The United Nations General Assembly declared the year as the International Year of Soils and the the International Year of Light.

They seem like two differently profound notions: light is the only stream of massless particles we routinely encounter, soil is just another type of mud. But soil is a "major" kind of a solid so we may say that both light and soil were among the ancient "elements".