## Thursday, December 05, 2013 ... /////

### Dark matter $0.11\meV$ axion discovered in 2004 via Josephson junctions

Or at least some deviation may be interpreted in this remarkable way!

Two days ago, Nude Socialist's Katia Moskvitch (yes, it was a Soviet car) wrote an unusually useful article promoting a September 2013 hep-ph preprint by Christian Beck (Cambridge and London; a twin brother of Glenn Beck who is also a Christian, after all, both Mormon and Roman Catholic one) that we apparently missed:

Hints of cold dark matter pop up in 10-year-old circuit (NS)

Possible resonance effect of axionic dark matter in Josephson junctions (arXiv, free)
The probable reason why Nude Socialist managed to notice this interesting paper is that they may follow all papers in PRL where the paper appeared on Monday. And it seems very interesting, indeed.

### Václav Klaus: French criticism of the global warming champions' fanaticism

Translation from Czech (by LM)

Review of Pascal Bruckner's book "The Fanaticism of the Apocalypse" by the Czech ex-president

Pascal Bruckner, a significant personality belonging to the contemporary generation of French writers, a member of the left-wing "nouveaux philosophie", wrote an important book for the French people but comparably important for us as well – us who were mostly suckled on the Anglo-Saxon reasoning and who tend to underestimate the French in the social-scientific fields or, to put it more precisely, who tend to associate the French with a very illiberal thinking.

### Hexagonal shape of Saturn's vortex

Saturn's hexagon (a long-term storm near the North Pole) has been known to exist at least since 1988. See also TRF 2007.

NASA's Cassini mission has just revealed this picture of the six-sided jet stream.

## Wednesday, December 04, 2013 ... /////

### Making exceptional symmetries of SUGRA manifest

I found at least two hep-th papers interesting today. Nathan Berkovits brings us some field redefinition that maps his pure spinor formalism to the RNS formalism, using a new method of "dynamical twisting". My understanding is that it's not sufficient to understand why the calculated amplitudes agree. But I will only discuss

Exceptional Field Theory I: $E_{6(6)}$ covariant Form of M-Theory and Type IIB by Olaf Hohm and Henning Samtleben.
The names may sound German to you but it's technically a French-American collaboration. ;-) I don't know the authors but I know all 4 people thanked in the acknowledgements, Liu, Nicolai, Taylor, and Zwiebach.

Supergravity (or M-theory) compactified on tori produces lower-dimensional theories with non-compact exceptional continuous (or discrete) symmetries (called the U-duality group in the M-theory case). Exceptional groups are sexy and mysterious, too.

It has always been plausible that a decent understanding of the origin of these exceptional symmetries could provide us with a new, spectacularly clear view into string theory's deepest inner workings. It could be just a straightforward technical result without far-reaching implications, too. We can't know for sure.

Formulations that make duality symmetries of string/M-theory manifest became popular in recent years.

### PNAS: male, female brains wired along different paths

Female brains don't separate the hemisphere much but they do divide front and back more sharply

I have been sure for decades that the biological differences between the male and female brains are significant and are the ultimate reason of the statistical differences in the interests, talents, and achievements of men and women. The evidence is formidable and growing.

Two days ago, PNAS revealed the online pre-publication version of a Pennsylvania-Princeton paper

Sex differences in the structural connectome of the human brain
by Ingalhalikar and 9 co-authors. The paper was discussed by all major media including the BBC, the Guardian, Fox News (video report where they spin the female specifics in a much more ludicrously positive direction than in the left-wing media), HuffPo, Forbes (on social implications), and many others.

## Tuesday, December 03, 2013 ... /////

### Hurricane forecasts are worthless

I don't know the methods that folks in NOAA are using to forecast the number of Atlantic hurricanes and I am not interested in these methods because they clearly don't work. Pages such as this one (with different years in the URL) show you tables with the predicted and actual number of named storms, hurricanes, and major hurricanes for the relevant year.

Let us look at years 2001-2013 and focus on the actual numbers from NOAA in May. Note that the hurricane season includes months between June and November and the 2013 season has officially ended last Saturday.

### Feynman lectures on physics: Volume III now free

Free online quantum mechanics course from a top guru

In September, I mentioned that some folks were transforming the Feynman Lectures on Physics to free web pages with MathJax, the same $\rm\LaTeX$-based system to write elegant mathematical expressions that has been used on this blog for two years or so.

Only Volume I was available at that time.

I thought that the Neocounter in the right lower sidebar was the prettiest visitor counter on the market – because of the many types of geographic statistics and the pretty animations that many of you were surely hating (and you will cynically celebrate a few seconds by which the website speeds up!) – and I was paying over $50 annually for that reason. However, I was an exception and the counters went out of business today. Your humble correspondent probably had an obsolete primary e-mail address in the database. However, other users received the following e-mail today: Dear user, It saddens me to inform you that after 9 years of services, I am stopping my web counter activity. The shift from blogs to social networks and the overwhelming competition of free services has dramatically decreased my customer base to the point where I can no longer pay for the hosting of my servers. I will do my best to refund you pro rata of the time elapsed since your last payment. Please wait for an email from the designated company liquidator. I thank you wholeheartedly for the interest you have shown in my products during all these years. It was a great adventure for me. Please find here-after your most recent visitor count. I am sure that you will find a suitable replacement for my counters. Roberto Well, I would like my list or database. In total, the counter was showing almost 10 million visits from something like 240 countries – many more than the folks in the United Nations are able to enumerate. ;-) ## Monday, December 02, 2013 ... ///// ### Einstein and Eddington: a film Joseph Sykora sent me a link to a 94-minute-long 2008 BBC Two film about Eddington and Einstein: It's no documentary. Expect a drama movie that may be watched by those not too interested in physics as well. I liked it a lot (despite the artistic license to modify the history) and you should watch it, too. ### Unconstrained MSSM: LSP is pure Higgsino or pure wino There are several interesting hep-ph papers today, especially those about supersymmetry, but I chose to highlight LHC and dark matter phenomenology of the NUGHM by Maria Eugenia Cabrera, Alberto Casas, Roberto Ruiz de Austri, Gianfranco Bertone (Amsterdam, Madrid, Valencia). They calculate a probability distribution for various masses of electroweak superpartners given the current accelerator and dark-matter constraints (and numerical observables). They work within NUGHM which is a rather generic MSSM with "non-universal gaugino and Higgs masses". This subset of the MSSM parameter space is much less constrained than e.g. CMSSM. ### Ukraine's place in Europe is a subtle issue Thousands of people rallying in the Ukrainian capital demand the resignation of the pro-Moscow president Yanukovitch after he refused to sign a pro-EU trade deal, apparently favoring a closer economic integration with Russia (Putin uses the carrot-and-stick approach to make sure that such an attitude may be rational). The protests turned violent and some of the opposition groups claim that the violence was added to the mix by Yanukovitch's provocateurs. I am aware of no protocol to find out who is right. One of 15 results of the quiz "name the countries of Europe" given to the Americans by buzzfeed.com. Ukraine is the territory labeled as "Kamchatka" elsewhere or "Mongolia" above (don't confuse it with the much more Eastern region labeled as "another Mongolia"; that's Kazakhstan and it's mostly in Asia). Click the map for other attempts. Like during the "Orange Revolution" in 2004, many people in the West think that these events are very important. Well, I don't think so. People in the West love to think that all the nations of the Soviet bloc – and perhaps even all the nations of the Soviet Union – are free-minded Western-like nations who are being constantly suppressed by foul techniques of the Russians. It ain't so. Especially in the U.S., many of the misconceptions boil down to a poor knowledge of geography. In fact, most of the republics in the USSR are intrinsically, culturally, and historically "more Eastern" than Russia itself. Ukraine is a marginal case. ## Sunday, December 01, 2013 ... ///// ### Science writers' weird obsession with the resurrection of ISON The comet has been doomed at least since the first moment when it looked so; claims to the contrary were always just some irrational religion The good folks who were excited about the alleged resurrection of Jesus Christ were not too unreasonable. To say the least, they were not more unreasonable than most science writers who were producing stories about comet ISON's "survival" in recent days. When I wrote the satire about the comet's destruction by global warming (yes, there were some readers who didn't understand it was a satire!), I took one claim for granted: the comet couldn't have survived, at least not to the extent needed for the comet to be visible by the naked eye e.g. today and the visibility of ISON's remains would be guaranteed to decrease quickly. (The debris had magnitude plus 7 late yesterday which already made it invisible. NASA's JPL predicted a year ago that the brightness of the comet could be around minus 11.6 by now, brighter than the full Moon. That prediction has failed rather spectacularly, hasn't it?) But you must have seen reports by pretty much everyone – Fox News, The Guardian, Matt Strassler, and thousands of others – who were completely excited with their thoroughly unjustified claims that the "comet has survived", "we have a hope", and so on – the similarity of ISON with Son of God is almost perfect. ## Saturday, November 30, 2013 ... ///// ### Was Feynman cognitively lopsided and illiterate? Stephen Hsu has discussed a long interview with Richard Feynman (AIP). Feynman's cognitive style (Information Processing blog) Because I pretty much share all the features that Hsu calls "Feynman's cognitive style" and because I find Hsu's comments fundamentally misguided, skewed, and unflattering, I decided it is important enough to respond. Hsu starts as follows: I have always felt that Feynman was cognitively a bit "lopsided" – much stronger mathematically than verbally. This might be partially responsible for his way of learning – it was often easier for him to invent his own solution than to read through someone else's lengthy paper. (Personality factors such as his independent streak, and his strong creativity, also play a role.) But this often left him with gaping holes in knowledge. Feynman had a habit of rediscovering all the insights and physics that he would rely upon in his research – and thinking about Nature in general. Incredibly enough, Stephen classifies this habit as "lopsidedness", borderline illiteracy, and a vice. Sorry, Steve, but you only represent the group think of average scholars who mostly parrot others and are doing okay with that, scholars whose work is derivative at best and whose confirmations can't really be viewed as independent ones because their writing is always a borderline plagiarism. Feynman was a charming and articulate speaker who could formulate sentences clearly. He knew how to read, too. But the true reason why he preferred to rediscover things and avoid reading other people's papers is that it is a safer, scientifically cleaner way to collect knowledge. It is a way that not everyone can afford because many other people would simply be incapable of rediscovering all the physics (and Feynman was ultimately unable to rediscover things in physics above a certain level, e.g. string theory, too). But the scientists who can do it in their actual work like that – and Feynman was an example – should do it. ## Friday, November 29, 2013 ... ///// ### TOE movies: Wilczek, Tegmark, Strominger, Guth, ... Off-topic, via Fred Singer: Weak Lensing Contest: Participate in the "great challenge" where you should design algorithms decoding weak lensing ("unwarping images of millions of galaxies") and show you're better than the experts; NASA quiz example (I did it right LOL); Science Daily. Ends in April 2014. Winner gets$3,000 in hardware.
Someone started a YouTube project of recording 2-minute interviews with famous physicists about a theory of everything,

So far, there seem to be eight videos in the channel.

### Comet ISON destroyed by global warming

Nashville, Tennessee (Ceuters) – It was supposed to be the "Comet of the Century". Instead, it became yet another victim of the global warming.

On Thursday, Comet ISON was approaching the perihelion, the closest point to the Sun on its trajectory. Centuries ago, before the climate began to change, such a moment in the life of a comet would be an important event for the religious societies (for example, Virgin Mary gave a birth when she saw the Comet of Bethlehem – and virgins rarely give a birth while looking at the sky) but it would be an unremarkable event from the comet's viewpoint because the Earth used to greet the comets as a friend.

However, in a sign of the planetary emergency, Comet ISON was largely destroyed. The experts are not quite sure about the cause but most of the researchers mention the global warming. The Solar System is being catastrophically heated up by the man-made emissions of CO2, especially by those produced by the corporations in countries with GDP per capita exceeding \$20,000, particularly those countries which tolerate a larger number of the climate change deniers, heretics, and other contrarians. In fact, some scholars propose an extension of the greenhouse effect, the phonetic greenhouse effect, that hypothesizes that the repetition of the climate deniers' talking points heats the atmosphere up by itself. These deniers sometimes call themselves "skeptics" but it is a preposterous naming scheme because a true skeptic is skeptical about the claim that our planet will exist even after the 2047 Earth Day.

Christian Doppler was born 190 years ago.
"One must be very careful while connecting any particular destruction of a comet with the global warming," John Kerry Manuel, a professor of aqua-astronomic emergency at MIT pointed out. "But in this case and many others in which the events are really harmful to the nations of the world and the claim about the global warming connection sounds sexy, the verdict is unambiguous: global warming did it." Manuel also revealed another argument why global warming is probably the cause of all these events: Whenever he wrote a paper claiming that the global warming is behind them, his grants went up. So this explanation must be valid, he believes, and he will increase the number of such papers in order to make the statement even more true.

## Thursday, November 28, 2013 ... /////

### Bitcoin will probably keep on skyrocketing

Bitcoins' deflationary problem

Disclaimer: I own no bitcoins while I am writing this blog post.

Bitcoins, a virtual currency, were proposed in late 2008 and started in early 2009. Those who have been in it for a year or more have seen remarkable returns – something like 8,000-percent returns in a year. Most of us have missed this opportunity but it's completely plausible that the rise will continue. I want to discuss these issues.

The bitcoin is a unit of wealth stored in the solution to a difficult mathematical problem that needs the brute force of computers to be found. So some computers are working to "mine" this new kind of gold. This gold, when found, may be transferred to others. You may sell actual products for bitcoins.

My experience is zero but perhaps, I would recommend you an online wallet service like coinbase.com
People who use the bitcoin payments often store the full blockchain – a multi-gigabyte public ledger that remembers all the transactions in the world (this will surely get highly impractical if the currency keeps on expanding). How many coins are there? How is their number evolving with time? What will the bitcoin-dollar exchange rate be doing?

### Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein statistics: amazingly different biological sisters

Enrico Fermi died exactly 59 years ago. (Click.)

This greatest Italian physicist after Galileo Galilei was also the ultimate example of a physicist who was both a great theorist and a great experimenter.

Fermi speaking in 1954

Fermi has done some amazing work on the nuclear bomb, nuclear energy. More theoretically, he's famous for the first theory of the beta-decay and for the Fermi-Dirac statistics as well as numerous other things.

## Wednesday, November 27, 2013 ... /////

### Particle astrophysicist, PI commits suicide

Alberto Lemut worked in underground experiments

Just four weeks ago, we watched a press conference of an experiment in South Dakota, LUX, whose precision and sophistication allowed it to exclude all the hints of a light dark matter particle suggested by other experiments. Some really good work is taking place in the Sanford Lab.

Sadly, that didn't guarantee that everyone in Lead, South Dakota was happy. The police and media revealed the name of a 37-old man who shot himself dead last Thursday. It was assistant professor Alberto Lemut.

### Sinkhole in Sanica, Bosnia

Help the Bosnians to explain the mystery

The village people in Sanica, Bosnia saw that all the fish suddenly disappeared. The puzzling nothingness took the water, too. Including some solid matter around it. YouTube.

A geologist could just say "a sinkhole". But – if you don't care about the scientific validity – other explanations are more intriguing. ;-) God could have simply been angry about the barbarian white rocket that is directed against Him on the picture above.

## Tuesday, November 26, 2013 ... /////

### Iran deal: U.S. losing superpower status

A week ago, I suggested that the U.S. was moving closer to Iran by the negotitations, perhaps closer to Iran than Saudi Arabia and Israel, two of Washington's regional allies.

These concerns became much clearer now, once the Iran deal was signed. If you missed it, the deal should make it easier to inspect the nuclear sites in Persia. However, it has pretty much explicitly allowed Iran to enrich the uranium – up to 5 percent or so but the freedom to keep the capability is essential – and it will suspend most of the sanctions.

### Hiroshima, global warming, and wakalixes

If you open the URL sks.to/heat or 4hiroshimas.com, you will reach the web page of this ugly widget:

The five buttons at the bottom allow you to express the total energy (satisfying some additional extra conditions that are not specified) collected by the whole atmosphere of the Earth in several additional "evil units of energy".

This ugly widget that doesn't even scale the fonts properly was created by the activists around John Cook and the doubly ironically named "Skeptical Science". Every second of this weblog's existence, we are pumping several Hiroshimas into the climate.

The Guardian gave some space to these jerks to promote their "work". I agree with Anthony Watts that it is a propaganda of the worst kind.

## Monday, November 25, 2013 ... /////

### EU will throw €180 billion to the climate loo

Jo Nova has pointed out that the European Union plans to spend a staggering 20% of its budget for the years 2014-2020 for totally wasteful projects justified by nothing else than the climate pseudoscience.

You should understand that the EU is just an international structure "above" the member states so its budget is a small fraction of the total budgets of the individual governments. But the figure 20% still translates to unbelievable €180 billion i.e. €30 billion a year. And be sure that the EU clowns would love to be "role models" for national governments in the whole world, anyway.

### Fred Kavli: 1927-2013

On Thursday November 21nd, Fred Kavli (86†) died in Santa Barbara after a surgery of a rare cancer that sucks bile from the liver. He was a famous sponsor of science institutes and science jobs.

Kavli was born in a small Norwegian village in 1927. During the Nazi occupation of Norway, he was 14 and and together with his brother, he began to build his bifuel corporation (well, wood pellet fuel for cars). He found his father's 13 years in San Francisco inspiring, so he wanted to move to California.

With no sponsor, his visa application was rejected. He first moved to Montreal, Canada, when he was 28, and continued to the U.S. a year later. With an engineering degree from Norway, he was hired as an engineer in L.A. and grew to a chief engineer there (feedback flight controls).