## Monday, March 10, 2014 ... /////

### The missile defense system was promised not to be directed against Russia, Mr McCain

Senator John McCain claims that the ongoing reorganization of Crimea should be interpreted as a justification for the resuscitation of the U.S. missile defense system composed of a radar in Czechia and missiles in Poland. The plans were scrapped in September 2009. Perhaps, they were "postponed indefinitely" (or at least through 2015). So far, it didn't make any difference.

When the project was still a hot issue in 2009...

The planned radar site near Míšov, Brdy Hills (Břízkovec, "spot height 718", Google Maps) is located 30 kilometers from my home. As a clearcut defender of the project, I have visited the place about 15 times. At some moment, Greenpeace activists were living in the treetops over there. The landscape is beautiful there; the deep forests in the Brdy Hills were protected from the civilization because they have been a military space for many decades. Since 2015, the place will be open to the civilians (including the cowards who have avoided it so far) so the landscape may suffer a bit...

The picture above shows that I have forced one of them, the Czech Republic's Greenpeace Director for Climate Hysteria Mr Jan Rovenský, to wave the U.S. flag. He argued he wasn't anti-American and to a large extent, I think he's right. Months later, I would accidentally meet him in a radio program about the climate hysteria (as an opponent) and we fully realized that we were friends in the Summer 1988 camp in Sverdlovsk, our Soviet twin city. He would be more or less as anti-communist as I was which made it surprising to me that he would become a top apparatchik of Greenpeace (which he joined just 4 years after the summer camp).

### Three interesting hep-th papers

First, a comment about the phenomenological hep-ph archive. Three new "primarily hep-ph" papers among twelve, namely the papers #5, #6, #8, are talking about the $3.5\keV$ X-ray line that Jester described as a possible dark matter signal. Jester would talk about "sterile neutrinos" but the three new papers try to identify the dark matter particle with a radiative neutrino; decaying moduli; and axinos. If you're intrigued by the $3.5\keV$ line, maybe you should bookmark the list of followups to the empirical paper by Bolbul et al..

Off-topic: a new colleague of Bill O'Reilly was hired by Rupert Murdoch. His name is Barack Obama and in this first job, he introduces the new "Cosmos" hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson 34 years after it was done by Carl Sagan. Incidentally, Obama is likely to name his law school classmate Andrew Schapiro as the new ambassador to Czechia.

Now, hep-th, theory.

Michael Douglas and two Stony-Brook and/or partially Bonn collaborators talk about 8-dimensional F-theory vacua and the fate of vector multiplets in them. Recall that F-theory has formally 12 spacetime dimensions but two of them are infinitesimal and must be compactified on a 2-torus. That allows one to compactify F-theory on a K3 (which has 4 real dimensions), leaving 7+1 large dimensions, as long as the K3 has toroidal (elliptical) fibers.

The base of such an eliptically fibered K3 manifold is a sphere $S^2$ or, as we call it in complex geometry, ${\mathbb P}^1$, the 1-dimensional projective space (a complex one, so we mean $\mathbb{CP}^1$). On this sphere, there are at most (if you maximally separate them) 24 singular places – because of the extra 7+1 large dimensions, the loci are the places where 24 $(p,q)$ sevenbranes live, and you could expect 24 vector multiplets. However, four of them are effectively "eaten" by some tensor multiplets, they show in detail, in a mechanism known as the Cremmer-Scherk (CS: not to be confused with Chern-Simons or Czecho-Slovak or Computer-Science) mechanism.

### George Soros, quantum mechanics, and Ukraine

George Soros is arguably the world's most famous wealthy speculator. He has made most of his fortune by being malicious his whole life; and by being lucky in certain weeks. As a rich guy, he began to do a lot to harm the human society in the whole world. Instead of the term "a major sponsor of terrorist organizations in the whole world", some people often use the insane codeword "a philanthropist" to describe his activities.

I wouldn't count myself as a George Soros conspiracy theorist; the actions and influences that Soros and his hired guns are doing openly are enough for me to be alarmed.

He has paid certain organizations for their key contributions to many "revolutions" across the world, including those led by Saakashvili in Georgia and the 2004 Orange Revolution as well as the 2014 Messy Revolution in Ukraine. When it comes to what is now officially called the global warming Nazism, he may be paying for a majority of income of these "activists" that doesn't come directly from the governments' coffers. I still think that many of the believers and activists are genuinely believing all the insanities they are saying and they are acting weirdly for free (some "clever" guys, however, are getting money both from the governments and from Soros-like sources) but it seems hard for me to estimate whether this particular movement could exist if George Soros were never born.

## Sunday, March 09, 2014 ... /////

### Richard Feynman: Los Alamos from below

If you have 70 spare minutes and you are interested in the Manhattan Project or if you want some cool physics-based entertainment, watch (listen to) this:

On Thursday, February 6, 1975, Richard Feynman gave this talk in Santa Barbara.

## Saturday, March 08, 2014 ... /////

### More timid than the Poles

Two days ago, a blogger at The Economist wrote the article

More timid than the Poles
that describes the author's surprise that despite the Soviet-led 1968 occupation of Czechoslovakia, Czech and Slovak politicians avoid loud shouting of "War to Russia" and reject the sanctions, something that is heard from Poland. The article rates this "insufficiently heroic" Czech and Slovak attitude negatively. As you know, I think that in this very context of the Ukrainian crisis, our moderate reaction is a positive thing, and we should perhaps be even less anti-Russian.

But I want to mention a few words about our relations to "Mother Rus" and our national character (e.g. pragmatism and cowardliness) in general. Let me emphasize that – if you allow me to be frank – the author of the text below probably belongs to the 1% of most political heroic Czech citizens, when it came to the opposition to the totalitarian regime(s) and what I was or would be ready to put at risk or sacrifice. This will be a part of the story but the special history of our relationships with Russia will be another part.

## Friday, March 07, 2014 ... /////

### $P=NP$ is conceivable; there is no partial evidence in purely discrete mathematics

Scott Aaronson of MIT has finally written his new essay

The Scientific Case for $P\neq NP$
where your humble correspondent is appointed as the spokesman of the people who suggest that
$P\neq NP$ is just “a fashionable dogma of the so-called experts,” something that’s no more likely to be true than false.
A fine summary, by the way.

We the doubters can even point to at least one accomplished complexity theorist, Dick Lipton, who publicly advocates agnosticism about whether $P=NP$, Scott says. (Check that my text on $P=NP$ and the Erdös problem that was written two weeks earlier is nearly isomorphic to Lipton's.)

I was highly amused by Scott's introduction. His cute formulation that Lipton "publicly advocates agnosticism" tells you something about the atmosphere in the field. What is it? It tells you that he should probably keep these blasphemies in his bedroom instead of coming out of closet and threatening the public morality! ;-)

Dogmatic irrational bullies like Aaronson himself seem to rule their field and the statement that "$P=NP$ could very well be true" is the same kind of heresy as "climate change may not be a problem" among the climate cataclysmic crackpots.

### Is detachment of Crimea from Kiev a victory for Russia?

The Crimean parliament unanimously (this is a popular style in Kiev, Simferopol, and Moscow as well: scary in all cases) approved a bill that removes Crimea from Ukraine and asks for a membership in the Russian federation. A referendum should "confirm" this decision in a week. Crimea is/was the most pro-Russian region of Ukraine, artificially donated by RSFSR to Ukrainian SSR in the 1950s. About 60% are Russian folks, 12% are Tatar Muslims, the rest is mostly Ukrainian.

Western pundits, including those who have a deeper understanding for the Russian attitudes, tend to say that "getting Crimea only" would be a Pyrrhic victory for Russia. See e.g. Jack Matlock, two Russian political science postdocs in Toronto, at Harvard.

Crimea actually produces economic losses and requires subsidies and drink water, among other things; Putin could look silly because he recently said that he had no plans to dissolve another country; his image as an aggressor would strengthen, and so on.

## Thursday, March 06, 2014 ... /////

### Two fresh dark matter stories

Randall, Reece link DM and dinosaurs; strengthening DM signal in Central Milky Way

I want to mention two developments related to dark matter. First, Lisa Randall and Matthew Reece of Harvard have finally released a preprint – to appear in Physical Review Letters – linking extinctions and dark matter:

Dark Matter as a Trigger for Periodic Comet Impacts
As the "comments" (an entry in the arXiv form) point out, there are no dinosaurs in the paper so let me offer you a compensation.

Holy crap, we forgot to install a thermonuclear missile shield above Chick-Ku-Klux-Club in the Yucatan Peninsula (65 megayears before Christ).

At least one of the authors has intensely thought about various extinctions etc. at the same moment when she or he was writing the paper ;-), so the "no dinosaurs" comment is much less off-topic than some people might think.

They take one thing for granted, namely a periodicity of 35 million years in the crater record on the Earth's surface. And they try to link it to a model involving the galactic midplane, a hypothetical dark disk in that plane, and tidal effects on the Oort cloud (a far "Ukraine" of the Solar System; just to be sure, if you happen to be brainwashed by the idea that Ukraine has no permanent link to Russia, "Ukraine" does mean "borderland" or "march" [of Rus'] in the Slavic languages, and even Ukrainian scholars agree with that).

### Brian Greene's talk on the state of string theory

Stephen and Vincent Della Pietra – who are not Capo di tutti capi because there are two of them; instead, they are fratelli – donated a few million dollars to Stony Brook and launched their lecture series. Recent speakers included (or the coming one will include) Wilczek, Linde, Veltman (and Schwarz).

In October 2011, Brian Greene gave the talk on "The State of String theory" which was finally posted to YouTube and if you can sacrifice 76 minutes (or a part of them), you are invited to watch the talk.

## Wednesday, March 05, 2014 ... /////

### Paper: female scholars of different ranks repel each other

The Australian is among the numerous outlets that were intrigued by a newly published paper on women in science:

Queen bees won’t work with wannabe’s in academia, study finds (Australian)

Rank influences human sex differences in dyadic cooperation (Current Biology, Cell, full PDF)
Benenson, Markovits, and Wrangham of Boston, Montreal, and Harvard looked at psychology papers between 2008 and 2012 and they found a pattern that is rather novel but not completely unexpected when it comes to the issue of "women in science". Senior female scholars are rather unlikely to cooperate with junior female colleagues.

### Particle fever: where to see

Particle Fever, the universally praised David Kaplan's full-fledged movie about particle physics, is coming to the movie theaters in the U.S. today.

Lots of news outlets discuss what the movie is all about.

## Tuesday, March 04, 2014 ... /////

### Trade war against Russia would be an insanity

Obama's administration knows that it is not adequate to launch a hot war against Russia just because the two countries disagree about the recent events in Ukraine and what should be done about them to improve the situation. But the White House is apparently thinking about some significant economic sanctions against the Russian Bear and wants the European countries to join. Not too surprisingly, Europe lives in a different world – one that is closer to Russia – so the European leaders mostly disagree.

A car from Marussia Motors. This is what an average car produced in an average Russian village by an average Russian muzhik looks like these days. ;-)

The Guardian mentions that most leaders in Europe, including the German chancellor, consider the trade war against Russia to be a fantasy. Secret documents revealed that the City of London demanded to be exempted from any restrictions to do business with the Russians.

## Monday, March 03, 2014 ... /////

### Misconceptions that Lenny Susskind, Scott Aaronson may share

Most importantly, computer science cannot be fundamental in physics

Two weeks ago, I discussed a recent breakthough in proving the Erdös discrepancy conjecture for $C=2$. The proof is computer-assisted and not really human-checkable. It is long but doable even though you might a priori think that the problem is hopelessly difficult. Consequently, it confirmed my 2013 thesis that short questions sometimes require long answers and proofs.

The solvability of the problem in "realistic" time is a reason to think that $P=NP$ could hold, too. A "polynomially fast solving" algorithm could be constructed for every "polynomially checkable" algorithm although the former could be much longer and more time-consuming than the letter. But both of them could still require "polynomial time".

### Ukraine: the price of internal division

Guest blog by Mr Jack Matlock, former U.S. ambassador to Czechoslovakia (1981-83) and USSR (1987-91)

With all of the reports coming out of Ukraine, Moscow, Washington, and European capitals, the mutual accusations, the knee-jerk speculation, and—not least—the hysterical language of some observers, bordering on the apocalyptic, it is difficult to keep in mind the long-term implications of what is happening. Nevertheless, I believe that nobody can understand the likely outcomes of what is happening unless they bear in mind the historical, geographic, political and psychological factors at play in these dramatic events. The view of most of the media, whether Russian or Western, seems to be that one side or the other is going to “win” or “lose” Ukraine.

## Sunday, March 02, 2014 ... /////

### Gross vs Strassler: Gross is right

I was told about Matt Strassler's 50-minute talk at JoeFest (click for different formats of the video/audio/slides) and his verbal exchange with David Gross that begins around 35:00.

Matt's talk is pretty nice, touching technical things like the Myers effect, pomerons etc. but also reviewing his work with Joe Polchinski and giving Joe some homework exercises all the time. Matt said various things about the effective field theory's and/or string theory's inability to solve the hierarchy problem even with the anthropic bias taken into account. He would be distinguishing the existence of hierarchies from the lightness of the Higgs in a way that I didn't quite find logical.

They were thought-provoking comments but I just disagree about the basic conclusions. He can't pinpoint any contradiction in these matters because the QFT framework doesn't tell us which QFT is more likely – it goes beyond the domain of questions that an effective QFT may answer. And even the rules to extract such a probabilistic distribution of the vacua from string theory is unknown. If there are no predictions about a particular question – even if it is a "pressing" question like that – there can't be contradictions.

But the main conflict arose due to Matt's vague yet unusual and combative enough comments about the value of the 100-TeV collider.

## Saturday, March 01, 2014 ... /////

### Consistency arguments in theoretical physics

Originally written with a different audience in mind

Arguments involving the internal consistency of a theory or a system of ideas have assumed increased prominence in modern mathematical and theoretical physics as well as in other branches of human thought that were or are being inspired by physics.

It is possible to underestimate these arguments; and it is possible to overestimate them as well. And indeed, numerous thinkers err in both ways.

The goals of this essay are to explain the basic logic and assumptions behind these arguments, to present several examples, to show that these arguments are often equivalent to logical steps that may be described without the word “consistency”, to sketch a probabilistic argument suggesting that theories passing a consistency check are more likely, and to clarify both basic fallacies.

### Russia can hardly allow Crimea to become militarily hostile

...and the same is probably true for the whole Ukraine...

Relatively to my expectations, Russia remained incredibly calm and peaceful in the wake of the new Ukrainian "revolution". Putin et al. may try to keep their Olympic-inspired image of the saints; or they are just too upset about Yanukovitch's inability to protect his country from chaos; or they know or believe that the more patience they will display, the better for them.

At any rate, in August 1968, Leonid Brezhnev didn't hesitate to invade Czechoslovakia where no violent and no major illegal events were taking place. In fact, even the new leaders were elected according to all the laws and regulations, including all the details. Czechoslovakia wasn't even planning to join the NATO imminently. It was just trying to switch to a more relaxed, diluted version of socialism, especially when it comes to purely internal affairs. Before the age of communism, Czechoslovakia has never belonged to the Russian military sphere of influence. There were virtually no Russians living in Czechoslovakia.

On the other hand, the events in Ukraine have been and still are violent. Ukraine has always been a part of the Russian military sphere of influence and dozens of percent of the Ukranian population are ethnic Russians. Russia itself is threatened. The bandite-controlled parliament in Kiev has already stripped Russian citizens from their previous right to use Russian as the 2nd official language in regions where their percentage is high enough. Putin and Medvedev are sitting calmly (update: were sitting calmly when I was writing this blog post). Can it continue?

### 120 automatically generated gibberish papers made it to journals

Nature and Fox News (not necessarily a complete list) inform us about a story that is both amusing and troubling but one that sheds some new light on the term "peer review".

If you haven't seen that it really works, you should have a look. Go to the website of David Simmons-Duffin of IAS (but he was at Harvard a few years ago; I sold him some furniture when I was fleeing Cambridge) and find the link pointing to the website sNarXiv.ORG (TRF 2010). It looks like just another arXiv.org competitor or a clone but David's website has one huge advantage.

## Thursday, February 27, 2014 ... /////

### Stringless, recursive calculations in string theory

Rutger H. Boels and Tobias Hansen of DESY, Hamburg released a very interesting 66-page-long hep-th preprint today,

String theory in target space
They are effectively generalizing the Britto-Cachazo-Feng-Witten (BCFW) techniques from the case of quantum field theory (gauge theory) to the case of perturbative string theory.

Slightly off-topic. Congratulations to Joe Polchinski who will be 60 in the spring but who already has the Joefest now; see Clifford Johnson and Matt Strassler. If you need a higer-res version of the picture, let me know.

One may say – and they probably say – that they're returning to the mode of reasoning that existed shortly after the birth of string theory (the publication of the Veneziano amplitude) before it was shown that Veneziano's amplitude followed from a theory of strings.

### Viktoria Pilsen 1-2 Shakhtar Donetsk

FC Viktoria Pilsen, previously a mediocre countryside team and now the charismatic soccer team in my hometown whose international and national successes since 2010 or so have been shrouded in mystery, has been playing under a new coach, Dušan Uhrin Jr, for a month because the previous legendary coach Pavel Vrba was stolen by the Czech national team.

So far it looks like Pilsen can continue its miraculous crusades through the European soccer. The new strategy seems to be more defensive than Vrba's, and the offensive character of the game was a part of the special enigma, but today, the defensive game was so incredibly successful and efficient that we may get excited about the refreshed game style, too. (We also played with a new goalie, Mr Bolek, who hasn't played for more than a year but who still seemed like a more than impressive replacement for Mr Kozáčik; Bolek is Czech but he came from Senica, Slovakia.)

Pilsen played the second match against FC Shakhtar Donetsk, Eastern Ukraine. The team is a giant. For example, it won the last UEFA Cup in 2009 (before it was reorganized as the UEFA Europa League the teams were playing today). In another benchmark of quality, Donetsk is also incredibly good: eleven. That's the number of the Brazilian players (mostly offensive players).

The team is owned by Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine's wealthiest person, who would support Yanukovitch but recently suggested that he is ready to cooperate with the rebels if it's gonna be better for him. It's the kind of opportunism that is probably common among the rich people in general. Ukrainian politics will be discussed at the bottom.

### Gestapo-like ADL raid on Roy Spencer

The Anti-Defamation League (originally ADL B'nai B'rith) was founded 100.5 years ago as an international NGO attempting to protect the Jews against libels and anti-Semitic memes and mass hysteria. Sometimes it was successful, sometimes it wasn't. Most of the time, its acts reflected the best values of the humanity; sometimes the other defenders of the best values of the humanity found ADL's decisions controversial or self-serving, to put it mildly.

But as far as I know, the ADL hasn't ever joined the climate debate. Let me be somewhat more specific about this claim.