Wednesday, September 30, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Beaten with hockey sticks: Yamal tree fraud by Briffa et al.

I will open a discussion thread about this development, too. Steve McIntyre has broken another hockey stick:

Yamal: a divergence problem (click)
... a copy at Climate Audit (click)
Because Climate Audit is overloaded, here's the Google cache.

The finding is very easy to describe. Briffa et al. (Science, published September 2009, see also Briffa et al., Philosophical Transactions 2008) offered another version of a "hockey stick graph", a would-be reconstruction of the temperatures in the last 2000 years that claimed to show a "sudden" warming in the later part of the 20th century, much like the discredited paper by Michael Mann et al.



Papers by Mann, Bradley, and Hughes in 1998 and 1999, included as a symbol of global warming into the previous IPCC report in 2001, indicated constant temperatures before 1900 and a dramatic warming afterwards. However, the papers have been proven wrong.

If you haven't heard about the lethal bug of the Mann methodology yet, the problem of the MBH98, MBH99 papers was that the algorithm preferred proxies - or trees (or their equivalents) - that showed a warming trend in the 20th century, assuming that this condition guaranteed that the trees were sensitive to temperature.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Political racketeering

Special welcome to the Swedish EU presidency.

Two interesting examples of blackmailing in politics emerged today.

Iran vs West (click)
A hardcore Iranian lawmaker said that Iran could quit the nuclear non-proliferation treaty if the pressure from the West continues.
Eurocrats vs Czechia (click)
Mirek Topolánek, the leader of the Czech center-right ODS party, said that he was effectively told by Jose Barroso that all EU countries but Czechia will have a commissioner if President Klaus doesn't become another puppet of the EU bureaucracy and doesn't sign the Treaty of Lisbon. ;-)

Monday, September 28, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Four degrees Celsius in 50 years?

Last week, Yugratna Srivastava, a 13-year-old Indian girl, was hired by the United Nations to present a poem to the world's leaders and the humanity.

In the tradition of Nazi and Soviet methods of propaganda, a kid was asked to explain that our world is gonna fry unless everyone buys all the ideology and policies that her propagandistic employers wanted her to disseminate.

There apparently exist adults whose skulls are comparably unhinged. The girl wasn't strong enough to convince the world about the looming catastrophe - and they need much stronger "momentum" for the Copenhagen negotiations that should efficiently cripple the world's economy.

2009 physics Nobel prize: speculations

Update: The 2009 physics Nobel prize went to Charles Kuen Kao (1/2) and Willard Boyle (1/4) and George Smith (1/4): see a newer blog article
Next week, Scandinavia will tell us about their choice of Nobel prizes for 2009. The physics Nobel prize will be announced on Tuesday, October 6th, at 11:45 a.m., Swedish time.

Who is going to win the physics award that has preserved its exceptional status because the prize has never been flagrantly misdirected, unlike the peace Nobel prize, so far?

First, let us summarize the winners since October 2004 when this blog was born:
Now, it may be fun to recall some predictions made in the previous years:
Very soon, I will review some older scenarios which may still be possible in 2009. Meanwhile, Thomson Scientific offered their own, new predictions based on their algorithm analyzing the network of citations. They managed to accurately guess the 2007 winners - Fert, Grünberg - although they did so already in 2006 and F+G were not their top choice.

Sunday, September 27, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

First Czecho-Slovak Superstar

See also: Dominika Stará vs Martin Chodúr
See also: Dominika Stará: Je suis Malade
After a couple of Czech (CZ) Pop Idols and Slovak (SK) Pop Idols and one year with the Czech X-Factor, the Czech and Slovak contests were wisely unified.



This guy has only been training the song for 1 hour - during the reduction from 118 to 90. In my opinion, Martin Chodúr's edition of "Supreme" was more convincing, testosterone-loaded than the original version of Robbie Williams.

The moderators are Mr Leoš Mareš (CZ) and Ms Adéla Banášová (SK) and they're doing a superb job. I used to dislike Mareš because he seemed excessively pompous concerning his extraordinarily high income etc - but these negative emotions of mine are gone by now. There are two Czech and two Slovak judges - with all four sex/nation combinations: Mr Palo Habera (SK, younger), Mr Ondřej Hejma (CZ, older), Ms Dara Rollins (SK, blonde), Ms Marta Jandová (CZ, brunette).

Friday, September 25, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Pope visits the Czech infidels

Update: LIVE BROADCAST of the VISIT


The leaders of the Czech Republic and the Vatican in their characteristic hats. Note the similarity between the two.

Tomorrow, the Holy Father arrives to Czechia which is probably the most atheist country in the world. The Reference Frame wishes him a lot of good luck and a nice, relaxing stay.

On Monday, we celebrate a national holiday, the St Wenceslaus Day (from the Christmas carol, Good King Wenceslaus), our patron and one of the first dukes (and de facto kings) who was murdered by his brother in the town of Boleslav that the Holy Father will visit.

For 95% of the Czechs, it's just another work-free day, as we will explain.

D-braneworlds strike back

Today, Mirjam Cvetič, James Halverson, and Robert Richter wrote the first hep-th paper (that might normally be a hep-ph one, I think):

Mass hierarchies from MSSM orientifold compactifications
Recall that the main detailed classes of phenomenological scenarios within string theory are:
  • weakly coupled heterotic strings on Calabi-Yau three-folds
  • its strongly coupled version, Hořava-Witten heterotic M-theory on Calabi-Yau three-folds
  • M-theory on singular G2 holonomy manifolds
  • F-theory on Calabi-Yau four-folds and its type IIB descriptions
  • type IIA braneworlds with D6-branes and orientifolds (and lots of quiver diagrams)
Their subsets are related by various dualities, they have various advantages and disadvantages.

Thursday, September 24, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Google Chrome Frame for Internet Explorer

Microsoft Internet Explorer users are recommended to install

Google Chrome Frame: download, info,
a plug-in for MSIE 6/7/8 that replaces the Microsoft JavaScript engine by a much faster Chrome JavaScript engine. The Chrome engine also adds support for HTML5, canvas, and other features.

The plug-in is only activated for websites whose webmasters have inserted the following meta-tag to their pages:
<meta content='chrome=1' http-equiv='X-UA-Compatible'/>
But The Reference Frame is among them. As far as my measurements go, it used to take 10 seconds from pressing the "TRF" button to seeing the top of the right sidebar in Internet Explorer. This rather long time makes TRF an excellent benchmark. ;-)

With Google Chrome Frame, the time was reduced to 6 seconds. That's an improvement. But my Google Chrome 4.0 shows the sidebar in 3 seconds, much like the newest official Mozilla Firefox, namely 3.5.3. Chrome is much faster in some respects: for example, its startup is literally immediate.

Poland, Estonia win: indulgences for free

Breaking news: Reuters is finally learning how to write balanced and attractive articles. The article called U.N. climate meeting was propaganda: Czech president is currently the most popular article on the Reuters website, ahead of the sex of Mackenzie Phillips (see the list in the right lower corner of any Reuters article): they switched the places (screenshot). I guess that Drudge Report did help a bit. ;-)

See also Klaus's U.N. speech about the ways (not) to solve the crises.

The Guardian's most popular article is dedicated to the same U.N. climate meeting and is called Obama the Impotent.
EurActiv, Times, and others inform that Poland and Estonia have won: the Court of First Instance ruled that the European Commission didn't have the right to cut the carbon quotas for these two countries because the countries themselves should set the numbers and the commission may only review them. :-)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Israel: optimizing strike on Iran

David Petrla and some Pentagon sources cited in the media have convinced me that Israel is completing its plans to attack Iranian nuclear and military facilities. According to Dmitry Medvedev who is not a spokesman for Israel, Peres is telling the people that Israel has no such plans but Netanyahu clearly thinks different. ;-)



A typical Israeli soldier

Israel knows that Obamaland and many other Western or otherwise powerful countries suck as allies, that the mostly self-sufficient Iran doesn't really care about sanctions (especially not the homeopathic ones), and that the verbal attacks from Iran, combined with its accelerating nuclear efforts, represent a genuine existential threat for their very existence. Iran's freedom to manipulate with dangerous materials ends where the freedom - and life - of others begins. And I agree that they have already crossed the border.

Pictures from the anti-Obama rally in D.C.

This is not a full-fledged article. But Ross Hedvíček of Florida posted pretty cool pictures of the anti-Obama rally in Washington D.C. that took place a week ago or so.



Click the picture above to get to the article ("Comrade Obama has only been caressed in Czechia") to see many more photographs like that. About a million (more pix!) of witty people of all races, ages, and sexes attended the rally but only the protester above has won the Rally TRF Hottie award. Congratulations.

Climate in the U.N.

By the way, there was a climate meeting somewhere in the New York City today. Its purpose was for Prof Václav Klaus to teach his students, other politicians, something about the society, economics, politics, and their interactions with science, taking the global warming hoax as the main example.

But most of them are bad students so they were far too distracted by pornographic thoughts so they didn't learn almost anything. For instance, a little Nicolas has proposed one more intercourse with his friends in November.

The media are pretty much full of their pornographic thoughts.

The Guardian, a British socialist daily, decided that Obama can give a bad, awfully ho-hum, speech, too.



Yes, that's the speech. The ordering of the words is pretty much irrelevant so you don't have to watch the video with the hogwash. Reuters managed to publish some sensible information about the meeting in the article called

Reuters: U.N. climate meeting was propaganda...
The president said: "It was sad and it was frustrating. It's a propagandistic exercise where 13-year-old girls from some far-away country perform a pre-rehearsed poem. It's simply not dignified."

Oh, OK, I meant the Czech president. ;-)

FlashForward

On Thursday, at 8/7 Central, ABC is gonna broadcast FlashForward by Robert Sawyer.



The series will begin at the LHC in CERN. The point of the series is to discuss the fate and the destiny. Everything will be about a strange event.

For "1/alpha" seconds, where "alpha" is the fine-structure constant, every human being will be able to perceive the following 6 months of their lives. ;-)

Monday, September 21, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Kenya: rainmakers key to consensus on climate change

AFP reports that Kenya's Nganyi rainmakers are being enlisted to mitigate the effects of climate change:

Kenya rainmakers called to the rescue (click)
Alexander Okonda's great-grandfather was also a rainmaker. In the 1910s, he was arrested by the British because they determined that he had been responsible for poor rainfall.

Now, the great-grandson is getting the credit he deserves. As the methods of climatology have been strikingly transformed, he is appreciated as a top scientist. Alexander Okonda blows through a reed into a pot embedded in a tree hollow and containing a secret mixture of sacred water and herbs.

"This contains so much information. It is something I feel from my head right down to my toes," says Alexander, after completing his ritual. The young man is a member of the Nganyi community, a clan of traditional rainmakers that for centuries has made its living disseminating precious forecasts to local farmers.

Nothingness spreading in de Sitter space

Maulik Parikh (now Pune, India) posted the first hep-th preprint today, and I think it is the most interesting one:

Enhanced Instability of de Sitter Space in Einstein-Gauss-Bonnet Gravity (click)
He argues that the Gauss-Bonnet term - the topological Euler density (in 4D) - may look inconsequential perturbatively and it decides about the life and death of de Sitter backgrounds.

Recall that the Lagrangian of the Einstein-Gauss-Bonnet system is
L = 1 / (16.pi.G) [ R + alpha (R*R - 4 R.R + R^2) ].
Besides the Einstein-Hilbert term, you can see the topological term multiplied by the the area, "alpha". Because the pair-creation of black holes involves some topology change, the last term matters and increases the nucleation rate by the factor
Gamma = Gammaorig exp (4 pi alpha / G)
The second enhancing factor becomes huge if the Gauss-Bonnet area "alpha" is much bigger than the Planck area "G". That's expected to be the case even in perturbative string theory where "alpha" is comparable to the squared string scale, or at least Maulik says so. When the enhancement is large, you should care about the original decay rate,
Gammaorig = exp (-pi L2 / 3G)
where L is the curvature radius of the de Sitter space. Without the alpha-enhancement, this rate would be negligible for any de Sitter space that is visibly bigger than the Planck scale.

However, with the alpha-enhancement, the decay rate becomes significant. For an inflating Universe, the Hubble radius, "1/H", has to be greater than "sqrt(12 alpha)", otherwise the instanton creates lots of black holes which are probably unhealthy for the inflationary mechanism. In the example above, this means that the radius must exceed the string scale (with a particular numerical prefactor). This doesn't sound too dramatic a constraint but because the inflation scale is often close to the string scale, it could be a nontrivial constraint.

Of course, it would be even more interesting to discover that there is a new, unexpectedly huge contribution to the Gauss-Bonnet term that makes "alpha" close to the squared neutrino Compton wavelength. If this were the case, one could derive a constraint on the cosmological constant. ;-) Such a huge alpha is probably impossible but it would be fun if there were one.

There could exist similar enhancements and instabilities of this kind - and maybe its higher-dimensional counterparts - that could eliminate many kinds of compactifications with too small radii, too complicated topologies, and so on. Quantum cosmologists should try to study these possibly neglected mechanisms intensely.

By the way, this is related to one point that I dislike about the current approach of the anthropic people. For most features of the Universe, they can't find any strong and accurate enough anthropic constraint. But if they can "explain" something using this anthropic reasoning, they're satisfied. This is a fundamentally unscientific thinking because one should always try to find "all" conceivable constraints - and the "other solutions" (such as the black hole creation) could actually be more important, more stringent, more predictive, and more true than the ones that the anthropic people "guess" by chance.

ISS with NS5-branes

By the way, the second hep-th paper is also interesting and it is also about the vacuum selection. Kutasov, Lunin, MrOrist, Royston study the landscape of vacua obtained by stretched D4-branes (and other D-branes) between NS5-branes. They end up with some Intriligator-Seiberg-Shih-like SUSY breaking setup and argue that the early cosmology pushes the Universe towards a particular SUSY-breaking ground local minimum.

Sunday, September 20, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

The Age of Stupid

The filmmakers from the Horrifying Anthropogenic Global Warming Activist Socialist Hysteria (HAGWASH for short) are trying to create a new hit, The Age of Stupid.

The world is gonna burn and the mankind dies as soon as in 2055: see the realistic countdown before the final solution, extinction of life in 2055. An old guy, Pete Postlethwaite who is the last person alive ;-), looks to his media collections from 2008 or so and decides that everyone was stupid because he didn't save the world.



Check that all famous buildings are gonna be destroyed by a few tenths of a degree of warming.

But the people who are ready to consider this piece of dirty unscientific shrill propaganda as a serious documentary - which is how it's being marketed at many places of the world - are not just stupid. They deserve a far stronger term.

The wiser ones may consider to read the NIPCC (Non-governmental International Panel for Climate Change) report which is a truly comprehensible, nonsense-free, and comprehensive 880-page-long summary of the state-of-the-art research in climate science. Click the amazon.com to initiate the purchase.

Hat tip: Alexander Ač

Saturday, September 19, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

The Da Vinci Code

I have finally watched The Da Vinci Code, based on the 2003 bestselling book by Dan Brown. And it was pretty impressive.

Spoilers follow.

If you don't know, in this novel, some mysterious murders turn out to be results of a big battle between two social or religious groups. One of them is supposed to protect the descendants of Jesus Christ and his wife, Mary Magdalene, who could prove that Jesus was a human being. The other one wants to protect the big dirty secret of the Christian Churches, namely Jesus's humanity.

Klaus: Is there a common European idea?

I am thankful for the invitation to these inspiring "Passau Dialogues". And I happily add that it is an honor to be given the opportunity to lead a discussion with such an important personality of contemporary Europe as - beyond any doubts - cardinal Schönborn surely is.

We will certainly discuss neither the details of the church orthodoxy - in which I wouldn't be an appropriate partner - nor the ever returning questions about the relationships between the state and the church. Also, I will avoid temptations to offer alternative hypotheses about the origin of the financial and economic crisis or similar topics of my discipline, the economic science.

Friday, September 18, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

China's top climatologist: 2 °C probably no problem



The Guardian informs about the opinions of the top climatologist of a group of 1.35 billion people that calls itself by a funny name, People's Republic of China.

Mr Xiao Ziniu says that it has not been determined whether the warming by 2 °C - which is often being talked to as the "cutoff" that is forbidden before 2050 (it won't happen, anyway!) - is dangerous. China has experienced warmer periods than today and each change of the temperature brings some advantages and some disadvantages.

TBBT & Sheldon Cooper: Xmas scene runs for Emmy

After having won the corresponding TCA award in August 2009, Jim Parsons (Dr Sheldon Cooper of The Big Bang Theory) has also been nominated for the "best actor in a comedy series" category of the Emmy awards. He's excellent, flawless, and - let me admit - in many ways better than the original. ;-)



This Christmas or Saturnalian scene (from 2x11, The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis) remains my most favorite one. It's just touching.

As an Emmy n00b, Parsons won't probably follow quite a straightforward path to his Emmy. And maybe he will. Kind of wisely, however, the scene above has been chosen as his bath item gift to the Emmy voters and as the trademark example of his unusual skills as an actor.

Thursday, September 17, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

ESA: Planck sends first images

If you remember, ESA launched Planck in May 2009. Four months later, we have the first images that should eventually (after six months) supersede the well-known WMAP images. BBC and others report.



Click to zoom in. The temperature variations measured by Planck in nine frequency ranges are depicted inside the strip, by the usual WMAP-like mottled colors.

Planck rotates roughly once a minute.

Czech, Polish missile defense system shelved

At 00:21 Prague local time at night, Barack Obama called Czech PM Mr Jan Fischer in the pajamas to his cell phone. ;-)

He told him that the American plans to build the radar in the Czech Brdy hills (and probably also the interceptors in Poland, although this second part remains unconfirmed) will soon be either scrapped or at least delayed to 2015 or later.

Obama also called Polish PM Donald Tusk but the latter didn't know how to use the telephone so there was no conversation.

Wall Street Journal, AP, The Telegraph, Google News (click)
It's officially argued that the Iranian missile abilities were just found to be less advanced than previously thought. Clearly, it's not the main reason.



L.M. with two Greenpeace protesters who lived on the trees right above the planned radar location (Google Maps) and who eat environmentally friendly roots, insect, excrements, and dirt.

Whether or not the system would be genuinely useful, it's clear that these canceled plans will diminish and cool the ties between the New Europe and the United States. On the other hand, Russia, the communist farmers who live around the radar site, and the Russia-funded protest NGOs may get less nervous.

CERN wants a linear collider

The LHC is not yet operating - it will begin in mid November, with reduced-energy collisions added a few weeks later - but the CERN director, Rolf-Dieter Heuer, already wants to build a new linear collider at CERN.



In his modest office with a socialist-style furniture, he also explains the difficult cleaning procedures and even more difficult preemptive policies. Heuer is optimistic about their control over the LHC which seems much smoother than LEP (the previous Lot of Extra Problems collider) even though LEP was simpler.

In a few years, the LHC will have years of experience of running at 14 TeV, he says, plus important discoveries, he hopes. Also, the European-American symmetry has been spontaneously broken and people suddenly come to CERN. ;-) Heuer thinks that science needs global, continental, as well as national projects to preserve the expertise of the people.

CERN has the capacity to host the International Linear Collider (ILC) or the 3-TeV, 48-km Compact Linear Collider (CLIC; and click the word haha): see the picture. But competition is always welcome, Heuer says - as long as the symmetry is broken and others have no chance. ;-)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Kyoto II: Obama vs Eurocrats

An entertaining split between Europe and America has emerged concerning the question how the carbon emissions reductions should be achieved in individual nations.



Obama and Barroso in Prague, April 2009. Things may have been different then.

As The Telegraph, The Guardian, and everyone else reports, Europe and America differ in their opinion how the internal rules to reduce the CO2 production should be set.

The European politicians think that Kyoto I has been such an amazing success ;-) that it should be repeated and its successes should be amplified. Among other things, it means that all nations should adopt the same internal mechanisms to punish the CO2 emissions. The U.S. economy should be controlled by the Eurocrats in Brussels in the same way as any other decent EU country and Barack Obama should remain what he is appreciated for, namely a puppet of the global political correctness headquarters that should stay in Brussels.

On the other hand, Barack Obama himself dared to disagree. Kyoto I hasn't been a sufficiently huge disaster so the U.S. president wants to engineer an even better scheme. As the first post-Hoover protectionist president of a country that rejected Kyoto I and is going to reject Kyoto II as long as it is isomorphic (and gives a free pass to the poorer emerging markets), he thinks that every country should be allowed to decide about its own methods to achieve the targets and the carbon flows in America should remain uncontrollable by the EU and the U.N. That's quite a heresy for the EU, comrade Obama! ;-)

Even Steven Chu has warned that deep CO2 reductions cannot be achieved politically in the U.S. Why doesn't he follow the example of the tall and strong Napoleon in France who defeated 74% of the French citizens and imposed a carbon tax upon them? ;-) Sarkozy also wants to start a world trade war by a new CO2 border tax. Swedish EU presidency also urges the U.S. Senate to behave; if they won't, the U.S. Senators will be spanked just like any bad EU kids. ;-)

It's not hard to understand Europe's newly gained self-confidence with respect to America. The Made-In-America downturn has allowed Europe to surpass North America as the wealthiest region of the world. And the future fate of the U.S. dollar (now at 1.475 per euro, or 17 crowns per dollar) - whose reserve status is being questioned by all members of BRIC as well as others (everyone can see that the U.S. may suffer from the same kind of an irresponsible socialist government as everyone else) - may turn out to have something to do with this picture.



The declared purpose of the December 2009 negotiations in Copenhagen that will hopefully fail completely is to save the Earth if not the multiverse. The UAH AMSU data see the average annual and global brightness temperature of the Earth to be close to minus 15.5 °C. Ban Ki-Moon and similar stellar scientists have calculated that if the temperature exceeds f***ing frying minus 13.5 °C which is by 2 °C higher, all of us are going to evaporate or transform into plasma and the Universe may decay into a different state, too. And I don't have to explain you the staggering statistical implications for the whole multiverse. ;-)

During the year, the brightness temperature oscillates approximately between -17 °C in January and -14 °C in July - because the variations of the landmass, which is mostly on the Northern Hemisphere, are more pronounced than the variations of the oceanic temperatures. The recent, 30-year trends indicate that the temperature is increasing roughly by 1 °C per century, so the catastrophic level when the temperature will oscillate between -15 °C and -12 °C could occur around the year 2200 or so - whether or not we will continue to use fossil fuels.

If you have ever experienced how much brutally hotter -12 °C is relatively to -14 °C, you must agree with all these guys that we're all doomed already next year - because we can already predict that the year 2200 will come - unless Obama and his compatriots will join the EU as obedient members. :-)

Myths about the minimal length

Many people interested in physics keep on believing all kinds of evidently incorrect mystifications related to the notion of a "minimal length" and its logical relationships with the Lorentz invariance. Let's look at them.



Myth: The breakdown of the usual geometric intuition near the Planck scale - sometimes nicknamed the "minimum length" - implies that the length, area, and other geometric observables have to possess a discrete spectrum.

Reality: This implication is incorrect. String theory is a clear counterexample: distances shorter than the Planck scale (and, perturbatively, even the string scale) cannot be probed because there exist no probes that could distinguish them. Consequently, the scattering amplitudes become very soft near the Planck scale and the divergences disappear.

Blog2Print: print blogs as books

There are many reasons why people may prefer the good old paper over the internet pages, especially when it comes to long essays.



Click to zoom in.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Smartkit: On the edge game



Click the screenshot for the game. Jump on each white square once before you end up with the red square.

Monday, September 14, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Murray Gell-Mann: 80th birthday and interview

On Tuesday, Murray Gell-Mann celebrates his 80th birthday. Big congratulations!

This article will summarize some old achievements of the great physicist but also discuss some of his recent opinions about string theory.

Murray Gell-Mann was born on September 15th, 1929 in Lower East Side of New York to a family of Western Ukrainian Jewish immigrants. When he was fifteen, he joined Yale. ;-) See some pictures from his early life.

In the 1950s, when he was in his 20s, he studied cosmic rays and discovered/invented the strangeness in order to make sense out of the isospin, other quantum numbers, and their relationships (e.g. using the key Gell-Mann-Nishijima formula).

I wrote his biography one year ago, in Oskar Klein and Murray Gell-Mann: birthdays. So I won't write everything again. Let me just say that Murray Gell-Mann was the most important one among the first pioneers who realized that there were quarks inside hadrons which is what earned him the 1969 physics Nobel prize. Note that all these things, including the award, had been completed years before the discovery of QCD.

Clifford Johnson: LASER



A pretty good, non-technical explanation how LASERs work. Well, the reason why the photons end up going in the same direction is slightly underexplained but the very idea of a particle physics choreography is neat.

Via Asymptotia.

Global warming affects beer, eggs, corn, pork

Rafa has pointed out that Nude Socialist as well as lots of other media have reported that global warming makes beer suck: some Czech researchers think that the concentration of (bitter) alpha acids in hops was recently dropping by a whopping 0.06 percent per year (...) which they attribute to global warming (...).



That's a true catastrophe (...) which finally proves that we are all doomed. Click the sentence below to read more.

Saturday, September 12, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Schrödinger's virus and decoherence

The physics arXiv blog, Nature, Ethiopia, Softpedia, and many people on the Facebook were thrilled by a new preprint about the preparation of Schrödinger's virus, a small version of Schrödinger's cat.



The preprint is called

Towards quantum superposition of living organisms (click)
and it was written by Oriol Romero-Isart, Mathieu L. Juan, Romain Quidant, and J. Ignacio Cirac. They wrote down some basic stuff about the theory and a pretty clear recipe how to cool down the virus and how to manipulate with it (imagine a discussion of the usual "atomic physics" devices with microcavities, lasers, ground states, and excited states of a virus, and a purely technical selection of the most appropriate virus species).

It is easy to understand the excitement of many people. The picture is pretty and the idea is captivating. People often think that the living objects should be different than the "dull" objects studied by physics. People often think that living objects - and viruses may or may not be included in this category - shouldn't ever be described by superpositions of well-known "privileged" wave functions. Except that they can be and it is sometimes necessary. Quantum mechanics can be baffling but it's true.

Friday, September 11, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

CO2 makes Earth greenest in decades

In June 2009, Anthony Watts reposted an article by Lawrence Solomon that pointed out that the Earth is greener than it has been in decades if not centuries.



See also NASA's animations of this Earth (the map of its bio-product), for example the low-resolution one.

In less than 20 years, the "gross primary production" (GPP) quantifying the daily output of the biosphere jumped more than 6%. About 25% of the landmass saw significant increases while only 7% showed significant declines.

Note that the CO2 concentration grows by 1.8 ppm a year, which is about 0.5% a year. It adds up to approximately 10% per 20 years. In other words, the relative increase of the GPP is more than one half of the relative increase of the CO2 concentration. The plants also need solar radiation and other things that haven't increased (or at least not that much) which is why the previous sentence says "one half" and not "the same as".

Because the CO2 concentration in 2100 (around 560 ppm) may be expected to be 50% higher than today (around 385 ppm), it is therefore reasonable to expect that the GPP will be more than 25% higher than it is today. Even by a simple proportionality law, assuming no improvements in the quality, transportation, and efficiency for a whole century, the GPP in 2100 should be able to feed 1.25 * 6.8 = 8.5 billion people, besides other animals.

Of course, in reality, there will be lots of other improvements, so I find it obvious that the Earth will be able to support at least 20 billion people in 2100 if needed. On the other hand, I think that the population will be much smaller than 20 billion, and perhaps closer to those 8.5 billion mentioned previously.

Back to the present: oxygen

Now, in September 2009, Anthony Watts mentions a related piece of work that some Danish researchers just published in Nature:

Copenhagen press release
Paper in Nature
The authors have studied chromium (not chrome!) isotopes in iron-rich stones to determine some details about the oxidification of the oceans and the atmosphere that occurred 2+ billion years ago.

In two different contexts, they are forced to conclude that an increased concentration of oxygen in the oceans and the atmosphere led to cooling.

The authors say a couple of things about the ice ages that are manifestly incorrect. They say that the oxygen concentration could have been the key driver behind the temperature swings during the glaciation cycles: a higher amount of oxygen allowed the organisms to consume more CO2 and other greenhouse gases that reduced the temperature by a weaker greenhouse effect.

That's clearly incompatible with the fact that the temperature was changing roughly 800 years before the concentration of the greenhouse gases. The temperature variations couldn't have been an effect caused by the greenhouse gases, not even if you try to add oxygen in the sequence of all the correlated phenomena.

However, it's plausible that the oxygen levels influenced the temperature more directly (which consequently influenced the concentrations of trace gases, via outgassing).

A simple additional comment I can make is that the higher concentrations of oxygen may be increasing the albedo (reflectivity) of the oceans and the landmass by adding life forms which may be optically brighter than the dead soil and oceans and/or the life forms that don't need oxygen (or because of another inequality in the energy balance of photosynthesis and/or breathing).

Even if that is the case, it remains largely unknown whether the oxygen variations in the glaciation periods were sufficient to drive the temperatures (I guess that they're not) and even if they were sufficient, it would remain to be seen what was their cause.

Thursday, September 10, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Abiogenic birth of oil

At least a large portion of petroleum is believed to originate from biological processes. However, an article in Nature,

Kolesnikov, Kutcherov, Goncharov: Methane-derived hydrocarbons produced under upper-mantle conditions
uses spectroscopic methods applied to laser-heated diamond to argue that at temperatures around 750-1250 °C and pressures around 20,000 atmospheres, methane transforms into ethane or propane or butane, combined with graphite and hydrogen. Under the same conditions, ethane decomposes into methane: the transition is reversible.



It should also mean that it is easier to find oil, as The Swedish Royal Institute of Technology puts it.

New oil reserves

Such a statement is not too shocking: two days ago, 1-2 billion new barrels of light oil were announced by BG in Brazil, increasing the world's proven reserves by 0.1-0.2%. One week ago, BP found 4-6 billion new barrels in the Gulf of Mexico, previously thought to be "finished".

Review of the membrane minirevolution and other hep-th papers

Today, there are twelve new papers primarily labeled as hep-th papers. The first one, and one that may attract the highest number of readers, is a review of the membrane minirevolution by Klebanov and Torri. However, I will mention the remaining eleven preprints, too.

Membrane uprising: a review

The membrane minirevolution was discussed on this blog as a minirevolution long before most people noticed that there was a minirevolution going on.

Important papers by Bagger + Lambert and by Gustavsson (BLG) introduced a new, unusual Chern-Simons-like theory with 16 supercharges in 2+1 dimensions. It was argued that it had to describe two coincident M2-branes. It used to be thought that the CFT theories dual to M-theory on "AdS4 x S7/G" had no Lagrangian description except that BLG found one.

Upgraded: Hubble Space Telescope



Carina Nebula in the visible (top) and infrared (bottom) perspective. That's where stars are being born.

The Hubble Space Telescope is alive, well, and upgraded. Click the picture above to see 7 pretty new pictures (via BBC) or see Google News or Blog Search.

The book advertised on the left side is just one among many other books with pretty colorful photographs that the Hubble Space Telescope has produced during those years. Let me recall that the gadget should eventually be replaced by the James Webb Telescope.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

ASU: Origins of the Universe

On April 6th, 2009, six Nobel prize winners discussed the origins of the Universe in Arizona. If you have 64 extra minutes, and/or if you liked a similar ASU discussion whether our Universe was unique, here I bring you a new one.



Baruch Blumberg got a medicine Nobel prize for a virus and he is an astrobiologist. Sheldon Glashow, David Gross, and Frank Wilczek are particle physicists who need no introduction. Wally Gilbert is a biochemist, Chemistry Nobel prize winner in 1980, founder of Biogen etc., capitalist, chairman of the Harvard Society of Fellows, and a photographic artist.

Technical: Click the mail logo below to initiate the process to subscribe to daily e-mail updates with my texts on this blog which are sent every day at 5:15 am Prague Time.
Frank Wilczek and Sheldon Glashow have a small fight about supersymmetry around 26:00. Wilczek explained that "axions" were named after a detergent whose name Wilczek liked so much that he waited for an opportunity to name a particle after it. Glashow reveals that WIMP stands for "Women in Maths and Physics at Harvard" which may be an actual secret organization. :-)

9:09:09 09/09/09



This is not a real posting. Instead, it is just a placeholder posted on 09/09/09 at 09:09:09. Sorry for that! The comment thread can be used for any discussions. ;-)

By the way, the numbers could lead you to ask whether 0.9999... is equal to 1.0000...

Well, you may define your numbers in any way you want. But if want these particular, possibly infinite sequences of decimal digits to represent a number system (namely the set of real numbers) that satisfies (x/3)*3=1, then you're forced to accept that 0.9999... must be identified with 1.0000.... simply because 1/3=0.3333... and 0.3333...*3 = 0.9999... ;-)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Hideki Yukawa: an anniversary

Today, several mathematicians and physicists would celebrate their birthday or deathday. (Some cosmologists are still confused why people don't celebrate their deathdays too often: such an asymmetry shamefully breaks the politically correct equivalence between the different arrows of time! Well, it indeed does: the breaking comes from the so-called "logical arrow of time".)

Marin Mersenne was born in 1588, Joseph Liouville died in 1882, Hermann von Helmholtz died in 1894. But let us look at this guy.

Hideki Yukawa was born in Tokyo on January 23th, 1907 and died in Kyoto on September 8th, 1981. Just like the death is the time reversal of the birth, Kyo-To is the time reversal of To-Kyo, so it makes sense in this case.

When he was 26, he was hired as an assistant professor in Osaka which was a great choice because two years later, in 1935, he published his theory of mesons. The pion was observed in 1947 and Yukawa received his Nobel prize in 1949: that was the first Japanese Nobel prize. He also predicted the K-capture, i.e. the absorption of a low-lying, "n=0" electron by the nucleus of a complicated atom.

Sunday, September 06, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Schellnhuber: West has exceeded quotas

In his previous life, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber used to be a fairly good theoretical physicist. For example, he would solve the Schrödinger equation with an almost periodic potential in 1983. He has spent a year or so as a postdoc at KITP in Santa Barbara (1981-82).

But the times have changed. For a couple of years, he has been the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the main German government's climate protection adviser. What he has just said for Spiegel, in

Industrialized nations are facing CO2 insolvency (click),
is just breathtaking and it helps me to understand how crazy political movements such as the Nazis or communists could have so easily taken over a nation that is as sensible as Germany. A few rotten steps in the hierarchy is enough for a loon to get to the very top. He is proposing the creation of a CO2 budget for every person on the planet, regardless whether they live in Berlin or Beijing. Let us allow him to speak:

Saturday, September 05, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Mojib Latif warns IPCC of cooling

Nude Socialist informs that Mojib Latif, a member of the IPCC, has warned his fellow IPCC members that we could see 10-20 years of cooling that will make people question the global warming orthodoxy.

Highly trustworthy sources of mine describe Latif as one of the "better ocean modelers". He used to say that the models were perfect but when someone told him that perfect models meant that no extra funding for modelers was necessary, he "developed a deeper appreciation for the model shortcomings." ;-)

So he appreciates that the ocean cycles and others may drive the climate in a different direction than the greenhouse effect for a decade or two. "Short-term" predictions are unreliable, he admits. But it took me quite some time to understand the atmosphere of expectations among those people.

At the beginning, I thought that Latif was just another quasi-religious guy who says that people should be afraid of global warming regardless of the observations and their consistency with the models. Later, I realized that I was probably right but I also realized that Latif was a sort of hero at the same moment.

It is actually a heresy among the IPCC members to even think about the possibility that 10-20 years in the future won't see any discernible global warming - despite the fact that this is precisely what has happened in the previous 10 years (and even 15 years, when you insist on statistical significance).

Friday, September 04, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Magnetic monopoles seen in CM physics

Science Magazine has published a paper by 14 British and German authors,

Dirac strings and magnetic monopoles in spin ice Dy2Ti2O7 (click),
who claim to have seen, via diffuse neutron scattering, emergent magnetic monopoles in a spin ice on the highly frustrated pyrochlore lattice.

These magnetic monopoles appear at the ends of "observable Dirac strings". This is way too bizarre a terminology, to say the least, because a basic defining property of the Dirac strings, as realized by Paul Dirac, is that they must be unobservable! ;-) OK, fine, they mean some magnetic flux tubes that actually don't respect the Dirac flux quantization rule.

See also
Nature (popular),
Physics World, PhysOrg, Science Daily (click).
Let me say a few words about the Dirac strings.

If you imagine a magnetic monopole of charge Q, i.e. an isolated North (or South) pole of a magnet (that is normally coming in the dipole form - with both poles - only), the magnetic field around is radial and it goes like "Q / R^2". Remember the letter "Q". The vector function "(X,Y,Z)/R^3" in three dimensions has the feature that its divergence equals zero. Well, not quite: it is a multiple of a delta-function.

Is our Universe unique, and how can we find out?

If you have spare 45 minutes, here's a fun panel discussion from April 3rd, 2009, taken during the Origins Symposium at Arizona State University. If you click the O.S. link, you may find other panels with Brian Greene, Lawrence Krauss, Steve Pinker, and many others.

Thursday, September 03, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Japanese voters may have commited economic harakiri

If you haven't noticed, Taro Aso of the center-right LDP (Liberal Democratic Party of Japan), the most recent prime minister of Japan, was politically killed by the recent polls.

He was a kind of character - and an openly pro-market, pro-separation-of-classes guy. That was too much of a good thing for the low-profile, emotionally conservative electorate in the world's #2 economy which is only the #13 source of the TRF visitors. They ended the 50 years of the government led by LDP.



Kimi ga Yo, or "May Your Reign Last Forever", turned out to be too optimistic anthem lyrics for LDP of Japan.

What is it going to mean for Japan? The winner is the left-wing DPJ (Democratic Party of Japan). Yukio Hatoyama is nicknamed "The ET" or "The Alien" because he looks like one. Moreover, his wife had a trip aboard a UFO space shuttle to Venus, a beautiful planet governed by the little green party (which allowed a 400 °C of CO2 greenhouse effect: the little green comrades picked Venus as the destination because they apparently don't have good mental asylums in Japan).

Yukio Hatoyama comes from the "Japanese Kennedy family" and is going to become the next prime minister of Japan in two weeks.

Their program includes a schedule to screw the Japanese relationships with the United States and a sophisticated strategy to harass the Japanese corporations. The ET has been attacking the existing Japanese market economy which he calls the "unrestrained market fundamentalism and financial capitalism that are void of morals" for quite some time.

He also wants to "put the interests of people before those of corporate Japan", a formulation that will be familiar to those who remember the communist coup d'états in the former socialist Europe, apparently not noticing that the whole Japanese post-war miracle was about the freedom of the corporations to stay ahead of the average citizen and to drag him or her to the future, which has always been in his or her best interest.



Will the Japanese workers be motivated enough by their corporations to work hard enough to afford Beethoven's fifth breakfast? And will Honda's Rube Goldberg machine satisfy the CO2 limits described in the next paragraph?

Moreover, he wants to reduce Japan's CO2 production by 25% by 2020 which approximately translates into a minus 2% annual GDP growth rate for every year in the following decade. It shouldn't shock you that the Japanese companies are concerned, to put it very mildly.

We will see whether the ET is able to transform Japan ($34,000 GDP per capita) into another Vietnam ($2,100 GDP per capita) or North Korea ($1,700 GDP per capita), much like many of his soulmates have repeatedly done in other countries. The Vietnamese people are doing fine in the Czech Republic, we kind of like them, and we're obviously ready to absorb thousands of Japanese emigrants, too. ;-)

Wednesday, September 02, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Trillions to be wasted for CO2 madness a year

The most experienced readers of The Reference Frame remember a Kyoto counter that used to be embedded in the sidebar. It was created by Steve Milloy of JunkScience.com and it was counting the dollars wasted for the Kyoto protocol, assuming that the annual cost of the carbon regulation was USD 150 billion.

He was - and I was - criticized from all sides of the alarmist movement. Let us omit the most vitriolic stuff and look in the comment section of DeltoidEli Rabett (whose real identity is known to us) wrote in 2005:

The world economy is about 20 trillion per year. So even at the junk science's rather exaggerated Kyoto cost of 150 billion per year that is 0.75 percent. Well within the noise using an upper limit for the cost and a lower limit (if any) for the benefit. That, my friends is a good deal. We should grab it.
Well, the figures of these people have always been strange, even when it comes to numbers that every person with a basic interest in the world's economy should know. The world's GDP was USD 55.5 trillion in 2005, not USD 20 trillion. More importantly, the costs - USD 150 billion a year - were surely not "exaggerated".

Washington Post hails Obama as a climate skeptic

Marc Morano has pointed out an interesting article in the Washington Post

Obama Needs to Give a Climate Speech - ASAP
in which Marc Morano and Barack Obama are credited with the gradual fall of the climate hysteria or, if you want to use the original wording, with the "growing defection of experts from the scientific consensus view". ;-) You might think: What a strange pair of bedfellows. But is it really so strange?

Of course, the author, Andrew Freedman, thinks that Barack Obama is obliged to give a fiery alarmist speech to please the movement of the little green men like Freedman himself. Well, I am not 100% sure whether Freedman is the U.S. Überpresident who can control the U.S. President. ;-)



After their private conversations, President Klaus was pleasantly surprised by Obama's charm and energy. Climate realist Klaus noted that Obama has complained about his aids' and his environment's having no sense of economic reality when it comes to policies focusing on CO2. It sounded like the music from the heaven to Klaus's ears, he said.

I think that Freedman is right. Barack Obama has given a smaller space to the climate change in his speeches than George W. Bush did in the same stage of his presidency because Barack Obama is actually a climate crypto-realist. He is just surrounded by hordes of wrong, fearmongering people - and he has become a symbol of all their wrong plans. But at the very depth of his soul, he doesn't think that it's a good idea to regulate carbon. Am I wrong?

Tuesday, September 01, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

An unexpected constitutional crisis in Czechia

I would bet that the situation will be clarified pretty soon but the news from the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic whose headquarters are located in the town of Brno, Moravia sounds pretty shocking.

All the big and not-so-big parties have begun the campaign for the early elections on October 9th-10th, 2009. Except that the Constitutional Court has just decided that early elections and all the laws that allow them - and that shorten the mandate of the current Parliament - are unconstitutional, despite the fact that the bill about the early elections has been adopted as a constitutional bill.

What happened?

Mr Miloš Melčák was elected as a deputy for the social democratic party in 2006 except that much like a dozen of similar deputies in recent years, he has "betrayed" the bulk of his party by allowing the center-right government to exist. Obviously, he was kicked out of the social democratic party. The "traitors" are being punished in a straightforward way: the parties won't include them on their list so they will lose their job and feeding troughs right after the following elections.

Of course, Mr Miloš Melčák decided that any new elections that would remove him from the Parliament are bad, so they must be unconstitutional. He sent a complaint to the Constitutional Court. In a stunning development, the court has ruled that Mr Melčák is right today. Congratulations. :-)

We are learning that according to the basic charter of the human rights, Mr Melčák and others who are at risk enjoy the right for an "uninterrupted execution of a public appointment". They can't be removed by anyone, the court claims! ;-) The communist party has used a similarly "uninterrupted" definition of democracy for four decades.

The court believes that the early elections would be an example of an "unacceptable change of the critical attributes of a democratic rule of law" - wow - and it's such an important stuff for the court that the court - except for two "dissenters" - thinks that the early elections can't take place before the court publishes its final verdict about the complaint! ;-) So the elections have been postponed indefinitely.

Now, this is obviously a strong stuff.

On one hand, it's good that the constitutional court is trying to verify things, including the decisions that no one in the Parliament dares to doubt. On the other hand, it's kind of crazy that it considers the early elections a "brutal violation of the basic attributes of democracy" and that it claims to have the right to judge which constitutional bill is more important than the other ones.

Even if there were an inconsistency between the basic charter of human rights and freedoms on one side and the bill that declares the early elections, both of them are constitutional bills and the constitutional court would have to operate within this possibly perceived inconsistency.

I think that it's clear that the Parliament has the "moral" right to dissolve itself, via the expected steps involving the President, and the early elections are the obvious democratic solution (or an attempt for a solution) of the otherwise "unsolvable" situation. The interpretation of the "uninterrupted execution of a public appointment" is bizarre, speculative, reminiscent of the undemocratic regimes, and secondary. But the court is making this strangely interpreted right more important than the right of the citizens - and the bulk of their representatives - to democratically choose a new Parliament which is clearly more important according to basic common-sense understanding of democracy.

It's not clear how they will solve it. The court may try to delay the elections indefinitely - or not. Clearly, the lawmakers should search for a very speedy way to reshuffle the laws so that the complaint will be mute. I am no lawyer but I guess it must be possible to revoke all the laws that were claimed to lead to inconsistencies, cancel or update some paragraphs in the charter that lead to similar inconsistencies, and accept a new bill about the early elections that will be consistent but effectively equivalent to the current one.

Also, I think that the constitution is imperfectly designed if it doesn't allow early elections as a standard procedure. At any rate, the early elections have been considered legitimate for quite some time - and even without a canonical wording in the constitutional "core", we've had some early elections in the past - so the sudden realization that they're unconstitutional is strange.

World War II began 70 years ago



It's been 70 years since Poland was invaded by Germany which ignited the most brutal global conflict that the world has seen as of 2009.

One day earlier, on August 31st, Germany staged an attack of would-be Polish troops against a radio station in Gleiwitz, in order to create a "justification" for the attack against Poland.

Poland with its underdeveloped and relatively weak army had no real chance to win. It was surrounded by bastards on the West and on the East. The Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact (which Putin considers immoral) guaranteed that the Soviet Union would not protect Poland. In fact, it occupied the Baltic states and picked a piece of Poland, too.