Saturday, October 31, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Lord Monckton on Glenn Beck show

If you have a spare hour, here is the program:

It has 7 parts - you can choose them via the "tape" button next to "play" per 8 minutes or so. John Bolton is there, too. They discuss many details about the legal power of the possible Copenhagen treaty to rebuild the world.

Here is the YouTube link to watch the playlist outside TRF.

By the way, the UAH MSU global temperature anomaly for October 2009 is predicted by The Reference Frame to be 0.29 °C or 0.30 °C, down from 0.42 °C in September 2009. I calculated the estimate on Sunday morning, Central European Time, by comparisons between October 2008 and October 2009 (unfortunately, a few days had missing data which brings some extra inaccuracy). Let's see how accurate I will be.

Friday, October 30, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Halloween party physics: fun with dry ice

Carbon dioxide (-78 °C and -57 °C are the melting and boiling points) is not only the gas we call life but the North American readers can use it to improve their Halloween party:

Via Physics Central which adds some comments...

Google Maps Navigation

This technology, soon available for Android 2.0 phones for free, is pretty amazing. With all the features based on Google Maps that you can imagine, it has the potential to suppress all other mobile GPS systems. The most pressing issues connected with such a choice are fees for the transferred data, especially when you're abroad (which can be very expensive).

Post-socialist Europe still against global climate communism

Last night, during their dinner in Brussels, the EU leaders agreed to give the Czech Republic an opt-out from the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, as demanded by President Klaus. The Austria-Hungarian opposition has apparently evaporated.

So right now, it's likely that he will sign the treaty after the constitutional court says "Yes" and we will get the opt-out which will save my homeland from many policies that go well beyond the fear of the returning Sudeten Germans (a topic that Klaus has used to be sure about the public support).

Still, the treaty is bad even without the charter. Apologies to all the readers - and anti-Lisbon protesters in Brussels and elsewhere - who were hoping that we would manage to kill the treaty for good. Let's survive: we have only lost 1 battle but the war for freedom is not yet over.

Meanwhile, your humble correspondent was on the radio, live.

I was sitting in the Pilsner studio of the public radio station, audio-connected to the Prague headquarters - a few hours after the collapse of the director of the radio, Richard Medek. Up to the very last seconds, I had no idea who would be asking me questions, what he would ask me, and who would be the opposing side. So I was trembling with fear. I had no eye contact with the other participants which is why I couldn't use it to influence the debate non-verbally and I couldn't accurately expect when my time was coming.

More importantly, there was too little time to correct various incorrect statements about the projected warming in the 21st century and other widespread myths.

Non-ASCII domain names allowed

Today, ICANN in Seoul has voted that from Summer 2010, the internet addresses - URLs - will be allowed to include arbitrary non-English character in the Unicode set: see The New York Times.

From September 2009, you could have registered Cyrillics-based domain names in Bulgaria.

It's a pretty substantial extension of the possible names because the latest Unicode contains 107,000 characters - imagine 500 pages of stuff like this. So far, only 26 letters, 10 digits, and the dash was possible as an "atom" of the URLs (37 characters that we know and love in total).

A few Unicode characters are enough to create a huge number of new possibilities to spoof and to misspell. It's my understanding that even the tiniest difference between URLs will imply that the two addresses are inequivalent. Isn't it terrible?

Thursday, October 29, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Nature, NYT report the demise of Lorentz-violating theories

In August 2009, we discussed the preprint by the GBM/LAT collaborations working for Fermi, formerly known as GLAST:

Fermi kills all Lorentz violating theories,
which has ruled out all existing non-stringy theories of quantum gravity by confirming the rules of special relativity at a huge, trans-Planckian accuracy - as long as their parameters are chosen or estimated naturally.

Now, you may say that physicists know 5 or 12 or 2009 alternatives to string/M-theory - except that 4 or 11 or 2008 of them already reside at the dumping ground of physics.

Arnold Schwarzenegger & probabilities

Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed a bill about the funding of projects in the San Francisco area, proposed by an aggressive homosexual activist. That wouldn't be important enough a fact to be discussed at this blog. However:

Unlike other texts, Schwarzenegger's veto must be read vertically to get the key message. ;-) Now, the governor's office claims that it is just a coincidence. How likely is it? Well, 26^7 is equal to 8 billion or so.

That's like a 7-sigma evidence against the "noise" explanation. :-) And who knows - maybe we should also count the spaces and/or the initial "I" before the verb :-) which would make the odds even more spectacular. Moreover, there exists additional, microscopic circumstantial evidence supporting the "intelligent design" explanation in this case.

"Kicking the can" sounds too poetic for a political memorandum (they needed a "k"), "overwhelmingly" seems redundant for describing how Californians deserve something (they needed an "o"), and the repeated occurrence of "unnecessary" (they needed a "u" twice) would probably be adjusted away if the good style mattered more than the vertical message.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is pretty creative although we could have doubts whether he has created the letter himself. Good sense of humor.

The message could have been made excessively contrived, too. The end of the letter, from "Sincerely", could have said "Respectfully [newline] Arnold [newline] Schwarzenegger [newline] Sincerely". (Be sure that I could give a smoother solution to this problem, but this simple one is OK as a proof of a concept.)

Then the hidden vertical message would be much longer - "I *u** your *s*." That would bring us to 10-sigma evidence against noise.

A small Hodge three-generation Calabi-Yau

I think that the most interesting - and visually attractive - hep-th paper today is the last one,

Volker Braun, Philip Candelas, Rhys Davies: A three-generation Calabi-Yau manifold with small Hodge numbers (PDF).
They construct Calabi-Yau manifolds with very small Hodge numbers.

If you look at the picture above - disks indicate known Calabi-Yau three-folds, organized according to the difference (x) and the sum (y) of their nontrivial Hodge numbers (h11,h12), and you're asked where we should be living, the anthropic people will send their hands to the top, or (infinitely?) above it - to the "generic" Calabi-Yau manifolds with large topological invariants.

However, most of the sane people - much like the droplets of beer pouring along the conical glass - will choose the region near the tip of the cone at the bottom which surely looks special: the "simplest" Calabi-Yau shapes, in some natural sense of the adjectives, are located there. The red dots represent Calabi-Yaus with the Euler character chi equal to +6 or -6, leading to 3 generations (for the E8 x E8 heterotic string, via the standard embedding of the spin connection to gauge connection).

EU summit on global warming and Václav Klaus

Today, a two-day summit of the European Union begins in Brussels. It will be mostly discussing two things - none of which will be present in Belgium:

Global warming and Václav Klaus
Moreover, you can see that the two main topics are opposite to one another. ;-)

Yesterday, in the evening of the most important Czech national holiday, Klaus gave the highest awards to Karel Gott and 22 other personalities. For Gott, that's far from the first award of this kind. Gott has famously identified Mr Gustáv Husák, the last communist president, as a nice chap. ;-) See also Klaus's holiday speech in which he urged the Czechs not to surrender to political correctness, among other things.

Václav Klaus has apparently told Czech prime minister Mr Jan Fischer that if the Czech Republic is exempted from the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights - and if the constitutional court says that the Treaty of Lisbon is OK (next Tuesday?), he will sign the treaty. Czechia would simply join Poland and Britain that have received the opt-out for different reasons (the right to ban gay marriages and the protection of the English judicial system).

Wednesday, October 28, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Fermi sees the WMAP haze, too: dark matter?

Last time we talked about the Fermi satellite, formerly known as GLAST, it just ruled out all natural Lorentz-violating theories.

A very new "Fermi" preprint by Douglas Finkbeiner, Tracy Slatyer, & Gregory Dobler from Harvard's Center for Astrophysics and Neal Weiner & Ilias Cholis from NYU,

The Fermi haze: A gamma-ray counterpart to the microwave haze (PDF)
Sky and Telescope (summary)
brings us new exciting results about yet another hot issue in fundamental physics: the character of dark matter.

Let me assume that the distinguished reader has been convinced that dark matter almost certainly exists - so the question is not whether it exists but what it is made out of and how this new kind of matter behaves.

Recalling some old tantalizing hints

In its microwave spectrum, the WMAP satellite saw a "haze" coming from electrons near the galactic center back in 2003 (at least Douglas Finkbeiner claimed that it did: see the picture on the left) - and there were always good reasons to think that these electrons could be created by dark matter annihilation which would be exciting if true.

The Fermi satellite is looking at the situation in much higher a frequency segment of the electromagnetic spectrum - well, it employs the gamma rays. After they subtract the photons from decaying neutral pions and the brehmsstrahlung from the soft-synchrotron radiation, they still see some pretty hard, excess gamma rays.

Nevertheless, the authors of the paper claim that the location and distribution of the electrons responsible for these hard excessive photons - electrons apparently participating in inverse Compton scattering (ICS) - matches the prediction made from the dark-matter interpretation of the WMAP haze.

So the attractive story is that near the galactic center, the dark matter particles annihilate in pairs and create electrons which produce the additional gamma rays observed by Fermi (as well as other signals).

The Fermi haze, in 5-10 GeV (green) and 10-20 GeV (blue) ranges, including residuals (right side). Click to zoom in.

There also exist other reasons why this signal could be unrelated to dark matter, after all. There is a lot of uncertainty about the right interpretation. But the multiplicity of the stories - WMAP, Fermi, PAMELA, ATIC - kind of increases the subjective likelihood that the dark matter annihilation is actually being observed by all of them (or most of them).

Cap and trade bedtime story

A few weeks ago, the British government aired an outrageous commercial with "drowning pets" on TV. Hundreds of viewers have complained. The great news is that the narration has been corrected. Here is the fixed version of the commercial:

If the video above doesn't work for you, view it at YouTube.COM (they may have banned embedding).

The Minnesotans for Global Warming who helped to cure the errors want you to sign a petition against cap and trade, to be sent to Obama.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

CERN: LHC switched on

A seven-minute excursion to the LHC cooling system.

Four days ago, as the video shows, the LHC women celebrated the working temperatures, achieved on October 15th, in harmless vapors. ;-)

Today, after a year of repairs, the LHC was switched on again:

BBC, U.K. Times, Telegraph, The NY Times
Things seem to be working just fine as the energy will be slowly increasing towards those 2x 3.5 TeV in January.

The probability of a new quench has decreased because the physicists have learned a lot, introduced a new anti-quench system, and subtracted one terrorist from their team. ;-)

The Compact Muon Solenoid.

The CMS collaboration has posted the first tests of the CMS silicon tracker. Things are consistent and the resolution is close to the designed performance:
Preprint, Symmetry Magazine

Czech Constitutional Court looks at the Treaty of Lisbon

The proceedings began at 10 am, Central European Time. The boss of the Constitutional Court, Dr Rychetský, enumerated the participants of the proceedings. Pretty much all of them were "personally known" to the court.

Dr Pavel Rychetský, a former social democrat, the boss of the Constitutional Court in Brno.

Only the lawyer of the plaintiffs had to be chosen from two possibilities. Consequently, Dr Rychetský asked Dr Kuba, who was selected by the plaintiffs, to present his ID to the court. Yes, this is indeed Dr Kuba - and his license numbers were made public. ;-)

The revenge didn't have to wait for too long. Dr Rychetský asked whether anyone in the room would submit a complaint that the court is prejudiced.

Dr Kuba immediately and politely answered Yes, we think that the very chairman Dr Rychetský is biased, and he gave the court a lot of coordinates for paragraphs. And as evidence, he quoted Lidové noviny, a leading newspaper, that informed that Johannes Haindl, the German ambassador, met Dr Rychetský and asked him how much time it would take for the court to release the verdict.

The proceedings were interrupted for 10 minutes - for all the judges to determine what to do with the complaint against the chairman. ;-) Of course, Dr Rychetský was not eliminated but he has been visibly shatterd, with his face getting much more red. It's conceivable that a judge (or judges) argued or voted against Dr Rychetský.

Dr Rychetský continued and nicely explained the content of the complaint - see Why Lisbon is inconstitutional for a similar summary.

Climate Chains: a movie

If you have 22 spare minutes...

Server of Climate Chains...

By the way, Sriram has also recommended this one-hour interview with Lord Monckton in Canada.

Monday, October 26, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Overpopulated polar bears flood the Prague Castle

On November 14th, 1856, the last brown bear was shot in the Bohemian Forest. This padded female individual became one of the exponates of the beautiful "Hluboká upon Moldau" Chateau.

In the 1990s, some Czech pundits were proposing to return the bear to the Czech hills.

However, an unexpected twist occurred today. Sixty-five of their cousins - who believe that their white skin makes them superior - overrun the Prague Castle:

Czech Press Agency (in English)
Google News (in Czech)
Gallery ("další" means "next")
Their main slogan was a variation of the Stalinist dictum from the 1950s that used to be directed against the imperialists, "We won't allow our republic to be subverted" ("Republiku si rozvracet nedáme").

The polar bears' new slogan is
"We won't allow our republic to be defrosted."
("Republiku si rozmrazit nedáme.")
Some people thought - and you might think - that the polar bears came there to protest the fact that the Czech president is a climate realist. But the organizers reject this hypothesis:
This is a misunderstanding. These polar bears legally arrived here from Greenland to support the Czech president.
This answer seems to agree with some of the banners. The polar bears urged Václav Klaus "to keep on campaigning against the myth of global warming." That much for the assumption that polar bears must automatically be alarmists. :-)

Dominika Stará vs Martin Chodúr

Elvis Presley is alive and kicking. His name is Martin Chodúr. ;-) Because most TRF readers are not intferested in music contests, I will remove most of this short article from the main TRF page.

Sunday, October 25, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

350 day: a failing struggle for an unattractive utopia

You may have not noticed but Saturday, October 24th, 2009 was an International Day of Climate Action: see & Google News.

Hundreds of people in the whole world organized events urging the world's CO2 concentration to return to 350 ppm (350 parts per million: 3.5 molecules out of 10,000 are CO2 molecules). Even in the Czech Republic, a dozen of activists gathered at the Old Town Square, emitting dozens of dirty black "CO2" latex balloons into the air.

(They also used masks of various well-known world politicians for a childish puppet show in which these politicians declare 350 ppm to be the new Copenhagen law.)

A few stupid hippies can easily get into the national TV news if they're on the "right side" (i.e. the far-left side) of the political correctness.

Twenty years ago when the CO2 concentration was at 350 ppm, the environmental activists would fight against things such as latex balloons in the air. They are polluting the environment and some animals may get into trouble when they swallow the balloon.

Saturday, October 24, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Guardian: interview with Michael Green

Aida Edemariam of The Guardian just published an interesting albeit imperfect interview with the new Lucasian professor of mathematics in Cambridge:

Michael Green: Master of the universe (click)
It argues that Green, who has been focused on theoretical physics since the age of 13, used to be a Harrison Ford's lookalike.

They recall how Green and Schwarz met in a CERN canteen, how everything suddenly made sense during a day in 1984, how string theory would have gone extinct without Green and Schwarz (Witten's words), and how the gospel about their success got to Princeton where the amazing guy called Edward Witten scooped them and wrote this paper (abstract) about the phenomenology of O(32) strings.

I think it is this paper that Green claims to have really sparked the revolution. Unlike most papers by Green and Schwarz from the early 1980s, I've never read this particular paper by Witten - that claimed to have obtained the right number and type of generations of the Standard Model fermions from type I theory. And frankly, although I can't read the full paper even now, it doesn't seem quite correct to me. Can you get realistic vacua from O(32) strings in this way?

Green says that the pace of research got much faster these days because they didn't have to compete with others which was kind of nice.

The journalist claims that
Green once said that one could "think of the universe as a symphony or a song – for both are made up of notes produced by strings vibrating in particular ways."
Green replies: "Did I?" Cutely enough, the article doesn't resolve the mystery. The solution is, of course, that Ms Edemariam confused Michael Green with Brian Greene (who says similar things often) and she still doesn't realize that. :-) I suspect that Green realized where the confusion came from.

Green describes the importance of unification in physics.

Friday, October 23, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

TBBT accused of sexism

The Big Bang Theory is a great sitcom. The most recent episode, 3x05 "The Creepy Candy Coating Corollary", can be watched e.g. at CBS.

People seem to agree that it is the most scientifically accurate show on TV (which is guaranteed by Dr David Saltzberg, their science adviser). And there are many big fans of the show among the well-known bloggers, including The Reference Frame and Bad Astronomy.

However, some people - e.g. Sam Lowry and Sean Carroll - claim that the show is misleading or inaccurate concerning the sociology. They claim that scientists are no nerds and women are equally likely to become scientists, and all this stuff.

Kyoto pays you for deforestation

Because the Chromium team has just fixed a somewhat serious PDF bug your humble correspondent reported ;-), it's time to look at a much more serious bug, a bug of the Kyoto protocol and the related European laws:

Science, NPR, Australian ABC, Carbon Positive, TIME
The Kyoto protocol and similar treaties and bills are designed so that you get paid if you cut forests, burn the wood, and seed biofuel plants on the empty place instead. ;-) So the legal support for the biofuels is likely to be more harmful to the environment than petrol.

The authors, Timothy Searchinger et al., elaborate upon their February 2008 article in Science Express that described the regression. Now, in 2009, they also claim that there exists an "easy fix".

Some additional thoughts

So far, the price for the CO2 has been small enough not to cause any effects. However, it's plausible that if the price increased sufficiently for the net CO2 emissions to be changed by the legislation, we could see a lot of deforestation.

It's questionable whether such "loopholes" may ever be completely fixed. The main problem is the inherent non-market character of the "caps".

In 1968, the author of the economic transformation of Dubček's Czechoslovakia during the Prague Spring (a third way), Mr Ota Šik, an economist born in Pilsen, has found a power plant and a colliery near Ostrava, in the Northeastern Czech Republic. A funny feature of this pair was that the power plant produced as much electricity as the colliery consumed and the colliery mined as much coal as the power plant burned. :-)

This is a typical bug that socialism routinely experiences. As Mr Petr Vopěnka, a mathematician who told us about this story in the 1990s, emphasized, there can exist not just pairs but much more complex "circles" of economic relationships in socialism that imply that the system doesn't work.

Thursday, October 22, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

NASA GISS at Tom's diner

When Karlheinz Brandenburg was optimizing the MP3 format of music files in 1991, he had to choose a monophonic song to test all the details of a single-channel compressed playback. This version of Suzanne Vega's "Tom's Diner" turned out to be optimal for this purpose.

Suzanne Vega has therefore become the mother of MP3.

While her simplistic voice is effective, I still prefer the recording with the instruments.

However, as Anthony Watts has found out, she also became the grandmother of global warming because James Hansen's and Gavin Schmidt's offices are exactly six floors above the restaurant from the video above, at 2880 Broadway, New York City. ;-)

It's sensible that each of the two guys only has one window in their offices but it will be even more sensible when the windows will be behind bars.

Click to zoom in. One more Google Earth screenshot of NASA's GISS and its neighborhood. Note that Hansen has readied his death train on the roof.

U.S. public support for AGW orthodoxy dropped by 14 percentage points since 2008

The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press has published their newest numbers documenting the changing opinions about global warming in the U.S.

Pew, The Guardian, Associated Press, a WSJ blog I, II, Wash. Indep., Dakota Voice
The October 2009 numbers are mainly compared with the results in April 2008: I will refer to 2008 and 2009.

The American worries about global warming cooled down, Pew Research Center showed, even as Pew Center on Global Climate Change attempted to gather its last worriers again.

Is there solid evidence that the Earth is warming [at all]?

In 2008, "Yes" was chosen by 71% of the respondents. Now it is 57% only: a drop by 14 percentage points. You may want to know that both in 2006 and 2007, the figure was at 77% - a drop by 20 percentage points in 2 or 3 years.

Is there solid evidence that the Earth is warming because of human activity?

In 2008, the "Yes" score was at 47%, i.e. almost one half agreed with the basic AGW statement. In 2009, the number dropped to 36%, i.e. by 11 percentage points. About one third of Americans believe in man-made global warming today - which makes this religion less popular than creationism. ;-)

If we extrapolate this trend, the number of AGW believers in the U.S. will become negative in five years. ;-)

Is it serious?

The "very serious" group went from 44% to 35% between 2008 and 2009, "not too serious" went from 13% to 15%, "not a problem" went from 11% to 17%, the last two "largely unworried" groups combined went from 24% to 32%.

GOP, DEM, IND: party lines

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Tolasz: Klaus may not be wrong

Today, the #1 Czech newspaper, MF DNES ("Youth Front TODAY"), published an interview of a top Czech journalist, Ms Barbora Tachecí, with climatologist Mr Radim Tolasz.

Because I consider him the ultimate role model of a mainstream Czech climatologist, the "guy in the middle" (who also holds, in some sense, the highest climatological job in Czechia), I decided to translate the whole interview so that the readers from the whole world may learn that the climate hysteria is pretty much absent in the Czech climatological circles - and in fact, also in the Czech media.

The printed version starts with a big headline, "Klaus may not be wrong" ("Třeba se Klaus nemýlí"). The electronic version has a more refined title:

Politicians are satisfied as soon as the fight against the climate change is being written about; economists should calculate how much it costs, Dr Radim Tolasz says. Picture: Mr Michal Šula, MF DNES

Klaus may not be wrong but he oversimplifies things, a climatologist says

Weather fluctuations in recent days have confused everyone. There is an exception: climatologists are not surprised and they will probably never be. This statement was also confirmed by Mr Radim Tolasz, a deputy director for meteorology and climatology of the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute, in an interview with Ms Barbora Tachecí.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Luxembourg: EU climate talks collapse

... thank God ...

The debate how to "fight against climate change" has advanced from absurd talk by hosts of dopes to their attempts to actually harm the civilization.

The intellectual little green men no longer discuss whether to screw the world economy but how to do it most optimally. Hundreds of billions of dollars a year are at stake so you may guess that even relatively small disagreements and modifications of previous plans may induce substantial tension.

Moreover, it's obvious that these disgraceful policies are being mixed with egotistic interests of particular nations and individuals and the desire to increase protectionism, wealth redistribution, and other bad things. We are talking about an explosive mixture of junk.

Stephen Hawking's chair given to Michael Green

Several TRF readers were asking who would become the next Lucasian professor of mathematics in Cambridge, U.K., after Stephen Hawking's resignation. Stephen Hawking will lead his research center at the Perimeter Institute.

The only guess that other readers have offered was Michael Boris Green, a prominent figure of the first superstring revolution and a great superstring & supergravity expert. Ladies and Gentlemen, there were not too many excellent choices but this one became a reality. Congratulations.

Had I known that this physicists' chair was actually a mathematics chair, I would have told you that Michael Green was the only solution.

The chair was created in 1664. Green's predecessors include Isaac Newton, Charles Babbage, Paul Dirac, and Stephen Hawking. See:

TRF: 25 years of the first superstring revolution
TRF: The next revolution
TRF: Green's Strings 2008 talk
TRF: Non-decoupling of N=4 d=4 SUGRA
TRF: Finiteness of supergravity theories
TRF: A curious truncation
TRF: N=8 SUGRA & Lance Dixon's puzzle
TRF: Two roads from N=8 SUGRA to strings
TRF: 275 more texts with "Michael Green"

MBG's papers: SPIRES
MBG's papers: Google Scholar

News: BBC
News: Physics World
News: The Guardian
News: The Times
News: The Telegraph
News: Cambridge Evening News
News: Business Weekly
The first superstring revolution was approximately as important for the progress in theoretical physics as Hawking's semiclassical calculations of the black hole evaporation. It just came one decade later.

Cosmic rays probably drive tree growth directly

The BBC published an interesting article summarizing some recent scientific research that suggests that the tree growth rate is an increasing function of the cosmic rays flux.

This relationship between the tree growth and the cosmic rays flux actually seems to be stronger than the influence of both temperature and precipitation on the tree growth (in Scotland)! Well, after all, wood may grow much like tumors when a lot of ionizing radiation is around. ;-)

I think that if true, such a relationship could also help to explain the divergence problem.

Hat tip: Benny Peiser

Monday, October 19, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Klaus: Notes on the economic analysis of the global warming issue

Translation from Czech: L.M.

Instead of participating in the addition of further arguments of the philosophical i.e. unquantifiable type - which is what currently dominates the "ideological clash" between the champions of freedom on one side and the environmentalists and advocates of non-freedom on the other side, let us focus on some elementary economic data, hypotheses, theories, and models which underlie these big "confrontations". Maybe, exactly these considerations will convince a reader or two. Otherwise, the discussion resembles a "dialog of the deaf". It's self-evident that only a small wedge of all these problems has been selected for this article.

It is more than obvious that we are objects in a strange game that is being played with all of us. It is more than obvious that among those who are deciding about these issues on behalf of us, i.e. among the politicians, no genuine dialog about global warming or its costs is taking place - especially not about the costs of mitigation (and I know quite a bit about the situation). It is also more than obvious that a majority of the world's (and even our) politicians - without dedicating any time to a serious investigation of these questions - has concluded that the global warming game is an easy, politically correct, and personally highly beneficial card (which moreover guarantees that they're not and they will never be responsible for the costs of this fight because the costs will be covered by future generations).

Dominika Stará: Je suis Malade

Pro slovenské a české čtenáře: dole na "fast comments" můžete psát komentáře i v mateřštině. Dominičina domácí stránka, včetně knihy návštěv, je na

See also: Intro to Czecho-Slovak Superstar & Chodúr's "Supreme
See also: Dominika Stará vs Martin Chodúr
This song, originally by Dalida & Serge Lama (Italy/Egypt & France) and/or Lara Fabian (Belgium), was arguably the best performance of the last girls' semifinals of the Czecho-Slovak Superstar that Czechs and Slovak viewers watched last night: see the full video of the show (this song is in the fourth, last part at 1:21:30 or 1:20:00, including her introduction).

Ms Dominika Stará (SK) is just 16 even though her surname means "old". She dedicated the song to the old people because she knows how it feels to be born as old. ;-) Unlike most other contestants, she is a deeply believing, practicing Christian. Our compatriots may know the Czech version of the song, To mám tak ráda (That's What I Love So Much) by Ms Marie Rottrová, but Ms Stará was brave enough to choose the French version and she did very well. After all, she's been training this song since she was 11 years old. ;-)

The first YouTube video was rather quickly removed by the TV stations. If the video above is defunct again, please go to 1:21:30 of the official evening's video to hear Dominika Stará.
A very tough competition has emerged for Martin Chodúr (CZ) and Monika Bagárová (CZ). A report from Facebook:

Friday, October 16, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Astronomical and economical numbers

There are 10^{11} stars in the galaxy. That used to be a huge number. But it's only a hundred billion. It's less than the national deficit! We used to call them astronomical numbers. Now we should call them economical numbers.

Richard P. Feynman (1918-1988)
Well, it's actually 14.2 times lower than the U.S. budget deficit. At USD 1.42 trillion, the fiscal 2009 deficit represents 10% of the American GDP and triples the previous record - from the previous year.

The Milky Way must feel kind of ashamed. ;-) On the other hand, San Francisco held an anti-Obama protest.

Is M-theory hiding Cayley plane fibers?

Arthur CayleyExceptional algebraic structures are omnipresent in string theory and especially M-theory and F-theory, its (so far) maximally geometrized 11-dimensional and 12-dimensional formulations.

Right now, I plan to write a rather extensive text that should

  • review some basic facts about the exceptional Lie groups and octonions
  • mention some places in M-theory where these structures occur
  • discuss the proposals by Ramond and others that a secret Cayley plane, or a 16-dimensional manifold called "OP^2", is hiding as a fiber in M-theory. After many hours of looking at many attractive possibilities, I became kind of skeptical about this very idea.
Real numbers, complex numbers, quaternions

All readers know the real numbers, R. Most people know the complex numbers, C, of the form "a+ib" where "a,b" are real and "i" is the imaginary unit that satisfies "i^2 = -1", the only thing you need to know.

F-theory papers go 3D

The prettiest hep-th preprint today is the last one and it was written by Clay Cordova at Harvard,

Decoupling Gravity in F-Theory (PDF)
The author, originally of Santa Fe, argues that in the context of F-theory phenomenology, there exist strong constraints on the singularities in the Calabi-Yau four-folds, coming from the condition that gravity decouples (a simplifying assumption, justified by the hugeness of the Planck mass i.e. gravity's approximate decoupling in reality). Geometrically, the condition means that the cycle S supporting the GUT group remains fixed in size while the total Calabi-Yau volume must be allowed to blow up.

A crash course on F-theory singularities and Fano threefolds is included. I guess that it may be useful for many readers to learn this material from Cordova. You know, if a high school student from 2003 knows such things, maybe we should follow, shouldn't we (despite the fact that all Fano threefolds are ultimately ruled out in the paper)? ;-)

But what is truly remarkable is the design of his paper. For example, this is the figure 1 with the general sketch of the branes within the F-theory compactification manifold and their intersections.

Click to zoom in a little bit. It's kind of logical that because F-theory is, in some sense, a 12-dimensional theory, the pictures should try to be multi-dimensional, too. ;-) After having read the paper, this guy clearly know what he's doing. He should only learn how to spell Planck correctly. :-)

Thursday, October 15, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

CERN: LHC cooling completed

The 3-4 sector (below) was the last one that had to be brought to the working temperature.

On Thursday, October 15th, in the evening, the sector joined the remaining 7 sectors that had already been cooled down to 1.9 Kelvin! We were observing the temperature at this graph:

Sarkozy: Sterling pounds Tony Blair's chances

In an interview for Le Figaro (EN; see also a report by Reuters), Nicolas Sarkozy repeats some of his vague threats against Czech President Václav Klaus.

Update: According to the newest poll from Oct 16th, 65% of the Czechs support Klaus in his Lisbon opposition. The supporters go across politically parties. Among older (55+ years) people, the support goes to 76%. Among younger (35- years) people, it is 57%. Similar percentages are afraid that the Beneš decrees could be breached in the new Lisbon arrangement. A big majority of people (74%) reject the idea to fire Klaus because of this issue.
The postmodern self-confident Napoleon is sure that he will solve the "problem" by the end of the year.

Well, if he's so certain about his miraculous powers, he can earn a lot of money. The Fortuna betting agency offers the following odds exactly for this question - whether Klaus will sign by the year end:
  • 1.7 for 1: Klaus will not sign
  • 1.9 for 1: Klaus will sign
The figures mean that if you invest one euro to the "No" answer, you will get 1.70 (i.e. 0.70 plus your 1.00) back if your guess is right: otherwise you will lose your investment; "1.7 for 1" is also called "0.7 to 1". If you invest one euro to the "Yes" answer, you will get 0.90 plus your 1.00 back. Well, it follows that the bookmakers think that it is more likely that Klaus will not sign the treaty by the year end. ;-)

Blog Action Day: against climate change hysteria

Google and a couple of other big companies have teamed up and declared October 15th, 2009 to be the annual Blog Action Day.

Bloggers are supposed to register with them and they should receive millions of visitors, i.e. thousands of visits per registered blog. Well, I have certain doubts that these figures are trustworthy so I have tried it.

The video above explains that all the registered bloggers can write about any topic they like. And they can write whatever they think about the topic. And the topic must be climate change and they must write that it is a threat. ;-) Google and others have become employees in this major new post-modern kind of irrational intellectual prostitution and co-culprits of the most intense global brainwashing campaign of the contemporary era.

If you happened to find this blog on the Blog Action Day website, that's great because there are 673 posts about the climate on this blog. Dozens of them include detailed, quantitative, and verifiable explanations why the global warming alarm is a gigantic hoax.

This blog is also read by many readers who have studied the climate science in quite some detail and who can answer your question. Of course, it is conceivable that you - a visitor of the Blog Action Day - hasn't gotten here at all because this website has been censored.

In that case, we don't have to tell you anything because you won't hear it anyway. :-)

Update: After an hour with no hits from them, I think it's safe to say that the non-alarmist blogs are being removed from their server.

Snow clouds banned in Moscow

The expenses for cleaning Moscow from snow are equal to tens of millions of dollars a year.

Imagine that you're the mayor of Moscow and you're told that it costs 6 million dollars to "seed" all snow clouds during the winter, so that they drop their loads outside the city. The biggest clouds will be targeted by the air defense system.

What will you do? ;-)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Snow returns to Pilsen

...and Austria sees record October snow...

Richard Müller: Snow.

Richard Müller: Snow

Translation by L.M.

0:26 When there's snow
0:31 things are so clean.
0:35 Millions of white guarantees
0:40 are quietly falling to my legs.
0:45 And I am calling the Lord
0:49 to say what's in my heart:
0:52 let the angels flap
... their feather quilts for a long time.
... keep on flapping their feather quilts.

0:59 When there's snow,
1:03 it's so quiet.
1:07 Only breath can be heard.
1:13 And the beats of the heart: bim bum.
1:17 I am kissing every snowflake.
1:21 Under the legs, the little snow is
... melting like in children's picture booklets.

1:35 When there's now,
1:39 everything's cracking down due to the frost.
1:42 January tears are dropping to the ground.
1:49 Underneath us everything's creaking gently.
1:52 On our little shoes, we have ski.
1:57 All of us are like in a fridge,
... whether we're saints or infidels.

2:43 We're so nicely clean and fresh,
2:47 when the snow is snowing everywhere to us.
2:51 We're so nicely clean and fresh,
2:55 when the snow is snowing everywhere to us.
2:59 We're so nicely clean and fresh,
3:03 when the snow is snowing everywhere to us.
3:07 We're so nicely clean and fresh,
3:11 when the snow is snowing everywhere to us.

3:14 We're so nicely clean and fresh,
3:18 [it's so clean around]
3:19 when the snow is snowing everywhere to us.
3:22 [when there's snow]
3:23 We're so nicely clean and fresh,
3:26 [it's so quiet]
3:27 when the snow is snowing everywhere to us.

3:30 [only breath]
3:31 We're so nicely clean and fresh,
3:34 [is usually heard]
3:35 when the snow is snowing everywhere to us.
3:38 [when there's snow]
3:39 We're so nicely clean and fresh,
3:42 [it's so clean]
3:43 when the snow is snowing everywhere to us.

3:46 [when there's snow]
3:47 We're so nicely clean and fresh,
3:50 [it's so quiet]
3:51 when the snow is snowing everywhere to us.

3:56 We're so nicely clean and fresh,
3:59 when the snow is snowing everywhere to us.
4:03 We're so nicely clean and fresh,
4:07 when the snow is snowing everywhere to us.
It's time for the annual deja vu. It was snowing in Pilsen. Yesterday and today. The volume was negligible in front of my windows. But friends and family members in other parts of Pilsen (and especially elsewhere in Central Europe) reported intense snow. The temperature stays near 0 °C, the freezing point.

Austria got record October snow, see Google News or Radio Netherlands.

Things are probably much worse in Poland and elsewhere, see Reuters India. See also a fresh video from the Moravian roads. Nearby boys suffering from dementia got the idea to confuse the seasons. :-)

You may remember the same posting in 2007 and 2008 except that now it comes one month earlier! The Reference Frame reported the first snow on November 11th, 2007 and November 21st, 2008. Not too surprisingly, I am not gonna claim that it is a proof of the coming ice age.

Below the break, I add one more classic song about snow, by Mr Jarek Nohavica (the video was created by an amateur).

Die Welt: 65% of Germans think that Lisbon is bad

The number of articles found by Google News that talk about Václav Klaus has jumped from the typical figure around 400 to 2,000 in the last month. I suspect that regardless of the issues, the Czech president enjoys the surge. ;-)

The Times as well as Die Welt have informed their readers about rumors describing Klaus's explicit - although not quite public - pledges that he wouldn't ever sign the treaty. And it's obvious that there can hypothetically exist "counter-weapons" of the pro-Lisbon side that would make Klaus sign the document. No one can be sure what is going to happen.

Let's celebrate gravity!

Steve Sailer

Science is finding evidence of gravity. This discovery should be embraced, not feared, say Bruce T. Lahn and Lanny Ebenstein.

A growing body of data is revealing the existence of gravity. It is now recognized that despite the many situations in which gravity is not relevant, in many others it is important (see box, page 728). The physical significance of gravity remains to be explored fully. But enough evidence has come to the fore to warrant the question: what if scientific data ultimately demonstrate that gravity exists at non-trivial levels? In our view, the scientific community and society at large are ill-prepared for such a possibility. We need a moral response to this question that is robust irrespective of what research uncovers about gravity. Here, we argue for the moral position that gravity, from within or between planets, should be embraced and celebrated as one of humanity’s, not to mention the Solar System's, chief assets.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Causality, fate, and the arrow of time

Crazy papers about the destiny

A top science journalist in the New York Times has written a bizarre article about a couple of even stranger preprints by famous authors - including an early co-father of string theory - that have argued that a mysterious fate guarantees that any attempt to build the Superconducting Supercollider has to fail, and any other collider similar to the Large Hadron Collider has to break as well in order for us not to find the Higgs boson because the Higgs boson is the God particle and God wants to protect Her own face. Or something along these lines.

They apparently believe that there must exist a cosmic conspiracy that has guaranteed that Ronald Reagan's Superconducting Supercollider had to be killed by an inevitably emerging lack of interest from former vice-president Al Gore (who prefers junk science over big science) who teamed up with the usual G.O.P. suspects (who think that big science is the same thing as a big government).

I won't include links to these texts because they don't satisfy the intellectual criteria to be promoted at the TRF main page. But feel free to post the links in the comments. Instead, I want to explain some general facts about causality and the fate.

Not Evil Just Wrong

Go to the website of the movie and learn how to help to organize the largest ever simultaneous film premiere on Sunday, October 18th, at 8pm Boston time. See the impressive current map of (not only) the U.S. premieres (zoom out).

Well, the beginning is conveniently on Monday at 3am Prague Summer Time - indeed, it's not yet finished. ;-) So I am afraid that Europe won't contribute much. But the American skeptics may want to promote this new movie!

In search of the coming ice age

In this TV program, Stephen Schneider (3rd part, 6:05) and many others are worried about the climate change - more precisely about the coming ice age:

The video comes in three parts and lasts 9+4+8 = 21 minutes.

You may learn many things. The thriving life is here because of the warmth in the recent millions of years. But there's no doubt that the ice age will come again. When will it come? It has already begun 3,000 years ago. Unprecedented hunger and death will begin. A method to avoid the looming catastrophe could be to melt the sea ice and polar ice caps with nuclear bombs or megatons of dark soot. Listen to the rest...

Well, the difference from the contemporary programs of this type is XXX years. You can see that not much progress in the genuine science and technology of this discipline has occurred since MCMLXXVIII. In fact, you may say that this old program was showing much more detailed data that the climate scientists were trying to explain by the optimum theory, being chosen from a set of many hypotheses. These days, they don't care about the detailed data much.

Monday, October 12, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Rachel Bean: GR is probably (98%) wrong

Sean Carroll has brought our attention to an astro-ph preprint by Rachel Bean,

A weak lensing detection of a deviation from General Relativity [GR] on cosmic scales
She looks at various correlations and auto-correlations in the WMAP, 2MASS, SDSS, COSMOS data concerning the integrated Sachs-Wolfe effect, galaxy distributions, weak lensing shear field, and the cosmic expansion history.

She calculates some chi-square distributions and decides that the fit is significantly improved if she allows the parameter "eta" - a ratio between "two kinds of the gravitational potential" which should be equal to 1 according to GR - to be adjustable, ideally to 3.5 or so. Such an improvement of the fit by the adjustment of "eta" to a wrong value shouldn't occur by chance. Quantitatively, she thinks that GR fails at the 98% confidence level.

Sunday, October 11, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

German, French units to storm the Prague Castle

Today, the Sunday Times published a provoking article:

Germans seek to oust Czech president Václav Klaus over EU treaty (main source)
See also: Reaction by the Czech Press Agency
A Telegraph blog reaction
It starts with a picture of somewhat happy Germans who are leaving the soon-to-be-communist-controlled Czechoslovakia after the war that they helped to start and that they just lost.

It's paradoxical but the expulsion into the soon-to-be-democratic West Germany has made most of their lives happier and richer. But I don't want to be excessively philosophical here.

Cosmoclimatology: Svensmark et al. Forbush paper published

This is just a collection of links. The paper

Cosmic ray decreases affect atmospheric aerosols and clouds (PDF, full)
by Henrik Svensmark, Torsten Bondo, and Jacob Svensmark has appeared in
Geophysical Research Letters.
Ten weeks ago, we discussed the article at this blog. Very new media reports:
Science Daily
Fars News Agency (yes, that's Iran!) (in Czech)
The alarmists paid by George Soros seem to be jealous and they ask: "Why the continued interest?" They mean interest in the mechanisms by Svensmark et al.

Well, because it seems to work, it seems to be justified by a flux of new articles, and because of reasons that are written in these articles. Because it may be the most important insight in climatology during the recent decades.

I think that Svensmark and a few others must feel somewhat unpleasantly because they have found something that may be a spectacular discovery in their discipline, and possibly the first discovery of this discipline that could deserve a Nobel prize.

Except that they simply can't get the deserved credit right now because their discipline has been hijacked by a political movement that prefers ideologically convenient opinions over solid and non-trivial insights that are likely to be true because they are justified by the empirical evidence.

I hope that the situation will change soon.

Josef Váňa wins his 6th Velká Pardubická Steeple Chase

What is the ideal age for a jockey to win a horse race? Well, why don't you make a measurement by watching the 119th Velká Pardubická (Great Pardubice) Steeple Chase?

Josef Váňa is in the middle.

Yesterday, Mr Josef Váňa told his competitors that the only way to get rid of him was to shoot him. And he was damn right!

The familiar race in Pardubice, a town in Eastern Bohemia, was won by Mr Josef Váňa with horse Tiumen. The jockey will celebrate his 57th birthday in less than two weeks. It's his 6th victory in this steeple chase which brings his legend status to a brand new level. After President Klaus shared his compliments (and the cup) with Váňa right after the race, the jockey challenged the president for a tennis match. I would love to see it! :-)

At any rate: Congratulations. ;-)

The Reference Frame: fifth birthday

Exactly five years ago, on October 11th, 2004, 12:08 am Central European Time (i.e. 10/10/04, 6:08 pm Boston Time), this blog began to entertain and enrich some of you, the world, and myself. The first posting was about

Future of physics at KITP,
a conference in Santa Barbara. As you can see, a largely defunct Columbia University blog that has always been hostile to theoretical physics was important to create this weblog as a kind of reaction.

You shouldn't be confused by dozens of other postings that were seemingly posted earlier: the dates were modified whenever I wanted a posting to be identifiable by Google but disappear from the main page of the blog.

The fifth birthday may deserve a pie with five candles. But believe me, you don't want to eat the pie on the picture above. Those thirty years ago, it was made out of plastic: professional photographers don't always enjoy the same degree of integrity as scientists. :-)

I couldn't sleep if I were hiding this detail from you!

Saturday, October 10, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

BBC: What happened to global warming?

BBC has released an article by Paul Hudson:

What happened to global warming?
"This headline may come as a bit of a surprise," it says at the very beginning. You bet, Mr Hudson. It's a big surprise.

While the article repeats a lot of environmentalists propaganda - for example absurd claims that the "influence of solar activity on the climate was recently ruled out" - and it doesn't mention people like Svensmark or Shaviv, and it promotes the opinions of Latif or Corbyn instead, it is good that it was allowed to be born at all.

The article builds on the observation that 1998 - eleven years ago - was the warmest year so far. October 2009 is a somewhat paradoxical choice for such an article: cool years were followed by a pretty fast abrupt recent El-Nino-related warming. Consequently, September 2009 was the second warmest September on the UAH, RSS records (after 1998) as well as the GISS record (after 2005).

Don't worry. The GISS anomaly would have to jump between 0.80 and 0.90 °C for the rest of the year for 2009 to beat 2005 as their warmest year. It won't happen. If you want to know, despite the recent warming, UAH shows the January-September 9-month period of 2009 to be 7th warmest among the Jan-Sep periods of years 1979-2009. The average anomalies (multiplied by 9, i.e. the sums) are
{-1.09, 0.95, 0.57, -1.44, 0.89, -2.06, -1.96, -1.24, 0.67, 1.41, -1.35, 0.24, 1.72, -1.79, -1.74, -0.26, 1.21, 0.07, -0.07, 5.31, 0.43, 0.22, 1.61, 3., 2.18, 1.6, 3.01, 2.22, 2.86, 0.01, 2.08}.
Meanwhile, Australian defense officials remain unconvinced by the climate data.

The British government began its "Act on CO2" propagandistic campaign, in order to fight the growing skepticism among the citizens. After 10 years of intense brainwashing, most of them still think that global warming won't be a problem for them or their kids. The 2-star fairy-tale propagandistic video above is targeting 3-year-old girls as well as adults who are their intellectual equivalents.

For another result of the "Act on CO2" campaign, see this dramatic video. The narrator speaks like an excited general of an army who gives orders to the soldiers. The energy in the wires and CO2 emit strong light in the movie. Eventually, they melt the Earth. ;-)

Philip Stott compares the campaign to 1984, the book. Of course, unlike Orwell's world, our world often allows the people to find the right answers to the question, not just the government-paid untrue propaganda. So the U.K. government's investment is bound to be just a waste of money. They would have to execute millions of people, including Paul Hudson of BBC, to make a real difference.

Why? It's because one simple article by Paul Hudson compensates the lies in TV commercials that cost millions of pounds.

Friday, October 09, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

LHC physicist arrested for Al Qaeda links

A broken LHC in 2008. Which of the people could be the culprit? Shift/click to zoom in.

Breaking news: yesterday, Adlene Hicheur, a 32-year-old visiting CERN employee working for the LHC was arrested in Vienne, France for his or her probable links to Al Qaeda and terrorist organizations in Algeria. He or she has a brother called Zitouni. No plot has been uncovered so far but the intention has been proved and the guy has confessed he led second life.

Barack Obama wins 2009 peace Nobel prize

for his extraordinary efforts blah blah blah.

For a similar story, see: First-year grad student wins Nobel in economics
Scientific American links the award to Obama's anti-nuclear speech in Prague. Before Obama won the $1.5 million award, he diplomatically called his visit to Prague "a waste of time". ;-)

Barack Obama joins the group of left-wing U.S. politicians who have won the award. His equally famous colleague shared the 2007 peace Nobel prize:

This particular award has been a pathetic joke for quite some time and Obama actually ends up being one of the better recent picks. ;-)

Still, it's bad for the Norwegians to throw USD 1.5 million to someone for having no results, and here you have additional justifications in the Telegraph why Obama should turn it down.

IBM DNA transistor

The first sequencing ever done in the Human Genome Project cost USD 3 billion.

By drilling tiny holes into computer-like chips, these IBM guys may reduce the cost "slightly", ideally to USD 1 thousand. That would make personalized medicine reality. See more comments and videos on IBM DNA transistors, Google News.

Via Viktor K.

Thursday, October 08, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Klaus will sign Lisbon for a footnote

Update: Polish EU Parliament boss Buzek argues that Klaus wants a Czech opt-out right for the Bill of Rights: see his new statement. It's been previously speculated by Polish newspapers that Klaus's proposed footnote is meant to guarantee that the Sudeten German material claims can't ever be revived, not even by people from other EU countries who don't know the Central European history well and who could make such a big mistake to try to revise our key legislation concerning the 1945 confiscation of assets of Germans except for antifascists. Well, even if that's true, it doesn't mean that this topic is Klaus's only or main point. I still feel that it's a randomly chosen topic meant to split the EU and defeat the treaty at the end.
The Swedes have created a Facebook group, Support Václav Klaus, and a related anti-Lisbon petition with 5,000+ signatures (now).

Finally, you can see a EU flag waving at the Prague CastleI have always thought that the Czech president is a kind of an ingenious politician. He believes in great ideas and principles and he is courageous enough to defend them. However, as far as I understand, he's also playing politics like chess and he's often able to defeat seemingly stronger and more numerous foes.

Climate: Asian kids sue G8

The Irish Times inform that meters from the climate negotiators in Bangkok, Thailand (where the Big Cheeses are preparing for the big December 2009 climate talks in Copenhagen: Barcelona will be the only other preparation), the children from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Nepal, Philipines, and Thailand have been training for the imminent climate tribunal against the rich world:

G8 states could face class actions on climate change
It was not revealed whether the arrogant 13-year Indian bitch from the United Nations has also participated. ;-) You might think that these kids need a good spank except that it is not the kids themselves who are making this stuff up. These kids are just being brainwashed and manipulated by some people who should already be mature except that they are definitely not.

Liquid nuclear battery

Two years ago, Viktor Kožený, a well-known Czech financier (and inventor!) living on the Bahamas, sent a proposal to create minuscule nuclear centrifuges, besides other nuclear technology, to your humble correspondent and others.

Many of us were laughing.

But I was reminded today that something remotely similar is being realized by researchers in Missouri. Their paper was rated as outstanding at a July 2009 conference. Radioisotope batteries can give you 100,000 times greater power than the chemical ones. These powerful ones are somewhat dangerous but you can create safe ones, with 1 Watt of power, that can last for a decade: see the picture above.

The semiconductors around them have to be liquid rather than solid, in order for their structure to be immune against the decay products. Why it's not as unsafe as the adjective "nuclear" instinctively leads most people to believe, and what are the other issues can be read at

MU press release, PhysOrg, Next Big Future, Science Daily, Gizmodo, Crunch Gear.
Today, you may be disgusted by such gadgets, but in a few years, they may be inside most small devices that people will use. Jae Kwon, the main researcher behind the technology, plans to make the batteries thinner than a human hair in the future. ;-)

Herta Müller: even an anti-communist can win the Nobel prize

The 2009 Nobel prize in literature goes to

Herta Müller (Germany),
a Romanian-born ethnic German poet and novelist who has been depicting the brutal conditions for life in Romania under Ceauşescu before she emigrated to Germany in 1987.

After years if not decades when the literature Nobel prizes were given exclusively to communists, feminists, terrorists, postmodernists, and similar stuff, that's quite a pleasant shock!

Müller is quoted as an author "who, with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed." Congratulations!

(The photograph on the cover of the book on the right side that you will buy from is by Mr Jan Saudek, a Czech photographer.)

Google Maps: Prague StreetView goes live

Click to zoom in.

You may start e.g. near

the "statue of the horse" on the Wenceslaus Square, (click)
near the National Museum or the Old Town Square or the Lesser Quarter Square (in front of the dept. of maths and physics) or the math/physics student hostels in Trója or the math/physics building at Karlov.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

2009 chemistry Nobel prize: ribosome

The 2009 Chemistry Nobel Prize went to Venkatraman Ramakrishnan (Cambridge U.K., born in India), Thomas A. Steitz (Yale), and Ada E. Yonath (Weizmann, Israel) for studies of the structure and function of the ribosome. That could look like a biological discovery but the methods were pretty "chemical" or even "physical".

This picture doesn't directly describe the work of the winners but it may be good to be reminded what a ribosome does.

Crystallographer Dr Yonath whose victory was correctly predicted by some media broke the 45+ years when women receeived no physics or chemistry Nobel prize. Whether or not she was chosen purely by meritocratic criteria, there's one aspect you could have expected. By pure statistics, it shouldn't be too shocking for you to learn that the first woman to succeed in this way is Jewish. ;-)

An Ashkenazi Jew is 40 times more likely to receive the Fields medal than a random non-Jewish white: it may be similar for similar awards. Because there are about 10 million Ashkenazi Jews, you may see that their combined odds exceed those of the non-Jewish U.S. whites. ;-)

Let's hope that Israel, an island of relative wisdom, peace, and advanced civilization, will survive in the sea of a relative lack of wisdom, peace, and advanced civilization. ;-)

NASA: Spitzer finds giant ring around Saturn

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, soon to be superseded by the European Herschel, is looking at the Universe in the far infrared and submillimeter spectrum.

Artist's idealization: click to zoom in...

And imagine what happened when it looked closely at the neighborhood of Saturn.

There is a new giant ring around the planet whose radius is 300 times larger than the radius of Saturn. The ring, tilted by 27 degrees relatively to the main plane of rings, is too thin to visibly reflect the solar radiation but the dust emits its own infrared, 80-Kelvin thermal radiation that could have been seen by Spitzer.