Wednesday, March 31, 2010 ... /////

Obama: drill, baby, drill, and fight climate change

Barack Obama wants to win another term so he is trying to emulate Sarah Palin: drill, baby, drill. Today, the U.S. president announced plans for a broad expansion of offshore oil and gas drilling.

Climate Mash, Halloween, 2006. Many things have changed about this "long-term" AGW "problem", others have not. Note that Bush is drilling at the end of the video: will the green creators dare to humiliate Obama in the same way?

What is his reason? Reuters has an answer:

Obama announces drilling expansion for climate push
He is drilling to fight climate change! ;-) That surely sounds paradoxical, doesn't it? How is it possible? Reuters explain the mystery: by drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, south Atlantic, and maybe the waters of Alaska, he wants to win the Republican support for his cap-and-trade bill! :-)

I am not sure whether he realizes the amazing irony in this strategy. It's very clear that unless it will really kill the U.S. economy, the cap-and-trade bill won't do a damn thing to reduce the production of CO2.

Black body limits: climate sensitivity parameter can't possibly be high, a proof

Originally posted on March 29th. Put on top as the most discussed recent article.

Let me show you another simple way to see that the climate sensitivity can't really be close to the IPCC's mean value (and certainly not close to the upper end of their interval).

A black body minimizes the reflection which is why it maximizes thermal emission at the same wavelength (heat it to 6000 K first). The emissivity may only be reduced - by a light coating or by an atmosphere with a greenhouse gas - but it can't be increased.

The reason I will be able to show that the IPCC figure contradicts the basic laws of physics is that we will look how the relevant theories behave at somewhat more extreme temperatures which are nevertheless physically possible - and not too extreme. We will see that the IPCC estimates require a behavior that contradicts some universal laws of Nature - namely the fact that the emissivity can't exceed one.

First, we must begin with some definitions. Let us distinguish two concepts, the climate sensitivity and the climate sensitivity parameter. The climate sensitivity is the expected increase of near-surface air temperature from a CO2 doubling. It will be claimed to be near 1.1 °C.

Higgs-mass predictions

In 2007, Thomas Schücker wrote an amusing simple preprint that collects dozens of predictions for the Higgs boson masses:

Higgs-mass predictions (PDF)
Its v5 version was just posted. The guesses go from 109+-12 GeV to 760+-21 GeV, plus two unconventional theories with 1900 GeV and 10^{18} GeV.

Well, I think that there are so many comparably likely models - most of which contain continuous parameters whose values aren't calculable right now - that the whole interval is covered almost uniformly. But yes, I do think it's more likely than not that the Higgs boson mass is between 114 GeV and 130 GeV.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010 ... /////

LHC, first physics: webcast

The Webcast (click!) began in the morning but it has already ended. Five "TV programs", main and 4 detectors, were available.
The LHC collisions at 2x 3.5 TeV = 7 TeV will start today, on Tuesday, March 30th. A live webcast (schedule) will be aired from 8:30 am to 6:00 pm, Prague Summer Time (2:30 am - 12:00 pm Boston Daylight Saving Time).

Monday, March 29, 2010 ... /////

John Cook: Skeptical Science

Český překlad zde (od M. Pavlíčka)
The original posting with responses to the top 60 talking points was released on March 25th. Now, you can think about all the 104 observations.
Several people asked me to remove John Cook's photograph because they think it's unfair for it to appear. In some sense, I do agree that it can lead some readers to react irrationally, so I did remove it. (Revkin kept it.)
John Cook, a former student of physics in Australia, has constructed an interesting website trying to attack the opinions of climate skeptics.
Skeptical Science: Getting skeptical about global warming skepticism
It's been in my climate bookmarks for quite some time but no one really cared about it so I didn't want to respond. However, his talking counter-points were recently adopted by an iPhone application. Moreover, Andrew Revkin promoted the website, too. So let us look at his points and counter-points.

Our Climate: the ultimate (skeptical) climate change app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Click the logo to go shopping.

On his website, you can currently see 102 observations by the skeptics (or some skeptics); 2 of them were added by March 29th and I can't constantly update this web page so that he's likely to surpass his 104 points sometime in the future. Each of the "slogans" is accompanied by a short attempted rebuttal by John Cook. And if you click it, you get to a long rebuttal. So let's look at them:

Sunday, March 28, 2010 ... /////

Lord Monckton vs Tim Lambert: a climate debate

If you have 2+ spare hours, here is a playlist with fifteen 10-minute parts of a fresh debate involving Christopher Monckton and the blogger at the Deltoid:

Press the "tape" next to the "play" button to choose the parts. If you care, Lambert appears mostly in parts 3,4.

They say many interesting things, agree about various issues, and Lord Monckton is better. However, they also make various errors that they agree upon.

Saturday, March 27, 2010 ... /////

Catlin Arctic Survey afraid of a polar bear

Last year, Pen Hadow et al. failed in their attempt to reach the North Pole. They had thought that global warming had transformed the Arctic region into a balmy, lukewarm and maybe tropical paradise. Surprisingly, they found out that the weather was freezing in the Arctic. Because of the brutally cold weather, their gadgets stopped working. At the end, the airplanes saved their lives after they only realized 1/2 of their goal.

But it had to be just an accidental weather, right? So in 2010, they decided to repeat the same thing:

Catlin Arctic Survey (web site)
On Friday, they observed many unusual, unprecedented facts about the weather. For example, as the wind blows, it may actually move the ice on the water. They had never thought it possible. The shocked explorers have also observed that before a piece of ice melts, it becomes thin. They're sure that this is a completely new, malicious behavior of ice that had to be caused by man-made global warming. In the past, ice used to be man's best friend. ;-)

Friday, March 26, 2010 ... /////

John Tate wins Abel prize

John Torrence Tate was announced to be the winner of the 2010 Abel Prize on Wednesday. He will be awarded by the Norwegian king: the mathematics prize includes one million of dollars, something of the same sort that Grisha Perelman rejected a few days ago. See

He has studied at Princeton and Harvard, and worked at Harvard and Austin.

Tate received the accolade for his "vast and lasting impact on number theory". Since the 1950, he has worked on various kinds of Fourier analysis of exotic fields, with p-adic and adelic number being his bread, laid the foundations of the modern automorphic forms, and penned the 1963 Tate conjecture which is a kind of discrete counterpart of the (yet unproven, USD 1 million expecting) Hodge conjecture and relates Galois modules and étale cohomology. Tate modules are constructed from an abelian group.

Thursday, March 25, 2010 ... /////

Leonard Susskind: a 10-minute show

Leonard Susskind has created an interesting program just with himself. ;-) He talks about extra dimensions, his relations with Stephen Hawking, the landscape, the usual anthropic ideology, the lack of intelligent design, the incredibly shrinking dark energy, the mundane dark matter, string theory, its path from the nuclear scale to the Planck scale, and its uniqueness.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 ... /////

Prague: U.S.-Russian nuclear pact

One year after Obama's anti-nuclear speech at the Prague Castle, the Russians and Americans agreed to sign a new nuclear treaty in Prague at the beginning of April 2010.

You won't find a city that is, from a long-term viewpoint. more accurately in the political middle between Russia and America than Prague. More precisely, you will find one: Pilsen which was liberated by the U.S. army unlike most of the country that was taken by the Red Army.

But they probably don't know Pilsen, so what can we do about it. ;-) Clearly, Prague was favored by the Americans as their attempt to calm down the dissatisfaction from Obama's broken missile defense pact with Poland and Czechia. President Klaus has already agreed with the choice, too.

Assuming that he will convince Obama to ultimately renounce the global warming hysteria, there exists no good reason to disagree. :-)

Proliferation of wrong papers at 95% confidence level

Kilotons of breathtaking [unflattering noun referring to their IQ], mostly gathering around the environmentalist cult, claim that it is possible - or desirable - to build science upon 2-sigma observations.

If you don't know what it is, it is an observation where the "signal" is only twice as large as "noise", using a proper definition of their magnitude - yet it is claimed that the "signal" is real and means something. The probability that it is not real and the deviation arose by chance is 5% or so. (In reality, it may be much higher because of various biases, but let's generously assume it's 5%.) The idealized figure is actually closer to 4% but let us use the conventional figure 5%.

Self-similarity of temperature graphs

Tamino, virtually all champions of the climate panic, and even most skeptics tend to think that the fluctuations and noise of the temperature graphs only exist at the short time scales.

They think that when we compute the average over sufficiently long timescales, i.e. many years or a few decades, the signal becomes bigger than the noise and the trends show up. For example, they think that if you look at more than 15 years, the warming trend becomes visible and very different from the noise.

However, this assumption is completely wrong.

The graphs of temperature anomalies - between weeks and millennia - actually look like some kind of pink noise. Much like red noise, the pink noise has the property that if you focus on a part of it and you scale the picture to fill the whole screen, both in the horizontal (time) and vertical (temperature) direction (these two scale factors may differ), you always get the same qualitative picture. The signal-to-noise ratio is actually pretty much independent of the time scale you choose - a typical behavior that people know from "critical phenomena" or "conformal field theories".

Using a simple adjective, the graphs are self-similar.

Here is my homework problem that will explain you what I mean.

USD 40 billion of Czech solar subsidies in the pipeline

One week ago, the Czech Parliament voted almost unanimously (169 to 1) to allow the energy regulator to slash the subsidies paid to the producers of solar energy by 5% per year whenever the payback period drops below 11 years. It still takes 10 years to slash the subsidies just by 40%.

Isn't the new amendment too little too late?

The production of the Czech solar energy - and subsidies - grew nearly by an order of magnitude in just one year. That's crazy especially because Czechia is no Sun paradise. The lawmakers have realized the huge threat of global subsidizing, including their unsustainable growth, and they agreed to instantly fight against it.

Monday, March 22, 2010 ... /////

America socializes healthcare

During my years at socialist schools, 1980-1989, less than one-half of my teachers actively supported socialism - and many of them were heroes who actively opposed it.

Those who were pushing the official communist propaganda would usually emphasize that the evil capitalist countries don't have education and healthcare for free - and there are unemployed people.

A part of the propaganda would no longer work. And by the way, even Harry Reid confirms Stalin's proposition that even the Americans have been waiting for socialist medicine for five decades. ;-)

Last night, the Democrat Party voted 219-212 to approve the new socialist healthcare by the House: all Republicans (plus 34 Democrats) opposed the bill - and so does the majority of the U.S. population. But tell it to the liberal Democrats: they always act as if they speak on behalf of the majority, if not everyone, even if the evidence shows this not to be the case.

Tamino, 5 sigma, and frame-dragging

Grant Tamino Foster and other AGW fundamentalists can't swallow a bitter pill - that hard sciences still exist: see my previous text, Defending statistical methods.

Gravity Probe B, a largely failed project

He said that it was "ludicrous" to require 5 sigma confidence level as a criterion for the discovery of a new effect. (For non-professionals: the rule essentially says that the "signal" has to be at least 5 times bigger than the "noise" or "error" for you to be allowed to claim that you "see the signal" and it's not just a fluke.) I answered:

Sunday, March 21, 2010 ... /////

Iyad Allawi apparently won in Iraq

Count me as an Iyad Allawi fan.

It seems that he has won the Iraqi elections - by a few thousand votes - and the central committee has rejected al-Maliki's requests for a recount.

I am convinced that if I were an Iraqi, I would be his voter. He is a guy with some international experience - yet he is clearly a patriot who seems proud about his funny accent in English, too. ;-)

A Shiite who is popular among the Sunnis because he wants to create a secular, non-sectarian Iraq, Allawi can boast some extraordinary courage from his bloody encounters with his ex-ally Saddam Hussain. Neurobiologist Allawi surely brings something from a modern hi-tech world to Iraq that I can identify with - a pleasant change in the exotic Arab world that tends to scare me (at least away from the tourist centers near beaches).

Saturday, March 20, 2010 ... /////

Defending statistical methods

There surely exist propositions by the skeptics - and opinions liked by many skeptics - that I find highly unreasonable. I don't know whether they're equally frequent as the alarmists' delusions but they certainly do exist. A whole article of this sort was written by Tom Siegfried in Science News,
Odds Are, It's Wrong.
The article whose subtitle is "Science fails to face the shortcomings of statistics" - it sounds serious, doesn't it? - was promoted at Anthony Watts' blog. The most characteristic quote in the article is the following:
It’s science’s dirtiest secret: The “scientific method” of testing hypotheses by statistical analysis stands on a flimsy foundation.
So I gather that the idea is that one should throw away all statistical methods which are a "mutant form of math". That's a rather radical conclusion.

Friday, March 19, 2010 ... /////

Africans: we or God make weather change

Africa is producing 4% of the world's CO2 emissions, the same amount as the homosexuals in the rich world. ;-)

BBC has discussed a poll among 1,000 Africans investigating what they know about "climate change".

They found out that they don't really have words for climate-related things: instead, they talk about weather. Good for them because most of the interpretations of the "climate" that are routinely adopted by the general public in the rich world is pseudoscientific rubbish.

Almost all the Africans think that God or themselves (and their sins) are responsible for the changes of the weather. Almost none of them has heard about the CO2 greenhouse propaganda yet. Thank God.

While you might see that there's something deeply primitive about their ignorance and attitudes, the end result is that their overall opinion about the changing weather is no more irrational than that of the brainwashed people in the rich world.

In particular, if the Africans think that the most important impact they exert on the weather and environment is caused by local decisions such as deforestation, and not by SUVs in the rich world, they're damn right.

After long seven years, the Clay Institute agreed that Grigory Perelman deserves one of its seven one-million-dollar awards, the Millennium Prize, for the proof of the Poincaré conjecture.

Russian recluse mathematician awarded Millennium Prize

Strings 2010: Texas A&M

The annual Strings conference - less than 9 months after the conference in Rome - is taking place this week at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, the same place as the annual 1989 and 1990 conferences:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 ... /////

Gallup: environmental concerns hit 20-year low

USA Today just informed about the newest figures from Gallup. They have been asking the question "do you worry a great deal" about various issues to the Americans since 1989.

The percentages that worry a big deal are:

• pollution of rivers, lakes etc: 46% now (max: 72% in 1989)
• air pollution: 38% (max: 63% in 1989)
• toxins in soil and water: 44% (max: 69% in 1989)
• loss of rain forests: 33% (max: 51% in 2000)
• global warming: 28% (max: 41% in 2007)
We may ask about the causes of the decrease. You may suggest that the real environmental worries have been hijacked by the AGW propaganda. Except that the decrease of AGW and non-AGW issues seems to be more or less aligned - so that's unlikely to be the reason.

While I have always cared about such things, it's just true that I have never encountered an environmental problem (air, water, soil pollution) in the U.S. that would be worth a discussion. The environment has improved in the last 20 years - so the contamination simply ceased to be a serious problem. In this sense, I think that the people react rationally. It's sensible to care about problems that actually exist.

The previous paragraph referred to the issues that people can see in their neighborhood. The AGW and tropical forests don't belong to this category. But it's still true that people have learned that one of these problems has been vastly exaggerated while the other one was de facto completely fabricated.

The polls just see the people's learning - which often took place despite the media's persistent efforts to distort the truth.

Most of these concerns may be classified as "fads" and the number of people who worry about them is changing pretty rapidly. Needless to say, global warming is the most ephemeral one among these fads. A drop from 41% to 28% (to 2/3 of the original value) in just two years is unmatched by any of the other graphs.

However, you should notice that global warming has been the "least worrisome" among the five concerns pretty much since the beginning of the poll in 1989 so we're not experiencing a qualitatively unprecedented situation now.

By the way, most employees of the Science Times section of the New York Times doubt that global warming is a serious issue, too. We can learn it from John "End of Science" Horgan, an übercrackpot who is of course unhappy about this heresy of the Gray Lady. Horgan just returned from a symposium of similar dopes who were trying to find the best ways to spread the AGW propaganda.

Some attendees proposed "neuroframing" which is "spinning plus brain scans" and it was a too strong a cup of tea even for Horgan himself - and believe me, he is a real nutcase.

Monday, March 15, 2010 ... /////

Wind turbines will add up to 0.15 °C to global mean temperature

Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics published a new paper by C. Wang and R.G. Prinn (MIT) called

Potential climatic impacts and reliability of very large-scale wind farms (full text PDF)

MIT press release
They look at the effects of the wind turbines on the atmosphere. The wind speed is generally reduced which lowers both the horizontal and vertical heat exchange which is normally responsible for cooling of the surface. As a consequence, the wind turbines produce warming. How much is it?

A red kite, one of approximately 1 million birds that die in Spain every year because of collisions with wind turbines.

Their result is kind of impressive. Even if wind turbines produce only 10% of the electricity consumed in 2100, their effect will translate to 1 °C of warming locally but, because of the extended effect of the local changes, it will also add 0.15 °C to the global mean temperature.

The sign could be reverted - to cooling - if the wind turbines were built on the ocean. By the way, the paper also discusses some required backup of wind energy by reliable sources such as fossil fuels.

John Houghton about ecofanatics: annotated version

Sir John Houghton, an ex-boss of the IPCC, and the hockey stick graph, visually demonstrating that the flawed hockey stick graph has "never" played any important role for the IPCC statements. Picture via AP and BBC

John Houghton wrote an article for the U.K. Times:

We climate scientists are not ecofanatics
The subtitle says:
If the IPCC has a fault, it is that its reports have been too cautious, not alarmist.
Sure. ;-) I will briefly comment on this amazing assertion later in the text.
In the UK only about 26 per cent of the population believe the scientific consensus that climate change is happening and is man-made. Many feel they are being steamrollered into believing something false or flakey that will make them poorer or stop them flying.
People worry that they would have to stop flying even though the IPCC itself and its allies - especially the likes of Al Gore - are a living proof that despite the AGW panic, these folks fly more often than ever.
Given this dangerous mood of scepticism, it is no surprise that the IPCC — the body that represents the integrity of climate-change scientists across the world — is being attacked.
Note that Houghton considers skepticism "dangerous". This very sentence makes his reasoning fundamentally incompatible with the scientific method. The mood of skepticism is not dangerous: it is a basic pre-requisite for science.

Sunday, March 14, 2010 ... /////

Einstein's birthday: a test eliminates some MOND theories

Albert Einstein was born on the Pi Day, March 14th, 1879. His relativity has been known to be right for some time. But we can always ask how accurate are the measurements that show that it's right.

On Thursday, Reinabelle Reyes, a Princeton grad student, and 6 U.S. and Swiss co-authors published a paper in Nature,

Confirmation of general relativity on large scales from weak lensing and galaxy velocities
FoxNews, Nature review, Financial Times, PhysOrg, CBS/Discover, Princeton News, CBC, Physics World, National Geographic
At the distance scale of tens or a hundred of millions of light years, they evaluate a recently proposed quantity called "E_G". It is a function of the gravitational lensing, galaxy clustering, and structure growth rate constructed in such a way that it is independent of the "galaxy bias" (a difference between clustering of visible galaxies and invisible dark matter).

For this quantity, general relativity predicts "E_G = 0.4" or so. Their empirical value is
EG = 0.39 +- 0.06
Modified Newtonian Dynamics, alternatives to the very assumption that dark matter is responsible for the "unexpected" galactic rotation curves (which often don't add dark matter but try to modify the equations in a brutal way), generally predict substantially different values of this parameter. In particular, a teves (tensor-vector-scalar) model has been ruled out.

Extraterrestrial life: I am a skeptic

A majority of Backreaction readers think that the extraterrestrial life exists.

Well, while I have probably answered "I don't know", count me as a skeptic.

Czech socialist boss Mr Jiří Quimby Paroubek has promised the voters to do everything he needs to do to keep his feeding trough and to make his socialist dreams come true. If he needs the communist deputies to vote with him, he won't hesitate to team up with them, and if the extraterrestrial aliens ever land in the Czech Republic, he said, he would be working with them on the socialist project, too. Several ETs landed on his rally in the city of Litoměřice and elsewhere.

It seems obvious to me that most people who feel "certain" that there must exist life on other celestial bodies are trying to prove something emotional to themselves. They're trying to overcompensate the centuries in which the people found extraterrestrial life impossible - and in which they thought that life could not evolve naturally and it needed an intelligent creator.

Well, they were wrong but I still think it's kind of difficult for life to evolve. Drake's equation was proposed as a method to calculate the number of ETs. Most often, it was used as a tool to fool ourselves into thinking that life must be almost everywhere.

PBS: What Einstein never knew (1985)

PBS/NOVA shot an interesting one-hour program about high-energy physics, "What Einstein Never Knew", in 1985.

Six parts, a playlist

You may see Abdus Salam, Sheldon Glashow, young Michael Duff, Burt Ovrut, and many other interesting physicists talking about unification and supersymmetry. Steven Weinberg is giving a lecture and he calmly talks about the Z boson "which will be discovered in April in Geneva". Of course, Weinberg was "wrong": it wasn't April 1983 but May 1983. :-)

Their picture of the unification is made out of graves of individual forces in the landscape. The program employs a wooden female blonde 2D physicist to explain the spontaneous symmetry breaking in a magnet. They discuss the proton decay experiments and the search for magnetic monopoles (which found nothing so far) but also mention the search for neutrino masses (which have been established later).

Saturday, March 13, 2010 ... /////

Ramat Shlomo: is construction a sin?

My orthodox Jewish fans decided to build a new nice neighborhood called "Radical Motl Lubosh Lumo", or "Ramat Shlomo" for short, in Northeast Jerusalem. ;-) A local authority has approved the construction of 1,600 new homes exactly when Joe Biden was on his visit to Israel.

That's how democracy works: local authorities can approve such things regardless of some big cheeses (from another country).

East Jerusalem

And the politicians in Obamaland and elsewhere seem to be upset. WTF?

Israel has considered the whole city of Jerusalem as its proper capital for many decades. More importantly, the place de facto belongs to it because it has captured all these territories during the six-day war in June 1967, more than 40 years ago. That's a very long time ago. Most people who live today were not yet born.

In the distant past, many Jews used to live there. Later, there were only Arabs everywhere. But since the 20th century, we returned to the state of a compromise in which the Jews own a tiny fraction of the Middle East again. Is that really so difficult to adapt to this 21st century situation which no longer implies that the Middle East is a purely Arab (and Persian) land?

People who are not familiar with the local situation may distinguish the political status of West and East Jerusalem but it is simply a matter of fact that those who matter don't distinguish it. The boundary between them is a meaningless bureaucratic sleight of hand, a fantasy of the United Nations and the people who want to deny the world as it is.

Ian Lowe: use LHC money for AGW propaganda

Ron de Haan has brought my attention to a fascinating event:

BREAKING NEWS: Top Aussie climate scientist goes feral on skeptics and fellow scientists
I have always believed that particle physics and the science of man-made climate change are the two most natural enemies in the context of science.

Particle physics is the most accurate scientific discipline where emotions don't play any role. Moreover, the goal of the discipline is to find the truth about Nature, regardless of economic profit: it's driven by the passion for the truth. The truth is never known at the beginning. Only hard research can get us closer to the truth. Answers of one kind or another have no political implications. People are naturally impartial and honest.

On the other hand, the science about man-made climate change is completely based on emotions, sociological arguments, intimidation, and personal interests of the people. Most of those who work in this discipline today are completely corrupt, they don't give a damn about Nature and Her laws. They have decided about their key answers from the beginning by realizing that their preferred answers are good for their politics, prestige, careers, and financial interests.

Friday, March 12, 2010 ... /////

Gliese 710: a star colliding with the Sun

Well, the title is a little bit more dramatic than the reality. ;-) The basic story is easy to explain.

There probably exists the so-called Oort Cloud surrounding the Solar System. It is located in a spherical shell which is about 1 light year (50,000 AU) away from the Sun and it contains billions of frozen comments if not comets (sorry, I can't exterminate such a funny typo).

Note that I always prefer to avoid the unit of 1 parsec which is about 3.26 light years because this unit is too linked to astronomy and too abstract for a physicist.

The Kuiper belt is 1,000 times smaller than the Oort Cloud in radius. It contains Pluto and two other dwarf planets as well as lots of water, ammonia, and methane.

The colliding star

The other player is Gliese 710, an orange dwarf star with 0.5 solar masses (plus minus 20%), currently located in the Serpentarius constellation. As a recent

Tamino vs random walk

Grant Foster has found a new inconvenient enemy, a random walk:

Not a Random Walk
He starts by saying that Euler has "proven" God by the following assertion:
Sir, (+ bn) / z = x, hence God exists. Reply!
In other words, Euler emitted some mathematical nonsense and considered it a proof of God. (See the slow or fast comments for details about this story.)

Off-topic: Local Theory of Relativity. Hat tip: Olda K. ;-)

Tamino's article continues as expected. Tamino emits some mathematical nonsense and considers it a proof of man-made global warming. His multi-kilobyte verbal emissions make no sense, except for making one point.

He's trying to "debunk" a comment by his reader who argued that the measured temperature series may be represented as a random walk - which is a much better model to describe the measured data than a linear trend combined with a white noise.

Of course, Tamino doesn't like it because it undermines the power of the AGW religious cult he faithfully believes. So he tries to produce some counter-arguments. The only counter-argument he produces is that random walks produce unbounded functions.

TVO has recorded a one-hour debate about climate change:

TVO debate (click)
An interesting aspect is that Richard Lindzen, the skeptic, and Hadi Dowlatabadi, a consensus scientist, agreed about pretty much everything. The changes of the climate are unspectacular, the Earth has seen much bigger changes of temperature and CO2, 600 ppm of CO2 wouldn't do anything visible, and so on.

Paradoxically, it was the journalist who was the only advocate of AGW panic. For example, he would repeat that there is a "general wisdom" that 350 ppm is a huge problem for the Earth. Where the hell did he hear that it is a "general wisdom"?

Only a few mentally ill climatologists of James Hansen's type and a couple of radical environmental advocacy groups are saying preposterous things of this caliber, including randomly chosen and ludicrously low "doomsday" figures. No serious scientist could ever say that even 350 ppm of CO2 is a problem worth to be worried about. And no side of this debate is actually saying this thing.

So why do some journalists repeat all this bullshit?

Škoda Superb vs Volkswagen Passat

Škoda cars used to be the leading brand of the socialist bloc. That wasn't really a reason for pride if you realize that the competitors were the likes of Trabant, Wartburg, Dacia, and similar stars. ;-)

As early as in 1990, one year after the Velvet Revolution, it was decided that Škoda the carmaker would be sold to the Volkswagen Group.

And this partnership has done miracles for the company. It has returned the brand - founded in 1895 as Laurin & Klement (which would become the largest car producer in Austria-Hungary, before it joined the Pilsen-based Škoda Holding brand in 1925) - where it once belonged.

Škoda sold 684,226 cars in 2009, more than in 2008. Unlike others, the number of sold units hasn't dropped.

Rationally speaking, VW should be happy to own properly functioning plants in the times that were not easy for the car industry. Already a year ago, Škoda Superb won the car of the year in whopping 8 European countries.

Thursday, March 11, 2010 ... /////

Robbert Dijkgraaf will review the IPCC

Robbert Dijkgraaf is a Dutch string theorist and mathematical physicist. He has discovered many things.

The one most cited of them remains a more complete version of screwing string theory pioneered by your humble correspondent. Together with the Verlinde brothers, they later found it independently and gave it a new funny name, matrix string theory.

(I have actually also considered that name but at the end, I decided it was too arrogant. Could one invention of myself be given a name that only differs by one important word, "matrix", from the name of the whole discipline, "string theory"?)

Robbert's 2009 general popular TEDxAmsterdam talk about the theories of the Universe. If you don't see any video above, go to the individual page of this post.

But his name is also linked to the WDVV formula, Dijkgraaf-Witten invariants, insights in topological string theory, matrix models, and other things. And by the way, he is also a very good artist as we could have seen from various string conference posters he drew.

Dijkgraaf and your humble correspondent have written a small paper together - about the higher-order DVV-style interactions in matrix string theory. And yes, I took the Wikipedia picture of him at Harvard.

Scientific politics

But of course, the topic of this posting is different. Robbert Dijkgraaf is the current president of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and a co-chair of the InterAcademy Council, an international umbrella group that includes similar academies.

Time: Stephen Colbert smarter than Sean Carroll

First, an unrelated four-minute video about Paul Dirac in Florida (thanks to Laurent Sacco!):

Now, the main topic:

If you haven't heard, Sean Carroll appeared on the Colbert Report, a very entertaining left-wing emulation of the O'Reilly Factor that runs on Comedy Central TV. He promoted his dumb book, "From Eternity To Here".

Full video segment (after adds, Carroll appears around 16:25)
Colbert began with a good question: why do we need a theory of time? Carroll answered that it's because we can't answer some questions about time. Colbert can answer any questions so he wanted examples. Carroll asked Colbert why the past is different from the future.
Because we're not there anymore.
Yes: even Carroll had to admit that Colbert did know the difference. :-) So he asked almost the same question once again: but what is the difference between these two things?

Monday, March 08, 2010 ... /////

Václav Klaus: talk at Club for Growth

Last week, Václav Klaus was on his business trip to Florida. He gave a talk in front of the Club for Growth, a pro-market think tank. Here is the transcript:

Global Warming Alarmism is a Grave Threat to our Liberty
If you've heard many AGW talks by Klaus, you may not be terribly surprised. There are some interesting calculations of the costs and benefits, among other things.

But the Czech president does briefly react to the ClimateGate and other "gates". He says that they haven't influenced his views because everyone who was interested in these matters has known what was going on for many years. Well, I happen to agree.

Sunday, March 07, 2010 ... /////

A U.S. president describes climate change: a puzzle

Here is a puzzle for you.

First, in order to produce some keywords, let me recall that I have been to dozens of academic and physics facilities in the U.S. Many of them were named after someone, including the Busch Campus, the Varian Hall, the Jefferson Lab, the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, the Pupin Hall, the Elliot House, and Roosevelt Street (which is here in Pilsen but you will forgive me).

That's enough to confuse you.

Now, I am talking about a U.S. president who wrote a letter on December 11th, '09, nine months after he left the presidency. In his message to Nathaniel Chapman, a physician and professor in Philadelphia, he said:

Steven Gubser: The Little Book of String Theory

Steve Gubser has released a new book on string theory. Unlike Joe Polchinski's book, which was referred to as Joe's Big Book of String, Gubser's book is the Little Book on String Theory. ;-)

At the beginning, there are three paragraphs that start with "String theory is a mystery."

You may feel that the author had to be either poet or a computer program stuck in an infinite loop. But without using any mathematical equations, the author begins with the notion of energy and quickly gets to quantum mechanics, gravity and black holes, string theory, branes, string duality, supersymmetry at the LHC, and heavy ions and the fifth dimension.

Ehrlich, Schneider et al.: preparing a pogrom against skeptics

Update: full text

If you want to see the full exchange of the NAS members who try to collect money for their anti-skeptic "outlandishly aggressively partisan" propagandistic campaign - from themselves and the corporations (5:1) - see this 17-page

collective e-mail exchange (PDF)
review by Myron Ebell (HTML)
review by NY Times / Greenwire / E&E (HTML)
It's kind of amazing that they don't see what's important here. All of their focus is on the tricks how to brainwash the people and force them to believe the "best science" that this group can offer. But their "best science" is no longer good enough.

All the brainwashing tricks and types of frauds, cherr-picking, censorship, lies, libels, and distortions have already been used by them in the past: but they won't work again because most of the public has learned something during the last 3 months and has already acquired a kind of "immunity" against these types of deception that they won't "unlearn" anytime soon.

Tomorrow, CERN celebrates socialist women's day

The first International Women's Day was observed in the U.S. on February 28th, 1909, by a declaration of the Socialist Party of America. They wanted to remember mostly female victims of a factory fire. The following year, in 1910, the celebrations went international when they were adopted by the Second Socialist International in Copenhagen.

For obvious reasons, this holiday was quickly fading away since the late 1920s.

But it was revived by feminism in the 1960s. Going back in time, celebrations of the International Women's Day were the first rallies that ignited the October Revolution in 1917 in Russia and helped to decimate democracy in the world's largest territory for more than 70 years. Following the October Revolution, the Bolshevik Feminist Alexandra Kollontai persuaded Lenin to make it the official holiday in the USSR. So they did it but it was a working day for some time. It became a non-working day in the USSR in 1965.

In Czechoslovakia, the day would always be connected with parties of fat old obnoxious communists, both male and female ones. The latter would always include Ms Marie Kabrhelová, a de facto forced role model for the Czechoslovak women, and a top hardcore communist actress, Ms Jiřina Švorcová.

After the Velvet Revolution, the holiday would largely disappear. However, these days, it's the most celebrated women's day again, ahead of Mother's Day and the St Valentine. However, all the links to socialism and work have been forgotten. People don't celebrate it for the old reasons.

Saturday, March 06, 2010 ... /////

Joseph von Fraunhofer: a birthday

Joseph von Fraunhofer was born on March 6th, 1787, in Straubing, Bavaria.

His childhood was pretty difficult. When he reached the M-theoretical age of 11, he became an orphan. He had to work as an assistant to a harsh glassmaker. That was the better part of the story. However, in 1801, when he was 24, the workshop collapsed and Joseph was buried in the rubble.

How can this fairy-tale continue?

Yes, fortunately, an elected prince (who would later become Maximilian I Joseph) was riding his horse nearby the workshop. He noticed the rubble, instructed his staff to save Joseph the assistant, and forced his employer to buy books to him and to allow him to study.

Muslim states back strike on truther Mahmoud

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has explained to his colleagues that the 9/11 attacks were a "complicated intelligence scenario and act" and a "big fabrication as a pretext for the campaign against terrorism and a prelude for staging an invasion against Afghanistan."

He also thinks that capitalism was invented by Israel and it's approaching its end. ;-)

Meanwhile, Israeli deputy minister Ayoub Kara claimed that he was secretly contacted by leaders of Muslim states that don't have diplomatic relationships with Israel, including "extremist states". They supported a possible future Israeli attack on Iran, it's been stated.

Israel has no relations with 37 countries of the world, a list that includes Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, Lebanon, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen, United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan; Brunei; Malaysia, Indonesia; Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya; North Korea, Taiwan; Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia; and a few more African countries. Note the high concentration of rogue states in the list.

Sons won't be expelled from Canadian anthem

What's wrong with this anthem?

Yes, it says "True patriot love in all thy sons command," without any reference to daughters.

So as Gordon has pointed out, the "Conservative" party of Canada proposed to make the text more inclusive and replace the verse by a gender-neutral "True patriot love thou dost in us" ("thou dost" is an archaic version of "you do").

Fortunately, Stephen Harper managed to hear the voice of the conservative base that the idea was truly idiotic, so he forgot about it. ;-)

Friday, March 05, 2010 ... /////

Methane and warming

The media are also full of a new methane scare. An article in Science is said to claim that the Siberian Arctic bubbles release much more methane to the atmosphere than expected (by someone who had wrong expectations). For example, the Daily Mail says:

Methane escaping from Arctic faster than expected and could stoke global warming, warn scientists
But could it really "stoke" global warming? If you just read the very same article, you learn that the answer is almost certainly No. It's useful to review the basic numbers.

Met Office claims to have found the AGW fingerprint

Met Office analysis reveals 'clear fingerprints' of man-made climate change
In fact, there are two articles in the Guardian that "know" in advance that the Met Office will "strengthen" the case for human-induced climate change: the witches and prophets told them. The second article has a title that unmasks what is the real motivation behind the Met Office report:
How public trust in climate scientists can be restored
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, exactly 100 days after the AGW alarmism largely collapsed, the Met Office just found the fingerprints of Man imprinted everywhere in the climate. Because there hadn't been any fingerprints before the paper, we must ask: How did they realize this ambitious goal? ;-)

We learn that they didn't even need a single research paper to do so. One review was enough! :-)

Well, it's somewhat harder to find what the "holy grail" or "fingerprint" actually is. The Guardian article seems to be nothing else than another dose of the nonsense saying that everything about the climate is getting worse - and it must therefore be due to Man who is the only source of sins in the world. Amen. You can't even find the actual paper - which is claimed to be a review paper summarizing 100 other papers. Even when you look at the Met Office website, there only seems to be a press release with a couple of big mouths who claim to suddenly know everything. Doesn't sound too good.

Seven theories of everything

Nude Socialist continues in its crusade against physics and rational thinking in general. In their article,

Knowing the mind of God: Seven theories of everything,
a Michael Marshall lists string theory and six random crackpot ideas - most of which are much crazier and less justified (and less well-known) than loop quantum gravity. The list is the following:
1. string theory
2. loop quantum gravity
3. causal dynamical triangulation
4. quantum Einstein gravity
5. quantum graphity
6. internal relativity
7. E8.
All the comments reveal that the author doesn't have the slightest clue about theoretical physics. The first item is a meaningful research program that works whenever it's asked to solve something and that is described in tens of thousands of high-quality papers.

The remaining ones, with loop quantum gravity being the intermediate case, are fringe theories with 10-30 citations (from other crackpots) in average. When combined (and when LQG is omitted, just to be sure), they are more than 1,000 times smaller contribution to science - and especially the task to find the theory of all elementary forces and particles - than string theory.

I can't believe that Mr Marshall isn't capable to see this point and that it's simply not true that there are "six competitors" of string theory in any sensible or useful sense.

Thursday, March 04, 2010 ... /////

RHIC creates the biggest antinucleus

As reported by

Interactions.ORG, Article Ant, and Phys Org,
the STAR detector at Brookhaven's RHIC has detected the largest antinucleus that's been seen as of today.

It's also the first antinucleus they produced that contains a strange antiquark. Because of its presence, we talk about "hypernuclei". The precise composition of the antinucleus was
antiproton (u*u*d*), antineutron (u*d*d*), antiLambda (u*d*s)
Because the strange quark is a heavier cousin of the down quark, the Lambda hyperon is a heavier (or stranger, or hyper) brother of the neutron. So the whole antinucleus can be called a heavier (or strange) sister of the antitritium nucleus - or "anti-hypertriton" for short. ;-)

Austrian political campaign dominated by post-Nazi emotions

A few months ago, Czech President Václav Klaus decided to surrender and add his signature to the Treaty of Lisbon. But he managed to negotiate an opt-out for the Czech Republic from the Charter of Rights - the same opt-out that Poland and United Kingdom have previously negotiated.

There are lots of possible implications of this bad document but one of the specific ones for the Czech Republic was that the Beneš decrees - crucial post-WWII laws that have macroscopically compensated the evil that most of the German Nazis did to our country and that keep on preserving the stability of the ownership rights in the Sudetenland that used to have a German-speaking majority - could have been dismantled using this charter.

RSS MSU: 0.05 °C of month-on-month cooling

The RSS MSU satellite data for February 2010 are out.

The global anomaly is +0.588 °C which is 0.052 °C lower than the January 2010 anomaly. The newest February 2010 reading is also a whopping 0.148 °C cooler than the warmest February reading on their record, namely +0.736 °C in February 1998.

While January 2010 was 0.09 °C warmer than January 1998, the average of January 2010 and February 2010 is already cooler than the corresponding two months of 1998 so it seems more likely than not that 2010 will be cooler than 1998. The ongoing El Nino is still somewhat strong but already measurably weaker than the 1997-1998 El Nino, so that's what you would expect.

The anomaly in February 2010 was also cooler than January 2007 and four warmer months in 1998.

Al Gore will become a doctor

Well, an honorary one.

The University of Tennessee in Knoxville decided to acknowledge one of the brightest and most achieved Tennesseans in history:

Editorial: Al Gore a fine choice for honorary degree
Ninety-five percent of the Knoxnews readers think that it is a bad idea - but who cares.

Al Gore's greatest achievements are the lost 2000 elections, his invention of the Internet, the ManBearPig, his new kind of climate science, and especially his recent contributions to the physics of plasma:

Plasma that used to be produced in complicated labs can suddenly be obtained by digging in your garden. This opens lots of new applications, including superclean and superefficient hybrids of geothermal and thermonuclear energy.

Congratulations to Al Gore and congratulations to UT Knoxville for officially becoming the Univesity of Quacks.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010 ... /////

Insignificant warming trends: why 1995 was chosen

Deep Climate, a blog promoting panic about AGW and specializing in criticisms of the Canadian skeptic groups, asked the question why the BBC has inconveniently asked Phil Jones whether there had been a significant global warming since 1995. Recall that he had to answer that there was none - because it's damn too easy to check that there was none.

According to Deep Climate, your humble correspondent has "played a key role in getting the question asked in the first place."

Together with Richard Lindzen and Anthony Watts, I was quoted as the inspiration for the BBC. Once Phil Jones answered the BBC's questioned, he became our friend denier, so the Deep Climate article talks about Lindzen, Motl, and Jones. ;-) I am honored but yes, Deep Climate has a point. I helped to promote this way of thinking - about "statistically significant trends" - although I have obviously neither invented it nor brought it to climatology. :-)

My modest contribution was a simple calculation (thanks to Wolfram Mathematica), No statistically significant warming since 1995, that I wrote in December 2009 and that was reposted on Anthony Watts' blog which increased the nonzero but relatively modest TRF's reach by one order of magnitude.

Jeff Id showed us an article from November 2009 where he discussed the same question with the same result so I was surely no pioneer in the content, at most in the presentation. (But it does seem to me that our detailed calculations of the confidence levels etc. may differ a bit.)

Czechs: most pro-nuclear nation in the world

Today, in the leading Czech newspaper, MF DNES, Pavel Páral compared the Czechs and other nations when it comes to nuclear energy:

Prague Monitor: a review of his text
The nuclear boom has quite a tradition. Before the Velvet Revolution, the communists had extremely ambitious plans for new nuclear power plants in
Temelín (CZ), Jaslovské Bohunice (SK), Tetov (CZ), Blahutovice (CZ), Mochovce (SK), Kecerovce (SK)
besides the existing ones in Temelín (CZ), Dukovany (CZ), Jaslovské Bohunice (SK), and Mochovce (SK). Seven nuclear places is not bad for a country of 15 million.

Temelín, launched 10 years ago, remains Europe's newest nuclear power plant!

On Monday, Phys Org, Science Now, and even Tree Hugger, among others, wrote about a fresh article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that analyzed the reasons behind the demise of golden toads in Costa Rica.

The authors reconstructed the events in the late 1980s and figured out that they suffered from a fungal epidemic specific to amphibians. The pathogens quickly spread, especially because of group sex, and this unwelcome dynamics was supported by the 1986-1987 El Nino.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010 ... /////

Top quark: 15th birthday

In 1973, Kobayashi and Maskawa pointed out that the observed CP-violation in kaon decays may be explained by a third generation of quarks. For their discovery of the CKM matrix, a complex SU(3) matrix transforming the upper-quark mass eigenstates to the SU(2) partners of the lower-quark mass eigenstates, they were allowed to share the 2008 physics Nobel prize.

In this way, they also postulated the existence of the top quark - that was also called the "truth" for a while.

The Wilson Hall at the Fermilab doesn't really look like a top quark - as bright readers can determine by looking at the reflection in the water - but it could.

The world had to wait for 22 years for the experimental discovery: be sure that it is impossible for the experimenters (and Nature) to guarantee that they will empirically prove every correct theory before a 5-year bureaucratic deadline. Sometimes it can take decades, centuries, or millennia - even in cases when the seemingly modest task is to discover "just another quark". The discovery of the top quark took place exactly 15 years ago, on March 2nd, 1995.

NASA: earthquake distorted Earth's motion

There used to be times when the motion of the celestial bodies was considered to be the ultimate symbol of accuracy and regularity. However, it was found out that the orbits were not proper circles but ellipses (or more complicated things, as determined by GR). Moreover, their parameters kept on changing according to some laws.

And today, we can even calculate and measure how they're failing to be regular because of special events such as the recent earthquake in Chile. NASA has made some calculations what it did with the Earth's balance and spin:

Chilean Quake May Have Shortened Earth Days
The earthquake has shortened the day by 1.26 microseconds or so. That's because the angular frequency has increased; it has increased because the moment of inertia has dropped; it has dropped because the Earth became more uniform and compact. Pieces of the Earth have fell into the holes.

Cosmological constant replaced by an entropic force?

While I have explained that gravity can't be an entropic force, because of its many fundamental properties such as reversibility and its preservation of the interference patterns, it's still true that there can exist entropic forces in Nature that people have missed.

And some of them may be damn important.

In a thought-provoking hep-th preprint, three very interesting authors, namely Damien Easson, occasional TRF reader Paul Frampton, and recent Nobel prize winner George Smoot try to use an entropic force as the cosmological constant killer - a killer of the pretty woman on the picture:

Entropic Accelerating Universe
Why is the expansion of the Universe accelerating? Somewhat generally, we use the term "dark energy" for whatever entity drives this acceleration. But what is "dark energy"? The conventional story, supported by nontrivial WMAP and other measurements as well as a theoretical realization via a SUSY-breaking de Sitter landscape in string theory, is that there is a small positive cosmological constant in the bulk, around 10^{-123} in Planck units, and a negative pressure numerically equal to it.

Monday, March 01, 2010 ... /////

Royal Society of Chemistry defends science against AGW secrecy

Today, the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) has submitted an encouraging statement to the U.K. Parliamentary committee investigating the ClimateGate:

RSC statement (click)
In this statement, the institution with 46,000 members says that it is essential for science - and the public's confidence in science - that the data are available, research may be and is reproduced, and peer review is impartial.

On Saturday, The Institute of Physics, a scientific charity with 36,000 members, submitted an even more stringent document to the same committee in which it states that unless the correspondence from the ClimateGate is a forgery - which it's surely not - it de facto proves that their scientific work in the climate science was fraudulent.

Meanwhile, a description of a very different culture was heard by the lawmakers from Phil Jones:
BBC: Phil Jones grilled by MPs
Phil Jones tries to act as a victim and comments on the "awful e-mails" he has written. But what's remarkable is that he admits that no other researcher (except for the "skeptics", whom he apparently didn't consider to be scientists) has ever wanted the raw data from him: they - or "most scientists" - only want the "final product".

Global warming alarmed parents murdered their whole family: daughter survives

As Tom Nelson aptly wrote, "Al Gore lied and people died." Sadly, this comment is now literally true.

The people who say that global warming alarmism is a serious mental problem or a social pathology that should be treated on par with violent pedophilia or the Islamic terrorism got a new powerful argument.

Baby survives parents' global warming suicide pact (The Telegraph)
Baby girl survives after being shot in the chest in parents' 'global warming suicide pact' (The Daily Mail)
Seven-month-old baby survives shot to chest in parents' murder-suicide pact blamed on global warming (NY Daily News)
Argentine Google News (aut. transl. from Spanish)
FoxNews, Prison Planet
Two insane parents in Goya, Argentina (address: Carlos Gardel 187, across from the railway station), Mr Francisco Lotero (56) and his lover, Ms Miriam Isabel Coletti (23), were worried about global warming.