Monday, February 28, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Bob Carter about Australian carbon tax

Julia Gillard, a sickly five-year-old girl (chronic pneumonia) whose life was probably saved when her parents relocated from the cold, cloudy, windy, and rainy Wales to Australia where she became a prime minister 8 months ago, announced her plans to introduce a carbon [sic] tax from July 1st, 2012, in order to fictitiously fight against the global warming.

Bob Carter, a well-known professor or geology and one of the most well-informed experts in the field of climate change on their compact continent, wrote the following recommendation to Gillard and other politicians who were caught into the whirlpool of postmodern unscientific superstitions and distortions:

Doomed planet: shhsshh ... don’t talk about the science (Quadrant Online)
Recommended.

President Klaus on dictatorship of political correctness

Czech (nominally) right-wing prime minister, Mr Petr Nečas, has vetoed the candidacy of Mr Ladislav Bátora, a deeply conservative intellectual, who was expected to become a deputy education minister of the Czech Republic because Mr Bátora used to be a candidate of the nationalist National Party in some past elections. See Czech Press Agency.

President Klaus has identified this dismissal as another example of the dictatorship of political correctness in his today's op-ed in Právo (in Czech).

For you to understand the title: "the Hilsneriad" was a media campaign started in 1899 when Mr Leopold Hilsner, a poor Jew, was first accused of murder of a 19-year-old Czech woman, Ms Anežka Hrůzová. It was the most intense collection of anti-Semitic events that controlled the Czech society at the end of the 19th century. Prof Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk defended Hilsner and was humiliated - which hasn't prevented him from becoming the founding president of Czechoslovakia years later. I will explain other things that are unfamiliar to non-Czech readers inside square brackets within my translation of Klaus's text which starts right here:

A Little Czech Hilsneriad or another case of the dictatorship of political correctness

Sunday, February 27, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

MOND isn't beating dark matter

The BBC application on my iPod Touch led me to the following article:

Dark matter theory challenged by gassy galaxies result
This stuff is based on a preprint by McCaugh. This paper chooses some "gassy galaxies" which are consistent with MOND - Modified Newtonian Dynamics - while requiring a smaller number of parameters than the standard cosmological model with dark matter.

When I looked at the graphs that are claimed to contain all the support, I was terribly unimpressed. It's just some slope in a noisy graph that MOND is argued to predict pretty well - a linear curve. There are many other things, to be enumerated below, where MOND doesn't work and they contain many more details than a slope of a would-be linear function for a subclass of galaxies.

Saturday, February 26, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Freeman Dyson ultimately redirects a pushy AGW interviewer into spam folder

I took this picture at Harvard...

At the end, I decided to read the whole interview with Freeman Dyson because Sarah Kavassalis has tweeted that it was far more dramatic than she expected. ;-) I recommend you to do the same thing:

Letters to a heretic: An email conversation with climate change sceptic Professor Freeman Dyson (The Independent)
The name of the brainwashed alarmist journalist who was "interviewing" Freeman Dyson is Steve Connor (different verbs could be more accurate and some of these better verbs will be mentioned). If I put it very politely, Connor is a pushy as$höle, indeed.

At the beginning, Connor asks seven general questions of the type "what you believe about the AGW orthodoxy" to Dyson. Dyson answers and explains all of them.

Needless to say, Connor is not satisfied.

Four reasons why I like string theory (guest blog)

Guest blog by Phil Gibbs

It is exactly one year since I started this blog, so to celebrate I will give my four top reasons for liking string theory.

This is partly a response to a recent survey on Cosmic Variance which included a question about what likelihood people gave to string theory being correct. With about 170 people responding, about half of them gave string theory 10% or less, many said 1% or even 0%. Now, science isn’t settled by democratic votes especially by a random sample of commenters on one particular blog. Nevertheless it is a revealing outcome and there are plenty of other physicists who think the same. The reasons people gave were roughly along the lines of “It has not had any experimental success after a long time” or “it is unfalsifiable”. I dont agree that these are real issues but instead of talking about that I want to review why I think it is still a theory worthy of being excited about.

Friday, February 25, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

NASA: small nuclear war reverts years of global warming

 Farsi translation here...

According to National Geographic,

Small Nuclear War Could Reverse Global Warming for Years
See also New Design World and many other echoes via Google News.

NASA GISS' computer modelers (Luke Oman et al.) were trying to solve the "global warming crisis" and they found a solution: a regional nuclear war, for example between India and Pakistan, would reduce floods and cool the Earth by 1.25 °C - some places by 3-4 °C. After a decade, the temperature would still be 0.9 °C lower than before the war.



The predictions are a humble version of the nuclear winter scenario.

The Hodge-minimal Calabi-Yau three-fold

Today, I recommend you this preprint by Herr Volker Braun of Dublin:

The 24-Cell and Calabi-Yau Threefolds with Hodge Numbers (1,1)
He constructs the "simplest" six-dimensional Calabi-Yau manifold we know.

Victorious February 1948: an anniversary

Thursday, February 24, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Why Dana1981 hasn't proved climate disruption

Dana1981 is a 29-year-old Prius driver and the owner of several other alternative vehicles who has mistakingly received a bachelor degree in astrophysics and a master degree in physics, so he or she became a self-described environmental scientist who is "passionate" about the climate hysteria.

Clearly, such people shouldn't be admitted as college students because they're incapable of rational thinking. The presence of people like him dramatically cripples the intellectual atmospheres at the world's universities. Below, we will demonstrate this point in quite some detail.

In his text for Skeptical Science and Climate Progress, he crisply demonstrates why the believers in a climate threat are analogous to the Islamic fundamentalists:

How we know recent global warming is not natural
As the title indicates, Chicken Little Dana1981 is convinced that his text contains a proof of man-made global warming. Instead, it contains a few kilobytes of excretions of a brain in the middle of its decay. Dana1981 addresses the text to two people that he must believe are the only climate skeptics in the world - Richard Lindzen and Roy Spencer. The existence of the remaining 4+ billion skeptics in the world, including tens of thousands of science PhDs, is being denied.

But let's begin with the actual content...

First, Dana1981 claims that Roy Spencer's challenge

Plagiarist is Germany's most popular politician

Around 1450, Johannes Gutenberg invented movable type - at least for the Europeans - and he began to print one copy of the Bible after another.

Judith Curry vs Gavin Schmidt

Gavin Schmidt has been fighting against Judith Curry for some time (on discussion pages of Curry's blog - Part I and Part II - Real Climate, Watts' blog, and other places); see e.g. Climate Progress. The ecoterrorists have even established a special anti-Curry website which is totally incoherent but it is still a testimony how much those folks dislike her, a new heretic.

What has made various Gavin Schmidts upset was Judith Curry's endorsement of Richard Muller's statement that the hockey stick-like graphs were pieces of dishonest science. No doubt, your humble correspondent agrees with this obvious observation and it is more likely than not that you agree with it, too.

ClimateGate's Gene Wahl: I did delete the e-mails

Steve McIntyre has some interesting news about the famous May 2008 ClimateGate e-mail in which Phil Jones asks Mike to delete any mails he had with Keith (who is undergoing a minor family crisis), while Gene and Caspar will have to do the same thing.



One of those five men, Gene, is Eugene Wahl. He only became an NOAA employee a few months after the e-mails. So when the Inspector General of the Department of Commerce recently asked Wahl about his reaction to the mail, Wahl could say the truth, without any fear that he would be arrested.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Implications of 35/pb SUSY searches on best fit parameters

O. Buchmüller and 12 co-authors including John Ellis have made some new calculations within their previously used framework,

Implications of Initial LHC Searches for Supersymmetry
The so-far negative early searches by the CMS and ATLAS collaboration are incorporated into their updated best fits. Optimum parameters of several slices of the supersymmetric standard model's parameter spaces are adjusted.

m_{1/2} has to be raised to from 300 GeV or so to approximately 400 GeV in CMSSM, NUHM1, and VCMSSM, and 550 GeV in mSUGRA. m_0 may remain low, between 70 and 230 GeV. The best tan(beta) has to be raised from 8-11 to 9-16 in the three models and stays at 28 in mSUGRA. The preferred Higgs mass is near 115 GeV in the three models and 120 GeV in mSUGRA.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Beware the global warming fascists

Even mild-mannered chaps such as Johnny Ball get angry when they meet children at schools who have been brainwashed by the AGW crackpottery and who are scared of the future instead of being excited by the future - and by science. As he says, unimaginable amounts of money are effectively being poured down the drain, taking the future of millions of young people with it.

That's why he wrote a thoughtful essay about the problem of climate cranks for The Daily Mail. They gave it a friendly title,

Beware the global warming fascists: Johnny Ball on how he has been vilified for daring to question green orthodoxy
It reviews some of his TV experience with the "renewable" topics; how he dedicated his life to the promotion of science; how the "renewable energy" still doesn't add up economically; how water is clearly more important than the CO2, and even its changes don't matter much.

LIGO: no waves seen so far



The world's 700 best LIGO scientists ;-) have gathered and published new upper bounds:

Search for gravitational waves from binary black hole inspiral, merger and ringdown (PDF)
No gravitational waves have been seen so far. However, this particular analysis has de facto looked at pairs of black holes only - with masses of 25-100 solar masses - and moreover, they could only find nearly spinless binary stars which are pretty unlikely, too.

Monday, February 21, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Iranium

I recommend the U.S. and other readers who are interested in the Middle East to watch Iranium, a 60-minute movie by pro-democratic Persian folks and conservative pundits:

Full movie at YouTube
It presents a rather convincing case for the opinion that as a potential owner of the nuclear weapons, Iran represents a qualitatively graver threat than any previous country that became a nuclear power.

The story starts in the 1960s and 1970s when Iran was the most civilized country of the Muslim world. Of course, it was the time when it was governed by the king of kings, the Shah, who was leading the Persian nation to the place where it once belonged - a nation that was critical for the progress of the human civilization - the same civilization that has gradually transformed to the "Western one".

I was about 5-6 years old when Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was overthrown. At that age, I didn't really understand politics too well (as a first-grader, I bought the friendly pro-Soviet propaganda, and I only became an anti-communist dissident around the age of 8 or so haha) but I do remember that the name of Pahlavi (which sounds like "pohlaví" in Czech, a formal word for sex) and later Khomeini (a very different cup of tea) would appear on TV very frequently.

Sunday, February 20, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

LHC began its 2011 season



Spotlight on CERN has been reformatted in 2011. Aside from some not-too-shocking answers that Rolf Heuer gave the lady, Anna Cook, in the TV News Studio, two chaps show you the 15 km of service tunnels; press review; the need for kids to talk about research instead of computer games and soccer, like 100 years ago; and some cartoons.

Last night, two days before the expected beginning, the LHC collider has begun to circulate the protons. Collisions shouldn't be too far. ;-)

Iranian warships sail through Suez canal

Well before the debates whether Egypt has allowed the two ships to get through abated, Iran used the chaotic situation in the largest Arab country and sent these two friendly looking ships to Syria - around Israel:



This is Alvand, an Iranian warship with torpedoes and anti-ship missiles. 1,500 tons. It looks very similar to one of the U.S. ships I liked to visit in Boston.

Saturday, February 19, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

House votes to ban U.S. funding for the IPCC

Alarmist blog Climate Science Watch reports that the lower chamber of the U.S. Parliament has voted 244-179, largely separated by parties, to stop the U.S. contributions to the IPCC.

Dr Robert Austin of Princeton, a prolific Princeton biophysicist, was one of the key witnesses explaining how the IPCC has become an untrustworthy, politically controlled institution - much like the whole discipline of climatology. The decision may still be rejected by the U.S. Senate where 53 Democrats may beat 47 Republicans - but don't be too certain that all the Democrats are eager to do so.

Friday, February 18, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Johnny Ball: AGW crusaders liquidated 90% of my income

Johnny Ball has been a great popularizer of mathematics, especially among the British children. Even these days, at the age of 72, he can spontaneously, vigorously, and meaningfully answer any general science question from the kids:



Johnny Ball has been inconvenient to the green lobby at least since March 2009. After a global warming fatwā was issued against Johnny Ball by the climate change bigots in December 2009, when it turned out he was a climate realist, his career has been wrecked: The Telegraph, TES, The Drum, Daily Mail.

Gavin Schmidt: there's no theory that extremes should rise in general

There has been a lot of havoc in the media world about two recent papers in Nature whose authors argued that bad rainstorms are caused by humans (Min et al.) and that the British 2000 floods were caused by humans (Pall et al.).



The idea that climate extremes are supposed to get larger is one of the most omni-present manifestations of the climate doomsday religion.

This thesis contradicts pretty much all empirical data as well as theoretical analyses of the climate. The global temperature has probably increased in the last 100 years but the extremes have not. However, many AGW believers, including many of those you could otherwise count as doubters (e.g. the former Czech representative in the IPCC) love to parrot this complete pseudoscientific nonsense.

If you graph the intensity or number of hurricanes; the temperature fluctuations; the total number of extreme temperature events; or many other things that depend on "non-uniformity" and "non-constancy" of the quantities describing the atmosphere, you will see that there's been no significant global trend in either of them during the last 100 years or so.

All those graphs are noisy - unlike the temperature (following a pink noise curve), all these graphs resemble white noise (because there's no reason to think that e.g. the annual or monthly amount of precipitation should be a continuous function). But the "signal" never exceeds the "noise" in a statistically significant way.

Thursday, February 17, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Are pathological mathematical structures important in physics?

Javier was intrigued by the following preprint:

Quantum D-branes and exotic smooth R4
The authors argue that strings or D-branes may propagate on backgrounds that are homeomorphic to R^4 but not diffeomorphic to R^4 - some four-dimensional space with an inequivalent "smoothness" structure. It's an interesting concept but I don't understand the paper.



A forefinger of a person whose DNA program has mutated to include an infinite loop. Governments use the same arm when they offer a hand to the individual citizens.

I haven't changed my opinions about most of the "key philosophical questions" during the last 20 years (and, in many cases, 30 years) but the relevance of seemingly pathological mathematical structures for physics is an aspect where a gradual transformation of my opinions has become undeniable.

Discontinuous and pathological structures

Supersymmetry from the top down

Michael Dine (with Motl number one haha) has posted his TASI 2010 lectures on the theorist's approach to the phenomenology of supersymmetry:

Supersymmetry from the top down (PDF)
Dine reviews positive aspects of SUSY, its breaking, and its realization within string theory, as well as reasons for skepticism.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Herschel: old stars needed less dark matter

If you would like to get rid of dark matter, the European infrared space telescope, Herschel, has some good news for you.



Three theoretical pictures of the redshift z~2 Universe (10.7 billion years ago): a) continuous dark matter distribution, b) simplified view of the halo model, c) most efficient sites to ignite stars. Click to zoom in.

By looking at those distant places, folks using the Herschel data - Alexandre Amblard and dozens of collaborators - concluded that the concentration of 0.3 trillion solar masses (an old galaxy) is enough to start ignition of stars. That strongly differs from the "consensus orthodoxy" that estimated the lower bound to be 5 trillion solar masses.

CERN chooses Hewlett-Packard for networking



According to Business Wire,

HP Boosts Performance of CERN Network
Products and services of Hewlett-Packard were chosen by the CERN network team to deal, among other things, with the 15 million gigabytes of data that the LHC needs to share, store, and analyze every year.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Japan: we wasted ¥6.55 trillion for 214 failed AGW projects

Today, we learned that based on the 2010 GDP figures, China overtook Japan as the world's second largest economy.



It may be pretty unlikely for Japan to return to its place because the current mess in the land of the rising Sun seems pretty remarkable. Japan Times just announced the results of an official government audit:

Trillions for biomass projects fruitless
Their 214 biomass projects, motivated purely by the global warming hysteria and funded in the recent six years, have led to no results. The cost was ¥6.55 trillion i.e. about $80 billion. That's like the GDP of the whole Czech Republic for 4 months. It's gone ;-)

Nerdy girls need love too

Amy Lee Radigan (British Columbia) has recorded a song that became a kind of hit.



160,000 views in three weeks is not bad. Sheldon Cooper and sonic screwdriver are among the guys she has a crush on. ;-)

The Nazi father of global warming apocalypse

We often think about environmentalism as a left-wing ideology. However, the mass-organized environmentalism can only be invariantly identified as a totalitarian ideology; whether it is left-wing or right-wing is somewhat flexible.

In the article The Roots of Environmentalism, I have discussed some aspects of the environmentalist obsession of the German Nazis. An hour ago, Ron de Haan just posted a link to a fascinating article by Mark Musser written for the American Thinker,

The Nazi Origins of Apocalyptic Global Warming Theory
The first book that defended the idea of a catastrophe caused by carbon dioxide was written by Günther Schwab, an Austrian Nazi and environmentalist.

Monday, February 14, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Korea: heaviest snowfall on record

This blog entry is the 4,000th text on this blog.

In March 2000, scientists at The Independent proved that there would never be any snow again:

Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past
Researchers from world-renowned places such as the University of East Anglia - this one became even more renowned a few years later :-) - confirmed that "snow is starting to disappear from our lives," much like sledges, snowmen, and snowballs.

Another proof they used were the first two months of the year 2000 that didn't bring much snow to the U.K. It followed that the snow wouldn't return, the exceptional thinkers concluded.

Ten years later, the 2000 article has gone viral so that The Independent published another article in January 2011, Don't believe the hype over climate headlines, in which Steve Connor claims that The Independent only wrote rubbish in the headline in order to attract readers. Well, the author forgot to mention that the body of the text was also composed out of rubbish, much like 99% of what his newspaper has ever written about the climate.



Not just the "contrarians", as the sane people are called by the author, but everyone knows that after a series of intense winters in Europe, the U.K., and America, the message has become that the snow is actually caused by global warming, together with warmcold winters and coldwarm winters - as well as Januaries whose UAH temperature anomaly is 0.00 °C, e.g. January 2011.

And the snow will be caused by global climate change until the weather changes again. Then the scientific consensus of the leading scientists who haven't managed to be jailed in a psychiatric asylum yet will make another uniform U-turn: the snow will permanently disappear again. ;-)

Fritz Zwicky: a birthday

Fritz Zwicky, a top 20th century astronomer, was born on February 14th, 1898 - on Valentine's Day 113 years ago.

He was actually born in Varna, Bulgaria - a city where I spent two weeks when I was approximately 6 years old. I lived in a concrete block that was identical to another concrete block a lattice spacing away. So when we were returning home on a sunny day, we picked the right building, the right elevator, the right floor - but it ended up being a wrong apartment because it was a lattice spacing away from the right one. ;-)

Fritz Zwicky was more lucky when it came to buildings. His father, Fridolin Zwicky, was a prominent Swiss capitalist in Varna. You know that Zwicky is going to spend his life in the U.S. and Bulgaria and Switzerland are not enough to reflect the genuine national diversity of Zwicky's background. So let me add that the father, Fridolin Zwicky, was also an ambassador of Norway in Varna. On the other hand, Zwicky's mother, Františka Vrček, was Czech.

How does an average French woman look like?

A topic for Valentine's Day.

Did you ever want to know how the/an average German woman or the/an average black American woman looks like? Those questions have already been calculated by Face Research. Here is a couple of nations:



Here are the averages for 46 nations. You may also create your own averages, including those involving your photograph.

NYT: Skeptical playwright much better than the worriers

On Friday, Jeremy Lovell of ClimateWire wrote the following article for the New York Times:

Climate Change Skeptics Out-Dramatize Believers in London
During the last month, two plays hit the stages of London theaters: "Greenland" was created by a committee of four worriers (using the words of The Independent) while "The Heretic", written by the playwright Richard Bean, presented the skeptical viewpoint.



Scientic pragmatism and rap dialogue: Juliet Stevenson as Dr Diane Cassell and Johnny Flynn as student Ben in The Heretic at the Royal Court. Photograph: Tristram Kenton for the Guardian

The New York Times actually chose the skeptical play to be a clear winner. While "Greenland" is described as a naive propaganda that licks the buttocks of the environmental establishment so thoroughly that even the most hardcore alarmists feel the need to vomit while watching the play (they didn't use exactly the same words, but they meant the same thing), "The Heretic" is a deep psychological probe into the life of an honest geodynamics lecturer Diane Cassell who is a "scientist and therefore doesn't believe in anything" and who becomes increasingly ostracized by her less ethical colleagues for claiming the obvious, namely that there's no proof of man-made climate change.

Sunday, February 13, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

ATLAS: gluino mass not below 700 GeV if equal to squark masses

In December 2010, the CMS collaboration at the LHC released its bounds on supersymmetry:

SUSY: CMS exclusion limits way beyond Tevatron but lower than expected
The ATLAS collaboration is larger than the CMS so we shouldn't be surprised that it may take a longer time for them to collect signatures of all the members (whose names occupy most of the paper).



Assembly and installation of the ATLAS Hadronic endcap Liquid Argon Calorimeter. The ATLAS detector contains a series of ever-larger concentric cylinders around the central interaction point where the LHC's proton beams collide. (Roy Langstaff, © CERN)

It's here. The ATLAS collaboration has evaluated the very same integrated luminosity as the CMS did - 35 inverse picobarns (they must have an agreement to correlate those things) and the result of their work is here:
Search for supersymmetry using final states with one lepton, jets, and missing transverse momentum with the ATLAS detector in √s = 7 TeV pp collisions (full text PDF, abstract, arXiv)
They declare that they have improved the limits by CDF, D0, as well as the recent limits set by their LHC colleagues in the CMS collaboration. ;-)

For a vanishing cubic coupling A_0, positive mu, and tan(beta)=3, and assuming mSUGRA with squark and gluino masses set equal, the upper 95% confidence level limit on the gluino masses is 700 GeV.

Friday, February 11, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Google celebrates the light bulb

The main Google web page shows the following animated GIF image:



Thomas Alva Edison was born 164 years ago. Congratulations to his fans! He had his main lab in Menlo Park, New Jersey - a place that all people who have commuted from Rutgers to New York (e.g. your humble correspondent) know under the funny name "Edison, New Jersey" these days. But I actually remember having done lots of shopping in the Menlo Park Mall. Google Maps suggest that I was biking for 10+ miles there plus 10+ miles back. Wow, now I have about 5 malls and comparable supermarkets less than 0.5 mile from our building. ;-)

In the doodle logo, the letter "L" of Google is represented by the mostly banned light bulb. In progressive countries, it has become mandatory to replace it either with fluorescent lights based on mercury or LED lights that contain one order of magnitude more lead and arsenic than what is allowed - see a new study.

In denial: climate on the couch

Last night at 9 p.m., the BBC Radio 4 broadcast another 30-minute program about the psychology of deniers:

In denial: climate on the couch (audio, HTML)
I happen to be able to listen to it from the Czech Republic so it should work for you, too. They reveal that the climate activists are among the people who enjoy vacations in genuinely long-haul destinations. ;-)



And they ask why people in general don't feel that they should do anything about "the problem" even though the "scientists" are telling us that the Earth is facing a catastrophe.

I agree with Samizdata.net that "No Pressure" videos with detonating skeptical children are not the main issue here. The main issue is that people have understood that the message is simply not true. That's why climate alarmism is such a downer in any conversation, as they say. You can't sell the "product" by improving the "packaging": the problem is the product itself, not the packaging.

The Benefactor Factor

The Big Bang Theory is always a lot of intelligent fun but the newest episode 04x15, The Benefactor Factor, was also addressing a serious topic, namely the funding of science.

The president of the university met the boys in the cafeteria and he told them about a fundraising party. Sheldon reacted in a way that explains why I identify with him so much: he won't be affected by down-to-Earth drivers such as finances in his quest to see the face of God.



So only the three boys went to the fancy party. When they met an arrogant but powerful woman, Howard had to disappear after she attacked him for his not being a doctor; Leonard began to stutter about a coffee machine; and Rajesh who can't speak to women had to escape, too. The lady later revealed that she enjoys giving a hard time to smart people - one of the things that wealthy bitches such as herself enjoy to do. Very true.

Thursday, February 10, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

The enigmatic cosmological constant

The cosmological constant remains one of the most mysterious players in the current picture of the world.



A building of the Faculty of Natural Sciences of the Charles University in Albertov. In those buildings, where the Velvet Revolution began on November 17th, 1989, Einstein spent a few years but he (and Mileva) didn't like Prague much. Just to be sure, the place had been called Albertov well before Einstein came there: it's named after Prof Eduard Albert MD (1841-1900), a Czech surgeon and poet.

In 1915, after a decade of intellectual self-torture in Prague and elsewhere, Einstein managed to write down the final form of Einstein's equations:



They're pretty. Please imagine that there is a minus sign in front of "8.pi". The convention above is bad.

When I was 15, I would write them about 50 times in my notebooks, in beautiful fonts. ;-) Both sides describe 4 x 5 / 2 x 1 = 10 functions of space and time - a symmetric tensor field. The left-hand side is the "Einstein tensor", describing some information about the curvature of the spacetime. (The term "R_{mu nu}" itself is called the Ricci tensor.) The right-hand side is proportional to the stress-energy tensor "T_{mu nu}". It encodes the density and flux of mass/energy and momentum - which are the sources of the spacetime curvature.

Prince Charles on corrosive skepticism

Benny Peiser has sent us six interesting articles today:

  1. Prince Charles on corrosive skepticism: according to the British queen's eldest son, skepticism is corrosive for the society. The heir apparent was quickly criticized for contaminating his royal reputation.
  2. Fuel poverty in Wales leads to many other problems.
  3. World Bank: Stern report is rubbish: a new publication by the World Bank concludes that "the hypothesized damages quoted by Lord Stern are completely inconsistent with empirical evidence."
  4. WSJ: Weather is not getting weirder. But we need the resources to be ready for extreme weather, regardless of the causes.
  5. House leaders plan to liberate NASA from AGW junk: top representatives want NASA to be redirected back to the noble celestial goals from the recent terrestrial junk that has polluted the organization.
  6. Europe will see a negligible impact of climate change: a new report.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Congress: 35+36 climate scientists clarify misconceptions by 18 climate bullies

A week ago, a radical group of 18 climate bullies has tried to scare the U.S. Congress:

Eighteen hardcore AGW alarmists threaten U.S. Congress
Michael Mann, Kevin Trenberth, Ben Santer, and 15 additional combative climate crackpots have argued that the doomsday is imminent and they denied the very existence of climate skeptics. The representatives shouldn't listen to any skeptical voices because they don't exist. There's a consensus, you know, and the failure of the U.S. Congress to act would mean to destroy the world.

So I guess that their spectacularly high number of 18 bullies can't be beaten by anyone, can it? Who would dare to disagree with Ben Santer who plans to "beat the crap out of Patrick Michaels" during their next conference?

Today, a group of 35 genuine U.S. climate scientists from well-known U.S. climatological scholarly institutions and 36 additional researchers in related fields has responded to the letter by the 18 AGW jihadists. This larger group has informed the politicians about another consensus, a consensus among the scientists who haven't lost their mind.

Do you think inflation probably happened? A poll

Sean Carroll asked his readers to quantify their confidence that various physical explanations or theories are right.



The TRF readers don't have to be explained that polls don't mean anything in science, and I actually expect most of the answers to be bogus.

With all my immense respect to the body of all readers, I would expect the average percentages to be bogus even among the readers of this blog who are exceptionally educated and well-informed.

Nevertheless, the entries to be rated are:

  1. Cosmic inflation
  2. Supersymmetry
  3. String theory
  4. Higgs boson of any type
  5. Large extra dimensions
  6. WIMP dark matter
  7. Explanations of accelerated expansion not based on the cosmological constant

Why is the Wigner-Eckart theorem useful?

...and other questions...

The Wigner-Eckart Theorem

Wikipedia on the theorem
is a formula that tells us about all "simple constraints" that group theory - the mathematical incarnation of the wisdom about symmetries, especially in the SO(3) ≈ SU(2) case (rotations in a three-dimensional space) - implies about matrix elements of tensor operators - those that transform as some representation of the same symmetry.

Monday, February 07, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Poland, EU are joining the shale gas revolution

Shale gas is natural gas (NG) produced from shale i.e. from finely grained sedimentary rock composed of mud, flakes, and fragments of minerals.



Czech readers may want to know that "shale gas" is "plyn z břidlic", something we don't usually talk about. ;-)

Benny Peiser has distributed links to a couple of articles showing that the EU is getting serious about shale gas - which has been increasingly important in the U.S. from 2000 or so.

EU countries promote risky gas drilling (Spiegel)

Oil has joined the past: NG is the future (Business Insider)

LNG Energy joins Polish shale gas project (press release)
I added the last link because it's very fresh. For CO2-obsessed people, natural gas produces about 20% less CO2 per kWh than oil and about 40% less than coal. Clearly, not so much difference for a CO2 fundamentalist. ;-)

Sunday, February 06, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Magnetic pole: motion sped up by 800 percent

The North Magnetic Pole is the place on Earth where the magnetic field has a vertical direction.

This place doesn't coincide with the Geographic North Pole, linked to the axis of the Earth's spin. Because the Earth doesn't carry any significant electric charge, there's no God-given law that the two types of poles have to coincide. And in fact, the relative orientation is changing with time.



Salem News posted a worried article titled

Magnetic Polar Shifts Causing Massive Global Superstorms
in which it is claimed that the motion of the North Magnetic Pole towards Russia sped up from 8 km per year to 60 km per year in recent years (from 1989 or so) and that storms similar to the (technical) Category 6 cyclone Yasi may flood the whole Earth because of the looming or ongoing reversal, bringing us 500 km/h winds all over the world. Nice. ;-)

Saturday, February 05, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Tamino's challenge to Roy Spencer: answer

Roy Spencer has addressed the following simple challenge to the climate research community:

Show me one peer-reviewed paper that has ruled out natural, internal climate cycles as the cause of most of the recent warming in the thermometer record.
Of course, I don't know of any such paper. As long as the hundreds of papers I have seen are good representatives, there is no solid evidence in literature that would exclude natural behavior as the cause of most of the recently observed temperature changes.

However, I have a solution to a seemingly similar problem. Grant Tamino Foster has posted the following challenge to Dr Roy Spencer:
Show me one peer-reviewed paper that has ruled out leprechauns [see the picture] as the cause of most of the recent warming in the thermometer record.
Well, that's very easy. Everyone with a basic knowledge of climate science knows that this was shown in the following paper:
The global atmospheric electric circuit, solar activity and climate change (PDF)
by M.J. Rycroft, S. Israelsson, and C. Price. The paper was published in Elsevier's Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics 62 (2000) and has over 120 citations right now.

Friday, February 04, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

EU 2020 climate targets: $3.9 trillion

A few years ago, when this blog was getting started, there was a counter in the sidebar that was copied from (and created by) Steve Milloy's JunkScience.COM.

It was showing the nanodegrees Celsius that the carbon regulation managed to subtract from the global mean temperature - 0.07 °C per 50 years - and the cost of this policy which used to be referred to as the Kyoto protocol. The counter was based on the figure $150 billion per year - these were claimed to be the global expenses.



Steve Milloy would be attacked as a denier from the left and left. Carbon regulation couldn't have been that expensive, the fearmongers would scream. Well, times have changed. According to Business Green (link via Benny Peiser),

Europe must invest €2.9tn to meet 2020 emissions goal (other sources)
the EU commitments to reduce the carbonization of the economy before the year 2020 will cost a staggering €2.9 trillion which is $3.9 trillion.

That's the result of a study, Carbon Capital (PDF), by Accenture and Barclays Capital. The figure is $390 billion per year - it's more than twice the Milloy's "denier" value, and it's only the European Union which only represents 1/7 of the world's CO2 emissions.

Kepler: 1% of stars have visible planets

The Kepler mission (NASA) has released several preprints but the most interesting one seems to be

Characteristics of planetary candidates observed by Kepler, II: Analysis of the first four months of data
During four months in 2009 (May-September), they analyzed 156,453 stars and found that 997 of them - almost one percent - had visible planets. 2/3 of them are Neptun-sized, 2/7 of them are super-Earth-sized, 1/6 of them are Jupiter-sized, and 1/15 are Earth-sized. Of course, there could be a bias towards the bigger ones because some small ones could have remained undetected.



In the list, one may essentially find dozens of planets in the habitable zone - with a temperature similar to that of your apartment. Roughly five of them have sizes comparable to that of the Earth, too.

Thursday, February 03, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Do the causes of temperature changes matter?

A key part of the climate panic methodology is to take the data and numbers out of their proper context. This procedure is being systematically applied to all quantities describing the atmosphere, all climatic phenomena, all weather events, as well as their real or hypothetical impacts.

But I will choose to discuss the most important one, the importance of particular temperature changes.



Can temperature be consistently broken to a piece that is important for decisions and a piece that is not?

During the last 100 years, the temperature changed by something like 0.6 °C. Is that much? Well, the world hasn't noticed. This temperature change is

  • smaller than the range in which the temperature of the human body is naturally moving - and be sure that warm-blooded animals like us and birds use sophisticated mechanisms to keep the temperature this constant - otherwise the variations would be much higher (for cold-blooded animals, the oscillations are much higher)
  • smaller than the temperature accuracy that most of us may "feel" in a room
  • a small fraction of the temperature difference between night and the early afternoon at a given place
  • equivalent to the warming we experience if we move to a lower altitude, by 100 meters
  • equivalent to the warming induced by moving 100 km towards the equator
  • equivalent to the one-week seasonal warming in the Spring or cooling in the Fall at a fixed place
  • equivalent to the change of the global mean temperature resulting from a transition from La Nina to El Nino
  • equivalent to the cooling induced by a large volcano eruption such as 1991 Mt Pinatubo
  • equivalent to 5-10 percent of the temperature difference between interglacials and ice ages
  • smaller than the typical difference between the average monthly temperature at a given place during January YYYY and January YYYY+1
  • equal to the difference between the global mean temperature in January 2010 (warmer) and January 2011 (cooler)
  • 2 percent of the total warming induced by the greenhouse effect on Earth
Any sensible comparison shows that regardless of the cause, the temperature trend we have been observing in the instrumental era is totally negligible. Nevertheless, some people - especially the people inclined to be infected with the climate panic - often suggest that we shouldn't compare temperature changes caused by different things.

Oh, really? Should we apply double standards here? Why?

Global UAH AMSU: January 2011 cooler than normal

Dr Roy Spencer has released the January 2011 reading of their UAH AMSU global temperature. Ladies and Gentlemen, the anomaly is

Delta T = -0.009 °C.
Imagine that you're a global warming alarmist who has been working on the climate apocalypse for decades.

You have been talking about constantly growing temperatures, even though you knew that the temperatures only grow approximately 50% of the time; you have been editing, adjusting, splicing, and cherry-picking graphs; you have been inventing all kinds of catastrophes that follow from this non-existent constant growth of temperatures even though you knew that none of them would be taking place even if the temperatures were rising uniformly; you have been attacking everyone who knows some science or who has at least some common sense of integrity left.



You must know, not too dear global warming alarmist, that you are an immoral person.

And you have also assumed that Nature was obliged to obey your particular provincial mutation of the Marxist orthodoxy because Nature is the last one who should play any role in your grand plans. Except that all the work that you have accumulated led to a vanishing outcome: relatively to other Januaries in the recent 30+ years, Nature is actually cooler than the average. Nature doesn't give a damn about your lies, not so dear alarmist hippie, and it actually thinks that you are a pathetic jerk.

Liberal parents believe the autism-vaccination link

Paul Nurse, the boss of the Royal Society, recently compared climate skeptics to the people who reject modern medicine, or those who doubt the relationship between HIV and AIDS, and who prefer alternative medicine instead.



I have always thought that this analogy is mostly upside down. Modern medicine is primarily rejected by the people who don't really like or trust applied science and technology, i.e. those who are Luddites who love to romanticize the "life in Nature" that existed before people began to develop their civilization. Those folks are inevitably close to the environmental and other left-wing sentiments.

A particularly explicit example of the distrust in modern medicine is the belief that vaccination causes autism - a claim based on some silly study involving 12 people and a claim that doesn't seem to offer any sensible mechanism to explain the causation. Some pundits superficially suggest that it's the right-wing nutjobs and conservative Christians who believe such things. However, it turns out that it's mostly the liberals, parents who want to educate politically correct children.

There are two main reasons why they're mostly liberals: one of them is the distrust in the modern technology, as described in the previous paragraph. Another one is the left-wing belief that key characteristics of human beings - such as their autistic character or intelligence - are results of the social pressures and various events in their lives rather than innate properties.

Bill Zajc has sent me a link to a very realistic interview with Seth Mnookin (the author of a new book linked on the left) in the Science Magazine:

Why the 'Prius Driving, Composting' Set Fears Vaccines
Mnookin says, and explains why, the refusal to vaccinate their children is concentrated in regions where the Goode families live, drive their Priuses, and do their shopping in Whole Foods. It makes a lot of sense. Of course, the correlation is not 100% but it is pretty high and it goes in the opposite direction than some ad hominem attacks against the "unscientific rightwingers" like to claim.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Cella Energy hydrogen beads: gasoline for $1.50 per gallon

Cella Energy claims to be close to the construction of a new fuel that would be compatible with your car: it could literally replace ordinary gasoline, they claim.

Giz Mag, Google News
However, this new fuel would be made out of micron-sized nanotechnological beads - hydrides stored in small porous polymers. It would be cheaper than the regular gasoline - relatively to the prices in Central Europe, it would be 4 times cheaper.

Mystery of Mona Lisa's intelligent smile unmasked

AFP and many others have just announced the newly discovered answer to the old and well-known question:

Where does the mysterious intelligence residing in Mona Lisa's smile come from?
Thousands of women have been painted but none of them comes so many standard deviation from the average. Where did her special smile originate?

The answer by Silvano Vinceti, the boss of Italian national heritage committee, is as simple as ingenious answers often like to be: Mona Lisa was actually a man. ;-) It's not hard to see that Vinceti is almost certainly right:



This is Salai as John the Baptist. Salai was a nickname of gay Leonardo da Vinci's gay lover, Gian Giacomo Caprotti.

China working on thorium reactors

Ordinary nuclear power plants use uranium, Z=92, as their fuel.

Nuclear fission has done and is doing a great service to the mankind. However, the uranium still has several disadvantages. The waste products remain radioactive for thousands of years. And the world's reserves of uranium are only enough to cover less than a century of the mankind's energy consumption.



Thorite

Thorium, Z=90, avoids both of these problems and a few others. China has started a new program to develop a molten salt reactor based on thorium:

Brand new nuclear programme within 20 years (Register)

Google News
Note that the thorium reserves are enough to cover something like 8,000 years of the energy needs of the mankind. Moreover, the waste products' half-lifetimes are mostly below 50 years so they don't have to be stored for insanely long periods of time. In particular, plutonium and long-lived minor actinides are almost totally avoided.

Stabilized heterotic Calabi-Yau shapes

Lara Anderson, an expert in Japanese martial arts and an ex-Rhodes scholar, and three collaborators - James Gray, Andres Lukas, and Burt Ovrut - have released a very interesting preprint called

Stabilizing All Geometric Moduli in Heterotic Calabi-Yau Vacua
Your humble correspondent belongs among the heterotic partisans. I think that the heterotic string producing a supersymmetric GUT-based extension of the Standard Model remains the most well-motivated scenario how string theory contains the world around us - even though some other, more contemporary scenarios came pretty close to it.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Eighteen hardcore AGW alarmists threaten U.S. Congress

How many climate alarmists are there among the U.S. climate scientists? If you count those who are ready to chastise the members of the U.S. Congress, the answer turns out to be eighteen. The Hill brings us the full text of their letter:

Scientists ask Congress to put aside politics and take 'fresh look' at climate data
The word "deniers" only appears thrice in the letter. Michael Mann, Kevin Trenberth, Ben Santer, and 15 of their "peers" need this word in order to demand that the representatives deny the existence of climate skeptics.

IPv4 addresses are gone: cap and trade

The transition to IPv6 will produce glitches: no need to hurry

The IPv4 addresses began to be distributed approximately 40 years ago. Today, they're essentially gone.

This incumbent arrangement to identify the computers on the network by a sequence of 4 bytes (usually written as four.integers.below.256) may distinguish about 256^4=16^8=2^32 i.e. over 4 billion hosts which would be considered a large number of computers in the 1970s. Well, it's not too large today: in fact, it's smaller than the world population.

As recently as yesterday, the global Internet had 7/256 (fraction) of the IP addresses available. However, as expected, the Asian distributor of the IP addresses received 2/256 (fraction) of addresses from the global distributor today. This means that only 5/256 (fraction) of addresses were remaining. And there's a rule that once this happens, each continental supervisor receives one of the five remaining ones. In other words, the IP addresses have been depleted at the continental level.