Thursday, March 31, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Herr Schellnhuber has a master plan

First, a technical intermezzo: check 5 new ways to view this blog: flipcard, mosaic, sidebar, snapshot, timeslide...

Pierre Goselin is discussing a remarkable interview with the top German climate ideologue in Spiegel:

We Are Looting the Past and Future to Feed the Present (English)
Joachim Schellnhuber, a doomsday crackpot who calls himself a physicist (the inflation in using this term has been significant), starts with the assertion that nuclear power plants should be ready for infinitely strong earthquakes and economics and economy shouldn't play any role because they're "crazy logics".

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

A library in Prague: 40 gigapixels

In May 2009, I declared a contest based on a 1.5 gigapixel photograph of the Obama inauguration. In December 2009, TRF mentioned the world's largest spherical panoramic photograph: its 18 gigapixels were collected on the Prague TV tower.

Click the 0.00012 gigapixel picture to zoom in and to obtain a 0.0013 gigapixel image.

The progress hasn't stopped. The world's largest indoor photograph has 40 gigapixels and you may guess the the city where it was taken: well, it's Prague once again. As the WSJ blogs and others figured out, it's a photograph of the Library of the Strahov Monastery (early 18th century) by Jeffrey Martin.

Shimon Peres visits LHC

Haaretz, an Israeli left-wing daily, informs about the visit of Israeli President Shimon Peres to CERN.

Shimon Peres is talking to Fabiola Gianotti, the ATLAS experiment's head, and is observed by CERN director general Rolf Heuer. Amusingly enough, the official caption by Haaretz (or CERN) says: "Shimon Peres talking with CERN Director general Rolf Heuer at the particle accelerator in Geneva Tuesday." Can you spot the difference? :-) Well, yes, I would agree that in this case, she was discriminated against (by the left-wing sexist pigs). By the way, I think that the reason why Gianotti was omitted is that she has no male suit. Despite their obsession with clothes, women haven't managed to invent a counterpart of the male suit that would make them look uniformly serious. Shouldn't Gianotti just borrow a suit from a man?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

The Jewish Community of Prague

I have just returned from the Jewish Community Prague where I gave a talk show, or participated in a discussion with the members. It was a pleasant experience. The audience had a genuine interest in physics or at least philosophy etc.

And I was happily surprised that the community was de facto a living organism.

Although the kind host has mostly prepared me for a uniform community of 100-year-old holocaust survivors born in the era of Austria-Hungary (the monarchy), the audience included people from many generations. A young man wanted to deny my entry, but he quickly changed his mind when I explained to him who I was and what was going on.

There were attractive girls over there, too. ;-) And it was good to meet one perfectionist instructor from my Alma Mater.

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

2011 MIT feminist women's status report

The Daily Beast has pointed out that after a decade, an MIT committee has released a brand new report on the status of women at the technological institute:

A Report on the Status of Women Faculty in the Schools of Science and Engineering at MIT, 2011
The key person behind similar documents at the MIT is Nancy Hopkins, an MIT biologist and the main assassin of Lawrence Summers as the Harvard president. In January 2005, when Lawrence Summers began to explain how his twin daughters played with the daddy truck and the baby truck, she was going to commit the most important achievement of her life.

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

Dan Gardner: Future Babble

Dan Gardner's latest book, Future Babble, was just released in the U.S.: click to buy via

It's a whole book about the self-described experts who predict the future and who are almost always wrong - and about the irrationalities and biases that allow these "experts" to maintain their self-confidence and influence despite their repeated mistakes.

The author divides the experts to "hedgehogs" and "foxes": the former always feel absolutely certain and they love to present their predictions in an unambiguous way; the latter partially realize the complexity of the questions but their predictions are found boring by the public. Consequently, the hedgehogs are always wrong while the foxes are just almost always wrong but the hedgehogs, because of their higher attractiveness, have a greater impact on the mankind. ;-)

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

Hide the decline II: 1400-1550 covered up

Steve McIntyre managed to uncover a piece of scientific forgery that looks even more serious than the original "hide the decline" trick:

Hide the Decline: Sciencemag #3
The summary of the story is very simple. The Briffa-Osborn 1999 reconstruction of the climate depended on a variable called "yrmxd" in a computer code. You can set it to any year and the program will cover up the whole history of your proxies before the year "yrmxd". The variable was set to 1550 instead of the correct 1402 and the result looked like this:

Click to zoom in.

Buzz Aldrin dumped the LHC beam

If you continuously watch the LHC status, you must have noticed that on March 1st, 2011, a beam was dumped at some point. Why did it happen?

Well, it happened because they told the second man on the Moon, climate skeptic Buzz Aldrin, to press the red button, and he did so. ;-) Here a few words he said about the future of science:

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

Human Achievement Hour 2011

North Korea traditionally prefers the "Earth Hour" over the "Human Achievement Hour".

On Saturday, 26th of March, 2011, the civilized people of the world who won't forget will celebrate

Human Achievement Hour 2011
between 8:30 pm and 9:30 pm local time. The Reference Frame also encourages the people to turn on their lights and most of the electric devices, and temporarily increase the consumption of electricity by an order of magnitude. Just to be sure, it will only cost you much less than a dollar - but it can make a difference.

Michael Green: math classes are boring

Can and should maths and physics be made much more appealing for schoolkids?

According to the Telegraph, Lucasian professor of mathematics in Cambridge, string theorist Michael Green, has agreed with Barbie (who was silenced by obnoxious feminists in 1992):

Children bored by 'tedious' maths lessons
Well, I am somewhat less certain about the problems he has identified and about the proposed solutions.

Green's idea - shared by many others - is that the math education at schools degenerates into "drudgery" and "boredom" which is why pretty much everyone, especially the girls, want to bid farewall to the exact sciences. Permanently.

Spotlight on CERN

Prof Michal Spiro is the boss of CERN Council. We learn how the CERN is becoming a global organization. Two chaps are warning the viewers from shaking a hand of an antiperson. They're right despite their unconvincing T-shirts: one of them says "2+2=5" while the other translates "resistance is futile" to an inequality in Ohms.

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

Václav Havel, the film director

Václav Havel (74), a playwright, a famous Czech dissident, and a former president of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic, has become a film director, too.

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

Australian carbon tax

Australian prime minister Ms Julia Gillard suffers from a Messiah complex. She decided to impose an insane carbon tax on the economy of the most compact continent. Fortunately, today, she suffered a serious setback when the PC turned against her.

About 3,000 nice but alarmed protesters against the carbon tax used a more decent language than the language used by Ms Gillard against them.

You could be shocked by the statement because she has enough political correctness to flood the Solar System.

But don't get me wrong: the PC is the Productivity Commission, an independent Australian body that has some capacity to influence decisions that affect Australia's competitiveness. Surprisingly for Gillard, the PC realized that the carbon tax is a masochist if not suicidal policy and reports written by hired guns and attempting to claim otherwise are bogus.

Monbiot vs McKibben: nuclear civil war inside the green movement

 Andrew Revkin has noticed the diametrically opposite conclusions extracted from the recent events in Fukushima. He is comparing two opinions in the Guardian:

Japan's horror reveals how thin is the edge we live on by Bill McKibben

Why Fukushima made me stop worrying and love nuclear power by George Monbiot
The difference between the two opinions of the two environmentalists - who are approximately as famous as they are infamous - couldn't be more striking. Note that Bill McKibben has founded the movement worshiping the number 350, among many other similar idiotic concepts.

To be sure, comparable differences in the opinion about the nuclear energy exist between climate realists, too. Yes, I do realize that many TRF readers oppose nuclear energy. However, the pro-nuclear vs anti-nuclear tension is simply not that important between the climate realists because all of us know that we ultimately have one key realistic energy "alternative" - it's called the fossil fuels.

Mr Jan Zahradil, a new boss of European conservative MEPs

Two weeks ago, Mr Jan Zahradil, a trained Czech researcher in chemistry who has studied water technologies, was elected the new boss of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, a right-wing faction of the European Parliament comprising 55 deputies including the British Tories.

After the Velvet Revolution, he became a politician and has been an adviser to Dr Václav Klaus, aside from other jobs. He's been a member of the European Parliament for years. A few weeks ago, Zahradil added your humble correspondent among the Facebook friends and I agreed. ;-)

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

Little Czech commie mole becomes a NASA astronaut

Krtek a raketa

The Mole and a Rocket, 1965

Czechoslovakia became the 3rd country in the world - after the Soviet Union and the U.S. - that has sent its citizen to the outer space.

Mr Vladimír Remek joined the crew with Mr Alexei Gubarev of Russia in the late 1970s. Clearly, our politically correct, half-Czech, half-Slovak comrade was chosen because of the unusually authentic friendship between the Soviets and (some of) the Czechoslovaks and because of our relative technological prowess (recall also the Czechoslovak pilots who fought in Britain during the war).

Skeptics, TRF stigmatized in a PSU course

The left-wing indoctrination that has overtaken a significant portion of the Western college education is often being discussed but every new example of this phenomenon disappoints us again. It's really bad.

Penn State University is the place that openly harbors the father of the infamous hockey stick graph. And you bet that it's not just one defective researcher who happens to be employed by a random school: the whole atmosphere at that college has been rebuilt to match Michael Mann.

Let me tell you an example. There is a 2-credit course over there, ENGR 408, The Leadership Principles (for engineers). Instructor Richard Schuhmann (Google Scholar: extremely weak!) is teaching it. A group of five students was assigned a task to answer a couple of "fundamental questions" about the global warming controversy.

Did the Supermoon cause the Japanese earthquake?

Yesterday, during a fun trip to Northern Bohemia, I was also exposed to the kind of science that is hot among those who are not exactly physicists. What's shaking? Here it is:

Last Saturday, i.e. three days ago, we experienced the best Supermoon in 18 years. I hadn't heard about this particular "breaking news" from the world of science but I should have. Google News offers about 3,000 stories about the Supermoon event. It's almost 1/3 of the number of stories that mention "global warming" - a pretty big deal.

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

Fukushima crisis is over

The electric utility company managed to connect all six reactors in Fukushima to the grid, so they may cool the reactors under business as usual. The crisis is clearly over. Bombing of the power plant by concrete, as proposed by Michio Kaku, wasn't really needed.

I don't claim that such a step would be unimaginable; under certain circumstances, it could even be the best solution. However, the idea that it was needed was an artifact of the hysteria in the media rather than a sane appraisal of the options. As I predicted, the power lines were connected within a day or two and they helped to eliminate the crisis almost immediately.

I say it despite the fact that the radiation in Tokyo has increased from 17 CPM to something slightly above 20 CPM as the winds became less favorable for Tokyo. Some food could have been contaminated - Japanese readers are strongly advised to buy imported food for some time - but the negative trend of the threat level is obvious.

The Japanese people have reacted calmly to the effects caused by the earthquake because they have been trained by intelligent games such as the game above.

The tsunami has made a far more devastating impact on the land of the rising Sun. Gene has estimated that in 2 years, the fatalities from the tsunami will be between 50,000 and 60,000 while the fatalities from radiation will be strictly zero. It's a bold claim that Gene has offered but so far, the first figure is unfortunately getting closer to his estimate while the second figure remains strictly zero, indeed.

Hannes Alfvén Medal 2011: Syun-Ichi Akasofu

It's a Japanese month on TRF so this blog may take notice of events that wouldn't be normally discussed. Awards are among them.

You could think that the European Geosciences Union must be a totally politically correct institution, a part of the anti-scientific and anti-skeptics Inquisition. Maybe.

But that didn't prevent EGU from choosing a top Japanese Alaskan climate skeptic, Syun-Ichi Akasofu, as the winner of the 2011: Hannes Alfvén Medal:

EGU about the winner
Congratulations! The award is named after the 1970 physics Nobel prize winner, Hannes Alfvén, who studied plasma physics in general and magnetohydrodynamics in particular and discovered the Alfvén waves.

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

Snowcap of Kilimanjaro refuses to die

One of the most localized and emotional posterchildren of the global warming doom in the last decade has been the snowcap on the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

It's been retreating for quite some time and global warming alarmists were assuring everyone that the snowcap was disappearing because of CO2 emissions and it would be gone by 2015. Needless to say, the list included Al Gore and An Inconvenient Truth (see 2:20-4:00) in 2006.

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

Sidney Coleman's QFT lectures: TeX, PDF

Update: See the arXiv version of Sidney Coleman's QFT notes (click)
E-mail from Bryan Chen

Dear Lubos,

It's been a few years since I wrote you. I thought you might be interested that the LaTeXing of Coleman's notes has had quite a bit of recent progress.  Indeed, the project was more or less stalled in 2008, until last year, when Ting Yuan Sen (a student at National University of Singapore and Ecole Polytechnique) began writing me that he was continuing the typesetting. Indeed, within a few months, he finished all the rest of the lectures!

Are earthquakes caused by man-made carbon dioxide?

Clean Technica, a green lobby's astroturf website whose traffic exceeds that of TRF by a factor of five, became the most recent champion of the idea that the earthquakes are caused by the evil American SUVs:

More Mega Earthquakes in a Climate Changed World Say Scientists
In her spectacularly titled text, Susan Kraemer is defending her irresistible idea that climate change is the cause of earthquakes; plate tectonics is nothing else than the heretics' propaganda.

Is this what climate change looks like, she asks?

What are her "arguments"? First, there have been many recent earthquakes - and recently, there has been some global warming, too. It follows, she thinks, that global warming is the cause of the earthquakes. Again, the logic is isomorphic to the logic blaming the Japanese earthquake on Apple that released iPad 2 on the very same day - except that the coincidence behind the iPad 2 explanation is 30,000 times more accurate than the coincidence behind Kraemer's explanation.

Japan, physics, string theory, and me

Fundamental physics has traditionally been a part of the Euro-Atlantic culture. So the Japanese physicists may be viewed as relative newbies but they have already imprinted their skills onto our collective body of knowledge.

Hideki Yukawa became the first Japanese Nobel prize winner and, in some sense, he founded the Western theoretical physics in Japan as we know it. His description of the nuclear force - when the difference between the strong force and the weak force wasn't quite understood - was arguably the most important step in the physicists' understanding of short-range forces.

It helped the people to figure out that massive particles mediate short-range forces. Pions in his original model play this role when it comes to an approximate description of the strong interaction; W-bosons and Z-bosons generalize this logic and describe the weak interaction.

But I think it's right to mention three more older Japanese physicists who belong to the same league: Sin-Itiro Tomonaga (thanks, Robert!), Yoichiro Nambu, and Tamiaki Yoneya.

Sin-Itiro Tomonaga benefited from interactions with Werner Heisenberg and his group while in Leipzig, Germany in the 1920s - a decade before their countries would become close "axial" allies ;-) - but he became a powerful independent weapon who focused on the cancellation of divergences in quantum field theory. He discovered the old-fashioned renormalization independently of Schwinger. Tomonaga, Schwinger, and Feynman shared the 1965 physics Nobel prize.

Of course, Nambu joined two other Japanese physicists, Makoto Kobayashi (K) and Toshihide Maskawa (M), when they formed the trio of the 2008 Nobel prize winners.

Radiation: Geiger-Müller counter in Tokyo

Many people are worried that the radiation in Tokyo has to be elevated. Well, here you have a most up-to-date Geiger-Müller counter (wiki) from Hino, Central Tokyo:

Click to zoom in

The y-axis shows "clicks per minute", between 0 and 100 CPM (divided to five intervals with a 20 CPM spacing). In December 2010, the average number was 14 CPM. When I was posting this text, the average was 17 CPM but the increase isn't necessarily due to Fukyshima.

Note that 1 CPM (count per minute) is equal to 0.01 microsievert for hour (for gamma rays, electrons, muons...) or up to 20 times more for heavy nuclei etc. So 20 CPM is 0.2 microsieverts per hour.

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

Retired nuclear power plants: testaments to human hubris?

On Saturday, I urged the Russians to offer the Japanese some of the unpopulated Russian territories - which would also be safer places for nuclear power plants. It's a pleasure to inform you that one day later, on Sunday, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a top Russian nationalist and an apparent TRF reader, has invited the Japanese to move to Russia. :-)

But that's not what I want to discuss here.

Daniel Holz of Cosmic Variance wrote a pretty good review of the events in Fukushima:

Don't lose your cool
I found his text informative and balanced. However, he also included the worst-case scenario, dealing with a semi-realistic sequence of events culminating with a serious radiation threat to Tokyo. Susanne Reffert, a string theorist who works in Tokyo (her blog), was dissatisfied with this part of Dan's essay - was it necessary? - and even though I agree with Dan that those worst possibilities are not "strictly impossible", I can surely understand where she's coming from.

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

Why humanoids are not used in Fukushima?

Update II from Fukushima: Two days after I tried to invite all robots of the world to work in Fukushima, Red Moni-Robo (monitoring robot) has finally arrived to the nuclear power plant and began his or her or its monitoring job.

Update I from Fukushima I: Tokyo Electric Power Co. is going to install a new power line and TRF predicts that the nuclear alert is going to fade away as early as tomorrow.

This video is 4 years old or so:

In 2003, Asimo has also met Mr Vladimír Špidla, a former Czech prime minister (whom I met years later in Boston when he was an EU commissioner - i.e. the most well-paid Czech politician - and spoke no English), during a dinner with the Czech and Japanese prime ministers and after having attempted to start an intelligent dialog with our leader in a perfect Czech, he or it has unmasked Špidla's staggering lack of humor.

Honda Asimo is just one of the famous brands among many robots and I am pretty sure that Japan is the world's leader in this kind of technology - although Albert Hubo, who is Jewish Korean, is not bad, either.

House energy committee refuses to codify a new AGW law of Nature

As Politico.COM reported, Mr Henry Waxman, a prominent crusader against carbon dioxide in the Democratic Party, wanted the U.S. Congress to codify a new dogma:

Warming of the climate system is unequivocal.

Fortunately, he hasn't noticed that brainwashed simpletons of his kind have been turned into a minority in the American Parliament.

About 20 people supported the idea to make a law out of those dumb oversimplified and mostly wrong pro-AGW quasi-religious proclamations; about 30 people opposed it. It just happens that the House Energy and Commerce Committee that had to vote about it contains 20 Democrats and 30 Republicans.

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

Radioactivity: sieverts and other units

Unfortunately, the nuclear crisis in Japan hasn't managed to converge closer to its end on Tuesday: quite on the contrary, some people might say that it got out of control.

I have only passed one course in "applied nuclear energy" - as an undergrad in Prague - but I have also studied the subject "informally" (and because of qualifying exams etc.) over the years and many TRF readers know much more about the subject and they may correct my mistakes and contribute their own comments.

Some theory background

Existing nuclear power plants are based on fission, i.e. splitting of nuclei. Most of the energy from the fission of uranium may be attributed to the electromagnetic energy. This means that according to the liquid-drop model of the nucleus, the energy mostly comes from the Coulomb term (because of the large concentration of positively charged protons). There are several terms in this model, namely a volume term, surface term, Coulomb term, asymmetry term, and pairing term.

Despite the suggestive name of the two non-electromagnetic, non-gravitational fundamental forces, the "strong and weak nuclear force", most of the nuclear energy we're getting from the power plants arises from electromagnetic energy. (The liquid-drop model can't predict the magic numbers etc., something that requires the shell model. All these things are approximations of QCD which becomes incalculable in practice for those extremely complicated bound states of quarks and gluons.)

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

Tevatron: Higgs mass probably between 114 and 157 GeV

Fermilab Today has informed us about the latest verdict of the Illinois collider center about the Higgs mass. The chart looks like this:

You see that the masses below 114 GeV are excluded by direct searches by LEP, the European collider who lived in the same tunnel as the LHC before the LHC bought an apartment over there. Indirect precision measurements exclude Higgses above 185 GeV.

La Nina weakened, likely to be gone before Summer

According to the most recent NOAA's weekly ENSO report, the NINO 3.4 index weakened from -1.3 or so a week ago (and from -1.8 in the early October 2010) to -1.0.

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

Richard Muller on "Hide the Decline"

Japan: See shocking interactive before/after pictures of the devastation in Japan...

Richard Muller is a well-known physics professor at Berkeley and a key figure behind the B.E.S.T. database - the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature, an emerging possibly superior surface record that could supersede NOAA, GISS, and HadCRUT sometime in the future.

Now, some skeptics have claimed that Richard Muller isn't really a skeptic, and so on. I don't really care. Videos similar to this one make me believe that he is an honest scientist who can see a clear bug or deception if there exists one:

Saturday, March 12, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Another blow for nuclear energy

Remotely related: Holy cow, the president of an official EU's EESC body has declared that the earthquake was a sign from Mother Nature that we need to combat global warming. I want these crooks to be outlawed!

The Japanese earthquake has led to serious problems with the cooling systems of two nuclear power plants.

Radiation in one of the plants increased by a factor of one thousand; see the video with some smoke. The average time in which one gets cancer from the background radiation may be 200 years. If you increase the radiation 1,000 times, the average time to get the disease goes to two months or so. You don't want to work in the vicinity of the reactor.

Fukušima I: meltdown has technically begun in the facility (which isn't quite the same thing as a doomsday yet); an explosion followed, destroyed one of the four reactor buildings on the picture (the far right one), and injured some people. This power reactor is stronger than Chernobyl but vastly less harmful in similar situations.

Mildly radioactive vapor had to be released to the atmosphere to reduce the pressure. Some people have heard an explosion fifteen minutes ago. The representatives have denied it has shattered the reactor. Your humble correspondent generally believes the nuclear energy guys but I just feel uncertain at this point.

One always has to be skeptical because too much is at stake.

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

Fifth greatest earthquake since 1900

Japan has experienced a magnitude 8.9 earthquake several hours ago. Later, the magnitude was upgraded to 9.0.

According to USGS, it was the fifth greatest earthquake since 1900. Only O(2000) people have died after the largest Japanese earthquake in 140 years (temporary figure); the number of casualties would be counted at least in tens of thousands if the country were not as developed as Japan. For example, the 2010 Haiti earthquake killed 100,000-300,000 people although its magnitude was just 7.0 - one hundred times smaller.

The Japanese managed to extinguish a fire in a nuclear power plant but this struggle is clear not yet over.

Tsunami in the Pacific isn't over yet.

Japanese researchers study a black hole

This blog already existed and discussed the Indonesian tsunami on December 26th, 2004 (third strongest since 1900), as well the Chilean earthquake on February 27th, 2010 (sixth strongest since 1900). So three out of six largest earthquakes since 1900 took place in the recent 6 years.

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

Sidney Coleman: anniversary

The late physicist of physicists, Sidney Coleman, was born in Chicago 74 years ago, on March 7th, 1937.

I will leave the memorial minute to N. Arkani-Hamed, A. Jaffe, and H. Georgi who just wrote a text for some Harvard newspapers:

Sidney R. Coleman (Harvard Gazette)
Thanks to Willie Soon

EU climate tax czar's faux pas in Australia

James Delingpole has pointed out the following interview,

Aussie sceptics destroy EU carbon commissioner
Radio host Steve Price and climate blogger Andrew Bolt interviewed an important EU official, Ms Jill Hoggan of the U.K., which I found stunning:

Wednesday, March 09, 2011 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Hansen: warming should have been 2-4 °F in the last decade

According to all the datasets except for GISS (and try to guess who is the boss of GISS), the 2001-2010 decade saw a very slight cooling trend.

In 1988, James Hansen gave a testimony in front of the U.S. Congress in which he overestimated the warming trend for the next 20 years by a factor of 5 or so. His graphs were somewhat chaotic. They disagreed with the actual temperature record and some people have disputed that his prediction was this bad.

Well, Steven Goddard found a fascinating newspaper article by Combined Miami News Services that eliminates all doubts.

Click to zoom in

In 1986, James Hansen was already predicting a man-made global warming doomsday, and among lots of other utter nonsense, he comprehensibly articulated the following prediction for the temperature change during the first decade of this century:

Models are wrong: ice sheets grow from the bottom, too

Some people have rather insanely claimed that the climate models are OK - they are qualitatively settled. We can trust their predictions for the future centuries because the models' treatment of the phenomena is unlikely to change much in the following decades.

But the reality is that their half-life may be counted in months. Every few months, some lethal bug is being discovered in the prevailing description of various processes that are important for the climate.

Antarctic subglacial mountain ranges

Five days ago, the media have reported that

'Squishy' ice shifts climate models, study says (MSNBC)

Antarctic ice sheet built 'bottom-up' (BBC)

Widespread Persistent Thickening of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet by Freezing from the Base (Science)
Lead scientist Robin Bell of Columbia University said that the models of ice sheet - which are relevant for the behavior of Greenland and Antarctica, which subsequently influence the sea level, ice-albedo feedbacks, and other things - were as wrong as models of cars without tires. What happened?

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

Vít Klemeš (1932-2010)

Guest post by Demetris Koutsoyiannis

It is a year since Vít Klemeš is no longer with us. He took “residence on cloud no. 17” as he used to say.

Vít Klemeš (left), laurelled by local admirers in the Greek island of Cephalonia in June 2005, with the humble writer of this guest post

Vít Klemeš was one of the world’s greatest hydrologists, as recognized, inter alia, by his awarding with the International Hydrology Prize (1994) (jointly awarded by the International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS), the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)) and his election as President of the IAHS (1987–1991). He was born in Moravia and educated in what used to be Czechoslovakia (Brno, Bratislava, Prague). Following the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia, Vít and his family moved to Canada in September 1968, where he worked and lived until his death in 8 March 2010.

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

ICTP talks by Polchinski, Vafa, Green, Schwarz, and others

I just discovered the YouTube channel of ICTP, i.e. Abdus Salam's International Center for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy.

During the last month or so, they have posted a number of recent lectures (November 2010) by the winners of the Dirac Medal that they have distributed every August since 1985.

A significant fraction of the Dirac Medal winners are string theorists and I have chosen a sequence of 30-minute lectures by Joseph Polchinski (2008), Cumrun Vafa (2008), Michael Green (1989), John Schwarz (1989): two hours in total.

What if the LHC doesn't see SUSY?

A question from Nigel Seel at Physics Stack Exchange comes in four parts.

  1. What are the main problems which supersymmetry purports to solve?
  2. What would constitute lack of evidence for SUSY at the proposed LHC energy scales (e.g. certain predicted superpartners are not in fact observed)?
  3. Are there alternative theoretical approaches which would address the SUSY problem set and which would still be credible in such an LHC no-SUSY-scenario?
  4. Where would LHC-disconfirmation of SUSY leave String Theory?
He would like to think that these four points could be taken together as one question.

Answer by L.M.

First, let me emphasize something that is being covered by a thick layer of misinformation in the media these days: it is totally premature to conclude whether the LHC will see SUSY or not. The major detectors have only collected 45/pb (and evaluated 35/pb) of the data. The "slash pb" should be pronounced as "inverse picobarns".

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

Nordhaus, Shellenberger: long death of environmentalism

Two founders of the Breakthrough Institute, a fearmongering lobby group, namely Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus are giving lectures about the long death of environmentalism.

I don't know which one is which but I hope it's OK I am not familiar with every green man in the world...

The new lecture updates their previous 2005 analysis called "The Death of Environmentalism" that didn't contain the word "long":

The Long Death of Environmentalism (BI blog, 2011)
Their viewpoint seems to be relatively honest.

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

NASA's Richard Hoover: alien life fossils on meteorites

A few months ago, many of us got excited by claims about the arsenic-based life which began to look much less likely moments later. But that doesn't mean that we should become completely deaf towards similar big claims.

A condom used by the creatures living inside meteorites, or whatever he claims this to be. ;-)

Seven hours ago, FoxNews became the first source among many that reported that

Exclusive: NASA Scientist Claims Evidence of Alien Life on Meteorite
NASA's Richard B. Hoover has been collecting meteorites for a decade. In one of nine "CI1 carbonaceous chondrites" we have on Earth - a precious kind of meteorites - he found something he calls "fossilized evidence of extraterrestrial bacterial life". It's similar to some life on Earth. It's being printed in Journal of Cosmology (click for the full article).

The New York Times praise David Koch

The New York Times have celebrated the philanthropy of David Koch (70):

Cancer Research Before Activism, Billionaire Conservative Donor Says
The MIT is opening the new David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research (see picture above); he has donated $100 million to it.

We learn that he is a likable guy who was warmly welcomed in the People's Republic of Cambridge and that a left-wing prankster managed to learn to imitate Koch's voice.

CDF: a new confirmation of top quark pair asymmetry

Just a few links and remarks.

In January, we looked at a reported huge 3-to-1 asymmetry of the top-antitop (vs antitop-top) quark pairs produced inside the CDF detector at the Tevatron. The effect occurred for high invariant masses - above 450 GeV - and depended on muons.

The strength of the deviation was 3.4 sigma.

NPR: Brian Greene on The Hidden Reality

Ira Flatow interviews Brian Greene for 17 minutes if you have time (audio). It's not only about Brian's new book.

Somewhat controversial hypotheses but as Brian says, the book is not an uncritical manifesto for the multiverse.

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

NASA's Glory climate satellite is doomed

Alexander Ač just informed me that NASA's climatic satellite called Glory - which should have studied aerosols in the atmosphere - has been destroyed.

NASA press release about the failure, Google News
A press conference on the failure started on NASA TV at 2 p.m. Central European Time i.e. 5 a.m. Californian Time. It's over but I have watched it for you.

Bubble blowers will be verifying climate models

The British Met Office has been criticized for its incorrect predictions of the weather (almost always warmer than the reality) and for its detachment from the empirical data.

Some enlightened minds in the Met Office agreed that it was a great idea to observe the weather and the climate. Why didn't they think about it before?

A scientist with a bubbly fuck (the bublifuk is the official Czech name of the device and it is a 100% polite word - after all, "fuk" is one way to say "blow") working for the Met Office.

So they decided to use as reliable methods to verify their predictions as the methods employed to produce them - namely as their climate models. As AFP reports,

UK climatologists seek bubble blowers, cloud watchers (Yahoo News)
The U.K. citizens are asked to observe the motion of clouds in the mirror while they're putting the makeup on them; report how warm or hot they feel in the bedroom; and call the Met Office telling the climatologists in what direction they managed to create a soap bubble with their bubble blowers. The concerned citizens must also call their climatologists when they see an aircraft with contrails or one without contrails.

You must agree that it's an ingenious technological idea that proves that those $30 billion paid to the climate science in the recent years were not wasted. The capitalists in the commercial sector could only construct things like iPad 2 but they could never think of a sophisticated monitoring system based on volunteers who blow bubbles and watch contrails and clouds in their mirror while putting makeup on their faces. Government-funded science is clearly necessary for the highest-quality technological advances.

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

Is there a 66-year cycle in temperatures?

Many people have noticed that the global mean temperature was increasing in the first third of the 20th century (33 years), slightly decreasing in the second third of the 20th century (33 years), and increasing in the last third of the 20th century (33 years or so).

If this evolution may be extrapolated in the obvious way, there is a 66-year cycle in the temperatures. The 20th century warming is biased because the century included two warming half-periods but only one cooling half-period: that's why the warming trend in the 20th century could be much higher than the long-term one.

Some of the warmest years - at least in the U.S. - appeared approximately 66 years before the warm years such as 1998.

Grant Tamino Foster studied this question in a very interesting article on his blog,

8,000 years of AMO?
and the obvious conclusion of his graphs is that the 66-year cycle seems to be much more than a coincidence of chaotic 20th century graphs.

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

February UAH AMSU: -0.02 deg C

Roy Spencer has announced the final global UAH AMSU anomaly for the lower troposphere: it is -0.018 °C which means that it was just slightly cooler (by a statistically insignificant difference) than the average February from the 1980-2010 benchmark period.

As you can see, global warming causes not only warming and cooling (not to mention warmcold winters and coldwarm winters) but also the ultimate mediocrity and stability of temperatures. ;-)

The global figure is 0.008 °C cooler than the January 2010 figure and the regional readings remained almost unchanged, too.

iPad 2: even larger?

Serious update: See live coverage of the iPad 2 event.

Natalie Portman, the scientist

Natalie Angier of the New York Times studied the overlap between the movie industry and science:

Natalie Portman, Oscar Winner, Was Also a Precocious Scientist
The intersection is almost non-existent. Both fields require an ego but the movie industry is all about the ephemeral values such as fame and superficial impressions on other people while science is focused on the lasting values, deep and objective core of the existence, and, in most cases, research in solitude.

However, as a high school student, Oscar-winning Natalie Portman made it to the semifinals of the Intel Competition. It was a populist low-brow science project about getting energy out of waste but it's still much more impressive than what 95% of her colleagues may offer.

As you know, e.g. the global warming hysteria is primarily endorsed by the Hollywood because Hollywood is primarily composed of high school dropouts.

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

CMS: Higgs not between 144 and 207 GeV if...

...a heavy fourth generation of fermions exists

The subtitle obviously makes the finding much less spectacular - because the fourth generation of fermions is unlikely to exist - and because the Higgs mass is probably below 144 GeV, anyway.

Nevertheless, it is impressive to watch how strong conclusions the LHC is suddenly able to produce. Based on 36/pb of the CMS data, the collaboration has published this preprint:

Measurement of W+W- Production and Search for the Higgs Boson in pp Collisions at √(s) = 7 TeV (plus press release)
They have studied the pair-production of charged electroweak gauge bosons and measured the cross section with the 40% relative accuracy or so.

Nima Arkani-Hamed on spacetime, QM, and Large Erect Collider

Nima Arkani-Hamed gave a 90-minute public lecture on unification, relativity, QFT, scales in physics, the LHC, and other key things. I have modified the name of the collider in the title because this blog is way more polite than the prícks at Princeton. ;-)