Thursday, May 31, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Matrix theory: a novel alternative to second quantization etc.

I still consider Matrix theory (BFSS, 1996) one of the most conceptually original developments in theoretical physics of the last 20 years.

It is a relatively unusual way to describe physics in the 11-dimensional asymptotically flat vacuum of M-theory – and in other sectors of string theory. The physical phenomena are completely equivalent as in other descriptions; but the way how they're encoded in the mathematics looks very different.



There are several natural pedagogical ways to get to Matrix theory and I will try to sketch the following three of them:

  1. try to study some obviously beautiful quantum mechanical models in extreme limits (the infinite number of colors) and try to find a simplified description of this limit;
  2. start with M-theory whose explicit equations weren't known before BFSS 1996 and transform it via dualities and tricks into something that you may describe;
  3. try to invent a completely new framework (different from quantum field theory and second quantization) to describe multiparticle states and interactions between the particles, among other things, that may lead to the same kind of physics.
It's the last approach that was used in the title of this blog entry.

FAQ on black holes and information

Of course, the black hole information puzzle has been discussed in dozens of older TRF blog entries

Backreaction has posted a flow diagram that can't hide its similarity with the scheme of a female brain. Unfortunately, among lots of wrong answers to questions about black holes, it doesn't include the right answer to the question what happens with the information stored in an evaporating black hole.

Bribed, stealing officials enjoy their $500k before they're caught

David Rath, the main symbol of corruption of the Czech social democratic party, took most of the $500,000+ bribes in a major Czech corruption scandal, the grandest one at least in the last 20 years.

(He has obviously stolen much more money throughout his life, some of those millions of dollars are being investigated at this very moment. Just in his house, they found additional $1.5 million and then extra $0.5 million. Rath's father claims that those latter $0.5 million are just his – the father's – savings he earned somewhere in Emirates 20 years ago.)



Ex-governor of Central Bohemia Dr David Rath and Ms Kateřina Pancová, an ex-director of a hospital in the region.

He defended himself by saying he thought that the shoebox contained wine. This defense is truly ludicrous given the fact that every single place where he and his key collaborators – Ms Pancová, a director of a hospital, and Mr Rott, her partner who left the Czech Parliament after being totally drunk during an important vote – were meeting was eavesdropped for half a year.

Some of these impressive police's eavesdropping skills may have been inherited from socialism when it was normal to monitor the (suspicious and inconvenient) citizens.

So the police knows about – and can easily expose – his (and their) feeling about every penny and every motion of a penny during the last 6 months or so. Their discussion minutes before Dr Rath was arrested is kind of amusing. Well, at least now it seems amusing when we already know that they couldn't laugh to justice for too long (at least so far it looks so).

Recent JS-Kit comments

This widget used to be in the right sidebar. I removed it on June 21st, 2012, because Echo is being decommissioned, the "recent comments" in the widget are no longer recent, and the Echo comments will ultimately be imported into DISQUS.

Recent Echo comments


New Echo comments aren't being accepted anymore and Echo will disappear on October 1st. Use DISQUS instead – where old Echo comments will be imported.







Sorry for the wrong spacing. It looked correct in the sidebar.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Recent slow Blogger.com and JS-Kit Echo comments

Recent Blogger.com slow comments


This used to be inside the right sidebar instead of the DISQUS recent comments combination widget:



You see that it includes the fresh DISQUS comments because I turned on synchronization of DISQUS and Blogger.

Knud Rasmussen pictures: Greenland is melting less quickly than 80 years ago

Knud Rasmussen (1879-1933) was a Danish polar explorer and the father of Eskimology. By an accident, 80-year-old pictures of the Greenland taken during his expeditions were just found in a Danish basement:

Daily Mail, TG Daily, Nature, Live Science, Newswise, Science Codex
The pre-satellite pictures of ice shelves are rare. One may evaluate them in various ways.

For example, 55% of the retreating glaciers were retreating at a faster rate 80 years than in recent years. On the other hand, the average rate of retreat (in meters per year) is higher today than it used to be because there are some isolated very quickly retreating glaciers today.



So whether the retreat of Greenland's glaciers was faster 80 years ago than today may depend on the detailed specification of the "contest". However, one thing is clear.

Why \(\NNN=8\) supergravity is probably divergent at 7 loops

Arguments in favor of finiteness are much more sloppy

I have been discussing the maximally supersymmetric supergravity and its conjectured perturbative finiteness many times on this blog. But the immediate reason for a new entry is the following paper by my ex-adviser Tom Banks,

Arguments Against a Finite \(\NNN=8\) Supergravity
In this text, I want to review the \(\NNN=8\) supergravity in \(d=4\), its field content and "other objects content", the arguments that have been raised for its perturbative finiteness, the explicit 7-loop counterterm that is allowed by all the symmetries, and the argument why its coefficient is probably nonzero.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Indus Valley Civilization destroyed by SUVs 3,000+ years ago

Lots of media including Fox News have written about the Harappan culture, also known as the Indus Valley Civilization:

4,000 years ago, climate change caused massive civilization collapse
The news describe the opinions published in a new paper, "Fluvial landscapes of the Harappan civilization", in PNAS.



The paper argues that the decline of the majestic civilization that once included 10% of the world population – between 1900 BC and 1000 BC – was caused by... climate change, of course.

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3(+1) new papers on stop squarks (and staus)

On Monday, American particle phenomenologists celebrated the Stop Squark Memorial Day.

Their publication of three extremely similar papers on the search for light stop squarks could be viewed as circumstantial evidence for some extra common cause behind all these papers such as the LHC stop squark rumors.



At any rate, we have these three similar new hep-ph papers on the stops (plus one inequivalent paper that talks about stops and especially staus in the context of the Higgs diphoton decays):

Stops and MET: the shape of things to come (Fermilab/Madison)

(Light) Stop Signs (Harvard)

Searching for Direct Stop Production in Hadronic Top Data at the LHC (Maryland/MIT)


Light Stau Phenomenology and the Higgs γγ Rate (Illinois)
The last paper differs from the first three; it suggests that the superpartner of the tau lepton could be as light as 100 GeV and with a high enough tan beta, the light stau could be relevant for the explanation of the enhanced rate by which the 125 GeV Higgs boson at the LHC decays to a photon pair.

The first three papers mostly discuss the question whether the LHC may discover or rule out stop squarks whose masses are very close to the top quark mass during the 2012 run. If you read the papers, you will notice that the three teams knew about each other so they may have synchronized their submissions to occur on the same Memorial Day weekend.

Monday, May 28, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Nature Climate Change: climate fear decreases with science literacy

Fox News has just reviewed the content of an article in Nature Climate Change:

Global warming skeptics as knowledgeable about science as climate change believers, study says (Fox)

The polarizing impact of science literacy and numeracy on perceived climate change risks (Nature)

Google News
Dan Kahan and 6 co-authors were testing the science comprehension thesis (SCT) claiming that the people who are not worried about "climate change" are less knowledgeable about science. They gave a science quiz to 1,540 Americans who were also measured when it comes to the degree of their climate hysteria.

What are the results?

Dripping crucifix vs Indian heretic

Bombay is a city with some of the best string theorists in the world (or at least the best ones among those who aren't affiliated with the most prominent U.S. schools) – and maybe the highest theoretical physics production per dollar in the world.



There are many crazy things going on in the Western countries but it's plausible that things may be even crazier in the third world, if you allow me to use this term, and perhaps even in India, a country trying to get rid of the third-world label (although, historically, India was obviously the main condensation core of what became known as the third world).

Hinduism is the main religion in India but various other religions – and Christianity is an important one – are allowed to control their respective subenviroments in this heavily multicultural society.

Yesterday, AFP told us that a

dripping crucifix sparks Indian blasphemy row.
See also Courier Mail.

What happened? Well, some tears appeared on the sculpture of Mr Jesus Christ above. What's the right explanation? The scientific consensus was speaking a clear language. About 97%-98% of the experts on the streets of this suburb of Bombay determined that it had to be a divine sign from God: Jesus Christ is crying.

Sunday, May 27, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Electric shocks under high voltage power lines

Very interesting update, June 2012: Google Maps have mapped almost all of the Czech Republic via StreetView. Click at the link and among other pictures, you will find hugely distorted colors of the tree tops exactly at the place where I always experience the electric shocks.
Yesterday, I experienced something that I've gone through many times in my life and probably regularly (at several "best points"): when I ride my mountain bike which has a hole in the seat and a metal right underneath (which may probably be in contact with my slightly wet shorts), I am terrified by an electric shock – some tingling comparable to a dozen of stinging ants attacking a square decimeter of my skin – for a second when I am crossing some high voltage power lines – maybe 400 kV or so – perpendicularly.

The power lines between villages called Druztová and Dolany in Greater Pilsen (approximately in the middle of this map) represent the most frequent place at which I have encountered the sensation. As far as I remember, I've never felt the effect with my "ordinary" tracking bike which has no hole in the seat (so the metal beneath the hole is isolated away).



Take the right mountain bike (a picture from Gross Arber, the highest peak of the Bohemian forest on the Bavarian side, where I rode some time ago). The detailed situation is described on the Physics Stack Exchange.

The sensation is always so strong and so unpleasant that I have never continued to do further experiments; thinking about the parts of the body that could have been burned had a higher priority. In my family environment (and among some real-life friends), I was told it was impossible for the normal people and the only explanation was that I was a homeopathic seer, diviner, and psychic – a witch of a sort. ;-)

Assassination of Heydrich 70 years ago: details could have been different

Exactly 70 years ago, on May 27th, 1942, Operation Anthropoid took place; see also BBC's article about the anniversary; Mr Alois Denemarek of those special units (who is still alive) remembers his friends.



This fencer, swimmer, violinist, tyrant, and an obsessed jerk spoke German, English, French, and Russian. That's too bad because a Czech leader should speak Czech. Also, it is not a good idea to be a vice-head of a terrorist organization, the SS.

The Czechoslovak government located in our temporary capital called London – due to some bureaucratic chaos in Prague of that time – sentenced a political crackpot, a key father of the Holocaust, and one of the most notorious leaders of the so-called Nazi Germany to death penalty for his role in the death of numerous Czech citizens, for his crimes against humanity, and his attempts to behave as a Czech political leader ("a protector") despite the obvious absence of any democratic mandate.

This execution was the only successful execution of a top Nazi apparatachik organized by a nation harassed by the Nazi regime. It helped us to increase our self-confidence because, let's admit, most Czechs were cowards and they were almost as compatible with the Nazi regimes as Danes, Dutchmen, and many others.

It wasn't logistically possible to hang him properly so we had to use some creativity to actually perform the execution of the "blonde beast". Trained agents equipped by the expertise of the British Special Operation Executive were sent from London and parachuted to Bohemia a few months before the operation.

Krugman: scientists should falsely predict alien invasion

...in order to increase the government spending...

Apparently, global warming hasn't worked as a tool to promote Krugman's left-wing agenda (and some agendas that are much worse than his).

So similar types are looking for a more "serious proposal" than the global warming and one of them thinks that the threat of a looming alien invasion is the answer!



See also a Summer 2011 monologue in which Krugman defends scientific lies as well as budget deficits, inflation, and various things that wars cause.

Imagine that: a Nobel prize winner for a social science openly calls for the creation of a whole new fraudulent scientific discipline with a "bunch of scientists" publishing papers about a non-existent alien threat – a movement that is politically motivated.

Saturday, May 26, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Is the "follow the money" argument correct?

In the climate science, the answer is Yes. Why?

I count arstechnica.com among the most thoughtful sources of science news for the most well-informed non-expert readers. However, what John Timmer wrote on Thursday (and what was mindlessly endorsed by Hank Campbell) simply looks unbelievable:

Accusations that climate science is money-driven reveal ignorance of how science is done (also at Wired)
Timmer primarily attempts to criticize the 2009 document by Joanne Nova (yup, it's 2012 now: it doesn't look like the likes of John Timmer are too up-to-date or fast when they try to follow what's going on):
Climate money: The climate industry: $79 billion so far – trillions to come (PDF, Jo Nova for SPPI, 2009)
The figure refers to the money spent by the U.S. government "directly" to combat "climate change". It seems obvious to me that the actual costs of the policies – including the indirect costs paid by private subjects (that were forced to do things inefficiently and buy more expensive equivalents of various products and energy) – is already counted in hundreds of billions of dollars in the U.S. (and almost certainly trillions of dollars globally).

But we want to talk about the effect of the smaller, more direct part of the money which is close to the core of this question: the effect of money on the researchers. Timmer thinks that there's almost none.

Friday, May 25, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Iran, AGW: useless summits in Baghdad, Bonn

...and African migrants in Israel...

In recent days, two major cities starting with a "B" witnessed futile negotiations about important topics.

In Bonn, the ex-capital of West Germany, some bureaucrats were trying to prepare a post-Kyoto agreement to regulate the greenhouse gases that could be signed in Durban in December 2012. Surprisingly for them, they found out that:

Rich-poor divide reopens at UN climate talks
Some poor countries were promised by the environmentalist i.e. Marxist activists that they would be given piles of wealth after the civilized countries are deconstructed with the help of the global warming lies.

Suddenly, some Western negotiators realized at least the fact that whether or not it is a good idea to reduce the CO2 emissions, the CO2 emissions can't decrease if the developing countries will keep on developing: the CO2 production would simply shift to the currently developing world.

Of course, the poor folks just wanted the money and some of them wanted to damage the West: these were the only reasons why they would support the climate change hysteria a few years ago. They don't have the slightest interest in hurting themselves. So the talks can't lead anywhere.

BaBar: 3.4-sigma excess in tau-nu decays of B

This is just a simple link with a comment. The BaBar collaboration located at SLAC just published a preprint

Evidence for an excess of \(B \to D({}^*) \tau \nu\) decays
in which it announced the measurement of the ratio of branching ratios of decays of mesons\[

{\mathcal R}(D({}^*)) = \frac{B(B\to D({}^*)\tau^- \bar \nu_\tau)}{B(B\to D({}^*)\ell^-\bar\nu_\ell)}

\] in 426 inverse femtobarns of their data where \(\ell=e\) or \(\mu\). You may see that they measure the decays of the \(B\)-mesons to \(D\)-mesons or their antiparticles which also include a charged lepton and the corresponding neutrino in the final state.

They want to know how many of these decays choose the \(\tau\) lepton and its neutrino from the choice of three possible generations.

Thursday, May 24, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Science on anti-GOP bias of the NAS

Science Insider has printed a courageous article about the left-wing bias of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences yesterday:

A Partisan Look at U.S. Science Policy
The academy invited the former and current science advisers to the U.S. presidents to a symposium. All of the attendants turned out to be Democrats who served for Democrats, starting from Frank Press who served for Jimmy Carter.

How is that possible? Haven't there been some Republican U.S. presidents after Carter, too?

Psychology of dark matter denial

Sean Carroll mentioned some developments concerning dark matter that have been discussed on this blog, too. His short text is another example of the fact that his comments are sometimes right, however rare these events may be.



A month ago, the media overhyped a paper by Chilean astronomers who claimed that their measurements show that there was no dark matter in the vicinity of the Solar System. However, Bovy and Tremaine showed that with a more realistic model for the velocities of the galaxies, the corrected method seems to yield a dark matter density that is fully compatible with the value obtained by more common methods.

Among the media, only Universe Today, Phys Org, and Nude Socialist mentioned the new article which arguably is – unlike the previous, overhyped one – correct. The ordinary non-scientific media remained silent. Theories that work are not too interesting for the journalists; they prefer to write about things that don't work, especially if these "don't work" claims are untrue.

These days, many people – or at least a sufficiently large number of loud people – are literally obsessed by attacks against some key theories contained in the very foundations of modern science. String theory may be just too mathematically abstract for a number of amazingly aggressive "critics" if I have to avoid the term "imbeciles". Quantum mechanics brought the most profound conceptual revolution in the history of physics.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

South Dakota's LUX will join the dark matter wars

Many articles on this blog were dedicated to the war on the existence of dark matter.

Some research teams claim that they have already detected a proof of a dark matter particle, a WIMP, whose mass is of order 10 GeV. Other teams disagree equally vehemently.



The Homestake Mine

In the Fall, a new big player will enter this conflict; see a list of other participants. Its name is LUX: Large Underground Xenon detector. Phys.ORG just dedicated a fresh article to the experiment:

Lying in wait for WIMPs: Researchers seek to increase the sensitivity of Large Underground Xenon detector by orders of magnitude
But much of the data were already available to readers of the Symmetry Magazine in April 2012.

Sheldon Cooper's revenge to Stephen Hawking: Hawking made a boo boo

Yesterday, we discussed an interesting new paper by Hartle, Hawking, and Hertog. It claimed that because of some mysterious maths of the Wheeler-DeWitt equation, a theory with a negative cosmological constant may accelerate the cosmic expansion just like as if it were a positive cosmological constant.

Fun update: A reader, yaya jon, has pointed out that in the new version of the Hartle-Hawking-Hertog paper, your humble correspondent and HB are thanked for the innocent sign error whose impact so far looks isolated (but I still believe that there must be some other errors unless the paper shows some really important loophole in the Ehrenfest "theorem" way of thinking about the evolution in quantum gravity).
I said it couldn't be right: there had to be a sign error. But I didn't know where the error was. A reader named "test" or "HB" has quickly filled the gap. I just verified that HB's remark is right. So I will alert Jim Hartle – the only author whom I have talked to for a long enough time – and send him a link to this blog entry. I am sure he will be happy!

Euro, geuro, and Greece before grexit

The outcome of the recent elections in Greece was an unbelievable proof that Greece is a dying democracy, something I've been predicting for years.

The single largest party turned out to be New Democracy which, despite its attempts to right-wing image, one could recognize as a remote counterpart of some center-left parties in the rest of Europe. I actually consider New Democracy – which received about 19 percent – to be an extreme left-wing party, too. But the other parties are worse, much worse.



A one-geuro coin.

A collection of would-be far-right nuts is called Golden Dawn. They use a modified swastika (with some Greek explanations) as their symbol and their leader, an immature 55-year-old teenager, acts as if he were an Adolf Hitler and surrounds himself with skinhead bodyguards at all times. They're against immigration – and living in a virtual reality in which some modest immigration to Greece is Greece's most pressing problem.

But of course, the actual worst problem is the rise of the super insane bug-nutty batshit crazy infinitely far left-wing parties such as Syriza; the Papandreou dynasty that was "just" batshit crazy apparently wasn't crazy enough. Their young boss is a superstupid insane ultracommunist who wants to introduce a society in which everyone has everything he needs and only does what he wants to do. I have watched a few YouTube videos with Alexis Tsipras and I must say that in comparison with him, our insane social democratic jerk politicians are sensible moderate deep thinkers. This Marx who lost the last traces of realism got about 16 percent and it will be even worse. Check e.g. his address to the GDR communist "comrades".

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Hartle, Hawking, Hertog: how our C.C. could be negative

A reader has pointed out that I missed a paper by Hartle, Hawking, and Hertog last week:

Accelerated Expansion from Negative Λ
They claim – and please sit down so that your stability gets improved – that the accelerated expansion of our Universe could result from a theory that has a fundamentally negative cosmological constant, like in the Anti de Sitter space (AdS).



I enjoyed reading their paper so far. They clearly have brilliant minds. Too bad that the main claim seems to boil down to a sign error so far. ;-)

Of course, it is easier to study stringy AdS vacua than dS vacua and they're related to CFTs by holography, unlike dS vacua (sorry for that comment, Andy Strominger), so I don't have to explain to you how welcome their bizarre conclusion could be from the viewpoint of string cosmology if it were right. One additional advantage of AdS vacua over dS vacua is that they may preserve SUSY but I guess that they don't claim that there is unbroken SUSY in our Universe which is just masked by their tricks, do they?

(The final section of the bulk of their paper is dedicated to string cosmology; they mention holography a few times, too.)

Paul Frampton: three generations from an extension of SM

Paul Frampton, an achieved physicist, former TRF guest blogger, a sex symbol among the Argentine supermodels, and an involuntary importer of a substance is impressing everyone with the physics productivity during his confinement in Argentina where he is affiliated with Centro Universitario DeVoto in Buenos Aires.

Five days ago, a North Carolina judge endorsed the decision of University at Chapel Hill not to pay Paul his salary. Most people at UNC believe he is innocent.



Valeria Mazza, a Ms Frampton candidate

They just published the first part of his Notes From the Gallows:

Three Generations in Minimally Extended Standard Models (arXiv)
Paul's co-authors are Chiu Man Ho and Thomas W. Kephart. And I actually think it's a very interesting preprint.

Klaus for Heartland on AGW: Eastern Europe is a bit corrupt, Germany is confused

Czech president Václav Klaus was the keynote speaker during the Monday dinner at the Seventh Heartland Climate Conference, ICCC-7, in Chicago.



One could have said that all things have been said but one could have been wrong, too. He said some revealing things and addressed some novel questions about politics of AGW.

Monday, May 21, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Higgs combo viXra java applet

Cosmological update: Bovy and Tremaine of IAS looked at a recent Chilean claim – wildly hyped in the mainstream media (but only mentioned in one sentence on TRF, in an article on a different topic) – that there was no dark matter around the Solar System. When they corrected some profiles for the velocities, they found out that the dark matter density is nonzero and compatible with the usual estimates. Via Resonaances
Phil Gibbs has written a cute and user-friendly java applet (download Java 7v4 instead of your dated Java 6v32 if you don't have the new one yet) that allows you to create thousands of charts relevant for the Higgs boson discovery:
viXra combo applet (click)
A screenshot of the applet is below.

Once the page above shows up, try to change the "Plot Type" to Exclusion, Signal, Pvalue, Sigma and see how the bump near 125 GeV is immediately affected. If you want to spend more time, you may try to play with the decay channels and individual detectors that are included and other things.

Klaus: Afghans not ready to take security lead

Czech President Václav Klaus is no military hawk. He had mixed feelings about NATO's interventions in Yugoslavia, Iraq, and probably others if there have been any and many of his attitudes may put him relatively close to folks like Ron Paul.

But before the ongoing NATO meeting began in Chicago, he said something, well, pro-interventionist.



Klaus surrounded by his American and Danish fans. After they shake his hand, they usually don't wash their hands for a week or so.

How the (2,0) SCFT, little string theory, and others arise from string theory

We often say that the primary reason why string/M-theory is so essential for modern physics is that it is the only known – and most likely, the only mathematically possible – consistent theory of gravity. Everyone who believes that he or she can do state-of-the-art research of quantum gravity without string theory is an unhinged crank, a barbarian, and a conspiracy theorist of the same kind as those who believe that Elvis Presley lives on the Moon.

But another reason why string/M-theory is indispensable for the 21st century theoretical and particle physics is that many of the "ordinary", important, non-gravitational quantum field theories and some of their non-field-theoretical but still non-gravitational generalizations are tightly embedded as limits in string theory. In this way, a theory whose main strength is to provide us with robust quantum rules governing gravity is important for our knowledge of contexts that avoid gravity, too.

Because of the dense network of relationships within string theory that link ideas, concepts, and equations that used to be considered independent – and I mostly mean dualities but not only dualities – each of the "ordinary" non-gravitational theories may be analyzed from new perspectives. In particular, extreme limits of the old theories in which a quantity is sent to infinity (or zero) could have been very mysterious but many of the mysteries go away as string/M-theory allows us to use new descriptions.

Among the new insights that we're learning from the stringy network of ideas, rules, equations, and maps, we also encounter new quantum field theories – and some other non-gravitational generalizations of these theories which are not quantum field theories – i.e. theories that are not full-fledged string vacua and that we shouldn't have overlooked in the past but we have. What are they?

Saturday, May 19, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Cap and trade for U.S. water

Hank Campbell of Science 2.0 discusses an unusual new proposal, namely to regulate the amount of water in America's largest water reservoir, Lake Mead, on the Colorado River (whose flow is blocked by the Hoover Dam near the border between Nevada and Arizona) by a cap-and-trade system inspired by the carbon dioxide cap-and-trade system.

Hank reminds us of the utter failure of the CO2 cap-and-trade system – which is admitted even by most of the champions of the climate panic – and extrapolates the insight by saying that it must be a bad idea for water, too.



Lake Mead from the Hoover dam. The structures look just like Stanford's Hoover Tower, don't they?

The proposal was discussed by Phys Org, Live Science, and Water Online. While I agree with Hank that the CO2 cap-and-trade has been an embarrassing failure, I am not so sure I agree with him about H2O.

Global temperature maps

You may want to bookmark this page if you are often tempted to look at the regional temperatures "right now". Click (or shift-click or CTRL-click) any graph below to zoom in.

First, NOAA's El Niño unit has introduced a new, visually attractive map of the current surface sea temperatures.



It's fun to see how the Gulf Stream makes Europe warmer. Look at the dark blue (cold) color near the East Coast Canadian beaches. Even Northern Norway which is more than 25 degrees of latitude more to the North seems warmer! The temperatures go from less than 32 °F, the freezing point, to 90 °F, a good reason to think that a change by a degree or two can't make a difference.

Friday, May 18, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Chanel Nº 5/fb: sweet fragrance of SUSY

I have discussed \({\mathcal F}-SU(5)\) superstringy models previously. They're based on local F-theory models, flipped \(SU(5)\) grand unification, and no-scale supergravity; each of the concepts brings some attractive or likely features to the model. In November 2011, we talked about profumo di SUSY; in March 2012, it was all about the aroma of squarks and gluinos.



The aromatic authors have added another product to their collection, Chanel Nº 5.

I guess that much like your humble correspondent, you didn't know that it was the world's most famous perfume (for me, the most impressive perfume would be Marrakesh, because of a love story) and the number 5 in the name of the perfume was preemptively chosen according to the number of inverse femtobarns collected by each detector by the end of 2011. You see that the female physicist on the picture above needs a lot of it. The paper by Li, Maxin, Nanopoulos, Walker is called

Chanel Nº 5 (\({\rm fb}^{-1}\)): sweet fragrance of SUSY
What do they claim?

Where and why people's reasoning starts to diverge from the physical one

Introduction to all conceptual mistakes that people do when they think about science and Nature

When you look at the whole set of scientific misconceptions that I have been trying to correct and clarify on this blog for years, whether they are all about the climate panic, rejection of quantum mechanics, denial of the arrow of time, hopeless research projects in quantum gravity, or anything else, you could think that this set depends on a large number of isolated technical details that one should simply learn and many people haven't.

But I don't actually think it is the case; I think that most of the wrong attitudes, wrong conclusions, and delusions are due to some more general mistakes in people's thinking, due to their revolt against some very universal principles of science. If one learns these principles and starts to think scientifically, he or she may exploit them many times. In other words, I believe that most of the people's mistakes are about the rejection of principles that people should probably internalize well before they're in puberty – otherwise it may be too late. And maybe it's not too late.

Let me try to map this tree of the scientific approaches (well, there is only one scientific branch at the end although it may be accessed from several directions) and their "competitors".

Science vs non-science

Near the very root of the tree, let us decouple the people who reject the scientific method as a matter of principle. When they face a new or old claim that someone wants to prove or check or dispute, these people just don't believe that the right answers may be looked for by the evaluation of the empirical evidence that may be done now, in the lab and repeatedly, in combination with the logical and mathematical reasoning.

Thursday, May 17, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Will Happer: CO2: friend or foe?

A comprehensive physicist's introduction to CO2 and climate

I would say that most of the competent physicists at good universities who have spent enough time to study the climate change issue are climate skeptics. A good example is Will Happer, an atomic physicist of Princeton.

Today, I checked the list of Berkeley physics coloquia and picked the following November 2010 talk:

CO2: a friend or a foe (MOV video, 90 minutes)
Lots of achievements by Prof Happer are enumerated at the beginning; you may want to listen to it carefully and compare with some of the scientific niemands who promote the climate alarm. As soon as the talk begins, it's fun.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Seventh Heartland Climate Conference: schedule

Between next Monday and next Wednesday, the Heartland Institute organizes the ICCC-7, its seventh climate conference. The schedule is available here:

Schedule of ICCC-7
The composition of speakers looks interesting enough. Czech President Václav Klaus – who has had some complaints about the Heartland billboards – will be responsible for the dinner keynote speech on Monday. The logistic good luck seems almost incredible: on May 20th and 21st, Klaus attends the NATO summit in the very same city of Chicago! Was some intelligent design involved?

Many other well-known names attend ICCC-7, too.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Does hard work guarantee discoveries and answers?

The short answer is No.

In his newest article,

SUSY: A Matter Of Prior Beliefs,
Tommaso Dorigo of CMS argues that many people at CERN have worked hard so they deserve to cause a paradigm shift in physics – in his case, he believes that phenomenologists should stop the research of supersymmetry in order to appreciate the contributions of the experimenters. Tommaso's opinions are a combination of utter irrationality, dishonesty, self-brainwashing, and victimism.

Why?

Czech socialist politician: $350,000 in a shoe box

On Wednesday, they found extra $1.5 million (CZK 30 million) in a special hideout in the floor of his house (and probably submachine gun model 58)

It's been a stereotype that Mr David Rath, the current governor of Central Bohemia (a disk around Prague without Prague), a former socialist healthcare minister, and one of the most aggressive social democratic politicians in the Czech Republic is one of the most immoral and corruptible politicians in Czechia.



It turned out that it hasn't been a stereotype. It's been a fact since the very beginning. I've heard many stories about his previous methods to get lots of money (he was very poor right after the fall of communism) but what we got yesterday and publicly today sounds much more specific. Details will be investigated but the conclusion that he is a criminal without any moral restrictions to speak of seems pretty much unassailable at this point once he was taken into custody by police. The police president who informed the interior minister last night claims that they have worked hard – 100 investigators were involved – and they feel very certain about the case.

Someone who has seen into Dr Rath's cards has spoken (Mr Paroubek speculates it was Mr Filip Bušina, an entrepreneur who had similar legal problems in the past) and for about six months, police have investigated accusations of bribery, negotiating advantages in public procurement (i.e. manipulating public tenders), and misappropriation of EU funds that is related to Dr Rath, a female director of a Central Bohemian hospital, and about 6 other people (5 men, 3 women). Contracts linked to the hospital in Kladno and/or the reconstruction of the Buštěhrad chateau may be involved. Today, the cops finally decided to catch the rat on the street, near a sewer in front of his house in Hostivice, Greater Prague, a mile from the Prague Havel Airport (calm video from the event, rap). What did they find?

Focus point supersymmetry

The mass of the soon-to-be-discovered Higgs boson, \(125\,\GeV\) or so, is below the threshold of \(135\,\GeV\) which means that it is compatible with the MSSM, the Minimal Supersymmetric Standard Model, where the observed Higgs boson could be the lightest one among five faces of the God particle.

It is definitely the mass region that favors the SUSY particle content in its simple form – and it's this MSSM form that is known to lead to gauge coupling unification which means that there exist other reasons aside from "simplicity" (which is a problematic, aesthetic guide) why a significant fraction of the phenomenological research into supersymmetry should be spent with the MSSM. (Non-minimal models of SUSY allow the Higgs mass to be larger but they usually destroy the gauge coupling unification miracle and have other undesirable effects.)

However, \(125\,\GeV\) is still a bit larger than in the most naive attempts to incorporate SUSY via the MSSM.

LQG calculates the correct black hole entropy

Not really but the stupidity of the LQG proponents has reached levels that are utterly comical

Just a week ago, I discussed the incompatibility between the black hole thermodynamics and loop quantum gravity. In a new paper, Ashoke Sen updated the list of black holes whose logarithmic corrections to their entropy are calculable.

For the Schwarzschild black hole in \(d=4\), the right formula contains terms such as \((212/45-3)\ln(a)\) while the LQG folks have confidently claimed that their theory predicts the coefficient equal to \(-2\) or \(-3\). Sorry, guys, that didn't work well. ;-)

But a "slightly less intelligent" paper was pointed out by Backreaction and Physics Forums:

Entropy of non-extremal black holes from loop gravity
The stupidity of this paper by a young Gentleman called Eugenio Bianchi – no, he is not Luigi Bianchi (1856-1928) of the Bianchi identities fame – has reached such celestial levels so that even Sabine Hossenfelder was able to notice. Let me extrapolate some of these lessons (including her justified yet not really novel arguments against Lee Smolin that the nonlocality implied by "doubly special relativity" means an inconsistency) in a more respectful way: I think that her IQ could be some 10-20 points above the IQ of an average LQG researcher such as Lee Smolin.

The paper goes approximately like this.

Sunday, May 13, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Quantum gravity: replies to "top ten"

Backreaction highlights what Sabine Hossenfelder considers ten "most interesting and pressing open problems" in theoretical physics related to quantum gravity. The amount of ignorance – a type of ignorance that is unfortunately widespread – and the depth of the misunderstandings that are visibly contained in the very questions seems very high to me.

Let me try to clarify some of these basic misconceptions that are often apparent in the very way how she phrases the questions.

Saturday, May 12, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

David Suzuki: humans are 2D maggots

The leader of the Canadian global warming movement has studied fruit flies (much like Alexander Ač whose PhD thesis is about the carbon-enhanced copulation of fruit flies on blue-flowered meadows).

But during his research, he had discovered something that has had huge implications for the human race, too.



He has discovered that humans are fruit flies and maggots because they eat stuff around.

Friday, May 11, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Tommaso Dorigo, cMSSM, and demagogy

Tommaso Dorigo has driven me up the wall by a demagogic article about SUSY, MSSM, and cMSSM, and so have his stupid readers. That has occurred despite the fact that he has already written about a hundred of such dishonest rants.

Because it seems that the Italians weren't sufficiently beaten by us today yet, let me copy my reactions over here.

Richard Feynman: birthday

Richard Feynman was born on May 11th, 1918. If you have never watched his 1964 Messenger Lectures at Cornell, you should fix it. Here's the first one (one hour):



You may watch all these lectures via Bill Gates' Project Tuva: Microsoft Internet Explorer is needed.

Thursday, May 10, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Thomas Bayes and supersymmetry

Phil Gibbs wrote a nice article about an insightful puzzle, Bayes and SUSY, which is relevant for a sensible answer to the question "how much we should change our mind when we eliminate a big chunk of a parameter space", i.e. a big portion of the possible values of some parameters that specify a theory.

EU lawmakers won't go to Rio+20, can't afford the hotel

Next month, there will be a conference in Rio – called Rio+20 or Earth Summit 2012 – which will take place exactly 20 years after the 1992 conference in Rio that helped environmentalism in general and global warming in particular to penetrate deeply into the mainstream media and the mainstream politics.



The policies resulting from the Rio talks and a few related events brought us to the current world, a world which spends several billion dollars a year for climate change research, about ten billion dollars for climate change analysts and journalists, and... about half a trillion dollars a year for the actual policies trying to curb the CO2 emissions (which don't work but still introduce huge and costly inefficiencies to the system).

It may be helpful to write down that half a trillion is $500,000,000,000 dollars. Try to appreciate the number of zeros. For this reason, I was bemused to learn that

MEPs cancel Rio+20 participation (European Voice)
(via Benny Peiser) where MEPs stands for "members of the European Parliament". But it was even more amazing to learn what is the justification why the European Parliament – the only people at the EU level who are actually lawmakers and who could "imprint" some negotiations into reality – won't attend Rio+20: the European Union can't afford $1,000 per night in the hotel which is "too exorbitant". Cool.

Gauginos with Dirac masses and F-theory

The idea that the gauge fields of the Standard Model are extended not just to \(\NNN=1\) supersymmetry multiplets but to \(\NNN=2\) supermultiplets has been discussed a few times on this blog, e.g. in November 2011.

Those blog entries were mostly inspired by phenomenologists who had good enough low-energy if not low-brow reasons to add a chiral multiplet in the adjoint representation to the vector multiplets.

However, I always found such an extension very natural from a braneworld viewpoint. Gauge fields may reside on branes with rather high dimensions and they may preserve the \(\NNN=2\) supersymmetry while the fermion matter multiplets only respect the \(\NNN=1\) supersymmetry, being localized on intersections. This picture becomes particularly natural in F-theory, I thought, and I wondered why no string theorists discussed this scenario.

Finally, Rhys Davies, an Oxford postdoc (and infrequent physics blogger) who worked with Candelas a few years ago, published such a paper:

Dirac gauginos and unification in F-theory

Mars: climate change faster than thought

Global warming on other planets (and moons) is one of the cute scientific observations that have amused many of us many times.



Mars for Martians

The topic got hotter in recent hours once again:

Mars sand dunes show rapidly shifting environment

Google News
The Martian sand dunes are moving, NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has revealed. Just in 105 days, things got totally different: press release.

The observations erase the remaining doubts about the existence of the Martians. They also inform us about their skin color.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Naomi Riley: another victim of PC fascism

Jason has informed me about a very disturbing, new story about the disappearing freedom of speech in America; the story has made it to the Drudge Report. This cute madam became another victim of the organized reverse racism in the U.S. She was fired (see the poor excuse) for having done exactly what she had been hired to do, namely to provide a conservative viewpoint on educational and religious topics.



Naomi Schaefer Riley, a former Wall Street Journal editor, was fired from the Chronicle of Higher Education after she wrote this brief yet convincing essay about the need to eliminate the departments of black studies from the American universities:

The Most Persuasive Case for Eliminating Black Studies? Just Read the Dissertations.
Loud far left activists have vitriolically reacted in the comment section (even though they have arguably been a loud minority) and after a few days and 1,000+ comments, she was fired. The story was described by Reason, Wall Street Journal, and the Weekly Standard, among other sensible sources. The best summary of the virtual story was written by Riley herself for the Wall Street Journal; thanks, Jason.

Do I have some experience of a similar type?

Is everything entangled?

Roman Buniy and Steve Hsu published a preprint named

Everything Is Entangled
which claims that... everything is entangled. Because of the cosmological evolution, everything evolves into an entangled state and the entanglement easily transgresses the cosmic horizon. However, you can't observe this entanglement too easily because the entanglement is "diluted" so a randomly chosen pair of nearby objects won't inherit too much of this entanglement.

Maybe accidentally, maybe because of the preprint, a user named "confused" asked the following question at the Physics Stack Exchange:
Given entanglement, why is it permissible to consider the quantum state of subsystems?

Tuesday, May 08, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Brontosauruses' flatulence: as much methane as civilization

An estimate of warming caused by their digestion

Brontosaurus was a herbivore dinosaur with a very small brain and a large body which arguably made it the largest animal that was ever walking on the Earth. The newest official name is Apatosaurus.



In socialist Czechoslovakia, the term "Brontosaurus" was perhaps even more widespread and well-known than the word "Dinosaur[us]" itself. And most people who knew both words didn't know that the B-word was a subset of the D-word. Why was it so?

Well, I think that the main reason was that it was featured as the largest animal in the Journey to the Beginning of Time movie about the boys who visited the ancient geological eras. Around 52:45, they describe the Brontosaurus (don't forget to turn the English subtitles on) as the greatest catch of their expedition and probably the largest ever animal on Earth.

Equally importantly, the Nedvěd brothers – two of the main icons of the Czech folk and tramp music (especially one of them) – founded the band called "Brontosauruses" ["Brontosauři"] in 1972. Among dozens of songs, Stánky is quite possibly the most well-known one. The vegetarian, victimist character of Brontosauruses has made them kind of compatible with the environmental movement and the communist regime, too.

But that's obviously not what I wanted to talk about. Instead, I want to say a few words about the research promoted by BBC and others and claiming that

Dinosaur gases 'warmed the Earth'.

French adventures may hardly lead to a happy end

This is a translation of a comment at idnes.cz by Dr Pavel Kohout, the chief analyst of Partners and a government economics adviser. The translation does mean that I endorse every word of it.



The so-called advanced European countries are no longer our role models. The French public debt is twice as high as the public debt of Czechia and the newly elected president preaches new spending. "This adventure may hardly end up with a happy end," writes economist Dr Pavel Kohout in his comment for idnes.cz.

Monday, May 07, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

A confirmation of the 130 GeV dark matter-like bump

Three weeks ago, I discussed Christoph Weniger's finding that the Fermi satellite seems to show an excess of photons whose energy is close to 130 GeV in several regions of the sky.



A photograph of our galaxy using 120-140 GeV photons is on the left (with the location of the bubbles that have nothing to do with the excess, as is shown today). Smoothed excess signal is on the right. Circles indicate disk-shaped regions with the maximum significance. Click to zoom in.

Today, the second paper about this emerging discovery – the first independent confirmation – was published:

Fermi 130 GeV gamma-ray excess and dark matter annihilation in sub-haloes and in the Galactic centre (arXiv)
Three Estonian authors, Elmo Tempel, Andi Hektor, and Martti Raidal (with some Swiss affiliation as well) have found an even stronger signal than Weniger.

Wrong log corrections to BH entropy exclude LQG, inconsistent theories of QG

Ashoke Sen's new research is much more interesting when it comes to positive claims

The correct value of the black hole entropy is an important litmus test for assessing the consistency of candidate theories of quantum gravity.

A translation of this text to Japanese is available (click).
In the 1970s, Jacob Bekenstein decided that black holes should carry a nonzero entropy that should be proportional to the area of their event horizon. But if an object has a variable nonzero entropy, it must also have a variable nonzero temperature.

Stephen Hawking made his famous calculation of the Hawking radiation and determined the black hole temperature. For any black hole, it's proportional to the gravitational acceleration at the event horizon; the coefficient is universal. For example, for the \(D=4\) Schwarzschild black hole, the temperature is \(T = 1/(8\pi M)\).

(Later, Bill Unruh deduced the same temperature for an equivalently accelerating observer in the flat space. The history was a bit acausal here because Unruh's calculation is arguably simpler and "more elementary" but complexity hadn't repelled Hawking.)

The entropy could have been determined from thermodynamics indirectly, via \[dQ= T\cdot dS.\] For large black holes, the resulting entropy of any black hole may be expressed as\[

S = \frac{A}{4G}

\] in the \(\hbar=c=k=1\) units where \(A\) is the event horizon's area. However, at that time, one couldn't calculate the entropy using the conventional methods of statistical mechanics.

Sunday, May 06, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

String predictions in particle physics

In the previous posting, I linked to Andrew Strominger's recent talk at Berkeley. So it's fair to link to a talk by his colleague Cumrun Vafa of Harvard. ;-) One may say that it's somewhat ironic that the focus of Cumrun's recent research was much more phenomenological, experiment-oriented than Andy's work.

He gave many recent, more updated talks about the similar topic, F-theory phenomenology, but the videos are somewhat hard to be found at public servers so I decided to recommend you his 2009 colloquium at the very same place as Andy's talk, namely at Berkeley. Be ready for the same room, the same host, and the same video format.

Saturday, May 05, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Black holes: harmonic oscillators of the 21st century

I think that my ex-colleague Andy Strominger is not only a top physicist but also a captivating speaker. This talk he gave at Berkeley in March 2012 confirms it.

Kaczynski Heartland billboard wasn't a blunder

On Thursday, the Heartland Institute placed a playful digital billboard to the suburbs of Chicago.



They also wrote down an explanation. People such as Ross McKitrick protested and the billboard was removed within 24 hours.

Was the billboard right when it comes to the truth of the content? The ability to promote the think tank? And the ability to shift the society's discourse and intellectual atmosphere in a desirable direction? I think that the answer to all these questions are closer to Yes than No.

Friday, May 04, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Klaus for CNN: Europe needs reforms like Czechoslovakia after 1989

Richard Quest of CNN has interviewed our president:



Europe needs a fundamental change of the paradigm.

A menace called Francois Hollande

Oil has lost 4.5 percent today, Dow Jones is losing 1.3 percent at this point. You may be looking for a culprit.



What is his name? In May 2012, the main threat for the prosperity of the world isn't an asteroid or a global warming but a man who is as dangerous as 500 global warmings, 1,800 climate changes and 5,600 climate disruptions.

In the main article for the day, CNN Money has described this threat in a detailed article with a capitalized headline,

FEAR OF A FRENCH SOCIALIST (Why Wall Street fears a Socialist French leader)
And it's a scary reading, indeed. What's going on? Except for the elections on Sunday in which Hollande is actually predicted to win at this moment?

Thursday, May 03, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

When experimental mathematics fails

Interesting web technicality: Google has localized motls.blogspot.cz in many more smaller countries including Czechia, Slovakia, Denmark, and others.
Many of you have surely shared the following attitude of mine. Since I was a kid, I had a pragmatical and "physical" attitude to the truth in mathematics even though I may have been closer to mathematics than to physics at many points. Is the heuristic reasoning justifiable?

When I was a sophomore in Prague, many of us discussed a paper by Arthur Jaffe and Frank Quinn,
"Theoretical mathematics": Toward a cultural synthesis of mathematics and theoretical physics
A year later, Michael Atiyah and 14 other prominent characters from the mathematical physics and physical mathematics waters wrote a response. I had probably read the response more carefully than the original article. Today, the original article seems kind of balanced to me when it comes to the question whether mathematics and theoretical physics should mix.

In the early 1990s, I didn't know that the first author of the original paper would become my colleague at Harvard 20 years later – and I knew Arthur very well. And in fact, five years had to pass from the moment when Arthur ceased to be my colleague for me to realize that he had co-authored the paper whose existence I realized so well in the early 1990s. ;-)

Nevertheless, the people who wrote the "response" were probably even more open to a free market of ideas in between mathematics and theoretical physics than the original authors and considered many of the cautionary tales against the cooperation of the fields to be demagogic because they were about bad research, not about the cooperation per se.

But let me get to the topic I want to discuss.

Bell denial: Scott Aaronson vs Joy Christian

In March, I discussed Joy Christian's jihad against Bell's theorem.

Now you may buy a book he was allowed to publish; if you do so, you will be among a dozen of people in the world who have "invested" their assets in this way.

In the text a month ago, I explained that Bell's theorem can't really be reverted because it is, you know, a proven mathematical theorem. I have linked to my presentation of the proof and related issues.

And I have reviewed some detailed errors that have been known to me for quite some time and that were clearly articulated in a recent paper by Richard Gill. There's an obvious error in Christian's proof; he replaces \(\beta(\lambda)=\lambda\beta\) by \(\beta\) at some point which has the unfortunate effect of changing \(\lambda^2=1\) to \(\lambda\) which allowed him to cancel an "unwanted" term that doesn't cancel if you do things right.

Moreover, even if this error weren't there, his setup isn't a plausible description of the situation because some things that need to be real (both classically and quantum mechanically), such as the expectation values of the spins etc., take values in obscure algebras. So his "model" violates the assumptions of the problem – whether the clearly stated mathematical assumptions of the theorem or the assumptions that are truly needed if you want to describe the actual physical situation.

Now,

Scott Aaronson [main URL in this blog entry],
a quantum computation guy, has written a text about the Joy Christian phenomenon, too. Hundreds of thousands of virtual dollars are being shot in between the two Gentlemen.

HSCP at CMS: many 2-sigma excesses

Hints of long-lived superpartners and hadrinos

In January, I mentioned a curiously high number of three events suggesting that there could be a new long-lived charged particle whose mass is approximately \(700\,\GeV\).



Shadron, one of the animals that the LHC tries to recreate

These heavy long-lived charged particles (HSCPs where "S" means "stable") are able to get very far through the layers of the detector and they ionize things. For those reasons, they resemble other somewhat heavy, long-lived charged particles – muons – except that one may show that they are much heavier than muons.

The CMS folks just released a new preprint on this topic:

Search for heavy long-lived charged particles in \(pp\) collisions at \(\sqrt{s}=7\,\TeV\)
The paper has built on 5 inverse femtobarns of the data. Has it found a smoking gun?

Wednesday, May 02, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Lisa Randall and string theory

Five years ago, Peter, Larry, and a few other folks established bigthink.com, an online knowledge forum, which has featured interviews with 2,000 or so people so far.

A week ago, Lisa Randall recorded another interview.



She says that string theory is addressing the very short-distance phenomena and postulates that particles are actually extended objects, strings. Well, at least, this is the perturbative description.

Do wind farms cause global warming?

The short version of the article is "Probably Yes". Here is the extended version:

Lots of blogs and media have discussed a paper in Nature Climate Change that has demonstrated a huge warming effect of the wind farms on the regional land surface temperatures, especially at night:

Impacts of wind farms on land surface temperature (Liming Zhou and 5 co-authors)

Questions and answers by the authors (free PDF)
For example, Fox News wrote that New Research Shows Wind Farms Cause Global Warming. This is arguably a true but oversimplified headline but the paper had to be very inconvenient for certain folks because they instantly wrote articles with the opposite title, No, wind farms are not causing global warming (a Washington Post blog) which are equally oversimplified but – unlike the Fox headline – also "more false than true". Compare them with Anthony Watts and Roger Pielke who are both right as well as accurate and careful while interpreting the paper.



Other far-left blogs such as Think Progress were feeling equally threatened by the study. Prof Matt Strassler has also interrupted his musings about a new baryon observed by the CMS detector at CERN to scream that wind farms do not cause global warming.

As the text below will try to explain in some detail, Strassler's claim is just plain dishonest. The legitimate way for him to express the same information would have been "I find it ideologically inconvenient when a published study shows an indisputable effect of wind farms on the land surface temperatures". Why? Who is right?

Tuesday, May 01, 2012 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Eugene: Reds shifting and redshifting

Guest blog by Eugene Seidel

In 1986 Robert Nozick, professor of philosophy at Harvard and author of Anarchy, State and Utopia among numerous other works, published an essay titled Why Do Intellectuals Oppose Capitalism. (An abridged version of the essay appears at the Cato Institute website.)

Nozick's essay describes the resentment felt by many “wordsmiths”, people who mourn the loss of their status as verbally proficient pupils favored by teachers in elementary and secondary school. The essay then goes on to make a plausible case for why this should lead to rejection of capitalism (or, as I would say, the free market). As they get left behind by their more quantitatively oriented peers, who begin earning greater material and immaterial rewards, a feeling of injustice sets in among the newly un-advantaged, who cast about for remedies. A political ideology that apportions to the “deserving” what is their “rightful share” then becomes an attractive proposition as a way to right a perceived wrong.

Nearly three decades have passed since first publication of the essay. In the interim, the Soviet Union crumbled and Marxist-Leninist ideology was consigned to the ash heap of history along with central planning of the economy (except for Cuba and North Korea). For the resentful and aggrieved, the favored target upon which to vent frustration has shifted. They have rolled up their red flags and unfurled green ones instead. Blatant anti-capitalism has turned into a more subtle variant that finds its expression in alarmism about man-made climate change, attended by prescriptions for a wholesale redesign of the world economy. Ample documentation of the bizarre forms this alarmism can take is readily available on this website.