## Wednesday, October 31, 2012 ... /////

### CMS proton-lead ridge: color glass condensate?

Two years ago, I reported the observation of surprising two-particle correlations at the CMS in proton-proton collisions, something that was previously observed at Brookhaven's RHIC in their 2005 gold-gold collisions.

You know that the LHC sometimes collides lead nuclei against lead nuclei instead of proton-proton pairs but a few weeks ago, it tried something something new, the proton-lead (asymmetric) collisions. Physics World tells us about a (not too) surprising result of this hybrid crashing game:

Unexpected 'ridge' seen in CMS collision data again
I wrote it's not "too" surprising because it's been seen in gold-gold, proton-proton, and lead-lead collisions, so why it should be missing in the proton-lead collisions? But there's something new about this story I haven't written about yet, and that's the reason for this new blog entry.

It's a new cute and plausible theoretical explanation of the ridge: color glass condensate.

### Was Sandy systemically caused by CO2?

Anthony Watts wrote down a nice table describing which folks believe or at least pretend to believe that CO2 "caused" Hurricane Sandy and which people don't. If I simplify it a little bit, activists, liars, and crackpots such as Al Gore support the link while scientists don't. I am kind of pleased to see that for the first time, most of the media seem to agree that the people promoting the hurricane-CO2 link are hacks.

I was intrigued by a member of the former group, hardcore leftist activist Mr George Lakoff, who wrote the following text for the Huffington Post:

Global Warming Systemically Caused Hurricane Sandy
He introduces a new problematic term: "systemic causation". He believes that fossil fuels "systemically caused" Hurricane Sandy (and other weather events we don't like). The description makes it look like the construct "A systemically caused B" means "A increased the odds of B" – note that my alternative wording is equally long, much more accurate, and not requiring any new contrived phrases.

Except that Mr Lakoff believes that AIDS is only "systemically caused", not "directly caused", by the HIV virus. That's pretty interesting. Either he is an HIV denier or his definition of "systemic causation" is internally inconsistent. But let's ask two questions: Was Sandy "systemically caused" by CO2 emissions? And forgetting about the answer and focusing on genuine "systemic causes" of bad events in general, is it legitimate for the society to outlaw them?

My answer to both questions is No, although the latter question deserves a subtler discussion.

## Tuesday, October 30, 2012 ... /////

### Different ways to interpret Feynman diagrams

Feynman diagrams are the funny pictures that Richard Feynman drew on his van:

You see that a Feynman diagram is composed of several lines that meet at vertices (at the nodes of the graph). Some of the lines are straight, some of them are wiggly: this shape of each line distinguishes the particle type. For example, straight lines are often reserved for fermions while wiggly lines are reserved for photons or other gauge bosons.

## Monday, October 29, 2012 ... /////

### Is Hurricane Sandy unprecedented?

East Coast people's reports about their observations and courage are more than welcome

Update ex post facto: Sandy deserves the label "non-event" even more so than Irene did

The media are full of panic and strong words inspired by Hurricane Sandy, the "Frankenstorm" as some writers nicknamed it. Of course, this moniker – perhaps originally meant to indicate the Halloween time – is popular especially among those crackpots who want to argue that the storm is "man-made". Others are more modest and use the terms "mammoth, monster, superstorm" for Sandy.

A region of the New Jersey and Delaware coast is predicted to be "more like than not" to experience hurricane speeds (at least once, the 1-minute average speed must be above 74 mph). Also, see a photo gallery (27 pics) and the live broadcast from Weather Channel.

Events are being cancelled, institutions and major parts of the public transportation systems are being closed, and hundreds of thousands of people are being evacuated because of the late Category 1 hurricane that should land somewhere in New Jersey sometime on Monday evening, Eastern Daylight Saving Time, i.e. Tuesday morning European time. You may observe the predicted speed and status of the storm at the NOAA website.

I understand the sentiments behind the caution. On the other hand, I understand the skeptics much better. Many people clearly remember an isomorphic hysteria before the landing of Hurricane Irene in August 2011 which turned out to be a non-event. I remember a hurricane sometime around 2005 which was announced to land in New England – but the outcome could have been summarized by the sentence "It is raining in Boston".

Webcam: Try the rainy before-the-storm business-as-usual at The Times Square, other NYC places (sorry, the website may be overloaded)
The media are helping to preserve a certain kind of group think, a nearly religious admiration for the hurricane and its overwhelming power. I surely have the feeling that those people who refuse to evacuate their homes are considered heretics. They are not allowed to coherently describe their position in the media. But they have a rather good basis for their position, too.

## Sunday, October 28, 2012 ... /////

Qatar is a peninsula located on the opposite side of the Pilsner Gulf than Iran. Its economy is the wealthiest one not only in the Islamic world – even in comparison with Kuwait and UAE – but it's almost certainly richer than the economy of your country. The GDP per capita exceeds $100,000; no kidding. Not bad for a nation (2 million people) whose average IQ is 78. Sometimes if your ancestors are dumb enough to choose a desert as their home, you may benefit out of the stupidity because even a desert may harbor amazing wealth. The conference center above in the capital, Doha, will host the 18th session of the Conference of Parties of the UNFCCC, the loons who want to regulate carbon dioxide. That's what I call an irony. ;-) The meeting will start in one month, on November 26th, and will continue through December 7th. ### Preons probably can't exist Don Lincoln is the star of several cute Fermilab videos in which he explains various issues in particle physics. He's also authored several related texts for Fermilab Today. He chose a much more controversial topic, namely preons, for his fresh article in the Scientific American: The Inner Life of Quarks Preons are hypothetical particles smaller than leptons and quarks that leptons and quarks are made out of. But can there be such particles? ## Saturday, October 27, 2012 ... ///// ### Galileo's 1633 trial: a tragic hero I was pleased that virtually all the media criticize the recent manslaughter verdict against the Italian seismologists. Many outlets compare the trial to the 1633 trial against Galileo Galilei. So I decided to find a video explaining some details about that event in particular and Galileo's life in general – and the 52-minute Chicago talk by Rocky Kolb (whom I hosted once at Harvard) from 2011 turned out to be a very informative choice although I clearly disagree with many sentiments that Kolb expressed during the talk. ### Anniversaries: Meitner, van Vleck, Mills, Bohm If you're a famous physicist, you should be careful today: October 27th is a day when many famous physicists die. This very date turned out to be fatal for Lise Meitner in 1968, John Hasbrouck van Vleck in 1980, David Bohm in 1992 (twenty years ago), and Robert Mills in 1999. They're known for the co-discovery of the nuclear fission; the van Vleck transformations, determinant, paramagnetism, and other insights about quantum mechanics applied to solids; Aharonov-Bohm effect and the revival of the misguided pilot wave theory by Louis de Broglie; and Yang-Mills theory, respectively. You may see it's way too many people and way too many topics to discuss. ## Friday, October 26, 2012 ... ///// ### The holographic principle The newest episode of The Big Bang Theory that was aired last night was called "The Holographic Excitation" (S06E05). It's pretty cool that a TV sitcom manages not only to show a hologram but Leonard Hofstadter was even allowed to present a rather accurate definition of the holographic principle in quantum gravity i.e. string theory (you won't find it in any popular science TV program that claims to explain modern physics!). And as a result, he was able to have an intercourse with Penny right after she wore some glasses and was shown a moving holographic pencil and a moving holographic globe. (Later, he repeated the same achievement using Maglev.) (And I even think that Prof Nina Byers whom I know rather well walks behind the main actors around 9:15. This theory seems to make sense because she's at UCLA, much like the TBBT science adviser David Saltzberg.) The holographic principle of quantum gravity is an incredible example of the ability of the quantum gravity and string theory research to teach us things we really didn't and perhaps couldn't anticipate, force us to modify or abandon some prejudices, and adopt ideas about the unification of ideas and concepts that philosophers couldn't have invented after thousands of years of disciplined reasoning but physicists may be forced to realize them if they carefully follow the mathematical arguments sprinkling from a theory that they randomly discovered in a cave. But let's return half a century into the past. Holography started in "everyday life physics" in the late 1940s. ## Thursday, October 25, 2012 ... ///// ### Evangelista Torricelli: an anniversary Evangelista Torricelli was born on October 15th, 1608 – we could commemorate his birthday ten days ago – and died of typhoid fever contracted a few days earlier in Florence exactly 365 years ago, on October 25th, 1647. This early physics worker is mainly remembered for the discovery of the barometer and for his simple law in hydrodynamics. ### PBS Frontline: Climate of Doubt PBS, a major U.S. Public TV station, has aired this 54-minute documentary, The Climate of Doubt: See also additional PBS material on the program. The program – starting with some video sequences from the latest Heartland Climate Skeptics Conference in Chicago – was largely criticized by Joe Bast of Heartland, Tom Harris of Canada, and some pre-program comments were mentioned by Chris Horner and The Heartland Institute. Gavin Schmidt posted the video on Real Climate, mostly to boast that he has appeared for a few seconds, too. I think that a viewer will have no doubts that the creators of the program are hostile towards the skeptics – due to the constant usage of offensive words such as "contrarians" and due to the hostile faces of the host (especially John Hockenberry), among a few other reasons. On the other hand, I think that this program has done a relatively fair and open job when it comes to the revelation of the information for the viewers, especially the information about the changes of the debate in recent years. ## Wednesday, October 24, 2012 ... ///// ### Czech police uncovers a$20 million carbon credit fraud

A day later, it also foils a $100 million solar fraud The most straightforward way to learn what's going on with carbon trading in my country is... to read e-mails from a well-informed Malaysian American at Harvard. ;-) The CZK 1,000 banknote was chosen as the World's Best New Banknote in 2008 by the Association of Currency Affairs. Willie Soon sent me this URL: Police suspect two of carbon credit fraud worth CZK 378m (Prague Monitor) News in Czech One U.S. dollar is worth 19 Czech crowns (CZK) so the amount these two men earned was nice,$20 million. Some real estate worth half a million dollars was already blocked.

The "trick" wasn't too difficult. They bought and sent some carbon indulgences. Officially, they pretended that both transactions occurred within Czechia. As payers of the 20% or so value-added-tax (VAT), they would buy the carbon permits for an increased price with the VAT tax included, i.e. 120% of the "tax-free price", and they would sell it for a price including VAT, too. They would pay the 20% VAT as the difference between the 20% VAT they received for the sale and the 20% VAT they had to pay during the purchase.

(All the "VAT payers" – usually companies except for tiny ones – get all the VAT they pay back. The only folks who don't get the VAT back and who "really" pay it are the regular consumers etc. who are paradoxically called "VAT non-payers", and that's why the government ultimately gets some money from the VAT game.)

Under normal circumstances, a VAT payer (I had to become a VAT payer as well, due to some small amounts and crazy EU laws) would sell it for the same amount as the price for which he bought it. That would include the tax and our IRS would return nothing if both transactions involved the same amount of money. No profit, no loss. VAT is about the "added value" and nothing is added if you just buy and sell for the same price. However...

### Candida: uncertainties, strategies, victories

I have declared a victory in the war against the yeast and started a normal diet.

As a result, the yeast cells have been downgraded from hostile eukaryotes and wannabe animals to largely counterproductive oversized molecules. Coming attacks by the microorganisms will be considered sporadic crimes unless the foe manages to convince me to officially wage another war in the future.

In this text, I want to review my struggles against the intruders that were intense in the most recent 50 days. Your humble correspondent will appreciate if you reduce the amount of comment feedback that focuses on myself – be sure that I am sort of tired of being connected with the condition, especially physically ;-) – and if you kindly prefer general scientific questions that may improve our knowledge and help the mankind (or at least other individual sufferers).

## Tuesday, October 23, 2012 ... /////

### Climate hysteria in presidential debates RIP (1988-2008)

In the hot summer of 1988, James Hansen gave his notorious and by now perfectly discredited testimony in front of the U.S. Congress in which he has predicted approximately 1 °C of warming for the following 25 years. It was an election year in America and the the first one in which the "climate will dangerously change" meme has made it to the presidential debates.

As this video reminds us, the topic was discussed by the candidates in 1988 (especially the VP candidates; thanks, Gene!), 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008. Six times. That's it. Thank God. The accumulating years of experience showing that a panic is unjustifiable, the public's growing knowledge of the climate science, the 2009 ClimateGate, and the natural aging process have teamed up to guarantee that the climate panic hasn't been mentioned once in the 2012 presidential debates:

US presidential debates' great unmentionable: climate change (Guardian, Suzanne Goldenberg from the U.S.)
Well, of course, I am talking about the debates between the two candidates who have a material chance to win the presidency in two weeks.

Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, is still promoting the climate hysteria. She has reclassified Barack Obama as a climate denier – welcome to the club, Barack – which actually means that she has reclassified her own climate alarmist movement as an extremist movement, next to the Nazis and communists, that has nothing to do with mainstream U.S. politics anymore.

### Alan Guth on himself, science, cosmology

Aside from Edward Witten, another well-known winner of the Newton Medal (in 2009) was Alan Guth, the first father of cosmic inflation. Two month ago, the Institute for Physics posted the post-Newton-Medal interview with him, too.

He had no science background in his family. At least he doesn't remember any background. But his family was happy when it learned that Alan was into science. Well, they were happy for a while, before they realize that science wasn't quite the same thing as engineering, but it was fortunately too late for them intervene. ;-)

He grew up in a small town, Highland Park, New Jersey which only has 15,000 inhabitants or so today. Well, it may be a small town but your humble correspondent knows it very well from his Rutgers years (1997-2001). In fact, I officially had a physician over there although I have never visited him so at least, I was sometimes going to do shopping in a grocery store over there. You may guess what Guth's father was: Yes, he had a grocery store in Highland Park. It burned at some point. ;-)

## Monday, October 22, 2012 ... /////

### Edward Witten on science, strings, himself

Two months ago, the Institute of Physics revealed this YouTube video:

Edward Witten, whom they still call "a 2010 Newton Medal Winner" rather than the "An Inaugural Milner Prize Winner" because they think that £1,000 with a stamp "IOP" on it (plus the name of Isaac Newton, without his permission) is more than $3,000,000 ;-), is talking for 25 minutes about his CV, previous scholarly interests, as well as hot topics in string theory. ### Italy earthquake witch trial: 6 years in prison A few moments ago, I randomly made a Google News search about the Italian earthquake trial that I discussed in June 2011 and September 2011. And holy cow, the verdict is just out: L'Aquila quake: Italy scientists guilty of manslaughter (BBC) That's incredible. Even a year ago when I talked about it, I still thought that the final verdict would be "innocent" – and the very fact that such a trial could have started in Italy at all looked unbelievably humiliating for the country known as Italy. Well, the verdict is "guilty". Italy has officially become a banana republic controlled by savages who would happily condemn Galileo for his claims that the Earth revolves around the Sun again. It's still the same country and its institutions have made no intellectual progress in the last 300 years. Six seismologists and an official were sent to prison for 6 years (plus they have to pay court expenses and damages) for telling people before the 2009 L'Aquila earthquake that there wasn't a reason to panic because a large earthquake was improbable. What these people did was totally fine: they shared their prediction about (i.e. estimated probability of) the earthquake based on their best knowledge of seismology in which they're among the top Italian experts. A large, magnitude 6.3 earthquake did take place and killed 309 people but it's not these people's fault and earthquakes can always arrive unpredictably. The large earthquake can't even be shown to have been "caused" or "predicted" by the smaller tremors that preceded it. It could have been independent of them, too. As far as demonstrable evidence goes, the people are being convicted for a random unexpected and unpredictable natural catastrophe. It's not possible to reliably or semi-reliably predict earthquakes and strong arguments exist that it will always be impossible. So it will always be unreasonable – crazy – to expect a 0% error rate in similar predictions; you will only be able to evaluate how good a forecaster is by looking at many predictions he has made. This fact isn't the seven people's fault. It's not even a fault of the community of seismologists as a whole. These things just can't be predicted because of the intrinsically stochastic nature of the underlying physical processes so chance will always play a major role when it comes to earthquakes. ## Sunday, October 21, 2012 ... ///// ### In awe about entanglement Entanglement is nothing else than correlation described in the quantum language Quantum entanglement is arguably the most "sexy" feature of quantum mechanics when it comes to the exploitation and abuse of quantum mechanics by popular books and TV programs. When I talk to the laymen and wannabe physicists who are excited about quantum mechanics, they are often excited about the entanglement. Entanglement is the ultimate justification of the New Age memes that everything is connected with everything else, that quantum mechanics endorses souls that can separate themselves from the matter and that bring physics closer to religion, and that the laws of relativity have been abolished by quantum mechanics. Don't get me wrong. Quantum entanglement is cool. It probably sounds bizarre to almost everyone who is starting to learn quantum mechanics. However, it's also completely mundane, generic, ordinary, and typical. All the supernatural implications of entanglement in the previous paragraph are bogus. And whoever keeps on thinking that "entanglement can't be true" or "it must be challenged and tested all the time" hasn't yet completed the learning of the basics of quantum mechanics. He or she hasn't reconciled himself or herself with the fact that classical physics died about a century ago. ## Saturday, October 20, 2012 ... ///// ### Livescribe Smartpen I just learned from Technet, a Czech sci-tech server, about the Livescribe Smartpen – something I've never seen before even though it has already arrived to the Czech market. It's kind of cool. I feel that many students may want to buy such a gadget, it starts at$100 or so. The product on the left is more expensive because it has more memory.

It is an intelligent pen that allows you to draw a calculator or a piano and play it or compute with it. You may write "Hello beer" and it easily translates it (in audio) as "Hola Cerveza" to Spanish. ;-) However, most importantly, it is a tape recorder that is able to synchronize the recorded sound with the notes on the paper.

The gadget may remember thousands of pages of notes and almost a thousand of hours of sound.

## Friday, October 19, 2012 ... /////

### How empty is the black hole interior?

I've exchanged a dozen of e-mails with Joe Polchinski, the most well-known physicist in the original team that proposed the firewalls. We haven't converged and Joe ultimately decided he didn't have time to continue and recommended me to write a paper instead (which he wouldn't read, I guess). However, he started to listen to what my resolution actually is and I could see his actual objection to it which seems flawed to me, as I discuss below.

## Wednesday, October 17, 2012 ... /////

### Raphael Bousso converts to the Church of Firewall

His (and probably AMPS') error boils down to a widespread misinterpretation of "choices" in quantum mechanics

Clayton informed me that Raphael Bousso who has written the most meaningful reply to the AMPS black hole firewall paradox has completely reverted his position.

I have previously discussed the black hole firewall argument and Raphael's first reply to it.

Now we see two versions of his preprint,

v1: Observer Complementarity Upholds the Equivalence Principle (firewalls are wrong)

v2: Complementarity Is Not Enough (firewalls are true and deep)
Can you spot the difference? ;-) Well, I remain an infidel but I think that the second version of Raphael's paper is still pretty clearly written.

### Czech PM ready to veto EU bank supervision

TBBT: Off topic news: tonight, the S06E04 episode of The Big Bang Theory will finally bring Howard back to Earth. A game night will become a gender war.
All the Czech media and some international outlets inform about the decision of Mr Petr Nečas, the Czech prime minister and a trained plasma physicist, to veto the planned European pan-continental bank supervision as it stands. This project is pushed primarily by Monsieur Hollande.

He argues that the Czech Republic would be the most severely affected country of the EU. In this particular question, you should forget about President Klaus' being the only Euroskeptic. I think that there exists a consensus among the ministers, top lawmakers, and all important people in the Czech National Bank, not to mention other top-tier economists and the Association of Exporters, among many other key folks in the economy, that the planned unification of the bank supervision in the EU would be extremely harmful and dangerous for the Czech Republic.

The current legal system allows a member country to veto similar pathological ideas and stop them dead in the whole EU.

### Steven Weinberg will not vote for Obama

Steven Weinberg is a top theoretical physicist who remains immensely active.

Just yesterday, he released a new paper demonstrating that in scale-invariant theories, fields $\psi_n$ transforming as $(j,0)$ or $(0,j)$ under the Lorentz group – symmetric spintensors with one kind of indices only – don't allow any interactions if the mass dimension obeys $\Delta=j+1$.

(I took the picture in the Society of Fellows. Of course, I have taken many other pictures of Steven Weinberg in my life...)

But many more readers may be much more interested in his interesting new political stance. He is a left-wing Texas, one of the world's most famous atheist activists, a pro-Israel guy, but you might expect him to enthusiastically vote for Obama. You would be wrong:

Steven Weinberg on the election (The New York Review of Books, November 2012)
I won't unmask the point of his justification, except that conservatives shouldn't expect too much from his reasons. ;-)

## Tuesday, October 16, 2012 ... /////

### Enthusiasm about the economics Nobel prize: Roth and Shapley

Related to games: CERN and Angry Birds, the world's most widely played (not only) iPhone game, will team up and create a game or games in which Angry Birds will teach quantum physics to the kids. Looking forward to see it. ;-)
The Nobel memorial prize for economics went to Lloyd Shapley, a Stanford emeritus professor, a mathematician residing in Cambridge, Massachusetts (I must have met him during a society dinner but I hadn't know him in advance so I probably didn't appreciate it as much as I should have), and a man who is considered to be nearly synonymous with game theory.

He shares the prize with Alvin E. Roth, a current Stanford professor, for "for the theory of stable allocations and the practice of market design".

However, these two men are being admired for many other things, including the Gale-Shapley algorithm to optimally marry $n$ men and $n$ women (the recently deceased Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the founder of the Grand Unification Church, was using a highly simplified version of this algorithm applied to $n\sim O(1,000)$). However, you see that this is also nothing else than "market allocation" with a romantic twist.

### Planet with 4 stars found by armchairs astronomers

As many sources mention, users at the website Planet Hunters.ORG have found a planet 5,000 light years away that orbits four Suns. To celebrate the website, it was called PH1.

The observation was made by watching variations in the brightness and it was reported on the arXiv in the decently looking article

Planet Hunters: A Transiting Circumbinary Planet in a Quadruple Star System
The mass of it is about 100+ Earth masses or 0.5 Jupiter masses. The planet's radius exceed the Earth radius by a factor of six. If the four stars had generic distances, velocities, and masses, they couldn't survive for too long because the chaotic motino would soon or later direct the stars too close to each other and they would be damaged and start to merge.

However...

## Monday, October 15, 2012 ... /////

### Classification of simple compact Lie groups

The goal of this text is to concisely explain why the simple compact Lie groups are divided to the groups $A_\ell,\, B_\ell,\,C_\ell,\, D_\ell,\, E_{6,7,8},\, F_4, \,G_2.$ The focus will be on the representation of every step, not on the detailed explanation of each step. In other words, I will assume that the reader is busy and smart and can rediscovery many things for herself.

It's a complementary texts to some previous ones such as Exceptional Lie groups. I recommend you to read this in the mobile template.

Some definitions

First, what do the words in the title mean? A group is a set $G$ of elements (the elements are some operations or "symmetry transformations") that include $1$ with an operation "product" (if the group is Abelian, i.e. the ordering in the "product" doesn't matter, we often talk about a "sum") which is associative$(gh)k = g(hk)$ and which contains an identity element $1$ as well as the inverse element $g^{-1}$ for every element. Now, a Lie group (named after Sophus Lie) is "continuous" which means that you should imagine this whole set as a manifold that can be labeled by continuous coordinates. Groups of continuous rotations such as $SO(N)$ are examples.

A compact Lie group is a Lie group that is "compact" i.e. that has a finite volume. If you imagine it as a manifold and define a "volume density form" on this manifold that is nonzero and invariant under the group action, the total volume is finite. Effective, compactness means that when written in terms of matrices, all the matrix entries are bounded. So $SO(3)$ is compact but $SO(3,1)$ is not. The former group manifold, $SO(3)$, is actually geometrically equivalent to a sphere, $S^3$, well, modulo a $\ZZ_2$.

For a compact Lie group, I may simplify the definition of a "simple group" by saying that it cannot be written as (a group isomorphic to) $G\times H$ which is a direct product. For example, $SO(3)\times SO(4)$, the direct product of two groups whose product is defined$(g,h)(g',h') = (gg', hh'),\\ \quad \{g,g'\}\subseteq SO(3), \quad \{h,h'\}\subseteq SO(4),$ is not simple while $SO(3)$ is. Well, $SO(4)$ actually isn't simple either because it is isomorphic to $SU(2)\times SU(2)$, well, quotiented by a discrete group and all these subtleties will be ignored in this text.

## Sunday, October 14, 2012 ... /////

### HadCRUT4: no warming for 16 years

The Hadley Centre at the Met Office released a new product replacing HadCRUT3, the temperature record of the Earth. It's called HadCRUT4.

Various years are rearranged but look at the chart of the last 16 years, since early 1997, as discussed in the Daily Mail. There has been no trend for 16 years.

## Saturday, October 13, 2012 ... /////

### Chemists' name for honesty: testosterone

The steroid hormone seems to reduce men's lying

Have you ever wondered whether there is a simple explanation why maths and exact sciences are mostly boys' game, why physics is a macho subject of a sort, why Feynman and Einstein slept with many women while Schrödinger lived both with his wife and his mistress, and why assorted lying bitches such as the global warming alarmists have small penises?

Well, Maria Shriver might agree that this guy won't be the best example of the testosterone link to "no cheating" and "no lying" but I wanted a recognizable symbol of testosterone here, anyway. ;-)

A new research partly funded from a "Starting Grant" by the European Research Council and freshly published in PLoS One may bring you the explanation you've been looking for:

Testosterone Administration Reduces Lying in Men
A German-Dutch collaboration consisting of Matthias Wibral, Thomas Dohmen, Dietrich Klingmüller, Bernd Weber, and Armin Falk took 91 men, and transdermally improved 46 of them with 50 mg of testosterone while the remaining 45 males got a placebo replacement. Then...

### Czech regional elections: Pilsen defends some decency

Political colors in regional politics are fortunately not as important as they are in the national and international politics.

In the regions, the governors are ultimately doing almost the same things and they have to succeed with predetermined resources, and so on. Personal preferences and abilities of individual politicians/managers are arguably more important.

Update: The most Western region ultimately became red (communist), not orange, as well! Holy cow.

However, these may be just words I designed to reduce my immense dissatisfaction with the regional elections in Czechia that took over yesterday and today.

## Friday, October 12, 2012 ... /////

### EU: a Nobel Peace Prize?

I am left speechless by the information that the EU has won the Nobel peace prize (Reuters; Nobel prize website). After Arafat, Gore+IPCC, and Obama, among a few others, it's yet another incredible choice. The 2012 Nobel prize in literature was just fine – a Chinese writer may be official but he's still successful in the world and the success isn't due to his OK links with the Chinese communist leadership. But a Nobel prize for the EU?

Picture from Market Watch, "EU’s Peace Prize and the mockery of timing" (click at it)

It's not even clear what it means for the EU to win the prize. What is the EU? I mean: Who is the EU? I am surely the EU. I've voted to incorporate my country into it and I became one of the 450 million citizens of this confederation. Is the prize supposed to be picked by some officials like the ex-commie and future-fascist Barroso? Why is he more representative of the EU than myself, for example? Or at least my favorite members of the European Parliament (who are surely against most things that Barroso stands for)? What the hell does it mean in the context of the EU that claims to be a democracy where people are created equal?

### Classical physics is sometimes more indeterministic than quantum physics

Norton's dome is a non-problem in quantum physics

A user at the Physics Stack Exchange asked a question about a fun system in classical physics:

Norton's dome and its equation
The question was why it was apparently possible for the acceleration of a marble to exceed any bound, including $g$ itself. I answered: the dome is actually finite, truncated at some distance from the bottom.

Click the dome above for Norton's web page giving the original presentation of the problem or try this David Malament's exposition.

What's the problem? Well, the problem is that classical physics admits seemingly innocent potentials for which a marble may sit at the summit for an arbitrary amount of time and then – unexpectedly, surprisingly, unpredictably, freely – it may decide it's time to roll.

## Thursday, October 11, 2012 ... /////

### The Higgs boson observation: Sheldon hires a hottie

American readers shouldn't forget to watch the TV's #1 comedy, the 3rd episode of 6th season of The Big Bang Theory at 8 pm tonight. The Biden-Ryan vice-presidential debate begins at 9 pm ET (update: video).

It's called "The Higgs Boson Observation". I guess that the fathers of the sitcom were speculating about the Nobel prize so they chose a Higgs-related name of the episode for the Nobel prize (and Nobel-related content of the episode: Sheldon wants to determine whether he found the Higgs boson before Higgs etc., probably not). If so, they were not the only ones whose guess was wrong.

### Kevin Trenberth: too bureaucratic IPCC sucks

Alarmist afraid IPCC AR5 won't be alarming enough

The Sydney Morning Herald just (=tomorrow, due to the time zones) published an interesting report on Kevin Trenberth's mood in the IPCC,

Climate scientist loses faith in the IPCC.
He thinks that there are too many people now, too much "second-tier science", and it's too bureaucratic.

You must agree that Kevin Trenberth must be pretty slow because he hasn't previously noticed that there were too many people in the IPCC – you know, those "2,500 experts" – who represented second-tier science – you know, it's a climate catastrophe science, the world's least credible scientific discipline after astrology and homeopathy, and most of the members of the IPCC haven't even been researchers in this inferior discipline but government officials and activists with superficial links to science – and that the IPCC has always been about bureaucracy, the barriers in Pachauri's office, Greenpeace, WWF, and other bureaucratic headquarters (including the gang of nasty bullies around Phil Jones and Michael Mann) that have so far prevented any genuine climate scientist from materially influencing the content of the IPCC reports and their summaries in particular which is why the IPCC has so far been unable to even state the obvious, namely that there exists no scientific evidence suggesting a significant climate threat.

So if these were the real reasons, you would be really, really slow, Mr Trenberth. However, the Australian newspaper also tells us what the actual reason why the Gentleman has "lots his faith" is.

### DNA not long-lived, Jurassic Park claimed unlikely

So far I have doubts that they have actually demonstrated it

The Telegraph and others discuss a research done at the Murdoch University in Australia (no, it's a different Murdoch) which claims that Michael Crichton's "Jurassic Park" is impossible because even at –5 °C – I hope they mean Celsius degrees – last meaningful filaments of DNA decay after 6.8 million years.

The Lizardly Americans on the picture below are much older so forget about attempts to resuscitate them, they recommend you.

No journalist actually bothers to find the actual paper but we're TRF so here it is:

The half-life of DNA in bone: measuring decay kinetics in 158 dated fossils (by Mike Bunce and 13 collaborators, Allentoft et al.): PRSB
The authors of the paper (that is hidden behind a paywall, except for the abstract, because genetics isn't high-energy physics) confirm the exponential character of the decay of DNA molecules. The per-nucleotide fragmentation rate is $5.50\times 10^{-6}/{\rm year}$ at a temperature they effectively estimate as 13.1 °C.

## Wednesday, October 10, 2012 ... /////

### Earth may be cancelling the 2012-2013 El Niño

The Earth was experiencing a La Niña in 2010-2011 and another one in 2011-2012.

Recall that La Niña is a "little girl" in Spanish and as you may know, girls have "something missing" in the middle between the two hemispheres – in particular, the equatorial Pacific Ocean is cooler (has less heat) than the normal. It goes in the other way around for El Niño, a Spanish "little boy" who has something extra (extra heat) in the middle.

Due to the influence of the Pacific Ocean dynamics on the globe, a La Niña usually brings a cooling of the global mean temperature with a 6-month delay or so. The La Niña episodes may be partly blamed on relatively cool years 2011 and 2012. On the contrary, the globally warmest modern year 1998 was mostly due to the "El Niño of the century" in 1997-1998.

However, by June 2012, the cooler La Niña conditions were over and superseded by ENSO-neutral conditions. By August, it looked almost certain that in the 2012-2013 winter, Earth would be enjoying a warm El Niño episode. That episode could make the year 2013 rather warm; it's the first year the alarmists hope that it could break the records because the denier year 2012 will surely refuse to do so much like 13 previous years. ;-) The year 2012 will end up being very similarly warm as the rather cool year 2011, just a little bit higher than that.

### Spread SUSY: wino LSP, displaced vertices, cosmic antiprotons

There's an interesting hep-ph paper on the arXiv today. It was written by Lawrence J. Hall, Yasunori Nomura, and Satoshi Shirai:

Spread Supersymmetry with Wino LSP: Gluino and Dark Matter Signals
These authors claim that they have the most natural version of the split supersymmetry – recall that it's a version of SUSY where most of the superpartners are very heavy, inaccessible to the colliders, but some of them remain light, attempting to preserve the MSSM/GUT gauge coupling unification and to offer a dark matter candidate.

In this scenario, they seem to assume the gravitino and higgsinos are in the middle of the superpartner spectrum which means $100\TeV$ or so. On the other hand, they seem to have a Planck-GUT gap justification for the claim that the squarks, sleptons, and other Higgs bosons are heavier, near $1,000\TeV$ or something like that, while – because of some one-loop suppression – all the gauginos are much lighter, near $1\TeV$ or well below it, and accessible by the LHC.

## Tuesday, October 09, 2012 ... /////

### Physics Nobel prize: Haroche and Wineland

Possible building blocks of quantum computers

I am actually surprised that we have a higgsless Nobel prize. However, among the non-Higgs potential candidates, the actual winners belonged among the most widely discussed ones. The 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics goes to Serge Haroche of Paris, France (captured photons, man on the left side) who was born in a protectorate known as Morocco and David Wineland of NIST in Boulder, Colorado (ion storage, man on the right side).

The Gentlemen are rewarded for experiments with individual tiny quantum systems (at most several ions and/or photons) that are hoped to become foundations of quantum computers sometime in the future. It means that their work is all about the experimental proofs of the superposition principle, a basic postulate of quantum mechanics – they may prepare their systems in any complex linear combination of someone's preferred basis vectors. To do so, they are able to implement various unitary operations on the particles' state vectors – unitary operations that could once become true operations of a useful gadget, the quantum computer.

In particular, Wineland became famous for laser cooling of ions in Paul traps and preparation of these ions' entangled states. Serge Haroche is the photon tamer. He was able to catch photons into boxes with mirrors (studied by "cavity QED") where they get reflected a billion of times before they get absorbed or "decay"; this allowed him to measure the growing entanglement of the photons with the atoms or, you could say, decoherence in action.

Well, it's plausible that the quantum computer will ultimately be built out of very different elements, e.g. silicon atoms or impurities in a diamond, but only time will show. Some experts believe that quantum computers are just five years away.

### Supergod challenge: proving a $300 inequality Spyridon Michalakis of Quantum Frontiers (a fun blog with John Preskill: not only about quantum computation) offered his readers a wonderful challenge with a$300 bounty that the first contributors kindly postponed to the first solver of another challenge, the Supergod challenge – which happened to be your humble correspondent who sort of needed the payment due to some recent expenses.

The Supergod challenge is the following problem: (use the minimalistic mobile template)

Using no calculators and no "uncertain" assumptions about inequalities, prove that$\frac{1}{2}\cdot\frac{3}{4}\cdot\frac{5}{6}\cdot\frac{7}{8}\cdot \cdots \cdot \frac{99}{100} \lt 0.08.$ The increasingly difficult problems "1", "2", and "God challenge" had $1/10$, $1/11$, and $1/12$ on the right hand side. Each new task was almost 10% harder than the previous one. The improvement from God challenge to Supergod challenge was just 4% or so but this step was arguably the most technically challenging because, as the people who are allowed to use calculators know, the left hand side equals 0.0795892, just 0.5% away from the Supergod challenge!

If you feel technically strong, try to solve the Megagod challenge whose right hand side is 0.0796. ;-)
We will soon switch to methods that (many?) Russian middle-schoolers are claimed to have mastered, but before we do so, let's try to solve it using the "powerful tools" one expects among professional physicists or mathematicians.

## Monday, October 08, 2012 ... /////

### Symbolab: search engine for equations in LaTeX

Google is the dominator when it comes to general searches. Wolfram Alpha is an intelligent calculator of answers to your questions.

There's a new concept on the market. It's called:

Symbolab.com (click)
You may actually write an equation and/or text and it will try to find pages with equations that are logically relevant for your query.

### Bohr-Einstein debates: 8 decades later

Off-topic Nobel news: medicine prize goes to Gurdon (UK) and Yamanaka (JP) for a method to create universal stem cells out of mature cells. Seems like a great choice to me, too bad it's been reduced.
Niels Bohr would celebrate the birthday yesterday, as Google's doodle reminded us. It's interesting to look at the Bohr-Einstein debates again. Wikipedia covers the story rather nicely.

Before the quantum revolution

These two Gentlemen liked each other, respected each other, and enjoyed the debates. Einstein was the more famous one and Bohr was right. An interesting twist came before the debates, soon after photons were introduced to physics. These days, we view photons as a hallmark of the quantum theory. So you might expect the pro-quantum guy to be a great champion of photons and the anti-quantum guy to be their foe.

## Sunday, October 07, 2012 ... /////

### ATLAS: some small multijet excesses

Well, multijets with 1 lepton and MET

All the observations at the LHC are so far consistent with the Standard Model, including the $(125.7\pm 0.5)\GeV$ Higgs boson. Well, kind of. There are some possibly emerging hints of deviations.

Google's doodle celebrates Niels Bohr's birthday on October 7th, 1885.

Multilepton and multijet excesses belong among the "so far small anomalies" that people like me carefully watch. And ATLAS just gave us a new reason to watch multijets today because they released the following preprint:

Search for supersymmetry at $\sqrt{s} = 7\TeV$ in ﬁnal states with large jet multiplicity, missing transverse momentum and one isolated lepton with the ATLAS detector
The paper officially announces that the analysis based on the 2011 dataset is consistent with the Standard Model. However, the consistency isn't as good as you may be expecting. The data are actually pretty interesting.

## Saturday, October 06, 2012 ... /////

If you think something is badly wrong with the title, we're on the same frequency

I've answered over 1,000 questions at Physics Stack Exchange, many of them are interesting, most of them show some elementary misconceptions among the laymen, but only some of them show that there exist insanely wrong papers in the literature. The latter category usually covers topics that have been discussed on this blog many times.

A new category of such questions was opened by Grant Teply who asked the following question today:

I understand an electric quadrupole moment is forbidden in the standard electron theory. In this paper considering general relativistic corrections (Kerr-Newman metric around the electron), however, there is a claim that it could be on the order of $Q=−124e\cdot{\rm b}$. That seems crazy large to me, but I can't find any published upper limits to refute it. Surely someone has tested this? Maybe it's hidden in some dipole moment data? If not, is anyone planning to measure it soon?
The huge quadrupole moment is obviously wrong so I instantly started to write an answer saying how many things would be different – including energy levels of the Hydrogen atom – if the quadrupole moment were this high. In a few minutes, however, I regained my common sense and realized that the quadrupole moment has to be zero, of course.

First, I will repost my answer and then I will discuss the 2004 paper and the wrong culture in which it was written.

### Climate sensitivities in various papers

Anthony Watts discusses a new paper by M.W. Asten in Climate of the Past that estimates the sensitivity – warming induced by a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere – as 1.1 ± 0.4 °C from oxygen-18 in microfossils.

The paper also contains a fun list of values of climate sensitivity estimated in various papers published between 2004 and 2012.

## Friday, October 05, 2012 ... /////

### Sheldon Glashow: Does science evolve through blind chance or Intelligent Design?

Five months ago or so, Honeywell organized a series of lectures by the Nobel laureate Sheldon Glashow at the Czech Technical University (ČVUT) in Prague.

The lecture you can watch now asked the question whether science evolves by chance or by design.

It's a sort of a fun, light, philosophically and historically loaded talk.

### Václav Havel Airport Prague: the new name

If you ever land in Prague again, you will be told that you're arriving to the Vaclav Havel Airport Prague (Google Maps).

Rudé Právo, the official communist daily, published this entertaining birthday wish in October 1989, a month before the Velvet Revolution. It says that Ferdinand Vaněk (hero of some plays by Havel) of Malý Hrádek (a place where he had cottage) celebrates birthday on October 5th, 1989, and friends and colleagues are thanking him for the work he's been doing and he's still doing and wishing him lots of successes at work and health for the years to come. ;-) It appeared in the same newspaper that would routinely run hit pieces on Havel as an alcoholic, a bankrupt existence, and a spoiled frat from a pro-Nazi family.

The airport at the village/suburb of Ruzyně is being renamed today when the last president of Czechoslovakia and the first president of the Czech Republic would celebrate 76th birthday. He hated flying but one must be ready to such paradoxes.

## Thursday, October 04, 2012 ... /////

### Obama schooled by Romney: why he has no passion

If you haven't watched the first U.S. presidential debate that took place in Colorado yesterday, maybe you should:

A vast majority of folks on both sides (including the Guardian, CIPig, various left-wing power groups and individuals including Michael Moore, Bill Maher, MSNBC, The Huffington Post, and almost 70% of people in polls) agree that Romney has won. He was more prepared, more aggressive, more connected with general principles, unusually emotional for this de facto technocrat. He demolished ideas about his trying to abolish taxes for the rich and similar nonsense – instead, he presented a realistic picture in which tax rates are lower but the exemptions are reduced, too. Obama was subdued, discontinuous, confused, and wasting lots of time with irrelevant details and technicalities, and he reminded us of a boy who is being chastised and accepts the criticism, regardless of what his naughty boy friends who also and especially need to be spanked (I mean the Democratic Party here) will say.

It looked like Romney wants the job but Obama doesn't. Why is it so?

A reader named "the guy from Rhinoceros" has brought my attention to yet another article trying to evade quantum mechanics; it has clearly become a fashionable hobby of many people these days. Otherwise sensible semi-technical Ars Technica wrote an article with a deliberately offensive title,

Demolishing Heisenberg with clever math and experiments.
No kidding. It's a title of three lies because the authors aren't demolishing Heisenberg but working tightly within the framework he co-discovered; their maths isn't clever but rather completely trivial; and they have done no experiments.

The subtitle of the Ars Technica article is "Good, general measurement choices eliminate uncertainty." Thank God, we may return to the 19th century again.

The paper on which this hype is based upon is trying to do "pretty much the same general thing" as the guys abusing the misleading concept of a weak measurement. They just have a different name with different misinterpreted maths for the same thing, "quantum non-demolition experiments".

It's a concept that has, much like the "weak measurements", a meaningful definition, but all the actual applications of the concept that attract the media – because they "demolish Heisenberg" – are completely bogus once again. Let's look at the paper.

## Wednesday, October 03, 2012 ... /////

### SUSY with a colored adjoint chiral multiplet

I discussed the same exciting possibility in November 2011 and May 2012 but because there's a new paper on the arXiv, I won't resist to make another comment.

The paper is called

Pushing the SUSY Higgs mass towards $125\GeV$ with a color adjoint
and it was written by Gautam Bhattacharyya and Tirtha Sankar Ray. Even though the names may look like two names of the same ethnic origin, the paper is actually an outcome of an Indian-German-French-Australian collaboration. ;-)

Steven Weinberg has said many nontrivial propositions I fully subscribe to and one of them is
"Our mistake is not that we take our theories too seriously, but that we do not take them seriously enough."
What could it mean in the case of supersymmetry? Well, it could mean that we're not trying to incorporate enough supersymmetry into our theories. The new Indian paper is another example showing why this criticism could be valid.

### EU bureaucrats' new strategy to close Czech nuclear power plant

Somewhat off-topic: Fred Singer has pointed out that Martin Fleischmann, a co-father of problematic cold fusion claims, died a month ago. RIP (although I don't believe that fusion can be cold). He was born in Czechia.
The Czech Republic whose population is, according to surveys, the most pro-nuclear-energy nation in the world is producing about 1/3 of electricity in nuclear power plants. Plans to move this figure closer to 1/2 are underway.

One is located in Dukovany (Southeast of the country) and produces about 13.4 TWh per year. A newer one, one in Temelín (South/Southwest of the country) produces 11.4 TWh per year.

Temelín – with its combined Russian-American design – was opened after the fall of communism, in 2002 (although the construction began in 1981), and it was a frequent target of attacks by the Austrian Luddite activists. However, Dukovany (constructed started 1974, opened in 1985-1987) which has apparently invited almost no opposition just came under a vicious assault by the EU bureaucrats.

## Tuesday, October 02, 2012 ... /////

### Miracles prove the divine power of string theory

No, I didn't mean Jesus Christ.

Pete Wilton, an Oxford science writer, wrote a piece introducing the new website WhyStringTheory.com:

Pulling the strings (Oxford science blog)
Three creative folks behind the website say various things. Edward Hughes, a Cambridge UK student, says that string theory is fundamental, beautiful, and he wanted to communicate the excitement.

Charlotte Mason, an Oxford student, says that she has mixed feelings about string theory. The picturesque ideas are beautiful but she describes the maths exactly in the way you would expect from a somewhat randomly chosen girl. No, Charlotte, the true beauty of string theory may only be revealed and understood when all the relevant maths is added. It should be done peacefully and beautifully – and not necessarily in the Greg-Moore-like heavy formalism way – but the maths is still critical for the beauty.

Finally, Joseph Conlon is the only "senior" person behind the project – he's at Oxford faculty. And he says some interesting – although not quite new – things that I want to spend some time with. It has something to do with the miracles.

### Higgs: living near the cliff of instability

Jester posted an interesting text on the instability of the Higgs field:

What's the deal with vacuum stability?
Of course, this topic has been covered many times on this blog, including on July 3rd and July 17th this year, but it's interesting to read Jester's twists on the story, anyway.

First, given the current best estimates of the top quark mass and the Higgs mass (other parameters don't matter too much), the quartic (=fourth power) coupling describing the Higgs self-interaction $|H|^4$ almost certainly goes negative beneath the Planck scale.

Taken from May 2012 paper by Degrassi et al.

The best estimate is that it goes negative at an intermediate scale near $10^{10}\GeV$ but because of the uncertainties in the masses, the "crossover" may be very different. So our Universe is probably (at 98% confidence level) unstable.

But that's just the first part of the story.

### Harvard's divestments: Israel and fossil fuels

Harvard-related fun news: Next Tuesday, on October 9th at 10 am, Czech President Václav Klaus will host Larry Summers at the Prague Castle. Two important politically incorrect economists who know me in person. ;-)
When I was at faculty of Harvard, I also got familiar with many undergraduate students, went to the (usually Harvard) Pub with some of them, and deduced a realistic picture what they look like and what they care about.

There is a very high percentage of highly talented young people among them. (Philip Streich from Howard Georgi's house who tragically died a week ago in a family farm accident was probably one of them: an Intel Foundation bronze medal winner, a graphene company CEO since his teenage.) On the other hand, when it comes to aptitudes, I believe that the average Harvard undergraduate doesn't differ "strikingly" from the average student at other colleges that are just OK. Those folks are later unusually successful as well – but I tend to think that the Harvard diploma (and the contacts they develop over the years in the college) may be more important for that than their actual skills and hard work.

While the Harvard faculty is insanely super duper left-wing, Harvard students are much more moderate. This is manifested in many ways. For example, they would largely endorse Larry Summers when the far left (for readers who are U.S. conservatives: Larry doesn't belong to this set, according to Harvard's conventions!) organized the witch hunts against him. Of course, Harvard students are far less ideological and more practically oriented than the Harvard faculty. After all, we could say that they're normal kids with pretty normal interests.

While they drink stuff and have lots of sex, they are publishing an "adult" daily newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, too. I feel that the students – because everyone knows that they pay tuition etc. – have a significant impact on the Harvard policies. And Harvard University is a sort of a role model for many other U.S. universities, institutions, and even corporations. So you may want to follow what those kids think. They are kids who are programmed to "control the world" and to be pro-actual-establishment in every single dimension you may think of. So they're still highly politically correct – especially the self-proclaimed spokespeople of the student body. When it comes to students whom the Harvard environment naturally converts into spokesmen, think of slick, superficial, and self-centered folks like Sean Carroll; he used to be a Harvard graduate, not undergraduate student, but you may still get the idea.

I will discuss divestments – decisions to sell all holdings related to XY whenever XY becomes politically inconvenient or politically incorrect.

## Monday, October 01, 2012 ... /////

### Nima Arkani-Hamed attracts India to physics

Nima Arkani-Hamed, a winner of the inaugural Milner prize who just sent me a kind and interesting e-mail, is visiting India.

He gave an interview to the Times of India:

Idea of space and time needs to be replaced: Arkani-Hamed
In the interview, he talks about the Higgs discovery, the future of particle physics, evolution of quantum mechanics, unity of string theory and particle physics, validity of the Big Bang theory, and benefits of the Milner prize for physics. You may tell everyone what you think about the questions and Nima's answers (yes, I agree with every word of his here, so my comments wouldn't be too interesting).