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Electron electric dipole moment: moderately natural SUSY may come in 2015

Three weeks ago, the ACME collaboration (Jacob Baron et al.) improved (i.e. reduced) the previous, 2012 best limit on the electron's electric dipole moment by a factor of \(12\) (and by 3 orders of magnitude relatively to TRF 2011) in the article

Order of Magnitude Smaller Limit on the Electric Dipole Moment of the Electron (arXiv)
The experiment looks like this (click to zoom in):

OK, some exotic thorium monoxide molecules (which have the strongest known "internal" electric fields) with optical pumping via lasers in electric and magnetic fields are changing and the (produced) photons are (or could be, if they were produced) measured. Readers interested in the clever experimental setup will have to find a better source. Physics World, The Register, HuffPo, SciAm, and other semipopular media that covered it didn't discuss the method too much, either.

First, let us ask: What is the dipole moment that is being measured and how large is it?

Generally, at the high school level, an electric dipole is a pair consisting of a negative charge \(-Q\) at \(\vec r = 0\) and a positive charge \(+Q\) at \(\vec r=\vec r\), if you forgive me a tautology (the meaning of the two \(\vec r\) symbols is different). In that case, the magnitude of the electric dipole is\[

\vec p = Q\cdot \vec r.

\] Its magnitude is \(Q|\vec r|\); its direction agrees with the separation of the two charges (from minus to plus). For more general charge distributions, the dipole is\[

\vec p = \int \rho(\vec r) \vec r \,\dd^3 r.

\] You may notice that this depends on the choice of the origin of coordinates (it changes when we shift the coordinates by a constant) unless the total charge \(\int \rho \,d^3 r=0\). If the total charge is nonzero, the electric dipole moment defined above may be changed to "anything" (any vector) after an appropriate shift of the coordinates.

That's bizarre because the total electric charge of the electron is nonzero. So what can we possibly mean by "the" electric dipole moment of the electron? The answer is that we use the definition above and require that the origin of the coordinates agrees with the center of mass of the electron. In effect, the "center of the charge distribution" is shifted relatively to the "center of mass" of the electron. And this distance (vector) multiplied by the electron charge is the electric dipole moment of the electron.

It is linked to the spin and small

But the dipole moment is a vector; what is the direction of the vector? Is it some preferred direction in the Universe? Does the vector point to Mecca? Well, no. Mecca doesn't define any preferred direction and a billion of people who believe otherwise can't change this fact. There is no preferred direction in the Universe.

The direction of the dipole moment \(\vec p\) has to be correlated with a preexisting direction in our situation. The situation only contains the electron and the only vector-like, directionful information that the electron has is its spin. So \[

\vec p_e = C\cdot \vec S.

\] In particle physics, we like to derive all the equations of motion and dynamics from the Hamiltonian (a fancy name for the total energy) or the Lagrangian. What is the energy of an electric dipole? Well, you just sum the electrostatic potential energy \(Q\phi\) from the charges contained in the dipole (imagine the simple dipole composed of \(-Q\) and \(+Q\)) to see that\[

U = - \vec d_e\cdot \vec E = - d_e \vec S_e \cdot \vec E.

\] The electric dipole moment may be defined as "whatever multiplies \(\vec E\) by the inner product" to get an interaction term in the total energy. The expression (including the minus sign) is analogous to the magnetic dipole moment \(\vec m\) that adds \(-\vec m\cdot \vec B\) to the energy.

So far, we were thinking of the world as if it were non-relativistic and classical. If we switch to quantum field theory which is relativistic and quantum mechanical, the expression for the potential energy above is replaced by an interaction term in the Hamiltonian or, in our case, the Lagrangian\[

\LL_{\rm EDM} = -i d_e \cdot \bar\psi_e \sigma^{\mu\nu}\gamma_5 \psi_e \cdot \partial_\mu A_\nu

\] You see that it is similar to the usual interaction term \(\bar\psi\psi\cdot A\) which would have a dimensionless constant \(e\). However, in the dipole case, there is an extra derivative \(\partial_\mu\) in front of the gauge potential which makes the interaction "non-renormalizable" and the coefficient \(d_e\) has the units of length (like the electric dipole: the electric charge is treated as a dimensionless quantity).

If you substitute the non-relativistic (low-speed) form of the spinor \(\psi_e\) and the gauge field and calculate the expectation value of the operator above in a one-electron state of quantum field theory, the Lagrangian reduces to the expression for the potential energy \(U\) above.

Great. So is this electric dipole nonzero? And if it is, how large is it?

The first thing you should notice is that the spin \(\vec S\) is an axial vector while the electric dipole moment is an ordinary, polar vector. So if one is proportional to the other, the theory will fail or refuse (depending on your ethical preferences) to be symmetric under P, the parity. Imagine that the electron is spinning like a wheel of your bike while you are riding; imagine that the electron is the wheel. By the right hand rule, the spin (angular momentum) vector goes to the left side from the wheel's axis. But it's really just a (right hand) convention: Why should the charge of the electron be concentrated on the left side away from the bike? The left side and the right side were equally good to start with. This "unintuitive" asymmetry arises when the parity P is violated.

A bigger problem or audacity is that it violates CP (and therefore the time reversal T) as well (these microscopic violations of T have nothing whatsoever to do with the "cause" of the thermodynamic or logical arrow of time!).

So the underlying theory has to violate P and CP for the coefficient \(d_e\) to be nonzero. In a CP-invariant theory, we would derive \(d_e=0\). Fortunately, the Standard Model is violating CP, a little bit, because of the complex phase in the CKM matrix, the unitary matrix transforming the upper quark mass eigenstates to the upper \(SU(2)\) partners of the lower quark mass eigenstates.

However, this CP-violation only materializes if the quarks of all three generations "show up" in some way. How can it affect the electron? Well, it affects the electron because the quarks of all three generations may emerge as "virtual particles". When you draw the "simplest" Feynman diagram which is not too simple, you will find out that the Standard Model implies that the electron has an electric dipole moment comparable to\[

d_e \approx 10^{-40} e\cdot {\rm m}

\] or slightly smaller. If you divide it by the charge \(e\), you will see that the separation between the electron's "center of mass" and electron's "center of charge" is nonzero but extremely tiny: \(10^{-40}\) meters. That's approximately \(10^{30}\) times shorter than the atomic radius and... \(100,000\) times shorter than the Planck length. (In spite of the misconceptions held by defenders of loop quantum gravity and similar childish "paradigms" about the quantum spacetime constructed out of a Planckian LEGO, there is absolutely nothing wrong if similar quantities with the units of length are shorter than the Planck length. This coefficient is just a universal constant that may have any value and that may manifest itself in experiments with any precision.)

Clearly, you probably can't measure it in your kitchen. Even the world's best experimenters are very far from being able to measure the electric dipole moments that are this tiny.

The new 2013 upper bound on the electric dipole moment assures us that\[

|d_e|\leq 0.87\times 10^{-30}e \cdot {\rm m}.

\] It's a small number but it's \(10^{10}\) i.e. 10 billion times greater than the Standard Model value. Once again, the experimenters are telling us that the dipole moment is smaller than 10 billion times the Standard Model value. That's not shocking at all for those who believe that the Standard Model is the "whole" story: one is indeed smaller than 10 billion so what's the big deal?

There is a lot of room in the middle. The dipole moment may be smaller than 10 billion times the Standard Model prediction but it may still be larger than the Standard Model prediction. For example, it may be 10,000 times larger than the Standard Model prediction (due to new physics) which is still 10,000 times smaller than the experimental upper bound (the maximum value allowed by the restrictions-loving experimenters).

Garden variety new physics

However, the experimental bounds are not quite useless because new physics "around the corner" could be able to produce much stronger sources of CP violation that is larger than 100 million times the Standard Model value! How large is the dipole moment according to a "garden variety" mode of new physics? Well, it may be estimated as\[

d_e\approx c\frac{m_e}{16\pi^2 M^2}

\] where the constant \(c\) is comparable to \(1\) if we adopt the type of "true garden variety" popular among many phenomenologists. However, there may be very good reasons why a model implies that \(c\ll 1\).

Why did we include all the factors? The factor \(1/16\pi^2\) (it is \(0.00633\) but many of us would still agree that it is a "number of order one"!) is a "one-loop factor" that always appears in one-loop diagrams and a Feynman diagram contributing to the dipole has to have at least one loop.

The expression is proportional to the electron mass \(m_e\) because almost any leading correction to the dipole moment depends on "both 2-component spinors" that are included in the electron's Dirac field and their leading interaction is proportional to \(m_e\).

Finally, \(1/M^2\) is a power of the "scale where new physics appears" and it must be there for dimensional reasons, to return the units of length (i.e. inverse mass if we use \(c=\hbar=1\) and we do) to the dipole moment. One may justify this \(1/M^2\) in various ways – optimally, from the general arguments of the "Renormalization Group"; or from direct integrals over momentum volumes scaling like powers of \(M\) and propagators going like \(1/M\) or \(1/M^2\) (fermions/bosons) in the loop diagrams, and so on.

At any rate, the estimate is OK for a large class of "garden variety" models of new physics. How large the dipole is? I have already mentioned that \(1/16\pi^2\approx 0.00633\) so including \(c\) slightly smaller than one, we get \(10^{-3}\). The new physics may (but doesn't have to) emerge at \(M\sim 100\GeV\) or \(M\sim 1\TeV\).

For the extreme \(100\GeV\) case – being excluded (or discovered) while you're reading these lines (well, when the LHC starts again) – the ratio \(m_e/M\) is of order \(1/100,000\); recall that the electron mass is half an \(\MeV\). When multiplied by \(10^{-3}\) encountered earlier, we get \(10^{-8}\). And in the units of meters, \(100\GeV\) is inverse to \(10^{-18}\) meters or so; that's the distance scale that the current colliders are already safely probing. So when this distance is multiplied by \(10^{-8}\), we get about \(10^{-26}\) meters.

That's about the maximum value you may get from "maximally CP-violating" physics that is only "starting" to be excluded by the LHC. The ACME upper bound is \(10^{-32}\) meters so it is almost 1 million times stricter and more nontrivial. The new electron electric dipole moment upper bound surely excludes "maximally CP-violating, utterly generic new physics" not only at the scale \(100\GeV\) but even at scales \(10\TeV\) and perhaps a bit higher. If a god told us that the new physics has to be generic and maximally CP-violating (offering no tricks to suppress the CP-violation relatively to the simple estimate above), the ACME result would tell us much more about the non-existence or "huge distance" of new physics than the LHC.

Check the post by Jester who is among those who think that they have already heard this particular god speaking. His blog post ends with an estimate of an "unrefined" garden variety supersymmetric model. The Feynman diagram above which contributes to the electric dipole of a quark (or lepton) and exploits a one-loop process with virtual charginos and a virtual slepton (or squark) is taken from Jester's blog.

Prof Matt Strassler has only written one sentence about the ACME experiment.

SUSY, new physics has no reason to be "garden variety"

Well, I don't really trust this estimate. I don't think that the ACME result really implies that the LHC isn't allowed to discover new physics in the 2015- run (and the chances at the Very Large Hadron Collider would be even higher, of course). The reason is that there may be very natural cancellations that make the constant above \(c\lll 1\). This is also – or particular – true for SUSY.

In fact, the people who have known me for a decade or so know that I have always considered moderately small dimensionless constants of order \(1/1,000\) etc. to be just fine. In fact, I have always believed that we ultimately have lots of experimental evidence for some hierarchies and large or small dimensionless ratios – so their origin has to be "somewhere" (and whether the largeness or smallness is "explained" anthropically doesn't really matter here; what matters is that they exist). A more refined understanding may always render an estimate by dimensional analysis naive.

In fact, I have never considered the "purpose" of SUSY to be to provide us with a "totally generic garden variety model of new physics". SUSY is very constrained. It is actually giving us many cancellations and that's one of the main reasons of its importance. The cancellations don't seem to directly apply to the constant \(c\) above but there are other cancellations and other patterns and mechanisms that, in combination with supersymmetry, may make \(c\) very small, too.

For a (slightly randomly chosen) discussion of the status of naturalness in SUSY and ways by which SUSY models solve the CP-problems like the dangerous overgrown dipole moment as well as flavor problems (transformations of fermions from one generation to another that are also predicted to be much faster by "garden variety new physics" than the experimental bounds allow), I recommend you this 2 months old paper by Arvanitaki et al.
The Last Vestiges of Naturalness
They conclude that even if superpartners are discovered at the LHC in 2015, "naturalness will not emerge triumphant". Well, I think it has been non-triumphant for some years and I have never seen any reasons why it should "triumph". For me, naturalness is just a vague guide, a non-rigorous or Bayesian way to direct us. Due to its probabilistic and ignorance-dependent character, it is not an unbreakable principle of physics. So it's just fine if naturalness fails to emerge triumphant or if it will be shown to be pretty much a loser.

On the other hand, I do care about SUSY, I am sure it's there in Nature, and I find it sufficiently important to know whether or not it's close enough to be discovered by the LHC (or other experiments). The key point is that the positive motivation for SUSY is still with us and some classes of models are naturally compatible with the small CP-violating parameters (like the dipole moment discussed here) and the small flavor-violating parameters as well as with a tolerable degree of residual fine-tuning for the Higgs mass.

Arvanitaki et al. summarize the literature on "viable SUSY models" (in the sense of the previous sentence) as a composite of three classes of models or ideas:
  1. split families (unfortunately and confusingly called "natural SUSY" by many physicists)
  2. baryonic R-parity violation
  3. Dirac gauginos
These scenarios have been discussed on this blog repeatedly, especially the last two and mostly for theoretical reasons, not so much because of the purely phenomenological upper bounds or obsession with naturalness. But again: What do these possibilities mean and why they're viable?

Split families

The split families are often called "natural SUSY". I don't like this phrase because while this scenario is motivated by some general ideas about naturalness (in a modern technical sense), the adjective reveals some hype because the name is meant to make you believe that it's the only way how naturalness may be incorporated (it's not, see e.g. the other two options in the list) and it doesn't really respect the long-term meaning of the word "natural" that keeps on evolving as our relation to Nature's own naturalness is becoming increasingly intimate (we are refining our knowledge of Nature's "discrete rules" and improving our "rough estimates").

At any rate, the split family models were actually introduced long before the LHC began its collisions. They want to make the cancellations of the Higgs mass etc. "natural" and it's good to have light superpartners for that but the proponents of these models noticed that not all superpartners are equally important to achieve this goal. In particular, it's only the third generation and gluinos (and electroweakinos) whose lightness is important for the lightness of the Higgs boson.

The first two generations may be much heavier. Because their interaction with the Higgs boson is much weaker (that's reflected by the much lower mass of the light generations of fermions – after the Higgs takes on a nonzero vev) – they don't influence the Higgs mass (and its lightness and the related Higgs fine-tuning) too much. So the first two generations of leptons and quarks (selectron, smuon, two sneutrinos, sup, sdown, sstrange, and scharm) may be allowed to be heavy; physicists like to say that these two generations "decouple" (they're not "localized" at the same energy scale).

This discriminatory treatment of the first two generations is also good because of the recent LHC constraints. The LHC has shown that too light superpartners don't exist. However, the first two generations are much more constrained than the third generation. It's because it's much easier (or "it would be much easier" if they existed) to produce the first (and, to just slightly lesser extent, second) generation of quarks and leptons (because the protons are composed of the first generation and the conversion to the second generation is relatively easy).

Quantitatively, we know that the first two generations of squarks are heavier than something comparable to several or \(10\TeV\). The third-generation leptons and/or quarks (stop, sbottom, stau, and one sneutrino) may still be lighter than \(1\TeV\) (the bounds on the gluino are something like \(1.2\TeV\) now). This segregated attribution of mass to the quarks and leptons is good because it allows particles "maximum freedom to be heavy" while not spoiling the Higgs' lightness; it is a generic way to agree with the current, "non-uniform" upper bounds; but we get some extra advantages, too.

Because of the gap, the flavor-changing processes are automatically suppressed i.e. the counterpart of the constant \(c\ll 1\). We may imagine that the grouped generations allow us to define a new \(U(1)\) group under which the third generation has a different charge than the first two – this construction may be made literal and visualized as different locations of the generations on different branes in a (stringy) braneworld. So we get some new (approximate) conservation laws, so to say, and the flavor-changing processes are discouraged.

For similar reasons, the split families also reduce all the CP-violating parameters such as \(c,d_e\) relevant for the dipole moment we discuss here. You know from the CKM matrix that the CP-violating phases depend on the mixing of many fields (three generations in the case of quarks) and if two generations are "qualitatively segregated" from the third one (in the case of squarks), the mixing between the first two and the third one is reduced which may also reduce the CP-violating phase.

Baryonic RPV

In most of the model building, it's still being assumed that the R-parity which is equal to\[

P_R = (-1)^{2J+3B-L}

\] for the MSSM particles (it's \(+1\) for all the Standard Model particles and \(-1\) for their superpartners: check it, it is easy) is exactly conserved. Such a conservation has a virtue – the lightest \(P_R=-1\) particle, the LSP (lightest superpartner), is exactly stable and may be assumed to be the particle of dark matter.

However, the R-parity may also be violated in which case Nature allows the \(P_R=-1\) particles to decay to \(P_R=+1\) particles only. If that's so, the LSP isn't stable but the gravitino may play the role of the dark matter instead because its decay is very slow, mostly due to the weakness of gravity (which dictates the strength of gravitino's interactions, too).

This improves the naturalness simply because the LHC events with a large "missing energy" (=ultimately LSP) are erased because the LSP decays to well-known particles. Consequently, RPV (R-parity violating) models become compatible with the LHC data even if the superpartners are much lighter than allowed in R-parity-conserving models. See a 2011 text on some RPV models; there have been several others.

Because of the formula for \(P_R\) above and because of the "unbreakable" conservation of the spin (which follows from the rotational symmetry; but the conservation of the spin modulo one, i.e. the conservation of the statistics, is an even more unbreakable law), the R-parity violation requires to violate either the conservation of the baryon number \(B\) or the lepton number \(L\) or both, too. If both are violated, we're in trouble because it becomes easy for the proton to decay to a positron and some neutral junk. We know from the "futile" searches for decaying protons that this decay is either non-existent or (more likely) so slow that the relevant term in the Lagrangian is so tiny that it can't matter for the LHC physics.

So in viable models, the R-parity violation may occur through lepton-number-violating terms only; or through baryon-number-violating terms only. The experimental tests seem to be much more tolerant to baryon-number-violating, R-parity-violating terms like the superpotential\[

{\mathcal W}_{bRPV} = \frac{\lambda''_{ijk}}{2} U^c_i D^c_j D^c_k.

\] Such an operator may destroy up, down, down (s)quarks in some combination. In some sense, it's able to destroy a "sneutron" and convert it to pure energy. The electric charge and overall color (none) is conserved but the baryon number jumps by \(\pm 1\). There are some other reasons why the baryon RPV (bRPV) models seem more attractive than lepton-number-violating RPV models and why they became popular in the very fresh literature.

At any rate, they allow the superpartners to be much lighter – these lighters superpartners become largely invisible at the LHC because they don't produce missing energy (stable LSP) in the decays. This improves the situation of the Higgs lightness fine-tuning. The CP (e.g. electron electric dipole moment) and flavor problems aren't solved too well, as far as I know, and the baryon violation may also cripple baryogenesis. This puts a pressure on the gravitino mass from both sides (a few \(\GeV\) is marginally OK) and none of the values seems really great, despite some improvements that hidden sectors may bring.

But when one focuses on the degree of "unexplained fine-tuning" needed to avoid a contradiction with the empirical bounds (if it can be avoided at all), this class of models seems less contrived than garden-variety models of new physics, too.

Dirac gauginos

I have discussed Dirac gauginos in many articles. If the gauginos (superpartners of the gauge bosons) are Dirac fermions, they contain not just one two-component Majorana (or Weyl) spinor but two. Because of the \(\NNN=1\) SUSY, the second one must be paired with a boson and it can't be a \(j=1\) vector boson anymore because a gauge group may only support one vector field; instead, it must be a \(j=0\) scalar.

Consequently, such gauginos belong to a pair of multiplets (chiral supermultiplet and vector supermultiplet) which may be combined into the \(\NNN=2\) vector multiplet. That sounds great because the gauge fields and their pals could actually show us more supersymmetry than the minimal amount, some extended supersymmetry. I have argued that such extended supersymmetry (eight conserved supercharges) could follow from a braneworld description of gauge fields in string theory. Extended supersymmetry is surely cool and stringy; after all, it's the (even more extended) \(\NNN=4\) supersymmetry that the Yang-Mills fields are given if people study the most popular example of the AdS/CFT (even if they use it as a model for QCD).

The Dirac gluinos also improve the situation in many purely phenomenological questions. They may be much heavier than the usual Majorana gluinos – and still allow the Higgs lightness to be pretty natural. Flavor-changing dangerous processes are slowed down because they depend on the Majorana mass and this parameter may be made much smaller (basically zero) now. The gluino exchange in the \(t\)-channel decreases more quickly at higher energies so that the production of squarks is predicted to be less frequent. This reduces the potential contradictions with the LHC constraints, too. I don't know what new sources of CP-violation are doing; I don't really expect them to be too suppressed because we're switching to more "complex/Weyl" fields and those like to produce CP-violating phases.

To summarize this section, there are several proposed "pretty structures" on top of supersymmetry that may make many if not all of the potential "problems of garden-variety new physics" or at least "problems of general SUSY models" go away. These extra ideas are not as profound as the idea of supersymmetry itself but they're still pretty cute and they could finally turn out to be the right explanations why some naive estimates of new effects by dimensional analysis are (very) inaccurate.

New physics may be relatively close and it may be far. We don't really know. We may exclude some particular models of "nearby new physics" while others remain viable. There are vague arguments that may support each possible answer. Because the option "no new physics almost anywhere" is pretty much understood (it's been studied as "the Standard Model" for 40 years), it's logical that both experimenters and (pheno-oriented) theorists focus on the other option that assumes some new physics. The ACME experiment is telling us something – under some assumptions, it is telling us "more" about new physics than the whole LHC; with some other assumptions, it's telling us about some "qualitative properties" of the new physics that aren't so terribly new or surprising.

Many of the contemporary theoretical arguments, ideas, and mechanisms are neat and clever and Nature may very well be exploiting one of them or several of them – or some other insights that may be found by the theorists in the near or far future. Some of these "extra structures" have the potential to tell us about the way by which string theory is realized in the Universe, e.g. about the shape and our (and different particles') location within the extra dimensions.

Stay tuned.

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reader don penman said...

All the mathematics that you use is a bit dificult to follow but I think i get the general idea that E=MC^2 so energy must be taken into account as well as mass in GR.This raises the question in my mind if all forms of energy are really equivalent or are they seperate things which have a relationship given by the equations.Is the "block universe" all that there is or is there another reality beyond what we can observe using light.

reader Dov Elyada said...

"If someone fails to grasp any of these points, he just can't be understanding why the Universe is accelerating according to modern physics."

This statement goes contrary to the historical facts of the paradigm's evolution. It is a fine example of how science really works, as opposed to how scientists make themselves believe it does.

The historical truth is this: "the Universe is accelerating according to modern physics" not because of the discovery that 3p/c^2<-rho but because it was observed to do so by type Ia supernovae standard candles. The cosmological standard model equations have existed long before the universe was found to be accelerating, yet no cosmologist dared to propose it does. The introduction of 3p/c^2<-rho, or the re-introduction of the CC, came as a desperate attempt to save the sacred model. Luckily, the model still had the capacity to consistently accomodate the necessary modification---a fudge factor, to be honest.

This is the way paradigms entrench themselves. Read your Kuhn.

reader Luboš Motl said...

OK, I should have written "he just can't be understanding how modern physics describes the reasons of the accelerated expansion".

I was in no way trying to claim that the acceleration was correctly predicted by theory.

Paradigms have to entrench themselves because it's the right way how science must work. Good science must keep the working, most plausible and most economic explanations for the longest possible time before they are excluded (i.e. falsified) by actual, solid, trustworthy empirical observations. If someone doesn't like it, he doesn't understand the logic of science and scientific progress.

Throw your Kuhn into the trash bin where it belongs.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear John, I agree with you that the fad to say that "XY has the right to do UV" all the time is an annoying virus.

On the other hand, I would choose exactly the opposite interpretation than you. Everyone has the right to do everything he or she wants, but sometimes it has consequences.

reader Dilaton said...

Ah, this is exactly what I need to overcome my being upset about the trolling popular article about this topic my colleague sent to me ... !

Thanks Lumo, will enjoy this this evening :-)


reader Shannon said...

Dilaton, I'm OK with "technical notions and terms" but please no maths ;-D

reader Peter Fred said...

"Good science must not only keep but maximally extrapolate the working, most plausible and most economic explanations for the longest possible time...."
Scientists are supposed to be objective and not give into human nature and go on believing some dogma that is no longer working. They should prepare themselves for facing the "horror the horror" and face tolerate and endure the possibility that paradigm-shifting experiment will come along will
that will render obsolete most of what they have believed in for years. They should try to avoid specious arguments as did the Ptolemaics who refused to look at the phases of Venus through Galileo's telescope "because if god wanted us to see the phases he would have given us eyes to do it." The results of Michelson-Morley experiments of 1887 along with its theoretical indications was finally begrudgingly excepted.
The possibility of a paradigm shifting experiment should be anticipated given the failure to find the dark matter in the LUX experiment or to comprehend cosmic acceleration in terms of textbook physics.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Preferring a more effective theory or paradigm isn't about the "human nature"; it's about the rational reasoning.

reader John Archer said...

Thanks Luboš. For sure, I fully understood you are as fed up with this whole business as I am, and indeed that's just one of the reasons I like you. In brief you handled it by pointing up the contradictions and all the dopey twists and turns and silly loop-thinking that that kind of dumbarse argumentation entails. A kind of sarcasm on steroids, if you will. My preference, however, is for the full frontal assault wherever possible. :)

"Everyone has the right to do everything he or she wants. [Etc]"

I strongly agree in spirit and can I see where you're coming from with that. The problem for me there though is that in using the very notion of a 'right' you have conceded to some extent by fighting them on a ground of their making, and worse — under chivalrous rules of combat! I prefer to push them into a gorge and napalm them, and the sooner we can get on with 'atrocity' the better. :)

In short, 'rights' are very much generally presented as a a priori givens whereas they are no such thing. This is metaphysical junk. There's nothing a priori about them. They are practical derivations only. And their ONLY justification stems from the deals we make with each other. I would like to shove this point down the leftards' throats until they choke on it. Someone needs to.

reader Dov Elyada said...

Please cool down! I didn't mean to attack you, or science. On the contrary, myself a scientist, I'm with you and pro-science all the way. And as I understand Kuhn, so was he. In fact, your view ("Paradigms have to entrench themselves ...the logic of science and scientific progress.") is not all that different from his. And I'm certainly not one of his "mindless disciples."

I totally agree with you, as Kuhn does, that paradigms+revolutions constitute (maybe) the only way to do good science, and, as long as scientists are aware of what they are actually doing, all is well. My critique was aimed at an expression that seemed to be oblivious of the paradigmatic framework, and that, therefore, transposed history. Sorry if you felt offended.
As to my Kuhn, I intend to keep it and even occasionally consult it---it's full of evidently true insights about how science and scientists work, in contrast to their naive beliefs. (I bought it many years ago in Caltech's bookstore---it probably was then mandatory reading for some course.)

reader Luboš Motl said...

Great, cooled down. ;-)

reader Peter Fred said...

Lubos said"There isn't any contradiction between GR and the cosmological observations at this point"

I just got through listening to Paul Kruppa's latest talk. Apparently there are dwarf galaxies that do not require any dark matter. With them he makes a convincing argument that the dark matter hypothesize is invalid. Without the existence with the yet-to-be detected dark matter GR fails. Kruppa then goes on to champion MOND which owes its existence to Tully-Fisher relation. To be an effective theorists and be a genius that is up there with Einstein, all you have to think is that there is a CAUSAL relation between a galaxy's light output and its rotational velocity and you will have the same kind of far-reaching thought that Copernicus had: That the star's movement across the sky is just a simple consequence of the earth rotating on its axis.

reader Vangel said...

"But if the government or the central bank manages to artificially reduce the real interest rates – and especially their expectation – (well) below zero, it automatically means that the justifiable P/E ratio becomes (much) higher and stocks should be growing exactly when the expectation about the real interest rates in the future (comparable to the companies' lifetime) deteriorates."

So you have finally figured out that the arbitrary actions of the central planners at the Fed can have real (and negative) effects on the markets and the economy. Note that there is a problem with your arguments. When rates are artificially high or low you assume that the central planners can still retain control. But that is not the case and it makes no sense to assume that one can see the trend changing and get out of the way faster than the next guy. The German hyperinflation was invisible until the blow-off phase. All hyperinflation events are the same. In most cases you wake up one day to find the currency has been devalued by 50% or more and that your holdings of stocks, real estate, ect., were not as good an idea as you thought.

The bottom line is that we cannot afford to risk participating in a rigged game unless we are looking at the long term. If we know that rates are artificially low we should not be paying for shares with high P/E ratios no matter how long the bubble is likely to last. We should be looking to benefit from the accumulation of assets that are likely to benefit from the actions that the banks are likely to take to prevent a reversal that would have interest rates explode or from a catastrophic event that would have the central planners lose control.

In my opinion that means accumulating hard assets like gold and silver and holding a six month's supply of 'cash' to ride out any economic turmoil. It is my opinion that other than a reversal of the bond market the biggest threat to the US economy comes from the shale scam. We are now about a year or less from the peak in the Bakken, a liquid rich area that has been responsible for much of the gain in production. The trouble is that the producers have been unable to generate positive cash flows because they have been unable to produce a barrel of oil for less than the cost of extracting it. Note that the accounting rules permit the companies to CHOOSE their depreciation rate by using ESTIMATED ultimate recovery rates (EURs) even though there is plenty of data from the production side to determine the actual ultimate recovery rates. While we can hide this problem as long as the promise of ever more production is possible the post peak accounting becomes much more difficult. And since part of the strength of the USD is based on support it gets from the idea that the US is becoming energy independent from using new technology to produce oil out of shale the revelation that shale is not what it seems will remove support even as the Fed is busy monetizing the treasury and mortgage backed markets. It will not take much to push this mess over and once that happens the USD will not look very different from any other fiat currency.

reader Luboš Motl said...

My point is that these events don't have a significant first-order effect on the *aggregate* economic quantities. Of course that they may change the shape of the yield curve or make some particular bonds more expensive while others cheaper.

I agree that they are not really in control of the key things, if I understand your point.

I am not interested in mixing of talks about hyperinflation of the 1920s with discussions about the present economy because this mixing is bullshit.

reader Eugene S said...

People used to live to 65 (if they lived that long) and then enjoy their retirement for a while, then duly drop dead at 70.

A combination of advances in medical science, less backbreaking labor, non-smoking regs etc. lets us live past 80. Soon it will be possible for many to live to a hundred.

At the same time, people enter the workforce later, are unemployed at some time in their working lives, and fewer future taxpayers are being born, especially in Europe.

To put it bluntly, we all live too damn long. I don't know the answer. Maybe by the time I retire, it'll be a choice between paying my own way ... or becoming Soylent Green :)

reader Eugene S said...

Ha ha, Sheldon rules :)

Well, I suppose I could link you to a clip of that Sally Field movie in which she plays a worker in a garment factory down south who somehow becomes a heroic union organizer, but it's too much like propaganda for my taste.

Instead, I'll point to the novel Last Exit Brooklyn. Blue collar work and unions are the intertwined threads running through the book. Great scene of strikers going mano a mano, tire wrench against baseball bat versus scabs outside of one factory.

The protagonists' hedonistic, misogynistic, homophobic, sex-crazed lifestyle is to a large extent made possible by the job security they have through their union jobs. And you know what, I like these guys, unlettered brutes that they are. Without unions, Last Exit Brooklyn could not have been written.

reader cynholt said...

QE is zero sum game, Fred. With QE interest rates decline, home buyers win, but savers lose. When home prices increase, buyers increase spending, but savers have less money to spend. Maybe initially there is some positive impact. Now when QE stops, interest rates will increase and home prices drop 20%+. We will be back to 2008 again, maybe worse. QE is very limited as an economic driver, but when it stops, the economic hardship will be amplified because equities and bond prices will now drop 20%+.

Obviously, the FED and Wall Street know exactly what will happen: QE stops and interest rate go back to the level before QE, about 4%. The FED may want to stop but disclosing the lies is unacceptable. So QE probably will continue until there is an external event where the .001% and powerful can transfer blame for the cost of this flawed policy.

reader Gene Day said...

Your personal bias is showing there, papertiger0. I would point out that Kennedy, like Lincoln, knew the power of language and used it to great effect. He captured the imagination of the public more thoroughly than anyone since, including Reagan, and arguably as well as Winston Churchill, the absolute master. That’s why his death was a greater shock to the American psyche than even 9/11.
I choose not to vilify nor glorify what was a flawed human being but one who brought hope to this great country.

reader Gene Day said...

I can remember hitting beer cans consistently at 100 yards using a puny 22-caliber rifle.
Oswald had an easy shot unless he was unfamiliar with the gun, which he definitely was not.

reader lucretius said...

I have the same opinion. Orwell openly acknowledged his debt to Zamyatin but the books are somewhat different. The biggest difference is that in Orwell’s novel the society depicted is much more clearly Stalin’s Soviet Union (Big Brother is clearly based on Stalin and Emmanuel Goldstein on Trotsky etc.), which is not at all surprising because Zamyatin wrote We in the Soviet Union and still during Lenin’s rule. “Nineteen Eighty Four” is much darker, it has none of the humour of “We” and, unlike “We” does not even hint at optimistic vision of the future. (At the end of “We” there is a growing rebellion against the “One State”).

Zamyatin’s book was published in the West in the very early “liberal” period of Stalin’s rule and Maxim Gorky managed to persuade Stalin to let Zamyatin emigrate to the West.

I quite agree that by comparison with both “We” and “Nineteen Eighty Four”, Huxley’s “Brave New World” is feeble and does not deserve its reputation.

I have also read some of C.S. Lewis's writings on morality and religion and thought them excellent. Some of my thinking on these subjects has certainly been influenced by him.

reader lucretius said...

"he would prefer monarchy to democracy (how's that for uberlibertarianism?)"
Particularly in view of the fact that in recent times (in Europe) monarchy has been associated with a rather large welfare state ;-)

reader Shannon said...

Jaleousy, only jaleousy... they should invent a pill against jaleousy...

reader cynholt said...

Thinking back, Vangel, those idiots should have taken their medicine when the first reactions to taper took place, and followed through with a 5b a month reduction, which would have taken about 3 years to reduce QE to zero.

Instead they panicked at the first sign of the 10 year treasury rate rising and put their foot back down on the QE pedal. Now the bubbles have just gotten bigger so the stock, treasury rate and real estate market reactions will just be that much more dramatic when the QE plug gets pulled (taper). I hope for the Fed's sake they have the brains to slowly taper.

I have a feeling this next year is going to be payback time for all these radical Fed strategies. Sure, those guys will still be smoking big stogies, but most people will be scrambling like mad to try and stay in the game.

reader papertiger0 said...

"Captured the imagination" and "brought hope to this country," are results of public relations.
Feel good platitudes are often always employed to elect incompetents or democrats.

ANd isn't that how we got stuck with the current defective version?

Republicans have to get there on ability.

reader Gene Day said...

Bugliosi’s book is more detailed than the Warren Report? Have you actually read the 26 volumes of evidence that accompanied the 366 page summary entitled “The Warren Report”?

Oswald did not have accomplices, my friend.

reader lucretius said...

You should read Florence Kong's ( ) "With Charity Toward None". Chapter 6 is entitled "Your President is not a Misanthrope". You may then come to appreciate Richard Nixon- the incarnation of Molier's Alceste.

More seriously: Nixon did a great service to his country in exposing Alger Hiss as Soviet spy, in what was a virtuoso performance in dogged persistence and right judgement. This was a great service to his country, probably of greater concrete value that anything that Kennedy ever did. He was paid for this with eternal, unforgiving hatred by the liberal establishment. Whatever flaws he actually had should not blind one to these facts.

reader Werdna said...

"the harvest every new year is a random number"

Can't really agree with this, maybe on a very short timescale it looks that way. But You've studied the kind of noise in weather data and weather is the source of the noise-technology of the long term trends-in crop yields. That noise isn't quite white.

I don't think it alters your point too much, though.

reader Werdna said...

His chief thing borrowed from Ricardo was Ricardo's erroneous labor theory of value, that failed to grasp that wages are also a price.

reader papertiger0 said...

Yeah I was guessing. Caught me.

reader Vangel said...

"My point is that these events don't have a significant first-order effect on the *aggregate* economic quantities."

The entire Keynesian notion of aggregates is meaningless. If the government spends trillions building pyramids or nuclear submarines the reported GDP will go up but capital will still be destroyed and the country will be poorer.

The 'effect' is one that we have discussed before. By manipulating the interest rates the central planners at the Fed are eliminating the signals that only the free market is capable of providing. Entrepreneurs make errors and their malinvestments divert resources to the wrong asset classes. When the meddling is no longer effective the collapsing bubbles wipe out many investors while taxpayers are forced to bail out the mountebanks that run the large banks and brokers who are deemed too big to fail. As usual, Main Street gets hosed while Wall Street gets rewarded.

"I am not interested in mixing of talks about hyperinflation of the 1920s with discussions about the present economy because this mixing is bullshit."

You might want to look at all of the asset purchases by the Fed that are backing the fiat currency that it is issuing. When those mortgage backed securities lose 90% of their real value what do you think happens to the purchasing power of the FRN?

reader Vangel said...

"As I see it, "inflation" (in respect of money) should only refer to the effect of a greater than necessary endogenous injection [i.e. an injection greater than necessary to facilitate a 'substantially growing economy'"

Isn't this somewhat arrogant? Who the hell knows what is "necessary to facilitate a 'substantially growing economy'?" Which people are smart enough to do a better job than the free markets and where exactly are these people? They certainly cannot be found at the Fed, which missed most of the bubbles that it was blowing up and could not understand why the corrections took place as they did.

What I see here is a lot of smart people who are arguing for central planning because they do not understand the lessons of history. The simple fact is that central planning does not work and no matter who you put into place the decision making process will fail. What you advocate has been tried by the EU and in the FSU countries. It did not work there and it certainly won't work here.

reader Vangel said...

"Janet Yellen, just over a week ago: "No equity bubble, no real estate bubble, no QE tapering yet.""

I don't see how the Fed can stop its QE activities without causing a collapse in the bond and real estate markets. While commodities like gold and oil can continue to be sold off in the expectation of a taper I just can't see how that taper can happen in a social democratic system prior to a major election.

Yellen is supposedly very qualified if the experts are to be believed but if you recall Milton Friedman argued that Arthur Burns was the first person ever named Chairman of the Board to the Federal Reserve System who was truly qualified to hold the post. That did not work out very well for Nixon and Carter. I suspect that Yellen won't work out any better for Obama.

reader John McVirgo said...

"book give great insights into quantum physics".

Have you studied QM using a graduate level book, or is that statement just wishful thinking? ;)

reader AJ said...

It's mi mi mi mi, sexy mi, only mi.

I love Russia. Jail Greenpeace!

reader Gene Day said...

I did not say that Nixon did not serve his country well nor do I believe that. Both Nixon and Kennedy had serious personal flaws, as do we all.
I can easily dismiss Truman’s opinion of Nixon but Eisenhower’s view is another matter entirely. Also, Nixon’s campaigns against Jerry Vorhis and Helen Gahagen Douglas were fresh in my mind in 1960. The truth did not matter at all to Nixon in those House races.
History does tend to render accurate judgements after the heat of the political situation has subsided. You might want to think about that.

reader Gene Day said...

Of course the public view of Kennedy was due to public relations. WTF do you think politics is all about? Platitudes are also employed to elect incompetents and Republicans; you should know that.
As I wrote above, history does render accurate judgements eventually. Obama will turn out to rate 5 or 6 on a 1 to 10 scale, not great but not terrible, either. Just watch.
Incidentally, I am a registered Republican, an endangered species in California.

reader TheD.O.C said...

Dear Lubos, I have some very basic questions related to money stuff. Since I like your physics analogies, I will try to express my question as one. Assuming governments don't collapse and no counterfeiting or fraud takes place, can we write an expression for the conservation of wealth (money, gold, stock options and other stuff). If we take this 'wealth density' and integrate it over the 'volume' of every person, is it equal to the negative of the time derivative of unexploited natural resources (like minerals, sunlight, wood etc.) or is it equal to some constant that value (like 3 billion bucks or any scaled version of that)? Basically I have always wanted to understand how exactly everyone get's 'richer'. I always assumed that it was at the cost of natural resources (the time derivative of unharnessed resources). Am I right?

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Werdna, I agree it isn't and can't be "exactly" white. But it's closer to random quantities like precipitation in year XY, frost in May year XY, and so on, and those are mostly independent on following years - unlike e.g. global mean temperature which is continuous and closer to red noise but due to the small deviations and no impact on local physics anywhere, it can't be seen in the harvest data.

reader Shannon said...

Sexy like Putin?

reader papertiger0 said...

Isn't it strange how the calculus works?
A Republican President, hamstrung in office by a super majority of democrats in both houses, to in large part continue on course enacting LBJ's welfare state, gets demonized for bugging a hotel room.

A Democrat President, bugs the entire country, strong arming Internet providers to coerce their participation in the crime, and he get's rated a 5.

reader papertiger0 said...

Something else struck me about Oswald's Carcano
from the Wiki I read .
It was a shorter barrel version only produced one year during the war.
Several witnesses, the guy who drove Oswald to work for example, never saw a rifle.
He saw a package of curtain rods. Oswald's neighbor walked passed it propped up in a corner with out taking notice. His wife later mentioned to him that Oswald had a rifle there by the door.

Lot of instances where people didn't see a weapon, much less a snipers rifle.

That sounds like a feature rather than a flaw of the weapon.

It was probably a happy coincidence for Oswald that he could pick up this version of a Carcano at discount.

reader Eugene S said...

Bingo! Future historians will wonder, how come we didn't impeach Obama?

He squandered untold billions on domestic boondoggles, greatly expanded the surveillance state, pandered to the Muslim Brotherhood, and gave away the store in secret negotiations with Iran to end sanctions while allowing them to continue unimpeded towards their nuclear bomb. "The man abused the power of his office and committed treason, why did they not try and execute him?" they will ask.

reader Smoking Frog said...

He certainly ought to be impeached, and it may yet happen, but if it doesn't, I doubt that future generations will wonder at it. There are too many Democrats who either like what he's doing or don't understand it, and there's a fear of violence in the cities.

reader arachne said...

The system seems flawed. If you have 25 minutes to spare I recommend the video "Hidden Secrets of Money":

reader Vangel said...

"Assuming governments don't collapse and no counterfeiting or fraud takes place, can we write an expression for the conservation of wealth (money, gold, stock options and other stuff)."

Let us not forget that you are also assuming that people act as elementary particles that have no will.

reader Werdna said...

And who do you suppose Eisenhower voted for in 1960?

It wasn't Kennedy, with very high probability.

If you turn your nose up at lying sons of bitches at the ballot, how do you ever vote?

reader Nick H said...

Thank you for a great article! One minor correction: the numerical upper bound is 8.7*10^-29 e*cm, or 0.87*10^-30 e*m.

reader Vangel said...

"The Sky Is Falling, things are not what they seem, here's what they're not telling us, it's even worse than you think, stock up on beans gold and ammo I repeat stock up on beans gold and ammo BE PREPARED The Sky Is Fa.... an endless loop of scaremongering."

We already know that things are not as they are telling you. We have seen the LIBOR scandal where investors lost billions as the banks manipulated the rate. We have seen reports that Census Bureau employees who conduct the household survey for the BLS have used falsified data to make the numbers look better. It is very easy to manipulate reported numbers and as long as there are political and economic incentives to do so that is what will continue to take place.

"Found some German professorwho took early retirement from UNLV who sounds a lot like you."

Thank you for the complement. Hans-Hermann Hoppe is one of the brightest people out there and the fact that you think that I may be him is the highest complement that you can send my way.

"Buy gold and silver, no matter how much your ungrateful families whine about how they are sick of subsisting on silage-grade gruel (“Buy it by the ton and save!”), and how they complain about needing expensive vegetables, and expensive fruits, and expensive proteins, and prohibitively expensive medicines, and bandages, and expensive medical and dental care, and all of that other expensive crap that greatly interferes with your Mission From Mogambo (MFM) to acquire as much gold and silver as possible."

I agree with the sentiment as much today as I did in 2000. Gold is in a secular bull market as demand for the physical keeps growing and Western banks are transferring their holdings to the East. Fortunately for those that like gold there are orchestrated sales in the paper markets, usually in the off-hours, that drive the price of the metal lower in non delivery months even as the supply of physical at the COMEX and LBMA warehouses is falling. Anyone who likes gold but is playing on the futures market is likely to get wiped out. Anyone who buys the physical should do much better. And once the trend reverses it is far more likely that silver will do much better than gold.

There is an easy way to see if I am right. I have made it clear that the Bakken is very close to a top and suspect that some time in the next year we will see the end of the ND production increases just as we saw in Montana when the Elm Coulee peaked around eight years ago and is now producing a small fraction of what it did at the top. When the Bakken peaks it will be hard for the producers to pretend that the EURs are meaningful and the accountants will have to use the production data as they restate their earnings and write off assets on the balance sheets.

And let us look at the gold and silver prices a year or two from now. While the technical traders can still push the prices lower eventually the physical market will take over. When it does you will see the third phase of the secular bull market that will take the metals much higher as most fiat currencies melt down as they always have.

reader Vangel said...

An anarchist does not prefer a monarchy to democracy. You might try reading his book on the subject.

reader cynholt said...


The reason the Fed does not see an “obvious” stock market bubble is because they snapped off the rear-view mirror and threw it out the window. Only when they open a bottle of champagne does the Fed see bubbles.

reader cynholt said...

The Fed is simply bubblicious 'cause low employment participation rates are super-uber bullish. ;~)

reader lucretius said...

One thing is sure: they have as little sense of humour as they have common sense.

reader HenryBowman419 said...

I was referring to the summary book, which sold lots of copies. And, there is no evidence whatsoever that Oswald had any accomplices. The books that maintain that LBJ did it weave intricate scenarios involving dozens of people, but without much actual supporting evidence.

Much of Bugliosi's book is devoted to taking down the conspiracy theories.

reader Eugene S said...

Thank you for the complement.
It wasn't a compliment.
I agree with the sentiment
You do? Geez, I pity your family then, who must go without so that you can satisfy your demented craving for gold. They must have operated on you to take out your funny bone. That piece is satire! And since you did not understand that, I'll hasten to add that this satire was not penned by a Krugmanian, Fed-worshipping Keynesian but by a classic conservative, someone who is extremely critical of the madcap fiddling and tinkering being done by pols and bankers... yet simultaneously sane enough to poke fun at himself and at the over-the-top hysterics of gold bugs like you.

reader Vangel said...

"Thinking back, Vangel, Bernanke and his Fed colleagues should have started tapering QE when the first reactions to it took place, and followed through with a 5 billion a month reduction, which would have taken about 3 years to reduce QE to zero."

Actually, they should never have gotten involved in the TARP and QE discussion and activities in the first place. Fannie, Freddie, GM, AIG, Citigroup, and other firms should have been allowed to go under because of their errors. The assets that had some value should have gone into the hands of creditors or purchasers who could have used them more wisely. Instead the Treasury and Fed bailed out the incompetent and stood aside as even more wealth was transferred from the middle class to the privileged and protected financial sector.

reader kashyap vasavada said...

Hi Lubos. Very thorough article. I still have to digest your article. This is little bit late question. Let me ask a question which may not be sensible! As
you say de≈10−40e⋅m or slightly smaller in SM. Is it possible that particles of SUSY, which would have masses higher than known SM particles can contribute more to dipole moment? Or on
general grounds high mass particles would always contribute less (rough order of magnitude)? So would SUZY bounds always be less than SM bound?

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Kashyap, generic models of new physics with CP-violating parameters generate the dipole moment from 1-loop diagrams. They're proportional to some extra g^2 where g isa coupling constant.

On the contrary, the Standard Model only has a CP-violation in the CKM matrix which involves quarks of all 3 generations. The electron is a lepton so the virtual processes have to create all the quarks to feel the CP-odd phase of the CKM matrix.

As a result, the simplest Feynman diagram is a 4-loop diagram proportional to g^8 of a kind. The extra g^6, with coefficients of order one, implies that the SM contribution is 10 billion times smaller than the greatest contribution from 100 GeV new physics.

Maybe this doesn't answer your question because you seem to be confused about the meaning of the words "less" and "more", "higher bounds" or "upper bounds", and mixing them. It's hard to figure out what you're exactly confusing.

reader Gene Day said...

It probably was Kennedy, all considered.

reader Gene Day said...

I didn’t say 5; I said 5-6 but with the Iran breakthrough I have raised that to 7 or so. If the Iran situation proceeds as did the China problem forty years earlier there will be some serious pluses including a huge weakening of the IRGC and, of course, Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Generally, Obama’s domestic energy policies have sucked big time but the coming oil glut will be of benefit to almost everyone else but those two countries, which, I should point out, are not our friends.

reader Gene Day said...

Obama has, indeed, squandered around two billion dollars on such as Solendra and Fiskar but his predecessor squandered a thousand times more on the Iraq fiasco, which has not provided a single benefit except to Iran. Then there are those 4500 American deaths and 33,000 injuries.

reader hunterson said...

Oswald met the profile of a lone killer: alienated, rootless, leftist, trained in weapons, escalating violence. The real disease is that American lefties have not been able to accept that one of their own, someone who supported Castro, supported the USSR, could have been the shooter.

reader Ed Snack said...

Just worth noting that Oswald's shot at Walker was through a glass window, and it is generally accepted that the bullet was marginally deflected by the very edge of a window frame (the window had several panes with internal frames). It is also reasonably accepted that shooting through unopened windows can lead to inaccuracy as even the glass can deflect the bullet.

Thus Oswald's miss of Walker needs to be put in that context.

I'd also say although I regard the Menninger/Donahue theory of a shot from SS Agent Hickey's AR15 caused the head shot, the evidence for that is not as strong as it is often put. Donahue has to make several assumptions about the head-shot impact that may not be entirely justified. That wound can also be accepted as coming from Oswald by ballistics calculations. The differing impact could be due to tumbling after impact with the skull.Fragments of a potential candidate bullet were recovered from the car. Examination of the bullet residues in JFK's brain would resolve the issue, but that is probably not possible as the brain has been missing for many years, taken it is believed by RFK.

reader Ed Snack said...

Nixon didn't get demonized for bugging a hotel room, he was ultimately demonized for covering it up and lying about it.

However you are right, Obama's lies leave Nixon's in the shade. Personally, I believe he will rate as 1-2 when the full magnitude of his incompetence and dishonesty gets recognized. The Iran deal, we'll see if it's real or just a diplomatic fig-leaf to allow Iran to do what it wants.

reader Ed Snack said...

I think you want to consider BNW in a different light. Instead of a world run as a Stalinist state with fear and thuggery, BNW controls the populace by morality without content, cheap "free love" without affection, cheap trinkets not unlike smart phones and a vast array of anodyne but absorbing tat and trivia.

Completely unlike today you'd have to admit...

reader papertiger0 said...

I think 5 is too many. Probably four and a half too high.

Oh how I wish Nixon would have fought back, instead of folding like a cheap suit.
The world would be a better place if he had.

reader Werdna said...

Ha, wow. Riiiiiiiight. No reasoning with that.

reader Werdna said...

"with the Iran breakthrough I have raised that to 7 or so"

Wow, a disastrous agreement actually raises his score. Incredible.

Last I checked, incidentally, Saudi Arabia *is* a US ally, unlike the world's chief state sponsor of terror.

reader Johnny D. said...

What a bullshit is this blog post. Screening people, discrediting them according to their political opinion... how totalitarian and ideologic. Luboš, it really shows you are from post-communist party. Adolescent and immature.

reader Jason Calley said...

Yes, exactly. You can't cure a depression, because the depression IS the cure!

reader Jason Calley said...

Money is gauge invariant -- but not instantly. It takes a finite period of time for the system to adjust. Why? Because the change in money supply does not take place universally, but rather locally.

Suppose a law were passed that tomorrow, all dollar valuations were to have two zeros added to them, i.e., tomorrow all dollar valuations were to be increased by two magnitudes. Yes, in that case, money would be gauge invariant. However, that is not how the supply has increased in the US. Certainly, a lot of the increase is, as you say, "sitting in the basement" and having no practical effect. But what about the increase that does make it into circulation? It generally finds its way into the market via the hands of those who are politically or financially well connected. Those early spenders receive full value for their dollars because the market has not had time to respond to the change in monetary supply. Later holders of the same money receive less for each dollar as the market adapts, effectively transferring wealth from the later users to the first users. See "the Cantillion Effect."

reader lucretius said...

Well, I will grant it that Huxley greatly "americanised" the story, which appears to be set in the United States after Obama's 4th or 5th term. But there are so many resemblances to "We" that there are good reasons for suspecting (as did Orwell and Vonnegut) that it was modeled on Zamyatin's book and not on H.G. Wells, as Huxley himself claimed.

In my opinion, as far as psychological depth is concerned "We" and "BNW " are in a different class. While "We" deserves to be called "dostoyevskian" Huxley's novel was only (in Rebecca West's words) "the best thing Huxley has written".

reader Shawnhet said...

I'm not sure if this thread is still active but I thought I would throw my two cents in. In terms of whether the monetary system is guage invariant, it pretty clearly cannot be because one of the purposes of prices is communicate the future value of money (which is a consequence of the inflation rate).

Compare someone making a decision about a project that will only start paying them back after 5 years. In a situation where theinflation rate is between 1 and 3% per year, our investor can predict the value of his money to within about 10% - if the inflation rate is between 10-30%, the future value of his money can vary by more than 100%.

From the point of view of our investor there is nothing invariant about these two situations even though the physical facts are the same. In low inflation environments, investors can afford to be ignorant of currency risk but in high inflation situations, everyone is forced to become a currency speculator. All investments are inherently more risky and as a consequence investors will be less likely to make risky investments.

Cheers, :)

reader Vangel said...

The evidence argues otherwise. Libertarians and anarchocapitalists tend to be better educated and more successful than the general population and certainly have much more common sense than academics.

reader Vangel said...

"It wasn't a compliment."

Of course it is. Hoppe is a great thinker, scholar, and a fine philosopher. Being compared to him is a compliment.

"That piece is satire!"

Sorry but there is no way to assume that someone is ironic or satirical on the internet because many people who we assume are joking are very serious.

"...yet simultaneously sane enough to poke fun at himself and at the over-the-top hysterics of gold bugs like you."

I am no gold bug. I simply understand that fiat money will always fail and that counterfeiting robs savers, workers, and investors. The gold fix in London is just as manipulated as the LIBOR rates were but that does not matter because all it does is offer those that understand economics to acquire more at better prices.

And stealing is not funny.

reader Eugene S said...

So you believe that everything in The Onion is true?

reader Anna Vanclová said...

You just went full retard. Never go full retard.

reader Stan Liou said...

Wow. This is just something else. Even before getting to the cosmological solutions, the relationship of negative pressure and gravitational repulsion is one the direct morals of the Einstein field equation!

In particular, the Einstein field equation implies that if you have a small ball of test particles initially at rest in some local inertial frame, its the fractional acceleration of its its volume (V"/V) is -(ρ+3p), where ρ is the energy density and p is the average of the principal stresses (and thus, for a fluid, the pressure). Describing volumes of geodesic balls is exactly what Ricci curvature means in the first place.

This is also the reason why the strong energy condition, which is intuitively equivalent to "gravity is never repulsive", implies that ρ+3p≥0 for a perfect fluid: the SEC is just the same inequality about Ricci curvature written in terms of the stress-energy tensor. Then it's obvious that dark energy of positive energy density violates the SEC.

There's a great feeling of coherence here (perhaps to borrow Luboš's phrase, sexiness) that the cosmological Friedmann equations single out the same quantity (ρ+3p) for fractional acceleration of the scale of the universe (a"/a) as the Einstein field equations do for the initial fractional acceleration of small balls of test particles (V"/V ∝ r"/r). But of course this is just as it should be: a homogeneous and isotropic universe should treat the large and the small analogously.

A completely lay audience is not going to completely understand where the equations for either of those cases, the local or the cosmological, ultimately come from, but even they are surely capable of appreciating that they are related!

Shame of Carroll for even trying to destroy that coherence. This is the opposite of what understanding is about, even at the popular level.

reader Stan Liou said...

I think I should apologize, Luboš, since apparently I should have read your previous thread before this one before replying. Consider my previous post just general agreement with you, then. (:

P.S. I think you've a typo of \(\rho + p/3c^2\) instead of \(\rho + 3p/c^2\) in one place, in the last paragraph of the explanation quoted in blue.

reader Luboš Motl said...

A very nice extra explanation, Stan, perhaps it should be the main one. ;-)

reader Luboš Motl said...

1/3 to 3, fixed, thanks!