Wednesday, September 30, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Trouble with The Core Theory

A sweet New England reader has sent me a copy of Frank Wilczek's new "beautiful" book (thanks so much, Ann!) and I will discuss many ideas from that book when I finish reading it, which won't be too soon.

But I want to spend a few minutes with one isolated proposal of Wilczek's, one that was also endorsed by Sean Carroll. Frank wants to rename "The Standard Model" – a term that was coined by Steven Weinberg who also wrote the final version of its "weak" part – as "The Core Theory". And he wants to "include" the Einstein-Hilbert action to it, too.

Would I agree with that?

Russia's imminent solution of Syria's problems?

The following text was written hours before the Russian lawmakers okayed the airstrikes in Syria. Those began just a few hours later.

The U.N. General Assembly has listened to many talks. Obama wants to remove Assad because that leader has already been labeled as politically incorrect in the U.S.; Putin wants to keep him because he's the head of the only significant force in Syria that has a chance to defeat the extremists. You may see a difference between a rational politician and a politician with hay filling his skull.

I do believe that it must be an easy, straightforward task for a power to destroy ISIS. The U.S. failures in doing so indicate that Obama's White House doesn't actually want to do so.

But maybe the failures are due to a complete incompetency and the characteristically American misunderstanding of geography outside the U.S. border. For example, the result of a half-a-billion-dollar U.S. program to train Syrian opposition warriors is that there are five ("5", using digits) troops left who may want to fight. Wow, what an army.

At any rate, Russia seems increasingly active in Syria and its contributions may accelerate very soon. Russia has a naval base in Tartus. Lots of weapons and humanitarian aid have been brought there, perhaps the most Western port in Syria, as well as Lattakia. So far, it's only Assad's forces that are stronger thanks to Russia but Russia may offer a more direct military aid, too. So far, Russia has been refusing the idea of its ground troops operating in Syria, however.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Enrico Fermi: a birthday

Enrico Fermi was born 114 years ago, on September 29th, 1901, in Rome. He died on November 28th, 1954 in Chicago, thanks to the stomach cancer. He was most likely the second most important Italian physicist after Galileo Galilei (check this list). Apologies to Rovelli, Dorigo, and others who would place themselves above Fermi and maybe Galileo.

When he was 17 and he was entering the college in Pisa, he wrote an essay about a Fourier-series analysis of solutions to the partial differential equation describing... waves on a string. The examiner interviewed Fermi and determined that the essay would have been good enough for a PhD in Pisa. That was probably no overstatement because the analysis was largely equivalent to a big part of the first or second chapter of any string theory textbook.

Before he was 20, he learned quantum mechanics so well that he was already hired to lead a seminar on it. He went on to master the tensor calculus and GR later. At some moment, he wanted to study mathematics but switched to physics rather soon.

Aspects of Merkel's suicidal policies

While the Central European ex-socialist countries are presented as villains by most of the Western "mainstream" media and e.g. Hollande's suggestions that we could very well be expelled from the EU for having a different opinion are being amplified by those not-so-independent sources of information, the opinions about the migrant wave and the role of top Western European leaders such as Merkel and Hollande are very, very different in countries like Czechia.

Recently, Angela Merkel has dedicated much more energy to selfies with illegal migrants than to work for her Vaterland. Click the image for hundreds of other selfies. 1.6 billion folks with their cameras are still waiting for their selfies – and to be fed and entertained by the German government for the rest of their life.

The Schengen area – the European Union's unified visa zone – seems to be failing. Ten days ago, Politico.EU presented their list of politicians who are responsible for the bad condition of the Schengen area. It's Assad, Orbán, Erdogan, Bush 43, Obama, Cameron, smugglers, Le Pen, Ayoub el-Khazani, Nemmouche, Afewerki, and al-Baghdadi. Some of the contestants' presence makes sense, others (e.g. Orbán and Le Pen in particular) are absolutely preposterous.

Monday, September 28, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

No-transmission principle, antiholographic LQG

I want to mention two recent conceptual, not too technical papers about the connection of holography to seemingly local theories.

Today, Netta Engelhardt and Gary T. Horowitz released their paper

Holographic Consequences of a No Transmission Principle
which argues that whenever a gravitational spacetime dynamics is described by quantum field theories, their background spacetimes have to overlap for them to be able to influence each other and transfer energy. This assumption seems to imply
  1. ban on certain bounces
  2. ban on the resolution of certain black hole singularities
  3. ban on traversable wormholes
Here, the third ban seems to be right and desirable and the first two are "plausible" so if you judged their principle by its selected consequences, you could be tempted to say that it should be a correct one. However, this is not a logically valid method to decide about the validity of a claim. If a claim implies some correct implications, it doesn't mean that the original claim is correct, too. ;-)

Saturday, September 26, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

LHC13: the first inverse femtobarn collected

In the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, David Gross and Ed Witten promoted Nima's Chinese \(100\TeV\) collider. But let's back to the LHC.

In 2012, at the \(8\TeV\) center-of-mass energy, the Large Hadron Collider has collected something like 27 inverse femtobarns of data per detector out of which about 20 inverse femtobarns is being analyzed by the papers.

The 2015 collisions at \(13\TeV\) were rather slow but if you look at the LHC luminosity chart of the LHC control panel, you may see that the LHC tends to nicely collect about 0.1/fb i.e. 100/pb at a time – in a fill that lasts 11 hours or so. The data is currently being collected at the rate about 100/fb/year i.e. 3000/μb/sec.

Friday, September 25, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

History of physics as history of our evolving understanding of light

Tonight, the Scientists' Night was celebrated at numerous organizations that popularize science. Pilsen's Techmania Science Center was no exception. However, the events took place at the Pik Gymnasius, the very high school that I had attended 25+ years ago. They had better chairs and the classrooms tend to have some projectors etc. as well but otherwise my feeling was that not much has changed in those 25 years.

Because the U.N. turned this year into the International Year of Light, the event was mostly dedicated to light and I was giving a talk about the history of light in physics. The Czech PowerPoint presentation plus some videos I often use may be found in this folder. Even though I was expected to shorten this naturally 90+ minute talk to 45 minutes plus discussion ;-), it worked sort of OK and the applause intensity suggested that the people liked it. Some speed is desirable for audiences not to fall asleep.

The Arab-Nazi connection

The special attachment of the Muslims to Germany has deep historical roots

Three days ago, The Frontpage Magazine published Daniel Greenfield's article

Germany's refugee quota plan is a 2nd invasion of Eastern Europe
which argues that for the first time since the Second World War, Germany is trying to invade Czechia (plus other countries). You may ask: What kind of a German invasion is it if it is the Muslims whom Germany wants to spread all over Europe?

The point is that the Muslims identify themselves with the Germans and vice versa. You may have wondered: Why do the migrants in this migrant wave always talk about Germany? Couldn't they have found out that other countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, the U.K., and perhaps even France etc., among others, have similar (and sometimes higher) GDP per capita and similar welfare systems?

Thursday, September 24, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Two women guessed for the 2015 Chemistry Nobel Prize

The big Nobel prize week won't come next week but it will be the week after that. Reuters shares the predictions of its associated Thomson Reuters unit

Nobel Prize predictions see honors for gene editing technology
with us. Since 2002, they were making "1 guess per prize" based on the so-far-unawarded people with the highest citation counts and 37 scientists in this list have indeed received the Nobel prize even though most of them on a different year than when they were predicted.

These are the most interesting ladies in the predictions for 2015.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Islam in Slovakia would be an absurdity

I've followed the early consequences of the insane decision on the migrant quota in detail. There are hundreds of arguments why the decision is hugely counterproductive; there have been lots of angry reactions by the Czech and Slovak politicians and a hugely elevated comment activity at the Internet forums. Something like 98% of the population and 98% of politicians agree that the quota vote is a terrible decision that will solve nothing and create huge new problems. The animosity towards the EU has jumped to unprecedented levels.

At any rate, the interior ministers of Slovakia, Czechia, Romania, and Hungary voted against the quota yesterday while Finland abstained. The EU succeeded in breaking the Visegrád Group apart. In the last minutes, the Polish government revised its position and voted in favor of the quota. A Czech European Parliament deputy has claimed that Poland was the main focus of the pressure especially because Donald Tusk, a Pole, is a top European leader of a sort. Poland will probably get a much more anti-immigration government after their October 25th elections.

The Baltic countries were persuaded to support the quotas by some economic promises, we were told.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

A story on Nima Arkani-Hamed

LHC, vaguely related: ALICE confirms the CPT symmetry
Natalie Wolchover wrote a rather long article
Visions of Future Physics
about Nima Arkani-Hamed for the Quanta Magazine. You may read lots of stuff about Nima's life and career, his personality, what he considers to be his weaknesses etc.

BBC on Central Europe's attitude to immigration

Hours ago, Rob Cameron wrote an essay about our attitude to the migrants,

Migrant crisis: Why Central Europe resists refugee quota
on the BBC website. Every other sentence makes it clear that the text was written in a country suffocating in the political correctness. However, I do think that the text is fairer and fresher than most other Western texts written about the issue that I recently read. Those other texts just scream "those stinky underdeveloped Eastern Europeans are just evil Nazis" and things like that.

Visegrád meeting of top leaders, 1335

On the contrary Rob Cameron's last paragraph says
These are not unreasonable arguments, perhaps. The view from Central Europe is that, so far, their Western colleagues have been unwilling to hear them.
Quite a difference. This semi-support from Rob Cameron follows his flawless explanation of the reasons why Central Europe opposes the migrant quotas: It would strip the countries of their sovereignty – ability to decide about asylum seekers; it would encourage more migrants to come to Europe; we wouldn't be able to keep them because they want to go to Germany, anyway.

Update: On Tuesday in the afternoon, a EU meeting voted in favor of quotas to divide 120k migrants. Hungary, Slovakia, Czechia, and Romania (but not Poland: both PM and interior minister – who voted – are female) were voting against; Finland abstained. Slovak PM Fico has previously claimed that if the qualified majority vote were picked (and it's being claimed that it has been sufficient in this situation since the Lisbon Treaty came to force, the quasi-constitution of the EU that President Klaus opposed for a long time before he surrendered – most Czechs appreciate how much true his warnings about the Treaty of Lisbon were), Slovakia wouldn't respect the result of such a vote. I hope that he won't cut his balls by scissors – and on the contrary, others will join him at his frequency. At the end of the blog post, I translate the reactions of 7 or so Czech politicians to the vote.

Monday, September 21, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

EPA is ruining Volkswagen

The stock price of Volkswagen AG is seeing a decrease by 20% or so today; the DAX index reacts by a drop by 0.6% which is visibly worse than other European stock indices (those went up). This brutal drop occurred after Volkswagen has admitted that it has employed a variety of software tricks – generally referred to as a "defeat device" – to understate its cars' emissions in order to please the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the U.S.

The tricks have been used for 7 years in the diesel models sold in the U.S. which include Audi A3, VW Jetta, Beetle, Golf and Passat. In the past, the EPA has caught Renault, Volvo, Honda, and Ford using similar defeat devices but no one has ever thought that those were existential threats for the carmakers.

Such manipulation with the data shouldn't be taking place in an ideal world. Both Volkswagen and the EPA are responsible for this scam – the EPA is responsible because by its regulations most of which shouldn't exist in a free society, it has more or less forced everyone to cheat. However, it's obvious that I view Volkswagen primarily as a victim of the environmentalism that has run amok, especially when I see that the plans to punish Volkswagen are absolutely disproportionate. The EPA extortionists will demand $37,500 to be paid for each car that has used the tricks – $18 billion in total.

One can't unambiguously experimentally disprove the existence of a wormhole

Many people – including several famous physicists – find Maldacena's and Susskind's ER-EPR correspondence hard to believe, controversial, or inconsistent. But there is no known inconsistency. Three folks at Caltech, Bao, Pollack, and Remmen, are addressing a point that I have mentioned on this blog a few times, but they do so a bit differently.

Wormhole and Entanglement (Non-)Detection in the ER=EPR Correspondence
ER=EPR means that ER, an Einstein-Rosen bridge (a non-traversable wormhole), may always be interpreted as EPR (an acronym chosen for the quantum entanglement, after Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen, to make it sound funny), and vice versa. However, you could object that one can't define a Yes/No observable that would measure the "existence of the entanglement". However, one may define an observable for "is there a wormhole", you could argue, so there is a contradiction.

Saturday, September 19, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Harvard faculty obliged to call selected students "ze, e, they"

Russia Today and The Harvard Crimson, among many other sources, report on the latest development at an organization where I have worked for 6 years.

PC-ness run amok? Harvard students get 'ze' gender pronoun
The political correctness teaches us that the pronouns "he" and "she" are politically incorrect because they don't allow us to choose our sexual identity, whether we have XX or XY chromosomes. Nature and reality don't allow us to choose those things, either, but the PC jihadists rarely attack Nature and reality. It's much more fun for them to attack the people.

The statue of four lies: Harvard was not founded in 1638, the man depicted by the statue isn't John Harvard but a model, John Harvard wasn't the founder, anyway, and he wasn't he but ze. ;-)

Sweden has been the "most progressive" country that has introduced the mandatory pronoun "hen" for everyone. If you've changed your sex and you pretend to be something else than you are, you may feel happy when you're referred to as poultry. And because of this comfort of yours, everyone else has to be poultry, too.

Blanka: Europe's longest city tunnel opens in Prague

In 2006, Prague's mayor Pavel Bém, the physician and mountain climber who has been to Mt Everest as well, signed the deal to build the new tunnel called Blanka – which is a female first name (which may also mean a "little membrane" or "maidenhead", when combined with the adjective "virgin").

The tubular tunnel seems to have a decently elegant design, not too dissimilar from the tubular holes in the Prague subway.

As it turned out, the lore says, they gave a female name to the tunnel because the tunnel was getting wet from the bottom – and it was apparently never finished. ;-) I hope that you have correctly understood that there have been humidity problems during the construction – which were threatening some electric cables, too.

Humidity problems are nothing new in similar underground constructions in Prague (and elsewhere?). When the subway was being built in the 1970s, the Soviet engineers were shocked to discover that there was something called the Moldau River above them, too.

Friday, September 18, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Eastern European countries quickly understand the reality

There are indications that the migration wave is slowing down thanks to the restoration of borders inside Europe, especially those around Hungary. However, there are still lots of events whose intensity seems to be exponentially growing. The relationships between nations and groups of people are quickly deteriorating. And even some of the predicted flows seem scary: the Hungarian minister of foreign affairs and trade warns that up to 35 million people are heading to Europe.

Hungary has built a fence on the Serbian border. Note that most of the migrants go from Greece to Macedonia and Serbia and used to continue through Hungary to Austria and Germany. Because the Serbian-Hungarian border has been basically sealed (which has predictably led to a sharp deterioration of the Serbian-Hungarian relations), the refugees found a new trajectory from Serbia to Germany: through Croatia, Slovenia, and Austria.

RICO: IPCC and comrades may be prosecuted for racketeering is informing us about a remarkable letter signed by 20 climate alarmists,

Letter to President Obama, Attorney General Lynch, and OSTP Director Holdren.
The famous climate scientist Kevin Trenberth is the only well-known signatory; the remaining ones are individuals who were hired in order to increase the apparent number of alarmists among the climate scientists. Yes, as you can easily calculate, about 19/20 ≈ 95% of the people often counted as climate scientists fit this description these days – they're intellectually impotent parasites paid to distort the scientific process.

(I am not quite accurate. There is one more semi-famous person in the list, Alan Robock of Rutgers, my graduate Alma Mater. He is semi-famous for his being a close friend of Fidel Castro's who worships the communist system. This comment is not meant to imply that the remaining 19 signatories haven't slept with Fidel.)

The letter which was published at, an institute that clearly doesn't view its own existence seriously, as its web page shows, proposes to use the RICO act, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act designed to prosecute heads of criminal organizations, against climate skeptics.

Thursday, September 17, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

What confirms a physical theory?

Guest blog by Richard Dawid, LMU Munich,
Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy

Thanks, Lubos, for your kind invitation to write a guest blog on non-empirical theory confirmation (which I recently discussed in the book "String Theory and the Scientific Method", CUP 2013). As a long-time follower of this blog – who, I may add, fervently disagrees with much of its non-physical content – I am very glad to do so.

Fundamental physics today faces an unusual situation. Virtually all fundamental theories that have been developed during the last four decades still lack conclusive empirical confirmation. While the details with respect to empirical support and prospects for conclusive empirical testing vary from case to case, this general verdict applies to theories like low energy supersymmetry, grand unified theories, cosmic inflation or string theory.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Advanced LIGO is getting started

Update: observations began on Friday, September 18th, 8 am PDT. I don't want to spread conspiracy theories at any cost but this beginning on September 18th may be just a trick to mask a discovery. They could have discovered a wave e.g. two days ago, on September 14th (such a wave would be called GW150914). Perhaps an Italian postdoc saw it on his screen in Germany at 9:50 UTC. And all this stuff about the beginning on September 18th was done just to legitimize the discovery made on September 14th. Do you think my theory is unlikely? ;-)
LIGO was proposed by Thorne and Drever at Caltech and Weiss at MIT in the early 1990s. The construction between 2002-2010 culminated with some detection run and no gravitational waves have been detected so far.

People who walk there must think that the extraterrestrials have built some bizarre, useless caves here. The LIGO runs two sibling facilities, L-shaped corridors with the vacuum inside whose diameter is 4 km. One of them is in Louisiana, the other one is in the Washington State. At $0.365 billion, the price tag is nowhere near the LHC but it is the largest single experiment ever funded by NSF, anyway.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

EU funds: blackmail will probably lead to dissolution of EU

No miraculous cure has succeeded in Greece but the issue splitting the EU is totally different than it was 2 or 3 months ago. Almost no one cares about the Greek finances these days; almost all the tension in Europe is about the wave of illegal immigrants flowing from the Muslim world. Half a million of migrants have crossed the external EU border since the beginning of this year.

Central Europe

Tens of thousands of illegals came to Germany during the last weekend. Certain politicians suddenly realized that their "welcoming" policies (the Chancellor has previously said that every Syrian is welcome in Germany, among other totally insane things) were deeply flawed and unsustainable and Germany suddenly reinstated the border checks, especially on the Austrian border. Austria and Slovakia quickly followed the suit. Czechia has only informally strengthened the Austrian border – but about 80 illegals have been caught since Sunday (the same number is a whopping 20,000 in Burgenland, a province of Austria). President Zeman and the defense minister Stropnický plan joint police-army border guards.

Yesterday, the Libertarian European lawmaker Petr Mach – whom I have successfully voted for and whom I know in person – tweeted that the border checks are a part of a blackmail strategy by Germany. I didn't quite understand how the closed borders may be used to blackmail anybody – and I still don't understand it – but the events today in the morning persuaded me to think that even though all these motives look confusing, Petr knows what he is talking about.

Monday, September 14, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

A recipe to flood physics literature with garbage

Sabine Hossenfelder is one of the people who have written lots of papers and as far as I know, and I have spent quite some time by looking at them (because she is visible as a blogger), none of them has any value worth mentioning. Most of them are wrong and those that are not wrong are mostly vacuous and lacking any originality. She is certainly not the only one whose "research" may be described in this way.

You may ask what are the procedures that fill the physics literature with similar material lacking value. Well, she has published an algorithm for everyone to follow,

How to publish your first scientific paper,
and it is a pretty stunning text. It's like one of the spam web pages telling you "How to fool the people around you and become a billionaire in 72 hours".

Top soccer player's drunk driving accident, funny reactions

The UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying group A included the Netherlands and Turkey that were guessed to be "clear winners" who would certainly qualify. However, shockingly for many soccer fans, it was Iceland and Czechia that became the earliest teams to qualify for the European tournament next year. Latvia and Kazakhstan, the other two teams in the group, have confirmed their role of underdogs.

Czech fans received the happy news about the qualification on September 6th when the national team went to Latvia. It needed to win for the certainty and it did win, 2-to-1. Both Czech goals were scored by players from the #1 Czech soccer city, my hometown of Pilsen: Vladimír Darida who has played in Pilsen for 15 years before he moved to Germany (now: Hertha BSC) and David Limberský. And it's the latter who is the main hero and villain of this blog post.

Up to last Friday, David Limberský was the new captain of FC Viktoria Pilsen, the winner of the Synot League in 3 of 5 recent years. The previous captain was the always funny, mature enough, and a little bit chunky ex-Prager Pavel Horváth who finally retired as a player when this new season began.

Sunday, September 13, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Migration: NYT hit piece on post-socialist Europe

Rick Lyman wrote a The New York Times text about the different attitudes of European countries towards migration yesterday:

Eastern Bloc’s Resistance to Refugees Highlights Europe’s Cultural and Political Divisions
The part of the title about "political divisions" sounds impartial. The identification of the countries as the "Eastern Bloc" – which hasn't really existed as a bloc for 20 years – is already more biased, much like the word "resistance". But the title is still fair in comparison with the body of the text.
WARSAW — Even though the former Communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe have been asked to accept just a tiny fraction of the refugees that Germany and other nations are taking, their fierce resistance now stands as the main impediment to a unified European response to the crisis.
First, while the countries may have been "asked" by the unelected politicians in Brussels to accept just a "tiny part" of the migrants (most of those are not "refugees"), an even tinier portion of the migrants themselves wants to go to the post-socialist countries. They came to Europe in order to live in Germany – or, in many fewer cases, Scandinavia and the U.K.

As Orbán and others have pointed out, what does it even mean to accept them if they want to end up in Germany? How can we prevent them from doing so?

Second, it is a totally demagogic claim that our resistance to the mass migration is "the main impediment to a unified European response to the crisis". Instead, it is only our countries that are actually making credible proposals for Europe to respond to the crisis. We should respond to the root causes instead of trying to cope with ever greater consequences of the crisis whose causes are not being solved.

For example, Hungarian PM Orbán has proposed to send EUR 3 billion in aid to the countries adjacent to Syria where the migrants start – like Turkey and Jordan – so that the problem starts to be solved in the region where it begins. The "impediment" preventing Europe from embracing such plans that actually have a change to solve something is that there are tons of politicians in Western European countries who have lost their contact with reality.

Saturday, September 12, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Migrants may be the "glue" of the new Europe

Ex-president Václav Klaus' op-ed in MF DNES, September 11th, 2015, CZ

Trivialization of the threats of migration by the deluded Europeists

Much like its pan-European counterpart, the Czech debate about the currently increasing mass (i.e. collective, not individual) migration wave – a debate based on the word "refugee", instead of the word "migrant" or, even more precisely, "an economic migrant" – lacks trustworthiness, it's misleading, and its excessive political correctness makes it suicidal.

The social sciences are telling us (in a rare consensus with the common sense) that a certain degree of the cultural (and civilizational) cohesion is absolutely vital to guarantee the functionality and stability of any human society. Economists, especially the champions of institutional economics, are reminding us that on this basis, the – otherwise non-existent – "human (or social) capital" is being created and this capital is a necessary precondition for a healthy and natural development of a country.

Friday, September 11, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Naturalness is fuzzy, subjective, model-dependent, and uncertain, too

See also Gross vs Strassler on naturalness

In an ordinary non-supersymmetric model of particle physics such as the Standard Model, the masses of (especially) scalar particles are "unprotected" which is why they "love" to be corrected by pretty much any corrections that offer their services.

For example, if you interpret the Standard Model as an effective theory approximating a better but non-supersymmetric theory that works up to the GUT scale or Planck scale, fifteen orders of magnitude above the Higgs mass, there will be assorted loop diagrams that contribute to the observable mass of the Higgs boson.\[

m_h^2 = \dots + 3.5 m_{Pl}^2 - 2.7 m_{Pl}^2 + 1.9 m_{GUT}^2 - \dots

\] and when you add the terms up, you should better obtain the observed value\[

m_h^2 = [(125.1\pm 0.3)\GeV]^2

\] or so. It seems that we have been insanely lucky to get this small result. Note that the lightness of all other known massive elementary particles is derived from the lightness of the Higgs. Terms that were \(10^{30}\) times larger than the final observed Higgs mass came with both signs and (almost) cancelled themselves with a huge relative accuracy.

Howard Wolowitz will narrate Secrets of the Universe

The project has been known at least since early 2014 and the National Science Foundation promised some funds. But only yesterday, they also collected the required extra $100,000 from the individual Indiegogo donors so "Secrets of the Universe", an IMAX 3D movie that will be played in science centers and museums across the world since 2017, became a sure thing.

A 2014 trailer

Jolene Creighton made it clear that the movie will be about the LHC.

Thursday, September 10, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Is atheist jerk Krauss worse than religious fanatics?

I don't believe that prayers work; that Jesus' mother was a virgin during His birth; He was walking on water; the world was created in 7 days 6,000 years ago, and so on.

It seems clear to me that science has made many insights that would have been considered wrong or immoral or blasphemous by our Christian ancestors – but science is right on these points, anyway. As an undergrad, I was squarely on the atheist side of many heated discussions and I still think that many of the religious prejudices are as silly as the paranormal ones. Yes, I have noticed that religion is a significantly holier cow in the U.S. than it is in Czechia. :-)

But when I see a militant atheist such as Lawrence Krauss, it is strikingly obvious to me that he is not speaking on my behalf. Two days ago, he wrote an essay for the Newyorker under the title

All scientists should be militant atheists.
He asks why such a number of people including his colleagues spit on him on the street, ask him why he has to attack important values without good reasons, and why he is such an obnoxious aßhole in general. When his appearance makes people want to vomit, couldn't he at least behave more nicely towards others, everyone asks? Krauss' answer is unequivocal. Not only it's right for him to be an aggressive left-wing aßhole. All scientists are obliged to be just like himself.

People often ask whether the right scientific attitude towards religion is atheism or agnosticism. I have mixed feelings about this question. Science is surely not agnostic about all questions that used to be considered a domain of religion; science just doesn't care about some other human activities' domains. On the other hand, it's very clear to me that Krauss' atheism is not a legitimate scientific attitude to these matters.

Larry Summers vs rate hike

Harvard's President Emeritus Larry Summers has had a blog since April 2015 – the Financial Times and the Washington Post where he writes columns aren't sufficiently intellectually stimulating. In his newest text

Why the Fed must stand still on rates,
he argues that the U.S. central bank should keep the rates at the technical zero during their FOMC meeting on September 17th i.e. next Thursday. The only other possibility that is quoted as likely (current probability is 34% as measured by some prices in the markets) is the rate hike by 0.25%. I think that the difference between them is so tiny and the consequences are so hard to predict that I don't have any strong opinion. But the way of arguing seems interesting to me, anyway, especially because I consider the author a very bright man.

Summers admits that near-zero interest rates are a sign of a pathology; and that the real interest rates are unusually large negative (–1.52%) but he argues against the hike because
  1. two variables, the Goldman Sachs and Chicago Fed "financial conditions" indices, indicate that the conditions remain tight or not too stimulating
  2. the economy is doing badly, like employment etc.
  3. inflation is low and will probably be low
  4. some very bad event, like one in China, may be unlikely but the zero interest rates will be much more helpful in that bad case than the rate hike will be helpful if that bad event doesn't materialize
My view is that the low inflation is the only truly valid argument here – not a terribly ingenious one – and the rest shows that economics is very far from the thinking that would be considered rational and controllable in natural sciences.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

El Niño of the 21st century so far: a warm 2016?

Yesterday, a new weekly report on the El Niño conditions was released by NOAA. El Niño is a little boy in general or Baby Jesus in particular (in Spanish). It indicates that the Pacific Ocean has something extra (positive temperature anomaly) in between the leggy hemispheres (equator), unlike La Niña (a little girl) who is missing something (some heat) in the middle.

For the first time, the conditions were labeled as an El Niño episode again; see the 22nd page of the PDF file above. An episode requires at least five consecutive overlapping 3-month periods with the anomaly at least 0.5. Because the January-February-March 2015 anomaly had been reduced to 0.4 some months ago, the first contributing 3-month period is the February-March-April period which seems to have had 0.5 now. The fifth one is June-July-August.

Sunday, September 06, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Rovelli's challenge to Platonism

A month ago, the loop quantum gravitist Carlo Rovelli wrote a somewhat surprisingly intelligent essay on Platonism in mathematics,

Michelangelo's Stone: an Argument against Platonism in Mathematics
I consider myself a Platonist but I do agree with about 1/2 of Rovelli's observations. Some of them are "sort of obviously true" while others are even "innovative and persuasive". The remaining 1/2 is composed of propositions that are either "non sequitur" or "widespread misconceptions" or "downright ludicrous". ;-)

First, just to be sure, Platonism is the philosophy believing that the world of (interesting/important/natural/beautiful) mathematics exists independently of us and we are only "discovering" it, not "inventing" it or "creating" it.

Saturday, September 05, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Signals at \(2, 3, 5\TeV\) as the new \(W'\), \(Z'\), Higgs' bosons

A new right-wing world waiting to complement the biased left-wing world we've been living in?

The detectors at the LHC have found hints of a \(W'\)-boson at mass \(2.1\TeV\) or so, a \(2.9\TeV\) \(Z'\)-boson or something like that, and another resonance at \(5.2\TeV\).

Klaus' petition against immigration

I have always considered ex-president Klaus to be a relatively dovish politician when it comes to wars but also immigration. Obviously, he has always been much more than a champion of the free markets and a classical liberal. His proximity to various conservative movements and even patriotic political parties in Western Europe had to be obvious.

But when it came to the resistance towards multiculturalism and perhaps Islam in particular, he may have been more restrained than e.g. his nominally social democratic successor Miloš Zeman who often talks about the Islamic Anticivilization and various proposals to deal with it. But the times may be changing and I just learned about a petition at (and that he started and that is already collecting hundreds of signatures each minute. The text looks significantly more hawkish than I would expect from ex-president Klaus (but yes, I added my signature).

If you suggested that this is an activity that may have been deliberately designed by Klaus for him to regain his relevance, I hope that he won't be upset if I guess that the answer is Yes.

Friday, September 04, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

KB 3081455

At least one user installed this update without problems

Apologies, this blog post – on a somewhat well-known blog primarily dedicated to physics and philosophy of science – is a test trying to measure how many people will find the blog post identified by a new Microsoft patch that was released tonight, on the September 2015 Patch Tuesday, when the number of Googlable articles about that patch is basically zero.

Nothing wrong with IDs for illegal immigrants

People who prevent cops from doing their work must be treated as criminals

Just during one month of July 2015, about 100,000 people arrived from the Middle East and North Africa to Europe. Some people have called it the greatest refugee crisis since the Second World War.

The crisis is not something that influences the lives of most Europeans at this very moment – and I assure TV viewers in America that you can't observe anything on the streets of a generic European city such as Pilsen. But most people understand that this can't become the business-as-usual because at this rate, a century would be enough for the immigrants to become a majority on the Old Continent. The countries would probably cease to function in the old-fashioned, European way much earlier than that.

The immigration wave has many reasons. The recent chaos in the Muslim world – which was partly caused by unwise interventions by some Western countries – has "helped". But the dynamics can't be fully attributed to it. Many people just began to "copy" this new fad. Sometimes, the immigrants seem innocent enough – like the former Tunisian boyfriend of a relative of mine (...) who is already "here" (got married in Italy). I slightly know him and don't believe he will be a burden for Italy but many others certain will – and even innocent people may be a problem if there are too many.

They heard that it's possible, there is some chance, so they're trying. The ships to transport the people are ready and operating. At the end, the main motivation for them to move are economic interests. We may say lots of negative things about the economy and future of Europe but at this moment, it's still an amazingly attractive oasis for billions of people in the world.

Thursday, September 03, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

CMS: a \(2.9\TeV\) electron-positron pair resonance

Bonus: An ATLAS \(\mu\mu j\) event with \(m=2.9\TeV\) will be discussed at the end of this blog post.
A model with exactly this prediction was published in June

Two days ago, I discussed four LHC collisions suggesting a particle of mass \(5.2\TeV\). Today, just two days later, Tommaso Dorigo described a spectacular dielectron event seen by CMS on August 22nd. See also the CERN document server; CERN graduate students have to prepare a PDF file for each of the several quadrillion collisions. ;-)

On that Tuesday, the world stock markets were just recovering from the two previous cataclysmic days while the CMS detector enjoyed a more pleasing day with one of the \(13\TeV\) collisions that have turned the LHC into a rather new kind of a toy.

This is how the outcome of the collision looked from the direction of the beam. The electron and positron were flying almost exactly in the opposite direction, each having about \(1.25\TeV\) of transverse energy. A perfectly balanced picture.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Destruction of Palmyra is worse than several murders

In his text Bel's Temple In Palmyra Is No More, Tommaso Dorigo trivializes the destruction of the Temple of Bel in Palmyra, central Syria, by the Islamic State.

He's "ashamed" that the Western media care about the fate of the temple more than about another daily dose of murders. After all, the Islamic warriors are just "vandals" and what they destroyed were just "few rocks piled on top of one another". We clearly couldn't agree on anything.

GR, QG: horizons, gravitational waves, Hawking radiation etc. are more than beliefs

We haven't visited a black hole – no one will ever return alive from the black hole interior. We haven't directly and/or clearly observed the Hawking radiation, the Unruh radiation, a singularity in general relativity, gravitational waves let alone gravitons, excited strings, additional compactified spatial dimensions, superpartners, quanta of the inflaton field, regions with a different value of the inflaton field, regions with differently compactified extra dimensions than our way, and many other things.

Nevertheless, theoretical physicists generally assume that all those things – or at least most of them – exist. They do so most of the time. They say that they "believe" that those things are needed. Is the word "believe" another proof that their activity has evolved into a religion?

Not at all. The words "I believe X" simply means "my opinion is that X is probably right". Both religious and irreligious people have the right to "believe". The churches have no monopoly over the word. And religious and irreligious people may become convinced about something equally staunchly and feel the same psychological certainty about something. Where the churches differ from the scientists is in the methods to arrive to a "belief".

The methods matter. And because they're so different, science – including modern physics – is something totally different than religion, despite some similarities that may exist as well.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Richard Muller vs basics of general relativity

Does anyone care that a well-known instructor at Berkeley has no clue about modern physics?

Dilaton, Bill, and Rehbock were among those who followed the newer exchanges under the comment by Richard Muller of Berkeley who has essentially stated that modern physics was a religion (link to Quora).

Some of the newer answers that have appeared there convey the old important points and some new ones – including the comments by David Simmons-Duffin of IAS Princeton (I am still proud for having sold him my furniture), Scott Stratton, and of course also Dilaton and Rehbock. The most important point is that it is simply not a scientific attitude to ignore all expectations – probabilistic statements – that have arisen from the scientific research. After all, all insights that science is giving us only tell us that something is more likely or much more likely and something is less likely or much less likely. To dismiss the existing, albeit arguably "not 100% rigorous and loophole-free", arguments that the general postulates of quantum mechanics can't be deformed (and lots of other things that the researchers generally assume) means to place one's own prejudices above the scientific method.

Both CMS and ATLAS see \(5.2\TeV\) dijet (and trijet)

One month ago, I discussed two intriguing dijet events seen by the CMS collaboration at the LHC. They had a pretty high mass. An event from the \(8\TeV\) run in 2012 had the total mass of \(5.15\TeV\) while a fresh event from the \(13\TeV\) run in 2015 had the total mass of \(5.0\TeV\) or so.

Two collisions isn't a terribly high number so these events, even though their energy is really higher than the energy of the "following" high-energy events, may deserve to be ignored even more strictly than the bumps in many other searches.

Perhaps, to make you more excited, you were saying, the competitors at ATLAS would have to see the \(5.2\TeV\) event as well. Moreover, a miracle should better cut the \(0.2\TeV\) gap between the two CMS events. What happened a month later?

Ladies and Gentlemen, the competitors at ATLAS have seen the \(5.2\TeV\) event as well. Moreover, CMS has adjusted their energies and the \(5.0\TeV\) event from the 2015 run is quoted as a \(5.2\TeV\) event as well so the gap is gone! And as a bonus, ATLAS has also seen a \(5.2\TeV\) event in a multijet analysis. Isn't it starting to look intriguing?