Monday, November 30, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

UN climate talks: the ritual

The most powerful climate alarmists among politicians – and you may find such deluded people in almost all countries of the world – have gathered for another meeting in Paris. Josh gave us a wonderful new cartoon:

The Global Warming Policy Foundation has collected lots of quotes from the newspapers that show that it is always the same ritual, indeed. The seven aspects of the ritual could have been seen in Bali 2007, Poznań 2008, Copenhagen 2009, Cancun 2010, Durban 2011, Doha 2012, Warsaw 2013, Lima 2014, and Paris 2015, and mostly at many meetings before 2007, too.

Estonian Li-Fi

Tens of GB per second using light bulbs

Velmenni, an Estonian startup, has tested the visible light-based replacement for Wi-Fi in the real-world conditions of an office and saw that their Li-Fi had a 100 times faster data rate than the best conventional Wi-Fi we are using today.

Li-Fi works much like Wi-Fi but uses the visible light instead of the radio waves. A Li-Fi receiver basically turns an ordinary LED light bulb on and off a few times each nanosecond (BTW do Czech readers know that the right translation of "nanosekunda" to English is a "c*nt on the nose"?).

Sunday, November 29, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

That physics show off Broadway

When I was at Rutgers, I could see the physics show of David Maiullo, the local physics demonstrator, a few times. The experiments took place at the round Physics Lecture Hall (next to the physics department, the "Serin Hall") where the colloquia take place, too. Strangely enough, the photograph linked to in this paragraph was taken even before I came to Rutgers – in the year (1996) in which Rutgers was arguably among the world's top 3 universities doing string theory.

As this trailer above makes clear, his experiments have been reshaped to something like arts and they got to Broadway. Well, almost. The show may be seen on 151 West 46th Street (The Playroom Theater) which is pretty close to Broadway.

Saturday, November 28, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Leptoquarks may arrive: LHC to prove \(E_6\) SUSY GUT?

The most conservative stringy scenario to explain all the anomalies

The LHC has glimpsed numerous small anomalies. Some of them may be easily related to leptoquarks.

For our purposes, we define a leptoquark as a new elementary spinless particle that is capable of decaying to a lepton and a quark. So it is not a bound state of a lepton and a quark, it is a genuinely new elementary particle, but it carries the same quantum numbers as such a bound state would carry. We want the decay to be allowed by statistics (and by all other possible constraints) – so the new particle has to be a boson.

Friday, November 27, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Greene, Weinberg, Strominger, Vafa, González, Mathur debate GR

Reality since Einstein

This week, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the final form of Einstein's equations. In July 2015, the World Science Festival also known as Brian Greene hosted this 100-minute debate of top physicists.

You will do fine if you increase the speed 1.5 times in the video options.

Brian Greene, Andy Strominger, Cumrum Vafa, and Samir Mathur are string theorists and they were accompanied by Steven Weinberg and Gabriela González, the spokeswoman of LIGO. (I didn't know the name and couldn't resist thinking about the variation of the great quote from TBBT: Here in California, I am a janitor. But back home in Louisiana, I am a physicist. Please don't take it too personally.) Brian started with some stories, e.g. his excitement about a lecture by Stephen Hawking whom he didn't know. And a physics book that remembers everything that Brian has eaten over the years.

Greene – using his wife's eyeglasses – asked the guests the most obvious question that physicists are always asked, namely what they would like to be tattooed on their skin.

There would be curved spaces all over González, black holes on Mathur's skin, Einstein's equations on Strominger's back, and geometrized forces on Vafa. It was quite an over-the-edge celebration of the equations. Only Weinberg reintroduced some sanity when he pointed out that GR was no big deal because it's just another effective field theory governing spin-two particles. You have tattooed your bodies with generic junk, ladies and gentlemen.

Thursday, November 26, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Smolin's untrustworthy, misguided advice to Canadian PM Trudeau

One (or a country) must catch up before he (or it) becomes a leader

Justin Trudeau became Canada's new centrist prime minister and Lee Smolin has already prescribed

Ten steps to make Canada a leader in science
to the new prime minister.

In his notorious book attacking modern physics, The Trouble With Physics, Smolin self-confidently categorized himself as a "seer" (a revolutionary physicist). In his text addressed to Trudeau, he reclassified himself as a "rock star physicist". Too bad that he doesn't mention that most physicists at better places consider him a crackpot. Check e.g. this discussion of Santa Barbara physicists with journalist George Johnson. Download the 24 MB MOV file and go to 22:00 to check what the physicists think.

Mr Trudeau, it's obvious that for the investment in science to be great, one has to hire the ingenious, hard-working, right people. So Smolin's recommendation #1 is basically right and trivial. But one must avoid some traps, at least simple traps, and all the other nine advises that Smolin offers:

Don't trust the people because they try to pay lip service to your politics, like Lee Smolin who inserts seemingly unrelated comments about "climate change" to his essay how to fund physics research. Don't trust the people who paint themselves as full-fledged Canadians but who were born in the New York City, like Lee Smolin, and who ended up in Canada because they were not competitive elsewhere.

Don't trust the people who try to elevate their apparent importance by affiliations in the past because they have never achieved anything beyond the affiliations. Don't trust the men, like Smolin, who praise as "physics revolutionaries" pretty much exactly the same female third-class physicists who have "accidentally" had a romantic relationship or marriage with the man. A bright observer or sponsor of sciences should be able to notice such patterns and deduce the most likely explanation and its implications for sensible decisions.

Why not to get more girls into STEM

Shaun Maguire, a Caltech PhD student, wrote one of the hyper-PC texts

How to get more girls into STEM
that simply drive me up the wall. It is marginally understandable when a female feminist – whose broad framework of thinking is in between a clever man and an average ape and who is driven primarily by efforts to increase her own influence – emits this insane ideological junk. But when a man who managed to become a Caltech PhD student and who calls himself an entrepreneur does the same, it's breathtaking.

At the top, Shaun includes a photograph of three young men who sit in a classroom and try to "increase the gender diversity" (a euphemism for the increase of the percentage of females) in STEM fields. Well, the creators of The Big Bang Theory have filmed a scene that is more humorous than the average one but whose overall description of "what happens" during such outreach programs is remarkably accurate:

Almost all the female children are super-bored by the scientifically sounding stuff. They communicate with cell phones all the time. If something makes them alive, it's always the non-scientific insertions about rock stars or the social life that someone happens to add in between. Not even the word "astronaut" sounds intriguing to them in any way. And even aside from their detachment from science, it's very clear that the men who visited the classroom simply don't have and can't have any magic stick that could turn the girls to scientists. Some of their history may look helpful, some of it doesn't. It's always like that. Sheldon summarizes the visit by saying that he didn't know whether girls were actively discouraged from science but the three guys' outreach program surely did so. Efforts to pretend that the reality is something completely different than it is are almost always counterproductive.

The interest of a particular kid in STEM fields is mostly determined by Mother Nature and the part that isn't is mostly cancelling out up to a noise – the social interactions sometimes push a kid closer to and sometimes further away from STEM. Many great male scientists had to fight heavily for their right to do mathematics or physics. Their parents threatened them by disinheriting the kids, and so on. They became top minds, anyway. From this perspective, it looks really shocking what tiny effects are blamed by the feminist ideologues for the women's underrepresentation in STEM.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

100 years of general relativity

LHC is colliding lead ions whose lab energy is \(82\times 6.369\TeV\), a new record!

On Thursday, November 25th, 1915, exactly 100 years ago, Einstein presented the final form of his equations (defining the general theory of relativity) to the Royal Prussian Academy of Sciences in the afternoon.

The building sits at the famous Unter den Linden 8 avenue (the big street that leads to the Brandenburg Gate from the East), see Google Maps, was designed according to the military tastes of Emperor William II, and it was inaugurated just a year earlier, in 1914. These days, the once only building of the Academy is used as one of the three homes of the (Berlin) State (formerly Imperial) Library or "Staatsbibliothek" ("Stabi" as Germans call it).

Einstein had prepared the final form of the equations for that talk and had to work hard, relatively to the standards of this "lazy dog":

One thing is for sure, that I’ve never been so plagued in my life,” wrote Einstein at the time. “Smoking like a chimney, working like a steed, eating without thought, sleeping irregularly.”
So much whining about some work that may be basically reduced to writing \(S=\int R\). ;-)

His wife Elsa remembered that he was absent-minded in the last two weeks or so and sometimes played the piano mindlessly or stared blankly to the space as if he were Witten. Einstein was exhausted and stinking of cigarettes during the talk (strangely, he only allowed to be photographed with tobacco pipes which "contributed to his calm and objective judgment", he stressed; Albert remembered that to beat his doctor, his grandfather smoke cigarette butts from the street) but he gave us his general relativity. The content of papers was more or less ready but they only appeared in 1916.

Institute for Advanced Study has organized an event, GR at 100, and this lecture by the IAS director and my once co-author (and an independent co-father of our matrix string theory) Robbert Dijkgraaf previously gave this October 2015 talk which was the only one whose video I could find two weeks ago.

But now, the IAS YouTube channel offers you 10 videos from the gathering. Search for "GR @ 100" on that page. A talk by Andy Strominger about his very recent findings is there, too.

Does dark matter clump to radial filaments?

Earth's dark matter hair?

Lots of media including The Washington Post, Popular Science, Space Daily, Christian Science Monitor, Russia Today, and Fox News bring us the happy news that Nude Socialist already hyped in August.

The Earth is sprouting hair – radial filaments of dark matter.

This claim is taken from the July 2015 paper by Gary Prézeau, an experimenter at JPL NASA in Pasadena and a member of Planck,

Dense Dark Matter Hairs Spreading Out from Earth, Jupiter and Other Compact Bodies (arXiv)
which has just appeared in the Astrophysical Journal (which produced the new wave of interest). He claims that the ordinary cold dark matter (CDM) is organizing itself in such a way that compact objects including the Earth or other planets develop radial thick enough filaments of dark matter, the hair.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Turkey is a problematic ally of NATO, everyone else

For centuries, the Ottoman Empire was the key power attempting to Islamize Europe. It was the regime that our ancestors had to fight against to protect the "European" values on our continent.

The Austrians, Hungarians, and others had to sacrifice their lives. Meanwhile, the interaction has led to a partial convergence of the Ottoman Empire and the European countries. We (at least in Bosnia, Czechia, and Greece) have learned to drink the Turkish coffee that almost no one drinks in Turkey. At the same moment, Turkey has imported tons of European civilization advances.

It seems obvious to me that the know-how that Turkey has gotten was far more valuable than the know-how that we have obtained from them. So when Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the father of Turks, became the prime minister of Turkey in 1920 and the president in 1923, Turkey could reinvent itself as a modern secular state. The Western drift has stopped at some point and since those times, Turkey has been a country "in between" Europe and the Muslim World.

Point-like QFTs in the bulk can't be a consistent theory of QG

Dixon's research is impressive applied science using deep insights by others, mainly string theorists

Lance Dixon is a prominent particle theorist at SLAC. A few days ago, he gave an interview about quantum gravity.

Q&A: SLAC Theorist Lance Dixon Explains Quantum Gravity
He's been most tightly associated with multiloop calculations in quantum field theory (including some calculations at four loops, for example) and various tricks to climb over the seemingly "insurmountably difficult" technical obstacles that proliferate as you are adding loops to the Feynman diagrams. However, as a Princeton graduate student in the 1980s, he's done important research in string theory as well. Most famously, he is one of the co-fathers of the technique of the "orbifolds".

Also, most of his claims in the interview are just fine. But some of his understanding of the big picture is so totally wrong that you could easily post it at one of the crackpots' forums on the Internet.

Monday, November 23, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Could have a Nigerian teacher proved the Riemann hypothesis?

Not really, LOL, thanks for asking

The Clay Institute has announced its "seven millennium problems", a group of deep mathematical conjectures that had been neither proven nor disproven. To solve any of them means to win $1 million. Famously enough, Grigory Perelman has made the crucial steps in proving the Poincaré conjecture – a statement of the kind that "if something quacks and smells like a three-sphere, it is a three-sphere" – and rejected the bounty.

All six other problems remain unsolved so no money has been paid at all. I am among those who consider the Riemann Hypothesis to be the most profound conjecture among the seven. To say the least, I have spent much more time with efforts to prove it (and yes, I mostly believe it is true) than with the other six combined.

A week ago, all leading British media have brought us wonderful news: a Nigerian teacher named Opeyemi Enoch has solved the problem and will be paid $1 million.

Trump is obviously right on 9/11 Jersey City Muslim celebrations

During the weekend, Donald Trump said something that is considered common sense in my country. However, the hysterical reactions by the U.S. journalists and politicians proves that the discussions about similar fundamental issues have been turned into a big taboo in the "land of the free". Some people would obviously shut Trump's mouth if they could!

Donald Trump said that he remembers that thousands of Muslims in Jersey City, New Jersey were celebrating the 9/11/2001 attacks on that day. Is that true?

On 9/11/2001, your humble correspondent was defending his PhD at 9:30 am. The defense took place in the Busch Campus of Rutgers University, near Piscataway, New Jersey. After that, we went to the top of the Hill Center, the mathematics department at Rutgers, and saw the smoke above the World Trade Center which is 26 miles away (through the air). Those were terrible days for America.

Sunday, November 22, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Pi found in the hydrogen atom

...and in every other hole and round corner of the Universe...

Less than two weeks ago, dozens of media outlets brought us wonderful news. The number \(\pi\approx 3.14159265358979\) has been found in the hydrogen atom. Enthusiastic, magic reports of this kind have appeared at Science Alert, Rochester News Service, Science20, Forbes, Christian Science Monitor, Science Magazine, Space Daily, Physics World, and other places.

Saturday, November 21, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Tracking Muslims: bad but maybe better than alternatives

Those whose privacy is reduced could be compensated

Donald Trump has proposed a database for the citizens who are Muslims, some kind of a tracking system, and perhaps suppression of the mosques. Other candidates have criticized the proposal and Hillary called it shocking.

The "atoms" in Brussels' "Atomium" fail to behave as atoms according to the laws of quantum mechanics. Is this well-known structure among the potential targets?

But you know, in the current situation, Trump's proposal is one of the common-sense ideas that are ready to be at least considered. The actual support for this kind of ideas may be very strong even if people pretend otherwise – in order to look politically correct. Topics like that may very well become the driver that will move Trump to the White House.

Mamma Mia, the musical

Last night, we went to Prague's Congress Center to see the Czech eddition of Mamma Mia! The huge building formerly named "The Culture Palace" was opened in 1981 and the 16th convention of the Czechoslovak Communist Party was the first big event it hosted. (President Husák said the joke about his fall from a skyscraper during the 1986 17th convention.)

I am not some kind of a regular spectator of musicals but I like the genre. Some two decades ago, I went to Jesus Christ Superstar (CZ) which was great as well. Now, Mamma Mia! has in some respects become the most successful musical in the history. But that's partly due to the fact that the more recent, optimized world makes a big success easier even if the substance isn't necessarily better than it was in the older and old pieces.

Friday, November 20, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Find global warming, win $100,000

Mmanu_F has pointed out that Douglas Keenan, a climate skeptic who has done statistical calculations as a trader in New York and London, earned lots of money, and wrote some articles, has declared his own Kaggle-like challenge

Douglas Keenan's Contest 1000
whose winner will receive $100,000 (zero point one million dollars). The winner needs to be the fastest one; and send his entry before November 2016. An entry fee of $10 has to be paid so that non-serious contestants are suppressed.

Thursday, November 19, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Federica Mogherini, a personification of many evils of the EU

Ms Federica Mogherini, a would-be EU minister of foreign affairs, was supposed to arrive to Czechia yesterday or today. The visit was cancelled. For a while, people were led to believe that the reason was a leg injury of Mr Lubomír Zaorálek, our minister of foreign affairs.

But today, all the fog has disappeared and we have learned a more realistic explanation:

Mogherini shuns Prague also for its tying migrants to terror – Czech Public Radio
Her spokesmen etc. were heard as saying that
the atmosphere in the Czech Republic is not favourable for conducting a debate on foreign policy.
Wow. The atmosphere in any country is tautologically equally favorable for conducting a debate on foreign policy. And in free countries such as Czechia, the public is actually participating in this debate and the debate is calm, balanced, and reasonably intense. A more accurate description of the problem is that Ms Mogherini is unable to participate in a meaningful debate on foreign policy issues which is why she would feel out-of-place in the Czech Republic.

Intercontinental Wilson line as a proof of state dependence

Today, the hep-th arXiv offers us several noteworthy papers.

First, six authors including Heckman, Morrison, and Vafa study the little string theories – non-gravitational but non-local theories describing decoupled dynamics on NS5-branes (not to mention other equivalent definitions) – using compactifications of (Vafa's) F-theory in various geometric phases. They conclude that little string theories (at least those with two or more tensor multiplets) may be rather easily obtained from a six-dimensional superconformal field theory. Also, all six-dimensional superconformal field theories may be embedded in a little string theory. Little string theory's existence was pointed out almost 20 years ago and this beast seemed mysterious – and it's remarkable that people are befriending it and demystifying it in this way.

The remaining two preprints I will mention are dedicated to the black hole interior in quantum gravity.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

First-quantized formulation of string theory is healthy

...and enough to see strings' superiority...

As Kirill reminded us, two weeks ago, a notorious website attracting unpleasant and uintelligent people who just never want to learn string theory published an incoherent rant supplemented by misguided comments assaulting Witten's essay

What every physicist should know about string theory
in Physics Today. Witten presented the approach to string theory that is common in the contemporary textbooks on the subject, the first-quantized approach, and showed why strings eliminate the short-distance (ultraviolet) problems, automatically lead to the gravity in spacetime, and other virtues.

Witten's office as seen under the influence of drugs

This introduction is simple enough and I certainly agree that every physicist should know at least these basic things about string theory but at the end, I think that it isn't the case, anyway. Here I want to clarify certain misunderstandings about the basics of string theory as sketched by Witten; and their relationships, similarities, and differences from quantum mechanics of point-like particles and quantum field theory.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

FQ Hall effect: has Vafa superseded Laughlin?

A stringy description of a flagship condensed matter effect could be superior

Harvard's top string theorist Cumrun Vafa has proposed a new treatment of the fractional quantum Hall effect that is – if correct – more stringy and therefore potentially more unifying and meaningful than the descriptions used by condensed matter physicists, including the famous Laughlin wave function:

Fractional Quantum Hall Effect and M-Theory (cond-mat.mes-hall, arXiv)
Laughlin's theoretical contributions to the understanding of this effect are admired by string theorists and physicists who like "simply clever" ideas. But the classification of the effects and possibilities seemed to be a bit contrived and people could have thought that a more conceptual description requiring fewer parameters could exist.

Monday, November 16, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Juncker et al. apparently want to exterminate the European nations

Some people have actively or passively supported the European open-door policy towards the migrants from Syria and the rest of the Middle East because of their naivite. They were not necessarily evil or stupid people; they just thought that millions of people may be happier and it costs "almost nothing".

The Friday 13th attacks – which have killed at least 132 people plus 7 animals so far – have changed these people's understanding of the issue. Slovak PM Fico said:

We have been saying that there are enormous security risks linked to migration. Hopefully, some people will open their eyes now.
I totally agree with that – and I am already seeing this effect in my conversations. Many people who have been ambiguous about the immigration policies have realized that our warnings weren't just some demagogic fearmongering. There are enormous risks to the security and the economy associated with the mass immigration.

Friday, November 13, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

New Paris attacks: a huge warning

My condolences go to the families and friends of the victims of the new, coordinated terror attacks in Paris. Things are getting worse; what happened tonight is more bloody and more widespread than the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January.

Shalom (CZ), original version by Olympic (CZ): Bon Soir, Mademoiselle Paris. The frustrated mood and lyrics (Love is your fate, God bless you...) sound totally appropriate for this sad weekend.

After 9 pm, terror erupted at least at seven places (I will mention only the well-known four); the total number of terrorists is said to be at least 8 (which may or may not include at least 3 suicide bombers) and the number of casualties is probably over 120 at this point, mostly in a theater. Once the attackers were killed, three of them carried 2 Syrian and 1 Egyptian passports, respectively. At least two attackers were "refugees" registered in Greece (in February and October, respectively). At least several attackers were teenagers; at least one was female.

Shooting at the "Little Cambodia" restaurant; at least 11 casualties there. Death metal concert at the Bataclan theater attended by a thousand of music fans; 100+ hostages taken and at least 100 (originally 35) killed (they were being slaughtered one-by-one and some of them are posting pictures on social networks; the earlier number "35" didn't include possible victims of 5 explosions over there after the midnight). Explosions near "Stade de France" where Hollande (identified as a primary target of the attack) was just watching a friendly soccer match against Germany; 10 people either injured or killed. (France won 2-to-0; Czechia defeated Serbia 4-to-1 tonight.) There was a shooting and bombing at the "Les Halles" mall, too; casualties are unknown.

A BBC documentary on quantum mechanics

It starts OK but ends with almost all the pop-science delusions against quantum mechanics that you know

First, let me mention that I have embedded a YouTube video to the blog post about Coleman's lecture Quantum mechanics in your face.

Are you capable of watching the nominally 56-minute-long video at the speed 1.5 times normal as I did? ;-)

I have just watched the first of the two episodes of the 2014 BBC Four documentary The Secrets of Quantum Physics. This first episode is called "Einstein's Nightmare" (the YouTube video gives the wrong names and wrong dates, maybe to avoid the erasure). There is also a second episode, "Let There Be Life" which I haven't watched yet.

ATLAS dijet events: mass up to \(8.8\TeV\)

The 2015 proton run at the LHC is over.

(Some \(5\TeV\) playground proton collisions are gonna be made soon which will train the collider for the new lead-lead collisions in December.)

At the center-of-mass energy of \(13\TeV\), ATLAS has performed 4.32 inverse femtobarns of collisions out of which 4.00 inverse femtobarns were recorded. (Maybe the number is round by accident, maybe the two zeroes are a bump suggesting some intelligent design.) CMS has collided 4.11/fb of proton-proton pairs. My estimate is that 3.8/fb of that was recorded but it's plausible that up to 1/2 of these CMS collisions occurred without the CMS magnet which would make this 1/2 of the data much less valuable in most channels.

The outcome of 2015 could have been better for the LHC engineers but it could have been worse, too.

The 2012 \(8\TeV\) run has recorded and evaluated (not in all channels so far) 20/fb of data (at ATLAS plus the same for CMS). So the integrated luminosity in 2015 was 5 times lower than in 2012. However, at the higher collision energy, some of the interesting new phenomena become much more visible.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

There are many more flux vacua in string theory than you were told

From \(10^{500}\) to \(10^{272,000}\)

Around 2003, lots of string theorists were maximally excited about the multiverse and the anthropic principle. There were lots of vacua, a tiny portion of them has a small enough cosmological constant which is needed for life to exist, and we just happen to live in one of them.

The estimate \(10^{500}\) semirealistic vacua – googol to the fifth power – became a part of the popular culture. The number has turned into the most popular rallying cry for the anti-science crackpots who loved to repeat (and some of the most retarded ones still love to repeat) their absolutely fallacious critiques of string theory.

The exponent, five hundred, was approximately derived from the magnitude of the Betti or Hodge numbers in some manifolds that may be employed as the shapes of extra dimensions in string theory. Somewhat more precisely, the exponent is comparable to the maximum third Betti number \(B_3\) of some six-dimensional manifolds – roughly speaking, the number of topologically distinct independent 3-dimensional submanifolds or "3D holes" inside the manifold.

Note that \(500\) is greater than \(123\) so that assuming some quasi-random distribution, there are most likely many vacua whose cosmological constant is comparable to the observed \(10^{-123}\) Planck densities or even smaller.

On the other hand, \(500\) is not "qualitatively" larger than \(123\). If Nature has picked one of the \(10^{500}\) vacua, it is not yet a "miracle" comparable to a spontaneous emergence of Adam and Even out of a soup of amino acids (without evolution), if you allow me to pick a particular kind of a miracle that should be believed to be false by scientists. The miraculously low probability is just \(\exp(-10^{26})\) for \(10^{26}\) molecules to spontaneously combine into an Adam. And the landscape exponent \(500\) is much lower than the exponent needed for miracles such as \(10^{26}\).

However, a new beautiful paper today claims to change the numbers dramatically and moves the landscape exponent closer to the Adam territory.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Thermal scans: Great Pyramid may be a silo, after all

I have wanted to write about 35 different lighter scientific and political topics but at the end, I decided that silence is sometimes superior. But I can't resist to share my amusement about the development of a story about the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Every day, I am getting some semi-spam e-mail from Ben Carson's presidential campaign. I think that this former successful neurosurgeon is probably a good guy in some sense – like many people who have placed Christianity at the top of their lives. He's culturally much more black than Barack Obama is; despite the inconclusive skin color, the latter is just another left-wing symbol or a light intellectual, after all. And unlike Obama, Carson has been good at something highly nontrivial.

Carson (who was ahead of Trump in the GOP polls for a while) is different. I probably share many of his attitudes to politics and morality but it's obvious that he's a guy from a completely different world – although it is a world I am much more familiar with than what you might think, mostly because of a major ex-GF from the undergraduate years. Days ago, people had fun with his 1998 commencement speech.

Monday, November 09, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Breakthrough Prizes apparently degenerating into another Hollywood-style piece of junk

When Yuri Milner gave $27 million to nine physicists more than three years ago, I was absolutely impressed. An award for the scientists who are actually appreciated by the most well-informed insiders was apparently born.

Be sure that it's not just because I knew most of the winners very well. The choice just seemed even more enlightened than the choices made while distributing the Nobel prizes in physics which I still consider unusually good. My excitement about the new template continued when some new winners were added, and so on.

Saturday, November 07, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

15 Czech L-159 aircraft will fight IS in Iraq soon

The transaction was delayed by some two years – some sources indicated that attempted corruption was the reason of the delay – but it's done. It's very obvious that combat aircraft are much more needed in Iraq etc. than they are needed in Central Europe now – so the deal had to occur, after all.

Khaled al-Obaidi, the Iraqi defense minister and Bibi Netanyahu's twin brother :-), has tried the machine.

Fifteen redundant Aero L-159 ALCA (or now al-Ca?) combat aircrafts have been sold to Iraq, for something like $30 million. See an Iraqi TV, NRTTV, lots of YouTube videos on the model.

Friday, November 06, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Excess at \(2\TeV\) may be due to sleptons, staus

One of the most eye-catching bumps glimpsed by the LHC is the ATLAS' apparently new \(W_R^\pm\)-boson whose mass is about \(2\TeV\) and that seems to decay to \(WW\), \(WZ\), or \(ZZ\): excesses are seen in all these three final states. Moreover, the CMS also sees an excess in a different channel that could result from the same \(2\TeV\) particle.

We've discussed the explanations in terms of new bosons coupled to right-handed fermions (see also the 2-3-5 text) or new intrinsically stringy bosons. There exist papers involving the Higgs compositeness, too. But the most supersymmetric explanation so far has been presented by Ben Allanach and 2 co-authors on the arXiv today: an R-parity-violating di-stau excess.

Tau is the heaviest sibling of the electron and the muon, a charged lepton. Central European approximately 40-year-old kids such as your humble correspondent know Mr Tau, a weirdly elegant magic man with a hat. The music from the Czechoslovak-West-German co-production Tau-related movies was consolidated above. It's been composed by Mr Jaromír Vomáčka and played by Mr Jiří Malásek whenever the piano may be heard.

The superpartner of tau, the scalar tau or stau, may be seen along with tau at 3:05. Both of them are able to shrink and completely disappear, too. They appear in both sizes, with the correct tau-stau mass ratio, around 10:32. You may compare the Lesser Town Square at 11:01 with the current appearance. The guy at 11:10 was a villain. Not only the actor, Mr Miloš Kopecký, has slept with 365 women but he drove Ford, violated the traffic regulations, and spoke English. ;-)

The incredibly indefensible prosecution of Exxon

America is the land of the unlimited possibilities. Sadly, it's often the case when it comes to unbelievably outrageous events, too.

The New York State's prosecutor Eric Schneiderman has actually started the investigation of Exxon. The company is accused of "having lied about the effects of carbon dioxide on climate change for 40 years".

What is going on here?

Wednesday, November 04, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Abhay Ashtekar and uniqueness of string theory

Related to GR: lots of folks I know including Nima, Brian, Robbert, Juan etc. organize a 100th birthday party of General Relativity at Princeton from today to Friday. Hat tip: Willie Soon

Originally, I didn't want to run a story on the interview with Ashtekar

‘Good Scientists Solve Problems, but Great Scientists Know What’s Worth Solving’
in India's "The Wire" but I changed my mind when another blog mentioned it. So let's talk about it, especially about Ashtekar's views on string theory.

First, I must say that I've been sort of brought up to appreciate Ashtekar's name when I was an undergraduate at the Charles University in Prague (or at least, they have tried hard). There were no strings in Prague, of course. But there was some community of quantum field theorists; and a decoupled group of general relativists. The guru of the latter was and still is Prof Jiří Bičák [George Whipper, if you like to translate names], a top Czech relativistic astrophysicist. Already during communism, he had lots of contacts in the West. As far as I know, be behaved in a decent enough way during communism as well. He became my GR instructor later. A charismatic man.

By the end of my first year in Prague, however, I have read tons of original articles on string theory and my certainty that it was the only right approach to quantum gravity was very high. By that time, I have also been exposed to loop quantum gravity a little bit and I was sure that it was on a completely wrong track. Nevertheless, Prof Bičák made it clear that he wasn't a string enthusiast and sometimes praised the "Ashtekar program" and I never found it appropriate to publicly protest against that. ;-)

Europe shocked by Swedish prime minister's arrogance

Sweden's social democratic prime minister opened his working-class mouth in the Financial Times yesterday

Stefan Löfven rebukes eastern Europe over refugee crisis
and it wasn't pretty. Central and Eastern Europe's attitude to the migrant wave was "egotist" and "incompatible with humane European values", we heard. He insisted that other European countries were obliged to sink into the same mess that the irresponsible politicians have imposed on Sweden.

Bathing in a dress is a new habit that's been witnessed in Czechia, too, despite the fact that the rules of hygiene in some places of our countries ban even bathing in the Bermuda swimwear.

With a one-day delay, the gospel penetrated to the Central and Eastern European media and the reaction is rather unequivocal. I translate the most upvoted comments under the article on Czechia's leading center-right news server. Here is the URL of the discussion. You may switch from the "best" to the "newest" sorting of the comments, too.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Locality correct, realism incorrect: why

Tetragraviton dedicated his Halloween issue to the spooky action at a distance:

What’s so Spooky about Action at a Distance?
At the end, he admitted that the action at a distance – i.e. nonlocality – is "spookier" than the loss of realism. But I feel that there's still way too much ambiguity even in articles such as his. The main reason why locality is right and realism is not is the following:
We have a damn near-complete theory compatible with all the experimental tests that implies that locality and the Lorentz symmetry are right while the classical realism is not right.
And we don't have a similarly successful theory whose assumptions would be the opposite ones, i.e. locality is wrong and realism is right. If you care about science and the empirical evidence behind it, this fact should matter. Many people are ambiguous on whether locality or realism are right because of Bell's theorem:
Bell has showed that locality+realism imply inequalities that are violated in experiments (and that disagree with the predictions of quantum mechanics).

It follows that either realism is wrong; or locality is wrong.
These comments are correct but the people "deduce" that it's about equally likely that locality is violated; or realism is violated. And most writers of the popular books even pick "locality" as the principle that has to be sacrificed.

Monday, November 02, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Philippe Verdier sacked: France back to the Middle Ages

Philippe Verdier, a popular TV weatherman on the state-owned channel "France 2", was always a climate skeptic of a sort. But he was truly energized to write a book after the French foreign (!?) minister Fabius organized a meeting with the TV weathermen and shamelessly urged them to spread the climate hysteria on TV screens.

One month ago, he relased his book Climat Investigation about the politicization of the climate science, distortion of the data by the IPCC, and similar things. I haven't read the book but I want to believe that it's similar to other climate skeptics' books that I have read.

In this dramatic video, Verdier opened the letter and announced that he was sacked. What's really shocking is that he was basically dismissed by the government. Is that how Mr Hollande and his comrades interpret "liberté, égalité, fraternité" these days?