Saturday, December 31, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

The ER-EPR correspondence does deserve the time of Hollywood actresses

After a one-year-old 12-minute video about Stephen Hawking, Paul Rudd, and quantum chess that got over 2 million views, Caltech has released another 11-minute video

Quantum is calling
where actress Zoe Saldana along with Stephen Hawking promote Juan Maldacena's ER-EPR correspondence whose title page was kindly signed by Lenny Susskind, too. ;-) These short films also feature Keanu Reeves, Simon Pegg, and John Cho. I admit that I haven't watched either film in the entirety yet – I plan to fix the bug soon. Well, I still faithfully watch every second of The Big Bang Theory where similar stuff appears but that stuff is a part of a story I care about. I am not sufficiently motivated to watch similar film segments in isolation.

Tetragraviton claims that the ER-EPR correspondence does not deserve this kind of the "star-studded" Hollywood "treatment". Well, he is just wrong.

Friday, December 30, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Gauge symmetry: its virtues and vices don't contradict each other

Three physicists affiliated with Princeton (now or recently) published an interesting preprint,

Locality and Unitarity from Singularities and Gauge Invariance
I know Nima from Harvard very well, he's brilliant and fun. Jaroslav Trnka is a big mind and my countrymate. Although I am a French writer (a month ago, I had to memorize sentences like "Je suis un écrivain français" for my sister's BF, one of the 21 cops who shot the terrorist in Nice), I only know that both Laurentia and Rodinia were supercontinents about 1 billion years ago.

Laurentiu Rodina is a particularly interesting hybrid name of an author especially because the supercontinent Laurentia (basically Eastern 2/3 of North America now) was a portion of the supercontinent Rodinia. Laurentia was named after the St Lawrence River which was named after Lawrence of Rome. Rodinia is named after Rodina – a Slavic word meaning "the motherland" in Russian but "the family" in Czech. Yes, this "subtle difference" appears on the Czech-Russian edition of the false friends of a Slavist.

At any rate, the Rodinia was a motherland or a family of smaller supercontinents that included Laurentia. (Rodinia was a more ancient counterpart of Pangaea – a clumping of all continents into one – except that Pangaea existed between 300 and 200 million years ago, much more recently.) There's some redundancy in Laurentiu Rodina's name – and this redundancy and the subtleties linked to it may be similar to those of the gauge symmetry.

OK, after this silly geological introduction, we are finally getting to theoretical physics.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

John Kerry's bizarre anti-Israel rant

I hope that you have enjoyed the holinights or other holidays. If you feel somewhat socially exhausted, you are not the only one. There have also been lots of events that had to be cut and won't be discussed by us, the TRF community. But there's a random event that might be.

An hour ago, I received an e-mail alert and watched John Kerry's speech about Israel and Palestine. He tried to provide the audiences with a boringly longish, 72-minute-long sequence of repetitive excuses for the Obama administration's betrayal of Israel in a U.N. vote. A hopefully symbolic resolution drafted by an Arab state criticized the Jewish settlements. It was the kind of a resolution that the U.S. would veto at every moment in the past. But because the likes of Obama and Kerry are still in charge and their anti-Israel sentiments are culminating during the last month of their tenure, the U.S. abstained and the resolution passed.

At Fox News, Anne Bayefsky has argued that the Palestinians have hijacked all limbs of the U.N. and Obama+pals are encouraging that process. Thanks, Bill, for the URL. It's being said by the Israeli officials that while Obama and Kerry formally abstained, they're the true masterminds of the U.N. slap into Israel's face.

Israel has already stopped funding of the U.N. bodies. Donald Trump has already criticized Kerry's moves and promised Israel a radical U-turn back to friendship from January 2017. As far as ambitious and unlikely projects go, Trump may even dissolve the U.N. (withdraw the U.S. out of the U.N., kick the U.N. out of New York, and make the U.N. basically irrelevant).

Sunday, December 25, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Tragic death of the Alexandrov choir is a big loss for Russian culture

Way too many well-known people died in recent days. Physicist Sidney Drell and modern dark matter pioneer Vera Rubin. Fermilab co-father Edwin Goldwasser. George Michael. Carrie Fisher, Leia of Star Wars. Claude Jensac, Louis de Funes' movie "wife" from Saint Tropez. Astronauts John Glenn and Piers Sellers. Russian drinkers of methanol-based bath lotion (cause of death: high ethanol taxation). Czech actress Luba Skořepová was another.

Vesna Vulović, a Serbian flight attendant, died on the same day, December 23rd. She's been a remarkable entry in the Guinness book of records. In 1972, a Yugoslav aircraft exploded 10 kilometers above a Czechoslovak village miles from East Germany – village that is paradoxically called Sorbian Chemnitz [Stoneville] (Sorbs were the "other", now mostly assimilated, Slavs who have lived in East Germany – in the Czech language, we use the word "Srb" for both Sorbs and Serbs). The bomb was planted by the Croatian Ustasche fascist movement – that for some reason failed to evaporate in 1945. Imagine that. An explosion followed by a fall from 10 kilometers. Vesna Vulović survived it because of her fortunate location within the aircraft. She wasn't even shocked and didn't develop any phobia from flying. 46 long years of life were ahead of her.



By far the greatest catastrophe was the demise of a military Tupolev-154 aircraft near Sochi today. The passengers and crew weren't as lucky as Vesna Vulović and all 92 people – who were going to Syria – were killed soon after the takeoff. 64 of them were members of the Alexandrov choir. In Czech, we call them "Alexandrovci" or the "Alexandrov Ensemble of Songs and Dances". Except for 3 soloists, all the members of that music group are gone.

The ensemble was formed sometime in 1928 and as the music wing of the Red Army, it energized the Soviet warriors during the Second World War. Aside from Katyusha above, you should listen to their version of Kalinka, the other war-like motivating Soviet song. The white-dressed soloists nicknamed Mr Kalinka, Mr Vadim Ananev, survived because a son was just born to his wife. Let me remind you that the weapon was named Katyusha after the song that is all about the love between a man and a woman, not the other way around.

Friday, December 23, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Sidney Drell: 1926-2016

Stanford News and The New York Times brought us sad news yesterday. Sidney Drell died at home in Palo Alto (the town around Stanford) on Wednesday, December 21st, at age of 90.3.

The information was confirmed by his daughter Persis Drell, also a particle physicist and recently the director of SLAC (Sidney Drell has only been a deputy director of SLAC in his life). One more daughter and one son survived him, along with three grandkids.



I am old enough to remember his name primarily for the Bjorken-Drell textbook of quantum field theory. They wrote Relativistic Quantum Mechanics and Relativistic Quantum Fields. The QFT textbook played the same role that was probably played by Peskin-Schroeder in the following decades. Its influence was huge. Among other things, the mostly minus convention for the metric has also been known as the Bjorken-Drell convention. That's a way to say that they basically defined the mainstream in particle physics.

Note that the first edition of Peskin-Schroeder appeared in October 1995, more than five years after I started to study QFT, so it's clear that I had to be led to an older text like Bjorken-Drell.

I remember that I was intrigued by the idea that the Bjorken-Drell textbook really explained everything I needed to fully describe both wave-like and particle-like properties of the electromagnetic field. But it took me some time to see through all the equations that looked complicated – to figure out that the quantum field with the "same" Hamiltonian that we know as the total energy of the field in classical electrodynamics is rewritten as a higher-dimensional harmonic oscillator which may be quantized into photons. This point is really so simple and the book made it look so hard (when I was about 16) so I tend to think that books have gotten more pedagogically edible.

Although it was my first QFT textbook I studied, I switched to other books, like Ramond's, rather early so I don't even remember whether Bjorken-Drell included a systematic treatment of the Feynman diagrams (my guess would be No). But I am sure that the strong and weak interactions are covered in a way that is hopelessly outdated today.

What Germany allowed Anis Amri is stunning

Now, at 10:36 am, I learned that the attacker was finally shot dead at 3 am in Sesto San Giovanni in Greater Milan, Italy (840 km away from Berlin), after a shootout and an obligatory "Allah Akbar". After he was asked to show his documents, he replied with the Islamic expletive, so the Italian cops reasonably concluded that it was a wrong answer and shot him dead before he seriously injured one cop (shoulder). A photo, a slide show, Street View (all such things are from my research).

Anis Amri who was born in Tataouine (now a Daesh stronghold in the desert), Tunisia, on December 22nd, 1992, has been proven to be the perpetrator of the attacks (by fingerprints and other methods). It really seems that Angela Merkel and her folks sent a birthday pie to him yesterday, on behalf of all the grateful German people.



Naďa Čižmár [Nadya Chizhmahr], the Czech victim, was using the nickname Sedmikráska (Daisy, literally "Seven-beauty"), on Pinterest

The 2016 Berlin attack wasn't the bloodiest one among the recent Islamist terrorist attacks in Europe. But I think it's fair to say that it has been the closest one to the post-socialist Europe. Among the 12 victims, we find 7 Germans, one Polish driver, one Israeli, one Italian, one Ukrainian, and yes, a Czech woman, Naďa Čižmár who has worked for supply chain logistical "4flow Management GmbH" company in Germany for 2 years. Well, she's the third Czech victim of Islamic terror – tourist Mr Petr Kořán was killed in Egypt in 2005 and Mr Ivo Žďárek, the Czech ambassador to Pakistan, died in 2008. She's the first Czech victim killed on the European territory.

She's been missing since the attack and her husband (and their 5-year-old son) had to wait for 3 days to get the devastating news.

Čižmár is a Czech transliteration of a Hungarian surname (Csizmár or Csizsmár) – but that may mean as little as that 1/32 of her husband Petr Čižmár's DNA is Hungarian from a patrilineal ancestor a century ago – and she may have used the original, masculine form of the surname. But because the tally is Čižmár 106100 Čižmárová, most Czech women with this name bend it just like any other Czech name. The first name Naďa is a widespread Czech – and more generally Slavic – first name.

My condolences to her relatives. By the way, they wanted her identity to be released which I find sensible.

But let's return to the Tunisian man.

Thursday, December 22, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Santa Barbara dorms for KITP visitors to open in early 2017

Two years ago, I wrote about a gift by Charles Munger (who is 92), who must be used to be referred to as the #2 in Warren Buffett's company, to the University of California in Santa Barbara (UCSB).



A picture from September 2016 already looked nearly finished.

Today, The Santa Barbara Independent reminded us that the project is almost complete. I think that the money wasn't wasted, like Warren Buffett's gifts to Hillary. Note that Munger's $65 million was enough for the whole project. A seemingly wealthier Bill Gates only paid a part for the "William Gates Computer Science" building at Stanford – and he sent the rest of the money to an African jungle.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Consistent histories aren't inconsistent

The prohibited inconsistency of histories in the formalism is synonymous with Bohr's complementarity

The de Broglie-Bohm pilot wave theory and the many worlds interpretation are the two most widespread "alternative axiomatic systems" that are claimed to compete with the proper, Copenhagen or neo-Copenhagen, quantum mechanics. The Ghirardi-Rimini-Weber "objective spontaneous random collapse" theories are a distant third and other "frameworks" meant to replace the postulates of quantum mechanics are pretty much incoherent even at the level of the grammar.

Both the pilot wave theory and the many worlds are irrational and both of them ultimately contradict important and well-established facts about the physical world. Both of them are motivated by the champions' attachment to "realism" – a euphemism for the observer-independent i.e. classical physics. If I had to choose, I would choose the Bohmists as the much worse physicists among the two. They're in a much deeper denial of modern physics.

You know, one may divide those confused (and/or bigoted) people's efforts to deviate from quantum mechanics as formulated in Copenhagen into two levels:

  1. Dissatisfaction with the philosophical conceptual "words" that Heisenberg, Bohr, Pauli, Dirac, Wigner, von Neumann, and others have been teaching us
  2. Disagreement with some universal properties of the mathematical formalism of quantum mechanics
Both Bohmists and many-worldists suffer from (1). But only the Bohmists commit the sin number (2). In practice, most many-worldists prefer to say that the mathematical foundations of quantum mechanics are right and here to stay. They "just" believe that it may be and should be supplemented with some "more realist" set of words and more visualized "ways to imagine" what's going on.

U.S. embassy sings a Czech carol

Ivana Trump, the first wife who gave the name to the Donald, expressed her desire to become a new U.S. ambassador to Prague, a plan that is enthusiastically supported by the Czech president. But there's a problem. There also exists the old ambassador, Obama's former classmate Andrew Schapiro. And maybe he likes the job.



It took me some time to see that the name of the video is "Veselé Vánoce, Happy Holidays". Needless to say, the translation of "Veselé Vánoce" to English is "Merry Christmas", not "Happy Holidays"... Thank God, there's been no war on "Merry Christmas" in Czechia. People from different cultures have to get used to it. After all, even Czechs – whose clear majority is basically irreligious – are showing their tolerance for the religious other people's traditions by using the term and the habits.

So he's doing lots of things. In the Summer, he tandem parachuted with a professional skydiver, at the same airport where I did it years ago, too (but I needed to record a lecture about the black hole infalling observer during the fall; the camcorder battery froze and stopped the recording as we were crossing the event horizon, as required by causality). His employees had to wear short trousers to resemble Václav Havel – which may reflect his belief that it's something that the Czechs still care about.

And today, they released the Christmas carol above. For amateurs who don't normally speak the language, it's pretty good. Better than Chuck Norris at killing of the Czech christmas carp (more).

Monday, December 19, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Too many political events for a pre-Christmas Monday

Many of us spend hours by buying some additional gifts but the political events do not stop because of that.

First of all, the Russian ambassador to Turkey was shot dead in Ankara, a second before he was expected to begin to speak at an art exhibition, "Russian Through Turkish Eyes". The video of the murder of Andrey Karlov (the scenery just like the Mafia I game's grand finale), a career diplomat who has survived a job in North Korea, is rather dramatic. The assassin is a fanatical terrorist savage enjoying the religion of peace and yelling things like "Allahu Akbar" and "it is a revenge for [Russia's help to Assad in] Aleppo" (in Turkish, not Arabic). He was gunned down. Some EU folks are close to giving similar men the visa-free travel to Europe; I am somewhat closer to the eradicate-them team.

What I find amazing is how much space this guy has had – and how closely he resembled a professional bodyguard. He could give a long speech. Weren't there any real bodyguards over there? Also, the recording of the video apparently continued without any interruption for quite some time, too. It looks so puzzling.

Russia has called the assassination an act of terror and it's generally expected that it will have some consequences. Note that the countries have basically recovered from the Russian jet that was shot by Turkey. But another attack – and against a diplomat? I hope that if Russia invades Turkey, it will be kind to liberate the two Czech anti-ISIS warriors. I surely hope that some people in NATO don't expect e.g. us, Czechia, to help Turkey – formally a NATO member – when it's deservedly attacked or invaded.

Sunday, December 18, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Czech L-159 jets destroy Daesh info center, arms depots

Production of ALCAs was resumed

A year ago, I wrote that 15 L-159 ALCA jets that were previously labeled "redundant" by the Czech Air Force were sold to the Iraqi Air Force. L-159 is a cute successor of L-59 (and therefore an older L-39 Albatros) – a training and combat aircraft.



According to Wikipedia, the price should be around $10 million a piece but Iraq got it for $2 million. Well, that's very cheap, I think – we sort of subsidized the fight against Daesh, I think. (We're planning to donate them some extra ammunition, too.) It seems that the officials of the Iraqi Air Force love it – the most beloved things are sometimes gotten cheaply and easily. It seems that when they buy another package – the production of L-159 got resumed in Aero Vodochody (with a Honeywell engine) – it will be for $10 million or more, not $2 million.

For decades, these toys – which are also able to seriously fight – were slow sellers of a sort. And the users of them were largely "learning to fly". Well, it has changed in recent months.

Saturday, December 17, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Study: Hollywood-like dramatic style, not science content, brings citations to climate change papers

One of the recent Phys.Org titles that I couldn't overlook yesterday was

What makes influential science? Telling a good story
Assuming a common (non-scientific) definition of a story (and this is the definition they mean, as we will see later), this headline basically says that influential research papers should try to emulate the style of the demagogic pop-science writers who work to impress the stupidest readers in the population. Well, if that would be the case in a scientific discipline, the scientific discipline would surely be absolutely rotten – it would cease to be a genuine scientific discipline. It would be a pop-science superstition masquerading itself as science.

So I was curious what was hiding behind the headline – which discipline demanded researchers to resemble pop-science writers and why. Well, it wasn't so hard to find the answer. The headline wasn't supposed to apply to all of science, even though Phys.Org tried to create this impression. Instead, the Phys.Org article was promoting a PLOS ONE study whose title says
Narrative Style Influences Citation Frequency in Climate Change Science (full PDF).
So it's not really "science" that the Phys.Org article should have talked about. Instead, it is climate science. A big difference!

Severe inaccuracies in media stories about Verlinde's speculations

Last month, Erik Verlinde released another speculative paper that he intended to sell as a breakthrough to the media. It's his version of what I coined as the holographic MOND paradigm. Dark matter doesn't really exist.

Instead, the effects attributed to it result from some modification of the usual laws of gravity that is guaranteed by "fundamental physics" in combination with dark energy (or cosmological constant). One consequence is that the parameters controlling the observations displaying "dark matter" and those displaying "dark energy" aren't independent. Verlinde uses different details in the justification but they're as speculative as holographic MOND and have similar observational consequences as other MOND papers.

The Dutch media have persuaded themselves that it's the greatest event in science since the Big Bang. The journalistic class of the Netherlands – and other countries – is an echo chamber where some amazing group think is nurtured. I've been asked for interviews by 4 Dutch science journalists and rejected those offers for various reasons. The hype in the English-speaking media is much weaker than the hype in the Netherlands but it's still excessive.

Friday, December 16, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Grand unification remains unproven, hot, likely, and persuasive

Quanta Magazine's Natalie Wolchover wrote a status report about grand unification,

Grand Unification Dream Kept at Bay

Physicists have failed to find disintegrating protons, throwing into limbo the beloved theory that the forces of nature were unified at the beginning of time
whose subtitle – which includes words such as "failed" and "limbo" – is much more negative than the available evidence suggests. No smoking gun – such as the proton decay – that would "almost" prove grand unification has been found. But no good reason to stop loving grand unification has been found, either, and that's why lots of particle physicists keep on thinking about grand unified theories.

Thursday, December 15, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

I approve the message of Aaronson's QM comic

Scott Aaronson is a nutcase when it comes to politically loaded issues. He wanted (and begged a psychiatrist) to chemically castrate himself because he was persuaded that males without castration are weapons of mass destruction (Lily Rebecca Aaronson, you've been very lucky).

After Trump won, he joined a jihadist resistance movement – and his political state of the mind resembles that of Keith Olberman who is giving speeches like Hitler after a meltdown from the frequently recycled and parodied film.



But I think that among the real-world people who are being marketed as experts on foundations of quantum mechanics, he belongs to the 20% sanest folks. (The figure 20% and other positive statements about Aaronson here are meant to be neither excessive compliments nor "damning with faint praise", as TRF+Aaronson reader Zach Cox suggests, but as accurate appraisals as I can find.) This opinion of mine was just strengthened by

Scott Aaronson's and Zach Weinersmith's comic "The Talk" (huge PNG)
at SMBC-comics.com, announced at Aaronson's blog. In the comic, a mother – a smart lady who is no longer a MILF, sadly – is terrified when she discovers that her son is reading some pop-science nonsense about quantum mechanics.

Arguments over DOE funding for HEP theorists

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is one of the agencies that provide American particle physicists with the research money – to cover salaries, postdocs, students, workshops, secretaries etc. Why are theoretical physicists – pure scientists – funded by a ministry whose name sounds so practical?

Well, it goes back to the war and post-war era when physicists like that (including "truly theoretical" ones) have created the first nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants etc. The political establishment – including the Department of Defense and Department of Energy, respectively – concluded that it could be a rather good idea for a nation to pay theoretical physicists – some very practical things may come out of it. Whether this assumption is still true may be debated.

If you want me to be more historically accurate, the Manhattan Project was actually masterminded not by the Department of Defense but by a predecessor of the Department of Energy. This predecessor was established in 1942 and Jimmy Carter reshaped it to the Department of Energy in 1977.

Days ago, I was shown a letter

Letter Re. U.S. high energy theory support
where over 100+ signatories say that fundamental physics is important and attractive for masses and recommend Prof Andrew Lankford of DOE to stop the cataclysmic trend of recent years. Since 2011, the letter sketches, the total DOE funding for theorists may have dropped some 30% and 25% of the people previously funded have lost that DOE support. If you have had the feeling that the number of interesting hep-th or hep-ph preprints per day has decreased in a recent decade or so, it may be true and it may ultimately have some very material causes.

I actually know most of the signatories in person – they include my PhD adviser, the later de facto boss, lots of colleagues from several institutions and dozens of physicists I have interacted at various places. Plus additional dozens whose papers I am familiar with etc.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Sam Ting claims that a \(1\TeV\) WIMP is the only sensible theory matching the 5-year AMS data

Addition December 14th: the recorded video of the lecture is finally available.

Update: Some meaningful information overlapping with Ting's talk may be found in this AMS02 press release, Symmetry Magazine, and Astroblogs.NL.
The text below was originally posted on the evening of December 8th.

We're drowning in "fake news" stories about ("fake news" but also about) dark matter. Erik Verlinde has surely unified dark matter and dark energy in his own version of my holographic MOND. A would-be NASA rocket scientist suggests that his reactionless EM drive might give us flying cars that may also go to other galaxies. Some of his fans suggest that this invention of the millennium (which can exert a piconewton because a piconewton is the error of their measurement) is driven by dark matter.

Well, while all the journalists are obsessed with assorted cranks and speculative physicists and their musings about dark matter, The Reference Frame is the only website in the world that seems to care what a $1.5 billion experiment designed to detect dark matter says about dark matter. Who could possibly care about a $1.5 billion experiment if we have a genius building intergalactic spaceships by reflecting microwaves inside a plunger? And as we will see, the AMS results are much further from "null results" than the results of underground experiments as well as the searches for dark matter at the LHC.



As I mentioned at the top of the previous blog post, Bill Zajc, your humble correspondent, and others watched a CERN colloquium today (17:00-18:00 Prague Winter Time) where Nobel laureate Sam Ting promised to report some unexpected results of the 5-year run of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, a gadget working on board of the International Space Station.

See some previous TRF blog posts about the AMS experiment.

Math-phys Alma mater is almost like shared DNA

Last night, I enjoyed the pre-Christmas party of the Václav Klaus Institute (led by the Czech ex-president) in Café Mozart, a fancy business just a few steps from the Prague Astronomical Clock (Orloj) as well as from the amazing exchange office where you still get CZK 15 for one euro. There is a pretty Christmas tree at the Old Town Square this year – and it's nice when the place is so alive. Otherwise, in a cloudy weather, cities like Prague (or New York) suck.

The Pilsner Urquell logo and the modern Pilsner Škoda Transportation streetcars are the only pretty things in much of Prague. What else would you expect a Pilsner patriot to say?

Lots of famous people attend these events and I am much more familiar with them – political soulmates, if you wish – than I was years ago. Yesterday, among other things, I exchanged some nice and interesting words with a brilliant female economist HL, with a scholar and loyal worker of the institute ML, with the boss of bosses VK (he has worked on some exciting project) and his charming friend from Salzburg whose initials I will hide.

But most of the time, I was talking to a main father of the Czech voucher privatization DT, mild-mannered sociologist PH who was recently known as an anti-immigration politician, and with JK, an ex-mayor of Prague. They are fun folks, said lots of interesting things, and they also have had many more positions and achievements than I suggested.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Syrian army liberates Aleppo

Off-topic, business: Pilsner Urquell, the beermaker in my hometown that gave the name to 90% of the world's beer, was sold by SABmiller to Asahi, a Japanese beer company, for $7.8 billion, along with four less well-known post-communist European breweries. Because of anti-monopoly legislation, SABMiller+Anheuser Busch was forced to sell some breweries. The City of Pilsen, descendants of the old 19th century owners, and some Czech billionaires were among the prospective buyers.
The Battle of Aleppo is finally over. It lasted for more than four years – since July 2012. It's a very long time for this kind of suffering; the battle beats many big battles from the history textbooks, thus proving that the history hasn't "ended". Syria's second largest city – whose population exceeded 2 million before the war – was partly destroyed and lots of warriors as well as civilians have died.



Lots of people have celebrated Assad's victory last night. You may see that even the supporters of the government are full of God. This God stuff is everywhere in the region. None of them has noticed the positive regional correlation between "Allah" and "misery" yet.

The final outcome hasn't been clear for years. However, in recent months, it was rather clear that Assad would win. Look e.g. at this snapshot from September 2016. Most of the city was controlled by the Syrian government forces and a shrinking area in East Aleppo – with the population of 250,000 or so – was occupied by the Islamist rebels.

Monday, December 12, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Deceptive excuses for Bohmian mechanics

Three days ago, PBS Spacetime explained the event horizon. I have only watched parts of the video but I do believe that it does correctly explain what's special and what's not special about the black hole event horizon – and how the Penrose diagrams work.



Sadly, PBS Spacetime keeps on producing wildly deceptive videos about quantum mechanics. In late October, they promoted the many worlds "interpretation" which I discussed two weeks ago. The November 30th video embedded above promotes Bohmian mechanics – the pilot wave theory.

The 12-minute-long video (plus four minutes not related to the main topic) correctly sketches the meaning of this theory and some of the history. However, almost all the claims "evaluating" the theory or "comparing" it to proper quantum mechanics are highly problematic or downright deceptive. Let me discuss some of them in detail.

Sunday, December 11, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Against Trump, climate alarmists' lawyers are fighting the last war

John Kerry is a lunatic who has said and done many crazy things. He has also been a fanatical climate alarmist who tried to criminalize everyone whose hamburger was partly paid from the oil money. Ladies and Gentlemen, it's a pleasure to report that John Kerry is likely to be superseded by Rex Tillerson, the CEO of Exxon Mobil, the largest fossil-fuel company in the world and a top 3-6 company in the world by capitalization.

Mr Tillerson, have you ever had a lunch that was paid by the oil money? That could be enough for John Kerry's heart attack. ;-)

The name of the future energy secretary isn't known yet. Kevin Cramer, a big friend of fossil fuels and a climate skeptic, is among the frontrunners right now.

Scott Pruitt – a veteran warrior against the overreach by the EPA – should lead the EPA, too. So far, climate skepticism seems to be a must for the secretaries. The Interior Department should be led by Cathy McMorris Rodgers. She has supported drilling in Native Americans' reservations and graded Al Gore with an "F" in science for his movie while he got an "A" for creative writing. Al Gore, the More Sore Whore Bore, will release a sequel next year.

Saturday, December 10, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Nature: LIGO may have seen echoes from a black hole firewall

It has become too common for journalists to write crazy stuff that they should be normally ostracized and spitted upon for

It's clear why Joe Polchinski had to win a Milner Prize. The reasons are the D-branes and similar things. However, some people around the prize have suggested that Polchinski could have gotten the award for the proposal that the black hole interior doesn't exist – the infalling observer unavoidably dies in a "firewall" instead of smoothly crossing the event horizon.



Well, whether Milner or Zuckerberg or anyone else made such a comment, I find it silly, and so do almost all fundamental physicists. The firewall paper by Joe – well, it was really Joe with 3 collaborators who couldn't quite be neglected if Joe were getting a prize for firewalls – is a nice piece of quantum information argumentation but like the assumptions, the conclusion is entirely wrong.

They assume that the locality has to be either exact or totally violated at the spacetime background with a black hole. In particular, the black hole complementarity (the failure of the black hole interior degrees of freedom to be independent) has to be banned. Not surprisingly, because the black hole interior wants to exist as a scrambled copy of the exterior and because they assume that it must be totally independent of the exterior if it exists at all, Joe et al. unsurprisingly "derive" that the black hole interior cannot exist at all, so the infalling observers have to be killed by the firewall.

A classic example of the "garbage in, garbage out" (GIGO) rule.

Dekra: electric cars only reduce air pollution by 16%

Three decades ago, green, environmental, and especially global warming activists were viewed as fringe whackos who sleep at the treetops and whom no civilized people took seriously.

As you remember very well, they basically became a core component of the intrinsically left-wing establishment in recent years. We're hopefully enjoying the last six weeks before they regain their well-deserved status of fringe whackos, at least in the U.S.



During the years when these whackos controlled a big portion of the establishment, many of us – including otherwise skeptical folks like you and me – have been trained to accept all kinds of wisdom that isn't true. One of the most universally accepted assumptions is the assumption that the transition from combustion engines to electric cars makes the air cleaner so it becomes easier, more pleasant, and healthier for the urban people to breathe.

Is that true?

Dekra which has headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany is the world's third largest vehicle inspection company. Its 36,000 employees create the annual revenue about $2 billion. You shouldn't be surprised that this company works to influence various clean-air policies that are introduced in Germany, especially in Stuttgart itself.

Friday, December 09, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Crazy denial of the revived Czech inflation

Just like I expected (and as the central bank and many others failed to predict), the today's numbers – reflecting the prices in November – showed a huge increase of the Czech year-on-year inflation rate. One month ago, that rate has only climbed to 0.7%, after almost three years when it was closer to 0% than 1%. I predicted a significant rise and indeed, the year-on-year inflation rate based on November prices was 1.5%, we learned today. It's a 41-month high.

This increase also makes it more likely that the interventions against the crown will be stopped sooner than previously believed – in agreement with my expectations. The ECB's decision to extend (but taper) their quantitative easing program can't be "essential" for the Czech National Bank which operates and basically has to operate domestically, independently of foreign events. ECB's asset buying programs are just one of many minor external events that affect the forecasts of ČNB board members. But the Czech bankers can in no way "parrot" ECB and they're not parroting it.

The Czech National Bank's "tolerance band" for the inflation rate is between 1% and 3% – so the number has returned to this tolerated zone after a long time – and the target is 2%. The central bankers have repeatedly said that a reading above 2% that seems sustainable is the right moment to scrap the interventions that have kept – and are still keeping – the crown weaker than 27 crowns per euro (EURCZK has been 27.02 or so for a very long time now; a 0.3% fluctuation to 27.10 two weeks ago was the biggest one since 27.16 after the Brexit vote).

These ČNB board members also promised not to remove the cap in 2016 – a commitment that could be broken as well – and softly "almost promised" that it wouldn't be in the first quarter of 2017. I think it's more likely than not that the cap will be scrapped in the first quarter of 2017 because the inflation has accelerated markedly and additional jumps should be expected.

Thursday, December 08, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

ArXiv.org to be modernized for $445,000

Live, hot, via Bill Zajc: at 5 pm CERN winter time – 11 am Boston winter time – Sam Ting will report "unexpected results" from the five years of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. See an abstract of the CERN colloquium, video page, a separate "camera" video window, previous AMS blog posts. I am a bit excited but be careful: Ting expected to make a big discovery so "unexpected results" may mean that he didn't discover anything interesting. ;-) Ting speaks in Chinglish which I understand well, probably because it's a dialect of Czenglish.
At the top of arXiv.org, the main scientific e-archive of preprints serving primarily high energy physics and other fields, you may read some occasional news.

For example, since 2017, the daily deadline for submissions will be changed to 2 pm, local New York time (either standard or daylight-saving, whichever is valid at the moment). So when you're competing for the first or last position among the papers in the listings, don't forget about this change.

Also, the Alfred P. Sloan foundation is paying some $445,000 for software work that should modernize arXiv.org over the following three years. After the upgrade, arXiv should become arXiv-NG – note that ST-NG stands for "Star Trek – Next Generation".

Wednesday, December 07, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Scott Pruitt named the chief of Trump EPA

A day ago or so, Ivanka Trump as well as Donald Trump met Al Gore. Al Gore claimed that they had an extremely interesting conversation. Well, I was worried about it. Why would Donald Trump accept such a meeting? What could come out of it?

Al Gore has never accepted any request for a debate – and he has received very, very many. Now, when his era in the U.S. environmental policymaking seems to be really ending, he seems more willing to meet the people from the other side. Why? Doesn't he have some secret weapons to blackmail the U.S. president elect?

Moreover, Ivanka is an amazing young woman but she's arguably left-leaning and perhaps a climate alarmist of a sort. This fact may be said to be paradoxical – given her dad's being Donald Trump and her mother's being Czech, one of the most skeptical nations on Earth. ;-)

But right now, I reduced by worries by 90% or so.

Methods that removed Mr Forejt are scary

The name of Mr Jindřich [=Henry] Forejt appears in three previous blog posts. He was the director of the Prague Castle protocol or the Presidential Etiquette Steward, if you wish, a man who was deciding in what order visitors of the Czech president should be ordered and lots of similar issues.



Search Google Images for "Forejt Bush" or any combination like that, you will see that he's been everywhere.

He was sometimes known as Mr Forejt Gump because just like his approximate namesake, he has appeared on many more photographs of famous politicians than what you would expect by mere chance from a professional who should work behind the scenes.

I believe that the first time I met Mr Forejt in person was in March 2007 when ex-president Klaus invited me and a few other skeptics to a lunch in D.C., a month after I helped to turn Klaus into a celebrity among the U.S. climate skeptics by translating an innocent interview that became a Drudge Report #1 story for the day and was therefore widely reported by other media including Fox News.

The journalists especially liked to quote a sentence implying that Al Gore wasn't sane: this Fox News screenshot was based on my (somewhat spicy but basically accurate) translation. Due to the Drudgelanche, this blog received hundreds of thousands of visits on that February 2007 day.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

When pop science hype against QM makes Indian cranks too self-confident

Giotis has pointed out that there's a new physics.hist-ph preprint on the arXiv reporting another poll about "interpretations" of quantum mechanics:

Surveying the Attitudes of Physicists Concerning Foundational Issues of Quantum Mechanics
The abstract page suggests that the authors are Sujeevan Sivasundaram and Kristian Hvidtfelt Nielsen. I find Sujeevan Sivasundaramajarabalasubramaniankoothrappali's name too long so let us call him SS instead.



SS is an earring-enhanced Indian student in Denmark and Nielsen is his adviser. Well, aside from the title, the list of the authors is the first big deception of the paper. In the acknowledgements, we read:
First of all a big "thank you" is in place to my supervisor Kristian Hvidtfelt Nielsen. I know I am not the easiest person to work with, because of my erratic work method and lack of organization, but you have had the right sense of when to push and when to give me space. This was, and is, very much appreciated and I hope that is not lost on you.
OK, so SS wrote the paper himself and he just thanks Nielsen. Nielsen shouldn't have been included in the author list because it's not even clear whether he agrees with anything that SS writes.

Trump, Zeman trade invitations

A chance for a special relationship to the U.S. is surely a currency in Czechia

The Associated Press and the Czech media have told us about a telephone call between the Czech president Miloš Zeman and the U.S. President-Elect. Trump has appreciated that Zeman was the only EU head of state who publicly endorsed Trump before the elections.



Sorry, if I have found a more handsome Trump-Zeman interpolation, I would have posted it instead of this ugly one. :-)

They accepted the invitations to the White House and the Prague Castle, respectively. Zeman's trip to the White House is likely to take place at the end of April 2017 when Zeman is supposed to accept an award from a pro-Israel group, the same one that Trump won in 2016. The White House staff should be ready. Shortly after 9/11, Zeman visited the White House and he forced a militant anti-smoker George W. Bush to allow him smoke in the non-smoking places, by mentioning that both men were fellow Texans (an honorary one in Zeman's case) who must help each other. Up to 2001, that was one of the greatest achievements of Zeman's foreign policies.

(In the video, late economist Valtr Komárek, a former aide to Fidel Castro, pointed out that Zeman wasn't the first one to smoke there. Before him, it was Monika Lewinski who gave the blowjob there – the same verb in Czech.)

Monday, December 05, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Polchinski, Strominger, Vafa split well-deserved $3 million

Ten hours ago, someone asked me who deserved the Milner Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics last night. I couldn't write the answer in time and I don't have a clue who would be the right choice in mathematics (Jean Bourgain of Princeton's Institute won it and I am not sure I have ever heard the name; note that a special 2016 prize previously went to the three founders of LIGO) but my answer for fundamental physics would obviously be Polchinski, Strominger, and Vafa.



Strominger, Polchinski, and Vafa, 2016. I was actually sent and encouraged to use this picture by the Breakthrough organization. ;-)

This prediction – and this wish – was no rocket science let alone string theory. Already three years ago, these three men were candidates for the prize along with Green and Schwarz who have received the award.

A webpage on the Breakthrough Prize server explains that the men got it

[f]or transformative advances in quantum field theory, string theory, and quantum gravity
which are nicely chosen words. These words would be right for most of the big shot string theorists but be sure that there are at most a dozen or two whose work would really deserve these words and these three men belong to that top notch group.

The Breakthrough Prize also quotes their "acceptance remarks" in which the researchers summarize their work and explain their reasons why they feel the work is important. Cumrun Vafa also adds an impressive long list of more than 170 of his collaborators. Jonathan Heckman (whom I knew as a brilliant student at Harvard) has co-written incredible 29 papers with Vafa (and usually someone else). Your humble correspondent is in the bottom "also participated" portion of the list.

Bulk of Czechoslovak MEPs demand apology, explanation for the EU officials' lionization of Castro

Most of the Czech, Slovak, and other post-communist world's political junkies were stunned by the only tweet that the boss of the EU commission Jean-Claude Juncker wrote about the death of the Cuban dictator Fidel Castro:


This "hero to many" description was his picked summary of a somewhat longer statement about Castro's death by Juncker.

Similar outrageous or at least bizarrely neutral remarks were made by other leftists including Trudeau (Canada's PM), Obama (lame duck U.S. president), and Corbyn (the boss of the U.K. Labour Party) but Juncker's lionization of Castro was almost certainly the most radical one of all.

Sunday, December 04, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Feynman vs Hawking on inequality in the world

Willie Soon has sent me an article that Stephen Hawking wrote for the Guardian,

This is the most dangerous time for our planet
The subtitle says
We can’t go on ignoring inequality, because we have the means to destroy our world but not to escape it.
Hawking starts by saying that he has lived his life in an "extraordinarily privileged bubble". Well, I am pretty sure that given his disease, billions of commonsense people in the world would disagree with that statement. But most of them would agree that he has lived on a very tall and isolated ivory tower.



Hawking sees the Brexit referendum and Trump's victory (which won't be supplemented with Hofer's victory in Austria – the leftist candidate will win – but maybe with a finger to Renzi in Italy today if we're lucky) as the public disapproval of his political beliefs and acts, too. I think he's sort of right, too. Then he incoherently and superficially mixes several buzzwords about "assorted problems of the present world" that may lead to a planetary problem (including the replacement of workers' labor by robots) and proposes that a greater global redistribution of wealth is what we need.

Please, give me a break with this garbage.

Friday, December 02, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Einstein's boxes: measurements don't occur "spontaneously"

Florin Moldoveanu discusses a thought experiment – but be sure that it may be turned into a real experiment – called "Einstein's box" (although it's not "the" famous Einstein's box setup from the Bohr-Einstein debates).

Are Einstein's Boxes an argument for nonlocality?
It seems unbelievable that an undergraduate problem that is so rudimentary is being "solved" incorrectly by the author of a book on foundations quantum mechanics as well as Moldoveanu himself.

The problem is the following: A quantum mechanical particle is located in a box. The wave function \(\psi(x,y,z)\) isn't specified and both men pretend that they don't need to talk about it at all. But let's suppose that it's the ground state of a potential well – a wave function that is real and positive inside, e.g.\[

\sin x \cdot \sin y \cdot \sin z

\] assuming that the box is defined by \(\{x,y,z\}\in (0,\pi)\). I emphasize that the probability distribution \(\abs{\psi}^2\) for the particle's position is in no way uniform – when it's in the ground state (lowest energy eigenstate), the particle is unlikely to be very close to the 6 walls (and much more unlikely to be close to the 12 edges and super-unlikely to be close to the 8 corners). Now, a barrier is inserted in the middle of the box, e.g. at \(x=\pi/2\) in my conventions. The question is what is the wave function after this insertion and whether the wave function loses the ability to interfere – loses the information about the relative phase of the part of the wave function in the \(x\lt \pi/2\) "B1" half-box and in the \(x\gt \pi/2\) "B2" half-box.

Thursday, December 01, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Brainwashed millennials pose a threat to democracy

Indoctrination by Soros-distorted institutions is a primary culprit

The New York Times has published a highly disturbing graph developed over the years by Harvard's government scholar Dr Yascha Mounk:



It shows that the percentage of the people who think that it's "essential" to live in democracy is basically an increasing function of age. In the most extreme cases, while it reaches almost 80% for some of the oldest generations in some countries, it drops as low 19 percent for the millennials or Generation Y – the young folks born around 2000 plus minus 5 years or so.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Clash of interests: Trump vs Babiš

Our Slovak-born finance minister, Andrej Babiš, is a billionaire whose net worth is some $3 billion. The U.S. president-elect is a billionaire whose net worth is about $3.7 billion. Both of them have had Czech partners. None of them is a real intellectual, both of them speak a kind of language that many ordinary people understand. Both of them have become rich in industries that are not exactly hi-tech and practical man's skills and common sense were their main weapons to do so. It's unavoidable that people tend to compare such people.


Well, there are some differences, too.

Donald Trump has never been a member of the communist party or the communist secret police. His father Fred Trump wasn't a communist, either, and they haven't disinherited an uncle for his emigration to the West. Donald Trump hasn't written a tweet "I really don't support Trump despite the comparisons". Donald Trump isn't preparing a scheme that would allow him to monitor all payments in hotels and restaurants in real time starting from tomorrow.

(I wonder: Is some generous soul searching Google for words "order DDoS" and paying some $25 per hour for one hour of DDoS attack against fs.mfcr.cz and/or prod.eet.cz tomorrow? To make the evil scheme collapse and be abandoned? Hundreds of thousands of Czechs would really appreciate it. This paragraph is pure information, not my cooperation with a generous soul. I can't even think about any cooperation with anything like that. Also note that tomorrow, all restaurants in Czechia will be 10% more expensive in average.)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Would you use a nuclear waste diamond battery in your smartphone?

University of Bristol, U.K., published an inspiring press release a few days ago,

‘Diamond-age’ of power generation as nuclear batteries developed
And they added the following video yesterday:



Graphite blocks are used to moderate reactions in nuclear reactors. If you study what's happening with them, you will find out that some of the ordinary carbon-12 in these blocks is turning into the radioactive carbon-14, especially on the surface of these blocks.

Monday, November 28, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Three papers on information in quantum gravity

I want to briefly mention three recent papers on the fate of the information in quantum gravity.

First, a week ago, Raphael Bousso argued that there is a simple

Universal Limit on Communication.
When you are sending the information by photons, one photon of frequency \(\omega\) must occupy the time at least \(\Delta t \sim 1/ \omega\) and transmits \(\O(1)\) nats (or bits) of information, e.g. a bit from the polarization of the photon. The energy of the photon is \(E=\hbar\omega\).

You might think that the number of bits per photon may be increased arbitrarily because the information may be carried e.g. in the precisely determined angular direction of the photon's motion. But Raphael argues that due to the unavoidable appearance of some quantum effects that are there despite the seemingly classical setup, the recipient of the information (whose name is Bob and who surrounds the source, Alice, by a big sphere) will actually not be able to extract much more information, and the total transmitted information can't be above \(E \cdot \Delta t / \hbar\), after all.

There have been various limits involving the information and entropy etc. Some of them seem to be universal in quantum mechanics, not just results in quantum gravity. This bound doesn't explicitly depend on Newton's constant \(G_N\) and even though the "cultural context" of the derivation seems like quantum gravity (just like some Bekenstein-related bounds), I think it's right to say that this is a non-gravitational result (if it is true).

Swiss voters chose to keep nuclear power plants

I generally think that frequent referendums aren't a good way to organize societies – or at least nations such as mine – because I do think that detailed decisions should be made by selected people with special knowledge and skills and the median voter isn't one of them. That's why a competition between "potential experts" – politicians who fight against each other – which is judged by the median voter i.e. the representative democracy sounds like a more sophisticated scheme.

On the other hand, I am repeatedly impressed by the results of the referendums in Switzerland and the political maturity that they display. Almost one thousand years of referendums could have made the Swiss more sensible. One shouldn't denounce the possible explanation that the Swiss are simply better at this business – and what could be harmful to other nations may be beneficial for Switzerland.

The latest referendum was one about the nuclear energy.

Sunday, November 27, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Was Hillary defeated by Kremlin-paid propaganda agents?

I used to consider The Washington Post as a daily that an average intelligent person could see as one of his information sources. But this picture was diminishing over the years and three days ago, it dropped hugely because of the article

Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say
In this most viewed article on WaPo's site on Friday, Craig Timberg teaches us that Donald Trump didn't win because of his personality, his program, his campaign strategy, preferences and values of a majority of the U.S. public, and their genuine dissatisfaction with the trends that America has been following in recent years. Instead, Hillary was partly if not mainly defeated by
Russia’s increasingly sophisticated propaganda machinery — including thousands of botnets, teams of paid human “trolls,” and networks of websites and social-media accounts...
Wow, just wow. See some reactions at 21stCenturyWire, ZeroHedge, Truth Feed, The Intercept, Fortune, RT video, RT text, and others, more.

Saturday, November 26, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Fidel and Czechoslovakia

90 years is a blessed age to die and the Cuban Marxist leader was fortunate to live that long. Donald Trump just tweeted that Castro is dead. Almost all Cubans in Florida are celebrating. They're obviously right about the overall sign of the sentiment. He was a dictator that was responsible for many crippled lives and the erasure of some 90% of the Cuban GDP. But in some way, it doesn't sound "cool" to celebrate the death of this no longer dangerous "hip" character from the world history.



My country had a special relationship to Castro. Like other kids in the Soviet bloc, we were trained to recognize him as a hero. But the relationships were more special. For example, a very large percentage of the machinery used in Cuba was produced in Czechoslovakia. Among many other things, that included a car owned by Fidel, Tatra 603, typically a car of the Czechoslovak VIP communists. At some moment, he switched from Tatra and Soviet limousines to Mercedeses, however.

In 1968, Castro needed to improve his bad relationships with Moscow so he – unlike the Romanian, Yugoslav, Albanian, and Chinese comrades – endorsed the occupation of Czechoslovakia even though he didn't send any actual tanks. For this attitude, Cuba was allowed to export sugar or something like that.

Friday, November 25, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Turkey updated its position to full blackmail

I hope that the U.S. readers have enjoyed their Thanksgiving. Turkey seems like a natural topic these days.



I am not a fan of Daniel Landa and it seems right to classify his singing as out-of-tune (plus plain talk) but this well-known Czech song is titled "Thanksgiving" so it may get the right to look for fans outside Czechia. Music: Petr Hapka. Lyrics: Michal Horáček, Prague Café's presidential candidate.

For some years, I have observed that Turkey was a problematic ally that Europe shouldn't rely upon, and I have criticized Turkey's relationships with ISIS vs the Kurds, among other things.

Thursday, November 24, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

"Popular vote" and "number of electoral votes" don't commute

I have dedicated several blog posts to the attitude of Trump critics to the elections. The biased media coverage and polls (yesterday, during a public debate in the bank, I noticed how much the anti-Trump and similar self-evidently unjustified biases are widespread even among top bank analysts etc.) and the emotionally immature reactions by the leftists were given some room.

But there's another unsurprising dimension of the leftists' denial of their loss: attacks on the mathematics. While Scott Aaronson sent thousands of dollars to sponsor a recount in three states (WI, MI, PA; leftists' dealing with the taxpayer money is even more wasteful when they get in front of the steering wheel), Brian Greene included himself among the embarrassingly sore losers by questioning the U.S. democracy itself:


Well, that's a painful tweet, Brian, one that shows how sick political positions are considered normal in the Western universities.

I have tried to explain to him that "democracy" generally means "the participation of the most general public at power" but the detailed implementation of this general concept requires additional laws and the U.S. implementation involves the electoral votes. There's nothing non-democratic about this recipe: the "demos" still rules by picking a sensible number of electoral votes etc. During the presidential elections, the U.S. democracy is defined by the rules involving the electoral votes. The rules involving the electoral votes aren't a "curious" flavor of democracy but the "U.S." flavor of democracy, perhaps the world's most celebrated flavor of democracy.

Leftists are used to bending and twisting the rules whenever they can (also changing the rules during the game) – e.g. when they are selectively hiring women or people of color or other privileged groups at the U.S. universities or when they harass conservatives in the Academia – and they seem to be shocked that the same dirty tricks can't be easily done after the presidential elections.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Stupidity of the pop science consensus about "many worlds"

I have criticized a PBS Spacetime video about the quantum erasers before.



But this one-month-old program about the "many worlds" is perhaps even more typical for what I have called the "pop science consensus" about the "interpretations" of quantum mechanics. You can find this garbage virtually everywhere, the creators of this garbage are copying it from each other. Most of the sentences in the video are either downright wrong or at least seriously misleading.

The weird rules of the subatomic world are very different from the laws of the large Universe.
When one is careful, this is just a correct sentence. But those people are never careful so it's obvious that they actually say lots of wrong things in between the lines.

One of them is, as we will see momentarily, that the laws of quantum mechanics do not apply in the large Universe. But they do. The laws of quantum mechanics apply everywhere in the Universe. It's just that in the context of large objects, the laws of classical physics also apply – albeit just approximately. But the laws of quantum mechanics never cease to apply. The relationship between classical and quantum theories is fully analogous to the relationship between non-relativistic and relativistic physics: in both cases, the older theory is a limit, either \(1/c\to 0\) or \(\hbar\to 0\) limit, of the newer theory. But the newer theory is always right, even at arbitrarily low speeds or for arbitrarily large objects.

The video – and equivalent films, books, newspaper articles etc. – contain a huge number of places that make it clear that their authors just don't understand that quantum mechanics applies everywhere in the Universe.

Also, the laws of quantum mechanics aren't really "weird". They're as non-weird as the world around us because they exactly agree with everything we know about the world around us.

Minister proposes an EET exemption for e-shops now

Timing, wording, volatility are testimonies of the staggering incompetence

Today, eight days before the start of the online monitoring of all cash payments on the Czech territory by the ministry of finance (initially in the restaurant+hotel industry), the so-called EET, the main mastermind of the campaign, finance minister and billionaire Andrej Babiš, decided that the critics who said that EET would be particularly insane for e-shops were right, after all. He will propose "his" ingenious improvement of EET to the government – an exemption for e-shops. At least that's what he told a server named info.cz.

While the simple slogan defining EET is that it wants to online supervise all cash payments (officially to fight tax evasion but no intelligent person takes this justification seriously), for certain reasons, the plan has always been to monitor all payments except for regular bank transfers. That meant that all payments by credit/debit cards, PayPal etc. had to be supplemented with extra software that "reports" all these payments to the finance ministry in real time, receives two codes for the transaction, and demands that the consumer is given a receipt with these (very long) codes (FIK, BKP) calculated by the servers of the finance ministry.

Monday, November 21, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

EM drive: a new wave of hype

"EM drive" is one of the names for the physically impossible gadgets that violate the third Newton's law. They're able to move without pushing anything else in the opposite direction which is why they can't exist.

People who don't understand basic physics are obsessed with such a gadget. The meme has been around for a long time. On this blog, I wrote about a wave of EM drive hype in early May 2015 and the NASA denouncement a week later.

The hype is back – dozens of writers bring us the gospel about the "proof" of a physics-defying, impossible gadget. It's been "peer-reviewed" so it must be true – and the letters "NASA" can be found on the first page of the paper.

Franz Joseph I: 100th anniversary of death

First, a physics anniversary. Abdus Salam – see a TRF biography – died exactly 20 years ago, i.e. exactly 80 years after Franz Joseph I. He remains the only Muslim Nobel prize winner in physics (there are 2 in chemistry, 2 in literature, and 7 in peace). He's done a lot for the Pakistani physical sciences, his nation's pride, for the Standard Model but also co-fathered the Pati-Salam grand-non-unified models later. He's been a great scholar – even when it came to the English and Urdu literature. I think that he's also a proof that already in the mid 20th century, ingenious folks from poorer countries had an easy access to the top Western scholarly institutions.



Tonight, it will be exactly 100 years from the moment when our former ruler Franz Joseph I of Austria died in his Schönnbrunn Palace, Vienna, at the same place where he was born 86 years earlier, in 1830.

Around 9 pm, he asked his servants to wake him up at 3:30 am in the following morning, just like they did on that day. Because of so much work, he had no time to be ill, everyone believed him just days earlier. However, his fever surpassed 38 °C due to pneumonia, he died at 9:05 pm, and the imperial office had to report that "her majesty of death has touched Austria-Hungary with her firm hand" and an avalanche of obituaries was started. Check the sorrow of his loyal fans in Arkansas. ;-)



It's not bad to live for 86 years but the duration of his tenure is even more striking. He has been the emperor for 68 years – the equivalent of 17 four-year terms. Which U.S. president can boast about the same survival skills?

Friday, November 18, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Musk wants to piss me off: Gigafactory #2 planned for Czechia

Elon Musk has done some good things but in recent years, he's been notorious for several Ponzi schemes, economically unwise big projects that have to be fed by subsidies and constantly added and exponentially growing new investments by increasingly brainwashed Musk investors who resemble a religious sect.



Tesla's PMD 85, a Czechoslovak answer to Sinclair ZX Spectrum in the mid 1980s. We did have those in Pilsen's Station of Young Technologists but PMD 85 was generally widespread in Slovak schools while Czech schools were full of IQ 151, a much less compact and overheated product. I've made programs for both.

One of his huge projects is Gigafactory #1 in Clark, Nevada. It's not completed yet but he is already planning to double the stakes. He has told DiCaprio that he wants to build 100 Gigafactories producing the same obsolete products marketed as a salvation of the Universe.

Back in the real world, he's already planning Gigafactory #2. And it should be in Europe. And an insider blog revealed something shocking for me yesterday:

New Tesla Gigafactory looks at Prague, Czech Republic
Cool. At least when "cool" also includes "pathologically cool".

Tye, Wong claim that type IIB string theory generically predicts a tiny cosmological constant

...along with very light scalars...

According to the rules of naturalness in quantum field theory, the observed small Higgs mass is unlikely (because unless some special adjustments are made, scalar fields "love" to eat loops and become as fat as the cutoff scales) and therefore deserves an extra explanation, much like the even tinier magnitude of the cosmological constant (the energy density of the vacuum, the dark energy).

However, in the new paper

Linking Light Scalar Modes with A Small Positive Cosmological Constant in String Theory
Henry Tye and Sam Wong claim that string theory dramatically revises (or can revise?) all this reasoning and makes (or can make?) a tiny cosmological constant along with very light scalars very likely as predictions of a randomly chosen type IIB compactification.

Thursday, November 17, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

I admire two Czech anti-ISIS warriors detained in Turkey

Turkey's openly anti-Kurdish, pro-ISIS stance proves that Turkey is no ally

Yesterday, Turkish forces captured two brave Czechs, Mr Miroslav Farkaš, a sniper (code name Serxwebun Botan), and Ms Markéta Všelichová (coded Zelane Botan), a smiling and attractive 24-year-old student of the Technology Department of the University of Agriculture, a practician in the combative health services, and a logistics expert who is also great in pattern recognition.

She can identify an attacker in a mob of refugees rather accurately and quickly. But yes, she can assemble and disassemble a submachine gun, too. ;-) And a website that could only be her ad but it could also be partly accurate (the web is surely partly satirical) claims that she has personally neutralized 100 ISIS animals – she calls members of Daesh "motherf*ckers" (more precisely, zmrdi) and ISIS has promised $1 million for anyone who stops her. During an interrogation in Turkey today, they said that they've been also trained by the German special forces and the French Foreign Legion but it's plausible that they were just making fun of the Turkish aßholes. (Maybe only Mr Farkas has undergone both trainings and this information is true.)



I've had mixed feelings when it came to the five Czechs kidnapped in Lebanon – because they probably co-operated in a trick to free a Lebanese criminal – and a mostly negative feeling when two Czech girls were kidnapped in Pakistan.

But this is different. See e.g. this video about Markéta or this October interview with her. If you spoke Czech, you would see that she knows what she's doing (and what Turks are doing and how ISIS is doing!) and probably realizes the risks.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Totalitarianism is only resilient when it's total

Why the transitions between democracy and totalitarianism in the West are abrupt

In recent weeks, we saw lots of left-wing activists who were apparently surprised if not shocked that majorities in 60% of states of the U.S. dared to vote for a candidate such as Donald Trump. Haven't the citizens seen the endorsements of Hillary by 99% of the widely circulated media outlets? Haven't they heard that Donald Trump was unfit for the job and politically incorrect and everyone who would support him would be labeled politically incorrect as well? Hasn't one year of massive pro-Hillary, anti-Trump blackmailing and brainwashing in almost all the U.S. media been enough to destroy almost all the dissent?

Well, it apparently wasn't enough. It wasn't enough for a simple reason. The pro-Hillary fanatics haven't succeeded in cancelling the elections and some technicalities that guarantee that people decide freely – e.g. the secrecy of the ballots. Because of the secrecy of the ballots and sacredness of the polling places, the voters are simply shielded from most of the illegitimate pressures. The secrecy of the ballots was introduced exactly in order to protect the system against aßholes like you, dear left-wing bullies. So by the months of self-evidently biased coverage, you've only wasted your time, money, and energy. You've only assured most people that you are not being honest. Years of lies are simply not enough to achieve certain political goals if other conditions aren't fulfilled.

If you could have harassed the people while they're picking the candidate in the polling places, it could have been different. You could have threatened them by boycotts and dismissals – things that you love to do in the rest of your life – and almost all the people would be afraid and they would pick Hillary. Leftists, you wanted a support for Hillary Clinton that would be about as clear as the results of the elections in the communist countries. But you have failed to do the difficult job that e.g. Stalin had to do to achieve it. What a surprise that you weren't as successful as the beloved Georgian comrade of yours – because you weren't as hard-working as he was.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Bannon, Breitbart, alt-right: a new day needs a new hysteria

Alt-right has won the election. Get used to it, leftards.

Days ago, I couldn't tell you with any certainty who Steve Bannon was. Months ago, I couldn't even accurately tell you what "alt-right" meant. Nevertheless, certain people are very nervous about these things today and many of us were encouraged to learn that we're close to these names.



The alt-right key

Donald Trump picked Steve Bannon as the chief strategist of his administration. It's not shocking: Steve Bannon was the "CEO" of the Trump campaign. The campaign ended successfully which is why there is some reason to think that with Bannon's help, the first Trump's term could end successfully, too. I didn't know but in recent years, Bannon was also the boss of Breitbart.com, a server I was visiting increasingly frequently in the recent year or so. I had to look at his pictures and videos. Bannon looks like a heterosis of Robert Redford and some of the cowboys who occupied the federal land. Because such comments are often being spun in various ways, I must add a disclaimer: These descriptions are meant to be neutral appraisals of his appearance.

Much of the mainstream media have gone ballistic because they consider Steve Bannon politically incorrect. When someone is politically incorrect, the politically correct people immediately label him a homophobe, anti-LGBT, anti-Muslim, and indeed, an anti-Semite. The last label has been the most favorite label that the leftists have tried to attach to Bannon.

Budulinek vs Gallant Deer



Dear kids,
uncle Vojtaano will tell you a fairy tale about Budulinek. Do you want it? So listen.

Once upon a time, there was a small baby who was naughty. And it was a bit moronic and was strangely rolling its eyes. They say it was missing something and had something in excess, too. And it wasn't pounds, the baby had few of those. It was lazy and it was saying that it will be. So the dad decided: You will be Budulinek ("will be lazy boy"), fart.

I will be lazy, I promise. I won't move my aß, I won't finish anything.

How he promised, he lived. He lived his life sloppily. He wasn't going outside much. He was just rolling around. He was a liar but didn't play the hidden aggression. His laziness prevailed. His dad was already afraid. So when he was sleeping, the dad took him where the wind was blowing. The dad slowly backed off the tree stand where he placed the non-stand (=naughty, hyperactive) boy. The guy woke up and said: Where the fuck I am? He didn't have a clue that the gallant deer was waiting for him.

A quasi-anthropic stringy reason why dark matter is no WIMP?

Why my followers, moderate anthropic believers, may only believe some anthropically sounding arguments

Brilliant physicist Bobby Acharya has tweeted about the media coverage, e.g. in Phys.ORG, of their April 2016 paper

The lightest visible-sector supersymmetric particle is likely to be unstable
that appeared in PRL two weeks ago.

The dark matter particle hasn't been directly detected on Earth although it could have been. So the probability that it is a WIMP – a weakly interacting massive particle – has decreased. It hasn't decreased "spectacularly" but it has arguably decreased "visibly", by a factor of two or something like that. Dark matter may be composed of LIGO-style black holes or axion-like ultralight scalars. Or it could refuse to exist – and some sort of MOND, perhaps with ideas analogous to Verlinde's recent speculations explaining it microscopically, could explain the phenomena mostly attributed to dark matter.

Monday, November 14, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Immaturity of some leftists' reactions to Trump's victory is staggering

Eight years ago when Obama won the presidency for the first time, conservatives and supporters of Trump in 2016 could have been anxious because Obama was about as far from their ideas about the best president as Trump is far from the leftists' ideas today. But for some reasons, you won't find any hysterical blog post about Obama on this blog (and many other politically similar websites). You won't even find a single deeply frustrated sentence directly related to the 2008 or 2012 elections.

Some folks in the Democratic Party have reacted professionally. Hillary gave a great concession speech and Obama spoke about the peaceful transition of power and the need for Trump to succeed. Obama promised to help Trump in the transition period. This approach of Obama's must have been expected because Obama was treated in the same kind, professional way by George W. Bush 8 years ago. But the reaction of some left-wing activists in the bulk of the movement – or, equivalently, in its cesspool – was very different.

Many artists have reacted in brutal ways. Some of them vowed to move to Canada or Jupiter; I am not sure whether Canucks or Jovians are too excited about the prospect of such new fellow citizens. Paul Krugman reacted with several blog posts announcing the cosmic cataclysm. He had also predicted that the stock markets would never ever recover from the Trump victory again. In reality, they needed several hours and have grown by several percent since the elections – which makes sense given Trump's plans to reduce the corporate taxes, among other plans.

There are a few thousand stupid people attending somewhat violent anti-Trump rallies across America. They're burning flags and doing similar things. I won't talk about those because these animals are vastly overreported.

But I've read many articles about the university leftists' reactions and many of them are just absolutely unbelievable. If you haven't heard about them, you can make a search to see that many American universities are officially sponsoring "cry-ins" for the students who are psychologically ruined by Trump's victory. The students are collectively and publicly crying, they are being given puppies or coloring books for kids in the kindergarten, and lots of psychologists are serving them. This level of institutionalized psychological support trumps the support after 9/11 or any natural catastrophes. A very large fraction of exams have been postponed because of the elections, too. I was pleased to see that e.g. Larry Summers has refused to join this game.