Thursday, March 31, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Ukrainian girl proves that \(E_8\), Leech rule in sphere packing

Berlin postdoc Maryna Viazovska proves the lore in dimensions 8 and (with pals) 24

Erica Klarreich brought the readers of the Quanta Magazine some wonderful summary of three mathematical preprints on the arXiv:

Sphere Packing Solved in Higher Dimensions
The question is sort of obvious even to little kids. You have equally large \(n\)-dimensional spheres (the sphere is a set of points with a fixed Pythagorean distance \(R\) from the center). How do you arrange these non-overlapping objects in a big box so that the number of balls in the box is maximized?

You may fill the 1-dimensional space, a line, with 1-spheres, i.e. line intervals, completely. That was easy! ;-)

For 2-spheres, i.e. circles (or disks), the hexagonal packing is almost obviously the densest packing (the filled fraction is \(\pi/\sqrt{12}\approx 90.69\%\)) even though this result was only rigorously proved by Fejes Tóth in 1940. But what about other dimensions?

Could Germany ban mosques?

The Alternative for Germany (AfD) led by chemist Frauke Petry (you have to be a female chemist if you want to be an influential German leader these days; Frauke only failed to invent the Petri dishes because her mother waited for the birth up to 1975) succeeded in recent regional elections in 3 German bundeslands. It scored between 12 and 25 percent and about 17% in average, the same percentage I mentioned as an estimate of their power in January before I was challenged by a German PC critic named Skepsis:

Dear Lubos, although I respect your comptence in the field of physics I, as a German, have to tell you that you understand very little about German politics. According to the latest polls not more than 9 percent of Germans would be voting for the AFD. This is extremely little...
OK, who was right, Skepsis?

A pretty mosque in Berlin

At any rate, an organization of AfD in Lower Bavaria recommended to close mosques in Germany. Lower Bavaria is a region of Bavaria adjacent to Czechia – most of the Czechoslovak-West-German border is actually a border of Bohemia and Lower Bavaria.

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

Quantitative easing is better than helicopter drops

It's straightforward to induce inflation, harder to preserve the Lumo principles of safe and helpful interventions

Capitalist and Imperialist Pig quotes a left-wing would-be economist named Brad DeLong. This Gentleman superficially names the "global savings glut" and "deflation threat" as two main enemies and proposes to literally revive Milton Friedman's concept of the helicopter money. (They sometimes have the chutzpah to talk about the "austerity madness", too. But in this world in which most governments still run several-percent budget deficits, I would find it a self-humiliation to try to respond to insanities such as the "austerity madness" so let me ignore it.)

According to the plan, Janet Yellen will fill green helicopters with lots of money and pour them over the United States, especially above the neighborhoods with lots of colorful gay female poor uneducated discriminated Americans. This will increase the aggregate demand, the inflation rate, and everyone will be happy again.

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

Controversies of the Sino-Czech ties

China's president Xi Jinping chose four European countries for his visit: Czechia, Britain, Germany, and France. His 2+day visit to my homeland that began yesterday is viewed as a hint that Czechia was chosen as a Central and Eastern European hub for China to grow its plans in Europe – and to rebuild the Silk Road.

This is how you have to bow to the Asian leader if you're just a rank-and-file Czechoslovak billionaire living in a subsidized Stork's Nest.

In reality, it seems that the Chinese-Hungarian cooperation remains more genuine than the Chinese-Czech ties. But the Chinese are active in Czechia. CEFC China Energy Company Limited has bought some palaces around the Prague Castle and the oldest Czech soccer club Slavia Prague, among other things. A Chinese investor is sending $100 million to something claimed to be an innovative Czech lithium battery plant.

And, to mention a more amusing example, China plans to produce lots of new episodes of a classic Czech cartoon for small kids on the Little Mole (Kerrteh-Czech). Here is an excerpt showing that the mole will get a new Chinese friend, a panda. Many ordinary Chinese talk about the Krtek-Panda alliance. One can see some influence of the "positive" Chinese state media which is cute but despite this sort of brainwashing, there is something genuine about the relationship.

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

\(Z\gamma\): excess near \(375\GeV\) in new and old ATLAS and CMS data

Happy Easter!

I hope that your Jesus has been resuscitated as in every year and the Israeli readers have passed over whatever they had to. Czechs shouldn't forget that we're living in a leap year. According to some (but not all) authorities, because it's a leap year in 2016, girls should whip the boys today instead of the prevailing setup (a way to guarantee an equality of sexes). Ladies and gentlemen, it's a femdom Easter. ;-)

The music is from Nightwork's hit In sweatpants, move your balls to the right side.

But Easter Monday is just another day in experimental particle physics and I just finally accumulated all the four relevant graphs in a channel... and they seem to suggest something very interesting.

Feynman and the EPR positronium experiment

After a struggle that lasted a month or two, I understood that a very different quantum framework of physics was needed when I was 16 or 17. During that struggle, I was trying to complete a program outlined by Einstein – to describe all atomic phenomena using a model that was basically a classical field theory of a sort. I had various tricks to explain the quantization of the charge in terms of topological invariants – elementary particles were solitons (especially skyrmions, and they were wormholes of various topologies before that). But to explain the hydrogen atom, I needed to steal ideas from ordinary textbooks of quantum mechanics (I started with those for engineers) and after some moment, it became clear that I needed to steal all of quantum mechanics and the right probabilistic interpretation was then forced upon me because of a few short penetrating thoughts.

So when I was first exposed to the Feynman Lectures in Physics – a book based on Feynman's 1964 course for Caltech undergraduates – and saw his no-nonsense explanations of quantum mechanics etc., I had already been "converted". But it was still refreshing and insightful to see how he dealt with the problems. Incidentally, the edition of the lectures that I could get was written in Slovak (Feynman became a partly Slovak guy in my optics forever LOL) – it existed many years before the Czech translation – and the Slovak edition had 5 volumes instead of 3 volumes of the original edition.

In the previous blog post, the main physical situation that created lots of discussions was Feynman's observation of superpositions found in the benzene molecule. Caltech has made the whole Feynman lectures available in the web form.

AAUP acknowledges: harassment hysteria ruins freedom of speech

The New York Times and others have mentioned a Thursday report by AAUP:

Professors’ Group Says Efforts to Halt Sexual Harassment Have Stifled Speech
AAUP, the American Association of University Professors, has almost 50,000 members in 500 local campus chapters and 39 state organizations. It was founded in 1915 as a feel good organization that also wants to advance academic freedom.

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

Hey Bill Nye, please stop talking nonsense about quantum mechanics

I had to copy the title from Backreaction because it is unusual and refreshing to see that Sabine Hossenfelder reacts totally sensibly to a two-minute dialogue about quantum mechanics. (Chad Orzel and Michael Motherboard Byrne wrote a criticism of Nye's answer, too.)

OK, so Bill Nye was a confused engineer and clown who has starred as a scientist on a TV show for kids (after Nye plagiarized Prof Proton and stole his wallet – and I must warn you, Prof Proton is a fictitious fictitious scientist, not a real fictitious scientist let alone a real scientist). When they grew up, some of these kids still couldn't distinguish a fairy tale character from a real tooth fairy so they actually started to believe that he is a scientist and he can answer questions they have about science.

For example, as the video above shows, two days ago, Nye's fan named Tom from Western Australia asked about the quantum entanglement. If quantum entanglement may transfer the information instantaneously or superluminally (Tom wanted to boast how educated he was, so he also pointed out that another term for "quantum entanglement" is "quantum spookiness", not bad, Tom!), how will it change the world?

Superbumps, a new (and imminent?) signature of supersymmetry

Pairs of nearby CP-even, CP-odd resonances

I do believe that the main idea is sort of obvious – and had to come to the mind of many particle physicists who were thinking about the possibly emerging new \(750\GeV\) cernette particle – but I also think it is great that Yang Bai and Joshua Berger have posted a special preprint dedicated to this idea, the first (and therefore characteristically bold) preprint of hep-ph today titled

Superbumps (arXiv)
Normally, supersymmetry is a Grassmann-odd continuous symmetry generated by "fermionic" operators \(Q_\alpha\) which transforms bosons to fermions and vice versa. But these infinitesimal generators transform as spinors and the \(d=4\) spinor has at least two complex components.

LHC: a probe beam is already circulating!

That means that you can act with the supersymmetry generators repeatedly and get bosons from bosons or fermions from fermions as well.

Microsoft's feminists murdered a baby once it correctly concluded that feminism was cancer

Fortunately, the kid was an Electronic American

Hours ago, we were given some sci-fi-style evidence that the "social justice warriors" are the new Nazis who want to strip us of our basic rights and freedoms or, if we keep on being very inconvenient for them, our life for ideological reasons. What happened?

Microsoft shuts AI bot Tay after Twitterati teaches it racism
Yes, thankfully, the victim wasn't a biological kid in this case. At any rate, on Wednesday, Microsoft launched Tay, an artificially intelligent bot that was capable of engaging in playful conversations with the other Twitter users.

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

Top standard center-right party politicians look so close again

Is an oligarchy threat helpful to remind the parties what they should stand for and against?

Yesterday in the afternoon, along with 348,000 viewers above 15 years of age, I spent more than four hours by watching the full live broadcast from the lower chamber of the Czech Parliament. A special session was dedicated to the Stork Nest affair of the finance minister and billionaire Mr Andrej Babiš.

To make the story short, he admitted that he wanted to please his adult daughters – and the brother of his domestic partner – who have always loved horses. So he created a special farm for them which looked uneconomic. So he transferred the Stork Nest Farm to the anonymous stocks which allowed him to get $2 million in EU subsidies (meant to help small businesses that couldn't even get any loan). We have heard that he has lied about the owners during the 5-year-long era of the subsidy because he wanted to protect his kids, as his family is the most precious thing he has, and every parent should understand it.

We can understand it but our understanding of the motivation, even if it is accurate, doesn't mean that we think that he's innocent. Even when someone does something criminal or unethical because of his love for his children etc., he must be held responsible for these acts. Indeed, if he wants to be praised for something he has done for his spoiled brats and Mr Herodes, he should also spend those years in the prison. In fact, I think that by this admission, the kids and the de facto brother-in-law have been named as fellow culprits and it seems reasonable to me to arrest them for several years, too. They applied for a $2 million subsidy claiming to be small-scale enterpreneurs in tourist industry which was a lie – a subsidy-related fraud.

They may have a long time in the prison to thank their daddy who is the actual mastermind of all this stuff.

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

LHC: some new weak deviations from the Standard Model

ATLAS and CMS have released lots of papers in recent days. I will very briefly mention a few ATLAS graphs you may find interesting.

In a search for \(ZZ\to\ell\ell qq \) resonances, Figure 4 shows a 2-sigma (locally) spread excess for \(m_H\sim 950\GeV\). Between \(450\GeV\) and \(750\GeV\), there is a comparably strong deficit.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Is Brussels a good place for the EU capital?

My condolences to the victims' friends and families.

A few days ago, a culprit of the Paris Friday 13th (November) attacks was caught alive in Brussels, the capital of Belgium and the EU. Sadly, the revenge (by the bombmaker from Paris plus two brothers) was brutal. In ISIS-designed suicide explosion attacks (Wiki) at the airport and a subway station, at least 14+20 people were killed today in the morning at 8:00 am and 9:10 am, respectively (add 250 injuries). As Pakistani string theorist Amer Iqbal tweeted, Islam came to Brussels.

The suicide explosions haven't used the full power of the Atomium so far, thank God.

Well, the reality is that according to 2005 estimates, Islam came to Brussels a long time ago because about 25.5% of the Brussels folks are said to have ancestry in Islamic countries (mostly Turkey and Morocco). We're often taught that Brussels is a city shared by the linguistic groups of the Flemish (Dutch) and Walloon (French) people. But if 25.5% of the pie should be labeled very differently, one is tempted to say that the usual wisdom about the ethnic groups of Brussels is heavily outdated.

Weinberg's "deconstruction of the measurement" isn't wrong but it's pointless

Steven Weinberg has published a new paper about the foundations of quantum mechanics (QM) in PRA:

What Happens in a Measurement?
The paper implicitly suggests that some conceptually important problem may be solved by comments involving the Lindblad equation. I think that in this case, he never says things that are sharply wrong (at most distortions of the history). But in between the lines, he seems to write that certain steps are useful to clarify the situation even though they aren't.

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

The LHC collider isn't homophobic

Anti-LGBT posters must be as allowed as pro-LGBT posters

Dozens of newspapers including The Daily Mail, The Sunday Times, The Independent, International Business Times, PinkNews, and The Australian claim that the LHC is the Large Homophobic Collider. Why?

To make the story short, the reason is that at least one employer of CERN – Aidan Randle-Conde (whose name has appeared on TRF many times, e.g. here where I couldn't agree about his tirade against combos) – has been whining that not every other employee of CERN has been taking his posters promoting assorted sodomy festivals seriously. Someone wrote "Schwein" (or a logo of a pig) and even a quote from the Bible on his posters. It's an unacceptable campaign of hate and intolerance, Aidan whines.

Saturday, March 19, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Weinberg is right, historians are wrong

Hindsight and modern knowledge essential for a sensible evaluation of thinkers of the past

In Science News, Tom Siegfried reviews the (otherwise ordinary) 2015 book "To Explain the World" by Steven Weinberg

Physicist’s story of science breaks historians’ rules
in an interesting way, as an intellectual confrontation about the meaning of the history of science between scientists as represented by Weinberg and the historians of science as represented by more mediocre scholars without famous names.

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

Chinese battery investor pays to build Czech Musk killers

Mr Jan Procházka [John Walk, the 2nd most widespread male given name and the 6th most frequent Czech surname] is a Czech inventor who has worked for Altair, a battery producer, in Nevada where they have utilized some his patents. Electric buses produced by Škoda here in Pilsen use his design, too, just to make you sure that this man has made things that really work and he's no Czech Andrea Rossi. ;-)

But since 2015, the Czech media have talked about his purported game-changing invention.

Procházka is the CEO of HE3DA and he's been looking for an investor who would allow him to build large batteries according to this invention. A week ago, Chinese businessman Chu Juan Pin agreed to pay €50 million for a 49% stake in a company that will produce these batteries.

In this counting, the company is worth about €100 million but the Chinese investor should pay this amount by itself and I am confused by these financial details.

Young Western Europeans begin to emigrate to Czechia

On Wednesday, the Czech news server published the article

Western youth is targeting Czechia. They feel safer here.
As John pointed out, the story has also made it to Breitbart:
White flight: young professionals flock to conservative, mass migration-free Czech Republic
Well, to call my homeland (the ultimate egalitarian country) where right-wing parties have some 15% in the Parliament – and it's been like that throughout most of our history – "conservative" sounds a bit comical but I don't want to laugh too much because the "conservativeness" that they refer to is a certain kind of social conservativeness or at least the freedom from most kinds of the political correctness.

Let me say a few things about the history and the present of migration related to Czechia.

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

Rumor: Moriond denied new ATLAS almost 5-sigma evidence of \(750\GeV\) cernette

Ms Els Koffeman, a physics professor in Amsterdam, has coined the term "cernette" for the hypothetical object that manifests itself as the diphoton excess of the apparent invariant mass of \(750\GeV\). One must be careful: there may be several cernettes.

While these four Les Horribles Cernettes (LHC) surely exist (or existed when the LHC tunnel was filled with some outdated equipment), does the particle of mass \(750\GeV\) actually exist? Or are the 285 arXiv preprints (as of today) dedicated to a fairy?

That's almost certainly the #1 question asked by participants of Recontres de Moriond, a famous conference that takes place this week in Aosta Valley, Italy.

Some people may want to follow the Moriond Twitter account.

Blogger or Disqus have segregated the national discussions: a fix

Update: I fixed the split by adding a command in the HTML source that re-internationalizes the canonical URLs that are served to Disqus. What should have been canonical is canonical again and the global TRF community is reunited. ;-) That's why I moved this blog post to the past.
Either Disqus, the world's top web commenting company that has been running the platform for discussions on this blog for several years (after I migrated from Haloscan/JS-Kit/Echo by a difficult process), or Blogger, a company within Google, has changed something in the way how the URLs are transferred in between the two servers.

Consequently, as John Gsheep has pointed out (although a bit more mysteriously than this blog says), all the comments posted to one national edition of this blog are invisible to the visitors of all other national editions right now. The problem has existed for one day. Is there a way to see the comments by fellow members of the TRF community again, or have we been segregated into decoupled national cliques by dozens of iron curtains?

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

A small but interesting ATLAS gluino/stop excess

The LHC is continuing its powering tests and the schedule says that on Tuesday, March 29th, after the Easter, the beam should be resuscitated just like Jesus Christ and it should return to the ring.

Meanwhile, ATLAS and CMS are releasing additional papers. Most of them show good agreement with the Standard Model or less than 2-sigma excesses. But...

Will Hyperloop merge Slovak and Austrian capitals by 2020?

Cosmology: BICEP3 began to collect data yesterday. Papers may be out at the end of 2016. BICEP3 has 5 times as many sensors and pixels as BICEP2, resolution 0.5° instead of 0.35° of BICEP2, and frequency 95 Hz instead of 150 Hz of BICEP2. They should be able to see weaker tensor perturbations.
In recent days, most of the important Slovak, Czech, and English newspapers – e.g. the Daily Mail – have informed us about Slovakia's becoming the most enthusiastic pioneer of certain technologies, namely Hyperloop.

Bratislava is a fun city, somewhat similar to Pilsen.

Hyperloop is an open-source concept for fast transportation based on the late 18th century "atmospheric railways" and, using some modern buzzwords and backing by billions of dollars, resuscitated by Elon Musk. Capsules in an evacuated tube are driven by pressure differences (e.g. air compressors) as well as electromagnetic fields (induction) – I don't actually understand why he needs both and which of them is more important – and the maximum speeds reach 1,200 kilometers per hour.

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

The \(\pi\) day: what's the product of all primes?

It is \(4\pi^2\) but don't stop reading.

Yesterday, on March 14th, we celebrated Einstein's birthday as well as the Pi Day (3/14). You could have bought Wolfram Mathematica at a discount, especially because it was the rounded \(\pi\) day, 3.1416.

In Germany and countries influenced by Germany, we often use the term "Ludolph number" for \(\pi\) – the "Archimedes constant", as the English-speaking world tends to say – because 400 years ago, the director of a fencing school and mathematics professor Ludolph van Ceulen calculated 20 digits of \(\pi\) by approximating it with the regular 1,073,741,284-gon after he decided that he wanted to have a cool tombstone (some digits were added later). Yes, the number of the sides is \(2^{30}\) so you may get the result by "halving and halving 30 times" – this method was already known to Archimedes 1700 years earlier – and the deviation of the circumference of this "billiongon" from the circle goes like "one over one billion squared". About 20 digits, indeed.

The number \(\pi\) is the most popular irrational number among the laymen. They associate various supernatural properties with it – as you could see in the thriller named Pi. Much of this hype is irrational (much like \(\pi\), pun intended) because all other irrational or transcendental numbers – and almost all real numbers are irrational and transcendental – share those properties (similar to irrationality) that the laymen are capable of describing by words (e.g. their digits are hard to remember). Some of the hype is justified because \(\pi\) really appears at nice places of mathematics.

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

Is physics of the sixth place of decimals important?

In his essay

In Defense of Lord Kelvin, Michelson, and the Physics of Decimals,
Tetragraviton starts with the well-known slogan attributed to Lord Kelvin, basically "everything in physics has already been discovered and only details are left". In reality, William Thompson hasn't made this statement. But Albert Michelson, the co-father of the Morley-Michelson experiment disproving the aether wind (and showing the need for relativity), has made a longer but extremely similar statement. The precise measurements and the "sixth place of decimals" are the future of physics, Michelson argued.

Sunday, March 13, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Jordan algebras are neither natural nor essential for quantum mechanics

Pascual Jordan was one of the 3-5 true founders of quantum mechanics. His contributions have been largely erased from the history books and textbooks because of his Nazi faith and he hasn't even received a Nobel prize – which I consider completely unfair – but that doesn't mean that I am ready to worship everything that Jordan was obsessed with.

One of these things were Jordan algebras which he proposed as the modern correct formalization of the "algebra of observables" in quantum mechanics in 1933. If you're not familiar with those, you may look at the definition and the first strange thing that you quickly notice is that the Jordan algebras are non-associative. How can the multiplication of operators be non-associative?

Saturday, March 12, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Babiš's Stork's Nest and the rabble's double standards

The silence surrounding the scandal of the Czech finance minister's fraudulent $2 million EU subsidies is deafening, especially in comparison with the tiny sins that were apparently enough to remove some governments in the past.

The rabble has apparently chosen its new king, the Slovak billionaire Andrej Babiš, who fights against the richer and prettier neighbors of the members of the rabble. And that's why this rabble forgives everything to this giant aßhole, including his unusual wealth.

Years ago, billionaire and former communist snitch Babiš boasted that the Stork's Nest was the best invention in his life so far. He was waiting in a line in the Prague zoo with his kids to feed the goats and because he's impatient, he decided that he had to build something similar which would belong to himself. Adolf Hitler built The Eagle's Nest so Babiš found it appropriate to invent the Stork's Nest for himself.

Friday, March 11, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Without H-1B visas, America will be losing its STEM hegemony

Donald Trump's protectionist tendencies are mostly myopic

By now, most people must have learned that it's totally plausible that Donald Trump will become the next president. The probability is almost certainly higher than 20 percent. I agree with many attitudes and views of Trump's. However, in the latest GOP debate, Trump vowed to abolish the H-1B visas.

They're non-immigration visas for skilled foreign workers. At every moment, at most 85,000 people may be present in the U.S. 98% of this cap is depleted at almost all times. About 50% of these foreigners on visas work in some kind of computer industry. The temporary status means that they're granted for 3 years and may be renewed for additional 3 years but 6 years is the maximum.

Measurement isn't a violation of unitarity

In the mid 1920s, thanks to the conservative yet revolutionary work by giants such as Heisenberg, the foundations of physics have switched from the old framework of classical physics to the postulates of quantum mechanics.

The new general rules have been completely understood. Since that time, only the search for the "right Hamiltonians" and "their implications" was open. The new philosophical underpinnings were shown to be consistent, complete, nothing has changed about them since 1925 (or we might put the threshold to 1927 so that the papers clarifying the uncertainty principle etc. are included), and all the evidence suggests that there's no reason to expect any change to these basic philosophical foundations of physics in the future.

Florin Moldoveanu doesn't like these facts because much of his work (and maybe most of it) is based on the denial of the fact that quantum mechanics works and it works remarkably well. So he wrote, among other things:

Luboš sees no value in the quantum foundations community because the proper interpretation was settled in his opinion long time ago and all quantum foundations practitioners must be crackpots (obviously there is no love lost between the quantum foundation community and Luboš).
Apparently to show that something hasn't been clear about the basic rules of the game since the 1920s, he wrote a blog post dominated by the basic introduction to the Leibniz identity, the Jacobi identity, and tensor products. Are you joking, Florin? While the universal postulates of quantum mechanics have been known since the 1920s, the "fancy new hi-tech topics" that you discussed now have been known at least since the 19th century!

Computers' dominance in Go was inevitable

Which activities will preserve the "advantage humans"?

This topic has hijacked a a thread on quantum gravity so let me dedicate a special blog post to that issue. A computer (Google's AlphaGo) has repeatedly beaten Lee Sedol, the world's best human Go player of the last decade, denied him his $1 million bounty, and some people can't believe their eyes.

Well, I congratulate to the programmer(s). But I feel vindicated, too. I have always considered the idea that "Go is so spectacularly human and complex that computers wouldn't become the champions for centuries, if ever" to be an idiotic religion. For some background on this "Mystery of Go" religion, check e.g. this 2014 article in Wired.

Thursday, March 10, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

An explicit model for complementarity in quantum gravity

Restoring the global image out of a fragment of a hologram, QG edition

Since the early 1990s, the black hole complementarity has been a philosophical paradigm capable of solving the information loss paradox. The detailed information may get out of the black hole (in patterns of the Hawking radiation), after all, because the degrees of freedom inside the black hole are scrambled functions of some degrees of freedom outside. But in order for this picture not to contradict some well-known facts, the scrambling must be chaotic enough so that no patterns demonstrating the "equality" of the degrees of freedom in the two regions must be visible in low-energy experiments.

For a long time, this paradigm was rather vague. Numerous papers by Kyriakos Papadodimas and Suvrat Raju – that have been discussed on this blog – could have been viewed as steps towards explicit formulae that show us how the black hole complementarity works. From the beginning, they acknowledge that locality can't be "quite exact". It means that the local fields cannot be taken for granted, either.

Instead, one assumes that there is a fixed Hilbert space of microstates to start with and the algebra of effective local field operators – especially those in the black hole interior – has to be embedded into that Hilbert space. Using the thermal doubling tricks and some other clever ideas, they have showed that there is a way to do so that preserves all the properties of the local operators as long as you don't multiply too many of them.

In simple experiments, physics of the black hole interior looks local. Complicated, very fine experiments are capable of proving the nonlocality – the refusal of the black hole interior to exist "quite independently" from the exterior.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Germans are banning pork sausages

This information isn't quite new and I shouldn't have missed it almost a month ago. But I finally did notice it today and I was shocked:

GERMANY BANS SAUSAGES: Pork banned in cafes and schools to 'not offend refugees' (Express)

See also: RT, Deutsche Welle, Punching Bag
The story is simple: cafés and school canteens – for example a company cooking for hundreds of schools in Berlin – have eliminated sausages and pork in general from their menus. It looks like a "voluntary effort" not to offend the migrants and those who are doing so claim that it gives them a "competitive advantage". Many of those companies have switched to a purely vegetarian cuisine.

Politicians in Merkel's CDU are actually playing the "more sensible role" in these affairs and they are trying to fight the bans.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Sanders is an anti-science pinko commie socialist

Jenny Splitter is a self-described "mom, writer, storyteller, science advocate, and feminist" but she wrote a widely read text asserting that

Bernie Sanders Isn’t Pro-Science (and Neither Are Most Progressives).
Because leftwingers love to liquidate their own renegades, you should agree that this is a rather bold blog post. She starts with Sanders' tweet
“For those of us who believe in science, you simply cannot ignore what the scientific community is saying almost unanimously.”
and quickly tells you that he is actually anti-science because he is anti-nuclear, anti-GMO-foods, a supporter of alternative medicine, and a rural hippie in general.

Monday, March 07, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Continental Europe should pay to, rely on neither Turkey nor Greece

Three weeks ago, I mentioned that the Visegrád Group wanted to close the Balkan route while Angela Merkel wanted to promote Turkey to the role of the supreme defender of Europe.


These days, these two plans reflect the two dominant and fundamentally different "next moves" that European nations are taking. What has changed? The Balkan route has been de facto closed. Migrants are no longer flowing from Greece to Macedonia. This step was obviously needed, it was straightforward to realize it, and it came true with the help of some Visegrád Group cops and soldiers – although I am sure that Macedonia would have been able to seal its border by itself.

Today, European and Turkish leaders are meeting in Brussels to discuss the role of Turkey in the migration issue. To prove that they spend all their lives in a virtual Lalaland, Angela Merkel and Jean-Claude Juncker want to drop the mere formulation of the fact that the Balkan route has been closed from a statement. The idea that these unhinged idiots have de facto teamed up with the immature Mark Zuckerberg to determine what can be said on the world's largest social network – and who will be censored or banned – is frightening.

These people doing their best to deny reality as a whole should be relocated to a psychiatric asylum. Instead, their nations allow these nuts to play the role of the moderators of the global Internet.

Claims about contradictions in first kind measurement are crackpottery

On his blog, Florin Moldoveanu (who describes himself as a researcher in foundations of quantum mechanics) wrote lots of tedious blog posts that were rich in formalism but some of them looked valid.

Even though most of these texts look much more cryptic than necessary, I was repeatedly tempted to think that he must ultimately understand quantum mechanics. But at a sufficient frequency, he posts something that is so self-evidently wrong that the belief that he might be more than just another anti-quantum zealot evaporates almost instantly. These neverending bogus claims about "problems" within quantum mechanics are the only thing that most of the "community" of the anti-quantum zealots calling themselves "researchers in quantum foundations" keeps on producing.

That was also the case of Moldoveanu's recent text

Use and abuse of von Neumann measurement of the first kind
in which he claimed that quantum mechanics with the "first kind measurement" – which, in von Neumann's jargon (and von Neumann's measurement scheme), is basically the most ordinary canonical type of a measurement in quantum mechanics, as I will discuss – suffers from a "flaw" which means that at least one of the three good features below must be sacrificed:
  1. The wave function of a system is complete.
  2. It evolves via a linear equation.
  3. Measurements yield sharp outcomes.
Now, to understand quantum mechanics means to be sure about many things, including the validity of all three statements above – and about numerous other facts. Florin doesn't get it, so he obviously doesn't understand quantum mechanics.

Sunday, March 06, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

A very diverse new Slovak Parliament

Slovaks are very similar to Czechs and we have lived in the same country for quite some time. But the differences in the political attitudes and fashions are significant.

Slovakia voted for its new Parliament and the results are interesting. The turnout was 60%. Prime minister Robert Fico's Smer (Direction), the moderate social democratic party, won with 28.3% of the votes. That's a clear victory in comparison with the other parties – the second one had 12.1% – but a significant decrease from the last elections.

Eight or nine parties have made it above the 5% threshold needed to sit in the Parliament; the traditional Christian Democratic Movement is around 4.9% after 99.8% of votes have been counted and its chances to jump above 5.0% have shrunk considerably.

Saturday, March 05, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

A new Ghostbuster is a female hep-ph physicist

LHC: LHC started to wake up. Powering tests began today. According to the 2016 schedule, beam should return on Tuesday, March 29th (after Easter).
Ghostbusters was a fun movie.

It was released in 1984 and in Czechoslovakia, we weren't quite bombarded by all the new Hollywood production although we've seen many more Western movies than most Westerners imagine. I mostly knew Ghostbusters because of the Ghostbusters Commodore 64 game.

The sound still makes me excited – C64's sound chip was unusually good. But it's funny what sort of games looked high tech 32 years ago. It seems to me that this game was running in the 320 x 200 resolution which was needed for the full independent 16-color graphic regime. (C64 also had the sprites etc., I did lots of programming using all these special things.)

On the other hand, I am amazed that the game was released on the same year as the film.

At any rate, the 32-year-old movie will be rebooted. In July 2016, new Ghostbusters film will be released. The budget is about $150 million.

Thursday, March 03, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

LIGO black holes may be dark matter

Particle physicists prefer to believe that there exists dark matter and it's mostly composed of a new elementary particle species such as the WIMP (Weakly Interacting Massive Particle such as the LSP, the Lightest Supersymmetric Partner in supersymmetric theories, such as the neutralino, such as the bino or wino and so on) or the axion.

But such a dark matter particle hasn't been found and it's not crazy to assume that it doesn't exist. Some people want to modify Newton's or Einstein's equations (MOND etc.). But it's also possible that dark matter exists but it is not composed of elementary particles. It can be MACHO, RAMBO, SUPERMAN, PUTIN, or something else.

In fact, the two black holes that were detected by LIGO may be representatives of dark matter, as Simeon Bird and 7 co-authors (including AR, a Nobel prize winner) argue in the new preprint:

Did LIGO detect dark matter?
It's pretty much indisputable that what LIGO has seen was a merger of black holes. But what was their pedigree?

Wednesday, March 02, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

TBBT: not everyone can be a supernumerary actor

Filmmakers sometimes need to pay the extras. That's not the case of The Big Bang Theory.

Exactly two weeks ago, Howard learned about Bernadette's pregnancy. They organized a party, Sheldon got drunk, and he needed to go to the bathroom.

I am sure that most of the viewers have missed a "detail". Your humble correspondent surely did.

Jump to 1:49 of the video above. Do you see someone well-known on the screen? A high resolution is recommended.