## Thursday, December 12, 2013 ... /////

### Does a snowfall mean more than that it is snowing?

A climate fearmonger called Jared Huffman (D-Calif) who is ironically employed as the U.S. Congressman has said some "audacious" things in the U.S. Parliament:

We've Reached The Point Where Climate Change Deniers Need To Be Reminded That It Snows Every Year (The Huffington Post)
He tried to "remind" his colleagues that "a snowfall in December does not disprove climate change".

Well, the only problem is that it does.

Today, the winner of the $3 million 2014 Milner Prize (see candidates) will be announced in San Francisco along with five winners of the$3 million Milner-and-few-pals Award in Life Sciences (I hope that I remembered the official name of the honor exactly). One $3 million prize for a psychic (no kidding) will be decided in January. Watch the news. A week ago, Nima Arkani-Hamed gave a talk on a one-day symposium in Stony Brook; click here if the HTML5 video tag below doesn't work for you. His talk about the exotic methods to calculate the scattering amplitudes in gauge theory (and the whole symposium) was dedicated to David Kosower, Lance Dixon, and Zvi Bern who recently received the 2014 Sakurai Prize. ## Wednesday, December 11, 2013 ... ///// ### Fresh Nobelist Schekman boycotts glossy journals Various media have discussed the decision of the 2013 Medicine Nobel Prize winner Randy Scheckman of Berkeley (prize for the vesicles: public transportation within cells) Nobel winner declares boycott of top science journals (Guardian) His lab will no longer send articles to Nature, Science, and Cell. Schekman is the editor-in-chief of eLife and PNAS, "competing" journals. ### Crippling of Czechia by the emergent left-wing government begins While I emotionally prefer self-confident and readable right-wing Klaus-like governments, I actually do enjoy the life under technocratic and nominally "apolitical" governments, too. They feel that they are lacking some of the political support which is why they don't dare to intervene into people's lives too much. Sometimes they allow the citizens to enjoy more freedom they were used to. Technocratic governments may also adopt responsible attitudes like the reduction of the welfare and other things that are needed, right, but unpopular among many voters – because their goal isn't to look for the political support of these people during the next elections. The future prime minister Comrade Sobotka plans to suck blood out of all the "classes" and companeis that are unlikely to vote for his social democrats. The relatively happy era of the apolitical Jiří Rusnok's government is slowly approaching its final days. Right-wing parties have made lots of mistakes – including their de facto support for the early elections by which the Left came to power a year before the original, fair schedule. They have been apologizing for things they haven't done and for good things they have done and so on. The Czech nation is going to pay dearly very soon. ## Tuesday, December 10, 2013 ... ///// ### The first Amplituhedron paper is out We've been using the word "Amplituhedron" since September 2013 but only now, the first preprint with this word in the title was released: The Amplituhedron The authors, Nima Arkani-Hamed and Jaroslav Trnka ["Yuh-raw-sluff Turn-kuh" if you allow me to bastardize a Czech name), are preparing two more papers, "Into the Amplituhedron" and "Scattering Amplitudes from Positive Geometry", as well as a third paper along with Andrew Hodges, "Three Views of the Amplituhedron". ### IPCC models: Tolkien's Middle Earth threatened by global warming Did you ever believe that the IPCC climate models have something to do with the reality? Were you ever tempted to think that the contemporary climatologists are able to write and publish anything if it helps their funding? Researchers from the University of Bristol decided to settle the questions, once and for all. They used the climate models based on the same maths as used in the latest IPCC report and analyzed something that everyone knows to be damn real – the Middle Earth, a continent discovered by the explorer J.R. Tolkien. ## Monday, December 09, 2013 ... ///// ### American Dream: a Danish Reality? High social mobility isn't a clear net positive The American Dream is a national ethos of the U.S. Perhaps every third Hollywood movie describes the life story of a person born to poor conditions who makes it. The Americans themselves believe that this social mobility is one of the virtues in which the Americans beat other nations. The only problem is that the data suggest otherwise: The myth of the American Dream (CNN Money) Someone evaluated the "probability that you will be stuck in the same class as your parents", i.e. the social immobility of a sort. Denmark only has 0.15 so it's a country where the "dream" is true. Canada, Japan, France, Pakistan are between 0.3 and 0.5 but better than the U.S., the U.K. is slightly worse than the U.S., and Peru is much worse at 0.67. What's wrong here? ## Sunday, December 08, 2013 ... ///// ### Would it make sense for the current Academia to fire Peter Higgs? He's a nice chap but my answer is Yes Watch the live broadcast of the physics Nobel ceremony now. I turned it off once a woman talked about "darkness" and mentioned energy-saving light bulbs, sorry, this was just over the edge. What does this junk have to do with the Higgs boson? Wikipedia top: today, the main page of Wikipedia features the article on the AdS/CFT correspondence. I founded this article in May 2004 from my feynman.harvard.edu workstation at Harvard. See the original stub; "Lumidek" is also myself. Lots of work on that article has been done afterwords, indeed... ;-) Two days ago, The Guardian published an interesting interview with Peter Higgs: Peter Higgs: I wouldn't be productive enough for today's academic system Let me make it clear that I find him nice, relaxed, pleasant to be with (I shortly shared an office in Santa Barbara with him) and I have never had the slightest doubt that the Higgs/BEH mechanism is right and the Higgs boson exists. I sympathize with his slight disrespect to the honors (like the knighthood in 1999) and disagree with him on tons of other things (later). But he says he would have been sacked – and he has been almost sacked several times at a few points in the past – because he wouldn't be productive enough for the current system. I tend to think he is right and – although it will be inconvenient for the numerous fans he has earned – I think that the system might be right to fire him. ## Saturday, December 07, 2013 ... ///// ### Salaries and wages since 1932-1934: uniform 30-fold increase Some data suggest "almost no progress" I was looking at some reality of the life in the U.S. of the "dirty 1930s": Incomes and prices in 1932-1934 What I was amazed by is that there seems to be no progress in a vast majority of the entries here. If you just multiply all the prices and wages by a factor of 30 (30 per 80 years corresponds to 300.0125=1.043 i.e. 4.3-percent average annual inflation rate), almost all the entries seem to coincide with the values now, 80 years later! (Dow Jones went from 50 or so to 16,000, i.e. by the factor of 300+, or the average 7.5% growth in these 80 years.) Most employed people could buy this home (at least all the material) for 1 annual salary. Hat tip: Joseph Sykora The only exception I am able to see now is the cigarette lighter for$0.39 – almost $12 current dollars in my conversion which would be too much – but that's it. Well, you may look at the autos: there aren't any cheap models available so they start at prices that are (at most) twice higher than the current ones and there are lots of very expensive cars. But in some sense, they are anomalies. Well, some of the food entries looked significantly more expensive than today, but not all of them (please add your detailed comments). ## Friday, December 06, 2013 ... ///// ### Reply to RealClimate's attack against the IPCC Rasmus Benestad and similar hardcore green Marxists are dreaming about the past that will never return again Since its initial fabrication in 2004, RealClimate.ORG was one of the most notorious websites of the climate propaganda, at least among those that attempted to look like an official arm of the scientists. Because I wrote an essay about the IPCC report for the Václav Klaus Institute two months ago and the title was Fifth IPCC report: a blow of glasnost into the climate panic (where I compared the ongoing sizzling of the climate panic to the reforms in USSR under Gorbachev), I am not surprised that hardcore demagogues at RealClimate.ORG are offended by the toned down character of the IPCC report, especially the Summary for Policymakers that used to compete with the most radical Greenpeace booklets until AR4. Rasmus Benestad made his unhappiness clear in the new RealClimate.ORG text titled A failure in communicating the impact of new findings where he claims that the writing of the summary followed wrong procedures, led to a wrong result, and should be completely changed. What Rasmus Benestad overlooks is a subtlety known as the "reality". ### ER-EPR and distortions in the media Lots of news outlets wrote stories about the link between the entanglement and wormholes, an insight that I find important, fascinating, and almost certainly true: TRF June 2013. But my excitement about the insight doesn't imply a satisfaction with the newspaper articles because they're just way too misleading. The first question you should ask is: Why now? Why didn't they write a lot about the ER-EPR correspondence when it was first published? The answer is that the Maldacena-Susskind preprint from June 2013 hasn't appeared in any classical journal. The journalists aren't able to follow preprints on the arXiv, they have no knowledgeable informers, and they are probably ignorant about the importance of names such as Maldacena and Susskind, too. So they missed it. They almost always do. Let me analyze an article in some detail and clarify why I consider pretty much every sentence misleading. It could be done with many newspaper articles but I will pick International Business Time, a newspaper I have mostly no trouble with. It's useful. A young writer named Charles Poladian wrote a story What Is Quantum Entanglement? The 'Spooky Action' Of Quantum Mechanics Linked To Wormholes for IBT. What's wrong with that? ### Thieves of cobalt-60 in Mexico likely to die Thanks for all the wishes, everyone! Yes, a celebration is a part of it but yes, I do think it's a day just like any other day – perhaps a better one than the average. ;-) Today, 1/3 of the TRF visitors are Hungarians who came from this Hungarian server, index.hu, to my 2011 page about the radioactive source found in Prague's playground which was medically related. The reason for the new Hungarian report – and many others in the whole world (e.g. Time) – is that some thieves stole a truck in Mexico. Stealing is wrong and these thieves are likely to learn it in the hard way because they're likely to perish because the truck had lots (40 grams) of cobalt-60 in it. ### Doubly protected Higgs is naturally natural Nathaniel Craig (now Rutgers) and Kiel Howe (Stanford) released an interesting preprint Doubling down on naturalness with a supersymmetric twin Higgs which provides a very nice explicit example why one should never be too ambitious when deducing consequences of naturalness – why "small unnaturalness" is never a problem or a problem that may be solved by a better model. They consider an extension of the Minimal Supersymmetric Standard Model which protects the Higgs boson by two protection mechanisms. One of them is the supersymmetry, in the usual sense, and the other protection mechanism is (in their particular case) the twin Higgs mechanism. ## Thursday, December 05, 2013 ... ///// ### Dark matter $0.11\meV$ axion discovered in 2004 via Josephson junctions Or at least some deviation may be interpreted in this remarkable way! Two days ago, Nude Socialist's Katia Moskvitch (yes, it was a Soviet car) wrote an unusually useful article promoting a September 2013 hep-ph preprint by Christian Beck (Cambridge and London; a twin brother of Glenn Beck who is also a Christian, after all, both Mormon and Roman Catholic one) that we apparently missed: Hints of cold dark matter pop up in 10-year-old circuit (NS) Possible resonance effect of axionic dark matter in Josephson junctions (arXiv, free) The probable reason why Nude Socialist managed to notice this interesting paper is that they may follow all papers in PRL where the paper appeared on Monday. And it seems very interesting, indeed. ### Václav Klaus: French criticism of the global warming champions' fanaticism Translation from Czech (by LM) Review of Pascal Bruckner's book "The Fanaticism of the Apocalypse" by the Czech ex-president Pascal Bruckner, a significant personality belonging to the contemporary generation of French writers, a member of the left-wing "nouveaux philosophie", wrote an important book for the French people but comparably important for us as well – us who were mostly suckled on the Anglo-Saxon reasoning and who tend to underestimate the French in the social-scientific fields or, to put it more precisely, who tend to associate the French with a very illiberal thinking. ### Hexagonal shape of Saturn's vortex Saturn's hexagon (a long-term storm near the North Pole) has been known to exist at least since 1988. See also TRF 2007. NASA's Cassini mission has just revealed this picture of the six-sided jet stream. ## Wednesday, December 04, 2013 ... ///// ### Making exceptional symmetries of SUGRA manifest I found at least two hep-th papers interesting today. Nathan Berkovits brings us some field redefinition that maps his pure spinor formalism to the RNS formalism, using a new method of "dynamical twisting". My understanding is that it's not sufficient to understand why the calculated amplitudes agree. But I will only discuss Exceptional Field Theory I: $E_{6(6)}$ covariant Form of M-Theory and Type IIB by Olaf Hohm and Henning Samtleben. The names may sound German to you but it's technically a French-American collaboration. ;-) I don't know the authors but I know all 4 people thanked in the acknowledgements, Liu, Nicolai, Taylor, and Zwiebach. Supergravity (or M-theory) compactified on tori produces lower-dimensional theories with non-compact exceptional continuous (or discrete) symmetries (called the U-duality group in the M-theory case). Exceptional groups are sexy and mysterious, too. It has always been plausible that a decent understanding of the origin of these exceptional symmetries could provide us with a new, spectacularly clear view into string theory's deepest inner workings. It could be just a straightforward technical result without far-reaching implications, too. We can't know for sure. Formulations that make duality symmetries of string/M-theory manifest became popular in recent years. ### PNAS: male, female brains wired along different paths Female brains don't separate the hemisphere much but they do divide front and back more sharply I have been sure for decades that the biological differences between the male and female brains are significant and are the ultimate reason of the statistical differences in the interests, talents, and achievements of men and women. The evidence is formidable and growing. Two days ago, PNAS revealed the online pre-publication version of a Pennsylvania-Princeton paper Sex differences in the structural connectome of the human brain by Ingalhalikar and 9 co-authors. The paper was discussed by all major media including the BBC, the Guardian, Fox News (video report where they spin the female specifics in a much more ludicrously positive direction than in the left-wing media), HuffPo, Forbes (on social implications), and many others. ## Tuesday, December 03, 2013 ... ///// ### Hurricane forecasts are worthless I don't know the methods that folks in NOAA are using to forecast the number of Atlantic hurricanes and I am not interested in these methods because they clearly don't work. Pages such as this one (with different years in the URL) show you tables with the predicted and actual number of named storms, hurricanes, and major hurricanes for the relevant year. Let us look at years 2001-2013 and focus on the actual numbers from NOAA in May. Note that the hurricane season includes months between June and November and the 2013 season has officially ended last Saturday. ### Feynman lectures on physics: Volume III now free Free online quantum mechanics course from a top guru In September, I mentioned that some folks were transforming the Feynman Lectures on Physics to free web pages with MathJax, the same $\rm\LaTeX$-based system to write elegant mathematical expressions that has been used on this blog for two years or so. Only Volume I was available at that time. ### Neoworx, neocounter: RIP I thought that the Neocounter in the right lower sidebar was the prettiest visitor counter on the market – because of the many types of geographic statistics and the pretty animations that many of you were surely hating (and you will cynically celebrate a few seconds by which the website speeds up!) – and I was paying over$50 annually for that reason. However, I was an exception and the counters went out of business today.

Dear user,

It saddens me to inform you that after 9 years of services, I am stopping my web counter activity. The shift from blogs to social networks and the overwhelming competition of free services has dramatically decreased my customer base to the point where I can no longer pay for the hosting of my servers.

I will do my best to refund you pro rata of the time elapsed since your last payment. Please wait for an email from the designated company liquidator.

I thank you wholeheartedly for the interest you have shown in my products during all these years. It was a great adventure for me.

Please find here-after your most recent visitor count. I am sure that you will find a suitable replacement for my counters.

Roberto
Well, I would like my list or database. In total, the counter was showing almost 10 million visits from something like 240 countries – many more than the folks in the United Nations are able to enumerate. ;-)

## Monday, December 02, 2013 ... /////

### Einstein and Eddington: a film

Joseph Sykora sent me a link to a 94-minute-long 2008 BBC Two film about Eddington and Einstein:

It's no documentary. Expect a drama movie that may be watched by those not too interested in physics as well. I liked it a lot (despite the artistic license to modify the history) and you should watch it, too.

### Unconstrained MSSM: LSP is pure Higgsino or pure wino

There are several interesting hep-ph papers today, especially those about supersymmetry, but I chose to highlight

LHC and dark matter phenomenology of the NUGHM
by Maria Eugenia Cabrera, Alberto Casas, Roberto Ruiz de Austri, Gianfranco Bertone (Amsterdam, Madrid, Valencia). They calculate a probability distribution for various masses of electroweak superpartners given the current accelerator and dark-matter constraints (and numerical observables).

They work within NUGHM which is a rather generic MSSM with "non-universal gaugino and Higgs masses". This subset of the MSSM parameter space is much less constrained than e.g. CMSSM.

### Ukraine's place in Europe is a subtle issue

Thousands of people rallying in the Ukrainian capital demand the resignation of the pro-Moscow president Yanukovitch after he refused to sign a pro-EU trade deal, apparently favoring a closer economic integration with Russia (Putin uses the carrot-and-stick approach to make sure that such an attitude may be rational).

The protests turned violent and some of the opposition groups claim that the violence was added to the mix by Yanukovitch's provocateurs. I am aware of no protocol to find out who is right.

One of 15 results of the quiz "name the countries of Europe" given to the Americans by buzzfeed.com. Ukraine is the territory labeled as "Kamchatka" elsewhere or "Mongolia" above (don't confuse it with the much more Eastern region labeled as "another Mongolia"; that's Kazakhstan and it's mostly in Asia). Click the map for other attempts.

Like during the "Orange Revolution" in 2004, many people in the West think that these events are very important. Well, I don't think so. People in the West love to think that all the nations of the Soviet bloc – and perhaps even all the nations of the Soviet Union – are free-minded Western-like nations who are being constantly suppressed by foul techniques of the Russians.

It ain't so. Especially in the U.S., many of the misconceptions boil down to a poor knowledge of geography. In fact, most of the republics in the USSR are intrinsically, culturally, and historically "more Eastern" than Russia itself. Ukraine is a marginal case.