...more precisely screwing string theory...
The 5,250+ TRF blog entries discuss various topics, mostly scientific ones, including minor advances. However, there isn't any text on this website that would talk about matrix string theory (inpendently found 2 months later by a herald who inaugurated the new Dutch king and an ex-co-author of mine along with two twins).
If you search for the closest topic, you will find one article about Matrix theory published a year ago and a supplement about membranes in Matrix theory that was added a week later.
...more precisely screwing string theory...
What is the most intensely discussed event in the Czech news these days?
Czech president Miloš Zeman decided to reject the recommendation of an academic council at the Charles University and not to name Dr Martin C. Putna as a full professor. The title "professor" is supposed to be somewhat more special in Czechia because the people with this proper title are named by the president of the country personally. In some sense, they're more analogous to the holders of the National Medal of Science. Like the amnesty, pardons, and members of the constitutional courts, the ability to influence the composition of the full professors is one of the traces of the power of the Czech president – a role that has become largely ceremonial over the decades.
Judging by the screaming in the media and comments and votes in various discussions, about 95% if not 99% of the people in the political parties, schools, and various intellectuals and pseudointellectuals criticize president Zeman for the decision. I can't even imagine how isolated I would feel if I belonged to that environment. In certain cases, one simply has to remain a dissident. When one dares to agree with such a decision by the president of the country, it's clearly one of these heresies.
It must be politically incorrect to point out that Mr Putna is a decadent moron and bigot who shouldn't be considered a good scholar – and who would clearly devaluate and humiliate the ring of the word "professor" if he were elected one. President Zeman must see it in a similar way and he wrote the justification of the refusal to the ministry of education. Many people are screaming that he must publish the justification except that 1) it's not the president's duty, 2) it would only lead to an escalation of the problems. How would it help if President Zeman pointed out that from a scholarly perspective, Mr Putna is just a pile of politically correct decadent crap?
Things have improved a little bit in the attitude of the media to the climate debate.
Click here if you don't see a proper video above.
This is what Princeton physicist Prof Will Happer was allowed to point out on TV – and it wasn't even Fox News! ;-)
The following paper by Jonathan Heckman of Harvard is either wrong, or trivial, or revolutionary:
U.S.: As predicted and discussed on TRF exactly 3 months ago, Ernest Moniz became the new U.S. secretary of energy.Valtr Komárek died today (Fox News). He was one of the key minds behind the Velvet Revolution, in some sense a senior collaborator of the current Czech president and the previous one, and a left-wing politician whom I respected – and be sure they make up a very exclusive set.
His unusual biography reflects the dramatic history of Czechoslovakia and the whole world in the 20th century.
Paul O. helped me to possess an iPod Touch, because of my modest contributions to his Our Climate app. I have downloaded about 500 applications on the device and the new addition today is called Just Science. This free app occupies about 50 megabytes on your iDevice.
It was created by the Novim Group led by Michael Ditmore at UC Santa Barbara; the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature team led by Richard Muller belongs to the group.
The application does one thing only – it shows you a map of the globe with animated colorful maps showing how the temperature was changing between 1800 or so and today in various regions around stations that reported and on a monthly basis.
Richard Dawid is a philosopher of science who was trained as a high-energy theoretical physicist and his new book that you may pre-order – it will be released at the end of June – isn't another addition to the rants by endless rows of populist crackpots, jerks, and imbeciles who try to criticize string theory without a glimpse of a rational justification (those extraordinarily stupid and dishonest books peaked about 7 years ago).
Instead, it is a philosopher's attempt to identify and localize, name, summarize, articulate, and present the reasons why string theory could have become the definition of status quo in the state-of-the-art theoretical physics despite the fact that the most natural conditions that string theory has something "new and direct" to say about seem to be inaccessible far from the currently doable experiments.
During my decade in the U.S., my tax returns got audited at least twice – both of them had to be fixed when I was already back in Europe and Obama was in charge (2009, for 2007); one was federal and the other one was a Massachusetts tax audit under Deval Patrick (related to 2006, done in 2010). The number seems high to everyone and I view it as rather strong evidence that it's no coincidence.
A scandal in the U.S. strengthens the case:
Richard Feynman would celebrate his 95th birthday today.
BBC2 on Sunday: The Fantastic Mr Feynman to be aired; Telegraph review. Those who pay TV fees in the UK are probably allowed to download the video via this torrent. Well, they can watch it via iPlayer, too.One of the most colorful and ingenious physicists of the 20th century would deserve much more than a blog entry – so just like in the cases of other giants, I will abandon all attempts to write a would-be comprehensive biography.
Instead, you may watch this 37-minute NOVA interview (above) filmed in 1973. You're also invited to remind yourself about the story of Feynman and feminists (the latter were clearly immensely obnoxious already decades ago). Interestingly, you may look what I wrote exactly five years ago.
Many texts about the climate and related issues are highly, boringly repetitive. I believe that a typical person who regularly follows the research and debate about similar issues has heard 99% of the things that are written about the climate change or carbon dioxide etc. Even the research that claims to be new is often just rehashing some memes that have been around – and we usually have very good reasons to suspect that the results of the research were decided before the research was performed.
But there are some good exceptions. Two days ago, ex-moonwalker Harrison Schmitt and physics professor Will Happer of Princeton wrote an opinion article for the Wall Street Journal from which I could have learned some new things:
Harrison H. Schmitt and William Happer: In Defense of Carbon DioxideThe basic theme of the article is simple and most of us learned it as fifth-graders: CO2 is primarily the plant food while its other implications for Nature are negligible in comparison. Humanitarian organizations should work hard to help the mankind to increase the CO2 concentration and it's surprising that virtually all of them are failing to do so.
The demonized chemical compound is a boon to plant life and has little correlation with global temperature.
Heterosis or the hybrid vigor or outbreeding enhancement is the lucky event (and an important component of Darwin's evolution) in which the offspring has qualitites that surpass both parents, usually because it inherits the good characteristics from both.
The parents are on both sides.
If you search for "heterosis" or "hybrid vigor" via Google Images, you get lots of pictures of corn, puppies, cows, fictitious animal species, and Barack Obama, among other things.
In 1985, four Princeton physicists ignited the second part of the first superstring revolution (that began in 1984) when they discovered the cleverly named heterotic string in their two papers. These men, Gross+Harvey+Martinec+Rohm, are sometimes referred to as the Princeton String Quartet. You won't find any concert of theirs on YouTube but there are lots of pieces by the Brentano String Quartet playing at Princeton.
It is the second time when I was contacted by someone who seems to be a fan of Nassim Haramein. Who is that? Another surfer dude in Hawaii, a self-taught supergenius, we are told, who will give us unlimited free energy according to the green optimists (no, there has never been anything remotely rational about the environmentalists), who has an impressive website called The Resonance Project, who will unify the mankind, and do tons of other wonderful things.
In fact, when you search for YouTube videos with him, you seem to get over 75,000 hits, videos that cover not only his unified theory, physics and spirituality, the pyramids and orion belt, but also everything else that some folks could find deep and important.
Several debaters as well as complexity theorist Boaz Barak religiously worship their belief that it must be that \(P\neq NP\) and that the question whether the proposition holds is extremely deep because \(P=NP\) would revolutionize the whole world.
Most of their would-be arguments are examples irrational hype, fabricated justifications of the limited progress in a field, and group think. I will primarily focus on a single major wrong thesis they promote, namely the idea that a mechanical or polynomially fast or efficient algorithm to solve a problem specified by a short prescription must be short, too.
So let me begin.
The Riemann Hypothesis is probably the deepest one
In 2000, the Clay Mathematics Institute offered 7 times $1,000,000 for the proofs of the Millennium Prize Problems. Is it possible to compare which of them are deeper than others?
Needless to say, such a comparison depends on personal preferences, emotions, and there is probably no rigorous way to "prove" that one problem is deeper than others. However, that doesn't mean that one can't have an opinion; and it doesn't prevent some opinions from being more well-informed than others.
This text has been expanded and covers the rest of the book... Originally posted on May 1st
If you read my previous observations on Scott Aaronson's book including all the comments, you will see my remarks about all the chapters up to Chapter 15 about the quantum computation skeptics – where I agree with almost everything Aaronson writes although he seems to focus on the dumb criticisms and writes too little about the more intelligent ones (and e.g. about the error-correcting codes).
Chapter 16 is about learning; perhaps too much formalism if we compare it with the relatively modest implications for our understanding of the process of learning.
Chapter 17 is the most hardcore "computational complexity" part of the book and hopefully the last one that is intensely focusing on the complexity classes. It's about interactive proof systems. Aaronson often wants to present all of computer science as a "fundamental scientific discipline" so he tries to apply these superlatives to aforementioned "interactive issues", too.
I have a lot of trouble to get excited about these problems.