## Sunday, March 01, 2015 ... /////

### Physicist Boris Nemtsov assassinated near the Kremlin

Boris Jefimovič Němcov (don't you prefer this Czech spelling?) was born in 1959. In 1985, he got a PhD from the Gorky State University (he later became a "candidate" of physico-mathematical sciences) and for five years, he worked as a research fellow in the Gorky Radio Physics Research Institute.

He has actually authored over 60 publications (in Russian journals) in quantum physics, thermodynamics, and acoustics, including some papers about the "acoustics laser" that he invented, along with new designs for space-based antennas.

### John Pell: a birthday

I am pretty sure it's the first time I write about John Pell, an English 17th century mathematician.

He was born on March 1st, 1611, in Southwick, Sussex. When he was five and six, his father John Pell and mother Mary Holland of Kent died, respectively. However, his $4+4=8$ kids didn't learn what it means to be an orphan: he only died when he was 74.

During his life, he became an accomplished linguist, a diplomat, and he even proposed a universal language. He wrote about pedagogy, encyclopedism, and pansophy. Because he did all these pretty sophisticated non-mathematical things, I find it pretty weird that we remember him as a mathematician.

## Saturday, February 28, 2015 ... /////

### How science celebrities often hurt science

Backreaction responded to Lawrence Krauss' essay which argued that celebrity scientists such as Einstein, Feynman, Sagan, and Tyson are generally good for science and the society because they motivate young people, help to fight scientific nonsense, promote scientific literacy, and improve decision making.

Sabine Hossenfelder says that the celebrity status is just very weakly correlated with one's being a great scientist, she instinctively avoids fandoms, those celebrities do influence what scientists discuss and study, but she believes that they don't hurt, after all. In her perspective, the most serious related problem is that the vast majority of quality science gets unnoticed by the public; I agree with this comment. And she promotes science blogs as windows into the real science. Well, my reactions to this comment are mixed.

## Saturday, February 21, 2015 ... /////

### Many worlds: a Rozali-Carroll exchange

The Wrong Objections to the Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics
where he tries to defend some misconceptions about the "many worlds interpretation" of quantum mechanics while showing that he is totally unable and unwilling to think rationally and honestly.

After some vacuous replies to vacuous complaints by vacuous critics who love to say that physics isn't testable, he claims that the following two assumptions,
1. The world is described by a quantum state, which is an element of a kind of vector space known as Hilbert space.
2. The quantum state evolves through time in accordance with the Schrödinger equation, with some particular Hamiltonian.
imply that the worlds where other outcomes of quantum measurements materialized must be as "real" as our branch of this network of parallel world. This claim is self-evidently untrue. Quantum mechanics – as understood for 90 years – says that no such words "really" exist (they can't even be well-defined in any way) even though the theory respects the postulates.

So Carroll's claim is equivalent to saying that $12\times 2 = 1917$ because $1+1=2$ and $2+3=5$. Sorry but this would-be "derivation" is completely wrong.

## Friday, February 20, 2015 ... /////

### Barry Kripke wrote a paper on light-cone-quantized string theory

In the S08E15 episode of The Big Bang Theory, Ms Wolowitz died. The characters were sad and Sheldon was the first one who said something touching. I think it was a decent way to deal with the real-world death of Carol Ann Susi who provided Ms Wolowitz with her voice.

The departure of Ms Wolowitz abruptly solved a jealousy-ignited argument between Stewart and Howard revolving around the furniture from the Wolowitz house.

Also, if you missed that, Penny learned that she's been getting tests from Amy who was comparing her intelligence to the intelligence of the chimps. Penny did pretty well, probably more so than Leonard.

## Thursday, February 19, 2015 ... /////

### Bridge loan to default or haircut is an oxymoron

No sane person deliberately builds bridges to nowhere

The new Greek Marxist prime minister didn't receive his bonuses for being at work on time which is why he only sent his letter, originally planned for Wednesday, on Thursday. As I described in some detail in a successful comment on idnes.cz LOL, what we got was a variation of Spoiled Little Joe's Letter to Baby Jesus. ;-)

Odds are 98% that you don't speak Czech. In his letter, little Joe is increasingly upset and obscene because he is not satisfied with what he found under the Christmas tree.

To summarize the letter, Tsipras wants to get a six-month "bridge loan", a kind of fellowship for himself and almost 11 million other Greeks dependent on the Greek state, before Greece and the ECB and the European lenders (and IMF?) will figure out an idea how to abolish or significantly reduce the debt and how to cut all the strings that were attached to the bailouts. During the six months, the Greek government will be allowed to continue in its insane Marxist policies, revert all pro-growth and pro-austerity reforms, stop privatization, rehire all the useless government employees, increase pensions, salaries, and so on.

That's a very amusing proposal to make the lenders happy, indeed.

### A good story on proofs of inevitability of string theory

Natalie Wolchover is one of the best popular physics writers in the world, having written insightful stories especially for the Simons Foundation and the Quanta Magazine (her Bc degree in nonlinear optics from Tufts helps). Yesterday, she added

In Fake Universes, Evidence for String Theory
It is a wonderful article about the history of string theory (Veneziano-related history; thunderstorms by which God unsuccessfully tried to kill Green and Schwarz in Aspen, Colorado, which would postpone the First Superstring Revolution by a century; dualities; AdS/CFT etc.) with a modern focus on the research attempting to prove the uniqueness of string theory.

At least since the 1980s, we were saying that "string theory is the only game in town". This slogan was almost universally understood as a statement about the sociology or comparative literature. If you look at proposals for a quantum theory of gravity, aside from string theory, you won't find any that work.

## Wednesday, February 18, 2015 ... /////

### Players in Greece, Ukraine get tougher

It's been five days since the latest blog post about Greece and Ukraine. Since that time, people got increasingly used to negotiations but their positions toughened, too.

The screenshot above comes from CNN. Just a few days earlier, an on-screen text in the same station talked about arms for "pro-U.S." troops in Ukraine. Now, we got a map where Crimea and Ukraine finally belong to the same country again and the country's name is Russia. Either quality control must be completely absent at CNN or these blunders are a new strategy to increase their visibility.