Monday, April 27, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Journalist Peroutka did, top intellectuals often do fail in crises

For three months, Czech newspapers have been regularly writing texts about a not too important detail while the deeper "story" underlying the detail has been almost entirely ignored.

In late January, president Zeman gave a speech (CZ) commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Ferdinand Peroutka

He said that people may agree that the Holocaust was terrible but most of the people love to oversimplify and flatten the actual reasons that have led to the Holocaust (and similar bad things). Zeman mentioned three respected people as his examples.

Saturday, April 25, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

People's evolving opinions about quantum gravity

About nine years ago, a movement trying to (largely or entirely) "replace" string theory research with would-be "competitors" culminated. Unproductive critics and third-class researchers disconnected from the last 30 years in physics were often marketed as peer of top string theorists – and sometimes as something better.

However, aside from the cheap anti-science populism, there has never been any substance in their claims, and one can't really run on "promises" indefinitely. For a while, the theory group at the Perimeter Institute operated as a fan club of Lee Smolin's of a sort – a warrior in the "string wars". Thankfully, "string wars" are over and the crackpots have lost. Unfortunately, they have been replaced by lots of other nonsense. Did this replacement make things better or worse? I don't know.

Friday, April 24, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Bureaucracy and corruption in European science and education

In recent years, I gave something like two dozens of public talks at various universities, high schools, and pro-science organizations – mostly about theoretical physics, some of them about the climate issues. Sometimes I got paid, sometimes I didn't. In the first case, there is often some bureaucracy. I was once requested to sign 53 times just because I gave a talk. On the other hand, I was once given a fair amount of money collected from the audience – with no strings or signatures attached.

But it has never happened to me that I was expected to fill 5 distinct multi-page documents because of a 90-minute talk. Well, that's what they asked me to do today because of a talk that was scheduled in the middle of May. Because of numerous reasons, I wrote "No, that can't work", to my former classmate from the high school, basic school, and kindergarten who is now a teacher at that school and who invited me. She won't be happy about my response but no one can force me to do something that I consider both an immense waste of time and an immoral act.

100 years of Noether's theorem

Sometime in April 1915, Emmy Noether was completing her groundbreaking theorem that links conservation laws with the symmetries of Nature.

Noether's father, Max Noether, was a German Jewish trader whose one leg was heavily damaged by polio. Instead of becoming a cripple who depends on others, he became a self-taught doctor of algebraic geometry – doing things similar to Alfred Clebsch.

He had 4 children and the oldest ones, Amalie Emmy Noether, was born in 1882. She was a clever but "ordinarily clever" girl and a popular kid who was lisping, near-sighted, took piano lessons, loved to dance, was taught to cook and clean. The latter two details imply that by preparing women "for the kitchen where they belong", men don't necessarily stop the career of the greatest female mathematician of all times.

Thursday, April 23, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Physics teacher takes over the Islamic State

Newsweek, Business Insider, and many other news servers remind us that the boss (and chalif) of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was injured in a March airstrike.

Consequently, it was time for the ISIS to pick another chieftain. It turned out to be a former physics teacher from Tal Afar, Iraq named Abu Alaa Afri.

Anti-quantum zealot T-shirts, sweatshirts, mug

On April 1st, armchair physicist and anti-quantum zealot Matt Leifer wrote a blog post named Luboš Motl is right whose most valuable part was the following picture:

He became the first anti-quantum zealot – which is how I called these people in 2009 and especially 2011 – who identified himself with the T-shirt. I didn't quite appreciate the commercial dimension of this enterprise so let me tell you. Since the beginning of the month, every anti-quantum zealot – Gerard 't Hooft, Sean Carroll, and thousands of other men (including many of you) – may have bought and may still buy their clothes or mugs, too.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Lack of surprises in discrete mathematics?

Surprises exist, are bound to become important, and therefore cannot be neglected

On his blog, in the announcement called "Is There Something Mysterious About Math?", Scott Aaronson of MIT has announced a longer essay on the "Ideas.Aeon.CO" server

Q: Is there something mysterious about mathematics?

A: Why isn’t it more mysterious?

That text is sort of provocative.

First, Aaronson points out that it isn't sufficiently fulfilling to fight a straw man because he is filled with the air. However, your humble correspondent provides him with a more attractive straw man – one that is filled with flesh and blood. As you know, many people just love to constantly fight straw men with flesh like myself – because such straw men are actually right and many people simply love to be wrong and to be proud about it.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

How to save refugees from drowning? Recolonialization

About 800 refugees – mostly from the black Africa – drowned off Libyan shores. Hot Air argues that this tragedy – much like numerous other harmful events – should be blamed on the U.S.-NATO coup against Moammar Qaddafi in Libya.

Some people predict 30,000 migrants to drown just in 2015.

But I want to offer you a more general idea. You agree that something is "imperfect" about the countries from which lots of people are fleeing, don't you? I think it should become standard that the countries that accept lots of refugees acquire a part of the territory – or a partial control over the whole territory – of the countries which are sources of lots of refugees.

Monday, April 20, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

ATLAS: 2.5-sigma four-top-quark excess

ATLAS has posted a new preprint

Analysis of events with \(b\)-jets and a pair of leptons of the same charge in \(pp\)-collisions at \(\sqrt s = 8\TeV\) with the ATLAS detector
boasting numerous near-2-sigma excesses (which could be explained by vector-like quarks and chiral \(b'\) quarks, but are too small to deserve much space here) and a more intriguing 2.5-sigma excess in various final states with four top quarks.

Saturday, April 18, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Double slit experiment in the Heisenberg picture

What we observe is not the Nature itself but the Nature exposed to our method of questioning.

Natural science does not simply describe and explain Nature; it is part of the interplay between Nature and ourselves.

The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist. But at the bottom of the glass, God is waiting for you.

Werner Heisenberg
Even though wave mechanics was in no way the first or deepest formulation of quantum mechanics, it quickly became popular because the "wave function" looks like a classical wave and this fact makes it easier for the people to "visualize" what's going on. This "advantage" is actually a disadvantage because the visualization leads the people to the totally incorrect concept that the state vector is a classical wave or object of a sort, which it's not, and that it should be distinguished from (i.e. considered mutually exclusive with) nearby "similar" state vectors, which it shouldn't, and the popularity of the Schrödinger picture "helps" the people to preserve their anti-quantum misconceptions.

Friday, April 17, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Greece near the abyss

Greece has survived April 9th, the first possible date of the default. Some people moved the deadline to May 9th (weekend), others to May 12th. We hear that it could come in late May or June, too. Check this debt timeline. The government could actually be able to raise cash from the Greek citizens, the patriots who want to support their communists in charge and who know that things will be even worse if and when the government goes bust. No foreigners are buying the new Greek debt anymore but the domestic lenders could be a factor that was underestimated.

Because Greece has vigorously pissed on the April 24th deadline and one may expect at most a "Hi" from the meeting in Riga, the EU commission has set a "decisive" new deadline at May 11th.

But whatever the exact dates are, it seems likely that the default isn't too far. The Syriza comrades' promises that they would be able to suck the financial blood (ever growing amounts of it) out of other European nations by a "clever" combination of blackmail and doublespeak isn't working at all. If they don't want to be remembered as the men who threw Greece into the third world, they may have the last days to admit that they have lost. They need to apologize to everyone whom they have offended, admit that Marx, Tsipras, Varoufuckis, Krugman and similar individuals are just worthless piles of stinky garbage, and immediately start reforms – much more systematic and deeper pro-market reforms than what Samaras was doing in recent years.

Doing "just the same as Samaras" may fail to be enough right now.

Hawking's disease kills Czechia's youngest prime minister (45)

Approximately one year ago, the public was getting increasingly certain that Mr Stanislav Gross was suffering from a very serious – and probably fatal – illness.

This is actually not a photoshopped image. He allowed to be photographed in this form.

For some time, media speculated he had cancer; or just a minor injury affecting the spinal chord, and so on. At some moment, the picture became rather solid. Gross was tortured by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The neurons controlling voluntary muscles start to die. You can't move, speak, and swallow too well, and at the end, you can't even breath.

I don't know why one can't replace the lung/breathing muscles by mechanical ventilators or pumps of some sort – but I am not a physician.

Thursday, April 16, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

LHC: chance to find SUSY quickly

This linker-not-thinker blog post will largely show materials of ATLAS. To be balanced, let me begin with a recommendation for an UCSB article Once More Unto the Breach about the CMS' excitement before the 13 TeV run. Note that the CMS (former?) boss Incandela is from UCSB. They consider the top squark to be their main target.

ATLAS is more into gluinos and sbottoms, it may seem. On March 25th, ATLAS released interesting graphs

Expected sensitivity studies for gluino and squark searches using the early LHC 13 TeV Run-2 dataset with the ATLAS experiment (see also PDF paper)
There are various graphs but let's repost six graphs using the same template.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Dark matter self-interaction detected?

Off-topic: My Facebook friend Vít Jedlička (SSO, Party of Free Citizens) established a new libertarian country, Liberland (To Live And Let Live), where the government doesn't get on your nerves. Before he elected himself the president, he had to carefully choose a territory where no one will bother him, where no one would ever start a war; he picked seven squared kilometers in between Serbia and Croatia because these two nations wouldn't dare to damage one another. ;-) There's a catch for new citizens, however: the official language is Czech.
Lots of mainstream writers including BBC, The Telegraph, IBTimes, and Science Daily promote a preprint claiming that they see the non-gravitational forces between the particles that dark matter is composed of:
The behaviour of dark matter associated with 4 bright cluster galaxies in the 10kpc core of Abell 3827 (published in MNRAS)
Richard Massey (Durham) and 22 co-authors have analyzed the galaxy cluster Abell 3827 – which is composed of four very similar galaxies (unusual: they probably got clumped recently) by the new Hubble Space Telescope imaging and by ESO's VLT/MUSE integral field spectroscopy.

Max Born's Nobel lecture

I decided to read Max Born's 1954 Physics Nobel Prize lecture,

The statistical interpretation of quantum mechanics (PDF),
in some detail. Even though it was written and spoken more than 60 years ago, it makes such a perfect sense. Unsurprisingly, the lecture is a combination of physics and history. Let's look at those 12 pages.