Monday, August 13, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Search for ETs is more speculative than modern theoretical physics

Edwin has pointed out a new tirade against theoretical physics,

Theoretical Physics Is Pointless without Experimental Tests,
that Abraham Loeb published at pages of Scientific American which used to be an OK journal some 20 years ago. The title itself seems plagiarized from Deutsche or Aryan Physics – which may be considered ironic for Loeb who was born in Israel. And in fact, like his German role models, Loeb indeed tries to mock Einstein as well – and blame his mistakes on the usage of thought experiments:
Einstein made great discoveries based on pure thought, but he also made mistakes. Only experiment and observation could determine which was which.

Albert Einstein is admired for pioneering the use of thought experiments as a tool for unraveling the truth about the physical reality. But we should keep in mind that he was wrong about the fundamental nature of quantum mechanics as well as the existence of gravitational waves and black holes...
Loeb has a small, unimportant plus for acknowledging that Einstein was wrong on quantum mechanics. However, as an argument against theoretical physics based on thought experiments and on the emphasis on the patient and careful mental work in general, the sentences above are at most demagogic.

The fact that Einstein was wrong about quantum mechanics, gravitational waves, or black holes don't imply anything wrong about the usage of thought experiments and other parts of modern physics. There's just no way to credibly show such an implication. Other theorists have used better thought experiments, have thought about them more carefully, and some of them have correctly figured out that quantum mechanics had to be right and gravitational waves and black holes had to exist.

The true fathers of quantum mechanics, especially Werner Heisenberg, were really using Einstein's new approach based on thought experiments, principles, and just like Einstein, they carefully tried to remove the assumptions about physics that couldn't have been operationally established (such as the absolute simultaneity killed by special relativity; and the objective existence of values of observables before an observation, killed by quantum mechanics).

Note that gravitational waves as well as black holes were detected many decades after their theoretical discovery. The theoretical discoveries almost directly followed from Einstein's equations. So Einstein's mistakes meant that he didn't trust (his) theory enough. It surely doesn't mean and cannot mean that Einstein trusted theories and theoretical methods too much. Because Loeb has made this wrong conclusion, it's quite some strong evidence in favor of a defect in Loeb's central processing unit.

Sunday, August 12, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Parker Solar Probe will touch the Sun

But won't it break?

Can you encounter redheads in Czechia? You bet. Over percent – and around two percent at some places.

Czech-German singer Debbi (Deborah Kahl) wanted to Touch the Sun – while others wanted to use the song to touch Metaxa, a fancy Greek alcoholic beverage. She was standing on shoulders of giants but it wasn't full-blown plagiarism because Erin McKeown is a redhead, too. McKeown named her song Slung-Lo but she clearly meant the gravitational slingshot.

Friday, August 10, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Quintessence is a form of dark energy

Tristan asked me what I thought about Natalie Wolchover's new Quanta Magazine article,

Dark Energy May Be Incompatible With String Theory,
exactly when I wanted to write something. Well, first, I must say that I already wrote a text about this dispute, Vafa, quintessence vs Gross, Silverstein, in late June 2018. You may want to reread the text because the comments below may be considered "just an appendix" to that older text. Since that time, I exchanged some friendly e-mails with Cumrun Vafa. I am obviously more skeptical towards their ideas than they are but I think that I have encountered some excessive certainty of some of their main critics.

Wolchover's article sketches some basic points about this rather important disagreement about cosmology among string theorists. But there are some very unfortunate details. The first unfortunate detail appears in the title. Wolchover actually says that "dark energy might be incompatible with string theory". That's the statement she seems to attribute to Cumrun Vafa and co-authors.

Thursday, August 09, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Most references to long-term thinking are just Marxist delusions

These days, we've heard the phrase "long-term thinking" from Elon Musk and his fans. But I am running – and many of you must be running – to various arguments where the opponents refer to the "long-term thinking" and "long-term visions" very often.

Just to be sure: I am not saying that there is a universal law or a logical argument that would imply that "long-term thinking" must always be an excuse for Marxist delusions. I am not even saying that I am avoiding references to "long-term thinking", "long-term perspective", "long-term visions", and so on. Each of us, including your humble correspondent, often has to distinguish the perspectives associated with short and long timescales.

But yes, I am saying that in more than 90% of the real-world situations in which "long-term thinking" is used as an argument or a slogan meant to settle a controversial issue, the users of that phrase are Marxists or very analogously deluded leftists who just don't have a clue how the world works (or who pretend not to have a clue) or people who suffer from a totalitarian megalomania or more ordinary people who simply want to justify their laziness.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Market manipulation: psychopath Musk remains at large

Forget about the heroic diver's being a "pedo". Forget about the requests sent to the suppliers to return the money they have received for their parts. Forget even about the totally disgusting, Smolinesque blackmailing by Musk who demanded a critic named Montana Skeptic to be fired by his employer (a Tesla fan) if he's not silenced. Montana Skeptic was actually silenced. It's just absolutely terrifying.

Now, Musk has gone to an entirely new level. He hates the people people who short his company because they dare to point out that Tesla is insanely overvalued – and they are willing to support this proposition with their money. And they don't call Musk a Messiah which is what he's used to from his low-IQ fans.

On top of that, he needs the stock price to be above $359 or so, otherwise the maturity of some special $900 million convertible bond will be much more costly in Fall 2018. So why wouldn't he manipulate the price by claiming that the right price should be $420?

Now, 420 is slang for "marijuana". On April 20th (4/20), leftists celebrate the Marijuana Day and they get high – and therefore ready for April 22nd, Lenin's Earth Day. It is also the country code to call my Czech homeland – where people may hold 15 grams and 5 plants of marijuana legally (so the same number 420 doesn't have to be a coincidence). He may always say that he was just joking. But it was totally obvious that the market – filled with "investors" who are low-IQ fans of Musk – would react. And it did. The price jumped by some 10% towards $380 or so, matching the previous all time high.

(By the way, the cryptocurrency prices dropped some 10% in recent 24 hours. These two price changes could be related. The same "investors" could have sold the Bitcoin and buy Tesla yesterday.)

Monday, August 06, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

What's the right way to stop the Big Tech censorship?

Breaking up companies? Quotas on Republicans? Reclassification of them as utilities? Raids on headquarters? New taxes/fines for their harm against right-wingers? Removal of the U.S. citizenship for CEOs?

I am no listener of Alex Jones – maybe he sounds too tough or too non-intellectual to me (and, despite the vague ideological agreement with general political things, I would probably label many of his musings "dumb conspiracy theories") – but today's ban of his and Infowars pages, channels, profiles, and Podcasts by Apple, Facebook, Spotify, and (now also) YouTube (look at the creepy error message shown to 2+ million followers!) all did the same thing within 12 hours – a clear collusion by a cartel) is a clear sign that the freedom of speech (especially for right-wingers) is dying in the U.S.

(Hours later, Jones was also removed from LinkedIn and Pinterest.)

Ironically enough, this dying – escalated by this ban that Matt Drudge predicted years ago – has accelerated under the Republican president Trump. Infowars were basically given no specific explanation of the reasons. Terms of Service violated. Hate speech. Whatever. Four biggest Internet companies suddenly made the conclusion at the same moment.

You may watch Alex Jones' reactions live now. I've watched it for 20 minutes now – it's spectacular, it looks like he was preparing for this day for 25 years.
Lots of related information may be found on the Twitter account of a VIP employee of Infowars, Paul Joseph Watson, whom I like, admire, sometimes follow, and I surely endorse all his comments about these events.

Some people defend similar policies by saying that the companies are private and they can ban anyone they want. There's some true core in this statement. But every sane and sensitive person must feel that it doesn't sound right. Why it doesn't sound right? These Big Tech companies are clearly introducing political censorship to the whole U.S. political landscape. Why is it exactly wrong what they're doing?

Sunday, August 05, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Food scanner scams: non-physicists overestimate the "diversity of food"

They also underestimate the importance of expertise, experience

Hours ago, Thunderf00t posted a wonderful new 50-minute-long video:

ThunderF00t chooses "Pražská vodka", i.e. the "Vodka of Prague", as his template for an ethanol-water mixture. He deserves special compliments for that. That Czech vodka is based on the 1978 diploma thesis of Ing. Eugen Skalický at Prague's University of Chemical Technology and uses the Highland (Vysočina) Wheat to produce the ethanol. It's been Czechia's bestselling vodka, is still near the top, but I have no idea how he got one unless he is just visiting my homeland.

It shows how utterly useless two smartphone-based, StarTrek-based food scanners or spectroscopes are – and why their crowdfunding campaigns that had collected $3 million and $0.4 million must be considered scams.

These two bogus revolutionary products, TellSpec and Scio, cost $149 or $250 (plus $1,000 for software etc.), respectively. You point them to a food, some photons are reflected, the spectrum is evaluated, and you know what's inside the foor or pills perfectly, the nutrition values, and everything else.

Saturday, August 04, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

SJWs turn a white gay's life to hell for his thoughtful anti-racist essay

After some time, I was shocked by the atmosphere around the U.S. media landscape and the selective and brutal suppression of the freedom of speech.

Well, it's not just in the U.S. Let me start with another example. Canadian right-wing pundits Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux went all the way to New Zealand to give a speech about the free speech. The owner of the place described himself as a great free speech advocate. The venue was revealed hours before the talk, for security reasons, and immediately afterwards, the organizer said that free speech was lethally dangerous and he wouldn't allow any Canadians in his place. He or she was clearly threatened – economically or by explosives. You can no longer give speeches about the free speech in New Zealand. The extreme left-wing terrorist movement is sufficiently organized to kill almost all such events in practice. The degree to which these societies are already fudged up looks stunning to me.

The Powerstation in NZ which suddenly decided it hated free speech.

But let's return to the U.S. The New York Times hired an Asian American writer Sarah Jeong as a tech-related member of the editorial board. I have seen no evidence that she has the skills of a professional writer but she has associated herself with the feminists in the Gamergate controversy and The New York Times probably wanted to please millions of left-wing activists by hiring an incompetent inkspiller who is otherwise on the "right" (meaning far left) side.

Friday, August 03, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Adversarial collaborations don't solve anything

Tetragraviton has presented himself as an idealist diplomat and he proposed

Adversarial Collaborations for Physics.
Arguments may sometimes be harsh, and that's true in physics, too. The two sides accuse each other of moving the goalposts, double standards, misinterpreting things, ignoring the evidence, and so on. Tetragraviton has a magic solution – to force both sides to co-author a paper. These enemies fudge together and have a baby, a paper. Then they become friends who share the facts and standards. And the truth magically sprinkles from that heterotic paper and they love each other forever. Amen.

Adversarial collaborations were originally proposed as a solution to solve the arguments between the believers in the extrasensory perception on one side and the sane people on the other side. If you write a paper along with a guy who was abducted by the extraterrestrial aliens and talks to them through telepathy, that will surely lead to your mutual cultural enrichment and the joint work will clarify everything! ;-)

Expect no apologies here: I am mocking the concept of such joint papers because a joint paper assumes – and implies – that the co-authors believe to be peers in some intellectual sense. And a competent scientist simply can't consider a nutcase believing in supernatural phenomena as his intellectual peer. Also, as the Wikipedia article explains, adversarial papers are most possible when they're not needed (when the two sides actually agree about some basic axioms and methodology) and least possible when they're needed (when the differences in the methodology, axioms, and priorities are deep).

Thursday, August 02, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Lumo spiral visualization of sound for the deaf

...and for all other true lovers of music and sounds...

In a previous text, I proposed a visualization of the sounds that would allow the deaf people to hear – including the distinguishing of vowels, accents, different people's voices, consonants, other noises, music, frequencies, octaves, melodies, different musical instruments, chords and several people talking or singing simultaneously, and everything else.

The idea is that the brain connected to the eye just gets trained to evaluate very similar information as the information that is coming from the ear. Ideally, the eye (plus a piece of the brain connected to it) should work "almost the same" as the ear.

Someone has mentioned the WinAmp visualizations (or Milk Drop), click for an example. Yes, that's what I roughly mean except that this video example and most others don't allow me to "hear" anything. They seem like pretty pictures that are just slightly affected by the sound that is being played but there's no straightforward way to extract the precise sound from the picture.

Edward Witten, dinner table group think, and \(P=NP\)

Scott Aaronson has posted at least two new comments here in which he demands to be considered a "possible co-author" of a paper by Ewin Tang that has found a recommendation algorithm that Aaronson insisted to be impossible.

I think that given Aaronson's frantic efforts to discourage this kind of research, it would be insane if he were a co-author of Tang's paper. Aaronson is testing the waters – could he get away with stealing one-half of the credit, after all? I sincerely hope that Tang already has enough freedom not to allow such a shocking development.

But Aaronson discussed our main dispute, whether complexity theorists should be open about the truth value of \(P=NP\). Aaronson claims that they shouldn't be open-minded. Even without a proof, the non-existence of polynomial algorithms for \(NP\) problems should be considered an "established wisdom", the phrase that Aaronson still uses for the now demonstrably untrue, unsubstantiated, irrational belief that Tang's algorithm cannot exist.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Aaronson's teenage student amazingly proves that Aaronson's strong beliefs are only "backed" by arrogance, bigotry

Ewin Tang proved the opposite task than Scott Aaronson assigned him as if it were a fact

I think that Scott Aaronson is an intelligent man but over the years, I have pointed out that he's staggeringly irrational – and therefore not very intelligent – in a wide variety of issues. Those include most of the political questions which is unsurprising but Aaronson also holds strong beliefs that directly touch his expertise but they're utterly irrational, too.

Undergraduate student Ewin Tang

One of his beliefs is – it's almost as general as what I am going to say – that whenever some fast (polynomial) algorithms haven't been found so far, they will never be found. The most explicit "substatement" of this type is Aaronson's statement that \(P\neq NP\) must be treated basically as a fact even though neither \(P\neq NP\) nor \(P=NP\) has been proven.

In numerous blog posts, I pointed out that every pair of "qualitative propositions" in pure (especially) discrete mathematics that haven't been proven to be strictly equivalent must be considered uncorrelated. In other words, no partial, "rather good", evidence may ever exist. It means that when you formulate a proposition about discrete portions of mathematics, fair and rational mathematicians simply must remain open-minded and allow the research into "possible better evidence that \(P=NP\) as well as possible better evidence that \(P\neq NP\)".