Monday, June 25, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Nima on the end of spacetime

...and arrow of time, quantum foundations, and other things...

David Barrera sent me a link to a five-day-old lecture by Nima Arkani-Hamed at SLAC, the Stanford's linear accelerator center:



If you had doubts, the host is Michael Peskin, a co-author of a very widespread quantum field theory textbook. Nima talks about the demise of the spacetime, simplification in QFT, amplituhedrons which turn scattering amplitudes into high school geometry volumes, and other things.

He formulates it in such a way that I would agree with almost everything but I still feel that there's a potential tension or contradiction with what e.g. Juan Maldacena says on the other side. Nima thinks that the disappearance of spacetime notions as precise ones is "mandatory" – while Maldacena (and perhaps Witten, Seiberg, and others – and maybe me) – thinks that it's just "possible" to suppress the spacetime language to construct a different, equivalent description. But with some good enough stuff – degrees of freedom – that are placed in the spacetime (perhaps including extended objects like strings and branes, bilocal objects such as wormholes, and other things), it may very well survive as an exact concept, too.

It's 2018 and Merkel et al. are still incoherent on migration

Some leaders of the EU member countries (16 countries) gathered in Brussels yesterday in the afternoon. Four days before a more official summit, they were debating how to improve the policies towards exotic migrants that keep on arriving to Europe – although the rates are low these days, about 1/2 of those recorded a year ago.

No leader of the Visegrád (V4) countries has attended (and neither have the British islands, Baltic states, Cyprus, and Portugal). The spokesman for Macron said that the V4 leaders were "boycotting", in order to make things sound more dramatic. But there's no real justification for such a dramatic language. The leaders just agreed not to attend because the presence was in no way mandatory and folks in V4 generally expected that the summit was designed to promote some "solutions" that V4 considers unacceptable – like the quotas for the whole EU. So the costs exceeded the benefits and they just didn't think it was a good idea to attend the not really standard event. Why would one call it a "boycott"? If you just turn down the offer to sleep with a homeless man on the street, do you call it a "boycott"?

Moreover, the summit was likely meant as a tool for Merkel to save her career domestically – in a few weeks, Seehofer's Bavarian CSU may leave her coalition unless she does something against the continuing influx of migrants to Germany from its neighbors. And the countries that didn't attend don't find the salvation of Ms Merkel to be a priority.

On Saturday, the French leader issued a threat to all European countries. If they won't satisfy him on migration, he will take the money from them. I think that for them not to look like ludicrous clowns, French leaders should avoid similar megalomaniac claims and threats, especially when they're standing 10 miles from Waterloo (which is where Brussels is). Do you know what happened in Waterloo, Mr Macron?

Saturday, June 23, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Slow bottom-up HEP research is neither intellectually challenging, nor justified by the null LHC data

Ben Allanach has been a well-known supersymmetry researcher in Cambridge, England whose name has appeared a dozen of times on this blog and he wrote a guest blog on ambulance chasing.



Because of his seemingly bullish presonality, I was surprised by an essay he wrote for Aeon.Co a few days ago,

Going nowhere fast: has the quest for top-down unification of physics stalled?
The most nontrivial statement in the essay is
Now I’ve all but dropped it [SUSY at the LHC] as a research topic.
He wants to do things that are more bottom-up such as the bottom mesons (a different bottom, the Academia is full of bottoms). I find this description bizarre because SUSY at the LHC is a good example of bottom-up physics in my eyes – and the bottom mesons seem really, really boring.

Friday, June 22, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Hansen's testimony: 30th anniversary

Tomorrow, it will have been exactly 30 years from the day (June 23rd, 1988) when James Hansen gave a testimony before the U.S. Senate. For the first time, the American politicians were told by a "mainstream looking" active scientist that the global warming would kill us unless we dramatically change our industries and society.



As a professional propagandist, James Hansen chose a blisteringly hot day in D.C. The temperature went up to 98 Fahrenheit in the U.S. capital. He was sweating like mad. The Weather Underground predicts the high temperature 73 F for today and 86 for tomorrow – a cooling by 27 or 14 Fahrenheit in 30 years, respectively.

The New York Times have announced that an expert told the Senate that the global warming had begun. Well, there was nothing special happening to the climate in 1988 or any similar year but something has begun on that year: The global warming hysteria among the mainstream Western politicians and journalists.

The year 1988 was really essential for the birth of that pseudoscientific movement. While James Hansen – formerly a decent atmospheric physicist analyzing the conditions in the atmosphere of Venus, among other things – has made a big impact in the U.S, the U.K. climate alarmists successfully globalized their panic and promoted their national organization to a global one: the IPCC was founded in 1988, too.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Angela Merkel outed as a Nazi irredentist

"No moral or political justification" for Germans' territorial losses in 1945

On Monday, for an hour, I was sitting two meters from the current Czech president Zeman – at the birthday party of his predecessor Klaus where I was honored to be invited again. While I have somewhat mixed feelings about various acts by Zeman – especially his support for the oligarch Andrej Babiš but partly even things like the "underwear burning" – we just saw a potentially important event that reassures me that I was right to vote him twice, in 2013 and 2018. I will discuss his reaction after I sketch some background.

Today, Angela Merkel has made rather extraordinary comments about the post-war settlement in Europe – they're discussed as the #1 story of the day by the Czech media. At a Berlin event remembering some victims of the post-war expulsion of Germans, she said that "the expulsion was a result of the Nazi atrocities but there was no moral or political justification for the expulsion". The combination of the statements is rather amazing – because, among other things, it implies that there's no moral or political reason to punish people co-responsible for Nazism.

After 1945, Germany was occupied by the Allies, split to the Western and Eastern part, and both parts were trained to be sensitive in these matters. Top Nazis have been executed and Germans generally didn't dare to talk about the Nazi dreams. For more than seven decades, Germans were sometimes hysterically afraid of anything that could be interpreted as their sympathies for Nazism. The people who who would like to reinstate the Nazi glory were an extreme minority – one that was overrepresented in the small far right parties and in the Sudetenland organizations representing the expelled Germans – well, mostly their descendants.

Paying students expelled from Spanish dorms

...and replaced with a privileged race...

RT (Russia Today) brought us the English version of a story (originally in Spanish) that describes the fate of the 629 African migrants in a rescue ship (Aquarius) that was rejected by the new, more sensible, Italian government (as well as the government of Malta).



These young people were sent to Spain – which also has a new government, but a left-wing one, and therefore, unsurprisingly, (even) much more insane than the previous one when it comes to these matters. It turns out that Alicante, a city of 330,000 at the Southeastern Spanish beaches, didn't have any capacity to deal with the prospective immigrants and various groups that need to be separated – e.g. unaccompanied teenagers.

So what did the socialists do with the black teenagers (12-17 years old)?

They just told all students living at La Frorida, Alicante – a hostel – to evacuate their apartments within 24 hours due to the "emergency situation". (I think that this eviction must be illegal in Spain and the EU and they must be using some loopholes designed for the state of war or huge natural catastrophes to legally justify what they're doing.) So you have the students who are paying up to €750 a month for their pretty nice rooms, who are going through intense learning and/or summer courses, and who were expected to live there at least for two more weeks. They were evicted.

Sunday, June 17, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

SJWs insist on abolishing variables in elementary schools

I became a favorite source of quotes for the journalists who write about the constructivist methods to teach mathematics – although they sometimes fail to mention my name. But when they address a critic who thinks that the exercises in those classes are analogous to Sudoku; and that some kids like those classes simply because they're more similar to gyms than mathematics, you can be sure it's about me.

The Euro, a Czech weekly currently belonging under The Youth Front (and therefore owned by PM Babiš through a trust), has published two new texts promoting the Hejný method. One of them is an interview with Milan Hejný, the son of the "inventor" of the method. The title reads

First commandment: don't reveal any wisdom to the schoolkids, Milan Hejný urges teachers
Because, you know, the first thing that the teachers can never ever do is... is to teach! Just to be sure, I would be absolutely willing to agree that students should be left to figure out numerous things – e.g. some boring steps needed to complete the details of a calculation or a proof – by themselves. However, to turn the principle "teachers don't teach" into a universal dogma is just plain insane because very many things (arguably an overwhelming majority of the things that one should learn at school) simply need some kind of guidance and if the guidance doesn't exist, the students just won't ever get it.

Saturday, June 16, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

History of the global warming scare 1980-2010

Guest blog by Prof Emeritus Cha-am Jamal Munshi, Thailand

LM: I found this itemized list rather impressive even though it's in no way complete. Whether we live in Thailand or Europe, we have been exposed to a very large amount of fearmongering and failed predictions. The explosion of these news in 2005-2010 is easily seen in the lists below. After 2010, the growth arguably stopped or reversed so this contribution may be considered the work by a historian. There's a clean mobile version of this page.

Parts of this page:

  1. Chapter 1 1980-1985
  2. Chapter 2 1985-1990
  3. Chapter 3 1990-1995
  4. Chapter 4 1995-2000
  5. Chapter 5 2000-2005
  6. Chapter 6 2005-2010 (separate text)

Friday, June 15, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Hooper: we need to contain, catch stars outside the Local Group

Many physicists are getting "broader" if not "distracted". Edward Witten wrote a nice 38-page-long introduction to information theory. The reason isn't quite clear but maybe he wants to be sure he's an expert in these matters – I had absolutely no doubts he was one – and the best way to learn is to teach.

Mistele, Price, and Hossenfelder use a neural network, quite a complex software, to find a shocking conclusion: if a paper or a physicist looked good so far, he or it will probably look pretty good in the following year, too. While Hossenfelder implicitly wants to frame this finding as some suspicious news about physics, the predictability is clearly a net positive. The fame of physicists and papers isn't changing by random criteria, at random moments, and fashions. Physics actually has some hard content that may be identified and whose value doesn't go away fast. Of course a good neural network may catch patterns that distinguish good papers from others. What's bad is that most people don't want to learn any of the things that even a neural network can do pretty well.



What is happening at the Fermilab? The U.S. facility no longer competed in the first discovery of the Higgs boson. In the recent decades, what were the top Fermilab theorists up to? One of them, Dan Hooper, gave us an amusing answer yesterday (a diagram of the project was embedded as a picture above):

Life Versus Dark Energy: How An Advanced Civilization Could Resist the Accelerating Expansion of the Universe
Looking for the basic laws of Nature and their beauty is no longer fashionable among most taxpayers. So the Fermilab is thinking about the urgent problems that face the mankind. The most urgent problem, Dan Hooper points out, is that due to the cosmological constant, all the stars outside our Local Group (of 54+ galaxies including ours) will accelerate outwards and cross our cosmic horizon and will therefore become forever inaccessible.

Thursday, June 14, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Young folks born in 1991 are 5 IQ points dumber than older ones born in 1975

Norwegian researchers blame the retrograde Flynn effect on "adaptation to the environment"

We often complain about the declining intellectual skills, deteriorating education systems, dropping focus on hard sciences and knowledge with beef, decreasing curiosity, and on the contrary, increase of the percentage of bogus knowledge and indoctrination, virtue signaling, safe spaces, and political correctness. Many of us have surely thought about the causes and fixes for many particular manifestations of these trends.

A simple title summarizing a paper, e.g. RT's

Dumbing down? New study suggests young people's IQs are in decline
has persuaded me to think differently, more simply about phenomena such as a low number of very young string theorists. And the conclusion is that it may be futile to try to solve any similar problem in isolation. It may be futile to fight against lousy "science journalists" and similar people because they're not really the isolated "cause" of these trends – instead, they're just symptoms, among millions of others.

What's going on? Two Norwegian IQ experts, Bernt Bratsberg and Ole Rogeberg (and yes, Scandinavia was a hotbed of lots of eugenics a century ago), have published a new paper in PNAS,
Flynn effect and its reversal are both environmentally caused,
that has looked at the mandatory IQ tests in Norway that have been performed on 18- or 19-year-old men (or big boys) for decades in order to map the army reserves. First, let's ask: Why wasn't the Idiocracy film shot before 2006? It's because people actually observed the Flynn effect, named after a psychologist from New Zealand.

Chinese: Einstein's description of our nation is accurate

Two days ago, I mentioned a hit piece against Albert Einstein that was published in the British left-wing daily, the Grauniad (the letters are usually deliberately permuted in this way in order to emphasize the frequent typos in the newspaper as well as the editors' brains' being fudged up).



The comrades didn't like the physicist's cultural observations about East Asia during his visit in the early 1920s.

If you search Google News for Einstein and racism now, you will find something like a hundred of hysterical tirades about the "shockingly" racist and xenophobic physicist. Virtually every left-wing MSM journalist is staggeringly offended. (There are no right-wing journalists in the mainstream media.)

The anti-Einstein hysteria is similar on Twitter. Every vocal left-winger shows to his or her comrades how much xe despises the physicist now. They abuse the fact that Einstein made a mistake, died in 1955, and can no longer defend himself effectively. But their assumption is incorrect: Einstein has left some weapons – such as your humble correspondent – that will defend him.

An Indian interview with Juan Maldacena

If you have 16 spare minutes, you should listen to this fresh interview with Juan Maldacena (transcript).



The audio sucks but he says a couple of interesting things. In the 1990s, he and numerous classmates in Argentina were into string theory. They were also dreaming about not starving to death after their PhD, and they were sorry about the canceled collider in Texas.

You know, this is a setup that makes AdS/CFT-like breakthroughs much more likely. You start with some substantial pool of young people who are focusing on things that really matter, young people in a third world country or elsewhere, and approximately one of them makes breakthroughs similar to Maldacena's.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Bitcoin holders pay some 7% a year as fees to their "fund managers"

In February, I argued that the unbacked cryptocurrencies (almost all of them except for Tether) should be considered to be stocks in "companies" that simply don't produce any dividends (and have no plans to change it). Among other things, this unified treatment would simplify taxation.



People still pay huge amounts of money for these basically worthless stocks because they assume that a greater fool will buy it from them for a higher price in the future. This greater fool's theory dominates the price dynamics of the Bitcoin and others – which is why the P/E ratio is infinite i.e. very different from the expected value of 10 or so. For some reasons, lots of these would-be investors still haven't noticed that the cryptocurrency bubble has been deflating for half a year.

Now, when no one really believes that the Bitcoin is a miraculous guaranteed source of huge and safe profits (although some snake oil salesman periodically impress their sheep with "predictions" that the Bitcoin will be worth a million or a vigintillion dollars very soon), it makes sense to compare the "investment" to the Bitcoin with the investment to the stocks and funds with some extra details. I will talk about the cryptocurrencies' counterpart of the hedge fund fees and other fees.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

If you have trouble with string theory, it simply proves you're not too smart

The author of a new embarrassing anti-physics book that was released today is finally receiving the expected affirmative action from the political activists who pretend to be science journalists and who pretend that the author of the book is a physicist who is worth the name – she is definitely not one.

One of the uncritical reviews was published in Nature. She has a vagina so she must surely be right in her disagreements with Wilczek, Weinberg, Polchinski, and Arkani-Hamed – to suggest otherwise would be an example of sexism. But I had to laugh when I saw the title and the punch line of a Forbes text by Ethan Siegel:

Is Theoretical Physics Wasting Our Best Living Minds On Nonsense?
That's a nice question! Siegel must be applauded for having confronted an actual question that all other members of the organized crackpot movement have so far ignored:
What is your standing? Why do you think you have the right to question the legitimacy of the research voluntarily chosen by a few hundred or at most a few thousand people in the world who think that they're doing something important?
You know, this question is a very important one. When one of these crackpots spends much of his time by fighting against modern physics, it's hard to justify this jihad by financial considerations. Why? Less than 1,000 people are actually being paid as string theorists or something "really close" in the world now, and even if you realistically assume that the average string theorist is paid more than the average person, the fraction of the mankind's money that goes to string theory is some "one millionth" or so. Or 1/100,000 of the money that goes to porn or any other big industry. Moreover, the funds are allocated by special institutions or donors – they're too technical decisions that the taxpayer simply shouldn't make directly.

So the taxpayer money is unlikely to be a good justification of the frantic hateful efforts by which scumbags of the W*it and Sm*lin type are trying to hurt the image of physics in the eyes of the public (and, if possible, to outlaw string theory research), right?

Bohr was far clearer and more rigorous than his critics

Adam Becker and Philip Ball recently released their books against quantum mechanics, the main framework encapsulating modern science.

You don't need much time to see that Becker is a hardcore anti-quantum jihadist at the level of Tim Maudlin – it's often impossible to distinguish which of the two men wrote a given text – while Philip Ball is a moderate jihadist.

Let me discuss the text

Myths of Copenhagen
by the moderate jihadist. Like in the case of moderate Islamic jihadists, you can distinguish their rhetoric from the hardcore jihadists; but you may also see that they're really fighting at the same side of the war. Ball's main claim is that Bohr said many vague things and they're being misinterpreted. Sadly, he's among those who misinterpret them – and who pretend that they left much more wiggle room than they actually did.

Sunday, June 10, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Eggless salad emoji, bikiniless beauty contest, and boyless Scouts

...not to mention the end of the Formula One grid girls...

The pandemics of political correctness has spread like fire and most of the time, it's making us frustrated.

But sometimes the leftist scumbags are so incredibly retarded that the results of their activism are rather amusing because they really look like parodies of themselves. RT has combined three of the recent episodes to show how the PC run amok is shaping the American society in mid 2018.


So this "lady" named Jennifer that sucks money from the world's largest company has finally made a great piece of "work". She has directed her subordinates to remove the egg from the salad emoji in order not to offend vegans! Whether she offends carnivores or the people who still have a piece of the brain in their skull left isn't too important.

Just imagine that the people doing "work" like Jennifer get paid roughly $100,000 a year.

Our current president Zeman has described his relationship towards vegetables nicely:
My relationship to vegetables is utterly positive. I demand, however, that an intermediary transformative device is inserted in between me and the vegetables, and that device is named the pig.
In fact, this comment has made it to the top of his 70 best witticisms.