Tuesday, October 15, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Political prisoners in Germany and Spain

While the post-communist part of Europe behaves sanely these days, Western Europe is split and a big part of it has been devoured by novel political movements that want to totally destroy all the opposition, everyone who disagrees with them, and they are ready to use the worst possible tools.

Germany is currently led by a hardcore ecofascist government that wants to punish the German citizens even for their very disagreement with ecofascism. A driver has decorated his car in this way. The pigtails are nicely hanging from that car and the author of the idea wisely and generously recommended a young Scandinavian political leader to "fudge off, Greta" and he rightfully bragged that the climate change "problem [was therefore] solved".

What is the reaction by the ecofascist Merkel government? Three years in prison for that driver. The driver has just expressed his opinion about an extremely troubling political movement that is contaminating much of Europe and North America these days. The pigtails are clearly just a symbol of the unhinged ecofascism we are seeing everywhere around us. That particular spoiled brat wasn't in any way threatened by that driver.

Monday, October 14, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Drought left Czechia, no apologies heard

Like most other places, Czechia has seen some drier periods and some humid ones. The latest "big flood" took place in 2002. Recent five years were relatively dry.



This is what the drought conditions looked like yesterday, on a beautiful sunny Sunday October 13th, according to Intersucho.cz (Interdrought). Almost everything is white – no risk of drought. On that Intersucho.cz website, you may choose Czechia, Slovakia, or Europe; and the interval to play the evolving dry places as an animation.

Sunday, October 13, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Governor of North France demands a war budget against the political Islam

In my country and elsewhere, it's taken for granted that countries like France have already been lost and their drift towards becoming Islamic republics is unstoppable and irreversible. Well, I am an optimist who happens to think it's far from clear.

Le Point published some explosive pronouncements by Xavier Bertrand, a former Republican and the governor of Hauts-de-France, the Northernmost province of France with 6 million people.

Saturday, October 12, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Equalities are the most vital equivalences

The equal sign is innocent, it doesn't prevent us from studying some very abstract geometric structures

A few days ago, Kevin Hartnett wrote a provoking article about mathematics for the Quanta Magazine,

With Category Theory, Mathematics Escapes From Equality
If you think that some mathematicians finally fight against the left-wing egalitarianism and its worshiping of equality, well, the truth is somewhat less optimistic. ;-)

The human hero of the story is Jacob Lurie, a mathematician who recently moved from Harvard to IAS Princeton. I do believe that he is an extremely good mathematician – also because of his classifications of topological field theories, research into exceptional groups, and more. But the Quanta Magazine article is about Lurie's somewhat idiosyncratic hobby, namely his holy war against the equal sign.

There shouldn't be any equalities like \(2+2=4\), the article argues. Instead, all equalities should be loosened to equivalencies, like in category theory, which are better because equivalences come in many flavors and degrees. And the original category theory of Eilenberg and MacLane (1945) wasn't loose enough which is why we need to switch to "infinity categories" and Lurie's articles that are some 8,000 pages long in total.

Friday, October 11, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Fermion masses from a Δ(54) heterotic orbifold

Stephen King, the King of Horror, didn't receive the Nobel prize in literature for his 200 short stories yesterday – the award went to Austria and Poland instead. Similarly, neither Trump nor the aggressive Swedish teenager got the Nobel prize in peace today – instead, it actually went to a guy (prime minister) who established peace in Ethiopia. ;-) Clearly, the committee in Oslo needed and still needs to recover some credibility after it was overspent in recent years.

But Stephen King (I guess it is a different one) is the most famous author name of an exciting 4-author hep-ph preprint today

Flavon alignments from orbifolding: \(SU(5) \times SU(3)\) model with \({\mathbb T}^6/\Delta(54)\)
The masses of quarks and leptons are free and arbitrary parameters in the Standard Model and one of the most obvious collections of data that expects to be explained by a deeper theory – some SUSY/GUT or ideally string theory.

Thursday, October 10, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

It's clear why the number of Earth-like planets is so imprecise

...because the term is neither quantitatively well-defined nor useful...

Two weeks ago, Ethan Siegel more or less defined the scientific method as the mindless obedience to Greta Thunberg (combined with the mandatory anti-quantum-mechanics crackpottery). I thought it wasn't the right definition and virtually everything he wrote was upside down.

One week ago, he wrote a text

Astronomers Debate: How Many Habitable Planets Does Each Sun-Like Star Have?
which highlights his mathematical illiteracy and the mathematical illiteracy of several astronomers – and the wisdom of Michael Crichton. To make the story short, the astronomers agree about the interpretation of the Kepler data but they still have a very uncertain estimate about the number of Earth-like planet per Sun-like star – the estimates go from 0.013 and 1.24. And it's very surprising, Siegel wrote.

Well, for those of us who always knew that science wasn't a mindless worshiping of someone or something by words from a human language, it's not surprising at all.

When accusations of "groupthink" and "collection of likes" become ludicrous

If you want to understand what they mean by psychological projection...

Abraham (Avi) Loeb, the Israeli American chairman of astronomers at Harvard, has gotten some reasonably good press on this website. However, no sane person may doubt that he is a media-savvy or political flavor of a scientist whose visibility in the media overstates his contributions to physics – a field he actually loves to discuss loudly.

In recent years, the readers and viewers of the mainstream media have heard about him often because he has co-authored numerous wrong, silly, or vacuous preprints that were really professionally formatted troll's diatribes against physics, inflationary cosmology, and other things – and inkspillers in the popular science media (and millions of their stupid brainwashed readers and viewers) simply love this kind of pseudoscientific trash. That's why I laughed so much when someone sent me his October 8th essay in the SciAm blogs

Science Is Not about Getting More “Likes”:
Extraordinary groupthink leads to extraordinary ignorance
Both the title and the subtitle are combative yet true. However, in combination with the name of the author, these three lines are hilariously funny, indeed. And he's not a darling of the left-wing media just because he loves to repeat bitter, misguided remarks about the very value of physics and cosmology which are too speculative according to Loeb. He's also a darling of the popular media because he's a boss of an organization looking for extraterrestrial aliens. Physics is too speculative for him but ETs around us are not! Cool.

Wednesday, October 09, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Mapping Calabi-Yau threefolds by the degenerated representatives

The chemistry Nobel prize goes to the de facto invention of lithium-ion batteries. It's not a terribly huge advance in pure science but as applied science, it's been literally game-changing, of course. Although Czechia has a top European reservoir of lithium, I do hope that we will switch to lithium-free batteries at some point.



The first hep-th paper today is
Classifying Calabi-Yau threefolds using infinite distance limits
by Grimm and two co-authors (NL/CH/UK) that elaborates on a nice and clever way to map the landscape of the Calabi-Yau threefolds. Their excitement is seen on the fact that they worked hard enough to post the preprint at the top – it was posted 3 seconds after the new arXiv.org day started.



They look at special points in the landscape of these 6-real-dimensional manifolds that may be very useful for "navigation" in that landscape – at the degeneration limits.

Tuesday, October 08, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Peebles & exoplanets share the 2019 Nobel prize in physics

I watched the press conference at which the 2019 Nobel prize in physics was announced. The announcement started at 11:50 am Central European Summer Time (which is also our time here).



It's ironic that some common sense and meritocracy that we used to know comes from... Sweden. The first good sign was that the Nobel committee hasn't removed the dude wall yet. And the Nobel committee room at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has quite a dude wall, indeed. After all, even Alfred Nobel has failed to undergo the sex-changing surgery in memorian so far.

Denmark wants to ban "carbon" car sales in the EU by 2040

Nowadays, and especially in the recent year, lots of people – especially in geographically Western Europe and in North America – are saying extremely crazy things about the energy, climate, fossil fuels, and the future of mankind in general. One particular proposal made by a whole EU country in recent days may deserve a special discussion: Denmark wants to kill cars (Euractiv, Financial Post).

More precisely, by 2040 – and some sources say similar sentences with 2030 and 2050 (it seems they don't care about the difference) – the whole European Union should ban the sales of all petrol and diesel cars. Cool!

Monday, October 07, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Receipt lottery: how to save 10,000 hours of Czech lives a day

Some $2 million worth of time savings per month

The EET, the online realtime verification of all cash payments in Czechia to fight tax evasion, has been repeatedly criticized on this blog because it was an extra burden for the businesses and self-employed people, a sign of arrogance of the government (and of the employees towards to the economically independent folks), a risk of abuse of the data, and for other reasons.

But by now, the system – that hasn't provably reduced the tax evasion according to the data – is a part of reality and Czechs including your humble correspondent are adaptable beings. I am not even 100% sure whether it would make sense to abolish this new piece of bureaucracy now. Well, if I could, I would probably still make it optional, while telling everybody that the people using EET have a lower risk of an audit.

An hour ago, I received a surprisingly sensible response from the Czech finance minister Ms Dr Schillerová – about my proposal to improve the "EET lottery".



Someone bought butter for CZK 25 ($1.1), eggs for CZK 45.50, and CZK 70.50 was rounded to CZK 71. One crown is exactly strong enough to make the payments in integer amounts of crowns "sufficiently fine and accurate yet easy to compute with and remember". She got a receipt including the cumbersome hexadecimal BKP and FIK codes; you know, butter and eggs are basically rocket sciences.

You know, the EET works as follows. Whenever a consumer pays cash to an entrepreneur or shop anywhere in Czechia, the business is obliged to print a receipt and immediately send an electronic copy of the receipt to the finance ministry. The receipt must include the cash amount that was paid (and that will have to be taxed, that is the point), some ID of the business, date, time (HH:MM), and a long hexadecimal code BKP that may be influenced by the computer owned by the business.

The finance ministry's computer responds that it was received and produces another, quasi-random code FIK that is sent back to the business, so that the receipt may ideally be printed including the FIK code. In most cases, it is. In some situations, the registration may be delayed etc. and there are some receipts without a FIK code.

Sunday, October 06, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Czech teenagers protested against mathematics

High school students in other countries are obsessed with the climate hysteria. Their Czech counterparts managed to organize about one lukewarm rally in March – these days, they had a much more urgent problem: to fight against the "matura" from mathematics. See a video from their rally on Friday afternoon.

All Czech high schools where students are expected to go to a college – in particular, the liberal arts "gymnasiums" and "lyceums" as well as the commercial-sector or engineering-focused "industrial schools" – are ended with this "test of maturity".



The arrows show a building of the Math-Phys department of the Charles University (maps).

It's a pre-college test that verifies and, if the outcome is good, certifies that the student – who is between 18 and 19 at that time – isn't stupid and may be compatible with a large number of occupations including ones that require some intelligence and knowledge. The subjects have been evolving in time. As you may imagine, mathematics has been a mandatory subject throughout the history because it's the queen of sciences and thinking. My 1992 "maturita" (the most official Czech name) was from Czech, English, mathematics, and physics – physics was optional, I think. A century earlier, Greek and Latin may have been widespread subjects in the exam.

At some moment years ago, after the fall of communism, the mathematics exam was made optional. As the students were increasingly turning into a shallow, vacuous, bullšiting SJW herd of sheep, from an intellectual viewpoint, mathematics was becoming an increasingly unpopular outlier or an exception (among other subjects where it was increasingly sufficient for success to simply babble some ideologically convenient nonsense) and increasingly impossible for them to learn. So the number of the people who were choosing it – instead of a foreign language etc. – was persistently dropping.

Saturday, October 05, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

I am scared of innocent children

By Václav Vlk Sr, translated and endorsed by LM

All of us know Andersen's fairy-tale about the king who was walking naked – before an innocent child exclaimed: "The emperor has no clothes." This fairy-tale may be interpreted by saying that the citizens of the kingdom knew that the king was naked but they were forgiving him because he was an otherwise good king and the citizens weren't stupid (see e.g. the top Czech 19th century writer Karel Havlíček Borovský and his King Lávra) but the moral story in which an "innocent" child revealed a "terrible truth" is popular, and that is why it was also used by a man whom I have known for decades as a fellow lover of science-fiction, Mr Jaroslav Veis, in his Lidovky.cz article "Who is afraid of Greta" on September 30th. In effect, his text was just another moralizing and intellectual exercise on the theme "how we, Greta's fans, are moral while you, her foes, are a gang of morons and demagogues".