Saturday, March 24, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Hejný's method: solve the problems

Most of the problems aren't the problem, the framing is

I want some of you to spend some time by playing the games – or solving the mathematics problems – at

MATIKA.IN (English, play now)
The website includes the interactive environments or "schemes" which are mostly equivalent to everything that pupils exposed to Hejný's method, the most prominent orthodox constructivist education method we know in Czechia these days, have to solve during their 8 years in the elementary school.

Helpfully enough, the website is available in English (and 7 other languages). It was coded by Andrej Probst, a young guy doing these things as a charity (who is mostly independent of the movement that spreads the method, as far as I can say), and is used by schools in Czechia, Slovakia, and Hungary.

In Czechia, there are some 4,100 elementary schools. 800 of them teach mathematics by Hejný's method. 200 of those have learned about the website and at least recommend it to the kids.

The website is some straightforward JavaScript but it looks fresh and helpful, partly because of illustrations by kovidesign. I surely believe that such websites should be used in conventional mathematics education – and in other subjects, too.

Friday, March 23, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Path integrals, Feynman path integrals, and functional integrals are synonyms

Generic quantum physicists won't reserve "Feynman integrals" for a finite-dimensional integral

Sometimes, one must write things because someone is wrong on the Internet. And sometimes, even physics bloggers seem to be excited enough to publish an apparently wrong blog post whose only purpose seems to be to promote the opposite of an important truth.

Almost exactly one year ago, Jacques Distler published some bizarre comments claiming that quantum mechanics of relativistic particles is consistent even without the introduction of antiparticles and/or multiparticle states – i.e. without quantum fields.

Well, they're not. Quantum fields – and therefore antiparticles (or creation considered along with annihilation) – are an unavoidable consequence of quantum mechanics combined with special relativity. If you try to define any theory that evolves one particle's wave function, it's unavoidable that it has a positive probability to spread superluminally. To stay inside the light cone, you simply need both contributions with positive and negative frequencies: you need to create particles and annihilate antiparticles, too.

Today, Tetragraviton posted a bizarre text claiming that path integrals and contour integrals are "totally different" things.

GDPR: the latest example of EU's tyrannical idiocracy

The GDPR, or the General Data Protection Regulation, is a new system of bans, restrictions, duties, and fines that will come to force on May 25th, 2018 and whose claimed goal is to protect the personal data of the European citizens, especially against the abuse by large and non-European companies. It should replace a data protection regulation from 1995.

In reality, it's another regulation penned by nasty folks whose skulls are full of šit but who believe that they should govern whole continents, anyway. Fines may be up to €20 million or 4% of the global turnover of the company. While it's easy to see that the fines are almost infinite, it's basically impossible to find out what these aßholes want from the companies. I have spent some hours trying to understand the logic and requirements of the regulation. What does it really want the companies to do in any of the mundane situations that deals with the personal data of the Europeans?

Thursday, March 22, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Humans can't locate discrete patterns in random analog pictures

I am getting a nontrivial amount of mail from "alternative thinkers" who believe that they have discovered something groundbreaking. Much of it is repetitive but a few days ago, I was dealing with something new.

An artist of a sort who doesn't have any mathematical or science education has claimed to have found some "pattern in everything" which isn't quite normal science but it isn't pseudoscience, either.

Imagine that 30 random white lines are added to the picture above and it's animated. I don't want to embed his picture with the lines because I think he's insane enough to sue me for copyright violations. ;-)

To make the story short, he would add dozens of straight lines to any picture – women, smokes from cigarettes, clouds, ocean waves, dozens of other things from the real life, as well as the random colorful cloudy picture of mine that I sent him.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

An alcoholic story of Hugh Everett's fantasies

Adam Becker, a guy who wrote "What is Real? The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics" which was released yesterday, posted a blog post about Hugh Everett at Scientific American today:

The Difficult Birth of the "Many Worlds" Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics
I think that the people who worship this irrational set of ideas must have some pre-existing perverse personality, especially because the person they worship isn't the kind of a person that a decent person would normally admire.

In Fall 1955, Danish physicist Aage Petersen came to Princeton and debated two local grad students, Charles Misner and Hugh Everett.

At that moment, Hugh Everett was energized by ethanol. This compound could have caused Hugh Everett to see many worlds instead of one. (Everyone sees the Czech towers above twice because there's some mirror or glass on the wall.) Aage Petersen said some wrong things to provoke the other guys. In particular, he said that quantum mechanics didn't apply to macroscopic objects. Drunk Everett got upset and he decided to debunk this heresy in the most straightforward way. And because he saw multiple worlds at that moment, he chose many worlds to be the method to debunk Petersen's claim.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Conference on alternative math did spark a war, after all

On Valentine's Day, I attended the conference on the alternative methods to teach mathematics. I was honored to stand on the same side as some top authorities of the Czech mathematics "establishment" who gradually realized what's going on.

Mr Milan Hejný's method is arguably the key "brand" in Czechia that is worshiped by those who want to reform the education of mathematics along the SJW lines, as in this 9-minute-long satirical video where a good old-fashioned teacher existentially suffers after she dares to tell her pupil that 2+2 isn't equal to 22. (The video ludicrously paints the old-fashioned teacher as a liberal and her critics as conservatives but I think that everyone who knows something about the real world knows that the reality is basically upside down.)

Advocates of Hejný's method seem to be universally brain-dead, they contributed nothing interesting to the conference, and there couldn't have been any meaningful conversation between the "two camps" over there. However, the conference exceeded my (and other people's) expectations, anyway. The number of ideas and observations from "our camp" was rich and diverse, I learned a lot, and I also hope that the people on our side have understood some things, too.

That was really what I have been secretly hoping for – not some unrealistic enlightenment of the SJWs – and I think that we came closer to that goal than expected.

Cambridge Analytica and pals should be banned

I have serious worries that my homeland was the most affected one

Physicsnut has posted the fresh British Channel 4 video which is a result of investigative journalism par excellence, I believe. As far as I can say, the "doubly scholarly" named organization was shown to be a bunch of criminals who should be arrested for a very long time.

Steve Bannon has been among the key founders and whether they have violated the law in the U.S. is a matter of accusations now – 50 million people's Facebook data could have been abused. But Channel 4 has sent a fake "client" to Cambridge Analytica and they recorded the offer. What the "client" was offered included fake discrediting materials against the political foes, using pretty Ukrainian prostitutes hired for that special purpose; basically fake videos proving corruption because Cambridge Analytica's representative makes an offer that almost no one can refuse (I would refuse any offer!); and many other things.

Some of these tactics surely are illegal in many countries right now.

Sunday, March 18, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

When people promote the one-party system and bully the opposition

On Saturday morning, I was randomly directed to a Facebook post about the need to support Babiš's ANO that was written by an FB contact of mine. It has severely increased my blood pressure and because that state of affairs lasted for another hour, I clicked at "unfollow" which returned the pressure close to the normal. ;-)

I knew that the man had some tendencies to root for Babiš (and he has met him and talked to him) but what I saw just exceeded my expectations because the post looked just like the demagogic attacks by Babiš against all of his political opponents (and against the system itself) that is apparently enough for the bottom 1.5 million of our nation. After some opposition to the anti-communist rallies 2 weeks ago that I attended (they were sparked by the appointment of a former communist street cop with a baton – who was beating anti-communist demonstrators in 1989 – as the Parliament's supervisor of GIBS, the police for policemen), we could read:

Everyone [probably in the writer's Prague environment] is saying bad things about ANO [the movement of the billionaire Babiš, the acting prime minister] but what are the real alternatives? Who is bringing a meaningful vision? The communist party that should have been banned years ago? SPD led by the Führer of the Asian appearance? ODS with Klaus Jr who would prefer his country outside the EU and is the expert in demagogy of the most brutal kind? TOP09 and STAN which will be out of the Parliament after next elections? KDU that is making so frequent U-turns that it could have a fidget spinner in its logo? Or social democrats which consider self-employed people parasites and have grandiose plans to increase the taxes? In fact, only the technocratic Pirates are left but should they have the power to lead the whole country?
And the text continues by saying that only Babiš must be supported to guarantee the rosy future with lots of investments and other great things, Babiš cannot possibly go away because of game theory, and stuff like that.

Saturday, March 17, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

A new book on Czech climate skeptics

Lisa, Hawking, and TIME: Lisa Randall wrote an obituary in the Time magazine. Hawking managed to have fun in sex, black holes, space travel, and he has even saved a seat for Lisa Randall. The main thing she worries about is that because of Hawking's heritage, people will think that to be a great physicist, you need to be handicapped and you can't be e.g. a hot babe from Cambridge, Massachusetts. Did I understand it well, Lisa? ;-)
In 2011, I went to a café with Petr Vidomus who described himself as a humanities student at the Charles University who was working on a project "How the Czech climate skeptics bring the global Armageddon closer". At least that's how I understood it – despite his intense efforts to preserve a "neutral image". In 2014, we had some additional online exchanges.

Because of a new Facebook post by Alexander Ač, an occasional TRF commenter who has only gotten into the book through a comment by your humble correspondent, I have learned about a newly published book.

Friday, March 16, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Bitcoin dominance is an irrational faith

...or a mostly dishonest marketing slogan...

Peter Thiel has bought the Bitcoin for some $20 million which is really just some one percent of his assets (and/or his fund's assets) so this amount may be considered a silly, homeopathic part of his image.

But according to CNBC, he is neutral to skeptical about all other cryptocurrencies. For the Bitcoin, there's a 50-80 percent chance that it will be worthless (which is a reasonable estimate of the probability, up to a factor between 2 and 1.25) and a 20-50 percent chance that it will be moving higher, whatever that statement exactly means.

He is a Bitcoin bull despite the fact that the Bitcoin is "cumbersome for payments". But it will be the "Internet equivalent of gold". It must be the gold because it's the largest one. And that's why everyone will always be attracted to it. Thiel isn't the only rich supporter of the Bitcoin who says such things. They're slogans that aren't repeated just by the most stupid Bitcoin cultists but also by numerous smart folks like Thiel. I think that he's being nutty.

Thursday, March 15, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Jester's unconstructive recommended HEP reforms

Yesterday, Adam Falkowski published his first blog post since September 2016, Where were we?. He starts by saying that particle physics is in crisis – which is no longer a prohibited word – because the LHC hasn't found any physics beyond the Standard Model.

He mentions texts by Hossenfelder, Giudice, and the Economist to prove that the "crisis" is being used. But there have always been people who preached about crises. More than two decades ago, in 1996, John Horgan published his "End of Science" diatribe. Ten years later, Šmoits introduced their own crisis hype. Adam, if you think that you're still substantially different from these three imbeciles, you might be wrong.

According to Falkowski, the continuation of particle physics as we knew it would be like the prolonged existence of the Soviet Union. Wow. Another troubling aspect of these assertions is that Falkowski continues to write business-as-usual papers on particle physics. Adam, maybe it's normal in your environment to do things that you consider worthless and be paid for them. But I think that you're showing the absence of academic integrity by doing so and I will always emphasize that this behavior is immoral.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

British witch hunt against Russia is immature, unfair, myopic, and dangerous

A week ago, a former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal (the name looks like the rare Czech surname "Skřípal" which means "he was squeaking") was found poisoned, along with his daughter, in Salisbury, UK where he moved in 2010 after a swap of agents. (The U.K. had insisted they had to get him.) They remain in critical condition. His sons and/or other relatives have already died years ago in suspicious circumstances.

Britain's PM is surely preparing her marine Davids to attack the Russian Goliath, too.

British PM Theresa May has "determined" that it must have been the Russian state that is "culpable" over the poisoning of the agent with the nerve agent, novičok (=novice), which was found there (she claims and we doubt), or Russia has lost the control over this "most effective" nerve gas that has ever been used which is a scandal, too.

So Russia was given an ultimatum – which Russia intentionally ignored – and the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats, freezing of Russian assets in the U.K., planned ban of Russia Today in the U.K., ban for the royal family that may have wanted to visit a sports event in Russia (World Cup 2018), and other things are already underway. Russia reacts by saying that the British steps are unprecedented provocations and there will be some revenge if those steps are adopted. For example, the answer the RT ban would be the ban on all British journalists in Russia. Wow.

Stephen Hawking: 1942-2018

The world's most famous scientist of the current era was born on January 8th, 1942, exactly 300 years after the death of Galileo Galilei, and – sadly – he died today after the midnight, on March 14th (Pi Day), 2018, exactly 139 years after the birth of Albert Einstein. He could clearly choose the dates well. Well, I can actually imagine that he was planning the date of his death.

The Guardian's Ian Sample must have prepared the obituary before the announcement from Hawking's kids (see also Google News). At any rate, it contains lots of things about Hawking's life and Hawking's science, indeed.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

What erases and can restore the interference patterns

LHC anomaly: look at this fresh paper on Higgs decays, page 26 (28 of 35), top. The graph shows \(\sigma_{VH}/\sigma_{SM}\) to be \(12.88\pm 5\) instead of the expected \(1\). A dramatic difference but it still translates to a 2.5-sigma deviation.
Under the latest discussion about the delayed choice quantum eraser experiment, the basic questions kept on coming. Can you replace the beam splitters by humans who press switches? Will the interference pattern reappear? Does the consciousness of these humans matter? And so on.

OK, let me discuss the experiment and its pieces again. On the picture above, you see the laser beam on the left upper side. The parent photon enters a double slit – there are two slits, the red slit (in San Francisco) and the light blue slit (in Los Angeles). If that parent photon just continued, it could contribute to an interference pattern on a photographic plate. Here I assume that you know the basic double slit experiment.

However, we want to make the experiment more complicated and combine it with an entanglement experiment. So the parent photon actually undergoes a process with a complicated name in the BBO crystal. That splits the parent photon to two photons of lower energy.

That splitting is applied to every parent photon. The upper daughter continues through some (yellow) lens towards the detector D0 where the coordinate \(x\) is measured – just like in the simple double slit experiment. Some values of \(x\) should be more likely (interference maxima), others should be very unlikely or prohibited (interference minima).

An incredible racist restaurant in New Orleans

I received a link to this article in The Washington Times (right-wing)

Restaurant charged white customers more to combat ‘racial wealth disparity’.
A Nigerian man in New Orleans has invented a new scam that actually isn't using e-mail. He created a restaurant where white consumers have to pay extra $18 because they are white. Well, this "tax for being white" is optional but if you are white and you don't pay, the owner isn't treating you equally cordially or professionally which is why 78% of the whites do pay this "tax".

His justification for this scam was that whites are wealthier so they must pay more. Well, that's not the case. Not so dear guest from Africa, you have clearly misunderstood the concept of money. When someone is wealthier, it means that he can buy more, not that he pays more for the same thing. ;-)