Saturday, March 31, 2007 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Harvard PhD student wins sudoku world title

Václav Klaus, the Czech president, has organized - no, it is not a rock concert against the global warming religion (he only organizes jazz concerts at the Prague Castle) but rather the second world championship in Sudoku,

It might have been a preparation of the campaign of Prague to host the olympic games in 2016. One week ago, the representatives of the Czech capital have voted that they wanted to fight for this event.

Figure 1: Olympic games 2016: Prague?

It's a pleasure to announce that Thomas Snyder, a 27-year-old Harvard PhD student of biochemistry (JPG) who grew up in Buffalo, New York, became the world's champion. Congratulations!

Figure 2: The world's champion together with the organizer.

Dark age arrives to Sydney

Before November 7th every year during communism, people were expected to put the Soviet flags in their window as a sign of their commitment to the ideals of the Great October Socialist Revolution. If you didn't have one, you were identified and your failure was remembered. Today, at 7.30 pm local time, Sydney had

According to the event's website:

  • At 7.30pm on 31 March 2007, we are inviting Sydneysiders - businesses and individuals - to turn off their lights for just one hour, Earth Hour, as a sign of their commitment to reduce global warming.

While only 50,000+ households participated, the opera house, many other landmarks, and hundreds of enterprises went dark. It is not hard to see what segments of the society contain the highest percentage of nutcases - and a country led by a conservative government is obviously not safe.

Figure 1: Switch off for brighter future. It sounds as some kind of parody of the communist slogans except that it's the real title of the article! ;-)

Sheldon Glashow vs Isaac Newton

Sheldon Glashow is giving a talk about

It's an interesting and fun reading. Some of the facts are well-known but Glashow's interpretations seem biased to me.

Newton the tyrant

Most of us know that Newton was a kind of intensely assertive person. I feel that he had to be one, otherwise he couldn't have made all these important contributions. Isaac Newton was living in a world filled with non-Newtons and anti-Newtons, and it makes a difference.

Newton and accuracy

Newton was the first person who could have talked about all kinds of quantities - forces, masses, distances - in a quantitative fashion. He was surrounded by people who didn't appreciate the quantitative nature of physics. On the other hand, Newton really enjoyed to calculate numbers. So he just calculated them. Sometimes his numbers looked much more accurate than what could have been justified by observations.

But in his era, the rigorous prescriptions how to deal with uncertainties were not well-established. His numbers could have been incorrect but the moral lesson - namely that there are numbers behind these phenomena that could be determined very accurately and that fit together - was correct and extremely important. Newton was apparently trying to compensate the vagueness that everyone else was pumping into science.

Robert Hooke and others couldn't have approached all these questions properly because they lacked Newton's mathematical prowess. Unlike Sheldon Glashow, I don't think that it is a detail. A mathematical analysis of these phenomena is crucial.

And saying that the theory of planetary motion should be called the Newton-Hooke theory because Hooke has possibly explained Newton why angular momentum conservation (Kepler's second law) follows from a general radial force seems to be a dramatic exaggeration of Hooke's contributions. It's an important piece of the picture but there are roughly 50 comparable steps that one (Newton) must do in order to describe the planetary motion: deriving ellipses and their parameters from the differential equations.

LHC may face another delay

Trouble with the cathedral of the 21st century

According to Peter Calamai, the LHC is like a medieval cathedral.

It has already outlasted some of its builders. The four detector experiments are distributed much like chapels in a cathedral and the CMS is large enough to accomodate the Canterbury cathedral.

Unlike the LHC, however, the cathedrals didn't fail the high-pressure test of the magnets three days ago. The CERN switched to a gloomy mood and is convinced that it is Fermilab's fault. Fermilab will try to comment on the details and invent a fix as soon as possible. Let's hope that they are problem solvers.

The most indisputable task for this cathedral is to find the God particle. At Harvard, we prefer this name because the technical name "Higgs particle" gives a somewhat misleading impression that Peter Higgs would necessarily have to get a Nobel prize for its discovery. Steven Weinberg has already received a Nobel prize for its theoretical understanding which is why Sheldon Glashow called the particle "Weinberg toilet": it is something you need for life but you are not necessarily proud about it. You can see that Glashow's respect for the God particle has its limits, much like his admiration for string theory herself. :-)

The LHC will generate 1 percent of the world's data and one teravolt is like an AA battery from each star in the Milky Way. And what happens if even the God particle is found not to exist? Well, Peter Calamai argues that the theoretical physicists will be lost and he is right. ;-)

High school student clarifies climate change

Do you remember what kind of homework did you do when you were a high school student?

is completing a project composed out of approximately 20 extensive pages that analyze the causes of the observed warming. As far as I can say, the content of the website is at least comparable in quality, quantity, and sanity to the content of RealClimate.ORG even though the latter source is written by 11 people who have sucked millions of taxpayers' dollars in several countries.

Czechia vs Austria: nuclear energy and radars

You might think that all environmentalists have already switched to the anti-greenhouse religion and they should therefore prefer nuclear energy over fossil fuels. You would be wrong.

This is the Temelín nuclear power plant producing 2x 1000 MW of energy. Its late Soviet nuclear core is combined with American gadgets to control the device from Westinghouse. The plant is situated in Southern Bohemia about 30 miles from the border with an anti-nuclear country called Austria. This distance makes the plant more controversial than a somewhat older type of a Soviet nuclear power plant located in Dukovany, Moravia.

Friday, March 30, 2007 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Indoctrinate U: documentary film

A movie about speech codes, indoctrination, censorship, sensitivity training, enforced political conformity, intolerance, obsession with diversity, gender as a social construct, and violation of freedom of speech and conscience at American universities:

Well, I would be much happier if I could write a rant explaining that the movie is not true!

Thursday, March 29, 2007 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Borehole climate reconstructions & hockey stick revolution in 1998

Borehole climate reconstructions are based on the assumption that if you drill a very deep hole and measure the temperature profile i.e. the dependence of temperature on the z-coordinate - the depth - you will be able to reconstruct how the surface temperature looked like in the past. That's because you can simulate the propagation of heat by partial differential equations and it's very slow. When you're finished, you assume that the reconstructed surface temperature is correlated with the air temperature.

But let me get to the point which is the following:

Boreholes 1997

In August 1997, Huang, Pollack, and Shen published a paper in Geophysical Research Letters. Click the picture to see the full paper. Using the borehole paradigm, they reconstructed the temperature in the last 20,000 years.

The curves a,b,c distinguish different - increasing - weights given to the data, allowing different degrees of variation. The c-curve in particular leads to a very warm holocene climate optimum (much warmer than today) - a warm and pleasant period around 8,000 years ago that lasted for about 3 millenia. The picture shows a cool period 2000 years ago followed by the medieval warm period 800 years ago (warmer than the present) and the little ice ago 300 years ago or so: quite a lot of natural variability that exceeds the recent variations.

String theory and a card

This video is called "String Theory". Well, the available evidence indicates that this particular effect is indeed not explained by string theory but a string theorist was able to qualitatively reproduce the observations using a particular machine in my office. Do you know which one? Do you have a better explanation? :-)

If you want to see a new Brian Greene :-) who explains string theory in 117 seconds, see AEinstein04. Well, I guess that the creator of the video will have to try harder but I haven't seen the competitors yet. :-)

Have you ever wondered how string theory looks like it she is a woman? Will Wilson proposes a rather natural, robust answer for $49,000. You must be over 21 years to click here. For the readers who can't focus: yes, the string is there. As you can see, it's a subtle question whether string theory is beautiful and it what sense it is. But there is something about it that one simply can't ignore. :-) You can compare her beauty with the beauty of loop quantum gravity.

Diversity of mammals due to warming

It has been believed that the asteroid strike that eliminated dinosaurs 65 million years ago led to the rise and diversification of mammals. But a

indicates that mammals existed long before the strike and their diversification and prosperity started much later, probably due to global warming that seems to be highly beneficial for mammal life, in a sharp contradiction with one of the statements of the environmentalists.

Figure 1: The echidna, one of the oldest mammals

Recall that the earlier expansion of dinosaurs themselves - after the Great Dying 250 million years ago - is another event where it's not quite clear whether the climate or a celestial body was responsible for the abrupt developments.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Brian Greene vs Lawrence Krauss

If you're in DC today (Wednesday), you may try to see a debate of Prof Brian Greene himself with Prof Lawrence Krauss:

Congratulations to Lawrence Krauss that he will be able to meet Brian Greene! Well, if a reader wants to meet a famous physicist, just write a silly book against his field and all the gates will open. ;-) I am partially kidding but not quite.

The event will be moderated by Prof Michael Turner.

A few days earlier, the Pioneer anomaly was discussed at the same place.


As the Science magazine reports (while crediting "Lumidek" for a photograph, guess who's that), Krauss behaved as a simple-minded and aggressive warrior against science, pumping a lot of technically unsubstantiated and untrue statements and personal attacks (including statements that he wouldn't want his daughter to marry his string theory students - nice for Hong Liu and Raman Sundrum, among others) to the audience, and some of them bought it. It went far enough that Turner couldn't declare Brian a winner - claiming a tie instead.

Saturn: Department of Defense, the Hexagon

A special explanation for those journalists whose mind is not powerful enough to determine the answer even though it is sufficient for them to revenge by attempted Goebbelsian character assassinations: this text is indeed a joke.

Enceladus, a moon of Saturn, should be frozen. Nevertheless, it seems to create its own heat. Also, Mars, Jupiter, Triton, and Pluto seem to be warming right now. As you know, warming is man-made. One of the small problems with the man-made global warming theory was that no evidence of humans and industry on these other planets and moons was known.

This problem has just been solved. The Cassini-Huygens mission has observed that the Republicans on Saturn have built their Department of Defense on Saturn's North pole: click the picture for more. Cars appear to be whipping around the Hexagon like on a racetrack. Twenty days ago, I saw the Pentagon in D.C. and I assure you that it looked exactly like the Hexagon on the picture except that one segment was missing.

While the Northern Hemisphere is controlled by the conservatives, the other hemisphere suffers: there is a hurricane with a giant eye on Saturn's South pole. Mars, on the other hand, is governed by Martian hippies.

Paul Davies: Cosmic Jackpot

Why out universe is just right for life

I have received a popular book that looks nice. Paul Davies is not only a physicist with some awards and hundreds of papers but he is an achieved popularizer of physics. The long list of his books includes "Mind of God" and "Superstrings: a Theory of Everything". The latter book contained interviews with people like F-GSW-GSW-GE i.e. Feynman, Glashow, Salam, Weinberg, Green, Schwarz, Witten, Gross, and Ellis about string theory. Only the first two failed to be positive. ;-)

Although I don't have time to read the whole book right now, let me say that what I clearly like is the absence of the grumpiness that played a key role in several recent books. Davies is a professional in this kind of business and feels no need to invent propaganda and organize revenge. In other words, it is very nice to see a popular book called Cosmic Jackpot after two or three Cosmic Crackpots pretending to be more than popular books. :-)

The book explains cosmology - Big Bang, microwave background, inflation etc. - as well as particle physics - including the Standard Model, supersymmetry, Higgs mechanism, string theory, M-theory. The author offers some standard as well as unusual ideas about symmetries, unification, the existence of a unique final theory, the fine-tuning that seems to be necessary for life, and the history of chemical elements, especially carbon. He shows why the multiverse may solve some of the bizarre coincidences i.e. the Goldilocks enigma, talks about super-turtles and observations behind the horizon, and discusses both intelligent design as well as not-so-intelligent design. :-)

Finally, you may learn about his original improvement of the multiverse ideas: Davies argues that the existence of intelligent life today helps to shape the past in an acausal fashion but I can't tell you the details because you wouldn't buy the book if I told you the punch line, especially if I mentioned whether I believe a word here or not. :-) The book is recommended by Nature, Michio Kaku, and Joel Primack, and it is dedicated to John Wheeler who never hesitated to ask big questions.

"Admitting failure" concept

In this story, "S" is a scientist. The letter can stand for "String theorist" but if in fact, if it were "Skeptic", it wouldn't be too different.

PW: Why are you studying what you are studying?
S: Because I think it is interesting!
PW: No, you are studying it because you do not want to admit failure!
S: No, I really think it is interesting.
PW: No, no, admit failure at once!
S: If I admit failure, can I still continue studying what I am studying?
PW: Yes. But why would you?
S: Because I think it is interesting!
Via Gina.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

James Hansen on scientific reticence

A preprint on the arXiv

was written by Rev. James Hansen, the vice-prophet of the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) denomination. He proves that the sea levels will rise more than 6 times (and probably 20 times) faster in the 21st century than they did in the last 50 years.

His proof is based on the concept of "scientific reticence" which is an improved version of "scientific consensus". While the consensus method allows one to prove numbers that many people who haven't looked at it carefully - but who voted for the same politicians - agree with even though they don't have any evidence, "scientific reticence" is much better because it allows a scientist to prove numbers that are about 30 times higher than the numbers obtained by the method of the "scientific consensus". The reticence method is thus clearly superior. How does it work?

In the context of the sea levels, the existence of reticence is proven by Rev. Hansen's story from California. A lawyer noticed that Hansen was not a glaciologist and he wanted to know the name of at least one glaciologist who publicly agrees with Hansen's statement that the sea level will rise by more than one meter in the next century. Hansen couldn't name one which he uses as a proof that there is "scientific reticence". Because there is no one who publicly agrees with him, it follows that scientists are reticent and their predictions of catastrophes are therefore huge underestimates.

Another paper from Rev. Hansen's list of references that supports the theory of reticence is the paper by Barber (1961) that discusses "resistance by scientists to scientific discovery". It implies, among other things, that if you want to have some good science, you should first execute all scientists because they will prevent any scientific progress. Instead, you should hire people like Rev. Al Gore to do the science.

This well-established reticence is then used to prove theorems such as that
  • the climate scientists who downplayed the dangers of climate change have received more funding
  • there is a pressure on scientists to be conservative
  • scientists are so reticent that all of them underestimate the sea level rise by orders of magnitude
As a corollary, Hansen has proven that Lenny Susskind's picture of the multiverse is correct because Hansen must obviously live in a different universe than your humble correspondent.

Hansen hasn't considered the possibility that it is the largest ocean who is reticent - or at least Pacific; in Czech, we call it The Silent Ocean.

At any rate, Rev. Hansen has essentially proven all of his prophecies - and the only task for your humble correspondent is to avoid possible accusations of reticence and say very loudly that Rev. Hansen has approached Woitian levels of "depth", "relevance", and "objectivity" of scientific argumentation. Be afraid. Be very afraid. Unless you want to use your brain.

Zodiac sign: Serpentarius

Astrology is a communist pseudoscience

Ann asked me what is my zodiac sign: well, it is Serpentarius, currently called Ophiuchus, the least known among the 13 zodiac signs: see the symbol on the left. Everyone who was born between 11/30 and 12/17 had this sign behind the Sun although most of these people incorrectly assume that they are Sagittarius. ;-)

Figure 1: Sagittarius Serpentarius (Secretary Bird), the heterotic result of a compromise between the scientific and unscientific approach to the zodiacal constellations. It is an extraordinary bird of prey in the "least concern" category. The word "secretary" comes from the pencils that it stores for the secretaries. According to others, they're arrows which is why it is a Sagittarius. But the bird likes to eat snakes which is why it is Serpentarius.

Ann Coulter recently pointed out that astrologers are almost as untrustworthy as the global warming alarmists. I agree with her: astrology is just another communist pseudoscience. :-) The main features of astrology that justify this description are the following:

  1. egalitarianism
  2. elimination of inconvenient groups
  3. static picture of the world
  4. the desire to control the world from the top

Egalitarianism of astrology is obvious. All zodiac signs had to be assigned exactly 1/12 of the year - just like every European country can only get one out of 12 stars on the European flag - even though there are obvious differences in the size of the constellations.

Microsoft: 20 million licenses for Windows Vista

Windows Vista, Microsoft Corp's new operating system, has sold 20 million copies during the first month - essentially February 2007. That's more than 17 million copies of Windows XP sold in the first two months back in 2002. The demand is strong globally. Vista on new computers is the key and the consumers prefer the Premium edition because the semi-transparent Aero windows are simply cool and you won't find them in the Home Basic edition.

You can see that Ballmer's comments that he was afraid were BS.

Monday, March 26, 2007 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Czechia, Slovakia, Poland vs. EU

The European Commission has slashed the annual 2008-2012 carbon limits for the Czech Republic by 15% to 87 million tons a year, and those of Poland by nearly 30% to 209 million tons a year. France is satisfied with its 133 million ton cap because it has a lot of nuclear power plants.

The numbers are comparable to the 2005 emissions.

The Czech Republic and perhaps Poland are planning to join Slovakia and sue the bastards in the EU who want to eco-terrorize the new members for whom the higher growth is necessary in order to catch up with the rest of Europe. Indeed, the recent growth in Czechia, Slovakia, and Poland was about twice the growth in the Western Europe and the Eurobureaucrats want to punish the new members for this growth.

Anti-Big-Bang conference at Imperial College London

A conference will take place from Monday to Thursday:

The organizers are very tolerant so they have also invited people who dare to believe that the data support the standard model of cosmology. ;-)

However, attacks will be the main point. Lawrence Krauss and Subir Sarkar will argue that dark energy probably doesn't exist. (It is probably too dark and can't be seen, and what can't be seen is religion, not science?)

Tom Shanks will argue that the CMB has a bug because we don't see "shadows" of nearby galaxies in it. Alain Blanchard will show that there's no evolution of clusters seen in X-ray data, in contradiction with the theory. Jelle Kaastra and Niayesh Afshordi from Harvard will count the molecules in daily life, and by getting 40 percent more than we see, they will also falsify cosmology. Kate Land and Carlo Contaldi will point out an odd alignment but these people argue that inflation could explain it. Andrew Jaffe will argue that the Universe has an exotic topology. See

As YS has pointed out, a babe in the Universe, Dr Louise Riofrio of the aptly named Cook University, attends the conference and will report about it on her babe blog. She is well-known for her new cosmological theory, "M=t". The "M=t" (mass equals time) version of her theory of the Universe is in Planck units and in a few years, her collaborators will re-discover the Planck units and find this remarkably simple form of her theory of everything.

One of the most impressive virtues of the "M=t" theory is that it works (if you neglect all observations except for this paragraph). Recall that the age of the Universe is 10^{60} Planck times. The volume is thus about 10^{180} Planck volumes. Mutiply by the cosmological constant, 10^{-120} (the number from the C.C. problem), and you get 10^{60} again! In other words, the cosmological constant goes like "rho=1/t^2": the product of the cosmological constant and the holographic screen area equals one in Planck units. I am sure you know why. ;-)

Via Benny Peiser.

Role of mathematics in science

It has been four centuries since Galileo Galilei discovered the scientific method as we know it. What were the main breakthroughs that allowed him to switch mankind from the pre-scientific mode of thinking to the scientific mode of thinking?

Time-dependence controlled by maths

No doubt, one of his most important contributions was the discovery that mathematics and quantitative thinking can be applied and should be applied to dynamical processes. As Steven Weinberg said, it was Galileo who put time into physics. No one before him had this idea: the closest thing people knew was static geometry, a gift of ancient Greece, that can be viewed as the oldest branch of physics describing perfectly solid and static objects in a certain limit, although nowadays we usually re-interpret the history and include the Greek discovery to be a part of mathematics that has nothing to do with natural sciences. However, the Greeks didn't respect our modern boundaries between physics and mathematics and they would surely have no difficulties to be counted as physicists.

In one of Galileo's key experiments, he had to determine whether the acceleration by gravity increases the velocity by the same amount per unit time or unit distance. His experiments with inclined planes in Pisa are legendary. The answer to this question was, of course, that the velocity increases under the influence of gravity by the same amount per unit time.

Refining the theories

Galileo drew the road map to study Nature ever more rationally, relying on ever more careful quantitative arguments and measurements and using ever more sophisticated mathematical structures. Isaac Newton had to discover the calculus in order to describe the motion of apples and celestial bodies. Others had to invent partial differential equations, Lie groups, Hilbert spaces, path integrals, RG flows, conformal field theory, and many other things that were necessary for a proper quantitative understanding of various physical systems.

Sunday, March 25, 2007 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Alaska: record cold snap

The coldest period Feb 12 - Mar 20 in Alaska occurred in 2007. The average temperature was minus 13.1 degrees Fahrenheit, i.e. 17 degrees Fahrenheit below the average, and it was enough to freeze not only alarmists' smiles but also septic lines.

Earth Commission for Thermostatic Control

Tom in Fairbanks, AK informed us that Tim Flannery, an Australian climate change activist, gave a talk about global warming during the cold snap. Larry R argued that it was a manifestation of the generalized Gore effect. ;-)

This is the second time I saw the name of Tim Flannery today. So I should tell you that in his book "The Weather Makers", page 291, the author proposes that "humans" have no other choice than to establish a global military junta that he calls

unless all demands to regulate carbon are met by the people of this planet. The goal of this junta would be to stop democracy and carbon circulation in the world and stop the climate from changing. Flannery argues that his pet project could easily grow out of Kyoto.

Now you know how the cutting-edge climate "science" looks like. Well, other people could think that it could be a good idea to decarbonate the bodies of these greenshirts such as Flannery before it's too late. While their brown predecessor was more concerned about global warming than Mr. Roosevelt, Mr. Churchill, or Mr. Stalin, he brought a lot of problems to the world anyway.

And that's the memo.

Alternative physicist who "invented" the landscape

One of the self-described new Einsteins' favorite games is to claim the discovery of some well-known or important concepts even though it is transparent that they not only failed to discover it but they, in fact, still don't understand it. Let me illustrate it with the example of an alternative physicist who has "invented" the landscape.

The self-described physicist responds to a wise comment by Mark Srednicki who points out, using the example of Brian Greene, that real scientists are primarily asking and answering questions whether something is true or not, rather than asking whether it is compatible with their dogmas. The self-described scientist under consideration shows that despite Mark's patient explanation, he still has no idea about this basic goal of science:

  • Dear Mark... Your selective quotation of me badly misstates my position. Not only do I acknowledge that the landscape is a possibility, I invented the idea, named it and was the first to explore its consequences, in papers from 1992 on.
It's not bad to "invent" a theory eight years before its simple version is discovered (BP) and eleven years before its more concrete and acceptable version appears (KKLT). Except that the landscape is not an "idea" and it cannot be "invented". The landscape is a set of solutions whose existence is a result of a detailed analysis of the stringy equations of motion. The only step that a researcher can do with the landscape is to "discover it", not "invent it", and she can only do so if she actually makes the hard work. It is impossible to discover or invent the landscape without these analyses that could only be done in this century.

Berlin Declaration: 50 years of EU

Congratulations to the 50th anniversary of the European Union. I guess that the early versions of the Berlin Declaration were full of "Orwellian Eurospeak" as the Czech president called in on Friday but the

seems kind of smooth to me and avoids the eurobureaucratic verbal constructs that are often inserted to replace words in order to give the officials an unjustified feeling that they're a special elite. It is conceivable that Angela Merkel's people simply had to erase the eurospeak.

The term "social responsibility" appears once which is OK with me. But there are some typos in it anyway. For example, in this paragraph:

  • We intend jointly to lead the way in energy policy and climate protection and make our contribution to averting the global threat of climate change.

the word "religion" is missing at the very end. Hasn't anyone noticed this typo, you may ask? Well, some people did but they were only given 24 hours to verify the document which is a "classical example of a lack of democracy".

In the last big paragraph, the text says that we are united in our desire to create a new common basis before the 2009 euroelections. Well, I think that the sentence is untrue - Europe is certainly not united in the opinion that something like a new constitution, old or new, is needed soon. The Poles, Czechs, and Englishmen don't feel any need for a new document while the Dutch and the French will reject it in the referendum. ;-)

But on the other hand, the formulation is so vague and watered down that it won't represent any problems. An otherwise worthless piece of paper was signed by two Germans and one non-German. Twenty-seven heads of countries burned some fossil fuels and spent one day to see this theater in Berlin and nothing else happened. Congratulations anyway!

Saturday, March 24, 2007 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Intelligence squared climate debate: audio and video

YouTube: video (10 parts)
MP3 from NPR (50 minutes, shortened and with summaries by an NPR host)
Full debate (92 minutes, Windows Media, more meat)
NPR web page of the event

As we have reported earlier, skeptics won. By the way, in a similar debate, skeptic Joe Kernen defeated alarmists Sheryl Crow and Laurie David.

When you listen to the audio, you can't be surprised. The alarmists are just categories below the skeptics as far as their scientific as well as rhetorical abilities go. Gavin Schmidt may be aggressive and says things that the audience doesn't like but he's clearly the brightest member of the alarmist team.

Opening statements

Richard Lindzen first explains basic facts. There has been warming in the 20th century: no side questions that. CO2 greenhouse effect contributes to the dynamics to one extent or another - probably not much - but no party questions this either. Then he says an important general fact that much of the confusion about the climate can be attributed to people's ignorance what is normal and what is not normal about the climate: weather events have always existed. Neither group claims that the climate change is a crisis today but the skeptics argue that it won't be a crisis in a foreseeable future either. Lindzen explains that most of the greenhouse effect expected from a doubling of CO2 has already occurred and it only led to a 0.6 Celsius degrees increase or so (and much of this small change could be due to other reasons). Sea level is more affected by tectonics than warming. Warm weather is more comfortable than cold weather. Warming helped to improve agriculture in India. Aerosols are often claimed to explain all gaps in the data except that IPCC admits that the impact of aerosols is virtually unknown and probably insufficient to cancel the warming. Other wrong predictions are blamed in the capacity of oceans except that these explanations start to look contrived. He says that the models can be adjusted to agree with the past behavior once it's known but that's very different from having a model whose future predictions can be trusted. Instead of accelerating, warming has been absent for 10 years. Data don't confirm a crisis. There's no way how we can be close to a "threshold". Temperature in the middle of the troposphere - one that should be caused by the greenhouse effect - is increasingly even slower than the surface temperature.

Global warming arrives to Versoix, Switzerland

Click the photograph for more pictures. The navigation buttons say "Previous", "Zoom in", "Next".

Via The Invisible Dog.

Elias Kiritsis: String Theory in a Nutshell

Elias Kiritsis' 608-page-long book, to be released on April 1st and sold for $65, is the most concise text among those that are covering virtually everything about the introduction of string theory.

You can pre-order it now: guarantees that you will pay the lowest price if it drops in March.

Friday, March 23, 2007 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Marcos Mariňo: fundamental open topological strings

Marcos Mariňo gave a nice talk about his and their work on open strings in topological string theory.

Incidentally, his T-shirt today contained four Marxes but only one of them was a criminal, namely Karl. The remaining three were comedians, I was explained. Nevertheless, the slogan said "Son Marxista" - "They are Marxists".

It is always good to meet this entertaining Marxist who is bothered that his favorite wing of politics - the left wing - is represented by the annoying politically correct people in the U.S. who don't like jokes, freedom of speech, and who self-consistent opinions.

In the topological A-model, one wants to calculate the partition sum "F(t)" as a function of the Kähler moduli "t". It is the sum over all holomorphic curves weighted by "exp(-A)" where "A" is the area.

However, one can also introduce Lagrange D-branes into this background. You obtain new open string degrees of freedom besides the complexified Kähler closed string fields. The open string fields include the imaginary part that encodes the Wilson lines around one-cycles inside the Lagrange three-cycles.

The partition sum may be efficiently rewritten using the topological vertex but this only works in the large volume limit. For many other purposes, one needs a better method to calculate. Marcos has looked at the B-model that is the mirror to the A-model above. The introduction of the open string degrees of freedom leads to a thickening - and smooth regularization - of the toric diagram that makes it obvious that many transitions - movement of D-branes from one line of the toric diagram into another line - is actually non-singular. This regularization arises because of the worldsheet instantons.

Marcos also introduced a chiral boson living on the Riemann surface inside his local Calabi-Yau three-fold and thus derived, at the level of physics rigor, a powerful recursion relation for the genus-g contribution to the partition sum. This contribution can be re-expressed as a function of contributions from diagrams that have either a smaller number of handles (genus) or a smaller number of holes. This recursion relation has a natural counterpart in the matrix models but he can use it even for geometries that don't have a known matrix model description. Their work is thus a generalization of the Dijkgraaf-Vafa techniques.

A mathematical kind of a rigorous proof would probably be based on the observation that they can rigorously derive the holomorphic anomaly equation from their formalism. The difference of their result from the right result must thus be holomorphic. With a few observations about the asymptotic behavior in different limits, one could argue that the difference is zero: their result is correct.

One of the moral punch lines of the talk is that the open string degrees of freedom can be viewed as more fundamental degrees of freedom than the closed string ones in topological string theory. Equivalently, all contributions to partition sums can be constructed out of the disk and cylinder contributions. This includes closed worldsheets which opens the possibility that the same method could be used in bosonic cubic string field theory to calculate purely closed string scattering.

Because Marcos' approach was named a residue technique, I was interested whether it is morally analogous to the method how we showed the equivalence of the connected and disconnected twistor prescriptions in "CP(3/4)". The answer remains somewhat ambiguous.

Debate is over II

Last week, we saw that the debate was over: the skeptics (Lindzen, Stott, Crichton) won.

There has been another debate. Seven out of eleven jurors in Longmont, Colorado decided that the prosecution team - the skeptics - have won once again. Congratulations. ;-)

Elegant physicist makes string theory sexy

MSNBC has an interview with Brian Greene on Hawking, optimism, LHC, WMAP, predictions of the future of physics, the landscape, understandability of string theory, length scales, sci-fi movies, and balancing time.

Mark Srednicki argues that Alan Boyle's questions were very good. Also, Brian Greene answers a question about the landscape by saying that if it's true, it completely changes the way we think about the Universe. Mark emphasizes that Brian - much like real scientists - are interested in the question whether it's true or not: if it is true, then our de facto ability to say things accurately is clearly lower than many of us would like to hope. Bigots like the blue one or the black one are not interested whether something is true but whether it is consistent with some preconceptions and arbitrary assumptions what science should say. I fully agree with Mark: their approach is not an approach of a scientist.

P.S.: Those who click learn that I didn't invent the title. ;-)

If you think that one newspaper interview with Brian Greene in 24 hours is not enough, open The Seattle Times. The interview is about the Fabric of the Cosmos, steak (not terribly positive!), experiments to prove string theory, loafs of bread, and Brian's apparent inability to put the ironing board out without making a horrendous screech. :-)

Thursday, March 22, 2007 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Commencement speaker: Bill Gates

The former student will be speaking.

He didn't finish Harvard but managed to survive. See The Harvard Crimson.

Alaska: record snow and avalanche

As a reader has pointed out, this winter (2006-2007) has become the snowiest winter on record in Juneau Alaska, just surpassing 194.3 inches from 1964-1965. Also, Thane road was closed due to avalanche. See

Five days ago, Tokyo has seen its record late snow, surpassing the previous record - February 10th, 1960 - by more than one month.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Bjorn Lomborg and Al Gore: testimonies

Bjorn Lomborg is an interesting thinker but he is still a kind of environmentalist. In his testimony (click), he will calculate that if the mankind follows the Anti-Christ, it will lead to a genocide of millions of people. ;-)

He uncritically copies the numbers from environmental activists (IPCC) and compares them with the numbers created by radical environmental activists (such as Gore and Hansen). For example, IPCC predicts 35 centimeters of sea level ice from Greenland ice for the next century while Gore and Hansen predict 600 centimeters, almost 2,000 percent more. ;-) Lomborg will enumerate areas in which investment has much higher chances of being useful than the climate.

Al Gore's testimony is not available because Gore has violated virtually every rule of these hearings.

From behind the scenes on Capitol Hill: Former Vice President Al Gore, despite being given major preferential treatment, has violated the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee's (EPW) hearing rules.

Gore first demanded to be granted an unprecedented 30 minute opening statement to the Senate EPW Committee for Wednesday's (March 21) global warming hearing scheduled for 2:30 pm ET.

The GOP minority on the EPW committee agreed to the 30 minute opening statement.

But then Gore demanded a waiver of the EPW committee's 48 hour rule that requires all witnesses before EPW to submit their testimony in advance. The GOP minority on the EPW committee then agreed to waive the 48 hour rule in favor of allowing Gore to submit his testimony 24 hours before the hearing.

But in a breaking news development on Capitol Hill - the former Vice President has violated the new 24 hour deadline extension by failing to submit his testimony - even with the new time extension granted to Gore.

NASA: Sun-climate connection found

In May 2006, NASA announced significant changes on the solar surface.

Another big-brand contribution to peer-reviewed denier literature emerged this week. As we have already reported, NASA has found Sun-climate connection in Old Nile records.

More precisely, Alexander Ruzmaikin, Joan Feynman, and Yuk Yung have found a non-trivial correlation between annual water levels in Cairo (left picture) on one side and the number of solar auroras (right picture) on the other side between 622 A.D. and 1470 A.D. See

Among other conclusions, in a Fourier-like decomposition, there are oscillations with a period of 88 years and with a period of 200+ year both in the river records as well as the aurora records.

Another peer-reviewed article added later

Charles A. Perry, Evidence for a physical linkage between galactic cosmic rays and regional climate time series, Advances in Space Research

Tuesday, March 20, 2007 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Vaclav Klaus answers to U.S. congress

Figure 1: Václav Klaus in Texas two weeks ago.

Members of the U.S. Congress committees led by John Dingell (Dem) and Barbara Boxer (Dem) - OK, let's admit that the particular lawmakers are GOP members, to make the sentence more diverse - have decided to ask a European leader about her or his views on the climate change, before the hearings with Al Gore tomorrow.

They chose Václav Klaus. Incidentally, DPA (the German Press Agency) has included the term "global-warming denier" into its official vocabulary. Well, many of us will have to wear it proudly until the global-warming regime collapses later this year in the Second Velvet Revolution. ;-) See

The full answers of Klaus to their five questions are here:


DiscoverMagazine.COM: string theory in two minutes

A science magazine has just upgraded its design to a new generation of user interface:

Let's hope that ugly pages with ugly interviews with ugly crackpots have been permanently moved to the history textbooks of science journalism. There is a new fancy video player on the main page. Also, the magazine is going to organize user-generated video contests. The first video contest asked the participants to do something that Joe Polchinski needs thousands of pages for, namely to

The magazine has received over 50 submissions. The winner will be chosen by Brian Greene and will be featured in an upcoming issue of the magazine.

Monday, March 19, 2007 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Pro-Obama anti-Hillary ad

Pro-Barack anti-Clinton 1984-like ad.

It is less impressive than what I expected. It certainly can't change the fact that Hillary would actually be among my preferred options.

Harvard undergraduates are not sissy

"On Sunday, March 18, 2007, a male undergraduate student reported to the Harvard University Police Department that he was the victim of an attempted armed robbery while walking on JFK Street. At approximately 1:15, AM as the victim approached the intersection of JFK Street and Memorial Drive, he observed an unidentified male smoking a cigarette and gesturing with his hands. As he got close the unidentified male, who was holding a knife, demanded the student's wallet. The victim indicated to the suspect that he was going to comply with his demand for his wallet. The victim then resisted and threw his backpack at the suspect. As the suspect fell to the ground the victim disarmed him. The suspect then fled over the Larz Anderson Bridge into Allston. A search by the Harvard University Police Department and the Massachusetts State Police failed to locate the offender. The victim was not injured and did not require medical attention."

If you thought that it is only the male undergraduates who are brave, you're wrong. The feminists in particular have finally determined that they have no need to f*** the man. I apologize for censorship but my politeness standards are apparently tighter than those of the Harvard Crimson. ;-)

Map of E8

Richard Feynman once needed a map of the cat. If you have 60 GB of space on your hard disk and you need a map of E8, the largest exceptional Lie group, you may think about asking Jeffrey Adams (University of Maryland) to send you the result of their multi-year work plus 77 hours of supercomputer time: a 453,060 x 453,060 matrix. Not sure whether it will be helpful to the heterotic string phenomenologists but it could be fun for everyone. See The Times or a slightly more technical presentation at which I can't quite verify right now.

Sunday, March 18, 2007 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

A small inconvenience for global warming saviors

From the Saturday's Boston Globe.

Via TimBlair: the best way to learn what's new in Boston, behind the Iron Charles Curtain, is via Australia. ;-) Well, I also hope that none of them was sunburned.

The photograph has disappeared from the Boston Globe but you may still read that in Boston, God is great, God is good, God is green.

Believers who have watched the movie featuring the green Antichrist will gather at Copley Plaza.

"Einstein may have started the rot"

According to Roger Highfield, another rather unintelligent person with a PhD, in The Telegraph, "Einstein may have started the rot". This is an exact quote from his rant against modern theoretical physics. Wow. It was apparently a sin for Einstein to develop a theory (GR) based on mathematical principles if he couldn't simultaneously do all experiments to prove it, the author argues.

That's getting pretty far although it can't be quite unexpected: what string theory is doing is nothing else than continuing in Einstein's program of theoretical physics, while avoiding all of his known imperfections.

It's very clear that if someone dislikes string theory, she or he must dislike most of modern theoretical physics, too (Lee Smolin certainly does!). It's because string theory is nothing else than the crown, unification, or culmination of modern theoretical physics and all of its crucial results, insights, methods, principles, and values.

Boston Globe & Lene Hau

The Boston Globe interviews Lene Hau.

Our famous colleague explains that 300,000 km/s is incomprehensibly high a number ;-) so she decided to lower it and became passionate about the slow light. She argues that these tricks have applications for computing. Finally, they can't avoid the usual questions about women in science: she essentially says that there's no discrimination but the tenured female numbers lag. Also, she says that the Academia doesn't have free thinkers despite the tenure system that would be expected to support it. Well, experimentally it is clear that it does not.

See also Physics as a Danish enterprise.

Saturday, March 17, 2007 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Interview with Martin Durkin

The creator of The Great Global Warming Swindle has agreed to give an

What he says makes perfect sense while the criticisms, including the comments by Prof Carl Wunsch, seem completely incoherent to me. If I had to guess, I would guess that Prof Carl Wunsch is being blackmailed by the environmentalist advocacy groups right now. There is a lot of vague talk by Wunsch et al. about the impression one gives etc.

Jesus Christ, the main question is not about impressions - at least outside the anti-greenhouse religion, it is not about impressions. The main question is whether the set of hypotheses referred to as "man-made global warming" are right or wrong, whether the underlying facts are right or wrong, and the documentary has presented arguments that the answer is almost certainly Wrong.

Incidentally, Durkin also talks about the hockey stick graph - a scandal that was not discussed in the documentary - and some extra hogwash in Gore's movie such as the phony correlation between warmth and malaria.

What one should question are the arguments and facts, not impressions. I think it is clear that the temperature has been the driver and the concentrations of other gases, including CO2, were its product. The main reason why temperature changes the gas concentrations in the atmosphere is connected with the oceans, and Carl Wunsch helped to explain it even though he was certainly not the most comprehensible scientist in the documentary. If the causation is how Durkin's documentary says - the same relation between CO2 and temperature that we described last summer exactly in the same way as Durkin did - the idea that the data supports the influence of CO2 on temperature is a falsified idea, and any attempt to create a different "impression" is simply fraud.

And that's the memo.

Friday, March 16, 2007 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Sci-fi movie: Sunshine

It's 2057 and the Earth is freezing over. (By the way, back in 2007, after two spring days in Cambridge, the snow is back!) A group of heroes has a simple task: to re-ignite the Sun.

Brian Cox who works for the LHC was an advisor for this movie. See an article in the Telegraph and the Sunshine movie website.

Skeptics vs alarmists: 46:42

Update: my comments about the audio.

Before the debate in the New York City on Wednesday night, the alarmists enjoyed a 57 percent support while the global-warming-is-not-a-crisis team received 30 percent of votes.

Special welcome for Tim Blair's readers... If you want to see an Australian view on the debate, see Herald Sun. Melanie Phillips reports from Great Britain.

After the debate, however, the skeptics' team climbed to 46 percent while the alarmists dropped to 42 percent. The difference changed from +27 (serious warming) before the debate to -4 (no serious warming) after the debate. Skeptics have also won the online vote, 55 percent vs 42 percent with 3 percent undecided.

Well, the debate is over. And the outcome of the debate? Global warming is not a crisis. See

Democracy doesn't belong to science but you can see that if you do it right, as Rosenkranz Intelligence Squared did, the reasonable people (skeptics) defeat the alarmists according to democratic rules, too.

Congratulations to "passionate" Dr Philip Stott, "soft-spoken" Dr Richard Lindzen, and "folksy and tall" Michael Crichton MD.

"Skeptical" Dr Gavin Schmidt of RealClimate.ORG, "moderate" concerned scientist Dr Brenda Ekwurzel, and "perplexed" Dr Richard Somerville have a lot of things to learn - not only about debates, I think. The adjectives are not mine: they come from the editors of Scientific American.

Thursday, March 15, 2007 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Does a global temperature exist?

It doesn't: a peer-reviewed article

The regular weekly dose of climate deniers' peer-reviewed literature - something that according to Naomi Oreskes can't exist, yet it seems to appear almost every week. ;-)

A new, June 2007 issue of the Journal of Non-Equilibrium Thermodynamics has a paper called

Does a global temperature exist?
by Christopher Essex, Ross McKitrick, and Bjarne Andresen. They argue that the concept of a global temperature is ill-defined because it heavily depends on the choice of statistical methods. The choice of the methods is thus a political decision, not a part of the scientific method.

The paper is inconvenient for RealClimate.

Julius Caesar: Ides of March

As Rae Ann has pointed out, exactly 2050 years ago, Julius Caesar was killed. It happened on Ides of March, i.e. on March the 15th, 44 BC. Note that 2007+44=2051 but you must subtract one because there was no year "zero" in our calendar.

Connecting supercritical string theories with others

My day has been kind of long so this report will be somewhat short.

Simeon Hellerman gave a very interesting talk about the connections between different string theories and a spontaneous disappearance of spacetime dimensions, based mostly on his work with Ian Swanson and other papers of Simeon.

The main idea is that you can create cosmological solutions in perturbative supercritical or critical string theory where two regions A,B (here, A will be a higher-dimensional vacuum and B will be a lower-dimensional vacuum) are separated by a wall that resembles the Liouville wall but moves by the speed of light.

The wall is in the X0-X1 plane that is equipped with a time-like linear dilaton (necessary to get the right central charge in a supercritical theory) and a light-like exponentially growing tachyon (which is on-shell due to the extra coupling with the dilaton gradient). There is another dimension X2 and we turn on some additional tachyon whose profile goes like "X2^2" times a coefficient that depends on the X0-X1 coordinates. The effect of this term is that the region B only allows string states whose zero modes are described by a harmonic oscillator ground state and that have no non-trivial Fourier oscillator excitations either to enter.

In this sense, the region B is filled with a tachyon that prevents all excitations from entering the region except for excitations that pretend that one dimension of space doesn't exist. Using similar configurations and marginal perturbations of the worldsheet CFT, they can connect or interpolate different pairs of theories with tachyons such as type 0 theories in different dimensions, bosonic strings in different dimensions with various but different diagonal current algebras, as well as type 0 on an orbifold with type II in lower dimensions (the additional chiral GSO projection arises from the orbifold projection).

The most non-trivial connection is one between the bosonic string and the type 0 string. It uses the Berkovits-Vafa old relation between CFTs with different worldsheet supersymmetry:

Wednesday, March 14, 2007 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Mike Hulme and post-normal science

Recently, Mike Hulme said some unflattering comments about the climate alarmism and if I remember well, he has even introduced the term "climate porn", later used by IPPR. I wondered how this superficially reasonable thinker could have become the director of an institute whose very goal - included even into the name of the institute - is to pollute science with the environmentalist ideology.

Unfortunately, now I seem to know what's the answer. ;-/ In

Hulme attacks the very fundamental principles of science and Enlightenment in the most brutal, medieval manner. I fully agree with Melanie Phillips that the stakes couldn't be delineated more clearly. It's a classical conflict between rational values of the Enlightenment on one side and the methods of the pre-rational era where the truth is heresy on the other side. Let me explain why.

Hulme tells us that if the scientists are going to be listened to in the future, they must "recognize the social limits of their truth seeking" - WOW. ;-) They must thus "trade truth for influence" - WOW. He also says that the "climate change is too important to be left to scientists" - WOW - "least of all the normal ones" - WOW. Hulme promotes the idea that the climate science should become a "post-normal science" - WOW. He says that the "danger" of the "normal science" is that it assumes that the truth is found before the policies are created - WOW.

In the post-normal science that he recommends, science is ready to change "as it rubs against society" - WOW - and the disputes should focus on sociological issues such as funding, personal evaluations, and the format of presentations - WOW. In order to make progress with the climate change, we must "take science off center stage" - WOW. Hulme correctly says that an honest scientist can't answer questions like "what level of CO2 is too much" because the answer depends on a value judgment which is not a part of science but the only reason why he says so is that he wants to urge scientists to become "post-normal scientists" who claim to be able to answer such questions - WOW.

Benny Peiser: interview with Freeman Dyson

Benny Peiser has asked some questions to Freeman Dyson, an eminent scientist and a rebel:

Dyson talks about the possibility of life that lasts forever or almost forever both from a social perspective and a cosmological perspective. He criticizes the growing rigidity of scientific institutions and the pernicious, anti-scientific concept of a "scientific consensus". He explains why he feels certain that the climate models can't be trusted.

The radical fundamentalist cult, as Klaus Rohrich called it today's Canada Free Press, is discussed in some detail.

Dyson argues that the confused atmosphere, including the ideas of doom and gloom and the feelings of lost influence in the current Western Academia, is analogous to the Post-First-World-War situation in Germany before the rise of Nazism. Fortunately and amusingly, China and India are happily taking the roles that America took in the 1930s, still believing that technology is a good thing.

Freeman Dyson also talks about optimism and recent discoveries in genetics. He explains the particular strength of doom-and-gloom ideas among British cosmologists as a result of the English class system. Margaret Thatcher came as a revenge of the commercial middle class, he adds. Analogously, gloom and doom is now used as a revenge of people at the universities against business that they dislike.

Finally, Dyson argues that some hypothetical extreme differences in religion and atheism between the U.S. and the U.K. are exaggerated by the media. Freeman Dyson says that he enjoys reading Peiser's CCNET. The Reference Frame congratulates Benny Peiser to this fact and thanks both Gentlemen for a nice interview.

Search for Dyson on this blog.

New York Times on Terence Tao

The most e-mailed article in The New York Times today is about

Inconvenient New York Times

As several readers have pointed out, William Broad has another

in The New York Times. Despite being so neutral, it is still apparently very inconvenient for shrill alarmists. Nothing less than worshiping crackpot Al Gore can please these bad boys.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Frostbite brings attention to global warming

As The Washington Post explains, Ann Bancroft (51) and Liv Arnesen (53) are two brave women. Their unusually intelligent and responsible colleagues decided to ask them to collect photographic evidence of global warming. Where do women at this advanced level of knowledge and brightness collect such evidence? Yes, you're right: at the North Pole. ;-)

Figure 1: They are preparing to fulfill their simple task to swim through areas where polar ice has melted in body suits.

What temperatures do such sharp women expect at the North Pole? Well, you can get the idea if you listen to a third intelligent woman, Ann Atwood, who helped to organize the expedition and who might actually be the ultimate intellectual mother of many of the hard-to-believe aspects of this story. She said: "They were experiencing temperatures that weren't expected with global warming." I kid you not. They didn't expect damn freezing temperatures at the North Pole because they live in the world of global warming.

Monday, March 12, 2007 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

John Pendry: invisibility cloak

See also: Invisible tanks
What ambitious tasks the physicists who don't work on the theory of everything want to solve? One of the greatest dreams outside string theory is to create the invisibility cloak. ;-)

Figure 1: Japanese Harry Potter is testing a new invisible coat by Prof Susumu Tachi of Tokyo University.

One of the experimental leaders in this field is Prof Harry Potter and his sometimes underestimated female collaborator, Prof J.K. Rowling: we have learned that at least the Gentleman must be cited during all talks about this topic. However, the main person who should become invisible is the statue of Peter Pan. Prof John Pendry of the Imperial College in London has just given a captivating colloquium about the question of invisibility.


How do you become invisible? Prof G.G. of Harvard has proposed mirrors. He has seen many magicians who become invisible by putting mirrors around them. However, this trick only works if these magicians are observed from a particular direction.

David Copperfield and mirrors

Another method is to drink a lot of beer. It must be beer with a lower refractive index than your body. You may hope that if you drink a lot of beer, your refractive index will approach "n=1" and you will become transparent and invisible. However, FDA won't allow you to drink too much of this toxic stuff.

Finally, you may try to design various cloaks. Prof Pendry's cloak is the optical counterpart of barriers in the river: water flows around them, pretending that they don't exist. How do you construct such a cloak?

Klaus' talk at Cato

Some readers are interested in the talk by Czech president Václav Klaus at Cato. He has said much more but the essence of the talk - mostly dedicated to the threat of ideological environmentalism - can be found on his website.

See English pages for more recent texts by Klaus in English.

Responses to Klaus' talk include CNSnews, Washington Times, LifeSiteNews, and Cato@liberty (MP3 interview).

Sunday, March 11, 2007 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

LA Weekly: Billy Cottrell

On Wednesday, several blogs related to physics discussed the article in LA Weekly about

a young string theory graduate student from Caltech who has burned 100+ SUVs and who now faces a very hard time (100 months) in the prison. In a couple of hours, he has humiliated the opinions of all critics of string theory who say that string theorists are afraid of experiments. A prospective student of a leader in topological string theory has made more expensive experiments than all the critics have made in their lives combined. ;-)

The article in LA Weekly is interesting. For example, Cottrell used to watch Bill O'Reilly, vote for Schwarzenegger, and blame lazy people for many bad things. These facts - that he is not a canonical obnoxious left-wing intellectual - only increase my secret sympathy for him. But not all of my sentiments are positive as you will see. ;-)

Where does my primary sympathy come from, besides the very male brain that Cottrell almost certainly shares with your humble correspondent? ;-) Well, he's a very bright and very honest guy who believes certain things, who is ready to sacrifice himself, and who currently suffers for others. Of course that in the ideal world, it should be primarily those environmentalists who are causing real harm to the world - such as Al Gore - who should be harassed in the prison instead of Billy Cottrell. But these people are just too slick and dishonest and they know how to move in the real world of hypocrisy, political correctness, and intimidation.

The Institute for Jewish Thought and Culture

The Institute for Jewish Thought and Culture is getting started in Philadelphia. It is meant to highlight the best in Jewish thought. The extraordinarily strong Jewish influence is felt throughout the worlds of knowledge and culture but what could be a better example of the best Jewish thoughts than theoretical physics? That's why the first lecture of the Institute is

  • Brian Greene, "The Theory of Everything"
  • The Secrets of the Universe Revealed
Most of modern theoretical physicists are proudly working, to a large extent, on the very same Jewish science that was under pressure in Germany of the 1930s.

While German physics was very important, especially by the 1920s, there is no doubt that a larger part of the key revolutions such as relativity, quantum mechanics, quantum field theory, the standard model of particle physics, and string theory was shaped by another nation - namely by powerful Jewish minds and their friends, and no amount of politically correct mumbo jumbo, not even mumbo jumbo from the mouths of Jewish American leftists, can change this fact. ;-)

Mandarinka Darinka

Singer: Michaela Pašteková
Composer: Peter Nagy (Slovakia)
Video clip: FrankiePD

Saturday, March 10, 2007 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Panel: Michael Duff and Lee Smolin

Prof Chris Isham introduces two main panelists, Prof Michael Duff, Abdus Salam Professor of Theoretical Physics and a string theorist, and Prof Lee Smolin, a physicist and non-string-theorist from the Perimeter Institute.

Prof Isham puts these debates into a broader context - the separation of theoretical physics to the particle-physics-centered community (four-dimensional people) and the community that is largely ignorant about particle physics (my words). The four-dimensional people have evolved into ten-dimensional people.

Lee Smolin argues that his book was misinterpreted as being against string theory - usually by people who have not read the book. I agree with this reasonable Lee Smolin (the adjective will be explained below) that one would have to be really, really limited to argue against the research of string theory as such after all these very clear insights that have been made. Lee Smolin then generates a lot of bizarre misleading would-be truisms, trying to create the impression that we are surely on wrong track, without a glimpse of a rational or scientific argument.

Michael Duff: clear words

Michael Duff argues that there are two Lee Smolins. One of them is the reasonable Lee Smolin who says kind of obvious things about science and one can't disagree with them. It's the Lee Smolin in the panel and debating him would lead to a meaningless sequence of truisms. Then there is the second Lee Smolin who wrote "The Trouble with Physics", and this Lee Smolin is far from reasonable.

(Well, I think that if one analyzes the words carefully, the first Lee Smolin is not reasonable either - but Michael Duff's point that it is very important to distinguish different Lee Smolins is an essential point.)

Washington DC

Your humble correspondent is back from the trip to the U.S. capital. It was my first visit to DC. The main point of the visit was great. I only had a couple of hours for tourism so it was fine that only 200 pictures were available on my digital camera's memory card.

Although the bureaucratic hassle with another flight of mine at Boston's international airport was exhausting (and no results so far), Washington DC turned out to be a great plaster for any kind of anxiety although, I must admit, the great impression could have been affected by the perfectly clear sky in Washington (combined with cool weather). The BOS-DCA flight was only delayed by one hour and they only stole my deodorant. ;-) You are not allowed to have any cans with more than 33 milliliters of liquids when you fly to DC.

Washington: what to see and how to see

Their airport is old-fashioned and fancy but I really liked their Metro. It's so much prettier than Boston's subway. The Metro doesn't create any obnoxious noise when arriving to a station. Also, a LED display informs you when the next three trains come (the gap is usually 3 minutes or so). There are about five lines distinguished by colors - and I think that the blue line is the most important one. Various segments of this line overlap with the orange line and the yellow line, respectively. If you need to switch to the red line for some reason, the "Metro Center" station is the place to go.

It is useful to buy a one-day pass for $6.50 in the vendor machines but there are several subtleties that I found confusing. First of all, the machine sometimes sells you an ordinary farecard: I guess that this is always the case after 1 pm or so. The farecard says "farecard value", the paper is purple, and the arrow showing how to insert the farecard is a large white arrow on black background. The one-day pass, on the other hand, is printed on white paper. It says "one-day pass" and the arrow is a small white arrow on orange background. Also, you should know that the one-day pass only works from 9:30 am (exactly).

On the blue line, you find the "Ronald Reagan National Airport" station. One of the next stations is the Pentagon. Pentagon is such a huge building that you can't even determine its pentagon-like shape by local measurements. From a generic perspective, the building looks rather ordinary. The center of the town is organized into a grid of streets, labeled by numbers and letters, respectively. There are always some exceptions that don't respect the grid - e.g. the Massachusetts Avenue.

As far as I can say, the most spectacular part of the city is the vicinity of the "Smithsonian" station on the blue line. The fresh, nearly empty line segment connecting the Washington Monument with the Capitol (the U.S. Parliament) is surrounded by a huge number of museums, memorials, and U.S. government buildings - and the White House is not far either (I couldn't get into the house). I simply loved the Capitol and the Capitol area.

A Czechoslovak guy like myself couldn't miss a rather modest - but not quite modest - triangle between the 22th street and P,Q streets with the statue of the first Czechoslovak president, Prof Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, which was pretty close to my hotel.

The lunch organized by the Czech authorities was very pleasant and I was lucky to meet not only the main person of the lunch but also other people whose names I respect although I have known them from the media and Internet only. A Czech (attractive) waitress called Blanka was serving us. She told me it was a pure coincidence that the restaurant had a Czech waitress. It's a kind of an incredible coincidence, isn't it?

On Friday at 4 pm, I also attended Prof Klaus' talk at the libertarian CATO institute. Their building is very modern and the people who organize the events are very pleasant. The lecture hall was full or almost full and the discussions in the room showed that the participants liked the talk quite a lot. Some people mentioned that it was refreshing to see a talk by a person who speaks like an academician - the Czech president certainly does.

Weblog: chats

It is also very nice to see that there has been a nice discussion of many of you here, thanks for that.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Melissa Franklin wants to spark a revolution

Melissa Franklin is not necessarily politically correct and it is interesting to talk with her. But her comment after receiving the "Spark award for women in science" (The Crimson), whatever it is, is kind of worrisome:

  • “Now that I know it’s a spark, let’s spark a revolution!” Franklin said.
What revolution? Something like a Great October Revolution, female edition? ;-) Readers from NATO, aren't you asleep? In Cambridge, MA, they are preparing a new revolution. Melissa, isn't the breathtaking disorder and frustration that feminism has created at Harvard in the last 2 years enough for every reasonable activist to be satisfied? She also said:
  • “What hasn’t changed is the fact that many men think that women aren’t the smartest,” Franklin said. “It’s just a belief they hold without having thought about it much.”
Well, another thing that hasn't changed is that statistically, they are right if their statements are reproduced correctly, not as the silly oversimplification above. See e.g. this article by Larry Cahill. I just can't understand how educated people in the 21st century can question these very basic and very universal outcomes of research - as well as common sense.

Crying in the bathtub because a girl hasn't yet started with homework is another small piece of circumstantial evidence, how it could not be?

One million visitors

The unique visitor number 1,000,000 (where uniqueness is counted on a daily basis) came from IP 71.203.223.# (Comcast Cable) in the U.S. He or she directly opened the page "2006 - probably the coldest year..." (you can also get there if you Google for coldest year) with the "Opera 9.10" browser. The visit occurred at 8:46:57 am on Wednesday.

The Sitemeter doesn't specify location of this lucky person with this particular IP address. ;-) But "traceroute" indicates that the user is in Tennessee, not far from Sharp's Ridge, a steep ridge north of Knoxville. However, the user could be much further. IPlocator at says it is in Dallas, Texas.

The locations of the visitors near 1,000,000 were:

  • 97 - Dubai, United Arab Emirates (fixing HP laptop keyboard)
  • 98 - Loh.Atdn.Net, United Kingdom (, Eric Pianka's holocaust & other pages)
  • 99 - Fort Worth, Texas (Performance Systems International, generic host process, from newsgroups)
  • 00 - Knoxville, Tennessee (Comcast, coldest year)
  • 01 - 74.98.141.*, Canada (Consciousness, from Wikipedia)
  • 02 - Ottawa, Canada (Defense research establishment, main page)
  • 03 - Stockholm, Sweden (Reuters employee, Roman Šebrle, googling for his pictures)
  • 04 - Franklin, Michigan (Comcast, main page)
  • 05 - AOL.COM (generic host problem error, from Google groups)
  • 06 - Campbell, Victoria, Australia (Grapevine, pages about IPCC AR4 and SPM)
  • 07 - Munich, Bayern, Germany (Siemens, main page, for my name)

Thanks for visiting this humble website.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Czech president in the U.S.

During his visit, Prof Klaus has

  • met George Bush Sr in Houston, Texas
  • mentioned that the visa process is often frustrating
  • gave a talk in Houston
  • called for a redefinition of the European Union in order to bring more freedom to its citizens; he mentioned that developments in Russia are better than expected
  • visited New Orleans, Lousiana and took a tour in an SUV, mentioning that the city reminds him of Prague after the 2002 floods (the Czech reporters know that SUVs emit "toxic" CO2, so they followed Mr Klaus in a bus instead)
  • gave a talk at a university in New Orleans; in a question period, he has explained a historian over there that he had no idea how history works; we see the same kind of catastrophe in [Al Gore] as we saw in the communists
  • Klaus, a lover of jazz, said that N.O. recovery is possible
  • will visit Alabama where he will see some art and criticize the erosion of freedom by eurobureaucrats
  • will give a talk at CATO, Washington, DC, on Friday 4 pm: the title is "Facing a challenge of the current era: environmentalism"
  • will meet Dick Cheney - who is hopefully doing well - and discuss the radars

The Last Mimzy

Two kids receive mysterious toys from the future. The girl in particular becomes ingenious. The movie will start on March 23rd. Because it plans to be a great science-fiction movie, they also hired Brian Greene himself to say (go to 1:45) that we are eons from achieving anything like the girl's technology. ;-)

Via Josh Lapan.

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