Friday, April 17, 2009

44th Academia Film Olomouc 2009

If this trailer has just automatically appeared, that's because it was pre-programmed and I am probably on my way to Olomouc, the spiritual center of Moravia, to supplement one of the TV programs - that you probably know very well, that you may see in the trailer above, and that is going to be aired on AFO 2009 - with a spoken (and PowerPoint) presentation. ;-)

If you think that some of the programs are not quite new, it's because not every annual festival in Olomouc is devoted to fundamental physics.

Sorry for the absence...

Sunday update

I can't review everything that has taken place - because it was a lot of stuff. By the way, Olomouc is a beautiful historical city with lots of churches and an anomalously low number of tourists. I took about 200 pictures, too.

There have been documentaries such as Most of the Universe is Missing (BBC) which was followed by a talk by Prof Kulhánek about dark (and visible) matter and dark energy, and The Elegant Universe (PBS) that was followed by my talk on similar topics.

All the movies were introduced by the official intro, explaining that crop circles can't be caused by the U.F.O. (and showing the U.F.O.'s along the way), and usually also by a short movie shot from the reference frame of a monkey (or at least a student of a film academy pretending to be a monkey).

The following private discussion with many participants was mostly dominated by an ingenious woman who was inspired by my talk to realize that the sound results from the world sheet of strings, using modern language. She couldn't believe anyone that the sound could have had anything to do with the air.

Other discussions about the infinite hierarchization of matter (vs the Planck scale) and lots of other topics came after my talk.

On Saturday night, I saw Jesus Is Normal (Take It Jeasy, in English), a documentary about a Christian sect that is very similar to one that I became familiar with 12 years ago (through an ex-GF of mine).

I was impressed by the movie - and by the sensible answers of the film director, 20-year-old Ms Tereza Nvotová (greetings!) in the question period. Let me keep other things linked to TN private. ;-)

There have been many stories linked to the trip. For example, in the train, when I was returning to Pilsen a few hours ago, a freshman next to me studied mechanics of the continuum and he or she was confused why one coefficient of thermal expansion was three times another one. After observing one minute of his or her suffering, I couldn't resist and explained him or her that one of them referred to the linear expansion while the other was about the expansion of the volume etc. He or she was excited how much sense it made. Someone is lucky. ;-)

TBBT: Czech dubbing

Check 1x01 Pilot and 1x02 Hypotéza otrubové vlákniny to compare the Prima Cool dubbing of "Teorie velkého třesku" with the original.

I think that the translation and synchronization are OK (and the translation is sometimes creative) but the style of the Czech characters looks weak to me.

For example, Sheldon's voice is too ordinary and the Czech actor simply doesn't seem to be a high-IQ person at all. This is amplified by his frequent colloquial Czech: a huge problem. The Czech director seems to have lost the whole point here (and maybe they simply haven't found a good Parsons counterpart). Czech Leonard's voice is too self-confident (very different from Leonard's frustrated discourse) - and indistinguishable from Sheldon, anyway. The Czech creators seem to have misunderstood all the specific features of the individual characters.

Well, I don't like Czech Penny's voice too much, either. It sounds just like all the other dubbed sitcoms. Rajesh has no Indian accent and sounds insufficiently shy. And Wolowitz is bad at basic things like imitating Hawking's computer voice.

There are some errors in the translation, too. For example, Penny talks about her work about a girl who moves from Lincoln - but she is from Omaha so it's not about her, she says. Lincoln is translated as "Nebraska" (because no one knows "Lincoln" the city here) which completely screws the joke because Omaha is in Nebraska, too. It doesn't sound manifest that Penny is more ordinary than the boys.

Well, let me stick with the English original.


  1. Hi Dr. Motl,

    I have been reading up on the Bekenstein bound lately, and came across something Lee Smolin wrote on

    "First of all that amount of information is finite, and it's four bits of information per Planck area of the screen, where a Planck area is 10 to the minus 66 centimeters squared."

    This seems a little confusing to me, because as far as 't Hooft's papers go, the fundamental area (area per bit) is A_0 = 4 l_p^2 ln 2, which is roughly equivalent to 2.77 l_p^2, or 0.36 bits of information per Planck area.

    So, it seems that Smolin's solution gives an information density roughly 11 times larger than that given by 't Hooft's solution.

    Have you studied this type of thing before?

    I'm going to assume that 't Hooft's solution is the correct one, since I've actually derived it myself directly from the Hawking temperature using Bekenstein's argument that entropy is proportional to event horizon area (and it actually makes sense to me). Just thought I would mention it to you.

  2. Dear Shawn,

    of course I have studied these things before, and the correct reply to your comments is that you are 100% correct, even in the obvious conclusion that you don't dare to say.

    Smolin says "four bits per Planck area" because this is how he reads S=A/4G. You are right that

    1) the number four is in the denominator, not numerator, so it is really 1/4 of a bit

    2) it is not really a bit because the entropy is based on "e", not "2", as the base, so ln(2) has to be added to the right place, too.

    Lee Smolin has never cared about any quantitative science in his life and his musings are not addressed to any people who actually care about the correct and accurate answers to any of these scientific questions, so it shouldn't be shocking that he hasn't noticed, after 30 years of work, that a simple and key fraction is 16 ln(2) = 11.09 times smaller than he actually says.

    Such elementary mistakes are common with cranks.

    Best wishes

  3. Alright, thank you for the clarification. I've found at least 3 different information densities being stated in various papers and websites, which was very confusing for me.

    The holographic principle is very interesting to me, although I admit that I still have a long way to go before I will fully understand Hawking's derivation of black hole radiation (still struggling with elementary QFT).

    Once again, your help is much appreciated. I can now proceed with confidence that what I've learned so far is the accurate version.

    As for crackpottishness, I have to admit that I've made mistakes in the past (in Chaos, Solitons & Fractals). However, I do sincerely regret those mistakes and have admitted them openly. Hopefully that sets me apart from other crackpots, but probably not. :) At the very least, I haven't made a boatload of money from the lay public by bashing the work of others while promoting my own work as the substitute.