Sunday, January 31, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

IPCC: climbers magazine, student dissertation in, sex novels out

The U.K. Times have found out that Rajendra Pachauri was directly lying when he claimed that he had only known about the wrongness of the Himalayan statement for a few days. In fact, he had known the truth for months - and I would guess that almost certainly for years.

By the way, the IPCC boss uses a car with a driver to drive to his office (1 mile).

(Image removed)

Greenpeace used a specific scientific method to estimate the melting of the glaciers. The scientists above figured out that the ice was melting beneath their feet. Picture: Spencer Tunick

Meanwhile, The Telegraph found out that the statement about the Himalayan glaciers was actually one of the more scientifically supported IPCC claims.

Corresponding statements about the ice in Andes, Alps, and Africa were based on an impression of a mountaineer (Mark Bowen, who is still grateful to Gavin Schmidt for having promoted his $0.25 book, Thin Ice, on RealClimate.ORG) who gave an interview to a climbers' magazine in a pub ;-) (Climbing 2002), and on a dissertation (full!) written by a Swiss geography student at the University of Bern working on his or her Master degree (or equivalent). :-)

Return to Almora

Warning: the following part of the text contains snippets of text written by the boss of the U.N. climate panel which means that readers below 15 or 18 years should go elsewhere.

The proud author of the novel. He has already led the writing of the 4th IPCC report, but this soft porn book is so far the only book he has authored that is not based purely on fiction.

Friday, January 29, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

LHC: 1/femtobarn of 2x 3.5 TeV collisions by 2011

John Conway informs about a fresh decision concerning the plans for the Large Hadron Collider, and it is the following:

In 2010, the LHC will be pumped up pretty quickly to twice 3.5 TeV i.e. 7 TeV center-of-mass energy. It will work to accumulate one inverse femtobarn of collisions and stop, but not later than at the end of 2011.
The magnets have been trained for the 7 TeV total energy, so things should be smooth. Plans to adjust the collider to 10 TeV were rejected because this hasn't been tested yet and because of fears that an accident similar to September 19th, 2008 quench could return CERN to the Middle Ages.

Note that 7 TeV is a whopping 3.5 times higher than the current total energy at the Tevatron, i.e. it gives us a huge potential for new discoveries that could only take weeks if Nature happens to co-operate. These would surely be the most exciting weeks in experimental particle physics during the last 35 years.

Klaus meets Van Rompuy

Herman Van Rompuy, an EU politician nicknamed Rambo (because he's a gray bureaucratic wolf), met Czech President Václav Klaus: click the picture for the news. Mr Klaus had to solve an interesting homework problem, namely how he should efficiently call Mr Van Rompuy. Someone sent him a text message, asking what the solution was, but the solution remains unknown to the public.

Some people use a catchy title, the "EU president", for the job held by Mr Van Rompuy. Obviously, Klaus couldn't have used the term "Mr President", although it would surely sound funny, because it would create the confusion about the basic political fact that there is only one state president in the Czech Republic, namely Mr Klaus himself.

Bin Laden wants to replace Pachauri

Osama bin Laden, who has undergone a surgery that shortened his legs by 1 foot and who became an average communist politician in Spain, as the FBI has determined by having browsed through the Google images, ;-) has chosen the jihad against climate change to become his new #1 obsession.

BBC, Aljazeera, Daily Mail, Google News
According to the new tape (see the full transcript), his first goal is to replace Rajendra Pachauri as the boss of the International Panel for Climate Change and to win the 2010 Nobel peace prize. He has everything that you expect from the Nobel prize winners, based on the recent experience. Moreover, he's one of the few politicians who can boast some results in their struggle against the carbon dioxide: in 2001, he reduced the world's CO2 output by the emissions produced by 3,000 people.

NIF: fusion breakthrough in 2010?

Alan Boyle wrote a very interesting article about the National Ignition Facility (NIF) in Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories in Northern California. Look at the Flash video on their website - it's cute. See also Google News. Recall that their aim is to ignite fusion with the help of 192 very powerful lasers.

NIF was featured in this 10-minute part of the BBC's "Horizon" program (with Brian Cox). See also How NIF works on YouTube.

At any rate, their most recent tests indicate that they may ignite the fusion and extract more energy out of it than what they pumped into it - if their "thumbnail" success is naturally extrapolated. These good news were reported in a Science article:

Glenzer et al.: Symmetric Inertial Confinement Fusion Implosions at Ultra-High Laser Energies
Deuterium-tritium capsules (gold-plated hollow cylinders called "hohlraum" for "hollow area" in German) may be compressed and implode. Of course, at least years will be needed for commercial versions of the technology even if it works.

What does the extrapolation - the missing steps - require? They used small hollow areas and only achieved 3.3 million °C - for Al Gore: it's the temperature you believe to be found inside the Earth. They need 100 million °C which could be achieved with bigger capsules compressed by the factor of 1,000.

Thursday, January 28, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

UK officials: Univ of East Anglia broke the law

UPI and others have informed that according to the U.K. Information Commissioner's Office, the University of East Anglia - the main institutional actor in the ClimateGate - violated the U.K. Freedom Of Information Act, indeed.

The university won't be prosecuted because it was able to hide its illegal activities for more than six months. In order for these and similar criminals to be punished, we must actually catch them more quickly.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Nature: carbon cycle feedback is 80% weaker than advertised

In this weekly dose of peer-reviewed literature denying the "climate consensus", we look at a paper in a journal called Nature. David Frank, Jan Esper, Christoph Raible, Ulf Büntgen, Valerie Trouet, Benjamin Stocker, and Fortunat Joos (a mostly Swiss team) just published a new article:

Ensemble reconstruction constraints on the global carbon cycle sensitivity to climate (abstract)
Degrees of climate feedback (simplified review by Hugues Goosse)
Their aim is to find out how the average temperature variations on the Northern Hemisphere influence the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. They find out - or at least argue - that this influence is five times smaller than previously believed.

But let's begin at the start. The relevant formula is
Concentration = C0 + γ Temperature
Here, γ (gamma) is the coefficient they want to know. Note that outgassing and various reactions of the biosphere make γ nonzero. As you may remember from the discussions about the 800-year lag in Al Gore's movie, the ice cores in Antarctica show that a 8 °C increase of the temperature adds something like 100 ppmv [parts per million of volume] of CO2 into the atmosphere (the difference between ice ages and interglacials), so it looks like 12.5 ppmv per °C. However, this estimated value of γ is relevant at time scales that are much longer than a century.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

UK science czar reopens the climate debate

...and other stories from climate policy

The IPCC was mostly created in Great Britain. The Great Global Warming Swindle argued that Margaret Thatcher gave birth to the monster because she wanted to prove that the coal sucked (and nuclear energy was a way to go) which would have given her a powerful tool to beat the obnoxious striking miners' labor unions.

But seven weeks ago, her ex-adviser Lord Monckton told me in Berlin that it wasn't quite the real story - and this story didn't work chronologically. ;-) Nevertheless, the general British roots behind the IPCC are undeniable (Met Office etc.).

We're living in an intense period of the climate debate that is filled with ClimateGate, GlacierGate, PachauriGate, AmazonGate, DisasterGate, and numerous other gates.

And it's fair to say that these sociological earthquakes have their epicenter in Great Britain once again. Think about the University of East Anglia, links of Pachauri's fraudulent companies to Britain, and the amazing excess of the British newspapers that have already abandoned - partially or completely - the "total climate alarmism" as we have known it in the mainstream media for many years. And let's not forget about the cool recent NASA/MODIS ice-age picture of the British islands. ;-)

Britain is simply ahead of the world - and India, perhaps because of its status of the most important former British colony and because of Pachauri's citizenship (and the location of the Himalayas), seems to be the only country that may compare with the speed of the developments in Great Britain.

LHC: Michael Dell, a patron of ATLAS

Michael Dell visited CERN yesterday. He promised ATLAS some efficient Dell's servers. Moreover, Dell leads a consortium that will develop and manage an open IT architecture for the detector experiment. The other members of the consortium are:

  • Intel Corporation
  • Data Direct Networks
  • QLogic Corporation
  • Force10 Networks
  • Platform Computing
By the way, I highly recommend you to download Google Chrome 4.0 stable with extensions - including the option to find anything in a gallery of 1,500 extensions which include some additions by your humble correspondent. The version 4.0 also has bookmark sync. It's the fastest browser that already has almost everything that others do, and much more. It's the third most widely used browser after MSIE and Firefox, so far at 5% of users.

Ozone hole, a dying ally in fight against AGW

The New York Times, The Scotsman, and Science Daily write about a new paper that essentially argues that the ozone hole - which has been healing for many years - was a good thing because it slowed the global warming on the Southern Hemisphere.

The ozone hole helped to create or sustain some reflective clouds and/or related feedbacks. So all of us should not only become vegetarians but we should also get skin cancer. A new conference in Montimaginary will think about ways to mass-produce freons, to undo the sins of Montreal.

What do I really think? The paper is likely to be just an assorted collection of ad hoc ideas focused on one phenomenon - one can find lots of similar phenomena and their mutual relationships. I don't believe that one is likely to get closer to the truth just by finding one possible effect and by removing it from the context.

Monday, January 25, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

China goes agnostic on AGW

As recently as ten weeks ago, there used to be a nearly complete consensus concerning the causes of climate change among the political representatives of the scientists paid by 6.8 billion people on this planet.

Things are finally starting to melt a little bit. As BBC reported today and The Guardian wrote yesterday, China's envoy stated that "they think that we need an open attitude to science." ClimateGate, GlacierGate, and other recent scandals are are at least partially responsible for the new position of China. Well, you should better subtract 1.34 billion people (20% of the world population) from the figure above.

Xie Zhenhua declared that the reasons of climate change are not known and there exist views that natural cycles are the cause. These views should be included in the next IPCC report, he stressed.

Once after these new official Chinese views were publicized, the other envoys of the "BASIC" emergent markets were asked for their opinions. South Africa's minister Ms Buyelwa Sonjica - see the picture - decided that she didn't speak English while Jairam Ramesh of India argued that the Chinese statement was just a mistake caused by a malfunctioning audio system. You don't need to think twice who are the true deniers today. :-)

Most of the "BASIC" big cheeses emphasized that 1 IPCC error is equal to 0 IPCC errors and mathematical induction may be used to generalize this equivalence as far as needed. ;-)

Rajendra, the moth

Rajendra is a genus of moth in the family Arctiidae, described by Moore in 1879. It thinks that it prefers to live in the Arctic conditions so it wants to cool the environment by 20 degrees or so. In order to expand its habitats, it's also preferentially eating coats so that the victims feel like in the Arctic zone, too. Rajendra is frequently flying.

Rajendra perrotteti, a member of the genus

As the encyclopedias explain, the most distinctive feature of the whole family is a tymbal organ on the metathorax. It's a vibrating membrane that the male Rajendras use to create a lot of noise similar to the cicadas.

Most of us have heard a lot of this noise recently.

Sunday, January 24, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Why gravity can't be entropic

In the past weeks, there have been two neutral if not positive TRF articles about Erik Verlinde's alternative interpretation of gravity as an entropic force:

Gravity as a holographic entropic force
Erik Verlinde clarifies some issues

Future text (August 2011):

Once more: gravity is not an entropic force
At the beginning, I thought that Erik meant something sophisticated that could work - a new dual (yet universal) way of looking at the gravitational phenomena.

But right now, after the helpful explanations by Erik, I am afraid that I am certain that he shares certain basic misconceptions about physics with the advocates of spin foams, loop quantum gravities, causal dynamical triangulations, octopi swimming in the spin foam, condensed matter gravities, and many other stupid things of the same kind. So in this sense, he shouldn't be quite surprised that these people are trying to build on his paper as a new context to repeat their old incoherent flapdoodle.

I will try to summarize the reasons why nothing like that can ever work because Nature disagrees with the very basic pillars of this system of ideas - and all systems that share certain general assumptions.

But let me begin with a specific new criticism directed against Erik's picture. Let's look at an ordinary double-slit experiment with a massive particle such as an electron or a neutron. The neutrons will turn out to be the best ones. (Update: Many months after this article was written, a preprint also argued that gravity can't be an entropic force because of neutron interferometry experiments.)

Everyone knows the double-slit experiment, so I have immediately added the unusual ingredient due to Erik Verlinde. I have rotated the picture by 90 degrees and placed it in a gravitational field. The upper and lower slits are placed at different altitudes. In his preprint, he argues that the entropy of two gravitationally bound objects depends on the distance between them i.e. on the altitude.

Saturday, January 23, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Extreme Arctic cooled quickly: reduces UAH warming

Related local news: A friendly weather forecast for Monday in Pilsen, Czech Republic: -22 °C. Holy crap. The records of the server only go back to the 1990s or so, it seems, so the record cold temperature is -15 °C in 2006. That will be beaten by 7 degrees centigrade if this prediction turns out to be true.
Eduardo Ferreyra has kindly given a tip to Anthony Watts who could report, together with Warwick Hughes that the Danish Center for Ocean and Ice has released the temperatures in the extreme Arctic - above 80°N - from the beginning of 1958.

This example is a graph from 2007. It's amazing how the fluctuations pretty much disappear in the summer and only exist in the winter. I have noticed a similar tendency in the Prague weather data.

Among other things, we learn that in the first 22 days of 2010, the temperature in this circle dropped by 14 °C. Incidentally, this is more than those 13 °C whose impact we recently considered. But the change occurred in 3 weeks rather than 100 years. ;-) Today, the temperature in the extreme Arctic is at its lowest level since 2004.

A fast, approximate explanation of the recent cooling is that the Arctic oscillation was unusually tightened up in recent weeks which "protected" the cool places in the Northern Hemisphere from the inflow of heat from the South.

It just happens that the disk around the North Pole, above 80°N, is approximately what is not directly measured when the UAH satellite data are calculated. It makes sense to "close the hole" in the observed regions and combine the UAH data with the Danish extreme Arctic data into a weighted average.

LHC: quench protection system

The LHC collider is currently stopped for two months because the energy is more expensive during the winter. Recall that the collider's power consumption matches that of Geneva, the city - which is almost certainly more than the saving of the whole world's transition from proper light bulbs to the fluorescent ones. ;-)

The collider will be restarted in one month, in the second part of February. The video above explains the new quench protection system (QPS) that should protect the device against new incidents similar to the September 2008 event. The quench has to be detected and lots of energy has to be taken away from a segment of the LHC to avoid the further loss of superconductivity.

Friday, January 22, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Northwest Passage: Tokyo-London fiber optics

The Canadian Press and others have given us an answer to the question whether the warming - or a mere feeling that it's warming - is a good or bad thing.

These days, the information between London and Tokyo travels for 42,000 kilometers to close a round trip. The delay is therefore 0.14 seconds.

Kodiak-Kenai Cable Co. plans to spend $1.2 billion to reduce this delay to 0.088 seconds which is equivalent to 26,000 kilometers (round trip). The optical fibers will simply go from Japan to the Bering Sea, get re-energized in Alaska, and will continue through the Northwest Passage and North Atlantic Sea to England.

A subtle sentence on extinctions

Many reports suggest that there may be 2,000-3,000 members of the giant panda clan in the wild which would mean that they should be classified as "vulnerable" rather than "endangered" (which is more serious). But there clearly exist pressures to keep these nice symbols of biodiversity "endangered".
Andrew Revkin wrote a couple of words about the IPCC Himalayan glacial scandal. But there's another interesting story in his text - one about a prediction of extinctions. If you open the Fourth IPCC Synthesis Report (PDF) on page 48 (26 of 52), you will find the following bizarre quote:
Approximately 20 to 30% of plant and animal species assessed so far are likely to be at increased risk of extinction if increases in global average temperature exceed 1.5 to 2.5°C (medium confidence).
The comment "medium confidence" simply means that the probability of the sentence's being correct is around 50% - as explained on page 27 (5 of 52). Because the sentence is thought to be equally likely to be right or wrong by the author, you should ignore it. That's the only way to interpret "medium confidence".

Revkin also explains that the 1.5 °C or 2.5 °C warming is meant to be relatively to the 1980-1999 mean.

UAH MSU projection: January at 0.67 °C

After 20 out of 31 daily UAH data (less than 2/3) for January 2010 became available, The Reference Frame expects and predicts the final January UAH anomaly (for channel 4, near surface) to be 0.67 °C plus minus 0.03 °C which will be 0.39 °C warmer than December 2009 (anomaly-wise).

The final figure will be found in two weeks at the bottom of this page, right after "2010 1".

Almost certainly, that will make it the warmest January on their record, ahead of 0.59 °C in January 2007 and 0.58 °C in January 1998.

However, the cooling in recent days - which may be related to the melting snow's latent heat's cooling of the atmosphere - will almost certainly prevent January 2010 from beating the two tied leaders - February 1998 and April 1998 - when the anomaly was 0.76 °C. May 1998 is the current holder of the bronze medal for its 0.65 °C and January 2010 is "more likely than not" to take over. We will see.

By the way, so far, the 4th and 5th places - which will become 5th and 6th warmest months of the UAH record - belong to January 2007 and January 1998 we mentioned previously.

Thursday, January 21, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

The rise of populist pseudoscience

Nothing against the ordinary people in general I think it's fair to say that at least 95% of the population has no clue about modern physics.

Many people have been taught to uncritically "okay" the kind of science that is taught at schools - which is usually correct, at least morally. But whenever you seriously investigate what they really think, deeply in their souls, about the "right" laws of physics to be found, you find out that

Wednesday, January 20, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

IPCC: apology for glaciers, is that enough?

The IPCC has issued a statement,

IPCC statement on the melting of Himalayan glaciers
that CNN calls an apology. See other news outlets. They regret the "poor application of well-established IPCC procedures."

Well, I think that this statement is extremely tendentious because they use it to re-iterate the mostly irrational alarm about the glaciers - now, admittedly, without any numbers.

Moreover, all of us know that the "well-established IPCC procedures" are designed to achieve exactly these things - statements and numbers that are scientifically unjustifiable or that don't fairly reflect the underlying research but that are useful for the promotion of their main and predetermined conclusion, namely that climate change is something to worry about.

The newest statement is just another example of this fact because even though the scientific evidence has been shown to be non-existent, they don't want to change anything about their alarmist preconceptions.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Massachusetts grabbed by the elephant

Massachusetts: Brown vs Coakley

Click to zoom in. I spent some time by drawing it. ;-) The actual map of the results looks even more like an elephant, with a blue eye (in Boston).

So is it a donkey or an elephant? While it doesn't look fat enough for a proper elephant, this Cape Cod piece surely does look like a proboscis, doesn't it? The voters are solving a homework problem whose answer used to be clear but it is fortunately no longer quite clear.

Massachusetts is deciding between Martha Coakley (DEM) and Scott Brown (GOP). Update: Brown defeated Coakley, 52 vs 47, great! Cambridge voted the wrong answer, 84 vs 15 for Coakley: you won't find a similarly heavy distortion elsewhere.

13 °C of warming would be fine for life

People have been brainwashed by the climate hysteria for years. So it's not shocking that many of them began to uncritically repeat many of the misconceptions. Nevertheless, I am always surprised by the lack of independent rational thinking - even when it comes to the people who are expected to be sensible.

A first book about the ClimateGate is available at click the icon to buy (after several more clicks and choices)
For example, let's ask what is the temperature change - the change of the global mean temperature - that would threaten the existence of life as we know it. By this statement, I mean an existential threat for humans and/or most of the species we know today.

I find it completely obvious that something like 13 °C of warming (10 times the change expected in the next 100 years, even if we extrapolate the recent 30 years) would not constitute such a threat. The most important picture in this discussion is the following map of the annual mean temperatures:

Click to zoom in.

Monday, January 18, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

IPCC vs Pachauri: 2035 vs 2350

The Sunday Times, AFP, WUWT, and others inform that the IPCC is likely to confirm a criticism from a recent Indian government report, retract a statement that the Himalayan glaciers are likely to be gone by 2035, and disagree with a railway engineer who said that India was arrogant to doubt that the glaciers will be gone by 2035. That wouldn't be extraordinary if the railway engineer were not the IPCC boss.

The basic points about the scientific origin of the figure "2035" are now well understood. In 1999, an unknown Indian scientist listened to the song above which is an Indian variation of The 12 Days of Global Warming. He got kind of obsessed with the numbers and with the Indian culture and he calculated the date of the demise of the Himalayan glaciers. Using the song above, he got the following seemingly sensible result:

Warming induced by the latent heat of snow

According to UAH, January 2010 will almost certainly be their warmest January on record, and by its anomaly (which is likely to exceed 0.70 °C), it will be one of the 4 warmest months.

Recent NASA MODIS pictures of the United Kingdom look like an ice age.

I was thinking how it was possible that such an unusually cool January is so warm according to this global methodology. Snow was almost everywhere on our hemisphere, wasn't it? Well, it may actually be a reason.

Exponential percentages: a useful proposed terminology

Imagine that the price of something increases by 25%. Later on, the price returns to the original value. How much did it decrease? Well, someone could say 25%. But it dropped by 20% only because you must count the percentages from the new, higher price.

For example, the price went from $100 to $125 and back to $100. Those $25 in the decrease are just 1/5, or 20%, of the $125 price before the second step.

Is there a way to describe the situation with two numbers that will be equal? Of course, there is. You may say that the price increased 1.25 times and then decreased 1.25 times. Alternatively, you may use my new terminology and count the logarithms.

You may say that the price increased by 22.3 E% (exponential percent, or expo-percent, or E-percent for short) and then decreased by 22.3 E%. That's because ln(1.25) = -ln(0.8) = 0.22314... i.e. exp(0.22314) = 1.25, exp(-0.22314) = 0.8.

The advantage of this terminology is that these exponential percentages may be easily added and inverted. While the new terminology has all the virtues of the multiplicative notation, it is actually an additive one. For very small changes (in the limit when they go to zero), the exponential percentages agree with the ordinary percentages because exp(x) = 1+x + o(x) where o(x) is negligible for very small x.

However, when the percentages are large (with either sign), the nonlinearities become important. For example, the Dow Jones Industrial Index grew from 100 sometime in the 1910s to 800 in the 1970s and 10,000 in 2009. You could also say that it grew by 208 E% between the 1910s and the 1970s and by 253 E% between the 1970s and 2009.

Sunday, January 17, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Answers to 24 questions by Sean Carroll

In contemporary physics, there are many questions that are too deep to be sensibly asked: we don't have the right tools and language to constructively think about them. There are many unanswered questions that are deep but that can already be asked.

Off-topic: Isaac Newton's story about the apple, an original hand-written 183-page document from Newton's memoirs by William Stukeley in Silverlight. Thanks to Tom Weidig and BBC
But there are also questions that have been answered, that are tautological, that are too shallow or too vague, that make some incorrect assumptions, or that have other reasons not to be interesting.

Sean Carroll's 24 questions mostly belong to the latter category.

 1. What breaks electroweak symmetry?

The electroweak symmetry is broken by the Higgs field's vacuum expectation value.

The unitarity of the WW scattering implies that a new term with a scalar exchange has to contribute below a TeV: a contribution from the exchange of a Higgs particle. This is no speculative physics: Steven Weinberg got most of his Nobel prize in 1979 for this insight.

The corresponding particle has to be relatively stable and its mass must be in an accessible interval to make it work. It will be seen at the LHC. Somewhat more speculatively, there may be several such Higgs fields (like in SUSY) or this Higgs field may be composite (like in technicolor) but these are technical additions that are not strictly necessary to answer the question above. The bulk of the question was answered by the first sentence.

 2. What is the ultraviolet extrapolation of the Standard Model?

This question is amusing and the probable reason why it was asked was that the author didn't understand and doesn't understand the meaning of the word "extrapolation". The answer to the question in this form is, of course, "the Standard Model".

Friday, January 15, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Czar Sunstein planned to infiltrate your home

In a fascinating 2008 paper (click "download" over there to get the PDF file), the current White House regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein, together with Adrian Vermeule - both at Harvard University - argued that the conspiracy theories are dangerous.

In this paper, it is claimed that groups including the global warming skeptics undermine the society and secretly conspire to start a global conflict. "Many millions of people" hold conspiracy theories and they are a threat. These people think that many important things and events were and/or are controlled by the U.S. agents. And all of it is crazy, Sunstein and Vermeule argue. So far, so good. Well, almost.

Global UAH: warmest January day on record

See also: UAH projection for January: 0.67 °C
Many people think that the globe must be terribly cold these days. We've seen huge cold snaps and snowfalls in Britain, Eastern parts of the U.S., Western Europe, Central Europe, China, Korea, and India where hundreds of people have frozen.

So these are almost all the important places, right? (At this moment, the speaker forgets that there are places such as Latin America, Australia or the Balkans which have been warm.) So the globe must be cool - cooler than average, people could think.

However, the daily UAH global mean temperature shows a different story. The early January 2010 was warm. And on January 13th, which is the latest day whose temperature is known, we have seen the warmest January day on their record. The brightness global temperature near the surface was
T = -16.36 °C
which may not look excessively warm :-) but it is actually 0.11 °C warmer than the warmest January temperature recorded by UAH so far - which was on January 5th, 2007 (-16.47 °C). On January 14th, the temperature record was marginally improved to -16.35 °C. One day later, the figure even jumped to -16.29 °C while on January 16th, it was -16.27 °C (full 0.2 °C warmer than the previous 2007 record high) - and chances are above 50% that we will see even warmer figures this January.

Amnesty International attacks meritocracy at Czech schools

Amnesty International has published another 80-page document

Injustice remained: discrimination in education of Roma persists in the Czech Republic
What a pile of waste! Needless to see, this stinky PC stuff has been amplified by The Financial Times, BBC, and others.

Jan Bendig (*1994), a singer of Gypsy origin, became the 4th most successful contestant in the first Czecho Slovak Superstar (Pop Idol), showing that Czech and Slovak people do appreciate if Roma people do something well. There have been others, too.

These days, the Czech Republic has elementary schools of many diverse kinds - including schools affiliated with churches, schools with a special language education, as well as "practical schools" that used to be called "special schools" for the kids that can't be expected to achieve the same results as the average kids.

Greece: the Trojan horse in the eurozone

Greece, a cradle of our civilization, has been living beyond its means for quite some time.

In 1981, it joined the European Union. That's exactly the year when the junk socialists from "PASOK" took over the country. With the exception of five years, 2004-2009, they've been ruling the country for almost three decades. The three decades are going to be completed soon because they clearly won the October 2009 elections, too.

In 2002, the country ultimately joined the eurozone, after a few years of preparations: the drachmas were abolished. It seems pretty obvious that the socialists have fabricated the fiscal data, and if they did not, they would have never been able to join.

Thursday, January 14, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Erik Verlinde: comments about the entropic force of gravity

Written by Dr Erik Verlinde (see Twitter)

Table of contents:
► Logic of the paper (right below)
The essential new points of the paper (click)
Comments about irreversibility (click)
Logic of the paper

The paper (abs, PDF) is not technical, but some background is needed, more than just being able to read the text and the equations. The text explains the logic, but apparently some important points are misunderstood. Clearly, I should do a better job in making them more clear. But it is my impression that the misunderstanding is partly due to a lack of background or a difference in reference frame. Because the logic of the paper is being misrepresented in some reports, I add here some clarifications.

So here is an attempt to address some of the points that I think are not appreciated or generally understood.
Previous article on the same topic: Gravity as a holographic entropic force and Why gravity can't be an entropic force
The starting point is a microscopic theory that knows about time, energy and number of states. That is all, nothing more. This is sufficient to introduce thermodynamics. From the number of states one can construct a canonical partition function, and the 1st law of thermodynamics can be derived. No other input is needed, certainly not Newtonian mechanics. Time translation symmetry gives by Noether's theorem a conserved quantity. This defines energy. Hence, the notion of energy is already there when there is just time, no space is needed.

Temperature is defined as the conjugate variable to energy. Geometrically it can be identified with the periodicity of euclidean time that is obtained after analytic continuation. Again there is nothing needed about space. Temperature exists if there is only time.

Message from Abraham Lincoln to Barack Obama

You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away people's initiative
and independence.
You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and
should do for themselves.

...... Abraham Lincoln

[while this text agrees with Lincoln's general opinions about these matters, see the comments for a discussion of proper attribution of the quote]

See also: Founding fathers on redistribution of wealth (where the attributions have been rechecked a few times)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Journalists, competence, and redshift

Cosmic Variance informs about a strange story: the media have celebrated a discovery of a galaxy at redshift 8 - except that months earlier, a galaxy at redshift 10 (which is more impressive) had been discovered. The reason for this skewed reporting was that the less impressive result was announced in a press release while the more impressive result was only described in an arXiv preprint.

Such things occur pretty frequently. But there is a debate whether such a sloppy journalistic job should be okayed. Sean Carroll wrote that it was unreasonable to expect journalists to follow or investigate the arXiv. He added:

And let’s not even think about the idea that journalists should spend time (and money) going to lots of conferences and talks and chatting with scientists about what’s hot in their fields these days — the resources just aren’t there.
That's a pretty outrageous apology for the deterioration of the journalistic occupation. You know, I remember people like James Glanz who attended a high-energy physics conference in Santa Barbara, among other things. He did all the things that Carroll thinks that the science journalists shouldn't do. Yes, this guy also wrote a NYT article about your humble correspondent and the arXiv in 2001. The journalists who suck and who never check their facts usually write articles about very different people.

Quantum computer calculates hydrogen molecule

In the middle of crazy articles about the need for the world to team up and fight against the laws of physics such as climate change, The Harvard Crimson has also pointed out a very interesting piece of science.

See also Ars Technica, Popular Science, and Nude Socialist.

Nature Chemistry has published a really fun article:

B. P. Lanyon & 11 co-authors: Towards quantum chemistry on a quantum computer
The American and Australian authors use the latest "photonic" quantum computer technology to calculate the complete spectrum of the hydrogen molecule to 20 bits of precision (almost one part per million accuracy). This is not just some emulation of one "continuous" quantum object by its equally "analog" model. This is a real, "q-digital" calculation.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Micronesian minister: Greenpeace tells us what to write

Today, Reuters and NY Times published another article about the attempts of Micronesia to stop the upgrade of a Czech coal plant which is 13,000 km away (not 6,000 km as Reuters writes).

By the way, geographic ignorance continues even in nearby New Zealand where news outlets think that Micronesia encompasses Papua New Guinea, among others. Well, it surely doesn't. Papua New Guinea has 6 million people while Micronesia (600 small islands) only has 100,000 people. ;-) The author described Melanesia.

Previous article:

TRF: Micronesia will be sunk by Czech coal power plant, wrote a protest
Also today, a leading Czech financial newspaper, "Hospodářské noviny" (HN), printed an interview with Micronesian minister of environment Andrew Yatilman. He has de facto confirmed my hypothesis that the guys have no idea what's going on and their activity is orchestrated by Greenpeace. Last week, they sent another letter to Czechia clarifying why they dislike the upgrade plans.

HN: How can the Micronesian government learn that the confirmation process before the upgrade of a coal plant in Prunéřov is just approaching the finish line in a 13,000-kilometer distant Czech Republic?

Iranian particle physicist assassinated

Masoud Alimohammadi, a professor of elementary particle physics and a staunch supporter of the 1979 Islamic revolution, was killed by a bomb attached to a motorbike in front of his home in Northern Tehran today. See NY Times, CNN, and Google News.

Of course, my feelings were very mixed before I collected enough information to be convinced that this physicist probably had nothing to do with Iran's wrongdoings. After that, my emotions are close to a sorrow - although I didn't know him.

The guy has worked on two-dimensional WZW models, fusion rules, SL(2,R) black holes, two-dimensional gravity, two-dimensional gauge theory, quantum groups but also dark energy, quintessence, and many other topics directly adjacent to those that many of us know. Although the topics were very "Western", his papers didn't become too famous (but SPIRES show a few papers close to 50 cits).

IPCC types read Lindzen-Choi 2009

A few months ago, Richard Lindzen and Yong-Sang Choi, his postdoc, published an interesting paper claiming to have identified a serious discrepancy between the reality and models when it comes to the response of the energy flows in the tropics to a changed temperature. The main result was that in reality, the feedback coefficient seems to be negative and the resulting climate sensitivity seems to be below 1 degree Celsius:

On the determination of climate feedbacks from ERBE data (PDF)
Here is the most famous picture from the paper:

I have had a specific problem with the paper. But let me enumerate a couple of links, starting with some old ones and continuing with the newest ones:
TRF: Spencer on Lindzen-Choi (his WWW)
TRF: Climate feedbacks from measured energy flows
TRF: Lord Monckton promotes it on Glenn Beck

Revkin: a rebuttal to a cool paper by LC
RC: Trenberth et al. respond (technically)
RC: Trenberth et al. (link to their paper)
RC: Gavin Schmidt about finding reviewers of LC
The paper written to find errors in Lindzen-Choi 2009 is by Trenberth, Fasullo, O'Dell, and Wong, TFOW 2010. There exists a subtle non-uniformity in this group of 4 authors. The last one has communicated the results to Richard while the remaining three have written a post for Real Climate ;-). Takmeng Wong is not a professional alarmist but rather a member of the experimental teams (CERES, ERBE), located at NASA Langley.

Monday, January 11, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Pierre de Fermat: an anniversary

Pierre de Fermat died exactly 345 years ago, on January 12th, 1665, at the age of 57. His father was a rich leather merchant and a mayor (consul, to be precise).

Fermat was a lawyer - and an amateur mathematician. That's a remarkable description because together with René Descartes, he was one of the two most important mathematicians in the first half of the 17th century. The only other amateur mathematician and amateur lawyer who got equally successful was a Kenya-born community organizer mentioned in a footnote of The Curvature of Constitutional Space. ;-) This chap has even received a Nobel prize.

But let's return from Obama to Fermat.

Probability theory

Together with Blaise Pascal, he was a 17th century co-father of the probability theory. Most famously, they studied the problem of points, a particular exercise in game theory. Imagine a two-player game with many rounds. During each round, each player adds X dollars to the jackpot. The first player who wins N rounds gets the jackpot.

Fine. That's not the problem of points yet. The problem is how the players should divide the jackpot if they're forced to stop before anyone records N victorious rounds. The "fair" division of the jackpot should clearly depend on the numbers of victories so far. Fermat gave the obviously correct solution, improved by Pascal two years later.

Sunday, January 10, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Global warming comes to South Park

If you have 20 minutes, and you haven't watched it yet, here's an October 2005 episode of South Park.

two days before the day after tomorrow

(future) Navy Seal | MySpace Video

The very episode begins at 0:50.

India Today: Climategate hits Pachauri

India Today which has circulation of 500,000 just published an article about the unethical if not criminal behavior of IPCC boss Rajendra Pachauri:

Pachauri in a spot as climategate hits TERI (click)
They say that while he is trying to look politically correct, "back home in India, he seems to be failing to uphold standards of propriety in his professional dealings."

The newspaper explains that TERI, The Energy Research Institute ["The" was formerly "Tata": Tata Group is a giant that owns things from Jaguar, Land Rover, other carmakers, steel makers, and chemical plants to insurance companies and even most Indian string theorists], has benefited from links with Pachauri. He's been the director of TERI since 1982 and director general since 2001.

Between 2006 and 2009, as an independent director of ONGC, another public energy company, he could fly first-class, sleep in five-star hotels, and collect Rs 25,000 ($500) for each meeting. It just happened that during that time, ONGC and TERI secured contracts (and created ONGC-TERI Biotech Ltd in 2008, OTBL). The paper notes that this behavior contradicted ONGC's conflict-of-interest policies. Former minister for petroleum Gangwar has already complained.

Saturday, January 09, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Karel Čapek: 120th birthday

Czechia is arguably the only country in the world where Google is very far from being the #1 search engine. ("The List"), founded by a guy whom I used to know from a Bulletin Board Service (and from a real-life BBS Session), is well ahead of Google. In fact, many Czamazechs who don't know how the Internet works inside still can't quite distinguish "Seznam" from the "Internet". :-)

(OK, Baidu beats Google in China, 77% vs 17%, about the same margin as Seznam vs Google.CZ. Thanks, Jorge.)

So you should visualize Czechia as a parallel Universe where a local Yahoo clone (with directories) actually survived as the winner, and adopted the standard search format before it was crushed by a pure search-based competition.

By the way, Mr Ivo Lukačovič, the founder of, could have sold the company for USD 1 billion in 2008. He refused: I suspect that they no longer offer the same amount. ;-)

Not too surprisingly, Google is trying to earn the love of the Czech Internet users. National themes are a part of the game. The Doodle on the Czech Google today is the following picture:

Yes, Dr Karel Čapek, a top Czech 20th century writer, was born exactly 120 years ago, on January 9th, 1890, in Malé Svatoňovice, a village in Eastern Bohemia, Austria-Hungary. He died in Prague in 1938, at the age of 48+ years.

Friday, January 08, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

The 248-dimensional heterotic E8 symmetry built in the lab

Radu Coldea and 8 co-authors have made some interesting experiments and they just published a neat paper in Science:

Quantum Criticality in an Ising Chain: Experimental Evidence for Emergent E8 Symmetry (abstract)

Snow density and water equivalent

In 2000, East Anglia's CRU determined - for hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers' money - that snowfalls are now just a thing of the past. Children wouldn't see snow again.

Meanwhile, in the real world, snowing just returned to Pilsen (not to speak about a large part of the Northern Hemisphere); the temperatures have remained below the freezing point for many days. Up to 60 centimeters - two feet - of snow is forecast in the Czech Republic until Monday while frozen iguanas fall from trees in Florida.

How much water is 60 centimeters of snow? Of course, if the snow melts, the water occupies a smaller volume.

Well, each column of H2O is expanded by the same factor. So the depth of snow is equal to N times the equivalent amount of liquid precipitation. How much is N? It depends on the temperature:

  • -2 to +1 °C (28-34 °F): N=10
  • -7 to -3 °C (20-27 °F): N=15
  • -9 to -8 °C (15-19 °F): N=20
  • -12 to -10 °C (10-14 °F): N=30
  • -18 to -13 °C (0-9 °F): N=40
  • -29 to -19 °C (-20...-1 °F): N=50
  • -40 to -30 °C (-40...-21 °F): N=100
Minus fourty degrees is a nice place to stop because it's exactly the same temperature in Celsius and Fahrenheit degrees. ;-) You see that N=100 at the coldest temperatures is impressive: a very fine snow, indeed. Finland with its -37 °C should be able to see this amazing coefficient in reality.

UK Met Office boss: failed predictions, huge salary, grilled, failed

The U.K. Met Office has incorrectly predicted a BBQ summer 2009, mild winter 2009/2010, and the boss - John Hirst - has collected performance-related bonuses that have put his salary above that of prime minister Gordon Brown. Well, BBC has asked some obvious questions:

See the video at the BBC website.

As expected, we couldn't get any coherent answers. There aren't any. At least, we have heard that despite complete failures in predicting anything about the weather for the next season, they're the best ones in the world in predicting the climate in 2050.

Well, it's probably not that hard to be the best among a particular group of pseudoscientific hacks - and the British taxpayers are foolish to pay this guy a salary - even the highest public job salary in the country.

Hat tip: Olda K.

Thursday, January 07, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Gravity as a holographic entropic force

See also: extra comments by Erik Verlinde about his paper and Why gravity can't be an entropic force
In a new preprint, Erik Verlinde extends some classical visions of Jacob Bekenstein from the 1970s and argues that Newton's force of gravity may be derived as a thermodynamic force trying to maximize entropy. His derivations may look excessively heuristic to many of us, but they're very interesting and thought-provoking. Here is an independent review.

In biophysics, one often deals with long molecules. They tend to "fold" and occupy a small volume because it is entropically favored: there are many more microstates where the molecule is "short". However, molecules will be pushed by a force "F" towards a smaller perimeter "x" only when the temperature is nonzero:
F Δx = T ΔS
Verlinde is trying to construct an analogous derivation of Newton's gravitational force. I will use in the "c=hbar=k=1" units where "k" is Boltzmann's constant. Because of its special role, "G" won't be set to one. At the beginning, "G" will be defined as the coefficient from "S=A/4G", the Hawking-Bekenstein entropy for a holographic screen (no gravitational bulk effects yet!).

Wednesday, January 06, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Is science and experience the same thing as "cognitive bias"?

"Is Physics Cognitively Biased" is another text showing the author's confusion about some very basic philosophical principles of science in general and physics in particular.

Every time she writes something new, I am amazed how my previous expectations about the most trivial thing about physics that can still be murky to some people are surpassed by yet another record. Last time, she presented her opinion that naturalness - and therefore the dimensional analysis - have no room in physics. There's no reason to expect unknown dimensionless parameters to be of order one, she still thinks.

Needless to say, dimensional analysis and estimates based on naturalness belong among the most paramount methods of physics if not all of science and rational thought. The areas of squares, triangles, disks, and all sufficiently non-singular surfaces of diameter D scale like D^2: they are equal to D^2 multiplied by a number of order one.

Czech Catholic boss: why Europe is threatened by Islam

Yesterday, Czech cardinal Miloslav Vlk - who is soon to be surpassed either by Jan Baxant or Dominik Duka - answered 24 questions in an interview.

He described his views on the life of Christians before and after the fall of communism; some of his unsuccessful plans for a religious awakening in Czechia; the secularization of the life; interactions between Czechia and Europe; his unsuccessful papal candidacy; idiosyncrasies of individual Popes; integration of Christian churches; the interactions with judaism and the influence of some Jewish thinkers on him.

However, his most widely cited answers were concerned with the expansion of Islam in Europe. See Google News.

Public support for AGW plummets after ClimateGate

The National Post offers some of the newest, December 23rd, 2009 numbers coming from Angus Reid quantifying the belief of the key native English speakers (US, UK, CA) in various parts of the climate change orthodoxy.

First, people are hopeful that no binding treaty will arise from the Copenhagen Accord. Will there be a binding treaty?

USA: 19% Yes vs 37% No
BRI: 16% Yes vs 43% No
U.K.: 12% Yes vs 44% No.

The rest is undecided. The "Yes" percentage is higher among warmists - around 25% vs 10% for the skeptics. The evolution of the scientific opinions about AGW between November 2009 and December 2009 (written as Nov ⇒ Dec) may reveal the fingerprint of ClimateGate although the decline couldn't have been hidden already for several years. Is man-made global warming a fact?

Avatar: blue smurf racist propaganda done right

Avatar, James Cameron's new movie (he has previously created things like the Terminators and Titanic), has become the fastest movie ever that has surpassed the USD 1 billion dollar threshold. I watched it tonight (in English - and with Czech subtitles which are still helpful for me at some points). And it's a pretty impressive piece. I will begin wit a ton of spoilers and end up with some comments about politics.


A terrestrial corporation with a lot of soldiers needs some important minerals from a jungle in Pandora near Alpha Centauri - over 4 light years from the Earth. As you can see, people needed to travel by speeds exceeding c/30 if they got there by the year 2154 when this movie takes place. ;-)

Tuesday, January 05, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

TRF's 20-day-old UAH temperature estimate exactly confirmed

On December 19th, I calculated the UAH December 2009 anomaly to be

0.28 °C,
plus minus a small error, as the sum of the 2009-2008 temperature differences averaged over the known days (Dec 1st - Dec 17th), plus the known final December 2008 anomaly (0.18 °C) - an algorithm that had previously been proven very successful.

You might have said that it was a bold prediction because the figure was 0.22 °C cooler than the 0.50 °C anomaly measured in November 2009.

Roy Spencer at WUWT just reported the final December 2009 UAH global temperature anomaly. Guess how much:
0.28 °C
That's right: TRF can get a better than 0.01 °C accuracy for the final temperature of a month in the middle of the same month. Read TRF to learn the truth weeks, and sometimes centuries, before others. :-)

This also strengthens the validity of the UAH rankings of 2009.

Interesting hep-th papers

Today, there are 69 new entries on hep-th: 27 of them are new papers. That's a lot and I will surely omit some interesting ones. Nevertheless, this is my selection:

Hořava-Lifshitz theory violates equivalence principle

Amir Esmaeil Mosaffa tries to write the action for particles moving through the Hořava-Lifshitz spacetime. He finds out that not one mass parameter but two mass parameters "M,m", are needed. As a result, the trajectories will depend on their ratio, "m/M", which contradicts the equivalence principle - although, truth to be said, I didn't quite understand whether you can choose "m" and "M" for each object/particle arbitrarily and how they add up for bound states etc.

This is a good example showing how different principles needed for physical consistency are linked to each other. If you sacrifice the Lorentz symmetry, it's likely that the equivalence principle will fail, too.

Monday, January 04, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Sir Isaac Newton: birthday

Sir Isaac Newton was born on January 4th, 1643. As Cynthia has pointed out, today, the main page of used the first animated Doodle ever. Yes, an apple falls from the tree.

Because I consider Newton as the brightest theoretical physicist ever, I have never had the courage to post a biography about this giant - although it was partly ready back in 2008 when we celebrated the 365th birthday.

His achievements, beliefs, revelations, passions, and mistakes are just way too multi-dimensional and I don't want to end up with a ludicrous lower-dimensional projection of a man that all of us know, at least to some extent.

China: heaviest snow since 1951

Officials in Florida are preparing the people across Florida for below-freezing temperatures. Record cold temperature hits Iowa. I could forget some of the remaining 48 states of the union so let me just say that CNN reports that deep freeze across the U.S. will get colder.

Al Gore's car got extre-hehe-mely hot, millions of degrees.

The United Kingdom experiences a very cold winter that is likely to last at least for another month (and Piers Corbyn adds February, too - let's see whether his prediction will become a failed guess). In the U.K., December 2009 was the coldest one since 1981. And BBC had this title. However, they had to change the title because it was humiliating the greatness of the Global Warming God (GWG) and the true believers got rightly offended by the truth: the truth is unacceptable, they said, and BBC agreed.

Sunday, January 03, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Warming trends in England from 1659

Because the Hadley Center has released the final temperatures in Central England for 2009, I decided to calculate a few things. Although I have also played with the monthly data, this text will be purely about the 1659-2009 annual data. It's 351 years in total.

A related link: The counterpart of this article for the world's second oldest weather station appears in the article Czech ClimateGate: Prague's Klementinum censored
The average of the 351 numbers is 9.217 °C. The Pythagorean average of the deviation of the annual data from this average is 0.659 °C. The global warming advocates like to emphasize the warming trend in the last 30 years. How does the warming trend in the last 30 years - and in all other 30-year periods since 1659 - look like in Central England?

Click to zoom in: the y-axis is the warming trend in °C per century, the x-axis is time from 1659-1688 to 1980-2009.

In the late 17th and early 18th century, there was clearly a much longer period when the 30-year trends were higher than the recent ones. There is nothing exceptional about the recent era. Because I don't want to waste time with the creation of confusing descriptions of the x-axis, let me list the ten 30-year intervals with the fastest warming trends:

Temelín nuclear plant: above 1500 MW in 2009

These are kind of interesting numbers.

All the numbers below will be averages over daily cycles and seasons: the total annual production or consumption is obtained by multiplying the figures below by 24*365 hours.

Saturday, January 02, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

David Gross and the 60th birthday of Israel

If you have want to know what David Gross said in 2008 at Technion (posted in October 2009) about the future of physics, the Jewish achievements in science, and the current politics in Israel, see this one-hour talk:

As you may expect, I would probably subscribe to every word he said, with some exceptions of his criticism of the current Israeli government etc.

Gross reviews the achievements of various disciplines of physics in recent decades (one of the unusual physics disciplines studied at the KITP is "physics of climate change": is that really necessary, David?) and says that the greatest progress is that we gained the informed ignorance: we can ask certain fundamental questions intelligently.

LHC alarmists: a judge would rule "stop LHC"

In the previous article, I discussed various beliefs in the end of the world (Y2K, AGW...) and Carl Brannen has brought our attention to the following new physics.soc-ph preprint:

Eric Johnson: The black hole case: the injunction against the end of the world (PDF)
The lawsuits by the LHC alarmists have so far been rejected on technical grounds such as wrong jurisdiction. Thank God.

The author of the paper, an assistant professor of law in Tennessee, analyzes what a judge would probably think and say if he had to evaluate the case on its merits. To save the time of most of you, after having written 90 pages of the preprint, he would probably stop the LHC. I just wanted you to know what you may expect from the lawyers if they get a chance to have their say. ;-/

There's a dead lawyer and a dead hare on the road. Do you know how can you distinguish them? You will find a braking track in front of the hare. :-)

Johnson reviews some positive and negative things that people in many diverse groups have said about particle physics. He discusses the dynamics that killed the SSC. And he summarizes some statements about the "dangers" from the LHC alarmists on one side and the active physicists on the other side. He seems capable to extract the relevant pieces of the texts - but he is manifestly incapable to determine which arguments are valid and which of them are not.

Friday, January 01, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

NYT op-ed about Y2K, AGW, and other cataclysmic prophesies

The New York Times printed an excellent op-ed by Denis Dutton, a philosophy professor in New Zealand:

It's always the end of the world as we know it
He discusses the Y2K fiasco as a template for global warming and other movements obsessed with the end of the world and "cosmic justice" that will destroy the sinful civilization. These movements, as he argues, simply recycle the old religious instincts that have fascinated the mankind for thousands of years.

Click the picture for more Y2K fear propaganda.

His detailed memories about the Y2K problem would be kind of amazing if I didn't remember they were really told by influential sources all the time. While 1999 - with its booming economy and subdued terrorism - should have been viewed as the ultimate happy year, journalists, pop-scientists, and the rest of pundits loved the Y2K meme.

The end of the world was coming once again. The elevators, cars, airplanes, banks etc. would crash, we were told. About 300 billion U.S. dollars were wasted for this "problem".

Czech president: New Year address

Dear fellow citizens,

as every year, please accept my greetings and wishes for a peaceful, happy, and successful new year.

See also: video with the address (in Czech)
The first of January is usually a day to evaluate the previous year and to look at the following year whose first day we are just experiencing. I will do the same thing. Let me begin with the first point: neither we nor the future historians will consider the previous year to be a smooth deal.

Happy New Decade

The 2010s have begun. While 40% of the native English speakers call it the "twenty tens", 60% use the term "two thousand and tens". A natural short version of the name is "the teens". The options sound better than the "noughties" or "twenty zeros" that have ended.

The same decadal situation, just 30 years earlier...

A self-described physicist has calculated the decade that is just getting started. She obtained a different result ;-) and she just twitted:

after the 70s, 80s and 90s, how will this decade be called? The zeros? The first decade?
The lesson is: never allow your brain to sleep for 10 years because it decomposes before you manage to wake up.

What can you expect in the 2010s?

Velvet divorce: 17 years

In September 1992, I became a part of the last group of federal Czechoslovak freshmen at the Charles University. Since 1992, there has been a lot of important Slovaks in my life.

As a staunch defender of a unified Czechoslovakia, I kind of believed various alarming predictions that a split of Czechoslovakia would imply lots of catastrophes, a war, international isolation for both new countries, and many other bad things.

NoName (SK) & Chinaski (CZ): Ná ná ná
A duet of two top bands

SK: Hello, my friend,
SK: they say you're already in the train
CZ: Yes, I'm going to see you
CZ: for hundreds of miles.
SK: Our parents are already preparing
SK: the favorite cakes.
CZ: I know your hospitality
CZ: even from the totage [totalitarian era].
SK: I am looking forward to see you,
SK: we can debate until the morning.
CZ: In the morning, just sing
CZ: without engagements: nah nah nah
SK: Many friendly words
CZ: I am going to see you.

SK: Enjoy the trip, its beauty peacefully
CZ: I've heard our dads were serving in the army together.
SK: They say that they've been laughing so that they cried.
CZ: And all women who were with them have melted.
CZ: They were feeling good and riling until the morning
CZ+SK: near the morning, they were singing,
CZ+SK: without obligations, nah nah nah
SK: Many friendly words
CZ: I am going to see you.

CZ+SK: Even today, the whole world wonders
CZ+SK: how two can part their ways without blood,
CZ+SK: for the last time and for the first time.
CZ+SK: Just a few people would return the time.
SK: Today, all of us are our own masters
CZ: that's why thanks, bye, and amen.

CZ: Hi, pal, it seems that you're already in the train.
SK: Boy, it's so far.
CZ: I know, 600 kilometers.
CZ: Enjoy Moravia and look forward to Prague, too.
SK: Do you have something like our rafts on the Váh river?
CZ: We have totally everything there and we also rile until the morning
SK: Before the morning, you are singing, without engagements, nah nah nah
SK: Many friendly words
CZ: I am going to see you.

CZ+SK: Even today, the whole world wonders
CZ+SK: how two can part their ways without blood,
CZ+SK: for the last time and for the first time.
CZ+SK: Just a few people would return the time.
SK: Today, all of us are our own masters
CZ: that's why thanks, bye, and amen.

SK: I am looking forward to see you,
SK: we can debate until the morning.
CZ: In the morning, just sing
CZ: without engagements: nah nah nah
SK: Many friendly words
CZ: I am going to see you

CZ+SK: Even today, the whole world wonders
CZ+SK: how two can part their ways without blood,
CZ+SK: for the last time and for the first time.
CZ+SK: Just a few people would return the time.
SK: Today, all of us are our own masters
CZ: that's why thanks, bye, and amen.

SK: I am looking forward to see you,
SK: we can debate until the morning.
CZ: In the morning, just sing
CZ: without engagements: nah nah nah
SK: Many friendly words
CZ: I am going to see you.
Of course, all of it was proved wrong. Two mostly civilized nations (or subnations) with political leaders who have no interest to create new problems because they want to become influential in the new countries pretty much guaranteed that what we were doing turned out to be the Velvet Divorce. And it has actually improved the actual relationships between the Czechs and Slovaks.

A separation is often more peaceful and constructive than a forced unity.

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