Monday, May 31, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Israel was right to shoot a few leftist criminals on the boat

In 2007, Hamas took over Gaza.

Because it's a terrorist organization that has harmed lots of people and whose existence is incompatible with the basic human rights, Israel has understandably imposed a blockade. The security of the civil population of Israel isn't compatible with bringing goods to the Hamas-ruled territory - and it's not just weapons that are dangerous.

Whatever the cargo is, it remains unknown unless or until it is checked by the official Israeli forces.

Two weeks ago, Israel warned European nations that their leftist organizations trying to bring aid to Gaza are illegal and won't be allowed to complete their mission.

As you know, today, a boat of this kind - Turkish passenger boat Mavi Marmara - was trying to enter the Israeli waters from the international ones. The mostly Turkish people on the boat were informed once again that what they were trying to do was illegal.

CERN sends muon neutrinos, Gran Sasso detected one tau neutrino

For three years or so, a gadget at CERN has been sending muon neutrinos to Gran Sasso which is 730 km away. No, the source of the muon neutrinos has been something else than the LHC - a device that has suffered from the first big power cut since the bird attack by a baguette on Friday.

The neutrinos had to travel through the Earth (the maximum depth is 11.4 km) but they don't mind. ;-)

Today, the OPERA Collaboration in Gran Sasso in Central Italy and CERN announced the first ever detection of a tau neutrino created by muon-tau neutrino oscillations:

Particle chameleon caught in the act of changing
Neutrinos are hard to see and they don't oscillate much. Moreover, the distance is big and the focusing is not too good. These three facts combine so that it took a lot of time to observe a single tau neutrino despite the fact that it was a muon neutrino, the SU(2) partner of the charged muon mass eigenstate, that was created at CERN.

Saturday, May 29, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Czech leftists lose the general election

Left-wing parties

22.1% socialists
11.3% communists

total: 33.4% or 57+25=82 deputies

Right-wing parties

20.2% civic democrats
16.7% TOP 09
10.9% public affairs

total: 48.2% or 51+41+25=117 deputies (sorry, I know 199 is not 200, not clear where's the 200th chair)

Great. The leftists have lost. The right-wing parties will form a coalition government which will be the first mostly consistent government since 1990 that didn't depend on a few deputies - a convenient majority.

May the Royal Society go AGW agnostic?

The Royal Society has appointed a panel to review its position on global warming, having admitted that the boundary between facts and speculations has often been blurred in its previous statements. The new official position, demanded by 43 of its fellows, will be published in the summer.

Is there any chance that this famous institution can be cured?

This is a 2008 TED talk by Lord Martin Rees, the current president of the Royal Society and therefore the recipient of the mail demanding the review. He's been linked to the AGW alarmism a little bit.

Friday, May 28, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

LHC: ATLAS event: Alda and Randall

On Tuesday, the LHC's ATLAS Collaboration organized an event in New York with Alan Alda, Lisa Randall, Michael Tuts and Emma Sanders.

See also a few pictures from the event, and a four-page or eight-page popup book, Voyage to the Heart of Matter (about ATLAS), that they promoted.

Incidentally, ATLAS has already collected a billion of 7 TeV events or so - and the luminosity has already been increased to approximately 1 percent of the planned maximum luminosity.

Terry Tao will derive

Thursday, May 27, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Czech elections on Friday and Saturday

Only a very small percentage of the readers wants to follow Czech politics but if you're one of them, here's an update about the Parliamentary elections on Friday and Saturday.

Background: 2006-2009

Melbourne: VIC government pays seminars how to deal with denialists

If you live in Southeastern Australia and you want to learn how to deal with the climate change denialism, the Victorian government has paid for a seminar on June 18th that you will like.

Click to zoom in.

CDF refutes a D0 claim about CP-violation

Ten days ago, we wrote about the Tevatron's D0 Collaboration that claimed a 3.2-sigma evidence supporting a

new source of CP violation
using the data from dimuon events. The trustworthiness of the D0 statement was amplified by another finding by both D0 and CDF, namely a 2.12-sigma discrepancy between the observed "B_0^s" decays to "J/psi phi" and the Standard Model.

The 3.2-sigma statement is equivalent to a 99.9% confidence level while the 2.12-sigma statement is something like a 96% confidence level. But even for the higher confidence level, the proverb says that one half of the published 3-sigma results are wrong. It may actually be more than one-half and in less than ten days, we see some evidence of this general principle.

At a flavor physics and CP conference in Italy, the CDF Collaboration (see the detector on the picture) just announced the results of their own analysis of the "B_0^s" decays, using a significantly higher number of events than what they had analyzed together with D0 in the past. And the
result is that the Standard Model is doing fine.
The discrepancy is 0.8 sigma only - a smooth consistency. So the 95%-confident result about the decays has been rejected. Because the likely underlying reason behind this anomaly was probably related to the cause of the dimuon CP anomaly, it's probable that the latter - which is a 99.9% claim - is incorrect, too.
Again, you can't really build science on 2-sigma (95%) and not even 3-sigma (99.7%) claims because most of them turn out to be wrong.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Gavin Schmidt on attribution

Gavin Schmidt wrote an essay on the attribution of climate change:

On attribution (Real Climate)
He believes - or he pretends to believe - that the average RC readers are more confused about this topic than himself. However, his text - which is a mixture of correct observations, tautologies, obfuscations, hidden facts, missing basic principles, double standards, and manifestly untrue propositions - shows otherwise.

His "executive summary" makes four basic claims:
  1. You can’t do attribution based only on statistics
  2. Attribution has nothing to do with something being “unprecedented”
  3. You always need a model of some sort
  4. The more distinct the fingerprint of a particular cause is, the easier it is to detect
Now, the points 1,3,4 are correct as stated while 2 is incorrect. However, Schmidt later strengthens 1 to something that is no longer correct. And he masks the results of 4, the fingerprint (or he only wants to use the point 4 when it's convenient but not otherwise). So when these four items are taken to include the whole context, I only agree with 3 - although the word "model" in 3 is inappropriate and immediately leads Schmidt to additional missteps.

Misanthropic principle

Why it could be true, how it could be exactly defined, and what it could imply

The typical application of the anthropic principle in the literature is based on the assumption that our Universe - and our species - is among the most typical universes or species in the multiverse, at least among the universes that admit some intelligent life.

Of course, this assumption is not rationally justified. I have always believed and I still believe that it is not only unjustified but that its negation is more likely to be true - and if it is ever mathematically refined, it may even become a deep principle.

Fine. So the misanthropic principle is the assumption that

TRF readers recommend basic software

And let me begin. Feel free to join.

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Google Chrome 6.0 dev or 5.0 stable
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Chrome is used by 17% of TRF readers; Firefox by 44% of readers. Our Chrome percentage is way above the 7% all-market average, suggesting a high percentage of early adopters and geeks in our community.

Chrome Extensions

Find and download from the gallery.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

BBC: Polar bears are quantized

In classical physics, observables are continuous functions of each other. When a charged object moves just a little bit, it radiates just a tiny amount of energy in the form of electromagnetic waves.

However, in quantum physics, energy can't be arbitrarily small.

When the frequency of the motion of a charged particle is "f", the minimum energy that can be radiated away is "E=hf" where "h" is Planck's constant: it's the energy of one photon. So instead of emitting a tiny amount of energy, the system has a tiny probability to emit a finite, larger amount of energy.

A horny male polar bear is tracking a female. (Picture and explanation by BBC.)

BBC has promoted new research that shows that polar bears behave just like the photons:

Polar bears face 'tipping point' due to climate change
Peter Molnar of Alberta summarized his research as follows:

Sherpa: global warming added 2 meters to Mt Everest

The Associated Press interviewed Apa, a Nepalese Sherpa, who has realized that as he is getting older, global warming makes it harder for him to climb the highest peak on Earth.

The agency also explains why it is getting harder. You may remember that before global warming, the elevation was 29,029 feet (8,848 meters). However, global warming has evaporated two meters of the oceans and the AP's new elevation became 29,035 feet (8,850 meters). Note that to be sure that it's no mistake or a result of rounding, they wrote the figure in two unit systems and both figures are higher.

Pieter Zeeman: 145th birthday

Pieter Zeeman was born in a small town on a Dutch island on May 25th, 1865 - i.e. 145 years ago - to a father who was a minister of the Dutch Reformed Church.

He received some classical education - in languages etc. - but he began to work in a lab and wrote a thesis on the Kerr effect in 1893: it's a magneto-optical effect in which reflectivity and polarization of a surface is changed if the surface is magnetized.

St Vitus Cathedral: litigations are over

Less than one day after Czech President Václav Klaus decorated the winners of the world ice-hockey championship, and after he drank champagne from the 30-liter cup twice :-), he signed an agreement with the new Prague Archbishop and the Czech catholic leader, Dominik Duka, who happens to be close to Klaus but who was recently appointed by the Pope.

The decades-long litigations over the St Vitus Cathedral, the dominant structure in the middle of the Prague Castle, are over. The following two traditional propositions of the Church about the ownership were agreed upon and a new one was added:

Monday, May 24, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Birds prefer conventional over organic wheat

A new article written by Ailsa J McKenzie and Mark J Whittingham of Newcastle was just published in Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture:

Birds select conventional over organic wheat when given free choice
During the recent three years, the authors have repeated the same experiment many times, in different locations (Nature vs lab), different arrangement, permutations of the wheat types, and with different species.

But the conclusion was universal: after some time that the birds needed to learn the strategy, the birds would significantly more often select the conventional wheat - treated by various synthetic and chemical products during its production - instead of organic food - where the synthetic compounds are completely avoided.

Martin Gardner (1914-2010)

Martin Gardner, a famous science writer and a recreational mathematician, died on Saturday at the age of 95.

For 25 years, he has been the Godfather of Mathematical Games in Scientific American and he wrote 70 books. For example, as a kid, I read "Relativity for the Million".

See Google News.

Ice-hockey: our golden Czech boys

In the world IIHF ice-hockey championship, Czechoslovakia plus Czechia have received 44 medals in total, close to 46 medals of Canada and ahead of the Swedish 42 medals and Soviet and Russian 41 medals.

Well, yes, most of our medals have traditionally been bronze medals.

Since the Velvet Divorce in 1993, Czechia has specialized in the gold medals. The gold medal they just won was the 6th one - and I am not even counting the Olympic victory in Nagano. As a federal country, Czechoslovakia has previously earned 6 additional gold medals.

Despite these cold facts, some (or most) people in the West - and sometimes in Czechia itself - hesitate to consider the Czech team as a favorite. Well, I may be affected by some national bias but I beg to differ. I have considered our team to be the most likely one to win the gold - and I was right. ;-)

Saturday, May 22, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Why people outside good physics think that there can't be a TOE

Two weeks ago, I wrote about a silly text published by Nude Socialist and written by a man named Marcelo Gleiser who has mixed some random ideas about symmetries and asymmetries to argue that there can't exist any unifying theory. Of course, each single step in his arguments was completely illogical.

Now, in "Terra Incognita", a European writer about physics complains that Mr Gleiser needed 15 years to realize that there can't exist a unifying theory. She was able to "prove" that there can't be a TOE within seconds. And in fact, she gives us her "proof". Gleiser's text shouldn't have been published in Nude Socialist because it's her idea.

Her "proof" goes as follows:

Of course the notion of a final, fundamental, theory of all and everything is faulty. For the simple reason that even if we had a theory that explained everything we know, we could never be sure it would eternally remain the theory of everything we know. As Popper already realized about a century ago, one cannot verify a theory, it can only be falsified. Thus, theories we have are forever out for test, always on the risk that some new data does not fit in. That's exactly what makes a theory scientific. It's also one of the points I made in my FQXi essay. You see, I'm an even Newer Scientist.
Holy crap.

Sweden is a country that has just been eliminated from the ice-hockey championship's final match by my countrymates, much like Germany was eliminated by Russia a few hours later ;-). But do they deserve such incredible idiots to be the representatives of "theoretical physics in Sweden"? It's really pathetic.

BBC: Roger Harrabin about types of AGW skeptics

Roger Harrabin wrote a pretty interesting BBC report from the fourth Heartland climate conference in Chicago:

Climate sceptics rally to expose 'myth'
You shouldn't be shocked that the text is far from impartial. The myth is written in the quotation marks while Harrabin himself complains that the vegetarians have been underrepresented, among other bizarre attempts to attack the skeptics.

But otherwise, he offers some meaningful insights into the sociology of climate change - and to the internal diversity of the climate realists in particular. You should see
Bob Carter's report which is even more sensible
but I will stay with Harrabin's text.

Friday, May 21, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Will Happer: testimony in the House

Prof Will Happer of Princeton has given an excellent testimony in front of the House of Representatives yesterday,

Climate science in the political arena (PDF)
On these eight pages, he first modestly sketches some facts about his impressive scientific background.

He says that the climate has been largely warming for 200 years or so, that the CO2 is rising because of us, that CO2 probably causes less than 2 °C of warming per doubling, that the empirical evidence increasingly speaks against large positive feedbacks, or any net positive feedbacks for that matter, that the models have been often wrong, that "modeler" Lord Kelvin was wrong when he argued against Charles Darwin's correct statement that the Earth had to be very old, that a "team B" should be created to critically evaluate the conclusions by "team A" (this IPCC2 is originally an idea due to Václav Klaus, and I also think that the names "team A" and "team B" should be naturally reversed relatively to Happer's proposal), that CO2 is naturally present in much higher concentrations in our breath etc. and is beneficial for the plants.

Why exactly marginal deformations are common in N=1 d=4

Five authors, Daniel Green, Zohar Komargodski, Nathan Seiberg, Yuji Tachikawa, and Brian Wecht, wrote an interesting preprint

Exactly Marginal Deformations and Global Symmetries
In N=1 supersymmetric four-dimensional field theories, we used to think that the amount of supersymmetry seems rather small for the theory to preserve exactly marginal deformations. It has always seemed surprising why there were any theories with moduli spaces at all.

However, these authors extend the results of Leigh and Strassler (1995) and Barak Kol (2002) and explain that there's no real surprise here. For N=1 superconformal theories, it is actually very difficult to transform a superficially marginal operator to not-quite marginal one.

Jupiter cloud belt is gone

Jupiter's South Equatorial Belt (SEB) has disappeared in less than a year. Can you spot the difference?

"There is a scientific consensus that climate change, especially such a fast and visually stunning one, is caused by humans," James Hansen said. "It makes it clear that there must be lots of humans living on Jupiter."

"We usually imagine man-made climate change as a few tenths of a degree. But the interior of Jupiter is incredibly hot and continues to warm, by millions of degrees," Al Gore added.

Thursday, May 20, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Scott Denning speaks at the Heartland conference

Prof Scott Denning of Colorado State University was one among two de facto AGW believers who accepted the invitation to the Fourth International Conference on Climate Change.

We kind of know what fellow skeptics would say although some talks were rather innovative. But I found this mainstream guy's comment refreshing, too:

He's very polite, he has learned a a lot, he complains that his colleagues don't attend such meaningful conferences, and he says that paranoia isn't helpful and that pro-market forces suffer because they're not sufficiently represented among physical scientists which is why physical scientists inevitably give far left-wing recommendations whenever science intersects with policymaking. Very true.

Venter creates a synthetic cell

Craig Venter has done it. His institute has produced Mycoplasma mycoides which is a normal bacterium except that in his case, the whole genome was artificially assembled.

Paper in Science, press release
Nature: Reactions of biologists (short HTML)
Nature: Reactions of biologists (long PDF)
BBC, USA Today, Google News
The era of synthetic life has begun. Although Venter is technically not God, my opinion is that the future artificially created and engineered humans, if their inner working is qualitatively similar to the natural people, deserve human rights! But if they behave too badly, they have to be punished, too. ;-)

Will the Korean War resume?

It was almost certainly North Korea whose torpedo sank a South Korean warship in the disputed waters of the Yellow Sea. Fourty-six sailors at Cheonan died. Some technical evidence of the statement was found.

Moreover, North Korea has the clear motivation to show that they're still powerful even though everyone ignores them and their compassionate South Korean neighbor wanted to treat them as a small baby which the socialists don't like.

The two countries are still technically in the state of war: the Korean War (1950-1953) wasn't ever ended by any peace treaty. If South Korea decides to retaliate, even by sanctions - and it has declared it wants to retaliate - North Korea (which denies the torpedo attack) wants to enter a full-fledged war.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Snow in Czechia: second half of May

The UAH satellite data show that May 2010 has been the warmest May at least since 1998 so far. However, the mountains in Northeastern Czech Republic don't seem to care: this is how the Beskydy mountains look today:

The highest peak, Lysá hora [Bald Hill], is at 1344 meters and it received 50 cm of snow in the last 72 hours. But you find lots of snow beneath the summit, too.

People in Moravia were starting to forget about the recent floods before they experienced these snowstorms. It's tough. If the Czechs were not heretics and they believed in global warming, maybe they would get one. ;-)

Via Olda Klimánek

Fuzzy F-theory

Mark Van Raamsdonk has a new preprint on the entanglement glue,

Building up spacetime with quantum entanglement
and I think it is deep and at least morally true. But because I have already written about it in July 2009, let me discuss another paper that is at least comparably interesting.

Both Jonathan Heckman and Herman Verlinde have written papers about the bottom-up string phenomenology. Verlinde would work with D-branes while Heckman was focusing on F-theory. Now they teamed up to find something exciting about the F-theory model building:
Evidence for F(uzz) theory
Imagine a GUT 7-brane in a local F-theory phenomenological model. Its 4 real dimensions are typically compactified on a del Pezzo-like cycle inside the compact geometry while the remaining 3+1 dimensions coincide with the world we know and love.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Fall of reductionism and other fictitious paradigm shifts

A European physicist thinks that our era in physics is characterized by three paradigm shifts:

Paradigm Shifts (B.R. blogspot blog)
These three entries are:
  1. Fall of reductionism
  2. The multiverse
  3. Disappearance of a fundamental spacetime
I disagree with (1), mostly disagree with (2), and partially agree with (3).

Reductionism is alive and kicking

Reductionism is the attitude or philosophical position that the objects and phenomena in the real world are composed out of simpler, more elementary objects and the fundamental interactions in between them; or the scientific strategy to study things by assuming that the first part of the sentence is correct.

Christiana Figueres: new U.N. climate boss

Yvo de Boer has resigned as the UNFCCC chief. Christiana Figueres of Costa Rica has been chosen as his successor.

To be sure that the same pseudointellectual junk and political propaganda will continue to contaminate this portion of the international political scene, check her "campaign":

This transition politically means that the third world could become more influential in these irrational negotitations. That could be bad - but it's very logical.

After all, Costa Rica is way ahead of the Netherlands (where Yvo de Boer lives) in the CO2 emissions: the Dutch GDP per capita is $40,000 (PPP) and $48,000 (nominal) while Costa Rica's GDP per capita is just $11,000 (PPP) and $6,400 (nominal), so Costa Rica is approximately five times "better" than the Netherlands.

The CO2 emissions per capita are nearly proportional to the GDP per capita - but no one cares about this particular number, anyway. Costa Rica has something like 2 tons of CO2 per capita and year while the Netherlands has 23 tons or so. If you reduce your emissions to 1/10, your wealth will drop to 1/5 or so, which is about 0.7th power of 1/10.

Monday, May 17, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

D0 claims evidence for a new source of CP-violation!

The Tevatron would like to claim that it's not quite dead yet. Tonight, the Tevatron's D0 collaboration will publish a new paper on the arXiv that is already available on their server:

Evidence for an anomalous like-sign dimuon charge asymmetry (available now, old URL)
The hundreds of people have looked at the 6.1 inverse femtobarns of their 1.96 TeV proton-antiproton collisions and picked the collisions in which two muons or antimuons with the highest transverse momentum had the same sign of the charge - either positive ("N++" events) or negative ("N-—" events). If you think that one of the minuses in "N-—" is longer, you may always buy a new LCD panel.

Sunday, May 16, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Boston Globe on Lindzen and Emanuel

Beth Daley of The Boston Globe wrote a story how the relationships between friends may be altered by the global warming confrontations:

A cooling trend (mobile version)
In the early 1980s, both Gentlemen would come to MIT. Richard Lindzen was a registered Democrat. Kerry Emanuel had just voted for Ronald Reagan, being more right-wing than Attila the Hun according to Lindzen. ;-)

Both men are relaxed and other things made them natural friends.

As their discipline found itself at the epicenter of a major political battle, times were getting harder. Kerry Emanuel was slowly transformed into an AGW believer, at least superficially. Now, Richard Lindzen gave us some hints that because of their special closer relationship, he knows something more about Emanuel's motivation. And Emanuel has explicitly told Lindzen that joining the AGW bandwagon could be good for their department, the funding, and so on.

Running out of IPv4 addresses

There exists one more possible "disaster" somewhat similar to Y2K that might actually be somewhat more threatening:

The world may be running out of IP addresses.
See Google News for some updates. The ICANN head warned that only 8-9 percent of the IP addresses are left. On December 21st, 2012, the Mayan Long Count calendar is ending, so it is expected that by the end of 2012, the IP addresses will be gone. ;-)

No one else will be able to connect to the Internet. You won't be able to sell another cell phone. Of course, this prediction is complete nonsense because if such a global problem were real, we would already be seeing it "locally" in the portions of the Internet that have already run out of the address space. But there is *a* problem because the new largest domains that can get their new part of the address space may become impossible at some point in the near future and they may be forced to "share" with the existing ones.

Saturday, May 15, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Michael Mann on MWP spatial patterns

Michael Mann wrote an article about the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), as "it is sometimes called", and the Little Ice Age (LIA):

What we can learn from studying the last millennium (or so) (RealClimate)
Let me first start by saying that before science tries to learn something from the last millenium (to tell us about the future "climate change", which is the fashionable question that Mann is trying to promote), it may be a good idea to actually learn something about the last millenium.

But you know, paleoclimatology which used to be an academic subject about the truth concerning practically irrelevant questions has become an applied science: the main goal is how can we benefit from the answers, not necessarily true ones, to those questions. You know it's not about the truth at all: it's about something plausible.

Friday, May 14, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

New Scientist: Age of Denial

WUWT was the first sensible source to notice that Nude Socialist has jumped the shark once again (and recently they've been doing almost nothing else): the whole new issue is dedicated to "climate deniers" (and, more generally, some other "deniers").

After the scientific giants such as Garrett Lisi, Marcelo Gleiser, and Lee Smolin with their deep and likely "mainstream" theories of everything and nothing (who deny that there are any symmetries, laws of physics, or theorems - but they're surely not deniers, are they? They are so liberal!) were given most of the attention in the previous issues, it's great to be a part of a community described by this "prestigious" and "scientific" magazine. :-)

Among seven articles about the "denialists", there is even one written by our "friend". Michael Fitzpatrick says that the "deniers" shouldn't be called names because they deserve as much respect as those who think that HIV doesn't cause AIDS. ;-) Thank you so much for your generosity, Mr Fitzpatrick.

Pachauri's talk to the meta-IPCC panel

Today, the meta-IPCC panel held the first public session in Amsterdam:

Webcast web page, TRF
Twelve members' bios
Acting IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri and his secretary Renate Christ gave PowerPoint talks:
Pachauri (PPT, 12 pages)
Christ (PPT, 17 pages)
AP, Google News
If you don't have MS Office, I recommend you to download the new and free PowerPoint viewer which is much faster than e.g. OpenOffice.

As AP mentioned, Pachauri "cautioned" the meta-IPCC panel not to "undermine the scientists' motivation". In other words, the railway engineer blackmailed the would-be independent panel and asked them not to dare to insult the AGW bigots' religious sensibilities and funding.

The slides are mostly about the "impressive" U.N. institutions and their complicated relationships. But let me choose slide 6 of 12 from Pachauri's talk. It shows the number of papers about climate change:

That's a pretty scary growth, especially if we appreciate the fact that the research hasn't found anything substantial about the climate in the last 15 years.

An invoice for everyone: pay your $6,000 debt

TOP 09 (Tradition, Oh-responsibility, Prosperity 2009), a new Czech political party that separated from the centrist "Christian Democratic Union - Czechoslovak People's Party" one year ago and actually became not only the more right-wing but also the stronger one among the two (around 10% of the votes, while the Christian Democrats may slip below the 5% threshold) - doesn't like budget deficits and growing public debt. At least verbally, they don't like it.

There will be elections in Czechia on May 28th-29th, 2010. And Mr Kalousek of TOP 09, a former successful finance minister, had a cute idea to explain to the citizens what the public debt means - in a very pedagogical way. What is his trick? Well, hundreds of thousands of people have already received the following postal money order:

It looks just like the Czechs' preferred old-fashioned method to pay the monthly bills of various kinds (such as electricity bills), except for some missing logos and entries that you only see if you look carefully.

Thursday, May 13, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Kerry-Lieberman: esoteric knowledge

I hope that all the U.S. readers have already memorized the new, 987.654321-page law penned by John Kerry and Joe Lieberman,

American Power Act (PDF, full text).
It's a very simple, intuitive, comprehensible, and concise piece of text. As a homework exercise, try to use the document above to prove that it's impossible to steal $1 billion from the system by a simple trick. Easy?

Venus: Chris Colose vs Steve Goddard

Chris Colose (click) thinks that Steve Goddard - and, to a lesser extent, your humble correspondent - are reinventing climatology as well as astrophysics.

"Venus and Cupid" by Lorenzo Lotto, late 1520s

Well, you can say it in this way: after these fields, especially the first one, have been contaminated by an ideological pseudoscience, the only way to proceed is to reinvent the disciplines.

Unfortunately, the flooding of the disciplines by poorly verified and "morally driven" myths has already begun in the modern, rather than postmodern, era, and it was initiated by as likable characters as Carl Sagan. He was nice but very far from infallible.

One must carefully check which insights are legitimate science and which things were politically imported myths - and when it's necessary, you have to start from scratch. But I don't want to degenerate into these moralist rants, so let's jump onto the physics of the problem.

Czech president vetoes a biofuel amendment

Václav Klaus returns an amendment to the Air Protection Act to the deputies

Dear Chairwoman Ms Němcová,

I am using the competency given to me by Article 50 of the Czech constitution and I am returning a bill to the lower chamber of the Parliament. The bill in question is an amendment to Bill No 86/2002 Collection, which was a law about the protection of the atmosphere and about the change of some additional bills, the so-called Air Protection Act, as articulated by newer directives. The amendment was approved by the chamber on April 28th, 2010.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Catlin team reaches the North Pole

The ice team has reached the North Pole today, on May 12th. It seems that they have skipped annoying proclamations about global warming. Instead, they say

It's not possible to imagine what this team has had to do to pulloff this extreme survey. Together they’re the face of modern exploration helping to advance the understanding of scientists and public alike about how the natural world works.
And your humble correspondent congratulates them.

Catlin team likely to reach the North Pole
Originally posted on May 4th

The Catlin Arctic Survey ice team has reached 88°45' N today so they're roughly 140 km from the North Pole. Assuming that their recent impressive speed - usually exceeding 10 km/day - continues, they will reach the pole within two weeks.

I suppose that they won't be eager to give up a few miles from the magic spot.

Last year, the team had no chance to realize its little dreams. We may speculate about the reasons of the improvement. They may have learned something about the cruel cold climate over there. They may have become more humble. Well, there has also been a not so subtle change of the ice team. ;-)

In 2009, the team was composed of boss Pen Hadow, the spiritual AGW leader, Ann Daniels, and the photographer Martin Hartley. Who was the weakest link in this chain? Ann or Martin? :-) Well, in 2010, the team includes Martin Hartley, Ann Daniels, and Charlie Paton. Can you spot the difference?

The team has left its weakest link at home. The big mouth of the 2009 team who remained a "director" of the expedition keeps on saying some of the most idiotic things - such as that the sky is falling because the ice team has seen rain for a few minutes ;-) - but as far as the imbecile remains at home, he is pretty much harmless.

So I wish the 2010 ice team more good luck than in 2009 and a better director in 2011, too. ;-)

North Korea boasts thermonuclear energy

Three weeks ago, North Korea celebrated the Earth Day:

Well, two weeks ago, it also celebrated the Earth Day. The perfect country celebrates the Earth Day all the time. ;-)

But today, there are even better news coming from the progressive country:

So is the (AdS/QCD) black hole real?

Clifford Johnson recently gave a colloquium about the AdS/CFT-inspired description of the quark-gluon plasma in terms of 4+1-dimensional black holes and someone asked him an obvious question:

But is it real? (Asymptotia.COM)
Clifford gave a thoughtful answer and I only agree with 2/3 of it. Moshe Rozali joined Clifford in the comments and it's clear that my degree of agreement with Moshe would be much closer to 100%.

In the AdS/QCD approach, one looks at a chunk of quark-gluon plasma or a similar material and he realizes that the quarks and gluons are no longer too useful to predict what's going on. Instead, one wants to deal with the material macroscopically, in a way. One wants to more directly capture the "emergent" degrees of freedom and their relationships.

But what are the properties of such a material? It turns out that the most accurate answer involves a black hole in a curved spacetime with one additional dimension! This is not just some random coincidence. It is a consequence of the most important mathematical equivalence found in physics during the last 15 years.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Princeton ex-president chairs the meta-IPCC panel

One week ago, I forgot to report on the composition of the new panel reviewing the IPCC panel that was decided by Robbert Dijkgraaf and others.

The 12 members of the meta-IPCC panel will publish their findings by the end of August.

Former Princeton University's (and the University of Michigan) president, economist Harold Shapiro, will be the chair (see the picture).

Nobel winners Mario Molina (for ozone layer) and Syukuro Manabe (for climate modeling) are among the members. So is Louise Fresco of Amsterdam, a professor of "sustainability", and Zakri Abdul Hamid of Malaysia and others.

See the full list of meta-IPCC reviewers and their short bios.
On Friday May 14th, they will make the first webcast from Amsterdam. Pachauri is participating, too.

Andrew Revkin has complained that the committee has no experts in scientific policymaking, social sciences (except for economics), or the history of science.

See also Google News.

If you have some knowledge about the previous attitudes of the members to the issue and their expected impartiality, I and others will be curious to hear about them.

Marcelo Gleiser: A tear at the edge of creation

Just one day ago, I heard the name of "Marcelo Gleiser" for the first time. A TRF reader asked me about a new book that slings mud at high-energy physics.

I haven't read it and I won't read it. I have exceeded my life-long quota for reading similar garbage by many orders of magnitude.

And today, I already see this guy promoting the result of his "work". It shouldn't be shocking that a focal point of the crackpot echo chamber, Nude Socialist, gave space to this Gentleman:

The imperfect universe: Goodbye, theory of everything
At the beginning, we learn the same "catchy" story that we have heard from Lee Smolin. Gleiser tells us that fifteen years ago, he also would be working on a unified theory, just like Smolin. Sadly, the publication record shows that his work on unified theories hasn't led to substantial results. And 19 cits per paper is really bad: that's a method to collect citations as "noise".

Tamino vs Goddard

Steve Goddard wrote two research articles about Venus's climate for WUWT:

Hyperventilating on Venus
Venus envy
After some unthoughtful early criticism, your humble correspondent endorsed the arguments. Most of the excessive warmth on Venus is not due to the greenhouse effect - even though I used to parrot this meme just a week ago myself.

Titian's Venus

Tamino didn't like the conclusion so he decided to dismiss Goddard's arguments:
Goddard's folly
Grant Foster's counter-arguments are remarkably simple:
I’ll leave that to others to dissect Goddard’s arguments.
Given the well-known estimate that Tamino is a relatively smarter alarmist, i.e. that most alarmist readers' IQ is about 30 points below Tamino's IQ, that will be pretty hard a task for them to fulfill! ;-)

SUGRA, black holes, and quantum information

CERN Courier has brought us a new fun article by Mike Duff:

Black holes and qubits
Yes, I took the Wikipedia picture.

In recent years, Duff has been working on the entropy of various M-theoretical and SUGRA black holes with many types of charges. The very formulae for the black hole entropy must respect and do respect the U-duality, a symmetry of the theory, so they know about various cool exceptional algebraic structures such as exceptional Lie groups, octonions, GHZ states, and hyperdeterminants.

Some of the very same formulae appear in quantum computation. That makes it almost inevitable for the string theory techniques to tell you something new about the quantum computers - and vice versa. For example, Duff explains a cool realization of some qubits' properties in terms of brane intersections. This strategy also leads to the quantum version of Shakespeare: to wrap or not to wrap, that is the qubit. ;-)

Monday, May 10, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

ATLAS: 66 million collisions

CERN's twitters have good news for us:

Two good LHC runs over the weekend bring lots more collisions to the experiments. ATLAS now has over 66 million:
If you open, a special server dedicated to the detector, you will learn that the total collisions at 7 TeV are actually 124 million. Feel free to choose whom you believe. ;-)

The maximum luminosity so far has been "21 x 10^{27}/cm^2/s" which is "21 x 10^{-12}/fb/s" which is "0.00066 inverse femtobarns per year". Well, they have to improve the luminosity by a factor of 1,000 to collect one inverse femtobarn by the end of 2011.

A trillion of dollars to save the euro

During the night, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, being in touch with the European Central Bank and even the Fed, decided to order ECB to buy the government bonds and pump dollars into the European markets.

Because this infusion is even bigger than the package that America added to the system in 2008, the markets reacted abruptly. The euro gained 2.5% on the U.S. dollar and the stock markets in countries such as Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Romania, and others gained as much as 10% during the morning.

That's, of course, nice. And if these changes help to decimate the "wolf packs", as a Swedish minister called the speculators who conspire to attack particular countries, I am happy. There are lots of nasty traders who suffer from group think, who want to hurt others, who do hurt others, and who ultimately benefit out of the behavior. It would be great to exterminate them, figuratively speaking. On the other hand, I am very uncertain about the sustainability of such shock-and-awe interventions.

Ultimately, the inflation has to kick in. I am kind of surprised that we are still not seeing it around. But qualitatively speaking, I still believe it is impossible for the negative impacts of such miraculous interventions and "erasures of the debt" to be absent forever. Even if the inflation doesn't kick in, such "free money" and "forgiven debts" surely have to undermine the motivation of the economies to "seriously work".

Sunday, May 09, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

BBC: Parallel Universes

If you have spare 45 minutes and you haven't yet watched the 2002 program about the braneworlds (and related issues of string theory) called "Parallel Universes" by BBC (Horizon), here it is as a 5-part playlist:

Alan Guth, Lisa Randall (climbing, cool), Nima Arkani-Hamed, Mike Duff, Burt Ovrut, Paul Steinhardt, Michio Kaku (an amazing figure-skater), Neil Turok, and many other well-known physicists can be found over there.

Tomorrow, on Monday, CBS will broadcast TBBT 3x21, The Plimpton Stimulation: see the trailer. Sheldon's bedroom will be visited by a top female physicist.

By the way, I was reminded that Lisa Randall has already "starred" as herself on the sitcom. Look who is sitting behind and in between Raj and Sheldon at 0:20 of this The Large Hadron Collision episode about the Valentine Day trip to the LHC. :-)

Deserts may absorb up to 1/2 of CO2 emissions

I need to get rid of a bookmark on my toolbar. So let me make a small posting about these two papers.

A few months ago, someone (a Czech climate skeptic) sent me an interesting link to Mr Jiří Grygar's "Discovery Harvest 2008" (Žeň objevů 2008, in Czech, EN).

Every year, this astronomer and the most famous Czech science communicator presents the discoveries related to astronomy and celestial bodies from the previous year.

There are many interesting things over there but my source was impressed by an interesting comment about deserts.

Saturday, May 08, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Richard Lynn on IQ sex gap

Daily Mail has printed an essay by Prof Richard Lynn introducing the readers to the IQ gap between the sexes.

He discusses how the statistics shows the 5-point difference, how it arises before the people get mature, how the men have larger brains, wider distributions, how these differences manifest themselves in various situations, awards, achievements, how Larry Summers got into trouble, and why science is about the telling the truth rather than the fashionable clichés.

Well, I haven't really learned new things from the text but it is a refreshing, well-written introduction to Lynn's discipline.

Roy Spencer: feedbacks seem to erase most of warming

Roy Spencer wrote a nice WUWT review of their apparently fascinating, new paper in Journal of Geophysical Research:

Spencer: strong negative feedback found in radiation budget (WUWT, click)
Strong negative feedback from the latest CERES radiation budget measurements over the global oceans (Spencer's website)
We may call this paper their own version of Lindzen-Choi 2009, a paper that pioneered a method that others are likely to be reusing and improving. Spencer et al. have just began with this process.

NASA's "CERES" satellites (Aqua, Terra) have measured the energy flows around the Earth for quite some time. Spencer took 7 years (2002-2009) of the data from the Aqua Satellite (looking above the oceans).

Recall that the sensitivity - the warming caused by CO2 doubling - is determined by the ability of the Earth to cool itself when the temperature rises. A degree of warming makes the Earth radiate more energy. The faster this increase of radiation is, the smaller temperature rise you get from the same perturbations such as the increase of CO2.

So if you believe that CO2 and other things lead to a small warming, you also believe that a fixed amount of warming is accompanied by a large increase of the energy outflow from the Earth. It's the ratio that matters.

At any rate, this is the key graph:

The x-axis is the temperature of the tropical troposphere - where the satellite-observed warming seems to be slow but the greenhouse theory predicts the fastest one. The y-axis is the total SW+LW energy outflux measured by NASA's Aqua.

Friday, May 07, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Hyperventilating on Venus

Venus by Velazquez

Steve Goddard wrote an interesting article about the temperature of Venus. It essentially argues that the "extra warming" by hundreds of degrees that we see on Venus is mostly due to the adiabatic lapse rate - while the greenhouse effect contributes just a small portion (a dozen of percent at most).

See also related texts by Maurizio Morabito about Venus from February 2008
Although I find his text somewhat sloppy about various "details", I had to independently agree with the broad and important conclusion - after some checks and self-corrections - and I will try to convince you about the conclusion. This conclusion does mean that people like Carl Sagan, James Hansen, and others who have been using Venus as the model for the Earth's greenhouse effect were wrong even morally.

First digit is most likely one: Benford's law is no mystery

A new Chinese preprint by Shao and Ma, promoted by the arXiv blog, makes the claim that Benford's law remains mysterious.

If you don't know, Benford's law tells us that the probability that the first digit of any real random quantity - such as the price of a stock - is N equals

P(N) = log[(N+1)/N] / log(10).
In particular, the different digits have the following probabilities:

Twelve percent of NAS establish their AGW inquisition

The letter was accompanied by a well-known fake picture of a lone polar bear.

Yesterday, 255 members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences - which has 2100 members in total - signed an open but originally paid letter in Science:

Climate Change and the Integrity of Science (available now)
As ABC and other media wrote, the researchers are "deeply disturbed by political assaults on scientists".

"For a problem as potentially catastrophic as climate change, taking no action poses a dangerous risk for our planet," they argue. The first three paragraphs say:

Secret tapes from Copenhagen

The Copenhagen conference was a relative success: instead of trillions of dollars, the world's economy has only lost approximately $215 million for bringing the Big Cheeses to the silly theater and for the organization in general.

Spiegel Online (click!) has obtained and reviewed a secret tape from the room where the 25 key leaders met on the final day.

The deluded European leaders wanted to have insane 2020 and 2050 targets - by 25-40% and 50%, respectively. China was very politely saying: "We have already told you, f*ck you." India was saying the same thing, by insisting that they shouldn't "prejudge the options". After all, only the rich are responsible for most of the CO2 in the air. Sarkozy, who was the only one who didn't speak English, declared a verbal war against China. Their words are totally unacceptable, he said.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Leonard Susskind on Standard Model

If you have four spare hours, three Stanford lectures by Leonard Susskind about "new revolutions in particle physics" and the Standard Model are awaiting you:

The videos were recorded in January 2010.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Science cannot answer moral questions

Sam Harris gave a TED talk that argued that

Science can answer moral questions (23 minutes).
His fellow atheist activist Sean Carroll disagreed and wrote that
You can’t derive Ought from Is (click).
Obviously, I agree with Sean Carroll. He mentions three basic points I subscribe to:
  1. Well-being has many definitions and one can't objectively say whose definition is the right one, or how to separate the morally right people from the morally wrong people.
  2. Even if well-being were well-defined, it's not necessarily true that it's the goal of morality.
  3. Well-being can't easily and canonically be summed or accumulated over individuals.
Competing, subjective definitions of morality

To make the first point obvious, Carroll mentions that morality should probably be decided by the "right-thinking people" - and the boundary of this set is ill-defined. He generously overlooks the fact that he doesn't belong among the right-thinking people himself: unlike most of us, he is a left-thinking person. :-) So not only the boundary is fuzzy: his sign is wrong.

April 2010 cooler than April 1998

News: the RSS AMSU data for April 2010 are out. The anomaly, 0.546, is the lowest one for 2010 so far. It is the second warmest April on their record but it's more than 0.3 °C cooler than April 1998 and April 2005 was just a bit cooler than April 2010.

Originally posted on May 1st

When you look at the daily UAH AMSU temperatures for April 2009 and April 2010, you will find out that the near-surface average brightness temperature for April 2010, -15.50 °C, was 0.4 °C warmer than that of April 2009, which was -15.90 °C.

That's a substantial year-on-year warming. However, with the anomaly around 0.55 °C using these centidegree conventions, as well as with the anomaly around 0.48 °C using these millidegree conventions, April 2009 will be the coolest month of 2010 so far.

Monday, May 03, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

El Nino is transitioning to ENSO-neutral conditions

The latest weekly ENSO report shows on page 5/34 that the SST (sea surface temperature) departure in the defining Nino 3.4 region has dropped to +0.5 °C during the most recent one-week period which is just the boundary between the El Nino conditions and ENSO-neutral conditions.

The number +0.5 °C is well below +1.9 °C, the maximum that the recent El Nino episode reached before Christmas 2009 (which wasn't extremely far from the peaks around +2.5 °C in the 1997-98 El Nino of the century). Because the El Nino and La Nina episodes are computed from three-month averages, the El Nino episode will almost certainly continue at least through March-April-May 2010.

By the end of the year 2010, we may see the first hints of an ENSO-related cooling: the typical delay is about 6 months. I remain completely undecided whether 2010 will turn out to be warmer or cooler than 1998: the ENSO departures in the 2009/10 El Nino episodes seem to have an almost identical strength and timing as those during the 1997/98 El Nino of the century and because ENSO is a key driver of the interannual variability which is still the key at a decadal scale, it is a neck and neck race.

Virginia vs Michael Mann: Ken Cuccinelli is right

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has begun an investigation of Michael Mann who was working at University of Virginia between 1999 and 2005 - right after he became famous for the his main "brainchild", the hockey stick graph - and who has received a substantial amount of the public money as a result of his hockey stick graph claims.

We're talking about half a million of dollars from the Virginia's state funds - which may be kind of "supervised" by the attorney general of the state - but of course, Mann has collected millions of dollars from other sources, too.

Because of the CRU e-mails, it seems conceivable if not likely to the prosecutor (and many of us) that Mann has committed a fraud against taxpayers as defined in a pretty clearly worded bill of the state of Virginia. Cuccinelli wants to see Mann's e-mails about the matters and other things. If he wins, Mann may be forced to return all the money plus other expenses.

Steve McIntyre strongly disagrees with Cuccinelli's activities because it's a witch hunt, Cuccinelli has become a bigger bully than Mann himself, and so on.

Sunday, May 02, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Oil spill makes cap-and-trade less likely

A Czech climate skeptic blog,, has offered an interesting interpretation of the recent environmental tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico.

Recall that The Deepwater Horizon, an offshore oil rig that belongs to the self-called company Beyond Petroleum (BP), a British oil giant, exploded last week and the company was apparently unable to truncate the oil spill. I am a layman but I am shocked that they can't contain the spot into a predetermined area by a system of pontons, and burn/suck the oil, but it also sounds unlikely that the BP experts would be unable to solve the situation if it were easy.

The 1989 Exxon Valdez tragedy in Alaska was a big warning. The oil companies were forced to introduce the double hull design (two bottoms). It's clear that at least a similar lesson has to be learned from the recent tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico. Because similar large oil spills occur every other decade, a technology has to be developed to efficiently fight with the next one, regardless of the reasons. I am sure that it can be developed and produced for a few billions dollars.

Nigel Calder's new climate blog

On May 1st, Nigel Calder has just started his new weblog focusing on cosmoclimatology and similar issues but there's already lots of stuff and you may want to check:

Calder's Updates (click)
Another not quite new but not quite old climate blog with lots of detailed technical comments about the pressure and temperature profiles and similar topics is called
Science of Doom.COM.

Saturday, May 01, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Liberation of Pilsen by the U.S. army: 65 years

It's been 65 years since the 16th Armored Division of General Patton's 3rd Army liberated my hometown.

Also participating in the liberation of the city were elements of the 97th and 2nd Infantry Divisions. It just happens that the new logo of the Pilsner ice-hockey team, HC Plzeň 1929 - one that won the presidential trophy of the Czech ice-hockey extraleague this year, before we failed in the play-off - is strikingly similar to the native American from the logo of the division. However, an exhibition that just opens today claims that the history of the Pilsner Indian go back to 1915.

The liberation festivities are getting started again. Lots of the soldiers who are getting pretty old are attending the events once again.

Unfortunately, embedding has been banned for the video above. So you must watch it at YouTube. Exactly twenty years ago, just half a year after the Czechs and Slovaks emerged from 40 years of socialism, we celebrated the anniversary for the first time in the modern history.

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