Tuesday, August 31, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Units of evidence

We often encounter the question whether a proposition, P, is true or false. The probability that it is true is "p". Various arguments - logical inference - may exist to determine our subjective value of "p". In particular, Bayesian inference multiples the probabilities "p" and "1-p" by the probability that the respective hypotheses give the result that agrees with the newest observation.

Some of the arguments may be K-sigma deviations of the measurements from the prediction of a null hypothesis. The value of "K" may be translated to "p" through the conventional error function: for example, a 3-sigma deviation translates to the 0.3% probability that P is true (99.7% that it is false).

It could be helpful to define another function of "p" or "K", called "AE", that kind of interpolates between "p" and "K". The letters "AE" stand for "amount of evidence". It is a dimensionless quantity but you may still use the term "unit of evidence" or "UE" for the unit. "AE" is defined as

AE = ln(p/(1-p))
AE = ln(1/(1-p)-1)

p = 1/(1+exp(-AE))
For your convenience, I have also written down the formula for "AE=AE(p)" where "p" only appears once, as well as the inverse relationship where "AE" appears once. If "AE" is positive, the evidence supporting the proposition P is stronger than the evidence going in the opposite direction.

I constructed "AE" as a simple function of the odds - the ratio of probabilities of "P" and "non P", i.e. as a simple function of "p/(1-p)". The precise definition of "AE" has the obvious property that if you negate P i.e. if you exchange "p" and "1-p", the value of "AE" simply switches the sign.

Why complex numbers are fundamental in physics

I have written about similar issues in articles such as Wick rotation, The unbreakable postulates of quantum mechanics, and Zeta-function regularization, among others.

But now I would like to promote the complex numbers themselves to the central players of the story.

History of complex numbers in mathematics

Around 1545, Girolamo Cardano (see the picture) was able to find his solution to the cubic equation. He already noticed the quadratic equation "x^2+1=0" as well. But even negative numbers were demonized at that time ;-) so it was impossible to seriously investigate complex numbers.

Monday, August 30, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

IAC verdict on IPCC: leadership shouldn't work on 2nd report

During the press conference at 10 a.m. New York Summer Time, the IAC panel has recommended all 8 top IPCC leaders to work on 1 report only, among other things to increase transparency and impartiality. The IAC reviewers have also recommended a new external board of overseers to supervise the IPCC. The IPCC has been successful but fundamental changes are needed, they say. Shapiro said that the GlacierGate and others have unequivocally dented the trust of the IPCC. Trust is something one has to earn again and again.

BBC: IPCC needs reforms, IAC review recommends
RTT News: Review recommends major overhaul of UN climate body

Irish Times: Report criticises climate change body

Reason: IPCC processes critiqued

Earth Times: Probe urges deep reforms in the IPCC

Daily Mail: Body needs overhaul

Fox News: Independent audit slaps U.N. climate panel

Others at Google News
Rajendra Pachauri was elected in 2002 and re-elected for his second term in 2008. However, when asked whether the one-term IAC recommendation also implies that Pachauri should resign, Princeton's ex-president Prof Shapiro answered that it was too difficult a logical problem for him to solve so he has to leave the "interpretation" to others.

Well, that's how the Tuesday son puzzle would end up if I allowed the solution to be open to "interpretations" instead of logic, too.

When Shapiro discussed the IPCC errors such as GlacierGate that are dedicated some chapters in the IAC review, a lady from Al Jazeera asked whether he was not afraid that it could be interpreted as that he thinks that the IPCC has made some errors. Her eyes hinted that her Islamist and leftist friends could perform a terrorist attack against the IAC. But Shapiro didn't quite collapse although he clearly tried to appease the PC lady a bit.

In the IAC panel's opinion, the errors occurred because the IPCC did not obey its own guidelines - so the guidelines might be enough in their opinion.

Completely different words sounded an hour later

At 11 a.m. New York Summer Time, Pachauri has glorified himself, making catastrophic climate science look more worshiped than ever. He has read some comment from a jerk or two who has worship him. When Pachauri was asked whether he would respect the IAC recommendation and resign, he said that his interpretation was that it was forward-looking and for Pachauri personally, it's a mission he can't leave so "we will see". ;-)

Another IPCC apparatchik said that the IAC review - that has previously claimed that the scandals have dented the credibility of the IPCC has - shown that the IPCC's credibility is stronger than ever. :-) That's the "interpretation" by the IPCC logic.
Key fresh links (explanation below):
U.N. webcast (with Dijkgraaf, Shapiro, and others): LIVE; began at 10 a.m. New York Summer Time; continues from 11 a.m. (with Pachauri et al.)
IAC report website
IAC: web page about & before the release
IAC: web page about & after the release
Older text written before the press conference

Gauge theory in 12 dimensions?

The highest dimensionality in which a non-gravitational supersymmetric effective field theory is understood is 10 - or 9+1 - dimensions. And the theory is nothing else than the 9+1-dimensional Yang-Mills theory.

It is non-renormalizable but it may emerge either as the effective description of non-gravitational parts of the 10-dimensional N=1 supersymmetric string vacua or it can be compactified to 3+1 dimensions or lower to produce extremely important (not only for Matrix theory and AdS/CFT) renormalizable supersymmetric gauge theories.

The reason why 9+1 dimensions is the maximum dimensionality for supersymmetry is rather simple.

Particles may be invariant at most under 1/2 of the supersymmetry. Because the remaining broken supercharges act as ladder operators within the supermultiplet and because we want the spin to be at most 1 (3/2 is already too much because the only consistent spin-3/2 massless fields are gravitinos), there can be at most 4 raising and 4 lowering generators "broken" by a particle - to get us from -1 to +1 by the 1/2-steps that supercharges offer.

However, that means that there can be at most 8 supercharges broken by a particle that preserves 1/2 of supercharges - and at most 16 supercharges in total. The maximum dimensionality where spinor representations with 16 real components exist is 9+1 dimensions. The corresponding theory has a spin-1/2 field with 16 real components (a Majorana-Weyl spinor) all of which turn out to be physical - which is inevitable for the Dirac spinors and their reductions. These 16 fields may be Fourier-transformed into 8 creation and 8 annihilation operators for fermions in the momentum space. That's great because the 8 fermionic polarizations match the 10-2 physical bosonic polarizations of a gauge field in 10 dimensions.

Two times and higher dimensions

Sunday, August 29, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Will the 2013 solar flare return us to the Stone Age?

Fox Business News Channel brought the "top physicist" (right after Al Gore, Lee Smolin, and Joe Romm) Michio Kaku who explained that we're doomed in 3 years:

Every 11 years the [Sun's] north pole and the south pole flip, releasing a burst of radiation. But, every 100 years or so, a monster Tsunami from the Sun emerges which could literally cause trillions in property damage. […]

It could paralyze the economy of the planet Earth. In 1859 we had a gigantic solar storm which knocked out telegraph wires back then, 150 years ago. If that had happened today it would knock out almost all our satellites, knock out power stations, there would be food riots around the country because refrigeration would stop, airplanes would probably crash without radar. […]

And again, this is a once in a century, once in two centuries storm…

We do have them and we have to worry about them. […]

We’d be thrown back 100 years.
Every 100 years, we're thrown back 100 years just by the solar storms, we're told. Because there are dozens of types of similar catastrophes, it is clear that every 100 years, we're thrown back several millennia. ;-)

It sounds scary, doesn't it? One year after the Earth collapses because of the end of the Mayan Calendar in 2012 and after another doomsday prescribed by Nostradamus, we will face yet another Armageddon. Fine. You may buy insurance from me. What is going on?

Saturday, August 28, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Temperature variations are not increasing

The increase of the global mean temperature - and most local temperatures - in the last 30 or 100 or 200 years is unspectacular, noisy, and somewhat questionable, but it is arguably based on the actual empirical data.

However, you may also often hear that the climate variations and extremes are increasing. Unlike the case of the global mean temperature, this statement directly contradicts the available thermometer records.

It is actually very straightforward to see that there is no such increase. Here is the self-explaining Mathematica notebook, based on the WeatherData function, and its PDF preview (25 pages) with the 48 municipal graphs:

Temperature variations.nb (Mathematica notebook)
PDF preview of the notebook (25 pages, HTML)

Typical month-on-month jumps of the temperature anomaly in °C in Boston between 1943 and 2009. The details will be explained later.

I somewhat randomly took 48 of the world's large cities. For each of them, I looked how many years into the past I can go to see uninterrupted monthly average temperature data. For many cities, it was 37 years - since the beginning of 1973. For some cities and their weather station, it was longer. Boston had 67 years.

Friday, August 27, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

One son on Tuesday: a probabilistic puzzle

John Baez, a savior of the Earth, discusses an interesting puzzle that was sent to him by Greg Egan:

A few months ago I read about a very simple but fun probability puzzle. Someone tells you:

“I have two children. At least one is a boy born on a Tuesday. [And if it were not the case, I would have told you.] What is the probability I have two boys?”
Try to solve it yourself. John Baez mentions that you would think or he would think that the information about Tuesday is irrelevant because the days of the week are independent of the sex and we only care about the latter.

So you would think that there are 4 equally represented groups of 2-kid families, namely boy-boy, boy-girl, girl-boy, and girl-girl families where the two hyphenated words refer to the younger and older kid, respectively. Only the girl-girl families are eliminated, and 1 of the remaining 3 groups is a two-boy family, so the conditional probability is 1/3.

However, that's a wrong result. The information about the Tuesday actually does matter. Here's why:

Thursday, August 26, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Honolulu lawsuit: LHC beats Wagner

After laborious proceedings, the judge in Hawaii ruled that Walter Wagner (picture)

  • had no standing;
  • failed to show a "credible threat of harm";
  • and misjudged whom he should sue because the U.S. government doesn't happen to own CERN or the LHC ;-):
Symmetry Magazine: LHC lawsuit dismissed by US court (click)

Obama and AEP v. Connecticut

As a Senator, Barack Obama had the most leftist voting record among all of his colleagues. Nevertheless, I have always had significant doubts about his genuinely "progressive" thinking.

In fact, I have always believed that his emotions are "moderate" if not "conservative" when it comes to many issues. He had just found it more convenient to march to the political Olymp as a candidate building upon the extreme left wing of the Democrat Party.

It's always hard to decide whether he has his own opinions or whether he's just adjusting them to achieve something else - namely his election and re-election - but assuming that he's considering arguments that go beyond his personal interests, Obama has just shown his conservative face. He and his administration may have helped to save America from an explosion of insane lawsuits against CO2 producers.

Yesterday, the New York Times reported that

Obama Admin Urges Supreme Court to Vacate Greenhouse Gas 'Nuisance' Ruling (click).

The particle physics song, by CERN choir

Wednesday, August 25, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Putin encounters a tiger and an environmentalist

Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin is known to his countrymates as a tough guy, or a genuine moloděc. This self-described wild animal lover has also recently encountered a polar bear, a tiger, and a leopard during his journeys throughout the regions of Russia.

But that's nothing compared to his experience on Monday when he met a wild German environmentalist:

AFP: German scientist hands Putin frosty climate rebuke (click)
In the fast Eastern region of Yakutia, he dared to mention his opinion that
10,000 years ago, the mammoths started to die out. This was linked to a warming of the climate, a rise in sea levels, a reduction of pastures. All this happened without human influence.
He primarily meant that no industrial CO2 emissions were involved in the decline of mammoths. But that was too courageous a thing for him to say. Ms Inken Preuss, a wild German environmentalist (second from the left), immediately reacted:

The unbreakable postulates of quantum mechanics

Many people try to use every opportunity to diminish the importance of the principles of quantum mechanics and to cover them by fog and shadows - even though they're the most important and most robustly established insights of the 20th century science.

Any quantum mechanical theory is composed out of two layers:

  1. Postulates and interpretation of quantum mechanics
  2. The choice of the Hilbert space and the Hamiltonian (or action or whatever plays its role of determining the evolution in time)
These two layers are largely isolated from one another. The first layer is universal for all quantum mechanical theories and one only needs to understand it once; the second layer has to be refreshed for each new physical system we want to study and for each description of such a system that is more accurate than the previous one.

Pretty much all the advanced mathematics of every modern physical theory is hiding in the second layer while the philosophy and all the "controversies" of quantum mechanics are concentrated in the first layer.

You may read a lecture of mine about the interpretation of quantum mechanics. However, in this text, I want to focus on more mathematical and less philosophical issues of the postulates of quantum mechanics.

Monday, August 23, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Prof Jiří Niederle died

The Czech media brought us some very sad news. After a long disease, Prof Jiří Niederle died at the age of 71. Some time ago, he was still the chief of the theory section of the HEP department of the Physical Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences.

As an undergrad, I attended a great course on group theory that he taught. He would sometimes tell us some stories from his scientific life, too.

Clearly, he has traveled a lot and he was one of the few people who imagined institutionalized science in the old Western way and who were considered genuine peers by some Western colleagues. By the way, the exam took place in a very fancy office of the Academy of Sciences across the National Theater in Prague: at that time, Niederle presided over the international section of the Academy.

Marc Morano's alarmist audience of wild animals

Yesterday, Marc Morano of climatedepot.com was invited to give a talk at the AREDAY conference of climate alarmists in Aspen.

James Cameron, the king of hypocrites, canceled his promised debate with Marc Morano; you can't believe a word that these people ever say. The remainder of Morano's talk went as expected: the alarmist participants of the conference - and the moderator - behaved like wild animals.

New Scientist attacks quantum physics

Well, I can't hide that I really hate the magazine called New Scientist.

Ninety-five percent of their articles about the disciplines I care about - and about science per se - are emotional attacks by breathtakingly deluded pompous imbeciles against the scientific principles and scientific achievements that I hold dear - that I consider the pillars of the human knowledge and progress.

Nude Socialist has already dedicated a whole issue to attacks on "climate deniers". It systematically promotes crackpots in high-energy physics (and their dumb speculations and misconceptions) and tries to put them on the same level - if not a higher level - with the world's top physicists (and the key findings of physics).

Attacks against string theory haven't been revolutionary enough for these new "scientists" so they picked all of quantum physics as their new target today. Two minutes ago, they released the following article:

Is quantum theory weird enough for the real world?
It's a classic article by anti-quantum zealots who simply refuse to accept, on purely dogmatic grounds, that the postulates of quantum mechanics could be a fundamental part of the reality.

Chernobyl: a DNA discovery on substitution rates

On Friday, BBC has brought us news about an interesting paper on evolution:

Chernobyl species decline linked to DNA
Victoria Gill writes about the following paper:
Historical mutation rates predict susceptibility to radiation in Chernobyl birds (full text PDF)
written by A.P. Moller, J. Erritzoe, F. Karadas, and T.A. Mousseau affiliated with French, Norwegian, Danish, Turkish, and American institutions. They wanted to figure out which species are going to be affected by events of the Chernobyl type - that clearly increase the mutation rates etc. Which of them will see their abundance decline quickly?

Saturday, August 21, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Dvořák Cello Concerto with Rostropovich

As Wikipedia says, fourty-two years ago, Mstislav Rostropovich, a giant Russian cello soloist, played at the London Proms on the night of August 21, 1968.

He played with the Soviet State Symphony Orchestra and it was the orchestra's debut performance at the Proms. The programme featured Czech composer Antonín Dvořák's Cello Concerto and was the same day that Russians invaded Czechoslovakia to put an end to Alexander Dubček's Prague Spring; see TRF 2007, TRF 2008.

It was reported that he was crying as he performed: BBC 2007.

A great piece, right?

This particular recording, however, was made with the conductor Carlo Maria Giulini and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. The 1968 video with the Soviet orchestra doesn't seem to be available but BBC calls it one of the greatest ever recordings of the piece by the Czech composer.

Friday, August 20, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Latma TV: The Iranian Bomb

The Iranian Bomb, by Latma TV
[original: Sex Bomb, by Tom Jones]

Spy on me baby, use a satellite
Infrared to see me move through the night
I listen with a smile, as you say this won't be
But you won't dare stand up to me.

Posted from iPod touch

This is not the most spectacular text on The Reference Frame but it was written on and sent from iPod touch.

OK, one paragraph was enough so let me edit it with a bigger keyboard which is still a bit faster. ;-)

Click here for a readable mobile version of this blog and this post...
I am amazed by the technological progress that has taken place. This 3rd generation iPod touch device boasts 64 GB of flash memory - which is one million times more than what we used to have on the beloved box we called Commodore 64 when we were kids. :-)

Since the frequency of the processor is about 1,000 times bigger as well, it shouldn't be shocking that Apple could produce quite an exciting user interface and others could offer 200,000 sometimes great apps.

Thursday, August 19, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

On-shell N=4 SYM: recursively solved to all orders à la BCFW

N=4 maximally supersymmetric Yang-Mills theory is quite an important theory. It is arguably the most important four-dimensional local field theory in the Universe. First, notice that it is uniquely determined by the assumption of the maximum of 16 supercharges for a non-gravitational field theory (plus 16 additional superconformal generators that add up to 32 Grassmann-odd generators which invisibly make the gauge theory gravitational, as discussed from the next sentence on).

The theory is also equivalent to the superselection sector of type IIB string theory on the AdS5 x S5 background with an RR flux; that makes it the most studied example of the AdS/CFT correspondence. The N=4 SYM has been used to describe heavy ion physics, hydrodynamics, superconductivity, and other things because the AdS/CFT duality is most controllable in this case.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Alpinekat on sneutrino inflation

Nude Socialist has finally published an article that may be imperfect and the model it promotes is probably untrue: but it made me smile in approval. The smile began with the title and the name of the author. ;-)

Kate McAlpine wrote an article called

Closing in on the inflaton, mother of the universe.
As you should know, McAlpine is the author of the renowned LHC rap video which has attracted 6 million visitors to YouTube:

If you need a version with a singer you're familiar with, here it is. ;-) Well, I admit that I have recorded it at a lower speed (by a factor of nearly two) and sped it up artificially later: rap is too fast a genre for me, and not only in English. :-)

She highlights two papers on inflation in supersymmetric models:

Tuesday, August 17, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Can a rare heat wave in a big city occur by chance?

The short answer is Yes. What about the long answer?

Roger Pielke Jr wrote a text about rare weather events that I completely agree with:

Why rare events are a certainty
July 2010 was unusually warm in Western Russia - and Moscow. It actually turns out that a bigger portion of Russia was below the normal temperature than the portion of Russia above it. But that can't change the fact that Moscow et al. was really warm.

I picked Mathematica and used the WeatherData function to find out that the average July 2010 temperature in Moscow was 3.5 standard deviations above the mean temperatures for July 2010 - that can be extracted from the record available via Wolfram's software. By a standard deviation, I mean the root mean square of the differences of July temperatures in the past from their overall average.

Monday, August 16, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Israel should and probably will strike Iran

George Will has joined those who find it sensible for Israel to strike Iran:

Israel's Netanyahu poised to take out Iran's nuclear sites
I completely agree with his analysis. Israel is threatened from many more directions than it used to be some time ago. But it also has the capacity, knowledge, experience, and wisdom to defend itself. The ability of the Jews to defend themselves - in similar ways as other nations - was the very reason why many of our ancestors helped to create Israel six decades ago.

I am proud that in 1947-1949, Czechoslovakia has peacefully sent a military aid to Israel including 25 Avia S-199 fighters (aircrafts), 61 supermarine spitfire MK IX fighters (aircraft), 34,500 P18 rifles, 5,515 MG34 machine guns, 10,000 bayonets vz.24, 900 vz. 37 heavy machine guns, 500 vz. 27 pistols, 12 ZK-383 submachine guns, 10 ZK 420 semi-automatic rifles, 500 vz. 26 light machine guns, 90 million 7.92 x 57 mm cartridges, 15 million Parabellum cartridges, and 900,000 cartridges of three more types.

That's what I call a meaningful and lasting contribution to peace in the Middle East - and not just hypocritical words. ;-)

Prime minister Netanyahu should attack the Iranian nuclear sites to defend itself not only from the future nuclear attacks but also from the growing military and "blackmailing" power of Iran that can increase the pressures to delegitimize the very existence of Israel and its right for self-defense.

Can quantum gravity be directly measured?

The short answer is No. But what is the long answer?

In recent years, it has become fashionable in some corners to demand that the scientific research helps to solve real-world problems. For example, it should enhance some men's intimate organs or prevent the weather from changing.

These barbarian expectations have even affected disciplines that are as "pure" i.e. "not applied" as you can get such as physics of quantum gravity. All "simple" features of quantum gravity are carefully hidden at inaccessible energy scales. But you know, the demand also creates its supply so there exists a whole class of "physicists" participating at conferences with absurd titles such as Experimental Search for Quantum Gravity 2010.

In this article, I will discuss why the typical scale of quantum gravity is almost certainly inaccessibly far; I will mention a conceivable counterexample and the indirect ways how quantum gravity manifests itself in the real world; and I will review several topics from that conference.

Sunday, August 15, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Paper: Fake random data are better predictors than Mann proxies

One of the examples showing that the existing composition of the climate science community makes it impossible to achieve "collective" progress even in the elementary scientific questions is the hockey stick controversy.

It was almost a decade ago when it was understood - mostly by Ross McKitrick and Steve McIntyre - that the MBH (Mann-Bradley-Hughes) methodology is flawed because it assigns a higher weight to proxies and their time series that do exhibit a greater overall change (warming) in the instrumental period (20th century) than in the previous centuries.

Why is it so?

In a big enough ensemble, a fraction of the proxies (e.g. tree ring widths) inevitably possesses this property (having a bigger 1900-2000 change than e.g. 1700-1800 change) by chance, even though they're not correlated with the temperature. Because of this property, their voices are being "amplified" and they contribute to the "reconstructed temperature" according to the MBH methodology (because, according to Mann, this methodology "calculates" that such proxies are better because they are "more correlated with the thermometer readings"). And their average may be seen to look like a hockey stick.

It means that the hockey stick graph is generated even from the random data, as long as they are continuous, e.g. as in red (Brownian, i.e. random walk) noise.

Saturday, August 14, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Czech speaker of the House against AGW panic

Cool reason. No commanding of the wind and rain, Ms Němcová recommends concerning warming

Translated from Parliamentary Letters: LM

Friday, August 13th, 9:43 pm - The speaker of the Czech House of Representatives (our conservative Nancy Pelosi) and the first deputy chairperson of the (right-wing) Civic Democratic Party (ODS), Ms Miroslava Němcová, doesn't believe in the man-made global warming theory. She informed the parlamentnilisty.cz (Parliamentary Letters, or Czech "The Hill").

"I don't believe in the theory of man-made global warming. Under the ice sheets that exist today, houses used by humans have been found which makes it clear that the contemporary man is not to be blamed for the oscillating temperatures. Nature undergoes certain cycles that can't be attributed in as short a time frame as 10 or 20 years. Moreover, it has been leaked that the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change has been fabricating its reports. Even this finding should open our eyes a little bit and we should keep our cool," Němcová told our editors.

Friday, August 13, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Revkin: greenhouse effect is at best a tertiary wild card

I just finished writing a text on the floods in China in Pakistan and the wildfires in Russia (in Czech) when Tom Nelson focused my attention on Andrew Revkin's article on the same issue:

Building Resilience on a Turbulent Planet (Dot Earth)
It's a generic interview with an environmentalist, Robert Verchick, but what's remarkable in my and Tom Nelson's eyes is Revkin's comment #5:

Wednesday, August 11, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Why and how energy is not conserved in cosmology

Phil Gibbs is convinced that all relativists are wrong when they say that the energy conservation law is weakened, trivialized, corrected, or violated in general relativity in any way.

But they are right. ;-) Let me explain.

What is energy?

In different physical situations, we use different formulae for "energy" but we always want the "same convertible currency" that may be summarized as follows:

Energy is the scalar quantity that is conserved as a result of the time-translational invariance of the laws of physics.
This deep relationship between symmetries of the laws of Nature - in this case the invariance under the translations in time - and the conservation laws was discovered by Fraulein Emmy Amalie Noether - who is worshiped by young mathematicians such as the Gentleman on the picture.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Mafia II demo released

Mafia II (Wiki) is the best shooting game as of Summer 2010. It will be released in the U.S. on August 24th and three days later in the rest of the world. It works on Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox360, and is available in many languages including US, CZ, RU, DE, ES, FR, and IT.

Today, its 2KCzech creators have released the demo for all three platforms. The PC demo is 1.2 GB big and is available via Steam (click). If you don't have Steam, you will be urged to download it. Before you download Mafia II demo, check whether your PC satisfies the system requirements.

In the demo, you - Vito Scaletta (with friends) - will have to kill a guy called Tommaso Dorigo, nicknamed Fat Man. ;-) The actual city, called the Empire Bay, will be a lot bigger in the full game.

The linear game with super-realistic graphics is using a physics engine, namely NVIDIA's PhysX, which assigns your graphics card with the job to calculate some physics. The creators considered the five-loop MSSM corrections to the interference patterns of the bullets, when they break the glass to lots of pieces, to be the biggest challenge.

Monday, August 09, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

HP Labs researcher: P ≠ NP

The P versus NP problem is usually considered to be the most important open problem in computer science.

It is also one of the Millennium problems whose solver would receive USD 1 million from the Clay Institute (and who could reject it just like Grisha Perelman).

In essence, the problem is:

If "Yes" answers to a "Yes or No" question can be verified in polynomial time (NP), can the answers themselves also be computed in polynomial time (P)? Is P, which is known to be a subset of NP, a proper subset?
Vinay Deolalikar who also works in the HP Labs now claims to have solved the problem. His answer is that the two classes do not coincide: P is a proper subset of NP.

Sunday, August 08, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Ed Markey wants an icy concentration camp for 4 billion people

The Nazis have at least dedicated villages and built new buildings to collect the people they didn't like. For environmentalists, this is too much of a luxury. A left-wing political representative of Massachusetts, Mr Ed Markey, proposed a cheaper solution.

Markey: Deniers of global warming should 'start their own country' (The Hill)
MA pol: warming skeptics should move to ice island (The Boston Globe)
Where should the new country for 4 billion people be located? Well, he has an answer:
"An iceberg four times the size of Manhattan has broken off Greenland, creating plenty of room for global warming deniers to start their own country," Markey said in a statement.
Is 100 square miles really a lot of room for 4 billion people? He justifies his plans by his own, idiosyncratic temperature record

Saturday, August 07, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Hiroshima: 65 years

Yesterday, we commemorated 65 years that separate us from the nuclear blast above Hiroshima.

This building was designed by Czech architect Jan Letzel and completed in April 1915. It served as their industrial palace - more precisely, as the Hiroshima Prefectural Commercial Exhibition - and its skeleton, nowadays known as the A-Dome, was the only structure that resisted the blast because the construction was masterminded by a member of the nation of golden little hands ;-) (at least that's how our ancestors would call themselves haha) and because it stood exactly at the ground zero.

The message is that if your city is nuked, you may want to stand exactly beneath the explosion if you want to have a chance that parts of your skeleton will be found.

Friday, August 06, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Yau, Nadis: The Shape of Inner Space

I just received a copy of Steve Nadis' and Shing-Tung Yau's new and excellent book,

The Shape of Inner Space: String theory and the geometry of the Universe's hidden dimensions.
Pre-order it via amazon.com (see the button on the left) to lock the 30% discount; you will receive it in one month. Steve Nadis who writes for Astronomy magazine gives the book his experienced writing style while Shing-Tung Yau, one of the greatest living mathematicians, shares the story of his mathematical discoveries that would eventually become a cornerstone of state-of-the-art theoretical physics.

Thursday, August 05, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Study: Arctic cooler in 1989 than in 1870

Off-topic: In The Guardian, John Cook claims that "Our Climate" iPhone app shows that deniers are evil deniers and devils. Do you agree with him? Create a Guardian account and tell him.
The Czech media just informed the nation about another study that rules out the industrial activity as the cause of the bulk of the 20th century climate change.
Warming is not related to the mankind's industrial activity, a study shows (novinky.cz)
That's a pretty clear title, isn't it? ;-)

You may find it even more remarkable if I tell you that novinky.cz is a top left-wing news server on the Czech Internet - with loose institutional links to Právo, the newspapers that used to belong to the Communist Party - and that the story above is the "story of the day" on the server's main page.

Half a day later, the Public Czech TV channel, ČT24, printed an article on the same topic:
German-Russian study: global warming is not a people's fault
I will discuss it at the very end (maybe: later) but let's return to the first article.

Hawking: To boldly go: my life in physics

Stephen Hawking - who just returned to England from a short-term tenure in Waterloo - wrote an extensive, wise, and amusing review of his past thinking and intellectual achievements for the Cosmos, the "magazine of the year":

To boldly go: my life in physics (8 web pages)
There's absolutely no reason to think about it now - but Hawking has already proposed a formula for his tombstone. It's the black hole entropy, "S = k A c^3 / 4 G hbar".

Wednesday, August 04, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Fights over the Nobel prize for Higgs

Nature focuses on a political controversy over a future theoretical physics Nobel prize for the Higgs boson:

Physicists get political over Higgs
I have shared an office with Peter Higgs in Santa Barbara's KITP, a nice guy. And I do think that it's OK for the particle to be called after him - even though it obviously makes his name somewhat overexposed, especially given the relatively exceptional importance that the single paper about the God particle plays among his other papers. ;-)

The six people who published the same ideas as Higgs were, chronologically,
Robert Brout + François Englert in Belgium; Peter Higgs in Scotland; and finally Tom Kibble in London, along with his colleagues in the United States, Gerald Guralnik (at the time in London) and Carl R. Hagen.
All of these papers were published in 1964. The last one cited the first ones, visibly reducing the claims of a complete independence.

An Orsay, France conference last week was used to promote the meme that the first three authors should be ready for the Nobel prize - which, as you probably know, can be awarded at most to 3 people. Some people protested. Unless you are a Don of a PayPal or another mafia :-), you may be able to understand that some of the poor physicists may get upset about 1/3 of a million of dollars. :-)

Actors, actresses, physics teachers, and biases

Some media have reported the results of a "research" by Amy Bug. Phys Org, Scientific American, and - sadly - even Physics World have equipped their articles with dramatic and suggestive headlines:

Gender-bias impacts women physicists (Phys Org)

Physics students reveal bias for male lecturers (SciAm)
Swimming against the unseen tide (Physics World)
What has actually happened? Actors and actresses were asked to become physics teachers for a while. The men got much higher ratings from the male students; the women have received just slightly higher ratings from the female students.

The conclusion of Ms Bug and her journalistic collaborators is that the male students are sexist pigs who should be vaginized.

It's remarkable that she doesn't even dare to consider the correct explanation - namely one that the data she has collected are actually real rather than sequences of errors of measurements or results of a world-wide conspiracy. Men are statistically better physicists, better physics teachers, better actors, and - yes - better judges of the quality of their teachers, too - and her research is just another way to see that it is so.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Stephen Hsu's confusion about white holes

The physics arXiv blog promotes a preprint by Stephen Hsu,

White holes and eternal black holes.
Much like John Wiley Price, Hsu tries to claim that the white holes are being discriminated against and that they do exist in isolation where they do differ from black holes. In his opinion, their main special property is that they like to spontaneously explode. ;-)

All these views are completely nonsensical and reveal Hsu's misunderstanding of elementary thermodynamics. I am surprised how difficult it is for the people - many of whom even have physics PhDs, e.g. Stephen Hsu and Sean Carroll - to understand some of the most rudimentary principles of statistical physics, e.g. the fact that the entropy never decreases.

RSS AMSU: July 2010 as warm as July 1998

The new RSS AMSU data reveal that the global temperature anomaly in July 2010 was +0.608 °C which is 0.002 °C warmer than those +0.606 °C experienced in July 1998. ;-)

Clearly, a statistical tie.

The first 7 months of 2010 were about 0.07 °C cooler than the first seven months of 1998 (RSS AMSU). Repeating the statistical exercises I did a month ago (with UAH AMSU), we conclude that given the knowledge of the first 7 months, the probability that 2010 will end up being the hottest year on the RSS AMSU satellite record is still close to 10 percent.

Monday, August 02, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Victoria Electricity rebrands as Lumo Energy

Imagine that your humble correspondent buys Infratil as well as Victoria Electricity, the largest of the second tier Australian electricity retailers.

How would you recommend me to rename the latter company?

Yes, I chose the name Lumo Energy, too. (Twitter, Facebook.) It sounds good and you can always claim that LUMO stands for the Lowest Unoccupied Molecule Orbital rather than Luboš Motl.

I wanted an ad that would make it clear that the company wants to serve its consumers instead of judging them. We don't judge Gavin Schmidt, either. We just couldn't use his image because he could sue us just like his ImaginaryClimate friend Michael Mann. So the compromise can be seen above. ;-)

2010 Lindau Meeting

The 2010 Lindau meeting took place in the Bavarian town from June 27th through July 2nd. See the

fourty-one 30-minute talks
by the Nobel prize winners including David Gross (talking about the supersymmetry!), Gerardus 't Hooft (general talk about science and wheels), Roy Glauber (about quantum optics), George Smoot (about CMB), and others.

John Timmer just wrote an article for Ars Technica - which I actually consider the best semi-mainstream source of science news on this planet - about SUSY and Gross's talk.

Sunday, August 01, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Guardian: Devil is driving climate deniers

The Observer has printed a rather incredible piece that makes most of the propaganda pieces of Nazism and communism look like friendly fairy-tales for children:

A dark ideology is driving those who deny climate change
The deniers are wrong because 2,000 mostly drunk people around Moscow drowned in the rivers and lakes and because it was a warm weather in Moscow. Why were they drunk? Because you're deniers, dear TRF readers!

The author of the piece, Robin McKie, uses an amusing collection of irrational and downright bizarre sources to sling mud on the climate skeptics. One of them is a book called Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway.

Click the link for a review of the book.

These two "pundits" have raised one of the most serious accusations ever invented against the climate skeptics: some of the oldest or dead climate skeptics have actually dared to oppose the Soviet communism! Wow.

The most radical ones even didn't want to allow the Soviet Union to exterminate the evil U.S. capitalists by nukes which would be fair - and the real fringe has even supported the Star Wars that helped the Devil named Reagan to beat the best social system in the world.

This is quite an explosive accusation! ;-) Imagine Naomi Oreskes who is having sex with an inflatable Stalin 16 hours a day as she manages to discover this genuine bombshell that must surely put the final nail in the deniers' coffin. ;-)

Reagan, the denier-in-chief, was caught as speading jokes about the USSR.

More seriously, I find it kind of amazing what kind of arguments these folks are using these days. The legitimate concern is that those panicked people are fanatical defenders of the extreme forms of the "updated" communism - and what their arguments are actually doing is to provide us with a more robust proof of this observation than anything that could actually be made up.

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