Thursday, September 30, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Czech members of IPCC demand deep reforms

Mr Vítězslav Kremlík, the climate skeptic and blogger at, was invited to the proceedings of the Czech segment of the IPCC meant to prepare a unified Czech stance for the upcoming 32nd plenary session of the IPCC in South Korea (October 11th-14th in Busan).

Kremlík's report (autom. transl. from Czech)
It turned out that the Czech IPCC folks, usually considered to be generic fearmongers (it may be our fault: we sometimes demonize all IPCC members and create the impression that all of them are hardcore power-thirsty lunatics just like Pachauri), are just compatible with the skeptical viewpoint. All the participants agreed that
  1. Rajendra Pachauri has to resign or be resigned
  2. The reforms recommended by the IAC panel should be implemented right now, for the fifth report - rather than in 5 years or so
  3. The nominations from May 2010 should be canceled; new nominations respecting the IAC recommendations should replace them
  4. Politicians' interventions to the scientific work should be minimized as much as possible
  5. The fifth report (AR5) shouldn't be another variation of the old theme; instead, it should represent an audit of the climatology studied by 2010: it should check the graphs, re-evaluate the scores quantifying the uncertainty of the findings, and separate previous claims to correct ones, exaggerated ones, and completely wrong ones
Mr Kremlík had a feeling that he was attending a party of fellow skeptics and was puzzled where the sudden skepticism came from.

Georges Charpak: 1924-2010

Georges Charpak was born in Dąbrowica, Poland (now: Ukraine) in 1924. His family falsified the documents and escaped from the Nazi system to Vichy France in the 1930s. All of them refused to display the yellow star. Georges has also joined the resistance, he was arrested, and sent to Dachau in 1944.

Fellow prisoners from Dachau who were unfortunately not lucky enough to work at CERN later.

From Dachau, he was sent to CERN in 1959, as a student of Frédéric Joliot-Curie, invented the multiwire proportional chamber, a part of the particle detectors, and was given the physics Nobel prize in 1992. Not bad outcome for a Dachau survivor. Throughout the life, he remained a staunch advocate of nuclear energy.

Royal Society abandons consensus on AGW

We have learned from Anthony Watts and GWPF that

Royal Society bows to climate change sceptics (The Times, today; BBC)
or skeptics, if you're a teabagger. ;-)

The Velvet Revolution sparked by the ClimateGate needed almost one year to propagate from East Anglia to the top U.K. scientific institution in London which is just 100 miles away; you may estimate how many years it will take for the signal to get to the Brussels or the U.S. ;-)

After a rebellion by 43 members, a new document (PDF) was born. It describes the future climate as follows:
... Some uncertainties are unlikely ever to be significantly reduced. ...

... The size of future temperature increases and other aspects of climate change, especially at the regional scale, are still subject to uncertainty. ...

... There is little confidence in specific projections of future regional climate change, except at continental scales. ...

... It is not possible to determine exactly how much the Earth will warm or exactly how the climate will change in the future. ...

... There remains the possibility that hitherto unknown aspects of the climate and climate change could emerge and lead to significant modifications in our understanding. ...
And so on. So go back to the blackboard, Sirs. While I am convinced that the new guide still includes lots of bogus claims that are on steroids written by people who are on sedatives, it is an undeniable progress.

The new document was authored by a whole working group but the key statements about the uncertainty were recommended by two fellows who are close to Lord Blaby and his GWPF. One of them was Anthony Kelly.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Nonsmoker Klaus inaugurates a new Philip Morris plant

Today, Czech president Václav Klaus - who is as staunch a nonsmoker as your humble correspondent - went to the old, royal, Eastern Central Bohemian town of Kutná Hora (which is also famous for a church, silver mining, and its historical and modern coins). He took the scissors and inaugurated a new part of the factory that will allow the production to be increased from 30 billion to 40 billion cigarettes a year.

Energy efficiency increases energy consumption

Many people think that if we switch to more energy-efficient light bulbs or TVs (e.g. LED lighting, LED TV, and so on) and other energy-efficient technologies, the total consumption will decrease.

Some people even believe in a kind of proportionality: if the same activities will only consume N times less energy, where N is a coefficient greater than one, then we will consume N times less energy in the future.

This is preposterous, of course. Andrew Revkin has pointed out that one of the co-authors of a recent study, Harry Saunders, has just clarified their paper about this issue:

Why Energy Efficiency Does not Decrease Energy Consumption (Breakthrough Institute)
I would classify the Breakthrough Institute as a relatively sensible and technologically loaded organization that nevertheless promotes left-wing values and utopias.

The essential effect is that if some gadgets that consume energy become more efficient, the people also have to pay less for the energy, and they can afford more of it. Alternatively, they may also afford other activities that consume energy. Clearly, if the "average" or "aggregate" efficiency increases N times, the total amount of consumed energy will be greater than 1/N of the current energy consumption - because of the stimulated extra consumption.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Vindication of Craig Loehle

F.C. Ljungqvist has published a new climate reconstruction from the birth of Jesus Christ to the present:

Ljungqvist, F.C. 2010.
A new reconstruction of temperature variability in the extra-tropical northern hemisphere during the last two millenia.
Geografiska Annaler 92A(3):339-351.
Here for $43, sorry (free abstract)
On Anthony Watts' blog, Craig Loehle argues that the paper is a vindication of his 2007 tree-less reconstruction in E&E. You don't need a 20-20 vision to see that the two (or three) are strikingly similar:

The Guth-Vanchurin paradox

One of the canonical arguments that force Bousso et al. to see that the Universe has to be destroyed is that this obligation is the only way known to them how to resolve the Guth-Vanchurin paradox - see page 12 (13 of 23) of their paper.

The paradox is to appear in literature (unless the authors quickly understand that it is quite silly).

In this paradox, a simple probability may be calculated in different ways, leading to different results. It is this insufferable discrepancy that makes Bousso et al. insist that the world should be euthanized soon. ;-) Can you save the world by solving the paradox? What about you, John Baez and other saviors of the world?

The kindergarten paradox goes as follows.

(The story was improved by L.M.)

In North Korea, every citizen has to take one sleeping pill (everytime) before he or she goes to bed.

Kim Il-Sung, the eternal president who died in 1994 but who remains the most powerful man in the country, figured out that the brightest future of his glorious nation is achieved if 1/2 of the pills make the citizens sleep exactly for 20 minutes and 1/2 of the pills make them sleep exactly for 12 hours. That's the kind of wisdom that only the brightest governments can invent. So don't ask why this is the policy: just accept the scientific consensus.

All the pills are randomly mixed up in the factory.

UT Austin shooter: Colton Tooley (19), maths sophomore

Today in the morning, moments before 9 a.m., a gunman opened fire at the 6th floor of the main library of University of Texas in Austin, the Perry-Castaneda Library (PCL). It's the quietest floor, usually dedicated to people who do some serious research, where you can nicely see their local Capitol.

I have been to Austin once.

The gunman - a white male student with a suit, dark tie, black ski mask, AK-47 (wow), and 6-feet-2 tall - shot around 8-10 times and then he shot himself. Unfortunately, it seems that they have good reasons to be afraid that there exists a second gunman who remains at large. So the police had to lock the university down, cancel the classes for the whole day, and so on. You're told not to visit the campus if you're outside, and if you're in a room, don't open the door to anyone. I hope that this emergency will stop in a safe way for everyone whois at the campus.

Update: There is no #2, police argues now. "Al clear" but lockdown continues.

If you care, it's trivial to find 6-feet-2 tall confused white men in Austin, Texas whose head is drowning in blood and gore, for example Mr Baal of Confusion. :-)

Monday, September 27, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

U.N. chose Earth's envoy for extraterrestrial aliens: Mazlan Othman

The scientific consensus has convinced our world government - the officials of the United Nations - that one of the most urgent tasks for the humanity is to optimize our communication with the extraterrestrial aliens and the E.T. diplomacy.

Because their arrival is imminent, they may be confused whom they should call if they want to talk to the Earth's humans - much like the U.S. president is confused whom he should talk to if he wants to talk to Europe.

While the situation in Europe is remaining confusing and the holy mission of the "nice" people to create a unified dictatorship on the Old Continent hasn't yet succeeded, the United Nations have apparently made much more progress.

The woman who has already worked as the Director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) in Vienna - but this office wasn't yet "good enough" - is Ms Mazlan Othman, Malaysian girl who dreamed about becoming a physician. But after 100+ years of the existence of a school, she was given the first female physics PhD in Otago, whatever the place is, once the female reproductive organs became popular and worth rewarding over there. This achievement of hers, which unfortunately remained completely unmatched by her publication record, made her qualified to be employed in the modest job of the mankind's ambassador to the rest of the Universe; she will unfortunately not be sent to her new target country yet. ;-)

See Google News and The Telegraph that began with the story.

Bousso et al.: catastrophe imminent, time will end soon

Today, the arXiv harbors one of the most stupid hep-th preprints ever written:

Eternal inflation predicts that time will end
Raphael Bousso, Ben Freivogel, Stefan Leichenauer, and Vladimir Rosenhaus argue that the Universe has to abruptly die soon, in 5.3 billion years or so (it's their mean estimate). The whole world will probably disappear before the Sun runs out of its energy.

In the middle of the Sun's mature life, the atheist God of the Universe will suddenly say: "Sorry, dudes, time is over. I need to make at least one numerator in the papers by Bousso et al. finite, although not well-defined, so I have to kill you and everything else."

Sunday, September 26, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Best of Klaus at Johns Hopkins University

Ten entertaining minutes selected from Czech President Václav Klaus' discussions at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), a division of Johns Hopkins University in D.C.:

If you ever invite Klaus, be sure that there is a blackboard or a whiteboard somewhere - maybe several of them. I remember how badly he needed it when he gave a talk at Harvard, too. It's important even if the Kuznets curve is the only idea that ultimately appears on the whiteboard. ;-)

The first question is asked by a Czech student named Lubomír - which is sometimes reduced to Luboš although the names' holidays are celebrated on different days. I am amazed by the English spoken by such young people; I couldn't possibly distinguish him from a native U.S. English speaker.

LHC: ATLAS, CMS surpass 1/femtobarn/year of luminosity

For three weeks or so, daily observers of the LHC performance were irritated because the collider hasn't done much physics. However, everything is working again and October 2010 is hopefully going to be exciting, adding an order of magnitude to the maximum luminosity.

Already now, we have something to celebrate. Recall that a realistic - but not guaranteed - plan of the LHC is to accumulate 1 inverse femtobarn per each detector by the end of 2011. The collider will be stopped once this "dream" will be achieved, or at the end of December 2011, whichever comes first.

Saturday, September 25, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Should journalists second guess the scientific truth?

My agreement with Sean Carroll couldn't have lasted. Today, he wrote something pretty incredible.

In June, medical journalist Jeremy Laurance wrote a wise sentence about the science journalists' job:

Second, reporters are messengers – their job is to tell, as accurately as they can, what has been said, with the benefit of such insight as their experience allows them to bring, not to second guess whether what is said is right.
Sean Carroll hysterically disagrees. The job for the journalists is not to be messengers but to authoritatively separate the scientific truthiness from the falsity, and promote the truthiness, we learn. I kid you not.

(Carroll uses the word "truth" instead of "truthiness" but it is an obvious mistake because the carefully described method how he found the T-word shows that the T-word is truthiness rather than the truth.)

How could a scientific journalist possibly determine what is the scientific truth? The scientific truth is gradually being approached by the scientific method (you know, the exercises that include experiments, calculations, logical reasoning, and possible exchanges with others who work on similar problems) - and journalists, pretty much by definition, are not too skillful when it comes to the scientific method. To say the least, they haven't dedicated enough time to the actual scientific research.

Stuxnet: making Bushehr a self-exploding joke?

In June 2010, a highly sophisticated Stuxnet worm began to spread through computer networks.

In the recent days, media began to amplify the hypothesis that this malware was created in a government-sponsored project targeting Iranian facilities - 60% of the infections are in Iran.

Friday, September 24, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Red Redemption: Fate of the world

In 2006, Red Redemption, openly supported by Oxford, BBC, and the Environmental Change Institute, released a Flash game called Climate Challenge.

Click to zoom in.

In the game, you were a "European president" who had to suppress the whole European population as Hitler and Stalin combined with the goal of reducing the CO2 emissions, screwing the people, bribe politicians from other continents, and keeping yourself in power (play now the monstrosity directly at the BBC website).

Of course, these folks haven't been arrested so they continued to "work". At the end of October 2010, they will release a game that is more ambitious,

Fate Of The World (game website, trailer)
In the new game, you are no longer just a European dictator which was way too modest a job.

Now you are chosen the global dictator - the head of the G.E.O. junta - who is hired immediately when the 2010 climate talks fail (see the trailer) and whose task is do everything to reduce the emissions of CO2 in the world. Here are some of your basic options; they became much more "juicy" relatively to the bureaucratic elimination of power plants etc. in the 2006 game:

Click to zoom in.

On each continent, you can introduce "mandatory euthanasia" for $100 billion - a policy to kill all the old and ill people. Or you can pay the same money to develop special bio-weapons to predictably exterminate whole nations. For the same payment, you may also induce a regime change just to overthrow politicians who are climate skeptics or who are otherwise hostile to your world government and replace them with "biddable", corrupt politicians of your choice.

So this is what they plan if the 2010 climate talks will fail, and be sure that they will? Even if the creators of the game don't intend it, it's clear that some groups will worship the game as a computer model whose lessons justify "action". After all, the likes of the IPCC are already taking much less realistic computer games seriously today.

Thursday, September 23, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Some agreement with Sean Carroll and Tommaso Dorigo

Theory of nearly everything and Keep on looking bias

In his newest blog entry, Sean Carroll is surprised why so little people are publicly amazed by the fact that we have already found a theory of nearly everything (TONE) - by which we mean something like a pragmatic combination of the Standard Model and General Relativity, together with the derivations of useful and conceptually simpler approximations of these theories.

I completely agree with him.

It's amazing that after just a few centuries of the serious and semi-systematic search for the laws of Nature, the mankind knows the fundamental rules that govern all the processes - and the structure of all objects - we see in the world around us. That includes mechanics, electromagnetism, chemistry, biology, radioactivity, and many other categories of phenomena. If you want to see an effect such that science has no way to calculate what will happen (the right probabilities), you really have to build 28-km tunnels with the best state-of-the-art superconducting magnets, or look for the rarest radioactive processes in the deepest mines, or look at some extremely distant places of the Universe by the best telescopes.

Schmidt, Mann, Rutherford: just clueless

Mostly off-topic: Yesterday, Czech President Václav Klaus gave a talk at Johns Hopkins University in D.C. about the EU, the evolution of the recent crisis, and a new case for capitalism: full transcript. In a discussion with the students, our leader has also identified plans for a "world government" to be an utter left-wing cosmopolitan nonsense that he will attempt to annihilate.
One month ago, we discussed the
paper by McShane and Wyner (MW)
in Annals of Applied Statistics that has demonstrated something we have known for years - namely that the methodology behind the hockey sticks is not a reliable tool to reconstruct the temperatures. The very method is flawed and can be seen to produce hockey stick graphs out of red noise, as McShane and Wyner have explicitly concluded, too.

The journal has just published a Mannian reply,
reply to MW by Gavin Schmidt, Michael Mann, and Scott Rutherford.
It's quite incredible: they're clearly completely clueless, or at least they pretend to be.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Mitchell Heisman: suicide note, 1905 pages

This 35-year-old Gentleman from Somerville, Massachusetts may look like a self-confident practical manager.

However, this Jewish-American holder of a degree in psychology was an intellectual who wrote 1,904 or 1,905 pages of wisdom about freedom, nihilism, transhumanism, sociobiology, God, Judaism, Jewish symbols, Jewish IQ, Anglo-Saxon history, referring to Socrates, Newton, Einstein, Pinker, Dawkins, Mansfield, Dershowitz, and many others, before he shot himself on the top step of Harvard's Memorial Church - in front of dozens of people - on Saturday.

Suicide note found online (Harvard Crimson)

SuicideNote.INFO (website)

Suicide Note (PDF, 1,905 pages)
Sad. And a pretty impressive stuff.

Unfortunately, I doubt that his ultimate sacrifice will earn his opus - which he considered so important - a deserved number of readers although it has already been shown that the number is vastly higher than zero.

But when you compare him with the typical environmental activists and terrorists who recently died in the Discovery Channel or in a family tragedy, and maybe even if you don't compare him to anyone, you must conclude: wow, this guy was a man of wisdom...

Obama loses Larry Summers

In 2008, Lawrence Summers had left Harvard University for two years and he is coming back.

It's completely plausible that it's just a part of an old plan: he would lose tenure if he were away for more than two years. It's also plausible that someone has "recommended" him to leave Obama's economic team where he has been a top economic advisor. And Summers himself may have found that the White House job sucked. You will never know for sure and in my opinion, it makes no sense to speculate about these things.

Barack Obama's attitudes to various things may look extreme but I don't believe he will do a genuinely insane thing after Summers' departure. The president has praised Summers for his services and it's expected that he will choose a senior corporate executive as Summers' replacement.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

LHC: CMS probably sees quark-gluon plasma or dual QCD string or something better


CERN press release (English, French)

CERN: New two-particle correlations observed in the CMS detector at the LHC (more technical, a paper announced)

Observation of Long-Range, Near-Side Angular Correlations in Proton-Proton Collisions at the LHC (the PDF preprint, to appear in JHEP and arXiv)

Symmetry Magazine

AFP, Universe Today, Alpinekat

Lesser minds react to Bob Laughlin's climatic blasphemy

Two months ago, the explainer of the fractional quantum Hall effect, Bob Laughlin of Stanford University, wrote an essay called What the Earth Knows where he used the knowledge about the persistent and large changes of the Earth during its history to argue that The Earth Will Heal Itself.

The Earth doesn't care whether you drive a Prius and if you do care about the Earth's everyday life, be sure that the interest is not mutual.

Andrew Revkin has collected some reactions from various scholars and "scholars" who are interested in the topic or, more precisely, whose income directly depends on the topic:

Scientists React to a Nobelist’s Climate Thoughts
A niemand called Matthew Huber of Purdue University - whom I have never heard of - argues that by having enumerated many types of perturbations that have influenced the Earth's climate in the past, Laughlin shows that he is a know-nothing who believes in voodoo. An interesting logical deduction, indeed.

Huber's attack against Laughlin begins with his opinion that Laughlin's Nobel is pretty clearly not in the Earth Sciences - which indirectly indicates that Huber believes that the Earth is not composed of condensed matter whose physics is Laughlin's cup of tea.

Can antimatter's gravity be repulsive?

When you say the word "antimatter", one of the first questions that the typical laymen want to know is whether antimatter gravitationally repels other matter or antimatter. They think it must be the deepest, the most puzzling, and the most open question about antimatter.

While the answer is obviously "No", as I will also explain, the possibility that the answer is "Yes" must be irresistible. I don't know whether the belief that antimatter repels other stuff gravitationally is being pumped into the public conscience by some channels whose location isn't yet clear to me or whether people are just so instinctively misled by the prefix "anti-" that they believe that everything, including gravity, has to be flipped.

The word "laymen" has appeared in the text above. However, there's also a new preprint on the arXiv that actually proposes this ludicrous idea - that antimatter has repulsive gravity - to be tested at a relatively expensive experiment, the Ice Cube.

Can the new Neutrino Telescopes reveal the gravitational properties of antimatter?
Even though the fonts and "PDF only" formats confirm that it is a typical crackpot paper, the author is even employed by CERN - believe me or not. This ludicrous preprint was also promoted by the physics arXiv blog.

Monday, September 20, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Adventures in self-publishing an e-book novel

Guest post by Ann Houston

I'm a newbie to writing fiction. Having just completed my novel, Blind Tasting, six months ago, I immediately began pursuing traditional publication channels. I researched potential literary agents (ones who represented books in my genre) and I tailored query letters to those agents, steeling myself psychologically to receive dozens, maybe hundreds, of rejections in the hope of getting one or two offers of representation. I created a database of agencies and publishers and sent my email and snail mail query letters along with synopses and sample chapters -- according to each agent's preference. I was prepared to wait, hearing that it often took weeks, months, for agents to reply, given the volume of unsolicited work they receive.

A week after sending off the first batch of queries I came across Smashwords, a recent online self-publishing service. I had been warned by those in the literary know to shun 'vanity presses' as exploitive dead-ends, but Smashwords didn't come across as a vanity press. Smashwords was inviting authors to retain most of the royalties for their self-published e-books and they were offering access to big e-book distributors (Sony, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Amazon (pending)). Acceptable works for self-publication included both long and short pieces, fiction and non-fiction covering most genres. Mark Coker, who founded Smashwords, sees huge potential for self-publishing digital material at this point in time, given the available reading platforms now in existence. Writers don't need the bankroll and the typesetting machinery to get their works to potential readers any longer, and thus they also don't need agents and traditional publishing houses. These professions are playing a smaller role as gatekeepers in deciding what the public gets to read. (Smashwords has published over 900,000,000 words to date, which is more than 12,000 titles of average 75,000 words in length. It's actually a much larger set of titles, because many works are short pieces.)

Ahmadinejad, demagogy, and the recent deterioration of the West

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is visiting the U.S. and he charms the politically correct Western journalists with his charisma and his ability to abuse their own idiocy and the West's own weaknesses. For example, in a fresh

Associated Press interview,
they're impressed how "calm and self-assured", "being in command of himself and prepared to deflect questions" he appears to be. This is the kind of worship that the journalists wouldn't dedicate to any proper conservative Western politician. ;-)

Is it really so shocking that a leader of a rogue state, chosen primarily for his arrogance, appears self-assured if he is visiting a portion of the world that has deliberately stripped itself of its manliness and the determination to physically defend its core values such as freedom? No one is even contemplating the assassination of Ahmadinejad - and yes, someone certainly should.

If it is so, what should he be afraid of? He is facing a horde of impotent irrelevant sissies and the media that have been pandering exactly the same kind of lies and the destruction of the Western values that he represents in the Middle East - and maybe beyond the Middle East.

Friday, September 17, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Algebra and geometry: secret siblings

Ms Algebra and Ms Geometry are two girls who look very different. No one is surprised. They have very different mothers. Like most women, both mothers care about the emotions and appearances. However, in most respects, they strikingly differ. And they realize that they do.

The mother of Ms Algebra is called Ms Language. This old lady loves to talk and listen. She likes to exchange the information that can be communicated as a stream of bits. Thousands of years ago, people would employ Ms Language when they wanted to talk about their families and animals. Sometimes they needed to count the cattle. Ms Algebra realized that she needed some help. So she gave birth to Ms Algebra who did the arithmetics. Later, Ms Algebra has learned some number theory as well. Ms Language's family likes everything to be discrete. Everything must come in packages.

Ms Geometry comes from an entirely different household. Her mother is Ms Motion. She loves to dance, swim, and caress her children. Thousands of years ago, people used Ms Motion to learn how to hunt and grow plants, aside from other kinds of motion that will remain censored. They did a lot of work and some of it - such as the architecture needed to build their buildings - had to be more accurate. Ms Motion found out that she was too old for the job. So she gave birth to Ms Geometry. The little girl was just excellent in measuring distances and angles, in giving tools their perfect shapes, and in putting them to the right places.

But only the wisest men have been quietly aware of a dark and secret cloud looming on a distant horizon.

Ms Geometry and Ms Algebra are half-sisters. They share a father. A long time ago, people thought that the two families were independently created by the Creator. However, it was realized by Charles Darwin of Mathematics that all these ladies were related to each other. And Ms Geometry and Ms Algebra are closely related because they have the same father, the Spirit of Mathematics, or Mr Spirit for short. The newest research in biology actually suggests that only the male DNA carries the genetic information about the disciplines so Ms Algebra and Ms Geometry could actually be full-fledged sisters! ;-)

Boasting his profound perspective, Mr Spirit loves to penetrate deeply into things. He couldn't hide this obsession when he met Ms Language and Ms Motion, either. This text is OK for readers of all age groups so let us skip a few steps here.

Free markets work: SUSY beats Higgs in betting

If you compare supersymmetry and the Higgs boson when it comes to their exposure in the media, you will see that the Higgs boson wins.

In the Google News links above, the Higgs wins by a factor of 4. But I actually believe that in a more general ensemble of news outlets, the news dedicated to the Higgs boson exceed those that are dedicated to SUSY by more than one order of magnitude.

However, as every particle phenomenologist knows, the LHC is pretty weak a gadget to detect a light Higgs boson. And indeed, it looks like the Higgs boson is light. Supersymmetry is "more likely than not" to exist at an energy scale accessible by the LHC, too. But it's much easier to detect it at the LHC. (And it would be much more striking a discovery, too!)

If you combine the reasonable odds, it's still more likely that SUSY will actually be seen by the LHC before the Higgs boson. Even Alpinekat knows that and they have unexpectedly allowed her to write this fact into New Scientist.

Global climate disruption: Holdren orders new terminology

John Holdren, Obama's science adviser - the advocate of de-development of the U.S. who currently advises the president about the best ways to destroy the last traces of science in Obama's establishment - has decided that the terms "global warming" and "climate change" were no longer sufficiently pornographic and they didn't excite enough fear.

So ladies and gentlemen, the new name of the game prescribed by the boss is

global climate disruption

See: Fox News, others
So far, the new term only has 15 hits, three orders of magnitude below the rate of "global warming" and "climate change". But all the AGW propagandists should realize that Holdren is their general, he thinks that global warming is a "dangerous misnomer", this is his order, and they should therefore better watch their tongue. ;-)

We will see the fate of this new order. My guess is that Johnny Desperate, as Anthony Watts called him, will fail. When he does, he may try an even better term: a "lethal man-made decay of the Universe". ;-)

Thursday, September 16, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Sicilian Mafia goes green: police seizes $2 billion

Two days ago, Italy seized $1.9 billion in assets (including 40 companies) - the biggest mob haul ever - in an operation against Mafia's upgrade from the classical drug-running, prostitution, and extortion to their modern replacement, the renewable energy business.

Italy seizes $1.9 billion of assets as Mafia goes green (Yahoo News)

Mafia's dirty money linked to clean energy (The Independent)

Google News (other sources)
Vito Nicastri (54), known as the Lord of the Wind, was at the center. He's probably linked directly to Matteo Messina Denaro, the likely current boss of the Sicilian Mafia. So the seized assets were probably owned by this "boss of bosses" Denaro.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

The Social Network: a nasty movie about Facebook and Harvard

From October 1st, the first viewers will watch a new movie called "The Social Network" about the birth of Facebook. The trailer above is enough to understand that its main founder, Mark Zuckerberg, will be presented as a jerk. In particular, the statement that he was dreaming about joining the "final clubs" is almost certainly a malicious lie.

Climate realism: men are smarter than women

Men's mean value of IQ is about 3-4 points higher than women's mean value of IQ. However, another fact is more important for the underrepresentation of women in selective mathematical and physical occupations: the men's standard deviation is about 10% wider than the women's standard deviation.

These differences in the distributions have a small impact in some situations and large impact in others. They have been measured many times. In fact, even the differences between the sexes' "climate IQ" have been studied by various papers.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Do crackpots and anti-crackpots essentially differ?

Philip Gibbs wrote the rules of an entertaining

Anti-Crackpot Index
as a parody of John Baez's Crackpot Index. While Baez's index is designed to give lots of points to the likes of the LHC alarmist Luis Sancho or extraterrestrial abductee Jack Sarfatti - and, when generalized, a high score for self-described "seers" such as Lee Smolin - Gibbs' index is optimized for the likes of Peter Woit, John Horgan, and some of their apologists to excel.

The words, "crackpot" and "anti-crackpot", are designed to be the antipodes of one another. But are the concepts hiding behind the words antipodal as well?

Monday, September 13, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

John Horgan tries to attack Stephen Hawking

The arrogance and aggressiveness of pompous imbeciles is approximately inversely proportional to their wisdom. Within the classical approximation, this unfortunate law may be probed at the singular point, too. If the wisdom goes to zero, the arrogance diverges.

One of the best examples of this singularity is an übercrackpot called John Horgan who is infamous especially for his book named "The End of Science" in which he argued that science has ended in 1996. ;-)

Scientific American has allowed this nutcase to post his disgusting rants within the domain and he uses this opportunity generously. His writings have already led almost all readers with IQ above 70 to unsubscribe from their feed but Scientific American seems to be obsessively participating in Horgan's mission, too. So they don't care. They apparently want to become a reading for the total bottom of the society.

Horgan's new "friendly article" is called

Cosmic Clowning: Stephen Hawking's "new" theory of everything is the same old CRAP
Yes, he starts by earning five points according to the capitalization #7 rule of the crackpot index and I guess that someone else had to correct his spelling of Hawking, "Hawkins", too.

AGW skepticism and declining trust in institutions

An extreme environmentalist website called Grist has recently complained that

The right’s climate denialism is part of something much larger.
The bigger "problem" as identified by David Roberts is that the people began to realize that various corrupt institutions are corrupt, indeed.

The author shows that since 2008, the number of people among leftists, moderates, and conservatives who believe that "effects of global warming are already occurring" dropped by -2, 6, and 20 percentage points, respectively.

Roberts correctly says that "When people are feeling safer and more prosperous, climate scientists will magically become more persuasive."

I think this is a valid observation: when people feel that they have too much money and they don't know what to do with it, they lower their standards for a "good investment" and start to invent ways how to throw the money into the toilet, too. That's also why the rich countries witness a higher support for the global warming insanity than the poorer ones.

Sunday, September 12, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

GISS, HadCRUT3: August 2010 was 7th warmest August

For years, we would think of the surface record as being the main empirical pillar supporting the idea of a global warming trend. The satellite RSS AMSU and especially UAH AMSU records showed a significantly smaller warming trend than GISS and HadCRUT3, the surface station-based datasets.

Some of us - those who were "cynical" or "suspicious", to put it mildly - used to think that it was natural because some of the worst alarmists were behind GISS and HadCRUT while some fine skeptics were working on UAH AMSU. However, times are changing. The recent months look much cooler through the GISS's and HadCRUT3's glasses than from the UAH's or RSS's perspective.

This video was shot elsewhere but it's still true that Tom's Diner from Suzanne Vega's song is right below NASA's GISS. I included this video because I prefer the instrumental version. ;-) You may also try the Václav Havel 20th Velvet Anniversary 2009 version of the first MP3 song by the mother of MP3. ;-)

You certainly expect some details. Here they are.

Saturday, September 11, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Klaus: I am increasingly convinced that freedom, not climate, is threatened

Translated from Parliamentary letters and

Sept. 10th, 2:21 pm - The preface of an electronic edition of "Blue, not Green Planet" in Czech

(In the U.S., the book was published under the title Blue Planet in Green Shackles.)

It has been more than three years since the first edition - and in this era, we are almost obliged to call it a "paper edition" - of this book. Three years is a relatively long time in the age of accelerated communication and floods of information. The global warming debate has witnessed many events as well. However, we must sadly notice that the media and the political sphere have remained largely untouched. Day after day, new articles, studies, and books uncovering the indefensibility and unsustainability of the global warming doctrine - which blames Man and his burning of the fossil fuels for the moderate warming - are being published across the world. These texts prove that the policies recommending the mankind to fight the climate that are promoted by the environmentalists are unnecessary and nonsensical.

Nature equates science with regulation

In a text called Nature uses the D-word, Anthony Watts notes that Nature, in a shockingly political diatribe called

Science scorned (Nature),
uses the popular radicals' expletive for climate realists, the "deniers". Well, the comrades inkspillers try to do much more than that. They want to convince the readers that when it comes to any question you may ask, science and left-wing politics is the same thing.

Make no mistake about it: this is the lesson the reader is expected to make from every single paragraph of the text.

Friday, September 10, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Trichet: Eurozone won't admit countries like Slovakia

As we have learned from Reuters and others, the European Central Bank's chairman, Jean-Claude Trichet, is furious about Slovakia's refusal to subsidize the Greek freeloaders.

(If you need to know, "triche" means "cheats" in French.)

He has revealed that had he known that Slovakia was going to refuse to participate in similar money transfers, his ECB would have vetoed the Slovak accession to the eurozone. Also, he said that if there are other countries that are at risk of misbehaving in the same way, he will veto their entry in the future.

Greece, for its failure to fulfill the accession criteria (before it fabricated its paperwork) and for having behaved in the most irresponsible way, has received hundreds of billions in gifts from the likes of Trichet (of course, paid from other pockets). However, Slovakia which has honestly fulfilled the accession criteria, which kind of knows how to be fiscally responsible, and the last country that was actually defending the original rules of the eurozone - that were banning transfers such as those to Greece - gets trashed. That's the eurozone version of justice.

His statement obviously means that the ECB under Trichet won't allow the Czech Republic to join: the Czech Republic is the first country that is "like" Slovakia. The only good news here is that no one in the Czech Republic really wants to join them, anyway. ;-) The new right-wing Slovak government has shown its fiscal responsibility and principles and I applaud it.

N=8 SUGRA finiteness at 7 loops: 2 steps closer

In an interesting new technical preprint, an MIT-IAS-Michigan-German team proves that the maximally supersymmetric supergravity in d=4 (the low-energy limit of M-theory on a seven-torus) is free of almost all conceivable types of divergences up to the 7-loop order:

E_{7(7)} constraints on counterterms in N=8 supergravity (by Beisert, Elvang, Freedman, Kiermaier, Morales, and Stieberger)
The perturbative supergravity is known to have the exceptional E_{7(7)} symmetry classically. Because it's non-anomalous, it may be and should be preserved quantum mechanically, too - to all orders in perturbation theory. Non-perturbatively, consistency (e.g. the Dirac quantization rule for the electric and magnetic charges under U(1)^56) demands this exceptional symmetry to be broken down to its discrete E_{7(7)}(Z) U-duality subgroup, just like in M-theory on a seven-torus.

Thursday, September 09, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Will a new real estate tax save us from solar insanity?

The subsidized photovoltaic industry has exploded in the mostly cloudy Czech Republic. Within a year, the amount of electricity produced by solar panels has increased by a whole order of magnitude. As a result, the leading power utility, ČEZ, estimates that it may have to raise the price of electricity by a whopping 20 or 30 percent starting from January 2011.

Today, everybody in the Czech politics realizes that the subsidized "renewable" energy was a huge mistake and a looming tumor inside the economy that has to liquidated as soon as possible; otherwise we are going to pay dearly. Be sure that almost no Czech citizen is eager to pay an extra 20-30% for the electricity and politicians are well aware of this sentiment.

Variable fine-structure constant is unlikely

Lots of media, including The Economist, Nude Socialist, Physics World, USA Today, Popular Science, MIT physics arXiv blog, and others are trying to put their weight behind a new preprint,

Evidence for spatial variation of the fine structure constant
by Webb, King, Murphy, Flambaum, Carswell, and Brainbridge.

The authors claim to have measured the fine-structure constant, alpha (which is the squared elementary electric charge in the natural hbar=c=1 units and which is numerically equal to 1/137.036 or so), from quasars in various directions of the skies. And their conclusion is that alpha is decreasing with time in average, especially in directions aligned with a dipole. You are told to trust them that these findings represent a strong piece of 4-sigma evidence that the laws of physics are variable across the Cosmos.

Do I believe the paper?

Fidel Castro: socialism doesn't work

There used to be times when Fidel Castro would be considered the most left-wing famous person of the Western Hemisphere. Times are changing. The U.S. progressives - of the Daily Kos type - are now vastly more extreme communists than the former Cuban leader.

Following the example of his brother Raul, Fidel gave a sensible answer to the question whether it was a good idea to export the Cuban model to other countries. "The Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore," he said. Fidel has also criticized Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for his anti-Semitism and especially holocaust denial. However, the same criticism could be addressed to the U.S. and some European lefties, too.

AP, others
It's a great achievement for the former Cuban leader to be as quick. He only needed to decimate his previously wealthy country for 51 years before he saw the light. ;-)

Wednesday, September 08, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

iOS 4.1: 4.0.2 is the current version

If you happen to own an iPhone or iPod touch and you clicked at "Check for update" under "Devices" in iTunes, and you were told that "4.0.2 is the current version", there's an easy way out.

Download the official 4.1 IPSW file for your gadget - the right iPhone/iPod and the right generation (about 370 MB for iPod touch 3rd generation) - manually from this page. Save it somewhere.

Once this is finished, go to iTunes and the only change is that you hold SHIFT when you press "Check for update". The SHIFT will guarantee that you will be asked to navigate to the IPSW file you just downloaded. Don't worry: iTunes will verify its integrity and version. In ten minutes in which you shouldn't disconnect your device, you're upgraded.

Is Stephen Hawking more Taliban-like than Susan Greenfield?

BBC radio 4 has aired a discussion between philosopher AC Grayling and the brain pharma scientist Susan Greenfield:

Is Hawking right to attack philosophy? (click for audio)
in which they tried to dispute Stephen Hawking's self-evident statement that philosophy of the origins has been superseded by M-theory and that it is currently impossible to crack the most fundamental questions about the reality without a detailed understanding of high-energy physics and its maths as well as the modern insights of biology - and most contemporary philosophers and priests ignore this essence of the question, indeed.

Pilsen will be the EU culture capital for 2015

Ten seconds ago, some EU officials have just chosen my hometown of Plzeň to be the 2015 European capital of culture. Our goal will be to act as a role model for the other, younger European cultural wannabe towns and villages, such as Paris and London, so that they know what they have to do to become cultural cities sometime in the future as well. :-)

Plzeň - the capital of Western Bohemia whose population is just 170,000 - has beaten the mining city of Ostrava in the Northeast of the country whose population is 310,000.

Three-generation Gepner heterotic models

One of the most interesting hep-th papers today was written by Gato-Rivera and Schellekens and it is called

Asymmetric Gepner models II. Heterotic weight lifting.
The authors build on their March 2010 paper and analyze realistic heterotic Gepner models. The well-known classes of such models typically "ban" three generations - and they universally produce fractionally charged massless states (relatively to the string scale). These are big problems for a viable phenomenology.

However, in the new paper, a conventional, overly simplistic component of the CFT is replaced by a genuinely N=0 model on the bosonic side. As a result, "3" becomes a possible - and relatively frequent - number of the generations that these models predict although "zero families" seems to be the numerical winner.

Fox: The Green Swindle

Click the picture for the full 41-minute video as offered by the CATO Institute server.

Sean Hannity and his colleagues at Fox have have shot a program called The Green $windle. It mostly focuses on the politics and the history of the societal tumor we call environmentalism.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

AMS detector waiting in the Kennedy Center

Paola Capatano et al. shot this video on August 26th (it was released 2 days later) when the gadget was departing from CERN. One of the three U.S. Super Galaxy aircrafts returned from its Iraq and Afghanistan missions to help particle astrophysics, too.

A day later, the AMS-02 detector - or the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer - was already waiting in the Kennedy Center for its ISS space mission in 2011. Space shuttle Endeavour will bring this gadget to the International Space Station in February.

Saturday, September 04, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Hawking: Churches hit back at the heretic

Quantum information and tests of string theory:

This is an off-topic comment. But Mike Duff and others have promoted their recent very interesting work on quantum information and U-dualities in string/M-theory as tests of string/M-theory. Well, I don't think that any tests of the characteristic physics of string/M-theory or quantum gravity is being tested in this way.

However, I do agree that the work shows that a small subset of a much more powerful mathematical toolkit of string/M-theory - when interpreted a bit differently (the black holes carry an "exponentially bigger" information than the "information" substituted to the hyperdeterminants) - is directly relevant for very practical questions in quantum computing. See BPS black holes as a Hungarian quantum computer (2006) and SUGRA, black holes, and quantum information (2010).
Quite often, we have reasons to think that the mankind and even the Church has made a lot of progress since the era of Galileo Galilei. On the other hand, sometimes we're shown that nothing essential has changed since those old times.

Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow have written a new book, The Grand Design, in which they fired God from the job of the Creator.

He's no longer needed: M-theory has taken His place. Now, every physicist will realize that this is a kind of metaphor or a marketing slogan or a joke: physics and religion haven't interacted that directly for centuries. Physics doesn't operate with the term "God" and His existence. And if it talks about creation, it means something substantially different than the religious people do. The logical systems of science and religion are not compatible.

However, the physicists who actually understand the content of the new book at the technical level also know that there's a genuine justification hiding behind Hawking's "heretical" pronouncements.

Why Nature loves exact symmetries

Symmetries and beauty have been analyzed many times on this blog. However, in this text, I would like to focus on the question why Nature wants symmetries to be exact.

So why does Nature love to obey exact symmetries? The short answer is "Why not!?". That's a little bit too imprecise a slogan which deserves a clarification:

A symmetric explanation is qualitatively different from an asymmetric explanation. It therefore deserves a comparable prior probability.

Because a symmetric theory is more constraining, an agreement with observations adds more units of evidence in favor of its validity than it does to the competing asymmetric theory.
In other words, if we have two hypotheses that describe the same phenomena, S (which is symmetric) and A (which is its asymmetric generalization), and they agree with the observations equally well, it was a priori more nontrivial for S to agree with the observations.

Friday, September 03, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Sheldon Cooper FTW: Jim Parsons won Emmy

Steve Heston has just informed me about something that happened last week and that I have completely missed. Jim Parsons won an Emmy for the best lead actor in comedy series! No Bazinga here. Dr Sheldon Cooper for the win. ;-)

Here is his, somewhat uncharacteristically unscientific, acceptance speech:

I always feel a bit strange if I partly congratulate myself. But Parsons gave the role in The Big Bang Theory much more than just myself. ;-) So congratulations! This first Emmy for a string theorist is a hugely deserved award.

The likelihood that 2010 will surpass 1998

It's time for some climate change facts. This text is just an update of an article written two months ago in which I add two additional months of data and refresh all the numbers.

The nearly final temperature readings of UAH AMSU for August 2010 are out and the global temperature anomaly was 0.51 °C.

So August 2010 was 0.01 °C cooler than August 1998 and it is an average month of 2010 so far. Also, the average anomaly of the first eight months (Part1) of 2010, 0.55 °C, is cooler than Part1 of 1998, 0.61 °C, by 0.06 °C. Of course, if this temperature difference continued for the last four months (Part2) of 2010, 2010 would be cooler than 1998.

Thursday, September 02, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Harvard courses: final exams abolished

Breaking: a new oil rig has just exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. Wow. It may be a time to think about less "mainstream" explanations of the events, too. I just listened to a lecture about an imminent Iran's war against all the Sunnis. ;-)

Willie Soon has kindly brought my attention to an eye-popping change at a major former workplace of mine:
Bye-bye, blue books? (Harvard Magazine, Summer 2010)

Harvard wimps out on testing (Chester Finn Jr and Mickey Muldoon, National Review, July 2010)

Final exams are so 20th-century (Jonathan Zimmerman, Christian Science Monitor, August 2010)

No more final exams at Harvard: is your school next? (Edudemic, July 2010)

Harvard is right: let's scrap final exams (Newser, August 2010)
The "default" option for a course will be to organize no final exam. If an instructor wants a final exam, he or (less likely) she will have to beg at the Registrar Office to get an exception; that's a reversal of the usual policy. Besides being speechless, I can only say: Wow.

Stephen Hawking: The Grand Design

The Guardian promotes Stephen Hawking's new book, co-written with Leonard Mlodinow, by the following provoking title:

Stephen Hawking says universe not created by God (see other sources)
The book will be out on September 7th - in five days. A creator is unnecessary because the Universe has inevitably come into existence because of M-theory, i.e. the full laws of quantum gravity. "M-theory is the unified theory Einstein was hoping to find," he correctly explains.
See also: Churches hit back at the heretic for an analysis whether Hawking is right.
At the page of the book, the authors sketch the content of the book. The book will defend the multiverse and present the recent results on the theoretical and experimental front - especially string/M-theory and the observations of COBE and WMAP. They "assess M-Theory, an explanation of the laws governing the multiverse, and the only viable candidate for a complete 'theory of everything'."

Israel Gelfand: a birthday

Israeil Moisiyovich Gel'fand was born into a Jewish family in Okny, later Communist Crimson Okny, a small town in the Kherson Gubernia of the Russian empire, on September 2nd, 1913 (new calendar).

He became one of the greatest Soviet mathematicians, with lots of representations, constructions, dimensions, definitions, functors, patterns, integrals, theories, equations, and conjectures named after him, among other things such as nonperturbative methods used by physicists.

This won't be a full biography and you will have to find better sources. But I just want to mention how small the world is. In 1995, we completed our Czech textbook on linear algebra, Gardener+Motl: We Grow Linear Algebra, with my (later) undergraduate advisor Miloš Zahradník ("Zahradník" means "Gardener" in Czech).

Environmentalist in TV shot dead: thank God

James Lee was a typical environmentalist. His opinions were indistinguishable from those of e.g. Alexander Ač and millions of others. Here are his eleven demands from a TV station: (click)
He chose to hate the Discovery Channel because it is arguably one of the last TV stations where positive excitement and love for Nature, science, and technology beats mindless fearmongering. How did Mr Lee want to change the programming schedule of the station?

The Discovery Channel must broadcast programs to fight global warming and help to stop the birth of new humans instead of programs supporting birth (I suppose that his term "parasitic infants" refers to all babies).

The civilization must be presented as the filth it is. The Asian American has also demanded that programs must be developed to stop all immigration to the U.S. The goal of additional programs would be to dismantle the U.S. economy and to promote the Malthusian ideology.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Bjørn Lomborg wants to waste trillions for AGW

Bjørn Lomborg has labeled himself a skeptic when he wrote The Skeptical Environmentalist back in 2001.

Although he wouldn't say the same thing as the genuine skeptics among us (and the mailing list in which I am included wouldn't quite consider Lomborg "one of us"), his opinions were also far enough from the alarmist orthodoxy.

The fearmongers began to hate him - which was quite an achievement given their being progressive radicals and his being a left-wing gay. Well, some of them may be controlled by hormones and they may be driven up the wall as soon as they see the word "skeptic". ;-) In 2002, Scientific American has organized a gigantic witch hunt against Lomborg. It was described e.g. in Michael Crichton's speech Aliens Cause Global Warming.

It would also be remarkable to note that in 2004, Rajendra Pachauri has compared Bjørn Lomborg to Adolf Hitler. It would be remarkable if Pachauri were not mentally ill which makes such pronouncements rather unremarkable.

Committee: run Tevatron through 2014

Physics World has brought us some fresh news about the Tevatron's future:

Three-year extension recommended for Tevatron
Fermilab's Physics Advisory Committee (PAC), supported by Lisa Randall, will release a letter today. It will recommend to continue the Tevatron activities until 2014 in order to find the Higgs boson or at least more information about it.

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