Saturday, March 31, 2012 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

35 years of \(\NNN=4\) Yang-Mills theory

Update: See also a newer article on 11-dimensional supergravity
George Musser who writes for Scientific American has authored an unusually (for SciAm) scientifically oriented blog entry
The Emperor, Darth Vader, and the Ultimate Ultimate Theory of Physics
about the 35th birthday of the maximally supersymmetric i.e. \(\NNN=4\) Yang-Mills theory in \(d=4\). It's not just the anniversary. A conference is taking place at Caltech between Thursday and Saturday (it ends today),
Conference "\(\NNN=4\) Super Yang-Mills Theory, 35 Years After".
The list of big shots who are participating is spectacular.

An approximate photographic reconstruction of the \(\NNN=4\) Yang-Mills theory or "Darth Vader" as it was renamed by Nima (no idea why but my guess is that he wasn't on crack). Does she look younger or older than 35 years?

This quantum field theory has become one of the modern era's "quantum harmonic oscillators". It involves much more nontrivial structures and relationships than the quantum harmonic oscillator but it has a comparably far-reaching and intellectual diverse impact on a large fraction of the landscape of the modern theoretical physics research.

One of the most efficient ways to determine that someone who talks about high-energy physics is a hopeless and worthless deluded crank is to notice that he either dismisses the importance of the \(\NNN=4\) gauge theory or he doesn't even know what it is.

Friday, March 30, 2012 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

OPERA experiment spokesman, physics coordinator resigned

Not quite related news: First LHC collisions at 2 × 4 TeV!
Tommaso Dorigo was minutes ahead of Reuters and Fox News or AFP when he told us that signore Antonio Ereditato resigned from his chair of the OPERA experiment's spokesman. Physics coordinator Dario Autiero resigned one day later.

Both mentioned "tensions within the collaboration" as the reason. As far as I can say, the bogus superluminal claims are a reason for them to be immediately fired from their positions. Incidentally, it's now clear that they were trying to spread fog to keep their chairs (fog that was, incredibly enough, spread even by folks like Matt Strassler who apparently have nothing to do with the experiments and who should have known better). After the cable error was announced, Matt still wrote at least 3-4 completely nonsensical blog entries denying that the curtain had fallen.

Ereditato and Autiero wanted to do "important" tests for many and many months, in May etc. But once they were de facto fired, the barriers preventing us from learning an inconvenient truth are removed and it's known that the error caused by the fiber cable was 73 ± 9 nanoseconds, search for "73" in this Sioli's talk on Wednesday, (over)reducing -60 nanoseconds of delay to +13 nanoseconds of delay which is zero within 1 sigma or so.

Most likely, the bosses knew about the loose cable (and its impact, at least approximately) from December 8th, 2011, and completely hid the news for more than two months before it was leaked by their colleague to Science News.

The neutrinos move by the speed of light much like they do in a better-managed experiment (even though, undeservedly, much less known to the media and the public) ICARUS that managed to get the right value right away. At any rate, no further measurements are needed in OPERA. Everything is as clear as the clear skies; one just has to remove the people who spread the mist and who become obstacles in the journey towards the truth.

Record temperatures and female Fields medalists

A few days ago, the media were obsessed by a paper by Dim Coumou and Stefan Rahmstorf trying to hype hypothetical links between the increasing global mean temperature in recent decades and the increasing dominance of record hot temperatures relatively to record cold temperatures.

The two authors have actually written two very similar papers:

A decade of weather extremes (Nature Climate Change, fresh)

Increase of extreme events in a warming world (PNAS, half a year ago, plus a correction)
Now, the papers contain lots of emotional misinterpretations and some valid but inconsequential observations, too. I will discuss both.

Thursday, March 29, 2012 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

All interactions in the Universe

This essay is a natural continuation of Masses of all objects in the Universe. However, to classify all forces in the Universe isn't quite as easy and straightforward as to enumerate all allowed eigenvalues of \(m^2\) – and even the latter task had a lot of subtleties, as we have seen.

Ancient history

It seems to me that almost all thinkers in the ancient civilizations thought that pairs of objects may only interact with one another if they're in contact. That's also why they were inventing many kinds of fictitious materials where the influences propagated whenever it looked like the interaction occurred via action at a distance.

For example, many ancient civilizations would invent various breeds of aether. Later, this would be refined as the luminiferous aether. Some not-so-modern physicists were imagining "philogiston", a material that is equivalent to heat and that needs to spread when heat does, and so on.

From some perspective, their viewpoint was modern because "locality" is indeed a fundamental property of our Universe according to all theories respecting special relativity. However, their approach was also very non-modern because the assumed properties of the quasi-materials that mediated the influences were too similar to common materials. It was needed to get rid of the idea of locality of interactions for a while in order to make progress.

Czech president Klaus regrets declining prestige of maths

According to the Prague Monitor, Czech and Polish president Václav Klaus spoke at a meeting of the Union of Czech Mathematicians and Physicists (which was founded exactly 150 years ago) and regretted the declining prestige of maths in the Czech society.

The trained economist whom your humble correspondent has talked to several times has always protested against the removal of maths from the compulsory secondary school leaving exams, something that took place in spite of his opinion. Only the Czech language and literature (taught as one subject) is compulsory; the other subject is being chosen by the teenagers in between maths and a foreign language.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Echo JS-Kit fast comments will disappear on October 1st

Echo, the company that bought Haloscan a few years ago and runs the fast comments on this blog, the main platform for discussions on this blog, will stop the service on October 1st, 2012. They have been focusing on some fancier projects involving big consumers for quite some time.

Echo: change the conversation (by discontinuing it)

I hope it will be possible to download the fresh XML backup file with all the comments before October 1st so that they may be preserved. Perhaps, someone knows a way how to reprogram a service that would make them available, or export the old fast comments to another platform.

Chinese daily on Pilsen

Just one funny irrelevant link.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Misevaluated murders

There have been several recent murders in which the media have vigorously propagated something that seems as unjustifiable prejudices right now.

Monday, March 26, 2012 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Mass spectrum of all objects in the Universe

Whenever it makes sense to define the Hamiltonian, i.e. the operator of total energy, this Hamiltonian knows everything about the rules according to which all physical systems and any physical systems evolve in time. That's because the evolution of observables (quantities that may be measured and that are always associated with linear operators) is given by the Heisenberg equations of motion\[

\ddfrac{\hat L(t)}{t} = i\hbar [\hat L(t), \hat H]

\] Equivalently, one may keep all the operators constant and evolve the state vector \(\ket\psi\) according to Schrödinger's equation\[

i\hbar \frac{\dd}{\dd t} \ket \psi = \hat H \ket \psi

\] This fact makes the Hamiltonian \(H\) very important. Because we may always redefine the basis of the Hilbert space by a unitary transformation i.e. diagonalize the Hamiltonian, the spectrum of the Hamiltonian knows "everything" about the laws of physics.

Sunday, March 25, 2012 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Obama, Chu kill funding for FNAL's ILC, half of LBNE

During two recent days, Science Insider and Chicago Business informed the readers about the Obama administration's and DOE's decision to completely scrap the research funding for the International Linear Collider that would be built by the Fermilab; and cut in half the funds for the Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment whose plan was to study CP-violation in the neutrino sector i.e. the difference between neutrinos and antineutrinos if you wish.

Saturday, March 24, 2012 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Next peak of ice age: year 60,000 AD

Glaciation cycles – swings of temperature that change the global mean temperature from a maximum to a minimum that differ almost by 10 °C and back – occur in quasiperiodic cycles with periodicities between 20,000 and 100,000 years or so. They may be reconstructed from the concentration of oxygen-18 in the Antarctic ice core.

The time goes to the left on the graph above. Note that the cooling is usually slower and the warming appears more abruptly. Concentrations of gases such as carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere are nicely correlated with the temperature. The reason is that warmer oceans can't keep gases inside so well, so they release them after a few centuries when the ocean temperature adjusts to the land temperature.

The graph above also shows that the concentration of dust tends to be high when the Earth is warming.

The previous "warm moment" occurred about 110,000 years ago. Then it was suddenly getting cooler and the maximum glaciation was reached around 18,000 years ago. At that moment, it started to warm up and the ice mostly melted. Note that the sea level increased by more than 100 meters since that time; however, the change almost completely stopped about 6,000 years ago. The last glaciation is usually defined as the era between 110,000 and 10,000 years ago.

Almost 100 years ago, Serbian geophysicist Milutin Milanković had a lucky hunch. He conjectured that all these swings are due to astronomic cycles, namely precession and axial tilt (the latter is also known as obliquity). The Earth's axis wasn't always tilted by 23.5 degrees; it wasn't always pointing in the direction of the North Star, either. These changes take tens of thousands of years and affect the climate because they affect the amount of solar radiation that reaches important places of the globe.

These astronomical cycles are the main examples of the Milanković cycles. Milutin published and sold his work via (Austria-Hungary) via pigeons and you may still buy it.

Joy Christian, an entanglement denier

A commenter has pointed out some new battles between Joy Christian and some saner physicists that take place at the preprint server and at, a funding agency mainly for crackpots.

If you check Google Scholar or INSPIRE, you will find literally dozens of papers by Joy Christian (and his critics) about "disproofs of Bell's theorem", "illusion of entanglement" and similar things. Almost all and maybe all of the citations of these preprints are either self-citations or a few papers arguing that Joy Christian is wrong.

Bell's theorem (claiming that local realist theories only predict correlations in certain experiments that belong to a certain interval, not sufficiently wide one to agree with the observations i.e. with the predictions of local non-realistic theory called quantum mechanics) can't be disproved because it is easy to prove it; see e.g. this lecture of mine for a proof. Of course, Joy Christian pays no attention to the actual proof and doesn't even try to find any error in it. He just denies it.

Friday, March 23, 2012 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Paper: Antarctica did experience both MWP and LIA

The Medieval Warm Period was apparently global

Before "the cause" started to contaminate climatology about two decades ago, climate scientists realized that around the years 950-1250 AD or so, the Earth experienced warmer temperatures than in some later centuries, e.g. 1550-1850 AD. They called the first period the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and the second period was the Little Ice Age (LIA).

This fact was inconvenient for "the cause" because it is one of the ways to show that there is nothing unusual about the temperature changes in the 20th century so its champions tried to erase the fact. All of us know the notorious quotes that we have to get rid of the MWP etc.

However, the extensive data showing MWP couldn't be erased and were coming from numerous places of the North Hemisphere. So the champions of "the cause" at least decided that the Medieval Warm Period affected just the Northern Hemisphere, and because the Northern Hemisphere is a tiny, negligible portion of the Earth's surface, we may consider the 300-year Medieval Warm Period to be a regional, provincial fluctuation of the weather that can't compare with the holy greatness of the recent Anthropogenic Global Warming. ;-)

However, a new paper shows that the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age probably occurred in another region that may even lie outside the Northern Hemisphere, if the IPCC allows me to say that, namely in the Antarctica Peninsula. If true, that implies that the MWP and the LIA were at least as global as the recent "global warming".

Which superparticles may have already been discovered

In this text, I want to discuss a particular supersymmetric search that hasn't been published yet. According to some super-secret information, this search for some cool signatures of the sbottom squark will be published in 2-3 months.

However, I want to use this opportunity to describe the list particles of the Minimal Supersymmetric Standard Model (MSSM).

Has Anton Zeilinger created a time machine?

Abstract of this blog entry: No.

I am convinced that Anton Zeilinger understands quantum mechanics, the new rules according to which the world works. However, he has become famous for being a magician of a sort – someone who benefits out of fooling people – and it seems to me that he enjoys it.

His being a linear superposition or entanglement of Niels Bohr, Criss Angel, and David Copperfield is nicely documented by his group's new paper in Nature Physics,

Experimental delayed-choice entanglement swapping (arXiv copy)
The last sentence of the abstract – and it's very far from being the only sentence in the paper with a similar message – says that "[t]his can also be viewed as 'quantum steering into the past'". Just turn the steering wheel around and travel to the past. Oh, really? ;-)

The reason why Zeilinger et al. partly act as magicians is that much of their paper is attempting to impress the reader by pointing out that something "looks like something" paradoxical. (The same comment applies to those atomic physicists and opticians who made "something in their lab look like it moves superluminally" and many others.) Except that there is nothing paradoxical about the experiment as one may confirm if he looks carefully and rationally.

I will discuss the experiment right after the break.

Stephen Hawking will visit Sheldon Cooper

Update: Via TV Guide: Howard Wolowitz will be helping Stephen Hawking with the wheelchair. Sheldon Cooper will also send Stephen Hawking a paper on the Higgs/BEH/SM_scalar/God boson. Recall that Hawking has made a $100 bet (5 times smaller than John Ramsden, not Holdren, against me) that the Higgs wouldn't be found so it could be some fun.

Rating: TBBT is now the #1 syndicated show in the 18-49 years demographic. Vulture says that it's the most watched comedy on cable period.
Text below originally posted on 3/15

Many of us have already heard about a physicist guest star of The Big Bang Theory, my most favorite sitcom (or TV program, for that matter: let's not hide things), who may be even more famous than Brian Greene or George Smoot.

(Last night, Czech TV Prima Cool aired the George Smoot/Summer Glau/moonpie episode. And I dare to agree with Sheldon that Brian has dumbed down Heisenberg as if it were for the comedy club...)

But what will Stephen Hawking do in the April 5th episode?

Thursday, March 22, 2012 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Cartoonists, alarmists, linguists attack Dyson, Gell-Mann, physicists

This story began with the following cartoon by Zachary Alexander Weinersteinsmitherson-Grossman, or Zach Weiner for short, a rather well-known Internet cartoonist:

This old pet physicist has to be euthanized (SMBC comics)
Spoilers: A couple brings their ill pet to the doctor. They complain that the pet started to babble about the climate, neurology, and linguistics. The doctor is surprised that the pet already looks too old. He explains that physicists go from "young and learning" to "productive" and then to "senile" and in the latter stage, they internally suffer, so the best solution for everyone is to euthanize the physicist. The couple is sad but agrees. Before they do it, the husband leaves his wife in the bed in order to caress his good old pet, listen to some (totally valid) objections that climate models aren't reductionist enough, and feed him with a few beef tensors for the last time. ;-)

This cartoon – similar in spirit to TBBT Penny's joke about a physicist who waits for an attractive woman to materialize out of the vacuum fluctuations next to him in the restaurant because it's more likely than the possibility that a real woman would be interested in him – may be classified as disrespectful or insensitive but I am sure that many of you will laugh when you will see it and because no one else than physicists are the targets of the joke, it is politically correct to draw similar cartoons. Almost everyone hates genuinely smart people, after all, because almost everyone is a moron so there's no reason to regulate jokes about "putting them down". It's doubly puzzling why Zach Weiner, if he has these opinions about the physicists, began to attempt to study physics as well.

The fact that everyone hates smart people was quickly documented by a linguistics blog that discussed the cartoon.

Jarno Smeets: flying like a bird, a CGI hoax

Update: Jarno's real name is Floris Kaayk (see his real identity website) and he's a CGI-trained artist who created this hoax for a TV show
Many people have thought that using their own muscle power, humans can't fly just like birds.

Jarno Smeets, a Flying Dutchman whom no one knows and who falsified his CV, has just proved otherwise, unless he has falsified the video and/or the technical information behind it as well:

So far, it's 100 meters covered in a minute. See his blog, YouTube channel, and Twitter channel.

Verification of MathJax macros in all templates: please ignore

This is the famous equation ‹E=mc^2›. Or \(\diag (1,2,3)\)
OK ‹a^2› \(/ \!\!\!\! P\)

This is \(a\lt b\) and \(b\gt a\)...

Here is an equation
{\LARGE E = mc^2 } \tag{E.1}
\] OK too many spaces.
{\Huge \sqrt{s}\not\in\ZZ}
\] Extended \(\NNN=4\) supersymmetry.
\[ a+3 \zav{\frac{c}{d}} \] in a bracket. Let's try a matrix
\[ \begin{pmatrix} 1 & 2 & 3 \\4 & 5 & 6 \\7 & 8 & 9 \end{pmatrix} \] See more matrix commands here or here. Array with lines
\[ \begin{array}{r|lc} n & n^2 & n^3 \\ \hline 3 & 9 & 27 \\ 4 & 16 & 64 \\ 11 & 121 & 1331 \end{array} \] Fine, my simplified matrix command:
\[ \pmatrix{ 9 & 10 & 11 \\ 12 & 13 & 14 \\ 15 & 16 & 17}
\] OK?
\[ \eq{ c+d &= 4+3+5 \\ e&= 7+6+85+23}
\] Fine, one may press enter before backslash final bracket without problems.
\[ b=\cases {38+a\\ 48 + b + \pmatrix{2&3\\4&6} }
\] Funny. What about macros for derivatives
\[ \ddfrac{y}{x} \neq \pfrac{f}{x} + \pfrac{{}^2 g}{x^2} + \frac{\dd h}{\dd x} \] And backslash pmatrix without brackets
\[ \array{1&2&3 \\ 4& 5& 6 } \] A product of \(\ket\psi\) and \(\bra\lambda\) is \(\braket\lambda\psi\).
\int_0^\infty \dd x\,\,f(x) = g(x)

\] With limits,

\int\limits_0^\pi \dd x~\sin(x) = 2

\] Ordinary linebreaks with two backslashes,

=5 \\ 4+6=10

\] OK? The mass is \(125\GeV\), isn't it? Text may be better than rm, respects spaces:
\[ A_{\text{spin matrix}} = \pmatrix{0&1\\ 1&0} \neq B_{\rm bush spin} \]

Wednesday, March 21, 2012 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

TRF guest blogger Paul Frampton arrested

Off-topic, digitized Einstein: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem has put thousands of scanned Einstein documents to AlbertEinstein.INFO
Yesterday, Fox News brought us some news that were surprising to many of us:
North Carolina physics professor in Argentine jail on drug charges (Fox News)

UNC professor arrested in Argentina (WRAL, local NC source)

Drug smuggler? Victim of scholar envy? UNC prof in Argentine jail (Charlotte Observer)

'I am innocent': U.S. professor held in Argentina prison charged with smuggling cocaine insists drugs were planted in his bag (U.K. Daily Mail)

David Stallard: Surely innocent (News Observer)

Distinguished British scientist faces 16 years in Argentine jail after being caught with suicase of cocaine (Telegraph, more on the model)
Two kilograms of cocaine were cleverly attached to his luggage in order to be exported from Buenos Aires, Argentina somewhere to Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The author of 421 papers listed by INSPIRE (including 6-7 papers during the last 12 months and not including 2-4 papers he's completing in the prison now) was arrested on January 23rd but we only learned about it now.

Paul has done made many nontrivial findings in physics during those years.

He was one of the guys who proved the absence of ghosts in string theory, if I use the modern language; predicted axigluons from his chiral color model; studied holography, vacuum decay, anomalies in 10D gauge theory, p-adic strings, cyclic models in cosmology, big (and little) rip, dark matter models with flavor symmetries, grand unification with really large groups and extra families, and many other things. His co-authors have included Nobel prize winners Nambu (decay rates of highly excited string states, in 1970), Glashow (neutrino CP-violation and cosmology, 2002), and others.

Paul with Helena Halperin at the Sidneyfest. The glass only contained legal substances; I had personally checked it.

Almost 20% of the visits to this blog right now come from UNC so it's not shocking if you are sitting there, too.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Most of research of "nonlocality" is pseudoscience

In June, a Western European physicist with a blog is organizing a workshop on nonlocality:

Workshop on Nonlocality, June 27-29 (B.R. blogspot blog)

Current registrants (Workshop's website)
So far, 10 people have shared their intent to attend. Some of them are just Mr or Ms. George Musser belongs to the best that Scientific American has to offer these days but it's still true that "Scientific" American has sucked for a decade or so. And there are a few people who have something to say but no one will listen to them, anyway.

"Nonlocality" is a cool buzzword but the actual research that uses this buzzword is split to several categories that have nothing to do with each other and the research in most of these categories is pseudoscientific in character.

An experimental physicist training telekinesis, a version of nonlocality

What do I mean? Let us spend some additional time with locality and nonlocality.

James Hansen's religious TED talk

Around March 7th, James Hansen gave this 18-minute TED talk about the climate apocalypse:

I believe that just a few years ago, TED talks were high-brow events that featured elite speakers. But if you check what kind of nuts and pseudointellectuals have given TED talks in recent years, you can't disagree that the average quality has dropped close to the quality of an average person screaming in the street.

Test TeX, LaTeX in MathJax

\(\rm\TeX\) or \(\rm\LaTeX\) is the leading system for writing mathematical equations via computers. That's how mathematicians and physicists write their papers, e.g. for See a 4-page summary of its commands or a 157-page not so short introduction to \(\rm\LaTeX\).

MathJax – see the documentation at – is the most viable implementation of \(\rm\LaTeX\) on the web. It automatically loads the scripts and fonts it needs, regardless of the platform, doesn't need the user to do anything, and produces an output composed of true fonts of unlimited resolution which look beautiful when printed.

MathJax output appears here:

The form above was taken from Carol Fisher. Click her name and you will see lots of examples and definitions of all the commands.

The inline math mode above should only be tested with "small expressions" that fit into one line. The complicated example above, an equation with many lines, is optimized for the displayed math mode.

Equinox: spring usually begins on March 20th

Even though you were probably taught that the spring begins on March 21st Greenwich Winter Time (UTC), the last beginning of a spring on that day was in 2007. At least for 84 following years, the equinox will take place on March 20th.

A dogma of the Christian churches is that spring begins on March 21st, too: so you may see some tension between their teaching and astronomy.

UT date and time of solstices and equinoxes[1]
year Equinox




day time day time day time day time
2007 21 00:07 21 18:06 23 09:51 22 06:08
2008 20 05:48 20 23:59 22 15:44 21 12:04
2009 20 11:44 21 05:45 22 21:18 21 17:47
2010 20 17:32 21 11:28 23 03:09 21 23:38
2011 20 23:21 21 17:16 23 09:04 22 05:30
2012 20 05:14 20 23:09 22 14:49 21 11:11
2013 20 11:02 21 05:04 22 20:44 21 17:11
2014 20 16:57 21 10:51 23 02:29 21 23:03
2015 20 22:45 21 16:38 23 08:20 22 04:48
2016 20 04:30 20 22:34 22 14:21 21 10:44
2017 20 10:28 21 04:24 22 20:02 21 16:28

You may see that every non-leap year, the spring starts about 6 hours (5:53 or so in average) later than the previous year. However, on every leap year, such as 2012, it's 18 hours later and the three previous 6-hour jumps are undone (and spring actually begins about 40 minutes earlier than 4 years earlier). Consequently, the 2012 spring equinox is the earliest equinox since 1896 when it was even earlier because 1900 wasn't a leap year (and because of mathematical reasons you should think about). This record will keep on improving until 2096. The year 2100 won't be a leap year so the date of the equinox will jump by 1 again.

Yes, this blog entry officially appeared at 6:14 am, Prague Winter Time, which is when the spring started.

Monday, March 19, 2012 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Should one be shocked by several high-energy events?

Technical: If you see a nation-specific URL different from, you won't be able to read other people's fast comments or post yours in a visible way. To fix that, click at the big "the reference frame" title at the top which brings you to, the canonical American edition of this blog. Ncr stands for "no country redirect" and must be added right after ".com/". Regular readers in these countries may want to manually edit the bookmarks' URL to contain ".com/ncr".

I have added a pirate icon at the bottom of the post, near the "fast comments" links, which enables a direct access to Echo comments for Unamericans outside *.com.
During three recent days, I've gone through dozens of PDF files with talks from Search 2012, a workshop in Maryland. No obvious signal of new physics has been announced. I still liked many events in the tails, like this 2.4 TeV event with a muon and a neutrino in this talk.

University of Maryland, campus

Very often, I am looking – and I am sure that many actual professional particle physicists are looking – at various exclusion charts with many bins. The expected number of events dramatically decreases for high energy (whether it is the effective mass or some invariant mass of a few particles etc. on the x-axis) and there are a few events with a very high energy that belong to the tail of the distribution. Their number and/or their energy looks a bit higher than one would expect and many of us would surely love to know how much special those events and their small collectives are.

See the ATLAS 1,600 GeV events for a recent example.

I have developed a set of conventions to address all these questions and in my opinion, many such measurements should be reorganized into these new K-S graphs; I've chosen this modest name for the Motl graphs because Tommaso Dorigo told me about related Kolmogorov-Smirnov tests in statistics.

How does it work?

Sunday, March 18, 2012 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

EU chief scientist urges people to AGW panic

Before Willie Soon sent me an article about the climate hysteria, I didn't know that the EU already had its own "chief scientist". But it's true. Her name is Anne Glover, she is a bacteriologist, she's been a science in adviser in Scotland, and her modest new job since the end of 2011 is

To provide independent expert advice on any aspect of science, technology and innovation as requested by the President
and similar far-reaching things. Not bad for a woman whose only expertise in science has been a membership in large teams of biologists. With the EU institutions' unlimited ability to produce worthless jobs, this woman may avoid washing the dishes for years.

How does it happen that one becomes a chief scientist of the Old Continent? In order to save my stomach, I won't comment on that. See and you won't learn anything, anyway. You may call this process in any way you want but "democracy" or "meritocracy" are clearly not two appropriate words you would want to choose here.

Barroso himself doesn't really have any democratic credentials to pretend that he is a leader of Europe. But claiming that a derivative woman, someone whom he randomly chose because of political convenience and because of her politically correct sex, should be called "the European chief scientist" is totally preposterous.

Saturday, March 17, 2012 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

What the “skeptics” of climate catastrophe are skeptical of: Nordhaus reconsidered

By Eric Dennis

The most frustrating thing about being a scientist skeptical of catastrophic global warming is that the other side is continually distorting what I am skeptical of.

In his immodestly titled New York Review of Books article “Why the Global Warming Skeptics Are Wrong,” economist William Nordhaus presents six questions that the legitimacy of global warming skepticism allegedly rests on.

How to prevent Blogspot and Google redirect to national domains

Google began to redirect the traffic to specific national locations. So far, dozens of nations are affected, aside from the original three, especially:

New Zealand:

United Kingdom:

Additions from early May 2012

See the diverse URLs in the last 100 TRF visits. The United States will keep their "global" dotcom suffix in order to appreciate that Al Gore, a child of America, has invented the Internet.

Friday, March 16, 2012 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

ICARUS: the neutrino speed discrepancy is 0, not 60 ns

The OPERA detector originally detected neutrinos that were arriving to the Gran Sasso cavern (or tavern) in central Italy 60±10 nanoseconds too early after their 730-kilometer (2.4 milliseconds) trip from CERN. If that were so, they would have been 0.0025% (25 ppm) faster than light in the vacuum.

Many of us remained sane and realized that this can't happen; it follows that the OPERA was out-of-tune. And indeed, the mistake was found in the timing: loose cables and wrong interpolation in the GPS synchronization procedures have to be blamed for up to 100 ns and dozens of ns in the opposite direction. (And maybe other things they haven't found or announced yet were wrong, too.)

Even though some physicists incredibly enough remain ambivalent, it's clear that most of the discrepancy – to say the least – has gone away (and will officially go away once the new paper is published) and there's no credible experiment at this moment that would indicate a neutrino's heresy against Einstein's commandments. The only question is how accurately OPERA will manage to measure the speed of light in their corrected paper but I am not too interested in that given the fact that they're able to produce a 60-nanosecond error, anyway.

OPERA – whose real job should be neutrino oscillations and not sensational, wrong claims about relativity – still tries to look very important so we must wait for their new precise results (hopefully more precise than the previous ones). However, there is one guy who can already measure the right speed today and who has actually published a preprint with the right figure. Who's that?

Yes, his name is ICARUS. Nice to meet you. A few thousand years ago, he had a company that later evolved to the Aegean Airlines Greece. But because the Greeks no longer have to work – they have invented a financial perpetual motion machine (a printer of worthless government bonds that some people exchange for the real money) that replaces work and produces lots of money even after you die – ICARUS retired and lives in the cave in Gran Sasso, very close to OPERA. What a coincidence. ;-)

You may ask whether OPERA and ICARUS are friends if they share a cave. But the answer is that your friend is not your neighbor but the guy behind him. And the paper I am going to present is another anecdotal proof of the proverb. Even though ICARUS is emeritus, he (together with his 50+ employees) just published his measurement of the neutrino speed. What did he find?

Thursday, March 15, 2012 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Who should be celebrated for the God particle?

Jester has ignited intense discussions about the proper name of what is usually called the "Higgs boson":

Higgs or BEEEH boson?
Jester essentially criticizes the participants of the recent Moriond conference for using the term "BEH boson" because it sounds like singing sheep and because Peter Higgs was, according to Jester, the only physicist who really predicted the actual particle.

Left to right: Kibble, Guralnik, Hagen, Englert, Brout (who died 1 year later). Peter Higgs also shared the 2010 Sakurai prize but wasn't present.

You know, I use the term "Higgs boson" for the God particle as well and it's unlikely that I will learn not to use this common term although, I must admit, I have internalized the term God particle much more intimately than years ago. ;-) This is undoubtedly the case for most of the contemporary particle physicists, too. And I have nothing against Peter Higgs; I met him in Santa Barbara, a charismatic guy.

Still, people will face the question who should get the Nobel prize. Sometime by the summer 2012, the discovery of the 125 GeV Higgs will be officially confirmed and the Scandinavian committee may already take this fact into account when they will be choosing their 2012 physics Nobel prize. Maybe there will be a delay.

They may give the Nobel prize to experimenters – which would probably mean, due to the huge LHC collaborations, a "political" physics Nobel prize, something that I don't really like – but unless they only want to give one-half of the prize for such a big thing to experimenters and one-half to theorists, there will have to be a full theoretical Nobel prize, too.

Peter Higgs has pretty much secured his place among the winners although some people may say that his catchy name is a part of the reason. But should he be the only theorist who gets the award?

97% of DailyKos readers: Mann is dishonest

DailyKos has brought us a nice example showing how problematic it is to rely on majorities and how the counting depends on the ways how the poll is engineered.

In the article called

Michael Mann is a Modern Hero and we need to acknowledge that!,
comrade Mr Don Mikulecký (yes, it is a Czech surname) argues that Michael Mann is a replacement both for Jesus Christ and Albert Einstein. There's a formality on the page: he wants the readers to confirm his thesis. The results look like this:

CTRL/click to zoom in.

Have you heard about the percentage 97% before?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Is the neutrino mixing matrix an involution?

Off-topic and sad: Ray Munroe died. You may remember one of 42 comments, mostly on particle physics, he left on this blog. RIP.
Let me begin with the quarks.

There are three generations of quarks. The up-type quarks, \(u,c,t\), have three different Dirac masses which are well-defined for three "eigenstates" of the mass operator I will denote \(\ket u\), \(\ket c\), \(\ket t\).

Antineutrino detectors in the Daya Bay Reactor Neutrino Experiment in southern China, to be discussed below. The image shows the light sensors recording the neutrino interactions and the acrylic target vessels. (Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt, LBNL.)

The \(SU(2)_\text{weak}\) partners of these eigenstates are superpositions of the down-type quark Dirac mass eigenstates, \(\ket d\), \(\ket s\), \(\ket b\), but they are not the same states one-by-one. Instead, we have to rotate them by the \(V_{CKM}\) matrix as follows:\[

\pmatrix{ J^-_\text{weak} \ket u \\ J^-_\text{weak} \ket c \\ J^-_\text{weak} \ket t} =
\pmatrix{ V_{ud}&V_{us}&V_{ub} \\ V_{cd}&V_{cs}&V_{cb} \\ V_{td}&V_{ts}&V_{tb} }
\pmatrix{ \ket d \\ \ket s \\ \ket b }

\] The \(J^-\) operator on the left hand side is meant to pick the electroweak \(SU(2)\) partners. Because the matrix \( V = V_{CKM} \) above relates two orthonormal bases of a 3-dimensional complex space, it has to be unitary, \[

V_{CKM} V^\dagger_{CKM}={\bf 1} .

\] This Cabibbo-Kobayashi-Maskawa matrix is not too far from the unit matrix but it's still different and the difference is important for detailed nuclear processes. The \(V_{us},V_{cd}\) entries are close to \(0.2252\) and the entry is related to the Cabibbo angle, an angle from the era when the matrix was \(2\times 2\) and whose nonzero value allows Nature to violate the strangeness conservation law.

The other entries involving the third generation are smaller but nonzero, too. Without a loss of generality (using the freedom to change the phases of the six eigenstates, of which only five matter), the a priori 9-parameter \(U(3)\) matrix may be described by three "real' angles and one "complex" phase, i.e. by 4 real parameters. The complex phase violates the CP-symmetry.

At this point, it's the only truly established source of CP-violation we know in Nature although it's almost guaranteed that there must exist others, too. The main reason is that this known CP-violation by the CKM matrix seems too weak to be able to produce the matter-antimatter asymmetry shortly after the Big Bang that would be compatible with the mass ratio of baryons and photons in the current Universe.

What about the leptons?

Czech president vetoes a biomethane bill


Dear Ms [Miroslava Němcová] Chairwoman of the Parliament,

I am using my authority given to me by the article 50 of the Constitution of the Czech Republic and I am returning the bill drafted on January 31st, 2012 about the supported energy sources and about the amendment of some related laws to the lower chamber of the Parliament.

Dr Steven Chu fixes sign error: gasoline prices should go down

In September 2008, in the month when the Lehman Brothers collapsed, the 1997 physics Nobel prize winner Dr Steven Chu has made a calculation of the optimal gasoline price in the U.S. He published his findings in the Wall Street Journal:

"Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe."
So at that time, he was also doing engineering research whose goal was to double gasoline prices in the U.S. which was calculated to be a good idea.

That was a counter-intuitive result. A layman could think that it's better to have a low price of something that is as important for the economy as gasoline. There had to be some sign error in Dr Chu's reasoning. He was very bothered by it.

And because Dr Steven Chu became the U.S. secretary of energy about 4 months after he completed the calculation of the optimal gasoline price, up to 300 million U.S. citizens were nervous about the sign error, too. They were asking: "Dr Chu is an ingenious man, but what if the doubled gasoline prices end up making our life harder, not better?"

However, as lots of media registered, Dr Steven Chu is a good physicist so after 3.5 years, he was able to fix the error.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Amino acids born on an artificial comet

A Franco-German team, Cornelia Meinert et al., has performed an interesting experiment:

N-(2-Aminoethyl)glycine and Amino Acids from Interstellar Ice Analogues (ChemPLUSchem, an expert journal)

The molecular building blocks of primitive life discovered in an artificial comet (Invest in the French Riviera, news report)
They created an artificial comet in the lab, with vacuum, \(H_2O\), \(CH_3OH\), \(NH_3\), and a few other compounds (?), cooled down to \(80~{\rm K}\). After some time, they found 26 different amino acids and diamino acids on their comet (by multidimensional gas chromatography).

Life on a comet

Such organic materials were already seen on spatial rocks in the 1960s but there was always a worry that it was due to some contamination from the Earth. Well, I still worry that the scientists contaminated their artificial comet by French kisses etc. – one needs a special quality control in France – but it does strengthen the case that life was imported to the Earth from comets or interplanetary dust.

Energy measurements in a two-fermion double-well system

In the wake of the diamond Coxtroversy, Twistor59 has asked at the Physics Stack Exchange:

This question is related but my question here is much more elementary than discussions of the Pauli principle across the universe.

There has been a fair amount of discussion around at the moment on the double well potential model in quantum mechanics. The question I have here is just concerned with some very simple basic schoolboy quantum mechanics that you need to get right in order to progress with the discussions (I think these questions would be too elementary for a physicist to ask - fortunately I'm not a physicist, so my embarrassment is under control).

Monday, March 12, 2012 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

NYU, Oxford will produce shorter humans to fight AGW

Climate activists start to realize that carbon trading won't work.

For example, Airbus and six European airlines have informed Ms Connie Hedegaard, the European Climate Holy War Czar, about a very surprising finding: the carbon trade war against foreign airlines will lead to lost contracts and jobs. What a surprise.

Mr He Pingping, the world's shortest man (then), died in 2010 at age of 21.

Prof S. Matthew Liao of New York University teamed up with colleagues at Oxford University, Anders Sandberg and Rebecca Roache, and they designed a superior solution to the climate change problem:

Human engineering and climate change (intro HTML)

Paper with the same title (PDF, HTML)

Interview with Mr Liao (The Atlantic)
The basic observation is that geoengineering is too dangerous and blasphemous because "geo" in this word actually means "Gaia" who is holy. So in the article – to be published in Ethics, Policy, and the Environment as a "target article" – these authors suggest a much more ethical and safer solution, namely to mess up with the humans and their DNA. They will produce humans who are better to fight climate change. What is their recipe?

Einstein's box and the triumph of Bohr

Postmodern revisionism of Bohr's answer to Einstein's box is deeply flawed

The Physics arXiv Blog discusses a recent preprint

EPR before EPR: a 1930 Einstein-Bohr thought experiment revisited
by Croatia's Hrvoje Nikolić.

The paper talks about what Nikolić considers a "modern interpretation" of a thought experiment that dominated the Bohr-Einstein debates at the 1930 Solvay conference. As I will review, Bohr triumphed in that exchange. From that moment on, Einstein avoided attempts to prove that quantum mechanics was wrong; instead, he only tried to argue that quantum mechanics was an incomplete description.

According to proper physics, Bohr was right and Einstein was wrong. Nikolić disagrees and he thinks that both Einstein and Bohr were wrong. The Physics arXiv Blog uncritically parrots Nikolić's wrong statements. We shouldn't be surprised; uncritical parroting of all arXiv papers is what the Pbysics arXiv Blog seems to be all about. Just to be sure, No, it's not true that everything that can be posted on is right.

The thought experiment

In that exchange, Einstein wanted to invalidate the uncertainty relationship for time and energy, \[

\Delta E \cdot \Delta t \gtrapprox \frac{\hbar}{2}.

\] One must be careful about the interpretation of this inequality; it's somewhat different than the uncertainty law for the momentum and position because "time" isn't a real observable (operator) so one can't reduce the inequality to commutators. Still, the inequality may be linked to the same "Fourier transformation" games as the ordinary uncertainty relationship. It says that the uncertainty of the measured energy can't be lower than then inverse uncertainty of the time when the energy "occurred" or "was transferred". If we squeeze some wave in the temporal direction, it can't have a well-defined frequency (which is linked to energy).

What was Einstein's strategy to achieve this destructive goal? He designed an experimental apparatus that can measure energy as well as time arbitrarily accurately (at least he thought that it could); that would falsify the inequality maximally. Here's how he did it.

Brian Cox and lunar phases

Prof Brian Cox is a physicist who was the main presenter of the one-hour-long 2011 BBC special, "Guide to the Moon", among many other programs. You may expect him to know something about the Moon; you may also be wrong. How does it work in practice? Steve Davis pointed out the following cute story; see the Student Room:

Trailer for a radio programme on BBC Radio Wales this morning.

It's a phone-in item for programme guest Prof. Brian Cox.

Little kid (sounded 5 or 6 years old) asks:
Why is the moon sometime round and sometimes looks like a banana? (As near as I can remember the exact question)

Prof Cox: "That's the shadow of the earth." :-(

Now that was either some really bad editing of the programme for the trailer (I sincerely hope so) or some really bad physics. (I sincerely hope not.)
I will explain where the phases of the Moon come from later although most readers know the reason and most of those who don't have understood it from the picture above. But at this moment, let me mention that the unexpected answer wasn't due to bad editing. He did say it and the January 28th, 2012 trailer above actually wasn't the first time when he did. See a discussion at Swanson's blog.

Sunday, March 11, 2012 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Strange \(m_{eff}=1600\GeV\) ATLAS events

Perhaps I should call them "beautiful events" because they involve the beauty quark and not just ordinary strange quarks. ;-)

On Friday, Antoine Marzin of Oklahoma gave a Moriond talk about the ATLAS search for the third-generation superpartners. At the end, we didn't learn anything that would go beyond the February 14th talk which was itself primarily a review of previously released preprints.

The direct stop production doesn't seem to be discussed at all and that's what the stop squark rumors may be all about. We may learn something new on another conference next week, the Search Workshop in Maryland where Stephanie Majewski speaks next Saturday (she coordinates the stop efforts in the ATLAS' SUSY group, together with Monica D'Onofrio: the four-tops events seem to be very female, indeed). See the list of ATLAS talks in the near future. However, I was still intrigued by some Marzin's graphs that have been shown before. For example, in the gluino-mediated sbottom analysis, the following graph is relevant:

Can you find a strange cross on the picture? Well, I can: look at the center of the picture. If you check the axes, you will see that the cross describes 2 events in a bin around \(1,650\GeV\). Are two events too many? Well, it depends...

Saturday, March 10, 2012 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Tevatron insists on top-antitop forward-backward asymmetry

Fourteen months ago, we talked about remarkable claims by the Tevatron's CDF collaboration that the top quarks born in their now-defunct accelerator were excessively biased, preferring to move in the direction of the proton beam, while the antitops prefer to move in the direction of the antiproton beam of the proton-antiproton collider.

According to the Symmetry Breaking Magazine that forwarded some insights from the Moriond conference, the CDF folks are still confident that this particular anomaly is there. It hasn't disappeared when the amount of collisions used in the analysis was doubled.

Krásna Hôrka: a burning Slovak castle

This is how Krásna Hôrka, a castle in Eastern Slovakia, was known to the world for nearly 7 centuries:

The castle (whose literal name is "beautiful little hill") has survived conflicts between Turks and the Austrian empire and many other events. However, if something survives for 670 years, it doesn't mean that it's here forever.

Greece in default

I've always known that the Greek default wouldn't be an important event but it was such a non-event that it has surpassed all my expectations about its invisibility. On Friday, Dow Jones rose 0.11% and NASDAQ by 0.60%, despite the news. I would bet that most people in this world don't even know that Greece is in default.

Many private creditors were kind of forced to "voluntarily" sacrifice most of their money; the rest was forced to do the same thing without any attempt to pretend that there's anything voluntary about the events. Greece has laws saying that if the government robs a certain percentage of creditors, it may rob everyone else, too. It's the latter robbery – of the money of the investors who didn't want to "participate" at all – that triggered the CDS payments. It's not a big amount of money – only $3 billion are being paid from those CDSes – but there's no doubt that Greece is in default.

Previously, Fitch reduced its long-term rating of Greece from "C" to "RD", Restricted Default. Standard&Poor's used their own terminology: Greece is in "SD", Selective Default. Moody's was the last one who has noticed half a day ago; their rating is still "C" but they say that Greece is simply in "Default" without adjectives.

Poland vetoes the 2050 EU carbon misplanning

The European Union's anti-carbon-dioxide ideologues have decided to become 10 times better Stalinists than Stalin.

While the ex-Soviet leader organized the life in his country (including the production of coal) according to 5-year plans, the EU wanted to codify a 50-year plan and prescribe the circulation of carbon in each country through the year 2050, in a modestly called “Energy Road map 2050”, no kidding. ;-)

Poland just doesn't have the money to waste and to make electricity 5 times more expensive than it is now. Why isn't Poland as rich as e.g. Spain? Whose fault is it? It's the fault of the climate alarmists' intellectual predecessors, the Stalinists. The new Stalinists want to harm Poland again.

Their plans through 2020 have been partly incorporated into the legislation. We're talking about extending these insanities beyond 2020. The opposition to these plans came from an expected place, Poland:

Poland blocks EU efforts on carbon limits (Reuters)

Poland single-handedly blocks climate talks, again (Warsaw Business Journal)
Poland produces over 90 percent of its electricity from coal and it depends on other fossil fuels, too. So it shouldn't be shocking that it's the country that vetoes the ill-conceived policies.

The post-socialist countries had an advantage in the Kyoto protocol etc. because the useless and redundant communist coal-related industry (an inevitable consequence of the planned system directed by the climate alarmists' predecessors) was largely liquidated in the early 1990s when the invisible hand of the free markets replaced the planned economy. This drop of coal burning and CO2 emissions was counted as an "achivement" according to the Kyoto standards so it's been easy to achieve various arbitrary targets. We didn't have to do anything at all.

However, when we talk beyond 2020, such advantages of course disappear. Attempts to reduce CO2 would mean a genuine blow to the prosperity of the nations and countries such as Poland would suffer a lot. One may estimate that a 50% forced reduction of CO2 emissions in Poland could mean a 30% drop of their GDP if not higher.

Friday, March 09, 2012 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Study: climate alarmists represent 30% of OCD psychiatric patients

A large fraction of the most notorious climate alarmists are "only in it for the gold", if I use the self-description of one of them, Dr Michael Tobis. This climate change analyst (thanks, Willie!) is an example of such a job.

However, there certainly exist people who have genuinely been brainwashed and who believe that a dangerous climate change is right behind the corner.

In the real world, this man is "in it for the gold" but this is how he would look like if he were a genuine believer.

Almost all of us know that these people are psychiatrically ill but many of us have been ignorant about the technical term for the disease that manifests itself as climate alarmism. A new published research at the University of Sydney fills this hole and sheds some light on my question:

The impact of climate change on obsessive compulsive checking concerns (Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, a peer-reviewed expert journal)

Study reveals climate obsessions (Sky News, AU)

Worriers have climate change anxiety: study (ABC, AU)

Study reveals climate obsessions (Big Pond News)

How the media drives obsessive obsessions (The Australian)
Dr Mairwen Jones and her co-authors studied 50 patients with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and looked for the abundance of climate alarmism in this ill sample. The result?

Aroma of 665 GeV stop and 830 GeV gluino

In November 2011, I discussed a paper about Profumo di SUSY, i.e. the Scent of a Woman Called Susy, a woman whom four playful physicists started to smell in the LHC data.

They continued to train their noses and brought us a new aromatic preprint today:

A Multi-Axis Best Fit to the Collider Supersymmetry Search: The Aroma of Stops and Gluinos at the \(\sqrt{s} = 7\TeV\) LHC
In the fresh paper, they implemented a multi-axis \(\chi^2\) procedure to see that minor deviations from the Standard Model exist even in channels not analyzed in November and to determine the best-fit values of the stop squark and gluino masses in the no-scale \(\FF\)-\(SU(5)\) supersymmetric models inspired by flipped F-theory models in string theory.

Thursday, March 08, 2012 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Solar storm a dud so far

The media seem to be full of reports on the ongoing solar storm and solar flares and their hypothetical amazing impact on the Earth and its inhabitants.

The hypothetical events we should expect are frequent heart attacks, dysfunctional GPS devices and maybe whole computer networks if not power grids. Wow.

I am no expert in that field but I just don't believe this stuff much.

Reality of complexified fields

Observables are expressed by Hermitian operators in quantum mechanics; their eigenvalues are real. In other words, the eigenvalues lie at a special curve in the complex plane – namely the real axis. Of course, it isn't the only curve that may be preferred. For example, unitary operators obeying \(UU^\dagger=1\) have eigenvalues whose absolute values are equal to one, i.e. \(\exp(i\phi)\). A place on a two-torus could naturally be described by two unitary operators, a description well-known to the people familiar with membranes in Matrix Theory.

But many things in physics are naturally complex. For example, we routinely extrapolate the values of solutions to complex values of the time (thermal calculations) or complex values of energy and momenta (in the discussions about analyticity). In general, fields are functions of coordinates or momenta so for complex values of these coordinates and/or momenta, they take on complex values, too.

We still like to use specific theories with specific reality conditions – according to some specific choices that just "work". But are these reality conditions necessary? Could they be different? If you imagine a beautiful analytic structure behind string theory, could there be some deeper principles that tell us which "real sections" of the complexified configuration spaces and moduli spaces are the real ones? Is there any freedom?

Wednesday, March 07, 2012 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Tevatron confirms a 115-135 GeV Higgs

Today, Wednesday, is dedicated to the Higgs boson news at Moriond, a particle physics conference in the Italian Alps.

The Wilson-Higgs Hall, a photoshopped cousin of the Fermilab's Wilson Hall.

A few minutes ago, the media exploded (see Reuters, BBC, NYT, Nature, and tons of others) with reports that the now-defunct Tevatron collider has seen a confirmation of the LHC's Higgs boson (or, in Canadian English, bosun) near 125 GeV. The information may be seen in a Fermilab press release, too. See also the bonus Fermilab images.

Detailed conference papers from March 7th include some changes to the ATLAS Higgs analyses, too. The combined local significance of the diphoton and four-lepton channel of ATLAS stands at 3.4 sigma at this point. Some people "add" the information that a signal is not yet seen in the WW (2-lepton 2-neutrino), tau-pair, and bottom-pair channels to conclude that the "overall ATLAS data significance is just 2.5 sigma" (page 23/24). I think it's silly. Unless the other channels show at least 2-sigma deficits, they can't really reduce the overall significance much. It's still sensible to add the signals in the Pythagorean way so just like in the Chinese restaurants in TBBT, no reductions. ;-)

TRF has considered a 125 GeV Higgs boson to be a sure thing since December 14th so the new American results aren't game-changing for me but they could be important for the opinion of others. The weakness of the Tevatron finding is partly compensated by the fact that it's really independent from the LHC, using proton-antiproton collisions at a lower energy.

EU feminists kill Bill of Asia by parthenogenesis

Racist, sexist, imperialist official EU ad shelved

The European Union officials have decided to prove that they're not just wet rags but they can do really cool things. So they paid this €127,000 ($165,000 or so) propaganda video to show how the European Union plans to bring peace to the world.

The piece was obviously "inspired" by Kill Bill. "Surprisingly", some people began to protest that the video clip is racist so the ad was shelved.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Supersymmetry at CMS: some multilepton excesses strengthened

The Moriond conference offers us updates on many searches in particle physics although the most interesting findings may be stored for later and larger conferences.

Matt Strassler has mentioned an interesting new exclusion plot based on the newest CMS multilepton events. It shows an excess that Matt considers weak relatively to the expectations based on our hype a few months ago.

I don't think that Matt's current pessimism is quite justified. There have been many TRF articles on multilepton (and multijet) searches, see e.g. this January 2012 article on ATLAS for links to other similar TRF blog entries.

But the most similar older article about an excess that is almost directly comparable to the new plot was given in one particular TRF article.

LHCb: dimuon branching ratio of B decays matches Standard Model

In November 2011, we were informed about a result of the LHCb experiment, an experiment using a smaller detector at the LHC that focuses on aspects of particle physics associated with the bottom quark i.e. the second-heaviest quark flavor.

Four months ago, the result was telling us that they had seen some evidence of beyond-the-Standard-Model physics, manifested as an apparent new source of CP-violation in the decays od the D mesons.

LHCb detector

There is an ongoing conference "Recontres de Moriond" in the Italian Alps. The most important message from Monday talks was summarized in this CERN press release:

LHCb experiment squeezes the space for expected new physics
They measured the composition of the decays of the B_s meson, a meson composed of the bottom quark and a strange antiquark or vice versa (aside from an ocean of gluons and quark-antiquark pairs). The Standard Model predicts that 3 decays out of 1 billion end up as two muons (of opposite signs). The LHCb folks have measured and learned that the actual percentage doesn't exceed 4.5 decays out of 1 billion, i.e. it's not more than 50 percent higher than the Standard Model prediction.

Monday, March 05, 2012 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

How hormonal contraceptives cause infertility in men

Translated from ("") by L.M., hat tip to Dr Mephisto MD

You may be surprised

When it can't be done.

The number of infertile men in the population keeps on increasing – the group is already almost as large as the set of infertile women. Scientists are looking for the cause – and they're finding it inside women increasingly often. How is it possible?

Some time ago, the concept of a hormonal aquarium was coined by some scientists and environmentalists. It represents water reservoirs all over the world that are contaminated by the washed remnants of hormonal contraceptives. (Link to an article about how contraceptives destroy your memory.) The number of women in the world who are using hormonal contraceptives has already surpassed 110 million.

Sunday, March 04, 2012 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Supersymmetry: transformations of superspace

In a November 2011 article, I discussed the Grassmann anticommuting numbers that satisfy
\[ \theta_1 \theta_2 = -\theta_2 \theta_1 \] My goal was to convince you that this new kind of abstract numbers is, in some sense, equally natural if it is employed as the basic number that Nature may add, multiply, integrate over, or differentiate with respect to.

Whenever you want to calculate observable quantities including probabilities, their values are real (or complex) and therefore commuting; so if they are products involving the Grassmann numbers, there has to be an even number of Grassmann numbers in the product. However, it's important to allow the basic observables such as the quantum fields to be either commuting or anticommuting.

In this text, I would like to introduce supersymmetry as a new kind of symmetry, using the concept of a superspace.

In the 1960s, people became kind of obsessed with the notion of symmetries in physics because they were just used to deduce some amazing things about particle physics. It was realized that there is a hidden \(U(1)_{\rm em}\) gauge symmetry behind electromagnetism. Moreover, a unifying theory of electromagnetic and weak interactions – the electroweak theory – was developed. Its basic gauge group was \(SU(2)_W \times U(1)_Y\). The subscripts denote the weak interactions and the hypercharge
\[ \frac{Y}{2} = Q- T_{3,W} \] Gell-Mann has identified an \(SU(3)_f\) symmetry rotating the flavors of hadrons, something that was soon identified as a group of rotations between the \(u,d,s\) quarks, a group extending the isospin \(SU(2)_f\) group. Those groups are broken in Nature but they still approximately hold and they're useful as organizing principles for the spectrum of allowed particles.

In the early 1970s, the electroweak gauge symmetry was supplemented with \(SU(3)_c\), the gauge symmetry rotating three colors ("red", "green", "blue") of the quarks in the newly constructed theory of interactions between quarks, Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD).

Aside from these continuous groups, people already knew that the discrete \({\mathbb Z}_2\) symmetries, \(C,P,T\sim CP\), were broken by the weak interactions, while only the combined operation, the \(CPT\) symmetry, is guaranteed to be a symmetry of all microscopic laws of physics (for the evolution of pure microstates only! Discussing ensembles of states immediately introduces a time-reversal asymmetry via the logical arrow of time) because this transformation may be interpreted as a complex rotation of space, or the \(tz\)-plane, by \(\pi\).

All these symmetries were very powerful as tools to constrain the possible laws of physics. If the laws of physics are required to respect certain symmetries between objects, they inevitably contain fewer independent concepts and coefficients of various terms in the fundamental equations. People were asking: was there some greater, possibly broken, symmetry that was hiding behind all the laws of physics?

Selling your soul for a narrative: understanding the Gleick fraud

by Eric Dennis

The author holds a PhD in physics from UC Santa Barbara and is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Industrial Progress.

The Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP) at UC Santa Barbara (the Kohn Hall).

Within the green movement, Peter Gleick is a renowned environmental scientist specializing in the negative impact of global warming. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, co-founded the Pacific Institute, served as chairman of a “task force on scientific ethics and integrity” in the American Geophysical Union, and received a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship (aka “genius grant”) in anticipation of exceptional achievement in his field of research. Peter Gleick is also the self-admitted perpetrator of a recent fraud.

Saturday, March 03, 2012 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Rush Limbaugh, contraception costs, and Sandra Fluke

America is entertaining itself with Rush Limbaugh's reaction to the political discussion about contraception subsidies. All kinds of people are attacking Limbaugh – and he probably enjoys it because he depends on publicity.

However, I find these attacks weird and kind of scary because Limbaugh's basic logic seems bulletproof to me.

Let me begin with some local background. Czechia is the most atheist country in the world. This gets reflected in many other aspects of life that even American leftists could dislike at the end. For example, every other Czech marriage eventually gets divorced. Similar and related events are completely common and most Czechs are excessively tolerant towards all kinds of activities that would earn a death penalty in one third of the world etc.

Still, contraception pills are not being paid for by the insurance companies, at least not by most of them. And those that have tried this policy usually restricted the contributions to women below 27 years of age so Sandra Fluke who is 30 wouldn't qualify even here.

But let me discuss the issue.

Hubble: decoupling of dark matter, stars

Alan Boyle of Cosmic Log discusses an amusing picture of the merging galaxy cluster Abell 520 which is 2.4 billion light years from us, as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope. The positions of the colors are mystifying.

The blue color on the picture depicts the mass density (as obtained from an analysis of gravitational lensing) – it's dominated (and therefore almost identical to) the distribution of the dark matter. The green color depicts hot gas. And the orange color shows starlight emitted by the galaxies.

The locations don't coincide at all! The dark matter seems to have coalesced in the middle while the stars and hot gas remain at the peripheries.

Friday, March 02, 2012 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Yet another trick of cosmic rays

In the climax to the Danes’ experiments, cloud seeds flout the theories

Guest blog by Nigel Calder, a veteran science writer

Near to the end of the story that starts with stars exploding in the Galaxy and ends with extra clouds gathering, a small but important paragraph was missing till now. From experiments in Copenhagen reported in 2006 and reconfirmed in 2011 in Aarhus and Geneva (CERN, CLOUD), cosmic rays coming from old supernovas can indeed make molecular clusters a few millionths of a millimetre wide, floating in the air. But can these aerosols really grow nearly a million times in mass to be large enough to become “cloud condensation nuclei” on which water droplets can form – as required by Henrik Svensmark’s cosmic theory of climate change?

Thursday, March 01, 2012 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

A protest: President Klaus may return the Konrad Adenauer Prize

Konrad Adenauer was the West German chancellor who oversaw the post-war German economic miracle.

The Konrad Adenauer Prize – linked to the CDU – has been given to various scientists, journalists, and politicians. Czech president Václav Klaus – then our prime minister – received his copy in 1993. However, he may erase himself from the list of recipients of the local version of the award to protest against something rather incredible.

Petr Mach, a leading Czech libertarian and euroskeptic

The story involves Mr Petr Mach, the chairman of a Czech libertarian party, the Free Citizens Party (SSO), whom I know in person. Here is the translation of Klaus' protest letter to the director of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation which was posted on

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