## Friday, May 31, 2013 ... //

### AGW: due to cosmic rays and freons?

Lots of skeptics and the überalarmist Alexander Ač sent me the information about a widely discussed paper

Cosmic-Ray-Driven Reaction and Greenhouse Effect of Halogenated Molecules: Culprits for Atmospheric Ozone Depletion and Global Climate Change (arXiv, PDF)

written by Qing-Bin Lu, a physicist (mostly biophysicist) at the University in Waterloo, in October 2012. The first detail that seems bizarre to me is the amount of hype surrounding a preprint that's been out for more than half a year. If there were real, active experts who follow what's going on in climatology and if the paper were right and important, they would have known it for half a year and not just now when the paper happened to appear in a journal.

It doesn't seem to be the case so at least one of the assumptions has to be invalid.

## Thursday, May 30, 2013 ... //

### An extremely cloudy Prague in 2013

A Czech Canadian e-pal has complained to me that "the month of May was worth [an excrement]: cold, windy, rainy etc". But that's nothing compared to the first five months as we have experienced them in Czechia.

The Czech media such as The Week (EN) have told us about some cold hard figures describing the weather in Prague between January 1st and May 17th, 2013.

### SUSY GUT with $A_4$: six predictions for fermion masses

Stefan Antusch, Christian Gross, Vinzenz Maurer, and Constantin Sluka of Basel, Switzerland (Antusch is also affiliated with the Werner Heisenberg Institute, a part of the Max Planck Instiute in Munich) released an extremely intriguing preprint:

A flavour GUT model with $\Large\theta_{13}^{PMNS} = \frac{\theta_{\rm Cabibbo}}{\sqrt 2}$
Their model – or class of models – combines the constraints of supersymmetry, grand unification, and the $A_4$ family symmetry to predict 20 parameters related to the fermion masses out of 14 parameters whose values they optimize. Among the 6 parameters they're able to predict without assuming them, 4 of them seem to match the experimental values very well and 2 predictions are completely new, expecting to be falsified or confirmed (a Majorana phase and the Dirac CP-phase).

That's quite something. Look at Table 3 on page 10 of the paper to see those amazingly accurate predictions for the masses, mixing angles, CP-violating angles, and neutrinos' squared-mass differences. I am impressed, especially because four of the confirmed predictions (a rather large number) seem to result as nontrivial predictions of their models.

## Wednesday, May 29, 2013 ... //

### Encouraging high school students talented in physics

...and astronomy

In the afternoon, I spent about 5 hours in Techmania, our local science center/museum built in some no longer operational construction halls of Škoda Works, a major factory in our city.

Your humble correspondent was partly invited as a (now aged) kid who could have benefited from similar events and who could have an idea what kind of aid may be helpful to the kids. There were high school teachers, primarily from a gymnasium in Cheb (a town in the very Western corner of the Czech Republic) and a sport gymnasium in Pilsen (which has educated many excellent and famous Pilsner soccer, ice-hockey, tennis players, and more).

## Tuesday, May 28, 2013 ... //

### Heuristic ideas about bounded prime gaps

Why Yitang Zhang's proof is probably far less fundamental than the claim

Yitang Zhang worked at Subway before he would land a mathematics job. And when he did, he wasn't publishing almost anything for years before he would offer a proof of something rather important weeks ago. That turned the name of the popular math instructor in New Hampshire into one of the most well-known names of number theorists in the world.

Bounded gaps between primes (Zhang's technical paper)
Philosophy behind the proof (Math Overflow)

First proof that... (Nature)

Prime number breakthrough by unknown professor (Telegraph)
If $p_1,p_2,p_3,\dots =2,3,5,\dots$ denotes the $n$-th prime, the statement proven by Zhang may be phrased in a very simple way:$\liminf_{n\to\infty} (p_{n+1}-p_n) \lt 70,000,000.$ The operator above is called the limit inferior which is just$\liminf_{n\to\infty}x_n := \lim_{n\to\infty}\Big(\inf_{m\geq n}x_m\Big)$ If you think about this limit of the infimum for a while, you will understand that the limit inferior in the claim proved by Zhang is just the smallest gap between the adjacent primes that is realized infinitely many times (for infinitely many pairs). In other words, there exists at least one number – a potential gap between adjacent primes – that is realized infinitely many times.

### Smoluchowski, Milanković: birthdays

Two Slavic, Austrian-Hungarian physicists were introduced to the sunlight on May 28th.

Marian Smoluchowski was born as a Pole in Austria in 1872; Milutin Milanković was born as a Serb in (then) Croatia, Kingdom of Hungary, in 1879. Smoluchowski was a statistical physicist; Milanković was a climatologist, astronomer, geophysicist – and also a construction engineer.

Marian Smoluchowski was born to an upper-class family near Vienna. He studied physics in Vienna; Exner and Stefan were among his teachers. His research followed the tradition of Ludwig Boltzmann from the beginning. When he was 40, he moved to Krakow to teach experimental physics. He was a keen mountain-climber and skier in the Alps and the Tatra Mountains. His being a resilient athlete didn't prevent him from death at the age of 45 – dysentery epidemics.

## Monday, May 27, 2013 ... //

### Anticommunist uprising in Pilsen: 60 years ago

One of the numerous historical events that strengthen my pride in my hometown of Pilsen was the 1953 Uprising which was the first credible post-war anticommunist uprising in the Soviet bloc and the only violent anticommunist rebellion in the history of the communist Czechoslovakia (1948-1989).

Pilsen's communist headquarters in the 1950s. We're voting for the candidates of the National Front and against the remilitarization of West Germany, blah blah blah.

It followed the currency reform at the end of May 1953, exactly sixty years ago. Note that in March 1953, i.e. two months earlier, both Stalin and his Czechoslovak counterpart Gottwald died. This year exemplifies the incredible distortion of the economy; some of the numbers sound crazy.

## Saturday, May 25, 2013 ... //

### Global warming is here to stay

Kevin Trenberth wrote the following text:

Global warming is here to stay, whichever way you look at it
So it must be a spherical global warming! Before I will mention every sentence of Trenberth's musings, let me offer you a quiz.

Click the image above to zoom in.

You see a graph that seems to be a graph of some temperatures. You see that the maximum that the temperature has reached on this graph is slightly above 0.7 °C. On the horizontal axis, you see 8 cells. Your task is to guess the value of the temperature now, pretty much in the middle of the next, 9th cell (the first one on the right side that isn't shown on the graph anymore).

The function seems to be increasing, right?

### Eric Weinstein's invisible theory of nothing

On Friday, I received an irritated message from Mel B. who had read articles in the Guardian claiming that Eric Weinstein found a theory of everything or something close:

Roll over Einstein: meet Weinstein (by Alok Jha)

Eric Weinstein may have found the answer to physics' biggest problems (by Marcus du Sautoy)

Geometric Unity (a lecture at Oxford that no physicist attended)
First, the puns involving names emulating Einstein are extremely far from being new to me because as the most successful Czechoslovak debunker of these new Einsteins (I mean anti-relativity cranks in this particular case), I've spent quite some time with the Slovak crackpot originally named Arthur Bolčo who also wrote the book Arthur Bolstein: An Ordinary Collapse of an Extraordinary Theory (which had both Einstein's and Bolstein's photographs on the cover, cute).

Now, Weinstein is a smart guy, a likable figure, a hedge fund speculator, the father of the MathWorld encyclopedia later run on Wolfram's domain (mistake! A different man, see the comments), and a discrete physicist close to folks like Edward Frenkel, a mathematician at Berkeley.

But the stories in the Guardian are just completely insane because they have absolute no basis.

## Friday, May 24, 2013 ... //

### Sheldon Glashow on future of HEP in the U.S.

...plus a wonderful interview with Nima about HEP and failures of science popularization at the end...

Sheldon Glashow, a co-father of the electroweak theory, wrote a 6-page essay about

Particle Physics in The United States, A Personal View
It is as phenomenological or experiment-oriented as you can get. Glashow complains that the SSC was cancelled, America lost its leadership in high-energy physics, and the next collider after the LHC is unlikely to be built in the U.S., too.

He offers his personal views on different kinds of experiments and different things they may try to determine, especially those that have a big chance to be performed primarily in the U.S.

### Palo Alto mass killer of Ukulele Orchestra caught

I guess that many female readers would call this guy a heart-throb.

More importantly, however, Kevin Dahlgren (*1992) of Palo Alto is a mass killer who has murdered a Czech family of four in Brno, the second largest country in Czechia and the capital of Moravia (130 miles southeast of Prague).

A San Francisco Chronicle blog explains that he had some identity crisis and had to leave his family. The family hoped that his psychological state would improve overseas.

So he went to Czechia to teach English. Unfortunately, a family of four – the Harok family (my research using publicly available information only) – had to pay with their lives for the treatment of this guy. A mother (who is a teacher), a father, and two sons. The father (Martin Harok) and one of the two sons (Filip Harok – all the names are my research) were members of the "Ukulele Orchestra jako Brno" ("jako" means "as" or "as big as", in this case, and "jako Brno" is being used by all Czechs for something that is really big, almost like the City of Brno; it's a pun because these guys were from Brno; ukulele is a primitive musical instrument).

## Thursday, May 23, 2013 ... //

### Does global warming cause tornadoes?

It was sort of inevitable that the deadly tornadoes in Oklahoma would ultimately be blamed on global warming and CO2 by someone. While most people – including those alarmed by "climate change" – reject this attribution, you can find pretty powerful people who promote this incredible link.

Senator Barbara Boxer was perhaps the most powerful person who enthusiastically supported the idea that the tornado outbreak was a message from Nature telling us to introduce new carbon taxes. She really sounds religious.

You may find lots of stories in the media that discuss a possible connection between tornadoes and the enhanced greenhouse effect. Thankfully, almost all of them (e.g. NY Daily News, Washington Examiner) say that there's no connection. But Barbara Boxer knows that such a connection would strengthen the case for the new taxes – so it must be a part of the consensus, right?

Without actually thinking about the science or asking researchers, leftwingers generally assume that whatever is convenient for their "cause" must be a part of the "scientific consensus".

### Augustin-Louis Cauchy: an anniversary

By the number of mathematical papers he wrote, Augustin-Louis Cauchy was second just to Leonhard Euler. As many college freshmen may testify, more theorems and concepts in mathematics were named after Cauchy than anyone else. And a conservative theoretical physicist shouldn't omit a CV of Cauchy because Cauchy was... well... very conservative!

He died on May 23rd, 1857, i.e. exactly 156 years ago. But before he managed to do that, he had to do many other things. For example, he had to be born – in August 1789, just a month after Bastille was stormed by a crowd on the street, a mess we often call the beginning of the French Revolution.

### Intriguing spectra of finite unified theories (FUT)

In November, I discussed FUTs (finite unified theories) which are $\NNN=1$ supersymmetric grand-unification-inspired versions of MSSM with the additional constraint that the divergences already cancel at the level of the effective field theory. This finiteness boils down to the vanishing of the beta-functions, some anomalous dimensions, and some relationships between the gauge and Yukawa couplings.

This condition doesn't seem to be a "must" – the divergences may very well be taken care of by the high-energy phenomena (string theory ultimately takes care of all divergences so its approximations don't have to be finite by themselves) – but it is an aesthetically intriguing condition, anyway. Now, the same authors released a new paper

Finite Theories Before and After the Discovery of a Higgs Boson at the LHC (S. Heinemeyer, M. Mondragon, G. Zoupanos)
where they calculate some new predictions and intriguing details.

## Wednesday, May 22, 2013 ... //

### A proof of the Riemann Hypothesis using the convergence of an integral

Thursday morning update: After many hours, I decided that there is a critical error in the otherwise cleverly constructed proof. On page 138 (discussing Lemma 3), second part, he says "whence the function converges absolutely" essentially for any $z$ with a real positive part. But it seems he hasn't really established that (except for circular reasoning) because if RH is false, and it may be false, the numerator $|\psi(e^t)-e^t|$ goes like $e^{at}$ for some positive $a$ and the region of convergence is shifted by $a$. So the "absolute" part of the convergence isn't correctly proven, it seems to me. Maybe it's enough to prove the "ordinary" convergence but I suspect that there could be a similar error in the $g_1$ part of Lemma 3, too. Apologies if I am making a mistake.

## Saturday, May 18, 2013 ... //

### Ways to discover matrix string theory

...more precisely screwing string theory...

The 5,250+ TRF blog entries discuss various topics, mostly scientific ones, including minor advances. However, there isn't any text on this website that would talk about matrix string theory (inpendently found 2 months later by a herald who inaugurated the new Dutch king and an ex-co-author of mine along with two twins).

If you search for the closest topic, you will find one article about Matrix theory published a year ago and a supplement about membranes in Matrix theory that was added a week later.

### President is right to veto Martin Putna's professorship

What is the most intensely discussed event in the Czech news these days?

Czech president Miloš Zeman decided to reject the recommendation of an academic council at the Charles University and not to name Dr Martin C. Putna as a full professor. The title "professor" is supposed to be somewhat more special in Czechia because the people with this proper title are named by the president of the country personally. In some sense, they're more analogous to the holders of the National Medal of Science. Like the amnesty, pardons, and members of the constitutional courts, the ability to influence the composition of the full professors is one of the traces of the power of the Czech president – a role that has become largely ceremonial over the decades.

Judging by the screaming in the media and comments and votes in various discussions, about 95% if not 99% of the people in the political parties, schools, and various intellectuals and pseudointellectuals criticize president Zeman for the decision. I can't even imagine how isolated I would feel if I belonged to that environment. In certain cases, one simply has to remain a dissident. When one dares to agree with such a decision by the president of the country, it's clearly one of these heresies.

It must be politically incorrect to point out that Mr Putna is a decadent moron and bigot who shouldn't be considered a good scholar – and who would clearly devaluate and humiliate the ring of the word "professor" if he were elected one. President Zeman must see it in a similar way and he wrote the justification of the refusal to the ministry of education. Many people are screaming that he must publish the justification except that 1) it's not the president's duty, 2) it would only lead to an escalation of the problems. How would it help if President Zeman pointed out that from a scholarly perspective, Mr Putna is just a pile of politically correct decadent crap? (Update, Sunday: Zeman suggested that the problem with Putna was his presence at Prague Pride, a gay parade.)

## Friday, May 17, 2013 ... //

### William Happer on CNBC

Things have improved a little bit in the attitude of the media to the climate debate.

This is what Princeton physicist Prof Will Happer was allowed to point out on TV – and it wasn't even Fox News! ;-)

### String theory = Bayesian inference?

The following paper by Jonathan Heckman of Harvard is either wrong, or trivial, or revolutionary:

Statistical Inference and String Theory
I don't understand it so far but Jonathan claims that one may derive the equations of general relativity – and, in fact, the equations of string theory – from something as general as Bayesian inference by a collective of agents.

## Thursday, May 16, 2013 ... //

### Valtr Komárek: 1930-2013

U.S.: As predicted and discussed on TRF exactly 3 months ago, Ernest Moniz became the new U.S. secretary of energy.
Valtr Komárek died today (Fox News). He was one of the key minds behind the Velvet Revolution, in some sense a senior collaborator of the current Czech president and the previous one, and a left-wing politician whom I respected – and be sure they make up a very exclusive set.

His unusual biography reflects the dramatic history of Czechoslovakia and the whole world in the 20th century.

## Wednesday, May 15, 2013 ... //

### Novim Group: "Just Science" AGW app

Paul O. helped me to possess an iPod Touch, because of my modest contributions to his Our Climate app. I have downloaded about 500 applications on the device and the new addition today is called Just Science. This free app occupies about 50 megabytes on your iDevice.

It was created by the Novim Group led by Michael Ditmore at UC Santa Barbara; the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature team led by Richard Muller belongs to the group.

The application does one thing only – it shows you a map of the globe with animated colorful maps showing how the temperature was changing between 1800 or so and today in various regions around stations that reported and on a monthly basis.

### Richard Dawid: String Theory and the Scientific Method

Richard Dawid is a philosopher of science who was trained as a high-energy theoretical physicist and his new book that you may pre-order – it will be released at the end of June – isn't another addition to the rants by endless rows of populist crackpots, jerks, and imbeciles who try to criticize string theory without a glimpse of a rational justification (those extraordinarily stupid and dishonest books peaked about 7 years ago).

Instead, it is a philosopher's attempt to identify and localize, name, summarize, articulate, and present the reasons why string theory could have become the definition of status quo in the state-of-the-art theoretical physics despite the fact that the most natural conditions that string theory has something "new and direct" to say about seem to be inaccessible far from the currently doable experiments.

## Sunday, May 12, 2013 ... //

### IRS was used to intimidate political opposition in the U.S.

During my decade in the U.S., my tax returns got audited at least twice – both of them had to be fixed when I was already back in Europe and Obama was in charge (2009, for 2007); one was federal and the other one was a Massachusetts tax audit under Deval Patrick (related to 2006, done in 2010). The number seems high to everyone and I view it as rather strong evidence that it's no coincidence.

A scandal in the U.S. strengthens the case:

IRS official knew in 2011 of 'Tea Party' targeting: watchdog report
In 2011, the tax-collecting organization was specifically harassing tax-exempt social welfare charities with keywords indicating that they were Tea Party-affiliated or conservative in general. Their applications were selectively delayed, they were ordered to publish the names of all the sponsors, and so on, and so on.

## Saturday, May 11, 2013 ... //

### Feynman, Schwarzschild: anniversaries

Richard Feynman would celebrate his 95th birthday today.

BBC2 on Sunday: The Fantastic Mr Feynman to be aired; Telegraph review. Those who pay TV fees in the UK are probably allowed to download the video via this torrent. Well, they can watch it via iPlayer, too.
One of the most colorful and ingenious physicists of the 20th century would deserve much more than a blog entry – so just like in the cases of other giants, I will abandon all attempts to write a would-be comprehensive biography.

Instead, you may watch this 37-minute NOVA interview (above) filmed in 1973. You're also invited to remind yourself about the story of Feynman and feminists (the latter were clearly immensely obnoxious already decades ago). Interestingly, you may look what I wrote exactly five years ago.

## Friday, May 10, 2013 ... //

### Why we should work hard to raise the CO2 concentration

Many texts about the climate and related issues are highly, boringly repetitive. I believe that a typical person who regularly follows the research and debate about similar issues has heard 99% of the things that are written about the climate change or carbon dioxide etc. Even the research that claims to be new is often just rehashing some memes that have been around – and we usually have very good reasons to suspect that the results of the research were decided before the research was performed.

But there are some good exceptions. Two days ago, ex-moonwalker Harrison Schmitt and physics professor Will Happer of Princeton wrote an opinion article for the Wall Street Journal from which I could have learned some new things:

Harrison H. Schmitt and William Happer: In Defense of Carbon Dioxide

The demonized chemical compound is a boon to plant life and has little correlation with global temperature.
The basic theme of the article is simple and most of us learned it as fifth-graders: CO2 is primarily the plant food while its other implications for Nature are negligible in comparison. Humanitarian organizations should work hard to help the mankind to increase the CO2 concentration and it's surprising that virtually all of them are failing to do so.

### In the honor of the heterotic string

Heterosis or the hybrid vigor or outbreeding enhancement is the lucky event (and an important component of Darwin's evolution) in which the offspring has qualitites that surpass both parents, usually because it inherits the good characteristics from both.

The parents are on both sides.

If you search for "heterosis" or "hybrid vigor" via Google Images, you get lots of pictures of corn, puppies, cows, fictitious animal species, and Barack Obama, among other things.

In 1985, four Princeton physicists ignited the second part of the first superstring revolution (that began in 1984) when they discovered the cleverly named heterotic string in their two papers. These men, Gross+Harvey+Martinec+Rohm, are sometimes referred to as the Princeton String Quartet. You won't find any concert of theirs on YouTube but there are lots of pieces by the Brentano String Quartet playing at Princeton.

## Thursday, May 09, 2013 ... //

### Nassim Haramein: science as religion

It is the second time when I was contacted by someone who seems to be a fan of Nassim Haramein. Who is that? Another surfer dude in Hawaii, a self-taught supergenius, we are told, who will give us unlimited free energy according to the green optimists (no, there has never been anything remotely rational about the environmentalists), who has an impressive website called The Resonance Project, who will unify the mankind, and do tons of other wonderful things.

In fact, when you search for YouTube videos with him, you seem to get over 75,000 hits, videos that cover not only his unified theory, physics and spirituality, the pyramids and orion belt, but also everything else that some folks could find deep and important.

## Tuesday, May 07, 2013 ... //

### Short questions often require long answers and proofs

Several debaters as well as complexity theorist Boaz Barak religiously worship their belief that it must be that $P\neq NP$ and that the question whether the proposition holds is extremely deep because $P=NP$ would revolutionize the whole world.

Most of their would-be arguments are examples irrational hype, fabricated justifications of the limited progress in a field, and group think. I will primarily focus on a single major wrong thesis they promote, namely the idea that a mechanical or polynomially fast or efficient algorithm to solve a problem specified by a short prescription must be short, too.

So let me begin.

## Monday, May 06, 2013 ... //

### Comparing the depth of the millennium problems

The Riemann Hypothesis is probably the deepest one

In 2000, the Clay Mathematics Institute offered 7 times \$1,000,000 for the proofs of the Millennium Prize Problems. Is it possible to compare which of them are deeper than others?

Needless to say, such a comparison depends on personal preferences, emotions, and there is probably no rigorous way to "prove" that one problem is deeper than others. However, that doesn't mean that one can't have an opinion; and it doesn't prevent some opinions from being more well-informed than others.

## Saturday, May 04, 2013 ... //

### Aaronson's anthropic dilemmas

This text has been expanded and covers the rest of the book... Originally posted on May 1st

If you read my previous observations on Scott Aaronson's book including all the comments, you will see my remarks about all the chapters up to Chapter 15 about the quantum computation skeptics – where I agree with almost everything Aaronson writes although he seems to focus on the dumb criticisms and writes too little about the more intelligent ones (and e.g. about the error-correcting codes).

Chapter 16 is about learning; perhaps too much formalism if we compare it with the relatively modest implications for our understanding of the process of learning.

Chapter 17 is the most hardcore "computational complexity" part of the book and hopefully the last one that is intensely focusing on the complexity classes. It's about interactive proof systems. Aaronson often wants to present all of computer science as a "fundamental scientific discipline" so he tries to apply these superlatives to aforementioned "interactive issues", too.

I have a lot of trouble to get excited about these problems.

## Friday, May 03, 2013 ... //

### Will you help John Cook "quantify the consensus"?

An Australian man concerned with climate change, John Cook, has sent me, because of this "one of the more highly trafficked climate blogs on the web" you are just reading, the following link:

Survey of Peer-Reviewed Scientific Research (University of Queensland)
I suppose that the gibberish characters at the end of the URL will be used to identify the TRF readers.

If you have fifteen minutes or so, you may try to be asked about 10 randomly chosen (unverified) abstracts of 1991-2011 papers from "Web of Science" and whether or not (at the scale 1-7) they confirm the "consensus" on the hysterical man-made global warming.

## Thursday, May 02, 2013 ... //

### Two dark matter papers

When it comes to the existence of dark matter, I have two news – good and bad. Let me begin with the bad news.

We often discuss provoking statements by some of the dark matter direct search experiments that claim that they see evidence of a dark matter particle under the ground. But there's still one staunch experiment in the "Dark Matter Is Not Seen" axis of the dark matter wars that refuses all these claims, XENON100 (soon to be upgraded to XENON1T: yes, the numbers stand for 100 kilograms and 1 ton of liquid xenon).

The latest exclusion plot described in this paper (click) is rather cheeky.

## Wednesday, May 01, 2013 ... //

### Genus 5+ supermoduli space is not split

In multiloop diagrams, superstring theory is more than bosonic string theory with a cherry on a pie

Three weeks ago, I discussed the possible shapes of the two-dimensional torus. They were parameterized by the parameter $\tau\in\CC$ with an extra symmetry, "modular invariance" $SL(2,\ZZ)$, identifying countable sets of values of $\tau$.

The torus may be considered as a genus-one Riemann surface (a sphere with $h=1$ added handle to it) and it plays the role – aside from other roles – of the 1-loop "thickened" Feynman diagram in string theory (with purely closed strings). There exist diagrams with an arbitrary number of loops and Edward Witten and Ron Donagi have prepared a surprise for us today.