Friday, October 31, 2014 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Parts of wave function trapped in helium bubbles

Even Leon Cooper caught as saying completely wrong things about quantum mechanics

In the world of genuine physics, nothing has changed about the quantum foundations of the discipline since the mid 1920s or the late 1920s. In the media world, we are told about a revolution at least once a week. Less than a week ago, the fad would be all about the many interacting worlds. All of it has been forgotten by now. The new fad is about a mysterious electron's wave function shockingly divided and stunningly trapped in helium bubbles.

All of these wonderful echoes in the media echo chamber boil down to the Brown University press release announcing a paper in a journal

Can the wave function of an electron be divided and trapped? (also at

Study of Exotic Ions in Superfluid Helium and the Possible Fission of the Electron Wave Function
by Prof Humprey Maris, a senior experimenter, and collaborators.

Now, let me make it clear that I do believe that he is a good experimenter and these are actually good and interesting experiments performed with interesting and probably expensive cryogenics devices. But the shortage of a good theoretical background and a scientifically solid interpretation of their observations is striking and it guarantees that the press release, and especially its echoes in the media, is completely detached from the scientific substance.

Thursday, October 30, 2014 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

NPR releases another anti-SUSY rant

Exactly half a year ago, Joe Lykken and Maria Spiropulu printed an unwise anti-physics diatribe in Scientific American. In order to prove that it's not weaker in similar fashionable attacks, NPR published its own rant written by a professional critic of science named Marcelo Gleiser:

Are Physicists Ready To Give Up The Chase For SUSY?
It was at the end of April 2014. Now it's the end of October 2014 and NPR printed an anti-SUSY article written by a man named Marcelo Gleiser:
Can Scientific Belief Go Too Far?
If your child couldn't understand what "deja vu" means, maybe you could use these two articles as an example. You may also use these articles to explain the slogan by Joseph Goebbels, "a lie repeated 100 times becomes the truth".

Wednesday, October 29, 2014 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Maldacena's fairy-tale on exchange rates, gauge theories, and the Higgs

Juan Maldacena wrote a popular essay on gauge symmetries and their breaking:

The symmetry and simplicity of the laws of physics and the Higgs boson (PDF).
It's sometimes being said that Einstein's discovery of the special theory of relativity was helped by Einstein's work with the patents dealing with the train synchronization. I think that it's not really true (Einstein was stunned by the apparent contradiction between Maxwell's field theory and Newtonian mechanics long before he worked with the patents: sorry, Peter Galison) but it's good enough as a fairy-tale.

The next Maldacena may arrive from Zimbabwe.

Analogously, we learn that Maldacena's work with gauge theories was helped by the chronic inflation in his homeland, Argentina. The persistent monetary inflation and currency reforms – something that many of us consider to be "once in a century" painful event – became as mundane in Argentina as a gauge transformation. In fact, as Maldacena shows (and he is not the first one, I guess), it is not just an analogy. The switching to another unit of wealth is a special case of a gauge transformation.

With this experience, a European or North American gauge theorist facing Maldacena must feel just like a European soccer player facing Argentina, if we recall another observation by Juan at Strings 2014.

Separate elections in Ukraine speed up the dissolution of the country

The bulk of Ukraine held parliamentary elections on Sunday.

On Wednesday, we still don't know what the final results are. But we're very close and it seems that six parties will surpass the 5% threshold get into the Parliament:

  1. Yatsenyuk's Scientological People's Front (22+%)
  2. Poroshenko-Klitschko Bloc (22-%)
  3. Self-Reliance (11%)
  4. Opposition Bloc (Party of Regions artifacts) (9.5%)
  5. Lyashko's Radical Clown Party (7.5%)
  6. Yulia Tymoshenko's Fatherland (5.5%)
First, let me mention that the results differ from the pre-election estimates in many respects.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Distance between quantum field theories

The first and most interesting hep-th paper today is

Relative Entropy and Proximity of Quantum Field Theories
by Vijay Balasubramanian, Jonathan J. Heckman, and Alexander Maloney. They use the notion of relative entropy\[

D_{KL} (p||q) = \int \dd\mu (z)\, p(z)\log \frac{p(z)}{q(z)}

\] that is well-known to folks in machine learning (Kaggle anyone?) and related fields to quantify how far two quantum field theories are, how much information you lose when you run from the ultraviolet to the infrared.

Monday, October 27, 2014 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Tiny dark energy from co-existence of phases

There are some interesting hep-ph articles on the arXiv today. I will mention two of them – both papers are available on owned by Elsevier (so their title pages are almost identical). First, there is the paper

SUSY fits with full LHC Run I data
by the MasterCode Collaboration (represented by Kees Jan de Vries). They present the state-of-the-art fits on simple supersymmetric models. Unless one relies on a significant amount of good luck, the anomalous value of the muon magnetic moment can only be satisfactorily explained by the superpartners – without contradicting the current bounds imposed by the LHC – if one sacrifices the usual grand-unification-inspired relationship between the MSSM couplings.

But I want to spend more time with
On the smallness of the cosmological constant
by Froggatt, Nevzorov, Nielsen, and Thomas (they have written similar papers in the past). They want to explain the small value of the cosmological constant – and perhaps also of the Higgs mass – in the Planck units using their "Multiple Point Principle" (MPP).

Second alarming explosive in Doubravka in 10 days

The greenest neighborhood of Pilsen where I live, Doubravka (Pilsen 4, the Eastern neighborhood; the name is a "little" variation of "Doubrava", an archaic Czech word for an oak forest), would also be viewed as the most peaceful one, despite an occassional acid attack. However, that image may have changed in this month.

The renovated interiors of the "Centrum" department store and sports and cultural center

While we are nowhere close to Donetsk, Ottawa, or Marysville, the inhabitants and especially the local police have had some fun with explosives here in the recent 10 days.

Sunday, October 26, 2014 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Interstellar: the best visualization of black hole's environment

I wrote about the Interstellar (2014) movie and Kip Thorne's role as a star in the movie more than a year ago.

But the premiere of Christopher Nolan's film is rapidly approaching now. Next Wednesday, London will see the world premiere and it will be followed by the U.S. premiere exactly one week later.

Saturday, October 25, 2014 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Many interacting worlds approach is an original, equally flawed cousin of Bohmian mechanics

All the major "realist" attempts to reform the foundations of quantum mechanics – de Broglie-Bohmian mechanics, Ghirardi-Rimini-Weber-like collapse theories, and Everett-style many worlds – are known to suffer from serious diseases. To a large extent, "realism" itself is the problem.

Off-topic, physics: In Physics World, Sylvester Jim Gates Jr explains why he is Sticking With SUSY. Doing something else would be as unwise as to conclude that giant sequoia trees don't exist after looking at the U.S. East Coast only. Supersymmetry, a Bose-Fermi symmetry, is really needed to "deeply" explain the established fact that the quantizations of fermions and bosons are so analogous; and to cancel lots of destabilizing divergences.
I am still willing to admit that there is no truly "rock-solid proof" of the statement that "there cannot be any realist reinterpretation or 'improvement' of quantum mechanics". This sentence is composed of words and we don't really know what the "most general type of a theory we would naturally consider realist" looks like. We can't define it. Maybe a way to reformulate quantum mechanics "smells" realist and all the "novelties" of quantum mechanics are traded for another feature of the reformulation that seemingly does something else than to refute realism. I find the existence of such a "realist" reinterpretation – even in this vague, generalized sense – extremely unlikely but I can't really "prove" that it doesn't exist.

So I am always open-minded when I read about a "completely new" approach to the reform of the foundations of quantum mechanics. Every such an approach may only be abandoned after we actually identify its lethal flaw if it exists. Of course, the lethal flaws are well-known for the most notorious "alternative approaches" and most articles about such matters share these flaws. However, when something is sufficiently new, one has to look at it with a "new dose of potential enthusiasm". That was also the case of the "new interpretation of quantum mechanics" (note that before this sentence, I've managed to avoid the word "interpretation") that was hyped in Nature yesterday:
A quantum world arising from many ordinary ones (Nature, popular)

Quantum Phenomena Modeled by Interactions between Many Classical Worlds (by Hall, Deckert, Wiseman, Physical Review X, PDF)
I must have heard of "Physical Review X" ("X" probably stands for "XXX", or porn for short) but the shortage of meaningful papers in that outlet has made me forget about the existence of the journal again.

Friday, October 24, 2014 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Warren Buffett's vicepresident donates $65 million to UCSB visiting theoretical physicists

Charles Munger, the vice-president of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., donated over $65 million in stocks to the University of California in Santa Barbara. It's the largest individual gift to UCSB ever, beating the previous record $50 million in 2012. The university doesn't quite understand the concept of "holding stocks" so it immediately converted them to cash.

Munger wants the money to be used to house visiting theoretical physicists – probably to build a new dormitory for guests. He is impressed by the achievements of the physicists over there.

EU 40% CO2 reduction by 2030 is a plan to destroy the whole system twice

A damp rag nicknamed Herman Van Rompuy (yes, check what is the most popular YouTube video about him) and his apparatchik friends have finally agreed about an insane 15-year plan (a 3 times more ambitious time scale than Stalin liked to "command")

EU leaders agree CO2 emissions cut
It's an atrocious piece of communist planning. Poland and others probably agreed with this insanity because they were promised a few bucks (negligible $3 billion dollars over a decade in the case of Czechia) as a compensation.

Thursday, October 23, 2014 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

House and energy, a conference

I just returned from Bohemian Budweis – just to be sure, my dear American readers, it's the town that gave the name to the beer and if someone tries to convince you about a different story about the origin of the name, you're being had! ;-)

The town is nice, a smaller Pilsen of a sort, a town with some extra traces of the rural Czech aristocracy. Unlike the cities in Northern Bohemia which used to belong to the Sudetenland, there is no obvious "traumatic feeling" of a post-war decline associated with the depopulation and repopulation.

Linguistically, Southern Bohemia was defined as the "healthy (rural) core" of the Czech nation so the people over there define what the Czech language without any accents or dialects looks like. They have the credentials to make fun of the accents and dialects of everyone else, and of course, they did exploit this capital in some friendly conversations with your humble Pilsner correspondent. ;-)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

POLARBEAR announces detection of B-modes

Focus of the March paper is mostly orthogonal to the BICEP2-Planck dispute

You are often being told that polar bears love the chilling weather and thick ice but POLARBEAR is a CMB experiment located in a desert in Chile (although the altitude is over 5 kilometers). Californian cosmologists from Berkeley and San Diego are the main members of the collaboration.

A few hours ago, it announced a "breakthrough" that was reported in the media:

POLARBEAR detects B-modes in the cosmic microwave background: Mapping cosmic structure, finding neutrino masses (Science Daily, news)

A Measurement of the Cosmic Microwave Background B-mode Polarization Power Spectrum at Sub-degree Scales with POLARBEAR (Astrophysical Journal, arXiv)
A problem with the hype is that the paper producing the story is nothing else than the March 2014 preprint that many of us have seen a long time ago. But let me discuss this as if the story were really new because no blog post has been dedicated specifically to POLARBEAR yet.

They describe themselves as the most accurate ones, and so on.

Peter Thiel talks to Glenn Beck

Peter Thiel is arguably the world's most ingenious venture capitalist. He is a co-founder of PayPal, the first major Facebook investor, a hedge fund boss, a libertarian, an excellent chess player, and one of the most influential folks in Silicon Valley.

He believes that there is an education bubble and he actively (by significant felllowships) encourages smart kids to escape from the conventional, left-wing-politics-dominated academic system, and become builders of an independent, competing, more pro-freedom framework for the elite.

I admit that my discussions with him in Nice may make me a bit biased. As far as I remember, no other dollar billionaire has ever invited me to a luxurious place for a week and no other billionaire has asked me so many good questions about the expectations at the LHC etc. (Those 4 years ago, I happened to have a "flu" over there which, I became almost certain later, was always caused by Candida, not by viruses or bacteria. I have pretty much chased those "flus" from my life.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Lisi, triality, postmodernism, and Hawaiian beaches

After the merchant of smear Ms Naomi Oreskes, Edward Witten has another "peer" who has also been interviewed by John "End of Science" Horgan: the surfer dude also known as Garrett Lisi:

Surfer-Physicist Garrett Lisi Offers Alternative to String Theory—and Academia
The absurdity of this company is self-evident and comical. Horgan begins by an explanation why Garrett Lisi is "famous". In November 2007, Lisi submitted a paper on a theory of everything. Lee Smolin added him to his short list of 17 "geniuses" (which included 5 people whom Smolin hasn't slept with; I make no statements whether Lisi belonged to that group) – crackpots who were Smolin's "proteges" and hopefuls to become the "next Smolin" i.e. the world's most celebrated crackpot at a given moment. This "endorsement" was clearly sufficient for tons of low-brow journalists to run stories about a surfer dude who revolutionized physics.

Surfer babes

The paper boasted Lisi's ability to notice some of the basic relationships among the Lie group \(E_8\) and its subgroups – Lisi was demonstrably unfamiliar with most of the basic facts from this class even several years after his preprint – and he distorted many of the group-theoretical facts underlying GUT quantum field theories and heterotic string theory model building to "incorporate" gravity into the "grand unified force" in unorthodox, namely wrong, ways. A key tool to sell the paper was a simple visualization of the weights of \(E_8\). The model suffered from some elementary flaws that a good graduate student could have seen within minutes. He misunderstood – and the model ignored – the spin \(j=2\) of the gravitons and the chirality of the Standard Model fermions, among many other basic things.

Alarmists argue about the 5-year plan

The alarmist party is split to a joule wing and a kelvin wing

Three weeks ago, Mr Victor and Mr Kennel admitted in Nature that the 2 °C "warming target" is a plain idiocy. In the climate alarmist movement, even such obviously valid observations turn out to be immensely controversial.

So Stefan Rahmstorf published another memo on RealClimate.ORG,

Ocean heat storage: a particularly lousy policy target
The tirade starts with a 2027 article in the New York Times where they announced that the 2 °C target was replaced by the 1024 joule target after the 385th gathering of the climate alarmists on the Bahamas. If I suppress all the redundant junk, Rahmstorf's article says that it's bad to replace kelvins by joules in the deep ocean because no one cares about the deep ocean and it takes centuries for the heat to penetrate to the ocean.

(Incidentally, neither Rahmstorf nor a single other participant of the RealClimate.ORG exchanges knows that the units such as joules and kelvins are written in lowercase letters. So the answer to the question "Are you smarter than a 5th grader, climate scientist?" may very well be "No.")

Monday, October 20, 2014 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Paul Dirac on dimensionless constants and the "large number hypothesis"

Paul Dirac (see TRF biography) died exactly 30 years ago, on October 20th, 1984.

He was an eminent physicist, a co-father of quantum mechanics, the author of the Dirac equation, and a man who was convinced that the

Physical law should have mathematical beauty.
He wrote down this important sentence in capital letters on a blackboard during his 1955 lecture in Moscow. ;-)

U.S. entry bans for Hungarian officials are abuses of power

Everyone who knows my long-term views on the history and politics of Central Europe must know very well that I am pretty unlikely to defend some "political idiosyncrasies" of Hungary, especially those that are flavored with nationalism.

Our Slovak brothers would sometimes have problems with Hungary, partly due to the large Hungarian minority that stayed on the Slovak territory, despite Hungary's losing status after the Second World War. I think that when Czechoslovakia was created in 1918, it was wise for the Western powers to incorporate the "potentially controversial" territories into (Czecho)Slovakia because (Czecho)Slovakia had a much higher potential for democracy and respect towards ethnic minorities than Hungary, as the following decades helped to confirm. I think that Slovakia was right to argue that a Hungarian-Slovak treaty about the Gabčíkovo-Nagymarosz dam was valid, despite the nationally flavored backlash by the Hungarian greens and their allies. And so on.

But the way how Hungary and its most powerful party, Fidesz, along with its boss, prime minister Viktor Orbán, is being treated by many politicians in the West is unacceptable.

Sunday, October 19, 2014 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Would it be wise for Russia to conquer Sweden?

Well, the historical record is surely encouraging for Russia. It hasn't lost in numerous wars (mostly in the 18th century) against Sweden – the last one, the 1808-1809 "Finnish War", meant that Sweden had to transfer Finland to Russia.

We're told that Sweden has glimpsed some foreign submarine(s) 50 km away from Stockholm and detected emergency radio signals from the submarine(s) on one side and the Kaliningrad region on the other side. The idea is that Russia is beginning to violate the sovereignty of Sweden.

Of course, one must be careful about far-reaching interpretations.

The submarine hunts in Swedish territorial waters have been common for decades and the most famous one – sensationally involving the U 137 "fine-structure constant" Soviet submarine – occurred in 1981. Some of those operations may have been NATO false flag operations designed to affect the public opinion in "neutral Sweden", it may be true now as well, and all these things are very complicated.

Just to be sure, I believe that it is extremely likely that the newest submarine incident near Stockholm doesn't mean anything important. However, it seems reasonable to me to think about the possibility that it could mean something more important.

Saturday, October 18, 2014 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

ETs, hippies, loons introduce Andrew Strominger

...or a yogi and another nude man?

Exactly one week ago, Andrew Strominger of Harvard gave a Science and Cocktails talk in Christiania – a neighborhood of Copenhagen, Denmark.

The beginning of this 64-minute lecture on "Black Holes, String Theory and the Fundamental Laws of Nature" is rather extraordinary and if you only want to see the weirdest introduction of a fresh winner of the Dirac Medal, just listen to the first three minutes of the video.

Paper: feminists are authoritarians with a hyper-male ratio of finger lengths

A study indicates that feminists shouldn't be clumped together with women

Every sane adult has been able to notice that there exist profound biological differences between men and women that go well beyond the "obvious shape of some organs" and affect pretty much everything, including very fine correlations describing the behavioral patterns. The feminist movement is partly based on the denial of these basic facts. Why are they doing these things?

They often say that they are fighting to improve the conditions for women. However, as the paper below states, only a minority of women in modern societies count themselves as feminists. Certain folks think that this is paradoxical – it's been named the feminist paradox. Why do most women think that feminists suck if feminists claim to fight for women's conditions?

A Swedish-Belgian paper in Frontiers of Psychology gives a rather clear potential answer (thanks to Doug K. for the URL):

Feminist activist women are masculinized in terms of digit-ratio and social dominance: a possible explanation for the feminist paradox (by Guy Madison, Babe Ulrika, John, and Michael)
The answer is that the feminists mean something else by the word "women" because the members of the feminist movement have significant differences from the true, typical, feminine women. In some sense, the paper is a somewhat more rigorous description of the well-known observation that feminists are ugly yelling men-like bitches.

Friday, October 17, 2014 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Lorentz violation: zero or 10 million times smaller than previously thought

One of the research paradigms that I consider insanely overrated is the idea that the fundamental theory of Nature may break the Lorentz symmetry – the symmetry underlying the special theory of relativity – and that the theorist may pretty much ignore the requirement that the symmetry should be preserved.

The Super-Kamiokande collaboration has published a new test of the Lorentz violation that used over a decade of observations of atmospheric neutrinos:

Test of Lorentz Invariance with Atmospheric Neutrinos
The Lorentz-violating terms whose existence they were trying to discover are some bilinear terms modifying the oscillations of the three neutrino species, \(\nu_e,\nu_\mu,\nu_\tau\), by treating the temporal and spatial directions of the spacetime differently.

Annapurna circuit trekking route: Western companies should build better GSM coverage

One week ago, Cyclone Hudhud landed in Eastern India and it brought some bad weather to the Himalaya Mountains, too. October is very popular with the courageous visitors of Nepal. However, meteorologists must have failed to predict that such a cyclone is likely to bring lots and lots of snow to the highest mountains in the world.

As you must have heard, unexpected avalanches killed at least 29 people yesterday even though 220 people have been saved. The casualties include 4 Canadians, 4 Nepali guides, 3 Nepali herders, 3 Indians, 3 Israeli, 3 Poles, 2 Slovaks, and some people with unknown nationality.

Thursday, October 16, 2014 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

An overlooked paper discovering axions gets published

What's the catch?

Sam Telfer has noticed and tweeted about a Royal Astronomic Society press release promoting today's publication (in Monthly Notices of RAS: link goes live next Monday) of a paper we should (or could) have discussed since or in March 2014 when it was sent to the arXiv – except that no one has discussed it and the paper has no followups at this moment:

Potential solar axion signatures in X-ray observations with the XMM-Newton observatory by George Fraser and 4 co-authors
The figures are at the end of the paper, after the captions. Unfortunately, Prof Fraser died in March, two weeks after this paper was sent to the arXiv. This can make the story about the discovery if it is real dramatic; alternatively, you may view it as a compassionate piece of evidence that the discovery isn't real.

Yes, this photograph of five axions was posted on the blog of the science adviser of The Big Bang Theory. It is no bazinga.

This French-English paper takes some data from XMM-Newton, X-ray Multi-Mirror Mission installed on and orbiting with ESA's Arianne 5's rocket. My understanding is that the authors more or less assume that the orientation of this X-ray telescope is "randomly changing" relatively to both the Earth and the Sun (which may be a problematic assumption but they study some details about the changing orientation, too).

With this disclaimer, they look at the amount of X-rays with energies between \(0.2\) and \(10\keV\) and notice that the flux has a rather clear seasonal dependence. The significance of these effects is claimed to be 4, 5, and 11 sigma (!!!), depending on some details. Seasonal signals are potentially clever but possibly tricky, too: recall that DAMA and (later) CoGeNT have "discovered" WIMP dark matter using the seasonal signals, too.

Feminists vs computer games

Computer gaming belongs among the human activities with the most obvious gender gap. I have experienced this gap clearly among all the contemporaries of myself in the environments that have surrounded me and I observe this gap on my niece-and-nephew, 5-year-old twins, too. This software (even more so than "most software") is predominantly produced by male programmers, and overwhelmingly played by male gamers. The difference between the male and female attitude to computer games is expressed in a song called Computer Games by the LHC, too.

Physics would be attacked by the feminists for being male-dominated. These ladies don't actually want to learn the Feynman path integral – of course, almost none of them could do such a thing – but they love to harm others and their important sophisticated activities. I was unsurprised to see that the computer gaming industry has become another target of the feminists' anger.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Lockheed Martin promises fusion plants by 2024

Off-topic, music: the Macbook of Acapella Science, Tim Blais, the author of "Bohemian Gravity", got stolen along with non-backed-up music data. He is under financial pressure and was asking people for help. Well, within 2 days, he has already collected 3 times his goal to buy a new laptop.
Just in the last week, three self-confident reports on progress in fusion were published – and be sure that I don't count the new "independent test" of Rossi's cold fusion miracle.

What I do count is the dynomak, the Z-machine improvement, and... a today's intriguing announcement by a major aerospace and defense company:
Lockheed Martin Pursuing Compact Nuclear Fusion Reactor Concept (press release)

Aviation Week (good detailed text), Google News
We're told that they bet that their compact nuclear fusion reactor (CFR) – see the diagram above – will power the mankind within ten years.

A good popular text on gravitons and its limitations

In recent 24 hours, I saw a couple of news reports and popular articles about particle physics that were at least fine. For example, Physics World wrote about an experiment looking for WISP dark matter (it's like WIMP but "massive" is replaced by "sub-eV", and axions are the most famous WISPs). The Wall Street Journal wrote something about the RHIC experiment – unfortunately, the text only attracted one comment. The lack of interest in such situations is mostly due to the missing "controversy" and thanks to the technical character of the information.

But I want to mention a text by a "daily explainer" Esther Inglis-Arkell at

What are Gravitons and Why Can't We See Them?
which is pretty good, especially if one realizes that the author doesn't seem to be trained in these issues. Before I tell you about some flaws of the article, I want to focus on what I consider good about it because that may be more important in this case.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Who is a more visceral hater of fundamental physics: skeptics or alarmists?

It's a tie: both groups largely despise pure science and modern physics

A month ago, I mentioned that an interview with Edward Witten had occurred at a very strange place, namely John Horgan's blog hosted by Scientific American.

John "End Of Science" Horgan is a loon and one does expect a completely different kind of people to be interviewed over there. And do you know who was the next interviewee who was interrogated on the same blog?

Naomi “Merchants of Doubt” Oreskes Slams “Corrosive” Climate Change Skepticism
Yes, it's Naomi Oreskes, a hardcore left-wing ideologue who would previously write a notorious article arguing that papers disagreeing with important tenets of the climate hysteria didn't even exist. To make you even more frustrated, the interview with this evil stupid lady has attracted many more comments than the interview with Edward Witten, the world's most cited scientist.

She's not just a hardcore Marxist who has some deluded beliefs. She is a truly evil lady, indeed. When she was visiting Harvard – before a department at that school outrageously hired her – she learned that there was a climate skeptic in the physics department. So she wrote a mail to me with copies sent to all my superiors at Harvard and her alarmist friends who had some potential to harm me personally. The letter claimed that I despised the best scientists (meaning the alarmist whackos) from the last 50 years and something should be done about that.

Decent people obviously agree that she is a despicable bitch who wants to harm inconvenient scholars in ways that don't differ in any way from Hitler's and Stalin's eras. And of course, pretty much everyone in the physics department would agree with me that she was this kind of a šitty monster, to put it really diplomatically. But I also knew that Harvard was filled with individuals not dissimilar to herself who were powerful enough to really spoil other people's lives.

Many years ago, meritocracy had died at Harvard's history department that hired this evil Marxist as faculty.

Ukrainian soldiers among top victims of the fascist terror

Update: Yulia Kharlamova, a Russian "agent", is claimed to be the driver behind the uprising of the Kiev soldiers. Good job, děvuška, and I must say that this and other images suggest that the Ukrainian soldiers' reaction was totally appropriate! ;-)

Last night, hundreds of soldiers from the Ukrainian National Guard – which was founded (again) half a year ago – gathered in front of the president's office in Kiev. Russia Today.

I have watched the rally for some time. Some of the bitches who would scream at the soldiers that they are obliged to risk their lives for her bogus pride were disgusting. Why doesn't the fascist lady go to fight over there instead?

They demanded demobilization, compensation, and winter gear, among other things. Many of them protested that they have to work long after their contracts have expired. It is very clear that most of them consider the civil war to be a stupid enterprise. Their material conditions are really stunning; some of them have been getting less than $12 per month for half a year.

Monday, October 13, 2014 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

ATLAS: two Standard-Model-only Higgs decay papers

Some hours ago, the ATLAS collaboration posted two papers on its website:

Evidence for Higgs boson Yukawa couplings in the \(H \to \tau\tau\) decay mode with the ATLAS detector

Observation and measurement of Higgs boson decays to \(WW^*\) with ATLAS at the LHC
Spoilers alert. Too late. The result is that all the basic figures are found to be in almost exact agreement with the Standard Model.

Sunday, October 12, 2014 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Cold fusion: science which is not a science

A warning at the very beginning. The comment section below this blog post isn't meant to be a platform for believers in Rossi's fraud to promote their religion. I don't consider these people worthy to comment on this blog and I will blacklist them if they are try to do such a thing. This is a physics blog but cold fusion isn't physics. Deal.
Andrea Rossi is not only a crackpot but a convicted crook who has so far spent four years in prison. His newest generation of "cold fusion" gadgets, E-Cat, has been hyped at least since 2011. This blog contains many articles with the name of Andrea Rossi.

Some of the previous blog posts were dedicated to the absurdity of the physical claims – about the possibility to ignite reactions at "room temperature" even though basic calculations imply that these reactions need tens of millions of kelvins to run (to overcome the Coulomb i.e. electrostatic potential energy barrier between the nuclei). I've discussed some elementary mistakes and tricks. Many of these suspicions were later proven to be true. For example, lots of water that was claimed to vaporize didn't vaporize at all – they misunderstood the actual boiling point.

The thermal radiation wasn't what it was claimed to do. More seriously, in the past, the folks around Rossi have already claimed that they could have dramatically changed the isotopic composition of the fuel. Those claims were later shown to be wrong. It is easy to find details about those events in the past.

Czech elections: evaporation of political thought

Between Friday 2 pm and Saturday 2 pm, Czechs were voting their local representatives and 1/3 of the senate, the upper chamber of the Parliament.

It's simple to describe whom I voted for. In Pilsen as well as the city part Pilsen 4, Klaus-founded center-right ODS, the Civic Democratic Party, received my votes "without further detailed refinements of the candidates", and I also voted the ODS' candidate for the senate. Well, more precisely, he is a shared candidate of ODS and Czech Crown, a party trying to restore the monarchy. ;-) This sounds extremely colorful but the candidate and his program actually looks extremely uncolorful.

Mom, dad, I have to tell you something... I will vote for ODS! – Father screaming all over Pilsen (probably inspired by Proletarians of all nations, lick your aßes): What is the right choice for you!? :-) I only saw this hilarious video by "Pilsen is different" on Sunday morning.

It doesn't mean that I am happy about what the ODS has become. But in the Euroelections, I voted for Mach's Euroskeptics (and it was successful, Mach got to the European Parliament) but it didn't seem to me that they had anything coherent to offer for the local (and even senate) elections so I returned a decade or two ago when a vote for ODS was common sense.

It turned out that Pilsen became the last bastion of ODS! With some exaggeration, Pilsen's role is analogous to what it was in the 15th century when it turned into a Czech stronghold of conservative Catholics in the era of Hussites and protestants of many sorts. Why is that? I don't think that some intrinsic special feature of the Pilsner folks explains the slightly superior results. Instead, the Pilsner city hall – that has been under more or less uninterrupted control by ODS since the Velvet Revolution – has managed the city very well and it even seems to me that there is some consensus about the point (it's partly about the things like the new theater, the only new big theater in Czechia in 3 decades, new stadiums and other things that have been built, including all sorts of lanes for bikers and details of the sort; they plan kindergartens up to 6 pm and free Wi-Fi throughout the public transportation stops, aside from lots of other similar things).

So the votes for ODS here are points for a good management. To some extent, I think it is a legitimate consideration that affected me, too. The local politicians don't really affect the "big ideological questions" and the mundane management of everyday affairs (for an amount of money whose size and origin they can't really affect much) is inevitably a major part of their job.

Friday, October 10, 2014 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

The very meaning of "probability" violates the time-reversal symmetry

An exchange with the reader reminded me that I wanted to dedicate a special blog post to one trivial point which is summarized by the title. This trivial issue is apparently completely misunderstood by many laymen as well as some low-quality scientists such as Sean Carroll.

This misunderstanding prevents them from understanding both quantum mechanics and classical statistical physics, especially its explanation for the second law of thermodynamics (or the arrow of time).

Time goes up (up=future, down=past). The right diagram.

What is the issue? For the sake of completeness, let's talk about the spreading of the wave function \(\psi(x,t)\) describing the position of a particle. In the diagram above, time starts at the bottom and it goes up. You see that there are are three stages of "spreading". The wave packet spreads between \(t=0\) and \(t=1\), then it abruptly shrinks because the particle is observed, and then is spreads again from \(t=1\) to \(t=2\), shrinks at \(t=2\), and spreads between \(t=2\) and \(t=3\). The diagram is qualitative and could be applied to the probability distributions for any observable in classical or quantum physics, OK?

CMS, ATLAS metaexperiment: deficit of deficits

Important update: I have received a message from the authors and they confirmed, as I was somewhat afraid in the original blog post below, that the channels with exactly 0 events were mishandled. A newer version of the paper will appear on Monday October 13th, with just somewhat weaker results for one detector but stronger for the other, and thanking me. ;-) There may still be another bug but let's wait, they will find it if it is so.
A fewer poorer people kind of means that the society is rich, right? ;-)

Benjamin Nachman of SLAC and Tom Rodelius of Harvard published an amusing piece of comparative literature:
A Meta-analysis of the \(8\TeV\) ATLAS and CMS SUSY Searches
Able to produce papers like that, they should be named professors of comparative literature. In fact, they're better than the average professors of comparative literature because those usually don't know lognormal distributions and related concepts.

I count them into this field because one really doesn't need to know any physics (what the experiments measure, how they measure it, how it's being predicted what they should observe, and so on) – it's enough to read many papers and to know how to (statistically) compare their results.

The interval \((0,1)\) for \(p\) is divided to ten bins; the red bars appear on the left side from the blue bars just to make the diagram more readable.

Here is the quick summary. They've looked at 17 ATLAS preprints and 12 CMS preprints searching for signs of supersymmetry and based on the bulk of the 2012 collisions and statistically analyzed which of them showed excesses – more observed collisions of a special type than expected – and deficits – less observed collisions than expected.

Thursday, October 09, 2014 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Zeman, Genscher, Kissinger: Ukrainian civil war analogous to the Spanish one

Czech president Miloš Zeman is visiting Leipzig, East Germany, where they celebrate the 25th anniversary of the fall of communism in the GDR.

He teamed up with two former political heavyweights – German minister of foreign affairs Hans-Dietrich Genscher (FDP: 1974-1992, longest serving on record, now 87 years old) and with Henry Kissinger (GOP: 1973-1977, now 91 years old), a U.S. Secretary of State and Nobel Peace Prize winner (ceasefire in Vietnam) from a time when the award wasn't discredited yet.

They completely agreed about the primary point in Ukraine:

What is happening in Ukraine is primarily a civil war.
It's nothing new but what's somewhat original is Zeman's analogy.

Oxygen mask in MH17 flight: an important clue?

Since the moment when the MH17 aircraft was shot down, we were bombarded by self-confident accusations (especially from the mouths of folks in Kiev and their apologists in the West) who is behind that event – whether it should be called a crime or an accident or a conspiracy. In the real world, the amount of data that have publicly emerged during the almost 3 months since the July 17 tragedy remained very limited.

Last night, Frans Timmermans, a Dutch minister supervising the investigation of the event that has killed mostly Dutch passengers, was a guest of a TV show called Pauw. As we heard from all the world's media, one of the passengers – an Australian one – was found to wear an oxygen mask although it was on his neck only.

This may suggest that the passengers remained conscious for a while after the danger became clear to them. Incidentally, the Dutch minister could have told us earlier but he could have also told us later (or not at all). I find the criticisms of all these timing aspects pointless – and I am grateful that he told us something at all.

Fusion: dynomak, a new compact rival of tokamak

Fusion is the energy of the future, and it always will be. Despite this proverb, many teams are working hard to confine the hot plasma for a sufficient time and allow the fusion to be sufficiently long-lived and economically feasible.

I do follow the fusion research in some moderate detail because I do think that it's the most likely future advance that could make a "qualitative abrupt change" in the methods that we exploit to obtain energy. If you look at the fusion category of TRF blog posts, you will find some texts debunking Andrea Rossi's cold fusion but many more "real experiments" such as NIF with its lasers, the Z-machine, and – obviously – ITER, a French-international version of the tokamak concept.

Yesterday, University of Washington released a press release on their dynomak paradigm.

See also: Alaska Native, Phys.ORG
The picture above shows that it is a nicely compact prototype. I haven't been able to see what the successes have been but they say that it could be cheaper to be built than coal power plants etc.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Two neutrino experimental news

NOvA running, new Daya Bay limits on sterile ones

Particle colliders at increasing energies are the "most universal" and the "most prejudice-free" way to search for new physics. New, heavier hypothetical particles of any kind (particles associated with the laws of physics at ever shorter distances) are increasingly visible, along with the effects of these or even heavier particles (all sorts of non-renormalizable operators become more visible, too) whenever the experiments are able to upgrade the energy of the colliding particles.

Physicists aren't putting all their eggs into one basket. Neutrino experiments are an important example of experiments that "ignore the high-energy frontier" described in the previous paragraph. They may be a bit cheaper but they're also looking for a "much more special" type of new physics – so one may argue that the probability of finding something new is lower. There's some sense in which the "bulk" of the U.S. experimental particle physics has been downgraded to neutrino physics.

In the recent week, The Symmetry Magazine brought us two stories about neutrino experiments.

What is behind the success of TBBT?

The eighth season of The Big Bang Theory began two weeks ago – and it began with the rather standard 18 million American viewers which keeps it the most watched show on the U.S. screens (it won the last night, too). Yesterday, the Guardian wrote a sort of interesting article about the different people's understanding of the success:

Critics be damned – here's why The Big Bang Theory is an unstoppable force with fans
Some people don't understand the modern world so they're mystified by the success. That includes most of the critics who are, after all, just representatives of the so-called "humanities".

A good TV show should only use one camera, they say, and describe the life of a high school beauty queen and a male athlete who take themselves very seriously even though they don't even have a PhD. These critics don't have a clue about physics and the culture of physicists, so none of them – and none of their friends – watches TBBT. Sheldon has won four Emmies but that's it. As a whole, the show hasn't even been nominated for the major prizes.

Well, many others have a stronger emotional attachment.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Hubeny, Semenoff: eternally accelerating quark breeds its antiquark

Off-topic, Nobel prize: the 2014 physics Nobel prize goes to three Japanese guys for the discovery of blue LED diodes. Nakamura with or without Tokura were guessed in 2009 and 2005 so it's no "total surprise" but I still think that there have been way too many prizes like that. Blue LEDs are undoubtedly "electronic engineering" – that's where Nakamura also got his degree – and not really physics and because the advance was really about combining three chemical elements, a chemistry prize would be more appropriate.
Veronika Hubený (the surname means male-and-skinny in Czech; of course that her name would be female-and-skinny, i.e. Hubená, if Veronika's family emigrated after her name was settled LOL) and Gordon Semenoff published two playful and potentially important hep-th papers today,
Holographic accelerated heavy quark-anti-quark pair (4 pages)

String worldsheet for accelerating quark (28 pages).
The long paper boasts some really pretty colorful 3D images. But I want to introduce you to their claims most quickly so let me post this simple diagram instead:

The red quark uniformly accelerates along a hyperbola in the Minkowski space. Its trajectory looks like the straight vertical line. The world line isn't a geodesic but you may imagine this trajectory to be allowed in the real world, e.g. in the presence of a uniform electric field. Normally allowed trajectories begin in the bottom corner of the Penrose diagram; but here we can start from the "edge" (\(\mathscr{I}^-\) or "scri-minus") because of the acceleration.

Paper: TCR, ECS climate sensitivity: 1.3, 1.6 °C

Reasonable climatological papers (including papers strongly relevant for the debate about the climate hysteria) began to appear more frequently again. Nicholas Lewis and Judith Curry have a new paper

The implications for climate sensitivity of AR5 forcing and heat uptake estimates (full text free PDF)
in the journal Climate Dynamics.

Click to zoom in.

Their goal is to take the newest IPCC AR5 WG1 temperature (and ocean heat) data from 1750 AD and analyze the accumulation of heat and temperature changes in the best way, with a minimum dependence on climate modelling that may introduce new uncertainties and biases, and with a special effort to eliminate the periods with volcano eruptions etc. that also modify the heat budgets by pretty much unknown contributions.

The main result is arguably summarized in the table above: the short-term warming obtained from a doubling of CO2 (TCR: transient climate response) seems to be most likely close to 1.3 °C while the long-term warming from a CO2 doubling (ECS: equilibrium climate sensitivity) is most likely to be close to 1.6 °C. These values are close to the "no-feedback" bare value 1.2 °C and suggest that the feedbacks are very weak. Because the values are compatible with many of the previous climate skeptics' estimates, the expected warming in the decades to come is negligible from any practical viewpoint.

Supergroups from Hanany-Witten-like constructions

One month ago, Cumrun Vafa released a paper articulating some provoking statements about the holographic duals of gauge theories with a gauge supergroup, \(U(m|n)\).

Today, we may read a 143-page-long (!) paper by Edward Witten and Victor Mikhaylov,

Branes and Supergroups,
which says some very interesting and very different things about gauge theories based on these \(U(m|n)\) supergroups. They may deduce some new statements about dualities of various Chern-Simons theories and similar beasts.

Monday, October 06, 2014 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Battle of the Dukla pass: 70 years

Exactly 70 years ago, on October 6th, 1944, the Soviet and Czechoslovak troops finally reached the Dukla pass on the Slovak-Polish border. That was the most optimistic point of the battle of the Dukla pass, one of the toughest battles of the World War II in Central Europe. This battle may be mentioned as a part of the reason why so many Czechs and Slovaks, including your humble correspondent, think of the Russians as their natural allies of a sort.

You can study the history elsewhere but let me write down just a few comments. The "pass" is an interruption in a mountain range, a saddle, a point where it's much easier to get through the mountains. Dukla is a Polish town on the Northern side of the pass; towns like Svidník may be found on the Slovak side. The Dukla pass may be found in Northeastern Slovakia, on the Eastern side from the High Tatras, Slovakia's highest mountains.

Sunday, October 05, 2014 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Deep conceptual questions are rarely solved "directly"

Someone just posted an interesting old conversation between a younger Witten and his colleagues particle physicist Abdus Salam, astrophysicist Dennis Sciama, and local physicist Paolo Budinich

At the same moment, I was just planning to explain what's wrong about the whole attitude to research that is exemplified e.g. by Sean Carroll's text

Ten Questions for the Philosophy of Cosmology
Carroll writes down 10 "big questions" – usually not very good ones, I will answer most of them below. But independently of the precise choice of the questions, there exists something more important and seriously flawed in the thinking of Carroll's and many, many others – something seriously defective about their whole conception of the "scientific method".

It seems clear that the method according to the likes of Carroll – and their papers reinforce this point – has the following stages:
  • start with a "new" philosophical idea you've heard somewhere
  • convince yourself that it is deep, and write increasingly verbally sophisticated and persuasive articles making others to believe that it must be great and deep
  • just write the breakthrough papers showing that the idea may be used to calculate everything in a branch of physics more accurately and at a deeper level
You know, the problem is that this algorithm never works – or at least almost never works. Progress in physics, including the most conceptual breakthroughs, follows different lines.

Friday, October 03, 2014 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Harvard astrophysicists favor revival of Pluto the planet

Off-topic, everyday life: I returned from an "extreme reunion" with 1st and 2nd grade classmates whom I haven't seen (in almost all cases) for over 32 years because I moved to another school (moreover, the class I left got slightly expanded afterwards). Pretty cool to meet someone who was arguably one's best friend at age of 7, and so on. How many of you have ever attended such a reunion after a longer break than me? ;-)
Eight years ago, 9,000 astronomers gathered in Prague, the Czech capital. A somewhat important vote took place on the last day when most people had left. Only 400+ folks voted that Pluto would no longer be a planet.

Eris vs Pluto. Eris is a bit larger but otherwise they're almost "twins". It's hard to claim that Pluto has a "virtue" that Eris doesn't.

This 2006 vote is known as the Fourth Defenestration of Prague. The word "defenestration" comes from Latin and it means "throwing something or someone out of the window" in Prague. ;-) The first one took place in 1419 (Hussites threw 7 members of the city council), the second one in 1618 (regents were thrown by some wealthy protestants for sectarian reasons), and the third one took place in March 1948 when communists who took complete power 2 weeks earlier apparently threw out Jan Masaryk, the foreign minister and son of the founder of Czechoslovakia TGM.

Four-particle amplitude of \(\NNN=4\) free of power-law singularities

...up to all orders in the pertubative expansion...

The first hep-th paper today,

On the Singularity Structure of Maximally Supersymmetric Scattering Amplitudes
was written by Nima Arkani-Hamed, Jacob L. Bourjaily, Freddy Cachazo, and Jaroslav Trnka and exploits their vast knowledge of the \(\NNN=4\) gauge theory amplitudes that they have accumulated when they were successfully uncovering new methods to calculate them – via recursive relations, twistors, Grassmannians, amplituhedrons, and similar transcendent animals.

In this paper, they claim that one-loop, two-loop, as well as multi–loop amplitudes have a rather special form. All power-law singularities at infinity cancel out.

Redundant synonyms of decoherence

Wojciech H. Zurek – the father of decoherence, if we use a somewhat pompous language – wrote an article for Physics Today,

Quantum Darwinism, classical reality, and the randomness of quantum jumps,
which you will probably be unable to access because the server will probably demand $30 from you and you will probably think that it's too much to pay, especially because you may get older, almost identical texts by the author, as well as a newer 2009 free article in Nature.

You know, decoherence is a genuine process. The insights about it are right and probably needed to explain some aspects of quantum mechanics to those who believe that there is something wrong about quantum mechanics because of what they call the "measurement problem".

But I have increasingly felt that the fans of the word "decoherence" and related words, including Zurek himself, have contributed to the proliferation of quantum flapdoodle – redundant talk about non-existent problems.

Thursday, October 02, 2014 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Detect cosmic rays with your Android device

The camera-based app is called DECO

Sad, off-topic: Martin Perl died: a Stanford Nobel prize winner for the tau lepton discovery...

If you detect this pattern, then FBI is trying to irradiate you by lethal radiation. You may only find out if NSA hasn't hacked your smartphone's camera, however. ;-) More seriously, the app detects both cosmic rays and radioactivity from the environment.

If you have an Android device, you are invited to download an app by Justin Vandenbroucke who is junior faculty in Wisconsin:
Univ. at Madison: press release
Their astroparticle center about DECO

App part 1 (data logger), app part 2 (DECO app)
You may need to change your Android settings to allow the installation of APK packages from outside Google Play – you must think twice whether you trust apps linked to from a page.

Both parts of the app are smaller than 1 megabyte.

Writers in Nature declared heretics by RC for dissing the 2 °C "target"

Almost every religion likes to accumulate various superstitions, arbitrary meaningless answers to pretty much everything. The climate alarmist religion is doing it, too. One of the silliest superstitions that have been gradually incorporated into the religion of climate hysteria is the "2 °C climate target" – the idea that we are obliged to avoid the warming of the Earth by more than 2 °C above "pre-industrial levels" because otherwise the Mother Climate would show us Her anger.

As far as I remember, I have never dedicated a blog post to this staggeringly stupid meme – I think that it's only repeated by completely science-illiterate politicians (who love the idea that they will be responsible for the corresponding planning) and other laymen, not by people with some education in natural sciences. Well, as we were just shown, this amazing idiocy is actually parroted by some of the people who like to be called (natural) scientists, too.

Anthony Watts reacted with a WOW when he read a Nature piece by the emeritus astrophysicist Charles Kennel and the political scientist David Victor

Ditch the 2 °C climate goal (full text, Nature)
Kennel and Victor explain that the other climate alarmists should no longer mock themselves with this particular superstition. Many of their arguments are valid but the article is still written from the viewpoint of climate alarmists – the assumption is that there must still be some global climate problem and some other way to quantify this problem. So of course that I wouldn't endorse this article as a whole.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Post-socialist EU members find climate alarmist policies undesirable

Websites focusing on policies inspired by the climate hysteria have noticed that

Six EU states cast doubt on proposed 2030 climate goals (RTCC)

Visegrad Group dissatisfied with EU climate policy (Hungary Today)

Poland on course for battle on new EU climate change targets (Financial Times)
Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland (so far, you may call it the Visegrad Group), as well as Bulgaria and Romania (now you may call it the Warsaw Pact, too) have protested against the "renewable energy targets" that some of the EU apparatchiks may have the arrogance to release in October 2014. Also, the countries think that the burden is unfair and the wishful thinking – such as the 40% decrease of carbon emissions by 2030 – seem unrealistic.

Donetsk airport swap canard

Like most wars in the modern era, the Ukrainian civil war is a war between propaganda machines, too. I think that one of the sides of this conflict is more excited about the fabrication of misintepretations and downright lies and I don't need to tell you which side I mean.

The story about the "swap negotiations" involving the Donetsk airport is a rather incredible example of the propaganda war that sometimes reaches ludicrous proportions. Around 10 a.m. Czech Summer Time, some Ukrainian media would report that the pro-Kiev de iure governor of the Donetsk Region Mr Serhij Taruta informed everyone that his side and the representatives of Novorussia would negotiate about an exchange.

The Kiev forces would vacate the Donetsk airport, one of the last islands they were capable of holding but they were gradually losing, while they would acquire "huge territories" near Donetsk currently controlled by Novorussia. Novoazovsk was sadly not among the places Kiev was supposed to win, we were told.

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