Tuesday, March 31, 2015 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Quantum gravity from quantum error-correcting codes?

Guest blog by Dr Beni Yoshida, quantum information fellow at Caltech

The lessons we learned from the Ryu-Takayanagi formula, the firewall paradox, and the ER=EPR conjecture have convinced us that quantum information theory can become a powerful tool to sharpen our understanding of various problems in high-energy physics. But many of the concepts utilized so far rely on entanglement entropy and its generalizations, quantities developed by Von Neumann more than 60 years ago. We live in the 21st century. Why don’t we use more modern concepts, such as the theory of quantum error-correcting codes?

Off-topic, LHC: CERN sent quite some current to the shorted segment of the circuit, apparently melted and destroyed the offending metallic piece in a diode box, and miraculously cured the LHC! Restart could be within days. LM
In a recent paper with Daniel Harlow, Fernando Pastawski and John Preskill, we have proposed a toy model of the AdS/CFT correspondence based on quantum error-correcting codes. Fernando has already written how this research project started after a fateful visit by Daniel to Caltech and John’s remarkable prediction in 1999. In this post, I hope to write an introduction which may serve as a reader’s guide to our paper, explaining why I’m so fascinated by the beauty of the toy model.

Monday, March 30, 2015 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

David Gross' NYU lecture

I think that this 97-minute-long public lecture by David Gross at New York University hasn't been embedded on this blog yet:

It is not just another copy of a talk you have heard five times.

Sunday, March 29, 2015 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Czech women kidnapped in Pakistan freed after 2 years

Two years ago, two Czech women (Antonie Chrástecká – the skinnier one – and Hana Humpálová) were going to spend 8 weeks in India. However, before they got there, they were kidnapped by a militant group in Balochistan, the largest province of Pakistan.

Czech government's negotiations with Pakistani authorities have been useless. After one such failed attempt, the Czech president Miloš Zeman told the Pakistani ambassador to Czechia that "your secret agency is worth a pile of cr*p. Can you explain to me how it's possible that two weeks after our compatriots were kidnapped, the governor of Balochistan was abducted as well?"

Saturday, March 28, 2015 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Dark matter: Science Friday with Weinberg, Hooper, Cooley

The background is temporarily "nearly white" today because I celebrate the Kilowatt Hour, also known as the Electricity Thanksgiving Day. Between 8:30 and 9:30 pm local time, turn all your electric appliances on and try to surpass one kilowatt. By this $0.20 sacrifice, you will fight those who want to return us to the Middle Ages and who organize the so-called Earth Hour.

Ira Flatow's Science Friday belongs among the better or best science shows. Yesterday, he hosted some very interesting guests and the topic was interesting, too:
Understanding the Dark Side of Physics
The guests were Steven Weinberg, famous theorist and Nobel prize winner from Austin; Dan Hooper, a top Fermilab phenomenologist; and Judi Cooley, a senior experimental particle physicist from Dallas

And if you have 30 spare minutes, you should click the orange-white "play" button above and listen to this segment.

Friday, March 27, 2015 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Oligarchs, biofuel, and conflicts of interest

I am not among those who would believe that rich people shouldn't be allowed to do politics. In fact, they may even do some of these activities at the same time. And Silvio Berlusconi's activities in Italy seemed borderline OK to me. But I am shocked by many people's selective inability to see the risks (and actual wrongdoings), especially in the case when the politicians are very rich entrepreneurs.

When talking about the post-Soviet realm, we often talk about "oligarchs". This word comes with some negative connotations. Some of them are unjustifiable signs of racism of a sort. When a wealthy Russian guy is doing the very same thing as his American or Italian colleagues, he may still be just an "oligarch" rather than a legitimate mogul or tycoon.

Well, sometimes the negative flavor may be justifiable. What is the difference between the "bad oligarchs" from the post-Soviet countries and the "good moguls" from the West? I think that the assumption is that the "oligarchs" are mixing their political and economical powers in ways that are not kosher and that abuse the poor existing standards when it comes to the enforcement of laws.

Thursday, March 26, 2015 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Flight 9525: a suicidal act?

This blog post was written hours before it was revealed that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz appeared to want to 'destroy the plane': prosecutor, and is therefore obsolete (but my basic guess about the "suicidal act" was right)

My half-sister has been afraid of flying for many years. For two days, there is some evidence that she had a point.

The crash of Germanwings 9525 occurred 100 kilometers Northwest of Nice, and she's been living in Nice for many years. And yes, she has flown with Germanwings – a subsidiary of Lufthansa – in the past.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

CMS: a 2.9-sigma \(WH\) hint at \(1850\GeV\)

Unfortunately, due to a short circuit somewhere at the LHC, a small metallic piece will have to be removed – which takes a week (it's so slow because CERN employs LEGO men to do the job) – and the 2015 LHC physics run may be postponed by up to 5 weeks because of that.

Wolfram: You have the last week to buy Mathematica at a 25% discount (a "pi day" celebration; student edition). Edward Measure has already happily bought it.
Meanwhile, ATLAS and CMS have flooded their web pages with new papers resulting from the 2012 run. In most of these papers, the Standard Model gets an "A".

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Czech plan to abolish daylight saving time in EU

I thought that the members of the European Parliament don't have the right to propose any laws but this rule must be inaccurate because today, the European Parliament will discuss the proposal by Mr Petr Šilar (Christian Democratic Union – Czechoslovak People's Party) and his brothers (these are not comrades) to abolish the constant switching from the winter time to summer time and back.

On Saturday-Sunday night, on March 29th, Europe is scheduled to switch to the summer time again: the period between 2 am and 3 am won't ever take place. Similarly, sometime in the Fall, for its big success, the 2 am through 3 am hour is repeated twice.

Sunday, March 22, 2015 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Artificial limbs, cyborgs, and humans with improved DNA

Recently, there have been lots of stories in the newspapers about genetic improvements of the humans, about mind control, and artificial organs that directly communicate with the brain etc. We have probably entered the era in which all these things have in principle been mastered and the gradual improvements of people's ability to "help" humans in similar ways have become an unavoidable scenario for the future.

For example, this video shows an artificial arm that has been trained to behave almost as good as the real one (it has earned 70% of the "score" of Nature's prototype) after brachial plexus injury. See The Lancet article by Prof Oskar Aszman et al. (Vienna) and a Gizmag review of the work plus Google News.

Some muscles have been transplanted, and the artificial limb has been added on top of that. Impulses from the transplanted muscles are being read and evaluated – after weeks of training exercises that may be analogous to the machine learning strategies at Kaggle.com – and the people ultimately learn how to control the new metallic organ while the limb learns to listen.

EU commission guess: Greek default on April 9th

Last night, I was reading the Sunday edition of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung where the first seemingly trustworthy estimate of the day when Greece runs out of cash has appeared. See Deutsche Welle for a new story in English.

A statue of the Greek government

The European Commission – a body that is supposed to be the government of the European Union – has some folks in Athens and they should know something about the amount of cash in the Greek government coffers and about the daily inflows and outflows.

The last day when Tsipras' boys will boast liquidity should be April 8th. On the following day, Greece is supposed to make a half-a-billion-dollar repayment and that should already be too much for their financial abilities unless they will receive some new aid. Interestingly enough, Tsipras will visit Moscow on April 8th so it can't be excluded that Russia will provide Greece with cash just hours before the otherwise predictable default.

Saturday, March 21, 2015 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

No clairvoyants win a Prague contest

For three months, clairvoyants, psychics, and fortune tellers in Prague – and Czechia – have had the opportunity to win $4,000 in a very easy way. Just arrive to the Nový Smíchov mall, paranormally look through the safe box over there, see what's inside (or be a prophet or soothsayer and predict the objects that would be written in this blog post), and write the correct answer – "a toothbrush, a [restaurant] bill, and a walnut [marble would be tolerated]" – to a web form.

Socialite, sponsor, and trader Václav Dejčmar (who co-hosted my black hole talk in Prague-Barrandov in January) contributed the money and the toothbrush. Leoš Kyša, the vice-chairman of Sisyphus (the Czech counterpart of CSICOP; the name is chosen because the fight against paranormal beliefs looks like a fight against windmills) added the bill, and Jakub Kroulík from Deceitful Players (falesni-hraci.cz), a gang of playful skeptics who have learned to do everything that psychics can do, added the walnut.

You know, many psychics and fortune tellers have to work hard and get $10 from one client. You need to repeat it many times to earn $4,000. So the safe box could be handy.

Friday, March 20, 2015 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

LHC insists on a near-discovery muon penguin excess

None of the seemingly strong anomalies reported by the LHCb collaboration has been recognized as a survivor but many people believe that similar events are not being overlooked by TRF and they rely on this blog as a source, so I must give you a short report about a new bold announcement by LHCb.

20 March 2015: \(B^0\to K^*\mu^+\mu^-\): new analysis confirms old puzzle (LHCb CERN website)
In July 2013, TRF readers were told about the 3.7 excess in these muon decays of B-mesons.

The complete 2011-2012 data, which was just 3 inverse femtobarns because we talk about LHCb (perhaps I should remind you that it is a "cheaper" LHC detector that focuses on bottom quarks and therefore on CP-violation and flavor violation), have been analyzed. The absolute strength of the signal has decreased but so did the noise so the significance level remained at 3.7 sigma!

Petr Vopěnka: 1935-2015

Sadly, the Czech newspapers informed us about the death of Prof Petr Vopěnka, a prominent Czech mathematician whom I knew in person (as a student).

Incidentally, in recent years, he was affiliated with the regional university here in Pilsen but I never met him here; he mostly used the affiliation to write some mostly historical books, and he wrote many books.

As Google Scholar tells you, he wrote some papers that were famous, relatively to what was usual in Czechoslovakia.

A neat story on SUSY in Business Insider

A large percentage of the people and the "mainstream media" have all kinds of crazy opinions, often combined with downright hostility towards science in general and modern theoretical physics in particular. Supersymmetry has been a frequent target of numerous outlets in recent years.

But the 2015 LHC run is getting started and it's an exciting time – surely not a good time for bitterness – and one sometimes finds newspapers that turn out to be great surprises. Today, I need to celebrate the story

Here's how proving supersymmetry could completely change how we understand the universe
by Kelly Dickerson in the Business Insider. She explains why the Standard Model seems to be an incomplete theory and how SUSY helps with the fine-tuning of the Higgs mass; gives a dark matter candidate; and moves a step closer to experimentally establishing string theory, a theory of everything.

It also honestly states that there's no direct experimental sign of SUSY yet, and that the LHC may change this situation soon or not.

Solar eclipse coming to Europe in few hours

If you're somewhere in Europe, expect the partial solar eclipse sometime between 9 am (the Moon will first bite into the "2 o'clock" place of the solar disk) and noon local time (the Moon will leave the Sun at the place "9 o'clock" or so). For example, Czechia will see the eclipse to peak around 10:47 am Prague Winter Time when about 75% of the area of the solar disk will be hidden by the Moon (France will peak at 80% etc.) and the remaining Sun will be U-shaped (the shadow will be close to "noon" of the solar disk).

A babe explains the solar eclipse in 2 minutes
We the Europeans won't see a solar eclipse that is this strong until 2026. Today's eclipse is rather intense because we also have the Supermoon on the same day – a coincidence. The sky looks completely clear or sunny so we should be lucky today.

Today's solar eclipse will also be a total one in a thin strip going mostly through the Atlantic ocean, on the Eastern side from the Greenland and then towards the North Pole (a coincidence).

Thursday, March 19, 2015 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

University of Delaware defends Legates against witch hunt

Three weeks ago I mentioned a witch hunt started by a hardcore Arizona communist named Raúl Grijalva – who is now a Congressman because the Democrats apparently consider similar individuals cool – which was inspired by some previous attacks against Willie Soon, a well-known climate skeptic from Harvard-Smithsonian.

David Legates from University of Delaware is another skeptic who has also co-authored numerous papers – some of which were sent to me by Willie – and because of his proximity to Willie, Legates was quoted as the #1 witch after Willie by Grijalva's letter that demanded to strip the university-affiliated climate skeptics of their privacy and dignity.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Netanyahu, reparations, finger, letter to Iran, and Victory Day

I did expect Netanyahu's Likud to win – and I wanted it to win in the Israeli parliamentary elections.

Off-topic: solar eclipse will arrive to Europe on Friday morning. An animated map shows the eclipse will be total at an Atlantic Ocean path avoiding the Eastern beaches of Greenland; partial in much of Europe.

The country isn't necessarily living at an unprecedented time – every moment is "special" in some way. However, the present may be dangerous enough, with the Iranian nuclear bomb on the horizon and indications that the government of the most important ally is effectively ready to abandon Israel as a growing portion of the left-wing politicians start to view the alliance with Israel as a partisan issue.

Those are obvious reasons to re-elect the existing prime minister whose positions were rather clear and who was doing his job very well, as far as I can say.

Czechs can't view this variation of the Moldau as an alien song – especially because the lyrics is based on the same simple land-centered theme as the Czech anthem.

The way how the Israeli polls were covered by the Western mainstream media up to this very morning was another example of these journalists' dishonesty. We were bombarded by speculations about the end of the Netanyahu era who was poised to lose. And even hours ago, the results were said to be "neck-to-neck", a tie, and so on. Sorry but there has never been a good basis for similar claims; the victory was as sound as most of the victories that are considered sound elsewhere.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Umbral moonshine and Golay code

Many of us greatly liked Erica Klarreich's article

Mathematicians Chase Moonshine’s Shadow
in the Quanta Magazine. The subtitle summarizes the article as "Researchers are on the trail of a mysterious connection between number theory, algebra and string theory" and it is a balanced and poetic overview of the history of moonshine, its shadowy generalization, and some recent results in the subfield.

In his 1975 paper, Andrew Ogg actually promised a bottle of Jack Daniel's whiskey to the person who proves the connection (page 7-07: "Une bouteille de Jack Daniels est offerte à celui qui expliquera cette coïncidence"). But this bottle seems more pedagogic, especially for readers who are teenagers. Ogg was tempted to buy the bottle to Fields Medal winner Borcherds but Conway said "no, Borcherds only proved things, and not explained the connection". Well, I think that by now, the connection has also been "explained" (and Conway only disagrees because he thinks that the bottle will keep on motivating an army of bright mathematicians on further work) but it seems that Ogg hasn't given the bottle to anyone yet!

I want to offer you some more technical remarks about these amazing mathematical structures and their new organization. The mathematical structure I want to focus on is the Mathieu \(M_{24}\) group and the error-correcting code, the binary Golay code, from which the group may be deduced.

Monday, March 16, 2015 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Nuclear land mines along the German border

Because the Kremlin has just revealed that it was ready to put its nuclear arsenal on high alert one year ago if the crisis around Crimea escalated, it makes sense to be reminded that nuclear weapons may be used and they are somewhat harmful.

As children, our generation was trained to be hysterically afraid of the nuclear war. Such a war would have to be blamed on the evil imperialists, the official story went, but of course, our camp of peace had to prepare an appropriate response, too. The global nuclear war was almost as popular a cataclysmic scenario as the "global warming" was in recent years.

I must say that even many of the anti-communist teachers we were happy to have were very afraid of the huge nuclear arsenals. One of the popular myths was that there were enough nuclear bombs in the world to break the globe into two comparably large bodies. At the basic school, I wasn't able to construct a clear order-of-magnitude calculation showing that it was nonsense – I clearly became able to construct similar arguments (and/or I only became familiar with the numbers needed as input) only many years later.

Would such nuclear confrontations lead to the end of the world? I think that the truth is somewhere in between. The cataclysmic prophesies were exaggerated but the damages would be far worse than those we know from the worst conventional wars. There is actually a lot of extra space between the Second World War and destruction of life on Earth!

In 2011, we were reminded about some war plans of the Warsaw Pact from years 1960-1964. Stalin was an evil man but the plans for a nuclear war between the two blocs became much more dramatic after his death and I think that they peaked sometime in the 1960s.

Sunday, March 15, 2015 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Hagelin on QM, consciousness

So far, I have only looked at pieces of this 75-minute-long August 2014 talk by John Hagelin at Stanford

which was enough to get convinced that I want to watch it carefully tonight. John Hagelin has not only co-authored numerous top-cited papers in high-energy physics but he has also been recognized as a guru by the Indian meditating folks, he has run for the Natural Law Party in the U.S. presidential elections, he has acted in movies, and so on. He seems to be intriguing speaker to me, too.

Saturday, March 14, 2015 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Beams at \(6.5\TeV\) happily running at the LHC

When I am posting this message, it's the the birthday of Albert Einstein, also known as the \(\pi\) day. More precisely, as you may check, this blog post was written on

3/14/15 at 9:26:53.589793238... am
Pilsner winter time which contains as many digits of \(\pi\) as you want – you may probably find such a moment once in a century, if you trust Stephen Wolfram. I am not cheating: I was really writing this blog post after 9 am although the precision indicated above is exaggerated LOL.

And as the screenshot above (click to zoom in) shows, the year 2015 has finally started with everything that defines it – the Run II of the Large Hadron Collider in particular. You may get the current version of the screen above at this CERN page; I clicked at "Luminosity" (the second option) to get to the energy and luminosity chart above.

You may get to the screen at any time if you find the LHC section of the right sidebar on this blog (the full dark green template) and find the hidden URL beneath the words "highest luminosity".

Friday, March 13, 2015 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Sheldon vs Leonard: is the idea or the execution more important?

Link to a nice article: yesterday, the Quanta Magazine published Mathematicians Chase Moonshine’s Shadow, with the subtitle "Researchers are on the trail of a mysterious connection between number theory, algebra and string theory", which covers the history and some recent events in the moonshine industry.
The latest episode of The Big Bang Theory, "The Leftover Thermalization" (S08E18), was solving a much more serious sociological problem in science than what you would expect from a comedy watched by almost 20 million Americans. I start to see it was a great idea not to "abandon" the show just because of one silly episode where Sheldon was led to leave string theory for weird reasons.

First, let me begin with the non-essential background. Howard is told about a blackout that would ruin all the last food that his recently deceased mother left in the fridge. So he and Bernadette organize the "last supper". During the dinner, Leonard and Sheldon bitterly argue. Bernadette takes them to a different room and screams at them in a voice resembling the late Ms Wolowitz.

It's entertaining but I want to focus on the serious question: the reason why Sheldon and Leonard argued.

Ted Cruz is right: Earth sciences aren't NASA's mission

The deterioration of NASA and its contamination by mediocre Earth-bound pseudointellectuals has to be stopped and reverted

Senator Ted Cruz asked the NASA administrator Charles Bolden (who was appointed in 2009 and has played the role of an Obama puppet ever since) what is the core mission of NASA.

Bolden answered that he recently read the original National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 and he concluded that NASA's core mission is space exploration along with the investigation of the Earth's environment and making the Earth a better place.

If you click at the link in the previous sentence and read the bill, you will see that 2/3 of Bolden's claim are dirty shameless lies. There isn't an iota in the bill that would say that NASA has something to do with the environment, with its protection, with the climate or its change, with climatology, with the warming, with the investigation of any Earth sciences in general, or with making the Earth a better place.

Thursday, March 12, 2015 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

ATLAS: a 3-sigma supersymmetric excess

Three standard deviations mean that the null hypothesis doesn't seem "great". The deviation from the predictions isn't enough for a discovery in a hard scientific discipline such as particle physics. However, I am convinced that a 3-sigma deviation – formally equal to a 99.7% certainty of a new effect – simply has to be publicized because it's interesting enough. We've covered lots of 2-sigma or 2.5-sigma deviations so it would be unfair to be silent about a 3-sigma one.

The new ATLAS preprint with this potentially interesting finding is called

Search for supersymmetry in events containing a same-flavour opposite-sign dilepton pair, jets, and large missing transverse momentum in \(\sqrt{s}=8\TeV\) \(pp\)-collisions with the ATLAS detector
So look at it: we want final states that contain \(\ell^+\ell^-\), a lepton pair – it's the leptons that apparently follow from a decay of the Z-bosons that will matter; jets; and large missing transverse momentum (assumed to be composed of the lightest superpartners such as the lightest neutralinos – possibly particles of dark matter). The Standard Model didn't do too well.

Sleeping beauty and the beast named Brad DeLong

The sleeping beauty problem (click) has been discussed in 3 specialized TRF blog posts with the "sleeping beauty" in the title (the first, oldest texts start at the bottom of the search page) and in several vaguely related texts.

Now, economist Brad DeLong – whom I know primarily as the co-author of a bunch of famous economics papers written primarily by Larry Summers – posted another defense of the incorrect result,

Sleeping Bae [sic] Again: Lobos [sic] Motl April Fools Day Comes Early Here [sic] on the Internet Blogging [sic]
He has previously written about the problem in November 2014.

Almost everything has been written (on both sides) but I will try to be at least somewhat innovative. First, let us look at the simple sociological stuff.

One should notice how sloppy he is and how many "assorted errors" an economist claiming to understand the probability calculus is doing. His November 2014 was titled "Wednesday Cognitive Science Blogging: What Are the Odds Princeton's David Lewis Understands Probability Properly?": DeLong wasn't able to to find out that the famous Princeton philosopher David Lewis (who wrote a paper about the problem) died in 2001 – and he can no longer defend himself directly, only indirectly through your humble correspondent.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Consciousness: is there a mystery to be solved?

The Preposterous Universe has promoted an old interview with Ed Witten about consciousness. I think that I agree with Witten's points but I also tend to agree with Edward Measure's feeling that much of the mystery is overhyped and filled with anthropocentric nonsense.

OK, so what is consciousness and should we explain it?

Don't get me wrong, the very existence of consciousness is fascinating and I have spent lots of hours or days by thinking – and perhaps meditating – about this issue (mostly when I was 10 or so). The world could work just like the world around us but if there were no consciousness, like mine, the world would behave exactly as if it didn't exist at all. No one would know about the complicated dynamics or really "feel" how amazing it is. So there seems to be something "extra" added on top of the physical laws, I used to emphasize.

Smolin denounces dualities, promotes trialities

A reader asked me what I thought about a new paper by Lee Smolin

Extending dualities to trialities deepens the foundations of dynamics.
I was told that the question makes sense because he cites your humble correspondent's paper on matrix string theory. Well, unfortunately, I cannot return the niceties because the paper is crackpottery of the most hardcore sort. It's my belief that no paper by this author has been discussed on TRF for more than 5 years – it's perhaps a good moment for an exception.

The author dismisses dualities – a key concept in string theory and modern theoretical physics in general – because they contradict his religiously held principle about the "background independence". And he brings us the new gospel: when the dualities are replaced by trialities, relationships between three entities, the religion is upheld and things are fine. The paper contains something claimed to be "examples" of this triality.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Tourists as tax spies and similar Greek tragicomedies

The gap between the new Greek government and the basic rules of civilization and common sense has grown and it has probably become unbridgeable by now. 320 billion euros is a lot of money but the mental deterioration of the Greek political elite and the moral degradation of pretty much the whole nation is even worse news.

These days, it's being decided whether and when Greece will join the third world. But the new Marxist leaders of the cradle of the Western civilization seem completely disengaged.

Of course that their economy in the modern sense is dependent on lots of financial transfers involving the foreign countries, especially because the overwhelming majority of the Greeks have been made totally incapable of living without the help of the nanny state.

Dwarf galaxy 3.7-sigma evidence for dark matter claimed

A new astro-ph paper cross-linked to hep-ph,

Evidence for Gamma-ray Emission from the Newly Discovered Dwarf Galaxy Reticulum 2
by Geringer-Sameth and 6 co-authors (Carnegie-Mellon/Brown/Cambridge), boasts that they have looked into the Fermi-LAT telescope data more carefully than the Fermi folks and found something that looks like a 3.7-sigma (or, with model-independent background estimates, 2.3-sigma) deviation from the expected gamma-ray backgrounds at frequencies \(2\)-\(10\GeV\).

The approximate shape of Reticulum 2, a dwarf galaxy, and the light it emits.

Monday, March 09, 2015 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

The only Škoda Superb in the U.S.

Škoda Cars, a part of the VW-Audi group, is usually voted as the most recognized Czech brand these days. It produces something over 1 million vehicles a year. You could think that you may buy anything in the U.S. – but you can't. At least when it comes Škoda's mainstream flagship, Škoda Superb, you may find one piece in the U.S.

This Gentleman bought the top edition named Laurin & Klement (after the name of the car company up to the 1920s) in the U.K. where Škoda is winning many "happiest consumers brand" [top 3 places, in fact] and "car of the year" contests (not sure why he didn't buy it outside the British islands to have the driver seat on the proper side). The fact that Škoda used to be the target of most of the British car jokes 30 years ago probably helps, not hurts.

Project my screen, Lumia 520

This blog post is in no way important, especially not for those who don't own a Windows Phone. I just realized how simple it is to project your Windows Phone screen (any model with Windows 8.1) on your Windows PC screen.

Is your humble correspondent the only person in the world who invented this nice arrangement of the tiles with the 2x2 bigger tiles in the middle? ;-)

First, download Project My Screen for your Windows PC. Run it. Press ESC to exit the default full screen mode.

Connect your WP phone via USB. If you don't have any old drivers, your WP phone will immediately ask you whether it's OK to project your screen (yes/no).

Sunday, March 08, 2015 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Berlin alarmed by U.S. general's distortions, warmongering

Last September, the Minsk v1.0 ceasefire was a partial success. It decreased the intensity of fighting along the Ukrainian-Novorussian frontline. But what was left was still a nontrivial amount of war which gradually rose and the situation returned where it was before. But you can still see that many lives were saved by the deescalation negotiated in Minsk.

So far, the Minsk v2.0 accords seem to be even more successful. Novorussia claims that it has already removed all the relevant military vehicles from the frontline and Kiev is close to that outcome, too. There's almost no shooting in Eastern Ukraine. Nevertheless, four days ago, Mr Philip Breedlove, a pilot who is now employed as the chieftain of NATO forces for European operations, said

What is clear is that right now, it is not getting better. It is getting worse every day. Putin had once again upped the ante in eastern Ukraine – with well over a thousand combat vehicles, Russian combat forces, some of their most sophisticated air defense, battalions of artillery having been sent to the Donbass.
These are so obviously untrue statements that folks around the German chancellor simply had to be shocked by. See
Breedlove's Bellicosity: Berlin Alarmed by Aggressive NATO Stance on Ukraine
for the story in dem Spiegel (English).

Saturday, March 07, 2015 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

General relativity: the comic

We are living through the year 2015 right now, and as you may know, 2015-100=1915. Exactly a century ago, Albert Einstein was completing his general theory of relativity.

Albert Einstein in Berlin, 1915

If you want a little bit more accurate timing, it was November 1915 when Einstein gave a PowerPoint-free presentation in front of the most important academy of sciences in the world – and the U.S. readers kindly forgive me that it wasn't the U.S. National Academy of Sciences but the Prussian Academy of Sciences in Berlin.

He began to write systematic papers in 1916 which is why we sometimes quote 1916 as the year when GR was born.

Assyria, Israel, and new Greek blackmail

A few comments on three political stories.

The destruction of the Assyrian culture has accelerated.

These Allah's savages replaced sledgehammers with bulldozers as they are liquidating an Assyrian jewel of a town, Nimrud. UNESCO talks about war crimes. Czech archaeologists are shocked and say that by its intensity, this destruction is unprecedented even though the very concept of "liquidation of other nations' cultures" isn't a new concept in the history of the mankind. However, one of them talked about a silver lining: Nimrud has lots of heritage beneath the ground and it is not within the abilities of the Islamist scum to liquidate most of it. I hope he is right.

Another story, the Iran-Israel tension and Bibi's speech.

A few days ago, Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave his 45-minute address to the U.S. Congress. I found the speech very convincing and impressive. He is a great speaker and his English is more authentic than the English of any continental European leader. His deep voice helps to solidify his credentials of a leader. But if was especially the content that seemed unassailable.

Thursday, March 05, 2015 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Did Homer Simpson calculate the correct Higgs boson mass?

No. But we may reveal the deepest secrets about Homer's mathematical brain, too.

For a while, I didn't understand where the story came from. But the number of articles pointing out that Homer Simpson discovered the Higgs boson (example) has exceeded 50 which is a lame reason why a TRF blog post may be appropriate. ;-)

All the excitement seems to be about this screenshot from the 1998 “The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace” episode. I can't realize that I have ever seen Homer Simpson who was this technically powerful but he must have been.

Now, all the media say that Homer Simpson either discovered the Higgs boson before CERN, or that he calculated the correct mass 14 years before it was measured at CERN (on the 2012 Independence Day).

Taming the butterfly effect

The butterfly effect is a defining effect of chaos theory. As Edward Lorenz said, the flapping of a butterfly's wings in Beijing is needed to decide whether a hurricane is created and lands in New Orleans a few weeks later. (And it is not, as the porn gurus in the IPCC claim, because of the CO2 that the butterfly exhales and that leads to a climate cataclysm.)

Is that true? There are many other butterflies and effects that help to decide but in general, it is often true: major events (hurricanes) are often strongly affected by very small perturbations of the initial state (butterfly).

How strong the dependence is and how quickly the sensitivity may grow with time? Three famous physicists just argued that there is an upper limit. In their fresh new hep-th paper

A bound on chaos,
Juan Maldacena, Steve Shenker of Stanford, and Douglas Stanford of Shenker ;-) provide us with evidence in favor of a cute new inequality.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Drachma wouldn't have saved, won't save Greece

Goldman Sachs has argued that the transition of Greece to its new currency won't improve things; on the contrary, it is likely to make things worse. The main problem is that no one would be willing to hold such a new currency so all the meaningful trade would occur in harder, existing currencies.

No, this guy isn't Pythagoras. It's his former boss, Zeus.

I completely agree with that. And unlike many fellow Euroskeptics, I don't really believe that Greece would be doing well or substantially better today (financially) if it had not switched to the euro. In the long run, as long as we have two currencies that are sustainable as major means of payment and storage of value, the conversion from one to the other is just a matter of a change of units – just like the conversion from pounds to kilograms and vice versa – and it doesn't change any underlying dynamics.

Abolished Big Bang is all around us

A rant on the unlimited stupidity of the masses

Three weeks ago, I discussed a media storm following the publication of a lousy article by Ali and Das that was interpreted as a disproof of the big bang theory. Lots of the Czech media joined at that time.

However, what I didn't expect was that this insanity was going to continue for weeks. On Monday, when I opened the novinky.cz [translation of the name of the server: news.cz] app on my smartphone, it immediately impressed me by the article called There Has Never Been Any Big Bang, a New Study Claims. Holy cow. There was an easy way to save my life: to drag my finger from the left side of the screen to the right one. The terrible thing disappeared.

Monday, March 02, 2015 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Google Earth Pro for free: 3D model of each building, tree on Earth

One month ago, I read an iDNES.cz article and downloaded Google Earth Pro. It normally costs $399 a year except that incredibly enough, Google made this application fre..

Click the image for a higher resolution picture of the center of Pilsen.

Once you download the Google Earth Pro (GEP) 7.1, you may register your copy and use GEPFREE as the key (the user name should be your e-mail if you're respectful enough). It works and only occupies 100 MB or so (plus cache if you like it) on your hard drive.

Brian Greene's 14-hour audiobook

I admit that I have never bought an audiobook. And I don't even know what kind of devices or apps are able to play them. But most of us are able to play YouTube videos. And a user who is either a friend of Brian Greene or a pirate posted the full audiobook of "The Hidden Reality" to YouTube a month ago.

Sunday, March 01, 2015 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Physicist Boris Nemtsov assassinated near the Kremlin

Boris Jefimovič Němcov (don't you prefer this Czech spelling?) was born in 1959. In 1985, he got a PhD from the Gorky State University (he later became a "candidate" of physico-mathematical sciences) and for five years, he worked as a research fellow in the Gorky Radio Physics Research Institute.

He has actually authored over 60 publications (in Russian journals) in quantum physics, thermodynamics, and acoustics, including some papers about the "acoustics laser" that he invented, along with new designs for space-based antennas.

John Pell: a birthday

I am pretty sure it's the first time I write about John Pell, an English 17th century mathematician.

He was born on March 1st, 1611, in Southwick, Sussex. When he was five and six, his father John Pell and mother Mary Holland of Kent died, respectively. However, his \(4+4=8\) kids didn't learn what it means to be an orphan: he only died when he was 74.

During his life, he became an accomplished linguist, a diplomat, and he even proposed a universal language. He wrote about pedagogy, encyclopedism, and pansophy. Because he did all these pretty sophisticated non-mathematical things, I find it pretty weird that we remember him as a mathematician.

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