## Thursday, March 31, 2016 ... //

### Ukrainian girl proves that $E_8$, Leech rule in sphere packing

Berlin postdoc Maryna Viazovska proves the lore in dimensions 8 and (with pals) 24

Erica Klarreich brought the readers of the Quanta Magazine some wonderful summary of three mathematical preprints on the arXiv:

Sphere Packing Solved in Higher Dimensions
The question is sort of obvious even to little kids. You have equally large $n$-dimensional spheres (the sphere is a set of points with a fixed Pythagorean distance $R$ from the center). How do you arrange these non-overlapping objects in a big box so that the number of balls in the box is maximized?

You may fill the 1-dimensional space, a line, with 1-spheres, i.e. line intervals, completely. That was easy! ;-)

For 2-spheres, i.e. circles (or disks), the hexagonal packing is almost obviously the densest packing (the filled fraction is $\pi/\sqrt{12}\approx 90.69\%$) even though this result was only rigorously proved by Fejes Tóth in 1940. But what about other dimensions?

### Could Germany ban mosques?

The Alternative for Germany (AfD) led by chemist Frauke Petry (you have to be a female chemist if you want to be an influential German leader these days; Frauke only failed to invent the Petri dishes because her mother waited for the birth up to 1975) succeeded in recent regional elections in 3 German bundeslands. It scored between 12 and 25 percent and about 17% in average, the same percentage I mentioned as an estimate of their power in January before I was challenged by a German PC critic named Skepsis:

Dear Lubos, although I respect your comptence in the field of physics I, as a German, have to tell you that you understand very little about German politics. According to the latest polls not more than 9 percent of Germans would be voting for the AFD. This is extremely little...
OK, who was right, Skepsis?

A pretty mosque in Berlin

At any rate, an organization of AfD in Lower Bavaria recommended to close mosques in Germany. Lower Bavaria is a region of Bavaria adjacent to Czechia – most of the Czechoslovak-West-German border is actually a border of Bohemia and Lower Bavaria.

## Wednesday, March 30, 2016 ... //

### Quantitative easing is better than helicopter drops

It's straightforward to induce inflation, harder to preserve the Lumo principles of safe and helpful interventions

Capitalist and Imperialist Pig quotes a left-wing would-be economist named Brad DeLong. This Gentleman superficially names the "global savings glut" and "deflation threat" as two main enemies and proposes to literally revive Milton Friedman's concept of the helicopter money. (They sometimes have the chutzpah to talk about the "austerity madness", too. But in this world in which most governments still run several-percent budget deficits, I would find it a self-humiliation to try to respond to insanities such as the "austerity madness" so let me ignore it.)

According to the plan, Janet Yellen will fill green helicopters with lots of money and pour them over the United States, especially above the neighborhoods with lots of colorful gay female poor uneducated discriminated Americans. This will increase the aggregate demand, the inflation rate, and everyone will be happy again.

## Tuesday, March 29, 2016 ... //

### Controversies of the Sino-Czech ties

China's president Xi Jinping chose four European countries for his visit: Czechia, Britain, Germany, and France. His 2+day visit to my homeland that began yesterday is viewed as a hint that Czechia was chosen as a Central and Eastern European hub for China to grow its plans in Europe – and to rebuild the Silk Road.

This is how you have to bow to the Asian leader if you're just a rank-and-file Czechoslovak billionaire living in a subsidized Stork's Nest.

We can understand it but our understanding of the motivation, even if it is accurate, doesn't mean that we think that he's innocent. Even when someone does something criminal or unethical because of his love for his children etc., he must be held responsible for these acts. Indeed, if he wants to be praised for something he has done for his spoiled brats and Mr Herodes, he should also spend those years in the prison. In fact, I think that by this admission, the kids and the de facto brother-in-law have been named as fellow culprits and it seems reasonable to me to arrest them for several years, too. They applied for a $2 million subsidy claiming to be small-scale enterpreneurs in tourist industry which was a lie – a subsidy-related fraud. They may have a long time in the prison to thank their daddy who is the actual mastermind of all this stuff. ## Wednesday, March 23, 2016 ... // ### LHC: some new weak deviations from the Standard Model ATLAS and CMS have released lots of papers in recent days. I will very briefly mention a few ATLAS graphs you may find interesting. In a search for $ZZ\to\ell\ell qq$ resonances, Figure 4 shows a 2-sigma (locally) spread excess for $m_H\sim 950\GeV$. Between $450\GeV$ and $750\GeV$, there is a comparably strong deficit. ## Tuesday, March 22, 2016 ... // ### Is Brussels a good place for the EU capital? My condolences to the victims' friends and families. A few days ago, a culprit of the Paris Friday 13th (November) attacks was caught alive in Brussels, the capital of Belgium and the EU. Sadly, the revenge (by the bombmaker from Paris plus two brothers) was brutal. In ISIS-designed suicide explosion attacks (Wiki) at the airport and a subway station, at least 14+20 people were killed today in the morning at 8:00 am and 9:10 am, respectively (add 250 injuries). As Pakistani string theorist Amer Iqbal tweeted, Islam came to Brussels. The suicide explosions haven't used the full power of the Atomium so far, thank God. Well, the reality is that according to 2005 estimates, Islam came to Brussels a long time ago because about 25.5% of the Brussels folks are said to have ancestry in Islamic countries (mostly Turkey and Morocco). We're often taught that Brussels is a city shared by the linguistic groups of the Flemish (Dutch) and Walloon (French) people. But if 25.5% of the pie should be labeled very differently, one is tempted to say that the usual wisdom about the ethnic groups of Brussels is heavily outdated. ### Weinberg's "deconstruction of the measurement" isn't wrong but it's pointless Steven Weinberg has published a new paper about the foundations of quantum mechanics (QM) in PRA: What Happens in a Measurement? The paper implicitly suggests that some conceptually important problem may be solved by comments involving the Lindblad equation. I think that in this case, he never says things that are sharply wrong (at most distortions of the history). But in between the lines, he seems to write that certain steps are useful to clarify the situation even though they aren't. ## Monday, March 21, 2016 ... // ### The LHC collider isn't homophobic Anti-LGBT posters must be as allowed as pro-LGBT posters Dozens of newspapers including The Daily Mail, The Sunday Times, The Independent, International Business Times, PinkNews, and The Australian claim that the LHC is the Large Homophobic Collider. Why? To make the story short, the reason is that at least one employer of CERN – Aidan Randle-Conde (whose name has appeared on TRF many times, e.g. here where I couldn't agree about his tirade against combos) – has been whining that not every other employee of CERN has been taking his posters promoting assorted sodomy festivals seriously. Someone wrote "Schwein" (or a logo of a pig) and even a quote from the Bible on his posters. It's an unacceptable campaign of hate and intolerance, Aidan whines. ## Saturday, March 19, 2016 ... // ### Weinberg is right, historians are wrong Hindsight and modern knowledge essential for a sensible evaluation of thinkers of the past In Science News, Tom Siegfried reviews the (otherwise ordinary) 2015 book "To Explain the World" by Steven Weinberg Physicist’s story of science breaks historians’ rules in an interesting way, as an intellectual confrontation about the meaning of the history of science between scientists as represented by Weinberg and the historians of science as represented by more mediocre scholars without famous names. ## Friday, March 18, 2016 ... // ### Chinese battery investor pays to build Czech Musk killers Mr Jan Procházka [John Walk, the 2nd most widespread male given name and the 6th most frequent Czech surname] is a Czech inventor who has worked for Altair, a battery producer, in Nevada where they have utilized some his patents. Electric buses produced by Škoda here in Pilsen use his design, too, just to make you sure that this man has made things that really work and he's no Czech Andrea Rossi. ;-) But since 2015, the Czech media have talked about his purported game-changing invention. Procházka is the CEO of HE3DA and he's been looking for an investor who would allow him to build large batteries according to this invention. A week ago, Chinese businessman Chu Juan Pin agreed to pay €50 million for a 49% stake in a company that will produce these batteries. In this counting, the company is worth about €100 million but the Chinese investor should pay this amount by itself and I am confused by these financial details. ### Young Western Europeans begin to emigrate to Czechia On Wednesday, the Czech news server Novinky.cz published the article Western youth is targeting Czechia. They feel safer here. As John pointed out, the story has also made it to Breitbart: White flight: young professionals flock to conservative, mass migration-free Czech Republic Well, to call my homeland (the ultimate egalitarian country) where right-wing parties have some 15% in the Parliament – and it's been like that throughout most of our history – "conservative" sounds a bit comical but I don't want to laugh too much because the "conservativeness" that they refer to is a certain kind of social conservativeness or at least the freedom from most kinds of the political correctness. Let me say a few things about the history and the present of migration related to Czechia. ## Thursday, March 17, 2016 ... // ### Rumor: Moriond denied new ATLAS almost 5-sigma evidence of $750\GeV$ cernette Ms Els Koffeman, a physics professor in Amsterdam, has coined the term "cernette" for the hypothetical object that manifests itself as the diphoton excess of the apparent invariant mass of $750\GeV$. One must be careful: there may be several cernettes. While these four Les Horribles Cernettes (LHC) surely exist (or existed when the LHC tunnel was filled with some outdated equipment), does the particle of mass $750\GeV$ actually exist? Or are the 285 arXiv preprints (as of today) dedicated to a fairy? That's almost certainly the #1 question asked by participants of Recontres de Moriond, a famous conference that takes place this week in Aosta Valley, Italy. Some people may want to follow the Moriond Twitter account. ### Blogger or Disqus have segregated the national discussions: a fix Update: I fixed the split by adding a command in the HTML source that re-internationalizes the canonical URLs that are served to Disqus. What should have been canonical is canonical again and the global TRF community is reunited. ;-) That's why I moved this blog post to the past. Either Disqus, the world's top web commenting company that has been running the platform for discussions on this blog for several years (after I migrated from Haloscan/JS-Kit/Echo by a difficult process), or Blogger, a company within Google, has changed something in the way how the URLs are transferred in between the two servers. Consequently, as John Gsheep has pointed out (although a bit more mysteriously than this blog says), all the comments posted to one national edition of this blog are invisible to the visitors of all other national editions right now. The problem has existed for one day. Is there a way to see the comments by fellow members of the TRF community again, or have we been segregated into decoupled national cliques by dozens of iron curtains? ## Wednesday, March 16, 2016 ... // ### A small but interesting ATLAS gluino/stop excess The LHC is continuing its powering tests and the schedule says that on Tuesday, March 29th, after the Easter, the beam should be resuscitated just like Jesus Christ and it should return to the ring. Meanwhile, ATLAS and CMS are releasing additional papers. Most of them show good agreement with the Standard Model or less than 2-sigma excesses. But... ### Will Hyperloop merge Slovak and Austrian capitals by 2020? Cosmology: BICEP3 began to collect data yesterday. Papers may be out at the end of 2016. BICEP3 has 5 times as many sensors and pixels as BICEP2, resolution 0.5° instead of 0.35° of BICEP2, and frequency 95 Hz instead of 150 Hz of BICEP2. They should be able to see weaker tensor perturbations. In recent days, most of the important Slovak, Czech, and English newspapers – e.g. the Daily Mail – have informed us about Slovakia's becoming the most enthusiastic pioneer of certain technologies, namely Hyperloop. Bratislava is a fun city, somewhat similar to Pilsen. Hyperloop is an open-source concept for fast transportation based on the late 18th century "atmospheric railways" and, using some modern buzzwords and backing by billions of dollars, resuscitated by Elon Musk. Capsules in an evacuated tube are driven by pressure differences (e.g. air compressors) as well as electromagnetic fields (induction) – I don't actually understand why he needs both and which of them is more important – and the maximum speeds reach 1,200 kilometers per hour. ## Tuesday, March 15, 2016 ... // ### The $\pi$ day: what's the product of all primes? It is $4\pi^2$ but don't stop reading. Yesterday, on March 14th, we celebrated Einstein's birthday as well as the Pi Day (3/14). You could have bought Wolfram Mathematica at a discount, especially because it was the rounded $\pi$ day, 3.1416. In Germany and countries influenced by Germany, we often use the term "Ludolph number" for $\pi$ – the "Archimedes constant", as the English-speaking world tends to say – because 400 years ago, the director of a fencing school and mathematics professor Ludolph van Ceulen calculated 20 digits of $\pi$ by approximating it with the regular 1,073,741,284-gon after he decided that he wanted to have a cool tombstone (some digits were added later). Yes, the number of the sides is $2^{30}$ so you may get the result by "halving and halving 30 times" – this method was already known to Archimedes 1700 years earlier – and the deviation of the circumference of this "billiongon" from the circle goes like "one over one billion squared". About 20 digits, indeed. The number $\pi$ is the most popular irrational number among the laymen. They associate various supernatural properties with it – as you could see in the thriller named Pi. Much of this hype is irrational (much like $\pi$, pun intended) because all other irrational or transcendental numbers – and almost all real numbers are irrational and transcendental – share those properties (similar to irrationality) that the laymen are capable of describing by words (e.g. their digits are hard to remember). Some of the hype is justified because $\pi$ really appears at nice places of mathematics. ## Monday, March 14, 2016 ... // ### Is physics of the sixth place of decimals important? In his essay In Defense of Lord Kelvin, Michelson, and the Physics of Decimals, Tetragraviton starts with the well-known slogan attributed to Lord Kelvin, basically "everything in physics has already been discovered and only details are left". In reality, William Thompson hasn't made this statement. But Albert Michelson, the co-father of the Morley-Michelson experiment disproving the aether wind (and showing the need for relativity), has made a longer but extremely similar statement. The precise measurements and the "sixth place of decimals" are the future of physics, Michelson argued. ## Sunday, March 13, 2016 ... // ### Jordan algebras are neither natural nor essential for quantum mechanics Pascual Jordan was one of the 3-5 true founders of quantum mechanics. His contributions have been largely erased from the history books and textbooks because of his Nazi faith and he hasn't even received a Nobel prize – which I consider completely unfair – but that doesn't mean that I am ready to worship everything that Jordan was obsessed with. One of these things were Jordan algebras which he proposed as the modern correct formalization of the "algebra of observables" in quantum mechanics in 1933. If you're not familiar with those, you may look at the definition and the first strange thing that you quickly notice is that the Jordan algebras are non-associative. How can the multiplication of operators be non-associative? ## Saturday, March 12, 2016 ... // ### Babiš's Stork's Nest and the rabble's double standards The silence surrounding the scandal of the Czech finance minister's fraudulent$2 million EU subsidies is deafening, especially in comparison with the tiny sins that were apparently enough to remove some governments in the past.

The rabble has apparently chosen its new king, the Slovak billionaire Andrej Babiš, who fights against the richer and prettier neighbors of the members of the rabble. And that's why this rabble forgives everything to this giant aßhole, including his unusual wealth.

Years ago, billionaire and former communist snitch Babiš boasted that the Stork's Nest was the best invention in his life so far. He was waiting in a line in the Prague zoo with his kids to feed the goats and because he's impatient, he decided that he had to build something similar which would belong to himself. Adolf Hitler built The Eagle's Nest so Babiš found it appropriate to invent the Stork's Nest for himself.

## Friday, March 11, 2016 ... //

### Without H-1B visas, America will be losing its STEM hegemony

Donald Trump's protectionist tendencies are mostly myopic

By now, most people must have learned that it's totally plausible that Donald Trump will become the next president. The probability is almost certainly higher than 20 percent. I agree with many attitudes and views of Trump's. However, in the latest GOP debate, Trump vowed to abolish the H-1B visas.

They're non-immigration visas for skilled foreign workers. At every moment, at most 85,000 people may be present in the U.S. 98% of this cap is depleted at almost all times. About 50% of these foreigners on visas work in some kind of computer industry. The temporary status means that they're granted for 3 years and may be renewed for additional 3 years but 6 years is the maximum.

### Measurement isn't a violation of unitarity

In the mid 1920s, thanks to the conservative yet revolutionary work by giants such as Heisenberg, the foundations of physics have switched from the old framework of classical physics to the postulates of quantum mechanics.

The new general rules have been completely understood. Since that time, only the search for the "right Hamiltonians" and "their implications" was open. The new philosophical underpinnings were shown to be consistent, complete, nothing has changed about them since 1925 (or we might put the threshold to 1927 so that the papers clarifying the uncertainty principle etc. are included), and all the evidence suggests that there's no reason to expect any change to these basic philosophical foundations of physics in the future.

Florin Moldoveanu doesn't like these facts because much of his work (and maybe most of it) is based on the denial of the fact that quantum mechanics works and it works remarkably well. So he wrote, among other things:

Luboš sees no value in the quantum foundations community because the proper interpretation was settled in his opinion long time ago and all quantum foundations practitioners must be crackpots (obviously there is no love lost between the quantum foundation community and Luboš).
Apparently to show that something hasn't been clear about the basic rules of the game since the 1920s, he wrote a blog post dominated by the basic introduction to the Leibniz identity, the Jacobi identity, and tensor products. Are you joking, Florin? While the universal postulates of quantum mechanics have been known since the 1920s, the "fancy new hi-tech topics" that you discussed now have been known at least since the 19th century!

### Computers' dominance in Go was inevitable

Which activities will preserve the "advantage humans"?

## Thursday, March 03, 2016 ... //

### LIGO black holes may be dark matter

Particle physicists prefer to believe that there exists dark matter and it's mostly composed of a new elementary particle species such as the WIMP (Weakly Interacting Massive Particle such as the LSP, the Lightest Supersymmetric Partner in supersymmetric theories, such as the neutralino, such as the bino or wino and so on) or the axion.

But such a dark matter particle hasn't been found and it's not crazy to assume that it doesn't exist. Some people want to modify Newton's or Einstein's equations (MOND etc.). But it's also possible that dark matter exists but it is not composed of elementary particles. It can be MACHO, RAMBO, SUPERMAN, PUTIN, or something else.

In fact, the two black holes that were detected by LIGO may be representatives of dark matter, as Simeon Bird and 7 co-authors (including AR, a Nobel prize winner) argue in the new preprint:

Did LIGO detect dark matter?
It's pretty much indisputable that what LIGO has seen was a merger of black holes. But what was their pedigree?

## Wednesday, March 02, 2016 ... //

### TBBT: not everyone can be a supernumerary actor

Filmmakers sometimes need to pay the extras. That's not the case of The Big Bang Theory.

Exactly two weeks ago, Howard learned about Bernadette's pregnancy. They organized a party, Sheldon got drunk, and he needed to go to the bathroom.

I am sure that most of the viewers have missed a "detail". Your humble correspondent surely did.

Jump to 1:49 of the video above. Do you see someone well-known on the screen? A high resolution is recommended.