Saturday, April 30, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Claude Shannon at 100: who are his living peers?

Claude Shannon was born exactly 100 years ago, on April 30th, 1916. After I quick read the Wikipedia page, it seems to me that he is rightfully considered a father of the digital age and one of the greatest 20th century engineers whose work was important enough to impact science, too.

He died in 2001.

(Interestingly enough, an important "she" from my undergraduate years was born exactly 40 years ago, i.e. 60 years after Shannon. Congratulations. In Czechia, April 30th is the day of burning of the witches, see some videos, although they're mostly less real than those in Salem, MA. For a May 1st romantic event, read Mácha's poem "Máj".)

Shannon was born in Michigan. His father was a self-made businessman (at some district level, I could describe my dad in the same way) and his mother was a teacher.

Bohmian mechanics is incompatible with loop corrections

...meaning the Feynman diagrams...

Florin Moldoveanu wrote his review of Hardy's paradox. Like the GHZM experiment, it's another "mostly qubits-based" quantum thought (or real) experiments that behaves in a way predicted by any local realist theory to be impossible.

Florin's presentation is a bit shallower than my blog post on Hardy's paradox or his treatment of the GHZM case but I am willing to believe that he understands how it works.

The original paper by Lucien Hardy included the annihilation of an electron and a positron into two photons; and Jean Bricmont, a pro-Bohmian ideologue, recently published his book attacking the foundations of quantum mechanics. So I think it could be a good moment to write a blog post dedicated to this specific topic of "Bohmian mechanics vs effects of QFT", something I have wanted to do for some time.

Friday, April 29, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

A new conservation law in GR discovered thanks to ER=EPR

An attack turned off the LHC: a terrorist (picture) made it necessary to stop the LHC. Due to a damage of the transformer, there won't be any beam up to next Friday. I still think that weasel words create many more problems than weasels.
I primarily view the ER-EPR correspondence (the equivalence of the non-traversable wormholes and the quantum entanglement) as an important conceptual finding that is directing people's research of the most esoteric, most quantum aspects of quantum gravity – the cutting-edge questions in this most fundamental part of theoretical physics. We learn about some new constraints in the rules that govern the Hilbert spaces in quantum gravity.

However, three Caltech authors, Remmen+Bao+Pollack, just showed a rather cool example of the wisdom that may also flow in the opposite direction:
Entanglement Conservation, ER=EPR, and a New Classical Area Theorem for Wormholes
Because the entanglement is the same thing as the wormhole and there exist some facts we may derive about the entanglement in general, there could be facts that we may derive about the pure simple classical Einstein's general theory of relativity, too.

This result is so pleasing that I immediately forgave these folks their collaboration with Sean Carroll in the past. Whoever co-authors a paper such as this one earns enough scientific capital to write three nutty papers e.g. about the Boltzmann Brains.

Consensus and concordance models

Syed Ali of Pakistan asked the following question on Stack Exchange:

What is the difference between the Big Bang Model and the Λ-CDM Model?

If I'm going to write about "The Consensus Model of Cosmology" should I include Big Bang Model or should I go with just the ΛCDM Model?
Well, it's subtle. On that page, I explained the difference between the ΛCDM model and the more general term, the big bang theory.

The former is more detailed than the latter; it also says that there's a big positive cosmological constant (Λ in ΛCDM) and cold dark matter (CDM) in the Universe. Cosmologists are generally certain about the big bang and almost all of them think that ΛCDM is basically correct as well. But there are various uncertainties, various degrees of certainty about different questions, and "consensus" is just an inappropriate word to talk about science.

Even if we added the cosmic inflation, the majority of active cosmologists would probably say "Yes". But no specific "subtype" of inflation would already get over 50% of all cosmologists, I think. And what is the dark matter composed of? WIMP would be the winner but whether it would score more than 50% is debatable. It's been reported that the younger generation of cosmologists is much more willing to abandon WIMP theories. This particular evolution seems reasonably defensible to me, unlike some others.

Thursday, April 28, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Anti-quantum zealots don't even get that QM is a physical theory

Their peabrains are also incapable of understanding the word "No"

Maybe it's just because I have increased the frequency with which I write about the foundations of quantum mechanics and people send me various stuff. But the amount of anti-quantum misconceptions that I have been exposed to in recent weeks was higher than ever before.

At the end, almost all if not all of these people just aren't willing or able to even consider the possibility that the assumptions of classical physics are wrong. It must sound surprising to an open-minded student who hasn't faced any serious obstacles when he was learning quantum mechanics. But when you actually interact with these anti-quantum zealots and you see how they react to some extremely simple, rock-solid explanations of yours, you simply have to conclude that their IQ is probably below 70. The degree of stupidity they are willing to promote in order to defend the indefensible is shocking.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Czech nuclear watchdog: a trip to Chernobyl is safe for you

A more exciting tourist destination than most others

Yesterday, on the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl accident, the chairwoman of the Czech State Office for Nuclear Safety Dr Dana Drábová gave an interview for the left-wing daily Právo and the news server

A trip to the forbidden zone in Chernobyl? Why not, it won't hurt, claims nuclear physicist Drábová

The areas contaminated after the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear plant have turned into founts of wisdom, claims Dana Drábová in the Tuesday's interview for the Právo daily. She is the chairwoman of the State Bureau for Nuclear Safety. According to her words, an educational sightseeing trip to the Chernobyl zone won't harm anyone because the guides know which places are safe to visit.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Research in Prague quantifies dishonesty of literature on climate sensitivity

The power of meta-analyses in measuring the density of scammers in the climate alarmist industry

Although one or two climate blogs have already noticed the clever paper in August 2015 when it was published, most of us were unaware of it. That included myself – even though the paper was published by authors at my Alma Mater, Charles University in Prague (founded 1348). They're from the Faculty of Social Sciences (FSV UK) – a much more quantitative department than the name indicates. A classmate of mine (whom I spent 6 years with behind the same school desk) completed FSV UK and then went to the London School of Economics before he became a director at the Patria Finance for some time. ;-)

Figure 3 from the paper makes the bias obvious.

Sadly, the paper published in Energy & Environment remained almost unknown for almost a year. Fortunately, Richard Tol sent the paper to Willie Soon and he sent it to me today. The 2015 paper is freely available on a Czech website:

Publication Bias in Measuring Anthropogenic Climate Change (also: a PowerPoint talk)
The authors are Dr Dominika Rečková (CZ) and Dr Zuzana Iršová (SK). Note that in Czech and Slovak, the -ová suffix indicates that they're female. That doesn't change the fact that their methodology is very clever.

When anti-CO2, junk food pseudosciences team up

Among other things, a Czech-Swedish man showed me an article in the April 9th issue of Nude Socialist

Reaping what we sow (pages 18-19)
written by Irakli Loladze (Google Scholar), a professor of junk food science at a college I've never heard of. He told us that he wanted to get lots of money and Barack Obama (whose relationship to science is accurately described by his being a painful footnote in the curved constitutional space) finally gave Loladze some big bucks for the excellent "research" that Loladze already wanted to do in 2002.

What is the result of the research? It's a simple combination of the pseudosciences about the "evil junk food" and about the "evil CO2". It says that CO2 turns out food into junk food. I kid you not. The one-page article in Nude Socialist contains basically nothing beyond the previous sentence written in the bold face.

Omnipresent in-fighting weakens right-wingers

Trump vs Koch, Farage vs Le Pen, Klaus vs Mach, Dawn vs Bloc Against Islam...

In recent 24 hours, I read about an unusual excess of the tensions between various pairs of right-wing politicians (and a businessman). It seems that these conflicts can be found everywhere on the right side of the political spectrum. Some frustration coming from the politicians' perceived failure to become important may be partially blamed for the trend.

First, Charles Koch prefers Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. He says some good things about the economic policies of Bill Clinton – I obviously sometimes say similar things – but he also adds that it's unacceptable for the GOP candidates to vigorously defend America against the radical Islam (by Muslim travel bans and carpet bombing of Daesh, respectively).

Monday, April 25, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

5,000 cernettes with \(750\GeV\) may be found in the LHC trash bins each year

The excess of the diphoton events whose invariant mass is apparently \(750\GeV\), the decay products of the hypothetical new "cernette" particles, is arguably the most convincing or most tantalizing existing experimental hint of the Beyond the Standard Model physics at the LHC right now. I estimate the probability that a new particle (or new particles) exists in that region to be 50%.

Nude Socialist just posted an interesting story

Hacking the LHC to sift trash could help find a mystery particle
about a possibly clever idea to dramatically increase the sensitivity of the LHC to the "cernettes" that was reported in a fresh hep-ex preprint
Turning the LHC Ring into a New Physics Search Machine
by 4 physicists from Iowa, Helsinki, and CERN that include Risto Orava. Orava is a cute region in the Northwestern Slovak countryside (pix) where Elon Musk just built Tesla Orava, a company producing some incredibly hot futuristic high-tech products including the Color Oravan TV that I can already/still offer you. Tesla Czechoslovakia just succeeded in selling 100,000 new vinyl record players to Japan. (Everyone laughs now.) The Japanese bought them as carousels for puppet shows.

Sunday, April 24, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Can a biologist deepen the foundations of quantum mechanics?

In this case, it doesn't look so to me.

I have finally found fifteen minus to devour "biologist of perception" Donald Hoffman's thoughts in the Quanta Magazine,

The Evolutionary Argument Against Reality
It seems to me that he just says that the reality doesn't exist and natural selection punishes those who see the truth or the reality. Do you see anything more well-defined, a more convincing argument, or an entirely new additional idea in the article that isn't summarized by the previous sentence?

At several places, he suggests that he defends this "reality doesn't exist" viewpoint because he takes quantum mechanics seriously and much of this philosophy probably sounds similar to my comments about quantum mechanics to many people's ears. The only problem is that I think that the quantum beef is either entirely missing or seriously distorted in Hoffman's remarks. Instead, what I see is some superficial, partially wrong, and partially trivial philosophizing about the world that many people completely misunderstanding everything about quantum mechanics like to say, too.

If you expect the Quanta Magazine article to tell you something quantitative about qualia – how perceptions are linked to the apparatus of quantum mechanics – you're bound to be disappointed.

Saturday, April 23, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

175 nations signed, Paris climate insanity hasn't come to force yet

Era of consumption without worries is just getting started

Vladimir Lenin would celebrate a birthday yesterday so a couple of his true heirs – who want to cripple the world economy for much of the 21st century, much like their guru did 100 years earlier – gathered in New York to sign the insane Paris climate treaty.

It's a treaty in which the green activists in every nation invent an arbitrary five-year plan and they help their comrades in other countries to enforce this nation-specific anti-industrial terror on everyone else. They schedule a new convention each five years where their conspiracy is supposed to be updated. Whether this setup without any universal predetermined commitments may actually harm anyone is still debated. But the increase of the number of dirty parasites in the climate bureaucracy across the world and of the deceitful propaganda that these parasites need for their survival will certainly be genuine.

Czechia where almost everyone considers this deal to be just another big theft of the public money had the decency to send just a third-rate politician, the environment minister Richard Sparrow, to sign the deal in New York.

Friday, April 22, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Brexit: Boris vs Barack. Will Obama join the EU?

The full text isn't known yet but it's been leaked that Obama will try to intervene into the British June 23rd referendum about the kingdom's departure from the European Union. (The Daily Telegraph honored Obama by offering him some room on the prestigious enough Page 20 today.)

Barack Obama will claim that Britain is a weak loser who doesn't have a chance to survive for a week away from Angela Merkel's and Jean-Claude Juncker's breasts. It's important for the strength of Britain to shut up and become an obedient servant of the bureaucracy in Brussels. Without the leadership of Merkel and others, Britain may degrade into a banana constitutional monarchy led by monarchs who even demanded exporters of tea to pay their taxes back in 1776. On the contrary, the permanent residence under Angela's skirt will make Britain much stronger, Obama argues.

Boris Johnson is the popular conservative mayor of London who happens to lead the "Out" camp of the Brexit referendum and, like 60% of Britons, he may have some issues with this meddling by Obama. In The Sun, he wrote an essay

Boris Johnson: UK and America can be better friends than ever Mr Obama... if we LEAVE the EU
He starts by some known data indicating that one of the first decisions of Obama in the White House was to remove the statue of Winston Churchill from the Oval Office – a statue that had spent a decade over there. It was silently returned to the U.K. embassy in DC on Day One. Chances are that Obama is a fanatical anti-imperialist and his partly Kenyan ancestry makes it even more likely.

Churchill was a great warrior for the strength of the British Empire – who not only helped to save the democratic world (and restore countries like Czechoslovakia: Churchill was the first major politician who left the old, 1938 European Union codified by the Munich Treaty) but who also sent some troops against some rebels in Kenya – so the Obama-Churchill chemistry didn't work too well.

Lawyer John Dixon bastardizes SUSY in two new papers

CERN: CMS releases the open data from 2.5/fb of 2011 collisions. I hope that you have 100 spare TB on your hard disks. ;-) Also, Christopher Nolan's brain melted 45 minutes after he began to talk to Kip Thorne, Time Magazine reported while praising Thorne's contribution to LIGO. Let me emphasize that Nolan's brain meltdown wasn't due to any global warming.

Two of the new hep-th papers today were written by John Dixon who offers Gmail as his affiliation (well, so would I right now, but many more people would know who I am):

Canonical Transformations can Dramatically Simplify Supersymmetry

Squarks and Sleptons are not needed for the SSM. They can be, and they should be, transformed away
While the titles are longer than they should be, they're pretty bold and simple claims. You can – and you should – completely erase all scalar partners of known fermions in supersymmetric theories. And that's desirable because no squarks and sleptons have been discovered yet. Well, there is a slight problem: These claims are self-evident rubbish.

If SUSY can be talked about at all, the operators \(Q_\alpha\) with a spinor index have to exist and no one can prevent you from asking what is \(Q\ket{\mu}\) where \(\ket\mu\) is a state with one muon, for example. You simply have to get a bosonic result. The result of the action of some SUSY generators has to be nonzero because the anticommutator of \(Q\)'s contains the momentum which is nonzero. So the action has to be a state with one bosonic particle with the same momentum, perhaps dressed into some stuff related to the SUSY-breaking sector, or this state may be in a different superselection sector (but these issues have to go away if SUSY is restored, e.g. at high energies).

So if the action of all these supercharges were zero, the action of the momentum on \(\ket\mu\) would have to vanish as well – but it clearly doesn't.

Thursday, April 21, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Czechia considers its own space agency

According to Space News, Czech deputy prime minister Pavel Bělobrádek (Whitebearded Paul, Christian Democrats, the smallest coalition party – here is why the party isn't larger, those 16% thought that they were asked about Godly Karel Gott) impressed his hosts at the Kennedy Space Center by an excellent idea almost no one in our homeland has heard yet: Czechia should establish its own space research center. At €15 million per year, Czechia's contributions to ESA belong among 3 post-communist countries' funds above €5 million.

Czechia was the third country to land humans at another planet. Note that in late 1992, they used the identical flag to the Polish one – it was believed that we wouldn't be able to steal the blue Slovak wedge and keep the Czechoslovak flag. These astronauts were caught by UFOyaga (just when Ms Tereshkova was being grilled) who wanted to devour them for her dinner but thanks to the Biostar from the U.S. spaceship, two of the Czech astronauts were able to escape and return to the Earth.

I am not sure how important and healthy our space program is right now. But there's some tradition to build upon, of course.

Harvard worships its radical, 1930s-style anti-Semites

First, a lighter story. After a century, America will be placing a woman on a banknote ($20) again. By inspiring a currently successful Broadway musical, Alexander Hamilton finally managed to save his life on the $10 bill. About eight other women (!) including my great grandmother Lucretia Motl will be squeezed to various places of new banknotes. The new banknotes will be prepared for 14 years and appear in 2030 if not later. That's embarrassing – Czechia and Slovakia had new banknotes within months after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia.

She was born as a slave, escaped, and helped others to escape. She changed her name later and I have forgotten both names. Sorry, I have no plans to memorize either name.

Her escape maneuvers and liberation were "good things" but they were mostly good for her and several people similar to hers. What she did may be viewed as her unsurprising care for her own interests. I just don't think it's right to say that those deeds were great acts for the United States of America or the mankind. For such reasons, I consider this replacement of Andrew Jackson to be a political kitsch of a sort or, as Donald Trump unsurprisingly said after I wrote the previous part of the sentence, it is pure political correctness. (Trump would place the "fantastic" woman on a bill no one uses.)

I am confident that most Americans have the same feeling but they're not even allowed to safely make this point because they're no longer in charge of their country and they have lost much of their freedom.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Quanta Magazine on triangles in string cosmology

Natalie Wolchover wrote an article

Physicists Hunt for the Big Bang’s Triangles
that mostly focuses on the ongoing theoretical work attempting to produce predictions of non-Gaussianities in the Cosmic Microwave Radiation – signs of the "very early stages" of the life of the Universe. It's interesting to read such texts because of the exciting science but also because I've known basically all the thinkers who are mentioned there.

Wolchover mentions the Juan Maldacena's and Nima Arkani-Hamed's 2015 paper on cosmology (non-Gaussianities determined using the concept of symmetry out of the assumed string-like higher-spin fields of masses comparable to the Hubble scale), Juan's previous work on non-Gaussianity, Nima's ongoing research attempting to link this cosmological topic with the Amplituhedron, some Matt Kleban's fresh work involving triangles and cylinders (I didn't understand enough to see what he may have found), or e.g. the community's reaction to the discovery claim by BICEP2 in Spring 2014.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Canadian PM Trudeau explains quantum computing

Last Friday, Canada's prime minister Justin Trudeau visited the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo. As you know, the place employs many physicists as well as numerous "physicists" similar to Lee Smolin.

Even though Trudeau was elected for his being a doll of a sort, the "physicists" at the Perimeter Institute had the opportunity to ask questions to someone who had some idea about things.

Only psychopaths may want to remove Golan Heights from Israel

John Kerry and similarly incredible aßholes have created a significant fraction of the havoc in the Middle East in recent years.

The success of Daesh, the most dangerous and fanatical Islamist movement of recent centuries (no, these losers haven't beaten the evil of Prophet Mohammed yet), may be partly blamed on the illogical or irresponsible U.S. support for various radicals in recent 15 years or so.

Despite many efforts, the map of the territory once known as "Iraq and Syria" looks extremely chaotic – and the most evil and fanatical controllers of large areas happen to remarkably coincide with the groups supported by the U.S. in the recent years.

The map on Wikipedia linked to in the previous paragraph wisely uses the neutral grey color – "other, safe nations" – for the territory of the Golan Heights (the light yellow vertical strip in the middle of the map embedded above), too.

The "officially" Syrian territory – according to various nonsensical U.N. maps – has been controlled by Israel since the 1967 Six-Day War. The land has already belonged under Israel for a longer period of time than it has ever belonged under Syria! That's why this territory doesn't have to be discussed when the horrors of Daesh and other Islamist groups are talked about. And we could also mention that King Og, an Amarite – basically a Jew – conquered the mountainous region in the times of the Old Testament.

Monday, April 18, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Feds should compensate for hypothetical hostile Saudi transactions

The L.A. Times printed a sensible story about the threats by the powerful men in Saudi Arabia who dislike a new bill passed by the U.S. Congress.

The bill removes the immunity from some folks – Saudi politicians seem to be the most likely targets – who could be found responsible for some damages on 9/11. Saudi Arabia could sell up to $750 billion in U.S. assets, America was told, and that could be very bad, we're encouraged to believe.

Now, I find it a matter of basic justice that the people who demonstrably participated at the preparation of "things like 9/11" must be held responsible. There are surely numerous Saudi citizens in this list. It would be interesting to estimate the percentage of the powerful wealthy men who feel bad conscience – that they had done something wrong leading to the September 2001 attacks.

Sleeping beauty: attempts for peace between thirders and halfers are inconsistent

At the end of March, the Quanta Magazine, by its article

Why Sleeping Beauty Is Lost in Time (by Pradeep Mutalik),
has joined those who argue that both widespread answers to the Sleeping Beauty problem, \(P=1/2\) and \(P=1/3\), are correct and they answer two different questions. The halfers (such as your humble correspondent) do care about the "background" of events while the thirders (which includes fans of the radical anthropic principle and Boltzmann Brains) don't.

Such a reconciliation could sound "nice" except for one problem. The "framework" that implies \(P=1/3\) just can't be turned into a logically consistent version of the probability calculus.

Just to remind you. In the problem, a coin is tossed on Sunday. If it lands Heads or Tails, respectively, the Sleeping Beauty is awaken once (Monday) or twice (Monday, Tuesday), respectively, for an interview. During the interview, she's asked about her subjective probability that the coin is just showing heads.

You may remember that heads is "1 awakening" while tails is "2 awakenings" by internalizing Czechia's coat of arms. The double-tailed lion has one head and two tails. ;-)

Friday, April 15, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Strominger's "new" conservation laws claimed to be "old", application problematic

Sebastian was the first one who saw a new paper

Asymptotic structure of electrodynamics revisited
by Andřej Herdegen in Krakow, Poland. The paper claims that there are some serious generalized problems with the latest "big program" by Andy Strominger and his pals (search e.g. for soft Strominger on this blog).

First of all, Herdegen claims that the bulk of the classical results by Strominger talking about new conservation laws linked to the null infinity (at least those referring to the electromagnetic field) have been known for decades, from the work by Bramson in the late 1970s, Ashtekar and Streubel in the early 1980s, and (in a more complete form) Herdegen himself in the mid 1990s.

On nutcases who want to ban man-hours

A comparison of men's and women's work, with and without PC

Dilaton has witnessed a rather shocking interaction at the Academia Stackexchange. A user named Jonathan Reez asked whether the author of a laborious paper is obliged to give the raw data to followers. He needed a term to express the idea:

I've recently read... which would normally take thousands of man-hours...
It's all about the man-hour, a unit of human work – the amount that the average worker does in one hour. One man is a unit of "generalized power" analogous to one watt (except that it's some "general energy and work", not "energy in joules", that is being produced) and if you multiply it by one hour, you get the amount of "work" in the generalized sense.

Thursday, April 14, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

There can't be any bursting, ZIRP-driven "bubble in everything"

Even though I am not really interested in the money too much, I would probably agree that Peter Thiel is a role model of mine. He is an unusually intelligent venture capitalist. He's co-founded important companies like PayPal, made the right investments such as the first big cash injection to Facebook, and has done real work in hedge funds since 2002, Clarium and Founders Fund.

He has always (well, a few times) beat in me in chess and I think that he always will.

He's considered a contrarian investor whose beliefs often differ from the overwhelming majority by 180° and if he makes a loss, it's because he's too brilliant. I have tons of understanding for the smart people who sometimes differ by 180°, you surely believe me. But I still think that his

100-second Bloomberg interview about the "bubble in everything" (hat tip: Willie Soon)
isn't just contrarian, it's irrational. Thiel has expressed some thoughts about the financial markets that we actually hear quite often but they contradict the thoughts and interpretations by mainstream professional bankers such as Super Mario Draghi or Janet Yellen. I am absolutely convinced that Draghi and pals understand what's actually going on with these variables much more than Thiel and others (including the constantly crash-predicting folks via Newsmax and Donald Trump with his promises of collapsed bubbles within 2 months).

Citizen scientists (gamers) beat experts, PCs in protein folding, quantum tasks

Andy Hall, a creator physics games, has tweeted about a rather amazing article in Ars Technica,

Gamers help satisfy the need for speed in quantum manipulations,
which talks about the successes of a high-brow game named FoldIt and developed initially in 2008 and especially about its young sibling, Quantum Moves.

Download FoldIt now

The people behind FoldIt had previously created Rosetta@home which (just like the Mersenne prime project and others) used the idle time of computers of many volunteers to solve "protein folding" tasks for the molecular biochemists.

With Rosetta@home, users were frustrated that they saw solutions that their computer didn't but they had no way to help their pet computers in the desperate situation. So the creators of FoldIt created something that uses one of the most clever peripherals attached to the users' computers most of the time: the users' brains. ;-)

Wednesday, April 13, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Can Milner's Starshot reach Alpha Centauri?

This blog post is all about Yuri Milner's breathtakingly audacious $100 million plan to send a probe to Alpha Centauri.

Milner has presented the plan yesterday, exactly 55 years after Gagarin's pioneering flight (good morning, Major Gagarin; Milner was born 7 months later and named Yuri after Gagarin), and famous minds like Dyson and Hawking were assisting him. Mark Zuckerberg should also play a role, probably a financial one.

The idea is just a little bit less breathtaking if you think that it's more like than not that the project will fail. But it could very well succeed, too!

Constellation Centaurus visualized by the state-of-the-art Greek technology. On this "Greek Week" in Lidl, I bought another ouzo which has always the same fun licorice-like taste and also a very cheap bottle of wine. Even I could figure out that it tastes bad. ;-)

Alpha Centauri is a triplet of stars in Constellation Centaurus. All of them are 4.2-4.4 light years away. Alpha Centauri A,B are brighter and close enough to look like one object. Alpha Centauri C, a faint red dwarf, is dimmer and slightly closer to Earth; as the second closest star after the Sun (and #1 if you fail to realize that the Sun is a star, and many people did and still do), it's known as Proxima Centauri.

Milner wants to pay $100 million and get a probe there which will get there in 20 years, take 2-megapixel pictures, and send them back to Earth, ideally around 2041. Wow. ;-)

Czech political elite, TRF beg the U.N., world: call us Czechia

The short name Czechia appears in 646 TRF blog posts (Google search). I estimate that 2 million viewers have seen the blog posts with this word but because many readers are regulars, this amounted to about 500,000 distinct persons. Given these numbers, your humble correspondent may very well be the single most intense user – individual user or institutional user – of this English word in the world.

There are not too many Czechia-based outlets with a significant global reach so it's actually plausible that TRF has led the promotion of the term even by the overall influence.

So I was pleased to learn from the Czech media – including the English-language Prague Monitor – and even from major foreign outlets such as The Telegraph, the BBC, and The Daily Mail that the minister of foreign affairs Mr Zaorálek has joined the fans of the term Czechia (which has already been supported, beloved, and used in speeches by President Zeman for a few years) – and some activity will be made in the U.N. to introduce the short name Czechia to the U.N. databases.

Go Czechia. (The link debunks 16 myths of opponents of the name.)

Similar short names should be made common in 6 key languages at the official U.N. level (e.g. at U.N.-sponsored conferences): Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish. Whether the media and the regular people will start to use the name remains unknown. But if the promises will be fulfilled that the Olympic Games in Rio will use "Czechia" everywhere, I am confident that the word will become widespread – at least if some Czech athletes succeed. ;-)

The main advantage of Rio is that in Portuguese, Tcheca denotes both "Czech" and women's reproductive organs so people are likely to talk about the topic every 50 seconds. The strength of the English word "Czechia" is emphasized in Italian where Czechia means a "blind girl", and Bulgarian where it means "masturbation". ;-)

Tuesday, April 12, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

ER=EPR isn't Everett-Copenhagen duality

Susskind's new paper may be funny but it's surely dumb

The last hep-th paper today is a rather hi-tech paper by Suvrat Raju that explains a reason why the 2015 "Born rule" pro-firewall paradox by Marolf and Polchinski attempting to find a problem with the state dependence in quantum gravity isn't really a paradox.

MP have argued that a very low-energy, sub \(kT\) excitation in the CFT may create a big change near the event horizon of the AdS black hole which shouldn't be possible in statistical physics. Raju shows – by a highly quantitative analysis of AdS correlators – that no group of observers may simultaneously "create the excitation" and "observe the data containing the paradox". Because of causality, the paradox cannot be made real. If some readers like to look for my name, check the acknowledgements of Raju's paper.

But the rest of this blog post will be dedicated to a new, weird paper about ER=EPR by Lenny Susskind which is a written version of his recent lecture at IAS Princeton.

Humans are the smartest animals

Differences between species aren't precise but may be way too obvious

P.Z. Myers has continued his tirade against the suggestions that the intelligence of humans could increase due to genetic modification. In his new text, On the absurdity of g, he attacks the very notion of the IQ or g factor.

Animals may be smart. I've actually seen cooler videos on IQ tests that some apes, monkeys, and even rodents, could have passed, but I can't find them. Despite the cuteness of these smart animals, we know that most humans would beat them in these – and especially other – tasks. When I say that some human is stupider than some average animals, I am always exaggerating.

Myers argues that the intelligence is multi-dimensional and I agree with that. But this fact doesn't make the concept of the IQ useless or inapplicable.

Monday, April 11, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Cold fusion turns to hot legal battles: Rossi vs Industrial Heat

I haven't written about this particular scam for several years but Anthony Watts' blog has regained some sanity concerning the cold fusion in the fresh guest blog

E-Cat crumbles: “Industrial Heat has worked for over three years to substantiate the results … without success”
by Eric Worrall so it may be a good idea to recall the story and mention several rather predictable events that took place in recent days.

Saturday, April 09, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Mark Alford vs locality in quantum field theory

It's a Steve Hsu day today. I've mentioned his debates about genetic modification with P.Z. Myers. But let me mention something where Steve is on the wrong side. Five days ago, he promoted a completely wrong "pedagogic" paper by his friend Mark Alford,

Ghostly action at a distance: a non-technical explanation of the Bell inequality (arXiv, June 2015, zero citations)
The paper claims that locality is violated in the EPR experiments. (Alford has emitted lots of extra fog about hidden variables etc. in the discussion thread at Hsu's blog but I don't want to flood this blog post by all the mist. I want to focus on the locality.)

Alford uses the term "strong locality" or "local causality" – and you suspect that it could be one of the ill-advised conflations of "locality" and "realism". But if you look at his paper, you will see that the "strong locality" or "local causality" are defined to be nothing else than the ordinary locality or relativistic causality – it's enough to know the data in the past light cone of the region R to calculate probabilities in the region R (see the 2nd paragraph of the paper).

He says that this principle fails in quantum field theory but already in the first five or so quantum field theory lectures, students learn that and why this principle is obeyed in any relativistic quantum field theory. What's going on? Why is this guy writing so completely wrong things about locality?

P.Z. Myers believes that genetic engineering is impossible

P.Z. Myers is an aggressive, far left-wing blogger and a would-be scholar in life sciences who proudly describes himself as "a randomly ejaculating liberal scumbag of godless šit." I've interacted with this individual about 10 times in the past. He even tried to influence the discussions about the sum of integers and the zeta-function regularization, topics that this classic genius of mediocrity has no chance to master.

But he has something to do with biology and he should know something about it, right? He must know about it if he has attacked the conservatives and Christians and others about 1 million times. Well, no. This guy is a complete crackpot in biology, too. A clear new proof came from his arguments about the genetic editing of human intelligence with physicist Steve Hsu:

Hsu about IQ in Nautilus (Superintelligent humans are coming, 2014)

P.Z. Myers' reply at his Pharyngula blog 4 days ago (Superbrains will not come out of a test tube)

Hsu's blog: a fresh reaction (This is for PZ Myers)

Myers' super-new counter-rant (Nothing but us big fat liberal chickens around here)
The genetic modifications of humans are morally controversial. I don't know whether I should celebrate them and endorse them or be worried. But it seems clear to me that those efforts can't be completely stopped, all the know-how is basically ready, and – just like with the nuclear bomb – it's better if relatively good guys are ahead of the bad guys.

Friday, April 08, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Harvard deans at highest alert: a very dangerous prospective student discovered and neutralized

People say that the U.S. army sometimes defends the American lives. But the deans of Harvard have turned out to be much more vital for the preservation of the bare lives of members of the Harvard community, citizens of the People's Republic of Cambridge, and the mankind in general.

As described in The Harvard Crimson, they have discovered and largely neutralized an extremely dangerous individual that makes all known terrorists look like pacifiers. By doing so, they have proven that they are the right men for their work and they do a very important job.

What happened?

The Harvard College has admitted the record low 5.2% of the applications for the Class of 2020. You could think that these 1,119 young people would pose no existential threat to the safety at the campus but you would be entirely wrong. I sincerely hope that you are already pißing into your pants because it is very, very cereal.

How Tyson and Randall simulated Zack and Sheldon

Update: a two-hour video of the debate is available. Lisa first speaks at 12:00 and then at 30:00 and has to clean lots of mess from the previous discussion, indeed. See also IBTimes. Hat tip: Willie Soon
I have written several blog posts arguing that we don't live in a simulation in the past. The reasons are numerous. But let me return to the topic because it was discussed as the topic of the 2016 Asimov Memorial Debate at AMNH in New York.

This scene from The Big Bang Theory has become my favorite portrait of the scientific illiteracy of some laymen. I've embedded this scene in recent weeks to pick Zack as a metaphor showing what the people who say "the LIGO discovery isn't exciting etc." look to me.

But at the beginning, there is another conversation. Zack asks how can the boys know that they won't blow it up. The laser? No, he means the Moon. All the boys are stunned and switch to a type of a diplomatic silence. Except Sheldon, of course, who is the boy observing the emperor without clothes. Sheldon tells Leonard: "You see, this is the man for Penny." ;-)

Because the laymen's stupidity is a holy cow that the society has been trained to worship, people immediately tell Sheldon to be "nice". And Leonard says that Zack's was a "great question". But Sheldon doesn't give up the truth, and neither would I. "No, it is not a great question. How can someone possibly think that we're going to blow up the Moon? That is a great question!" Exactly.

Neil deGrasse Tyson starred as Zack and Lisa Randall was the Sheldon in the debate.

Thursday, April 07, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

\(P=NP\) and string landscape: 10 years later

The newborn Universe was a tiny computer but it still figured out amazing things

Two new papers: First, off-topic. PRL published a Feb 2016 LIGO paper claiming that the gravitational waves (Phys.Org says "gravity waves" and I find it OK) contribute much more to the background than previously believed. Also, Nature published a German-American-Canadian paper claiming that supermassive black holes are omnipresent because they saw one (with mass of 17 billions Suns) even in an isolated galaxy. Also, the LHC will open the gate to hell in 2016 again, due to the higher luminosity (or power, they don't care). CERN folks have recommended a psychiatrist to the conspiracy theorists such as Pope Francis. But God demands at most 4 inverse femtobarns a year because the fifth one is tickling Jesus' testicles.
Ten years ago, the research of the string landscape was a hotter topic than it is today. Because of some recent exchanges about \(P=NP\), I was led to recall the February 2006 paper by Michael Douglas and Frederik Denef,
Computational complexity of the landscape I
They wrote that the string landscape had lots of elements and, using the numerous computer scientists' \(P\neq NP\) lore, it's probably going to be permanently impossible to find the right string vacuum even if the string landscape predicts one.

The authors have promised the second paper in the series,
[48] F. Denef and M. R. Douglas, “Computational Complexity of the Landscape II: Cosmological Considerations,” to appear
but now, more than 10 years later, we are still waiting for this companion paper to appear. ;-) What new ideas and views do I have 10 years later?

Wednesday, April 06, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Soros' global taxation dreams may be behind the Panama Papers exercise

After I read the 3rd article about the Panama Papers, I still didn't understand what the story was. Lots of documents about banking operations were stolen somewhere in Panama. They may contain many things. But what do they actually contain to make us interested? Perhaps a list of names of people who have used "tax heavens" to save some money on taxes. I could understand that there was a potential for a story. But was there already a story? (Bill reminded me that the word is "haven", not "heaven". That sucks. In Czech, we call them "tax paradises" so I assumed they had to be heaven. Please assume they're heavens because several paragraphs over here wouldn't make sense.)

A leader of Iceland is in trouble. That's one story I understand which could be great if Iceland weren't as populous as two Pilsens.

Then I read lots of comments about the hypothetical impact of the Panama Papers on Putin – except that his name doesn't appear there at all. Instead, the documents make a "shocking" revelation that Russian people also deposit and withdraw money in banks and some of the wealthy people may have met Putin (like a top cello player who has used tax heaven and met Putin – I exploded in laughter when I read about this "juicy story") or someone who has met someone who has met someone who has met Putin. When it comes to this Russian interpretation of the Panama Papers, I simply have to agree with this op-ed. This direction of the Panama Papers tells us more about the disease plaguing the contemporary Western journalism than about Russia.

Some other people could have used tax heavens and may be in trouble. But while the Panama Papers are presented as a scandal analogous e.g. to the ClimateGate, I don't see any similar shocking sentences in the Panama Papers. So they may be analogous except that they are clearly not.

How anti-science zealots work to manipulate and ruin curious kids, the future of the mankind

I was just reminded why I consider the self-organized religious sect of string theory critics to be despicable human garbage. It's not just string theory they hate. It's also the scientific curiosity, the smartest people, the smartest kids, and the future of science that they hate, too.

In their 8392nd discussion thread on their well-known "Not Even Wrong" discussion forum where these individuals were impressing each other with the idea that a cosmological scenario can't be right because 5 of them said so (just to be sure, there is evidence that the Universe isn't a simulation, but none of these "critics" really understands any evidence relevant for this question or any other important question in physics), one of them, "Robert", complained about his nephew:

Also, I have a very curious eight year old physics loving nephew who is in love with the idea of string theory. He’s enamored with all the hype and feel I’ll just confuse him by knocking it down. Any thoughts anyone? Thanks.
What did "Robert's" fellow crackpots advised him?

European Commission would like to hijack asylum policy

Yesterday, media across Europe informed about a document of the European Commission, originally leaked to Die Welt, which shows that the European Commission – something that would be the EU government is the EU were a country – would like to strip all member states from their basic right to determine the immigration policies and grant asylum.

All 28 national asylum offices would be turned into servants of a new EU-wide office that would have the right to change any decision in order to establish a "corrective fairness mechanism" – which means that the office could be directly used to invent the numbers for the quota and impose them, too. It's even plausible that this thing – which almost sounds as a giant conspiracy theory – will actually be officially revealed today, on Wednesday. You've gotta be kidding me.

I have an alternative proposal. To check whether some people behind these plans to dismantle my country have the Czech (and similarly Slovak, Dutch, Finnish, ...) citizenship, and if they do, execute them for treason because that's exactly what they're committing right now.

Monday, April 04, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Obama, Trump, dirty bombs, new nuclear powers, NATO, bombs on Europe

Last Friday, a nuclear summit ended in Washington D.C. It was a somewhat low-key event because the leader of Russia – which is arguably the world's #1 nuclear superpower – didn't attend. Putin's absence was already decided in the era of the anti-Russian hostilities in late 2014. And the absence didn't imply that the Russian rather formidable weapons ceased to exist.

Is it really a good idea to antagonize the bear just because someone in the West has different opinions about a peninsula in the region he doesn't really understand?

Holographic principle from threads and bottlenecks

Matt Headrick and Michael Freedman have released an interesting paper on holography and entanglement:

Bit threads and holographic entanglement
First, I must say that Matt is at faculty of Brandeis (we've known each other in Greater Boston). Michael Freedman is the most senior person at Station Q (stands for "quantum computing", I guess) of Microsoft Research in Santa Barbara. He's the same man who received a Fields medal for his contributions to the Poincaré conjecture (now theorem) in the 1980s and who co-discovered things like exotic 4-spheres.

We could say that they have proposed a new way to visualize the Ryu-Takayanagi (RT) formula as an emergent consequence of a picture with threads connecting points at the boundary (or perhaps a holographic surface).

Sunday, April 03, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Can scientists have empathy for crackpots?

Tetragraviton tells us that he doesn't have any understanding for crackpots. Who may exactly boast the label "crackpot" is a bit vague question (despite attempts to quantify the word) – and as you know, I am using a more inclusive definition than others.

But Tetragraviton's basic idea is clear: A crackpot is someone who believes that despite his lack of training, he (or much less often she) can solve the deepest questions that none of the experts could have hacked, or who believes that he's right and everyone else is wrong even if he doesn't have any background in the field. Tetragraviton himself says that he's more careful and often adds qualifiers.

Do I know what Tetragraviton is talking about? Yes. I am regularly exposed to lots of people who may be called crackpots, who have these incredibly naive and seemingly totally unjustifiable beliefs about their being better thinkers than everyone else, about the possibility to solve deep problems by simple slogans and sentences, and who are willing to self-confidently promote arbitrarily silly answers to questions.

On the web, you must have noticed that I may have explosive relationships with people whom I consider crackpots (and for most of them, they are classified in the same way by others). But I also have relatively friendly interactions with some more harmless crackpots. Those have some advantages but they may consume time, too.

Some shocking PC events at Harvard

Pro-freedom scholars, students have to start a real tough fight

Two days ago, Harvard student Rachel Huebner talked to Megyn Kelly at Fox News.

Her written essay, A Culture of Sensitivity, was published by The Harvard Crimson. At both places, Huebner describes the disappearance of basic freedoms at the campus. When I was leaving that place, things were already insufferable but these reports indicate that the situation has gotten much worse.

In the name of "sensitivity", students were prevented from attaching the American flag above their own bed. A brainwashed class of female students vigorously discussed the idea that they would never sit across from a pro-life male student. Bowdoin College students who wore Mexican hats at a tequila-themed party were terrorized by disciplinary steps because of their "act of ethnic stereotyping". If it makes you happier, a party with Soviet fur hats and coats on the same night was just fine (!?).

Saturday, April 02, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Can we predict what physics, world will look like in 2116?

We can but the predictions are almost certain to be wrong.

Physics Today will pay you $7,500 if you write the best essay, according to a jury of physicists, about physics in 2116 and if you submit it by June. In the new issue of Physics Today, Frank Wilczek has already attempted to win:

Physics in 100 years
He's great but do I think he has succeeded? Do I think it's possible to succeed at all? One hundred years is a very long time and it's hard to make predictions, especially those about the future.

ISIS & Brussels airport hired 50 people together; 900 no-go zones in the EU

The Balkan route was basically sealed so the number of illegal migrants arriving to the bulk of Europe has dropped dramatically. Ironically enough, this improvement meant that Angela Merkel's approval rate went up – even though this evolution towards an improvement was exactly what she's been fighting against all the time.

Most of the news we're getting are about the mess in Greece and Turkey and the flaws of the EU-Turkey deal that really seems dysfunctional as we expected. To make things worse, some U.N. officials yell that the deal is illegal because the illegal migrants always have the right to stand above the national law, the U.N. believes.

Don Knuth's argument supporting his belief that \(P=NP\)

Almost a year ago, Scott Aaronson wrote an essay about mysteries in mathematics for Now, a very similar essay by the same author was published there:

The great mystery of mathematics is its lack of mystery (by Aaronson)
And Luke and Mel have pointed out that without compensating me in any way at all, Aaronson has sextupled the attractiveness of his essay for the readers by having used the name "Motl" five times.
Two years ago, the Czech string theorist and notorious conservative blogger Luboš Motl accused theoretical computer scientists such as me of believing the ‘\(P\neq NP\)’ conjecture – a central unproved hypothesis about the limits of efficient computation – as a matter of groupthink and ideology, of having no rational grounds for our prejudice.

By itself, that accusation isn’t so remarkable; Motl certainly isn’t alone in his opinion. But he went further. Although he conceded that, in continuous math close to physics, there can be reasons why statements are true, Motl claimed that as you get further away from physics, math becomes just a disorganised mess of propositions.

...But if a statement hasn’t yet been proved or disproved then, in Motl’s view, there’s no way even to guess, better than chance, which way it will turn out...

...A priori, math could have been like Motl said it was, ...
He hasn't conveyed my views and arguments about \(P=NP\) accurately but given the brevity of the sketch, it's probably good enough.

Note that Aaronson also defined me as a "notorious conservative blogger". Well, I am used to almost identical labels from the communist totalitarianism. Nasty left-wing ideologues are basically the same across the ages. They are always eager to place politics above everything else and demonize everyone who realizes that their political views are just stinky piles of feces. I fought against immoral leftists of Aaronson's type for many years and you may call me a national hero for those reasons.

At any rate, the arguments that \(P=NP\) is in no way "almost proven" don't depend on someone's being conservative in any way. In fact, Mel sent me an answer about \(P=NP\) by a famous computer scientist that I immediately decided to be the most insightful and detailed argument about the validity of \(P=NP\), in one way or another, that I have ever seen.

Friday, April 01, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Sonified raw Higgs data sound like Beethoven, Wagner

Update: the credibility of all the information below is impaired by the date, April 1st

LIGO's gravitational waves sound like music of a sort. Particle physicists at CERN have finally transformed the Higgs-producing proton-proton collision data into musical patterns carefully and the result was somewhat surprising.

The spectrum almost exactly resembles Ludwig van Beethoven's Fateful Fifth Symphony (for Japanese readers, it is the Anthem of Asagohan Breakfasts; don't forget that if you need a Japanese loan, tomate natotata). You can see that the accuracy is overwhelming – famous CERN professors such as Rebeca Einstein were literally dancing to the tune when the data were sonified.

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