Monday, October 31, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

FBI and Hillary: some question marks

In July, the FBI ended the investigation of Ms Hillary Clinton because of her apparent violation of computer security regulations when she was the U.S. Secretary of State. She must have felt very happy. But three days ago, the FBI director James Comey restarted the criminal investigation to the e-mails.

Why did he do so? The most convincing answer is that the FBI found 650,000 new e-mails on the laptop of a friend of Hillary's, convicted pedophile Anthony Weiner. It seems rather likely – and someone may already know – that many of the e-mails on Weiner's laptop were classified. And some of them could have belonged to the set of 30,000 e-mails that Hillary has deleted from her computers.

The FBI employees will have to go through this huge body of the text in coming weeks. It won't be easy because the e-mails are probably mixed with photographs of Weiner's sexual organs in knots of various topologies that he was generously sending to his 15-year-old "girlfriend" at the same time when he was receiving mails from Hillary's office – and yes, they were e-mails with addresses, the investigation has already shown. Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, is a close Clinton aide. Only recently, Abedin and Weiner announced that they want to separate. Both Abedin and Weiner are probably cooperating with the FBI at this point, to get a deal for themselves.

So yes, I do think that some new damning evidence has emerged. But it's plausible that the restart of the investigation has nothing to do with any new evidence. When the investigation was stopped in July, Comey was criticized by his immediate boss – his wife (who clearly isn't too pro-Hillary) – and lots of FBI employees resigned. They were probably convinced that the evidence had already been found that Hillary was guilty and they have thought that the FBI was attempting to whitewash her or cover her crimes.

So the investigation could have been restarted simply because Comey's environment has convinced him that the end of the investigation was a grave mistake and he was simply fixing the mistake. He may have felt that the reopened investigation was needed to save the FBI and his marriage, too.

Sunday, October 30, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

DiCaprio's new climate movie is truly pathetic

Hours ago, National Geographic released the new 95-minute-long movie "Before the Flood" created by Leonardo DiCaprio on their YouTube channel:

DiCaprio is facing trouble because they caught him when he was misappropriating a rainforest fund in an international money laundering scandal so he surely hopes that this movie will help him to decriminalize himself.

It's probably the most superficial movie on the climate issue that has been released so far, beating even No Pressure 10:10, An Inconvenient Truth, The Times of the Stupid, 2055, and many other "masterpieces". DiCaprio never goes beyond the manipulative one-sentence slogans that everyone must have heard about one million of times. What is annoying is that DiCaprio isn't just a fool. He is a pompous fool and that's the kind of creatures that I simply cannot stand.

So he could afford to fly to many corners of the world including the polar regions and has befriended many famous or notorious people. But none of these things implies that he has a clue what are laws that the climate actually obeys and what's going to happen with it – a trivial fact that he implicitly tries to obfuscate all the time.

He must be right when they paid for a helicopter to go here or there, he wants millions of stupid viewers to think, and some of them will.

Saturday, October 29, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Witten's autobiographical lecture in Japan

V. H. Satheeshkumar has brought my attention to an 8-page document

Adventures in physics and math (a commemorative popular lecture)
in Witten's folder of a server at Princeton's IAS. It's a lecture Edward Witten gave somewhere in Japan – but I don't know when he gave it.

Those 8 pages are large and dense – maybe designed to save the paper and forests. (When I was printing lectures, I surely liked to save the paper – and time of printing – as well. An example.) I recommend you to read it because the talk is very interesting. Below, you may find just some sketches of the information from the talk.

Friday, October 28, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Czechoslovakia's 98th birthday: Klaus' speech

I realize that these utterly national topics attract a very small number of readers but I do think that there are – and there should be – people in the West who are following things like that in some detail and someone should translate such things. You may learn how the historical events are being framed in the context of the ongoing political developments including the EU and the migration wave.

Czechoslovakia was founded 98 years ago, on October 28th, 1918, on the ruins of the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy. President Zeman had a celebration at the Prague Castle where he named new generals etc.

Because the Prague Café was offended when he decided not to award a Canadian Czech Holocaust survivor George Brady (whom I have never heard of) because his nephew, minister Herman, met Dalai Lama (while Zeman wants to keep friendly relationships with China) – a story that is insanely overreported given its absolute insignificance (which doesn't mean that I would behave in the same way as Zeman) – the Prague Café organized a "competing" event at the Old Town Square.

Ex-president Klaus attended an event at the National Memorial at the Vítkov Hill (see the photograph above), a place that the heretical Hussites defended in the famous 1420 battle against the much stronger crusaders. The neighborhood beneath the hill was named Žižkov after Mr Jan Žižka, the Hussite "general" who led the 1420 victory.

Here is a translation of Klaus' speech – which is obviously and by far the best speech that was offered to the Czech audiences on the today's anniversary. The Czech original and a video are available.

Thursday, October 27, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Renzi, Tsipras prepare to veto EU budget

Two deluded left-wing pro-migration aßholes may very well break EU in months

Crazy attitudes to the mass migration from the Muslim world keep on returning. Germany is Europe's strongest country and Angela Merkel is its leader. So many of the mistakes are naturally identified with Mutti Merkel. But I often think that other European leaders are more insane than she is – they're just less visible so they don't attract as much attention as Merkel does.

Just another shocking story: Kuwaiti investors built a luxurious village – with 160 $165,000 houses – where only Arabs (and janitors from other nations who learn the official language, Arabic) may enter. Mostly 3rd and 4th wives of sheikhs will live there. A problem is that it's been built 10 miles from Sarajevo: Google Maps. The investors claim that the land, including some beautiful Nature, was gifted to Arabs by Allah. News. Austria should better join the Visegrád Group and retake the failed state of Bosnia from the Muslims, like in 1878.

In fact, Merkel recently said that no one wants to repeat Germany's mistakes of 2015. Now, she is considering deportation of 200,000 failed asylum seekers. One doesn't have to be a principled conservative citizen to recommend her such things. In fact, old migrants demand the deportation of the new ones because the increasing number of migrants is lowering the living standards of the old ones.

(By the way, have you read the news about the Syrian man who is getting almost half a million dollars per year in welfare money for himself, four wives, and 22 or 23 children who live with him in several German houses? This story is so insane for so many reason. First, this guy should be immediately arrested or deported for polygamy which is illegal. Second, even if he is not, the "unofficial wives" should be getting their welfare subsidies directly, not through a man. Third, it's crazy to pay them anything, let alone big bucks, at all. They should be in a detention facility before they get an asylum and like in Czechia, they should pay for the services in the facility.)

I believe that the Greek and Italian governments are the actual engines of the most radically insane pro-migration mistakes that Europe keeps on doing.

A new one-hour documentary on inflation

Peter F. has sent me the following documentary – and some of his thoughts about it.

Can you find one spare hour? Or it may be less if you run the video above at a higher speed. The host interviews cosmologists such as Guth, Aguirre, and Nomura. It covers lots of topics.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Microsoft 3D revolution may change how millions do things

First, a poetic 2.5-hour-long audio by Brian Greene, Paul Rudd, and a few others explaining why "Light Falls" according to general relativity and what was the romantic relationship between Einstein and Greene's mother, among other things. On the Amazon page, you may register at Audible for free and get 2 audiobooks. After 1 month, if you want to continue, the membership is $15/month.

Apple, Google, and Microsoft are three global companies with the highest capitalization today, sitting at $0.63, $0.57, and $0.46 trillion, respectively. Because I watched an Apple event a month ago, I decided it would be unfair to skip the Microsoft event today (the recorded video is already there, along with pages dedicated to the products).

It was mostly about 3D (and gamers' interactions) and I was impressed. Lots of very cool 3D procedures and tools will become highly accessible very soon.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Kids' breakthrough videos on string theory

...and other topics in physics and science...

Off-topic, LHC: The calendar shows that tomorrow, Wednesday, is the last day of the proton-proton collisions in 2016. Both detectors will have accumulated almost exactly 40/fb of data in 2016. CMS is 1/fb ahead of ATLAS, probably to compensate that it used to be the other way around in previous years. LHC status
Two weeks ago, kids and teenagers began to flood YouTube with their 5-minute videos on string theory and other topics which they had created during the previous month. It seems to me that the topic wasn't explicitly required to be string theory but very many contestants think that it's the most likely theme that can make them win a $250,000 Breakthrough Junior Prize (see the announcement as a video). In total, $400,000 goes to various related prizes.

I have some trouble with such contests. To shoot a popular video on science is something that a rather high percentage of kids or teenagers may do – it's not something that proves that the author is exceptionally talented or going to do exceptional science. Moreover, many parents and other mature relatives understand that $250,000 is a lot of money even for the parents so they won't hesitate to help their kids etc.

Hillary wanted ducks on the ground

Most people think that the main reason why Hillary should already be in the prison now if the law enforcement in the U.S. weren't dysfunctional is that she has destroyed evidence that was mentioned in a subpoena after she learned about the subpoena.

Duck Tales, the Czech theme song.

But that doesn't mean that it's the only criminal activity that Hillary Clinton was recently involved in. Yesterday, The Daily Mail exposed the Duck Tales.

As this fresh viral video with one million views shows in quite some detail, Hillary's compaign coordinated a series of provocations at Trump rallies with a tax-exempt leftist non-profit organization.

Sunday, October 23, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Dark energy and unsettled science

Anthony Watts wrote a text

‘Settled Science’ syndrome hits Astronomy and the Nobel Prize
which clearly explains a fresh Oxford paper by Sarkar et al.
Marginal evidence for cosmic acceleration from Type Ia supernovae
in Nature's Scientific Reports. My understanding is that Watts took the text from another source and invented the title. He tells us: Look, there's no consensus about Nobel-prize-winning cosmology. Well, yes, no, it depends.

Only a psychopath may suggest firing Thiel or censoring Trump on FB

According to the latest Rasmussen and IBD/TIPP poll, Donald Trump is 2 percentage points ahead of Hillary Clinton. There are many polls showing Clinton as the frontrunner, by 3 points in the case of the UPI/CVoter poll, sometimes by as much as 12 percent as in the ABC poll, but if you look at all the data, there's no reason to think that numerically, the looming U.S. presidential election is something else than an old-fashioned tough battle between two comparably strong partisan candidates, a ritual that pretty much defines the American republican system.

That's the main reason why I am so stunned by the Gulag-style treatment of the folks who "dare" to support Trump – which represent something like one-half of the U.S. population – and Trump himself. Many of these extremists who want to turn the U.S. into a Soviet-style totalitarian empire live in the Silicon Valley. For example, a bunch of Facebook employees had a plan to delete Trump's FB posts as "hate speech". These posts were describing his policies towards the Muslim minority and immigration.

Friday, October 21, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

A bump at LEP near \(30\GeV\): weak but possibly justifiable

Update: This article was mentioned at The Wire in India. I believe it's a nice article except that, as Tommaso Dorigo pointed out, has some wrong numbers translating 3 sigma to probabilities etc.

In the morning, I was intrigued by a hep-ex paper by Arno Heister

Observation of an excess at \(30\GeV\) in the opposite sign di-muon spectra of \(Z\to b\bar b+X\) events recorded by the ALEPH experiment at LEP
To make the story short, he claims that the 1992-1995 data from the LEP (Large Electron-Positron) Collider at CERN contains a less-than-3-sigma bump at \(M_{\mu^+\mu^-}\sim 30.4\GeV\) indicating a boson of width \(1.8\GeV\).

Recall that the LHC is located in a tunnel that was the largest European infrastructure project before it was surpassed by the Channel Tunnel. But the LHC isn't the first collider that has lived or lives in the LHC tunnel. Before it was born, the LEP collider – that used to collide electrons with positrons – was happily living there.

The song above shows what LEP looked like to the horny girlfriends of (male and female) particle physicists. However, if you dared to claim that there was no LHC in the tunnel, you would be wrong. The very song was sung (in 2000) by the LHC, the Les Horribles Cernettes. ;-)

Thursday, October 20, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Stephen Wolfram: Idea Makers

Stephen Wolfram was kind enough to send me Idea Makers: Personal Perspectives on the Lives & Ideas of Some Notable People, a new July 2016 book with biographies of famous folks around science and computing (with some personal dedication to me, great). I am just starting to read it – have gone through 2 out of the 16 heroes covered in the book – but maybe it is a better opportunity to write a review if we want to avoid all the spoilers.

The biographies were written at various points of the recent decade or so. With a bit of self-confidence, I think that you might say that they're analogous to the "birthday wishes" biographies on this blog. Except that the author, Stephen Wolfram, is way more famous than your humble correspondent and has known some folks in the list.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Russian hacker caught in Prague

Update: the hacker wasn't related to Hillary's or DNC files; instead, he's accused of doing the 2012 hack of 100 million LinkedIn users' information

Barack Obama and his comrades have accused Russian nationals from being the hackers who have acquired the computer files proving that Hillary Clinton is a corrupt lying murdering piece of cr*p, among other things, and that Donald Trump is the superior pick for the U.S. citizens to choose. Obama et al. had the plan to keep all this information in secret.

It's still unknown whether such hackers are connected with the Russian government. However, the Czech police made it much more likely that a hacker exists and he is Russian, indeed. Last night, an October 5th capturing video was released. Just twelve hours after they received the information via Interpol's Red Notice (this notice was inspired by a verdict of the federal grand jury in Oakland, California), the Prague cops caught the 29-year-old Russian suspect, Yevgeniy Nikulin. (TRF is the only public place in the world where you can learn the name.)

Tuesday, October 18, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

A Cambridge video introduction to strings

Giotis has told us about a new 30-minute video presenting the basics of string theory and related matters:

Elemental Ideas – String Theory Part One (click for the video)

Elemental Ideas – String Theory Part Two (new, added on October 18th)
It's a fun conservative video focusing on the physics ideas and not the sociological šit that tries to surround string theory in the recent decade.

I've never stopped counting Cambridge among the top 5 theoretical physics places on the European continent (a concept that includes certain nearby islands) so it's natural for them to offer some seriously good video.

Czechs, 2% of EU folks, make 8% of EU films aired on TV in EU

Two fresh marketplace reports could be considered optimistic from the Czech viewpoint.

Yesterday, Eurostat released a new report on poverty in Europe. 24% of folks in EU member states were considered "poor". The percentage of "risk of income poverty" was highest in Bulgaria and Romania, near 40%, followed by Greece near 36%. The least poverty-stricken nation is Czechia, 14.8%, followed by Holland, Sweden, Finland around 17%.

It's sort of good – perhaps a reason to brag – for a post-communist country to end up this high. But I think that it's not just "good news". This victory mostly means that Czechia has been excessively socialized and remains excessively egalitarian. The communist regime struggled to bring some "basic things" to every citizen and one may say that it has succeeded, albeit at a level that the Westerners must have considered a caricature of wealth. The newly restarted capitalism increased the level significantly while the political atmosphere kept the basic socialist minima.

It seems pathological if someone wants to make our system even more egalitarian or socialist in character. I am sure that too little poverty must be one of the demotivating things that hurt the progress of the economy.

Monday, October 17, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Anti-West terrorists are steps from crippling South African universities at least for a semester

I didn't even know it was happening. It was so shocking to learn that I just spent an hour by research of what's going on in South Africa. It's pretty dramatic.

Recall that South Africa has been the main pillar of the Western civilization on the African continent. "Decolonialization" began to erode this status decades ago. Nelson Mandela has been lionized but everyone with some forecasting skills must have known that the process he kickstarted was likely to be existentially harmful for the country. I just didn't know that the deterioration would be so fast.

Friday, October 14, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Karlsruhe neutrino mass experiment has been turned on

The Washington Post tells us that the Karlsruhe Tritium Neutrino Experiment (KATRIN) was turned on today.

Karlsruhe looks luxurious. At least the 1715 palace does. Just to be sure, the city is just miles East from the Easternmost point of France.

The experiment costs €60 million i.e. $66 million and has the chance – perhaps the greatest chance among the experiments in the near future – to measure the absolute masses of the neutrinos.

Google's "Fact Check" is a pathetic effort to distort the news

Today, Google News started to use a new label under some articles, "Fact Check", see articles about this new "feature".

Some websites helpfully, frankly, and realistically explain that this "feature" was introduced in order to label Donald Trump a liar and to help to spread the "progressive" ideology. Google claims to believe to be able to decide which articles are true and trustworthy. And the company must think that the users of Google are buying that.

Can you design an algorithm that determines whether a newly constructed sentence describing the recent events (or latest scientific research, for example) is true or false? Well, the world and the scientific research would be easy if it were so. You would write an article saying that the dark matter is made of axions, applied your algorithm on the article, and you would know whether dark matter is composed of axions.

But it's obviously not the case. No finite rules of this kind can be trusted. Ad hominem arguments don't work. Claims of "verification" by loud people or rich people or papers sold to many consumers don't significantly increase the probability that the proposition is true, either. Verification by several (similar) people or websites doesn't achieve it, either, because they're routinely doing similar mistakes or tricks.

Thursday, October 13, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Does Hillary's victory guarantee a nuclear war?

It's unlikely but similar, weaker statements are probably true

Criticisms of Donald Trump are usually ill-defined insults, slurs, or accusations, or ad hominem attacks focused on things that don't matter. Even though he is no "clearcut conservative", Trump has personified the targets of many weird far left-wing conspiracy theories. For example, a part of the left-wing ideological psychopaths known as the climate alarmists have turned Trump into the man who will single-handedly destroy the Earth by making it fry through global warming.

I genuinely hope that as a president, Trump could have both the strength and the moral qualities to stop the climate hysteria for good. You know, to strip the emergent warming fascists of their power could be easier than to warm the whole atmosphere by several degrees. Trump's climatic skeptical credentials may be some 20% of the reasons why I prefer him over Clinton.

We're facing lots of fearmongering – I have always thought that an overwhelming majority of the fearmongering that surrounds us is just silly – but we're facing it on both sides of the presidential campaign. One of the latest memes that has emerged from several sources is that Hillary Clinton, if she wins the U.S. presidency, will unavoidably drag the U.S. to a nuclear war against Russia.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

No retrocausality in QM, delayed choice quantum eraser

The delayed choice quantum eraser is a convoluted but straightforward experiment testing the quantum entanglement that I discussed in 2010.

This particular experiment is usually being hyped because of the claims that it "proves" that there's retrocausality in Nature: decisions made at a later moment may affect observations at earlier moments. In this particular experiment, these people like to say that a decision was made later – when the later member of a photon pair was detected – whether a member detected earlier should contribute to an interference pattern.

Liberal media's usage of dirt is self-evidently manipulative

Rational people know what this bias means for their evaluation of the data

As a sensitive guy, I don't really like the "restroom talk" in the mysteriously released 2005 tape of Donald Trump and Billy Bush.

I don't like that in this private context, Trump does see women primarily as sexual objects who can and should be treated in rather straightforward yet controversial ways. And I am also annoyed by the kind of women who do behave in the way that Trump describes, who are eager to be grabbed in various ways when they get some new furniture or have a chance to get something etc.

At the same moment, the content of the tape didn't surprise me at all. He's owned strip clubs and lots of other things. His talk is straight. He's been undoubtedly interested in the physical beauty of women. I would guess that this is how some people familiar with him must know him. And the main point he makes is simply true. Most women do behave like that and allow to be treated in otherwise "forbidden" ways by wealthy, famous, or handsome men. The General Electric introduction to sexual harassment and you explains the same point.

Update: This rant was later attributed to Alec Baldwin which is possible so my particular claims about this one are wrong but the general point stands because we could find many embarrassing things about Hillary and left-wing people.

Like most other people, he behaves differently in different situations. Everyone behaves in some "potentially embarrassing ways" in some contexts. As Vicki Sciolaro correctly said on CNN, Trump isn't running for the Pope. His competitor has similar problems in her family and there are more important issues.

The left-wing Huffington Post is among those who realize that this tape has little effect and those who matter consider the tape a distraction. But their desire to support Trump may actually strengthen when they see how unfairly Trump is being treated.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

The first visit to a post-Brexit Britain

By former Czech president Václav Klaus
Original in Czech

Once a year, the Eurasian Council of Foreign Affairs organized by the – extraordinarily skillful – Kazakh minister of foreign affairs Mr Idrissov is gathering somewhere. It's mostly composed of former European politicians – from the Austrian (and EU) minister of foreign affairs Ferrero-Waldner to (Polish) president Kwasniewski and British former finance minister Lord Lamont, to Serbian B. Tadić, Italians Martino and Frattini, Norway's Bondevik, and so on – mostly people whom I know well.

Cliveden House, the chateau

This year's meeting took place in a very beautiful chateau somewhere in Berkshire in South England, about one hour from London by car. The chateau was built in 1666 and transformed to a luxurious hotel in recent decades. It's simply the good old England. I am tempted to sing along with the Czech songmaker Mr Jan Vodňanský: "Just like in old England, I will pour whiskey to a glass." It feels as if it weren't snowing heavily [a Czech idiom, it feels relaxed like if nothing dramatic were happening].

Events in Czech, U.S. elections

On Friday and Saturday, Czechs were voting their representatives in the 14 regions (current top subdivisions of Czechia) – and a third of voters were refreshing their Senators. The resulting maps of the "strongest political party" look rather scary. The Slovak authoritative billionaire Babiš' ANO/YES movement "won" 9 of the 14 regional elections and will have a candidate in the second round of the senate elections in most of the districts, too.

Pilsen's renaissance city hall.

Given his similarity to the dictatorial attitudes of the communist party (not surprising given his being an influential communist party member, and almost certainly a snitch, before the fall of communism), the result – who is the "first" – terrified me. But with some hindsight and calmness, it's not so bad. Why? Well, because the snitch ANO party along with the unreformed KSČM communist party still have below 50% almost everywhere. So given the power of the majority, they didn't really win.

Monday, October 10, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

A cute but flawed PBS video on QM and realism

I just became aware of a YouTube channel named PBS Spacetime that is probably run by the public TV station. A guy named Matt is talking about various topics close to fundamental physics. Almost every video gets hundreds of thousands of views which is impressive.

When watching the first one in my life, a two-week-old video on the quantum entanglement, local realism, and the Einstein-Bohr debates, I was amazed by the visual quality of the computer animations and some creative memes.

For example, at the very beginning, we were told that babies are great quantum mechanics because they're excited that a person disappears when they cover they eyes and reappears when the cover is removed. They realize that by observing or not observing something, the object or its aspects may be made disappeared. That's a cute idea but babies seem to overstate how much this "quantum disappearance by covered eyes" applies in the ordinary classical limit.

And I want the babies to know the commutators of observables, anyway, before I admit that they're good at quantum mechanics. :-)

Saturday, October 08, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Crackpot Joy Christian tried a childish trick to deceive Brian Greene's journal at Elsevier

Annals of Physics is a journal owned by Elsevier whose current editor-in-chief is Brian Greene. The name sounds just like Annalen der Physik where Einstein sent his most famous paper(s) but I think that they have nothing to do with each other.

Joy Christian is a crackpot (see TRF blog posts) who has primarily claimed – for a decade or two – to have "disproven" Bell's theorem. He's been telling everyone that entanglement doesn't exist and Nature is local realist, after all. His "disproof" is based on trivial conceptual mistakes, Joy Christian's utter stupidity, and too complex quaternion- or octonion-related notions that are obviously too difficult for him to be understood properly.

People who have interacted with him gradually learned that he is a hopeless crank and idiot and even some "softcore harbors for cranks" such as the Perimeter Institute have abolished all links with him some years ago. But he keeps on trying to spread the idea that he has found some amazing results.

Thursday, October 06, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Stable AdS flux vacua must be supersymmetric: a conjecture

Famous physicists Hiroši Ooguri and Cumrun Vafa proposed a new branch of the Swampland program in their new paper

Non-supersymmetric AdS and the Swampland
In 2005, Cumrun Vafa coined the term swampland to describe would-be theories or their low-energy effective field theory limits that look consistent according to the rules of effective quantum field theory but that are banned according to the more stringent rules of string theory or quantum gravity (which are ultimately equivalent concepts) i.e. that have no realization within string/M-theory.

The swampland (TRF) is the "larger" but messier realm surrounding the stringy landscape. The swampland shouldn't be confused with the related but inequivalent technical notion of the part of the Internet and media that is critical towards string theory. It's not called a "swampland" but rather a "cesspool" and the technical term for the individuals in the cesspool is "scumbags". The largest and stinkiest two scumbags are known as "Šmoits" but I don't want to overwhelm this blog post with the review of the standard terminology.

The extra constraints imposed by string/M-theory may be interpreted as "general predictions of string/M-theory". They're usually qualitative. Our weak gravity conjecture is the most intensely studied example of such extra constraints. It says that there have to exist particles light enough so that the repulsive electric force between them trumps the gravitational attraction. In this sense, gravity is the weakest force and it has to be.

Storing excess energy in trains

A recent blackout on Australia has been blamed on the irregular sources of energy, especially the wind turbines, by some people including the prime minister. Others disagree.

Whether or not a particular problem such as this one should be blamed on "renewables", it's clear that their irregularity brings a serious problem for the grids, a problem that may very well beat the advantages.

An obvious way to fight against the irregularity is to store the extra energy and use it when the wind isn't blowing or when the Sun is not shining. Every physical system in Nature carries energy so it is a potential candidate for energy storage. The only question is which mechanism does so efficiently (and boasts the required capacity) and which doesn't.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Male soccer, female referees, stoves, and clever punishments

On Sunday, AC Sparta Prague – the best Czech soccer team for several decades before it was largely surpassed by my hometown's reborn FC Viktoria Pilsen six years ago – played in Brno against Zbrojovka [a gun company], a weaker foe. (The name "Sparta" doesn't mean that the players must be born in Greece.)

In the 93rd minute, three minutes after the normal time, Brno scored from a corner. Brno's player Hyčka stood next to Sparta's goalie, a meter or two closer to the goal than Sparta's defenders. It was a clear offside but the referee's assistant Ms Lucie Rafajová – who is a criminal investigator (someone like the ladies from NCIS) remained silent. Hyčka's goal was counted, Zbrojovka tied 3-to-3, and Sparta lost 2 points.

It was surely great news for many fans here in Pilsen because the leader Viktoria is already 6 points ahead of Sparta – and everyone assumes that the two other teams that are above Sparta right now will eventually drop.

Václav Havel: 80th birthday

Had he avoided the mistake of dying in 2011, the last and the first post-communist president of Czechoslovakia and the first president of post-divorce Czechia would celebrate his 80th birthday today.

To commemorate, the small but luxurious area inside the National Theater in Prague was renamed "Václav Havel Square" yesterday while here in Pilsen where he spent over a year in the early 1980s, a special metallic plate about his "vacation" was posted in the famous and interesting Bory [Pinewoods, a suburb] prison.

I do think that the name "Václav Havel Prison" would be more appropriate than the "Václav Havel Square" because it isn't a real square; as well as the "Václav Havel Airport" because Havel was afraid of flying.

Greek yogurt isn't a yogurt made in Greece

I honestly don't remember when the European Commission did something that wasn't insane or completely, fundamentally wrong.

One of the recurring themes are the EU apparatchiks' opinions about "how we can or cannot name things". Among the decisions that are most notorious in Czechia, we were told that the domestic rum cannot be called the domestic rum and the butter spread cannot be called the butter spread. In a confrontation closely analogous to one described below, Greek politicians wanted to ban the word "feta" (Czech: "Balkan cheese") in the U.S.

Greek yogurt is sold under this name in the U.S.

The European Commission has just added another classic when it voiced its opinion that the Greek yogurt produced outside Greece cannot be called the Greek yogurt. These children left behind believe that the adjectives such as "Greek" represent the country of origin of the single actual product.

If the idiots knew at least something about the language and the real world, they would know that the Greek yogurt is a textbook example of a generic brand or a generic term. The adjective describes the noun – a food product, in this case and many others – by the characteristics and the characteristics are classified by geographic names they are positively correlated with. But that doesn't mean that the adjectives express the same thing as the country of origin of a single product.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Thouless, Haldane, Kosterlitz win the 2016 Nobel in physics

Topological phases and topological phase transitions have won the 2016 Nobel prize in physics.

David J. Thouless of Seattle won 50%, F. Duncan M. Haldane of Princeton won 25%, J. Michael Kosterlitz won 25%. All three men were born in Britain and have moved to America.

The condensed matter insights are genuine and very important – the main 1973 theoretical paper has almost 9,000 citations while Haldane's 1983 paper on the Haldane gap in 1D Heisenberg anti-ferromagnets (chains) has over 2,400 citations – but I believe that this choice is a surprise for virtually everyone, anyway.

In fact, I am convinced that even most of those people who were suggesting a Nobel for "topological" things in condensed matter physics were betting on other names. For example, in 2014, Thomson Reuters predicted a Nobel prize for topological insulators – to theorist Charles L. Kane, experimenter Laurens W. Molenkamp, and theorist Shoucheng Zhang.

Breakthrough Prize winner Alexei Kitaev could have been awarded a prize for the topological quantum computers but his work is probably too mathematical (although less so than e.g. Maxim Kontsevich's). Various other condensed matter physicists comparable to the newest winners and their collaborators – e.g. Ian Affleck – could have won, too.

Monday, October 03, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

A gigafine for Deutsche Bank is a plain robbery

Western governments act as increasingly aggressive gangsters, targeting especially large yet vulnerable foreign companies

Deutsche Bank, a major German banking institution, is another source of recent economic worries, partly due to a gargantuan fine that the U.S. Department of Justice wants to charge the bank. If you pick an informative article, you will learn that the fine was supposed to be $14 billion – wow – but it's plausible that both sides will agree with a more humble amount, $5.4 billion, a promising possibility that has been improving the market sentiment since Friday afternoon.

The total assets of Deutsche Bank are almost $1.8 trillion but the equity is just around $70 billion if you believe some 2015 numbers. The fine $14 billion would be equivalent to 20% of the total value of the banking institution. Moody's just publicized its opinion that even this high fine wouldn't be existentially threatening for Deutsche Bank but 20% is a huge change, anyway.

Sunday, October 02, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Flooded Czech cave found to be the deepest one in the world

Czechia is a beautiful land, our anthem correctly points out, and there's a lot of cute architecture built on it.

At the same moment, many people feel that the nature is an ultimate prototype of the "average place in the world". It's located in central Europe and the moderate climate zone. After the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, the height of our highest peak has collapsed from 2655 to 1603 meters. We don't have the sea so the lowest-lying area isn't extreme, either. Hřensko (on the Elbe River) near the border with East Germany is the country's lowest-lying village, 115 meters above the sea level – which is funny because visually, Hřensko surely looks like a typical village in the high mountains (and it partially is). You may want to know that Prague is around 200 meters above the sea level in average.

So it looks like you can't find any similar "global extrema" in our homeland. Well, it's completely wrong. Even if someone – or a country – is average from many directions, you may always find directions from which it ends up being extreme. A new example is the Hranice Abyss, the deepest flooded abyss in the world, as a Polish researcher with a Polish-Czech team including a transnational underwater robot (ROV) found a few days ago.

Saturday, October 01, 2016 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Janet Yellen is right: central banks' purchase of stocks may be useful and justified

When Janet Yellen was being chosen as the boss of the Federal Reserve, I didn't really know who she was, what she knew, and I was somewhat skeptical that she was an extremely bright economist.

Larry Summers – whom I intimately (don't overstate this word, however) know as the former president of Harvard – was an example of a guy whom I often disagree with but whose thinking was expected to be more penetrating, impartial, rational to me than Yellen's. After all, I have known way too many examples in which a less qualified female was picked by the forces of affirmative action.

I must say that after I have watched several press conferences featuring Yellen, I have largely changed my mind. As far as I can say, she understands economics, the economy, and the forces and pressures that affect it. And she is remarkably rational and impartial when it comes to the evaluation of the relevant questions.

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