## Saturday, December 30, 2017 ... //

### Bitcoin block #501,726 without a valid miner fee broke Blockchain.info

...well, for an hour...

Bitcoin's economics is crackpottery but there are lots of other risks that are completely overlooked by those who mindlessly join the cryptocurrency mania. One subset of the risks are of purely technical character. The mining of new blocks – which is needed to validate all the Bitcoin transfers – may very well break down when some software incompatibility between codes running at various servers explodes.

A hard fork may ignite such a breakdown. Fortunately for the Bitcoin, a "revived SegWit2x hard fork" announced for December 28th turned out to be a prank – or a method by a scammer to collect people's e-mail addresses.

## Friday, December 29, 2017 ... //

### Russophobes' irrationality emulates that of creationists

There have been millions of more important things to write about during Christmas but the real-world events were exhausting and the blog audiences would be severely reduced, too.

Russophobe Harding ended the interview abruptly when he apparently realized that he has proven his book and his brain to have no beef.

Let's start the post-Christmas traffic by a random story. In this 30-minute-long interview, Aaron Maté of the Real News hosted Luke Harding, a journalist from the Guardian who wrote a bestselling book on the "Trump-Russia collusion" (Amazon rank 614 now, 4.2 stars).

There have been lots of reactions, e.g. at The Duran, The Medium, and Twitter and most of those basically agree with your humble correspondent.

## Wednesday, December 27, 2017 ... //

$250,000 for tuition at a university of her choice,$100,000 for a lab at her high school, $50,000 goes to the teacher who inspired her. So if you look carefully, she doesn't actually get anything at all! More precisely, the winner doesn't get any funds that may be safely assumed to have a positive, nonzero value according to the winner herself. Six years ago, an Intelligence Squared Debate took place in Chicago (see 100 minutes above). Peter Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal and an aide to Donald Trump now, teamed up with Charles Murray, a researcher of IQ. They defeated Vivek Wadhwa and Henry Bienen after they argued that too many kids go to college. ### New assertive Czech PM fails to legalize anti-migration stance in EU so far On Wednesday, Czech president Zeman appointed a new government constructed by Slovak-born billionaire Mr Andrej Babiš. I am still worried about the authoritarian, anti-democratic political attitudes he has defended in his campaign. I still think he should be arrested for some of his self-evident and obviously serious crimes. I still find it terrible that influential communist apparatchiks from the 1980s and former communist secret agents get this high in politics of a democratic country. Some of these negative sentiments of mine are very strong. PM Babiš (L) and his predecessor Sobotka (R). And in practice, I think that many of these things are more important for Czech citizens than some abstract, remote problems of Western Europe. On the other hand, don't expect me to behave as one of the hysterical anti-Trump activists in America – who write tirades against the leader every day or who burn university campuses. On Thursday, I attended a pre-Christmas party organized by Czech ex-president Klaus whose animosity towards Babiš is clearly weaker than mine. I was semi-jokingly afraid of the scenario that I could have met Babiš there. Would I have shook his hand? My guess is that "yes" would be possible after two glasses of wine. I didn't drink even that over there – the event was lame for me at the ethanol level – but it would have been a close call. ## Friday, December 15, 2017 ... // ### Snowflakes' hysteria after abolition of net neutrality resembles Idiocracy The FCC, a U.S. regulator affecting the Internet, has 3 Republican members and 2 female Democratic ones. Yesterday, as expected, it voted along the party lines and abolished the 2015 Obama-era "net neutrality" that demands all the Internet Service Providers to believe and incorporate the ludicrous assumption that "all bits are created equal" – that forces the ISPs to become mutually indistinguishable dull pipelines that just transmit bits, regardless of how they're clumped and what content they represent. During the FCC chairman's speech, someone (probably a supporter of net neutrality) reported a bomb threat so they needed to evacuate the room and confirm that the report was just fearmongering, just like every single argument in favor of net neutrality. When I searched for comments about "net neutrality" on Twitter and Google News, among others, I was amazed by the amount of hysteria that requires the hysterical people's absolute and hopeless stupidity. I was happy to see that e.g. Ted Cruz's reaction was the same. ## Wednesday, December 13, 2017 ... // ### Yuri Milner and Papa Oumuamua: a telephone call Milner: Hi, this is Yuri Milner. Do you hear me? I am calling you through the Green Bank radio telescope in West Virginia. ET: Of course we hear you. Papa Oumuamua (wiki) speaking. But we don't understand you. In fact, this fact makes it puzzling how we could answer your question at all. Do you speak Russian? Milner: Yes, I do. Privět. Are you extraterrestrial? ET: What do you think? If we weren't extraterrestrial, we would call you on that annoying round rock of yours and we wouldn't need three minutes for the answer to go back and forth. Milner: Mother Russia is no annoying round rock. Have we ever met each other? ### Australia wants you to take over Australian stocks by a 51% attack on the blockchain As Keith informed me via Twitter, Australian stock exchange [plans] to move to blockchain. It should be able to fire a few settlement employees and move the record of the purchases and sales of stocks to a distributed ledger (DL), also known as a blockchain – the type of keeping of records that is used by the Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. I don't know the details but whatever the details are, I think it's a terrible idea. ## Tuesday, December 12, 2017 ... // ### Dutch film about the Bitcoin religious cult Pablo C. sent me a link to a fascinating September 2017 Dutch documentary VPRO Tegenlicht Het Bitcoin evangelie (50 minutes) which shows that the Bitcoin isn't really a clever new technical solution to a problem. It is a religious cult led by extremely emotional and basically unhinged people who have crazy views about almost everything. The film is in Dutch but most of the interviews are in English. Almost all Dutchmen speak English very well but these bilingual programs show that the Dutch language is basically fading away. For sure, bilingual TV documentaries would be considered absolutely unprofessional – and unusable for TV – in Czechia. The religious spirit among these people is extremely similar to the religious sect described by young Slovak film director Ms Tereza Nvotová, Take It Jeasy (2008; in Czech: "Jesus is sane/normal"), or documentaries about Guru Čmolík, a guy who collected millions by teaching his clients to chew banknotes to become rich, among similar things. Maybe the claim that the Bitcoin "is the same" is slightly exaggerated but the differences seem to be just in the extent, not in the quality. Beware: spoilers. ## Monday, December 11, 2017 ... // ### David Gross: science will survive Pope Urban, Stalin, Hitler, and Trump Just a comment about some weird statement by a famous guy at a prestigious event. As Time Magazine told us, in Spring 2016, David Gross started a Trump supporters' dating site, TrumpSingles.com. Gross was originally worried that people would think it was a joke or a parody site. But finally, people appreciated that "they can finally go on dates without worrying about political differences". OK, that was the David Gross who cared about good people, especially the Trump supporters. Then there's the other David Gross who doesn't seem to care whether people – such as Trump supporters – can do science without worrying about their political affiliations. They look like two entirely different David Grosses, don't they? ;-) When something looks in a certain way, it's sometimes what it looks like, indeed. ### Net neutrality is communism, nationalization Skillful data transmission engineers need to be appreciated, rewarded, have the freedom to profit from their contributions according to their business plans On Friday, the FCC is expected to vote and cancel the Obama-era net neutrality, a regulation preventing the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from doing their business according to their own ideas and according to their interests – profit-seeking. Net neutrality is the idea that all ISPs are obliged to indiscriminately send the superficially similar packets from any place to any other place for the price that may only depend on the bandwidth and perhaps a few other physical characteristics and nothing else. According to net neutrality, the ISPs mustn't look inside packets – they must pretend that they're only transmitting binary digits. But ISPs must have the freedom to use their assets according to their own choice. In particular, they should have the freedom not to connect someone if they think that they (the ISPs) are not fairly compensated for the connection. They may prioritize one type of traffic if they find it more important for their business – probably because this kind of business is more important for their profits. The principle expressed in the previous sentence is an application of the basic rules of the market economy, the basic respect to the private ownership. You know, these companies and the people behind them have either built the infrastructure with all the cables and invented or refined the somewhat smart technology in the routers etc.; or they are shareholders who have bought it. Why did they build it or buy it? Because they saw it was hard work that was likely to produce profit. How does an ISP produce profit? It may decide whether it connects someone to the Internet, or not. To strip the ISPs of this freedom means to rob the shareholders of these companies of a part of their assets because their assets are partly if not mostly hiding in their ability to connect someone or some company to the Internet under some conditions. Everyone who is at least three years old should be able to remember that before the 2015 net neutrality regulation, the Internet worked just fine. In fact, we know it worked very well. On the contrary, in recent two years, the ISPs have complained that they lost the incentives to invest into the infrastructure. ## Saturday, December 09, 2017 ... // ### Responsible TRF readers recommended to sell most crypto-stuff today Futures are keys unlocking cages with horny, hungry Bitcoin grizzlies, tigers that will devour clueless Millennial Bitcoin calves, vegetarian gazelles in their safe spaces The unbacked cryptocurrencies – led by the Bitcoin as of now – have almost certainly become the most dramatic financial bubble in the world's history. It was possible because the relatively speedy (but not too speedy) financial transactions helped by the computers were combined with the speedy communication between the Millennials – also aided by electronics – that has grown the fanaticism more effectively than the regular conversation during any of the previous bubbles. The cryptocurrency fever has almost certainly trumped the tulip bulb mania in Holland that ended in 1637, the South Sea Company bubble that grew up to 1720, and the dot-com bubble that burst in 2000 although to some extent, the burst continued for two more years, and a few more events that should have taught us the same lesson. Alan Greenspan has compared the Bitcoin to the first unbacked early "continental U.S. dollars" that dropped to 2% of their price within several years. I have written some bullish texts – e.g. one claiming that the Bitcoin at$100,000 is compatible with the laws of Nature (that price surely seems significantly more imaginable now than in August) but most of my comments about the Bitcoin have been bearish. I could have imagined several events – forks (that were suspended), Chinese bans, Chinese clever manipulations etc. – to bring the lethal blow that would terminate this whole irrational movement.

Just to be sure, in none of the cases, I was predicting that the individual possible death scenario was more likely than 50%. There have only been possibilities. None of these death scenarios has materialized so far – but yes, the combined probability of "some death before December 2017" of all the lethal scenarios I have predicted over the years is higher than 90% – but the Bitcoin is still around. The same is true for all other Bitcoin bears' comments, too. In fact, I would say that most of the Bitcoin fans have been almost as shocked by the irrational explosive growth of the price as the Bitcoin skeptics ;-) so one shouldn't even say that the Bitcoin fans were "more right" than the skeptics.

## Friday, December 08, 2017 ... //

### Lisa Randall on scientists' duties, distractions, opinion bubbles, and Trump

An hour ago, the Wired has published some thoughts by my ex-colleague and occasional TRF guest blogger Lisa Randall

Lisa Randall: 'It's important for people like me to keep doing science and not get distracted'
At the beginning, she deflects a question on Donald Trump but she returns to it at the end – and makes it clear that she is in favor of the climate hysteria and all kinds of misguided regulations. She knows very well that I am convinced she is wrong on every single "standard political" question of this kind.

But her text primarily contains lots of the "unusual ideas" about the science and society which I, for some reasons, find at least equally important. And I agree with a vast majority of her comments.

## Thursday, December 07, 2017 ... //

### Lies about cosmic string predictions

Some days ago, I was shocked to learn that the "N*t Even Wr*ng" blog based on painful lies about string theory still exists and that its stuttering perpetrator hasn't been jailed or hanged yet.

There are already two new tirades at Peter W*it's notorious website. The newest one celebrates that a non-expert has described the multiverse as the "last refuge of cowards" at a social event. I think much of the research about the multiverse is questionable but slurs like that won't make the possibility go away. Using some irrelevant expletives from a not really scientific event as "arguments" is low-brow, indeed.

The previous text titled "String theory fails another test" is based on W*it's complete lies about the predictions of cosmic strings by state-of-the-art physical theories.

## Wednesday, December 06, 2017 ... //

### Muslims, leftists, Francis team up to fight U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as IL capital

Donald Trump plans to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel today. America should start to move the embassy from Tel Aviv immediately. Internally, Israel controls all of Jerusalem, treats it as her capital, and has institutions over there. Palestinians also call it (al-Quds and) their capital and most of the international community agrees with the Palestinians and disagrees with the reality which is that Jerusalem has been Israel's capital for quite some time.

Well, there are two good exceptions now and the pioneering one gets overlooked often. ;-) Current Czech president Zeman has recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital for years. Lots of other Czech politicians agree and in May, the Czech Parliament voted and recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The lawmakers also criticized UNESCO for its having become a tool of the Palestinian terrorists.

## Tuesday, December 05, 2017 ... //

### Hillary Diane Andales wins the Breakthrough Junior Challenge

Our candidate gets a well-deserve award

In October 2016, I discussed kids' contributions to the Breakthrough Junior Challenge. They were supposed to record a 5-minute video on string theory or science in general in order to win $250,000. Well, those 13 months ago, I went through a dozen of videos and decided that Hillary Diane Andales of the Philippines was the best scientist-filmmaker in this age group on this blue, not green planet. Her video about the path integral was cute, insightful, yet intellectually mature and one could see that she was a real deal, not just a movie star. She has described the classical limit in an intuitive way that mostly persuaded me that "she must really be getting it" and was excited that Feynman's formulation applies to all interacting systems in the Universe including the corporations. Hillary got a positive score from me for the detailed physics as well as the corporations. She has been successful in some mathematical olympiads and related things, too. Up to some irrelevant permutations and invisible yellow Suns, Filipino high school students are my countrymates. Even folks in Chile (not to mention Slovaks) should be jealous of the Czech-Filipino fraternity. So I just told those Milner folks – through our common friend, Vovka Putin, of course: There is a billion of kids in the world but give those damn$250,000 to Hillary Diane Andales! And we were also honored by the visit of Hillary herself, our candidate. And John Archer treated her in his characteristic Gentlemanly way, too, and so on.

### Kenya: The ark of lights and shadow

...and the eyes of the tiger...

Last night, I went to a lecture by Mr Jan Svatoš, a film director behind The Ark of Lights and Shadows, a movie about wildlife in Africa.

Katy Perry's African video with 2.4 billion views was placed here because unlike some other celebrities, she recently listened to Warren Buffett's critical wisdom about the Bitcoin.

The movie celebrates both the wildlife and the emotional life of the animals in African bushes as well as Martin and Osa Johnson, early American adventurers and basically the main forefathers of all the wild life documentaries at National Geographic and elsewhere. Svatoš has obtained lots of material related to the Johnsons from the Library of the U.S. Congress. I have learned some interesting things.

## Monday, December 04, 2017 ... //

### FCC will vote, may abolish "net neutrality" in the U.S.

Especially around 2015, I wrote several texts about net neutrality.

Under Obama's watch, the U.S. regulator of Internet providers, the FCC, adopted the "net neutrality" rules for the Internet. The phrase is constructed to sound "positive" but it is really a form of a ban. Net neutrality means that the Internet providers aren't really allowed to differ from each other in any tangible way. Just like all their competitors, they have to mindlessly and uncritically transfer any data types that someone sends through, without any "discrimination" that would block or even slow down any kind of packets or that would make the fees dependent on anything else than the bitrates and transferred volumes.

Clearly, "net neutrality" is just a severe restriction on people's freedom, a method to force a monopoly or egalitarianism over the users and Internet businesses, and a hurdle slowing down the evolution of specialized services that could live on the Internet. Under the "net neutrality" regime, if streamed porn videos become the dominant type of data in the whole society, they're basically guaranteed to dominate within every Internet provider.

FCC will vote about net neutrality on December 14th and if they vote to abolish this Obama era anachronism, America should be liberated from this particular communist conspiracy between 2018 and at least 2021 when the Democrats may gain enough power to reintroduce it.

## Saturday, December 02, 2017 ... //

### Congratulations to America's tax reform

Donald Trump took victory lap after the U.S. Senate approved the largest tax cut in the U.S. history – by far – hours ago. Senators have joined the Congressmen who have previously approved their version of the bill. Trump claims that their opposition to the bill will hurt The Mocked Rats. I am not so sure but I surely hope so.

The bill got 51 Yes votes – safely above the 50 votes it had needed ;-) – when only one Republican, Bob Corker, voted with the (unanimous) Democratic Party.

Now, because these two bills are different, all the lawmakers will have to spend some time to find a compromise between the two bodies. That's how America often does it – if some kind Yankee explains to me why it wouldn't be better for both chambers to vote on the same bill from the beginning, I will be slightly grateful. ;-)

So the bill may still be killed although I think it's more likely that it will survive.

### Pure $AdS_3$ gravity from monster group spin networks

A fifth of my research topics that make me most excited have something to do with the three-dimensional pure Anti de Sitter space gravity. In 2007, Witten pointed out that there is a perfect candidate for the dual boundary CFT, one that has the monster group as the global symmetry.

The monster group is the largest among the 26 or 27 "sporadic groups" in the classification of all the simple finite groups. The CFT – which was the player that proved the "monstrous moonshine" – may be constructed from bosonic strings propagating on the (24-dimensional space divided by) the Leech lattice, the most interesting even self-dual lattice in 24 dimensions, the only one among 24 of those that doesn't have any "length squared equals to two" lattice sites.

I didn't have enough space here for a picture of Witten and a picture of a monster so I merged them. Thanks to Warren Siegel who took the photograph of Cyborg-Witten.

The absence of these sites represents to the absence of any massless fields. So the corresponding gravity only has massive objects, the black hole microstates, and they transform as representations of the monster group. I will only discuss the monster group CFT with the "minimum radius" – Davide Gaiotto has proven that the infinite family of the larger CFTs cannot exist, at least not for all the radii and with the required monster group symmetry, because there's no good candidate for a spin field corresponding to a conjugacy class.

I think that the single CFT with the single radius is sufficiently fascinating a playground to test lots of ideas in quantum gravity – and especially the relationship between the continuous and discrete structures (including global and gauge groups) in the bulk and on the boundary.