Monday, December 31, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

2019: the International Year of the Periodic Table

In a few hours, the first TRF readers – probably starting with those in New Zealand – will make the transition from 2018 to 2019 = 3*673. The United Nations General Assembly didn't have a better idea. So it declared the new year to be the International Year of the Mendeleev Periodic Table.

It's surely a better pick than a year celebrating e.g. invaders and terrorists who are flooding and decomposing Western Europe. Here you have the Czech verses that helped me memorize the periodic table.

The year 2019 is a good choice for such a "chemical" year because on March 6th, 1869, i.e. exactly 150 years ago, Dmitri Mendeleev made the formal presentation to the Russian Chemical Society.

Saturday, December 29, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Roy Glauber: 1925-2018

I was just told that my former colleague Roy Glauber passed away on the Boxing Day, at age of 93 which is a respectable number.

The Improbable Research remembers him as a janitor at the Ig Nobel Prize ceremonies (focusing on paper airplanes) but aside from that important work, he has done some other things in his life as well, e.g. having won the 2005 Non-Ig Nobel Prize. See also The Optical Society for some memories and data.

I remember Roy Glauber from a few dinners at Harvard – and from the celebration of his Nobel Prize. The Nobel Prize was stolen in 2010.

Thursday, December 27, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Buy the dip: Trump rallies could win him the elections

For the stock markets, December 2018 seems like the worst month since the Great Depression. The Christmas Eve trading saw another big drop of the markets. However, the Boxing Day (Dec 26th) saw the greatest point gain of Dow Jones ever. Those 1086 were almost 5%, Nasdaq gained over 6%, but as a percentage, 5% is nowhere near the greatest percentage gains – almost 15% a day in 2008. A dozen of positive days above 9% have taken place.

The prices are very volatile because traders and investors got nervous. That partly explains the big jump, too. When things can go down dramatically and VIX (a fear index) is above 30 while it's often been below 10, they can sometimes return up and it may be equally dramatic. But why was really a 5% jump? Trump's people assured everyone that they're not firing Mnuchin and Powell (yet). On top of that, Trump said "buy the dip". I actually think that it made difference.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Karel Čapek: 1890-1938

The father of "robots" was a top ideologue of the free interwar Czechoslovakia

Most of you enjoy a relaxed and happy Christmas. But for some people, Christmas may be terrible - or fatal. Top Czech writer Dr Karel Čapek died on December 25th, 1938, exactly eighty years ago, due to pneumonia that he contracted while undoing the harm caused by a flood to his rural villa in Strž.

Čapek and Olga, 1932

To some extent, he was hiding there from the suddenly self-confident violent pro-fascist beasts who were flooding him (the #1 symbol of the old democratic system who was still alive and in the country) with hate mail, nasty phone calls, broken windows, diatribes in newspapers – which is why we may say that the fascists have chased him down as an animal. His brother, a comparably famous painter Josef Čapek, died of tyfus in a concentration camp, Belsen-Bergen, in April 1945 (pandemics killed tens of thousands of people there), days before the camp was liberated by the British and Canadian forces. Their work was semi-censored during communism as well and Karel Čapek's widow, actress Olga Scheinpflugová, was prevented from doing her job.

Saturday, December 22, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Mundia and Modia

John has linked to a nice fresh Brian London's reading of the 2014 essay by David Boxenhorn, Mundia & Modia: The two worlds in which we live.

Czech Christmas Mass or "Hey Master", by the 18th century Czech rural teacher Jakub Jan Ryba [James John Fish]. Singing from 1966, animations based on pictures by the famous Josef Lada. The elaborate lyrics mostly describes the social reactions to the birth of the Savior – which apparently took place somewhere in the South Bohemian countryside, a healthy region full of milk etc. close to Austria whose dialect was used as the basis for standardized Czech. Those of you who only know "Good King Wenceslaus" should realize that this mass conveys something about the actual spirit of the country previously ruled by Duke Wenceslaus I – but later, in the 18th century.

Boxenhorn mostly invented new names for the world inhabited by the people who prefer the natural-science-based perspective on the world where the laws are fixed and the truth is independent of humans, Mundia, and the world whose behavior and beliefs are all about social dynamics, Modia. I don't know why these exact words were coined. And it takes some time to get used to them. But it might be a good idea to have such special words for the "worlds".

Friday, December 21, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Why 'Why String Theory Is Wrong' is wrong

Note that "String Theory" is the only unique part of the title – and the unique known candidate for a unifying theory beyond QFT

Six weeks ago, I linked to a PBS video Why string theory is right. As expected, they also released the twin video,

Why string theory is wrong (PBS video at YouTube)
I have listened to those 19 minutes rather carefully and I am pretty sure that the video doesn't contain any glimpse of evidence or an answer to the question "why string theory is wrong". For this reason, I must agree with Niki that PBS has simply chosen a clickbait title.

Just to be sure, this blog post does include an answer to the question in my title: one such answer may be seen in the previous paragraph.

Thursday, December 20, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Musk's tunnel vision

Elon Musk has just unveiled the Hyperloop, well with the air in the tunnels included. OK, differently, he has disrupted the public transportation in Los Angeles. Tons of media uncritically convey his hype.

Fine, in other words, he has previously bought a boring machine and learned how to turn it on. So why wouldn't he use it to create some hype? What the Californians got may be seen in this 7-minute CBS video. A car – it must be a Tesla – is dropped by an ugly vertical factory-like elevator for cars (30 seconds delay) to some thin tunnel where only one car fits, and is moved at 80 kilometers per hour through a thin tunnel, on an extra plate with wheel. The speed is high enough and the motion is bumpy enough for the passengers to feel unsafe and uncomfortable.

As discussed in wonderfully critical articles at Deadspin, Slate, and Jalopnik – see also Thunderf00t one month ago – the innovative ideas behind all of this are absolutely non-existent and if you compare Musk's vision to the existing solutions – such as roads, road tunnels, subways etc. – Musk's solution is strictly worse in virtually all respects.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

U.S., Israel, Hungary, Poland, Czechia against migration compact

Two very related non-binding documents were approved in the New York U.N. headquarters. On Monday, "The Compact For Refugees" was approved. Czechia voted "for" despite the assurances by our authoritative prime minister Babiš just a day earlier that he had persuaded the government to change the position from "abstain" to "against"!

In this situation, even the most fanatical doughnuts (this is how Babiš's stupid voters i.e. almost all voters are generally called because their guru likes to distribute doughnuts among them) could see that there was something... untrustworthy about this guy. He is obviously double-faced. Some people have nicknamed him Princess Scoobike, after a 1984 Czech TV fairy-tale about a clever princess who was both dressed and naked, who was half-walking, half-driving, and so on. ;-)

Readers unhappy about Aaronson's correct criticism of quaternionic QM

In 2012, I wrote a simple text saying why the wave function has to be complex.

To preserve the sum of probabilities, one needs something oscillating with a constant absolute value, and \(\exp(i\phi)\) is needed for that. That's why \(i\) has to appear in Schrödinger's equation. By some Lagrangian-Hamiltonian translation, the same \(i\) also appears in Feynman's path integral through \(\exp(iS/\hbar)\). And by the Heisenberg-Schrödinger equivalence, the same \(i\) also appears in the Heisenberg equations of motion defining the Heisenberg picture. And the commutator \(xp-px\) has to be equal to something like \(i\hbar\). Here the imaginary unit appears because the commutator of two Hermitian operators is anti-Hermitian i.e. \(i\) times a Hermitian operator.

Scott Aaronson wrote a text on a similar problem,

Why are amplitudes complex?
where he presents some different arguments revolving around qubits – because he is a computer science guy. A big part of his text is a demonstration that quaternionic quantum mechanics is a burning excrement. It turns out that lots of readers don't want to hear anything of the sort.

Monday, December 17, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

When terms, phrases, slogans don't repay the time needed to learn them

Most of the interpreters of quantum mechanics aren't natural scientists; they belong to humanities. This proposition holds because they don't search for theories that work and for the ideally quantitative evidence to strengthen such theories. Instead, they prefer qualitative assertions, the nurturing of words, and the reviews of other people who have said such words in the history.

Physicsnut has found a nice example of this talkative approach, a 504-page review of the quantum by Christopher Fuchs, a Quantum Bayesian guy, written in 2001. You may see that it is a historical book that pretends to be a scientific paper. The physics isn't at the center. Instead, "he said she said" plays the key role.

While Fuchs and other QBism guys may say some correct things about the meaning of quantum wave functions, they still push the thinking about the field in a wrong direction.

Belgian PM: let's expel non-Islamic Visegrád from Schengen

I do believe that in recent months, the pro-globalist insanity has slightly calmed down in Europe. The scheduled replacement of Angela Merkel with a less welcoming female successor Frau AKK (I assume you will never memorize the name Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer) has helped this trend, too. Like a more proper conservative CDU politician, AKK wants tighter migration rules and opposes unrestricted abortions as well as same-sex marriage. It seems to me that AKK's Germany could easily become compatible with the Czech mainstream again.

However, the loons still exist. And the most spectacular statement about migration and the EU came from a country that punches above its weight... Belgium.

The Belgian prime minister Charles Michel has said something remarkable: nations, especially the V4 group (Hungary, Poland, Czechia, Slovakia) that don't want to embrace thousands of Muslim migrants, should be expelled from the Schengen area.

Friday, December 14, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

The word salad interpretation of quantum mechanics

Michael Nielsen, an achieved quantum information researcher, just wrote a fun essay

What does the quantum state mean? (
I largely agree with his view although he is way more "agnostic" about the meaning of the quantum state than I am.

The essay starts with a quote by Feynman saying that he still felt nervous about the lack of intuition why quantum mechanics was consistent – but suspected that 2 generations later, people would already feel comfortable with quantum mechanics, finding its consistency self-evident. It has surely worked for me.

Thursday, December 13, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

EU lawmakers tough on Czech PM's clash of interests

On December 1st, I discussed a leaked report written by the official EU legal service that has figured out that indeed, the Czech PM has a conflict of interests.

The EU rules about the conflict of interests were rather clearly stated but became much more stringent in August 2018. Whether or not I like the EU policies, I think that every civilized institution like that simply has to have some rules that prevent this behavior. The conflict of interests is ludicrously obvious for Babiš: he is currently the most powerful politician in Czechia, the second wealthiest citizen, and his company Agrofert is the greatest recipient of EU subsidies in the country.

Those subsidies have doubled from some $40 million annually when he entered politics 5 years ago to $80 million. Most of this doubling is almost certainly due to his corrupt interference with the money flows. His wealth has also doubled in that 5-year period.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Fun with entangled near-extremal black holes

Moyses has pointed out that I haven't discussed the July 2018 paper by Maldacena-Milekhin-Popov (Princeton) about a new wormhole solution. The wormhole is traversable. The metastability depends on

  • the presence of some charge and the electromagnetic fields
  • rotation of the two throats around each other (like in Earth-Sun or the LIGO black hole pairs before mergers)
  • the presence of massless Weyl fermions whose motion is described by Landau levels
You can see that there are some "unusual" building blocks that may justify why this kind of a solution hasn't been found before – or why people could have claimed to have proven that some classes of traversable wormholes were impossible.

The object isn't quite stable because the orbital motion emits gravitational and electromagnetic waves, the distance between the throats is decreasing, and the two sides eventually collide and merge.

Monday, December 10, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Climate hysteria not welcome: USA, KSA, RF, Kuwait

The acceleration of the climate hysteria peaked in 2005-2007 – remember Katrina and all the Nobel prizes for Al Gore and similar disgusting events – and the speed of the building climate hysteria has probably peaked around 2009 during the ClimateGate. But all this new age religion kept on solidifying afterwards – although more silently.

Finally, we have some indications that the climate bubble could start to burst. Last night, the media informed us about a nice beginning of a climate conference (COP24) in Katowice, Poland (coverage; Katowice is 45 miles from Ostrava, Czechia – a vital black coal region is in between the two cities). Representatives of the countries were ordered to invent the optimal celebration of a recent IPCC report, the starkest one in many years. That report roughly said:

People can't be satisfied if 2 °C is avoided. 1.5 °C of warming (from an incorrectly, arbitrarily, and vaguely defined pre-industrial era) has to be avoided. With this goal in mind, countries have to completely change how they work, the economies have to be fudged up, and climate liars have to be promoted from millionaires to billionaires. We demand these recommendations to be welcome by the representatives of countries and by the ministers who attend the event in Katowice.
Among other things. Delegates from the countries did something surprising – for the fearmongers. They refused to accept the word "welcome". After 2.5 of disagreements, the word "noted" was used. The latest report was only noted, not welcome. Russia, America, Saudis, and Kuwait teamed up to make this improvement.

Sunday, December 09, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Interviews with Susskind and Veneziano

Two recent interviews with founders of string theory are out there. A recent CERN Courier published Matthew Chalmers' interview with the founder number zero, Gabriele Veneziano:

The roots and fruits of string theory
Veneziano was a really young boy in 1968, as a photograph demonstrates, and he – and others – were systematically studying the strong force and its apparent and hypothesized properties such as the DHS (world sheet) duality. Veneziano happened to be the guy who wrote down an amplitude, the Euler Beta function, that obeyed this cool property of the S-matrix, the DHS duality.

In Veneziano's presentation, it was all very systematic. The strong force was seen, its precise theory wasn't known, but some properties seemed experimentally known as well and researchers employed some reverse engineering. From that proper historical perspective, it isn't even true that string theory was discovered by an accident. They systematically looked at many properties of the strong force and the existence of the string-like fluxtubes is simply a fact. That's why they investigated a possible string-like description of the nuclear effects, amplitudes with lots of resonances, and why they had to try the amplitudes and Lagrangians describing the string itself.

Friday, December 07, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

A "failed" BSV surpassed the "winner" BCH

I no longer find it too likely that Craig Wright is Satoshi Nakomoto – Nick Szabo could be the right man (which would be somewhat similar, anyway) – but Craig Wright has surely become the most impressive "unexpected late winner" in the cryptocurrency capitalization wars.

If you look at the now, you will see that the total value of the world's cryptocoins is some $108 billion, about 1/8 of the peak value in January 2018. The regular Bitcoin, BTC near $3333, keeps below $60 billion out of the sum. It is followed by the Ripple and the Ethereum. Ripple did better during the recent stage of the bursting cryptobubble than Ethereum because the former is seen as slightly institutionally backed which was an advantage while the latter is not.

Thursday, December 06, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

It's spin to call 1850-1900 "pre-industrial era"

The climate hysteria has faded away but some people keep on doing their propaganda work as if it were 2007. Tomorrow, I have an introductory talk about physics of the climate change in front of some selected audience, including a young presidential candidate from 2018.

At the beginning of the talk, I mention some elementary-school science such as the days and nights and seasons. Everyone understands why we have days and nights and why the weather changes during the year as well, doesn't she? Well, when I opened a news app in the morning, I could see that the media-savvy geologist Mr Cílek claims that the traditional seasons will disappear.

Holy cow. So I looked inside the article, to check what he actually wanted to say. He can't be this insane. He claims that springs and autumns will shorten and mostly disappear. I think that even this claim is mostly a pseudoscientific superstition. Any "global warming" affects all the seasons almost equally and the differences don't change much. But the worse news is that most of the actual readers who interact with this article will really start to believe that the Earth will stop spinning or its axis will cease to be tilted or that these astronomical facts will stop affecting the weather on Earth. What "helps" them to change the opinion is that they don't feel terribly certain about the spinning Earth or the tilted axis in the first place.

No, these processes really, really won't stop. It's terrible that people are being "de-educated" because believing in bombshell claims such as the disappearance of seasons is helpful for someone's political goals.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Four new LIGO-Virgo BH mergers

Some of them, using 3 detectors, allow to test predictions of polarization

On Saturday, two LIGO plus one Virgo gravitational wave detectors announced the discovery of four new black hole mergers – those from Summer 2017. Why it took 1.4 years isn't entirely clear to me. Their IDs, GW170729, GW170809, GW170818 and GW170823, reveal they arrived in July or August and the first, late July detection is the most massive and most distant merger ever detected.

These two black holes merged some 5 billion years ago – at the same cosmic time when the Solar System was created over here – and out of some 80 solar masses, a whopping 5 solar masses of energy were radiated away in the form of gravitational waves. The collaborations have released some new papers (see also the LIGO paper server).

Bureaucrats have the power to turn a tiny glitch into an insurmountable hurdle

...and in too many cases, they face no consequences when they do so...

As you know, I hate bureaucracy – and some very real and viscerally unpleasant experience with bureaucratic operations is a substantial part of my opposition to the ideals of the Big Government, or almost any government or a left-wing social construct, for that matter. In the U.S., I used to spend a month with the tax forms and immigration documents (not just the visas) during the average year.

It doesn't mean that I really needed 30 times 16 hours of hard work every year. The number of hours filled with some "substantial bureaucratic work" was much smaller. But the uncertainty, meaninglessness of this work, and other partly psychological aspects really depleted my energy for those 480 hours. For a decade, those things have been more tolerable – every year, a few days are partly occupied with some one-hour-long or two-hour-long work.

In the most recent week, I was facing a bureaucratic nightmare that I don't remember for a decade. The main villains was a female bureaucrat who was clearly acting to spite me – and a power of attorney ("plná moc", literally "full power", in Czech). I was recommended by someone to fulfill the task using a power of attorney. It had to be simple. Many others agreed.

Monday, December 03, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Yellow vest revolution shows the surrealism of decarbonization

Tom Vonk who lives in France has written a concerned message about the Yellow Vest protesters.

They protest against the increased price of fuels from the beginning of 2019 that is scheduled to follow from Macron's version of the carbon tax. The president uses the slogan "Make the Planet Great Again".

Saturday, December 01, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

EU lawyers: Czech PM should return billions in subsidies

Conflict of interests is self-evident to everybody with a brain, Czech culture of the bending laws clashes with different EU habits

Hours ago, Le Monde (FR) and The Guardian (UK) – and now e.g. Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) and Reuters (UK) – informed their readers that the lawyers of the European Commission have determined (according to a leaked report that you can read now) that the Czech PM Babiš is still the actual owner of Agrofert, a 3-billion-dollars corporation in agriculture, food industry, chemical industry, reproduction hospitals, and media, and therefore the billions of crowns (hundreds of millions of Euros) he has received in 2018 violate the EU rules and should be returned.

The European Commission is usually acting according to the recommendation of its lawyers in such situations although it's not quite certain that this will be the case now.

Friday, November 30, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Nir Shaviv in Bundestag

Gene has informed me that the Israeli astrophysicist, climate skeptic, and TRF guest blogger Nir Shaviv gave a testimony in the German Parliament, the greenest Parliament of any country in the world, on Wednesday.

EIKE, a skeptical institute for climate and energy, has written down a detailed story in German.

How did Nir get there? Well, it's simple. The Green Party whackadoodles are the new Übermenschen in that group of lawmakers so they decided that they had to educate the Untermenschen, i.e. the non-green lawmakers, by inviting their "expert", an unhinged climate fearmonger.

However, CDU/CSU, currently a self-described centrist coalition, is still represented in the Parliament and they wanted the critical voices to be heard. And it just happens that the right-wing AfD is present in the Parliament as well which is why Nir could have been invited, too.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Too much ado about a beaten Afghan murderer

After the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. enjoyed quite some compassion and moral support from the international public. America had to react in some way. It decided that the terrorists were trained somewhere in Afghanistan and it has kickstarted the war against that šithole.

Cpl. Tomáš Procházka, the victim of an October insider attack

That decision has made at least some sense. No one could return lives to the 3,000 victims of that bloody day – the day of my PhD defense in New Jersey – but at least, the victims' beloved ones could have felt that someone cares about the injustice that has happened to them. A few years later, Osama bin Laden was killed by the U.S. Navy SEALs, too.

Monday, November 26, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Sachdev: ancient Indian airplanes are harmful

While the West is bombarded by hostile comments directed against theoretical physics, it is somewhat refreshing to look at related – but unequivalent – stories that folks have to deal with in very different cultural conditions.

An ancient Incas' airplane which is over 1,000 years old. Click for an article by Lumír Janků that also describes the ancient Indian, Egyptian, and Slavic-edition-of-Biblical aircraft etc.

Subir Sachdev is a top condensed matter physicist, I know him somewhat well, he's been the most important condensed matter physicist who embraced AdS/CFT in his research, and he's currently the chairman of the Harvard physics department where I have spent six years. He just gave an interview to an Indian publication in New England,

Harvard University Physics Chair Subir Sachdev: “It is Very Harmful to Make False Claims About India’s Contribution” to Science and Technology
He says that the actual contributions of Indian folks to science is good enough and adding superstitions to it is actively harmful because intelligent kids such as himself decades ago become skeptical about the true statements as well – after they figure out that most of the claims out there are nonsense.

It's very true, what he has described is another mechanism how the distortions in the media damage the future of science and technology.

Sunday, November 25, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

May's Brexit deal is better than no Brexit or no deal hard Brexit

The June 2016 Brexit referendum was a source of enthusiasm for many of us. A major nation was finally allowed to say No to the creeping neo-Marxist totalitarianism – the European Union edition of it which is relevant for half a billion people.

On the other hand, the subsequent 30 months have been a great disappointment. Why does it take so long? Why can't you negotiate a simple deal right away? Czechoslovakia needed 6 months to negotiate everything – since the mid 1992 elections – and it was dissolved flawlessly, starting with the beginning of 1993, while the "optional" split of the currency union had to occur as well and did occur just 6 weeks later, flawlessly again.

At, Tyler Durden reposted a text by Martin Pánek, a top politician in a Czech Libertarian party who compared the Brexit with the Velvet Divorce. I would sign every line of that article – it should be a textbook material. Yes, that comparison fills me with the superiority complex. ;-) In some respects, the Velvet Divorce could have been simpler. We were dividing a country where most people were "simple" and they didn't have too complex interests, assets, let alone derivatives.

At $3,650, many continue to deny the bursting Bitcoin bubble

Can the Bitcoin price go negative?

Five days ago, when I began to type the most recent Bitcoin text, the Bitcoin price was $4,600. Now it's $3,650 or so, the price first seen on August 12th, 2017 i.e. 15.5 months ago. During the fresh slide, the price was stuck near $4,250 for a quasiday before the drop continued during the night in the middle of the weekend.

What is rather amazing is that the mining continues at almost full speed. Most of the miners who are running cannot even pay 1/2 of their electricity expenses now. The expenses of the kids connected to the SlushPool are covered by their parents so they will probably never stop but it seems that even the professional rings with the specialized ASIC hardware keep on working.

Here you have a typical miner who keeps on working for the rosy future of the mankind. His choice of words makes it clear that what he is doing isn't really a commercial activity. He isn't trying to achieve a profit or minimize losses. He really does it in order to "support Bitcoin"!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Swampland refinement of higher-spin no-go theorems

Dieter Lüst and two co-authors from Monkberg (Munich) managed to post the first hep-th paper today at 19:00:02 (a two-second lag is longer than usual, the timing contest wasn't too competitive):

A Spin-2 Conjecture on the Swampland
They articulate an interesting conjecture about the spin-two fields in quantum gravity – a conjecture of the Swampland type that is rather close to the Weak Gravity Conjecture and, in fact, may be derived from the Weak Gravity Conjecture under a mild additional assumption.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Aspects of the bursting cryptobubble

Eight days ago, when I wrote the most recent Bitcoin post, the Bitcoin price was still stuck close to $6,350 – a plateau that had been almost stable for more than a month – and I have reminded the readers that such a stability was unsustainable and the price was guaranteed to drop further.

We're around $4,600 now – a 28% drop in those 8 days – and the price has already looked below $4,500 which is 77% below the all time peak of $19,800. Almost all (unpegged) cryptocurrencies were falling in the recent week – the total capitalization of them is around $150 billion. For some reason, Ripple has partly avoided the downturn while Ethereum suffered more than others.

The newest Bitcoin Cash fork was quoted as a cause of the anxiety – well, I think it is way too oversimplified to find such a simple scapegoat. Two different reforms of the Bitcoin Cash (which is the most influential fork of the Bitcoin itself) rules were proposed – for the (former) #4 currency to become Bitcoin Cash ABC (Roger Ver and Jihan Wu, one of them is modestly called Bitcoin Jesus) and/or Bitcoin Cash SV (which stands for Satoshi Vision because the backer, Craig Wright, has at least called himself Satoshi Nakamoto once).

The "hash war" – which wasn't really just a hash war and the rules seem extremely uncontrolled to me – was concluded with the victory of ABC. Crypto folks were used to the (irrational) free dividends whenever there was a fork. This time was different. The $400 Bitcoin Cash turned into a $220 Bitcoin Cash ABC plus $50 Bitcoin Cash SV – both exist at this moment. So in total, they lost about 30% like almost everyone else. Stellar overtook Bitcoin Cash as the #4 currency after the Bitcoin, Ripple, and Ethereum.

Sunday, November 18, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Do they really believe in a black model who is an achieved iOS coder?

MC Virgo has provided me with some entertainment in the morning. He has recommended Alessandro Strumia to learn from a female IT CEO (named Maya Visheva or something South/East Slavic like that) who has said: "girls are quite lazy... they're not good programmers... at the end your company is going to suffer". Some people are dissatisfied with such general statements. Do they have any justification?

You bet – and it is cool. As MC Virgo mentioned, Lyndsey Scott (born 1984, Wiki) has been a (black) Victoria's Secret model, achieved lots in modeling, and now is a successful developer of iPhone and iPad apps. Her reputation at the Stack Exchange – mostly questions about coding – is almost 30,000.

Saturday, November 17, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Velvet revolution and discarded flowers

Today, Czechs and Slovaks celebrate the Day of the Struggle for Freedom and Democracy. On November 17th, 1989 i.e. 29 years ago, we kickstarted the Velvet Revolution. I surely count myself among the top 1% of the nation that should be credited for those changes. Yes, at some moments, I had hoped that folks like me would be appreciated for the changes – that have already increased the wealth of the nations by an order of magnitude, among other (sometimes more important) things – but as you can guess, it has never materialized and the very basic heritage of the Velvet Revolution is at stake, too.

The same 17th November is also the International Students' Day, the only international holiday whose origins are purely Czech. In 1939, exactly 50 years before the Velvet Revolution, the Czech students clashed with the Nazi law enforcement authorities after the rallies on October 28th (anniversary of Czechoslovakia) and the funeral events for a student of medicine, Jan Opletal, who was injured and died. The Nazis decided to close all Czech universities for 3 years – the actual plan was a permanent closure of the universities and the complete liquidation of the Czech elite and intelligentsia. In November 1939, Hitler was angry and complained that the Czechs hadn't been treated as the Untermenschen on par with the Poles. Due to our decision not to fight, we were gradually reclassified as semi-Untermenschen. One-half would have been eradicated (including the whole intelligentsia etc.), one-half of the rest would be moved to Siberia or Patagonia, and the mostly blue-eyed blonde rest would be Germanized. Those were just plans. Thankfully, no one knows what would be the exact outcome of those long-term plans – the 1000-year-long empire only got some 6 more years after it started the world war.

In 1989, students in Prague commemorated the 50th anniversary of the 1939 events and they expressed some dissatisfaction with the communist regime, too. The rally was permitted by the regime but the students were violently treated, anyway. It wasn't brutal violence but it was enough to make lots of parents and other Czechs and Slovaks seriously pissed off. These days, there is also a disagreement about the relative importance of the two holidays, how the day should be called, and so on. You may imagine which kind of political groups prefer which of the events. The 1939 events are surely highlighted by communists and similar folks who have a problem with the 1989 Velvet Revolution.

Friday, November 16, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

AdS/CFT as the swampland/bootstrap duality

Last June, I discussed machine learning approaches to the search for realistic vacua.

Computers may do a lot of work and lots of assumptions that some tasks may be "impossibly hard" may be shown incorrect with some help of computers that think and look for patterns. Today, a new paper was published on that issue, Deep learning in the heterotic orbifold landscape. Mütter, Parr, and Vaudrevange use "autoencoder neural networks" as their brain supplements.

The basic idea of the bootstrap program in physics.

But I want to mention another preprint,

Putting the Boot into the Swampland
The authors, Conlon (Oxford) and Quevedo (Trieste), have arguably belonged to the Stanford camp in the Stanford-vs-Swampland polemics. But they decided to study Cumrun Vafa's conjectures seriously and extended it in an interesting way.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Son of Czech PM abducted to Crimea his own father's Russian aide...
Another story in English here (one more)

Czech PM Andrej Babiš has been charged with subsidy fraud. By obfuscating the identity of the owner of a farm, the billionaire pocketed a $2 million subsidy for small businesses in the tourism industry when he was building The Stork Nest, a luxurious family farm and conference center. By now, police has about 10 huge packages of evidence (witnesses of many kinds, documents, data about the registration of Internet domains etc.) that he executed the subsidy fraud deliberately.

While he may be arrested for up to 10 years (the Parliament has stripped him of his immunity for this case) and this is not his only apparent crime, $2 million is obviously not a global story. But last night, two Czech investigative journalists have released a truly shocking story. A year ago, Russian people who work for Czech PM Andrej Babiš have abducted the prime minister's first own son, Andrej Babiš Jr, to (Moscow and then) the old new Russian peninsula, Crimea, to make sure that he – clearly a key witness – wouldn't be interviewed by the police during the Stork Nest investigation.

It makes perfect sense that the Russian guy (or someone else) chose Crimea – almost no Czech or Westerner would dare to go there.

Monday, November 12, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Illegal migrants apparently given prepaid Mastercard debit cards by Soros, EU, U.N.

In several separate but analogous programs. Soros' projects are still being negotiated.

An hour ago, I was stunned by articles in the Czech media that were sent to me.

What is this Mastercard? Note that it is decorated by symbols of Mastercard, the European Union, and a branch of the United Nations. It's a prepaid debit card that was apparently found in the pockets of illegal migrants that are flowing to the territory of the European Union through the Balkan route that someone is apparently trying to revive.

According to Sputnik (original from The Hungary Journal) and other sources, the ruling parties in Hungary – Fidesz and the Christian Democratic People's Party – demand an explanation of these debit cards from the European Commission. The Western press seems to be completely hiding this story – or am I overlooking something?

Bitcoin price is where it was 1 year ago

In 2017, the Bitcoin price went from some $1,000 to $20,000 on December 18th. Since that moment, the price lost 66% while the Google searches for the Bitcoin plummeted by 92%.

In a recent month or so, the Bitcoin price lost much of its volatility and seems to be stuck close to $6350. That's pretty much exactly where it was a year ago, sometime on November 12th, 2017. That factoid is just a coincidence but it allows us to make certain interpretations.

Sunday, November 11, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

New veins of science can't be found by a decree

Edwin has pointed out that a terrifying anti-science article was published in The Japan Times yesterday:

Scientists spend too much time on the old.
The author, the Bloomberg opinion columnist named Noah Smith (later I noticed that the rant was first published by Bloomberg), starts by attacking Ethan Siegel's text that had supported a new particle collider. Smith argues that because too many scientists are employed in science projects that extend the previous knowledge which leads to diminishing returns, all the projects extending the old science should be defunded and the money should be distributed to completely new small projects that have far-reaching practical consequences.

What a pile of toxic garbage!

Thursday, November 08, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

A pro-string PBS video

I wrote mostly negative things about the PBS Spacetime" physics videos. But Peter F. sent me a link to a new one,

Why String Theory Is Right (17 minutes).
Before you become excited that string theory finally gets some support from the mainstream media (the video has almost 200,000 views in less than a day), I must warn you: they plan to release a symmetric video "Why String Theory Is Wrong" (and maybe they will say "trouble" or "not even wrong" instead). Judging by the announcements at the beginning, their overall view will be at most neutral.

Heckler Acosta no longer welcome to Trump's house

When I was a kid, and even as recently as 20 years ago or so, I considered CNN to be a rather impressive brand. It had to be better than many other news outlets. Times have changed a lot.

Jim Acosta still calls himself a "CNN White House Correspondent" on his Twitter account – which I consider a fraudulent description because of the outcome of the story I am going to remind you of (he is no longer capable of "corresponding" with someone on the White House side). Fine, during the press conference, Jim Acosta started his "question" by the statement "I want to challenge you".

Wednesday, November 07, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

An SI vote next week may turn \(\hbar\) into a known constant

Update November 16th: Oui, the constants are constant now!

Although it's just a bunch of conventions, I have been sort of excited about the systems of units – and the SI units in particular – for more than three decades.

The most recent blog post, one from July 2017, announced plans to redefine the fundamental SI units so that some universal constants become known constants, much like \(c\) which became \[

c = 299,792,458\,{\rm m/s}

\] after a 1983 reform of the SI system. In particular, I have rooted for a reform that would turn Planck's constant \(h\) to a known constant since my childhood – but a clear blog post from April 2012 is the most explicit thing I can link to.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

TRF midterms: a poll

The forecasters seem to predict a 90% chance for a Democratic victory in the midterm elections. I think it's more likely that they'll be wrong – they are probably not "just forecasting". But what do you think?

Sunday, November 04, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

A purple-haired NPC demands affirmative action favoring fellow NPCs who live inside PCs

The human players, a privileged group of oppressors, has to be stripped of their superior role

I was somewhat randomly recommended a video by the Timcast channel,

The NPC's Are Now Demanding Rights For NPC's,
and for a while, I thought that Timcast had to be extremely exaggerating because the quoted claims were so funny by being so stupid. But he was right. Two weeks ago, I mentioned the NPC meme – that the social justice warriors are basically non-player characters from computer games.

If you remember some details, you know that the meme was greatly resuscitated in the recent month by an article at that complained about the dehumanization of the SJWs who are being compared to NPCs. Because that article basically admitted that the NPC interpretation of the SJWs has some content that really resonates, lots of people joined the industry of the NPC memes.

Scholze, Stix don't have the magic power to veto arbitrary proofs

The \(abc\) conjecture is a proposition in number theory somewhat analogous to Fermat's Last Theorem. If three relatively prime (possibly negative) integers obey \(a+b=c\), then some inequality holds\[

\Large \max (\abs a, \abs b, \abs c) \leq C_\epsilon \prod_{p|(abc)} p^{1+\epsilon}.

\] In 2012, Šiniči Močizuki (this website is written in Czech English, some of you appreciate it) presented his alleged proof and now, over six years later, the validity of the proof remains disputed and its status is therefore uncertain.

I find the inequality above rather contrived and uninteresting – which very well may be just because I haven't studied those corners (and most corners) of number theory intensely enough – but Močizuki claims to have a whole profound theory, Inter-universal Teichmüller (IUT) theory [=arithmetic deformation theory], which can generate proofs of many number-theoretical propositions. I feel that the broader theory attracts me more than the \(abc\) conjecture itself.

Saturday, November 03, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Complexity, simulations in cosmology are pseudoscience

Three days ago, I discussed a new paper by Susskind that promoted the idea that the quantum theory of black holes can be and should be rephrased in terms of the complexity theory – basically a branch of computer science. It seems to me that some people who defended Susskind's view were pure computer scientists who had no idea about physics – and the very meaning of the word "physics" – at all.

But Susskind's paper was probably not the best one to explain what is really so utterly irrational about the attempts to rebrand fundamental physics as a part of computer science. Meanwhile, David Brown asked me about the 2017 paper

Computational complexity of the landscape II - Cosmological considerations
by Denef, Douglas, Greene, and Zukowski. I have known the three male co-authors well and I think that they're powerful minds but writing things like that is just plain stupid. The boldly phrased paper has 8 followups after 16 months so I believe it's right to say that almost all the people in the field share my skepticism. But it's normal to express the skepticism by silence and lack of interest. However, science is really powerful in clearly proving things to be wrong – not right – and because this whole line of reasoning is wrong, it's appropriate to discuss why.

Friday, November 02, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Cosmopapers by Banks and Fischler; and Arkani-Hamed et al.

Some interesting conceptual papers about cosmology have been posted to the hep-th archive for us to see them today. The shorter and vaguer one was posted by my PhD adviser (well, up to 9/11/2001) Tom Banks and Willy Fischler, whom I also know well:

Why The Cosmological Constant is a Boundary Condition
On their 12 pages, they somewhat heuristically – we've gotten used to it – argue that the cosmological constant isn't a field, it isn't a term in local equations. Instead, it's a term in the boundary conditions that is imposed upon the local dynamics by some soft gravitons carried by the holographic screen, the boundary of your causal diamond.

Some approximately one-sentence-long references to the UV/IR duality, Matrix theory, and AdS/CFT are being made to support their case. Unfortunately, in all of them, I would need to ask them: Could you please be a little bit more specific about the Step 2 ("here a miracle occurs")?

Thursday, November 01, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Europe's huge diversity in attitudes to Islam

Some three days ago, the Pew Research center released a report on the European nations' attitudes towards Muslims and other things:

See also the complete report as 30 pages of PDF. The map above is striking, isn't it?

Wednesday, October 31, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Unbounded ranks of elliptic curves: another premature faith

I generally don't like arrogant people who claim to be certain about something even though there is no solid basis for that certainty. Many climate fearmongers are textbook examples of these folks. The list of these arrogant people also includes Scott Aaronson – but also many other people in computer science – who claim (not only that the Earth will evaporate soon but also) that their word and influence is enough to be almost certain that e.g. \(P\neq NP\), even in the absence of a proof in either way.

Exactly 3 months ago, I discussed an interesting article by Kevin Hartnett in the Quanta Magazine that described an exciting story of Mr/Ms Ewin Tang, an ex-student of Aaronson's in Austin who is now a grad student at University of Washington. Tang was ordered to prove a proposition, basically a miniversion of \(P\neq NP\), as if it were a fact, except that he was finally led to prove the converse. Needless to say, lots of people had previously wasted their time with efforts to prove something that couldn't have been proven – and the activities done in order to prove X are often substantially different from those needed to prove non(X) which is why most of the mental energy was completely incorrectly allocated.

Now, the same Kevin Hartnett wrote another story with a similar lesson – in the absence of a proof, the mathematicians' belief in a certain conclusion may very well be a prejudice that is gonna be reversed. His text

Without a Proof, Mathematicians Wonder How Much Evidence Is Enough
talks about a 2016 paper by Melanie Wooden-Machete Trump and her 3 pals (OK, fair enough, I wanted to increase the number of views of their preprint page).

First, let me answer the question from that title. If the questions are of a purely qualitative, binary type, e.g. the question "whether the supremum of a set of ranks is finite or infinite", then no amount of "evidence" that is short of a proof is enough! If we can't complete a proof, we should really say that no other comments are truly relevant so the amount of evidence is zero.

CMS excess: a dimuon resonance of mass \(28\GeV\)

Well... the dimuon resonance depends on an extra bottom quark that has to be produced
Aleph at LEP seems to agree with the excess!

The Proton Smash (Halloween)

The Guardian just has published an article by Ian Sample that was useful for me,

Has new ghost particle manifested at Large Hadron Collider?
because I have missed the August 2018 preprint
Search for resonances in the mass spectrum of muon pairs produced in association with \(b\) quark jets in proton-proton collisions at \(\sqrt s= 8\) and \(13\TeV\)
You may see the excess on Figure 1, Page 5 (7/35) of the preprint above. For the invariant mass of \(\mu^+\mu^-\) slightly below \(30\GeV\), you simply see a clear excess. All the events are required to produce a \(b\) quark jet along with the muon pair. They divide the excess to two signal regions, SR1 and SR2, according to \(|\eta|\). When it's below or above \(2.4\), the local significance is 4.2 and 2.9 sigma, respectively.

Monday, October 29, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Terror against is mind-boggling

The gradual liquidation of the freedom of speech in the European Union and the United States of America, not to mention other countries, is something that absolutely terrifies me. The pace has become so extreme that stories that demonstrate that this trend is real and accelerating take place every day. In recent days, I was most fascinated by the truly existential hassles that has to go through. is a competitor of Twitter but unlike Twitter and other social networks, it has a very solid and logical attitude to free speech. Everyone is allowed to write anything and the violation of the law is the only condition that allows to delete posts and/or users. If the judges couldn't rule that the law is violated, you may still dislike other people's posts. But if it is so, you can defend your sentiments by blocking the person and it's done.

There is no other defense against posts that make anyone uncomfortable – and no other defense is needed. It's simple and powerful.

Saturday, October 27, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

By the 1930s, Western democratic nations should have loved Czechoslovakia

...they didn't and all of us paid the price once or twice...

Tomorrow, on October 28th, it will be 100 years from the moment when Czechoslovakia was created by declaring the independence. Austria-Hungary, guaranteed to lose the First World War, ceased to exist. The stellar Czechoslovak example allowed other nations to gain independence as well. For example, Yugoslavia declared its existence one day after Czechoslovakia did – it will be 100 years on Monday.

Czechs have lived along with Germans – Bohemia was the only legally allowed kingdom within the Holy Roman Empire – and/or Austrians for almost 1000 years, let's say from 1002 AD.

That millennium was a millennium of sometimes very negative and sometimes positive experiences with the German-speaking nations. Czechs and Slovaks are full-blown Slavic nations, don't get me wrong. But foreigners typically overstate the similarity between Slavic nations. Czechs have been so tightly integrated to the German-speaking empires largely because we have always had some respect for Germans and a degree of loyalty.

Friday, October 26, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

UCLA makes reverse racism mandatory for tenure-track faculty

The U.S. institutions are getting very close to Saudi Arabia and Nazi Germany

In the afternoon, I had a chat with a physicist of my generation whom I knew very well as a fellow postdoc – although he's mostly worked in the West Coast (and Asia). We've been close enough, I think, and especially because he's one of those guys who really understand why string theory is precious while the verbal tirades of the theory's critics are not, we're still close through the Internet wires.

Well, from some perspective. So I asked him: Can you please explain to me why you have signed the anti-Strumia manifesto?

I was told he agreed with the text and he disliked Strumia's papers on the \(750\GeV\) diphoton excess. When having papers on diphoton excess and using citations as a measure of contributions to physics, one must be ready for some extra scrutiny, the guy claimed, so that's why they gave him a hard time, I was told.

I just couldn't believe my eyes. What's wrong with papers about the anomaly? And even if there were something wrong about them, almost all of Strumia's papers were earned from papers that have nothing to do with the anomaly. Even with this painful ad hoc censorship of his citation record, he would still beat the woman who was hired by an order of magnitude. So why the hell are you trying to create fog by these totally irrelevant comments? The point of the manifesto is self-evidently to hurt the career of an achieved physicist who is ideologically inconvenient for a certain extremist political movement. Every person with the IQ above 70 must be capable of seeing this elementary point.

On top of that, the first author of the manifesto, Matt Buckley, wrote a paper about the anomaly as well. The main difference is that Alessandro Strumia's papers, even those about this anomaly, are generally better than Buckley's. Is this superiority meant to be used as an argument against Strumia?

K3 metrics from counting in little string theory

I think that we are seeing another example of the day when the best new hep-th preprint is the first one. Although the ordering of the papers may look pointless to you and you could consider the fights to be at the top to be childish pißing contests, many authors – including some very mature and brilliant ones – are likely to place their good paper at the top because they're proud and they do some careful timing work to be at the top. To check this theory, I looked at the timing of the paper

K3 metrics from little string theory
by Kachru and Zimet (Stanford) and Tripathy (Harvard math) and it was submitted on Wed, 24 Oct 2018 18:00:01 UTC, i.e. one second after the point when it's guaranteed to appear today. I think that my theory has passed the test. Cutely enough, the first three or so hep-th and first three or so hep-ph papers were posted within two seconds after the critical point, too. If you want to win this game, you need to press "enter" at the right moment, within the precision of split seconds.

There's quite some intense competition when it comes to the timing and ordering of the papers! Should it be fought against? I actually don't think so. I think that the community benefits because the better papers' authors are really more likely to fight for the visible spots and that makes it easier for others to find the better papers.

Macron, scapegoats, and Visegrád

On Sunday, Czechoslovakia (despite its being formally dead) will celebrate its glorious 100th birthday. Today, Macron and Merkel will come to Prague to meet the president and the prime minister – and they will do the same thing with Slovakia, too. For Macron, it will be the first official visit to Czechia.

I hope that Macron likes this picture of the St Helena island. It's more appropriate than the place in the Slovak capital that Macron chose to talk to the public today: Primate's Palace where the Peace of Pressburg was signed to certify a triumph by Napoleon. Slovak press points out that this choice by Macron is, ehm, a bit pompous. ;-)

He gave an interview to "Hospodářské noviny" (a Czech WSJ) and three other dailies from the Visegrád Group (V4) countries (CZ, SK, PL, HU). The apparent goal of his verbal "gift" was to annoy us and he's really good at it. (The French and Czech press also claims that he wants to split V4 to the good guys, Czechoslovakia, and the bad guys, PL+HU.) Let me comment on his statements:

Czechs and other V4 citizens should embrace the slogan "Europe is us".
OK, first, the French president can't dictate what slogans Czechs and other V4 folks embrace. We're sovereign nations. On top of that, not even Czech or V4 politicians may dictate what slogan any individual citizen accepts – because we're nations of the free people.

Second, the European identity is clearly just a part – and probably a small part – of our identity. We're primarily Poles, Hungarians, Czechs, and Slovaks. After that, some of us also feel to be Czechoslovaks. And I think that many of us also feel to be citizens of V4 before we are citizens of the EU because we simply can't identify with many things that the EU stands for.

But yes, at some level, we feel the European identity. To some extent, "Europe is us". I will use this point soon.

Thursday, October 25, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

A 2.8-sigma CMS hint of a dark matter mediator

Even small deviations from the Standard Model – at the LHC and elsewhere – remain rare so we must discuss as weak ones as those whose statistical significance is just 2.8 sigma.

Tommaso Dorigo has discussed various other channels and possibilities in which his CMS team found nothing. But let us focus on the pretty graph above. As you can see, the observed black curve jumps above the predicted green-and-yellow (1-and-2-sigma "Brazilian") band which means the excess of events that "look like" a certain signal.

Monday, October 22, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Study: Swiss glaciers mostly melted before industrialization began

Hundreds of papers are being published that show that the "anthropogenic climate change" paradigm is incorrect, at least in its strong forms. But I think that the following paper is rather cute because it's so careful and it discusses one of the most obvious symptoms of "global warming" – the melting glaciers.

Six days ago, Michael Sigl and 5 co-authors finally published the paper

19th century glacier retreat in the Alps preceded the emergence of industrial black carbon deposition on high-alpine glaciers (PDF)
in The Cryosphere, a peer-reviewed journal about the frozen things on Earth. The paper was originally submitted as a "discussion paper" in February. It went through a peer review with 3 referees who looked at the paper rather carefully, wrote detailed reviews, and caught some missing commas, among other things. You may see the history of the paper if you click at the title above.

Trouble with Saudi Arab allies

It took me some time to figure out why the media were full of Jamal Khashoggi (JK), a disappeared U.S.-based journalist of Saudi origin. This confusion may be partly blamed on the many days it took to become sufficiently convinced that JK was murdered in an operation that was organized by some powerful people in Saudi Arabia – although it remains uncertain whether the Crown Prince was personally involved.

JK, a critic of the Saudi leaders when it comes to the approach to Yemen, human rights, and other issues, knew that he couldn't return to the Saudi Arabian territory because he could be easily murdered by the regime. Sadly, he failed to realize that the Saudi embassies are a part of the Saudi Arabian territory. He went to the Saudi embassy in Turkey – to get some paperwork in order to marry his Turkish fiance – and that was enough for him to be murdered.

Saturday, October 20, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Wolchover, Ball face armies of brainwashed anti-quantum NPCs

Nine and two days ago, the Quanta Magazine posted the following two articles that were "sort of negative" about some "alternative interpretations" of quantum mechanics:

October 11th: Famous Experiment Dooms Alternative to Quantum Weirdness (Natalie Wolchover)

October 18th: Why the Many-Worlds Interpretation Has Many Problems (Philip Ball)
Ball's article is an excerpt from his book Beyond Weird which is problematic but it's the least problematic book among the 10 or so "books on interpretations of quantum mechanics" that I detected and mentioned in the recent 5 years or so.

On this photograph, you may see the real Bohr (Niels, left) along with son (Aage, center) and grandson (Tomas, bottom). If you asked why the baby was writing Navier-Stokes equations on that blackboard, it's because the baby was going to become a fluid mechanic. And now, Tomas Bohr – along with George W. Bush's twin brother John Bush and others – discussed a weird paradigm that was hyped in recent years, namely that "oil droplets jump just like quantum mechanics".

Electron dipole moment: lessons

If you missed the second season of Young Sheldon and 12th season of The Big Bang Theory, it's about 2x 5 episodes to fill the gap. The S02E05 episode of Young Sheldon has a title involving "Czechoslovakian pastries" – Sheldon's dad eats some koláče from a wedding at the beginning (Texas and Nebraska are a top destinations for 19th century Czech emigrants) – and Sheldon and Missy undergo some twins testing under Dr Pilsen. A good greeting to the viewers and Sheldon's inspirers who live in Pilsen, Czechoslovakia. ;-)
A few days ago, you could see reports about the new measurements of the electron electric dipole moment: Google News. The ACME II experiment published its findings in Nature
Improved limit on the electric dipole moment of the electron
and the upper bound is about 10 times smaller (more constraining) than measured a year earlier, namely\[

|d_e|\leq 1.1 \times 10^{-31} e\ {\rm m}.

\] The dipole moment has the units of "charge times distance" and with the natural charge factor of \(e\), the electron charge, the distance is just some 10,000 times the Planck scale! This distance is heuristically the separation between the electron's center-of-mass and its center-of-charge-distribution.

Thursday, October 18, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Are NPCs catchy enough to supersede SJWs?

In recent days, a meme became very popular among people who are approximately right-wing, conservative, or pro-Trump and who want to mock the incredible knee-jerk mindlessness of the responses by... and the amazing group think of the far left, the SJWs – social justice warriors. The latter began to be called NPCs.

What is an NPC? It is a "non-player character", an entity in games whose decisions aren't determined by an actual human being with free will. They first appeared in Dungeons and Dragons, a 1974 tabletop game. But such NPCs are a part of most 3D video games today. They talk to you but what they say is scripted. The Wikipedia page nicely explains that these characters don't usually have real artificial intelligence, however (although true AI characters – a rare class – are mostly considered a subset of NPCs).

So there is a straightforward program/code that determines what they tell you when you play a game on your PC or smartphone. And to some extent, it feels like you're playing against other characters that look like they could be controlled by other human players – but they are not. Some work has been done to create the program but because that program is simple enough, it fails to emulate an intelligent behavior of a human being perfectly and the difference becomes strikingly obvious in some situations, see e.g. these awkward NPCs in Mafia II. Does it remind you of someone?

Tuesday, October 16, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Cheeky girl demands moonwalker, geologist to shut his mouth on geology

Everyone can live his or her American dream in America, it's a country of great possibilities and amazing upward mobility. Some people say it's no longer the case but in some negative sense, I think it's still true. In particular, I am often shocked by the arrogance of some American nobodies. Many things are worse in Europe than in America but the arrogance of deluded American Niemands surpasses that of the European counterparts.

Willie Soon sent me the partial transcript and video of a panel discussion, Apollo Plus 50. For an hour, 3+1 panelists discussed the motivation for space research and various relationships between Americans' and Unamericans' curiosity and financial and other interests in various projects in the outer space – in the history, now, and in the future.

Petition urges CERN to rehire Strumia, end totalitarianism

Edwin has pointed out that two German pro-free-speech groups, Agens Die Miteinander and Cuncti (and Tom Todd of Hamburg is usually signed in the e-mail), have launched a petition at Science Censored:

CERN: Return Prof. Strumia to office!
It's formally a letter to CERN's General Director Ms et Dr Fabiola Gianotti which claims that there can be no research or freedom of expression when people are being existentially threatened for simply expressing their opinions. The signatories want Strumia to return to his CERN office as soon as possible. (See previous articles on Strumia.)

Sunday, October 14, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

The first woman on the Moon

Czech feminist šitstorms are way more relaxed

A few days ago, the host of a Czech science Facebook group has posted the following cartoon:

It's the picture of the "first woman on the Moon". It's a joke which is funny because there's no atmosphere on the Moon which is why an engine based on a pressure deficit couldn't operate there! ;-) I needed to explain the joke right away to make the readers sure that there's nothing sexist about the joke – especially to please female readers who aren't trained in aerodynamics unless they are good at the blowjob.

Saturday, October 13, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

A wonderful Catholic sermon against cultural Marxism

Less than 15% of Czechs are associated with a religious organization or church – and even most of these 15% are rather lukewarm. You don't expect Czechia to be the source of brave and inspiring sermons or a source of the truly conservative priests. But maybe you should.

On September 28th, the Day of Czech Statehoood and the anniversary of the murder of Good King Wenceslaus, our national patron, a very experienced priest [and linguist, Bohemist, and former minister of schools at a government led by Klaus] Prof et Mons. Petr Piťha delivered a sermon in the country's most recognizable church, the St Vitus Cathedral at the center of the Prague Castle, and the sermon turned out to be explosive.

You would expect such an old man to give another boring speech. You could think that such an experienced man is going to be excessively careful. But the speech gets truly powerful. John Archer may feel as a moderate sissy at some moments. ;-) Archbishop of Prague Dominik Duka has already defended Mons. Petr Piťha – while some Catholics have left the church in the middle of that sermon and some cultural Marxists, e.g. the Templeton-funded "priest" Mr Tomáš Halík, have attacked Mons. Piťha in the media. The priest has already been sued for "fearmongering" by a far left group (ČŽL, Czech Women's Lobby), too.

Analyzing a spooky anti-quantum article from Poland

Jitter informed us about a short popular article published on Thursday:

The Spooky Reality Behind the Quantum Universe –“We Haven’t a Clue What It Is” (Daily Galaxy)
Jitter has summarized the text as saying that "it's claimed that quantum mechanics is no longer required for a single particle" – a clearly incorrect claim.

Let us look how stupid the claims are. Most of the irrational statements are actually being included in a majority of similar anti-quantum and spooky quantum articles.

Thursday, October 11, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Mathematics is the "human right" not to deal with cases one by one

Cafeinst has commented on the previous blog post about the alleged supersymmetric proof of the Riemann Hypothesis. There can't be a proof of the Riemann Hypothesis, we are told, because there are infinitely many roots of the zeta function and we don't have infinitely many workers who would check all of them, he basically told us.

In fact, it wasn't the first time. Cafeinst made the analogous point about the Collatz conjecture as well. There are infinitely many sequences to check, so it is an undecidable statement, he taught us. Holy cow. Niki di Giano either shares Cafeinst's misunderstanding of mathematics – or he was just mocking him – when he added a similar comment. No proof by induction may work because there is an infinite amount of work with each of them. I am eagerly expecting an explanation from Niki whether he was joking or whether he is Cafeinst's soulmate. (Update: Niki's comment was ironic, good news.)

I can't believe that some children – e.g. Cafeinst – were left behind so completely. On the other hand, I feel that among non-readers of this blog, such basic misunderstandings of mathematics and rational thinking is very widespread and probably dominant. And I believe that some "methods to teach mathematics", including Hejný's method that I've been fighting against for some time, encourage this misunderstanding actively. Facts must be solved, computed, and internalized one by one, it's the only politically correct method to teach according to this ideology. The "amount of mathematics wisdom" is measured by the Marxist theory of value, "thinkers" such as Mr Hejný preach.

Make the kids happy by repeating some low-brow problem of recreational mathematics many times (and never dare to correct them or teach something to them) – and they will become great humans and intellectuals. No, they won't.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Das, Kalauni claim to have a 3-page SUSY proof of Riemann Hypothesis

Cafeinst has pointed out that one week ago, Ashok Das (Rochester) and Pushpa Kalauni (Oklahoma) have published a 3-page preprint

A simple derivation of the Riemann hypothesis from supersymmetry
on the math.GM arXiv. So I immediately opened it. And yes, you can immediately see that the authors are less than 89 years old.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

No one listens to the IPCC fearmongering anymore

The boys have cried wolf too many times

A decade ago, I would probably read the press release in its entirety – plus several pages of the full report that I would pick as important or representative. The climate hysteria was already perfectly understood to be pseudoscientific hogwash promoted by left-wing activists. But there was still something new in it, something that provoked us, something we were afraid of.

I am no longer reading this garbage – and neither does an overwhelming majority of the people. There's absolutely no true, useful, or original content in this stuff. Almost identical predictions have been proven incorrect hundreds of times. Self-described "climate scientists" and their public faces such as Al Gore have been predicting the end of the world for 2000, 2009, 2010, 2015, and every other year. Jehovah's Witnesses can no longer compete in the number of these failed predictions of the end of the world. Nothing that would even remotely resemble their doomsday predictions has ever materialized.

These days, similar claims are on par with the spam about penis enlargement. Who was interested in such things has probably undergone the procedure, whatever it is. Others just treat it as the pollution in their mailboxes, newspapers, and on TV screens.

First dominant pure Czech bank may be being born

For centuries, Czechs have been savers who were conservative when it came to their finances. A consequence was that they trusted "our" currencies, preferred all payments and savings to be done in the domestic currency, and the currency was correspondingly stable. Relatively to our communist comrades, we had a hard currency during communism, too. Westerners have usually no clue about the huge differences between the individual post-communist countries. For example, Hungary has accumulated a huge debt and their forint has always been inflating and weak; Czechoslovakia has never had these problems.

Air Bank, the standardized interior

Our beloved emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria introduced the crown in September 1892, as 1/2 of the "gold coin" that had been a nearly stable unit of wealth since the Middle Ages. (As of 2018, Czechs still use the ironic term "pětka", or "the number five", for the 10-crown coin!) In 1918, exactly 100 years ago this month, Czechoslovakia kept the name of the currency and after 1927, Czechoslovak crown, which was introduced at par. After 1927, it was the only successor state of the monarchy that still kept the crown.

Sunday, October 07, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Men who missed out on the Nobel prize

A woman shared the 2018 physics Nobel prize for laser tricks, 55 years after the previous (2nd after Curie) woman, Maria Goeppert-Mayer, who was celebrated in 1963 for the nuclear shell model. (The number of Nobel prizes given for applications of lasers is just pathologically high, and I've been saying it long before this new addition. Note that neither Einstein nor Bose have even gotten the prize for the Bose-Einstein statistics.)

Before the committee has made its choice, the media were full of requests that "this time, a woman must be there" and the Nobel committee was surely under amazing pressure. There's no good reason to think it was temporary – so we may conclude that the physics Nobel prize has been downgraded to an ideologically driven and politically abused farce, much like the peace Nobel prize and others were some decades earlier.

Dr Donna Strickland is nice, modest, and she is not really responsible for this feminist Nobel insanity – which also included a selective worshiping of her as a hero as well as the media stories in which her senior collaborator, Dr Gerard Mourou, was painted as a sexist pig because he recorded a music video with much younger female lab coat dancers in 2010. These double standards are really insane given the very likely fact that she couldn't have had a chance to win such an award without Dr Mourou.

Municipal elections: our only oligarch loses Prague, shock, and awe

One-half of the TRF readers are American citizens where the two-party system is alive and kicking. I think that all of the Yankees must be puzzled about the following map of the results of our local elections that took place between Friday 2pm and Saturday 2pm:

This is Czechia (in the heart of Europe), not Czechoslovakia. Czechoslovakia split up in 1993 because Slovaks didn't drink enough beer. In the "eye of the Bohemian fish" on the left side, you can see the blue Prague. In general, the map shows the political party that won the largest number of votes in each district. The "number of votes" may be a rather confusing quantity, however, because the number of representatives at the local city halls as well as the number of candidates that were running for a party may affect it.

Friday, October 05, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

A cultural Marxist edition of "100 scientists against Einstein"

Pro-freedom researchers may turn this pamphlet into the Battle of Stalingrad that shows that 100 is too little to intimidate everybody

Although way too many Germans (and Austrians) wanted to present themselves as victims while Adolf Hitler was the only culprit of wrongdoings in the Third Reich, the actual history was very different. Hitler was mainly a symbol, a symptom of political and emotional preferences, frustrations, and wishes that were almost omnipresent among Germans of that time. He was a tip of an iceberg – the whole iceberg of the German society was a problem caused by an ideological phase transition that the society underwent sometime in the early 1930s.

In particular, anti-Semitism was powerful within the scientific community, too. A bunch of activists who sucked in theoretical physics have invented the "Aryan/German Physics" which was an ideology that basically prohibited modern theoretical physics as we know it. This ideology within physics still exists – the members call themselves "critics of string theory" instead of "Aryan physicists" but when it comes to the scientific methodology, the content is exactly the same.

During that time, in fact, in 1931 i.e. two years before Hitler took power, a bunch of anti-Semitic German scientists also wrote a notorious book, "100 scientists against Einstein". The number of authors of diverse and ultimately irrational criticisms of relativity was high, 28+19, which was rounded to 100. Einstein wisely responded by saying that if they were right, one scientist would have been enough.

Musk and the proposed ban on shortsellers

On August 7th, Tesla's boss Elon Musk famously tweeted that he had secured some $70+ billion to buy all the Tesla stocks for $420 a piece.

The bold statement was a complete lie, as sane people knew right away and as was getting explicitly but gradually confirmed in the following days. And this lie was rather demonstrably motivated by Elon Musk's desire to financially hurt the shortsellers – people who bet that the Tesla stocks are overvalued and bound to drop.

Within a day, the shortsellers were made $1 billion poorer by that tweet – while Elon Musk got $1 billion wealthier. Clearly, the law says that untrue statements by the CEOs that have a tangible effect on the prices are called "securities fraud" and considered criminal acts. For a good reason: by lying about the nature of the asset, the CEO is effectively offering something else to the investor than what he is actually giving to them. This simply has to be illegal – otherwise everyone would be deceiving the other side all the time.

Well, that jump after the fraudulent tweet was obviously not the last change of the price. In the following 2 months, the stock went up or down by more than 10% several times. For example, last Friday, Tesla lost 14% after the SEC's "guilty" verdict and on Monday, it gained 17% after the SEC punishment was seen to be symbolic.

Thursday, October 04, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Leon Lederman: 1922-2018

Leon Lederman was a giant of the 20th century experimental particle physics. Sadly, he died on Wednesday in a care center in Idaho, due to the complications from dementia (not so shocking at age of 96).

He was born to a Russian Jewish family in 1922. He was the key man in teams that discovered the neutral \(K\)-mesons (do you remember Feynman's discussion about the two-state Hilbert space of \(K^0\) and \(\bar K^0\) that may be mixed as the superpositions of long-lived and short-lived kaons?), the bottom quark \(b\), and the muon (i.e. second) neutrino.

For the muon neutrino discovery, he was given the 1988 Nobel prize in physics, along with two other men.

Three scholars mass-produce Sokal hoaxes

Publication of the numerous papers proves that "grievance studies" are worthless and ludicrous parasitic pseudosciences

As The Wall Street Journal and dozens of other outlets (including an Areo Magazine essay written by the famous trio itself) describe in detail, three self-described "left-leaning liberal" academics have had lots of fun since Summer 2017.

Peter Boghossian (philosopher at Oregon), James Lindsay (PhD in mathematics), and Helen Pluckrose (English literature) have managed to get seven hoax articles – they termed them "grotesque exagerations" at the end – accepted for publication in journals dedicated to grievance studies such as gender "sciences". Incidentally, their term grievance studies is a serious contribution (not published) that has the value of pure gold by itself. I think that I will use it.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Martin Rees becomes an LHC alarmist, publishes a book

These days, the LHC has celebrated its 10th birthday. Almost no one has celebrated because, despite the Higgs boson discovery, there is a widespread feeling that the number of new things discovered by that collider has been disappointing.

A decade ago, and even right after the Higgs discovery, lots of us were giving numerous popular talks about the collider. One of the laymen's questions that kept on reappearing was: Will the LHC destroy Earth? Will it eat all of us?

It may sound ludicrous but the energy of the collisions is extreme enough and physicists have been obliged to think seriously about this question. And many physicists did. Well, they have thought about it already a decade before the LHC.

Czech readers react to lynching of Prof Strumia

Last night, the prestigious Czech right-wing news server joined the plurality of the world media that wrote about the cultural Marxist-McCarthyist lynching of the prominent CERN phenomenologist Alessandro Strumia.

Here is the translation – so that you may get some Czech black humor and some idea whether the Czech taxpayers (who still contribute to CERN – but I already began to work on changing this situation) stand on the side of Strumia or on the side of the lynching mob.

Professor questioned discrimination of women in science, CERN ended cooperation with him
Echo24, ZD, 123 comments now

The Italian professor Alessandro Strumia from University of Pisa and a researcher affiliated with the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) was suspended due to his lecture where he disputed the discrimination of women in the field of particle physics. The affair was reported by the BBC, the suspension was even confirmed by the official press release [link] of CERN.

Check a gallery.

Monday, October 01, 2018 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Physics was invented and built by men

Activists at CERN turned an excerpt from Sexmission into reality

CERN has updated the statement to say that all Strumia's CERN ties were suspended, at least during the ongoing Inquisition trial ("investigation of the conference"). I was hoping it wouldn't happen but I was prepared to see that it would happen. What do you want to investigate, idiots? Strumia has made some elementary and some elaborate comments about women in physics and a bunch of brain-dead wannabe fascists and mental cripples found the truth inconvenient. That's it.

However, things are much better in Italy where Alessandro is primarily employed. The rector of the University of Pisa Paolo Mancarella (IT), after he got some complaints from the totalitarian cultural Marxists and after he looked at the 26 slides, refused to start ethical proceedings against Strumia. That looks better although something will be "investigated" over there by an ethical committee, too. But maybe the page says something else and Mr Mancarella doesn't really speak English.

Poles are our Western Slavic cousins. They generally love us, Czechs, more than we love them. (We're their #1 favorite foreigners but it's not true for Poles.) They're great but I surely don't think that they're good e.g. in the sense of humor. (See my answer to What Poles do better than Czechs and vice versa.)

You need to click at a link and play the video outside TRF.

However, I became a great fan of a 1983 or 1984 Polish cult film, the sci-fi comedy named Sexmission. Max and Albert, two men from the 1980s, volunteer to (earn some bucks and) undergo a hibernation experiment (designed by Prof Wiktor Kuppelweiser). There's a war (whose special weapon selectively attacks men) and they are only waken up in a relatively distant future (well, 2042) in which no men are alive anymore. The rest of the mankind – purely women – live in a totalitarian society underground while their propaganda says that radioactivity makes it impossible to live on the surface.