Saturday, April 21, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Tractor, paint, and what kids should learn about pi

Days ago, Czech kids who are 14-15 years old were trying to pass their high school entry exams designed by CERMAT, a centralized institution producing exams for schools. The most difficult problem was an exercise involving a tractor and a tube of paint in mathematics.

This El Risitas parody got over 100,000 views. El Risitas' German counterpart, Adolf Hitler, was just a little bit less successful.



Zetor Major

The problem is the following:

A tractor ran over a tube of paint. The tube exploded, paint was all around, and the tractor was leaving a mark on the road every 252 centimeters. What is the height of the center of the contaminated tractor's wheel?
Many people who follow the education of mathematics agreed that it was an easy enough, well-chosen, yet "somewhat nontrivial" problem that the good enough kids really should be able to solve. Just to be sure, the solution is \(252\,{\rm cm} / 2\pi \approx 40.16\,{\rm cm}\).

Tons of kids whined and claimed that it was harder than a year ago – and it was like a problem in an entry exam for a university. Oh, really?

Friday, April 20, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Door to door energy vendors: I actually called police

Minutes ago, I called police and complained about the door-to-door energy vendors because among dozens of similar incidents, they were by far the most aggressive ones. I have never had anything resembling a real "argument" with such visitors – and there have been many. I made a search and decided that door-to-door vendors have been banned on the whole territory of Pilsen which is why I reported it.

This approach to "connect to the people" is widespread. Jehovah's Witnesses frequently come in pairs, they ring the bell – outside the building – and they're very pleasant. I have actually allowed them to get in about 10 times in my life, both in the U.S. and in Czechia – the experience was very similar in both countries. Also, some utility and communication companies did the same thing. That's why I switched from ČEZ to Centropol (energy) a few years ago, from O2 to Czech Radiocommunications (later bought by T-Mobile, but now I use the services of UPC) also a few years ago, and so on.

Thursday, April 19, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

A two-hour introduction to the climate change

Last night, I gave a "Science Café" public talk about global warming and climate change and stuff like that (in Czech) which was substantially longer than any previous presentation of mine about the topic – it was something like two hours plus a discussion.

One may talk about lots of the sociology and history of the movement and it's interesting – and often infuriating. But I still think it's more relevant to focus on the hard science and the physical basis of all the phenomena.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Can kids learn to think mathematically from granddaddy's animals?

On Saturday night, we had a reunion – the end of elementary school after 30 years. Lots of beer, memories, personal stuff. I always discuss some serious topics. So one classmate (DS) holds impressive 3 bitcoins and is a full-blown hodler ;-) while your humble correspondent and another classmate (JK) were arguing why the Bitcoin pricing was a bubble and what it meant.



Granddaddy Forrest

I asked lots of people about Hejný's method to teach mathematics. (Teachers must be silent in the method, kids must invent everything by themselves, they solve some 10+ types of problems in recreational mathematics for 8 years, without any conceptual progress, and at the end, they tell you how much they love and understand mathematics because of this method.) By the end of the exchanges, 10 people were familiar with the topic, 8 of them were familiar to start with. Only 2 were sort of positive about that "constructivist" method in education – and one of them (VK) arguably changed his mind to a large extent. The rest was highly critical, just like I am.

In March, I discussed particular problems, as seen on the matika.in website. All of them are recreational mathematics of some kind and they are supposed to be solved by guesswork – by the trial and error. That brute force strategy is a typical non-mathematical approach to the problems – mathematics is all about searching for patterns and clever things to solve otherwise hard or unsolvable problems.

Monday, April 16, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Einstein's amateur popularizer in Florida sketched 10D (stringy) spacetime in 1928

Thanks to Willie Soon, Paul Halpern.

St Petersburg Times, Sunday, November 11th, 1928
Guest blog by John Nations, 3141 Twenty-sixth avenue South, City (St. Petersburg), Nov. 9, 1928



Mr Nations played with glimpses of string theory in 1928 and in that year, Lonnie Johnson recorded "Playing with the strings" about that achievement.

Open forum (on the right side from the picture)
UNDERSTANDING EINSTEIN

Editor The Times:

A lot of people believe that Einstein is as transparent as boiler iron, one able authority estimating roughly that at least eight people in the world understand him.

Sunday, April 15, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Green fanaticism kills, fossil fuels prolong lives

An important pro-gay-marriage New York lawyer David Buckel – who was portrayed in the 1999 movie "Boy's Don't Cry" – committed suicide by self-immolation. In his farewell letter, he claimed that he was blessed to be completely healthy (which we can't properly verify) and the act was done to protest the people's usage of fossil fuels. He prepared a graphic scenery for joggers and bicyclists in a New York park.

First, condolences to his relatives and friends.

Second, regardless of my deep disagreement with everything he wanted to promote, I have respect for a certain kind of courage that is needed for such an act. After all, Jan Palach was a Czech student who protested the 1968 Soviet-led occupation in the same way and I tend to be among those who call him a hero.

Third, this act unmasks the degree of radicalization within the movement that fights global warming. Because the green people are ready to sacrifice their own lives and the benefits seem to be non-existent, we may claim that they are as radicalized as the Islamic suicide attackers.

Saturday, April 14, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Bad news: bombardment of Syria, Michael Cohen in Prague

Last night, it seemed that the Syrian tension was fading away. Erdogan also claimed that it did. Suddenly, we woke up on Saturday to see the news. In a 7-minute speech, Trump announced a new bombardment of Syria justified by the alleged chemical attacks. Friday 13th looked like a lucky date for that to him.



Damascus in 2010: more crosses than in the West

America, Britain, and France are participating. I was terribly angry at the beginning but was careful not to prematurely add fuel to the fire.

After a few minutes, details emerged suggesting that it's not so bad. First, Trump et al. are trying (so far successfully) to avoid the bombardment of any Russian interests and personnel – because Russia has promised to defend those. (It seems clear by now that Russia isn't defending all Syrian interests and only Syria's own defense missiles have been used to counter the 103 attacks – and in 71 of them, Assad turned out to be the winner and Trump was the loser.) Second, Trump et al. bombard "just" some (civilian and military) "chemical infrastructure". That would be bad but not so bad – not even for Assad.

The attack is being justified by claims about Assad's chemical attack in a suburb of Damascus that has targeted some 500 people. Now, I am uncertain about the very existence of such an attack let alone its perpetrator. I am half-persuaded by the Russian claims that Russia has evidence that this was staged and Britons helped in the false flag operation. In fact, even months or years ago, some people have said that a false flag chemical attack was being prepared by the best and the White Helmets (a P.R. group designed to whitewash the Islamic terrorists), see e.g. this February 2018 claim.

Friday, April 13, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Sheldon and pals visited Grothendieck in his cabin

If you missed Young Sheldon, the main hero decided to temporarily become adult from his mother's perspective after his mother didn't like some blue superhero's nude buttocks in a magazine. The adulthood was abruptly ended after a tornado in Eastern Texas.



Saint-Lizier on the Salat River, near the Spanish border. Grothendieck didn't pick such a bad place to spend a part of his life.

Meanwhile, the Big Sheldon had some correspondence with Dr Wolcott, a top topologist who is interested in Sheldon's work in string theory and who lives "off the grid" in his cabin in the mountains.

Thursday, April 12, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Frauchiger-Renner: trivial to see that QM has no contradictions

Click at the pirate icon above the title for a no-nonsense mobile version of this blog post.

Maken has pointed out the new paper

In Defense of a "Single-World" Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics
by Jeffrey Bub which negates a 2016 paper by Frauchiger and Renner (see a superficial comment at TRF or a PI journal club by barefoot and hot Lídia del Rio; she's the first girl from the obnoxiously PC Renner's political video).

Bub is right about the main claims – there is a single world, there is no contradiction, quantum mechanics is consistent etc. – and he presents a wonderfully concise explanation of the alleged Frauchiger-Renner paradox. But I am still dissatisfied with Bub's paper as well. He doesn't really address some incorrect formulations by Frauchiger and Renner – about "stories" etc. – and he adds some unfortunate new non-quantum sentences involving super-observers (quantum mechanics only has observers and all of them follow the same rules), measurements of wave functions (wave functions cannot be measured), and others.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Wrong thinking behind MOND and climate hysteria

MIT mindreader: AlterEgo is the new MIT device that monitors nerves going to speaking muscles and knows what you think about. It can recognize 100 words now. I guess it would work for Hawking. Too bad he's gone.
Solution aversion often has very good reasons

Ohwilleke has promoted the Wordpress blog TritonStation written by Stacy McCaugh, a MOND cosmologist. He claimed that some speed was incorrectly calculated in the recent paper about a galaxy without dark matter and a better calculation is compatible with MOND predictions. I have no opinion about that but I think it's unwise to trust such blog posts uncritically; at least, you should also read lead author Van Dokkum's polite response to McCaugh and others. (My previous blog post was about the ludicrous claim that in MOND theories, the MOND effect may be turned off by changing the initial conditions.)

However, McCaugh's blog also has a climate change category – with one text, Solution Aversion. In his opinion, it's a logical mistake to be skeptical about MOND and the climate hysteria because such a skepticism amounts to "solution aversion" which he claims to be a logical fallacy of a sort.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Hossenfelder's deceitful babbling about dark matter, a MOND killer

One of the things that have always driven me up the wall about the postmodern would-be scientific media was their constant promotion of people who were or are absolutely self-evident hacks, crackpots, and scammers as if they were good scientists. Sabine Hossenfelder is one of the greatest examples I know.

In her newest rant she screams

No, that galaxy without dark matter has not ruled out modified gravity
and attacks the recent paper "A galaxy lacking dark matter" (TRF, Nature, arXiv). That paper has simply observed a (rather small) galaxy where objects seem to move exactly as general relativity predicts: there is no need for MOND or dark matter in that galaxy.

The Simpsons acknowledge an attack by an insufferable Indian SJW

The political correctness in the U.S. is surpassing all previously imaginable red lines.

A frustrated unlikable Indian pseudointellectual named Hari Kondabolu who is visiting places and giving embarrassing would-be funny speeches has been attacking the Simpsons for some months or years, see e.g. The Problem With Apu, 50 minutes of whining. (The fact that the title sounds just like Lee Smolin's "Trouble With Physics" is no coincidence, these far leftists could live in the rectums of each other and nothing would change about the scent they are spreading to their environment.)

Apu Nahasapeemapetilon is the main target of this deluded criticism. Apu is an immigrant from India who has a convenience store. He speaks just like the Indians do. The accent is deliberately exaggerated – which is exactly what you expect because cartoons are supposed to be cartoons, deliberately exaggerated caricatures that make something more visible and more funny.

Sunday, April 08, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

A well-deserved triumph for Viktor Orbán

In recent years, Viktor Orbán became much more than just a reliable leader of Hungary. He became an important representative of the European people – and an important defender of the Old Continent and the European civilization who isn't just a symbol or a talking head. He has dealt with nontrivial tasks and had to do lots of nontrivial things that have earned a lot of sympathy for him in other European countries besides Hungary, too.



I didn't have the slightest doubt that his Fidesz would win the today's parliamentary elections. Well, I did find it more likely that he would improve his result. And even though some unpleasant Hungarian trolls dared to disagree with me, the reality has confirmed my words.

Saturday, April 07, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

A nice video challenging Bohmian mechanics

After numerous wonderful videos about the Bible, Jesus, and the Big Flood that you've hopefully watched ;-), the Inspiring Philosophy YouTube channel released another video about the foundations of quantum mechanics eight hours ago (thanks to Werner Heisenberg for the URL):



Because I've praised numerous other videos on that channel in the past, it shouldn't be surprising that I liked it – and more or less agreed with everything that was said in the video. After all, a 2013 blog post by your humble correspondent is quoted at 4:33 in the video above.

Blockchain is a fundamentally flawed vision for society

...because trust is so valuable and trusted is better than trustless...

Bitcoin and the cryptocurrencies have clearly been some of the most insane and irrational fads in the history of mankind. Since the December 17th, 2017, all time peak above $19k (and around $20k at some exchanges), the Bitcoin price dropped some 66.6% to $6666 or so (Devilish numbers). Since the January 7th peak, the cryptocurrencies' capitalization dropped from $0.819 trillion to $0.260 trillion i.e. by some 70%. The cryptocurrency daily trading volumes dropped from $67 billion on January 5th by some 80% (in USD), too. The searching for the Bitcoin on Google dropped by 82% since December 18th.

Note that it's been over 3 months since the recent Bitcoin peak which means that everyone knows that 3 months of patience often fail to be enough to get at least over 35% of the initial investment back. Bitcoin could have looked like a safe recipe for an easy profit 3 months ago but it's demonstrably no longer one.

Articles in the media and even on this blog cooled down by similar brutal percentages. Most of the sane people share the expectation that the Bitcoin won't see the price $10,000 again. The amount of dollars invested in the shorting of the Bitcoin is at an all-time high. John McAfee is already planning the sauce he will add to his penis when he eats it on TV, after Bitcoin fails to be worth a million dollars in two years as he promised. ;-) Unbacked cryptocurrencies are indeed worthless and the very slow decline of their prices only shows the low intelligence of those who are still holders.

Bankers and financial analysts generally agree with the claims about the bubbles surrounding the Bitcoin and other non-currencies and about the financial illiteracy of most of the people who have joined such de facto pyramid games. But it's still fashionable among the bankers to criticize the Bitcoin; but praise the blockchain technology. This attitude is a matter of group think; the financial experts think that they sound cool and hip when they praise some modern esoteric technology. But the claim that the blockchain will be important in the future is just rubbish. I wrote some texts arguing why the decentralization of trust (which defines the blockchain) is an idea that makes things worse, not better, but Kai Stinchcombe did a much better job than I did:

Blockchain is not only crappy technology but a bad vision for the future (Medium.com)
Stinchcombe mentions some embarrassing stories – Ripple and other "key companies hyping the blockchain" abandoned the usage of the blockchain and/or payments through cryptocurrencies simply because it didn't work well. It seems clear that there's not a single person in the world who had a pre-existing problem that was solved by the blockchain.

But his main observations are more general and "political", "social", or "psychological" in character.

Friday, April 06, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Microsoft picked the best city to build a Majorana quantum computer

Windows Report informs about Microsoft's strategy to become the leader in the race to build the first usable quantum computer (i.e. their method to beat IBM, Intel, and Google, this contest is getting tense):

Microsoft tries to create qubits and lead quantum computing research (2 minute read)
The boss of their research is Charlie Marcus who was at Harvard (and therefore my colleague) between 2000 and 2012. He moved to Denmark and since 2016, he's a principal investigator at Microsoft, too.



What is the best city where you should try to do groundbreaking research involving quantum mechanics? A hint: The city carries the name that anti-quantum zealots use as an insult, a slur representing the universal postulates of quantum mechanics they hate, and the institute is named after a man who is painted as the greatest villain in the pamphlets written by anti-quantum zealots (such as the recently published "What Is Real?" by crackpot Adam Becker).

Thursday, April 05, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Arrogant feminist astrophysicist forces Aspen to pay for a kindergarten in the mountains

Yesterday, two Twitter users whom I follow have retweeted a sequence of tweets by an American female astrophysicist working in Amsterdam, Ms Anna Watts, that I found shocking.

She complained that the Aspen Center for Physics – which is located in the ski resort in Rocky Mountains in Colorado – has a discriminatory policy because... because it requires the theorists to visit at least for two weeks. Experimenters maybe there for one week.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

We're all quantum mechanics, only we didn't know it

Off-topic, Hawking's resurrection: Stephen Hawking's death and resurrection encouraged him to write lots of papers. In a new paper with Gordy Kane, they argue in favor of a Chinese collider.



Luke and Edwin wrote this nice promotional summary of quantum mechanics:
Like I said, we're all quantum mechanics only we didn't know it!

All the vague but tremendously useful "intuitive physics" we do in our heads, all the knowledge we have about the world, all the fuzzy understanding of what things are: it has been quantum mechanics all along. "We" just didn't notice until 1926 and we just didn't notice until we were told about the great papers from 1926.

If you want to know how a real table feels in the quantum world, just stretch out your hand and press down on the table in front of you. That's how it feels to live in a quantum world!
This is the perfect reaction to the anti-quantum zealots' claims such as "How do you fix the ill quantum mechanics to turn it into classical physics which is what we ultimately perceive, which governs the world around us?" Well, we don't perceive classical physics and classical physics doesn't govern any world we know. The world is governed by quantum mechanics and our perceptions and justifiable logical reasoning about the world are only justified by quantum mechanics. Only in some very special limits, both quantum mechanics and classical physics are usable. But there's no situation in which only classical physics would be right.

Monday, April 02, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

A version of many worlds that works

And why and how you should erase all the other worlds

The many worlds interpretation vaguely envisions some splitting of the world, at special moments that cannot be determined – because there are no special moments in quantum mechanics; according to observables that cannot be determined – because there are no special observables in quantum mechanics; to an unknown number of worlds – because probabilities in quantum mechanics aren't rational in general. And there are other reasons that guarantee that no meaningful many worlds interpretation can exist.

But one may design a many world interpretation that works. However, it's useless: the interpretation may be described as an overly redundant "visualization of subjective probabilities". How does it work?

At every moment \(t\), for every state \(\ket\psi,\) for every linear Hermitian operator \(L,\) for every \(\mu\in(0,1),\) there exists the world \(W(\psi,L,\mu)\).
What do the arguments mean? The time \(t\) is just some time. The wave function \(\psi\) is a state vector associated to the world. Most nontrivially, \(L\) is the first observable that may be measured. When it's measured, the world splits according to the eigenvalues of \(L\) to a continuum of new extra universes labeled by \(\mu\). And in the fractions of the \(\mu\) interval \((0,1)\) corresponding to the measured eigenvalue of \(L\), one collapses the wave function \(\ket\psi\) to \(P(L=\lambda_i)\ket\psi\) at the following moment.

Sunday, April 01, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Stephen Hawking writes a post-mortem paper

Stephen Hawking had a funeral in Cambridge yesterday. Some 500 people attended. I think that the family members were wise not to completely destroy the body because it could also include the soul. Hours later, the decision already produced its fruits.



Stephen Hawking just posted a new paper to the arXiv:

Imaginary time as a path to resurrection (screenshot)
It's just five pages long but it's using some very hard mathematics so I haven't had the time to fully comprehend it yet.