## Friday, November 30, 2018 ... //

### 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 ... //

### 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 ... //

### 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 ... //

### 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 Zerohedge.com, 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 ... //

### 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 ... //

### 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 ... //

### 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 ... //

### 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 ... //

### 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 ... //

### Son of Czech PM abducted to Crimea

...by 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 ... //

### 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 ... //

### 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 ... //

### 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 ... //

### 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 ... //

### 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 ... //

### 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 Kotaku.com 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 ... //

### 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 ... //

### 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 ... //

### 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?

(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-1828728-1', 'auto'); ga('send', 'pageview');