Saturday, March 23, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

A strange "letter against statistical significance"

Anton wanted me to react to

Scientists rise up against statistical significance,
a letter written by 3 people and signed by 800 others (which may look high on the street but it's really an insignificant fraction of similar or better "scientists" in the world – surely millions). Two of the three authors have written a similar manifesto to a Nature subjournal in 2017. The signatories mostly do things like psychology, human behavior, epidemiology – mostly soft sciences. I see only 4 signatories with some "physics" on their lines and 2 of them are "biophysicists".

First, I found that text to be largely incoherent, indicating a not really penetrating thinking of the authors. There isn't any sequence of at least three sentences that I could fully subscribe to. If there is a seed of a possibly valid point, it's always conflated with some fuzzy negative attitudes to the very existence of "statistical significance" and I think that no competent scientist could agree with those assertions in their entirety.

Statistical significance may be misunderstood and used in incorrect sentences, including fallacies of frequently repeated types (I will discuss those later) and in this sense, it may be "abused", but the same is true for any other tool concept in science (and outside science). One may "abuse" the wave function, quantum gravity, a doublet, a microscope, or a cucumber, too, and this website is full of clarifications of the abuses of most of these notions. But just because people abuse these things doesn't mean that we may or we should throw the concepts (and gadgets) to the trash bin.

When it comes to the description of the "frequent abuse of statistical significance", I don't see a statistically significant positive correlation between their comments and my views – and the correlation is probably negative although I am not totally certain whether that correlation is statistically significant. ;-)

Clearly, I must start with this assertion that will also be the punch line of this blog post:
Sciences that have experimental portions and that are "hard sciences" at least to some extent simply cannot work without the concept.
A proof why it's essential: All of science is about the search for the truth. One starts with guessing a hypothesis and testing it. Whether a hypothesis succeeds in describing data has to be determined. The process is known as the hypothesis testing. The result of that test has to be quantitative. It's called the \(p\)-value (or similar, more advanced quantities). The term "statistical significance" is nothing else than a human name for a \(p\)-value or a qualitative description of whether the \(p\)-value is low enough for the hypothesis to get a passing grade. The very existence of science is really connected with the existence of the concept of the statistical significance although a few centuries ago, the significance often used to be so high or low that the concept wasn't discussed explicitly at all.

This is a mostly theoretical physics blog but there are hundreds of comments about 3-sigma this and 4-sigma that. You couldn't really express these ideas "totally differently" (except for switching from sigmas to \(p\)-values or using synonyms). We simply need to quantify how reasonable it is to interpret an experiment as an experiment in which the Standard Model has apparently failed.

You may click at Statistical significance to see that the Wikipedia provides us with a perfectly sound and comprehensible definition – which doesn't indicate that there's anything controversial about the concept itself. A statistically significant outcome is one that is unlikely to emerge according to the null hypothesis. That's why such a result makes it likely that there's something beyond the null hypothesis. This kind of the interpretation of the empirical data represents the building blocks of almost all the reasoning in quantitative enough empirical sciences!

How I became a non-voter last week

Last Friday, March 15th, was quite a scary day. Too bad that such days can't be removed or reversed in some way. To summarize the contemporary tragedies with a symbol, that day was the 80th anniversary of the occupation of the rest-of-Czechia by Nazi Germany in 1939.

I received a certain hostile letter from a lawyer which has probably devastated me to a similar extent as some Czech patriots were devastated by the occupation 80 years ago.

But that's not the only thing. It was also a day when tons of high school kids across the world went to skip the classes in order to support "science" and save the world from the climate Armageddon. To make it even worse, thousands of students accumulated in the streets of Prague as well – and pictures from our otherwise sensible skeptical nation became the organizers' most popular snapshots.

Sorry, kids, but you can't get closer to science by skipping the classes. Those who skip the classes are likely to become scientifically illiterate manipulated sheep. To get closer to science, you need to study it – and you need to study it critically so that you may also figure out when something said by the teacher does't add up.

Friday, March 22, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

A scalar weak gravity conjecture seems powerful

Stringy quantum gravity may be predicting an \(r=0.07\) BICEP triumph

Many topics in theoretical physics seem frustratingly understudied to me but one of those that are doing great is the Weak Gravity Conjecture (WGC) which is approaching 500 followups at the rate of almost a dozen per month. WGC hasn't ever been among the most exciting ideas in theoretical physics for me – which is why the activity hasn't been enough to compensate my frustration about the other, silenced topics – but maybe the newest paper has changed this situation, at least a little bit.



Nightingales of Madrid by Waldemar Matuška. Lidl CZ goes through the Spanish week now.

Eduardo Gonzalo and Luis E. Ibáñez (Zeman should negotiate with the Spanish king and conclude that our ň and their ñ may be considered the same letter! Well, the name should also be spelled Ibáněz then but I don't want to fix too many small mistakes made by our Spanish friends) just released:

A Strong Scalar Weak Gravity Conjecture and Some Implications
and it seems like a strong cup of tea to me, indeed. The normal WGC notices that the electron-electron electric force is some \(10^{44}\) times stronger than their attractive gravity and figures out that this is a general feature of all consistent quantum gravity (string/M/F-theory) vacua. This fact may be justified by tons of stringy examples, by the consistency arguments dealing with the stability of near-extremal black holes, by the ban on "almost global symmetries" in gravity which you get by adjusting the gauge coupling to too small values, and other arguments.

Other authors have linked the inequality to the Cosmic Censorship Conjecture by Penrose (they're almost the same thing in some contexts), to other swampland-type inequalities by Vafa, and other interesting ideas. However, for a single chosen Universe, the statement seems very weak: a couple of inequalities. The gravitational constant is smaller than the constant for this electric-like force, another electric-like force, and that's it.

Thursday, March 21, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

A proof of highly-curved AdS/CFT, edition 2019a

Freedom of expression increasingly under attack: the Czech Wikipedia, along with the German, Danish, Slovak ones, and others, is darkened today to protest the March 26th EU-wide vote about copyright laws that would make it mandatory to preemptively search for potential copyright violations in excerpts from news. With worries like that, most sources – except for some monopolies with big legal teams – could indeed be silenced. Freedom to talk about the news is far more important than anyone's copyrights related to news.
Since the discovery of the AdS/CFT correspondence in 1997, some physicists (including me) tried to prove it. I am talking about the most famous case with the \(AdS_5\times S^5\) background of type IIB string theory that is described by the boundary CFT in \(d=4\) with the \(\NNN=4\) supersymmetry. And I am talking about some sort of a "direct proof", at least in some regime – there is a lot of circumstantial evidence that Maldacena's duality is correct, of course.



If you "thicken" propagators in a gauge theory Feynman diagram, it starts to look like a piece of a plane – which may be considered a world sheet – cut to pieces. Many things may be done with this 't Hooft picture which was the precursor of holography in the mid 1970s. Well, maybe Nathan wants to add at least one reference to a paper by 't Hooft LOL but I understand what's behind such omissions.

That duality is usually studied for a large gauge theory 't Hooft coupling where the radius of the AdS space and the five-sphere (the radii are equal) is much larger than the 10D Planck scale in the bulk quantum gravitational theory (type IIB string theory). But at some level, the correspondence should be true for a small radius as well, i.e. for the highly curved AdS space that cannot be easily described by a low-energy "classical" gravitational action.

You may Google search my blog for a proof of AdS/CFT – this topic is very old. Also because I am being acknowledged (thanks, Nathan) although I didn't give him any useful input recently, I sort of have to write about (my once co-author's and brilliant physicist's) Nathan Berkovits' new iteration of the proof:
Sketching a Proof of the Maldacena Conjecture at Small Radius
It's still a "sketch" so we don't know whether it will be treated as the "final word" on these proofs sometime in the future.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

On aspects of Theranos

...and what it teaches us about bad, hyped science...

I admit that I have almost completely missed the story of Theranos and its founder, up to yesterday or so (I missed it partly because they have "only" made big claims about a limited issue, blood tests, not about a world revolution). The media were full of reviews of "The Inventor", an HBO documentary about the most famous recent Silicon Valley fraud. Interestingly enough, most of the footage in the documentary was shot for Theranos ads – and by Errol Morris whom I met in person at the 2005 SidneyFest (and a dinner in the Society of Fellows).

If you want to learn more, you need to Google search for "Theranos" or "Elizabeth Holmes". But let me start with a basic story.

Elizabeth Holmes, who is 35 now and awaiting up to 20 years in prison for massive wire fraud (she's officially broke but still lives in a hyper-luxurious apartment with various paid servants now, it turned out), has been born into an important dynasty. Her ancestors built important hospitals etc. and her father was a vice-president of a hot company – whose name happened to be Enron. I would think that even this fact should have raised some red flags – but it seems largely unknown to the public, even today.

She studied some biochemistry at Stanford but became a dropout, starting with Theranos (from Therapy+Diagnosis, originally named Real-Time Cures), a company with gadgets that make equally reliable blood tests fast and only need a droplet of your blood or so. It's not terribly important how many droplets the gadgets needed, it was nonsense for all small values of that number. For a young entrepreneur, she looked like a remarkably average teenager as a high school student.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

CMS: 2.4-sigma excess in the last gluino bin, photons+MET



Gluino, a vampire alchemist with human eyes

I just want to have a separate blog post on this seemingly small anomaly. We already saw the preprint for one day in advance but the CMS preprint finally appeared on the hep-ex arXiv:

Search for supersymmetry in final states with photons and missing transverse momentum in proton-proton collisions at 13 TeV
OK, they look at events in which two photons are created and seen in the calorimeters, plus the momentum addition doesn't seem to add up. The sum of the initial protons' \(\sum\vec p_i\) seems to differ from the final particles \(\sum \vec p_f\). The difference is the "missing transverse momentum" but because such a momentum is carried by particles which must have at least the same energy, it's also referred to as MET, the missing \(E_T\) or missing transverse energy.

Friday, March 15, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Hossenfelder demands $10,000 from me through Czech lawyers

I just received a message from some Czech attorneys (a Czech subsidiary of a German firm – March 15th ***9 is a wonderful date for such a relationship) that Sabine Hossenfelder hired with her claims of defamation – concerning her expertise etc. She demands the following within 15 days:

  • CZK 200,000 of compensation for hers plus CZK 24,864 for legal expenses, a bit over $10,000 in total
  • removal of all my negative texts about her
  • end of any publication of stuff about her in the future
otherwise she will sue and it will be worse etc.

I think it's absolutely stunning. She's on her violent campaign against the whole field that I find dear and against its practitioners and she just wants to silence me – which would mean she would continue in her campaign with a terribly weakened real opposition. It is not possible to discuss the relationship between science and the society without touching the people who are many new outlets' preferred sources.

The letter is formulated as if she demands a ransom. It adds a new level to her debatable methods to earn money.

My knowledge of the law is next to non-existent. I have no idea whether a party that is attacked in this Blitzkrieg way has an effective way to defend itself. I don't know whom I would be inviting as a witness to show that she's been helped by affirmative action, her physics is not good etc. Your recommendations are welcome. If you're extremely rich, your financial help would be welcome, too.

Thursday, March 14, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Strumia: audio from his famous talk on women in HEP

If you missed it, today is the Pi Day, 3/14, Albert Einstein's 140th birthday, and the Slovak Fascist State's 80th birthday!

If you want some quality 35 minutes with the Italian English, the audio from the talk by Alessandro Strumia from University of Pisa (Galileo's Alma Mater) will be interesting for you.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

AdS bulk is a neural network, entanglement is a quantum gauge field

I want to mention three new papers. One of them has a cool title and the other two have some cool ideas in their bodies.



First, F. F. Faria wrote a hep-ph paper with a Conformal theory of everything. The number of papers with the ambitious titles involving "a theory of everything" is still small enough so if you want to be sure that people like me would spend at least 0.2 seconds with each page of your paper, call it "a theory of everything".

It's my policy to quickread papers with "theories of everything" in titles because it has worked for me – such a paper (not very good one) was the first paper from which I learned about Matrix theory which was rather important for me, and still is. ;-)

Sadly, the paper just writes down some action as a sum of some Standard Model, conformal gravity, and dilaton actions, with no sign of a unification or anything else that would be new and interesting. Still, good for a paper written in Brazil (an Amazon researcher is shown on the picture above).

Tuesday, March 12, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Six photons claimed to prove that Wigner, his friend have irreconcilable views

Can a doable experiment prove that the objective reality doesn't exist?

Here's a rare example of the media hype that leads the reader to a basically correct conclusion about quantum mechanics.

As I have often argued, quantum mechanics fundamentally requires the description of the phenomena to be observer-dependent. An observer must know what he observes, what the result is, and the answers to these questions are in principle subjective. Consequently, the wave function or the density matrix, its collapse, and the precise predictions of the future measurements are subjective or observer-dependent, too. There is no way to objectively label phenomena as measurements or non-measurements and there is no viable way (and no way that would be compatible with relativity) to make the collapse of the wave function – describing the change of the observer's knowledge – as an objectively real collapse.



Wigner's friend experiment is the simplest thought experiment that shows the point. In that thought experiment (which is now claimed to become a real experiment), Eugene Wigner observes a lab in which his friend observes a quantum experiment. For the friend, the collapse occurs as soon as the friend sees something. But for Wigner himself who hasn't observed the particle inside, the system keeps on evolving as a superposition in which all options have nonzero amplitudes and are capable of reinterfering.

Sunday, March 10, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Nazi occupation of Czechia: 80th anniversary

Next week, Czechs will commemorate the 80th anniversary of the "dealing with the rest of Czechia" ("Erledigung der Rest-Tschechei"; yes, that terminology was intentionally picked to be degrading but Czechs have no problem with the word "Tschechei" although Germans typically think that the PC "Tschechien" is mandatory – for us, they're just synonyms) by Nazi Germany.

On March 14th, 1939, softcore Slovak clerofascists and anti-Prague nationalists, energized by their influential hardcore German friend, declared the independence and broke Czecho-Slovakia – which had already been broken by the hyphen for half a year, and which had been stripped of the Sudetenland. It was the first time when Slovakia became a country.



One window wasn't enough, Hitler greeted Prague from two windows.

On March 15th, German troops invaded Czechia and formally established the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, a new "regime" that would last for 6 more years. The Third Reich was supposed to last for 1000 years but the witty Czechs renamed the occupied structure, "Protektorát" in Czech, to "Protentokrát" which looks and sounds almost the same but it means "Just for this time", correctly (with our hindsight) or optimistically (with their uncertainty) indicating the temporary character of that regime.

On March 16th, the aforementioned hardcore German comrade triumphantly arrived to the Prague Castle, declared himself the eternal master of the Milky Way, and took a couple of selfies including one above. I have felt safer in that office when then President Klaus, and not Hitler, was standing next to me. ;-)

Saturday, March 09, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Why inflation is a better explanation of the flatness problem than fine-tuned initial conditions

Sabine Hossenfelder tries to revive the inflation wars. She mentions two recent papers but they have really nothing to do with her main topic – and the topic is that she totally misunderstands 100% of inflation and why people consider it at all. Well, if the observation that she completely misunderstands inflationary cosmology isn't general enough for you, let me tell you something. It boils down to something even deeper: She just completely misunderstands what a "scientific explanation of anything" is and why people look for it at all.



Her final exchange with Ed Measure summarizes the situation well:

CapitalistImperialistPig: When Kepler came up with his laws of planetary motion, physicists of the day had the choice of either saying "hmmm, it seems like God like ellipses" or trying to find some deeper law that would account for them. Newton found universal gravitation and it was a great scientific advance.

Similarly, I think, cosmologists today have the choice of either saying "God likes flatness, uniform temperature,tiny initial density fluctuations, etc" or trying to find a deeper law that explains them. Inflation is such an idea.

Of course nobody has figured out exactly how to link it to deeper physics, but anybody with a better idea should chime in.

SH: CIP, I am afraid you entirely missed the point. I am telling you that it's not clear what you even mean by inflation "explains" it. Why do you think postulating a phase of exponential expansion is a better explanation than just postulating an exponentially small initial value?
Aside from all the wrong claims about elementary issues by the likes of her, I am greatly annoyed by the omnipresent arrogance in between the lines. She asks him "why do you think" and thus implicitly claims that the correct statement she can't understand is just "someone's opinion that is surely equal to her opinion".

But it's not just someone's opinion. It's a quantitatively demonstrable fact. One doesn't have to "think" in the sense of producing subjective or emotional guesses. Instead, one can think without quotation marks and just prove it by a simple argument. And her "opinion" is just objectively stupid. It is not something that has any importance in science whatsoever. Just like the opinion of the other 7 billion currently living people who completely misunderstand modern physics, her view is scientifically worthless.

Friday, March 08, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

CERN fires Strumia: the silence is deafening

After five months of "investigations" that weren't investigating anything, the vicious, dishonest, and ideologically contaminated individuals who took over CERN have said "good-bye" to Alessandro Strumia, a top particle phenomenologist with 38k citations according to Google Scholar and 32k according to Inspire.

See e.g. the BBC, The Daily Mail, Gizmodo, Dorigo's despicable defense of the Soviet tactics.

Wednesday, March 06, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Facebook censors critiques of postmodern education, too

In recent years and especially months, servers such as Facebook and Twitter began to delete messages such as "lesbians aren't attracted to sex with men" and similar tautologies. We are slowly getting used to the censorship of all sane views concerning the sexual identity and co-existence of races.

However, the Czech left-wing populist outlet The Parliamentary Letters (where every politician may immediately get an account to post stuff) just published some remarkable news about the censorship of politically inconvenient views of a female teacher about the state of the Czech education – well, it is largely a criticism of the EU education and the contemporary West's education in general.

Young diagram hooks for a fermionic matrix model

The third hep-th paper in today's listings is very interesting.

Gauged fermionic matrix quantum mechanics
First of all, the authors are nice because they are deniers. One of them is a Koch brother, Robert, and the other one is David Berenstein, the long-haired guy who sings "I'm a Denier" along with Al Gore, Michael Mann, and Chicken Little. ;-)

OK, more seriously, they study matrix models which are clearly relevant for full-blown definitions of quantum gravity. Lots of descriptions of vacua (or superselection sectors) of quantum gravity are given by \(U(N)\) or \(SU(N)\) gauge theories in various numbers of dimensions – that includes the \(AdS_5\)-like vacua in AdS/CFT and the BFSS matrix theory.

Some half-supersymmetric subsets of operators in such theories are fully understood etc.

Monday, March 04, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

One quadrillion standard models in F-theory

I want to pick two papers on the arXiv today. In

Signatures of supersymmetry and a \(L_\mu−L_\tau\) gauge boson at Belle-II,
Banerjee and Roy from the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (I couldn't resist to write this cute name of an institution) point out that Belle-II, a Japanese B-factory experiment that began to take limited data one year ago and is already taking all the data since early 2019, may observe a smoking gun for a class of supersymmetric theories that recently looked very intriguing to many physicists, for lots of reasons.



It's models with the extra \(L_\mu-L_\tau\) gauge symmetry which may be good enough to explain the masses of generations of leptons, dark matter, baryon asymmetry, and the discrepancy in the muon magnetic moment. Belle-II could see the reaction\[

e^+ + e^- \to \gamma Z' \to \gamma+\met

\] where \(Z'\) is the new gauge boson and the reaction is possible due to its kinetic mixing with the photon. Looking at some nearly highest energy boxes, Belle-II could discover the \(Z'\) boson even if it were too heavy to be accessible by the LHC. This is an example of a cheaper experiment that could beat the "brute force energy frontier" collider such as the LHC or FCC – but the price you pay is that such reactions are very special and you must hope that a rather particular scenario is picked by Mother Nature, otherwise you see nothing.

Sunday, March 03, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Brexit: ODS, most Czechs oppose EU's efforts to humiliate U.K.

I want to say something about the Czech attitudes to Brexit. Well, for Czech political junkies, Brexit is quite a topic for discussions – for many reasons.

First, Czechia is the EU's most Euroskeptic nation, beating even the U.K. itself, which is why it's very natural that the British stories are a template what could be faced by us. We could be solving the same challenges as the Britons soon. Brussels could try to blackmail us or hurt us in analogous ways. The messy Brexit experience could be a reason for us to vote "Stay", after all, and so on.

Second, Czechs went through the Velvet Divorce of Czechoslovakia and most of the curious people ask Why the Brexit can't be as smooth, fast, and rosy as the dissolution of Czechoslovakia? To summarize my detailed answer on Quora, the answer is that the stronger side in the negotiations was decent in the Czechoslovak case (Czechs were nice and pragmatic) but they (politicians in Brussels) are just classic arrogant jerks in the Brexit case.



Paloma Faith, Make Your Own Kind of Music, over 3 million views (beating the Mama Cass original). There aren't too many touching successful full-blown songs that are really car TV commercials but this Škoda video is one.

Third, we're still a nation that has visible enough ties with the U.K. and we don't really want to break them. In particular, Britain is Czechia's 5th most important export market (after Germany, Slovakia, Poland, France), getting about 5% of the Czech exports. In particular, the old communist small Škoda cars were the real target of all the British car jokes. Now, Škoda repeatedly wins the greatest number of prizes and surveys in the U.K.

Check e.g. the recent What Car? (U.K.) awards. Škoda won about 5 out of 15 categories. Or read a yesterday's review of Superb Sportline at AutoCar.Co.UK and the mostly enthusiastic comments underneath. Or watch a 5-day-old video review of Kamiq, the new Škoda's baby SUV – replacing the quirky beloved, now extinct, Yeti. Or look at the new "super-sexy" electric crossover Vision iV that is out in a year or two (no door handles, huge wheels, cameras instead of mirrors, level 3 autonomous, 5G...). An average Briton owns 70 Škoda cars. ;-)

Saturday, March 02, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

When fight against "group think" becomes a delusion

A lady's enemy is an innocent tautology

A new tirade by Ms Hossenfelder, Check your Biases, has increased my blood pressure right after the lunch. Hossenfelder's targets are folks from CERN, starting with its director Fabiola Gianotti, but her main goal is to turn sociologists into scientists' bosses again.

From Eclectikus: Sheldon Glashow wrote a review (for Inference) of Hossenfelder's disturbing book and you can be sure that even though he's a pioneer among string theory haters, he's also the elegant gentleman I knew in Greater Boston's social events (and whose office I was using for a year LOL). Don't get me wrong: most of the stuff he writes about supersymmetry (and a few other things) is just junk. He doesn't even seem to understand that the laws of the MSSM are precisely invariant under SUSY despite the SUSY breaking – just like the Standard Model has the \(SU(2)_W\) symmetry although it's analogously spontaneously broken.
In the Physics World, Gianotti was asked "what she and CERN do against group think" by a Mr Richard Blaustein, an obnoxious climate alarmist inkspiller/activist. She clearly wanted to say that it was a dumb question but she wanted to be polite, so she didn't say it was a dumb question. Instead, she humbly started to say that CERN depends on the collaboration of thousands of scientists. It unavoidably sounds like she avoided a direct answer to the question – because she did. Well, in business, politics, and mostly bureaucratic jobs at CERN as well, "peaceful" people like Gianotti who tend to avoid a direct conflict with someone's ideas are more likely to be appointed as directors etc.

You know, it sounds like a cliché, we hear it often, and we're bored by it. But it's true, too. CERN depends on quite some amazing cooperation between many people. First, start with Milton Friedman's lead pencil. There's not a single person in the world who could make this pencil. A remarkable statement? Not at all. The wood came from... Literally thousands of people who would hate each other were brought together by the invisible hand of the free market – by the price mechanisms – to produce the pencil.

Thursday, February 28, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Nature uncritically promotes a brain sex difference denier

"Gender and Our Brains" (or "Gendered Brain", it is not even clear whether it's the same book) by Gina Rippon will only be out in half a year but hours ago, Nature already published an article by Lise Eliot

Neurosexism: the myth that men and women have different brains
that uncritically promotes the self-evidently ideologically driven statements by the author of the book. The whole portion of neuroscience that looks at the sex differences in the brain is called "neurosexism" and – pretty much without any evidence whatsoever – painted as bad, innumerate, misinterpreted, and biased research.

In fact, some of the scientists dared to appear on TV. And the early surveys were smaller than the later ones, imagine the heresy. And surely all the papers that found differences must be refuted by some future ones, the ladies promise us.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

"Five-sigma proof" of man-made climate change is complete nonsense

An analogy between cosmological and climatological anomalies

In this short remark, I want to discuss two very different "discrepancies in sciences" simultaneously because they share the same basic point. One is about cosmology, another is about the climate.

Bill sent me a pretty nice article by Dennis Overbye in The New York Times,

Have Dark Forces Been Messing With the Cosmos?
The text mostly describes the slight contradictions in the measurement of Hubble's constant (which quantifies how quickly the Universe is expanding now) – and various proposals to explain the discrepancy.

Hubble's constant is the coefficient that you may multiply by the distance of a galaxy from us to obtain the speed with which it is escaping away from us. If you think about the units, Hubble's constant is basically inverse to the age of the Universe. For practical reasons, cosmologists usually express Hubble's constant in "kilometers per second per megaparsec", however.

In these units, the Hubble Space Telescope determined the constant to be 72. Adam Riess and colleagues confirmed this value and became confident that the error margin was just 2.4%. However, Europe's Planck spacecraft produced the value 67 which is almost 10% away. Too bad. It looks like a rather large discrepancy although it is still modest enough so that it could possibly be due to a fluke, too. What's going on?

Tuesday, February 26, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Will the SEC allow Musk to urinate on their faces again?

Elon Musk is probably the single best example of a crook energized by millions of brain-dead fans who is basically allowed to stand above the law by the decaying American justice system simply because he's producing lies – his business is the production of lies on a 24/7 basis – which are mixtures of pseudoscientific superstitions, impossible promises, attacks against all his real and fabricated enemies, and political correctness – the latter is primarily about the global warming delusions that are still a fundamental part of this whole cult.

In August 2018, he notoriously tweeted that the funding was secured for taking the company private at $420 per stock. It was immediately clear to the intelligent observers that it had been a complete lie and within days, it was indeed officially admitted that it was a complete lie.

Nevertheless, the lie has temporarily added over 10% to the stock price – which went close to the insane $380 for a while. (The fair price of the stock surely is below $20 if we are very generous.) Because of this securities fraud, lots of the people bought the stock at levels that were 10% overpriced, some shortsellers were driven to margin calls and lost money – while others were allowed to sell at 10% higher price and new shortsellers could have entered from a better position. These temporary price fluctuations are obviously a zero-sum game so Musk's lie has its losers and winners. But this whole "game" is rigged and there are very good reasons why the laws of civilized countries classify such lies from a CEO of a publicly trading company as a crime.

A CEO of a public company is a person who is sometimes or generally "selling the stocks of the company he controls" (and who is clearly motivated to make the stock price higher) and if someone is telling you that what you buy from him is something else than what you are actually buying, it's simply fraud. In the case of stocks, it's called the securities fraud. But the essence is the same as if someone sells you bottles of water for the price of the most expensive whiskey, pretending that whiskey is inside. How could we not have laws that make it illegal?

Monday, February 25, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Good quantum error correction vs Lie symmetries: a trade-off

Quantum Frontiers, a Caltech-based blog written by the folks around John Preskill, published a review

Symmetries and quantum error correction
by Philippe Faist of a fresh, 72-page-long quant-ph preprint written by Faist and 6 co-authors including Preskill (a Caltech-Stanford-Berlin collaboration)
Continuous symmetries and approximate quantum error correction.
It's looks like a rather neat paper about the quantum information. I normally don't watch the quant-ph archive on a regular basis, silently assuming that place to be dominated by various Maudlin-like crackpots who have trouble with the postulates of quantum mechanics, or by the likes of Renner and his pregnant girls who play with some 2-qubit exercises as if they were in the kindergarten.

Sunday, February 24, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

New Nokia phones

Because I've had two Nokia smartphones and also own some Nokia stocks (of a company that hopefully get some royalties from the licensee HMD for its Nokia-branded phones – although the primary source of income should be the propagation of the new generation 5G mobile data networks and devices now), I watched the today's Nokia event at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.



Five new phones were presented: a new cool dumb phone Nokia 210 for just $35 – the cheapest price to get to the Internet now (instead of one iPhone X, you may buy 28+ Nokias 210) and the phone actually has an App Store so "dumb" is probably misleading; three "roughly mid-range" smartphones of various sizes 1.1 Plus, 3.2, and 4.2 (with a small disk-shaped sensor inside the display instead of the notch); and especially the new Nokia 9 Pureview whose existence, appearance, and price was sort of leaked in advance.

But the HMD folks still presented some details that were stunning.

Saturday, February 23, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Truth isn't the same as accessibility: a Columbus metaphor

Muhammad Nima has asked question that I have been asked 2,019 times (including cases when I was giving a popular lecture on string theory, and it was usually the first question) and I have answered it 1,212 times:

Dear Lubos, you say that "to kill a theory, one has to just falsify it", but how would you respond to those activists who say that for a theory to be real science, it must make predictions as well? The mere condition of a theory not being falsifiable doesn't make it science - then God is science - they say.
Clearly, the impact of my explanations has been close to zero. The laymen seem obsessed with this self-evidently wrong and irrational thesis. For a statement to be scientifically meaningful, there must in principle exist an operational procedure that produces the answer. But this test must only exist in principle and it is surely absolutely silly to require "more" than that. For example, unlike the existence of God, the existence of WIMPs that make up around 5% of the energy density of the Universe is undoubtedly a scientific question, whether or not we may observe the WIMPs in the next 100 years.



In particular, it is absolutely misguided to assume something like
The more easily a statement about science is testable, the more scientific it is.
I have always been flabbergasted by the stupidity of the people who apparently believe garbage of this kind – and the number of such people (people who can't understand why e.g. Peter Woit is just a pile of feces) is yuge, indeed.

Over the years, I have converged to a theory that all these people are basically generic members of the animal kingdom on par with cattle or something like that – they can't comprehend the concept of the truth in the logical, mathematical, or scientific sense. At most, "truth" is a concept that was described to them as "something good". But they don't understand in what sense it is "good". The only type of "good" they can understand are things like "how many steaks I will eat" (and "how quickly") and because "truth" is something "good", it must mean the same thing.

Rumors of the WIMP miracle's death have been greatly exaggerated

Ethan Siegel has shown us another example of the profound difference between careful scientists on one side and zealous activists on the other side (the side where he sadly belongs) when he wrote

The 'WIMP Miracle' Hope For Dark Matter Is Dead
The bold statement from his title is repeated very many times in his text:
[...] The big hope was for a WIMP miracle, a great prediction of supersymmetry. It’s 2019, and that hope is now dashed. Direct detection experiments have thoroughly ruled out the WIMPs we were hoping for. [...] Theorists can always tweak their models, and have done so many times, pushing the anticipated cross-section down and down as null result after null result rolls in. That’s the worst kind of science you can do, however: simply shifting the goalposts for no physical reason other than your experimental constraints have become more severe. There is no longer any motivation, other than preferring a conclusion that the data rules out, in doing so. [...]
And to make sure that you won't overlook them, he repeats the thesis that the "WIMP miracle is dead" at several other places.

Friday, February 22, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Über-IPCC chairman Will Happer may need good bodyguards

Young Sheldon: Last night, he realized that the bread tasted different. The change was traced to a cheaper and faster production process. He organized a petition and appeared on Texas' Channel 7 news, demanding the central communist control over bread. Oops. ;-) He was ostracized. These days, Sheldon would become the Democratic Party's national hero.
In the most recent Will Happer blog post, prominent Princeton retired physicist Will Happer was referred to as a Trump "new tech adviser". Trump has ignored the Paris treaty and similar things but I have felt uneasy because he left the underlying cause of such irrational campaigns, the politicization of science, untouched.

Some good news may change it. As The New York Times wrote,
White House Climate Panel to Include a Climate Denialist.
The main task for Happer's new panel should be to recheck the Pentagon statements that "climate change represents a national security threat" for the U.S. I guess that like your humble correspondent, Happer has already made some research into this particular mind-boggling statement and he may already believe in certain conclusions.

The New York Times article above used the word "denialist" – something that has become so common among the left-wing activists (a category that includes most of the "MSM" journalists) that most of us no longer express any irritation about it. But The Washington Times still ran a story about the "backlash" by people like Roy Spencer who didn't like the denialist slur.

Thursday, February 21, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

"Boltzmann vs foes": precursor to "QM vs anti-quantum zealots"

Yesterday, Ludwig Eduard Boltzmann would have had a chance to celebrate his 175th birthday if he hadn't killed that chance by hanging himself at age of 62, while vacationing with his wife Henriette and daughter Elsa (in Tybein) near Trieste, Northern Italy, Austria-Hungary.



The wife and daughter probably had a reason for some anxiety when they found him (the daughter found him first). But Boltzmann's reason powering the suicide were intellectually driven frustrations. And while it's sometimes said that the timing of his suicide was lousy because his ideas were going to win soon afterwards, I actually disagree.

If he were resurrected and if he were around, he would probably ask me whether there's a reasonable chance that the people will get more reasonable when it comes to the ideas required for his new statistical picture of thermodynamics and physics in general. I would probably answer "No" and he would hang himself again.

I could feel a bit guilty but my "No" answer would be a matter of scientific integrity because the anti-quantum zealots are nothing else than heirs to the high-profile idiots who opposed his ideas more than 100 years ago.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Henry Tye & pals: fermion masses from anti-naturalness of string theory

Before I discuss the cute new paper by Tye et al., I must mention a SUSY paper

Low-energy lepton physics in the MRSSM: \((g−2)_\mu\), \(\mu\to e\gamma\), and \(\mu\to e\) conversion
by Kotlarski, Stöckinger, and Stöckinger-Kim, by a Polish, German, and German-Korean ;-) trio. They revisit the 2007 Kribs-Poppitz-Weiner model known as MRSSM. The acronym stands for the same thing as MSSM with the extra "R-symmetric" inserted in between.

There's an extra \(U(1)\) R-symmetry in the model, the Standard Model particles are neutral but the superpartners are charged under it. They carry some special new superpartners. In this scenario, compressed spectra are assumed so that the LHC bounds aren't violated even though some superpartner masses are below \(200\GeV\). Instead of the LHC, they predict new phenomena to be seen at experiments "directly converting electrons to muons" such as COMET.


Now, the main paper I want to discuss is
String Landscape and Fermion Masses
by Andriolo, Yan Li, and Tye. Henry Tye is of course a brilliant playful man and this paper – building on some previous papers by a similar group – shows that.

Separation of cash and e-money is a creepy and useless ideology

It's a cure in search of an illness and a gesture to solidify the power and arrogance of the Big Governments

On Saturday in the press, Czech ex-president Václav Klaus, an economics professor, has attacked a self-evidently dangerous idea floated by the staff of the International Monetary Fund. See e.g.

IMF Staff Floats Dual Money to Allow Much Deeper Negative Rates
The idea of Mr Ruchir Agarwal (D.C., just 100 Twitter followers!) and Ms Signe Krogstrup (Denmark) is simple. All these people apparently take it for granted that it was great to lower the interest rates and to push them below zero in some cases. However, they are aware of a problem. If the interest rates given to the final consumers are negative, they may simply keep the cash under the mattresses that give them the 0% interest rate – which is better than the negative rates!

So the negative rates don't really work. If you impose them, the actual result is the removal of the cash from the banks. Now, "which interest rates cannot be below zero" is a subtle question and some people have oversimplified views. Some interest rates, like those on the deposits electronically stored in the banks, may indeed be negative. But as long as you can move your money from the bank to the mattresses and vice versa, the mattress solution affects the electronic money in the banks, too.

Monday, February 18, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Bill Gates: advocates of dominant wind & solar energy are imbeciles

I've been turned into a Microsoft fan roughly when I came to the college. The later finding that Bill Gates actually wrote the "Microsoft BASIC" on my beloved Commodore 64 has increased my respect for him and his company, too. It may have contributed to my being a Microsoft partisan in all the silly college battles about Microsoft vs Apple and Microsoft vs Linux – but I have had lots of other reasons to take the Microsoft side, too.

Microsoft has been another politically correct company in some respects. But in so many other respects, Microsoft and its founder remained such oases of common sense and the "moderate" rational way of thinking that was mainstream in the 1980s and perhaps 1990s. I don't know how many of you agree – but Microsoft (even without Gates) doesn't quite seem to be a member of the bunch of Silicon Valley friends who talk to each other and complicate the lives of all the people who aren't fully politically obedient.

After all, Redmond doesn't sit in the Silicon Valley.

Lee Smolin, division algebras, and deception

Lee Smolin is a top example of a pseudoscientist who keeps on producing would-be influential research by writing down chaotic papers that combine concepts from mathematics and physics in childish ways (or ways resembling the intoxication by drugs), who impresses some stupid laymen by claims that he is the savior of physics oppressed by the evil white men in physics, and who then demands to be given workers on his and similar ideas.

These subordinates – who are themselves hopeless people as physicists – who were donated to Smolin have written or co-written hundreds of additional meaningless and childish papers of their own which is why many of Smolin's ludicrous papers have managed to collect as much as hundreds of citations.

But nothing of a lasting value has ever come out of this kind of rituals. This is simply not how you can make progress in science. For progress to take place in science, one actually needs some clever ideas that work. Those can't really be planned. Some cleverness and expertise are probably necessary conditions but they're not sufficient. Some good luck is needed, too. Most ideas that are proposed aren't destined to become valuable. They're eliminated or forgotten. And the ability to impress the laymen isn't correlated with the progress in science at all.

Sunday, February 17, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Janice Fiamengo on the new SJW physics

Some fun neuroscience: the Quanta Magazine discussed a claim that the brains don't remember processes as functions of time but rather as their Laplace transforms and they are capable of performing the inverse Laplace transform rather well. Clever if it's true.



Many of you know and watch Prof Janice Fiamengo who is smart, sensible, articulate, and anti-feminist, among other qualities.

But because this is a truly intersectional ;-), conservative physics blog (the kind of a website that activists at Google want to eliminate from your searches, despite the huge risk that I will help to liquidate their increasingly evil company and erase $1 trillion of stockholders' paper wealth), and she talked about another, half-hostile intersection last week, I decided it was sensible to encourage some of you to watch her 23-minute-long February 6th monologue, "Meet the New SJW Physics":



Fiamengo started by saying that she had thought that as the ultimate hard science, physics was immune towards the SJW stuff. Well, I have thought so, too. Physics has even kept its independent objective character during the totalitarian communism – at least at almost all times. But I must return a not quite symmetric nicety to her: I have thought that humanities have been completely devoured by the SJW stuff. But for some reason, Janice Fiamengo doesn't have a problem to be a full professor of English at the University of Ottawa in the democratic socialist country of Canada.

She has discussed the unfriendly anti-Strumia Particles for Justice petition and I don't want to frustrate us with it again right now. Incidentally, the counter-petition is doing fine and will be sent to the director of CERN.

Quantum dots, QLED displays beat OLED and friends

Quantum dots are beautiful physically as well as spiritually

Do you have a QLED television? Did you recently spend some time in TV shops to look for the TV sets – and their underlying physics – that impresses you most?

After a Chinese lunch today, I looked more carefully at the descriptions of the TVs in an electronics shops than I did in recent 5 years or more. It looks like the TVs were brighter and more amazing than just half a year ago when I had to buy a new TV. Modern flat displays are obviously a highly representative class of the practical applications of quantum mechanics – and this union isn't sufficiently celebrated.

Friday, February 15, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Gravity of objects in superposition won't teach us anything

LHC data fully charged: In this week, the CMS published the first paper (about B-mesons) with the full data collected up to now (there will be a pause for several years for upgrades), a whopping 140/fb of data. Via CERN. With this dataset, about 4x 35/fb, all the "numbers of sigma" may double relatively to the previous wave of papers!



For the first time during her full-blown campaign to ban both theoretical and experimental particle physics, Sabine Hossenfelder told her readers what she imagines to be her alternative. In her text When gravity breaks down, she concluded with a wish:
I hope to see experimental evidence for quantum gravity in my lifetime.
You can easily see why she was elected the new chairwoman of the International Movement Against Solid Physics. Yes, both Smolin and Woit have been dethroned a few years ago. According to this lady, it is impossible for a \(100\TeV\) collider to see new non-gravitational particle physics. But to see effects that are associated with the Planck scale, \(10^{19}\GeV\) (which is some 14 orders of magnitude higher), is doable in her lifetime.



"A Little Apple" by Kristína. Does the apple actually appear in the song? Even if it doesn't, the video is a good enough example of beauty in physics. If you don't understand Slovak, imagine that the lyrics is a translation of the blog post below. ;-)

Great. Just to be sure, every high school student who has some understanding of modern physics knows that Hossenfelder's plan to find new physics through "experimental quantum gravity" is vastly less likely than the plan she considers unlikely.

You know, Max Planck calculated the Planck energy, Planck length, and other Planck-things more than a century ago. During the subsequent decades, and it's more than half a century ago by now, physicists increasingly understood the correct interpretation of those constants of Nature. For example,\[

\ell_{\rm Planck} = \sqrt{ \frac{\hbar G}{c^3} } \approx 1.6 \times 10^{-35}\,{\rm m}

\] is the Planck length and expresses the typical length of patterns in an experiment that is sensitive to a nontrivial combination of quantum and gravitational phenomena. The reason is that when the distances are much longer, \(L \gg \ell_{\rm Planck}\), it must be true that either the \(\hbar\to 0\) or \(G\to 0\) approximations are adequate to describe what is going on.

Thursday, February 14, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Poland confirms asylum for Norwegian mother

Two days ago, Polish media informed us that Ms Silje Garmo, a Norwegian mother, has been given the final paperwork to prove that she's been granted the political asylum in the Central European country.



Norway is a wonderful and rich country. The term "Quisling" has also become a generic synonym for a Nazi collaborationist, after a Norwegian Second World War puppet Vidkun Quisling. The most notorious Nazi-style body that is semi-integrated into the government structures and that survived is Barnevernet, modeled after the Nazi Lebensborn, an entity removing children from an incredible number of biological parents.

Recent experience indicates that Barnevernet stands above the law and the parents targeted by that bureau don't have any effective method within Norway to challenge the harsh decisions.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Matrix theory: objects' entanglement entropy from local curvature tensor

I want to mention two papers that were released today. A Czech one and an Armenian one. In the Czech paper,

Hierarchy and decoupling,
Michal Malinský (senior co-author) and Matěj Hudec (also from a building where I spent a significant part of my undergrad years) exploit the new relaxed atmosphere in which everyone can write things about naturalness that would be agreed to be very dumb just some years ago. ;-) OK, so they don't see a problem with the unnaturalness of the Higgs potential in the Standard Model.



Harvey Mudd College, CA

If they nicely ban all the high-energy parameters and efforts to express physics as their functions, they may apply the perturbation theory to prove things like\[

m_H^2 \sim \lambda v^2

\] to all orders. The Higgs mass is always linked to the Higgs vev and no one can damage this relationship, assuming that you ban all the players that could damage it. ;-) OK, it's nice, I am probably missing something but their claim seems vacuous or circular. Of course if you avoid studying the dependence of the theory on the more fundamental parameters, e.g. the parameters of a quantum field theory expressed relatively to a high energy scale, you won't see a problematic unnatural dependence or fine-tuning. But such a ban of the high-energy independent parameters is tantamount to the denial of reductionism.

I believe them that they don't have a psychological problem with naturalness of the Higgs potential but I still have one.

Monday, February 11, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Nima, the latest target of the critics of physics

One week ago, we looked at Sabine Hossenfelder's unfriendly sentiments towards Lisa Randall.

Randall is famous for some clever and (even now) intriguing scenarios in particle physics while Hossenfelder is famous for persuading crackpots that physics is bad. That's a difference that Hossenfelder and her readers couldn't forgive to Randall and if Lisa Sundrum (as they romantically renamed her) were capable of giving a damn about what a bunch of irrelevant aßholes write on the Internet, they would have given her a hard time.

As you must agree, it would be a discrimination if the female big shot Lisa Randall were the only target. So Peter Woit has secured the minimum amount of fairness and political correctness when he (along with his readers) chose Nima Arkani-Hamed as a man who deserves some criticism today:

Where in the World are SUSY and WIMPs?
Woit compared two Nima's talks with the same "Where..." title: an IAS talk from July 2017 (see also another talk he gave there) and a January 2019 edition of the "Where..." talk.

Sunday, February 10, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

British police harassing citizens who tell the truth

For many years, we heard increasingly many stories about the insanely overgrown political correctness in Germany. I actually think that the situation stopped deteriorating in the recent year or so. It almost looks like the U.K. is surpassing Germany these days. Am I wrong? And I believe that if and when Merkel is replaced by someone else from CDU-CSU as the German Chancellor, things will be getting better in Germany.

For several centuries, at least between the epochs of men like Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, John Locke, James Watt, and James Clerk Maxwell (and women like Queen Victoria), Great Britain was arguably the headquarters of the Western civilization – and scientific and especially industrial revolution. Sometime in the early 20th century, Germany and then the U.S. were getting ahead.

But Great Britain remained great enough. In the 1980s, Thatcher's Britain was one of the two key countries that helped the Soviet bloc to collapse, dissolve, and get internally reformed. And even a few years ago, we were looking into the U.K. as one of the oases of the old-fashioned Parliamentary capitalism resisting the über-progressive changes ignited by the continental Western Europe.

Saturday, February 09, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Michael Mann's quantum climate pseudoscience

Michael Mann is the most notorious fraudster in the global warming scam. He was the key man in the team that constructed the "hockey stick graph" of temperatures in the recent millennium or two.



This is the politically correct version of the original video "Hide the Decline" that roughly describes what Mann did. Given it's just a song, the explanation is very accurate but I still prefer more accurate explanations than songs.

The hockey stick graph has claimed that the temperatures were nearly constant in 1000-1900 AD or so, and then began their clear increasing trend after 1900 AD. There were many problems with the individual steps that led to this outcome but the most important sinister trick was as follows: Mann basically connected (spliced) two graphs from the two periods.

The two pieces were obtained by different methods. The method for the distant past diluted and understated all temperature variations while the method for the 20th century kept them or amplified them. So you have to do get this result.

Friday, February 08, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Should the sentence "it is curious" be banned?

Last night, Young Sheldon got 95% for an exercise from Dr Sturgis (an older lookalike of Strominger's – that's how I correctly predicted he had to be a Jewish actor). It turned out that Sheldon has done a more elegant calculation using the QCD energy density and his result was right – Sturgis had a mistake due to the factor of \(\sqrt{4\pi}\) from non-rationalized units. Well, the energy density is rescaled by the whole \(4\pi\) – I hope they got it right at the end. So 100% for Sheldon – and 100% for the science adviser because this was a damn realistic calculational battle. ;-)
Jeremy Butterfield, a philosopher, became the latest sycophant and wrote a positive review (arXiv) of Sabine Hossenfelder's atrocious anti-beauty and anti-physics pamphlet, "Lost In Math". Except for his ludicrous claims that the book is good, his views about the actual topic are totally sensible.

According to Sabine Hossenfelder, however, his sycophancy (which makes me feel sick) is insufficient. She claims that Butterfield misrepresented two points she is making. Needless to say, her accusation is untrue in both cases.

Inference is probably driven by great ideals

...but it's hard to make a difference...

OK, it took some time to decide whether I should write about this topic at all or not. I have known about the plans to establish Inference, a fancy quarterly journal, since June 2010. It was finally launched in 2014.

It just happens that I know the people behind Inference more closely than 99% of the people who write about it. In the text below, I will partly anonymize the names – but everyone who knows the characters and/or Czech will be capable of translating the nicknames to the real names very easily.

So first of all, I've spent some hours by chatting with Mr Kajetán (you should know something about the 19th century Czech theater to understand the nickname; the guy has a theater in Pilsen), a very smart and rich man who was designed (I mean predetermined) to become the funding source of Inference – which I wasn't explicitly told but it was unsurprising given his funding for the 2010 event.

I think that Mr Kajetán is intelligent, kind, rather realistic, has made some genuine contributions to the business that I respect, and his funding schemes for various activities have been original.

Thursday, February 07, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Can the FCC tunnel(s) become much thinner?

Are you a hardcore theorist who sometimes loves to play the game that he (or she, Ann and Anna) is a game-changing inventor dealing with the practical life issues and construction, nevertheless? I am and I do. ;-)

Electric cars with batteries suck because 1 kg of a battery only stores 2% of what 1 kg of petrol does. Recharging is slow and some of these parameters won't get much better. But why don't we add wires to all our highways and switch to personal trolleybuses everywhere? The electric cars could have batteries just for a few miles of being off the grid. What's your objection, grumpy reader? :-)



Why don't we fill the land with personal trolleybuses? No batteries, no refueling anymore. The Pilsner model above is only designed for speeds up to 65 kph but it could be improved, I guess.

Or why don't we have nuclear-powered aircraft? You can invent such ideas and Google search for them. You will usually find out that it's been discussed and there are some usual problems that are immediately presented as fatal. For example, the nuclear-powered airplanes suck because the people can't be nicely protected against the radiation.

Wednesday, February 06, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

"End of high energy physics" is silly

The newest anti-collider tirade at Backreaction, Why a larger particle collider is not currently a good investment, begins by saying that the negative statement is an uncontroversial position.

Well, as Ms Hossenfelder could have learned at Twitter where she has debated these issues with real particle physicists, her remarks are controversial, to say the least. It's much less controversial to say that she doesn't have a clue what she is talking about. Let me elaborate on this statement in some detail.



The Livingston Plot, via K. Yokoya.

High energy physics was a new name given to particle (or subnuclear) physics because the plan has been from the beginning to indefinitely raise the collision energy – and therefore the ability of the experiments to probe ever shorter distances (short distances are tied to high momenta/energies by the uncertainty principle). The rate of progress may slow down but it has always been clear that the progress could continue basically indefinitely.

In the first part of her new text, she makes it clear that she was looking for some "allies" who have questioned the future of particle accelerators just like she does. So she found a 2001 text in Physics Today by Maury Tigner, Does Accelerator-Based Particle Physics Have a Future?

Tuesday, February 05, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Realistic fermion masses from D6-branes

The most interesting hep-ph paper today is

All Fermion Masses and Mixings in an Intersecting D-brane World
by Van Mayes of Houston. Well, it's a string phenomenology paper so it's more interesting than a dozen of average hep-ph preprints combined. Since my childhood, I wanted to calculate the "constants of Nature". It took some time to understand that one may only calculate the dimensionless ones – those don't depend on a social convention, the choice of units. Mass ratios of elementary particles were the first constants I was obsessed with – even before the fine-structure constant.

Well, at the beginning, I also failed to appreciate that the proton wasn't quite elementary so the proton-to-electron mass ratio, \(m_p/m_e\approx 1836.15\), was interesting enough. I figured out it was equal to \(6\pi^5\). Good numerology proves one's passion. ;-) I still think that the numerical agreement between this simple formula and the measured ratio is rather impressive.

Monday, February 04, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Aaronson & readers understand why Hossenfelder's anti-HEP campaign is fallacious

But they will never say so clearly because they're piles of double-faced PC feces

Computer scientist Scott Aaronson has posted a text on the new collider debates, Sabineblogging, and one of the first tragicomic implications of the essay that you can't overlook is how much it shows that the political correctness has been placed above science – even the very existence of science – in the Western academia.

Why?

Because Aaronson's arguments – and most of the comments underneath his article – make it clear that these computer science folks largely understand that Hossenfelder's campaign is just a sequence of generic anti-science emotional outbursts and she misunderstands what science is and why experiments are really being done in the first place.

He – and most commenters – really agrees e.g. with Lisa Randall and Jeremy Bernstein (NYT) as well as your humble correspondent and disagrees with Hossenfelder on all the basic points. But for some reason – and all of us know very well what the reason is – he frames his blog post as confession of love towards Hossenfelder and an attack on me.

We've seen a similar effect in Facebook posts by Daniel Harlow. Sabine Hossenfelder belongs to such a privileged group that we really need in physics – so we should make her powerful and if she wants particle physics to be abolished, we should abolish it! It's such a detail – particle physics may continue or be abandoned but it's much more important whether Luboš Motl believes that 50% of physicists should be expected to be female and that heretic dares to disbelieve and he even dares to point out that the believers are brain-dead.

If we ban physics, the number of women in physics will be 0 out of 0 which is 50% or any other percentage and he will be proven wrong, isn't it great?

Sunday, February 03, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Naturalness, watermelons, populism, intuition, and intelligence

A technical comment at the beginning: The updated Disqus widget allows the commenters to press new buttons and apply basic and not so basic HTML formatting on their comments – bold face, italics, underline, strikethrough, links, spoilers (!), codes, and quotes. Feel free to play, children. ;-)



Like her famous countrymate, Sabine Hossenfelder believes that the lie repeated many times becomes the truth which is why she brought the 347th rant against naturalness to her brainwashed, moronic readers.

In one way or another, naturalness is a principle saying that the dimensionless parameters in our physical theories should be of order one – and we should seriously ask "Why" and look for an explanation otherwise. Philosopher Porter Williams just wrote a 32-page-long paper Two Notions of Naturalness whose main point is to distinguish two different ideas that are labeled "naturalness". It's great but the number of flavors of naturalness is greater than two – yet all of them are flavors of the same thing.

At the beginning, she posts the image above [source] with the caption: "Square watermelons. Natural?"

Saturday, February 02, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Quadriga: are the director's cryptocoins really gone?

A sad and unusual story recently took place in the Canadian world of cryptocurrencies. The young and only director of the top Canadian cryptoexchange, QuadrigaCX, Mr Gerald Cotten, has been a Crohn's disease sufferer (incidentally, there are preliminary hints of correlations with the Candida overgrowth but I am not eager about hearing the Crohn diagnosis – it's better to behave as if one is just mostly healthy).



He went to India, a rather dangerous place for medical emergencies, and due to some Crohn's disease complications, he died on December 9th. Now, more than a month later, it turns out that the exchange still doesn't have any access to the funds in the "cold wallets" – which are worth USD $190 million, almost one-half of which is composed of 26,000+ Bitcoin. The company officially filed for (the Canadian) Chapter 11.

Friday, February 01, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Baer et al.: string theory predicted Higgs mass, everything at LHC, and beyond

Related to physics wars: the hardcore intersectional SJW activist in physics, an anti-white and anti-Semite racist with a notoriety in much of Jerusalem, and Lee Smolin's ex-collaborator Chanda Prescod-Weinstein (who recently paid respects to the interplanetary territorial might of the Native American elders robbed by the evil white man, along with her curly Avatar pal; thanks, Joe) became an unlikely defender of particle physics (against the likes of Ms Sabine Hossenfelder) when she teamed up with Tim Tait and authored Particle Physics Is Doing Just Fine for Slate. Hat tip: Andreas Karch and Tom Hendrix. See also Lisa Randall and Jeremy Bernstein in NYT
A wonderfully upbeat SUSY article that ignores all the exploding "bad mood" appeared on hep-ph today:
LHC SUSY and WIMP dark matter searches confront the string theory landscape
Baer, Barger, Salam, Serce, and Sinha (Oklahoma+Wisconsin) argue that the \(125\GeV\) Higgs boson, along with the absence of superpartners at the LHC at this point as well as the null results of the dark matter direct search experiments, is exactly what the most conventional string theory scenario – equipped with a naturally sounding refreshed notion of naturalness and a seemingly conservative type of the anthropic veto – has always predicted.

From the beginning, BBSSS make it clear that they belong to Team Stanford – or, given their admiration for Michael Douglas' stringy adjustments to naturalness considerations, Team Rutgers-Stanford (although by current locations, I should say Team StonyBrook-Stanford). They surely believe in a vast landscape of de Sitter vacua.

OK, how does their theory of everything work and what methods and assumptions does it use?

Thursday, January 31, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Cosmological constant from pixels

I've known Jonathan Heckman as a brilliant Harvard student – I think that he was still an undergrad when he was greatly contributing to papers with Vafa and others. And it's great to see this UPenn assistant professor (the same state where Ashtekar works at PSU – my point is that the string theorists could potentially face some extra friendly hostility in Pennsylvania) as a senior co-author of a provoking paper:

Pixelated Dark Energy.
They did very well in the speed contest. By several milliseconds, they have beaten two competitors who also submitted the paper at 19:00:03 UTC :-) so their paper appeared at the top of the hep-th listings today.

It's a very novel scenario to explain the small cosmological constant – or dark energy or, even more generally, the accelerated expansion of the Universe. You must have seen many papers written by authors with great egos. Their lists of references – especially if they're full-blown crackpots – often look like this: [1] I, [2] I, [3] I, I am so great, and so on. ;-)

Jonathan is different. So their paper has 227 references and the most important one, one by the same set of authors minus Sakstein from November 2018, F-theory And Dark Energy, is the reference number 160 in the new paper. :-) That's what I call a quantification of humility.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Best moment to short $TSLAQ could be on Thursday

Unless you should hurry up and use the last opportunity today, of course
Tesla may report EPS $2.23 per share in Q4, jump above $320, and only go to zero afterwards

As you may have noticed, I am one of the staunchest Tesla bears.

The most general and impersonal business problem that I see is that with the current prices and technologies, the electric cars are some $25,000 more expensive than they should be (than their non-electric counterparts) – which is why they're not competitive in the mass market.

Electric cars may still be great for a smaller set of rich enough buyers (and in a decade, for everybody, if prices of things change). Tesla could have become a profitable producer in this niche category but it has never generated an annual profit and 2018 will not change it.



Tesla was a huge Czechoslovak electronics company during communism. The company was founded as "Elektra" in 1921 (capitalism) and originally renamed after Nikola Tesla in 1946 but the name was later explained unemotionally and cleverly as an acronym for "Technika slaboproudá", i.e. "Technology of the Weak Currents". Tesla and Yugoslavs were probably too capitalist for our comrades after Tito refused to sleep with Stalin. Almost all electronics in Czechoslovakia – and we weren't too bad – was Tesla. We had lots of fun with PMD 85, a computer close to Sinclair ZX Spectrum, as kids. Add TVs, radios, components, microprocessors cloned from Intel, vinyl records players, and hundreds of other things. In the voucher privatization, I even bought hundreds of Tesla stocks for a few crowns LOL – Tesla Glass TV Components went out of business rather soon, however. It no longer shows up in my list of stocks – the Harvard Industrial Holding still does (I have 10 stocks, they can't be traded LOL, greetings to Viktor). A tiny fraction of the Tesla factories was revived and "Tesla" CZ produces set top boxes and a few other things today.

Some other companies start to produce luxurious electric cars that have a chance to be profitable. But Tesla couldn't and can't. One reason is that it doesn't have the stream of money from from petrol and diesel cars. Another problem is Elon Musk. In my eyes, Elon Musk is a classic villain – the kind of a character from the movies who makes me enthusiastic when someone finally kills him. The business survived this long because of his lies, distortions, hype, and blackmail. Lies to consumers, investors, bondholders, and employees. Blackmail to real traders.

Most of the people on his side seem to be brainwashed submissive pußies dreaming about their enslavement by someone like Musk. I also noticed that almost everybody in those corners is a climate hysteria fanatic. Even when they get brutally fired, they still worship him. The unavoidable result is that he is the only person who makes important decisions at Tesla – a would-be Hitler surrounded by tons of sycophants. Others just lick his aß. And a great fraction of the decisions are unavoidably stupid because Musk is a rather stupid man. His people have to call these decisions ingenious and disruptive – just because they're sometimes different than the decisions by more standard rational managers (which means "worse" in most cases but they're not allowed to say it). The model is completely wrong because a much higher number of people of many types have to contribute to the decision making in a healthy company.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Global warming left when the Midwest needed it most

Czechia is enjoying a standard winter, with lots of snow in the mountains and temperatures a degree or two below the normal January temperatures (daily average is some –1 °C in Czechia and we may have –2 °C or –3 °C these days) – exactly the kind of an old-fashioned winter that was promised not to happen anymore.

Meanwhile, the American Midwest is freezing. You can't survive in your swimming suit for an hour outside. The U.S. president has excited everyone by this obvious tweet:


Let me assume that he typed it with his own little hands – something that the Czech prime minister would never be capable of doing. Andrej Babiš has never successfully touched a computer, not even now when he proudly met Bill Gates, Tim Cook, and the boss of Huawei. ;-)

It's just amazing when this 19th century-style Bolshevik nurtures his image as the man of the future who is connected with the technological elite of the 21st century.

But let's return to the Donald. Instead of "covfefe" and "hamberder", the readers could see "waming" without "r". So exciting. I often post tweets that have such typos because the tweet is not supposed to be a repeatedly proofread artistic work that will be celebrated for millenniums. It's a piece of digital junk that just gets mixed in the noise for a while.

Most of the typos (at least serious ones) in the blog posts are caught by Bill Z. whose sensitivity for details is amazing. ;-)

Monday, January 28, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

A fun simple problem in quantum computing

Before the lunch, Hallyu Website provoked me to solve a neat straightforward optimization exercise in quantum mechanics which could be a nice exercise in QM courses.

After very many factor-of-two errors were fixed (I like Feynman's methodology to do science which starts with "guessing the right results" and it sometimes doesn't work immediately LOL), some of which made a huge impact on the result LOL, I hopefully got the correct solution at the Quantum Computing Stackexchange.

Jjbid asked:

Consider the following game:

I flip a fair coin, and depending on the outcome (either heads/tails), I'll give you one of the following states:\[

|0\rangle \text{ or } \cos(x)|0\rangle + \sin(x)|1\rangle.

\] Here, \(x\) is a known constant angle. But, I don't tell you which state I give you.

How can I describe a measurement procedure (i.e. an orthonormal qubit basis) to guess which state I'm given, while maximizing the chance of being right? Is there an optimal solution?

I've been self-studying quantum computing, and I came across this exercise. I don't really know how to even start, and I would really appreciate some help.

I think that a good strategy would be to perform an orthogonal transformation with \[

\begin{bmatrix}
\cos(x) & -\sin(\theta)\\
\sin(x) & \cos(\theta)
\end{bmatrix}.

\] Can't make much progress...

Sunday, January 27, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

A proposed Czech law to punish Zuckerbergs for censorship

Social networks could face 3-year jail term, €2 million fines, or abolition for illegitimate filtering of discussion on essential political topics

Especially in recent months, we discussed several stories about censorship organized by Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and other social networks against users with opinions labeled "politically incorrect". Look at the discussions about the terror against gab.com, Alex Jones, and many others.

While e.g. Angela Merkel's government of Germany seems to be openly organizing this censorship – and it even hires some former agents of Stasi, the East German counterpart of KGB, to do such things – a group of Czech lawmakers intends to clarify the legal system of Czechia in a somewhat opposite way. If someone like Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, or individual administrators filtered posts by users that don't actually violate any laws or public morality – especially posts about publicly important topics such as migration, environment, and others – he or she would be ordered to pay a $20,000 fine (small individuals) or a $2 million fine (entrepreneurs and companies), or be jailed for 6-36 months.

The law applies to social networks open to the public with at least 100,000 users in Czechia (whose population is 10.5 million, 5.1 million out of them are Facebook users, 1.5 million are on Instagram, Twitter could possibly be beneath the threshold, I am not sure) – that's a particularly chosen threshold that defines what we considered the "[digital] public spaces".

Saturday, January 26, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Hoi polloi shouldn't micromanage physics

Support for pure science is a matter of politicians' purity, just like their support for morality and heroes

Anna V., a retired experimental particle physicist, has posted some interesting comments about the funding of physics. She is disappointed by the absence of CERN's explanations what CERN has done for the mankind etc. And she clearly believes that new colliders etc. are worth funding.

But I think that she is really touching several different questions and let me rearticulate them as follows:

  1. Have physicists done enough to promote the value of science, CERN?
  2. Does CERN actually bring a value to a rational but ordinary average person?
  3. Does the average person know the correct answer to the previous question?
  4. Should the average people "vote" about the overall funding of natural sciences?
  5. Should the average people "vote" about the funding for individual projects?
My answers are Yes, Uncertain, Yes, No, Not at all.

Friday, January 25, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

AI wins at StarCraft 2: do humans suck at everything?

If you missed it, in recent years, it became clear that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is capable of beating humans in seemingly "human-like creative" games such as chess and Go. Yesterday, the media were full of the story that Deepmind, a sister company of Google's (also owned by Alphabet), has developed "AlphaStar" which just humiliated the world's best human players of StarCraft 2.

Resistance is futile: Deepmind's AlphaStar AI hammers StarCraft II pros in world first
That's a 20-year-old computer game, a strategy game somewhat similar to the Civilization of Sid Meier, where three races – one stupid human composed of expelled criminals, one spiritually refined and human-like, and one group of some skillful Chinese-like rodents or whatever the animals exactly are – compete for resources somewhere on the edge of galaxy, or some stupid science-fiction place like that. It's played in real time. Especially in South Korea, tons of people play it and others watch it much like Czechs watch ice-hockey.

Thursday, January 24, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

NYT: an anti-HEP rant by Hossenfelder

The politically correct media love to lie 24 hours a day and attack perceived enemies – such as the whites, men, white men, conservatives, Donald Trump, his supporters and his policies, old-fashioned corporations and their owners, the Western civilization, Judeo-Christian traditions, nations and patriots, families that work along the good old rules... pretty much everything that is valuable about our world. Particle physics has been undoubtedly added as one of these enemies.

So one's surprise was limited yesterday when the most famous left-wing U.S. daily published an op-ed by an otherwise irrelevant activist and fake scientist Ms Sabine Hossenfelder,

The Uncertain Future of Particle Physics.
Why wouldn't such inkspillers invite someone who admits that she has had nothing to do with the field for a decade except for being another brain-dead hater? It's so politically correct when worthless dirt of the privileged sex helps to shape the public views about one of the most prestigious scientific disciplines.

Monday, January 21, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

FCC collider tunnel: Will Elon Musk save billions?

On month ago, we laughed about Elon Musk's new Hyperloop science-fiction futuristic mega-invention which turned out to be... a tiny useless road tunnel. Well, to make it more impressive, he has also built car elevators for cars to get there, so that the traffic through the tunnel is even slower than it would otherwise be. That one-mile tunnel of diameter around 4 meters had cost about $10 million.

Elon has bragged that he could save 99% of the expenses which is completely ludicrous because he just bought a boring machine, told his employees to read the instruction manual, and they did exactly what anyone else does with a boring machine. So as long as as the people and utilities and others are paid adequately and one compares tunnels with the same internal equipment, or the lack of it, they will cost almost exactly the same.

Today, as Pablo C. told me, Elon Musk has decided to revolutionize another field, particle physics. Here is the hilarious tweet:


LOL, that's just amazing. Hours after this blog post was written, media reports about the tweet appeared in The Independent, Business Insider, and elsewhere.