Friday, August 30, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Juan et al.: the BH interior is accessible from the final radiation through a new dimension

A new clever way to clarify the resolution of the information loss puzzle

Years ago, we had lots of top physics authors whose every new paper was a holiday we were looking forward to. I think it's harder to say the same these days... but I am still mostly looking forward to new papers by Juan Maldacena and perhaps a few others. OK, there is a new paper today

The Page curve of Hawking radiation from semiclassical geometry (by Almheiri+Mahajan+Maldacena+Zhao)
I initially read the abstract too quickly, thinking that it says "we do another somewhat boring combination of ER=EPR with RT/HRT and other things". However, that's a totally wrong way of reading it, perhaps influenced by Juan's and co-authors excessive shyness.

Instead, as @mmanuF at Twitter generously forced me to understand by his crispier summaries of the paper, they are really saying something like
Listen to us, puddies, pussies, and puppies: we really have a crisp new solution to the information loss puzzle, i.e. an answer to the question how the Hawking radiation may possibly carry away the information from the causally disconnected black hole (BH) interior. We add an extra antiholographic dimension for the evaporating matter and find out that the interior is connected to and accessible from the asymptotic region – so in some sense, the BH interior still lives in the Hawking radiation after the BH evaporates away. In other words, we visualize the ER-EPR wormholes connected to the Hawking radiation in a new, antiholographic way.
And that's something worth reading. The PDF file only has 21 pages.

Totalitarian principle: did Plato scoop Gell-Mann?

Two weeks ago or so, Tom Siegfried discussed a July preprint by philosopher Mr Helge Kragh:

Murray Gell-Mann’s ‘totalitarian principle’ is the modern version of Plato’s plenitude
Even the title suggests that there was a priority dispute involving the recently deceased Murray Gell-Mann and Plato who lived 2 millenniums earlier. But was there a dispute?

Thursday, August 29, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Removal of dude walls and Bolsheviks' terror of the 1950s

...and a movie about a countess...

Jaime has brought us another remarkable story at NPR: Rachel Maddow, a far left talking head, visited a university, saw portraits of some distinguished men, called it a "dude wall", and because there is a whole movement – whose leaders remain at large – which openly fights against all "dudes", the situation escalated and they have removed all the paintings:

Some important chap from the university returned to the hall and was shocked by the empty walls. So would I. Does it remind me of something? You bet.

I am skeptical towards Hong Kong protesters

Politics of the 1980s and – in different conditions – of the 1990s looked so simple in comparison. The communist regimes were bad, we needed the freedom, democracy, market economy, and similar basic things of the "old-fashioned West". That has divided the people to two basic camps.

Don't get me wrong: During the Velvet Revolution, I already realized the existence of revolutionaries who were fighting against communism (with me) for very different reasons: they found the communist regime insufficiently communist, egalitarian, constraining! But they could have been neglected for a decade or so.

In the mid or late 1980s, my Australian uncle and auntie sent us many things including a postcard that I remember: "We had to visit Hong Kong before the Chinese will take over in 1997 and they will ruin it." It made so much sense.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

What makes people attracted to wrong theories?

LIGO/Virgo rumor (Quanta Magazine): black holes with the masses 50-130 Suns, often thought to be impossible due to some oxygen-turns-implosion-to-explosion reasons, were apparently detected. I would always bet that this gap should be non-existent, at most with a slightly lowered number of holes. To say the least, you may get larger black holes from smaller ones that keep on merging or eating, right?
Decoding the psychology of scientific populism and teachers' laziness

On Saturday, aside from many much more positive things, I also heard about the dissatisfaction of some teachers – and their students – about quantum mechanics and similar things and these exchanges were among the friendliest ones. So I really tried to figure out what's going on etc. OK, I will discuss two examples, both from Teacher J, but there were some other similar lessons.

First, Teacher J was excited about entropic gravity. Wouldn't it be cool etc.? So I could see the actual "happiness in the terrain" that made it possible for Erik Verlinde to receive some "tens of millions of dollars" for this idea that is a piece of crap not worth a penny.
It would be so cool because Verlinde would also explain the phenomena usually attributed to dark matter and dark energy without dark matter and dark energy.
Right, it would be attractive. If it were the case. So the simple reason why there was a driver for him to be rewarded for these wrong statements was the fact that he has given some promises to the laymen. He has explained or he would explain fundamental things in a simpler way without "new" concepts etc. Great.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Stanford's "physics for minorities" is toxic racism

Two more "pure ideological indoctrination" physics courses may be even worse

Wrath-0f-Khan has pointed out a remarkable story in Breitbart

Stanford Launches Physics Course for ‘Underrepresented’ Minority Students
(see also Campus Reform)
about a new Stanford physics course, Physics 41E. The content is supposed to be identical to Physics 41, a mechanics course, except that the enrolled students are supposed to be students from minorities who had little or no high school physics or calculus. Such students obviously have to be given more care – so they receive "learning assistants" (LAs) who get an extra $1,700 stipend for their work. I suppose that the students from the minorities don't have to pay for this extra expense.

A pro- vs anti-LGBT clash, a small town edition

On Saturday, Pilsen Pride took place in Pilsen. It's funny to see these marches addressing "global questions and movements" in the streets and parks that I am so intimately familiar with.

Some of the videos linked to in the previous sentence show the LGBTQ participants themselves, colored and beautified folks who look similar as participants of the "pride" parades in larger cities than Pilsen – which has 170,000 inhabitants.

Monday, August 26, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Anti-quantum-mechanical propaganda at Big Think

Like all platforms whose quality isn't carefully monitored and improved by a hierarchical system of competent filters, has become another Internet-media tool hijacked by mediocre activists – which almost entirely means deceitful, ideologically driven, far left activists – who are just pushy enough and will do everything to spread their stuff. Their knowledge of the actual science is shockingly poor.

Even when thousands of dollars per minute of content are flowing to such servers, the content may be expected to be less valuable than a vigorously and urgently used toilet paper if the quality control is absent so that even the most self-evident trash may get in. You can't be surprised that ludicrously wrong monologues such as

Space is dead: A challenge to the standard model of quantum mechanics
appear on that server. There are silly messages hidden in every other word over there and the density of explicit or implicit falsehoods is amazingly high. First, the title is composed of two parts. The first says that "space is dead" which is surely a "not really established" claim about quantum gravity while the second part is about a different issue altogether, the basic axioms of quantum mechanics.

These aren't really the same "topic", at least not yet. Quantum gravity is just an example of a quantum mechanical theory – or a special subclass of quantum mechanical theories if you wish. All serious researchers in quantum gravity accept all universal postulates of quantum mechanics and if some of them don't, they are extremely careful about their proposals how they could hypothetically violate these axioms without getting complete nonsense.

A woman is the first astronaut with an achievement

Bad news are everywhere. I sort of follow the increasing harassment of all the people who aren't convenient for the self-confident would-be totalitarian ideologies of the present because it has naturally become "my topic" but even if I didn't follow those things, the number of them that I would be exposed to would be huge.

The first woman on the Moon

That's why it's such a good idea to watch or listen some sources that want to keep you relaxed. Hit Radio FM Plus is pretty good in this respect these days. The jokes aren't terribly intellectual in most cases but they're just good as a relaxed entertainment.

Sunday, August 25, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Kids' physics teachers and quantum mechanics

I gave a talk on quantum mechanics, its history, and its right and wrong interpretations to physics teachers from the Aussig [Ústecký] Region in Northern Bohemia, a part of Czechia that apparently has the greatest heart to encourage the teachers to learn stuff even outside schools – and in charming enough villages (if I avoid the term "random šithole") like Hoštka.

Aside from an hour-long talk, we also chatted about the right way to teach or not to teach quantum mechanics (and to visualize or not to visualize the orbitals and atoms etc.) and many other things, not to mention a more informal part of the events. The teachers had quite some real-world experience with the kids – some elementary school pupils but mostly high school kids – and they generally knew their subject very well and were enthusiastic enough to find ways to ignite the excitement i the pupil's minds.

Friday, August 23, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Czechia: where TV debates on Greta are still possible

DVTV is an Internet TV station – loosely cooperating with some more standard outlets – mainly consisting of interviews performed by two experienced (and very calm, perhaps boringly calm) hosts, Ms Drtinová and Mr Veselovský (that's where DV comes from). They are surely more "globalist" than the average Czech citizen. On the other hand, they do represent some kind of a "tolerable Czech mainstream journalism" which still significantly differs from the overtly activist journalists in most Western European and North American TV stations and outlets.

Emma Smetana's Notre-Dame "I Was There" photograph has provoked Czechs to create numerous parodies.

The third interviewer is an attractive babe named Ms Emma Smetana. Her surname is illegal – it violates the rules of the Czech grammar that we take rather seriously. Thankfully, the death penalty has been abolished in Czechia. Her father is Mr Smetana (literally "Cream", the same name as the famous composer of The Moldau) and her mother is Ms Pajerová, a 1989 student leader who married an Irishman after Mr Smetana, Mr Peter MacDonagh. Emma herself has married an Israel-Palestinian-Czech musician Mr Jordan Haj. Make no mistake about it: the percentage of foreigners in that family trumps the Czech average and a globalist bias in their opinions should be unsurprising.

OK, Emma has studied and lived abroad and to show how Cosmopolitan, emancipated, and superior relatively to the Czech plebs she is, she doesn't call herself Emma Smetanová – which is the correct feminine form of the name Smetana – but just Emma Smetana. It isn't just an isolated distortion of the grammar. It causes actual problems. No one is ever sure what the other forms-cases of the name are in the system of declension. When I meet her, did I meet "Emmu Smetana", "Emmu Smetanu", or "Emmu Smetanovou"? I would surely pick the latter because none of the previous things works. "Smetana" in the accusative sounds like I am treating a totally Czech word "smetana" as if it were extraterrestrial (and the case becomes invisible which may create ambiguities in the meaning); "Smetanu" indicates that she's either male like the composer, or the actual cream, and so on.

Even if she were French or Nigerian, the correct way to refer to her would be "Emma Smetanová", just like the U.S. First Lady is called "Melania Trumpová" by the Czech press. Emma Smetana's name seems like a complete detail but I do have a problem which is why I simply couldn't omit the previous paragraphs! Tear down this wall, Ms Emma, and fix your damn surname!

Talking to a potential wall

These dialogues look like scenes from Václav Havel's absurd theater plays. Many years ago, however, I experienced one in reality. For a while, I thought that the person was joking and pretending to be an extraordinary moron. Or at least, it was an extremely unlikely anomaly that appears once in a century. But then I was sucked into the second discussion, third discussion of the same format. I haven't counted them but I believe there have been dozens of almost identical exchanges with different people who feel uncomfortable with quantum mechanics – and, incidentally, they seem totally retarded, illiterate, deaf, and identical to each other, too. The discussions similar to the idealized one below seem to be the rule rather than exceptions.

My comments are written in bold face, to be distinguished from the remarks by the polite and polished person who "feels uneasy" about quantum mechanics. Here is the dialogue.

In 1925, physics has switched to a new framework in which the laws of physics may only be applied by an observer who is able to assign values to observables (represented by operators on the Hilbert space) by observations that the observer rightfully trusts. Again, the observer is an irreducible ingredient in quantum mechanics that is necessary to verify any well-defined quantum mechanical calculation.

It's such a nice essay, Luboš. I particularly like that the interpretation that you have outlined is used in all of physics. In particular, it's very important to get rid of the observer because he's a creep watching breasts on the beach through his binoculars and such men have no place in physics. In fact, no men should be allowed in physics.

Thursday, August 22, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Greta vs Chantal: will a Navy save a carbon-neutral activist?

Update Thursday afternoon: stuck in the middle of the ocean, windless conditions are clearly their biggest worry

Sailing from Europe to America on a yacht isn't quite a trivial deal – although the $4 million solar yacht, Malizia II (the name means "Malice" in Italian, it's appropriate – and Malice was a Czech 10th century village where I spent my 20th century childhood), with some competent users makes it easier.

As observed in Soph vs Greta, Greta has shown that it only takes one strongly opinionated... girl... to completely destabilize democracy. Her success is literally encouraging a whole generation to become parasitic brainwashed lying lazy uneducated... children. So I admit, I got excited about the Atlantic weather conditions that could hypothetically get intriguing. If the fairy-tale had a less happy end, the lesson that the other kids could learn would be wiser than "be a lazy lying hysterical piece of... a child... and you will travel on expensive yachts throughout your life". Darwin's award would look like a better fit for her than Nobel's award.

Track Greta's boat via (a weather sister of, the Czech Google killer)
If the tracking website shows up in Czech for you and you still failed to learn Czech, you will get an exemption for a week. Go to upper-left-settings (hamburger menu) and find+pick Jazyk/English. In the right sidebar menus, you should be able to switch from winds to temperature, pressure, waves, cloud cover, and more.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

QM "also" applies to the Universe

Critics of quantum mechanics are wrong about everything that is related to foundations of physics and quite often, they please their readers with the following:

Physics has been in a crisis since 1927. You can help to end it if you accept [all the fragmented pottery I am writing now]. Amen.
That's what you can read on the front flap of a new book by a Californian would-be quantum physicist.

You may see that they 1) resemble fanatical religious believers or their postmodern, climate alarmist imitators or the typical propaganda tricksters in totalitarian regimes. They tell you that there is a crisis so you should throw away the last pieces of your brain and behave as a madman – that will surely help. 2) They are just an extension of the anti-string demagogues who are saying pretty much identical sentences but with years such as 1968 or 1974 or 1984. 3) Their thinking is totally irrational because whether a problem with physics exists is surely independent of the question what a lay reader believes. But they want to make the obedience of a reader who doesn't really understand anything to be central for the health of science, for the presence or absence of crises! This has nothing to do with the rational thinking about the world although it's relevant for the profits from the trash by which they flood the bookstores.

In reality, the years 1925-1927 brought vastly more true, vastly more solid, vastly more elegant, and vastly more accurate foundations to physics, foundations that are perfectly consistent and that produce valid predictions whose relative accuracy may be \(10^{-15}\) (magnetic moment of the electron).

On the new postulates of quantum mechanics, people have built atomic and molecular physics, quantum chemistry, modern optics, lasers, condensed matter physics, superconductors, semiconductors, graphene and lots of new materials, transistors, diodes of many kind, LED and OLED and QLED panels, giant magnetoresistance, they are building quantum computers that would make the quantum revolution even more essential. They have extended theories of the nuclei, subnuclear physics, found and understood new elementary particles, and unified them within unified field theories and especially string theory which has also allowed them to study the black hole entropy, evaporation, and topology-changing quantum processes in the spacetime, aside from many other things.

Germany: before the autumn elections

By Aleš Valenta, Germanist, Václav Klaus Institute
Translated from CZ by LM

Events are constantly taking place in the land of our Western neighbors. Bavaria's prime minister Söder who, just recently, couldn't recall the name of the Green Party is hugging the trees in front of the photographers and in his desperate effort to be greener than the Greens, he is proposing to embed the climate goals to the constitution. A "perfectly integrated" black man from Eritrea has thrown a mother and her son to the tracks in front of the arriving train in Frankfurt. In front of the swimming pool in Düsseldorf where North African, apparently less perfectly integrated, migrants have repeatedly created quite some havoc, authorities will install camcorders and every visitor will have to place his or her ID in between the swimming suit and the detective novel, otherwise he won't be allowed to enter. The chairman of the board of Schalke O4, a soccer team, Mr Ferdinand Tönnies told the public that it's necessary to build power plants in Africa, otherwise the inhabitants won't stop cutting trees and at night, lacking enough light, they will "produce" children – which has sparked another episode of the neverending soap opera named "racism of the everyday life" in the media and in politics.

A crypto CEO demands nationalization of Satoshi's $10 billion

A few days ago, a guy "revealed to be Satoshi Nakamoto", the father of the Bitcoin, at SatoshiNRH dot com.

James Bilal Khalid Caan, a Pakistani guy in the U.K., wants you to believe that the non-trivial system was created by a migrant whose hard drive was eaten by the dog, who believes in Chaldean numerology and the importance of conversion of letters "Satoshi Nakamoto" into numbers according to an arbitrary medieval scheme, and whose top intellectual achievement was to invent a sequence of words about an irrelevant failed bank that could have BITCOIN as a generalized acronym.

This "reveal" was utterly ludicrous, of course, because Caan's IQ is some 40 points lower than what is needed to be Satoshi Nakamoto. The Bitcoin system and especially the Bitcoin economy are flawed for a huge number of fundamental reasons but the creator of this system was still very intelligent. Nick Szabo or Craig Wright may have had the intelligence and everything that was needed – but Caan could not. He wasn't even able to make the files on his server invisible before the "M Moment".

However, a more shocking proposal appeared last night:

Ray Youssef, the CEO of Paxful, some cryptocurrency exchange (which is facing claims of robbery and fraud), made this bold proposal. The Bitcoin holders may get rid of the worries that the real Satoshi Nakamoto sells his 980,000 coins – worth $10 billion as of today – by codifying a "soft fork" that will invalidate or "burn" all of these coins. In fact, the CEO's words make it clear that he wants not only Satoshi's coins but also Satoshi himself to "get lost"! Yes, an apparatchik in the Bitcoin cult wants to improve the cult further by slaughtering the cult's God-Creator.

The only excuse is that the Jews-Christians have previously done something comparable LOL. But the cryptoexchange's Latin "peaceful" name makes the fiery proposal juicy, anyway.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

A highly carbon-positive "prince" from a Swedish girl's yacht

The prophet status of a teenage Scandinavian Mongoloid ADHD sufferer proves the insanity of the contemporary epoch. However, some of the news can entertain us, indeed. This story about a Monaco "prince" is one of them (it has 11 pictures in a gallery).

The Swedish activist recently told the United Nations:

Our civilization is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people – for them to collect enormous amounts of money. Our biosphere is being sacrificed for the people in rich countries such as mine to live their lives in luxury. The price we pay is that many people suffer for the luxury of a few.
Excellent. She took one of the best examples of this sermon in the world to "her" $4 million Malizia II solar yacht, Mr Pierre Casiraghi (31), the "Prince" of Monaco and the grandson of Rainiere III.

Monday, August 19, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Basic lethal flaws of revisionist "interpretations" of QM

Another 100% wrong book about the foundations of quantum mechanics is ready to flood the bookstores – we know what its author, Sean Carroll, claims about quantum mechanics – and it is damn ludicrous, indeed. Meanwhile, a notorious Columbia University blogger is reading the book and... he doesn't see a difference between the "Copenhagen" and "Everett" interpretations. Holy cow.

What about e.g. the difference that one of them predicts all phenomena in Nature correctly while the other doesn't predict a single one correctly?

I was rehearsing a presentation for teachers – it's about the foundations of quantum mechanics. This has pushed me to make some arguments and explanations even more concise – and also comprehensive when it comes to the basic incorrect "alternative interpretations" that are being spread by the anti-quantum zealots.

Nature builds a Lysenkoist blacklist of 386 top climate researchers

I was sent links to an amazing Nature Communications article by Petersen et al.

Discrepancy in scientific authority and media visibility of climate change scientists and contrarians
and two responses at the PowerLineBlog that revolves around a formidable list of 386 climate researchers who have been de facto blacklisted by Nature.

The list contains a huge majority of those who really mattered in the climate change polemics in the world – or at least the Anglo-Saxon world. Lindzen, Singer, Morano, Christy, Lomborg, Soon, Nova, invent your own name (except for me – I haven't really spent much time with the climate in recent years), it's there.

Petersen et al. have divided the participants of these debates to two sets with 386 elements each: the good guys, the "experts", and the bad guys, the "contrarians" (don't worry, the word "denialists" appears in the second sentence of the results).

Sunday, August 18, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

What's more empirical: alternative interpretations of QM or particle physics?

In recent days, I was fully realizing the insanity of the attitude of some ideologues towards the "empirical foundations" of parts of physics – let me call them "deceitful hippies and their protégés and protégées, largely from minorities" – who claim that particle physics and/or things like string theory and supergravity aren't a good enough empirical science for them while the tirades against quantum mechanics and ludicrous new "interpretations of quantum mechanics" must be the future of empirical science.

This combination of claims is totally upside down and the detachment of this combination from the basic facts is absolutely unbelievable. It makes one desperate to see that there are thousands of sufficiently scientifically illiterate laymen in the society who just can't see the absurdity of these claims.

Physics investigates hypotheses and theories that have implications for the observations in principle. That definition is a result of centuries of thinking – although this definition had to be refined by more cautious thinking about "what is scientifically meaningful", let's say the "positivist" or "operationalist" thinking, that finally made it to the physicists' toolkit around the year 1900 and that must be counted as the most important contribution of philosophers (positivists in this case) to physics ever.

Friday, August 16, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Inverted yield curve and similar superstitions

The most recent 3% drop of the U.S. stock market indices – which had global repercussions – took place almost completely due to the fact that the main yield curve got inverted.

It's a sign of recession – in average, it comes in 22 months from now, a Swiss bank said. A Czech Canadian wrote me that the yield curve inverted and "f*gg*ts are buying stocks on that day" (the f-category surely included me).

The "bad sign of the inverted yield curve" is a similar rule-of-thumb as the technical analysis used to predict the future movements of prices of securities and other things. All these rules may be justified by heuristic arguments but none of the proofs really seems solid, ever. In most cases, these arguments act as a self-fulfilling prophesy.

The stock markets actually drop when the yield curve gets inverted – because tons of people are being trained to believe this "wisdom" which may very well be a superstition.

Can you distinguish blacks and whites, Bavarians and Bulgarians?

OK, during a discussion about the similarities and differences between Bavaria and Bohemia, a commenter suddently mentioned hair dye used by some hypothetical Muslims in Western Bulgaria. So I initially laughed: WTF? What does this discussion have to do with the Muslims going to Balkans, or their recolored hair, let alone with Muslims in West Bulgaria?

Why exactly West Bulgaria – where I have never been? We generally know just the Black Sea which is East Bulgaria.

I was obviously near certain that it was a very comical typo – or a sign of the American-level total ignorance about the world geography – so I assumed that what the comment actually meant was "Western Bohemia" where I live, not "Western Bulgaria" which is 1,000 km away and about 50% poorer. Great. The problem is that the discussion didn't stop.

Thursday, August 15, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

A fun German perspective on Pilsen

Peter F. sent me a wonderful 15-minute-long video with commentaries by a German who, along with his wife, visited and liked my hometown of Pilsen, Czechia (170,000 inhabitants, Western Bohemia, 4th largest city in Czechia and 2nd in Bohemia):

His channel name is "Red Pill Germany" so I suppose he is rather right-wing or perhaps close to AfD. OK, the video shows some ordinary sequences from the city center where I also know every meter, as you can guess: I am a Pilsen patriot.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Incredibly low intelligence of anti-quantum, anti-relativistic Bohmists

Fix any theory by adding the axiom "no problem will ever arise"

You know that I like to use the term "crackpot" but I believe that I have actually learned the word from quite some serious, uncontroversial people who avoid expletives at all times: as far as I know, Dr Jiří Langer, an important physics instructor at my undergraduate Alma Mater, was the one who introduced us to the term "crackpots".

For years, the canonical crackpots – compatible with this flavor of the terminology – were haters of Einstein's theory of relativity. Once upon a time, one of them – the author of the far-reaching ;-) book above – came to our department in Prague, along with his buddy, the chairman of Mensa Czechoslovakia, and wanted to persuade the physicists that he had disproven the theory of relativity and, ideally, the professors should nominate him for the Nobel Prize in physics.

OK, he showed some wrong solution to some idiosyncratic version of a twin paradox and I was apparently the only one who exactly knew what was wrong about his reasoning and I have explained the flaw to everybody, including the senior physicists. At that time, I had already had accumulated quite some experience in interactions with the crackpots.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Coincidences, naturalness, and Epstein's death

The circumstances of Jeffrey Epstein's death seem to be a drastic but wonderful metaphor for naturalness in physics: those who say "there is nothing to see here" in the irregularities plaguing Epstein's jail seem to be similar to those who say "there is nothing to see here" when it comes to fine-tuning or unlikely choices of parameters in particle physics.

As far as I can say, a rational person who thinks about these Epstein events proceeds as follows:

  • an invention of rough hypotheses or classes of hypotheses
  • usage of known or almost known facts to adjust the probabilities of each hypothesis
It's called logical or Bayesian inference! That's a pretty much rigorous approach justified by basic probability calculus – which is just a continuous generalization of mathematical logic. The opponents of this method seem to prefer a different Al Gore rhythm:
  • choose the winning explanation at the very beginning, according to some very simple e.g. ideological criteria or according to your own interests; typically, the winning explanation is the most politically correct one
  • rationalize the choice by saying that all other possible explanations are hoaxes, conspiracy theories, "not even wrong" theories that are simultaneously unfalsifiable and already falsified, and by screaming at, accusing, and insulting those who argue that their other choices seem more likely – often those who do some really fine research
Which of the approaches is more promising as a path towards the truth? Which is the more honest one? These are rhetorical questions – of course Bayesian inference is the promising and ethical approach while the other one is a sign of stupidity or dishonesty. I am just listing the "second approach" to emphasize that some people are just dumb or dishonest – while they or others often fail to appreciate this stupidity or dishonesty.

Monday, August 12, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Dusting attack against Litecoin

Crypto-cultists know next to nothing about the technicalities of these payment systems

On Saturday, Binance, a cryptocurrency exchange, has warned that a massive dusting attack against the Litecoin, the fifth largest cryptocurrency by capitalization, was probably underway.

What is it? A dusting attack is a method to discover the identity of the holders of various wallets – or to have a chance to do so, assuming that the owner of the wallet does something "not completely careful". I don't even say "a method used by a malicious party" because I am not sure what is the axiomatic framework in which this activity would be "malicious". The widespread claim that the cryptocurrencies are "anonymous" is just a promise that some people – usually promoters of this worthless hype – spread. It's a statement that may be right or wrong to various extents and no one has the moral duty or the legal obligation to make sure that it is "right"!

I have never promised such an anonymity and I don't think that the anonymous payment systems would be better than the systems in which the anonymity may be broken, e.g. by police, at the end. And a person who finds the names of owners of all Bitcoin wallets could perhaps be described as a curious person and an excellent researcher who can unmask the truth that others try to hide, by using the public information plus the standard allowed payments. So I don't think that the people doing a dusting attack should be called "malicious". They just do something else with the unregulated cryptocurrency networks and software than most others – or they do the same steps but combine them more cleverly.

Sunday, August 11, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Four Tommaso Dorigo's SUGRA blunders

Almost all the media informed about the new Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics (which will be given to the guys during a TV broadcast event on November 3rd; in NASA's Hangar One, Mountain View, CA) – a prize to three founders of supergravity – as if it were any other prize.

The winners are lucky to divide the $3 million and/or they deserve the award which was chosen by a nontrivial process, like in the case of the Nobel Prize or any other prize. Thankfully, in this case, most journalists didn't try to pretend that they know more about supergravity than the committee. The judgements or information about the importance of work in theoretical physics should be left to the experts because these are damn hard things that an average person – and even an average PhD – simply hasn't mastered.

I detected three amazing exceptions. Nature, Prospect Magazine, and Physics World wrote something completely different. The relevant pages of these media have been hijacked by vitriolic, one-dimensional, repetitive, scientifically clueless, deceitful, and self-serving anti-science activists and they tried to sling as much mud on theoretical physics as possible – which seems to be the primary job description of many of these writers and the society seems to enthusiastically fund this harmful parasitism.

Saturday, August 10, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Possible murder of Jeffrey Epstein deserves deep investigation

When I was home from a trip, including the most accessible municipality of Germany where I can get one person by train for $8 (round trip) plus a one-minute-walk (and its larger Czech counterpart), the most important bad news story waiting in the alert centers was the death of Jeffrey Epstein. Very sad yet predictable and predicted.

Officials "report" that it was an apparent suicide. A problem is that the standard camera – that should monitor all the inmates – was just malfunctioning at the moment when he died! What is the probability that the United States of America isn't capable of installing and maintaining a proper camera to check the safety of a billionaire in jail – and that this camera breaks exactly when it's critically needed?

Also, it seems, two key guards were sent away because of "maintenance". Cool. Finally, Epstein was stunningly removed from the suicide watch even though he officially tried to commit suicide just three weeks ago (while he said that someone tried to murder him in late July).

Friday, August 09, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Maize mazes and kids' analytical thinking

Some 3 miles from my home, I saw an advertisement for The Cornies, a labyrinth in the corn. It's really there (near Kyšice) and if you click at the hyperlink, you will see that there are 12 copies of this fun for kids in Czechia. Some extra research indicates that in 2017, this network already existed and included 25 locations.

This is what our local labyrinth apparently looks like from bird's perspective. Try this Google Images search for related pictures.

For a while, I thought that it was an example of a simply clever Czech creativity. But I decided to verify the guess. "Popcorn labyrinth" looked like a suboptimal name. I quickly realized that I was always impressed or annoyed by the fact that the short English words for a labyrinth and for popcorn were the same. So I searched for Maize Maze and indeed, there is an English website with that very name.

Thursday, August 08, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Klimaneutral Germans have completely lost their mind

We are living next to a mad neighbor

By Dr Ivo Cerman, a Czech historian (orig. in CZ)

In the time of the climate crisis, Germany has lost its sound judgement. My latest visits to Germany and my reading of the German media between June and now (August 5th) have led me to the only single possible conclusion: that country has gone utterly crazy.

The theme number one in the media is no longer the migration crisis but the climate crisis. The newest buzzword is no longer "Willkommenskultur" (welcoming culture) but the term "klimaneutral" (climate neutral). Towns and whole lands are embracing Stakhanovite commitments about insanely short deadlines in which they will become "klimaneutral". In early July 2019, Munich adopted a pledge to become the world's first city with over 1 million of people that will be "klimaneutral". At the end of July, the Bavarian prime minister Markus Söder (CSU) already vowed to make all of Bavaria "klimaneutral" and he simultaneously proposed to incorporate the "Klimaschutz" (climate change mitigation) to the Bavarian constitution as well as the German federal "Grundgesetz" (fundamental laws).

Wednesday, August 07, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Indian plan to reintegrate Jammu and Kashmir should be respected

Most of us consider India and Pakistan to be the third world and that limits the attention paid to these countries (Škoda Octavia easily became an Indian bestseller in its category by selling just 196 units in all of India last month!). However, they are the most likely countries to start a nuclear war. We got a little bit closer to such a severe conflict when Pakistan voiced some dissatisfaction with some Indian government's steps to normalize the conditions on the disputed territory.

First, some basic geography. The grey area is India – which is mostly a Hindu (and Buddhist) country. It used to be a British colony along with Western and Eastern pieces that were Islamic and became separate once the colonial rule ended in 1947. The Western neighbor – formerly a part of the colony – is Pakistan while the Eastern, much poorer, Islamic nation is Bangladesh. They could very well be one, disconnected country but it would be impractical. As you see on the map, India is almost disconnected and surrounds Bangladesh in the East.

Needless to say, Bangladesh is so poor that it wouldn't dare to upset India too much even if it wanted.

Andy Strominger becomes lead cheerleader at Greene's festival

Carlo Rubbia demands particle physicists to be courageous and build the damn muon collider, a compact Higgs factory.
A few days ago, the World Science Festival of Brian Greene posted a 90-minute video with interviews about the state of fundamental physics:

Bill Zajc sent it to me and I finally had the time and energy to watch it, at a doubled speed. At the beginning, four minutes of Greene and visual tricks – similar to those from his PBS TV shows – are shown. I actually think that some of the tricks are new and even cooler than they used to be. I really liked the segment where Greene was grabbing and magnifying the molecules and taking the atoms, nuclei, and strings out of them. The illustrations of the microscopic building blocks had to be created to match the motion of Greene's hands.

Tuesday, August 06, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Milner millions for SUGRA

This award is unlikely to erase our sorrow about the two weekend accidents in the mountains (see two previous blog posts) but... As The Symmetry Magazine and many others tell us, three men are going to share a special $3 million Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics for the development of supergravity (or SUGRA for short).

I almost forgot that we have also been to Amsterdam in July 2002. Dan, Martijn, Hong

The three men who deserve the award for their advances especially in 1976 are Sergio Ferrara, Daniel Z. Freedman, and Peter van Nieuwenhuizen. Needless to say, while I could post pictures of all of them (Ferrara at Harvard and van Nieuwenhuizen in Stony Brook), I have been much closer to Dan Freedman (MIT), as a co-author of our pp-wave Paper of Seven that is still anxiously waiting for its 250th citation, and as a partner on bicycles who actually has strong leg muscles to be able to disappear from my horizon whenever he wants.

Congratulations, Dan! And others.

Monday, August 05, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Steven Gubser: 1972-2019

I took the picture on April 14th, 2004 – and it was picked now because it has the format and similar location as Ann Nelson's photo... :-(

Horribly, this website starts to resemble a cemetery. The other news I learned from Bill Zajc is that Steve Gubser died on Saturday morning, while climbing The Comb Needle (3192 m), 5 miles from Mont Blanc, Europe's highest peak (4808 m) – near Chamonix, France – with his 49-year-old climbing partner. Steve's rope snapped and he fell 100 meters. I've heard stories about the places because I was supposed to go to Mont Blanc a decade ago.

Ann Nelson: 1958-2019

Bill Zajc has trained me to expect e-mails that I really enjoy reading – and it still worked very well an hour ago when I saw an e-mail about some new videos about string theory from Brian Greene's festival, including comments by Andy Strominger, Michael Dine, and others (80 minutes, "Loose Ends").

However, that average was crippled when I learned that:


Ann, an impressive peakbagger (see this list, including 264 peaks in her bag), was there with David B. Kaplan, her husband and also a particle physicist. I knew both – at least from a visit to University of Washington, Seattle. (I only had hours to see the Needle Tower with the Flying Saucer at the top... and it was raining bad.) David B. Kaplan – not to be confused with David E. Kaplan – was also a co-author of the deconstruction paper of ours.

During their long-planned backpack trip in the Central Cascades' Alpine Lakes Wilderness (Washington State, click for a map), after standing on loose rock, she fell down a gully on the traverse from the Necklace Valley to the West Fork Foss River Valley (pictures from the area; they were going from the red needle in the East to the West on this map).

Trump's trade war is quietly eroding his political support

Millions of Americans don't boast that they're upset by the president's policies

Donald Trump is a stable genius but he is also illiterate in macroeconomics. He misunderstands the logic and dynamics of the international trade and its causal relationships with the monetary systems – and the monetary systems themselves.

You know, I would go further. I think that his anti-Chinese rhetoric is just another example of the victim mentality – and he could join a department of grievance studies (and become a colleague of the feminists and black rights activists) right away. Why it is so?

The underlying observations that power his sentiments are two facts:

* the persistent U.S. trade deficits in the trade with China
* the high GDP growth rates in China in recent years, above 6 percent

But to make his derivations meaningful, he also has to make another assumption, I believe, that he doesn't brag about too explicitly:

* Chinese are less skillful people so their well-being is expected to be permanently worse than the American one

It's really these three initial assumptions that must be combined in a certain way to conclude that "the Chinese have been robbing Americans" and this "robbing must be stopped by eliminating the trade deficit with China".

The victim mentality is analogous to the feminists' grief about their inability to discover the theory of relativity. It's the men's fault! Similarly, it's the Chinese fault that the U.S. GDP wasn't growing by 6% a year. In one sense, Trump's victim mentality is even more irrational than the feminists' victim mentality. The feminists are really stupider and less successful than the successful men – so they have at least some reason to be bitter. On the other hand, the Americans are still much richer than the Chinese – so it looks silly to blame the Americans' "insufficient wealth" on the evil greedy and rich (oops, what?) Chinese people.

114 private jets gathered in Sicily to fight carbon emissions

Do their ends justify their means?

One week ago, sources including WUWT and Euronews have mentioned a secretive meeting of the self-described elite that wanted to save the climate.

The meeting took place in the Verdura Resort, Sicily. The participants paid for their transportation but the local expenses – with hotels from $900 a night – were paid by Google and its local counterpart, Cosa Nostra. Leonardo DiCaprio, Barack Obama, and Prince Harry were supposed to be stars of the meeting and others have arrived because they enjoy being seen as peers of these three morons – which they mostly are, indeed.

Sunday, August 04, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Mediocre females vs geniuses in the Academia

Mico has linked to the video by Edward Dutton, the jolly heretic:

Episode 42: Do Female Academics Reduce Per Capita Male Genius? (26 minutes)
At the beginning, he's dressed as Pippy Longstocking who has become an attorney for the pirates and he talks nonsense about women's being equally muscular as men. I was sort of sure it was a parody – but the certainty was just about 95% because I've heard too many superficially similar things that were meant seriously.

The key message of the video – which I obviously agree with – is that the feminization of the universities is one of the most important ongoing trends that are chasing the geniuses out. Women's thinking with their orientation on empathy or society or group think, low variability of skills, and even love for bureaucracy is making the environment increasingly hostile towards geniuses – examples of extreme male brains that result from a very high variability and that always place the truth and the essence above the form or empathy.

And, to make the video really on topic, Dutton emphasized that geniuses typically hate (and aren't very good at) bureaucracy and other mundane things in the life.

Saturday, August 03, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Love for bureaucracy and non-solutions to non-existent problems with quantum mechanics

Mr Q wrote something that is said often – in numerous variations:

I think that a good question remains: What observable will be measured when you set a given experimental device? If we knew the answer, all questions regarding this theme become nonsensical.
He promises us to eliminate all doubts and problems if we help him to add some extra structure to quantum mechanics: We need a recipe that tells us "what is measured" if we insert the information about the "experimental device". This will surely bring an unprecedented clarity to everything.

But will it?

Friday, August 02, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

YouTube bans Soph after a video on sexual minorities

Many of us have expected it because Soph is both unbelievably articulate as well as incredibly courageous. But we didn't know what would be the topic that YouTube would consider the "last droplet" before it bans Soph.

Soph's YouTube channel had 994,000 followers but it no longer exists. And the video "Pride and Prejudice" above was the final one that was deleted before the whole channel followed in the video's footsteps – the final straw that broke the camel's back.

Thursday, August 01, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Trump vs Gabbard 2020

I would actually hesitate whom to support

Virtually all the Democratic Party presidential candidates suck as politicians, as ideologues, and as human beings. I don't want you to vomit on my blog so let's not analyze the human failures, crazy hypocrisy, and general Gr$tinism of the likes of F*ckula H*rris. It's too easy to find things that are sick about these candidates – and too hard to find things that are not sick.

Joe Biden is a pervert but he is at least an old-school pervert, like Bill Clinton was one, and that would be far better than any of the real progressives that may threaten America and the world by their replacement of Trump in 2020. The progressive terror that could follow the neo-Marxist whackodoodles' four years of frustration with Trump could make Stalin and Hitler look like lollipops.

Trump vs Biden could be something like elections involving Bill Clinton or George Bush – an echo from an older era. The world has moved on and the political disputes from the 1990s look innocently childish relatively to the semi-credible plans of the current radicals (or morons who are so moronic that some people incorrectly interpret them as radicals).

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