Thursday, July 30, 2020 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Terrible Q2 GDP drops could have been worse

I am confident that the second quarter (Q2) of 2020 was the peak of the Covid hysteria and the economy is already vastly more open and prosperous (almost everywhere) in Q3 – and we will see a substantial GDP rise between Q2 and Q3. I also think that there has been some learning and nations won't return to as draconian national quarantines as those that they suffered in Q2 2020.

A financial song from a rare country that didn't lose its marbles because of a dumb coronavirus.

So the Q2 2020 figures should be showing the worst results that the human stupidity – totally unfairly blamed on a nearly harmless virus – could have caused. Many such numbers were published today. In Q2, Germany, Belgium, Austria, and the U.S. are estimated (these are first calculations based on the real data, not some guesswork!) to have dropped by 10.1%, 12.2%, 10.7%, and 9.5% quarter-on-quarter. The first three countries' GDP dropped 11.7%, 14.5%, and 12.8% year-on-year (because there has been a 2% or so drop in Q1).

Here, I need to discuss the American figure, 9.5%. The published figure was 32.9%, slightly better than estimates, but Americans publish annualized figures which means figures extrapolated to one year by an exponential function. I calculated 9.5% by the following formula:\[ 1-(1-0.329)^{1/4} \approx 0.095 \] The American annualization convention is particularly stupid now – because it basically assumes that the GDP growth rate is a continuous function of time (if it is not, then it is very unwise to extrapolate it!). Too bad, even the GDP itself is far from being a continuous function in countries where it's possible to shut down whole industries overnight.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Covid numbers have huge error margins

It helps to show that the virus is really inconsequential.

Because lots of people have been obsessively tested for almost half a year, lots of numbers were produced in the world. The Worldometers statistical page contains a large amount of numbers that describe the "cases" (positively tested people), serious cases, deaths, number of tests in the world's countries (and their states) and their historical evolution.

The two most important official statistical pages in Czechia are Illness-currently and Koronavirus-Mzcr. Let me discuss what was happening to the numbers on the first page.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

A near-MSSM from the 10D \(E_8\) superfield and nothing else

Can the research of fundamental physics be abolished globally? Not really. Pernicious, scientifically incompetent far left activists may only cripple it locally but the human race may still do it and as long as some truly intelligent humans are alive, some of them will do string theory research. Is it possible that the best theoretical high-energy research will move to an unexpected place such as Mexico in a decade? Yes, it is possible although I still believe that some "everyone is already in Mexico" brain drift would probably be needed.

Alfredo Aranda and Francisco de Anda posted an amusing 5-page-long hep-ph preprint

Complete \(E_8\) Unification in 10 Dimensions
where they showed how one can get a damn realistic spectrum for a theory of everything while starting with the 10-dimensional \(E_8\) gauge superfield only, the superfield that lives e.g. on the domain walls of the 11-dimensional M-theory. The presence of an orbifold, \(T^6 / (\ZZ_6\times \ZZ_2)\) in this case, a typical stringy feature, is capable of circumventing the usual conclusion that you can't get a chiral spectrum with groups like \(E_8\).

Monday, July 27, 2020 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Anti-SJW "allies" who aren't real anti-SJW allies

While many Western (and especially Anglo-Saxon) countries are decaying and events from the U.S. and U.K. look increasingly surreal to everyone in countries like mine where people haven't gone nuts yet, lots of people tell me that they're allies. Sadly, they only tell it to me – and they mostly use anonymous nicknames, anyway. On top of that, I am often told things like the following:

I am against the SJWs. But: Shut up. The whole future belongs to the SJWs. The future under their leadership is unavoidable unless some miracle happens, or unless we introduce a full-blown fascist society.
George Soros may be shorting the stock market and paying the fake news journalists for bad news in order to bring the U.S. economy to the knees (and to hurt Donald Trump and everyone aligned with his fate along the way). Incidentally, I just shorted Dow Jones for the third time because it will surely go to 18,000. Isn't it exciting? I will earn XY dollars when it's at 18,000.

Saturday, July 25, 2020 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Randonautica, an example of pseudoscientific superstitions in 2020

There are lots of things happening. I will avoid all the small topics described e.g. in my tweets. But an hour ago, a guy who thinks he is smart sent me an advertisement for Randonautica. Well, it is an app for Android or iOS.

It's a new app for "orienteering", something like Geocaching or Pokémon Go, but the amount of hype surrounding it has been far greater while the substance is far smaller. Check e.g. Google News and YouTube.

Thursday, July 23, 2020 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Portand, Chicago: did this America teach democracy to others?

During a yesterday's bike trip, my friend told me that a major international news agency has declared its desire to capitalize the word "black" but not "white" in the racial sense. I didn't want to believe because it still sounds like a story from The Onion. But it is true. Days ago, The Associated Press decided that its employees are obliged to violate the basic rules of English in this self-evidently racist yet childish way. And indeed, some articles about "black men" were edited even retroactively.

Even if the unhinged anti-white racism that cripples America these days spread in Czechia, I still think that the Institute of the Czech Language would show its authority and it would send its grammar cops, an occupation we copied from the Romans, who would punish the rogue inkspillers. Incidentally, the Life of Brian (by Monty Python) is really excellent and you should watch the full film if you have never done so. It's generally respected that the language is something we inherited from 1,000+ years of our ancestors and we have the moral duty to protect it against putrefaction.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Unnecessarily many Covid drugs, vaccines work

The insanely huge competition shows how much this problem was overblown, too

The stupid part of the public was brainwashed by the fake news media that have claimed – screamed – approximately since mid February that the Wuhan coronavirus is a catastrophe of global proportions that would either end the life on Earth or at least totally change the life of humans. None of these things has happened and none of them could happen (at least in mid February, it was already clear that it was not a serious problem); on the other hand, the implications of the fake news, hysteria, and the mad policies building on it have been deep. Some $10 trillion of economic damages are just a part of the problem.

Average people's imagination was encouraged to contribute to this hysteria. People were inventing their own variations of fake news what terrible ET-style symptoms and threats every infected person gets; what bad events in their life may be blamed on the coronavirus (after a motorbike accident death was counted as "Covid", a health official seriously claimed that motorbike accidents are caused by Covid); and people also volunteered to spread the idea that this disease will never be curable or cured because it's at least as might as God.

Monday, July 20, 2020 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Absurdity of the EU unity

Some folks could have thought that the departure of the U.K. would make the European Union visibly more unified. Well, the ongoing EU summit in Brussels makes it very clear that this fantasy was always detached from reality. The continental part of the European Union has more than enough sources to completely mock the idea that Europe is "close to being one country".

The prime ministers have been talking about the post-Covid recovery fund that is supposed to be a stunning €0.75 trillion. Thirty 100-kilometer colliders. After the two standard days reserved for the proceedings, they haven't agreed about anything. So they added a third day, Sunday. It didn't help. They will meet at 4 pm again.

Sunday, July 19, 2020 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Research mathematics will only disappear if the civilization is over

An artificial "average Russian woman" was only allowed to work as a secretary in the Urals so far. A key point is that she wasn't allowed to run for Putin's job yet.

Various people have promoted their ideas about the "end of history", "end of science" but also seemingly less ambitious ends such as "end of string theory" and "end of experimental particle physics" and more far-reaching ones such as the "end of fossil fuels". None of those has taken place yet – despite hundreds of thousands of activists who are trying to destroy one or many items in the list. Tim Gowers, a 1998 Fields Medal winner, responded to a question about his most controversial opinion

Some details and justifications were written in this thread. OK, we are told that mathematicians will cease to exist when the current youngest postdocs start to die en masse. Why? Gowers believes that the expansion of the Artificial Intelligence into mathematics will make sure it will be the case.

I think that his view is a corollary of a mistaken understanding of the relationship between the people and the machines.

Friday, July 17, 2020 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

An individual cannot be delineated objectively yet precisely

In the Quanta Magazine, Jordana Cepelewicz wrote a provoking article

What Is an Individual? Biology Seeks Clues in Information Theory
which is full of inspiring ideas, correct answers, and especially obsessive promotion of a thoroughly unscientific reasoning. OK, we found some fossils of the multicellular life that existed in the ocean half a billion years ago. It's hard to draw boundaries in between individuals in those life forms. But it's so important to draw these boundaries, all of biology and Darwin's theory depend on it, we are told. Oh, really? Do they?

They don't. The purpose of science is to explain and predict the observations, not to provide us with details of pictures that people arbitrarily made up, such as the assumption that the whole life is clearly separated to individuals by some sharp contours.

Thursday, July 16, 2020 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Gödel and Wolchover: fine technology running inside the liar's paradox

A few days ago, Natalie Wolchover wrote an article about two famous Gödel's theorems. What is cool is that her text isn't just "some popular article about mathematics". It is really a basically full proof of the theorems translated into plain English – without sacrificing the substance.

A big part of her presentation is the translation (Gödel's numbering) of sequences of characters (strings: propositions, proofs...) into unique integer codes. The number of possible strings (or computer files) is countable which means that they may be identified with positive integers in a one-to-one fashion. You could fine-tune a code that translates posssible 16 characters into 0-F (hexadecimal digits) and then add "1" in front of the sequence, to get a hexadecimal number. Well, all of them would start with "1" (which means that not all possible integer codes are used, the map isn't quite one-to-one) but the problem could be fixed by changing the rules a little bit.

Instead, for historical reasons, she picks a perhaps even more elegant translation of final strings into integers: she understands the codes 0-15 as exponents above (increasingly large) primes. Again, it's not quite one-to-one but the problem may be fixed.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Miloš Jakeš (1922-2020): evolving perspectives

On July 10th, Milouš Jakeš (which was his official, somewhat more funny and informally sounding than the commonly publicized, name) died, at age almost 98. He had a secretive funeral and we only learned about the death five days later. He was the last leader of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia in the communist era. It is interesting to see how my perspectives have evolved – and it is relevant for our comparisons of the communism of the 1980s and the neo-Marxism-driven present.

After the 1968 Soviet-led occupation of Czechoslovakia that ended the promising Prague Spring, General Ludvík Svoboda stayed as the president up to 1975. Then both functions of the president and the communist "general secretary" (the latter was really more important, a characteristic sign of totalitarianism) were merged in Gustáv Husák, a Slovak guy who was once given a life in prison by fellow communists for his alleged support of the nationalist capitalism.

Monday, July 13, 2020 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

When a new proposed habit is really voluntary, it will be ignored by most

That's why policies desirable by the majority of voters must be made transparent and mandatory

In the previous blog post, among other things, I outlined my proposals to make face masks mandatory in the public interior spaces (and perhaps under other conditions) during the winter flu season, at the places with massive flu outbreaks, in analogy with policies that almost certainly suppressed the spreading of Covid-19 in my country and others. The number of weeks that we spend in the bed with fever may very well drop to a tiny fraction of the current value.

Fer137 protested and argued that instead, such duties (to wear the mask) should be voluntary. The problem is that the bulk of the crazy characteristic behavior of the humans in communism was "voluntary-compulsive" and when it comes to the number of these things, the contemporary America is arguably more Soviet than the Soviet Union ever was. Well, let's start in the Soviet Union, the main communist country during the Cold War era, and look e.g. at the definition of a subbotnik (the picture at the top is relevant):

Subbotnik... was a day of volunteer unpaid work [during the weekends]. Initially they were indeed voluntary but gradually de facto obligatory from announcement, as people quipped, "in a voluntary-compulsive way" (в добровольно-принудительном порядке).
It was really a big part of the totalitarian power, and a huge sign that the civilized rule of law didn't exist, that the powerful could have made things obligatory in a voluntary-compulsive way. People were obliged to say it was voluntary but they were also obliged to do it! The powerful had so much power that they could force the whole population to do something even without writing anything (any law). When they said "something would be nice", it was done! Well, only the time was spent by the enslaved nation; the economic results of these policies were usually poorer than the rulers dreamed.

Sunday, July 12, 2020 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Face masks in America, treating flu as Covid

Czechs, the first white nation that made the face masks mandatory on March 18th, have thrown them away because we have determined that nothing like epidemics exists on our territory. They're mandatory in the Prague subway, currently 4 highly localized outbreaks areas (some 4x 0.5% of the Czech population), plus a minority in situations in hospitals. Meanwhile, Trump finally sports a face mask, too. He wisely says that it is only helpful in some contexts but calls it a "great thing to wear".

In late March, I wrote Ivanka to persuade her dad to make the face masks as normal in the U.S. as they became normal in Czechia – and it really took 3 days from "local fads" to the nationwide Czech mask duty. (Numerous other Czechs wrote similar messages to American and other VIPs.) Too bad, the U.S. has recorded over 100,000 "deaths with Covid" but 3 months later (instead of the 3 days in Czechia), Ivanka's dad finally sports a mask, too (too bad, without any U.S. flags or MAGA colors and symbols, so disppointing).

Friday, July 10, 2020 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Ethan Siegel, not Stephen Hawking, lies about the black hole radiation

Years ago, I thought Ethan Siegel was a decent science writer. His texts seemed to be full of data that sort of overlapped with some basic knowledge about many physics questions. However, in the recent year or two, I stopped following him after I saw a vast excess of totally wrong, unreasonable, and sometimes toxic "punch lines" in his articles such as the claims that:

and many others. I've probably missed many similar cesspools of lies, misconceptions, and far left insanities because I haven't followed him for more than a year. But because of John Preskill's Twitter account, I learned about another beauty:
Yes, Stephen Hawking Lied To Us All About How Black Holes Decay
Aside from some other arrogant manifestations of Siegel's complete misunderstanding of the Hawking radiation (and I will discuss what is arguably the most important example), he primarily repeated the sentence that "Hawking and his followers have lied to us for 32 years" when they said that the Hawking radiation may be explained by a virtual particle-antiparticle pair which becomes real, one member of the pair falls into the black hole, and the other one escapes.

Thursday, July 09, 2020 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Melbourne 2nd lockdown: fool me once...

First, basic facts. Australia has some 25 million inhabitants. Sydney and Melbourne are the largest cities, in the New South Wales and Victoria, respectively. The basic statistics page shows that Australia has had 9k cases and 100 deaths or so, only 4 of those were after May 23rd. The number of deaths per capita has been basically zero. Note that the seasons are reversed relatively to most of ours but the (currently ongoing) winter is really mild, too.

OK, because of "roughly a hundred positive tests per day", the Victorian authorities have re-established a harsh lockdown on the city. The 5 million people who are trapped inside cannot really leave the area for six weeks (a siege). They can't visit relatives. Restaurants, barbers, and most of other would-be non-essential things are shut down and so on.

Wednesday, July 08, 2020 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Harvard's purely online learning is a fancy way to turn education into a complete farce

Harvard University is one of the most hardcore leftist places that want to cancel the in-person instruction entirely; all teaching and learning should be done online from the Fall. Donald Trump has rightfully pointed out that this decision is ridiculous, an easy way out for which they should be ashamed. Many other universities are "more moderate" and they prepare a hybrid system which is partly in-person, partly online.

Trump previously tweeted that the schools must open in the autumn. The tweet got over 300k "likes" which is unusually high even according to his standards. The desire to stop the hysteria and open the schools is almost certainly a "bipartisan cause". All pro-civilization people, including former voters of the Democrats, realize that the education is important, young people are pretty much completely resilient to Covid-19, and the benefits of the education vastly exceed the risks for the public health. And I strongly believe that the plan to remove the far left indoctrination from schools would also have a rather strong bipartisan support and Trump should add it as a visible part of his program.

Tuesday, July 07, 2020 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Steven Pinker, the latest target of "cancel culture"

Steven Pinker is Harvard University's most prominent evolutionary psychologist, a man who knows how to explain why the people (and animals) evolved to think in the ways that we observe.

Aside from hundreds of technical papers that have collected almost 100 thousand citations, he is also well-known for many popular books dedicated (not only) to the intelligent laymen. "The Blank Slate" is one of them; his latest bestseller, "Enlightenment Now...", is an optimistic description of the world we inhabit. During the witch hunts on Larry Summers around 2005, I was fortunate to communicate with him as one of the beautiful minds with a spine. I've also attended some ingenious lectures he gave.

"Time will tell" has become a favorite replacement for arguments from those who spread lies

The seemingly innocent phrase is responsible for a big part of the decay of the West

Don't get me wrong. The sentence "time will tell" has been an innocent, and nearly tautologically true, sentence that many people have used at many moments. The sentence means that in the future, we will know more. It's true. To say the least, someone will know more about the events that lie in the "future" for us but they are the "present" for him, especially the events (and it's almost all events) that will be affected by Nature's quantum mechanical random generator.

On this website, you may probably find dozens of copies of this sentence written by me, too. However, in recent weeks, I saw that "time will tell" has turned into something much less innocent: into a religious slogan that is particularly favored by those who are wrong about all the important propositions they are making – and who are demonstrably wrong because they simply deny facts and proofs that already exist now.

Friday, July 03, 2020 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Cumrun Vafa vs sloppiness of "lessons from JT gravity"

A decade ago, the main topic that clumped fundamental physicists to two camps was almost certainly the anthropic reasoning – or its flawed character. It gradually faded away because people agreed that there was no argument that would settle the question – and in the case of the anthropic approach, there wasn't a consistent theory that was ready to be used. Aside from some correct propositions that were worthless because they were tautological, the anthropic school was just an extreme ideology and it remained an extreme ideology.

Coleman's \(\alpha\)-parameters from baby universes were a prank or funny gesticulation, not a serious lecture about the actual mechanisms of quantum gravity.

But numerous other topics were fundamental enough and answered by highly controversial views. For example, late Joe Polchinski and his co-authors who are alive and kicking were promoting the idea that there was a firewall on the boundary of every black hole. It's obviously wrong and Joe was sort of accepting that it was wrong – but some people still enjoyed giving evidence to the answer that was wrong, the arguments were clever, and as long as you didn't throw away your common sense, you could have learned some things.

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