Monday, August 31, 2020 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Monstrous moonshine and string theory: a compressed popular book

Because an excited reader of popular books has claimed that he has learned more from this Quora answer of mine than from a whole popular book on monstrous moonshine (which is promoted at the bottom of this text), I decided to repost it here and call it "a compressed popular book". An advantage of such a free, compressed book is that you may save your money for a book and buy the bottle instead, the same bottle that Andrew Ogg promised to anyone who proves the monstrous moonshine.

How did string theory help Borcherds solve the monstrous moonshine conjecture?

First, let me state a simplified version of the Monstrous moonshine conjecture. The conjecture states that the numbers 196,883 and 196,884 that appear at two seemingly totally different places of mathematics are so close for a rational reason. It says that it isn’t just a coincidence.

What are the two places? First, consider the Monster group. It is some group (set) of operations (the “group” means that there is a rule how to compose i.e. “multiply” two operations) analogous to the rotations of a cube or dodecahedron that keep the shape unchanged. Except that the monster group has almost \(10^{54}\) elements.

Saturday, August 29, 2020 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Green scientific illiteracy enters small nuclear reactors, too

I was asked about my opinion about the news story

Bill Gates' nuclear venture plans reactor to complement solar, wind power boom.
OK, this story is a combination of two very different things:

* a proposed (not quite) new type of reactors
* framing this incremental evolution as a part of a widespread ideology

The second component is totally sick but the first one is unspectacular, too.

Friday, August 28, 2020 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

I-folds, anomalies, and how string theory agrees with "pure thought" when it comes to the allowed ranks

At Harvard, Miguel Montero and Cumrun Vafa were fighting for their new and exciting paper

Cobordism Conjecture, Anomalies, and the String Lamppost Principle
to be the first one in the hep-th listings today. To win, your paper has to be the earliest one posted after 18:00:00 UTC. And they got 18:00:01 UTC. Too bad, it was only enough for the silver medal today. Try harder next time, Gentlemen. ;-)

It's a paper within the Swampland program that is refining the evidence in favor of the String Lamppost Principle. In plain English (i.e. when the technical language of cobordisms and anomalies is removed), the principle says the following:
If you don't like that string theory is absolutely needed to define a consistent theory of quantum gravity, then you are a dick or an aßhole that should go fudge himself or herself.
You may protest that there is a complementarity problem here: if you are a dick, you may apply the verb on others, but you can't be the passive element at the same moment. And on the contrary, if you are an aßhole, you can be the passive one but not the active one. Indeed, complementarity poses a problem for these individuals but it's their problem, not a problem for those who sort of know that the principle is right.

Thursday, August 27, 2020 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

A really simple code drawing a Swedish herd immunity graph

Unlike most countries whose public health authorities were taken over by anti-science leftist ideologues doing very dirty politics, Sweden has chosen a rigorously scientific approach to the Covid-19 contagion.

It has achieved the most beautiful state of herd immunity in the world and its graphs look really organic and nice. Click at the Swedish statistical Covid page and focus on "avlidna per dag" (deaths per day) in the right lower corner. The peak of 115 deaths per day occurred twice, on April 8th and April 15th, and the disease started to drop at that time and the average number of deaths in late August is below 2 per day. These numbers are bound to decrease further. Despite its "no lockdown policy", Sweden already has fewer "cases" and deaths per day (in recent weeks) than Czechia, a country with the same 10+ million people which did a rather draconian shutdown in spring (and has 420 deaths with Covid instead of Sweden's 5800 now). Czechia only paid 2.5% of the extra GDP drop for its unwise lockdown, relatively to Sweden, but the advantages of that lockdown have become clear disadvantages by now. Sweden knows that no substantial restart of the disease is coming; Czechia can't be this sure because the degree of Czechs' immunity is much lower. That's why Swedes may live without fear now and especially in the autumn; Czechs may still have some fear (although most of us don't) and the temptation to lock extra things in October.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

An interesting German textbook on particles and strings

Arthur Hebecker is a professor of physics in Heidelberg (picture above: the bridge is almost like one in Regensburg, our twin city), a traditional German mathematics hub (the list of famous and brilliant people linked to that town is incredible for a town of 160,000). He's done GUT, orbifolds, and many other things but Springer (which has HQ in Heidelberg, Berlin, NYC, Dordrecht) is preparing a textbook. Here is the free version of it:

Lectures on Naturalness, String Landscape and Multiverse (PDF)
It is an interesting 269-page-long textbook with stuff from particle physics to some cutting-edge topics in string theory and around string theory that is appropriate for the year 2020.

Saturday, August 22, 2020 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Unity Biotechnology failure: aging isn't a disease

In recent years, some rich people and companies started to invest into a "desirable" technology that we know from some science-fiction films: "Let us stop aging". Doubled or infinite lives are great, they said. Google founded Calico in 2013, Oracle's Larry Elison made an investment. Jeff Bezos and Peter Thiel invested into a competing San-Francisco-based Unity Biotechnlogy Inc.

Only minutes ago, I read the mission of Unity Biotechnology:

[to] extend human healthspan, the period in one’s life unburdened by the disease of aging
I exploded in laughter. This looks like the ultimate snake oil with a science-fiction flavor. OK, many people want to stop aging. But is it possible? And is it right to call aging "a disease"? My answer to the second question (and probably the first one) is a resounding No.

Lidl CZ is 10+ years ahead of other supermarket chains

In Beroun, a town between Prague and Pilsen, they had opened a "new generation store" already in 2015 (which recently was and probably still is the largest Lidl store in Central Europe). Now in 2020, our local Pilsner-Doubravka store got upgraded to a similar if not identical "new generation" and it really makes a difference.

Dieter Schwarz (*1939), a German Jew, is the 3rd wealthiest German ($18 billion or so) and the owner of the Lidl and Kaufland chains. The local Lidl has been my grocery store of choice since its birth almost a decade ago. I have believed that they were ahead of others. But minutes ago, I returned from that store after an 8-day-long reconstruction and expansion (Friday-to-Friday, August 14-21; I had to go to a Norma once and Coop twice, not too pleasant); it was far from the first expansion of that shop. And I am just impressed.

Lidl is currently a decade ahead of the competing chains. The difference is literally comparable to the difference between the capitalist grocery stores and communist grocery stores in the 1980s. I am stunned. My visits to the other stores are often unpleasant, products are missing, most things are 30% more expensive, employees are slow, they chat with friends and ignore consumers, long lines, and so on.

Thursday, August 20, 2020 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Millennials: shallow education & lack of stubbornness are linked to each other

The Czech minister of healthcare, Adam Vojtěch, was born in 1986 – a Millennial – and became semi-famous in 2005 when he was a contestant in the Czech Superstar (American Idol). His nickname was Ken because there was also a girl, Světlana Šáchová, who was nicknamed Barbie. Fine. In the subsequent 15 years, he got a law degree and was named the minister of healthcare – probably because the billionaire Babiš was told by his PR folks (perhaps Mr Marek Prchal himself) that it was a great idea to have a minister who is considered a "male model".

Mr Vojtěch clearly became more visible during the 2020 viral hysteria. Czechia locked down things intensely in March. Babiš and his ministers showed that they were holding the power firmly in their hands. And Czechs were disciplined. But the loosening started relatively fast and was sensible. I followed the minister and "liked" tons of tweets as he was introducing the Smart Quarantine, the tracing mechanism to find the infected people, plus the traffic light map.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Many countries, regions insanely fight against infinitesimal numbers of Covid infections

The far left politicians in Victoria are increasingly crippling the economy and life in that region of Australia. They started when the number of "deaths with Covid" in Australia was about 100; now it is 450, just slightly above Czechia's 401 (Victoria, Czechia, Australia have 6.4, 10.7, 25 million people, respectively). It's still tiny. But we may also see that the new draconian policies surely didn't stop the propagation of the disease; we might say that the hard data indicate that they kickstarted the new growth instead. There is no reason to think that the curfew-like conditions make anything better. They have helped nobody so far.

In New Zealand, about 100 infections plus one "death with Covid" in 3 months was enough for the prime minister to get away with the postponing of elections by one month. Lukashenko is being hysterically and so far baselessly accused of rigging the elections but when a lady cancels the elections altogether to easily add one month to her tenure, no one seems to care!

In the U.S. Sunbelt, the number of deaths per million people is 4 times smaller than it was in the Northeast (400 instead of 1700 or so). But the hysteria seems to be the same if not greater. My main observation is that the amount of suffering, hospitalizations, and deaths doesn't seem to affect the hysteria at all. Isn't it ironic? It is ironic and it is true. The hysteria has nothing to do with any facts or medical suffering. It is all about the power to enslave the people.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Maldacena, Milekhin: sci-fi-like semi-realistic traversable wormholes

The wormhole scene from Interstellar, 2014. Traversable wormholes like this one are normally thought "impossible due to the energy conditions" but as long as we ignore these inequalities, the simulation of the observations was created to be as realistic and GR-obeying as possible. Thanks to Kip Thorne for that (he got the Nobel Prize for something else, LIGO).

In April, I discussed Maldacena's playful magnetic black holes where the electroweak symmetry may be restored on the Corona. Along with Alexey Milekhin (both IAS), they just released a morally similar paper with some "not quite mathematically demanding" black hole physics,

Humanly traversable wormholes.
1915 Einstein's general theory of relativity (GR) is our classical theory of gravity – that Einstein built to be compatible with his 1905 special theory of relativity. GR has lots of verified consequences such as corrections to Newton's equations, the Big Bang, and the black holes, among other things.

Monday, August 17, 2020 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Czechs have moved on: 70-77% disapprove of the partial reintroduction of face masks from Sept 1st

Between mid March and mid April, the Covid fear was genuine – even in my Czech homeland. It was spread not only among the journalists and the ordinary people but among some (but not a majority of) physicians, too. That's why I consider the Covid comments by our PM Babiš in Harvard International Review fair. Many people including sensible ones indicated fear, the government acted fast, and introduced one of the most strict and most rigorously enforced lockdowns in the world. If a shutdown has ever had a chance to make sense, it must have been very short and intense (like the fuel in a rocket that is burned as quickly as possible to kick it to the orbit). A long-term partial suppression of everything has never made any sense whatsoever (just like the wasting of fuel for keeping a rocket 100 meters above the ground).

Mirai: Put on a Face Mask, March 2020. With 4 million views, they are still using my Lumo English subtitles. ;-)

(It is a nice interview, e.g. when Babiš correctly corrects the journalist who says that Babiš' path to power was "unorthodox". Instead, Babiš' motivation and path were really a textbook example of orthodox democracy. Someone who had some capacity to do politics observed some dissatisfaction and the demand for some kind of politics and matched the demand with his supply. I approve it despite the fact that I haven't ever been a part of that demand.)

Most Czechs got quickly persuaded that face masks were the key difference that helped East Asia to tame the disease. I've been saying it at least since February, I think that the evidence has grown it is the case, and the face masks have become a patriotic symbol of a sort. I think that the reduction of the viral doses by the face masks is probably even more important for the lowering of the fatalities than the complete prevention of the transmission. Since March 18th when the face masks became mandatory in Czechia (and when the face mask song above was posted!), we grew into a nation of face mask missionaries. The pioneers of face masks among whites. Maybe our having lots of the Vietnamese folks has helped to spread this "Asian" culture here.

Sunday, August 16, 2020 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Surprising anti-Lukashenko warriors are mainly Covid cowards, the new wave of leftists

An amusing report from the May 9th celebrations of the 1945 victory against Germany. No restrictions were imposed on Belarus! The nation of 4 million still has just some 600 deaths with Covid so far.

I am not able to reliably figure out whether Alexander Lukashenko has gotten way over 50% (he says 80%) of votes in the elections. This is the main unknown that makes it hard to make unambiguous conclusions about "absolutely everything". If he improved the results from below 50% to 80%, then it is a huge fraud and he should obviously be removed. I still think that it's wrong for other countries to organize the removal. If that fraud were real, the people of Belarus surely have enough strength and potential to fix their country themselves.

But I find it very likely, above 95%, that Lukashenko's victory is damn real. Let me assume it is the case in the rest of the blog post. Well, if it is the case, then the integrity of the whole country is at stake and the president of Belarus has the duty to defend his country against foreign mercenaries and their domestic fifth columns. With my assumption, those teamed up with the foreign forces are really traitors and while it's sad if someone is tortured, it would be understandable because the whole country is facing existential risks.

Saturday, August 15, 2020 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

A proof of string theory

For a few decades, competent researchers of fundamental physicists have "almost known" that any consistent theory of quantum gravity has to be string theory.

For a long time, the evidence supporting this statement has been somewhat incomplete, somewhat circumstantial, somewhat built on fuzzy aesthetic criteria, and on the elimination of some imaginable, increasingly large classes of conceivable alternatives (which were never quite "all possible alternatives"). In recent years, however, a more systematic or more axiomatic analysis of the concepts and patterns has made many things clearer to get closer to establishing the equivalence

which is basically the same thing that Cumrun Vafa calls the "String Lamppost Principle". Jared Kaplan and Sandipan Kundu (John Hopkins) posted a fun hep-th preprint
Closed Strings and Weak Gravity from Higher-Spin Causality
where they prove the existence of the closed string spectrum (a Hagedorn tower) from the assumption that higher-spin particles exist; and causality works.

Friday, August 14, 2020 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Klaus: a progressive victory in the US is a more serious worry than the Chinese politburo

A statement of the [Czech ex-president] Václav Klaus Institute, August 13th

Which side do we stand on?

Today, the Czech media have informed about the visit by Mike Pompeo with headlines such as "You have our backs". They were quoting the American secretary who expressed worries about our freedom and democracy which are, in his opinion, threatened by the activities of the competing superpowers, China and Russia. He was assuring us that the U.S. is ready to help us to defend the conditions of liberty. We must praise it, that is how it should look in between allies.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

The world according to Thiel

David B. sent me several interesting videos including some interviews with Peter Thiel. Exactly half a year ago, he participated at this Hoover Institution event:

The World According to Thiel
His are great ideas and I agree with virtually everything in this video, except for some comments (including some in between the lines) closer to the end. Concerning China, something we solve intensely these days because Mike Pompeo visited the EU capital Pilsen (I was 3 meters away from him) and he added a less important city named Prague today, and will continue to Poland, Slovenia, and Austria, Thiel said that China is a non-democratic mostly capitalist mixed system and it can survive in this way or it may change. We don't know.

Is China ahead of the West? It often enforces two totally contradictory opinions on the Westerners at the same moment: China is superstrong and ahead; China is superweak and stuck in the Middle Ages. These claims disagree with each other but they're used psychologically to double the impact on the typical listener (the goal is for everyone else to give up). I agree it's all irrational. China is something in between and it will almost certainly be "comparable" to the U.S. for quite some time. It has made a big economic progress but it's equally amazing how poor they still are. They are 1.4 billion people whose average IQ is above the average American IQ but they still have just the GDP similar to the 330 million Americans. A sign that something is still very wrong about the system.

Monday, August 10, 2020 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Positivism: relativity, QM just demand questions to be precise

Off-topic: A fun popular stringy talk by Cumrun Vafa from the last week, hat tip: Erwin

And translatable to well-defined properties of the sensory perception

The laymen usually refuse quantum mechanics – and jump on the bandwagon of moronic pseudoscientific fairy-tales such as Bohmian mechanics, many worlds, objective collapse, or even superdeterminism – because they are just overwhelmed by the very realization that the observer plays any role in the application of the theory.

The insight that observers matter sounds like "soul" or "religion" and materialists in a very broad sense (a set that happens to include many Catholic theologians, it turned out) just instinctively refuse it. But it is simply wrong to reject scientific propositions instinctively; it is wrong to clump and conflate them according to ideological criteria. Even if the quantum mechanical observers were "religion", it's not the same as "Islam" or something like that and your usual arguments against religions simply fail. They certainly fail. In fact, the basic postulates of quantum mechanics and demonstrably true.

Sunday, August 09, 2020 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Brainwashing about Covid-19 continues at full steam

We have often said or heard that the old, manipulative media are dying and that is why the filth working in them is getting desperate and increasing the amount of lies that they are spreading. This may very well be true but it is also true that they are still alive and turning millions of people into brainwashed mental cripples.

Thankfully, while most of the Western European and North American youth have been persuaded to hide in the basement, their Czech and Slovak counterparts participated at this traditional bucket party on the Zrće beach, Pag Island, Croatia. A bucket party is a party where everyone drinks alcohol from the same 20-liter bucket; the Czech-and-Slovak slang is "párty kýbl" (the correct Czech word for a "kýbl", a cool parasitic Germanism, is a "vědro" or a "kbelík", however). Bucket parties have existed for years before Covid-19 (see videos from previous years) but something was "even more sexy" about drinking from the same bucket in July 2019.

Thursday, August 06, 2020 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Apologists for Stalinist murders conquered Prague's philosophy department

I read most of tweets by the Archbishop of Prague, Dominika Duka. I have drunk beer next to him several times, he's spent years in my hometown of Pilsen (in the Bory Prison above: he overlapped with Havel at least once) and he's simply a man of integrity who has wise opinions about the historical as well as currently relevant political questions.

Today, his tweet looked like he was worried and the topic seemed unfamiliar to me:

Duka: I get goosebumps when I hear about the revisionist opinions that became widespread at the Philosophy Department of the Charles University in Prague when it comes to the appraisal of the previous [communist] regime – and when I realize that these opinions are often articulated by those who could only hear about the events indirectly.
He linked to his fresh blog post where he supported Michal Klíma, his friend and the boss of the Holocaust Victims' Foundation in his arguments against the dean of the Philosophy Department (who has a German sounding surname).

Tuesday, August 04, 2020 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

GUT from \(SO(32)\) heterotic string

Jihn Kim wrote his 351st paper and it's intriguing:

Grand unfication models from \(SO(32)\) heterotic string
At least in the 1980s, the \(E_8\times E_8\) heterotic string theory was the main phenomenologically relevant class of string compactifications, the main candidate for a theory of everything. However, there's another possible gauge group of heterotic strings in \(D=10\), namely \(SO(32)\), more precisely \(Spin(32)/\ZZ_2\).

Saturday, August 01, 2020 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

RIP Joan Feynman (1927-2020). Media supporting "women in science" are 100% silent

I had a pleasant and refined German guest-scientist in Pilsen today. We chatted about lots of things and – because of some related work by my guest – we also mentioned Joan Feynman. With some uncertainty, I said that she recently died – because it followed from a tweet by John Preskill that I read in the last week:

I didn't quite internalize the information about her death because "-2020" were the only characters in the tweet that talked about the death. Sadly, a Californian funeral website supports the theory that she died and/or had a funeral on July 22nd.

The video that Preskill embedded shows her lively mental abilities and her charmingly modest yet realistic sense of humor – when she was already over 90 years old. I also think that her way of speaking and gestures are extremely similar to her brother, Richard Feynman. They had the Far Rockaway, Queens, New York accent, some Jewish flavor added into it, but the similarities go much further and deeper, into the rhythm of the smiles and the "preparation for a shooting of ideas" with some degree of a combative, suffering frowning at the right moments that precedes the smiles. You are invited to provide us with a more detailed quantification of their similarities.

A thank-you speech

By Luděk Sobota

0:00 Dear friends,
allow me, on the occasion of handing over this award to me, more precisely of taking over this award... To put it clearly, your handing over and my taking over of your award. Well, of the award that used to be yours but now it is already mine.

0:22 Friends, I am touched and I am moved. I can't even hide my erection... I mean elation... my movement. I cannot move. I cannot find words.

0:39 Friends, I am looking for words and I cannot find them. Friends, on this occasion, let me thank to all those who made it possible for me to earn this prize. In the first place, it was the viewers in the first row.

0:59 But also the viewers in the second row. Viewers in the third row. Viewers in the fifth row. Viewers in the sixth row.

1:13 Friends, I cannot forget the viewers in the fourth row. Last but not least, I thank to the viewers in the last row.

1:40 Friends, I am thankful to the employees of the Czech Television who have built the stage sets, who dressed me, who lubricated me, and who have called me to the stage, often in vain.

1:57 I am also grateful to my colleagues-actors who have collaborated with me and in this way, they created the opportunity for me to come to the fore.

2:20 Thanks to the actresses that they gave me... the same opportunity. Thanks to the film directors that they haven't given me the same opportunity.

2:40 Thanks to the script directors for having crossed out my, often not too witty, text and replacing it with a far different, with a far different text.

3:04 I also thank to all the lighting electricians who have enlightened me. But also to the workers in the power plants who have released the electricity here into us.

3:23 Also, I thank to all those who are reparing the roads and cars. Without all these people, I couldn't get here and without without all these people, I could shove my acting, frankly speaking, I could shove my acting... somewhere.

3:48 Friends, thanks to my wife who has always calmed me and cleaned me; who has always, when I brought the salary from the Czech Television, done the vacuum cleaning. And who is washing me very often. Thanks.

4:14 I mustn't forget about my parents, either. Friends, thanks to my mother who has given birth to me. I thank to my father that he met her... and that he had a child with her and in fact, it was such a child that was one like me. And they made it possible for me to grow in such a grea... to grow in such a great ate ate... for me to grow in such a? Great? ATE ACTOR who has such a terrible prize.

5:25 I am also thankful to the parents of their parents. But also to the parents of those parents and of those parents... Friends, I thank to Forefather Czech for having brought my great great grandparents here.

5:43 I thank to the Slavník Dynasty that they created the room for the Přemyslid Dynasty. I thank to the drug addicts, the narkomen... the Marcomanni, the Quadi, and the Celts that they have evacuated our territory in time so that my great great grandparents could have come here.

6:06 Also, I thank to the Asians that they allowed the Slavs, before the latter found their new home here, to be accommodated on the territory of the contemporary Mongolian People's Republic and its vicinity.

6:23 I thank to the monkeys that, in the prehistoric times, higher, erected mammals could have evolved from them, i.e. the humans, and to Darwin who has made this realization because otherwise I would run out of the people whom I can thank. Thank you!

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