Tuesday, December 12, 2017 ... /////

Well-defined, quantitatively predictive papers become more popular in average

Like her ex-mentor Lee Smolin, Sabine Hossenfelder really hates modern physics. She wrote another diatribe titled

Research perversions are spreading. You will not like the proposed solution.
Well, I hate not only her proposed solution but also her analysis, her assumptions, her way of thinking that isn't really thinking, her lack of integrity, and everything else that is connected with the deceptive idea that she has anything sensible to say about modern science. In her first paragraph,
Science has a problem. The present organization of academia discourages research that has tangible outcomes, and this wastes a lot of money...
we basically learn that she just hates pure science or basic research, she always did, and she always will. So you may think it's ironic that she was hired as a theoretical physicist, a worker in a field that she absolutely deplores and she has no talent for. How is it possible? Well, it's all about the political correctness. By placing folks like Hossenfelder to positions they have absolutely no prerequisites and no passion for, you not only hurt the science and its effectiveness. You also hurt the people whom you claimed to help. She really suffers.
...However, using the scientific method is suboptimal for a scientist’s career if they are rewarded for research papers that are cited by as many of their peers as possible...
Everything in the real world is "suboptimal" or "imperfect". It was always so, it will always be so, and it has to be so. But doing the scientific method well and being praised by competent enough real-world scientists who have been selected in a meritocratic way and who have real passion for the scientific truth is as good an approximation to the optimal state of affairs as you can get in the real world.

All thinkable alternatives are demonstrably vastly worse. For example, if a researcher considered professionally lousy by her actual colleagues tries to get points by writing the cheapest possible anti-scientific diatribes addressed to the most gullible morons who are willing to read such diatribes at Backreaction, the resulting effect on science is bound to be worse than just suboptimal.

Instead of writing big words about the optimal science, she could start by efforts to become an average scientist – subpar researchers such as herself can only dream about such an outcome.

Dutch film about the Bitcoin religious cult

Pablo C. sent me a link to a fascinating September 2017 Dutch documentary

VPRO Tegenlicht Het Bitcoin evangelie (50 minutes)
which shows that the Bitcoin isn't really a clever new technical solution to a problem. It is a religious cult led by extremely emotional and basically unhinged people who have crazy views about almost everything. The film is in Dutch but most of the interviews are in English. Almost all Dutchmen speak English very well but these bilingual programs show that the Dutch language is basically fading away. For sure, bilingual TV documentaries would be considered absolutely unprofessional – and unusable for TV – in Czechia.

The religious spirit among these people is extremely similar to the religious sect described by young Slovak film director Ms Tereza Nvotová, Take It Jeasy (2008; in Czech: "Jesus is sane/normal"), or documentaries about Guru Čmolík, a guy who collected millions by teaching his clients to chew banknotes to become rich, among similar things. Maybe the claim that the Bitcoin "is the same" is slightly exaggerated but the differences seem to be just in the extent, not in the quality.

Beware: spoilers.

Monday, December 11, 2017 ... /////

David Gross: science will survive Pope Urban, Stalin, Hitler, and Trump

Just a comment about some weird statement by a famous guy at a prestigious event.

As Time Magazine told us, in Spring 2016, David Gross started a Trump supporters' dating site, TrumpSingles.com. Gross was originally worried that people would think it was a joke or a parody site. But finally, people appreciated that "they can finally go on dates without worrying about political differences".

OK, that was the David Gross who cared about good people, especially the Trump supporters.

Then there's the other David Gross who doesn't seem to care whether people – such as Trump supporters – can do science without worrying about their political affiliations. They look like two entirely different David Grosses, don't they? ;-) When something looks in a certain way, it's sometimes what it looks like, indeed.

Net neutrality is communism, nationalization

Skillful data transmission engineers need to be appreciated, rewarded, have the freedom to profit from their contributions according to their business plans

On Friday, the FCC is expected to vote and cancel the Obama-era net neutrality, a regulation preventing the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from doing their business according to their own ideas and according to their interests – profit-seeking. Net neutrality is the idea that all ISPs are obliged to indiscriminately send the superficially similar packets from any place to any other place for the price that may only depend on the bandwidth and perhaps a few other physical characteristics and nothing else. According to net neutrality, the ISPs mustn't look inside packets – they must pretend that they're only transmitting binary digits.

But ISPs must have the freedom to use their assets according to their own choice. In particular, they should have the freedom not to connect someone if they think that they (the ISPs) are not fairly compensated for the connection. They may prioritize one type of traffic if they find it more important for their business – probably because this kind of business is more important for their profits. The principle expressed in the previous sentence is an application of the basic rules of the market economy, the basic respect to the private ownership.

You know, these companies and the people behind them have either built the infrastructure with all the cables and invented or refined the somewhat smart technology in the routers etc.; or they are shareholders who have bought it. Why did they build it or buy it? Because they saw it was hard work that was likely to produce profit. How does an ISP produce profit? It may decide whether it connects someone to the Internet, or not.

To strip the ISPs of this freedom means to rob the shareholders of these companies of a part of their assets because their assets are partly if not mostly hiding in their ability to connect someone or some company to the Internet under some conditions.

Everyone who is at least three years old should be able to remember that before the 2015 net neutrality regulation, the Internet worked just fine. In fact, we know it worked very well. On the contrary, in recent two years, the ISPs have complained that they lost the incentives to invest into the infrastructure.

Saturday, December 09, 2017 ... /////

Responsible TRF readers recommended to sell most crypto-stuff today

Futures are keys unlocking cages with horny, hungry Bitcoin grizzlies, tigers that will devour clueless Millennial Bitcoin calves, vegetarian gazelles in their safe spaces

The unbacked cryptocurrencies – led by the Bitcoin as of now – have almost certainly become the most dramatic financial bubble in the world's history. It was possible because the relatively speedy (but not too speedy) financial transactions helped by the computers were combined with the speedy communication between the Millennials – also aided by electronics – that has grown the fanaticism more effectively than the regular conversation during any of the previous bubbles.

The cryptocurrency fever has almost certainly trumped the tulip bulb mania in Holland that ended in 1637, the South Sea Company bubble that grew up to 1720, and the dot-com bubble that burst in 2000 although to some extent, the burst continued for two more years, and a few more events that should have taught us the same lesson. Alan Greenspan has compared the Bitcoin to the first unbacked early "continental U.S. dollars" that dropped to 2% of their price within several years.

I have written some bullish texts – e.g. one claiming that the Bitcoin at $100,000 is compatible with the laws of Nature (that price surely seems significantly more imaginable now than in August) but most of my comments about the Bitcoin have been bearish. I could have imagined several events – forks (that were suspended), Chinese bans, Chinese clever manipulations etc. – to bring the lethal blow that would terminate this whole irrational movement. Just to be sure, in none of the cases, I was predicting that the individual possible death scenario was more likely than 50%. There have only been possibilities. None of these death scenarios has materialized so far – but yes, the combined probability of "some death before December 2017" of all the lethal scenarios I have predicted over the years is higher than 90% – but the Bitcoin is still around. The same is true for all other Bitcoin bears' comments, too. In fact, I would say that most of the Bitcoin fans have been almost as shocked by the irrational explosive growth of the price as the Bitcoin skeptics ;-) so one shouldn't even say that the Bitcoin fans were "more right" than the skeptics. Friday, December 08, 2017 ... ///// Lisa Randall on scientists' duties, distractions, opinion bubbles, and Trump An hour ago, the Wired has published some thoughts by my ex-colleague and occasional TRF guest blogger Lisa Randall Lisa Randall: 'It's important for people like me to keep doing science and not get distracted' At the beginning, she deflects a question on Donald Trump but she returns to it at the end – and makes it clear that she is in favor of the climate hysteria and all kinds of misguided regulations. She knows very well that I am convinced she is wrong on every single "standard political" question of this kind. But her text primarily contains lots of the "unusual ideas" about the science and society which I, for some reasons, find at least equally important. And I agree with a vast majority of her comments. Thursday, December 07, 2017 ... ///// Crackpots' lies about cosmic string predictions Some days ago, I was shocked to learn that the "N*t Even Wr*ng" blog based on painful lies about string theory still exists and that its stuttering perpetrator hasn't been jailed or hanged yet. There are already two new tirades at Peter W*it's notorious website. The newest one celebrates that a non-expert has described the multiverse as the "last refuge of cowards" at a social event. I think much of the research about the multiverse is questionable but slurs like that won't make the possibility go away. Using some irrelevant expletives from a not really scientific event as "arguments" is low-brow, indeed. The previous text titled "String theory fails another test" is based on W*it's complete lies about the predictions of cosmic strings by state-of-the-art physical theories. NiceHash probably stole$65+ million from their users

A recent event has highlighted the hardcore criminal character of the cryptocurrency world.

Up to yesterday, the world's largest shared cryptocurrency mining service was "NiceHash dot com". See that website to figure out that they announced a big hack. Their Bitcoin address was emptied. Some 4,700+ Bitcoins i.e. $65+ million were stolen. Wednesday, December 06, 2017 ... ///// Muslims, leftists, Francis team up to fight U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as IL capital Donald Trump plans to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel today. America should start to move the embassy from Tel Aviv immediately. Internally, Israel controls all of Jerusalem, treats it as her capital, and has institutions over there. Palestinians also call it (al-Quds and) their capital and most of the international community agrees with the Palestinians and disagrees with the reality which is that Jerusalem has been Israel's capital for quite some time. Well, there are two good exceptions now and the pioneering one gets overlooked often. ;-) Current Czech president Zeman has recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital for years. Lots of other Czech politicians agree and in May, the Czech Parliament voted and recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The lawmakers also criticized UNESCO for its having become a tool of the Palestinian terrorists. Tuesday, December 05, 2017 ... ///// Hillary Diane Andales wins the Breakthrough Junior Challenge Our candidate gets a well-deserve award In October 2016, I discussed kids' contributions to the Breakthrough Junior Challenge. They were supposed to record a 5-minute video on string theory or science in general in order to win$250,000.

Well, those 13 months ago, I went through a dozen of videos and decided that Hillary Diane Andales of the Philippines was the best scientist-filmmaker in this age group on this blue, not green planet. Her video about the path integral was cute, insightful, yet intellectually mature and one could see that she was a real deal, not just a movie star. She has described the classical limit in an intuitive way that mostly persuaded me that "she must really be getting it" and was excited that Feynman's formulation applies to all interacting systems in the Universe including the corporations. Hillary got a positive score from me for the detailed physics as well as the corporations. She has been successful in some mathematical olympiads and related things, too.

Up to some irrelevant permutations and invisible yellow Suns, Filipino high school students are my countrymates. Even folks in Chile (not to mention Slovaks) should be jealous of the Czech-Filipino fraternity.

So I just told those Milner folks – through our common friend, Vovka Putin, of course: There is a billion of kids in the world but give those damn \$250,000 to Hillary Diane Andales! And we were also honored by the visit of Hillary herself, our candidate. And John Archer treated her in his characteristic Gentlemanly way, too, and so on.

Kenya: The ark of lights and shadow

...and the eyes of the tiger...

Last night, I went to a lecture by Mr Jan Svatoš, a film director behind The Ark of Lights and Shadows, a movie about wildlife in Africa.

Katy Perry's African video with 2.4 billion views was placed here because unlike some other celebrities, she recently listened to Warren Buffett's critical wisdom about the Bitcoin.

The movie celebrates both the wildlife and the emotional life of the animals in African bushes as well as Martin and Osa Johnson, early American adventurers and basically the main forefathers of all the wild life documentaries at National Geographic and elsewhere. Svatoš has obtained lots of material related to the Johnsons from the Library of the U.S. Congress. I have learned some interesting things.

Monday, December 04, 2017 ... /////

FCC will vote, may abolish "net neutrality" in the U.S.

Especially around 2015, I wrote several texts about net neutrality.

Under Obama's watch, the U.S. regulator of Internet providers, the FCC, adopted the "net neutrality" rules for the Internet. The phrase is constructed to sound "positive" but it is really a form of a ban. Net neutrality means that the Internet providers aren't really allowed to differ from each other in any tangible way. Just like all their competitors, they have to mindlessly and uncritically transfer any data types that someone sends through, without any "discrimination" that would block or even slow down any kind of packets or that would make the fees dependent on anything else than the bitrates and transferred volumes.

Clearly, "net neutrality" is just a severe restriction on people's freedom, a method to force a monopoly or egalitarianism over the users and Internet businesses, and a hurdle slowing down the evolution of specialized services that could live on the Internet. Under the "net neutrality" regime, if streamed porn videos become the dominant type of data in the whole society, they're basically guaranteed to dominate within every Internet provider.

FCC will vote about net neutrality on December 14th and if they vote to abolish this Obama era anachronism, America should be liberated from this particular communist conspiracy between 2018 and at least 2021 when the Democrats may gain enough power to reintroduce it.

Sunday, December 03, 2017 ... /////

A notorious string critic remains invisible at a string event

Are opinions and tirades as important as research and results?

Two days ago, I described my shock after the Quanta Magazine edited a sentence about the set of candidates for a theory of everything according to the order issued by a scientific nobody who had nothing to do with the interview with Witten.

Natalie Wolchover literally thanked (!) Sabine Hossenfelder for providing her absolutely deluded feedback:

Thanks to Sabine, I realized that Edward Witten was just totally misguided. After all, he's just an old white male and those suck. Sabine Hossenfelder told me that there are lots and lots of candidates for a theory of everything and lots and lots of people like Edward Witten, for example the surfer dude Garrett Lisi. I have absolutely no reason not to trust her so I immediately edited the propaganda imprinted into my article by the old white male dinosaur.
She didn't use these words exactly but my words describe more clearly what was actually going on. Crackpots such as Ms Hossenfelder simply control science journalism these days. They have nurtured their contacts, they have the right politics which is what the science journalists actually place at the top, and that's why these disgusting SJWs may overshadow Witten or anyone else.

But I don't want to report just the bad and shocking news of this sort. There are sometimes events that could have evolved insanely but that didn't. On December 1st, Brooklyn saw an example of those. A cultural foundation called the Pioneer Works organized a debate about string theory, Scientific Controversy No 13.

Saturday, December 02, 2017 ... /////

Congratulations to America's tax reform

Donald Trump took victory lap after the U.S. Senate approved the largest tax cut in the U.S. history – by far – hours ago. Senators have joined the Congressmen who have previously approved their version of the bill. Trump claims that their opposition to the bill will hurt The Mocked Rats. I am not so sure but I surely hope so.

The bill got 51 Yes votes – safely above the 50 votes it had needed ;-) – when only one Republican, Bob Corker, voted with the (unanimous) Democratic Party.

Now, because these two bills are different, all the lawmakers will have to spend some time to find a compromise between the two bodies. That's how America often does it – if some kind Yankee explains to me why it wouldn't be better for both chambers to vote on the same bill from the beginning, I will be slightly grateful. ;-)

So the bill may still be killed although I think it's more likely that it will survive.

Pure $AdS_3$ gravity from monster group spin networks

A fifth of my research topics that make me most excited have something to do with the three-dimensional pure Anti de Sitter space gravity. In 2007, Witten pointed out that there is a perfect candidate for the dual boundary CFT, one that has the monster group as the global symmetry.

The monster group is the largest among the 26 or 27 "sporadic groups" in the classification of all the simple finite groups. The CFT – which was the player that proved the "monstrous moonshine" – may be constructed from bosonic strings propagating on the (24-dimensional space divided by) the Leech lattice, the most interesting even self-dual lattice in 24 dimensions, the only one among 24 of those that doesn't have any "length squared equals to two" lattice sites.

I didn't have enough space here for a picture of Witten and a picture of a monster so I merged them. Thanks to Warren Siegel who took the photograph of Cyborg-Witten.

The absence of these sites represents to the absence of any massless fields. So the corresponding gravity only has massive objects, the black hole microstates, and they transform as representations of the monster group. I will only discuss the monster group CFT with the "minimum radius" – Davide Gaiotto has proven that the infinite family of the larger CFTs cannot exist, at least not for all the radii and with the required monster group symmetry, because there's no good candidate for a spin field corresponding to a conjugacy class.

I think that the single CFT with the single radius is sufficiently fascinating a playground to test lots of ideas in quantum gravity – and especially the relationship between the continuous and discrete structures (including global and gauge groups) in the bulk and on the boundary.

Friday, December 01, 2017 ... /////

Hossenfelder has the power to edit, negate Witten's answers in interviews

I've argued that the recent Quanta Magazine interview with Edward Witten has shown some deep differences between the culture of actual top theoretical physicists and the culture of pop science which has largely identified itself with the slogans by the notorious critics of modern physics. Despite all of his diplomacy and caution, Witten simply had to say lots of things that contradict the orthodoxy of the pop science world.

Young Sheldon, off-topic: in the newest episode of the sitcom, we could have seen Elon Musk whose SpaceX stole the ideas how to land on the ocean from the 8-year-old Sheldon Cooper and made Sheldon's notebook disappear. It's great he played it because that's how I imagine Musk's companies to operate whenever they do something right. ;-)
Unsurprisingly, these deep disagreements had extra consequences. One of the answers that Edward Witten "dared" to say was that M-theory was our candidate for a description unifying separate theoretical formalisms quantifying particles and forces that exist or may exist in Nature. Wolchover, the journalist, announced her interview on Twitter and one dissatisfied reaction by Ms Hossenfelder was posted soon afterwards:

Hossenfelder repeats the insane 2010 meme by Nude Socialist that Edward Witten is one of approximately 7 similar geniuses – the list includes Garrett Lisi and a former spouse of Lee Smolin – who have proposed comparably promising theories of everything. Needless to say, none of the "alternative theories" above could be called by a "candidate for a theory of everything" by a sane person who knows the basic stuff about the limiting and approximate theories that contemporary theoretical physics uses and why they're hard to be unified.