Tuesday, April 16, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Notre-Dame fire: a symbol of so many sad trends of the present

I think that in the grand scheme of things, Notre-Dame de Paris (meaning: Our Lady of Paris) isn't a property of the French people only.

It's really something that the whole mankind, and especially the Christian and Western civilization, owns and a symbol of that civilization. The cathedral in the classic French Gothic style was built between 1163-1345. It has survived 650-850 years or so, including lots of continental wars, cruel regimes etc. Before yesterday, the worst devastation has been an angry French Revolution mob that was destroying the organ and sculptures. The cathedral became the workplace of Mr Quasimodo, the hunchback of Notre-Dame in a novel by Victor Hugo.

Because that structure is so universally important, I feel that all of us deserve condolences – so it doesn't make much sense for some of us to express condolences to others. But if Notre-Dame has been much closer to someone's heart than mine, please accept my condolences. By the way, the fire has been completely extinguished – but it took some half a day. The rectangular towers survived but the stability has to be monitored.

It's my guess that most of the TRF readers have been there – I was – and about 1/2 of those have seen the interior, too. Geologist Bob Carter was there in late 2015 – he interacted with some young climate alarmists. Sadly, Bob died a month later... At some level, it's another cathedral – except it's a very old and very famous one.

Monday, April 15, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Modern young black hole researchers need this quantum BH textbook by Lüst and pal

I think that all young people thinking as theoretical physicists who are interested in black holes should simply buy this new 2019 book Black Hole Information and Thermodynamics (SpringerBriefs in Physics) by Dieter Lüst (Munich, the main author) and Ward Vleeshouwers (Utrecht, a young contributor). The book is basically a set of notes of some 2017 lectures by Lüst, as recorded by Vleeshouwers.

It's a book that looks at the black holes, objects predicted by Einstein's general theory of relativity, from viewpoints that are utterly modern. The book is available as Kindle or paperback.

Massie vs Kerry: a tense exchange on the climate

A week ago, RWA recommended me Congressman Thomas H. Massie, a robotics engineer (his Google Scholar record isn't bad!) and a Libertarian (R-KY). It just happens that YouTube offered me a 5-days-old video (boasting 1 million of mostly "progressive", CNN viewers) with this very Gentleman whose name I wasn't actively aware of just weeks ago:

John Kerry fires back at congressman: Are you serious? (video, 5 minutes)
Let me go through this exchange. OK, John Kerry called advisers to Donald Trump – starting with prominent physicist and retired professor Will Happer of Princeton – a "kangaroo court". Happer and colleagues should be replaced with "educated adults". As you can see, a hero of atomic physics Happer was fired by John Kerry from the chair of an "educated adult". Maybe Kerry will still allow you to be an assistant janitor, Will.

This is the kind of an insult that the likes of Kerry have been able to spread without much opposition in recent years because their befriended media repeat these insults every day and character assassinate everyone who dares to point out that such insults are utterly unjustifiable.

However, America still has a working republican system that goes beyond the monopoly of the mainstream media. So a lawmaker – a representative of the American voters – could have discussed this "kangaroo court" and "educated adults" and the existence or non-existence of a justification.

Sunday, April 14, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

"Abandon rational thinking" is too deep a paradigm shift for science

...but philosopher Wallace has understood many hard issues in physics correctly...

Philosopher David Wallace has previously written many things about the foundations of quantum mechanics that – I believe – no competent quantum physicist may subscribe to. However, if he carefully avoids this particular foundational topic, he may look very intelligent to me. In February, he wrote

Naturalness and Emergence (PDF, HTML).
The main conclusion is radical. He calls for a paradigm shift because the LHC null results and some facts about cosmology "undermine the entire structure of our understanding of inter-theoretic reduction, and so risks a much larger crisis in physics than is sometimes suggested". That's exciting!

OK, it is both exciting and ludicrous. But aside from these ambitious conclusions, he has written many things that seem correct to me – and that could earn an A grade if he were graded by someone like me.

Finland: first elections co-decided by the climate hysteria

The fight against the panic may lift the Finns Party to 15-20 percent

Today, both true and untrue Finns are choosing their representatives in the Parliament. According to the opinion polls, up to nine parties could be represented in the Parliament – Czechia has nine – but it's really five parties that are large, between 12% and 20% of votes. They are, in the order expected in the latest survey:

  • SDP, their social democratic party, that was suppressed in recent years but may return to the top
  • PS, Finns Party, the authentic right-wing party that was mainly anti-immigration but the theme has calmed down (except for some child abuse by foreigners which will help them) so they rediscovered themselves as an anti-green party
  • KOK, National Coalition Party, probably a CDU clone
  • KESK, the Center Party, some other nameless pro-EU party
  • VIHR, the Green League, the Finnish edition of the Far Left
PS+KOK+KESK teamed up to make the coalition after 2015. Due to the True Finns' internal chaos, the party split and a branch of theirs, Blue Reform, replaced the Finns Party, but the Blue Reform looks weak again now.

Since December 2018, the graph of the support for the climate skeptical Finns Party (previously True Finns) paradoxically looks like the hockey stick graph ;-), indicating a doubling of votes in 4 months.

Saturday, April 13, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Media simply invented the "creator" of the black hole picture

Instead of some reflection and errata, they defend their falsehoods with increased aggressiveness

Hat tip: Charles, Jaime, Rick, Connor, Samwise...

I haven't dedicated a special blog post to this topic but it seems like a classic story at the intersection of recurring themes of this weblog – and the questions have apparently been answered.

OK, who created the first photograph of the black hole?

Everyone who has a clue about this Big Science knows that the number of workers has been large – 348 folks in this case (click for a full list) but the lists contain roughly hundreds if not one thousand names in similar cases (and 2x 3,000 both for ATLAS and CMS) – and, while the individual contributions have been extremely unequal, many folks in this large set were really essential. The Event Horizon Telescope Wikipedia page describes the collaboration as one including 13 stakeholder institutes plus almost 100 "affiliated" institutes.

Some of the senior members of the collaboration were presenting the science during the press conference on Wednesday; see a list of some senior names here. Like in almost all similar experiments, men represented an overwhelming majority of the researchers.

Friday, April 12, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Black hole picture is mainly a triumph of engineering

There has been lots of excitement – and hype – surrounding the "first photograph of a black hole". Sensible people think beyond the mindless hype, of course, and they are really asking themselves: What has actually happened? Is that important or interesting? If it is, in what respect it is important or interesting? Which kind of work was hard? Which kind of information has it brought us or what can the method bring us in the future?

I think that despite the thousands of articles in the mainstream media, these basic questions aren't being answered well – or they're not being answered at all. Let me try to clarify some of the basic facts about the big picture.

Removal of Roger Scruton

With a delay of 1 day or so, the Czech press (especially Echo) informed us that the mob has gotten Roger Scruton on second try (that's the title chosen by the Washington Examiner). See also Roger Scruton's sacking threatens free speech and intellectual life (The Telegraph) and The real Roger Scruton scandal (Spiked) or The smear of Roger Scruton (The National Review); thank God these sources stood on the side of freedom and Sir Roger (something that wasn't guaranteed anymore).

A well-known British philosopher was a government adviser for housing (and previously for architecture) – an unpaid position – but the leftist mob doesn't want any conservative in the old-fashioned sense to be anywhere. So they were attacking him all time. It didn't work a few months ago. Now, Scruton (75) agreed to give an interview to a young leftist George Eaton (deputy editor of New Statesman).

And it was a trap – the interview was manipulated in order to make predetermined claims, "Scruton has said blasphemous things", and the left mob was joined by some conservative-in-name-only leftists around Theresa May's party who criticized Scruton for these "blasphemies" and Scruton was sacked.

Thursday, April 11, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Assange is (also) a terribly treated hero

I just independently used the same noun as Pamela Anderson, it turns out

Julian Assange has spent seven years at Ecuador's embassy in London. The new leader of the Latin American country Mr Lenin [no kidding] Moreno has never liked him too much so he abolished the asylum today. He could have allowed Assange to quickly run to another embassy but instead, he invited the British cops to the embassy – to the Ecuador's territory – and they dragged Assange to a British jail by force.

The event was probably ignited by a U.S. extradition request. In America, Assange faces a risk of death penalty for his publication of classified documents.

Clearly, Assange has been an insightful and important man – I've liked some tweets of his – but he's been also breaking some laws. Hacking computers must be treated as a crime and investigated, I think, and the same holds for the distribution of classified information and other things. In Sweden, he is also accused of rape.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Photograph of a black hole will be shown today

...just one but some of us expected two...

Today at 15:00 Prague Summer Time (9:00 Boston Summer Time), the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration will present its first photographs of two black holes:

NSF press conference on first result from Event Horizon Telescope project (NSF press release)

A Non-Expert’s Guide to a Black Hole’s Silhouette (Matt Strassler's intro)

LIVE BROADCAST (from D.C., at 15:00 my time, it's over, replay 63 minutes)

Google News
What does it mean to have a photograph of a black hole? Well, yes, it could be a completely black JPG file, like the photograph of five black cats in a tunnel. ;-) Yes, I have repaired this popular Czech joke to make it politically correct because I feel threatened a big time.

The EHT experiment was mentioned at TRF 3 years ago.

Tuesday, April 09, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Should you worry about Candida Auris infections?

In Fall 2012, I realized that the source of numerous health – albeit sometimes cosmetic – issues of mine were yeast, most likely from the Candida family. Before that time, I didn't even know that yeast or fungus could be a health problem for humans (only viruses and bacteria seemed relevant) – maybe a fungus is a problem for an apple but humans?

The Candida genus shares certain traits and the accumulation of symptoms was so clear – along with some diagnosis – that I decided that extra information wasn't really "necessary". I've never known which Candida species was harassing me. The most widespread species is Candida albicans. Every human has it in his or her guts and it's mostly innocent. But it may also get to the bloodstream through a leaky gut (which may be caused by some Crohn's disease; vitamin B12 etc. recommended) and infect organs, skin, and lots of other things.

At some level, it doesn't matter which Candida species one deals with. The cure is similar. Except that in some cases it does matter. In the recent week, Google Trends show, the interest in the Candida auris skyrocketed.

Pilsner ice-hockey war: players vs fans

Core fans are a great net asset and shouldn't be reeducated

Pilsen has top teams both in soccer and ice-hockey. In the recent decade, FC Viktoria Pilsen won about 1/2 of the seasons – although it will be second now, after its main rival Slavia Prague. HC Škoda Pilsen is also very good. It was third before the play-offs... and it is now playing the semifinals against Třinec (which was second before play-offs).

Pilsen took a lead... but yesterday Třinec won and it's 2-to-2 by matches. Four winning matches are needed.

But what I want to talk about are Pilsner fans who are... special.

Sunday, April 07, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Category theory as an egalitarian religion

Several TRF essays have discussed the controversies around the Mochizuki proof of the \(abc\) conjecture, most recently in November 2018. The conjecture states that whenever integers obey \(a+b=c\), then the maximum number, let's assume it's \(c\), isn't parametrically larger than a (multiple of a) power of the product of all primes in \(a,b,c\). So it's some inequality linking both the additive relationship between \(a,b,c\) with some multiplicative one.

Šiniči Močizuki's solution is a corollary of a whole new ambitious theory in mathematics (possibly a flawless theory, possibly a flawed one at some point) that he has developed, the "Inter-Universal Teichmüller (IUT) theory" or "arithmetic deformation theory", these terms are synonymous. He claims to study some permutations of primes and integers etc. as if these permutations were analogous to continuous deformations.

Equivalently, he claims to disentangle the additive and multiplicative relationships between the numbers by looking from many perspectives, by using new terms like "Hodge theaters". I've read and watched many texts and promotional videos and they look incredibly creative and intelligent to me. I am of course far from being capable of verifying the theory up to the applications – one needs to master at least 500 pages plus some 500 more pages of the background etc. I am not motivated enough to go through, in particular because I don't really see why the \(abc\) conjecture should be important in the grand scheme of things.

But I am very interested in the general complications that great minds often seem to face – and things don't seem to be getting better. In the recent issue of Inference, I read the thoughtful essay by David Michael Roberts,

A Crisis of Identification.
Roberts' writing is highly impartial – after all, Adelaide, Australia is "just" 8,000 kilometers from Japan. He sketches some history of the proof, similar proofs in the past, the Grothendieck approach as a driving engine of many mathematicians on both sides, the social dynamics, and the philosophy of the category theory and its predecessors since the era of Hilbert.

Physics knows a lot about the electron beyond the simple "Standard Model picture"

Ethan Siegel wrote a text about the electron, Ask Ethan: What Is An Electron?, which includes some fair yet simplified standard conceptual facts about the electron's being a particle and a wave, about its properties being statistically predictable, and about the sharp values of its "quantum numbers", some discrete "charges" that are either exactly or approximately conserved in various interactions.

While his statements look overwhelmingly right, there is a general theme that I expected to bother me and that bothers me: Siegel presents a frozen caricature of the particle physicists' knowledge that could be considered "a popularization of the snapshot from 1972 or so". There doesn't seem to be any added value of his text relatively to e.g. the Wikipedia article on the Standard Model. After all, the images such as the list of particles above were just taken from that article.

Saturday, April 06, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Dimon's capitalism vs AOC's socialism

Many of us feel that the civilization is falling into the gutter.

Pillars of the society and nation states are being systematically attacked by numerous folks. Those of us who have been asking "why did the Roman Empire decline" see an answer in the ongoing repetition of the process. Too many people simply lose any attachment to everything that is good about the society and deliberately start to promote changes that are terrifying and destructive. In the absence of truly formidable competitors, great civilizations collapse simply because the people inside want that collapse and those who don't lose their power to prevent it.

One of the aspects of the anti-civilization movement are the increasingly widespread criticisms of capitalism itself – the freedom of entrepreneurship. The young generation is increasingly absorbing pathological opinions about a great fraction of the political and societal questions. The opposition to capitalism is an example. In 2018, less than one-half of Americans between 18 and 29 years of age said to have a positive relationship to capitalism – a drop by 12 percentage points in a few years. Given these numbers, is capitalism sustainable at all?

Three days ago, these challenges were discussed by the dean of the Harvard Business School. The obvious question is whether this anti-capitalist delusion is also widespread among the HBS students. I think it is and I think it is a systemic failure. A person who can't understand why capitalism is economically superior over socialism just shouldn't be allowed in the HBS buildings – at most like a janitor. The very name indicates that the school exists to nurture business, not to decimate it. Business is a defining activity of capitalism – in socialism, we weren't quite allowed to even say "business". The understanding of the creative power of capitalism is a matter of apolitical expertise (or rudimentary knowledge), not a political issue where you should look for both sides of a "story". The story may have two sides but one side is right and the other side is wrong.

Friday, April 05, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

"Search for holography in your kitchen" instead of the FCC is the return to alchemy

Anna has linked to a WUWT story about a $50 million fine that a fake journal has to pay. Much like Theranos, such fake open-access journals deceive their users about all the normal ingredients that are responsible for the quality control – about the identity or the very existence of referees, the existence of the review process, they heavily overstate the impact of the journal, and co-organize fake conferences (I really mean conferences whose scientific quality is non-existent but someone pretends it exists).

By the way, how many of you are getting daily "calls for abstracts" from some strange conferences that don't seem to be related to your interests?

Many armchair scientists who were ignored may suddenly find someone who wants to publish their texts, so they pay for the publication. Ambitious new "scientists" who can't publish, and therefore expect to perish, may suddenly survive. Some of them may even become "big leaders" after a few publications that appear in fishy outlets. At some level, people are happy – they get what they want. These "scientists" finally publish their stuff and the publishers get paid. The price is high – the whole ecosystem is being flooded with mostly wrong results and claims that pretend to be verified by someone who is careful but they are not. Readers get something else than they're told to get. Scientists waste time with bad papers – the wasted time is maximized in the ambitious yet truly marginal cases of papers that "almost" look like serious ones but ultimately turn out to be wrong for somewhat subtle reasons that would still be caught by a proper reviewer.

To some extent, this decrease of quality is an unavoidable consequence of the "open-access approach". While the "open-access" ideologues like to hide it, the "open access" – just like "open borders" – often reduces to nothing else than "the absence of a reliable enough quality (or security) control".