Monday, October 14, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Drought left Czechia, no apologies heard

Like most other places, Czechia has seen some drier periods and some humid ones. The latest "big flood" took place in 2002. Recent five years were relatively dry.



This is what the drought conditions looked like yesterday, on a beautiful sunny Sunday October 13th, according to Intersucho.cz (Interdrought). Almost everything is white – no risk of drought. On that Intersucho.cz website, you may choose Czechia, Slovakia, or Europe; and the interval to play the evolving dry places as an animation.

Sunday, October 13, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Governor of North France demands a war budget against the political Islam

In my country and elsewhere, it's taken for granted that countries like France have already been lost and their drift towards becoming Islamic republics is unstoppable and irreversible. Well, I am an optimist who happens to think it's far from clear.

Le Point published some explosive pronouncements by Xavier Bertrand, a former Republican and the governor of Hauts-de-France, the Northernmost province of France with 6 million people.

Saturday, October 12, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Equalities are the most vital equivalences

The equal sign is innocent, it doesn't prevent us from studying some very abstract geometric structures

A few days ago, Kevin Hartnett wrote a provoking article about mathematics for the Quanta Magazine,

With Category Theory, Mathematics Escapes From Equality
If you think that some mathematicians finally fight against the left-wing egalitarianism and its worshiping of equality, well, the truth is somewhat less optimistic. ;-)

The human hero of the story is Jacob Lurie, a mathematician who recently moved from Harvard to IAS Princeton. I do believe that he is an extremely good mathematician – also because of his classifications of topological field theories, research into exceptional groups, and more. But the Quanta Magazine article is about Lurie's somewhat idiosyncratic hobby, namely his holy war against the equal sign.

There shouldn't be any equalities like \(2+2=4\), the article argues. Instead, all equalities should be loosened to equivalencies, like in category theory, which are better because equivalences come in many flavors and degrees. And the original category theory of Eilenberg and MacLane (1945) wasn't loose enough which is why we need to switch to "infinity categories" and Lurie's articles that are some 8,000 pages long in total.

Friday, October 11, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Fermion masses from a Δ(54) heterotic orbifold

Stephen King, the King of Horror, didn't receive the Nobel prize in literature for his 200 short stories yesterday – the award went to Austria and Poland instead. Similarly, neither Trump nor the aggressive Swedish teenager got the Nobel prize in peace today – instead, it actually went to a guy (prime minister) who established peace in Ethiopia. ;-) Clearly, the committee in Oslo needed and still needs to recover some credibility after it was overspent in recent years.

But Stephen King (I guess it is a different one) is the most famous author name of an exciting 4-author hep-ph preprint today

Flavon alignments from orbifolding: \(SU(5) \times SU(3)\) model with \({\mathbb T}^6/\Delta(54)\)
The masses of quarks and leptons are free and arbitrary parameters in the Standard Model and one of the most obvious collections of data that expects to be explained by a deeper theory – some SUSY/GUT or ideally string theory.

Thursday, October 10, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

It's clear why the number of Earth-like planets is so imprecise

...because the term is neither quantitatively well-defined nor useful...

Two weeks ago, Ethan Siegel more or less defined the scientific method as the mindless obedience to Greta Thunberg (combined with the mandatory anti-quantum-mechanics crackpottery). I thought it wasn't the right definition and virtually everything he wrote was upside down.

One week ago, he wrote a text

Astronomers Debate: How Many Habitable Planets Does Each Sun-Like Star Have?
which highlights his mathematical illiteracy and the mathematical illiteracy of several astronomers – and the wisdom of Michael Crichton. To make the story short, the astronomers agree about the interpretation of the Kepler data but they still have a very uncertain estimate about the number of Earth-like planet per Sun-like star – the estimates go from 0.013 and 1.24. And it's very surprising, Siegel wrote.

Well, for those of us who always knew that science wasn't a mindless worshiping of someone or something by words from a human language, it's not surprising at all.

When accusations of "groupthink" and "collection of likes" become ludicrous

If you want to understand what they mean by psychological projection...

Abraham (Avi) Loeb, the Israeli American chairman of astronomers at Harvard, has gotten some reasonably good press on this website. However, no sane person may doubt that he is a media-savvy or political flavor of a scientist whose visibility in the media overstates his contributions to physics – a field he actually loves to discuss loudly.

In recent years, the readers and viewers of the mainstream media have heard about him often because he has co-authored numerous wrong, silly, or vacuous preprints that were really professionally formatted troll's diatribes against physics, inflationary cosmology, and other things – and inkspillers in the popular science media (and millions of their stupid brainwashed readers and viewers) simply love this kind of pseudoscientific trash. That's why I laughed so much when someone sent me his October 8th essay in the SciAm blogs

Science Is Not about Getting More “Likes”:
Extraordinary groupthink leads to extraordinary ignorance
Both the title and the subtitle are combative yet true. However, in combination with the name of the author, these three lines are hilariously funny, indeed. And he's not a darling of the left-wing media just because he loves to repeat bitter, misguided remarks about the very value of physics and cosmology which are too speculative according to Loeb. He's also a darling of the popular media because he's a boss of an organization looking for extraterrestrial aliens. Physics is too speculative for him but ETs around us are not! Cool.

Wednesday, October 09, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Mapping Calabi-Yau threefolds by the degenerated representatives

The chemistry Nobel prize goes to the de facto invention of lithium-ion batteries. It's not a terribly huge advance in pure science but as applied science, it's been literally game-changing, of course. Although Czechia has a top European reservoir of lithium, I do hope that we will switch to lithium-free batteries at some point.



The first hep-th paper today is
Classifying Calabi-Yau threefolds using infinite distance limits
by Grimm and two co-authors (NL/CH/UK) that elaborates on a nice and clever way to map the landscape of the Calabi-Yau threefolds. Their excitement is seen on the fact that they worked hard enough to post the preprint at the top – it was posted 3 seconds after the new arXiv.org day started.



They look at special points in the landscape of these 6-real-dimensional manifolds that may be very useful for "navigation" in that landscape – at the degeneration limits.

Tuesday, October 08, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Peebles & exoplanets share the 2019 Nobel prize in physics

I watched the press conference at which the 2019 Nobel prize in physics was announced. The announcement started at 11:50 am Central European Summer Time (which is also our time here).



It's ironic that some common sense and meritocracy that we used to know comes from... Sweden. The first good sign was that the Nobel committee hasn't removed the dude wall yet. And the Nobel committee room at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has quite a dude wall, indeed. After all, even Alfred Nobel has failed to undergo the sex-changing surgery in memorian so far.

Denmark wants to ban "carbon" car sales in the EU by 2040

Nowadays, and especially in the recent year, lots of people – especially in geographically Western Europe and in North America – are saying extremely crazy things about the energy, climate, fossil fuels, and the future of mankind in general. One particular proposal made by a whole EU country in recent days may deserve a special discussion: Denmark wants to kill cars (Euractiv, Financial Post).

More precisely, by 2040 – and some sources say similar sentences with 2030 and 2050 (it seems they don't care about the difference) – the whole European Union should ban the sales of all petrol and diesel cars. Cool!

Monday, October 07, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Receipt lottery: how to save 10,000 hours of Czech lives a day

Some $2 million worth of time savings per month

The EET, the online realtime verification of all cash payments in Czechia to fight tax evasion, has been repeatedly criticized on this blog because it was an extra burden for the businesses and self-employed people, a sign of arrogance of the government (and of the employees towards to the economically independent folks), a risk of abuse of the data, and for other reasons.

But by now, the system – that hasn't provably reduced the tax evasion according to the data – is a part of reality and Czechs including your humble correspondent are adaptable beings. I am not even 100% sure whether it would make sense to abolish this new piece of bureaucracy now. Well, if I could, I would probably still make it optional, while telling everybody that the people using EET have a lower risk of an audit.

An hour ago, I received a surprisingly sensible response from the Czech finance minister Ms Dr Schillerová – about my proposal to improve the "EET lottery".



Someone bought butter for CZK 25 ($1.1), eggs for CZK 45.50, and CZK 70.50 was rounded to CZK 71. One crown is exactly strong enough to make the payments in integer amounts of crowns "sufficiently fine and accurate yet easy to compute with and remember". She got a receipt including the cumbersome hexadecimal BKP and FIK codes; you know, butter and eggs are basically rocket sciences.

You know, the EET works as follows. Whenever a consumer pays cash to an entrepreneur or shop anywhere in Czechia, the business is obliged to print a receipt and immediately send an electronic copy of the receipt to the finance ministry. The receipt must include the cash amount that was paid (and that will have to be taxed, that is the point), some ID of the business, date, time (HH:MM), and a long hexadecimal code BKP that may be influenced by the computer owned by the business.

The finance ministry's computer responds that it was received and produces another, quasi-random code FIK that is sent back to the business, so that the receipt may ideally be printed including the FIK code. In most cases, it is. In some situations, the registration may be delayed etc. and there are some receipts without a FIK code.

Sunday, October 06, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Czech teenagers protested against mathematics

High school students in other countries are obsessed with the climate hysteria. Their Czech counterparts managed to organize about one lukewarm rally in March – these days, they had a much more urgent problem: to fight against the "matura" from mathematics. See a video from their rally on Friday afternoon.

All Czech high schools where students are expected to go to a college – in particular, the liberal arts "gymnasiums" and "lyceums" as well as the commercial-sector or engineering-focused "industrial schools" – are ended with this "test of maturity".



The arrows show a building of the Math-Phys department of the Charles University (maps).

It's a pre-college test that verifies and, if the outcome is good, certifies that the student – who is between 18 and 19 at that time – isn't stupid and may be compatible with a large number of occupations including ones that require some intelligence and knowledge. The subjects have been evolving in time. As you may imagine, mathematics has been a mandatory subject throughout the history because it's the queen of sciences and thinking. My 1992 "maturita" (the most official Czech name) was from Czech, English, mathematics, and physics – physics was optional, I think. A century earlier, Greek and Latin may have been widespread subjects in the exam.

At some moment years ago, after the fall of communism, the mathematics exam was made optional. As the students were increasingly turning into a shallow, vacuous, bullšiting SJW herd of sheep, from an intellectual viewpoint, mathematics was becoming an increasingly unpopular outlier or an exception (among other subjects where it was increasingly sufficient for success to simply babble some ideologically convenient nonsense) and increasingly impossible for them to learn. So the number of the people who were choosing it – instead of a foreign language etc. – was persistently dropping.

Saturday, October 05, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

I am scared of innocent children

By Václav Vlk Sr, translated and endorsed by LM

All of us know Andersen's fairy-tale about the king who was walking naked – before an innocent child exclaimed: "The emperor has no clothes." This fairy-tale may be interpreted by saying that the citizens of the kingdom knew that the king was naked but they were forgiving him because he was an otherwise good king and the citizens weren't stupid (see e.g. the top Czech 19th century writer Karel Havlíček Borovský and his King Lávra) but the moral story in which an "innocent" child revealed a "terrible truth" is popular, and that is why it was also used by a man whom I have known for decades as a fellow lover of science-fiction, Mr Jaroslav Veis, in his Lidovky.cz article "Who is afraid of Greta" on September 30th. In effect, his text was just another moralizing and intellectual exercise on the theme "how we, Greta's fans, are moral while you, her foes, are a gang of morons and demagogues".

Friday, October 04, 2019 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

60 °C of global warming: tens of millions would survive just fine

The scientifically illiterate pundits often tell us that with a few more tenths of a Celsius degree of warming, the human race will face extinction. To show how open-minded and deep thinkers they are, they sometimes discuss whether you need 1.5 °C or 2.0 °C of warming relatively to the 18th century to make the human race extinct. Maybe the global mean temperature at 15.5 °C won't kill all of us yet but 16.0 °C surely will! ;-)

I have previously mentioned that my best estimate for the global warming at which the probability of human extinction were around 50% is about 200 °C of warming. (A Gretin claiming to be a skeptic has quickly cursed me for my blasphemy.) With this dramatic figure, mankind would have to be extremely original, disciplined, technologically advanced to invent tricks to deal with the situation and it would start to be unclear whether it's possible at all.



So I wanted to write a blog post about "millions that would surely survive 100 °C of global warming". One hundred is such a nice rounded number. That was a result of my quick thought. When thinking about the details, I ran into the problem caused by those boiling seas - you know, 30+100 = 130 °C is above the boiling point of water.

After some refinements, I decided that the validity of the statement in the planned title would depend on the details – the devil is often in the details. Whether the warming would be really uniform across the globe, whether the temperature would be measured right above the ocean or elsewhere, and many dynamical questions about the co-existence of the evaporated oceans near the tropics and the surviving liquid oceans near the poles.

I actually think it is a very complex homework exercise for students of atmospheric and oceanic physics. Good luck with that. Where would be the precipitation in such a half-evaporated, half-liquid ocean world? And so on. To make the problem really well-defined, try to describe the climate zones of the current Earth that is simply moved to Venus' or another warmer orbit, for example.

SF6: how unknown greenhouse gas may almost match, maybe trump the known one

Many people have completely lost their mind. The time for discussions and rational thinking has ended, they say, and now it's the right time to mindlessly listen to mentally disordered teenagers and to panic. Well, the fact that it is implausible for the climate change to cause global problems, at least in the following centuries, doesn't matter for them.


In reality, we known many examples of extra CO2 emissions that are caused "somewhere in the process", at a slightly less visible place – the production of batteries or electric cars, wind turbines, the tractors moving over the fields while producing biofuels, and many more.

Matt Ridley has pointed out this great new example related to the wind energy – SF6; click for a BBC story. Sulfur hexafluoride. I can't resist to brag that we call it "fluorid sírový" in our superior Czech chemical terminology. The suffix in the adjective "-ový/-ová" (the same one we add to create female surnames) actually contains the "hexa" information (we have different suffixes for the other oxidation states 1-8 which are called the "oxidation number" in Czech), "síra" is sulfur. Wouldn't it be cleverer if oxides of carbon weren't monoxides, dioxides etc. but rather carbonic, carbonish, carboneque, carbonian, carboner, carbonest, carbonisian, and carbonician oxides, or whatever suffixes the English linguists would invent instead?

Greta didn't advance in "Got Talent": it's jury's fault

This isn't a very important blog post, I just wanted to allow viewers to watch the video and read the subtitles simultaneously. Well, Greta "Tumberk" Thunberg who is just 16 has amazed the jury – especially its blonde member – by her recitation.



0:00 Man-right: Good evening
0:01 Brunette: Good evening (silently)
0:05 Greta: Eh-uh
0:07 Blonde: Did you register for this talent contest yourself?
0:10 Greta: [silence]
0:13 Man-left: Uhm. Who is working as your manager?
0:15 Greta: [silence]
0:18 Man-left: What's your occupation? How do you make living?
0:20 Greta: Human control
0:21 Man-right: Yes!
0:23 Blonde: That is beautiful! Yes!
0:25 Brunette: Finally!
0:27 [Applause]
0:34 Man-left: You know exactly how things should be, I like it.
0:35 Man-right: The stage is yours.
0:39 Greta: My message is that we will be watching you.
0:41 Man-left: You're the first contestant this year who has totally arranged it all in her head.
0:44 Greta: You have stolen my dreams, my childhood with your empty words. You say you hear us and that you understand the urgency.
0:55 Jury: Haha [appreciating the power]
0:56 Greta: But no matter how sad and angry I am, I do not want to believe that.
1:01 Blonde: This was the most beautiful moment for me.
1:03 Brunette: We need everybody to be like this. So that she would always smile and everyone would be so happy.
1:04 Greta: [hateful frown]
1:06 Man-left: You are simply a pure soul.
1:09 Greta: Thank you.
1:11 [Jury presses "fail" buttons]
1:12 Greta: Evil.
1:13 [Jury: More "fail" buttons]
1:15 Greta: How dare you!?
1:18 Man-right: I like when the 16-year-old ones have their own opinion and they pursue it. And your text made sense. You have a future and a potential.
1:28 Blonde: My brain has been erased.
1:29 Brunette: No, I am very happy that I saw it. I am really grateful.
1:32 Man-left: This non-self-confidence?
1:33 Brunette: Yes but the ultimate one.
1:35 Jury: [haha]
The jury: Man-left: David Prachař, actor (CZ); Blonde: Dianka Mórová, actress (SK); Brunette: Marta Jandová, rock singer (CZ); Man-right: Jaro Slávik, music producer (SK)

TV Prima Cool, the quirky channel of the Czech commercial TV Prima – Cool airs The Big Bang Theory, Futurama, The Simpsons, TopGear, and tons of other "contemporary Anglo-Saxon" shows and often accompanies them with funny teenage-like slang and video transitions resembling computer games – has created a stellar edited parody out of Greta Thunberg's U.N. speech and some sequences from "Czechia Slovakia's Got Talent".



With 90% of positive votes, the viral video is #1 on YouTube in Czechia as of October 6th and 7th and will approach 1 million views after four days.

More seriously, some shticks are amazing. These two Ukrainian acrobatic kids in pajamas, Katya (8) and Nikita (11), were amazing. They also got a golden buzzer (a button to directly advance to the final round) from Marta Jandová – who was really terrified that the girl was going to kill herself. This Belgian pantomimist with a fake rodent, Elastic, was funny, indeed. Because of these two, a small Russian female dancer etc., some of us renamed the contest to "Everyone But Czechia and Slovakia Has Got Talent". ;-) The top singing is brought by the Armenian girls from Prague, if you care.

More videos from the TV show.