Saturday, June 29, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Bob Carter's academic job "not renewed"

Climate alarmists' dirty hands were very likely behind the scenes

I met Bob Carter (and his wife) 2.5 years ago during a seminar he was delivering in Prague's Auto Moto Club, an event organized by the think tank (CEP) led by Václav Klaus, then the Czech president.

This Australian scholar is a geologist but his talks about the climate are perfectionist, comprehensive, comprehensible, balanced, reasonable, and focused on the most important points that are overlooked by many others. He is always careful to see things in their proper context and to assign them the right importance. He has also presented some special issues such as the Australian carbon tax in a very meaningful way.

Equally importantly, he is a pleasant and peaceful Gentleman and an entertaining companion with some interesting stories to tell.

For all those reasons and others, I was shocked by news published on Jo Nova's blog. Bob explained to me that he retired from a tenured position in 2001 but because he couldn't become inactive, he continued as an honorary Adjunct Fellow of the James Cook University, Queensland, Australia.

Dobrodošli u EU, Hrvatska

It means Welcome to the EU, Croatia, just to be sure

In two days, Croatia will become the 28th member state of the European Union. I think it is positive news for Europe and Croatia's parameters justify its membership because they don't differ too much from those of Slovenia, so far the only post-Yugoslav EU member state.

Vinetou and Old Shatterhand, two most famous Americans, on a lake in the Plitvice Lake Region, Croatia

The European Parliament has already welcomed Croatia as well: by creating a Facebook web page with a huge coat-of-arms of the puppet fascist state of Croatia during the World War II. ;-) Nice. This shows how much understanding the EU has for its citizens and nations.

Friday, June 28, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Strings 2013

Guest blog by Daniel Grumiller of ITP Vienna, a participant

Lubos asked me if I would write a short summary of Strings 2013, and since I appreciate the cohomology of his blog [all blog entries, modding out the non-physical state(ment)s] I decided to oblige.

If you are interested in the actual content of the talks I suggest you listen to them (or view the slides) here.

Jacques Distler on his lost new physics bet

Jacques Distler of Austin lost a $750 bet to Tommaso Dorigo and wrote an article about it:

Guest Post: Jacques Distler, Why I Lost $750 On New Physics At The LHC (original text)
They ultimately agreed that Distler wins if a new-particle-like 5-sigma discrepancy from the Standard Model is announced within 12 months after the moment when the LHC has had accumulated 10 inverse femtobarns of collisions (the energy was allowed to be just 8 TeV, it seems). Gordon Watts supported Distler's bet by another $250 so if he concedes as well, and I think he should, Dorigo should be $1,000 richer because the conditions were fulfilled several weeks or months ago.

It was a risky bet for both sides. Would Distler make a similar bet on the 2015 run?
The answer, I think, is: not unless you were willing to give me some substantial odds (at least 5–1; if I think about it, maybe even higher).
Well, my bet against Jester turned out to be effectively a bet on the early 2015 run because we're talking about 30 inverse femtobarns which haven't been accumulated yet (we're around 27) and our bet is 100-to-1 which means that I may win $10,000 but will lose $100 only. You see that your humble correspondent was expecting better conditions and when it came to the assertions, he was more cautious, but just by a factor of three, than Distler and Watts.

Thursday, June 27, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

The IPCC and the Flat Earth Society may merge now

Anthony Watts has highlighted an article in,

Actually, even the Flat Earth Society believes in climate change.
The president of the International Flat Earth Society, Daniel Shenton, has endorsed the climate hysteria.

Even Shenton realizes that it makes sense for others to make fun of his society (whose views are "unorthodox", using his language) and to present it as an example of things that are absurd. When someone believes preposterous, patently and demonstrably false propositions, we sometimes compare him to the Flat Earth Society. Shenton is kind and doesn't take these references personally.

We sometimes use the Flat Earth analogy to humiliate the climate alarmism as well except that in the case of the climate alarmism, the similarity between the two examples of bad science goes well beyond their being bad science. The climate alarmists and the Flat Earthers build on extremely similar if not isomorphic misconceptions, flawed assumptions, mistakes in their reasoning, and on analogous demagogic verbal tricks to fool others and themselves.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

An anomaly-like argument in favor of SUSY

A new Higgs tadpole cancellation condition reformulating the hierarchy problem

Strings 2013 [talks] is underway.
The first hep-ph paper today probably got to that exclusive place because the authors were excited and wanted to grab the spot. Andre de Gouvea, Jennifer Kile, and Roberto Vega-Morales of Illinois chose the title
\(H\rightarrow \gamma\gamma\) as a Triangle Anomaly: Possible Implications for the Hierarchy Problem
They point out a curious feature of the diagrams calculating the Higgs boson decay to two photons (yes, it's the process that seemed to have a minor excess at the LHC but this excess went away): while the diagram is finite, one actually gets different results according to the choice of the regularization.

\({\Huge \Rightarrow}\)

In particular, the \(d=4\) direct calculation leads to a finite result but it actually violates the gauge invariance so it can't be right. It should be disturbing for you that wrong results may arise from quantum field theory calculations even if you don't encounter any divergence.

Should and could science act as a religion?

Sabine Hossenfelder wrote an interesting essay that I mostly sympathize with:

Science should be more like religion
First, she believes that the 21st century is the century of the death of religions and the completion of the scientific revolution. This comment – many of us could say an optimistic comment – sounds so 1960s. If visions such as Eurabia become reality, the 21st century will mark the demise of the scientific attitudes and the return to the medieval superstitions, at least on the Old Continent.

Second, she concisely summarizes and exemplifies some qualitative differences between science and religion.

Third, she tells us that many people tend to ignore religions' commonalities with science and benefits they bring. I totally agree with that. Science and religion differ in some important ways but they still share some roots linked to the the human emotions, amazement, and curiosity – things that make us more precious than most animals. And aside from things that directly contradict science, religion also says many things that may have helped the human societies and that don't contradict science.

Fourth, it turns out that Sabine's most important inspiration that religions may offer to the scientists is a tool that should speed up her expected completion of the scientific revolution and the death of the religions: the effortless methods by which religions have penetrated and still penetrate into billions of minds. Sabine says that scientists should learn to become good speakers and preachers who are not dissimilar to the most captivating priests.

It's perhaps a nice and intriguing plan. It may also be a counterproductive or impossible one. Which adjectives are right? ;-)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Jiří Rusnok, the new technocratic Czech PM

Ms Miroslava Němcová (center right ODS, the current speaker of the House), a decent conservative previously loyal to President Klaus, and a former cancer survivor and a hippie as a young lady, could become the first female Czechoslovak or Czech prime minister (101/200 of the lawmakers vowed to support her government).

The center-right coalition agreed that she was a good choice. On the other hand, the communist and socialist opposition hysterically insisted on early parliamentary elections.

However, the new Czech president, Miloš Zeman, demonstrated that he will be exerting a presidential influence that is probably gonna be (even) stronger than what we remember from the Klaus era.

Monday, June 24, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Larry Summers vs Stephen Hawking

Four days ago, the left-leaning Israeli daily Haaretz published a de facto interview with Larry Summers, the ex-president of an ex-employer of mine:

Former Harvard president Summers rebukes Hawking for boycotting Israeli conference
Note that the fastest free way to get to the article (plus 9 more articles a month) is to "register for free" and choose "Facebook".

Summers, along with Stanley Fischer (an equally Jewish ex-teacher of Summers at MIT and an outgoing governor of Bank of Israel), was recently named as the most promising candidate to replace Ben Bernanke behind the steering wheel of America's central bank. He is bullish on the U.S. (and Israeli) economy, predicting a 3% growth by the end of the year and his answers don't unambiguously prove that he would accept Bernanke's job.

Hooper: XENON100 may have seen DM candidates, too

...if it's so, LUX will observe 1-6 DM particles a week...

Update 6/24: South Dakota Public Broadcasting tells us that LUX has been turned on. While the data could be interesting in weeks, don't expect official releases before the final months of 2013. You may also check a 14-minute TED talk on LUX from March 2013.

Update 6/19: This astro-ph preprint says that LUX is already doing science and the results of a 60-day run will be out by the end of 2013, promising to brutally beat any competitor in their reach. Except for this short paragraph, this blog entry was posted on 6/10.

Dan Hooper of Fermilab released an interesting new salvo in the dark matter's war on existence,

Revisiting XENON100's Constraints (and Signals?) For Low-Mass Dark Matter.
Recall that the set of underground experiments that are trying to directly catch the particles of dark matter is divided to two violently competing subsets: one of them, the axis, vigorously claims that there can't be any signal in the other experiments. The leader of this axis is the XENON100 experiment whose claimed constraints are far more powerful than the upper bounds on the cross section published by the XENON100's allies.

© XENON100 Collaboration

On the other hand, the alliance of experiments that have already claimed to observe a rather strong signal of a dark matter particle, one whose mass seems to be 7-10 GeV (significantly lighter particles than those in the models that dominate in the phenomenological literature but in no way impossible), is apparently getting stronger every month. It seems that we're somewhere around 1943 in this particular war.

Sunday, June 23, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Lisa Randall on Higgs, physics, real world

If you have 49 minutes, you may listen to this interview of the Lip TV's Walter Kim with Lisa Randall.

She just celebrated the 15th birthday this week, with whatever permutation of the digits you find appropriate, and her twin sister Sabina Křováková just won the Czech and Slovak Superstar (local American Idol).

Saturday, June 22, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Kip Thorne, a star in a Hollywood movie

You probably know the relativist Kip Thorne as a co-author of the Misner-Thorne-Wheeler book on GR, a co-father of LIGO, Gravity Probe B, and a researcher of black holes, wormholes, proponent of the membrane paradigm for black holes, and many other things in relativistic astrophysics. But as The Guardian told us yesterday,

Kip Thorne: physicist studying time travel tapped for Hollywood film,
he is commuting from Pasadena to a town that is 10 miles away, Hollywood, to shoot a November 2014 sci-fi movie called Interstellar.

Theoretical physicist Anne Hathaway (who is also famous in Hollywood where she has earned $15 million) will be the main female star along with Jessica Chastain. Male actors will include Matthew McConaughey, Casey Affleck, and Michael Caine.

Friday, June 21, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Austin: 1-inch accelerator gets electrons to \(2\GeV\)

PopSci, Science Recorder, The Guardian Express, and The Hindu Business Line describe a new accelerator developed at the University of Texas in Austin that is really, really small.

Half a billion of electrons may be accelerated to \(2\GeV\) on a square inch.

Obama's new obsession with the global warming myth

Barack Obama was visiting Berlin and at the Brandenburg Gate (which looked so ordinary to me a few years ago – relatively to my childhood – because no one is waiting there to shoot you anymore), he gave a speech urging the world to reduce nuclear weapons and... to combat climate change.

Our leaders before 1989 would surely be jealous if they saw how enthusiastically and uncritically the attendants of the rally were waving their parade sticks. But the reasons behind the difference are understandable: Obama is more charismatic and he probably more genuinely believes some of these left-wing delusions than our leaders in the years of late socialism did.

Nuclear reduction treaties are being signed often but the repetitive speeches suggest that they don't really mean much.

More seriously, the deluded anti-carbon policies may cripple the world economy. When we already thought that everyone agreed that this is a lost cause – there hasn't been any significant global warming for about 20 years and everyone seemed to agree that the plans to reduce carbon emissions have costs that beat any hypothetical benefits by many orders of magnitude (moreover the "benefits" are extremely likely to be negative by themselves) and that even climate alarmists have shifted from thinking about "mitigation" to plans of "adaptation", we see crackpots who happen to be top politicians at the same moment and who repeat the old debunked misconceptions again.

Thursday, June 20, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Supersymmetric Google Hangout with John Ellis

According to a 2004 SPIRES survey, the CERN particle phenomenologist John Ellis of the U.K. was the second most cited physicist in high-energy physics and, except for the third one (Steven Weinberg), the only one surpassing 50% of the citations collected by Edward Witten. ;-)

After 2004, he actually added over 170 papers with 6,000+ new citations, which, along with the new citations earned by the older papers, brought him from 33,000+ to 53,000+ now. At least in the discipline of citation collection, you should definitely not forget about John Ellis! You may also know John Ellis as a maverick who dared to disagree with the great high school teacher Walter Wagner who had calculated that the LHC would devour the Earth. Also, his CERN introduction to the Higgs field earned over half a million of views.

Most of his research has gone well beyond the Lagrangian terms on his T-shirt on the image elsewhere in this text; in other words, he's been primarily researching Beyond the Standard Model physics. Today, you may ask a question – or at least a question about supersymmetry – to him.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Kenneth Wilson, RIP

Kenneth Wilson died from complications of lymphoma (a blood cancer) in Saco, Maine (where he and his wife were previously brought due to their love for kayaking) on Saturday, aged 77 years and 1 week. He received his Nobel Prize in 1982. His adviser was Murray Gell-Mann and students included Jackiw, Shenker, Peskin, and Ginsparg.

See also: WSJ, WaPo, Yahoo, NECN, Newsday, Google News, Physics World, Cornell, Press Herald, John Preskill, Sean Carroll, Clifford Johnson, a Shmoit
More importantly, he taught us about the concepts of effective field theories and the renormalization group that have explained why the renormalization works – and many other things. Many folks – a set that includes my PhD ex-adviser Tom Banks – classify Wilson's insights as the deepest advance of theoretical physics since the 1970s. Despite these experts' opinions, Wilson remained largely unknown to the public throughout his life.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Most species originate in the tropics

Yesterday was the first really good day of 2013 to swim in a pond – two months later than in 2012 – and today is the first supertropical day of the otherwise cloudy year 2013 with temperatures reaching 35 °C in Pilsen where the warmth has its headquarters. Prague was colder but 33.5 °C was still enough (by 0.3 °C) to beat the record for this day which didn't occur in 2012 but in... 1934. ;-) A tropical topic may therefore be appropriate.

Because Slovak geologist Mr Adam Tomášových is among the 8 authors of the paper, the science section of the Slovak daily reviewed the article

Out of the tropics, but how? Fossils, bridge species, and thermal ranges in the dynamics of the marine latitudinal diversity gradient
written by David Jablonski et al. and published in PNAS. See also

They looked at three slices of Cenozoic (from 66 million AD through now) and decided that most marine genera originated in the tropics. You may view the paper as a followup to the "out of the tropics" mechanism coined by Jablonski and others in 2006.

Monday, June 17, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

All proofs in natural and social sciences ultimately depend on probabilities

Mel B. has sent me a link pointing to a rather incredible attack by an economics professor on the statistical methods in science that was published in the Financial Post:

Junk Science Week: Unsignificant statistics
Stephen Ziliak doesn't want to believe the existence of the Higgs boson – or any other "proof" in science that is based on the notion of statistical significance. In fact, we learn – in big fonts – that
Statistical significance is junk science, and its big piles of nonsense are spoiling the research of more than particle physicists.
Wow. It's remarkable because with this deep misunderstanding of the very key part of any rational thinking, this Gentleman can't possibly understand anything about the proper verification of theories in economics, his field, either. I would argue that because of this lethal flaw in the author's approach to rational reasoning, it is guaranteed at 5 sigma that your humble correspondent and many other physicists and scientists simply have to be better economists than Mr Ziliak, too. He just can't have a clue about the scientific approach to anything.

Statistical significance is absolutely paramount in the verification of hypotheses in all natural sciences as well as all social sciences that more or less successfully try to emulate the scientific character and success of the natural sciences.

Sunday, June 16, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Mike Duff vs an anti-string layman

Giotis has pointed out an argument published in the Guardian:

A theory of everything ... has physics gone too far?
Mike Duff of the Imperial College tries to teach something about the foundations of physics to a self-confident layman called Jim Baggott (yes, I had to press backspace when I instinctively started his surname with an F) who is obsessed with irrational critiques of the state-of-the-art physics and who has even written a book based on all these fallacies (see the link below).

The title of the article asserting that "physics that has gone too far" is a rather accurate picture of the basic nature of the string theory's critics – their proximity to the Inquisition that wants to dictate which boundaries science isn't allowed to surpass. Science is "allowed" to surpass any boundaries. Any question where a sufficient body of evidence and relationships between the known and hypothesized facts may be developed is likely to become a fruitful subdiscipline of science. String theory undoubtedly belongs to this list.

Valentina Tereshkova: 50 years ago

Exactly 50 years ago, on June 16th, 1963, the first woman went to outer space.

The story of Valentina Tereshkova is also a story of the remarkable similarity between the propaganda tools of the Soviet Union and those employed by feminism and other pathological ideologies of the contemporary Western society.

Gagarin, Popovich, Tereshkova, Khruschchev...

For some time, the Soviet Union appeared to be ahead of the U.S. in the space race. Sending a female cosmonaut to the orbit was a natural next argument designed to support the (preposterous) claims that communism was technologically superior to capitalism.

To make the message really strong and ideologically convenient, many details of the selection had to be social-engineered and many facts about the spaceflight had to be censored for decades.

Saturday, June 15, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

There is no classical world

...even Sean Carroll may say true things about the foundations of physics...

How is it possible? Well, quantum mechanics implies that if a process isn't prohibited by some absolute laws such as symmetries and conservation laws, it may happen even though the probability may be very tiny (like in quantum tunneling; or in Carroll's authorship of valid sentences about quantum or statistical physics).

Sean Carroll decided to promote an animated cartoon film on quantum mechanics, previously embedded in John Preskill's blog – it's nicely done but you may ultimately think that it's missing a Wow factor – and he said some correct things.

The most important one appears in the title: there is no classical world. Carroll correctly states a self-evident fact – that is nevertheless underappreciated by many – that classical physics is just an approximation for certain phenomena. It becomes increasingly more relevant or accurate when objects and processes become more classical (which usually means bigger) but it never becomes exactly true.

Let me admit that whenever Carroll writes such a thing, one that contradicts Carroll's hardwired emotions and sentiments, I can't get rid of the impression that he was just persuaded by John Preskill to do so. It seems somewhat implausible to me that after all these passionate posts he wrote about the need for realism and the extensive space he has given to "philosophers" i.e. crackpots who try to interpret quantum mechanics as an illusion ultimately boiling down to a classical model, he would voluntarily write what he wrote now. But good that he did it, anyway.

Friday, June 14, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Czech police raid on lobbyists and politicians

Trained plasma physicist and Czech prime minister Petr Nečas' government named some prosecutors and created the environment in which they may investigate and efficiently combat corruption and other economic crime on the interface of the public and commercial sectors.

Ms Jana Bradáčová is the "Czech Cattanni" who has energized these efforts and caught David Rath, a prince of the socialist democratic party, with $350,000 in a box from wine.

Mr Petr Nečas with his wife Radka Nečasová, the brunette, and his chief of staff Ms Jana Nagyová who is also his rumored lover. There's a general 2-sigma signal indicating that Czech prime ministers often prefer to abandon their marriage in favor of a blondier woman.

Yesterday, police made a raid on some lobbyists and politicians (mostly nominally center-right politicians) in Prague that some global media consider the greatest scandal in the Czech history. Well, perhaps. Perhaps not.

Thursday, June 13, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Amazon: 3D printers below $1,200

When Howard Wolowitz bought a 3D printer to print figures of himself, Rajesh Koothrappali, Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz, and other heroes of The Big Bang Theory, he had to be chastised by Bernadette because it was her money and it was $5,000 of them.

(Incidentally, I made some research of the 1200 XT 3D modeler PRO device that appeared in the CBS sitcom and I am pretty confident that it's a renamed 3D Systems InVision XT 3D Printer.)

But an ex-president of the Harvard Funds and the famous Pirate of Prague, Viktor Kožený, a technological enthusiast who has just gotten access to $22 million of dollars from his (mother's) cottage in Aspen, Colorado but who became a target of a new execution in Czechia at the same moment (he once offered me to become a shadow minister of education which I kindly refused), recommended me to check the rather new 3D Printers Category at and I was kind of impressed how accessible those things have become.

International Linear Collider: Technical Design Report out

Yesterday, as I learned from the CERN website and a CERN press release, the Linear Collider Collaboration (obtained by merging the officials behind ILC and CLIC) has released the ILC Technical Design Report, including a free and colorful 60-page PDF booklet.

It may be meaningful to mention Table 2.1 of that PDF file that describes the planned experiments with their center-of-mass energy.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Murry Salby: CO2 is the integral of temperature the past, on short timescales, it has therefore fluctuated rapidly...

Honza [=Jan] U. sent me the following one-hour April 2013 talk by Prof Murry Salby of Australia's Macquarie University:

This astrophysicist and atmospheric scientist has a rather impressive publication record. At the beginning, I was a bit discouraged by Pierre Gosselin's summary that suggested that Salby was making some widespread elementary errors about the direct attribution of CO2 emissions according to their isotopic composition (the extra CO2 we see in the atmosphere generally has a very different composition than the CO2 when we emitted it, because the carbon is being quickly recycled all the time while chemistry doesn't care about the differences between isotopes but it's still true that our additions of CO2 have increased the CO2 concentration).

But I was wrong, Salby isn't doing these particular trivial mistakes and when I ultimately listened to the talk, it looked rather impressive.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Finding and abandoning incorrect general relativity lore

While I was buying and installing my new fridge, I kept on burning my brain by analyzing various refinements and implications of the paper by Maldacena and Susskind.

Some business with the M2-brane topology change and entanglement looked too obvious to me so I returned to the question how do the black hole exterior and interior really interact. The burning of the brain is composed of various steps that combine and recombine analytic continuation, diverse choices of coordinates, unusual ways to redefine the connectedness of the spacetime, and connections between previously disconnected regions through the complexified spacetime.

At each step, I try to ask not only HOW does it work but also WHY a particular trick that looks clever at a given moment should be picked and WHETHER it is inevitable or unique. Some of the partial conclusions are more convincing than others but I don't want to waste your time with an incomplete picture.

Instead, let me mention that we're probably victims of some bad habits and ultimately invalid lore related to the way how we think about certain issues in general relativity.

Sunday, June 09, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Bohr model: 100 years ago

One hundred years ago, in July 1913, when the author was 28 years old, Philosophical Magazine received Niels Bohr's manuscript on his model of the atom. Happy birthday. Both 25-page papers are available in English here:

On the Constitution of Atoms and Molecules I
On the Constitution of Atoms and Molecules II
Bohr's model was wrong in details – and he should have been able to see it – but the papers clarified many aspects of nuclear and atomic physics. Bohr referred to Rutherford, Thomson, and others. But only after Bohr's paper, nuclear physics started to be carefully distinguished from atomic physics. For example, Rutherford received the 1908 Nobel prize in chemistry. These days, we would surely not think that nuclear physics is chemistry.

Saturday, June 08, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Toshiba's Westinghouse claims to be the Czech nuclear frontrunner

While the Czech media discuss politicians' opinions on whether we need an expansion of the Temelín nuclear power plant at all – because of the expected drop in coal and gas prices (due to shale oil) – the Japanese investigative journalists claim that they already know that we need it and the Japanese industrial group is likely to win.

Shinzo Abe, center-right Japanese PM

The leading Czech power utility, ČEZ, will decide whether Temelín will be expanded and who will get the $10 billion contract in Fall 2013. The French state-owned Areva was eliminated in a previous round because it was claimed that some basic conditions weren't fulfilled – Areva is trying to appeal but the chances are slim – which leaves us with two candidate projects: American and Russian. Being right in the middle of American and Russian interests (or, in some contexts, German-Austrian and Russian) is something that a genuinely central European country like ours is intimately used to.

Well, more precisely, they're a Czech-Russian plan and a Japanese-American one. The Czech-Russian group is composed of Gidropress (RU), Atomstroiexport (RU), and Škoda JS (CZ), while the Japanese-American project is proposed by Westinghouse (US) which belongs to the Toshiba Group (JP).

Maldacena, Susskind: any entanglement is a wormhole of a sort

...more precisely, EPR is equivalent to ER...

Juan Maldacena and Leonard Susskind wrote a cool paper attacking the horizons of our current understanding of quantum gravity which may look convoluted if not entangled to many readers, which may swallow your attention like a black hole, and which is called

Cool horizons for entangled black holes.
I suppose that the paper was created after Juan Maldacena explained to Lenny Susskind why his recent pro-firewall paper was wrong. Both Maldacena and Susskind have thought about similar things for quite some time but there are many reasons – including my knowledge of the genesis of this modest paper – why I think that the active claims and "choices of the right answers" are Juan's, not Lenny's. ;-)
Update: See also John Preskill's enthusiastic review of the paper.
Just very recently, Lenny was very confused about the firewalls and thought that the AMPS arguments have made firewalls inevitable. The new Maldacena-Susskind paper is clearly an anti-firewall paper. Well, they actually conclude that the firewalls don't have to be there but there may, depending on the decision of a female overlord whose identity will be partially clarified below...

Healfix finds the paper controversial, either wrong or the first salvo of a completely new revolution. I don't. The paper is cool but it's a totally natural continuation of the state of the affairs as we have known it for quite some time. It builds on Werner Israel's thermofields (Werner Israel is an ex-collaborator of our Gordon Wilson), Maldacena's 2001 comments about the "pair of CFTs" description of the eternal AdS black hole, and some ideas about "entanglement as a topology change" that I recently associated with Mark Van Raamsdonk although many people, including your humble correspondent, have been thinking about the same paradigm for many years. Ryu and Takayanagi have contributed an influential 2006 paper about the entanglement in the black hole context.

The ideas linked to thermofields and the doubling of degrees of freedom were recently mentioned and exploited by the Raju-Papadodimas paper but again, it's true that a dozen of credible researchers or so has thought about these matters in this way.

Friday, June 07, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Pros and cons of the U.S. surveillance program

It has been revealed that the FBI and NSA are using the Patriot Act to monitor pretty much all telephone calls and media files drifting through 9 major Internet companies including Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Obama says that those things are in the context of the fight against terrorism. Some key officials responsible for these formerly secret programs have criticized the... leak.

I was sort of pleasantly surprised by the New York Times editorial

President Obama’s Dragnet (via NewsMax)
which sort of concludes that the Obama administration has lost all credibility on this issue. The surprise is nice not because I am sure that I agree with the Grey Lady – my feelings are mixed – but because I would agree that the newspaper's approach to similar questions has been consistent throughout the Bush and Obama administrations.

Some partisans who have criticized Bush for certain things suddenly get unbelievably silent when the same things are being done by Obama but the New York Times doesn't seem to belong to this hypocritical club. I know that many fellow rightwingers really despise the Grey Lady but for me, it still represents the kind of healthy and manageable (nearly) centrist America that I first met in the late 1990s. Well, mostly.

Thursday, June 06, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Trade war: Chinese solar panels vs EU wine

Business Week and many other news outlets tell us about another worrisome development in a possibly looming trade war between the EU and China (or EU and the rest of the world).

Some EU apparatchiks have decided that China is selling solar panels below cost so they imposed 11.8% tariffs on them – but this fee is meant to grow to 67.9% within two months. Holy cow. China is clearly going to revenge. At this point, they are preparing actions against the European wine. The French who believe that they produce some of the best wines in the world aren't happy but it's their own fault, to a very large extent. And of course that the Chinese investigation of possible subsidies for the European agricultural products should naturally end up with the "guilty" verdict: the European agriculture is subsidized and manipulated with from A to Z. Needless to say, the wines were only picked for symbolic reasons; things would become tougher if China began to target Airbus aircraft, for example.

It's truly concerning to see that among the Chinese communists and the European Union officials, it's the latter who are much more fanatical, unhinged anti-market Mujahideen who don't hesitate to put our continent's and the world economy's health (and perhaps the global peace) at risk whenever they decide to pursue their sick anti-market policies. China says that now, during these trade conflicts, Europe must recognize its decline. It may sound tough but I completely agree with that. If Europe is becoming uncompetitive etc., and there are probably good reasons for that (to a large extent, it's someone's fault, the fault of some very bad policies), it is just completely wrong to try to mask this fact by spitting on others.

The EU "leaders" have already distorted the market conditions so brutally that it may be hard to decide what is actually "normal" and "fair" in the business relationships between Europe and the rest of the world. Incidentally, India and others are still not paying the ransom that the EU imposed upon the foreign airlines operating in Europe and India and probably others are readying reprisals. Not too good.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Competing Japanese regions shoot videos to win the ILC

...a poll...

Japan is clearly getting serious about hosting the International Linear Collider, a planned 250+250 GeV (or later 500+500 GeV) electron-positron collider which could measure properties of the Higgs boson and perhaps other new things much more accurately than the LHC.

As the Symmetry Magazine informs us, two main candidate places in Japan recently released promotional video to defend their candidacies. It looks like the construction is a hot topic although it's expected to begin between 2015 and 2016 and collisions won't start before 2026.

This 4-minute music, choreography-based video featuring some famous actors and cartoons, among other real and virtual artists, is a reason why you should vote for the Sefuri mountains, Kyushu, Southern Japan [Facebook]. Big Ben's music and a short excerpt from Beethoven's fifth symphony – Japan has been crazy about Beethoven since the First World War – can't be absent in the video, either. Can you find it? You must have previously heard Asagohan (Breakfast), an amazing Japanese rendition of the symphony.

Sea temperature trend: 1.35 ± 0.15 °C per century

I made the following easy-to-understand calculation of the warming trend, including an error margin, of the global sea surface temperatures since the late 1970s, as seen by the UAH AMSU satellite dataset.

First, I loaded the file of the monthly data, isolated the third temperature-like column, the global ocean temperature anomaly, and calculated the linear regressions.

David Gross on youth, revolutions, conservatives, QM, QFT, QCD, ST, multiverse etc.

Wired has reprinted an interview of Simons Science News with David Gross:

Nobel Laureate Says Physics Is in Need of a Revolution
Well, I don't think that the title accurately summarizes what Gross said.

He mentioned that he was attracted to physics as a kid, partly by Einstein's and Infeld's book when he was 13. He gives some clues to the interviewer about the meaning of quantum mechanics, fields, quantum fields, asymptotic freedom, and so on.

His adviser Geoffrey Chew has ordered Gross to spark a new revolution by showing that quantum field theory is fundamentally wrong and one needs some revolutionary self-determining theory based on no special "elementary" particles, one satisfying the bootstrap paradigm. Instead, Gross ended up showing that quantum field theory works very well. Thank you.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Asymmetric fates of rivers of Pilsen

There were only two rivers, Euphrates and Tigris, in a defunct multicultural city surrounding Saddam Hussein's summer palace 50 miles South of Baghdad but the number "two" was apparently sufficient to earn a famous song by the German band Boney M.

Rivers of Babylon. The description "German band" is a bit subtle if not amusing not only because of the racial laws of the 1930s but also because of the simple fact that only the producer was German while the singers were Britons from three Caribbean islands.

The rivers of Pilsen, my hometown, haven't generated any famous song yet despite the fact that Pilsen was cleverly established in 1295 near the confluence of a whopping number of four rivers. (A confluence of five rivers, an even larger number, was outsourced somewhere to India.)

Monday, June 03, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

LARES: a discoball for eurocents that supersedes Gravity Probe B

Fred Singer was intrigued by a new object shot by ESA to outer space, a shiny disco ball that verifies Einstein's general relativity.

See the following preprint and other sources:

LARES succesfully launched in orbit: satellite and mission description by Antonio Paolozzi, Ignazio Ciufolini (arXiv)

The Extraordinary “Disco Ball” Now Orbiting Earth (Physics arXiv Blog)

Wikipedia, A LARES website (ASI, Italy), Lares-mission.COM
It's literally a disco ball, a completely passive object reflecting LASER lights sent from the Earth to its 92 retroreflectors, an 850-pound gorilla wolfram alloy ball that may be exploited to accurately measure the position and orientation of the disco ball and verify the Lense-Thirring effect i.e. rotational frame-dragging predicted by Einstein's theory of gravity.

Most questions are no good

Off-topic, floods in Central Europe:

It all started in the Pilsner Region (3 days ago, the Klabava River I know from many recent trips was the flood superstar) but the elevated water has spread to Czechia and Austria and beyond as the excess water molecules are rolling down to lower altitudes.

Note that Czechia's Western and Northern borders are composed of mountains. Because our country is in the very center of Europe, we sit at the intersection of major river basins: North Sea (Elbe mostly via Moldau, green), Baltic Sea (Odra, yellow), Black Sea (Danube via Morava River, blue). The rain should stop tonight or tomorrow and the excess water should disappear from the higher altitudes and move to lower Elbe and Danube sometime tomorrow.

Eastern spiritual nut Sri Chinmoy's statue in a not-so-waterproof central Prague museum became a helpful benchmark to measure the water level while his prayer-like gesture involving his hands captures some of the atmosphere.

There's lots of water at places where we're not used to water, closed schools, a part of the Prague subway near the historical city center, flooded museum at the traditionally flooded "Kampa" suburb of central Prague etc. Six casualties in Czechia (including a canoeist in Greater Pilsen, a 69-year-old man who got sucked by a pipe of the sewerage system, and an energy utility employee: I know, this is not supposed to be a comedy show but I do think it would be wrong to hide that not all the casualties were behaving safely and shared no responsibility for their end) so far.

Look at this place in Pilsen I inspected 30 minutes ago. Now, the pedestrian underpass may only be followed if you swim in the dirty water which moves over 5 meters per second and goes from the wall on the left side to the underpass on the right side, up to the height reached right beneath the rim of the bridge. My guess is that the water level is just 1 meter higher than usually. However, an old St George church (it was on that place since 992 AD) one mile from my home was surrounded by water and placed on a temporary island. ;-)

Elsewhere, the situation has greater – mostly logistical and economic – consequences. Everyone who has flood-sensitive assets or responsibilities is surely forced at least to think (and sometimes act) about all the usual flood-related topics. However, I would still say that the floods are far from being comparable to the August 2002 floods [videos from Pilsen] I remember rather well.

See also a gallery of 100+ Czech fresh flood pictures. See 200+ more pictures. Almost 200 pictures from Greater Pilsen. Prague – with the Moldau River above 3,000 cubic meters per second (well below 5,000+ in 2002) – is experiencing a "20-year flood" with contributions both from Berounka (the river we send here from Pilsen: Berounka is the union of 4 tributaries, the rivers of Pilsen: Mže/Mies, Radbuza/Radbusa, Úhlava/Angel, Úslava) as well as from the Moldau Cascade of Dams that had to be released a bit; North Bohemian City of Ústí Upon Elbe expects a "100-year flood". See a video of North of Prague.

In Prague, the water will peak sometime on Tuesday (tomorrow) around 6 am.
There has been quite some discussion on TRF and elsewhere whether the question
What is the feeling between the two magnets? There's something there.
that an interviewer asked Richard Feynman during the Fun To Imagine program was a good or well-defined one. I am in the camp of the "resounding No" and in this text, I want to enumerate a few dozens of things that are often (or usually) wrong with the questions that are being addressed to scientists or that are even marketed as building blocks of the scientific process. Some of the observations apply outside science, too.

Sunday, June 02, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Richard Feynman: Fun To Imagine

You must have seen many excerpts from the following video featuring Richard Feynman:

But maybe you have never watched the whole 66-minute-long video. Here it's waiting for you.

He covers lots of things – need for imagination in physics; heat is wiggling; surface tension is the attempts of molecules to get in...

Saturday, June 01, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Quintuplets in physics

Cool anniversary: In late January, we celebrated the 30th anniversary of the announcement of the discovery of the W-boson. Today, we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Z-boson. They were comparably important discoveries to the recent discovery of the God particle.

Sport: Viktoria Pilsen defeated Hradec, a much weaker team, 3-to-0 in the last round so we won the top soccer league for the 2nd time (after 2011). Because the Pilsner ice-hockey team has won the top league as well, Pilsen became the 2nd town in Czechia after Prague that collected both titles in the same year (correction: wrong, 3rd town, Ostrava did it in 1981).
Ms Alexandra Kiňová (23) is expecting the first Czechia's naturally born quintuplets (a package of 5 babies) on Sunday morning (tomorrow; update: they're out fine) which would mean that we match the achievement of the most fertile U.S. state – Utah – from the last week.

The Daily Mail tells us that the pregnancy has been easy so far. Doctors were still talking about "twins" in January and "quadruplets" in April. The probability that a birth produces \(n\)-tuplets goes like \(1/90^{n-1}\) or so but the decrease slows down relatively to this formula for really high representations.

In physics, quintuplets are rare, too. By quintuplets, we mean five-dimensional irreducible representations of groups.