Friday, June 24, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

An arrogant centralized EU is no longer sustainable

The English voters' (not so much Scottish voters') decision to leave the European Union has certain implications for the United Kingdom that has preserved its independence, sovereignty, and democracy in this way. I think that even the consequences for the U.K. are being overestimated – I do think that the departure from the EU is a smaller change than e.g. Slovakia's departure from Czechoslovakia because the latter was a real country while the EU is not. The EU began to influence many aspects of the Europeans' lives but it is still deciding about a few percent of the GDP only etc. (and about a small part of non-economic issues, too). So although I often say bad things about the EU, I think it's a smaller deal for the citizens of the U.K. than the dissolution of Czechoslovakia was for us.

Yes, the United Kingdom will liberate itself from some decisions done by Brussels bureaucrats. But in practice, the effect of this change on the life of almost everybody is very small because the bureaucrats and ideologues in London don't differ from their counterparts in Brussels too much. After all, Britain has sent many sons and daughters to the EU headquarters and they were stauncher Eurocrats than many others – such as their Czech counterparts.

Britain is also a key country whose climatological institutions were the template from which the IPCC was created, along with the climate hysteria. Britain is also a home to many multiculturalists. Like Germany, it's largely a welcoming country – one that had no problem to pick an ethnic Pakistani as the mayor of the capital (whether you think it's great or not so great).

My point is that the decisions will be done more locally and more democratically once the United Kingdom leaves the EU. This will improve the feedbacks and the accountability of the politicians and the voters' ability to correct mistakes. But the content of all these decisions won't differ much – and the differences from the EU decisions will fluctuate in "both directions", if you get my point.

Central banks should intervene, push markets towards pre-Brexit levels

British voters have chosen to exit the European Union, 52-to-48 or so, which is the ethically correct decision. For example, the Klaus Institute praises Britain as a heroic essential country of Europe that decided to challenge the megalomaniac European plans for the third time – Napoleon, Hitler, Juncker ;-) and that created a wonderful opportunity for the Old Continent. However, the apparent costs are so intense that – I admit – I would have voted Bremain if I were a Briton yesterday.

PM David Cameron, the boss of the "Stay" camp, announced resignation later in the morning, saying that he isn't the right captain to steer the ships (British islands) now. Czech right-wing party chairman Prof Fiala says that the resignation of Tusks, Junckers, and Schulzes who have caused the problems would be more appropriate than Cameron's. Meanwhile, the world markets have kickstarted an absolute hysteria. This reaction could have been expected – we saw a small demo of that hysteria exactly 2 weeks earlier when polls indicated that the Leave side was ahead.

Within hours, the British pound lost some 8% on the dollar from $1.50 below $1.37 – low levels of the pound last seen in the 1980s. And the pound has seen the threshold $1.32 for a while, too. The stock markets are typically losing up to 10%, too. I am convinced that this hysteria is absolutely insanely unjustifiable. It doesn't reflect any underlying reality. And if economic problems begin, they will be consequences of the irrational hysteria itself, not the underlying event – Brexit – that is claimed to "justify" the havoc.

Some decisions will be gradually moved from Brussels to London but there's no reason to expect that the new London decisions will be worse or that some important processes will completely stop working.

Thursday, June 23, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Leonard Susskind vs Donald Trump

A co-father of string theory and lots of other creative ideas in physics and my once co-author Lenny Susskind (he's been surely more important for me than the very modest paper indicates) is the current director of physics at Stanford and he wrote a "letter on the lunatic" which he agreed to turn into an open letter. Here it is:

Letter to My Friends, by Leonard Susskind

I’m watching this thing that’s happening with disbelief, dismay, and disgust. There is a lunatic loose—I’m sure we all agree about that—but I keep hearing people say that they can’t vote for Hillary. I heard it at my daughter’s birthday party Sunday. Boy oh boy, will these people be sorry if the lunatic gets his way. Personally I do not find it an excuse that “I live in California, which will go Democrat whatever I do.”

(C) LM

I strongly believe in all things Bernie, but Hillary is not the Anti-Bernie. There is much less difference between Clinton and Sanders than the distortions of the nominating process might lead people to think. She’s for health care, he’s for health care; he’s for increased minimum wage, she’s for increased minimum wage; she’s for immigrant rights, he’s for immigrant rights; and on and on it goes.

The lunatic may be just that—a lunatic—but he is also a master of smear and innuendo. He is a gigantic liar, and he knows that if you keep saying something over and over, it sticks in people’s minds. It’s called the Big Lie, and it works. Say it enough and it sows confusion and distrust, not only among the know-nothings, but even among those who know better.

The lunatic and his supporters are exceedingly dangerous. Tell your friends: don’t be fooled. The only thing between us and the lunatic is Hillary. Get off your ass and vote in Nov.

Leonard Susskind
Director, Stanford Institute for Theoretical Physics,
Stanford University
It's often being said that left-wing ideologies are unavoidably totalitarian in character and every leftist is a Stalin to the extent to which he is allowed to act as one. One's firm fist – either literally or metaphorically – is the only thing that protects tens of millions of lives from a leftist. It's hard to disagree when you read this Susskind's rant.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Negative rumors haven't passed the TRF threshold


Several blogs and Twitter accounts have worked hard to distribute the opinion that the 2015 excess of diphoton events resembling a new \(750\GeV\) particle at the LHC wasn't repeated in the 2016 data. No details are given but it is implicitly assumed that this result was shared with the members of ATLAS at a meeting on June 16 at 1pm and those of CMS on June 20 at 5pm.

In recent 5 years, my sources have informed me about all similar news rather quickly and all such "rumors about imminent announcements" you could have read here were always accurate. And I became confident whenever I had at least 2 sources that looked "probably more than 50% independent of one another".

Well, let me say that the number of such sources that are telling me about the disappearance of the cernette is zero as of today. It doesn't mean that those negative reports must be unsubstantiated or even that the particle exists – it is totally plausible that it doesn't exist – but there is a reason to think that the reports are unsubstantiated. The channels that I am seeing seem untrustworthy from my viewpoint.

A fixed numerical value of \(\hbar\) got a bit closer

The Parisian kilogram prototype should move to a museum in 2018

Yesterday, published an interesting news report

Important milestone reached on road to a redefined kilogram
that explains some experiment that helps to realize my 2012 call to fix the numerical value of Planck's constant.

The experiment is described in "AIP Review of Scientific Instruments" article
Invited Article: A precise instrument to determine the Planck constant, and the future kilogram
by Haddad and 7 co-authors.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Václav Klaus' 75th birthday

On Sunday, I was honored to attend the magnificent birthday party of Václav Klaus, the second president of Czechia, which took place at the Štvanice [=Hunt or Exhaustive Effort] Island on the Moldau River in Prague. The island is named "Hunts" after dog hunts at animals (bears, bulls, deer, cows...) that have been organized on that island up to 1816 or so – this activity has been defunct for 200 years in this year. The ban of this entertainment was penned by Francis I of Austria in 1802 and after a delay, the island switched to more peaceful sports.

Lots of European politicians have sent him birthday wishes remotely (the video above was posted by AfD and is AfD+FPÖ-centered but if you're patient, Marine Le Pen sings) and lots of famous Czech politicians, economists, artists, and singers have attended. The party was located [bird's eye] in the real estate of the First Bohemian Lawn Tennis Club (founded 1893) which has owned it since 1901 but the current modern buildings were only opened in 1986.

Monday, June 20, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Formal string theory is physics, not mathematics

I was sent a book on string theory by Joseph Conlon and I pretty much hate it. However, it's the concise, frank comments such as his remark at 4gravitons that make it really transparent why I couldn't endorse almost anything that this Gentleman says.

I can’t agree on the sociology. Most of what goes under the name of ‘formal string theory’ (including the majority of what goes under the name of QFT) is far closer in spirit and motivation to what goes on in mathematics departments than in physics departments. While people working here like to call themselves ‘physicists’, in reality what is done has very little in common with what goes on with the rest of the physics department.
What? If you know the amusing quiz "Did Al Gore or Unabomber say it?", these sentences could be similarly used in the quiz "Did Conlon or Sm*lin say it?".

Sunday, June 19, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Ambulance chasing is a justifiable strategy to search for the truth

As Ben Allanach, a self-described occasional ambulance chaser, described in his 2014 TRF guest blog, ambulance chasers were originally lawyers with fast cars who were (or are) trying to catch an ambulance (or visit a disaster site) because the sick and injured people in them, potential clients who may have a pretty good reason to sue someone and win the lawsuit. For certain reasons, this practice is illegal in the U.S. and Australia.

Analogously, in particle physics, ambulance chasers are people who write many papers about a topic that is hot, especially one ignited by an excess in the experimental data. This activity is thankfully legal.

The phrase "ambulance chasing" is often used pejoratively. It's partly because the "ambulance chasers" may justifiably look a bit immoral and egotistically ambitious. However, most of the time, it is because the accusers are jealous and lazy losers. Needless to say, it often turns out that there are no patients capable of suing in the ambulance which the critics of ambulance chasing view as a vindication. However, this vindication is not a rule.

The probability to find clients is higher in the ambulances. It's similar as the reason why it's a better investment of money to make Arabs strip at the airport than to ask old white grandmothers to do the same – whether or not some politically correct ideologues want to deny this obvious point.

Is it sensible that we see examples of ambulance chasing such as the 400 or so papers about the \(750\GeV\) cernette diphoton resonance?

It just happens that in recent 2 days, there were two places in the physics blogosphere that discussed a similar topic:

An exchange between 4gravitons and Giotis

Game of Thrones: 750 GeV edition (Resonaances)
It seems rather clear that much like your humble correspondent, the first page is much more sympathetic to the ambulance chasing episodes than the latter one.

Saturday, June 18, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Subdivisions of string theory are completely misunderstood by critics

Tetragraviton wrote an insightful blog post

Most of String Theory Is Not String Pheno
where he tries to clarify some brutal misconceptions believed by Backreaction – as well as most laymen who read similar "sources" – about "what various string theorists actually do". He points out that Hossenfelder pretends to be a hero fighting against a powerful community, the string theory community, but in reality, she is only waging jihad against a small minority of the string community that is actually less numerous than groups such as the "loop quantum gravity fans" and others.

I completely agree with his main point.

This is the key pie chart that Tetragraviton has created. The string theory research has some vaguely defined parts. And because Hossenfelder considered "the research of less understood aspects of quantum field theory using string theory ideas" to be OK or a success, and this branch is actually a majority of the research – e.g. according to the pie chart that categorizes talks at the Strings 2015 annual conference, Hossenfelder is actually trying to fight against string cosmology and string phenomenology only, something that is researched just by more than a hundred of people.

Tetragraviton believes and I do believe that these subfields of string theory are actually understudied Cinderellas. They should be much larger than they are!

Friday, June 17, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Universe may arise from nothing

Nothing means no spacetime and no information but it cannot mean no mathematics or no laws of physics

Two weeks ago, Inspiring Philosophy posted a YouTube video claiming "A Universe From Nothing, Therefore God Exists!"

It starts with a bizarre quote of Lee Smolin who said that the information is important – one could have achieved the same thing by quoting people like John Wheeler, you don't need to spend one of the most glorious crackpots in the present world. Then it criticizes Lawrence Krauss and sort of endorses William Lane Craig, an Evangelical ideologue.

Thursday, June 16, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Most scientific discoveries don't produce a technological gap

Various websites criticizing modern physics attract all sorts of individuals who really think that people shouldn't do science – in the sense of finding out how things work. A commenter at Backreaction named "akidbelle" believes that some amazing constraints should be imposed:

In my opinion, a successful theory leads to a technological gap. In this way, the sorcerer who could make fire was the scientist of the time - whatever the fairy tales he used to explain his doing. This is not a problem until a class of sorcerers emerges working not for the fire, but for the fairy-tales explanation that support their class.

What I learn from your list is that super-symmetry is not mentioned to lead to a technological gap (- in your list). What about string theory? [...]

Now if scientists ask the public to please give them money so they can write papers, make congresses, careers, receive prizes, and make experiments about topics they like and in which they have no hope to lead to a technological gap any time in the next 100 years, would that be true?... and what would happen?
In other words, akidbelle thinks that pure science should be completely eradicated while only applied science should be pursued by someone. Wow.

Like Al Gore, the Orlando shooter was an anti-Big-Oil TV actor

Does it make sense to think about the characteristics of killers such as Omar Mateen? I am not sure. He may look like a generic Muslim or a generic Afghani American and all his idiosyncrasies could be accidents that don't teach us anything.

He may have been gay or partly gay – but that doesn't mean anything, either. Once we start to say that "straight according to the normal evidence" men are gay, then every man may be a gay. Or a gay "in some sense" or "to some extent". So we don't learn anything at all from such vague information about him. Quite generally, I think that some "defenders of gays" are extremely hypocritical. On one hand, they say that gays are great and should be proud; on the other hand, they demonstrably use the accusation "he is also gay" as the ultimate insult.

I found the finding of NY Daily News much more interesting. He has worked for G4S, the world's largest security company, since 2007 – for nine years. His pointing out that he worked for Al Qaeda or an investigation by the FBI clearly weren't a problem for his career of a security guard. (See also his more recent threats on FB.)

But the video I embedded is even more interesting.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

LIGO has announced the December 26th gravitational wave

Here, you could have learned the details in advance and watch the event live

Tonight, at 19:15-20:15 Prague Summer Time (or, locally, 10:15-11:15 am PDT), you could follow the webcast here (video) of the new findings by LIGO. Because the most recent detailed rumors I was spreading were absolutely accurate, it may be a good idea for the dear readers to trust the exciting report below (update: the data were accurate again). The paper was released while they were speaking, PDF.

Nine concentric curves indicate the 10%-90% confidence areas.

Ladies and Gentlemen, one additional gravitational wave has been discovered at the 5-sigma confidence level in the first observing run (O1) that ended on January 12th, 2016.

Research into totally settled questions is meaningless

Yesterday, I mentioned the obsession of Marxist "critics of science" with the politicization of everything in science and with assorted sociological conspiracy theories that have nothing to do with proper scientific research and that no serious scientists spend any substantial amount of time with.

But that doesn't mean that the likes of Ms Hossenfelder understand some other basic principles of the scientific method. Another totally elementary issue she clearly misunderstands is the following:

Scientific research may only be valuable if it investigates questions that are not completely settled. A complete certainty about the answers makes any research meaningless and worthless.
Climate skeptics often like to point out that some climate alarmists love to say that "everything is settled" in their field but they still want to be getting funds for the research. The criticism of this inconsistency isn't just some malicious harassment. It's absolutely fundamental that in science, you can't have both. Either you're certain about something, or it makes sense to do further research on it.

For example, people are reasonably certain that the Earth is round ;-) so not too many people are receiving scientific grants to cover their journey around the world (although, I am sure, some of them do have sponsors like that – but I would simply never call it science in 2016). If and when we know what the outcome, why would someone pay for such a journey as if it were science? The knowledge won't evolve at all but some evolution of knowledge is really the point of research.

London's banned beach ready lady is neither unrealistic nor unhealthy

A libel lawsuit should be launched and starve the mayor

London's new mayor Sadiq Khan is said to be not so much a Pakistani Muslim but rather a social democrat. However, a new policy – thanks to Tony – raises some doubts about his true passions.

He already banned bikini ads on the London subway and he's in the process of banning them at all public spaces in London. Maybe he will fight to ban them in the private spaces, too. A not so new coalition of the Islamic terrorists and fat feminists supports him.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

One can't understand physics through sociology

Experimental news: Listen to a new report from LIGO tomorrow (on Wednesday) at 19:15 Prague Summer Time; new detected gravitational wave GW151226 will be announced, with a 10 times higher frequency than GW150914. Also, in 2016, the LHC has recorded 4/fb, pretty much matching all of 2015, and some articles and LHCnews Twitter indicate that they could have something new about the \(750\GeV\) cernette soon, too. Results at \(Z\gamma\) and \(gg\) were null.
I have written numerous blog posts, e.g. this one in 2015, about this question but the question keeps on returning.

There exists a bunch of arrogant social scientists who believe or pretend to believe that they may reduce the wisdom about the world – including natural sciences – to their cheap ideological clichés about the society and discrimination and similar constructs. They think that when they observe how scientists dress or talk to each other, they may understand everything important about science, much like when they are observing dancing savages in the Pacific Ocean.

Famously, in 1996, Alan Sokal proved [PDF] that this postmodern filth belongs to a [beep] [beep] when he published a totally idiotic crackpot hoax article about quantum gravity that licked the rectums of these individuals, and that's why it was enthusiastically embraced by a would-be prestigious journal published by those hacks, Social Text, despite dozens of cute claims in the paper that the value of pi depends on the oppression of women and similar "gems".