Friday, October 20, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

2.7 cheers for "shut up and calculate"

Nima Arkani-Hamed is a member of the Aryan & Dominant White Professors program at Cornell University (how many external clicks did this cause LOL?) and he gave a talk about "shut up and calculate" last month over there:

Three Cheers for "Shut Up and Calculate" in Fundamental Physics
Nima adopted the division of the theoretical physicists to the askers or seers – like Lee Smolin who loved to impress the people by saying that "I view myself as a seer" (be sure that we've talked about these matters a lot so he had folks like Smolin in mind) – and the insatiable problem-set solvers who just want to get the technicalities right at the mathematical level and solve additional well-defined problems once some older ones are mastered.

And make no doubts about it, the "shut up and calculate" people are unambiguously the right ones.

Thursday, October 19, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Madrid announces nuclear war #155

As we have expected for quite some time, further escalation has taken place in the tension between Spain and Catalonia. A week ago, the authoritarian government in Madrid issued an ultimatum to the Catalan government: revoke everything or else... The deadline was ultimately moved to today 10 am or so.

155 is the Czech telephone number to call an ambulance.

The Catalan government has previously announced that it would ignore the blackmail and the deadline because that's not an acceptable format for the political discussions about such important matters. Every civilized person agrees with that. Shortly after the deadline, Rajoy's government in Madrid announced that it would ignite the nuclear option, the Article 155 of the constitution, on Saturday. It enjoys the support of the socialists, the king, and virtually the whole fascist nation.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Anti-inflation quacks supported not by science but by special anti-science social interests

Sabine Hossenfelder wrote a rant:

I totally mean it: Inflation never solved the flatness problem.
I would personally never allow a student to get a degree from theoretical physics or something like that if she were a quack like her who just doesn't get the most fundamental ideas in the field – and she doesn't. But there are good reasons why she can "totally mean it". Quacks like her may do well because while her total scientific incompetence is a minus from the viewpoint of the actual experts, it's a plus from the viewpoint of the bad people "around" science.

For example, George Soros just gave $18 billion (80% of his wealth) to his "charities". You can be sure that a part of this money will be used to attack science, just like it was used in recent years. Obnoxious antiscientific whores aren't that bad, are they? In fact, they are good, discriminated against by the evil white male scientists, so why don't we turn statements like "inflation never solved the flatness problem" in a virtue that should be rewarded?

Just try to appreciate how much evil may be done with $18 billion that is sent to carefully, ideologically picked corners.

The whole system underlying science and other meritocratic human activities – at least those whose importance isn't "immediately" impacting the well-being of the ordinary Joe – is collapsing as the people allow scum like George Soros to create "compensating" anti-meritocratic structures that switch the evolution into the reverse: What sucks gets to the top.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Czech elections: top 8 parties, programs, coalitions

I think that the number of readers of these posts on Czech politics is rather low but someone asked me. OK, we have elections on Friday and Saturday. Here is a forecast:

The top 8 parties above the 5% threshold are shown above. Sadly, the Party of the Free Citizens and similarly reasonable right-wing, new party of the Realists won't get to the Parliament, it seems, and they will subtract lots of votes of the wise right-wing voters. Also, STAN-the-Mayors have a slight chance to get to the Parliament, they're a more modern version of KDU discussed below.

What are the parties?

The winner is expected to be ANO, at 25% – it may be much more or much less. The name means Yes, and it is an acronym of the Alliance of the Pissed-Off Citizens. The owner of this movement is the second wealthiest Czech citizen (€3 billion, like Trump), former Slovak communist secret police snitch (now officially again) Mr Andrej Babiš. Everyone else in the party or movement is just a corrupt puppet so if and when someone physically removes Babiš, ANO will be dead, too.

Babiš, an owner of agricultural farms, production of chickens, chemical companies, newspapers, reproduction clinics etc. (through a trust) constantly plays the role of an outsider although he was the ultimate insider – top communist cadre – during communism; he's controlled the party bosses in the 1990s; and he's been the finance minister in recent 4 years. He repeats slogans that "everyone is corrupt but he can't be because he's a billionaire" while he steals billions in assorted subsidies, e.g. for his disgusting yellow rape (biofuels). He is being prosecuted right now for the €2 million EU subsidy fraud to fund his "Stork Nest" luxurious farm. He has done lots of other things that violated the laws, abused his power to destroy his competition etc...

At any rate, he's obviously the hero of the bottom 25% of the nation – mostly because he is a primitive just like them so they vote him as a member of their subspecies.

He has no ideology, he only cares about increasing his power and wealth. So he copies the majority opinions of the citizens on all these questions he doesn't care about. So he is somewhat skeptical about the EU and is considered to be a horror for the Brussels folks – although I believe this idea is wrong because it could be trivial for Brussels to turn him into a puppet. He is against the Euro, against the adoption of migrants – because a majority of Czechs is. He wants a much tougher terror against small businesses while collecting taxes and stuff like that. The EU may be dangerous but his desires to turn Czechia into a dictatorship seem much more urgent to me now.

Monday, October 16, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

LIGO-Virgo detects a collision of neutron stars

First simultaneous electromagnetic and gravitational wave observation

Please watch here, look at the LIGO Twitter account, LIGO web pages about the event (news, detection, chirp sound), and read a Nature paper or the paper on GRB 170817A in Physical Review Letters that was released exactly when the press conference began:

LIGO detected the collision first. Sadly, Virgo saw nothing. So they turned this fact into a virtue and concluded that the event had to be close enough to one of the blind spots of Virgo.

Sunday, October 15, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Far left terrorizes Dr Amy Farrah Fowler over her wise NYT essay on sex assaults

Mayim Bialik is an amazing woman. She was a kid actress but didn't get everything she needed so she also earned her PhD in neuroscience, much like Amy Farrah Fowler, her character in America's #1 watched TV series – who has just married Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory. At some moment, she realized that she can't live quite happily without her entertainment skills to be displayed and that's why returned to acting.

On Friday 13th, she wrote an op-ed for The New York Times

Mayim Bialik: Being a Feminist in Harvey Weinstein’s World
She wrote that she was "disgusted" by the magnitude of Harvey Weinstein's sexual predation. But the same sentence started with "though" and you may imagine – that was enough for a big problem for her.

Austrian elections: solid right-wing victory, greens implode

Recent Austrian presidential elections ended with a statistical tie. After some disputable oscillations, the green man defeated the younger anti-immigration candidate and became the president.

But Austria's right-wing inclination hasn't disappeared at all. On the contrary, today's parliamentary elections – with a shockingly high turnout around 80% – ended with a clear victory of the right-wing, "acceptably" anti-immigration party led by 31-year-old whizz-kid Sebastian Kurz. ÖVP has earned 32% which is 8% more than last time.

"Far right" and strongly antimigration Freedom Party FPÖ got 27.4%, over 6% more than the last time, and is Kurz's preferred coalition partner. The right-wing coalition will have a very safe majority.

At the end, the SPÖ social democrats led by current prime minister Kern dropped from the 2nd place to 3rd place with 26.7% but it won't be enough. They got as much as they did last time. Note that for an Austrian party to be successful above 10%, it has to have both Ö and P in their 3-letter acronym. So who lost deputies?

Saturday, October 14, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

German interior minister: let's celebrate Muslim holidays

Czech readers were shocked by yet another dose of staggering news about the Islamization in Germany. The German minister of interior, Thomas de Maiziere, has recommended to introduce Muslim holidays in Germany. Shockingly enough, this man is a member of the "Christian" Democratic Union, CDU, the strongest party in Germany.

The proposal was criticized by some other politicians – especially those from Bavaria's CSU – but immediately praised by Martin Schulz, the leader of the Social Democratic Party, Germany's second most powerful party. Incidentally, the Czech party with the same acronym – SPD – is led by a Czech-Japanese nationalist who wants to completely ban Islam, among many other things. ;-)

Friday, October 13, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Calls to dumb down science at Wikipedia have to be dismissed

Journalists i.e. pompous fools love to pretend they understand things even if they don't have the slightest clue

I have started hundreds of science and hundreds of non-science articles at Wikipedia, edited thousands of others, and actually gained some automatic administrator privileges that allow me to edit certain articles when most of the regular people can't. Wikipedia isn't perfect but it's been immensely helpful to me – and I think that many of you – many times. Well, it's fashionable to sling mud at Wikipedia but scientists use Wikipedia more than they admit. A project like that had to be created but I am still grateful to Jimbo Wales for actually turning the vision into reality – currently the fifth most visited website in the world – some years ago.

Now, Wikipedia isn't perfect and in many cases, its texts are biased if not downright untrue. I think it's obvious that politically flavored articles are mostly left-leaning. Whenever a topic has been politicized, you should be careful and realize that someone could have hidden some key information or promoted some fishy memes. In particular, whenever you read an article related to the debate about climate change, it is very likely that William Connolley, an official at the U.K. Green Party, has "touched" it. In recent years, however, his vegetarian diet has basically destroyed his brain so he is no longer able to write a comprehensible sentence.

I would say that in most cases, the key facts and definitions are included in the important enough articles and if there's some bias, it's just the bias in the tone in which the article is written. When it is so, a sensible reader such as you may still extract the useful information and rephrase it in a neutral way which removes all the left-wing flavor.

Hours ago, journalist Michael Byrne at Motherboard.Vice.Com claimed that

Wikipedia’s Science Articles Are Elitist
His subtitle says
Maybe Wikipedia readers shouldn’t need science degrees to digest articles about basic topics. Just an idea.
Well, it's an extremely stupid and pernicious idea. Articles about scientific topics such as those he mentioned are written in the elitist, rigorous enough, jargon-dependent style because they're articles about objects and concepts that are being used by scientists, an elite, and science needs a certain amount of rigor and jargon. You don't need the actual degrees to understand specialized science articles but you need the same skills or knowledge that could bring you an actual degree if you wanted to get one.

If you don't have the skills or knowledge that are necessary for people to get science degrees, you shouldn't be surprised that you can't understand articles about science.

Thursday, October 12, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

When even a muddled Maudlin trumps Nobelist 't Hooft in quantum mechanics

Off-topic, Nobel: the physics Nobel prize went exactly to the three men whom I recommended which is great. Now, Martin Rees wrote a tirade that teams (more than 3) should be rewarded instead. And an Arab inkspiller says that Einstein couldn't or shouldn't get a Nobel prize now (even though isolated theorists are still getting prizes in analogy with Einstein). Can you really read the damn Nobel's will? It originally insisted on one winner per year per field – which was already expanded to three – and there are extremely good reasons not to dilute the prizes further which simply can't change after 100 years. These prizes reward folks who have done way more than what they were compensated for by salaries. Generic workers and spokeswomen of LIGO etc. are just technicians and secretaries who were already compensated by their salary, at least approximately, for their business-as-usual. The LIGO Nobel prize went to 3 particular men and all the talk about "whole teams that win it" are just politically correct lies that all the important people are forced to parrot by the organized mediocre ones. They're bullšit and it's just absolutely terrible when this politically correct garbage is treated by someone as reality. I urge the Arab and Rees jerks to memorize the actual winners' biographies, shut up, and calculate.
If you don't know, muddled or Maudlin is a puzzle and the solution is "beery"! It's impossible not to mock a guy's surname whose first three consonants are MDL. ;-)

A reader sent me a few URLs to recent texts by the anti-quantum zealots. You can be sure that they haven't disappeared, either. A certain Don Weingarten has proposed a new, 51,682nd interpretation of quantum mechanics by rearranging the words "hidden variable", "theory", "single world", "many worlds" in a new way. Jess Riedel helpfully summarizes the the new important idea of the paper by pointing out that there's none. But according to Riedel, the new aspect of the paper is that it shows that some people find it appealing to use the words from another paper that has no ideas.

Last month, Nobel prize winner Gerard 't Hooft who became a full-time warrior against quantum mechanics some 20 years ago published
Free Will in the Theory of Everything
"Philosopher" Tim Maudlin has responded via Facebook – on September 22nd and October 3rd – and some people including 't Hooft have joined the discussion under these Facebook posts. On this blog, Maudlin's fake science has been discussed at least since 2011 when Maudlin displayed his anti-quantum exhibitionism under a guest blog by my former PhD adviser.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Junk PC subjects at schools spread like fire

Václav Klaus Jr, a shadow minister in the right-wing ODS and a son of the Czech ex-president, has received some mail from a mother of a high school student:

Good morning, I just found out that the gymnasium that my son attends has replaced geography by the multicultural education this semester. I am incredibly upset but I don't know how to proceed. I don't want any action to turn against him at the end... Would you kindly give me an advise? Thanks for your answer, have a nice day
The mother stayed anonymous and I am not sure whether Klaus has given any helpful advise to her. But he used this letter to shout "let us stop it". Many of us, his followers, have looked at some details about this multicultural education and its cousins.

Czech president's pragmatism too much for Ukraine

...and a new wave of anti-Russian hysteria in the West...

Czech president Miloš Zeman has given a talk in the Council of Europe – a human-rights organization covering European countries including Ukraine and Russia – in Strasbourg. He repeated that the sanctions against Russia are counterproductive.

Zeman asked his guards to "remove the Czech Television cameraman, otherwise I will kill him" ("I will kill him" is obviously just the standard slang for "he raises my subjective level of dissatisfaction") which created some extra responses.

But aside from his description of links between the Armenian genocide and the Islamic terrorism, he has also discussed Crimea, criticized Khrushchev's decision to incorporate Crimea to Ukraine, and said that "its incorporation to the Russian Federation is mission accomplished". He enumerated several top politicians and former politicians who agree with him that an "attempt to take Crimea from Russia would lead to a European war" which should be avoided. See TASS for a nice sketch.

He recommended Russia to compensate Ukraine for its lost territory – either by money or by fossil fuels. In this way, Zeman managed to unite most Ukrainian politicians and some Russian politicians in their anger. While his view is sensible and pragmatic – of course, reasonable people should be able to figure out some "fair solution" and compensate the real world's deviation from this "fair solution" financially – he indicated that the Ukrainians are prostitutes who are eager to sell their organs for the money; while the Russians are thieves who have done something wrong and must pay something for it now.

These negative reactions simply reflect the existing and nurtured tensions between Russia and Ukraine. If they were willing to look at things impartially, like e.g. Zeman, they could see some approximate "objective reality" that is the same for Russians and Ukrainians, and something may be done to calm the situation down and improve it.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

America signs a peace treaty with coal

Some mixed feelings about the happy death of the Clean Power Plan

Donald Trump isn't the first president of the U.S. Some younger readers probably no longer know the name but Trump's predecessor was called Mr Barack Obama and he has done some mad things to please America's extreme left-wingers. One of them was the adoption of the "Clean Power Plan" that was basically killing coal as the source of energy in the U.S. – while using the pseudoscientific excuse that there was something wrong about the CO2 emitted when the coal burns.

The impact of acid rains which have nothing to do with CO2, as I will remind you.

The "Clean Power Plan" was insane from any economic viewpoint. For example, even if you thought that it was a good idea to try to cool the globe by reducing CO2 emissions, and it's not a good idea even qualitatively, folks like Bjorn Lomborg have calculated (as mentioned in a 2015 blog post) that the whole "Clean Power Plan" would reduce the global mean temperature by 0.013 °C before 2100.

Just imagine that. The world's main superpower was supposed to abandon the cheapest source of energy – or one of the two cheapest sources, we could say – in order to reduce the temperature by the undetectable 0.013 °C. And you have to wait for almost a century to feel it. And most of you won't really agree that a cooler weather is a better weather – indeed, most of the people on Earth have good reasons to say the opposite thing. Regardless of debates about the greenhouse effect, the economic evaluation of the "Clean Power Plan" was obvious: the plan was plain insane.

Monday, October 09, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

The Spanish-Catalan deal

We, the Spanish king, Spanish prime minister, and the president of the Catalan community thank The Reference Frame for the mediation and

solemnly declare
our desire to conclude the centuries of the mutually beneficial co-existence of our nations and peacefully create the Catalan Republic on the territory of the Catalan autonomous community. The separation of the Kingdom of Spain to the new Kingdom of Spain ("new Spain") and the Catalan Republic ("new Catalonia") will proceed according to the following principles:

Succession. The new Spain will be the only successor of the Kingdom of Spain. It will inherit the membership in the international organizations and symbols from the old Spain. Both countries pledge to keep the united leagues in major sports up to the end of 2020, unless agreed otherwise.

HSBC Czechia cooperated in Babiš's subsidy fraud

The second wealthiest Czech citizen and a former Slovak communist police agent Mr Andrej Babiš is believed to earn some 27% in the parliamentary elections two weeks from now – with his Führer-style "ANO" ("Yes", an acronym for "The Alliance of the Pissed-Off Citizens") movement. He's the most likely "future prime minister" according to most people (well, I, for one, have big doubts about it, but maybe I am just too optimistic). But his apparent criminal record is rich and diverse. He's been stripped of his immunity as a lawmaker and he should receive the official charges (subsidy fraud; damaging of the financial interests of the EU) from the police today or in a few days. (Update, Monday 3:50 pm: as I predicted, Babiš just received the charges from the police today. He immediately started some complaints and appeals.)

The Šuman Group is an unknown individual or group funnily named after Julius Šuman, a former officer at the communist secret police who acted as Babiš' boss throughout the 1980s. They have released numerous recordings showing that Babiš has done many bad things as well as some juicy things. The Šuman Group was silent for a few months but we got something yesterday.

You should look at the recent Šuman GIFs because they're in English. They're the internal documents and correspondence of the HSBC Holdings, a large British bank that has a Czech subsidiary. The Czech subsidiary isn't one of the banks that every regular Czech knows or opens his account in. It's mostly a bank looking for big fish – like Babiš – and I guess that all the loans are checked in London.

Sunday, October 08, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

The Guardian: an unusually bright text about the deceitful cryptohype

Hours ago, The Guardian released a text by Edward Helmore (New York)

Warnings grow louder over cryptocurrency as valuations soar.
It addresses at least several of the issues surrounding the Bitcoin and its siblings that were recently discussed on this blog.

They mention that Joe Kennedy, the forefather of JFK, Ted Kennedy, and other relatives and left-wing "lions", sold his stocks in 1929 after a shoeshine boy told him it was great to buy stocks.

When even shoeshine boys talk about this "opportunity", it means that almost everyone who could have bought the stocks has already done it, so the demand is probably going to be lower in the future. I am trying to fill the holes in the argument to make it sound more complete. Needless to say, Joe Kennedy was either lucky or right – he sold at the right time. Maybe there was some luck about the decision. And maybe this luck contributed to the ability of this family to become so influential in the U.S. politics. But there's surely something sensible about the argument, too.

Saturday, October 07, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Five homicides by Ethan Siegel

Ethan Siegel is a trained astrophysicist who writes some popular pieces on science, currently for Forbes.

Many of his texts about the elementary enough physics are excellent – or at least very good high school term papers. However, he sometimes writes about the state-of-the-art fundamental or particle physics and all these texts are complete garbage. Every expert must see that Siegel isn't one of them, he just doesn't understand the basic things and his knowledge doesn't exceed that of an average layman who has read several popular books on physics.

It's too bad that over 99% of his readers are totally incapable of figuring out that they're served complete junk and the self-confident tone with which Siegel writes about these matters that are way outside his expertise is a part of his scam.

That's also the case of his new essay

Five Brilliant Ideas For New Physics That Need To Die, Already.
What he doesn't appreciate is that in science, brilliant ideas and theories may only die when they're replaced with more brilliant ones or, ideally, when they're actually falsified experimentally. None of the five victims of his murders are "quite" falsified as of today although this claim is more obvious for some of them than for others. Siegel has described his planned murder of (or the global ban on)
  1. Proton decay
  2. Modified gravity
  3. Supersymmetry
  4. Technicolor
  5. WIMP dark matter
Siegel basically wants to murder almost all of physics.

Spaniards', EU's hardline sentiments are scary for freedom in Europe

The tensions in Catalonia are primarily a reflection of a nationality or nation within the Kingdom of Spain that feels to be sufficiently different from the rest of Spain and insufficiently respected when it comes to the political rights and fiscal independence, among a few other things.

Despite the omnipresent politically correct campaign against "nationalism" that the EU-style forces are bombarding everyone with, it's normal and healthy for people to belong to a nation – and for them to consider this relationship important. Patriotism or the love for one's homeland aren't dirty words. Secession is nothing new, either. A big part of the history is full of it. In recent decades, Kosovo Albanians were encouraged by the U.S. and the EU to separate from Serbia even without any referendum. In fact, Belgrade underwent the "humanitarian bombardment", as Madeleine Albright called it. For some reasons, she isn't calling for the humanitarian bombardment of Madrid these days. The EU saw nothing wrong about these brutal interventions into Serbia's internal affairs.

"Your Face Has a Famous Voice", a remake of an originally Spanish contest, became popular in Czechia. There have been many much better remakes than this one-week-old Macarena.

In the same way, the EU saw nothing wrong about interventions into Polish internal affairs – when its lawmakers (where Law and Justice enjoyed a constitutional majority) were debating constitutional changes of procedures involving judges; and Hungarian internal affairs (where some new duties were codified for NGOs and foreign-owned schools). These central European countries are being constantly harassed and threatened by prosecution by other EU member states, perhaps expulsion, because of their "attack on the European values". Along with Czechia and perhaps Slovakia, Hungary and Poland are also being constantly harassed by the EU for their refusal to join the mad project invented in several Western European capitals to intentionally Islamize the European continent. A basic point of their sovereignty – the right to decide who can move to their territory – is being mocked if not ignored despite the nearly universal and geographically uniform consensus of these countries about these matters.

But when 2-3 millions of Catalans, the active part of a whole nation or nationality within Spain, are violently suppressed just for their desire to quantify their own opinions about the status and future of the community, the European Union thinks it's important "not to intervene into Spanish internal affairs". The hypocrisy and double standards are just absolutely staggering. I sympathize with the Catalans regardless of their ideological flavor and agree with their right to decide about the existential aspects of their future, especially if they're considered a separate entity not only by themselves but also by the rest of Spain whose behavior became downright hostile in recent days.

Friday, October 06, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Janine Davis from PC HR department forces Leonard Hofstadter to lie

My reaction to The Retraction Reaction

In the latest episode of The Big Bang Theory, S11E02 "The Retraction Reaction", Leonard Hofstadter was interviewed at Ira Flatow's show at the NPR radio station. Flatow – who starred as himself – asked Hofstadter what they have found at the LHC since the 2012 Higgs boson discovery. I think that Flatow has asked the same question in his real show a few times, too.

Leonard – I am not sure when he joined ATLAS or CMS because it would be a rather deep transformation of his specialization – answered that the LHC could have found squarks, selectros, or gluinos but it has found nothing and sometimes he has doubts whether the financial investment was wise.

Now, this is a totally essential descripton of the state of the affairs – as of today, the Higgs boson is the latest experimental discovery at the energy frontier of experimental particle physics, other things may come but we're not guaranteed and with the years of null results, it's obvious that some people increasingly doubt whether the search is justified.

Dr David Saltzberg of UCLA, the TBBT science adviser, has fine-tuned the dialogues perfectly from the expert's viewpoint – but we're used to that. That's why we may discuss the episode as if it were a real event.

Thursday, October 05, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Banned Catalan parliament session, the end of democracy

Spanish courts banned the parliament session next Monday (October 9th) because there is a "possibility" that the proposal to declare the independence could be tabled and discussed there – which indeed seems to be the case. But we can't know for sure what they're actually going to discuss and what the outcome will be. In particular, there are disagreements between the lawmakers and it's totally uncertain whether the independence would be approved in the current situation and with so little support.

Just to be sure, I would vote for independence if I were a Catalan lawmaker. Spain has declared some kind of a war on the region, anyway – for example, tomorrow there may be a decree to speed up the relocation of HQs from Catalonia (probably another act that won't be seen as a confession of love in Catalonia) – so it seems silly to argue with some economic losses. At least some temporary losses are unavoidable now and the long-term outlook makes the independence a net benefit, of course, because Catalans will get rid of the duty to constantly subsidize less productive Spaniards who are clutching Catalonia and sucking its blood as if they were 39 million ticks.

A fat lady and a gay pretended to be a perfect couple at Barcelona 1992 Summer Olympics – but they sounded great. This video is relevant because of Barcelona but also because much of the text below is about Summer 1992, too.

Spain should have negotiated with Catalonia because it has been clear for a long time that the thirst for independence may easily surpass the 50% threshold. Because it didn't, it could have enforced the rule of law. But the current law – which says that Spain is indivisible and local referendum aren't constitutional – simply cannot imply that people are beaten on the street or prevented from throwing ballots to boxes. At most, it can mean that this exercise will have no legal power: the outcome can't be considered the outcome of a valid referendum in the constitutional sense. So according to the European standards, the law enforcement could have only begun once someone would do something that is illegal according to the Spanish law and legal according to the idea that "the referendum has decided about the independence".

Instead, the voters were beaten preemptively, already for the manifestation of their opinion. This was a clear violation of their freedom of speech and their right of assembly.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Irreversibility, anonymity: Bitcoin's flaws, not virtues

Since the end of July, this is the 14th blog post about the Bitcoin so it may be fair to say that I became sort of interested in it. The possibility to decentralize the validation of transactions is cute, although not too practically useful, and I mentioned it's analogous to the dependence of the wave functions on observers, i.e. the subjectivity of quantum mechanics.

But most of the posts have been about the irrationality of the proponents of the "Bitcoin economy" which is an entirely different set of questions – because economics and computer science are two different disciplines.

I have mentioned that the "voting by the miners' majority" hasn't made it impossible for the "validators" of the transactions to abuse the system. It has just changed the identity of the validators and "decentralized them". But if China cleverly nationalizes the miners on its territory, it will be in the full control of the Bitcoin. To take over the smaller Bitcoin-like currencies (known as "altcoins") is vastly easier and a dollar millionaire may be rich enough to buy the required GPUs.

I have also mentioned five good reasons why governments will want to ban the Bitcoin: protection of small investors against crashes, usage of the cryptocurrencies by criminals and drug traffickers and terrorists and North Korea, the risk that someone – China or someone less official – takes over the majority of mining, tax evasion and circumvention of other aspects of government regulation, and the storage of copyrighted and classified and illegally offensive material within the blockchain.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

EU has lost Catalan hearts

Catalonia goes through the general strike today, in the wake of the Spanish police terror on Sunday. The public transportation doesn't work, the Barcelona University doesn't teach, a museum in the Sagrada Familia temple is closed, soccer players in FC Barcelona don't play, and 70% of public workers enjoy a free day.

Gerard Pique, a top player of the Spanish national soccer team, had to be escorted from Madrid after a crowd of fanatical fascists began to verbally attack him and threw objects at him during a training session for this "proud Catalan's" previous support of the referendum. He politely mentioned that if his political opinions about Catalonia wouldn't be respected, he would leave the national team.

I am sorry but in practice, Spain is simply not a free country of the Western type anymore when even a top soccer player becomes unable to safely and politely express his opinions about important questions surrounding his nation – whichever we mean – opinions that are shared by a majority of the wealthiest Spain's province according to the total GDP.

Lots of right-wing Spaniards, TomVonk, and a few others have tried to frame this Catalan-vs-Spanish disputes as a left-vs-right dispute where the Catalans are the left-wing and the Spaniards are the right-wing side. I am sorry but this is complete and utter hogwash. Certain aspects of the neo-Left are stronger in Catalonia for the same reason why these things are stronger in wealthier countries or regions – and Catalonia is one.

But the supporters of the Catalan independence just can't be identified with a left-wing movement – after all, the Catalan president is center right. The socialists have a neutral position on the issue. This is an issue about the co-existence of two or more nations or nationalities. With its population of 7.5 million, the Catalan nation is obviously a large enough group of people so that it includes the folks of all the basic ideological flavors, in proportions that don't differ so dramatically from other nations.

David Gross and the cloud

Today, as I totally expected, the physics Nobel prize went to LIGO fathers: Weiss 50%, Thorne 25%, Barish 25% which exactly matches my recommendation so OK! PC warriors didn't manage to remove Barish despite his black face joke and they didn't add a political spokeswoman despite her more than equal sexual organs, either; I knew it would be LIGO at 11:42 when someone said "Einstein" in the hall LOL.

It's a good reason to talk Nobel prize winners. A Nobel prize winner in physics came to a shop and told the clerk: "I would like a new telephone, my budget is not constrained at all."

"In that case," the clerk responds, "we have this new iPhone X for you. It has Face ID with a TrueDepth camera, Animoji, an HDR OLED edge-to-edge superretina display, faster 64-bit A11 Bionic processor with a neuron engine and integrated motion coprocessor M11, wireless charging, FDD-LTE, Bluetooth 5, NFC, compass, iBeacon microlocalization..."

The Nobel prize winner interrupts the clerk and screams: "Dear Sir, you must have misheard me. I want a TE-LE-PHONE!" ;-)

So David Gross starred in a similar sketch yesterday and reports about it must have brightened the morning not just for me:

What do you mean "in the cloud"? Where is it actually, Preskill? LOL.

Monday, October 02, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Stephen Paddock could have been a Muslim convert

Last night, Las Vegas witnessed the worst mass shooting in the U.S. history. At a concert, 58 people were shot dead and 515+ additional ones were injured.

Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old local white man, was identified as the killer. His father was once at the FBI's "most wanted" list. Paddock himself looked ordinary, his criminal record was flawless, he liked gambling, music, and had no known political or religious affiliations or psychiatric illnesses.

So why did he do it?

There's an obvious answer and a source immediately gives some support to it: Paddock was a Muslim convert. According to Daesh's communication, he converted a few months ago and was their soldier.

Catalans overwhelmingly choose independence

90% after an amazing sequence of Madrid's own goals

The result of the referendum has been announced. Some 2.26 million ballots were counted (42% turnout, out of 5.34 million registered voters). 1% was rendered invalid. Out of the valid ones, 90% voted "Yes" (independence), 8% voted "No", and 2% were "blank".

Calella, Costa Brava, Catalonia

On top of these 2.26 million ballots, about 0.7 million is estimated to have been stolen by Madrid's law enforcement forces: 2.96 million ballots would be some 55% of 5.34 million registered voters so the turnout with the stolen ballots included would be around 55% – which is not bad given the fear and risks, rain, and long queues (because of disabled Internet, need to do things manually and to pick another polling station instead of the closed one etc.).

Sunday, October 01, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Top Czech readers' reactions to Spanish police brutality

The events accompanying the Catalan independence referendum match my expectations rather accurately. I surely expected batons and rubber projectiles – because without those, the riot police would have very little chance to make a difference. It's still disquieting to see the actual pictures and scenes where actual peaceful citizens are beaten.

Catalonia's secession is a done deal now but after having seen the pictures, I recommend the independence for the other colorful regions as well. U.N. peacekeepers could broker it. The treatment of nationalities within Spain is simply broken and it will probably remain broken even after the Catalan exit.

Julian Assange's Twitter account contains a remarkable collection of the Spanish police brutality – which already exceeds the riot police's violence against the students in Prague in November 1989 – which was enough to ignite the Velvet Revolution – by orders of magnitude. Pensioners are beaten, losing blood, including old ladies. A loyal dog was manhandled. Girl's fingers were broken one by one. Man is attacked again even on his walk to ambulance. So far 337 injured people (17:48: over 460, new updates 761, 844... jihadists in Edmonton are losers, indeed); they're urged by the Catalan government to complain at Mossos. Look what happened when a Catalan cop dared to ask the Civil Guard to calm down. More interactions between cops of 2 kinds. More. Or what the Civil Guard, in its own propaganda video, calls a proportionate response to the provocations. Windows of schools are being violently broken by the Civil Guard (it was where the president was supposed to vote in the morning; he and 10/11 of regional ministers have already voted successfully; the last one, the health minister, enjoys the big day, too LOL). Lots of rubber bullets (in fact, big rubber green balls), batons against citizens including those firefighters (the human shields) etc.

Having passed exams from hydrodynamics (Pascal's principle!), I knew that the crowds would be able to push the police in the desired direction. I also knew that most of the polling stations would just work – and an hour ago, 70% of them just worked fine. (Update 14:40: a huge majority of stations work, officially 96%.) Their boxes may be stolen by the Spanish police later during the day. (The RT live broadcast has covered both places – the very violent ones as well as the totally ordered and affable polling stations.) There are big battles about logistics. The police went so far that they disabled the Internet around many polling stations. People defied it by sharing the mobile data etc. It's not clear how they will deal with the stolen ballots, shut down election websites, risk of double counting (the Madrid government disabled the census), and other things. It will almost certainly be impossible to say that the referendum will have obeyed all international standards. ;-)

The main deviation of the reality from my expectation concerns the Catalans' behavior. I surely expected them to be more violent. They're totally peaceful – I would say unnaturally peaceful. Well, if a nation is too peaceful, it may have some problems to liberate itself.