Friday, July 31, 2015 ... /////

CMS bump at $5\TeV$?

First, off-topic: You may pre-order a book by Lisa Randall that will be out in 3 months (4 formats). It argues that dark matter is composed of organs of dinosaurs who were labeled reactionary autonomous intelligent weapons and shot into the outer space by mammoths. Well, I know the theory and the very interesting wisdom and stories around a bit more precisely than that because of some 50-hour exposure but there has to be a surprise left for you. ;-)

The ATLAS' bump at $2\TeV$ or so – possibly a new gauge boson – is probably the most attractive excess the LHC teams are seeing in their data. However, Pauline Gagnon of ATLAS has ironically pointed out another pair of cute excesses seen by her competitors at the CMS:
Here are the two graphs:

Both graphs show the invariant masses of dijets – a dijet spectrum.

Thursday, July 30, 2015 ... /////

Windows 10: hours after upgrade from Windows 7

Just one day ago, I did want to wait for a long time before I upgrade my Windows 7 laptop to Windows 10. And I wanted to use about 4 "less important" computers of my relatives or friends as guinea pigs. ;-) But the feedback by the converted ones has been so surprisingly flawless that I did join the 14 million early, first-day adopters, after all, and my own computer was the first one that was upgraded. Note that the upgrade from Windows 7 or 8.1 to Windows 10 is free for 1 year. (You need to go from 8 to 8.1 first.)

And windows 10 is faster, better, and more modern.

If you are a Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 user, you are probably being offered an upgrade to Windows 10, the "final" version of Windows. (Windows 9 were skipped because 9 is too close to 8, a number that was considered a failure although I think that this bad rating was highly exaggerated.) Well, Microsoft has actually promised to stop the support of Windows 10 in October 2025 but let's not solve these distant future issues.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015 ... /////

Does climate change break carbon dating?

No, we will just need a bit more complicated equations, and nuclear tests "broke" it 50 years ago, anyway

Windows 10: Off-topic. The last and best Windows, Windows 10, were released today. I have been offered to download the 3 GB file. But can some people tell me what are the threats? Will e.g. Mathematica work? Is it compatible with switchable graphics drivers? Omega 14.12 LeshCat? Will all the non-system folders that you created be preserved? Will the Windows gadgets that I could still preserve in Windows 7 disappear? Have any other apps gotten broken? Thanks for your answers.
According to the mythology, thousands of bad things are being caused by global warming. Some media have announced the 8200th victim of climate change. Let me borrow the titles from the Smithsonian Magazine and PBS:
Climate Change Might Break Carbon Dating

Fossil Fuels Are Destroying Our Ability to Study the Past
Terrible. Radiocarbon dating is becoming impossible! ExxonMobil has apparently destroyed archaeology. The Smithsonian subtitle is more fair: "Fossil fuel emissions mess with the ratio of carbon isotopes in the atmosphere." OK, what's going on? Is the era of radiocarbon dating really over?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015 ... /////

Ask a question to Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking believes that artificial intelligence is dangerous: those robots may revolt and become our landlords. He co-authored a new letter with Elon Musk (text) demanding all man-made machines to be at least as stupid as a Tesla car to avoid "arms races" with the robots. Hawking himself has become much more powerful when his biological underpinnings have been enhanced by computer technology.

He must believe that he has become much more effective in answering people's questions. That's why he agreed to answer questions posted at reddit.com/r/science:

Science Ama Series: I am Stephen Hawking, theoretical physicist. Join me to talk about making the future of technology more human, reddit. AMA!
So far, there are over 8,000 comments over there.

Hillary's 500 million solar panels

In my opinion, Hillary Clinton is the most likely Democratic candidate to win the nomination and the most likely candidate to become the U.S. president. She's been moderate from many points of view. But she has apparently decided that a viable Democratic candidate needs the unhinged far-left base to win and because these extremists have largely adopted the most radical memes of the environmentalism, including the climate alarmism, as well, she decided to outline her great "renewable energy" plan.

Barack Obama had promised a similar plan to save the world and to stop the rise of the oceans in the Universe. Hillary Clinton is proposing her plan to reduce the workers' electricity bills. There are some similarities but you may see that Hillary is a bit more down-to-Earth.

Hillary, referring to herself as "just a grandmother with two eyes and a brain", decided to do the same thing as every lady whose husband prefers to bill-and-monicoo with other women: to reduce the CO2 emissions.
Well, maybe two eyes and a grandmother's brain aren't enough to find the actual solutions to any problems.

Monday, July 27, 2015 ... /////

Barack Obama and Uhuru Kenyatta on gays in Kenya

Barack Obama has visited his fatherland, Kenya, and he didn't resist the temptation to promote one of the fads of the contemporary America, namely homosexualism (this is a favorite word of Czech ex-president Klaus; Kenyans surprisingly talk about gayism, too).

Kenya is a nation of 45 million people in East Africa. The official languages are English and Swahili. I actually found the response by their president, Uhuru Kenyatta, rather impressive. It sounds weird that this president's English and his rhetorical skills exceed those of any current top Czech politician.

Sunday, July 26, 2015 ... /////

Can oil companies be eliminating concerned Arctic researchers by lightnings?

In April 2013, I noticed that two of the co-authors of a paper about the Arctic accidentally died within a short period of time. A pretty lady collided with a truck while biking; and a man got drunk during a New Year Eve's party and fell from the staircase.

They were sad events but I semi-seriously proposed that those accidents weren't quite accidents.

Peter Wadhams, an old colleague of those folks who previously claimed that methane bubbles in the Arctic will erase 1/2 of the mankind's wealth, liked my idea and publicly articulated it yesterday. These people must have been assassinated by the "oil lobby workers".

Saturday, July 25, 2015 ... /////

TTIP: can there be EU-U.S. free trade?

I am actually surprised that the European Union is negotiating a free trade pact with the United States, TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership). Effectively, the United States could join the most useful "layer" of the European Union, the European free trade zone.

For decades, the EU bureaucrats have been inventing increasingly complex regulations on names, genetically modified foods, concentration of one nutrient or another in each food, and so on, and so on. And suddenly, they would effectively allow the U.S. products that don't have to obey these conditions? Have they forgotten their past? Has there been a revolution in Brussels that has replaced socialists by free marketeers?

Obviously, as a free market champion, I am a defender of TTIP. The new competition could be threatening for some but it would be an advantage for others and the latter would prevail in the overall tally. Free trade makes growth faster. It pushes the people, companies, and nations to do things they're really good at. It gives the consumers more diverse options, more luxurious options, and/or cheaper options. And if corporations and consumers may become stronger relatively to the governments, it's surely good news.

How you surely can't recover information from a black hole

Lots of papers that make it to the arXiv these days (but maybe a minority) are completely wrong. Some of the most crazily wrong papers that make it through the arXiv filters are those that are soon hyped by the blogs and the media. That's also the case of the preprint

How to Recover a Qubit That Has Fallen Into a Black Hole
by Aidan Chatwin-Davies, Adam S. Jermyn, and Sean M. Carroll which has been "promoted" by a guest blog written by the first co-author on the blog of the third co-author. Holy cow. This short paper is just so incredibly wrong in such an incredibly stupid way!

Friday, July 24, 2015 ... /////

Fearmongers threaten with attacks if Lomborg's center opens in Australia

Tony Abbott became Australia's prime minister in 2013 and since the beginning, he was aware of the utter irrationality in his country's and its universities' previous attitude to the "climate change" gospel. He wanted some scholars in his country who study topics such as related "global threats" rationally and honestly.

However, he doesn't quite have the balls so he didn't dare to open a center run by truly sensible people when it comes to these issues – climate realists. He wanted to appease the extreme left-wing activists who have contaminated almost every corner of the university environment. So his center had to be led by

1. a lukewarmer, not a true climate skeptic
2. someone with some other "minority" credentials, e.g. a gay
This puzzle had a unique solution: Bjorn Lomborg. So the Australian government decided to pay $4 million and establish a new research center that rationally studies "global problems", an Australian branch of Lomborg's Copenhagen Consensus Center. Earth-like planet orbiting a Sun-like star Could it harbor human-like aliens in Škoda-like cars? Yesterday, NASA announced the discovery of the most accurate impersonation of the Earth-Sun system so far. Kepler-452 is a G-class star (like the Sun) with almost the same surface temperature as the Sun, 10 percent larger in diameter, 4 percent larger in mass, and 20 percent brighter than the Sun. As you can see, it is almost the same thing as the Sun. But it is also 30% older than the Sun, about 6 billion years. Thursday, July 23, 2015 ... ///// ECJ: utility discriminated against gypsies by making it harder for them to steal electricity ČEZ is the dominant Czech power utility. More than 50% of the company is state-owned but the remaining stocks are enough to make ČEZ one of the two most intensely traded stocks at the Prague Stock Exchange. ČEZ owns various power plants and grids in the post-socialist Europe, too. And a complaint in the Bulgarian town of Dupnica/Dupnitsa has led to a rather incredible EU court verdict (see the full judgment here) that has shocked those Czechs who cared. Because my text would be almost identical to that of Dr George X [not Rachel] Doležal in the Reflex Magazine, I will translate his viewpoint instead. George X. Doležal: ČEZ has discriminated against the Romani. It didn't let them steal power. The European Court of Justice has made a groundbreaking verdict against our ČEZ. To steal electricity is, as the judges implicitly state, a democratic right. The provider of power isn't allowed to place any technical hurdles that would prevent the consumer from stealing electricity. If the provider does so, it is discrimination. Žižkov rocket finally launched to space Fun reading in the Guardian: life and personality of John Conway, the world's most charismatic mathematician Russians and Americans are employing cosmodromes that are well-separated from the main centers of the civilization. The #3 country in space research, the Czech Republic (recall that Czechoslovakia was also the #3 country with a man in space, Mr Vladimír Remek, now the Czech ambassador in Moscow), decided that this setup was uneconomic. That's why our modern cosmodrome was built in Prague, in the neighborhood of Žižkov [zhish-koff]. See Google Maps This decision was made in order to simplify the inflow of cash, fuel, and signatures that are needed for cosmic operations. Wednesday, July 22, 2015 ... ///// Identity theft: the thief of Lubos_Motl turns out to be a well-known man John Cook found a "simply clever" albeit not quite ethical (and legal?) way to raise his IQ by 60 points Steve McIntyre has informed me about some amusing discussions in 2011 and I simply can't resist to brag about them ;-) especially because this incident says quite something about the integrity of the climate doomsayers (more precisely about the non-existence of it). John Cook is the founder of one of the world's most famous "Sky Is Falling" websites about global warming, SkepticalScience.COM. The name of the web wants to express the point that the climate skeptics shouldn't even be allowed to use the term "skeptics". They only deserve expletives while the "true skeptics" are the champions of panic such as Cook himself. He is a typical example of the alarmist "grassroots movement" who has no relevant education (his top academic achievement is to have been a "former student" – in other words, a dropout) and no significant intelligence but whose persistent activism – in combination with the pathologically corrupt atmosphere in many institutions that favor "a certain kind of views" – has allowed him to become something like an "honorary scientist" and to have earned a huge amount of money, too. Sometimes in 2010, he began with his "essay debunking skeptics' 100 or so talking points" which I decided to reply to at one moment. It was largely a waste of time but it's true that the TRF blog post I just linked to has collected 13,000 views, significantly above the TRF average. You find a dozen of additional TRF blog posts with his name. When a high-speed train collides with a truck In the morning, at 7:43 Czech Summer Time, a very ugly accident took place in Studénka, a town 20 miles from the Polish border and 10 miles from Czechia's 3rd largest city, the Northeast industrial city of Ostrava (300,000 people). The top 4 cities are Prague, Brno, Ostrava, Pilsen. The King of the Road, sure... In the case of the 5 Czechs abducted in Lebanon (yes, the identities I figured out have been confirmed, up to the ambiguous first name of Mr Pešek, the bodyguard), we know nothing about the kidnappers or details how and why they were taken (some beheading by the ISIS in coming days can't be excluded). In this case, we know everything. But this knowledge can't save the human lives. Two people have died, several others are in critical condition, a dozen more are injured. Tuesday, July 21, 2015 ... ///// A new LHC Kaggle contest: discover "$\tau \to 3 \mu$" decay A year ago, the Kaggle.com machine learning contest server along with the ATLAS Collaboration at the LHC organized a contest in which you were asked to determine whether a collision of two protons was involving the Higgs boson (that later decayed to the $\tau^+\tau^-$ pair, one of the taus is leptonic and the other is hadronic). To make the story short, there's a new similar contest out there: Identify an unknown decay phenomenon Again, you will submit a file in which each "test" collision is labeled as either "interesting" or "uninteresting". But in this case, you may actually discover a phenomenon that is believed not to exist at the LHC, according to the state-of-the-art theory (the Standard Model)! The $2\TeV$ LHC excess could prove string theory On Friday, I praised the beauty of the left-right-symmetric models that replace the hypercharge $U(1)_Y$ by a new $SU(2)_R$ group. They could explain the excess that especially ATLAS but also (in a different search) CMS seems to be seeing at the invariant mass around $1.9\TeV$, an excess that I placed at the first place of attractiveness among the known bumps at the LHC. A random picture of intersecting D-branes Alternatively, if that bump were real, it could have been a sign of compositeness, a heavy scalar (instead of a spin-one boson), or a triboson pretending to be a diboson. However, on Sunday, six string phenomenologists proposed a much more exciting explanation: Stringy origin of diboson and dijet excesses at the LHC The multinational corporation (SUNY, Paris, Munich, Taiwan, Bern, Boston) consisting of Anchordoqui, Antoniadis, Goldberg, Huang, Lüst, and Taylor argues that the bump has the required features to grow into the first package of exclusive collider evidence in favor of string theory – yes, I mean the theory that stinky brainless chimps yell to be disconnected from experiments. Monday, July 20, 2015 ... ///// Yuri Milner pays$100 million to find ETs

This ET entrepreneur established e-stores alza.cz and alza.sk

During an event that was made special by both Yuri Milner and Stephen Hawking (video), it was announced that Yuri Milner is paying $100 million to the search of extraterrestrial civilizations in the next 10 years. Obviously, it is the largest donation to the SETI paradigm ever (before you beat it). See also: A Russian billionaire just donated$100 million to help find alien life (VentureBeat)
The money is going to be used by SETI folks to access the Parkes Telescope in Australia and West Virginia’s Green Bank Telescope. Instead of one or two days per year, they will be able to use it for a month or two each year – stealing the telescope time from "more mundane" astronomers.

Sunday, July 19, 2015 ... /////

70 years after Beneš decrees: gestures of reconciliation

I am sure that most readers don't find German-Czech relationships to be important enough to deserve two TRF blog posts in a row. But I do so here's the second one.

Seventy years ago, on July 21st, 1945, Czechoslovak president Edvard Beneš began to release his post-war "Beneš decrees" which, most importantly, meant that almost all of the 3 million ethnic Germans were expelled from Czechoslovakia. It was an act of the government-in-exile (in London) that was retroactively approved by the Czechoslovak Parliament a year later. The expulsion was a specific implementation of some reorganization of Europe that was "implicitly" assumed by the Potsdam Conference.

Today, Mr Pavel Bělobrádek, the education minister and a deputy prime minister (and the boss of the Christian Democratic Union which is traditionally the smallest coalition party in most of the post-Velvet-Divorce Czech governments) visited Munich. He paid the honor to the Sudeten German victims of the expulsion.

He's been criticized by many politicians and enthusiastically praised by the Bavarian press. While I am generally closer to those who say that it's right to defend the national interests and who won't ever overlook the historical context that led to all these events, I don't have any problem with his acts.

Volkswagen should focus on profits, not kindergarten pissing contests of brands

The Czech media began to discuss an increasingly urgent issue recently raised by the prestigious Automotive News Europe magazine (ANE): the VW-owned Czech subsidiary, Škoda, is doing much better than the other brands in the corporation.

Škoda Vision C concept. The new generation of Škodas got pretty close to that. The design – contributed by the Škoda chief designer Jozef Kabáň who is Slovak – may beat other brands by its similarity to BMW etc. The vertical ribs on the front grille belong among the details that make it sexier, I think. The horizontal ribs of VW, Opel etc. help to make these brands mediocre.

Volkswagen has plans to become the world's #1 carmaker by 2018 or so. Can it be achieved? Lots of numbers were promising. But June 2015 has shown a 8.6% year-on-year drop in sales which is worrisome. One brand at least managed to stay above zero (at least a month earlier), Škoda. Its annual production is safely above 1 million cars and the growth rate remains substantial. In H1, it produced 544,300 cars, a year-on-year increase by 4.2%.

Saturday, July 18, 2015 ... /////

Who are the 5 Czechs kidnapped in Lebanon

Three weeks ago, after the attack in Tunisia, I claimed that the Muslim world isn't safe for Western tourists. Sadly, five Czech passports were found in an abandoned car in Lebanon today. According to one source, the kidnappers demand their brother held by the Czech police to be freed.

The press never tells you the exact names – in the Latin alphabet (except for Munir Taan, the Lebanese driver whom they hired including his car and who is also missing) – but I think that I got much further than that. This page in the Arab script provides us with a transcription of the Czech names to the Arab script. It will get interesting soon, be patient.

UPC Wi-Free: cool ISP services

220,000 new free Wi-Fi hotspots in Czechia for me

When we talked about the "net neutrality", I noticed that much of the support for this anti-market meme comes from some general animosity of consumers towards their Internet Service Providers (ISPs) – see e.g. these cartoons. I had no idea where these sentiments come from – and I am convinced that most Czechs share my feelings.

The ISPs work as well as other industries that were rejuvenated by capitalism and liberalization – and perhaps even better than that. The rate at which our Internet connectivity has been evolving seems amazing to me.

Friday, July 17, 2015 ... /////

Are Germans cruel?

Not for the reasons that far leftists suggest.

Because the reforms that the other European nations demand from Athens for the third (still not quite certain) bailout seem more strict than certain people expected, you may hear lots of people complaining about the German cruelty.

Let me begin with a vaguely related story that has excited many Germans yesterday:

Angela Merkel was in Rostock, NDR (which stands for East Germany in Czech LOL) and NDR (a TV station) showed the Chancellor's exchange with a cute, smiling Palestinian girl who said – in German that was better than I could ever dream of – that she has dreams such as studies in Germany and she is sad that she can't enjoy the life in the same way as other (German) people do. Apparently, this girl (with her family?) is awaiting deportation.

Merkel calmly answered that the laws unfortunately apply to everybody and Germany couldn't afford to host everyone. The girl predictably began to cry and Merkel tried to soothe and caress her, apparently not understanding why the girl was crying (she was crying because of the expected deportation and the inability of the Chancellor to save her dreams). "You did a good job, girl!" Merkel bizarrely told her.

Symmetry magazine, papers about the $2\TeV$ $W_R$-like bumps

A good idea to get used to left-right-symmetric models

Sad news: Yoichiro Nambu died of heart attack on July 5th. This forefather of string theory and other things shared the 2008 Nobel prize in physics.
When I listed some of the excesses seen at the LHC that the ongoing run will either confirm or disprove, the #1 bump I mentioned was the $2\TeV$ bump of ATLAS that looks like a new $W$-like boson decaying to two normal electroweak bosons. The local significance was about 3.5 sigma and the global one was 2.5 sigma. Moreover, CMS saw similar (but weaker) effects at a nearby place.

It seems increasingly clear that the high-energy phenomenological community actually agrees with my choice of the "most interesting bump of all". The Symmetry Magazine published by SLAC+Fermilab just printed a story
Something goes bump in the data

The CMS and ATLAS experiments at the LHC see something mysterious, but it’s too soon to pop the Champagne
where two ladies describe the same bump. And make no mistake about it. Lots of phenomenologists also think that it is an extremely interesting bump because new papers appear on a daily basis.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015 ... /////

Does greenhouse effect increase the fuel consumption by aircraft?

Bill Z. has pointed out a new remarkable story in the media based on an article in Nature Climate Change,

Coupling between air travel and climate
by Karnauskas & 3 pals from Massachusetts and Wisconsin. It's another totally mad paper from the global warming causes everything department. These individuals claim that global warming makes airplanes slower and increases their fuel consumption.

The influence of AB on CD is nonzero for virtually all pairs AB and CD – except that the influences of most random things on most other random things are so tiny that no sensible person would ever talk about the influence. The topic of the Karnauskas et al. paper is clearly an example of these ludicrously small influences.

The carving: NAACP are counterparts of Taliban, ISIS

In March 2001, the Taliban destroyed the Buddhas of Bamiyan, two monumental statues from the 6th century carved into an Afghani cliff. Half a year ago, the Islamic State destroyed much of the Assyrian heritage including the Lamassu.

I always found similar events heartbreaking. Whenever something like that happens, the civilized mankind loses a part of its soul, we are being disconnected from our history, from the answers to the question "where did come from" and "what extinct species, nations, and cultures used to live here". These heartbreaking events have been taking place in the exotic countries. At least, we have an excuse. There are too many Islamist savages over there. Perhaps, we couldn't have saved those things.

That's why I thought that it was just a distasteful prank when I read that NAACP wanted to liquidate the confederate carving in Georgia, the largest bas relief in the world. Plans to create it were around since 1916 but the construction was taking place between 1964 and 1972. It shows CSA president Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert Lee and Thomas Stonewall Jackson.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015 ... /////

Pentaquark discovery claimed by LHCb

Due to confinement, quarks are obsessive about the creation of bound states. Most typically, we have quark-antiquark pairs (mesons) and triplets of quarks (baryons). All of those states have lots of extra gluons and quark-antiquark pairs.

Quark bound states simpler than the pentaquark

The word "pentaquark" means "five quarks". They are hypothetical particles made out of five quarks-or-antiquarks. The Greek prefix is being used to remember the times when Greece was an advanced country, some 2,000 years ago. These bags of 5 particles have to contain 4 quarks and 1 antiquark, or vice versa, because $4-1$ and $1-4$ are the only multiples of 3 among the allowed numbers $x-(5-x)$ and the divisibility by three is needed for the particle to be color-neutral.

This word has appeared once on this blog. About 9.7 years ago, I wrote about a seminar at which Peter Ouyang had claimed that pentaquarks didn't exist, for some subtle technical reasons. (Well, the plural has appeared thrice on TRF.)

The Iran deal is a new Munich Betrayal

Today, July 14th, 2015, will be remembered as the date of the deal with Iran. The world powers officially lift all sanctions against Iran, allow Iran to export and import weapons, get much wealthier than it is now, keep all of its nuclear facilities, continue enrichment, and behave as if it were a legitimate regional power. Since 2023, there won't be any restrictions on enrichment at all.

OK, I meant the updated photograph.

IAEA (International Nuclear Watchdog) is immediately losing all access to nuclear sites and scientists. In the words of their president, all of Iran's goals have materialized.

What will the rest of the world get out of the deal? As far as I can see, nothing. Check the proclamations by the Iranian and other politicians to be sure that it is a 100% victory for the mullahs. I am a critic of the deal but the deal is worse than the critics feared.

Monday, July 13, 2015 ... /////

Civil war in Subcarpathian Rus?

While Crimea is doing fine as a part of Russia, Donbass isn't the only part of Ukraine where tensions have run high since 2014. The Zakarpattia Oblast, the most Western subdivision of Ukraine, has witnessed a shootout between Porošenko's security forces and the Right Sector, a notorious Nazi organization in Ukraine.

The Right Sector apparently wanted to preserve a cigarette smuggling ring that produces a few million dollars a month. There were some casualties. The Right Sector demands the resignation of the interior minister Avakov. These thugs threaten that they will bring most of their battalions to Kiev. Only two Right Sector battalions are fighting in Donbass – and that's almost enough for them to be the key force fighting against the Novorussian republics – but the Right Sector has 17 additional battalions spread over Ukraine so they could have some muscles to boast about. Porošenko vows the restoration of peace and order.

The agreekment

The negotiations looked hopeless up to Monday morning when some prime ministers tweeted that they had a deal with Greece and the EU "president" Donald Tusk announced that they had agreekment. I thought that he was forgetting basic English words – but it was actually meant to be a funny word. Just like there is Grexit, Grexitus, and Greferendum, there exists a-Greek-ment. If he invented this word himself, he has a small plus from me. It's not as funny as Donald Marzy but it is funny enough for a successor of a wet rag.

What Tsipras has signed seems like a very ambitious deal. Within 60 hours or so, they have to write down and implement new laws about the pension reform, broadened tax base, new retail laws including Sunday trading, new value-added tax rates, reversal of fiscally detrimental 2015 hiring decisions, weakening of labor unions, laws to guarantee the independence of the statistical bureau, laws that make certain dynamical spending cuts automatic in the case of a weakened economy, end to political interference in the bank sector hiring, and privatization of the electric grid and many other things.

Sunday, July 12, 2015 ... /////

Boolean logic is sufficient to work with quantum mechanics

Even though a whole "community" of would-be scientists nurture a religion based on the (scientifically debunked) dogma that there is something incomplete or unsatisfying about quantum mechanics, quantum mechanics has worked extremely well for 90 years and it really takes a few lines to fully and rigorously describe its general rules and check that they don't suffer from any flaw.

Quantum mechanics is a framework to produce predictions – or construct valid statements – about Nature our of some known facts about Nature. According to this framework, every physical system is described by a Hilbert space $\HH$ on which linear operators act. Everything we know or want to know – an observable – is associated with such an operator (or operators).

The prediction works as follows. We want to know something about the next measurement – new information we are going to learn if we "live". Without a loss of generality, this information may always be decomposed to answers to Yes/No questions which are associated with Hermitian projection operators $P$. Because $P^2=P$, the eigenvalues are either zero (No) or one (Yes).

Quantum mechanics answers the $(N+1)$-st question linked to the operator $P_{N+1}$ probabilistically, by calculating the probability that the answer is going to be Yes. The probability is ${\rm Prob} = \abs{ P_{N+1} \ket \psi }^2$ or, in the case of mixed states,${\rm Prob} = {\rm Tr} ( P_{N+1} \rho P_{N+1} )$ where I could have omitted one of the copies of $P_{N+1}$ because it's a projection operator, but I chose to keep it for symmetry reason.

LHC matches the whole atmosphere in the number of produced Higgses

The LHC just passed 1,000 inverse microbarns per second [live] (divide 1,000 by 31.69 to get the value in "inverse femtobarns per year" – yes, it would be 30 inverse femtobarns per year). Thanks to Phil Gibbs. So it may be a good time for some musings about "how much stuff the LHC creates".

Jonathan Butterworth of ATLAS just posted a funny little comment in his Guardian blog:

Nature's hadron collider produces Higgs bosons all the time, high in the sky
He mentions the bachelor thesis by Josua Unger who has calculated how many Higgs bosons are created in the atmosphere due to the collisions of the cosmic rays with the air.

Saturday, July 11, 2015 ... /////

Greece should rent Crete to Eurozone for 100 years, €325 billion

In the morning, it seemed extremely likely that the new Greek proposed €53.5 billion bailout was going to be accepted. Positive voices were heard from the EU and IMF authorities. However, the finance ministers who discuss the issue tonight are much less enthusiastic.

For example, Slovak finance minister Peter Kažimír has said that the proposal reminds him of a time machine. It would have been good for the completion of the 2nd bailout but it's probably no good for a 3rd bailout because the economic conditions continued to further deteriorate, as I have often warned. Moreover, the program is too complicated, contains too many details, and one can't really trust the current government – and later governments – that they will successfully realize it. It has never worked too well in the past.

It's time for an ingenious simple solution, right? Something that will allow minister Euclid to square the circle. The title is enough to solve the problem. The Greek government debt will be totally erased (those who will acquire an island for 100 years will be given the task to repay all currently existing Greece's debt obligations in the near and distant future), years of the Greek frustration about the debt that is so hard (for them) to repay will be over, and the creditors will get a fair (I think) compensation.

With no public debt, Greece should regain the access to the bond markets. But I expect those markets to be more careful than before.

A 20-minute film on SUSY at LHC

Vice Media, Inc. is a youth media company founded in 1994 and operating in 36 countries (vice.com). In 2009, they established Motherboard (motherboard.vice.com), a video magazine.

A day ago or so, they posted the 21-minute video above. It is dedicated to the Run II of the Large Hadron Collider.

Friday, July 10, 2015 ... /////

The third bailout: can Greece be trusted?

Since the January elections in Greece that were won by Syriza, a Marxist movement, and especially in recent 6 weeks, there have been about 19 deadlines – the really "last" moments before which a deal has to be signed else...

Tsipras and his comrades didn't pay any attention to these deadlines. They didn't care about the closure of the banks, need for capital controls, and the default to the IMF, either. For the first time, however, the Greek government seems to be serious about their concessions. Perhaps the elimination of Yanis Varoufakis has changed their moods and they started to believe that the 20th deadline is the last one, after all. Last night, the new finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos (who is also Marxist but a less aggressive one) presented

a 13-page plan for a bailout
that seems sensible to me. It seems to respect the laws of the Euclidean geometry and it is very similar to the proposals penned by the European Commissions. €12 billion should be saved in a year for Greece to secure the third, €53.5 billion bailout. The document promises primary budget surpluses of 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, and 3.5% for this year and the following three, a comprehensive pension reform, increases of the value-added tax, elimination of numerous tax and other loopholes and subsidies, policies to reduce tax evasion and other tricks, and so on.

And yes, there are still some typically left-wing policies targeting gambling or yachts but the document doesn't seem to be all about these insanely irrelevant details.

Thursday, July 09, 2015 ... /////

Introduction to double field theory 2/2

Exceptional field theory
Guest blog by Olaf Hohm of MIT

This is the second part (the first part was here) of a guest blog on double field theory (thanks again to Luboš for giving me this opportunity). I will introduce the extension of double field theory to 'exceptional field theory', a subject developed in collaboration with Henning Samtleben, and explain how it allowed us to resolve open problems in basic Kaluza-Klein theory that could not be solved by standard techniques.

Ivar Giaever: a skeptical AGW Nobel talk on the climate

Ivar Giaever's name has appeared many times on this blog. He's the Norwegian-born Nobel prize winner in physics for superconductivity.

Global warming revisited (Ivar Giaever, 2015, video)
from ClimateDepot, FoxNews, and Bill Z. convinced me to spend half an hour and listen to it. It's fun and it's recommended!

Wednesday, July 08, 2015 ... /////

How I became a creditor in a bankruptcy

In April or May 2013, I decided to move a somewhat large amount of money to MSD, the Metropolitan Cooperative Savings Union (the largest Czech de facto bank among those that weren't officially a "bank") because someone else was satisfied and the interest rates on their saving accounts and deposits were high. You could have gotten over 4 percent a year – the drop to at most 1% in these two years was dramatic.

If you know how much "good luck" your humble correspondent has, you can postdict what happened. Even though the union had existed since the 1990s, for 15 years or so, it was frozen by the Czech National Bank just a week or two after I moved the money over there. Cool! They found some suspicious financing, transfers to Asia – which looked unusual for a nearly rural non-bank.

To make things worse, CZK 700,000 (of partly my money, it wasn't just my money I was dealing with, however) got stuck in the air during a transfer. It was no longer in the "sender" account and hadn't arrived to MSD yet. This particular hassle – uncertainty whether that amount got irreversibly lost – has lasted for 1 month. Well, concerning the whole money, I had almost no doubts that the full insurance of deposits up to the equivalent of EUR 100,000 would work and it did work (without those insurance laws, I would have never dealt with such unions). I was paid all the funds – including the interests from the frozen period – from the Deposits Insurance Fund (FPV) in early 2014.

But it's an amount equal to \$60 I want to mention. ;-)

Tuesday, July 07, 2015 ... /////

America on the Greek debt path

The most worrisome aspect are the similar attitudes

Bahamas-based Viktor Kožený, the Pirate of Prague and the first Czech who owned Harvard (and who offered me to become a shadow finance minister at some point), sent me a link to an article

Athens on the Potomac
Maybe it could have been called "Washington on Cephissus" as well. But the point was that with some delay, the U.S. finances seem to follow in the Greek footsteps.

Jon Gabriel who wrote that article also created the graph above. In trillions of dollars, it shows the annual spending (green+yellow), the revenue (green), and the accumulated U.S. government debt (red). It's not hard to see that the debt has been hopelessly growing since 1980, regardless of the party that occupied the White House and the party controlling the Congress; regardless of the booms and busts; regardless of wars and peace. The growth of the debt looked linear for some time; but the slope has visibly increased during the Obama administration.

This evolution is very different e.g. from the Czech Republic. I dislike our oligarch finance minister and his politics for numerous reasons but he also does many things well enough. For example, our public debt decreased in the recent two years. Do you think that America would be able to run a budget surplus next year again? And if you admit that the U.S. has lost the ability to run surpluses, even in the very good years, don't you think that it places the sustainability of the debt in doubts?

Loopy conference about as large as the stringy one

Productivity and progress lower at least by the factor of 10-100

Two weeks ago, the Strings 2015 annual conference began in Bengalúru, India. Numerous people often suggest that string theory has alternatives that may also be the right theories of quantum gravity. At the level of science, this widely spread belief is a laymen's misconception. But one may discuss this statement at the level of sociology – look at the people who are making similar claims. These people may be counted. And they often suggest that these alternatives are being "discriminated against".

Loop quantum gravity (LQG) is often quoted as the "first competitor" of string theory. Yesterday, a biennial conference on that subject began in Erlangen, Bavaria. You may check its website; superficially, it is completely analogous to the Strings 2015 website. The similarities don't stop there. The key number announced in this blog post is that the LQG conference hosts 192 participants.

The analogous figure I counted for the Strings conference was 283 participants (although one has to admit that the conferences at "more accessible places" for the Westerners have had a slightly higher number of participants). The LQG population is about 2/3 of the ST population. What about the results?

Monday, July 06, 2015 ... /////

Europeans need to isolate the Greek Marxist tumor

I did expect the vote to produce a "No" – based on my observations of the banners on the Greek streets and Greeks who contribute their "ideas" on this blog, all of whom have been clueless trolls (the observation of the Greek nation's inferiority has been way too obvious to me) – but now it's here and we actually have to live through the increased anxiety.

After June 30th, Greece defaulted to the International Monetary Fund. On July 3rd, the EFSF (the temporary Eurozone bailout fund) – whose Greek program ended at the moment of the default – officially declared Greece bankrupt. It reserved the right to demand the immediate repayment of some €120+ billion that Greece owes to this Eurozone fund.

At the end of June, the bank run finally began, too. Capital controls had to be imposed. An ATM machine limit of €60 per day per cardholder has been enforced ever since. The Sunday July 5th referendum which asked about a no longer relevant bailout program – but was widely interpreted as the question "do you agree with some salvation by Europe that requires you to fasten the belt" – produced the No (Oxi) result. One hour after the end of the voting, it was already clear that "No" would have gathered about 60%. It was about 61.3% at the end.

Sunday, July 05, 2015 ... /////

${\rm SmB}_6$ seems more stringy than a plain topological insulator

Natalie Wolchover wrote an interesting Quanta Magazine article

about a research direction in condensed matter physics that is important for many reasons – and the apparent links to AdS/CFT are among them. Suchitra Sebastian, a female Indian physicist, and 15 co-authors (Cambridge UK, Florida, New Mexico) just published some experimental findings in Science. She claims that the crystal of samarium hexaboride ${\rm SmB}_6$ – named after the six boring Greek Samaritans who discovered it ;-) – behaves in even stranger ways than previously believed.

This seemingly boring crystal has been known to behave as a topological insulator at low temperatures. The crystal structure is simple: create a cubic lattice out of samarium atoms. And in each cube (which may be associated with one samarium atom at the left lower front corner), place an octahedron with six boron atoms at the vertices.

Saturday, July 04, 2015 ... /////

What is string theory? Ask Ashoke and Nima

If you have 94 spare minutes, you should watch this insightful and amusing panel discussion on "What is string theory", a public event that took place on Monday, at the end of the Strings 2015 annual conference in India.

Rajesh Gopakumar introduces the two main heroes, Milner Prize winners Ashoke Sen and Nima Arkani-Hamed.

In 863, Greek brothers made Slavs literate

Congratulations to the American readers – 50% of the TRF community. It's The Independence Day, July 4th. This day is followed by two Czech national holidays, July 5th and July 6th.

On July 6th, 1415, i.e. 600 years ago, top Czech Catholic priest, master at my Alma Mater (Charles University), and early church reformer Mister John Huss was burned at stake during the Council of Constance. The top European Catholic apparatchiks didn't like that he has loved the truth and articulately criticized them for their hypocrisy, excessive wealth, double standards during masses, and bureaucratization of the church.

Huss is also the author of the (early version of) Czech diacritical signs (as in "žluťoučký kůň šíleně úpěl ďábelské ódy" which means "a yellowish horse was terribly moaning devilish odes") which became the standard script in the Czech lands, Slovakia, and the Yugoslav nations. The judicial murder led to the Hussite Wars, an era in which the Hussites – terrorists who were his self-appointed followers – were establishing communist cities, plundering Europe, constructing "simply clever" new kind of weapons, and singing combat songs that made the Germans šit into their pants. Most Czechs are proud about the Hussite period that ended by the Hussites' 1434 defeat at the Battle of Lipany.

The Pope and the German president recently apologized for the judicial murder of this "heretic" and offered us 1/2 of the Vatican and all of East Germany as a modest compensation.

Friday, July 03, 2015 ... /////

David Gross', Nobelists' painful AGW publicity stunt

Sixty years ago, on July 15th, 1955, Max Born, Werner Heisenberg, Hideki Yukawa, Otto Hahn, and 14 other Nobel prize winners signed the Mainau Declaration against the use of nuclear weapons. It was a decade after Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the fear made sense. The superpowers had accumulated lots of nukes and their destructive character had been observed.

These days, there is another meeting of the Nobel laureates at Lindau. Nobel prize winners including David Gross performed something that cynics in Deutsche Welle call "a stab at relevance" or "a publicity stunt": the 2015 Mainau Declaration on "climate change" (see the PDF file with the declaration).

Brian Schmidt, the 2011 Nobel prize winner in physics for his (and their) experimental discovery of the dark energy, became the spokesman for this publicity stunt. David et al., don't you feel a little bit painful? Or, more precisely, too painful?

Sir Nicholas Winton won't get his Peace Nobel Prize anymore

Sir Nicholas Winton died on July 1st at age of 106+ years (respiratory problems). He has been repeatedly nominated for the Peace Nobel Prize but the committee has repeatedly chosen someone else, often someone profoundly unworthy.

The British press has nicknamed him the "British Schindler", a German guy who saved about 1,200 Jews by employing them in his factory. Winton has saved 669 Czechoslovak children, mostly Jews, by organizing (one big train in) the so-called "Kindertransport".

Thursday, July 02, 2015 ... /////

Introduction to double field theory 1/2

Guest blog by Olaf Hohm of MIT
The second part will be there

First of all I would like to thank Luboš for giving me the opportunity to write a guest blog on double field theory (previously mentioned here).

This is a subject that in some sense is rather old, almost as old as string theory, but that has seen a remarkable revival over the last five years or so and that, as a consequence, has reached a level of maturity comparable to that of many other sub-disciplines of string theory. In spite of this, double field theory is viewed by some as a somewhat esoteric theory in which unphysical higher-dimensional spacetimes are introduced in an ad-hoc manner for no reasons other than purely aesthetic ones and that, ultimately, does not give any results that might not as well be obtained with good old-fashioned supergravity. It is the purpose of this blog post to introduce double field theory (DFT) and to explain that, on the contrary, even in its most conservative form it allows us to attack problems several decades old that were beyond reach until recently.

The Hindu: an interview with Ed Witten

A big portion of the world's string theorists gathered in Bengalúru, India last week. The local newspapers have published a couple of stories – e.g. about Ashoke Sen etc. One fresh interview in The Hindu is titled

‘Supersymmetry may show up at the new run of LHC’
Šubašrý Desikan has talked to Edward Witten who was introduced as the "world's only physicist who has won the Fields Medal".

Much like in most interviews since 2006 or so, the first question was a deeply unoriginal one about the empirical character of string theory. Witten answered that physicists are interested in string theory because of its elegance and especially because it seems to be the only way to reconcile the two pillars of the 20th century physics, quantum mechanics and general relativity.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015 ... /////

Tsipras' surrender letter: the timing of a loser

To sell while you are crumbling is too late

Twelve hours ago, at midnight Prague Summer Time, Greece became the first country that defaulted to the IMF among the countries that were widely considered developed at the moment of the default. I have been 90% sure that this event was unavoidable at least since June 5th or so. People who claimed that the European politicians "wouldn't allow" something like that have been shown spectacularly wrong.

Some EU politicians may religiously worship the memes about the integrated Europe. But these politicians have neither the absolute power nor the bottomless wallet. They face many people – including important people – whose thinking is more realistic. Even more importantly, they face the laws of physics. The convergence of Greece towards the collision with the default was as guaranteed as the implications of the laws of gravity. People just won't pay €1.6 billion for free – and that was the only way how Tsipras and comrades wanted the money to be paid. A few cheesy clichés about Europe's unity won't make anyone throw €1.6 billion into a black hole that has been known to be black for 5 years or so.