Friday, October 21, 2016 ... /////

A bump at LEP near $30\GeV$: weak but possibly justifiable

In the morning, I was intrigued by a hep-ex paper by Arno Heister

Observation of an excess at $30\GeV$ in the opposite sign di-muon spectra of $Z\to b\bar b+X$ events recorded by the ALEPH experiment at LEP
To make the story short, he claims that the 1992-1995 data from the LEP (Large Electron-Positron) Collider at CERN contains a less-than-3-sigma bump at $M_{\mu^+\mu^-}\sim 30.4\GeV$ indicating a boson of width $1.8\GeV$.

Recall that the LHC is located in a tunnel that was the largest European infrastructure project before it was surpassed by the Channel Tunnel. But the LHC isn't the first collider that has lived or lives in the LHC tunnel. Before it was born, the LEP collider – that used to collide electrons with positrons – was happily living there.

The song above shows what LEP looked like to the horny girlfriends of (male and female) particle physicists. However, if you dared to claim that there was no LHC in the tunnel, you would be wrong. The very song was sung (in 2000) by the LHC, the Les Horribles Cernettes. ;-)

Thursday, October 20, 2016 ... /////

Stephen Wolfram: Idea Makers

Stephen Wolfram was kind enough to send me Idea Makers: Personal Perspectives on the Lives & Ideas of Some Notable People, a new July 2016 book with biographies of famous folks around science and computing (with some personal dedication to me, great). I am just starting to read it – have gone through 2 out of the 16 heroes covered in the book – but maybe it is a better opportunity to write a review if we want to avoid all the spoilers.

The biographies were written at various points of the recent decade or so. With a bit of self-confidence, I think that you might say that they're analogous to the "birthday wishes" biographies on this blog. Except that the author, Stephen Wolfram, is way more famous than your humble correspondent and has known some folks in the list.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016 ... /////

Russian hacker caught in Prague

Update: the hacker wasn't related to Hillary's or DNC files; instead, he's accused of doing the 2012 hack of 100 million LinkedIn users' information

Barack Obama and his comrades have accused Russian nationals from being the hackers who have acquired the computer files proving that Hillary Clinton is a corrupt lying murdering piece of cr*p, among other things, and that Donald Trump is the superior pick for the U.S. citizens to choose. Obama et al. had the plan to keep all this information in secret.

It's still unknown whether such hackers are connected with the Russian government. However, the Czech police made it much more likely that a hacker exists and he is Russian, indeed. Last night, an October 5th capturing video was released. Just twelve hours after they received the information via Interpol's Red Notice (this notice was inspired by a verdict of the federal grand jury in Oakland, California), the Prague cops caught the 29-year-old Russian suspect, Yevgeniy Nikulin. (TRF is the only public place in the world where you can learn the name.)

Tuesday, October 18, 2016 ... /////

A Cambridge video introduction to strings

Giotis has told us about a new 30-minute video presenting the basics of string theory and related matters:

Elemental Ideas – String Theory Part One (click for the video)

Elemental Ideas – String Theory Part Two (new, added on October 18th)
It's a fun conservative video focusing on the physics ideas and not the sociological šit that tries to surround string theory in the recent decade.

I've never stopped counting Cambridge among the top 5 theoretical physics places on the European continent (a concept that includes certain nearby islands) so it's natural for them to offer some seriously good video.

Czechs, 2% of EU folks, make 8% of EU films aired on TV in EU

Two fresh marketplace reports could be considered optimistic from the Czech viewpoint.

Yesterday, Eurostat released a new report on poverty in Europe. 24% of folks in EU member states were considered "poor". The percentage of "risk of income poverty" was highest in Bulgaria and Romania, near 40%, followed by Greece near 36%. The least poverty-stricken nation is Czechia, 14.8%, followed by Holland, Sweden, Finland around 17%.

It's sort of good – perhaps a reason to brag – for a post-communist country to end up this high. But I think that it's not just "good news". This victory mostly means that Czechia has been excessively socialized and remains excessively egalitarian. The communist regime struggled to bring some "basic things" to every citizen and one may say that it has succeeded, albeit at a level that the Westerners must have considered a caricature of wealth. The newly restarted capitalism increased the level significantly while the political atmosphere kept the basic socialist minima.

It seems pathological if someone wants to make our system even more egalitarian or socialist in character. I am sure that too little poverty must be one of the demotivating things that hurt the progress of the economy.

Monday, October 17, 2016 ... /////

Anti-West terrorists are steps from crippling South African universities at least for a semester

I didn't even know it was happening. It was so shocking to learn that I just spent an hour by research of what's going on in South Africa. It's pretty dramatic.

Recall that South Africa has been the main pillar of the Western civilization on the African continent. "Decolonialization" began to erode this status decades ago. Nelson Mandela has been lionized but everyone with some forecasting skills must have known that the process he kickstarted was likely to be existentially harmful for the country. I just didn't know that the deterioration would be so fast.

Friday, October 14, 2016 ... /////

Karlsruhe neutrino mass experiment has been turned on

The Washington Post tells us that the Karlsruhe Tritium Neutrino Experiment (KATRIN) was turned on today.

Karlsruhe looks luxurious. At least the 1715 palace does. Just to be sure, the city is just miles East from the Easternmost point of France.

The experiment costs €60 million i.e. \$66 million and has the chance – perhaps the greatest chance among the experiments in the near future – to measure the absolute masses of the neutrinos.

Google's "Fact Check" is a pathetic effort to distort the news

Some websites helpfully, frankly, and realistically explain that this "feature" was introduced in order to label Donald Trump a liar and to help to spread the "progressive" ideology. Google claims to believe to be able to decide which articles are true and trustworthy. And the company must think that the users of Google are buying that.

Can you design an algorithm that determines whether a newly constructed sentence describing the recent events (or latest scientific research, for example) is true or false? Well, the world and the scientific research would be easy if it were so. You would write an article saying that the dark matter is made of axions, applied your algorithm on the article, and you would know whether dark matter is composed of axions.

But it's obviously not the case. No finite rules of this kind can be trusted. Ad hominem arguments don't work. Claims of "verification" by loud people or rich people or papers sold to many consumers don't significantly increase the probability that the proposition is true, either. Verification by several (similar) people or websites doesn't achieve it, either, because they're routinely doing similar mistakes or tricks.

Thursday, October 13, 2016 ... /////

Does Hillary's victory guarantee a nuclear war?

It's unlikely but similar, weaker statements are probably true

Criticisms of Donald Trump are usually ill-defined insults, slurs, or accusations, or ad hominem attacks focused on things that don't matter. Even though he is no "clearcut conservative", Trump has personified the targets of many weird far left-wing conspiracy theories. For example, a part of the left-wing ideological psychopaths known as the climate alarmists have turned Trump into the man who will single-handedly destroy the Earth by making it fry through global warming.

I genuinely hope that as a president, Trump could have both the strength and the moral qualities to stop the climate hysteria for good. You know, to strip the emergent warming fascists of their power could be easier than to warm the whole atmosphere by several degrees. Trump's climatic skeptical credentials may be some 20% of the reasons why I prefer him over Clinton.

We're facing lots of fearmongering – I have always thought that an overwhelming majority of the fearmongering that surrounds us is just silly – but we're facing it on both sides of the presidential campaign. One of the latest memes that has emerged from several sources is that Hillary Clinton, if she wins the U.S. presidency, will unavoidably drag the U.S. to a nuclear war against Russia.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016 ... /////

No retrocausality in QM, delayed choice quantum eraser

The delayed choice quantum eraser is a convoluted but straightforward experiment testing the quantum entanglement that I discussed in 2010.

This particular experiment is usually being hyped because of the claims that it "proves" that there's retrocausality in Nature: decisions made at a later moment may affect observations at earlier moments. In this particular experiment, these people like to say that a decision was made later – when the later member of a photon pair was detected – whether a member detected earlier should contribute to an interference pattern.

Liberal media's usage of dirt is self-evidently manipulative

Rational people know what this bias means for their evaluation of the data

As a sensitive guy, I don't really like the "restroom talk" in the mysteriously released 2005 tape of Donald Trump and Billy Bush.

I don't like that in this private context, Trump does see women primarily as sexual objects who can and should be treated in rather straightforward yet controversial ways. And I am also annoyed by the kind of women who do behave in the way that Trump describes, who are eager to be grabbed in various ways when they get some new furniture or have a chance to get something etc.

At the same moment, the content of the tape didn't surprise me at all. He's owned strip clubs and lots of other things. His talk is straight. He's been undoubtedly interested in the physical beauty of women. I would guess that this is how some people familiar with him must know him. And the main point he makes is simply true. Most women do behave like that and allow to be treated in otherwise "forbidden" ways by wealthy, famous, or handsome men. The General Electric introduction to sexual harassment and you explains the same point.

Update: This rant was later attributed to Alec Baldwin which is possible so my particular claims about this one are wrong but the general point stands because we could find many embarrassing things about Hillary and left-wing people.

Like most other people, he behaves differently in different situations. Everyone behaves in some "potentially embarrassing ways" in some contexts. As Vicki Sciolaro correctly said on CNN, Trump isn't running for the Pope. His competitor has similar problems in her family and there are more important issues.

The left-wing Huffington Post is among those who realize that this tape has little effect and those who matter consider the tape a distraction. But their desire to support Trump may actually strengthen when they see how unfairly Trump is being treated.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016 ... /////

The first visit to a post-Brexit Britain

By former Czech president Václav Klaus
Original in Czech

Once a year, the Eurasian Council of Foreign Affairs organized by the – extraordinarily skillful – Kazakh minister of foreign affairs Mr Idrissov is gathering somewhere. It's mostly composed of former European politicians – from the Austrian (and EU) minister of foreign affairs Ferrero-Waldner to (Polish) president Kwasniewski and British former finance minister Lord Lamont, to Serbian B. Tadić, Italians Martino and Frattini, Norway's Bondevik, and so on – mostly people whom I know well.

Cliveden House, the chateau

This year's meeting took place in a very beautiful chateau somewhere in Berkshire in South England, about one hour from London by car. The chateau was built in 1666 and transformed to a luxurious hotel in recent decades. It's simply the good old England. I am tempted to sing along with the Czech songmaker Mr Jan Vodňanský: "Just like in old England, I will pour whiskey to a glass." It feels as if it weren't snowing heavily [a Czech idiom, it feels relaxed like if nothing dramatic were happening].

Events in Czech, U.S. elections

On Friday and Saturday, Czechs were voting their representatives in the 14 regions (current top subdivisions of Czechia) – and a third of voters were refreshing their Senators. The resulting maps of the "strongest political party" look rather scary. The Slovak authoritative billionaire Babiš' ANO/YES movement "won" 9 of the 14 regional elections and will have a candidate in the second round of the senate elections in most of the districts, too.

Pilsen's renaissance city hall.

Given his similarity to the dictatorial attitudes of the communist party (not surprising given his being an influential communist party member, and almost certainly a snitch, before the fall of communism), the result – who is the "first" – terrified me. But with some hindsight and calmness, it's not so bad. Why? Well, because the snitch ANO party along with the unreformed KSČM communist party still have below 50% almost everywhere. So given the power of the majority, they didn't really win.

Monday, October 10, 2016 ... /////

A cute but flawed PBS video on QM and realism

I just became aware of a YouTube channel named PBS Spacetime that is probably run by the public TV station. A guy named Matt is talking about various topics close to fundamental physics. Almost every video gets hundreds of thousands of views which is impressive.

When watching the first one in my life, a two-week-old video on the quantum entanglement, local realism, and the Einstein-Bohr debates, I was amazed by the visual quality of the computer animations and some creative memes.

For example, at the very beginning, we were told that babies are great quantum mechanics because they're excited that a person disappears when they cover they eyes and reappears when the cover is removed. They realize that by observing or not observing something, the object or its aspects may be made disappeared. That's a cute idea but babies seem to overstate how much this "quantum disappearance by covered eyes" applies in the ordinary classical limit.

And I want the babies to know the commutators of observables, anyway, before I admit that they're good at quantum mechanics. :-)

Saturday, October 08, 2016 ... /////

Crackpot Joy Christian tried a childish trick to deceive Brian Greene's journal at Elsevier

Annals of Physics is a journal owned by Elsevier whose current editor-in-chief is Brian Greene. The name sounds just like Annalen der Physik where Einstein sent his most famous paper(s) but I think that they have nothing to do with each other.

Joy Christian is a crackpot (see TRF blog posts) who has primarily claimed – for a decade or two – to have "disproven" Bell's theorem. He's been telling everyone that entanglement doesn't exist and Nature is local realist, after all. His "disproof" is based on trivial conceptual mistakes, Joy Christian's utter stupidity, and too complex quaternion- or octonion-related notions that are obviously too difficult for him to be understood properly.

People who have interacted with him gradually learned that he is a hopeless crank and idiot and even some "softcore harbors for cranks" such as the Perimeter Institute have abolished all links with him some years ago. But he keeps on trying to spread the idea that he has found some amazing results.