Wednesday, July 27, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Hysteria sparked by O'Reilly's slaves with good dining, housing

Michelle Obama has made the remark that the house she has been inhabiting for years, The White House, was "built by slaves". These days, the home built for the first U.S. president may serve as a home to a black woman whose biggest achievement is to have slept with a kitschy popular semi-black community organizer who has alienated most of the U.S. allies, doubled the budget deficits, and done similar things.

Bill O'Reilly has controversially supported Michelle Obama's suggestion that this change of the situation represents "progress" but he also analyzed these comments on his Factor from the viewpoint of a historian. He has provided his viewers with many facts about the actual workers who built the house for George Washington (who had an office in Philadelphia), the compensation they received, and the evolving status of slavery in these years.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Has the Czech currency war been a "smashing success"?

I learned about the following article from a tweet by Jiří Šitler. The name means neither the supersymmetric partner of Adolf Hitler (scalar Hitler or Shitler), nor something derived from the word šit.

Instead, the meaning of the word is even more diplomatic than these two explanations – it is the name of the current Czech ambassador to Sweden. ;-) It's almost as tempting to play with that name as if someone were called Motl-Trottel. Your humble correspondent knows the ambassador to Denmark in person and met him last month but I think that Mr Šitler is only known to me in the e-form.

"Market Monetarist" Lars Christensen whom I should nominally agree with just wrote about

the smashing success of Czech monetary policy
What is it about? Well, in late 2013 – on the anniversary of the November 7th "Great October Revolution" – the Czech National Bank artificially weakened the Czech crown (our currency), printed lots of it, bought Euros to increase the exchange rate by some 6 percent relatively to the pre-intervention rate around CZK 25.5 per Euro, and promised to keep the crown weaker than CZK 27 per Euro for years (a floor). For some time, the rate was some CZK 27.5 per Euro but for a year or so, it was extremely close to the floor around CZK 27 per Euro and the Czech National Bank recently allowed the crown to fluctuate and be slightly stronger than the threshold for short periods of time.
Google Finance: EURCZK
The floor has been defended by occasional anti-crown interventions which made the Czech bank's Euro reserves grow towards EUR 70 billion, not bad for a country of our size – and the central bank should leave the regime sometime next year, an extra hurdle I will discuss. From the viewpoint of Christensen, it's been a great success. The nominal GDP growth was about 5 percent since that time (even the real one was around 4.5% near the peak months ago, the maximum in the EU) which is compatible with the promised and targeted 2% inflation rate (assuming the long-term 3% GDP growth), the unemployment rate was dropping from 7.8% in late 2013 to 5.5% now, the shared lowest rate in the EU. Everything is great. Do I agree with this rosy picture?

Families from the Mexican \(\Delta(54)\) symmetry

The most similar previous blog post was one about the \(\Delta(27)\) group

The first hep-ph paper today is dedicated to heterotic string phenomenology.

Delta(54) flavor phenomenology and strings
was written by Mexicans, Ms Brenda Carballo-Perez, Eduardo Peinado, Saul Ramos-Sanchez, but that can't prevent it from being more interesting than many papers from the U.S. The first hep-ph papers often look more interesting than the rest. I believe that also in this case, the authors struggled to get the #1 spot because they're more excited about their work than the authors of the remaining papers today.

Michal Tučný, "Everyone is already in Mexico". Buenos días, I am also going. One of his top 20 best country music songs.

The Standard Model of particle physics is usually formulated as a gauge theory based on the \(SU(3)\times SU(2)\times U(1)\) gauge group. The particles carry the color and the electroweak charges. The gauge group is continuous which implies that there are gauge bosons in the spectrum.

However, the Standard Model also requires 3 generations of fermions – quarks and leptons. Because of this repetitive structure, it's natural to imagine that they transform as "triplets" under another, family group as well. However, there are apparently no \(SU(3)_{\rm flavor}\) gauge bosons, at least not available at the LHC yet. For this and other reasons, it's more sensible to assume that the 3 generations of fermions are "triplets" under a discrete, and not continuous, family symmetry.

Monday, July 25, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Experimental physicists shouldn't be trained as amateur theorists

Theoretical work is up to theorists who must do it with some standards

Tommaso Dorigo of CMS is an experimental particle physicist and in his two recent blog posts, he shares two problems that students at their institutions are tortured with. The daily problema numero uno wants them to calculate a probability from an inelastic cross section which is boring but more or less comprehensible and well-defined.

Dorigo just returned from a trip to Malta.

The problema numero due is less clear. I won't change anything about the spirit if I simplify the problem like this:

A collider produces two high-energy electrons, above \(50\GeV\). Think in all possible ways and tell us all possible explanations related to accelerators, detectors, as well as physical theories what's going on.
Cool. I have highly mixed feelings about such a vague, overarching task. On one hand, I do think that a very good experimenter such as Enrico Fermi is capable of producing answers of this broad type – and very good answers. And the problem isn't "too dramatically" different from the rather practical, "know everything" problems I was solving in the PhD qualifying exams at Rutgers – and I am too modest to hide that I got great results in the oral modern exam, good (A) results in the oral classical exam, and the best historical score in the written exam. ;-)

On the other hand, I don't think that there are too many Enrico Fermis in Italy these days – and even outside Italy – and the idea that a big part of the Italian HEP students are Enrico Fermis look even more implausible to me. The problem described by Dorigo is simply more vague and speculative than the problems that look appropriate.

Saturday, July 23, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Iranians not on our side in the war of civilizations

The ax attack four days earlier took place some 200 km from the Czech border. Last night's Munich shootings took place 220 km from my hometown. It's clearly getting closer. I've been to Munich a few times.

An 18-year-old attacker Ali Sonboly (not this one) with the Iranian citizenship (certainly) and also the German citizenship (not certainly), an assistant in a mall and a son of a taxi driver, has attacked people in McDonald's on Hanauer Strasse, just outside the Olympia shopping mall. (We have a big Olympia shopping mall in Pilsen as well and it's arguably prettier.) Heartbreakingly, most of the 9 victims were kids in McDonald's (one boy here). The attacker at least had the decency to join them and shoot himself, too.

Friday, July 22, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Resolving confusion over the term "nonlocality"

Guest blog by George Musser

Few words stir up a hornet’s nest on TRF as reliably as “nonlocality,” so it is with some trepidation that I offer a few thoughts on the subject. To some extent, I think terminology has sown confusion. Different people use the word “nonlocality” in different ways, and if we can agree on our terms, much of the dispute will evaporate. But not all of it.

Readers with Windows 7, 8.1 urged to upgrade to Windows 10

A last week to do so for free

One year ago, along with many others, I immediately upgraded a Windows 7 laptop to the new Windows 10 system. The upgrade has been free for one year – and this year will end in one week from now.

Click to zoom in.

The upgrade will cost hundreds of dollars after the next week is over. Microsoft has tried hard to force the upgrade on the users (one of the recent reminders resembled the blue screen of death in order to tell you that your resistance is no longer considered quite friendly) but many people – and TRF readers – are clearly more Windows-conservative than I am. ;-)

Thursday, July 21, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Some people's ideas about quantum gravity are vaguely overlapping

LUX: a new LUX paper finds nothing and improves (lowers) the upper limits on the nucleon-dark-matter cross section by a factor of 4 relatively to the best constraints in the past (also LUX, 2015).
String/M-theory and quantum gravity are two faces of the same beast. String/M-theory is the honest, well-defined face that allows you to calculate everything accurately, to any precision, with a perfect predictive power, at least in principle. The predictions are constructed in the top-down fashion and this fact is explicit. It's also a face where the spacetime isn't guaranteed to exist, may be absent, or its geometry may be ambiguous due to dualities. And because of the top-down approach, you don't know in which vacuum you should start to get the desired long-distance phenomena.

Quantum gravity is ultimately the same thing because all consistent theories of quantum gravity are some solutions to string/M-theory. However, quantum gravity is the face in which the spacetime and the well-known phenomena located in it are among the first aspects of the theory we notice. We basically construct our expectations about the phenomena from our experience. They take place in a spacetime we automatically associate with the spacetime of our experience and whenever some detailed laws of dynamics are found or guessed, they are basically extracted in the bottom-up way, as the phenomenologists normally do. The absence of fundamentally exact calculations is the most obvious bug of this bottom-up approach.

For those reasons, ideas in papers about quantum gravity are unavoidably more vague than those in papers about string theory proper, they are intuitive in character, and even when you feel that some claims must be right, it's sometimes hard to say whether two authors or groups of authors are saying the same thing or whether an apparent contradiction is really there.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

American-Czech bilateral ties nearly disappeared since mid 1990s

The Prague Monitor, an English-language newspaper, mentions an article in Lidové noviny, a top Czech-language daily, about the American-Czech ties:

LN: Czech-U.S. bilateral agenda meagre in past two decades
We and the world are evolving continuously at some level so we're not fully appreciating the ongoing change (like the frog that gets boiled alive). But when I compare the relationships 25 years ago with the present ones, the differences are striking.

The article in the Czech newspapers by Mr Hruška mentions that there have only been three topics of shared interest in the recent 20 years – Havel, the radar, and Temelín (our newer nuclear plant that may get expanded and Westinghouse has wanted the job). It's very obvious that these three topics have faded or are fading away, too.

The photograph above was taken a month ago and is from the place near the village of Míšov in the Brdy Hills, some 20 miles East from Pilsen. Up to 2009, we were often going there because it was a hot place: the radar that was meant to be a part of the U.S. missile defense system was supposed to be built exactly on the place where I stand.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

An unbelievable reaction to the Afghani Bavarian ax attack

As you know, a 17-year-old Afghani "refugee" who was living with foster parents in Bavaria and had pictures of the the ISIS logo at home boarded a regional train in Bavaria with a knife and an ax, shouted "Allahu Akbar", and injured dozens of passengers, about 4-5 of them critically (spouses, daughter, BF from Hong Kong for some reason). The police shot him dead while he was threatening their lives as well and running chaotically. Deash has already embraced that stupid šithead as one of their holy warriors.

Is it politically correct to suggest that this Gentleman looked suspicious? And what about this one?

I don't like it because terrorist attacks by similar migrants are becoming a more-than-once-weekly routine. Also, the Bavarian attack took place less than 100 miles from the Czech border. If I tried a bit hard, I could get there on a bike by tomorrow night. Our feeling of safety must unavoidably decrease, too.

Why the triangle notation for powers is misguided

Wrong symmetries, misleading number of vertices

Eclectikus told us about this 3-week old video

proposing a new notation for the exponentiation based on triangles. A similar issue was discussed five years ago at Mathematics Stack Exchange. Well, it's amusing and sometimes useful to invent alternative notations and I had to do it many times in the past (especially whenever I needed to deal with lots of algebra and hundreds of terms of some kind). But I just disagree with this particular one – and so does Eclectikus.

I think that this topic is a good example of the good and bad thinking and relevant facts in many proposed reforms of this kind. Also, I remember in detail how my understanding of the powers was evolving since the age of 5, what was right about it and what was not. So let's start.

Monday, July 18, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

"Shanghai maths" U-turn: 50% of British schools to adopt a rote learning method

In December 2014, I was terrified by the "progressive" opinions about the education of mathematics that were spreading in the Czech school system and I wrote a few critiques in English and Czech (the latter is still the "newest" post on my Czech blog, attracting some interactions).

Mr Hejný, a pensioner who used to be basically innumerate, was suddenly embraced as a teaching guru by lots of "progressive" teachers. He says that the children don't have to be forced to adopt any idea – every kid will rediscover everything about mathematics he or she needs (which is utterly ludicrous, of course). Formulae and identities are "evil", he says (which is a slogan denouncing the very heart of mathematics). Also, mathematics should be maximally conflated with everyday life situations (so that children's thinking becomes maximally muddy and they can't isolate ideas and concepts and separate them from each other – and mathematics critically depends on this isolation) etc. I've explained why every single "principle" of this "progressive" methodology is just the opposite of the truth. Let's hope that in the wake of Brexit, at least the British kids will be shielded from this particular disease.

But people adopting these things aren't doing any science. They are driven by laziness and by ideology. This method that became tolerated is a great way to basically kill the teaching of mathematics or at least any rigorous enough requirements. It is clearly "mathematics as imagined by those who hate the actual mathematics". The Hejný method is just a campaign with a name.

Needless to say, the Western education systems are full of similar garbage. Schools dedicate less and less time to "hard education" and an increasing amount of time to ideological brainwashing and indoctrination by the political correctness. A major example: Children are increasingly encouraged to write essays praising the European Union and believe that they're very creative and independent if they do such things – clearly the opposite of the truth.

Sunday, July 17, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

CMS in \(ZZ\) channel: a 3-4 sigma evidence in favor of a \(650\GeV\) boson

Today, the CMS collaboration has revealed one of the strongest deviations from the Standard Model in quite some time in the paper

Search for diboson resonances in the semileptonic \(X \to ZV \to \ell^+\ell^- q\bar q\) final state at \(\sqrt{s} = 13\TeV\) with CMS
On page 21, Figure 12, you see the Brazilian charts.

Saying No makes physicists what they are

Physics simply cannot try to incorporate every idea that is out there

I borrowed the phrase in the title from the award-winning ads for the Czech Budweisser beer (sold as Czechvar in the U.S.) and modified it. What's going on? Florin Moldoveanu wrote another hodgepodge of mathematical definitions pretending to be relevant for physics,

What is Noncommutative Geometry?
As far as I can say, he does a much worse job in conveying the basic meaning or definition of noncommutative geometry than the first paragraphs of even the mediocre introductions to the subject.

Saturday, July 16, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Failure of coup: bad news for Turkey, Europe, West

Coup folks are holding the navy head and frigate, maybe too soon to give up, however

LHC: First, a cute excess of the day. In a CMS search for vector-like quarks, there is a 3-sigma \(410\GeV\) top quark excess on page 5, Figure 2d, in decays with electrons. If this bump were real, it's already discovered in the recorded 2016 data.
When we woke up in Europe today, we learned about the coup attempt in Turkey. The army, on behalf of the Turkish Peace Council, overtook the country with the immediate goal "to reinstate constitutional order, human rights and freedoms, the rule of law and general security that was damaged" which was surely worth praising. The new regime promised to respect all international treaties.

A major bridge was illuminated by the French national colors in order for the new leaders to show whom they sympathize with when it comes to the most recent major terrorist attack. For 95 years, the Turkish army was seen as a major force that supported decency and the Western values in the country.

However, soon afterwards, President Erdogan ordered the public to rally and do everything to suppress the revolt. He pretty much restored his control over the country within hours. It seems that the coup had no chance. It may have been a false flag operation or the last desperate attempt to preserve the Westernized Turkey established by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk after the First World War.