Sunday, February 28, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

LHC: first beams of 2010

Half an hour before the midnight between Saturday and Sunday, local time, first protons of 2010 were sent into the tunnel of the LHC. The 7-TeV (total energy) collisions should begin between mid March and late March, after weeks of careful tests.

See AP short, AP long, RIA Novosti, Symmetry Magazine
LHC: false alarm quenches 50 magnets: delay
Originally posted on February 25th, 2010

The Register was the first source to report that the planned restart of the LHC beams - which was expected today - will be delayed. In the most optimistic case, the delay will last just one day.



An automatic protection system has kicked in and caused 50 or so superconducting magnets in this "most outrageous matter-rending machine" to quench (i.e. lose superconductivity).

Al Gore: unimaginable calamity

The New York Times have published an op-ed that is bound to become a subject of jokes:

Al Gore: We can't wish away climate change
The text starts rather quickly. ;-) The first paragraph says
It would be an enormous relief if the recent attacks on the science of global warming actually indicated that we do not face an unimaginable calamity requiring large-scale, preventive measures to protect human civilization as we know it.
Well, I am afraid that if he couldn't find any "indication" supporting such a "relief" even during the most recent 3 months, medical treatment is the only path Al can take to achieve such a relief.

Aside from the unimaginable calamity, Al Gore enumerates other, imaginable calamities that he would still face even if he were given the relief described in the first paragraph. One of these imaginable calamities is that America will trail China in the race to extract the millions of degrees Fahrenheit from the interior of the Earth.

Saturday, February 27, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Magnitude 8.8 earthquake in Chile

The recent earthquake that killed about 250,000 people in Haiti had magnitude of 7.0. It took place in the depth of 15 km, about 50 km from the capital, Port Au Prince, whose population was about 1 million people (well, it's detectably less today).



Concepcion, Chile

Well, sadly, one minute ago, on Saturday, 7:34 a.m. Central European Time, there was a magnitude 8.8 earthquake (see Wikipedia; originally reported as magnitude 8.3) about 60 km below the ground in Chile, 80 km from one metropolitan area of Concepcion with 1.3 million people (300,000 without the suburbs), 100km from two cities with 200,000 people each (Chillan, Talca), and 300 km from the capital, Santiago de Chile, with 5 million people.

The earthquake occurred in the ocean, just 5 km from the land (and only a 100-km arc may have been affected by the tsunami if there was any: see the Google Maps for the location.

The formula for the magnitude says

MW = 2/3 log10 (M0) - 10.7
where "M_0" is a kind of mechanical work, more precisely the seismic moment (shear modulus times area times average displacement) in hundreds of nanojoules.

Friday, February 26, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

CoGeNT: hundreds of dark matter 10 GeV binos seen?

In December, CDMS announced the detection of two dark-matter particle candidates. That has made the explanations "without any dark matter" just somewhat contrived - chances were around 20% that such a result could be produced by chance, without dark matter. No convincing proof of anything.



Can a hockey puck in Minnesota discover the superpartners before all the big colliders?

However, CDMS's smaller brother in the same Soudan mine in Minnesota, CoGeNT (Coherent Germanium Neutrino Technology), which only has one hockey puck - the same puck that the Finns used to humiliate the Czech ice-hockey players in Vancouver, but one made out of germanium - is reporting a more surprising observation today:

Nature: A CoGeNT result in the hunt for dark matter
arXiv preprint: Results from a search for light-mass dark matter with a p-type point contact germanium detector
The preprint has 27 authors but you should never get carried away by such consensus: they can still be doing something silly (especially the interpretations of what they see). For example, they had to drink something because they think that the CoGeNT collaboration has collaborated with 22 other CoGeNT collaborations :-) - mistakes sometimes occur.

NCDC UrbanGate: how the urban warming was exported to U.S. countryside

Edward Long, a retired NASA physicist, wrote a fascinating 14-page paper for SPPI that needs to be read and verified:

Contiguous U.S. temperature trends using NCDC raw and adjusted data for one-per-state rural and urban station sets (PDF, frames)
He looked at the NCDC surface temperature records of the 48 main U.S. states (you don't want me to spell "contiguous" right, do you?). If his work is valid, it is a shocker that actually reveals how the urban effects work and what a major team has done with them.



He took one rural and one urban station from each state among 48 of them. And let's hope he didn't cheat or cherry-pick.

This picture above, based on the raw data, shows the average rural temperatures and urban temperatures. They're almost perfectly aligned, except for a divergence that's been increasing since 1960 or so. If this graph is actually valid, it already shows you the urban effects. They became significant after the war and accumulated 0.6 °C of warming.

If you assume that 0.6 °C is the right urban contribution in Central Prague, which is exactly what I was assuming in my article about the Clementinum data, you will see that Prague has actually seen a modest cooling since 1800.

Reuters about "lull" in global warming

Yesterday, Reuters ran the following story by Wynn and Doyle:

Scientists examine causes for lull in warming
I want to discuss in detail how their reasoning disagrees with the scientific logic - and with the basic principles of journalism - in almost every step. First, the very words "lull in warming" presupposes that the climate can only be "warming" or be in a "lull". Well, no, it can also be cooling. The recent lull may be followed by a longer lull, cooling, or warming, depending on many details. But there's much more wrong stuff in the text.
LONDON/OSLO (Reuters) - Climate scientists must do more to work out how exceptionally cold winters or a dip in world temperatures fit their theories of global warming, if they are to persuade an increasingly skeptical public.
However, the purpose of science is not to "persuade the public" about pre-existing answers. The purpose of science is to find the correct answers to so-far unanswered questions about Nature. The beginning of the sentence above confirms a very well-known and obvious fact that there exists no framework that would predict that e.g. Winter 2009/2010 should be very harsh in the U.K. - at least not years in advance.

Thursday, February 25, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Why the feedback amplification can't be both positive and high

When no feedbacks are included, the greenhouse effect caused by CO2 adds about 1.2 °C per doubling of the CO2 concentration. This is a result of a rather clean physics problem. There's no real "complexity" in this problem: we reduce the Earth to a pretty manageable differential equation.

The doubling from the pre-industrial concentration of 280 ppm to 560 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere will occur slightly before 2100, assuming business as usual. If the figure 1.2 °C were the total answer, and assuming that the mankind has caused the whole 0.6-0.8 °C of the warming we may have seen in the last century or so, it would mean that 0.4-0.6 °C of man-made warming would be left by 2100 - less than the innocent 20th century change.

That's a completely unspectacular change. So this elementary greenhouse effect is not enough for the "applications" of the physical effect in policymaking. The advocates of carbon regulation and threats depend on some amplification of the man-made greenhouse effect, i.e. positive feedbacks. The IPCC would like the warming per the CO2 doubling to go as high as 5 °C and some people would be thrilled to see even higher figures - that seem to completely disagree with the small rate of the recent warming.

Feedbacks: geometric series

Imagine that you add some CO2. That changes the temperature by the "bare mechanism" of the greenhouse effect. But the modified temperature also changes some other things in the climate that may change the temperature again. These "second round" effects are called the feedbacks and they may change the temperature in both directions.

Al Gore will endorse Joe Quimby's Czech party



Joe Quimby, the mayor of Springfield, is known as Mr Jiří Paroubek in the Czech Republic.

And he's the current boss of the populist left-wing Czech Social Democratic Party. It promises their voters to take all the money from corporations - such as the main electric utility, ČEZ - and distribute it among the voters such as pensioners so that the pension will double every five years, and so on.

ČSSD [Che-SS-Dee] is a typical irresponsible socialist party which currently has around 30% approval rate and may win the elections in May 2010. Whom do you you expect to come to Prague in March and support this party? Yes, it is the inventor of the Internet and Al Gore Rhythms, Al Gore himself.

I suspect that he wanted to do something bad to President Klaus and some oversimplified sources that are not too familiar with the detailed situation and opinions of the Czech politicians told him that ČSSD is the most natural foe of the Czech president. ;-)

Via Olda K (CZ) and Lidovky. ;-)

Farage vs Van Rompuy

A powerful verbal evaluation of a high-ranking EU politician, also known as the "president of Europe", took place in the European parliament yesterday. I admire Nigel Farage, share his values, and I even agree with the essence of his newest talk, too. Still, it was probably more aggressive and negative than what I consider the "golden mean".



Nigel Farage explained that Herman Van Rompuy whom we had never heard of has the charisma of a damp rag and a low-grade bank clerk, coming from a non-country (Belgium) in order to become a silent killer of the nation states and the democracy in Europe.

Van Rompuy known as the "gray mouse" in the Belgium was nearly crying - and answered by "no comment". The boss of socialists, Martin Schulz, took the job of counter-attacks against Farage. Because the boss of the EU Parliament, Jerzy Buzek of Poland, hasn't spanked Farage enough, Buzek became a target of Schulz's counter-attack, too. (Buzek belongs to Tusk's Christian conservative but mostly pro-EU party. He was born on the territory of Nazi Germany that belongs to Czechia these days.)

Ahmadinejad: Zionist entity will disappear

Iranian president is visiting Syria.



Mahmoud Ahmadinejad together with one of his tutors, Syrian president Bashar Assad. Assad promised the boy a cup of ice cream and Mahmoud has indeed said that they're friends.

He said:

The Zionists and their protectors have reached a dead end. The Zionist entity will eventually disappear; its existential philosophy has ended. The Zionist conquerors have reached a dead end; all of their threats against the Palestinians stem from their weakness. If the Zionists repeat their past mistakes, all of the region's nations will uproot them.

Zionist regime will be annihilated if it repeats past mistakes.
I don't know where he exactly wants to "uproot them" - or how he obtains enough antimatter to "annihilate them". But from the 13 million Jews in the world, almost 6 million live in Israel. To "uproot them" therefore means to repeat the Holocaust, including the numbers.

While Ahmadinejad is a ludicrous chimp and a big mouth, he is still the official president of Iran. I am not quite certain whether the Iranian people realize that this is why such pronouncements matter: even if he doesn't look serious, he simply has powers that are dangerous. How do they expect other people in the world - and Israelis in particular - to react to such propositions?

Ben Santer vs Steve McIntyre

Judith Curry determined that the recent scandals surrounding the climate science are just a problem with its image: the climate skeptics who used to be just shills for Big Oil and who could be dismissed - because Big Oil is bad and no one needs oil, anyway ;-) - were suddenly transformed because they incorporated many open source software advocates who fight against the evil commercial software industry (which is similar to Big Oil). It's the main change that occurred, according to Dr Curry.

She thinks it's enough to repaint the makeup so that the good, left-wing people are on the side of the alarm and the skeptics become the bad "deniers" once again, so that the world is nice, simple, and black-and-white. Anthony Watts will surely help her to achieve this goal and the IPCC will return to the good old tracks, she thinks. ;-) (See my reply to her opinions. You may also read Climate Progress to find out that the hardcore AGW activists' reaction to her essay is much less friendly than Watts' or mine.)

(I am using my own words and simplifications to make her text more entertaining but if you read it, the essence of her proposals is the same.)

RealClimate has finally figured out who is the best man to do the job of improving the image of the climate science. It's Ben Santer. This rather strong man has already shown that he is a nice and caring gentleman who prefers transparent science.

Recall that Phil Jones has been repeatedly ask to release his data of various types. He famously said:

We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?
Well, maybe because it's the very point of scientific research to try and find something wrong with the existing theories about the real world?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

FoxNews: IPCC plans big changes

One hour ago, FoxNews that has become the #1 up-to-date U.S. source of the information about the climate issues revealed that:

EXCLUSIVE: U.N. Climate Panel to Announce Significant Changes (click)
To reply to their "swift and devastating fall from grace", they should offer radical reforms "within a few days".



Rajendra Pachauri and Vijay Kelkar in Delhi.

FoxNews presents no details. It just suggests that they might get inspired by similar plans of Met Office to start from scratch which were described by FoxNews yesterday.

The article writes some details about the numerous IPCC "gates" and quotes Steve McIntyre who finds it unlikely that the same people know how to reform the institution, and I completely share his skepticism.

I have been thinking about these events in analogy with the fall of communism. It's clear that the same people couldn't create a new "communism with a human face" because they simply didn't have a human face.

Moreover, the very ideas and goals they wanted to preserve were almost the same ones that led to the loss of credibility. This is a point that even Dr Judith Curry seems to mostly misunderstand.

Climate alarmism, much like communism, can't really be reformed. The basic ideals of communism - people "voluntarily" working for others and harmonically saying that it's how the society should work - can only be defended with a violent police system that suppressed human rights and freedoms.

In a similar way, climate alarmism's vitally important technique is to keep people in ignorance and to hide the real data because the real data - and people's knowledge about them - automatically leads to the destruction of the panic, and the evaporation of the very motivation for the IPCC's existence.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

New Scientist promotes legal action against the LHC

In January, I discussed a preprint by Eric Johnson about the LHC lawsuits. He is an assistant professor of law. After having analyzed the issues along some typical patterns of the lawyers' thinking - and the absence thereof - he decided that he would probably stop the LHC if he was the judge in an LHC lawsuit.



Today, Nude Socialist published a short version of his preprint. While Nude Socialist may look like another irrelevant cranky popular science magazine, I don't think that such things can be safely ignored. In 1999, the same magazine published the statements by an irrelevant Indian glaciologist that the Himalayan glaciers would be gone by 2035.

Microsoft browser lottery: a random algorithm that is not so random

This is an amusing story that involves some simple mathematics, so let me tell you about it.

TechCrunch and Neowin have promoted a story originally invented by a Slovak daily about the Internet, DSL.SK (orig in SK). What is the problem?

Microsoft will soon be forced to accept the rules of the EU capitalism. Unlike the conventional capitalism where the companies want to defeat their competitors, the EU capitalism requires companies to help others to defeat themselves. It turns out that this is exactly what Microsoft has done. ;-)



What did they do? Since March, the Windows 7 users in the EU will be offered the ballot above. You may choose one of the five browsers - MSIE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera. The competitors have insisted that the ordering must be random.

On the website BrowserChoice.EU where you can test this random ballot, you also find the JavaScript code that produces the random ordering: look at the bottom of it. It's likely that the same JavaScript code, run on Microsoft Internet Explorer, will actually decide about the ordering seen on the displays.

Met Office: datasets to be built from scratch

Fox News just revealed that on Monday, 150 employees of the U.K. Met Office have met on a logistically convenient place of Great Britain - namely in a Turkish seaside resort of Antalya. ;-)



They agreed that their and the world's weather data (mostly the surface data) are a complete mess and they need to start from scratch. See the executive summary (PDF, 4 pages).

The new system should be verifiable and fully accessible; using fully documented algorithms and based on peer-reviewed methodologies; using multi-team approach to the surface data; subjected to strict audits; supplemented with seriously calculated uncertainties.

The Met Office will send the proposal to the World Meteorological Organization. The main U.K. weather institution didn't answer any further questions from Fox News. Note that the IPCC itself was mostly born in Great Britain so this is not just an irrelevant local event.

Sabine Hossenfelder, AdS/CFT, and demagogy

Under Sabine Hossenfelder's article that contained a link to Jan de Boer's talk about holography, a reader nicknamed Gilesgoatboy recalled the 2008 Hossenfelder's discussion concerned with the black hole information loss paradox.



She has dismissed the stringy and holographic solution to the problem by the following two strange paragraphs:

Solution: Since the AdS/CFT conjecture relates black holes (in AdS space) to a quantum theory one knows is unitary on the boundary, this would mean the evolution in the bulk is also unitary.

Problem: As long as the conjecture is unproved one could equally well consider the information loss problem, if real, as a counter-example for the validity of the conjecture. (Also, I personally would find it unsatisfactory would this only work in AdS space).
Gilesgoatboy correctly mentions that Hossenfelder is right in claiming that the contrapositive (non Q implies non P) is equivalent to the original statement (P implies Q) but this logical tautology doesn't contain any nontrivial scientific evidence that actually changes the probabilities that either P or Q is valid: it has no beef.

Moreover, if she were impartial, she would realize (and acknowledge) that her "argument" may be shot against any potential "solution" of the paradox, not just against the AdS/CFT that she chose: any solution has to reject either locality or unitarity, so there would always exist a Hossenfelder-level of a "counter-argument" against this solution. The very fact that it is a solution is what Hossenfelder doesn't like.

Bloom Box: family fuel cells

The media are full of stories about the Bloom Boxes, small fridge-sized power plants that use fuel cells and that should replace the grid. They will be presented by the Silicon Valley start-up company to the public on Wednesday.



Businesses such as Google, eBay, Wal-Mart, and others have invested their money to become the first consumers. The business-sized gadgets cost nearly one million dollars. But the company claims to be able to produce USD 3,000 devices for your garage in the near future. It's likely that the first consumers have lost money for their investment. On the other hand, if they could make it for USD 3,000, that would surely be interesting even for you.

It's a fuel cell. Oxygen is inserted into one input, any stuff to the other hole, and the device combines the hydrogen from the fuel with the oxygen from the other side, producing water and nothing else, assuming I understand that it's just another solid oxide fuel cell. It's clean, blah blah blah. These gadgets have had lots of disadvantages - see the Wikipedia page - but it is clear that they can be improved relatively to what they are today. An open question is whether the improvements will ever be enough for this technology to beat its competitors.

It's just another example showing that there will surely never be any big energy crisis and it makes no sense to subsidize these things. Sometime in the future, these and similar technologies will surely become economically feasible. It will be the case because of a combination of two things: the technologies may get better and cheaper; and the fuels for the old technologies may get more expensive.

Composite vs elementary particles

Tommaso Dorigo wrote a text about some limits on compositeness. You don't have to read it: nothing is excessively interesting about the experiments and their punch line is, of course, that no internal substructure of quarks and leptons has been seen by the colliders as of today.



Tommaso Dorigo's comrade Vladimir Lenin believed that an electron was a galaxy with many electrons, and so on, indefinitely. That's what he meant by the statement that matter was "inexhaustible". This hierarchical picture of the Matryoshka Universe was clearly indefensible already during Lenin's life. First, it has to stop at the Planck scale because distances shorter than the Planck scale are unphysical, or at least don't follow the normal laws of geometry. Second, two electrons must be exactly identical to allow chemistry to work, so they can't carry any substructure that would be as variable as one of a galaxy (or even a high entropy, which must be zero).

The typical characteristic energy scale where compositeness could possibly become compatible with the existing experiments is something like 5 TeV (or higher): it means that the internal pieces have to be really close to each other, closer than 1/(5 TeV) in the "hbar=c=1" units, if they're composite. Unless unexpected things happen, the LHC will just improve these limits.

Monday, February 22, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Jan de Boer: pop talk on holography

Jan de Boer is an extremely serious - and a highly technical - physicist who arguably belongs to the top 10 people in the world who study and understand the quantum structure of black holes (and their microstates) in quantum gravity. See e.g. Supergravity can't be the whole story and Black holes: quantum mechanics at microscopic distances.

But because he was invited to Nordita and Nordita, while having been found by Niels Bohr, has a very limited world-quality research into quantum gravity these these days (and the knowledge gap below their Troels and Larus is pretty large), he prepared a 67-minute popular talk on quantum gravity and holography - and an excellent one (at least if you're ready for a package of the Dutch accent). See:

Holography, quantum gravity and black holes (click)
The streaming video link is at the bottom of the page above and you may need RealPlayer. The talk starts with some really simple, PBS-level statements about physics but it gets more interesting and nontrivial later.

SciAm: AGW is worse than IPCC thought

If you have strong nerves, you should look what has happened with once fine popular science magazine, Scientific American. The most recent four months have shown everyone that the IPCC has distorted the available evidence in order to claim that the climate change is going to be - or already is - scary.

Well, there's one magazine that has the balls to tell you that the IPCC is actually too conservative:

Despite Climategate, IPPC Mostly Underestimates Climate Change
Yes, to give you an additional hint about their competency, they put "IPPC" instead of "IPCC" in the title.

The article claims that the warming and sea level trends predicted by the IPCC in 1990, 1995, 2000 were exceeded in reality. Well, that's surely a bizarre statement given the fact that the trend since 2001 has been cooling and there has been no statistically significant global warming since 1995, as Phil Jones recently admitted, while the IPCC has surely predicted a statistically significant global warming for the last 15 years. The story about the sea level rise is similar. Yesterday, The Guardian reported that an IPCC-consistent paper claiming up to an 80+ centimeter sea level rise in a century has been withdrawn due to major errors.

So you may ask: how did the folks in Scientific American justify such a strange claim? Well, they wouldn't find any sane person - and not even any climate scientist - who would say such a thing (perhaps James Hansen could also do the job, but his lack of sanity is already too well-known a fact). But they find the predetermined conclusions to be so important that the writers considered it appropriate or necessary to quote a guy from the Harvard Medical School!

To make things worse, his name is James McCarthy - at least it wasn't Joseph McCarthy. ;-)

Well, if you look at the affiliation, you will learn that the Harvard Medical School has its own center for "health and the global environment". In the recent years, the AGW cancer has become so widespread that separate units (or tumors) of global warming alarmism are growing - and are being funded - even in the medical schools.

Needless to say, not only McCarthy's propositions are manifest lies, but as his page shows, he also has no qualifications to make statements about this physical science. Since 1982 for 20 years, he's been the director of a museum of comparative biology, and he has been a member of most bureaucratic bodies trying to justify the carbon regulation policies with the plankton. His field was biological oceanography.

By the way, the oceans are doing very well and will be doing just fine even if the unlikely case that a significant warming would take place, see e.g. a new finding by the folks at the Penn State University about the diversity of coral reefs advertised by One India a few days ago. But this kind of research isn't what Scientific American likes: you have to go to India to learn about this research done in Pennsylvania. The rotten self-described science journalists in the U.S. prefer a non-research - deluded unjustified and unjustifiable opinions of an outsider twisted by his huge career interests.

An eleven-fold increase of the hurricanes

Sunday, February 21, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Supersymmetry: superheroes, songs, and Jesus Christ

Warning: this text contains no serious information

On Friday, Blogger Jesus Christ banned His readers from learning about supersymmetry:

Don’t you know that that is forbidden to learn theory of everything and also that is forbidden to find out symmetry of everything, that is why all people who write a book on supersymmetry or theory of everything will be punished forever including florentin smarandache and My messenger, but Me, Jesus Christ, know that My messenger really really do not know what supersymmetry is and what is their purpose...
It may be another blog written by Peter Woit.

When you look at the second video below, you may start to understand His point. ;-) Readers below 18 years are urged not to watch the videos below, except for the first one.



But start with the first one which is a techno song with the highest concentration of superpartner names that was written as of today. ;-) Well, it gets even worse in the third video with some premature celebrations of SUSY on the beach.

The LHC beams will be restarted on Thursday, February 25th. Collisions at 7 TeV center-of-mass energy should begin sometime in April and continue for a year or more, as described previously. After a one-year break, probably in 2013, the LHC will jump to 14 TeV. And yes, this paragraph is serious.

Saturday, February 20, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

NAS: Cicerone criticizes IPCC

One India, BBC, and Science Now describe a meeting organized by Ralph Cicerone, the boss of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, that discussed the "climate crisis", i.e. the leaked information showing that the climate science ceased to be an honest scientific disipline.

Note the amazing differences between the three stories.



Remotely related: John Coleman's second show about the AGW pseudoscience. Playlist: 50 minutes divided to 9 parts. Stars: Somerville, Watts, Christy, ... If he avoided ludicrous propositions such as that "the Himalayas cover one tenth of the Earth's surface" in the second part (it's 1/200), and if he learned what the word "deficient" meant at 5:40, eighth part :-), he would be an excellent popularizer of science.

While the Science Magazine ("Now" means "News") discusses the words of Gerald North who thinks that the IPCC doesn't deserve to be under attack and who wants new "coaches" who will teach the climate scientists new tricks how to "fight" (sorry, Gerald, but the climate scientists have already learned and used all the tricks - this game is over), One India and BBC focus on the main speaker, the NAS president.

Holography: Vasiliev's higher-spin theories and O(N) models

In December 2009, Simone Giombi and Xi Yin of Harvard University wrote a fascinating 90-page paper,

Higher Spin Gauge Theory and Holography: The Three-Point Functions
They have offered a new nontrivial piece of evidence supporting a holographic duality that I will explain momentarily. They calculated three-point functions on both sides, to obtain a function of the spins "s". The result is a ratio of gamma functions involving these spins "s", describing the fields, often shifted by 1/2. And yes, it completely agrees on both sides.



There are some entertaining technical details of their calculation, like the analytic continuation in spins, but you have to read the paper to learn more about them.

What duality am I talking about? Well, on the bulk side, you have Vasiliev's (and Fradkin's - I've met this funny chap) higher-spin theories in AdS4, see the 1999 review
Higher Spin Gauge Theories: Star-Product and AdS Space.
On the boundary side, there is an O(N) model in 3 dimensions. Its matter fields - scalars - transform in the vector representations of O(N). And one should naturally add the "(phi^a.phi^a)^2" quartic self-interaction (although many interesting things already appear in the free theory). See the 2002 paper by Klebanov and Polyakov who conjectured the duality:

Friday, February 19, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Interview with Michael Mann

If you haven't seen a real nutcase for a little while, read

The Benshi interview with Michael Mann.
What I find amazing is the high degree of logical inconsistency in his reasoning. On one hand, he thinks that the alarmed climate scientists are the "David" who fights against a gigantic "Goliath" who is very well organized and funded (by the fossil fuel industry, of course!).



And the poor "David" is so weak and discriminated against... The media have never helped to promote the opinions of the alarmed climate scientists, as Michael Mann remembers the history of the last 20 years. Poor alarm about climate change: you know, the hypothetical threats have never been mentioned in the evil media, at least if you omit those 50,000 articles a month on Google News! There's a huge injustice by the "Goliath" and a suffocating conspiracy working against the nice "David" of the climate alarm.

On the other hand, he thinks that the opponents of the climate alarm are a couple of disorganized fringe lunatics.

Thursday, February 18, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Amy Bishop: aspects of a capital murder



Amy Bishop, a neuroscientist trained at Harvard - that's where your humble correspondent has spent six years - and working as an assistant professor at University of Alabama in Huntsville - that's where John Christy and Roy Spencer create their UAH datasets, among other things - has killed three of her colleagues and injured additional three biologists during a faculty meeting.

They refused to give her tenure.

Robert Yen, a chimpanzee, is thrilled by the murders and suicides in the Academia. He thinks that they prove that something is terribly wrong over there. Well, they do and they don't. The scholarly environment, which includes an explosive mixture of a breathtaking hypocrisy, frequent boredom, and high expectations, among other positive and negative things, may have a higher suicide rate but I think it's clear that it doesn't have a higher murder rate. And the reasons for the murders are not so dramatically different from the reasons in many other sectors.

Yvo de Boer leaves the U.N. AGW bandwagon

While I am not claiming that this news is too important, BBC and others just noticed that the U.N. top climate official, a former Dutch civil servant and the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) since 2006, Yvo de Boer, will leave his chair on July 1st.



He said that "we were an inch away" from global carbon communism but it didn't happen, "so that was a pity". A pretty big inch, indeed. De Boer may have been the "one anonymous insider" who said that "publicly, [India and China] are being bubbly and supportive about the Copenhagen Accord. In private, they are urinating all over it."

Yvo de Boer has determined that the bandwagon is dead at the political level and should be urinated upon but he is ready to suck money from the AGW fraud at the corporate level for as much extra time as the reality allows. He will be a "consultant on climate and sustainability issues for KPMG", a global accounting firm, and will be associated with several universities.

Not bad for a stupid crook whose highest school was a boarding school in the U.K. Let's see for how much more time similar things will be possible. Meanwhile, Rajendra Pachauri sticks to the IPCC top chair and refuses to resign, guaranteeing that virtually everyone will know that the IPCC is a Titanic filled with liars, fraudsters, and porn writers, or all of these things combined.

I am increasingly satisfied with this scenario that will keep the influence of the IPCC comparable to that of Al Qaeda.

Gravitational redshift: 10,000-fold increase of accuracy

Tom Weidig has sent me this article on Science Daily,

Atom Interferometer Provides Most Precise Test Yet of Einstein's Gravitational Redshift

See also: PhysOrg, Physics World, AFP
Holger Müller of UC Berkeley and two other members of his U.S.-German team - Achim Peters of Berlin and Steven Chu of Berkeley, LBNL, and Obama's DOE (Chu took the data 10 years ago, but couldn't realize what they meant, thanks to Steve for a hint) - have measured the "slowdown of time" in the gravitational field 10,000 more accurately than the previous most accurate method. Needless to say, general relativity still works perfectly. The results are published in Nature today.



Millions of cesium atoms are trapped and some of them are moved vertically just by 100 microns in the Earth's gravitational field. The interference between the two parts of the wave function, phase-shifted by the gravitational field, may be measured. They talk about the latent energy, "E=mc^2", because it doesn't cancel: when calculating the phase shift in between the two components of the wave function, the latent energy is being multiplied by different time durations on the two trajectories at different altitudes (because of the redshift): thanks to commenter Steve.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Climate CzechGate: Prague's Clementinum censored

João Magalhães sent me a link to an article by John O’Sullivan at ClimateGate.com about the research by Chiefio aka E.M. Smith and his Czech reader Jan (meaning "John").



Prague's Clementinum, an old Jesuit Convent and the current National and University Library near the Charles Bridge (Google Maps), hosts the world's second oldest continuously working weather station after the Central England dataset (*1659) and, obviously, the oldest one in the Czech Republic. The records go back to 1770 and haven't been interrupted or modified since 1775.

The picture of the building above is not too beautiful by itself but you can take prettier pictures of the Old Town from the Clementinum tower. ;-)

John Christy at Russia Today

Yesterday, Russia Today has made two interesting and, I would say, very balanced, professional, and informative interviews - with John Christy and Patrick Michaels.



John Christy talks about their recent paper arguing that most of the warming in the surface temperature record is due to local changes such as urbanization and deforestation. Also, he says that the effect of the Kyoto on the climate (and even on the emissions) was zero but Kyoto has played a negative psychological role, having led the people to false beliefs about their impact.

See also a new Russia Today interview with Pat Michaels about the fifth anniversary of the failed Kyoto protocol. He tries to answer her good question why the people are still pushing for such things if it is so costly and has no good consequences.

You should also check the latest Glenn Beck's show about the ClimateGate and Phil Jones' recent admissions. By the way, ConocoPhillips, BP and Caterpillar are leaving the USCAP, a climate change lobbying organization designed to create the cap-and-trade legislation. Virginia has officially challenged the EPA's decision to regulate carbon dioxide.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Sir John Houghton is a liar



Sir John Houghton, an ex-boss of the IPCC, and the hockey stick graph, visually demonstrating that the flawed hockey stick graph has never played any important role for the IPCC statements. However, we will look at something else here. Picture via AP and BBC

The Independent and New Zealand Herald published a whole article about one quote. It was called

Fabricated quote used to discredit climate scientist
It has complained that Benny Peiser said that Sir John Houghton has said:
"Unless we announce disasters, no one will listen."
sometime in 1994. They have to feel pretty desperate to dedicate one whole article to one of hundreds of quotes listed by Peiser (99% of which are letter-by-letter accurate). The Guardian has written about it, too - although not a whole article is dedicated to this issue.

Unitarity, absence of anomalies, locality, causality, Lorentz invariance: consistency conditions

Nature depends on several paramount conditions that are needed for Her to operate at the basic level. We may call them "consistency conditions."

They have to be satisfied by all remotely realistic physical theories describing our world - or any world that at least qualitatively resembles ours - otherwise the theory instantly runs into serious problems.

Although the list is not really completely, I will be talking about the inevitability of several of them, namely

  • unitarity
  • absence of anomalies
  • locality
  • causality
  • Lorentz invariance,
as well as various relationships between them and their implications.

Unitarity

In linear algebra, unitarity is a property of a transformation, or a matrix, "U", that generalizes the "orthogonality" of real transformations to the case of vector spaces with complex coordinates. Such a matrix has to satisfy

Donald Trump: strip Gore of Nobel prize

Daily Mail says that Donald Trump has urged the Nobel committee to strip Al Gore of the Nobel peace prize because he has defended pseudoscience that can lead to a decimation of the U.S. economy.



Donald Trump has supported Carrie Prejean against the attacks but Al Gore really doesn't deserve it. Sorry but I found this picture prettier than a picture of Donald Trump or even Al Gore here. ;-)

You are invited to sign a petition, No More Nobel. Irena Sendler who saved 2,500+ Jewish children from the Nazis is introduced as a replacement. Your humble correspondent has signed it.
Trump has mentioned the recent record blizzards as his evidence that the climate is not warming, or at least not at a rate that would be worth a discussion among non-specialists. The blizzards are surely not the most sophisticated arguments concerning the climate but I do think that they are a legitimate piece of evidence.

Monday, February 15, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Speed skating 3000 m: gold for Martina Sáblíková

There are 1 million registered speed skaters in the world. Approximately one third of them live in the Netherlands. Only 70 of them - 70 ppm - are Czech. Using the anthropic principle, they can exclude the gold medal for the Czech Republic at a 99.993% confidence level.



But Ms Martina Sáblíková (22) cares neither about the anthropic junk science nor about the humiliation of her trainings (and national championships) on a frozen pond. She simply moves in the right way and confirms the proper textbook science in almost every race she participates in. The textbook science says that she's the best female speed skater in the world. With the new record of the place, 4:02.53 [12.37 m/s in average], she has safely obliterated her competitors in the 3000 m women's speed skating event. Congratulations to her and her important coach, Mr Petr Novák!

Later, she added a bronze from 1500 meters and another gold from 5000 meters.

Sunday, February 14, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Phil Jones: MWP yes, warming since 1995 no

Daily Mail in the U.K. published recent admissions of Dr Phil Jones, the main villain of the ClimateGate. He now agrees that

Roger Harrabin wrote his interview with Phil Jones as questions and answers and Jones basically confirms every single statement that the informed skeptics have been making for years.



Prologue to Mafia, a top Czech 2002 game whose sequel, Mafia II, will be released in a few months. Go to 3:55 to see how Tommy Angelo, i.e. Phil Jones, offered his information about his work for the organization to the authorities. He earned a decade of life for him and his family before Michael Mann et al. found him and shot him for his high treason.

Let's see whether Mike, Keith, Gene, and Caspar will do likewise.

By the way, Phil Jones has been thinking about suicide, so his recent confessions could be partly based on emotions. However, while we should be compassionate, I would recommend you not to be overly compassionate because of these things. Phil Jones has done many bad things - and received lots of undeserved money - and he just used to think that he was safe forever.

Swine flu beats old flu, saves most lives

Most flu cases detected in the West are swine flu today. Unlike the old flu, it kills not only old people but also people below 65 years of age.

L.A. Times
Around 57 million or nearly 1/5 of Americans have contracted H1N1 influenza since the outbreak in April 2009. But when it comes to casualties, something unexpected has happened.



CapitalistImperialistPig of New Mexico

In a normal flu season, 35,000 Americans die of flu. Most cases in the last year were swine flu which has only killed 12,000 people. So the total number of flu casualties has actually dropped almost three-fold!

Saturday, February 13, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

David Gross on energy sources

... his monologue begins around 0:55.



Of course, I agree with a pretty large portion of his comments. He is an optimist concerning the availability of the energy in the future, he is pro-nuclear and says that anti-nuclear arguments are political rather than scientific in character and extraordinary requirements concerning the time scale of nuclear waste storage are irrational. Of course, they are.

Gross says that lots of solar energy is not used efficiently. He thinks that the solar sources are just a factor of two from becoming economically feasible. And he envisions a future civilization that has lots of electric cars etc. So do I. He thinks that the efficiency of the batteries is a very important thing to improve - which I think is simply false because the efficiency of batteries in the electric cars is between 70% and 85% even today. The losses are negligible relatively to the discrepancy between the expenses and profit from e.g. solar energy.

Dirichlet: 205th birthday

Johann Peter Gustav Lejeune Dirichlet was born on February 13th, 1805, i.e. 205 years ago, to a father who was a postmaster in Düren, one of the most Western towns in Germany.

At the high school, he learned from Georg Ohm. Dirichlet began his research of mathematics with some progress in proving Fermat's Last Theorem for n=5 (partially) and, later, n=14 (fully). He has done a lot in number theory, the Riemann zeta function stuff, probability theory, Fourier expansions, and so on. He gave us a definition of a function that is still being used.

He married Rebecca Henriette Mendelssohn Bartholdy, a woman from a highly achieved family of composers and Jewish converts to Christianity.

Utah: House condemns alarmists



The lawmakers in Utah have approved a resolution that condemns climate alarmism and climate alarmists. It urges the U.S. Environmental and Protection Agency to stop all activities related to the carbon dioxide regulation.

See also The Guardian.



Meanwhile, Dominik Duka (66) who regularly goes hiking with President Klaus to the highest Czech peak, Sněžka, was chosen by the Pope as the new boss of the Czech Catholic Church, replacing Miloslav Cardinal Vlk.

Why unification sits at the core of string theory

Previous articles about a similar topic:

Unity of strings I
Unity of strings II
Is AdS/QCD and AdS/CMT relevant for unification?
Two roads from N=8 SUGRA to strings
Most people, including those who have been interested in theoretical physics for years, still seem to be incapable to understand the inevitability of string theory and the unity and inseparability of its mathematical tools and the landscape of its solutions.

They would still like to cherry-pick pieces of string theory, while attempting to hide or deny the rest, and especially string theory as the/an ultimate theory that unifies the known forces.

But such cherry-picking is not possible. To say the least, it is mathematically inconsistent. Once we accept that a particular "corner" of the string-theoretical landscape or its toolkit is relevant for the explanation of the physical Universe, the rest of it inevitably follows.

If someone likes addition of integers and the prime integers 2,3,5,7, she inevitably has to add the remaining integers and accept that there are infinitely many additional primes such as 11,13,17,19 etc. The case of string theory is analogous.

Friday, February 12, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

CDF, D0: the Higgs is between 115 and 150 GeV

At an APS website, Klaus Mönig reviews (click) three papers that were released today. One of them is by the CDF Collaboration, the second one is by the D0 Collaboration, and the third one is by both of them. ;-)

Warming by 20 °C in Vancouver

I was checking whether January 2010 was the warmest ever January in Vancouver, as you can read in some news outlets. Using the WeatherData function in Mathematica, the answer is No. For example, the average temperature on the airport was 7.8 °C in January 1994 but only 7.63 °C in January 2010. So as far as I can say, the media are not telling us the truth.



But I was intrigued by a supercool January 2003 which was apparently 20 °C cooler than most other Januaries. I immediately decided it had to be a bug. The WeatherData bug is shared by Wolfram Alpha. If you ask Wolfram Alpha about the temperature in Vancouver in February 2003, you get the following cute graph:



The temperature suddenly jumped by 20 °C. Similarly, you will find a 20 °C drop in December 2002. It's really not hard to become sure that the discontinuities are errors. Just look at Bellingham, WA, which is just 76 km away. You won't find any discontinuities in February 2003.

My cherished contact at Wolfram wrote me that I should trust the temperatures - they really jumped by 20 °C in a few hours, probably because of a "major warm front" - because the data were taken directly from the weather station and because some nearby stations show the same behavior. No kidding. ;-) I hope that he has gotten sane since that time but I still have no proof of it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Czech grid plans to block new solar, wind plants

In December, I wrote about the problems caused by the German wind turbines to the electric grid in Germany and its neighbors, including the Czech Republic.



As Reuters, Radio Prague (EN), and the Czech media (CZ) noticed today, the Czech grid is overloaded and the company in charge of it, ČEPS, is finalizing its plans to solve the situation.

ČEPS, a company which is responsible for the stability of the grid, according to the law, urges the electricity distribution companies to halt the connecting of the new solar and wind plants. At the end of 2009, they were giving 600 MW to the grid. However, projects that would add a whopping extra 3,500 MW have already been approved! This is a genuine threat to the stability of the grid.

ČEPS has informed that if the rules won't be changed to avoid the danger raised by these ludicrously subsidized and hugely irregular sources of energy, it will have to start to disconnect them. This could mean that the green investors could lose their money which would be great.

Global warming causes snowstorm in D.C.

At least that's what The Time Magazine and their Bryan Walsh think or at least pretend to think and tell us.



Cross-country ski used as a vehicle: that's why their ancestors were designed in the first place.

But does it? More precisely, are there any rational arguments justifying the unexpected conclusion (and preconception) of Walsh's article?

At the beginning, he tells us a lot about the conspiracies. The politicians are trying to hide the lethal threat of global warming by hiding the global warming as the cause of the snowstorm in D.C., Walsh asserts.

Walsh also says it's unlikely for top-10 storms to take place by chance in Washington D.C. as well as Philadelphia (200 km away, it's almost like light years) or even Baltimore (55 km away, that's near the Hubble scale) during the same winter. He's apparently completely unable to understand that these are just two parts of the same regional atmospheric phenomenon so their probabilities are not independent at all.

He quotes some meteorologists who claim that the snowstorm was really big - well, there exists an obvious threat in doing science in the ancient way, i.e. without numbers (with numbers replaced by emotional words). And we also hear some other old talking points: for example, the hurricanes are getting bigger, too.

But is there an argument why such a thing should be true? Well, there's no argument but there's surely something that the author considers to be an argument. In the middle of the article, we read:

That's in part because of global warming — hotter air can hold more moisture, so when a storm gathers it can unleash massive amounts of snow. Colder air, by contrast, is drier; if we were in a truly vicious cold snap, like the one that occurred over much of the East Coast during parts of January, we would be unlikely to see heavy snowfall.
Well, that's very entertaining. While it's true that hotter air can hold more moisture, the comment about "a truly vicious cold snap" negates the argument. It disagrees with the weather records, too.

First, it negates the argument because it admits that a "truly vicious cold snap" existed even in 2010. Second, it tries to suggest that once upon a time, before the global warming began, there was nothing else than a "vicious cold snap" in D.C. in January and February.

US: pika not endangered, SciAm: panic!

The Scientific American runs a story about a ruling by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) that was released last week. The title is kind of incredible:

Denial of global warming threat to the American pika means no protection from U.S.
After one year of research, the official U.S. body for biodiversity decided that
After review of all available scientific and commercial information, we find that listing the American pika ... is not warranted at this time.
Well, most of the American pika actually belong to the "least concern" group, whopping three categories below the "endangered" group, while only 8 out of 31 populations are "vulnerable", one step below "endangered".

The petition to classify these small (170 g) cousins of the rabbit as an endangered species came from environmental advocacy groups. These green humans claimed that Pika dies when the temperature jumps to 25.5 degrees Celsius for a few hours. (The only existing reference seems to be a statement by an ABC journalist.) FWS found out that they can live at 40 degrees Celsius: there's just 14.5 degrees discrepancy between the two sources.

These little animals live in Oregon and Nevada. They may move by 3 kilometers to the North a year or 2 meters upslope a year (or some mixture of these two) if the slow changes to the temperatures continue (regardless of the cause) and if these changes pose a problem for them. That is enough to counter the 0.013 °C of warming a year that we have seen for 30 years.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Aspects of expanding crackpottery in physics

The people whose knowledge and opinions about physics are close to mine are finally beginning to realize the worrisome trends affecting the quality and character of the research in theoretical physics. I have a significant number of e-mail exchanges with these folks - and let me assure everyone that you're not alone.

Robert Helling compares Erik Verlinde's arguments to the entertaining proof that girls are evil (because girls are time times money, time is money, and money is the root of all evil). Yes, it is a similar "proof" by a dimensional analysis.

It's even more interesting to look at the comments under the article.

Pope Maledict XVI is frustrated and recalls physics of 2009 when the Hořava-Lifshitz gravity was among the most visible research directions. He or she says that it wasn't very good but it deserved a dozen of citations - I agree - but it got 200 of them. And now, we have this entropic force silliness.

First CMS paper based on LHC data

You may remember that the first paper that used the new LHC data was written by the ALICE Collaboration.



However, let's admit that it is ATLAS and CMS whose reports are even more eagerly expected. The CMS Collaboration became the first of them who published a preprint based on the December 2009 data:

Transverse momentum and pseudorapidity distributions of charged hadrons in pp collisions at sqrt(s) = 0.9 and 2.36 TeV (PDF)
They looked at the proton-proton collisions whose center-of-mass energy was either 2x 450 GeV or 2x 1.18 TeV. The average transverse momentum of charged hadrons (mostly pions and kaons) is something like 0.5 GeV only (so you should be able to recognize a heavy new transversely flying particle), the pseudorapidity density is around 4. See the paper to learn more.

The increase of charged-hadron multiplicity densities with energy (obtained from a comparison of the completely new 2.36 TeV data vs previously measured 900 GeV events) seems to be faster than expected. Needless to say, this is not even a marginal contradiction with the Standard Model, just with some messy calculations in QCD (and nuclear physics) that the people have to adjust to agree with the observations.

New York Times on IPCC's and Pachauri's scandals

As I have mentioned several times, most of the revelations about the U.N. climate panel and its boss, Rajendra Pachauri, were first published in the British newspapers, especially The Telegraph and The Times. A more limited coverage has been available to the readers and viewers of FoxNews.

But the gospel may finally be coming to the U.S. mainstream media, too. Elizabeth Rosenthal named her article

U.N. Climate Panel and Chief Face Credibility Siege
Although it includes some bizarre alarmist comments such as
"The general consensus among mainstream scientists is that the errors are in any case minor and do not undermine the report’s conclusions,"
it actually says enough true stuff about the GlacierGate and especially various conflicts of interest of the IPCC boss. I feel that they find it easier to sacrifice particular individuals, such as Pachauri, than the core elements of the orthodoxy. That's an explanation why the financial interests are being given so much space while the discussion of the errors and sub-par references in the 2007 report remains limited to the GlacierGate and is not too detailed, anyway.

Monday, February 08, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

A scribble with good content

If I tell you that this picture is the cover of a book, what will you think about the book?



I suspect that most readers think that it must be a handbook of terrorism, an attack against infidels, or something like that.

New particle masses in heterotic orbifolds

I still consider the heterotic compactifications to be the most natural - and most likely - realizations of the real world within string theory.

The natural incorporation of the gauge group into the E8, the gauge coupling unification, a natural setup to explain the three families, and the uniform "field-theoretical" realization of all the known low-energy fields just "smells" right.

Ben Dundee, Stuart Raby, Alexander Westphal
have studied the moduli stabilization and SUSY breaking in heterotic orbifold string models. A superpotential in the hidden sector breaks SUSY and all moduli are stabilized by supergravity effects.

The models have an MSSM spectrum with all the required realistic properties and a chance for a very small cosmological constant - relatively to the heavy stringy AdS starting point. But what I find amazing is their ability to calculate the masses of all new particles. Various superpartners go from 100 GeV to tens of TeV and a large portion of them should be detectable at the LHC.



Most of the masses are around 1 TeV. But look how amazingly explicit and accurate the models are concerning their predictions of pretty much anything. Click to zoom in.

Sunday, February 07, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Mahmoud orders weapon-usable uranium

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the main star of a concert today.



As CNN and others noticed, he ordered his experts to create 20% enriched uranium instead of the 3.5% enriched uranium they're developing now.

Basic texts about the enriched uranium may explain you that the percentage refers to the fraction of the U235 isotope. The natural uranium is "less than 1% enriched" - 99% of the stuff is the dominant natural U238 isotope.

Entropy, information, and mixed states

Off-topic: Internet Explorer users are urged to instantly install this patch from Microsoft (click) fixing a security issue recently found in Europe.
People around physics - and increasingly often, many physicists themselves - are getting confused about ever more elementary concepts in physics.

A few years ago, it became obvious that most people in the broader physics community are inherently incapable to understand string theory and why it is inevitably the only mathematically possible unifying theory of gravity and quantum mechanics. Well, it's a difficult subject and a PhD - not even a PhD in theoretical physics - can't guarantee that you will be able to master it.



String theorist Anne Hathaway

But things have been getting worse recently. Today, even fundamental pillars of quantum mechanics, relativity, and statistical physics are controversial once again. They're controversial because people - and often people with physics PhDs - just don't understand them. Or to say the least, they don't understand them well. It has become very fashionable to do things that would be inseparably connected with the unquestionable crackpots just a few years ago.

A few years ago, everyone would agree they were silly and physically impossible - but it's obvious today that many people would only agree because everyone else did, not because they actually understood the issues.

History of entropy

One of these raped theoretical constructs is the concept of entropy. While this concept became popular and important in various disciplines at various later times, all of its universal logical and physical properties have been fully understood since the late 19th century, i.e. for more than 100 years.

The history of the notion may still be divided to the thermodynamic and statistical era.

Saturday, February 06, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Chinese media impressed by Fred Singer

Tom Nelson mentions an article in Pajamas Media about an article in China Daily.

Its author, Ms Li Xing, attended the Copenhagen summit and was impressed by Fred Singer. So was I, when I met him in Berlin (and before). He showed her lots of data and she wanted to know the opinion of the other side - the "IPCC side". What can they say about these issues?

Imagine the scenery in the Danish capital. She had clearly heard a lot of details, understanding many of them, while being confused about some others. A lot of stuff to discuss. The "IPCC types" would only tell her:

"Warming in the climate system is unequivocal".
You have heard the holy word. Global warming is real (and that surely means man-made). Amen.

It must be strikingly obvious to her - and anyone else - that all details or verifications are just unwelcome to those folks because they don't support the primary thesis of the AGW orthodoxy. This quasi-religious thrives on fear and ignorance. Knowledge is chasing it out of the holes.

Friday, February 05, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

A slap from its dad, IPCC, forces Greenpeace to behave

On Thursday, The U.K. Times and The Telegraph informed us about the statements by John Sauven, the director of Greenpeace U.K.:

Mistakes will always be made but it’s how you handle those mistakes which affects the credibility of the institution. Pachauri should have put his hand up and said ‘we made a mistake’.

It’s in these situations that your character and judgment is tested. Do you make the right judgment call? He clearly didn’t.

The IPCC needs to regain credibility. Is that going to happen with Pachauri [as chairman]? I don’t think so. We need someone held in high regard who has extremely good judgment and is seen by the global public as someone on their side.

If we get a new person in with an open mind, prepared to fundamentally review how the IPCC works, we would regain confidence in the organisation.
Well, do you think that the words of these guys have some value? Right, the answer is No. They're addled eggs: green garbage in, green garbage out. The Treehugger just issued a "correction", a new statement by Greenpeace U.K.:

Thursday, February 04, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Lord Monckton explains the IPCC definition of a spade

I have never seen this talk by Christopher Monckton and it's just cool!



You know, the IPCC wouldn't call a spade a spade. Instead, it would be called

A one-person-operated, manually-controlled, foot-powered implement of simple and robust yet adequately efficacious ligno-metallic composition designated primarily though by no means exclusively for utilization on the part of hourly-paid operatives deployed in the agricultural, horticultural, or constructional trades or industries, as the case may be, for purposes of carrying out such excavational tasks or duties as may from time to time be designated by supervisory grades as being necessary, desirable, expedient, apposite, or germane with regard to the ongoing furtherance of the task or objective in hand or, on the other hand, underfoot, Secretary-General.
Only when you memorize the paragraph above and convince your ancestors to be hereditary peers, you can think about $100,000 speaking fees. :-)

The talk above was given in Melbourne. A similar talk in Minneapolis (October 2009) is available, too.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Egypt: Israel to strike Iran from Gulf and Kurdistan

One important prime minister skipped the Copenhagen summit.

Benjamin Netanyahu's sensible explanation was that he didn't want to waste thousands of taxpayers' dollars for such a meaningless trip. Needless to say, he was right - the gathering was nothing else than a complete waste of money and a farce.

Of course, he had somewhat more serious things to do, too. ;-)

Tonight, Egyptian sources - backed by some circumstantial evidence from Saudi Arabia - claimed that

Israel is preparing an attack on Iran from the sea and from Northern Iraq
A good news is that the U.S. seem to be assisting Israel in the preparations although a direct co-operation of the U.S. in the Israeli attack still seems very unlikely. Mike Huckabee is disturbed by the current U.S. Iran policy.

IPCC deeply regrets errors, Pachauri doesn't: and other news



BBC has interviewed Chris Field of Stanford, a co-chair of the second working group of the IPCC, who deeply regrets the GlacierGate mistake, mentioning that there are others.

Meanwhile, Rajendra Pachauri doesn't regret anything.

It would be nothing else than "populism" to take the responsibility for the report, he says. Pachauri only picks the positive results of the report such as the Nobel prizes, has nothing to do with any of the negative things, and everyone who wants him to be responsible is a corrupt stooge of the oil industry, the malicious porn author explains.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Czech swine flu warrior-in-chief caught swine flu

You couldn't make this up.

Google News
Yesterday, the government put Dr Michael Vít, the chief of the public health in the Czech Republic, in charge of the mandatory vaccination of the soldiers and other public employees. That would probably include the presidential buttocks (OK, probably shoulders) which was not the only reason why President Klaus sensibly protested against this overreaction and a violation of human rights.



But despite his eager approach to vaccinate everyone else, Dr Vít forgot one person who should be vaccinated before others: himself. A kind of hypocrisy for him not to be vaccinated. So it was inevitable :-) that today, he announced that he has all the symptoms and he believes it must be swine flu. This vague statement seems bizarre by itself: cannot at least the chief public health officer of an EU country undergo a test that would determine whether his illness is swine flu or something more ordinary? He claims that 95% of flu cases in the EU are swine flu: I am not able to verify this bizarrely sounding figure.

So far, 95 Czechs have died of swine flu and 2,300+ cases have been confirmed in labs. By the end of 2009, the global casualties exceeded 10,000 just by a little bit: you may recall our poll about this question which kind of matched the reality. Unfortunately, the results of all polls have been erased because of JS-Kit's new exclusive focus on the Echo commenting platform.

My bet has been that it would stay between 1,000 and 10,000 so I was marginally wrong.

Monday, February 01, 2010 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

The Einstein Approximation

The U.S. readers shouldn't forget to watch TBBT tonight. 8:30 pm CBS. Some excerpts:


Watch the full episode at CBS (click)
In the episode 1x14, Sheldon gets seriously stuck with a physics problem. Light cones, statistical physics, relativity, hexagons, and even carbon atoms seem to play some role here. :-)

I guess he is trying to derive the Einstein approximation of GR out of some stochastic model - an entropic force, if you wish. After all, his IQ is just 187 so you shouldn't be shocked that he sometimes spends a night with a hypothesis that cannot work.

(At the end, it was a rather mundane condensed-matter physics exercise concerned with the dispersion relations for electrons in graphene. At room temperature, graphene is the best among known conductors.)