## Wednesday, May 24, 2017 ... /////

### Hep-ph arXiv conquered by GAMBIT

Most of the new hep-ph papers on the arXiv were released by the same large collaboration called GAMBIT which stands for The Global And Modular BSM Inference Tool. Note that BSM stands for Beyond the Standard Model. Most but not all BSM models that people study or want to study are supersymmetric.

This stack of cards may actually be seen in the lower right corner of all graphs produced by GAMBIT. ;-)

Click at the hyperlink to learn about their project. I have always called for the creation of such systems and it's great that one of them seems to be born by now.

Much of the work of model builders is really about some routine work – one works with some new fields and interaction terms in the Lagrangian, some methods to calculate particle physics predictions, scan the parameter spaces, compute probability distributions, and compare predictions with the experimental data etc.

## Tuesday, May 23, 2017 ... /////

### Salman Abedi (23) strikes in Manchester

My condolences to the friends and families of the (so far) 21 innocent victims of a suicide attack (involving a home-made explosive device with nails) in Manchester's MEN arena. The victims were mostly kids and young teenagers, fans of Ariana Grande (*1993), an American singer.

The explosion occurred at 22:32 local time, Monday night. Few hours before the massacre, at 18:28 and 18:32 local time, the Twitter account @Owys663 warned in broken English that "the just terror" was coming to the #ManchesterArena – this hash tag was included in one of the two relevant tweets.

## Monday, May 22, 2017 ... /////

### Conceptual penis drives climate change

The 1996 Sokal hoax has shown that the social scientists' journals considered prestigious didn't have any standards, the "research" done by that community had no content, and its editors were indeed unable to distinguish absurd satirical nonsense from something they were ready to call "true scholarship".

You could have thought that the publication of Sokal's ludicrous article was an anomalous mistake and nothing of the sort would be repeated because the editors in similar journals would become more cautious. However, this improvement hasn't happened. In fact, it couldn't have happened because there is really no well-defined difference between the work done by scholars in "gender studies" and the jokes that you may invent about them in minutes to mock them. The jokes about these "social scientists" are funny because they are true.

As Breitbart, WUWT, CFACT, and others told us, a new hoax of the same kind was just published in "Cogent Social Sciences", a peer-reviewed journal in sociology.

## Sunday, May 21, 2017 ... /////

### EURCZK: the distortions of the market may fade away now

About two weeks ago, my broker (similarly to at least some others) increased the margin requirements for CZK-based pairs by a factor of 20 – the justifiable reasons seem non-existent to me. (Update: They warned by a factor up to 20 to make the clients close the position, but then they increased it 5-fold "only", still too high for me.) It was the 4th annoying shocking change of the rules (and the most far-reaching one) so I decided that it was no longer usable and closed my position – and extracted all the money – with a nontrivial but modest 50% return on the money I reserved for that account. The plan was at least 300% – and even by this point, I could have easily achieved 200% if I were a little bit less cowardly.

I am not rich but I am more impartial now which is a more precious value. ;-)

You may still make big profits if your broker is more well-behaved. This is the chart of EURCZK since Fall 2004. Click to magnify the graph. You see that at the end of 2004, one euro was some 31 crowns (CZK). It was strengthening by some 4% i.e. one crown per year and reached the low of 23 crowns per euro in mid 2008. The Lehman Brothers-like events weakened the crown almost up to 29 in 2009. CZK strengthened back towards 24 or so by 2011 and was expected to return to the 4% strengthening per year.

## Saturday, May 20, 2017 ... /////

### Quantum mechanics is another example of deductive reasoning

Objectivity of the truth is separate, unnecessary, and non-existent

For various psychological, metaphysical, and quasi-religious reasons, many people find it insanely hard to understand an extremely simple fact – namely that quantum mechanics allows you to reason to pretty much the same extent (when it comes to the applicability) as classical physics did before the birth of quantum mechanics; but it fundamentally rejects the idea that there are statements about Nature that are objective in character.

I say it's simple and it really is. The point is that the laws of a quantum mechanical theory are tools to produce lots of statements of the form

"IF... THEN..."
These two words, "IF" and "THEN", basically cover everything that you need to understand the basic character of quantum mechanics. You don't need 43 pages of rubbish about Jesus Christ, John Wheeler, and random statements by 150 philosophers and physicists.

Quantum mechanics requires that you know some assumptions – the propositions behind the "IF". Those are the latest measurements that you, an observer, did in the past. And it allows you to derive or calculate some conclusions – the propositions behind the word "THEN". Because of this structure, "propositions are derived from others", we may say that the reasoning is deductive.

Well, the conclusions sometimes include the word "probably" or "with the probability $P$" where $P$ is a number. For this reason, it may sometimes be better to say that some of the quantum mechanical reasoning is inductive or abductive. But the differences between the adjectives inductive, abductive, and deductive are not what really matters.

What matters is that it's normal that there are some assumptions or inputs – the observations that have been made – and one shouldn't be surprised that there is no objective way to decide whether the assumptions are right. The truth value depends on the observer's perspective.

## Friday, May 19, 2017 ... /////

### Flynn-Trump witch hunt is McCarthyism reloaded

Astro breaking news: Tabby's star is dropping again
What our finance minister Mr Babiš has been doing – and how our president has provided him with his marginally unconstitutional support – was pretty bad but in recent days, I was reminded of the poor level of the political culture in the world's only superpower. Some of the events that have followed Trump's decision to fire the FBI's boss Comey look incredible to me.

Under a Washington Times article about some events, I added my vote "Yes, it's the greatest witch hunt in the U.S. history". 77% of the readers of that news outlet have answered in this way. I answered not because I am certain that it's the greatest one – I have also been to the Salem, Massachusetts museum of the literal witch hunts ;-) which is another fact that makes me uncertain – but it seems as the greatest witch hunt among the obvious ones I can think of right now.

The Washington Times article says that an investigation of Comey's departure has turned into a "criminal investigation". In a similar context, what can this phrase possibly mean outside a banana republic? The only act that has taken place is Trump's "you're fired" for Comey which was partly powered by Trump's dissatisfaction with Comey's harassment of Flynn that the president considered inappropriate. And so did I: if I were the U.S. president, I would probably order waterboarding of those who gave Mr Flynn such a hard time for no good reason. It seems utterly obvious to me that according to the laws, Trump has had the right to fire Comey – he has extracted this political power directly from the American electorate. Aside from Trump, no one else has done anything that would matter.

### Spacetimes as thick (objects and) amplifiers of information

There are a whopping 23 new hep-th papers today, not counting the cross-listed ones, and some of them are very interesting. For example, Kachru and Tripathy find some cute number theory inside the engine of $K3\times T^2$ compactifications of type II string theory. Max Guillen shows the equivalence of the 11-dimensional pure spinor formalism to an older one.

Dvali studies the chiral symmetry breaking, a physicist named Wu presents a theory of everything based on "gauge theory in a hyperspacetime". Some paper answers whether patience is a virtue by references to cosmic censorship LOL. But mainly the following two papers look like they belong to the black hole (or spacetime's) quantum information industry:

Spacetime has a `thickness' (Samir Mathur)

Classical Spacetimes as Amplified Information in Holographic Quantum Theories (Nomura, Rath, Salzetta)
Mathur wrote a (silver medal) essay for a "gravity foundation" and the point is right. However, the suggestion that these are new ideas is not really valid. He says that the spacetime (or its state) isn't just given by a shape. One must also specify the "thickness" of the wave functional defined on the configuration space (the space of 3-geometries).

[The 4th prize in the same contest went to Shahar Hod, also cross-listed today, who claims to have proven our weak gravity conjecture as a consequence of "generalized Bekenstein's" [I wouldn't use these words] second law of thermodynamics within quantum gravity. The second law implies that the relaxation time is $\tau\gt 1/(\pi T)$. When the imaginary parts of quasinormal models of a charged black hole are used to extract the relaxation time, one proves the weak gravity inequality. If it were a correct paper, he would have repaid my proof and our proof of his log-3 numerical observation. Well, I would still view it as "another" proof among many – similar to the proofs we already had in the original paper. It's surely personally intriguing that he has combined two things I've studied, the quasinormal modes and the weak gravity conjecture.]

If you think just a little bit, you will realize that it's an equivalent statement to my 2013 observation that coherent states form an overcomplete basis which implies that that field operators in QG cannot be localized in a background-independent way. Derivations with similar or stronger consequences have appeared in papers by Raju and Papadodimas, Berenstein and Miller, and a few others.

Even if the content of papers like Mathur were totally right, it's an unfortunate development – trend towards Smolinization of physics – for researchers not to follow their colleagues' work.

## Tuesday, May 09, 2017 ... /////

### PBS hypes Tyson and his simulation stupidities

The PBS spacetime is a textbook example of a pop-science channel that collects and sells the most widespread laymen's and journalists' misconceptions about science as if they were real science. Sometimes the videos summarize the insights or views of the somewhat informed laymen, too, but more often, they don't. I have criticized their takes on the foundations of quantum mechanics and other things.

Just to be sure, there are also some episodes on elementary enough things that are basically OK and maybe even helpful to educate the public.

In this 6-days-old episode, the main host Matt invited Neil deGrasse Tyson, probably to attract some truly superficial viewers who consider this obnoxious moron to be a symbol of science. Relatively to Tyson, Matt talks like a genius. Tyson is reduced to offensively idiotic comments about an extraterrestrial or futuristic teenager in their parents' garage. This kind of a talk is probably expected to make the whole picture "hip" and that's enough for it to be widely accepted among the degenerated youth that pretends to be "into science" but they are really "into pseudoscientific stupidities".

## Monday, May 08, 2017 ... /////

### Hawking: mankind, leave Earth in 100 years

As The Independent and dozens of other sources told us, Stephen Hawking has "improved" his previous recommendation on a recently aired BBC program.

Half a year ago, he said that the mankind had to leave the Earth in 1,000 years if it wants to survive. He has corrected the number and what he says now is the following: all the men have to shoot themselves to another celestial body in 100 years if the mankind and/or the Earth wants to survive.

The stupidity of all these proclamations seems breathtaking to me.

## Sunday, May 07, 2017 ... /////

### Macron beats Le Pen

Right now, I believe that my statement that the "Macron defeat wasn't very unlikely" was incorrect, after all. It's still being predicted, based on partial results, that he will score a 65-to-35 victory over Le Pen. If something changes dramatically, I will revise or delete this blog post.

But the data available now do indicate that some 3-sigma fluke was needed so the probability of a Macron victory was close to 99.7% and the bookmakers have overstated the chances of a surprising result. I hope that Tom Vonk has kept his bet and won some modest interest. On the other hand, my condolences to John Archer who has made a bet on Le Pen.

## Saturday, May 06, 2017 ... /////

### Techmania: physics fun but something is missing without the maths

On Friday, we spent almost five hours in Techmania, Pilsen's science center built on the land that belonged to Škoda Works: the Pilsner episode of War of Tanks (where tanks can fly) is taking place almost exactly in Techmania. The only Czech 3D planetarium is a part of the facility. With a friend, we went to the planetarium last year or so.

But I haven't seen the main expositions for more than 2 years. So yesterday I could see that things got much more polished (even though you can still see in most of the area that the place used to be a factory), some gadgets were added. Sadly, some helpful gadgets have apparently disappeared, too.

## Thursday, May 04, 2017 ... /////

### Czech government crisis is tense, fun to watch

Two days ago, the Czech prime minister Sobotka announced his intent to resign – and, according to the traditions, this includes the removal of the whole government. The move was unexpected for almost everybody including myself (we assumed that he could only say "it's OK" or "fire Babiš only"). People have lots of opinions about the usefulness or legitimacy of the step.

I think that my opinion that it was a potentially ingenious chess move is a rare one but some other pundits, like the former ideologue of center-right ODS Vlastimil Tlustý, seem to agree with my view. It's rather likely that a similar government will complete the term that ends by the Fall 2017 elections but the details matter, the events may be spun in totally new unexpected ways, and there exists some chance that the elections will end up very differently than the outcome that people have been taking for granted for years.

The unexpected plan to resign was similar to the decision of an ice-hockey coach to remove the goalkeeper to increase the chance of a victory. The "temperature" increases and so does the probability of otherwise unlikely events.

The populist billionaire Babiš would normally be expected to get some 30+ percent of the votes but things may be very different because of the havoc that started on Tuesday. To say the least, Babiš seems extremely anxious. Things aren't evolving according to his plans.

## Wednesday, May 03, 2017 ... /////

### Ann Nelson's embarrassing essay about "minorities" in physics

Ann Nelson is a physics professor in Seattle. I think that she is a very good particle physicist and when I was visiting their place, I wasn't forced to abandon the implicit assumption that she was basically a sensible person. Well, like so many women in physics, she became a part-time feminist activist. In the May issue of Physics Today, she "enriched" us with the following diatribe:

Commentary: Diversity in physics: Are you part of the problem?
What an amazing pile of junk, Ann. She complains that she doesn't have a black colleague at the University of Washington's physics faculty. If this particular comment were meant to be a tool to hire a smart black guy whom I knew as a Harvard graduate student, it's a very painful way to push the pendulum in similar questions.

After a few sentences about shame, forced guilt, and self-celebration of this self-anointed pioneer of the female penetration to physics departments, Nelson writes:
I often get asked, “Why are there so few women in physics?” That anyone would ask that question shows how oblivious many people are to the sexism and bias that permeate our society and physics culture.
If you often get asked why there are few women in physics, it's pretty painful that you have made no progress in understanding the answer – even though it's so simple. The average women's IQ is only smaller by 2-3 points than men's and wouldn't make a big impact. What's more important is that the IQ distribution (much like distributions of many other quantities) is wider among men, by about 10%, relatively to the women. And this makes the number of men above the (math-related) IQ score of 140 greater than the number of women by almost one order of magnitude. See e.g. this article by La Griffe du Lion for some simple numbers extracted from the normal distribution.

### Aristotle's Sudoku puzzle

...and a metaphor for the exceptional structures in algebra, theoretical physics, string theory...

The most mentally demanding gift I received for our spring Xmas last night ;-) is the "Great Minds Aristotle's Number Classic Wooden Puzzle" which you may buy at amazon.com. Aristotle must have not only played with that – I think that he invented it. Unless it was invented by the Chinese because it's also sometimes named the "Lo Shu puzzle". And it may be just a modern (Chinese?) invention inspired by more primitive work of Aristotle's, I am not sure. If you hate Sudoku, you will hate this puzzle because it's Sudoku on steroids.

At those times, thinkers must have played with such wooden pieces and marbles a lot. I just verified that up to the obvious 12-element symmetry transformations, the solution to this puzzle is unique. This fact seems rather shocking. Why is the number of solutions exactly one? How could he invent it?

## Tuesday, May 02, 2017 ... /////

### Resignation of Czech government

More than three years ago, the Czech social democracy won the elections ahead of the populist billionaire Andrej Babiš's "ANO" (="YES", an acronym for "Alliance of the Pissed-off Citizens") – it was almost a tie. A calm, uncharismatic leader of the social democrats, Mr Sobotka, a life-long politician, became the prime minister because the ANO's result was just slightly worse than that of the social democrats. But it has been generally understood that the "de facto prime minister" was the somewhat charismatic, aggressive billionaire Andrej Babiš, the finance minister.

This wasn't the first time when the finance minister was considered the "de facto prime minister". In the government of center-right plasma physicist Mr Petr Nečas, the finance minister Mr Miroslav Kalousek was the by far louder and more controversial and combative guy. Kalousek is not only Babiš's predecessor as the finance minister – but also the "personification of all evil" that Babiš constantly talks about in his sermons addressed to his brain-dead quasi-religious sect. Babiš and his sheep seem as obsessed with Kalousek as some believers are obsessed with the Devil.

In late 2013, the Christian Democratic Union – the Czechoslovak People's Party (yes, they keep this name) – became a junior coalition partner. They liked to join most governments after the 1989 Velvet Revolution.

OK, when Sobotka joined forces with Babiš, the social democracy wanted to build on what they have in common: the hatred towards the small businesses, populism, licking of the aßes of the losers who are always easier to be manipulated than the people who depend on themselves. But there were lots of differences and time bombs. Babiš sometimes acts as if he were a rightwinger – all owners of "very big corporations" unavoidably do so at some times. More seriously, Babiš is a completely "apolitical" politician who has no values, no ideology, no spine. That's different from the social democrats who try to extend the tradition of a party that has existed for more than a century.

## Monday, May 01, 2017 ... /////

### Gerry's postcard from 1895 and an unknown town

Beneath the blog post about Google Translate, Gerry told us about a postcard that his wife's grandparents stored in the attic since 1895.

They didn't have time to read it up to May Day 2017 ;-) but Gerry is rather certain that the writing is in German. Well, I am rather sure as well. In fact, my German is more or less enough to understand what's going on.