Tuesday, March 20, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Conference on alternative math did spark a war, after all

On Valentine's Day, I attended the conference on the alternative methods to teach mathematics. I was honored to stand on the same side as some top authorities of the Czech mathematics "establishment" who gradually realized what's going on.

Mr Milan Hejný's method is arguably the key "brand" in Czechia that is worshiped by those who want to reform the education of mathematics along the SJW lines, as in this 9-minute-long satirical video where a good old-fashioned teacher existentially suffers after she dares to tell her pupil that 2+2 isn't equal to 22. (The video ludicrously paints the old-fashioned teacher as a liberal and her critics as conservatives but I think that everyone who knows something about the real world knows that the reality is basically upside down.)

Advocates of Hejný's method seem to be universally brain-dead, they contributed nothing interesting to the conference, and there couldn't have been any meaningful conversation between the "two camps" over there. However, the conference exceeded my (and other people's) expectations, anyway. The number of ideas and observations from "our camp" was rich and diverse, I learned a lot, and I also hope that the people on our side have understood some things, too.

That was really what I have been secretly hoping for – not some unrealistic enlightenment of the SJWs – and I think that we came closer to that goal than expected.

Cambridge Analytica and pals should be banned

I have serious worries that my homeland was the most affected one

Physicsnut has posted the fresh British Channel 4 video which is a result of investigative journalism par excellence, I believe. As far as I can say, the "doubly scholarly" named organization was shown to be a bunch of criminals who should be arrested for a very long time.

Steve Bannon has been among the key founders and whether they have violated the law in the U.S. is a matter of accusations now – 50 million people's Facebook data could have been abused. But Channel 4 has sent a fake "client" to Cambridge Analytica and they recorded the offer. What the "client" was offered included fake discrediting materials against the political foes, using pretty Ukrainian prostitutes hired for that special purpose; basically fake videos proving corruption because Cambridge Analytica's representative makes an offer that almost no one can refuse (I would refuse any offer!); and many other things.

Some of these tactics surely are illegal in many countries right now.

Sunday, March 18, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

When people promote the one-party system and bully the opposition

On Saturday morning, I was randomly directed to a Facebook post about the need to support Babiš's ANO that was written by an FB contact of mine. It has severely increased my blood pressure and because that state of affairs lasted for another hour, I clicked at "unfollow" which returned the pressure close to the normal. ;-)

I knew that the man had some tendencies to root for Babiš (and he has met him and talked to him) but what I saw just exceeded my expectations because the post looked just like the demagogic attacks by Babiš against all of his political opponents (and against the system itself) that is apparently enough for the bottom 1.5 million of our nation. After some opposition to the anti-communist rallies 2 weeks ago that I attended (they were sparked by the appointment of a former communist street cop with a baton – who was beating anti-communist demonstrators in 1989 – as the Parliament's supervisor of GIBS, the police for policemen), we could read:

Everyone [probably in the writer's Prague environment] is saying bad things about ANO [the movement of the billionaire Babiš, the acting prime minister] but what are the real alternatives? Who is bringing a meaningful vision? The communist party that should have been banned years ago? SPD led by the Führer of the Asian appearance? ODS with Klaus Jr who would prefer his country outside the EU and is the expert in demagogy of the most brutal kind? TOP09 and STAN which will be out of the Parliament after next elections? KDU that is making so frequent U-turns that it could have a fidget spinner in its logo? Or social democrats which consider self-employed people parasites and have grandiose plans to increase the taxes? In fact, only the technocratic Pirates are left but should they have the power to lead the whole country?
And the text continues by saying that only Babiš must be supported to guarantee the rosy future with lots of investments and other great things, Babiš cannot possibly go away because of game theory, and stuff like that.

Saturday, March 17, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

A new book on Czech climate skeptics

Lisa, Hawking, and TIME: Lisa Randall wrote an obituary in the Time magazine. Hawking managed to have fun in sex, black holes, space travel, and he has even saved a seat for Lisa Randall. The main thing she worries about is that because of Hawking's heritage, people will think that to be a great physicist, you need to be handicapped and you can't be e.g. a hot babe from Cambridge, Massachusetts. Did I understand it well, Lisa? ;-)
In 2011, I went to a café with Petr Vidomus who described himself as a humanities student at the Charles University who was working on a project "How the Czech climate skeptics bring the global Armageddon closer". At least that's how I understood it – despite his intense efforts to preserve a "neutral image". In 2014, we had some additional online exchanges.

Because of a new Facebook post by Alexander Ač, an occasional TRF commenter who has only gotten into the book through a comment by your humble correspondent, I have learned about a newly published book.

Friday, March 16, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Bitcoin dominance is an irrational faith

...or a mostly dishonest marketing slogan...

Peter Thiel has bought the Bitcoin for some $20 million which is really just some one percent of his assets (and/or his fund's assets) so this amount may be considered a silly, homeopathic part of his image.

But according to CNBC, he is neutral to skeptical about all other cryptocurrencies. For the Bitcoin, there's a 50-80 percent chance that it will be worthless (which is a reasonable estimate of the probability, up to a factor between 2 and 1.25) and a 20-50 percent chance that it will be moving higher, whatever that statement exactly means.

He is a Bitcoin bull despite the fact that the Bitcoin is "cumbersome for payments". But it will be the "Internet equivalent of gold". It must be the gold because it's the largest one. And that's why everyone will always be attracted to it. Thiel isn't the only rich supporter of the Bitcoin who says such things. They're slogans that aren't repeated just by the most stupid Bitcoin cultists but also by numerous smart folks like Thiel. I think that he's being nutty.

Thursday, March 15, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Jester's unconstructive recommended HEP reforms

Yesterday, Adam Falkowski published his first blog post since September 2016, Where were we?. He starts by saying that particle physics is in crisis – which is no longer a prohibited word – because the LHC hasn't found any physics beyond the Standard Model.

He mentions texts by Hossenfelder, Giudice, and the Economist to prove that the "crisis" is being used. But there have always been people who preached about crises. More than two decades ago, in 1996, John Horgan published his "End of Science" diatribe. Ten years later, Šmoits introduced their own crisis hype. Adam, if you think that you're still substantially different from these three imbeciles, you might be wrong.

According to Falkowski, the continuation of particle physics as we knew it would be like the prolonged existence of the Soviet Union. Wow. Another troubling aspect of these assertions is that Falkowski continues to write business-as-usual papers on particle physics. Adam, maybe it's normal in your environment to do things that you consider worthless and be paid for them. But I think that you're showing the absence of academic integrity by doing so and I will always emphasize that this behavior is immoral.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

British witch hunt against Russia is immature, unfair, myopic, and dangerous

A week ago, a former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal (the name looks like the rare Czech surname "Skřípal" which means "he was squeaking") was found poisoned, along with his daughter, in Salisbury, UK where he moved in 2010 after a swap of agents. (The U.K. had insisted they had to get him.) They remain in critical condition. His sons and/or other relatives have already died years ago in suspicious circumstances.

Britain's PM is surely preparing her marine Davids to attack the Russian Goliath, too.

British PM Theresa May has "determined" that it must have been the Russian state that is "culpable" over the poisoning of the agent with the nerve agent, novičok (=novice), which was found there (she claims and we doubt), or Russia has lost the control over this "most effective" nerve gas that has ever been used which is a scandal, too.

So Russia was given an ultimatum – which Russia intentionally ignored – and the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats, freezing of Russian assets in the U.K., planned ban of Russia Today in the U.K., ban for the royal family that may have wanted to visit a sports event in Russia (World Cup 2018), and other things are already underway. Russia reacts by saying that the British steps are unprecedented provocations and there will be some revenge if those steps are adopted. For example, the answer the RT ban would be the ban on all British journalists in Russia. Wow.

Stephen Hawking: 1942-2018

The world's most famous scientist of the current era was born on January 8th, 1942, exactly 300 years after the death of Galileo Galilei, and – sadly – he died today after the midnight, on March 14th (Pi Day), 2018, exactly 139 years after the birth of Albert Einstein. He could clearly choose the dates well. Well, I can actually imagine that he was planning the date of his death.

The Guardian's Ian Sample must have prepared the obituary before the announcement from Hawking's kids (see also Google News). At any rate, it contains lots of things about Hawking's life and Hawking's science, indeed.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

What erases and can restore the interference patterns

LHC anomaly: look at this fresh paper on Higgs decays, page 26 (28 of 35), top. The graph shows \(\sigma_{VH}/\sigma_{SM}\) to be \(12.88\pm 5\) instead of the expected \(1\). A dramatic difference but it still translates to a 2.5-sigma deviation.
Under the latest discussion about the delayed choice quantum eraser experiment, the basic questions kept on coming. Can you replace the beam splitters by humans who press switches? Will the interference pattern reappear? Does the consciousness of these humans matter? And so on.

OK, let me discuss the experiment and its pieces again. On the picture above, you see the laser beam on the left upper side. The parent photon enters a double slit – there are two slits, the red slit (in San Francisco) and the light blue slit (in Los Angeles). If that parent photon just continued, it could contribute to an interference pattern on a photographic plate. Here I assume that you know the basic double slit experiment.

However, we want to make the experiment more complicated and combine it with an entanglement experiment. So the parent photon actually undergoes a process with a complicated name in the BBO crystal. That splits the parent photon to two photons of lower energy.

That splitting is applied to every parent photon. The upper daughter continues through some (yellow) lens towards the detector D0 where the coordinate \(x\) is measured – just like in the simple double slit experiment. Some values of \(x\) should be more likely (interference maxima), others should be very unlikely or prohibited (interference minima).

An incredible racist restaurant in New Orleans

I received a link to this article in The Washington Times (right-wing)

Restaurant charged white customers more to combat ‘racial wealth disparity’.
A Nigerian man in New Orleans has invented a new scam that actually isn't using e-mail. He created a restaurant where white consumers have to pay extra $18 because they are white. Well, this "tax for being white" is optional but if you are white and you don't pay, the owner isn't treating you equally cordially or professionally which is why 78% of the whites do pay this "tax".

His justification for this scam was that whites are wealthier so they must pay more. Well, that's not the case. Not so dear guest from Africa, you have clearly misunderstood the concept of money. When someone is wealthier, it means that he can buy more, not that he pays more for the same thing. ;-)

Sunday, March 11, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Users of the Bitcoin are sponsors of organized crime

Forbes has published musings by Jason Bloomberg,

We Need To Shut Bitcoin And All Other Cryptocurrencies Down. Here's Why.
He's the president of a company of tech analysts. Bloomberg is expected to publish a corresponding article by Jason Forbes. ;-) Well, here's a nice anti-Bitcoin story at Bloomberg by Paul Ford (from Friday).

Bloomberg (that one at Forbes) argues that the cryptocurrencies with the public blockchain – Ripple is the only possible counterexample of a semi-permissioned blockchain – should be banned for one reason he focused on: every user funds anonymous criminals. In particular, he's concerned with the criminals who run illicit cryptomining on computers that they attack.

Needless to say, the Bitcoin cultists have overwhelmed him with kilotons of nasty personal attacks containing zero worth of ideas (well, perhaps this text has an infinitesimal amount instead of zero).

Friday, March 09, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Aspects of Lawrence Krauss' alleged sex attacks

In his newest blog post, On Lawrence Krauss, BuzzFeed, And #MeToo, Tommaso Dorigo cited me twice and he probably expects me to cite him, too. ;-) So as you can see, I cited him. But I did not cite him back because it's wrong to mutually cite each other.

He discusses the women's complaints that they've been sexually attacked – or led to uncomfortable situations – by famous men, especially cosmologist Lawrence Krauss. To introduce himself, Tommaso brags that he once analyzed the clothes and underwear of a hot babe named Lisa Randall. You must have read these tedious analyses many times because the Washington Post and all the mainstream media have been repeating Dorigo's views on Randall's underwear for years. In the new blog post, Dorigo prefers the freedom of speech over excessively strong regulations on the sexual misconduct; and he wants you not to see things as black and white. I surely agree.

Dorigo is the Italian man who went to Malta and, when facing an attractive waitress, he demanded t*o f**k on the table. She replied that everybody wanted to f**k on the table. But you know, when you compare guys like Dorigo (or me, for that matter), there is a difference from the likes of Lawrence Krauss:

Dorigo is mostly talking and writing while Lawrence Krauss is acting.
If you're at least slightly sensible, you will surely agree that Krauss is a different league. I sincerely hope – but I am not sure – that Tommaso is sensible in this sense and understands that the accusations against Krauss are ultimately somewhat more serious than Krauss' joke about the Queen and Krauss' nipples.

Buzzfeed has presented Krauss as a predator who has basically tried to rape several young ladies if I have to avoid the term "girls" before they overpowered him using a combination of tools. Krauss has tried to defend himself against the claims and you're expected to decide for yourself whether he has succeeded.

Thursday, March 08, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

No superstitions in the delayed choice quantum eraser

People should listen to arguments of different types than they expect or they're used to

I've noticed that lots of the people's annoyingly irrational, stubborn approach to rational arguments – that are relevant in very many diverse topics, from multiculturalism to the quantum entanglement – may be blamed on this tendency of theirs:

Just attack every kind of an argument that you're not used to, that you don't expect, and don't listen to it at all. Only the statements or arguments you are used to repeat should be repeated.
In effect, I am often talking to a wall. When I try to explain why the energy carried by a strictly periodic configuration is quantized in quantum mechanics, the recipient of the explanation just doesn't like the conclusion. So he often attacks every piece of your explanation by irrational fog and hostile chants, effectively pretending that you haven't made any argument (and sometimes, it's basically a complete proof) at all. He effectively assumes that he already knows everything even though he knows and understands almost nothing.

Even if one knows lots of facts, arguments, derivations, and proofs, there always exist additional facts, arguments, derivations, and proofs. To say the least, there exist other ways to look at a problem, other ways to deduce something new about the problem, other conclusions that may be deduced. And curious, impartial people are interested in those. But the people who just don't listen and assume that what they "know" is the only correct thing or the only thing worth knowing are just arrogant idiots.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Gravity surely changes relative quantum phases

Easily doable "tests of quantum gravity" won't teach us anything new

Natalie Wolchover wrote an article about quantum gravity,

Physicists Find a Way to See the ‘Grin’ of Quantum Gravity
which eclectically mixes people and idea associated with the phrase "quantum gravity" who otherwise belong to totally different layers of the scientific community.

The interwar Czechoslovak artist Joseph Čapek, the brother of Karel "Robot" Čapek, is also known for the fairy-tales on doggie and pussycat. One of them is "How Doggie and Pussycat Were Making a Cake". To celebrate the doggie's name day, they added bones, cheese, sausages, caviar, cucumbers, strawberries, everything they liked to the cake. They ate it and felt sick. I think that at the end, an evil dog-thief stole the cake and felt sick, too. Czechoslovak kids could learn that it's not a best idea to mix everything. I am afraid that Wolchover hasn't been exposed to this fairy-tale.

She starts with the Soviet physicist Matvei Bronstein who proposed an early derivation of effective field theory of quantum gravity involving gravitons in 1935. Joseph Stalin said that there was a threat that this quantum gravity could grow to string theory – which Stalin's comrades Smolin and Woit (whose birth was already planned by the party at that time) won't like – so he executed Bronstein at the age of 31.

A chip from Nokia Bell Labs touches the Shannon limit

Around 2000, I bought several computers and printers from Hewlett-Packard and that company was naturally overrepresented in my perspective on the tech world. Well, since 2007, it's been Finnish Nokia – a previously non-existent company. I have used the Nokia 1600 dumbphone for years, before switching to Nokia Lumia 520. And I still think that even this (now extremely cheap) phone was better in many ways than my current otherwise great Xiaomi Android phone.

The purchase of the smartphone section of Nokia by Microsoft was promising but ended as a financial failure. However, the Nokia brand got resuscitated. These days, Nokia is earning 90% of its profits from equipment to transfer data over the Internet. That's because Nokia bought Alcatel-Lucent some 2+ years ago.

Well, Nokia also began to produce smartphones again – this time with Android. Well, Nokia is actually getting $10-$30 trademark royalties per smartphone from HMD, a nearby Finnish phone maker that has bought this contract to use the brand. Nokia, HMD have headquarters across the street in Finland and you should avoid the temptation to confuse HMD with HTC – the latter is Asian. ;-) At a recent MWC 2018 event, Nokia was the most talked about brand – because of 5G (discussed below) as well as new phones including a modern resuscitation of the Nokia 8110 4G "banana phone" from the Matrix movies and a visually stellar flagship Nokia 8 Sirocco based on stainless steel.

Along with Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia has also bought the Bell Labs, the wonderful New Jersey-based deeply scientific engineering lab that has produced eight Nobel prizes. Note that in 2008, The Bell Labs' theoretical physics center was formally abolished but as far as I can see, they keep on doing scientifically high-brow stuff which was another reason (along with my exposure to the products above; and the preparation of the 5G networks) why I bought a nontrivial amount of Nokia stocks and you should consider the same. (The price of the stock dropped by a factor of five since iPhones stole the fame from Nokia.)