Saturday, December 10, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Dekra: electric cars only reduce air pollution by 16%

Three decades ago, green, environmental, and especially global warming activists were viewed as fringe whackos who sleep at the treetops and whom no civilized people took seriously.

As you remember very well, they basically became a core component of the intrinsically left-wing establishment in recent years. We're hopefully enjoying the last six weeks before they regain their well-deserved status of fringe whackos, at least in the U.S.

During the years when these whackos controlled a big portion of the establishment, many of us – including otherwise skeptical folks like you and me – have been trained to accept all kinds of wisdom that isn't true. One of the most universally accepted assumptions is the assumption that the transition from combustion engines to electric cars makes the air cleaner so it becomes easier, more pleasant, and healthier for the urban people to breathe.

Is that true?

Dekra which has headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany is the world's third largest vehicle inspection company. Its 36,000 employees create the annual revenue about $2 billion. You shouldn't be surprised that this company works to influence various clean-air policies that are introduced in Germany, especially in Stuttgart itself.

Friday, December 09, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Crazy denial of the revived Czech inflation

Just like I expected (and as the central bank and many others failed to predict), the today's numbers – reflecting the prices in November – showed a huge increase of the Czech year-on-year inflation rate. One month ago, that rate has only climbed to 0.7%, after almost three years when it was closer to 0% than 1%. I predicted a significant rise and indeed, the year-on-year inflation rate based on November prices was 1.5%, we learned today. It's a 41-month high.

This increase also makes it more likely that the interventions against the crown will be stopped sooner than previously believed – in agreement with my expectations. The ECB's decision to extend (but taper) their quantitative easing program can't be "essential" for the Czech National Bank which operates and basically has to operate domestically, independently of foreign events. ECB's asset buying programs are just one of many minor external events that affect the forecasts of ČNB board members. But the Czech bankers can in no way "parrot" ECB and they're not parroting it.

The Czech National Bank's "tolerance band" for the inflation rate is between 1% and 3% – so the number has returned to this tolerated zone after a long time – and the target is 2%. The central bankers have repeatedly said that a reading above 2% that seems sustainable is the right moment to scrap the interventions that have kept – and are still keeping – the crown weaker than 27 crowns per euro (EURCZK has been 27.02 or so for a very long time now; a 0.3% fluctuation to 27.10 two weeks ago was the biggest one since 27.16 after the Brexit vote).

These ČNB board members also promised not to remove the cap in 2016 – a commitment that could be broken as well – and softly "almost promised" that it wouldn't be in the first quarter of 2017. I think it's more likely than not that the cap will be scrapped in the first quarter of 2017 because the inflation has accelerated markedly and additional jumps should be expected.

Thursday, December 08, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Sam Ting claims that a \(1\TeV\) WIMP is the only sensible theory matching the 5-year AMS data

Update: Some meaningful information overlapping with Ting's talk may be found in this AMS02 press release, Symmetry Magazine, and Astroblogs.NL.
We're drowning in "fake news" stories about ("fake news" but also about) dark matter. Erik Verlinde has surely unified dark matter and dark energy in his own version of my holographic MOND. A would-be NASA rocket scientist suggests that his reactionless EM drive might give us flying cars that may also go to other galaxies. Some of his fans suggest that this invention of the millennium (which can exert a piconewton because a piconewton is the error of their measurement) is driven by dark matter.

Well, while all the journalists are obsessed with assorted cranks and speculative physicists and their musings about dark matter, The Reference Frame is the only website in the world that seems to care what a $2 billion experiment designed to detect dark matter says about dark matter. Who could possibly care about a $2 billion experiment if we have a genius building intergalactic spaceships by reflecting microwaves inside a plunger? And as we will see, the AMS results are much further from "null results" than the results of underground experiments as well as the searches for dark matter at the LHC.

As I mentioned at the top of the previous blog post, Bill Zajc, your humble correspondent, and others watched a CERN colloquium today (17:00-18:00 Prague Winter Time) where Nobel laureate Sam Ting promised to report some unexpected results of the 5-year run of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, a gadget working on board of the International Space Station.

See some previous TRF blog posts about the AMS experiment. to be modernized for $445,000

Live, hot, via Bill Zajc: at 5 pm CERN winter time – 11 am Boston winter time – Sam Ting will report "unexpected results" from the five years of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. See an abstract of the CERN colloquium, video page, a separate "camera" video window, previous AMS blog posts. I am a bit excited but be careful: Ting expected to make a big discovery so "unexpected results" may mean that he didn't discover anything interesting. ;-) Ting speaks in Chinglish which I understand well, probably because it's a dialect of Czenglish.
At the top of, the main scientific e-archive of preprints serving primarily high energy physics and other fields, you may read some occasional news.

For example, since 2017, the daily deadline for submissions will be changed to 2 pm, local New York time (either standard or daylight-saving, whichever is valid at the moment). So when you're competing for the first or last position among the papers in the listings, don't forget about this change.

Also, the Alfred P. Sloan foundation is paying some $445,000 for software work that should modernize over the following three years. After the upgrade, arXiv should become arXiv-NG – note that ST-NG stands for "Star Trek – Next Generation".

Wednesday, December 07, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Scott Pruitt named the chief of Trump EPA

A day ago or so, Ivanka Trump as well as Donald Trump met Al Gore. Al Gore claimed that they had an extremely interesting conversation. Well, I was worried about it. Why would Donald Trump accept such a meeting? What could come out of it?

Al Gore has never accepted any request for a debate – and he has received very, very many. Now, when his era in the U.S. environmental policymaking seems to be really ending, he seems more willing to meet the people from the other side. Why? Doesn't he have some secret weapons to blackmail the U.S. president elect?

Moreover, Ivanka is an amazing young woman but she's arguably left-leaning and perhaps a climate alarmist of a sort. This fact may be said to be paradoxical – given her dad's being Donald Trump and her mother's being Czech, one of the most skeptical nations on Earth. ;-)

But right now, I reduced by worries by 90% or so.

Methods that removed Mr Forejt are scary

The name of Mr Jindřich [=Henry] Forejt appears in three previous blog posts. He was the director of the Prague Castle protocol or the Presidential Etiquette Steward, if you wish, a man who was deciding in what order visitors of the Czech president should be ordered and lots of similar issues.

Search Google Images for "Forejt Bush" or any combination like that, you will see that he's been everywhere.

He was sometimes known as Mr Forejt Gump because just like his approximate namesake, he has appeared on many more photographs of famous politicians than what you would expect by mere chance from a professional who should work behind the scenes.

I believe that the first time I met Mr Forejt in person was in March 2007 when ex-president Klaus invited me and a few other skeptics to a lunch in D.C., a month after I helped to turn Klaus into a celebrity among the U.S. climate skeptics by translating an innocent interview that became a Drudge Report #1 story for the day and was therefore widely reported by other media including Fox News.

The journalists especially liked to quote a sentence implying that Al Gore wasn't sane: this Fox News screenshot was based on my (somewhat spicy but basically accurate) translation. Due to the Drudgelanche, this blog received hundreds of thousands of visits on that February 2007 day.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

When pop science hype against QM makes Indian cranks too self-confident

Giotis has pointed out that there's a new physics.hist-ph preprint on the arXiv reporting another poll about "interpretations" of quantum mechanics:

Surveying the Attitudes of Physicists Concerning Foundational Issues of Quantum Mechanics
The abstract page suggests that the authors are Sujeevan Sivasundaram and Kristian Hvidtfelt Nielsen. I find Sujeevan Sivasundaramajarabalasubramaniankoothrappali's name too long so let us call him SS instead.

SS is an earring-enhanced Indian student in Denmark and Nielsen is his adviser. Well, aside from the title, the list of the authors is the first big deception of the paper. In the acknowledgements, we read:
First of all a big "thank you" is in place to my supervisor Kristian Hvidtfelt Nielsen. I know I am not the easiest person to work with, because of my erratic work method and lack of organization, but you have had the right sense of when to push and when to give me space. This was, and is, very much appreciated and I hope that is not lost on you.
OK, so SS wrote the paper himself and he just thanks Nielsen. Nielsen shouldn't have been included in the author list because it's not even clear whether he agrees with anything that SS writes.

Trump, Zeman trade invitations

A chance for a special relationship to the U.S. is surely a currency in Czechia

The Associated Press and the Czech media have told us about a telephone call between the Czech president Miloš Zeman and the U.S. President-Elect. Trump has appreciated that Zeman was the only EU head of state who publicly endorsed Trump before the elections.

Sorry, if I have found a more handsome Trump-Zeman interpolation, I would have posted it instead of this ugly one. :-)

They accepted the invitations to the White House and the Prague Castle, respectively. Zeman's trip to the White House is likely to take place at the end of April 2017 when Zeman is supposed to accept an award from a pro-Israel group, the same one that Trump won in 2016. The White House staff should be ready. Shortly after 9/11, Zeman visited the White House and he forced a militant anti-smoker George W. Bush to allow him smoke in the non-smoking places, by mentioning that both men were fellow Texans (an honorary one in Zeman's case) who must help each other. Up to 2001, that was one of the greatest achievements of Zeman's foreign policies.

(In the video, late economist Valtr Komárek, a former aide to Fidel Castro, pointed out that Zeman wasn't the first one to smoke there. Before him, it was Monika Lewinski who gave the blowjob there – the same verb in Czech.)

Monday, December 05, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Polchinski, Strominger, Vafa split well-deserved $3 million

Ten hours ago, someone asked me who deserved the Milner Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics last night. I couldn't write the answer in time and I don't have a clue who would be the right choice in mathematics (Jean Bourgain of Princeton's Institute won it and I am not sure I have ever heard the name; note that a special 2016 prize previously went to the three founders of LIGO) but my answer for fundamental physics would obviously be Polchinski, Strominger, and Vafa.

Strominger (L) and Vafa (R), (C) LM 2003

This prediction – and this wish – was no rocket science let alone string theory. Already three years ago, these three men were candidates for the prize along with Green and Schwarz who have received the award.

A webpage on the Breakthrough Prize server explains that the men got it

[f]or transformative advances in quantum field theory, string theory, and quantum gravity
which are nicely chosen words. These words would be right for most of the big shot string theorists but be sure that there are at most a dozen or two whose work would really deserve these words and these three men belong to that top notch group.

The Breakthrough Prize also quotes their "acceptance remarks" in which the researchers summarize their work and explain their reasons why they feel the work is important. Cumrun Vafa also adds an impressive long list of more than 170 of his collaborators. Jonathan Heckman (whom I knew as a brilliant student at Harvard) has co-written incredible 29 papers with Vafa (and usually someone else). Your humble correspondent is in the bottom "also participated" portion of the list.

Bulk of Czechoslovak MEPs demand apology, explanation for the EU officials' lionization of Castro

Most of the Czech, Slovak, and other post-communist world's political junkies were stunned by the only tweet that the boss of the EU commission Jean-Claude Juncker wrote about the death of the Cuban dictator Fidel Castro:

This "hero to many" description was his picked summary of a somewhat longer statement about Castro's death by Juncker.

Similar outrageous or at least bizarrely neutral remarks were made by other leftists including Trudeau (Canada's PM), Obama (lame duck U.S. president), and Corbyn (the boss of the U.K. Labour Party) but Juncker's lionization of Castro was almost certainly the most radical one of all.

Sunday, December 04, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Feynman vs Hawking on inequality in the world

Willie Soon has sent me an article that Stephen Hawking wrote for the Guardian,

This is the most dangerous time for our planet
The subtitle says
We can’t go on ignoring inequality, because we have the means to destroy our world but not to escape it.
Hawking starts by saying that he has lived his life in an "extraordinarily privileged bubble". Well, I am pretty sure that given his disease, billions of commonsense people in the world would disagree with that statement. But most of them would agree that he has lived on a very tall and isolated ivory tower.

Hawking sees the Brexit referendum and Trump's victory (which won't be supplemented with Hofer's victory in Austria – the leftist candidate will win – but maybe with a finger to Renzi in Italy today if we're lucky) as the public disapproval of his political beliefs and acts, too. I think he's sort of right, too. Then he incoherently and superficially mixes several buzzwords about "assorted problems of the present world" that may lead to a planetary problem (including the replacement of workers' labor by robots) and proposes that a greater global redistribution of wealth is what we need.

Please, give me a break with this garbage.

Friday, December 02, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Einstein's boxes: measurements don't occur "spontaneously"

Florin Moldoveanu discusses a thought experiment – but be sure that it may be turned into a real experiment – called "Einstein's box" (although it's not "the" famous Einstein's box setup from the Bohr-Einstein debates).

Are Einstein's Boxes an argument for nonlocality?
It seems unbelievable that an undergraduate problem that is so rudimentary is being "solved" incorrectly by the author of a book on foundations quantum mechanics as well as Moldoveanu himself.

The problem is the following: A quantum mechanical particle is located in a box. The wave function \(\psi(x,y,z)\) isn't specified and both men pretend that they don't need to talk about it at all. But let's suppose that it's the ground state of a potential well – a wave function that is real and positive inside, e.g.\[

\sin x \cdot \sin y \cdot \sin z

\] assuming that the box is defined by \(\{x,y,z\}\in (0,\pi)\). I emphasize that the probability distribution \(\abs{\psi}^2\) for the particle's position is in no way uniform – when it's in the ground state (lowest energy eigenstate), the particle is unlikely to be very close to the 6 walls (and much more unlikely to be close to the 12 edges and super-unlikely to be close to the 8 corners). Now, a barrier is inserted in the middle of the box, e.g. at \(x=\pi/2\) in my conventions. The question is what is the wave function after this insertion and whether the wave function loses the ability to interfere – loses the information about the relative phase of the part of the wave function in the \(x\lt \pi/2\) "B1" half-box and in the \(x\gt \pi/2\) "B2" half-box.

Thursday, December 01, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Brainwashed millennials pose a threat to democracy

Indoctrination by Soros-distorted institutions is a primary culprit

The New York Times has published a highly disturbing graph developed over the years by Harvard's government scholar Dr Yascha Mounk:

It shows that the percentage of the people who think that it's "essential" to live in democracy is basically an increasing function of age. In the most extreme cases, while it reaches almost 80% for some of the oldest generations in some countries, it drops as low 19 percent for the millennials or Generation Y – the young folks born around 2000 plus minus 5 years or so.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Clash of interests: Trump vs Babiš

Our Slovak-born finance minister, Andrej Babiš, is a billionaire whose net worth is some $3 billion. The U.S. president-elect is a billionaire whose net worth is about $3.7 billion. Both of them have had Czech partners. None of them is a real intellectual, both of them speak a kind of language that many ordinary people understand. Both of them have become rich in industries that are not exactly hi-tech and practical man's skills and common sense were their main weapons to do so. It's unavoidable that people tend to compare such people.

Well, there are some differences, too.

Donald Trump has never been a member of the communist party or the communist secret police. His father Fred Trump wasn't a communist, either, and they haven't disinherited an uncle for his emigration to the West. Donald Trump hasn't written a tweet "I really don't support Trump despite the comparisons". Donald Trump isn't preparing a scheme that would allow him to monitor all payments in hotels and restaurants in real time starting from tomorrow.

(I wonder: Is some generous soul searching Google for words "order DDoS" and paying some $25 per hour for one hour of DDoS attack against and/or tomorrow? To make the evil scheme collapse and be abandoned? Hundreds of thousands of Czechs would really appreciate it. This paragraph is pure information, not my cooperation with a generous soul. I can't even think about any cooperation with anything like that. Also note that tomorrow, all restaurants in Czechia will be 10% more expensive in average.)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Would you use a nuclear waste diamond battery in your smartphone?

University of Bristol, U.K., published an inspiring press release a few days ago,

‘Diamond-age’ of power generation as nuclear batteries developed
And they added the following video yesterday:

Graphite blocks are used to moderate reactions in nuclear reactors. If you study what's happening with them, you will find out that some of the ordinary carbon-12 in these blocks is turning into the radioactive carbon-14, especially on the surface of these blocks.