Friday, August 28, 2015 ... /////

Decoding the near-Planckian spectrum from CMB patterns

In March 2015, physics stars Juan Maldacena and Nima Arkani-Hamed (IAS Princeton) wrote their first paper together:

Cosmological Collider Physics
At that time, I didn't discuss it because it looked a bit technical for the blogosphere but things look a bit different now, partially because some semi-popular news outlets discussed it.

Cliff Moore's camera, Seiberg, Maldacena, Witten, Arkani-Hamed, sorted by distance

What they propose is to pretty much reverse-engineer very fine irregularities in the Cosmic Microwave Background – the non-Gaussianities – and decode them according to their high-tech method and write down the spectrum of elementary particles that are very heavy (comparably heavy to the Hubble scale during inflation) which may include Kaluza-Klein modes or excited strings.

Thursday, August 27, 2015 ... /////

LHCb: 2-sigma violation of lepton universality

Since the end of June, I mentioned the ("smaller") LHCb collaboration at the LHC twice. They organize their own Kaggle contest and they claim to have discovered a pentaquark.

In their new article Evidence suggests subatomic particles could defy the standard model, Phys.ORG just made it clear that I largely missed a hep-ex paper at the end of June,

Measurement of the ratio of branching fractions $\mathcal{B}(\overline{B}^0 \to D^{*+}τ^{-}\overlineν_τ))/\mathcal{B}(\overline{B}^0 \to D^{*+}μ^{-}\overlineν_μ)$
by Brian Hamilton and about 700 co-authors. The paper will appear in Physical Review Letters in a week – which is why it made it to Phys.ORG now. An early June TRF blog post could have been about the same thing but the details weren't available.

Big volumes don't mean the truth

On the mentality behind the mindless group think in physics and stocks

Florin Moldoveanu is a great example of the average member of the "interpretation of quantum mechanics" community. He says and writes lots of ludicrous things – about the (non-existent) problems with quantum mechanics and "clever" (demonstrably wrong and usually extremely stupid) ways to cure them – because he sees many people in his environment who do the same thing. Like almost all others in that community, he doesn't exhibit any truly independent scientific or creative thinking.

Now, he wrote an article about the markets

Is China's turmoil the next Lehman Brothers?
which makes it clear that he exploits the same "intellectual methods" in topics outside physics, too. As the title makes explicit, he believes that there's some "Great Depression" event going on in China and the world. There's none. Everyone who has some actual business in China – e.g. the food chains – says that they don't even observe any slowdown, let alone a dangerous one. And if there's a slowdown or drop in the market, it's being fought against by various policies of the Chinese authorities, anyway.

What you should do when the markets are wild according to Mr Moldoveanu?
One of the most imbecile advice typically found on CNN by their so-called experts like Richard Quest is that you should not panic and ride out the storm. Is there a topic he is not qualified in?
...
[Advisors are biased.] They usually give you the same cookie cutter nonsense of investing for the long term.
Sorry but none of these two wisdoms is "imbecile advice" or "cookie cutter nonsense".

Market quotes: widget

I can imagine that some of you may find a market widget with certain quotes helpful. You are expected to bookmark the fast mobile version of this page because the design isn't optimized for the green template of this blog.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015 ... /////

Stephen Hawking "solves" the information loss paradox again

Value not clear but he builds on some very interesting recent research

Stephen Hawking has visited Stockholm where he announced a paper that will be released in 30 days or so. You may watch the video of his 9-minute talk at a Swedish page. And you may check reports from Sabine Hossenfelder and the Nude Socialist.

Recall that in mid 1970s, Hawking backed Bekenstein's idea that black holes have a nonzero entropy because the black holes also have a nonzero temperature. They radiate just like the black bodies. The process that makes this radiation is possible is the Hawking evaporation. However, it seemed inevitable that the resulting Hawking radiation was exactly thermal and basically uncorrelated to the initial state of the star that has collapsed to the black hole.

Gaillard vs Ferrara 1981: are these discussions sane?

A sickeningly direct perspective into the feminist manipulations within the Academia

A month ago, the achieved phenomenologist Mary Gaillard (Berkeley) released her book "A Singularly Unfeminine Profession: One Woman's Journey in Physics". As you can imagine, the title has a similar effect on me as a red towel has on a bull. I am even inclined to think that the title – and probably much of the content – is considered repulsive by most of the potential readers.

Amazon.com only offers two short reviews – one five-star review (saying "great read" and "fantastic") and one one-star review which says that the book is boring and at one point, it talks about skiing trips and getting a new credit card. Nothing interesting to be found in the book, we hear.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015 ... /////

Western stocks saved? People with lots of cash may be lucky

Except for Shanghai which dropped again, the world markets seem to compensate and, in Europe, overcompensate the yesterday's collapse. For example, the Prague index was adding almost 4% before the Bank of China announced that they would lower the rates from 4.85% to 4.60% (and relax the reserve requirements for banks) – and that added another percent, e.g. to almost 5% in Prague, across Europe.

It's amazing what such a relatively small move by an exotic nation can do. If you assumed proportionality, zero rate interest policy in China would add 18% to the stock indices.

Tony believes (or believed yesterday) that there would be many false rebounds – upticks followed by bigger drops – and this dynamics will be driven by clever institutions who want to attract buyers and sell them their big portfolios. I may be an optimist (not quite a perfect optimist: I sold about 10% of my stocks in a moderate wave of panic yesterday, the worst day to sell so far) but I find it a bit more likely than not that the Monday closing price was the bottom for a long time.

Sleeping Beauty, the betting assistant software

The following problem is a refinement of the Sleeping Beauty problem. We replace her by a computer so that its (formerly her) inner thinking is almost rigorously understood. And we make sure that its (her) reasoning and opinion about the state of the coin has some consequences.

The story is the following.

You took the job of a janitor at FIFA and you heard a conversation between the newly elected president and other officials. They want to kickstart a new era of FIFA by an unusual and marvelous soccer match, Holland vs Tennessee, on Wednesday. However, the match wouldn't be attractive enough because one of the teams seems stronger.

So they decide about the winner in advance, on Sunday, by a fair coin. (If you don't like these new policies to decide about soccer, you should have kept Sepp Blatter.) Heads means that Holland will win (H); tails means that Tennessee will win (T). The goalies are trained to make their deliberate failures look realistic.

The planning for a Tennessee victory is hard – because everyone in Tennessee would celebrate. Everyone needs to save some electricity, so in this case of "tails" (planned Tennessee win), there will be a short blackout on Tuesday at 8:00 am that will restart all computers. Except for the FIFA officials and you, no one knows that the blackout means that Tennessee is going to win a day later.

Monday, August 24, 2015 ... /////

The environmentalists have not dried the spring of the Moldau River

Ironically enough, I must defend the innocence of an environmentalist movement in a bizarre argument.

The Moldau (Czech: Vltava) – the river that Prague was built upon – is considered the Czech National River or the Mother of Czech Rivers. I guess that the true reason is that it is the river beneath the Mother of Cities, Prague. The officially stated reason is that the Moldau is the longest river on our territory – 430 kilometers in total.

The Elbe (Czech: Labe) seems like a bigger river – because it "devours" the Moldau near Mělník – and it is born in Northern Bohemia, too. However, the Elbe spends too much time in Germany so it's not quite "ours".

All this terminology and mythology about the river is full of strange irregularities and bogus arguments.

Sunday, August 23, 2015 ... /////

Applied climate hysteria became a $1.5 trillion-a-year industry What we're buying and what we could buy The Washington Times publicized some numbers originally taken from the Climate Change Business Journal (via WUWT, Town Hall seen at Climate Depot). "I Love Emo 1984" created this video in 2007 which was the "ideological peak" of the climate hysteria but it clearly wasn't the financial peak. The renewable energy and cars etc. industries and all similar things that justify themselves by the panic about the allegedly dangerous influence of CO2 on the global climate has grown into$1.5 trillion a year. That's 2 percent of the world economy. Because only about 1.5 billion people actually pay for that, each of them pays about $1,000 a year. Saturday, August 22, 2015 ... ///// NYT on Bekenstein and his argument with Hawking Jacob Bekenstein died of heart attack. It is the first new piece of information in the New York Times obituary Jacob Bekenstein, Physicist Who Revolutionized Theory of Black Holes, Dies at 68 written by (not only) their top science writer Dennis Overbye. A heart attack is a terrible thing and unlike many people who die when they're 103 or something like that, I feel it is totally right to say that Bekenstein's death was a premature one. Friday, August 21, 2015 ... ///// Fed model: low yields justify higher P/E Without any rational reasons, the markets have been conquered by a wave of hysteria. I guess that about 50% of the assets of the TRF readers as a group are held in the form of stocks (that's the percentage for Americans above$1 million) so as a community, we feel it.

What will the stocks do in the near term, medium term, and long term? Should the central banks' policies be adjusted in some minor or radical way to create a better economic system in the U.S., in European countries, or in the world?

The recent days of insanely huge drops of the stock market have been blamed on the uncertainty about the Fed's desire to increase the interest rates. It was generally assumed that the interest rates would start to go up in September 2015 – for the first time since 2006 – but because the conditions weren't spectacular and China slowed down and may be "exporting deflation" and because the Fed minutes were ambiguous, people are uncertain.

Thursday, August 20, 2015 ... /////

Rigid bodies are prohibited by relativity

A vast majority of the answers I have posted on Stack Exchange did fine but I have experienced a highly unexpected opposition today – one about a basic problem in special relativity.

The question by seeking_infinity was:

Refer, "The classical theory of Fields" by Landau lifshitz (Chap 3). Consider a disk of radius $R$, then circumference is $2\pi R$. Now, make this disk rotate at velocity of the order of $c$ (speed of light). Since velocity is perpendicular to radius vector, the radius does not change according to the observer at rest. But the length vector at boundary of disk, parallel to velocity vector will experience length contraction. Thus, the circumference-to-radius difference is smaller than $2\pi$ when the disk is rotating. But this violates rules of Euclidean geometry. What is wrong here?
It is clearly a totally rudimentary problem in special relativity. It has its own name and if you search for Ehrenfest paradox, you quickly find out that there's been a lot of debates in the history of physics – relatively to what one would expect for such a basic high school problem in classical physics. Born, Ehrenfest, Kaluza, von Laue, Langevin, Rosen, Eddington, and Einstein have participated, among many others.

As a MSDN blog and others pointed out,

Intel just open sourced Stephen Hawking’s speech system and it’s a .NET 4.5 WinForms app that you can try for yourself
To make things short: if you're interested, go to
this ACAT's Github page
and download ACATSetup.exe (at the bottom, 253 MB) and run it as an Admin (or follow the detailed instructions above). ACAT stands for the Assistive Context-Aware Toolkit.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015 ... /////

Merchants of Doubt, spoilers

Jo Nova told us that there are plans to get the movie "Merchants of Doubt" to schools.

The 2014 movie meant to be an attack against climate skeptics was loosely based on the 2010 book of the same name written by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway. Oreskes became notorious for her published claims that there exist no papers that disagree with the global warming orthodoxy – here you have some 1,350 counterexamples. As an assistant professor sometimes in 2005, I have had huge problems with that evil woman. She's the kind of (just slightly) feminime Stalin who doesn't hesitate to damage the lives of people whom she finds ideologically inconvenient.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015 ... /////

Jacob Bekenstein (1947-2015)

Sadly, Jacob Bekenstein, the forefather of black hole thermodynamics affiliated with the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, died in Helsinki on Sunday night. I've known him well enough, especially from his Spring 2004 visit to Harvard when I talked to him many times (although less frequently than with the most important communication counterparts).

I took this picture in his office in the Jefferson Labs. He was born in Mexico City, moved to a polytechnic in New York, and studied as John Wheeler's student at Princeton University (PhD in 1972).

You must have heard that aside from the world, there also exists the anti-world where everything is anti-. For example, antiphysics is being studied by anti-Semites over there. This joke is rather accurate but when we talk about Jewish physicists, we almost exclusively mean staunch atheists.

Debate on refugees: 2,000 intellectuals aggressively attack the mainstream Czech society

Many readers must have been surprised that the mindless and intolerant political correctness seems to be absent in the Czech society, in most of the Czech media, and among the Czech politicians. Shouldn't the same left-wing and SJW attitudes we know from many Western countries emerge among the Czech intellectuals and conquer the public opinion just like in many other countries? Don't such opinions exist?

Be sure that they do. The difference is just a quantitative one; there has been a substantial enough opposition to them so they haven't become "mainstream" (yet?). About 2,000 Czech intellectuals, mostly (1,500+) Czech institutionally affiliated scientists, have signed the Open Letter Against Fear and Indifference (the domain name means "An Appeal by Scientists"). If the context were omitted or unknown, I could have agreed with many sentences in the open letter. But because I know the context as well the actual goal of similar campaigns, I count myself among the 10 million or so Czech opponents of this petition.

The signatories are pretty much the same bunch of far left SJWs who kept on emerging with similar campaigns pretty much on every year, under different names such as "Thank You, Time To Go 1998", "Impuls 1999", "Strike Against TV 2000", "Something 2001", "Something Else 2002", "Protest Against Klaus' Presidency 2003", and so on and so on. I think that the signatories still represent a minority of the university environment as well (from my Alma Mater environment, I only found 2 well-known people – Obdržálek and Semerák – who are there, dozens of others are absent!) but they're sometimes if not usually powerful enough people so that the scientists who disagree with this stuff may find themselves in problems.

The president Zeman's spokesman has already said that he was sorry that this group of intellectuals decided to deepen the abyss that separates them from the mainstream Czech society. Amen to that.