Saturday, November 30, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Was Feynman cognitively lopsided and illiterate?

Stephen Hsu has discussed a long interview with Richard Feynman (AIP).

Feynman's cognitive style (Information Processing blog)
Because I pretty much share all the features that Hsu calls "Feynman's cognitive style" and because I find Hsu's comments fundamentally misguided, skewed, and unflattering, I decided it is important enough to respond.

Hsu starts as follows:
I have always felt that Feynman was cognitively a bit "lopsided" – much stronger mathematically than verbally. This might be partially responsible for his way of learning – it was often easier for him to invent his own solution than to read through someone else's lengthy paper. (Personality factors such as his independent streak, and his strong creativity, also play a role.) But this often left him with gaping holes in knowledge.
Feynman had a habit of rediscovering all the insights and physics that he would rely upon in his research – and thinking about Nature in general. Incredibly enough, Stephen classifies this habit as "lopsidedness", borderline illiteracy, and a vice. Sorry, Steve, but you only represent the group think of average scholars who mostly parrot others and are doing okay with that, scholars whose work is derivative at best and whose confirmations can't really be viewed as independent ones because their writing is always a borderline plagiarism.

Feynman was a charming and articulate speaker who could formulate sentences clearly. He knew how to read, too. But the true reason why he preferred to rediscover things and avoid reading other people's papers is that it is a safer, scientifically cleaner way to collect knowledge. It is a way that not everyone can afford because many other people would simply be incapable of rediscovering all the physics (and Feynman was ultimately unable to rediscover things in physics above a certain level, e.g. string theory, too).

But the scientists who can do it in their actual work like that – and Feynman was an example – should do it.

Friday, November 29, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

TOE movies: Wilczek, Tegmark, Strominger, Guth, ...

Off-topic, via Fred Singer: Weak Lensing Contest: Participate in the "great challenge" where you should design algorithms decoding weak lensing ("unwarping images of millions of galaxies") and show you're better than the experts; NASA quiz example (I did it right LOL); Science Daily. Ends in April 2014. Winner gets $3,000 in hardware.
Someone started a YouTube project of recording 2-minute interviews with famous physicists about a theory of everything,
facebook.com/toemovie (FB home page)

TOEmovie YouTube channel (videos)
So far, there seem to be eight videos in the channel.

Comet ISON destroyed by global warming

Nashville, Tennessee (Ceuters) – It was supposed to be the "Comet of the Century". Instead, it became yet another victim of the global warming.

On Thursday, Comet ISON was approaching the perihelion, the closest point to the Sun on its trajectory. Centuries ago, before the climate began to change, such a moment in the life of a comet would be an important event for the religious societies (for example, Virgin Mary gave a birth when she saw the Comet of Bethlehem – and virgins rarely give a birth while looking at the sky) but it would be an unremarkable event from the comet's viewpoint because the Earth used to greet the comets as a friend.



However, in a sign of the planetary emergency, Comet ISON was largely destroyed. The experts are not quite sure about the cause but most of the researchers mention the global warming. The Solar System is being catastrophically heated up by the man-made emissions of CO2, especially by those produced by the corporations in countries with GDP per capita exceeding $20,000, particularly those countries which tolerate a larger number of the climate change deniers, heretics, and other contrarians. In fact, some scholars propose an extension of the greenhouse effect, the phonetic greenhouse effect, that hypothesizes that the repetition of the climate deniers' talking points heats the atmosphere up by itself. These deniers sometimes call themselves "skeptics" but it is a preposterous naming scheme because a true skeptic is skeptical about the claim that our planet will exist even after the 2047 Earth Day.

Christian Doppler was born 190 years ago.
"One must be very careful while connecting any particular destruction of a comet with the global warming," John Kerry Manuel, a professor of aqua-astronomic emergency at MIT pointed out. "But in this case and many others in which the events are really harmful to the nations of the world and the claim about the global warming connection sounds sexy, the verdict is unambiguous: global warming did it." Manuel also revealed another argument why global warming is probably the cause of all these events: Whenever he wrote a paper claiming that the global warming is behind them, his grants went up. So this explanation must be valid, he believes, and he will increase the number of such papers in order to make the statement even more true.

Thursday, November 28, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Bitcoin will probably keep on skyrocketing

Bitcoins' deflationary problem

Disclaimer: I own no bitcoins while I am writing this blog post.

Bitcoins, a virtual currency, were proposed in late 2008 and started in early 2009. Those who have been in it for a year or more have seen remarkable returns – something like 8,000-percent returns in a year. Most of us have missed this opportunity but it's completely plausible that the rise will continue. I want to discuss these issues.



The bitcoin is a unit of wealth stored in the solution to a difficult mathematical problem that needs the brute force of computers to be found. So some computers are working to "mine" this new kind of gold. This gold, when found, may be transferred to others. You may sell actual products for bitcoins.

My experience is zero but perhaps, I would recommend you an online wallet service like coinbase.com
People who use the bitcoin payments often store the full blockchain – a multi-gigabyte public ledger that remembers all the transactions in the world (this will surely get highly impractical if the currency keeps on expanding). How many coins are there? How is their number evolving with time? What will the bitcoin-dollar exchange rate be doing?

Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein statistics: amazingly different biological sisters

Enrico Fermi died exactly 59 years ago. (Click.)

This greatest Italian physicist after Galileo Galilei was also the ultimate example of a physicist who was both a great theorist and a great experimenter.



Fermi speaking in 1954

Fermi has done some amazing work on the nuclear bomb, nuclear energy. More theoretically, he's famous for the first theory of the beta-decay and for the Fermi-Dirac statistics as well as numerous other things.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Particle astrophysicist, PI commits suicide

Alberto Lemut worked in underground experiments

Just four weeks ago, we watched a press conference of an experiment in South Dakota, LUX, whose precision and sophistication allowed it to exclude all the hints of a light dark matter particle suggested by other experiments. Some really good work is taking place in the Sanford Lab.



Sadly, that didn't guarantee that everyone in Lead, South Dakota was happy. The police and media revealed the name of a 37-old man who shot himself dead last Thursday. It was assistant professor Alberto Lemut.

Sinkhole in Sanica, Bosnia

Help the Bosnians to explain the mystery

The village people in Sanica, Bosnia saw that all the fish suddenly disappeared. The puzzling nothingness took the water, too. Including some solid matter around it. YouTube.



A geologist could just say "a sinkhole". But – if you don't care about the scientific validity – other explanations are more intriguing. ;-) God could have simply been angry about the barbarian white rocket that is directed against Him on the picture above.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Iran deal: U.S. losing superpower status

A week ago, I suggested that the U.S. was moving closer to Iran by the negotitations, perhaps closer to Iran than Saudi Arabia and Israel, two of Washington's regional allies.



These concerns became much clearer now, once the Iran deal was signed. If you missed it, the deal should make it easier to inspect the nuclear sites in Persia. However, it has pretty much explicitly allowed Iran to enrich the uranium – up to 5 percent or so but the freedom to keep the capability is essential – and it will suspend most of the sanctions.

Hiroshima, global warming, and wakalixes

If you open the URL sks.to/heat or 4hiroshimas.com, you will reach the web page of this ugly widget:



The five buttons at the bottom allow you to express the total energy (satisfying some additional extra conditions that are not specified) collected by the whole atmosphere of the Earth in several additional "evil units of energy".

This ugly widget that doesn't even scale the fonts properly was created by the activists around John Cook and the doubly ironically named "Skeptical Science". Every second of this weblog's existence, we are pumping several Hiroshimas into the climate.

The Guardian gave some space to these jerks to promote their "work". I agree with Anthony Watts that it is a propaganda of the worst kind.

Monday, November 25, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

EU will throw €180 billion to the climate loo

Jo Nova has pointed out that the European Union plans to spend a staggering 20% of its budget for the years 2014-2020 for totally wasteful projects justified by nothing else than the climate pseudoscience.

You should understand that the EU is just an international structure "above" the member states so its budget is a small fraction of the total budgets of the individual governments. But the figure 20% still translates to unbelievable €180 billion i.e. €30 billion a year. And be sure that the EU clowns would love to be "role models" for national governments in the whole world, anyway.

Fred Kavli: 1927-2013

On Thursday November 21nd, Fred Kavli (86†) died in Santa Barbara after a surgery of a rare cancer that sucks bile from the liver. He was a famous sponsor of science institutes and science jobs.



Kavli was born in a small Norwegian village in 1927. During the Nazi occupation of Norway, he was 14 and and together with his brother, he began to build his bifuel corporation (well, wood pellet fuel for cars). He found his father's 13 years in San Francisco inspiring, so he wanted to move to California.

With no sponsor, his visa application was rejected. He first moved to Montreal, Canada, when he was 28, and continued to the U.S. a year later. With an engineering degree from Norway, he was hired as an engineer in L.A. and grew to a chief engineer there (feedback flight controls).

Saturday, November 23, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Electron electric dipole moment: moderately natural SUSY may come in 2015

Three weeks ago, the ACME collaboration (Jacob Baron et al.) improved (i.e. reduced) the previous, 2012 best limit on the electron's electric dipole moment by a factor of \(12\) (and by 3 orders of magnitude relatively to TRF 2011) in the article

Order of Magnitude Smaller Limit on the Electric Dipole Moment of the Electron (arXiv)
The experiment looks like this (click to zoom in):



OK, some exotic thorium monoxide molecules (which have the strongest known "internal" electric fields) with optical pumping via lasers in electric and magnetic fields are changing and the (produced) photons are (or could be, if they were produced) measured. Readers interested in the clever experimental setup will have to find a better source. Physics World, The Register, HuffPo, SciAm, and other semipopular media that covered it didn't discuss the method too much, either.

First, let us ask: What is the dipole moment that is being measured and how large is it?

Stagnation as an excuse for sustained high P/E

Bubbles will arrive before inflation

When I was six or so, I had an idea that many other kids – and many of you – probably have also arrived to. If one may buy anything for the money and someone is able to print the money, why doesn't he print an unlimited amount of money in order to make everyone happy and solve all the world's problems?

The Keynesians and similar folks believe that this is a great idea even when they are adults. But many of us have managed to figure out – or were told – why this isn't such a great idea. After all, the nominal information expressed in the units of currency means nothing. A dollar or a crown or a deutschmark is just a lame unit of wealth. If everyone owns 10 times greater an amount of money, everyone will also demand a higher price for his goods and services.

So I quickly realized that the fact that a dollar was 30 times greater than the Czechoslovak crown was just an inconsequential choice of the units, just like the difference between meters and feet. One may design physically and socially equivalent situations by simply multiplying all the prices by \(C = \exp(\lambda)\) – by reducing the money by the factor of \(C\).

This "financial gauge invariance" may be used even for a single currency which evolves in time. You may rescale all the prices and related quantities expressed in the units of currency, \(P_i\), by a function of time \(t\),\[

P_i\to P'_i= C(t)\cdot P_i = \exp[\lambda(t)] P_i

\] and it's quite possible that nothing really changes. There are things like "rates" – interest rates, inflation rates, and so on. They're defined as the time derivatives of some quantity \(P_i\) divided by the quantity itself. So if you switch from the numerical value \(P_i\) to \(P'_i\), the new rate will be\[

\eq{
\frac{1}{P'_i}\cdot\ddfrac{P'_i}{t} &= \ddfrac{\ln(P'_i)}{t} =\\
&=\frac{1}{P'_i}\ddfrac{\zav{\exp[\lambda(t)] P_i}}{t} = \\
&= \frac{1}{P_i} \zav{\ddfrac{P_i}{t} + P_i \ddfrac{\lambda(t)}{t} }
}

\] by the Leibniz rule (for the derivative of a product).

Friday, November 22, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

JFK magic bullet: irrationality of conspiracy theories

Today, it's been 50 years since the assassination of JFK.

The murder took place on Friday, just like today. For generic two years, the probability is 1/7 that a given day occurs on the same day of the week. However, for a 50-year gap, the probability is approximately 1/3 because each of the 50 years shifts the day of the week by 1 plus 11-13 (mostly 12) from leap years (it may be just 11 because about 3/8 of the 50-year intervals include a non-leap year like 1900).



A historical movie from that day, 15 minutes. Death at 6:01.

The shift is therefore 60, 61 (most likely), or 62 days which is 5,6 or 7 modulo 7. For 1963-2013, the case 62 i.e. 7 occurred. So even the same day of the week isn't too shocking – the day of the week is almost as likely to agree as it is to disagree after 50 years. These two paragraphs were preemptively included to fight another conspiracy theory about the day of the week. ;-)

I wrote about JFK 5 days ago but now I want to avoid particle physics.

Thursday, November 21, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

It's harmful to teach wrong physics

In a discussion about the reasons of the accelerated expansion of the Universe (see also the first thread), a reader named BBB proposed that I was misunderstanding the goal of Carroll's claims that it's "wrong" to say that the negative pressure is the cause of the acceleration. Carroll's word "wrong" in "wrong way" doesn't necessarily mean that the physics is wrong, BBB argued; he may just say that it's "wrong" pedagogically and a completely different explanation "should" be presented instead.



Well, I think it doesn't matter for the indefensibility of Carroll's attitude. In fact, I think it's even worse when wrong claims are sold as physics to many people – while teaching or explaining physics to the laymen and beginners. When an individual believes a wrong idea about physics, he has the right to do so; no one is really infallible and the problem may be "localized". But when someone starts to teach wrong ideas as if they were physics, he is harming the whole society.

I will continue to use the would-be controversy about the "cause of the accelerated expansion" as my example – although I could think of hundreds of other examples that would be equally if not more apt and urgent. I am sure that Carroll must misunderstand some of the basic physics – that his proposal is not just about the obsession to spread lies among the laymen – but I will nevertheless pretend that I believe that he actually understands the physics and he only wants to make it "more popular".

Nuts and longevity: correlation isn't causation

For most people, their death is an unfortunate career move. It's been observed that children are born at most 10 months after their fathers' death and the IRS only collects the taxes for about 12 months after the death. Richard Feynman pointed out that he wouldn't like to die twice because it's so boring.



The eternal president and the dear leader in the representative halls of North Korea.

But there are exceptions. Kim Il Sung (1912-1994) was kind of promised to become an eternal president after he dies; the law was adopted in 1998. However, the Korean leader still liked some old-fashioned benchmarks to measure when the life ends, too. We just learned that he ordered his doctors to prolong his life to 120 years. They failed but 82 years isn't bad.

Harvard's IOP: global warming is caused by Prius owners

Various specific culprits of the global warming (which hasn't been seen for 20 years) have been proposed in the past: old white men, McDonald's consumers, the Poles, and especially we, the climate deniers, of course: the Koch brothers, Richard Lindzen, Bob Carter, and your humble correspondent, among others. Whenever we speak or write, the planet starts to boil.



But Harvard University's Institute of Politics has created a news and discussion platform called PolicyMic.com (which includes a mobile version boasting an infinite loop of URL redirects). On this forum, playwright Emmett Rensin has finally determined

The Unexpected Culprits of Climate Change Denial
He stresses that the IPCC has proved that in order to save the Solar System, it's time to become full-fledged psychopaths over global warming. Who is preventing the mankind from saving the Solar System? It's the Prius owners.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Shifting alliances in the Middle East

Will the U.S. become Iran's greatest ally?

Any war has seemed extremely far in recent months (if not years) but the situation in the Middle East, especially when it comes to Iran, seems to be shifting rather dramatically even though the exaggerated subtitle was only included to attract your eyes.

If you don't know, there are negotiations about the Iranian nuclear program in Geneva. It's more or less conceivable that they will end with an agreement that will freeze the Iranian program for half a year or so, soften the sanctions, but allow them to keep the enriched uranium and continue in the future (unless a tougher treaty materializes in the next 6 months).



The new Iranian president (R) and his boss (L).

This resolution wouldn't be enough for Israel. The election of the new Iranian president, Mr Rouhani, has made some impact on the impressions of many people in the West, including your humble correspondent, I admit. He looks sort of moderate; his country developed a charm offensive. It's possible they will achieve an agreement with the West that is pretty good for them. The Iranian official press already predicts an Iranian diplomatic victory. The mullah-in-chief promises that Iran won't back up by one iota.

Campaign against Miss Charles University

Feminist activists stress that women are ugly and stink

My undergraduate alma mater, the Charles University in Prague (founded in 1348), is witnessing a battle whose main spark is the Miss Charles University contest. Visit MissUK.CZ for the official web page of the contest, with some photos, trailer etc. I hope that the British readers will understand that the primary meaning of the UK acronym is "Univerzita Karlova" rather than some hypothetical faraway island or islands or whatever else it could be. ;-)

Well, there's actually a competing contest of the same kind, Miss Karlovka, too.



Markéta Majerová (23, Faculty of Philosophy, Didactics), the #1 contestant, was told to explain what improvements she would like to see at the university. She answered: "My fellow students, ask not what your university can do for you, ask what you can do for your university." Be careful during your visit to Dallas, Markéta! ;-) See the Miss UK YouTube channel and e.g. Dana Halušková's "muse" video similar to the one above.

The name "Miss Charles University" itself is being contested. The official university potentates shouted they had nothing to do with the beauty contest (or contests). They haven't done anything substantial to stop them, either. Some media write that it's not a contest organized by the Charles University. I think that this comment is already misleading; it is not a contest organized by potentates at the Charles University but many of the organizers, supporters, and all contestants belong to the body of students and alumni of the Charles University and every student of the university may compete. So it arguably is a contest of the Charles University, just one closer to the grassroots than the astroturf.

132 countries exit Warsaw climate talks

Thank God.

Poor countries walk out of UN climate talks as compensation row rumbles on,
we heard from the Guardian and many others earlier in the morning. These 132 countries were apparently expecting that they would be paid "compensations for extreme weather events". It seems that they took this meme (so radical one that we haven't even heard much about it in the richer parts of the world) for granted and already demanded a new U.N. bureaucratic body to "oversee" the compensatory payments.

Many of the countries are governed by shamans who believe that thunderstorms are created by witches. Almost all of these countries are dominated by folks who just don't grasp science, not even at the elementary level. The IPCC was produced to support these beliefs – that Exxon creates hurricanes, McDonald's creates typhoons, the Great Devil is responsible for the floods, and the Little Devil (renamed to the rabid dog by the mullah-in-chief today) brought the wildfires to the world. And everyone will be living in a happy paradise once the assets of these villains are confiscated and redistributed.

Well, science says something different. All these weather events – much like the Earth and the Solar System – have been around for 4.6 billion years. Up to noisy fluctuations and some potentially understandable, mild, regular, persistent climate cycles, not necessarily periodic ones, nothing has detectably changed about the frequency or probabilistic distributions of these events in the last several thousands of years. If we improve the theory by the glaciation cycles, nothing has changed for one million of years.

The qualitative nature of the climate has been really the same for 4.6 billion years although in details, it was always changing. But there has never been an era in which extreme weather events were absent. There has never been any "paradise on Earth". And the weather without extreme events wouldn't be a paradise, anyway. Many of the higher life forms wouldn't even arise and evolve in such a "paradise".

Science needs a different creativity than arts

...and in some sense, its goal is to tame this creativity and render it unnecessary...

Sabine Hossenfelder wrote an essay titled

Does modern science discourage creativity?
that displays a deeply emotional, anti-scientific sentiment that I am encountering almost every day. Many people like her seem to hate what science in general and theoretical physics in particular – and especially theoretical physics of the recent 40 years or so – actually is and means.

It seems to me that many people like her who are employed as scientists suffer because they don't really like it. They don't like the "true identity of science" and the features by which it differs from other occupations or belief systems. And it seems to me that the affirmative action is not only harming the efficiency of many fields but it is also reducing the happiness of the people whom it superficially helps because it often forces them to spend their lives with something they don't intrinsically like.

She starts by saying that she has just read a new novel by Neil Gaiman and she feels "jealous of the freedom that a fantasy writer enjoys while turning ideas into products". Be sure, I love arts, movies, music, and visual arts. I've been trained as a piano player for some years and like many genres, I have inherited no genes from my grandfather who was an academic painter, OK... let me stop with that rubbish.

But as Sabine realizes, science has different rules and even if we talk about creativity in science, it is a different creativity than one that is helpful in arts.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Why positive pressure causes deceleration

...explaining a puzzling sign to Mr Joe Public...

Sean Carroll shouted a completely wrong claim about basic general relativity, namely that the "accelerated expansion has nothing to do with the negative pressure", and I clarified his misguided remarks yesterday.

But it may be useful to mention that Carroll was provoked to write his text by Peter Coles' challenge in the article:

A Dark Energy Mission.
Coles points out that we need a negative pressure (e.g. one coming from the cosmological constant) to achieve a repulsive gravity producing the accelerated expansion in the FRW cosmology.

That may look strange because we think that it's the positive pressure, like the positive pressure of some gas in a bottle, that is trying to make the bottle explode and expand (at an accelerating rate). So why is the sign in front of pressure in the second Friedmann equation opposite to what we expect based on the experience with gases in the PET bottles?



Coles asked his readers to produce an explanation for Mr Joe Public. I don't know this man – except for knowing that he has 2.3 children and didn't manage to sign up for Obamacare. ;-) He has also recorded the song arguing that "you've got to live and learn before your bridges burn" along with his clones and namesakes (see above). But because all the answers at Coles' blog are completely wrong (for example, Phil Gibbs is building on a non-existent conserved total energy in the FRW cosmology), let me try to clarify some of the reasons.

Monday, November 18, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Matt Strassler's failed attempt to mask his antinuclear activism

The strong March 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami were brutal and caused 16,000-20,000 deaths. If I borrow a term used in the Obamacare, they have also caused some glitches in the Fukushima One Nuclear Power Plant which, despite the hype in the media, haven't killed a single person. Two workers had radiation burns and 37 people have suffered non-radiation physical injuries.

This outcome of a 9.0 magnitude earthquake that failed to cause any casualties (so far) despite its scariest possible interplay with a 42-46-years-old nuclear facility is a testimony of the wonderful safety that nuclear energy brings.



The cleanup efforts were expensive and led to some concerns which suggest that Japan isn't the best place for nuclear power plants (and that there are perhaps cheaper ways to get energy such as fracking) but to present the outcomes of this "experiment" as anything else than a clear victory for nuclear energy is just plain dishonest. That's what I am strongly convinced about.

In his blog post suggestively titled

The Mess at Fukushima, and The Need for a Scientific Lens,
Matt Strassler modestly complains that he cannot find a single "trust-inspiring" weblog about nuclear engineering that would be as wonderfully objective and professional as his weblog about particle physics. Ehm. He announces that he wouldn't tolerate any peer-unreviewed comments and he would edit and delete most comments, anyway. And indeed, he does add unflattering disclaimers in front of the first comment by trained industrial and chemical engineer (Gastón E. Nusimovich).

The expansion is accelerating due to negative enough pressure

...no strings attached...

In recent years, I got used to the fact that Sean Carroll is confused about some very basic physics – the postulates of quantum mechanics as well as thermodynamics (and the very basic insight due to Boltzmann and others that its laws are microscopically explained by statistical physics and not, for example, by cosmology). And I won't even threaten your stomach by memories of the Boltzmann brains, doomsdays, and similar delusions.

But I thought he could rationally think at least about classical general relativity. His book was pretty good, I thought, although I have never read the whole volume. However, I don't think so anymore after I finished reading Carroll's insane tirade called

Why Does Dark Energy Make the Universe Accelerate?
in which he tries to assault an elementary fact that the reason behind the acceleration of the expansion of the Universe is the negative pressure (caused by dark energy).

His crusade is made even more paradoxical given the apparent fact that he knows the equation and other key pieces needed to understand why it's accurate to say that the acceleration is caused by negative pressure. But like a schoolkid who has just mindlessly memorized an equation but can't understand what it means, he just can't sort out what the basic implications of the equations are. So he wants to "ban" the fact that the negative pressure is the reason for the acceleration from expositions of cosmology. You may imagine that a progressive (i.e. Stalinist) like himself thinks that such a ban would be "a great step forward". Bans aren't a good step forward, especially not bans of key scientific insights.

(Brian Greene would be among those whose books would be banned; he wrote a crisp explanation of these matters in The Hidden Reality. Tony Zee's GR book would be on the black list, too. Zee mentions beginners' i.e. Carroll's confusion of the velocity and acceleration in 2nd paragraph on page 500 – and more generally, between pages 499 and 507.)

Since the late 1990s, we've known that the Universe was not only expanding but the rate of the expansion was increasing. It was a surprise for many because most people were expecting that the rate was slowing down. The substance driving this expansion is "dark energy" – the cosmological constant with \(p=-\rho\) is the simplest and most natural "subtype" or "more detailed explanation" of dark energy that is so far compatible with all statistically significant experimental results.

Sunday, November 17, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Naturalness and JFK conspiracy theories

Among the 89 episodes of the classic show Penn & Teller: Bullshit, the 29th one was dedicated to conspiracy theories, namely to 9/11 truthism, moonlanding, and JFK conspiracy theories.



I recommend you to find all the episodes and watch them – it will be 45 hours of intelligent fun!

Just to be sure, JFK was assassinated in Dallas on November 22nd, 1963; it will have been 50 years next Friday. The apparent sniper was Lee Harvey Oswald, an American commie (believed to be a "lone gunman") who loved Cuba and who emigrated to the Soviet Union. Yesterday, CNN listed a dozen of the conspiracy theories about the assassination and suggested that one of them could be right although I didn't quite understand which scenario they endorsed.

Saturday, November 16, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Fermilab Today on naturalness

Today, Fermilab Today published a nice short article about naturalness written by Jim Pivarski of CMS.



The article contains an unlikely arrangement of stones which seems to depend – much like the Higgs boson mass – on fine, unlikely cancellations. Pivarski also writes that it's unlikely for many parts of the same car to break at the same moment.

I chose another example of an unnatural arrangement of matter – one that was being offered to me by several Czech discount servers today. ;-) While the "Wine Bottle Chain Holder – Holds Bottles In the Air" seems even more extreme than the rocks above because the forces don't even seem to balance (not even in an unstable way), you may actually buy it. And just for six or ten bucks!

See the amazon.com link at the bottom. You simply can't afford not to possess this miraculous wine bottle holder! ;-)

Stratocaching

Geocaching is a kind of game related to orienteering in which people hide and seek GPS/GSM receivers at random places of the globe. Some Czech organizations have brought the game to a brand new level: see Stratocaching.CZ and an explanatory article in English or a fresher one translated from Czech.



The video at Stratocaching.cz has 3 tabs, showing the situation in the balloon; control center; and the launch site. The server may be overloaded because billions of people may be afraid of thermonuclear detonations.

A 2-meter-diameter Japanese balloon will be shot to the stratosphere, 30 kilometers above the surface, in a few minutes (9:30 am Prague Winter Time on Saturday). The balloon will grow to 15 meters in diameter before it pops. It contains 10 thermonuclear warheads and 2 ordinary nuclear warheads.

Friday, November 15, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Visas no longer needed for Canada: thank you

After four years, Canada abolished the tourist visa requirements for Czechs again. The visas have been introduced and canceled a few times in recent decades.



Judging by the sentiment in the face, this Czech woman probably got the visas back in 2009 when they were imposed again shortly before she was leaving the Canadian embassy.

The good news were announced by Otto Jelinek, the new Canada's ambassador to Czechia (born in Prague, Third Reich), a rich guy, and a former figure-skater. Incidentally, I do think that "binational" (yet loyal) folks are a good choice for the chairs of ambassadors. We are sending Livia Klausová, the Slovak-born ex-president's wife, to the Slovak capital and I support this idea.

It's being claimed that Canada had to reform its asylum system to prevent the abuse of its generous welfare system by Central European immigrants, especially the gipsies from Czechia. It may have been some work but it's obvious that it was the right thing to do.

Thursday, November 14, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

State-of-the-art non-SUSY \(SO(10)\) grand unified models

Several recent hep-ph papers studied grand unification without supersymmetry, an approach that seems intriguing to a whole group of researchers. Grand unification theories (GUT) work nicely with supersymmetry (SUSY) – it's the supersymmetric version of the \(SU(5)\) and larger models that achieves the accurate unification of gauge couplings of the \(U(1)_Y\), \(SU(2)_W\), and \(SU(3)_c\) factors of the gauge group in the simplest, most natural way.



Super-Kamiokande has looked for a proton decay, a flagship prediction of grand unified theories

However, SUSY hasn't been experimentally proven yet so it's a legitimate possibility – at least from a phenomenologist's viewpoint – that SUSY isn't relevant for any low-energy phenomena (or isn't relevant for Nature at all). The Standard Model is a bit awkward, with its diverse groups and fragmented representations, so one should better unify those structures a little bit.

The people behind the papers below tend to assume that Nature needs a grand unified theory, the symmetry breaking is achieved by the ordinary Higgs mechanism (pure field theory, no stringy Wilson lines etc.), and a precision gauge coupling unification is achieved in some way, too. They typically require a dark matter candidate, too: it's usually an axion. GUT theories may imply lots of unobserved decays of particles (especially the proton decay) so the null results of all these experiments kill many GUT models and constrain the parameters of others.

Imminent groundbreaking Wolfram Language

Stephen Wolfram and his smart folks are preparing something big.

Click here to be alerted about the Wolfram Language developments.
For a few decades, Wolfram has been an epicenter of powerful computational paradigms – including Mathematica, Wolfram Alpha, CDF, A New Kind of Science, and even a TRF guest blog on particle physics.



But all these things have converged to something bigger – a new language: the Wolfram Language. Tools allowing you to use this language – and to have a more direct access to the Wolfram Engine inside all the Wolfram products and the Universal Platform – will be released within months. They will include the Wolfram Programming Cloud with an instant deployment via an API.

The Wolfram Data Science Platform will instantly connect data like in Wolfram Alpha Pro on Steroids.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Molecule painter and icy pal double the warming trend since 1997

...and the Real Climate guys instantly endorse them...

This is pretty hilarious. For years, we would hear from certain "researchers" that one needs to be just a climate scientist (a string theorist with A* from all physics subjects in the grad school was never good enough) to be taken seriously by the climate establishment. However, Stefan Rahmstorf of the Real Climate just wrote a text called

Global Warming Since 1997 Underestimated by Half
where he promotes a new paper in the Quaterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society titled
Coverage bias in the HadCRUT4 temperature series and its impact on recent temperature trends
by Kevin Cowtan of York and Robert Way of Ottawa.

The climate alarmists didn't like the people's increasing knowledge of the "global warming hiatus" – about the 350th proof that they're pseudoscientists – so they needed a paper to "explain" the hiatus away. You could think that the saviors are climate scientists.

But if you click at the names above, you will learn that Cowtan is an expert in programming software that paints protein molecules while geography student Robert Way is a cryosphere kid who likes to play with the permafrost and a long-time assistant to kook John Cook at the doubly ironically named "Skeptical Science" server.

Flux repulsion may make a tiny C.C. natural

A "Darwinian" proposal to solve the cosmological constant problem

Since the cosmological observations in the late 1990s, most of us took for granted that the Universe is filled with dark energy (currently believed to represent 68% of the energy density \(\rho=T_{00}\)) whose character may be refined as the ordinary positive cosmological constant (the "C.C.") i.e. \[

p=-\rho, \quad T_{\mu\nu}=\rho g_{\mu\nu}

\] However, the energy density \(\rho\) seems to be extremely tiny in the apparently natural units of quantum gravity, \[

\rho\approx 10^{-123}\,m_{\rm Planck}^4

\] which is the worst known prediction of (dimensional analysis in) physics.



This problem, the cosmological constant problem, doesn't have any convincing explanation except for the "possible" explanation involving the multiverse. There are many possible values of \(\rho\) in different vacua of the theory of everything (we mean string/M-theory). Most of them don't admit any life but due to the large number, there are some vacua for which \(\rho\) is tiny and those are "more important" because intelligent life may emerge in them. We are supposed to live in one of them.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

The Challenger Disaster: Feynman on TV

On November 16th, Science Channel and Discovery Channel will air "The Challenger Disaster".



Academy Award winner William Hurt will star as Richard Feynman.

Typhoon Haiyan: similar unspectacular cyclones arrive every 2-3 years

Posted at 08:09:10 on 11/12/13

Today in the morning, I was stunned by the dishonesty of the professional climate alarmists again. Their moral defects are just shocking. It seems completely obvious to me that they must know that they are lying 24 hours a day.



This controversy is about the claim that the typhoon Haiyan was the strongest tropical cyclone that ever made a landfall, and so on. You can see this preposterous misinformation almost everywhere. For example, start with the first sentence of the Wikipedia article on Typhoon Haiyan (update November 14th: this stuff was thankfully removed from the first sentences). The original source of this "verbal meme" is arguably Jeff Masters of Weather Underground. Steven Goddard tries to argue that this lie was very important.

All the mistakes are completely obvious and demonstrable, as I will argue below, but it is impossible to even fix basic errors on the Wikipedia page, or elsewhere. Such pages are being controlled by obsessed hardcore climate alarmist trolls and crackpots. They are just completely blind and deaf to any evidence and they revert any edit that would try to fix the basic mistakes.

So let's look at some real numbers and the origin of the flawed numbers.

Monday, November 11, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Another useless climate conference: Warsaw

Today, COP19/MOP9 began in the Polish capital. It will continue through November 22nd. Yes, it's already the 19th COP (Conference of the [UNFCCC] Parties).

The previous United Nations climate hysteria conferences took place in Berlin, Geneva, Kyoto, Buenos Aires, Bonn, The Hague, Bonn, Marrakech, New Delhi, Milan, Buenos Aires, Montreal, Nairobi, Bali, Poznań, Copenhagen, Cancún, Durban, and Doha. Next year, they will travel somewhere to Peru. I tried to use the bold face for some of the conferences that were more memorable than others – Kyoto because it gave the world the suicidal protocol, Copenhagen because it was the most important failure so far (around the Climategate time), and Bali because it was arguably the most attractive destination. ;-)



Warsaw: some nice modern skyscrapers behind the staircasy Stalinist skyscraper, a copy of similar buildings in Moscow.

Now these clowns go to Poland for the second time – which is a surprising overrepresentation of Poland, a country that produces about 85% of electricity from good old King Coal. (Our percentage in Czechia is just dropping below 50%, from 70+% in 2000 AD, despite the fact that no Czech tries to paint our country as a "green leader", unlike Germany whose usage of coal remained close to 60%.)

In fact, next Monday and Tuesday, Warsaw is also organizing The Coal and Climate Summit. My understanding is that it will be an ordinary coal conference and the name is chosen to fool the stupid environmentalists into thinking that the coal industry is their friend.

Sunday, November 10, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Crystal Night: 75th anniversary

About seven weeks ago, I wrote about the 75th anniversary of the Munich Pact. Britain and France thought that it was a wonderful idea to appease the Third Reich by throwing a third of their ally's territory to Hitler's throat.



An event that occurred seven weeks later, the Night of Broken Glass (November 9th-10th, 1938), adds some clarification concerning the character of the new friend of Mr Chamberlain and M. Daladier.

Comrade Goebbels "overinterpreted" a murder of a young German diplomat (Ernst von Rath) – allegedly by a Jewish teenager (German-born Polish Jew in Paris, Herschel Grynszpan; yes, it looks like the same surname as Alan Greenspan's). This murder had nothing to do with anti-German sentiments; the teenager was simply fairly punshing the the German embassy for its continuing bureaucratic terror against himself and his relatives. Within hours, hundreds (267) of synagogues and thousands (7,500) of Jewish businesses plus Jewish hospitals and schools were looted, ransacked, and pretty much destroyed or burned to the ground. 30,000 Jews were arrested and transferred to concentration camps. 91 Jews died.

Saturday, November 09, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Kaluza and Weyl: adding \(U(1)\) to GR

Exactly 10,000,000 years ago, on November 9th, 1885, two mathematical physicists were born, Hermann Weyl and Theodor Kaluza. Click the hyperlink for some 2007 TRF biographies. Yes, "ten million" is the translation of 128 from decimal to binary. ;-)



It may seem remarkable for two mathematical physicists to be born on the same day and the same year. It may look even more remarkable if you realize that both of them were German-speaking although the surprise decreases once you acknowledge that in the late 19th and early 20th century, most of the mathematical elite was German-speaking.

But you should be stunned that these two men who were born on the same day did make two very similar contributions: adding the \(U(1)\) gauge symmetry to Einstein's general relativity with the goal of unifying gravity with electromagnetism. The two men differed in many ways – Hermann Weyl was a broad, prolific mathematician while Theodor Kaluza was a typical one-hit wonder (you might say that this is an excessively unflattering description of a man who spoke 17 languages and claimed to prefer Arabic) – but when it comes to the birthday and the unification of gravity and electromagnetism, you would have a hard time to look for two mutually non-interacting people who were closer to one another.

(The only man I know who was born exactly on the same day and year as myself, the Czech politician Vít Bárta, was arrested three days ago. It seems he was pushing a BIS agent to commit crime and leak some information. What about your birthdaysakes?)

Burning Bush: a dark movie about post-1968 events

Scott Armstrong is a climate skeptic and a forecasting expert – who wrote some sensible comments about the journalistic impartiality for Fox and LA Times – is challenging you to disprove his claim that there only exists

one published paper that claims to provide s scientific forecast of long-term global mean temperatures.
Well, I don't know which papers are exactly counted and for some interpretations, the proposition above seems to be untrue, but you may disagree so I copied the challenge for you.

Scott recently watched Hřebejk's 2013 film "Honeymoon" [Líbánky] as well as the 3-part 2013 Czech miniseries "The Burning Bush" by Polish director Ms Agnieszka Holland. He liked them and I managed to watch the Burning Bush, too. It was powerful and darker than I could imagine.

Friday, November 08, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Galaxies can't be overrun by bored, suicidal extraterrestrials

Petigura, Howard, and Marcy published a paper in PNAS attempting to count the extraterrestrial civilizations:

Prevalence of Earth-size planets orbiting Sun-like stars
Whopping 22% of Sun-like stars are said to have Earth-sized planets in habitable zones. So the environment is as perfect as here on Earth almost everywhere. It's not only untrue that "there is no Planet B". In fact, there should be billions of hospitable planets in the Milky Way and the closest culture should be less than 12 light years away. But we haven't heard from any ETs yet.



Fermi therefore asked the question "Where are they?" and the question may look even more pressing today than it was decades ago. In "Billions of Worlds", Sean Carroll proposes an explanation. We don't observe any visible civilizations at the galactic scale because they get bored and stop any growth before they reach this level of influence.

This explanation is known as EBH which stands for "Environmentalism Busts Happiness". We are speculating about the psychology of different creatures – or humans/creatures on Earth in a very distant future – but we may still speculate. Is EBH a viable theory? Well, I don't think so.

BadBIOS v2.0: contracting HIV from your digital camera

A new version of BadBIOS, BadBIOS v2.0, was detected in the Czech Republic. It infects any computer running Unix or Linux or Android or OS X or iOS or Windows because it runs at the BIOS level. It reflashes itself, heals itself, and – like its predecessors – spreads through USB sticks and microphones and speakers (it transmits itself via sounds).



However, v2.0 also uses digital cameras and organisms. Whenever you connect a digital camera to your computer, the camera gets infected. While taking photographs, it sends subliminal if not superluminal flashes and the people on the photograph start to invisibly blink. The micro-blinking is caught by webcams that can see them and used to update the resistant BadBIOS v2.0 virus.

Printers are affected, too. They start to print tiny, almost invisible QR codes at the corner of every page. If that page is seen by a webcam, the webcam decodes it and infects the computer. I forgot to tell you that if you look at the digital camera for a long enough time, the micro-blinking of your eyes also starts to produce bases of DNA at the top of your glands. When you micro-blink a million of times, you assemble a modified HIV virus. The modification of that virus also allows other people to contract the mad cow disease. This also explains yesterday's intervention of the Czech National Bank against the currency they supervise.

Thursday, November 07, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Boltzmann brains: politeness means misunderstanding

In August 2013, I discussed a crazy paper by Boddy and Carroll that has argued that a Higgs instability that will destroy the Universe soon is a good thing because it will save us from a paradox – namely from the unexpected conclusion that there will be many people after us so we're special because we're among the relatively early ones.



If no friendly apocalypse arrives, the Universe might exist indefinitely which, Boddy and Carroll believe, is a bad thing because the Boltzmann Brains will be formed many times in this infinite future and such a cosmology automatically predicts that we should be Boltzmann brains, too.

I have explained several reasons why this is plainly nuts. Later, I saw a reaction by Jacques Distler titled "Zombies" where Distler says that it is plainly nuts, too.

Currency interventions are immature assaults on free markets

Expletives appropriate after the insane war was declared against the Czech crown

A few hours ago, the Czech National Bank has done something insane that hasn't taken place for 11 years: interventions against the Czech currency. Within minutes, the exchange rate weakened by stunning 4 and 6 percent relatively to the euro and the U.S. dollar, respectively. Their stated purpose is to encourage inflation (they look like an arsonist who boasts that he set a big building on fire) and they expect this thing to add 1 percentage point to the inflation for the next 12 months.



CZK 2,000 was worth $104.8 in the morning and $99 now, a decrease by nearly 6 percent (contributed by the drop of the euro due to the ECB's lowering of the rate).

Sources differ about the amount of crowns that were sold to increase the euro reserves. Reuters said it was just EUR 0.5 billion, others say it was EUR 3 billion. The figure doesn't really matter. They have stated that they will print the crowns and sell them to reach the rate around CZK 27 per euro – it was just 25.7 a few hours ago – so the rate will be close to CZK 27 per euro whether they actually need to print the new crowns or not simply because they obviously have the potential to weaken their own (well, our) currency.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Two short papers on the black hole interior

This blog post is here just to promote two new hep-th papers on the black hole interior. Both papers have 4.0-4.5 pages in total and use the same two-column revtex macro of \(\rm\TeX\). The Verlinde brothers wrote

Behind the Horizon in AdS/CFT
which calls the recent Papadodimas-Raju (PR) construction "elegant" and debunks a potential paradox that could follow from the state dependence of the internal operators by generalizing the PR construction to mixed states with a low enough von Neumann entropy. They seem to say that the detailed mathematical ideas were already contained in their November 2012 paper linking the black hole information puzzle to error correcting codes.



As I said before, I believe that a similar construction must also exist for density matrices of a near-maximal von Neumann entropy as well (they can be visualized as pure entangled states involving two black holes so that the von Neumann entropy of the black hole A becomes the A-B entanglement entropy) but the resulting interior operators one could construct in that case would live in the Einstein-Rosen bridge instead, thus providing us with an explicit constructive proof of the Maldacena-Susskind ER-EPR correspondence.

Verlinde and Verlinde also offer a transparent, PR-based algebraic proof that microstates with a firewall have to be non-equilibrium states and that transformations on the black hole Hilbert space that keep the firewall (or its absence) also keep the definition of all the interior field operators. It looks sensible and it's great, refreshing news to see apparently valid physics signed by these Dutch names again, as opposed to some entropic-gravity-related junk, for example. ;-)

Tuesday, November 05, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Milner New Horizon Prize: Cachazo, Minwalla, Rychkov

Five candidates for the $3m prize in 2014 announced, too

This seems like a cool choice. I was informed about the new winners of the $100,000 Junior Milner Prize from the inner sources ;-) but Jay Wacker leaked the news at Quora so I think it's right to inform you, too:

Tuesday at 7:00 a.m. PST, the list of nominees for the $3 million Fundamental Physics Prize for 2014 will be released.



I took the picture at the Harvard Law School dining hall. Yup, Shiraz's Wikipedia page was also started by your humble correspondent.

We are happy to share the news that Freddy Cachazo, Shiraz Minwalla and Slava Rychkov are the winners of the three available New Horizons in Physics Prizes for 2014. This is a $100,000 award for junior researchers who have made an outstanding impact in the field.

Please visit the following website tomorrow (Nov. 5) to learn the names of the winners and more about the ceremony, which will be held in San Francisco December 12.
I don't really know Slava Rychkov in person although I know some of his work. But I know Shiraz and Freddy extremely well. They're brilliant (and hard-working) physicists who truly deserve such an award.

Boston Globe: hit piece on Willie Soon

Christopher Rowland of the Boston Globe, a left-wing daily – an assistant editor who mostly writes about the healthcare – just published a hit piece on Willie Soon, an astrophysicist at Harvard-Smithsonian and a well-known climate skeptic. The title and subtitle are rather intimidating:

Researcher helps sow climate-change doubt (click)
Industry-funded Cambridge astrophysicist adds to partisan divide
And so is the rest of the article.

My country has gone through 50 years of the Nazi and communist propaganda so articles such as the article above are nothing new for me. I've seen tons of them. The inkspillers behind similar junk are morally reprehensible jerks. Their clearly visible desire is to hurt ideologically inconvenient people personally.

I could tell you about so many similar articles about the Czechoslovak patriots during the Nazi era, about Havel (and alcohol, his family, and Nazis) during communism, and about lots of similar articles about people whom you don't know but who still suffered.

Monday, November 04, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Brand modern 3D planetarium consecrated in Pilsen

The Techmania Science Center in Pilsen – a science museum where I sometimes give a talk – has opened its arguably most attractive facility, the 3D planetarium today.



This building of a dining hall at Škoda looked really ugly and the ruins were collapsing. It was renewed and became yummy.

The visitors may sit to 90 seats inside a ball of inner radius 14 meters and observe not only 140,000 celestial objects but tons of movies about everything in 3D (tsunamis, volcanos, insects, whatever you like). The state-of-the-art system Sky-Skan only exists in 3 European science centers – in Barcelona, Warsaw, and Pilsen.

I say that the planetarium was opened. But it doesn't mean that someone just opened the door. A very important thing in the most atheist nation in the world was that that the facility was consecrated by the Pilsner Catholic bishop Msgr František Radkovský.

I couldn't avoid this comment because Radkovský is an alumnus of my undergraduate Alma Mater, MFF UK (Faculty of Mathematics and Physics at the Charles University in) Prague, where he studied mathematical statistics and he later worked on the modernization of the teaching of methods for mathematics in the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences. He was promoted to a titular bishop of Aggar by John Paul II in 1990.

EU will ban vacuum cleaners...

...above 1,600 W since Sept 2014

Joseph S. sent me a warning about some plans by the European Commission – it's a continental Big-Brother government of a sort – to ban vacuum cleaners at or above 1,600 watts of power consumption since September 2014. The Czech press is full of it, people are upset, but TRF readers may prefer the U.K. press: The Daily Mail, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph.



A few months ago, I bought a new vacuum cleaner, a cheaper model above with consumption 1,800 watts of input power (300 W of output power). Before that, I was using a gadget with a substantially lower power and I can tell you that you can surely tell the difference!

For U.S. readers who use "amps": one "amp" is 110 watts because the voltage in the U.S. is 110 volts and the factors of the square root of two are already accounted for. ;-) So the maximum wattage will be 14.5 amps in 2014.

RSS AMSU: tiny cooling trend in last 17.0 years

In 2011, Ben Santer et al. beat the crap out of... no, I don't mean Pat Michaels, I mean the temperature data. The paper with 17 co-authors concluded (see the last sentence of the abstract) that

Our results show that temperature records of at least 17 years in length are required for identifying human effects on global-mean tropospheric temperature.
Seventeen years were needed to see the global warming. So did we see a warming in the last 17 years? I repeatedly pointed out that the interval with an insignificant cooling trend was approach 17 years.



Now, when RSS AMSU has published its October 2013 temperature anomaly, the period with a cooling has finally reached 17.0 years. Note that each month in late 2013, the period with a cooling trend was actually getting longer not just by 1 month but by 2 months or so because a new relatively cool month in 2013 allowed you to include another comparably cool month in 1996 or 1997 (at the beginning of the interval) without spoiling the negative sign.

Sunday, November 03, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Evolving perspectives on temperature

Long before men and women became humans, even millions of years before they were polar bears ;-), these people experienced the sensations related to the heat and coldness. When it was warmer, they usually felt pleasant. When it was too hot, they started to sweat, melt, and evaporate. When it was too cold, they started to freeze over, and so on. You have probably heard about these phenomena. ;-)

Thermoscopes and their modernization

Before anyone would talk about science, it was instinctively understood that the environment had a property – one that we call the temperature today – that determined those feelings. Around the year Zero AD (the year didn't exist but its vicinity did!), ancient Greeks such as Philo of Byzantium and Hero of Alexandria began to realize that the warmer temperature makes you not only sweat but it also expands some materials.

In the early 17th century, people would begin to construct thermometers. A vessel with water that expands which you may observe as the elevated level in thin tube, and so on.

Saturday, November 02, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Bond buyback program is a neutral event

If the previous discussions are representative of the society, then well over 90% of the population misunderstands the concept of "money", misunderstands how capitalism works, and indeed, misunderstands that it works.

In this blog post, I want to explain really slowly that the quantitative easing is just a bond buyback program, it just reorganizes the debt, (more or less randomly) creates some losers and some winners, but to the leading order, it doesn't change the overall debt, inflation, or economic activity. Some important slogans that summarize the text below are

coins and banknotes are just another form of debt
and
the government is just another type of a natural catastrophe.
The markets work, they do adjust, and their ability to produce the prices optimized for the well-being of the people persists despite the existence of debt, money, governments, or other natural catastrophes. In fact, the invisible hand of the market "loves" to work with these factors and its ability to work with these factors is a necessary condition for the proposition "capitalism works" to have any beef.

Friday, November 01, 2013 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Some former European politicians want an EU KGB

Some readers suggested that Europe should have its own "unified" surveillance agency – probably for Europe to resemble the U.S. with its NSA etc. I was terrified by the idea. Unfortunately, you are going to be shown an example of the reasons why I was so terrified.

The Gatestone Institute and LifeSiteNews inform about a new initiative that has made recommendations to the EU Parliament:

Former heads of state call on EU to set up state surveillance of ‘intolerant’ citizens

Former heads of state call on EU to set up state surveillance of ‘intolerant’ citizens
The recommendations were done by a group known as The European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation which clumps various former European politicians.

ScienceMag: Medieval Warm Period global, 0.65 °C warmer than present

The largest ocean was 2 °C warmer than today when ancient civilizations exploded

Some fun events and articles related to the climate were recently posted. Pierre Gosselin pointed out that a well-known German daily, TAZ, told its readers that the German environmental psychologists determined that climate alarmists need a psychiatric treatment. The TRF readers who have also read Alexander Ač's essays must have made this "discovery" long before the German colleagues.

Also, Nature published an essay arguing that the IPCC is ripe for (criminal, psychiatric) examination; see a review in Nature and WUWT.

Such things would be unthinkable in similar self-described "mainstream" news sources before 2009. That's also the case of a new paper in the Science Magazine that argues that the Medieval Warm Period was global, not just regional, and significantly warmer than today.