Thursday, July 31, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Joining the Kaggle Higgs 3.8+ club

Briefly, some news on Friday, August 1st. As I expected (see the text below), Tim Salimans is now ahead of Gábor Melis although his advantage is infinitesimal. (Friday 4 pm update: Melis is at the top again.) With the so far minor help of incredible variables from Christian Veelken of CMS, I (or counting the promised 10% share for CV, we) joined the club of those with the score above 3.8, see the leaderboard. Every contestant who is not a complete loser must feel safely above 3.8, so the score associated with my name is now 3.80007. ;-) I am not selecting that submission for the contest because I don't have all the sources that produced it – it was very complicated.

The text below was originally posted on July 24th.

Gábor Melis' new formidable challenger


Tim Salimans makes the Terminator look like Pokémon

As recently as two hours ago, I thought it was conceivable that I would end up in the top three of the Higgs Kaggle challenge. See the leaderboard.

The top 5 contestants hadn't changed for a week. Gábor Melis was at the top followed by the Marijuana Hybrid guy, by your humble correspondent, and by 1,100+ other participants.



Terminator, Ironman, Batman, and a few Transformers as seen from the optics of a company in Utrecht.

Times are changing. For more than an hour, Tim Salimans of Utrecht, the Netherlands has been the new #2 warrior. His 7th submission with the score 3.81888 catapulted him to that place and made the victory of Gábor Melis uncertain.

Does electron's magnetic field look like that of a bar magnet?

Yes. It's just the laymen's whole way of thinking about it that is wrong.

Brian Bi asked a question on the Physics Stack Exchange,

What does the magnetic field of the (quantum-mechanical) electron look like?
He seems annoyed by the idea that "quantum spinning electrons" have dipole magnetic fields because the magnetic field of a magnetic dipole looks like this:



It's a nice, classical picture of the magnetic field. On the other hand, the spin \(\vec J={\mathbf S}\) of an electron (the arrow above a letter or the bold face represent three-dimensional vectors) is a bizarre quantum observable, an operator. So they can't be proportional, he thinks. Either the formula relating the spin and the magnetic moment\[

\mathbf{\vec\mu} = \frac{g_e \mu_b}{\hbar} \mathbf{S}

\] has to be wrong or we have to deny the formula for the magnetic field (which we may call the "equation under attack")\[

\langle\mathbf{B}({\mathbf{r}})\rangle=\nabla\times{\mathbf{A}}=\frac{\mu_{0}}{4\pi}\left(\frac{3\mathbf{r}(\langle\mathbf{\vec\mu}\rangle\cdot\mathbf{r})}{r^{5}}-\frac{{\langle\mathbf{\vec\mu}\rangle}}{r^{3}}\right),

\] he believes. The idea of the laymen – including all the "interpreters" of quantum mechanics – is that in the microscopic world, the structure of all the equations, shapes of fields have to change but the reasoning stays the same. They think that the microscopic world is described by a "different classical theory".

However, the truth is just the opposite. The microscopic phenomena are described by the "same but quantum theory" as their macroscopic counterparts. Indeed, many equations of motion in quantum mechanical theories may be obtained from the classical ones by adding simple hats above everything (or understanding that they're there without writing them). But the hats often make a lot of deep, conceptual difference.

Unitarity and analyticity say: gravity is the weakest force

In 2006, Arkani-Hamed, Motl, Nicolis, and Vafa presented evidence that gravity is the weakest force, a claim that would often be called the "weak gravity conjecture" (WCG) later. Yes, the swampland on Figure 1, so different from the peaceful Czech landscape, is some territory between Poland, Ukraine, and Belarus. ;-) It means that for any non-gravitational force, imagine the electrostatic or magnetostatic forces, there have to exist light enough particle species that are sufficiently charged so that their mutual non-gravitational forces exceed the gravitational ones.

Be sure that this hypothesis passes the experimental test – gravity is the weakest force in the world around us. But the point is that it couldn't have been otherwise.

This claim – an inequality of a sort – seems to be satisfied everywhere in string theory. Some partial proofs for classes of stringy vacua may be at least sketched. Moreover, even when you ignore any string constructions, the inequality is needed to avoid the black hole remnants which would make any theory of quantum gravity inconsistent. For remnants not to occur, extremal black holes have to be able to decay as well, and by charge and mass conservation laws, that's only possible if the mass/charge ratio of some of the Hawking particles they emit obeys the opposite inequality than the allowed black holes – when the Hawking particles act as "supraextremal black holes" when it comes to their charge/mass ratio.

Criminal character of the sanctions

For more than a decade or so, I have known that most of the EU-level officials are crappy politicians – and crappy human beings, for that matter – but I wouldn't have believed that they would go towards something as insane as a trade war against Russia.

Russia will undoubtedly retaliate but it doesn't even have to.

The point is that trade wars and sanctions always automatically affect both sides. There is a sense in which it is obvious that the overall damages are exactly the same on both sides. Well, one side may have a bigger trouble to replace the "forbidden" business partner with new ones than the other side. But in different cases, it's a different country that has the bigger problem. It's surely not always Russia.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Identical electrons in a nose you touched

Impenetrability of matter proves that generic questions about the intermediate evolution can't have sharp classical answers

Sabine Hossenfelder wrote a playful text

Can you touch your nose?
that partially answers this would-be deep question by philosophers.

You know, you never really touch your nose because there remains a gap between your hand and your nose. The atoms and electrons repel. Sabine correctly says that the Pauli exclusion principle preventing two electrons from being in "exactly the same state" is actually more important for the "impenetrability of matter law" than the Coulomb repulsion. She also correctly discusses that the definition of "you" may be subtle. The electrons and even atoms are constantly leaving and re-entering your body. As Feynman would say, "you" is really the approximate pattern that the particles love to recreate and the approximate dance that they like to dance, not a particular collection of particles.

Also, there may be sparks. When you're tickled by static electricity, you acquire at least several microcoulombs or so which translates to trillions of electrons. Lots of electrons are moving from one surface to another.

Monday, July 28, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

The sleeping beauty problem

Off-topic: Share\(\rm\LaTeX\) has had a facelift, I was told by the folks behind it
Sean Carroll's blog posts are getting stupider and stupider. The latest one is about the
Quantum Sleeping Beauty and the Multiverse
He believes that the blog post is about quantum mechanics or a "quantum version" of a silly problem that philosophers like to answer incorrectly. Of course, there is no quantum mechanics in his musings whatsoever. He hasn't even attempted to think quantum mechanically in his whole life and all his thinking has always been purely classical. In this case, he is thinking about the probabilities in a classical Universe with many worlds and a sleeping forgetful lady in it.



Miss Czechia 2012 Tereza Fajksová in Paris. How many legs does the sleeping beauty in a Škoda car have? I find the obsession of similar (Czech) women with getting the suntan excessive.

Even though it's purely classical, Carroll – along with some stupid philosophers – gives a completely wrong answer to a very trivial problem. What is it?

HL-LHC: 10-tesla shorter magnets are ready

The CERN website printed a cute engineering story about the Fermilab's success this spring:

Next-generation magnets: Small, but powerful
This fall, the Fermilab has shown a prototype of 10.4 tesla magnets.



The high-luminosity (=more collisions per second) large hadron collider (HL-LHC) will need some new collimators etc. and in order to squeeze them over there, one will need magnets that are both shorter and stronger.

To my nations

Guest blog by Franz Joseph I, July 28th '14
Original, JPG

His I&R [imperial and royal; "c. und k." in Czech, "k. und k." in German] Apostolic Majesty descended in order to most graciously publish this Highest blog post and a manifesto written by His own hand:

Dear count Stürgkh


It has been seen to Me to command the minister of My house and the foreign affairs to inform the royal government of Serbia that in between the Monarchy and Serbia the state of war has been initiated.

On this fateful moment I feel the need to turn to my beloved nations. I therefore order you to publicly announce the attached manifesto.

In Bad Ischl [Spa Town in Austria], on July 28th, 1914

Franz Joseph, with His own hand
Stürgkh, with his own hand

Saturday, July 26, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

What Born's rule can't be derived from

Sean Carroll continues to abuse his blog to promote his pseudoscientific would-be research:

Why Probability in Quantum Mechanics is Given by the Wave Function Squared
The article advertises his May 2014 preprint written along with a philosophy student, Charles Sebens. I have already discussed a text by these two authors in Measure for Measure... in May 2014. It turns out that they have written two very similar preprints. Yes, Sebens wrote another earlier paper – the title "Quantum Mechanics As Classical Physics" shows that this guy is hopeless, indeed.

First, sociologically, I think it is very unfortunate if the blogosphere is used for this self-promotion. The scientific community and the scientific public should evaluate the papers and ideas according to their quality and not according to the number of times when they are promoted in distorted blogs on the Internet. The Carroll-Sebens preprints are pure trash which is why, in an ideal world, they would immediately drop into the cesspool and no one would try to extract them again. We don't live in the ideal world. We live in a world where people are massively fed the objects from the cesspools by feeders such as Sean Carroll.

Friday, July 25, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Brainwashed sheep's obsession with "villain" Vladimir Putin

Several people who largely share my appraisal of the events in Ukraine and around Ukraine have sent me lots of incredible photographs and articles showing that the "mainstream" Western media got completely obsessed with Vladimir Putin.



This 29-year-old lady was threatened by a mayor to be deported from Holland and finally she fled the country by herself – taking BF Jorrit Faasen, 34, with her. In the current hysteria, the sufficient reason is the following: she is Maria Putin, Putin's daughter.

It's enough to search Google News for Putin if you want to obtain a rather incredible collection of totally nutty titles and whole articles about Putin. Just some of the titles (I didn't really have to filter it much):

US General Dempsey: Putin May 'Light a Fire' He Can't Stop in Ukraine

Dempsey: Putin's Moves Like 1939 Poland

Putin's voracious appetite is not sated

Putin’s Pal [a nasty attack against Stephen Cohen]

Putin's inner circle sheds light on his "sinister, lonely life"

The growing calls to strip Putin and Russia of the 2018 World Cup

Putin's Crime, Europe's Cowardice

Vladimir Putin is responsible for shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. His next move will matter most of all.
I could go on and on and on, for hours. Vladimir Putin is perhaps the next Adolf Hitler, maybe Adolf Hitler on steroids. He must have personally shot the Dutch airplane down, too.

Well, I have been following the Ukrainian events since the late 2013 very closely and one may see that Vladimir Putin hasn't done a damn thing. Perhaps the only thing he did was to do nothing ;-) against the Crimeans' efforts to escape a Ukraine that was conquered by a nationalist hysteria. Needless to say, every other Russian leader – and most leaders of other powers – would do exactly the same thing when their currently threatened, historical region massively asked for re-annexation.

Realistic heterotic non-supersymmetric models

Michael Blaszczyk (we will ultimately teach them to write it as "Blaščik" as any other decent non-Eastern Slavic nation) and three co-authors from German, Greek, and Mexican institutions wrote an interesting paper

Non-supersymmetric heterotic model building
where they show how naturally the \(SO(16)\times SO(16)\) heterotic string theory without supersymmetry is able to produce unifying models with one Higgs doublet, three generations, some logic inherited from non-supersymmetric \(SO(10)\) grand unified theories, and (almost?) nothing beyond the Standard Model at low energies.

Thursday, July 24, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Andy Strominger's 74 questions



While at Strings 2014, Clifford Johnson particularly liked one of the "visions talk", the talk by Andy Strominger.

Quantum Gravity and String Theory
Andy gave a realistic i.e. enthusiastic summary of the last three decades in the research of stringy quantum gravity. Most of the advances couldn't have been guessed 30 years ago, Andy observes, and "it is a mistake in science to imagine that you ever know the limits of what we can see", Andy quotes John Kovacs, the BICEP2 boss, who said it at the March 2014 Harvard colloquium.

The amount of progress in the last 30 years really looks impressive with the hindsight.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

An interesting interview with Dirac

A few days ago, we talked about Wigner's friend. But who was he?

Edwin Steiner told us about a remarkable interview with Paul Dirac that was done by one of Dirac's few friends (and brothers-in-law), Eugene Wigner, and by Thomas "paradigm shift" Kuhn:

Interview with P. A. M. Dirac By Thomas S. Kuhn and Eugene Paul Wigner At Wigner’s home, Princeton, New Jersey April 1, l962
Spoilers

Dirac talks about the absence of any social life during his childhood. He lived with his parents in an isolated house. The parents didn't sleep with each other and didn't even eat with each other. He could only talk to his father in French. He had one younger and one older sibling. One of them committed suicide at age of 24.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

CMS: a \(2.1\TeV\) right-handed \(W_R^\pm\)-boson

Since the beginning of this month, the ATLAS and CMS collaborations have reported several intriguing excesses such as the apparent enhancement of the \(W^+W^-\) cross section (which may be due to some large logarithms neglected by theorists, as a recent paper indicated), a flavor-violating Higgs decay, leptoquarks, and a higgsino excess, among others.

Bizarrely enough, all of us missed another, 2.8-sigma excess exactly one week ago:

CMS: Search for heavy neutrinos and \(W^\pm_R\) bosons with right-handed couplings in proton-proton collisions at \(\sqrt{s} = 8 \TeV\) (arXiv)
The ordinary \(W^\pm\)-bosons only interact with the left-handed component of the electron, muon, and tau, because only those transform nontrivially (as a doublet) under the relevant \(SU(2)_W\) part of the electroweak gauge group.

Monday, July 21, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Every 300th day in the bulk of a solar cycle is sunspot-free

...they are not that rare...

The Daily Mail is the most influential source that wrote that

Why has the sun gone quiet?

Scientists baffled as sun spots disappear during peak period of solar activity
Surely it must be a miracle that days without any sunspots began last week, inside the Solar Cycle 24. This shouldn't happen, should it? The Sun is going to be turned off, or at least an ice age is coming. But is it? Should we be stunned?



To answer the question, I downloaded the SIDC daily sunspot numbers from a website. Between January 1820 and June 2014, the database provided me with 68,076 daily sunspot numbers. With an 11-year quasiperiod, the sunspot numbers are changing between the minimum near 0 and the maximum between 50-100 or so.

Non-orthogonal quantum states are not mutually exclusive

"Interpreters" of quantum mechanics deny nothing less than Born's rule

In classical physics, if we know that the system has generalized coordinates \((x_i,p_i)\), i.e. that it sits at the corresponding point of the phase space, then we may say that it certainly doesn't have generalized coordinates \((x'_i,p'_i)\) if the collections of numbers differ,\[

(x_i,p_i)\neq (x'_i,p'_i).

\] Different points of the phase space are mutually exclusive even if they are very close to each other. This lesson holds in any classical theory, including classical field theory. If two configurations of a classical field differ as functions\[

\Phi(x,y,z)\neq \Phi'(x,y,z),

\] then we may say with certainty that if the system is found in the configuration \(\Phi(x,y,z)\), then it certainly isn't found in the configuration \(\Phi'(x,y,z)\), not even if the latter is close to the former (but not equal).

The people who are incapable of understanding that the quantum revolution has overthrown the general framework of classical physics almost universally assume that the state vector \(\ket\psi\) in quantum mechanics is a form of a classical variable. They're wrong and their being wrong has very dramatic consequences.

Saturday, July 19, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

CRESST defects from "dark matter is seen" coalition

A year or two years ago, several experiments were claiming the existence of rather similar signals of an apparent dark matter particle lighter than \(10\GeV\). The experimental groups were split almost evenly, to the "Dark Matter Is Seen" allies and the "Dark Matter Is Not Seen" axis.

LUX in South Dakota has totally changed the game 9 months ago and with its precise observations of nothing, it obliterated all the competing experiments that had claimed a signal. Those humiliated "Dark Matter Was Seen" experiments included DAMA, CDMS-Silicon, CoGeNT, and also... CRESST. It didn't become quite clear why they had seen something but with LUX's superiority, it was pretty much guaranteed that what they saw was a mirage i.e. an overlooked or poorly understood systematic effect or background.



As Jester points out, CRESST is no longer an ally and became a LUX-led axis member, too. Incidentally, the LUX experiment itself will be replaced by its king-sized cousin, LUX-ZEPLIN.

Thursday, July 17, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

It's suicidal to fly over New Russia these days

The mysteriously lost MH370 flight of the Malaysian Airlines hasn't been found and there's another tragedy for the company: MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down near Shakhtar in the Donetsk People's Republic, about 30 miles from the Russian border. The 295 people on board (280 passengers + 15 crew members) died.

I was saddened and shocked at the same moment. People get harassed with all kinds of security regulations but when it comes to the actual trajectories of airplanes, they continue to fly right above the de facto warzone as if nothing were happening over there.

Is time going slowly near the equator?

John Rennie – who is going to jump above me at Physics Stack Exchange in a few months unless I will find motivation to prevent him from doing so – has asked a very nice question:

Does time move slower at the equator?
The Earth is spinning so all people living at the equator are apparently moving at 464 m/s relatively to what seems like a "better inertial frame". By the special relativistic time dilation, this should slow their time by one part per trillion. That would be a 100 larger relative effect than the accuracy you may achieve with state-of-the-art atomic clocks.

Has someone measured this effect that should be measurable?

Christy in NYT, little girl, and school bus

The New York Times have published a relatively friendly story by Michael Wines about John Christy, a well-known climate skeptic:

Though Scorned by Colleagues, a Climate-Change Skeptic Is Unbowed
I say that the article is "relatively friendly" because it pictures Christy as a decent human being and an achieved enough expert while his opponents, the climate alarmists who have contaminated the community of atmospheric scientists, were shown as what they are, a cruel, fanatical, inhumane, Gestapo-like sect that won't even shake Christy's hand.

From an emotional viewpoint, they treat Christy well. However, as James Delingpole nicely discusses, there is some hidden negative message in the article because the author partly intends to legitimize the isolation of Christy in certain circles of his colleagues.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Non-empirical confirmation of theories

In science, confirmations are always ultimately empirical in character but science has always been more than just naive empiricism

A year ago, philosopher (and trained theoretical physicist) Richard Dawid wrote a book named String Theory and the Scientific Method where he essentially argued that science is becoming less dependent on empirical observations.



Off-topic: a huge black hole (diameter 80 meters) was discovered at the Yamal Peninsula, Siberia.

Two amazon.com reviewers admitted that they haven't read the book but as homeless losers, they don't like the price of the book. I have a trouble with this kind of "reviews". If they are homeless losers who can't afford to buy a product, why don't they just shut their mouth? Reviews should be written by someone who knows what he is reviewing. If they haven't seen the book, they can't even say whether the price is appropriate.

Maybe a week ago, Richard Dawid was interviewed by the 3 a.m. magazine:

String theory and post-empiricism
The photograph suggests that Dawid is Max Tegmark's twin brother.

People like Sabine Hossenfelder along with assorted über-šitheads whose names are banned on this blog (and who should be banned in the Solar System, too) disagreed with Dawid.

I am tired of these debates. The basic philosophical framework is so clear.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

U.K. government survey: climate optimists use less electricity than climate fearmongers

There are diverse ways to visualize a climate fearmonger.

You may think that a typical representative alarmist looks like a Luddite maggott who lives in the Stone Age, sleeps in the treetops, eats earthworms, and consumes no electricity.



Another, very different way to visualize a climate alarmist is to think about Al Gore, a hypocritical jerk who preaches about the reductions of the carbon footprint but whose household resembles a medium car factory and whose frequent flying emulates the evacuation of an island.

Which visualization is more accurate?

Monday, July 14, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Three pigeonholes in six physicists' brains

RAF has told us about a new quant-ph preprint

The quantum pigeonhole principle and the nature of quantum correlations
by Yakir Aharonov and five less famous co-authors. Their paper claims to disprove the apparently trivial proposition
If you put 3 pigeons in 2 pigeonholes, at least one pair of pigeons (12/23/31) ends up in the same pigeonhole.
It should be true because the number of pigeonholes is lower than the number of pigeons so they can't be hosted in accordance with the Pauli exclusion principle.



But is that statement right quantum mechanically? The authors claim that the seemingly obvious proposition isn't right which is why quantum mechanics assaults the "very core" of what numbers are and all the mathematics – lots of big words.

One must avoid prejudices. The technical claim in the paper may be right or wrong, and they may either say that they have found a problem with quantum mechanics (like hundreds of cranks love to claim these days) or not (just another example of the failures of the common sense). Which option is right?

Sunday, July 13, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

A new feminist attack on Richard Feynman

PC ideologue and cosmologist Matthew Francis wrote a rant titled

The problem of Richard Feynman
We learn that "Feynman is no hero to us" – he's surely a hero to me – and that Feynman was a "sexist" in attitudes and especially actions which must be so bad.



We are told that it's so bad that he was picking girls in bars. Feynman would pretend he was an undergraduate and had some successes with girls, including the graduate students' girlfriends.

Well, Feynman could afford to market himself as an undergraduate because he looked like one – and he was spiritually a lively undergraduate for most of his life.

Saturday, July 12, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Tennis, taxes, patriotism, and jealousy

Taxes are a form of institutionalized theft. When they get too high, subjectively or objectively, successful people start to escape – covertly or overtly – the nation that is stealing in this way. That's why Depardieu became a Russian chap.



Czech tennis players (plus some other athletes) generally employ their residence in Monaco to get rid of their Czech taxes. It is totally legal and understandable. Our best female tennis player is open and honest about it and I appreciate it. Needless to say, if I could legally save millions in this way (and if I found the amount of paperwork "doable"), I would do the same.

Yesterday, a socialist lawmaker named Stanislav Huml (formerly a politician for Public Affairs VV; during communism, he was a communist party member and a cop; in 2006, he was running for a Eurofanatical party; in 2011, he switched to Jana Bobošíková's strongly Euroskeptical party for a while – quite a record) ignited a tax haven storm; see e.g. Radio Prague or Mid Day or others in English (or hundreds of Czech media sources).

Friday, July 11, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

A 8,000-year-old dam found near Pilsen

...just a minor report of regional importance...

Four miles from my home, in the village of Kyšice, they are building the new tunnels and tracks for the sped up Pilsen-Prague railway path. I know Kyšice very well not just because it's only 3 miles from my home but because I like to pick walnuts over there every fall. You know, the tree dares to transcend the private garden and reach the public roads which has consequences. ;-)



See a blog post about the railway project. It's a standard practice that archaeologists are checking the place before they irreversibly transform it.

Isaac Newton, the überhistorian

We know Isaac Newton as the founder of classical physics in the modern sense and perhaps the most ingenious scientist in the mankind's history. He's been doing many impressive things and some of them look crazy. But before you suggest that Newton wasn't the top expert in pretty much every discipline he touched, you should read his

The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended by Isaac Newton
which was published as an e-book in 2005.

Thursday, July 10, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

CMS "sees" \(650\GeV\) leptoquarks

It seems pretty obvious to me by now that the LHC experiments were publishing lots of papers where things look "clear" and nothing new is observed and they were increasingly scrutinizing and postponing the searches and surveys that are potentially "seeing something new". Just to be sure, one may feel uncomfortable about this bias because the message extracted from the papers published before a moment \(t\) is skewed. On the other hand, this bias is understandable because extraordinary claims deserve extraordinary care (and require extraordinary evidence).



So one should arguably accept that it takes a longer time to complete papers with "positive claims" – and at the same moment, everyone should be aware of this bias and realize that the body of papers published up to an early enough moment looks more conservative than the actual evidence that the experimenters are probably seeing at that moment. You simply have to accept that the literature can't be mindlessly trusted as a faithful picture of "what science actually knows right now", and this bias is just one minor aspect of this disclaimer.

The avalanche of anomalies in new papers published since the early July 2014 seems too strong to me to consider this clustering a set of coincidences. Note that ATLAS has published a paper on the anomalously high \(W^+W^-\) cross section and CMS saw that an estimated 1% of Higgs decays go to \(\mu^\pm \tau^\mp\), a flavor-violating combination that should be nearly absent and where the excess is 2.5 sigma.

Mathematica 10 released

Stephen Wolfram and colleagues have released a new version of Wolfram Mathematica, Mathematica 10:

Launching Mathematica 10— with 700+ New Functions and a Crazy Amount of R&D (Wolfram Blog)
It's said to be the greatest jump in the functionality ever.



The new functions include, interestingly for me (who just jumped from 3.76 to 3.78 in the contest), machine learning.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Bored scientists now just sticking random things into LHC

What are the LHC physicists doing when they're not on vacations, guest blogging, or insulting members of the TRF community? ;-)


Bored Scientists Now Just Sticking Random Things Into Large Hadron Collider

It's posted here so that you may see it before you learn it from the BBC, MSNBC, the Wall Street Journal, or another mainstream source.

Poroshenko: we will move money from "useless" science to weapons

Two days ago, the de facto president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko offered us another explanation why I classify the current leaders of the country as an inhumane and counterproductive fascist junta that is making things worse.

This July 7th press release on Poroshenko's website (EN) says:

"There will be no more spending of billions of people's money, taxpayers' money on research programs that nobody needs and that have only served to the elements of theft. Today, the Ukrainian production will be occupied with precision weapons systems, Ukrainian drones, and everything that the Ukrainian army needs - from bullet-proof vests to thermal cameras," Poroshenko said.
Translation by LM. Poroshenko – who was assuring his military of his support in their terror against the ethnic Russians in the East – doesn't even try to pretend a civilized face.

Monday, July 07, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Droplets and pilot waves vs quantum mechanics

I've been overwhelmed by the sheer amount of idiocy about quantum mechanics that we may encounter in the would-be scientific mainstream media. A new wave of nonsense claiming that someone overthrew quantum mechanics is appearing on a daily basis. Please, don't send me links to this stuff, there has been just way too much of this worthless trash that is getting worse and worse.

The first individuals who would start campaigns against theoretical physics a decade ago – various Shmoits – should have been given a proper thrashing at that time so that they wouldn't climb out of the sewerage system again. We have failed miserably and just like I predicted, similar anti-science compaigns are increasingly strong, increasingly stupid, and attacking increasingly fundamental (and increasingly elementary) layers of modern of science. It was "just" string theory 8 years ago, now it is quantum mechanics. By 2020, heliocentrism is sure to be under attack, too.

About 8 people sent me links to this story about the droplets "proving" that quantum mechanics isn't based on probabilities and is governed by something like the pilot wave theory.

What If There's a Way to Explain Quantum Physics Without the Probabilistic Weirdness? (Colin Schultz, Smithsonian.com)

Have We Been Interpreting Quantum Mechanics Wrong This Whole Time? (Natalie Wolchover, Quanta Magazine)
The story is that Bush et al. at MIT did some playful experiments with droplets and the conclusion is supposed to be that this strengthens the case for de Broglie's pilot wave theory.



Sure.

Saturday, July 05, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

New LHC diboson excesses point to light SUSY

Guest blog by Tommaso Dorigo (CMS), a vocal SUSY denier who is starting to [verb] into his pants

Among the many more-or-less boring news from the ICHEP conference (International Conference on High Energy Physics), which is presently going on in Valencia (Spain), one bit today is sending good vibrations through the spine of many of the few phenomenologists who have chosen to remain faithful to the idea of Supersymmetry all the way to the bitter end. It is the excess of diboson events that ATLAS has just reported there. (See TRF on Thursday.)

\(W^\pm\) bosons are the massive particles discovered in 1983 by Carlo Rubbia at the CERN SppS collider. They govern weak interactions, the ones responsible for radioactive decays as well as for some of the processes going on in the stars' cores. \(W^\pm\) bosons can be produced in pairs through quite standard electroweak processes in particle collisions if the available energy is sufficiently high. And indeed, the pair production of \(W^\pm\) bosons has been studied since the late nineties at the Tevatron, at the LEP II collider, and then of course at the LHC.

Quantum mechanics doesn't really imply solipsism

The subjective character of certain processes doesn't mean that there aren't other subjects

Stubborn warriors against proper quantum mechanics often like to say that the theory, as it's stated, is incomplete, incorrect, or ludicrous because it leads to "solipsism" and that's why one of their "fixes" is needed. Wikipedia defines this meme as follows:

Solipsism (/ˈsɒlɨpsɪzəm/ from Latin solus, meaning "alone", and ipse, meaning "self") is the philosophical idea that only one's own mind is sure to exist. As an epistemological position, solipsism holds that knowledge of anything outside one's own mind is unsure; the external world and other minds cannot be known, and might not exist outside the mind. As a metaphysical position, solipsism goes further to the conclusion that the world and other minds do not exist.
You see that the idea has several "flavors". Its "epistemological" edition (=one related to the "philosophy about knowing") only talks about "things that are sure to exist" while its stronger, "metaphysical" version flatly says that the world and other minds do not exist. So different interpretations of this vague musing of philosophers are more right or more wrong than others. Science isn't obliged to say that philosophies like that have to be either sharply right or sharply wrong, and they're excellent questions in any case. Instead, science usually does say – and this is no exception – that philosophies are mixed bags with some vaguely right things and vaguely or sharply wrong things. This identifies this philosophy – and philosophy in general – as pretty much worthless ill-defined noise that is at most emotionally interesting but that isn't a good starting point to properly understand Nature, especially because it hides lots of fundamental misconceptions (and decorates and defends them with pompous linguistic constructs).

The haters of the new framework for physics that was concisely formulated and developed in Copenhagen like to use the word "solipsism" as an expletive of a sort that is supposed to defend their own views. This approach implicitly assumes the following classification of the basic possible frameworks how to think about Nature or the world or reality or everything and anything:
Their scientific, intrinsically 19th century world view (there is objective reality described by a set of objectively well-defined numbers that obey certain objective laws of physics)

Unscientific, metaphysical, religious beliefs
I wrote the first entry in bold because that's the type of thinking that is considered – in this case, considered by the anti-quantum zealots – to be correct. However, the 20th century physics has shown something completely different.

Friday, July 04, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Sheldon Cooper roots for a non-Czech Wimbledon finalist

...and the obvious prospective loser, princess Eugenie...

This isn't supposed to be a serious blog post so readers insisting on deep science and ideas are recommended to ignore it.

Quantum computing news: a paper in Science argues that the D-Wave would-be quantum computer doesn't seem to speed up even several of the tasks where it could have had a chance.
In April, the writers of the otherwise excellent The Big Bang Theory sitcom turned Sheldon into a retarded guy when they made him claim that he only began to study string theory because some bullies used to beat him with a string theory textbook. It isn't really possible to learn string theory or learn to appreciate string theory by this algorithm; and it's equally impossible to abandon string theory for the mirror reasons that were described in that episode.



But the photographers have caught Jim Parsons in another awkward situation. Click the picture above this sentence to see more photographs and details.

Thursday, July 03, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Isn't Higgs a sneutrino dressed as a man?

Related LHC news: Both ATLAS and CMS released lots of new papers and preprints today. Perhaps most interestingly, ATLAS' measurement of the WW cross section still shows a uniform 2-sigmish excess in all channels after the 20/fb of the 2012 data which keeps the idea of light stops alive. Note that the paper is based on a set of collisions that is disjoint from the previous collisions that also showed an excess. In another ATLAS paper on \(t\bar t\), Monte Carlo models underestimate multijet events (another excess). Also, CMS is seeing a non-signal-like 2.6-sigma (locally) excess in the search for a sub-200-GeV higgsino, in the 30-90 GeV transverse energy channel of trileptons and tetraleptons. It really does seem like the interesting, non-SM-like LHC papers were being delayed.
Carla Biggio wrote a serious paper about a question that is so playful and ambitious that it may look silly to most particle physicists:
Is the standard model scalar the first discovered SUSY particle?
Supersymmetry predicts the doubling of the spectrum of all particles. Each fermion has a bosonic superpartner and vice versa. The traditional lore is that all the "old" particles that have to exist even without SUSY have been seen, while exactly the new particles predicted by SUSY (the superpartners) haven't been seen.



A new pictogram near Boskovice. Police isn't brave enough to accuse the extraterestrial aliens yet (especially because they seem to be NATO members) but hundreds of tourists probably beg to differ. ;-)

But isn't it possible that we have already seen a superpartner? Can't two of the particle species that experimenters already know be superpartners of each other? Let's look at all the possible combinations.

Higgs contest: the hard way to return to top 3

Now it's a good (but not stellar) moment for the Higgs ATLAS-Kaggle challenge. If you look at its leaderboard, only one minor permutation of the top 7 rankings (879 teams compete in total) has occurred in the last 7 days:



Due to a permutation of the top 2 places exactly 7 days ago, this screenshot became a bit obsolete minutes after I posted it.

And – the T.A.G. duo will surely agree – it is a small change in a good direction. ;-) And it was so hard to achieve this small change of the AMS score! What have I done?

Wednesday, July 02, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Many worlds pseudoscience, again

When Hugh Everett, a PhD student, wrote some bizarre papers about "alternative foundations" of quantum mechanics in the late 1950s, he was allowed to speak about it in Copenhagen etc. Niels Bohr et al. saw that there was no valid physics in the papers whatsoever. The chap only wanted to be a critic whatever it costs, regardless of the absence of any evidence, and Bohr knew it was too little. He discussed these things with the chap's adviser, John Wheeler, and everyone agreed that this guy shouldn't continue as a professional physicist simply because he didn't have enough talent and understanding for that.



In the following 55+ years, there has been no development that would strengthen the case for Mr Everett's musings. On the contrary, the experimental evidence and the modern crystallization of the quantum mechanical insights have made it increasingly clear that these musings were fundamentally wrong and proper quantum mechanics is the only viable theory to describe the relevant phenomena – which are really all processes in Nature.

However, what has changed is that the Academia has been literally flooded by mediocre, incompetent pseudo-intellectuals similar to Hugh Everett – usually much worse and more inadequate than Everett himself. Sean Carroll is a textbook example of this sign of the degradation of the contemporary Academia which is why he wrote another text defending the indefensible,

Why the Many-Worlds Formulation of Quantum Mechanics Is Probably Correct
Holy crap.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Ode to Joy: the right body posture

This video made me smile tonight. The European "Parliament" in Strasbourg invited some musicians. They would play a wonderful hackneyed song by Ludwig van Beethoven, one of my favorite catchy 18th century melodies.



See also a somewhat sharper video from different angles.

But what is the right body posture when such a song is being played?

The British conservatives were sitting. But that's actually not the right answer. It's right to stand up and to look forward, in the same direction as the musicians. You may see the man on the left side at 0:08, the boss of Britain's most powerful party in the European "Parliament", Nigel Farage.