## Wednesday, June 19, 2013 ... /////

### Kenneth Wilson, RIP

Kenneth Wilson died from complications of lymphoma (a blood cancer) in Saco, Maine (where he and his wife were previously brought due to their love for kayaking) on Saturday, aged 77 years and 1 week. He received his Nobel Prize in 1982. His adviser was Murray Gell-Mann and students included Jackiw, Shenker, Peskin, and Ginsparg.

See also: WSJ, WaPo, Yahoo, NECN, Newsday, Google News, Physics World, Cornell, Press Herald, John Preskill, Clifford Johnson, a Shmoit
More importantly, he taught us about the concepts of effective field theories and the renormalization group that have explained why the renormalization works – and many other things. Many folks – a set that includes my PhD ex-adviser Tom Banks – classify Wilson's insights as the deepest advance of theoretical physics since the 1970s. Despite these experts' opinions, Wilson remained largely unknown to the public throughout his life.

### Hooper: XENON100 may have seen DM candidates, too

...if it's so, LUX will observe 1-6 DM particles a week...

Update 6/19: This astro-ph preprint says that LUX is already doing science and the results of a 60-day run will be out by the end of 2013, promising to brutally beat any competitor in their reach. Except for this short paragraph, this blog entry was posted on 6/10.

Dan Hooper of Fermilab released an interesting new salvo in the dark matter's war on existence,

Revisiting XENON100's Constraints (and Signals?) For Low-Mass Dark Matter.
Recall that the set of underground experiments that are trying to directly catch the particles of dark matter is divided to two violently competing subsets: one of them, the axis, vigorously claims that there can't be any signal in the other experiments. The leader of this axis is the XENON100 experiment whose claimed constraints are far more powerful than the upper bounds on the cross section published by the XENON100's allies.

On the other hand, the alliance of experiments that have already claimed to observe a rather strong signal of a dark matter particle, one whose mass seems to be 7-10 GeV (significantly lighter particles than those in the models that dominate in the phenomenological literature but in no way impossible), is apparently getting stronger every month. It seems that we're somewhere around 1943 in this particular war.

## Tuesday, June 18, 2013 ... /////

### Most species originate in the tropics

Yesterday was the first really good day of 2013 to swim in a pond – two months later than in 2012 – and today is the first supertropical day of the otherwise cloudy year 2013 with temperatures reaching 35 °C in Pilsen where the warmth has its headquarters. Prague was colder but 33.5 °C was still enough (by 0.3 °C) to beat the record for this day which didn't occur in 2012 but in... 1934. ;-) A tropical topic may therefore be appropriate.

Because Slovak geologist Mr Adam Tomášových is among the 8 authors of the paper, the science section of the Slovak daily Sme.sk reviewed the article

Out of the tropics, but how? Fossils, bridge species, and thermal ranges in the dynamics of the marine latitudinal diversity gradient
written by David Jablonski et al. and published in PNAS. See also futurity.org.

They looked at three slices of Cenozoic (from 66 million AD through now) and decided that most marine genera originated in the tropics. You may view the paper as a followup to the "out of the tropics" mechanism coined by Jablonski and others in 2006.

## Monday, June 17, 2013 ... /////

### All proofs in natural and social sciences ultimately depend on probabilities

Mel B. has sent me a link pointing to a rather incredible attack by an economics professor on the statistical methods in science that was published in the Financial Post:

Junk Science Week: Unsignificant statistics
Stephen Ziliak doesn't want to believe the existence of the Higgs boson – or any other "proof" in science that is based on the notion of statistical significance. In fact, we learn – in big fonts – that
Statistical significance is junk science, and its big piles of nonsense are spoiling the research of more than particle physicists.
Wow. It's remarkable because with this deep misunderstanding of the very key part of any rational thinking, this Gentleman can't possibly understand anything about the proper verification of theories in economics, his field, either. I would argue that because of this lethal flaw in the author's approach to rational reasoning, it is guaranteed at 5 sigma that your humble correspondent and many other physicists and scientists simply have to be better economists than Mr Ziliak, too. He just can't have a clue about the scientific approach to anything.

Statistical significance is absolutely paramount in the verification of hypotheses in all natural sciences as well as all social sciences that more or less successfully try to emulate the scientific character and success of the natural sciences.

## Sunday, June 16, 2013 ... /////

### Mike Duff vs an anti-string layman

Giotis has pointed out an argument published in the Guardian:

A theory of everything ... has physics gone too far?
Mike Duff of the Imperial College tries to teach something about the foundations of physics to a self-confident layman called Jim Baggott (yes, I had to press backspace when I instinctively started his surname with an F) who is obsessed with irrational critiques of the state-of-the-art physics and who has even written a book based on all these fallacies (see the link below).

The title of the article asserting that "physics that has gone too far" is a rather accurate picture of the basic nature of the string theory's critics – their proximity to the Inquisition that wants to dictate which boundaries science isn't allowed to surpass. Science is "allowed" to surpass any boundaries. Any question where a sufficient body of evidence and relationships between the known and hypothesized facts may be developed is likely to become a fruitful subdiscipline of science. String theory undoubtedly belongs to this list.

### Valentina Tereshkova: 50 years ago

Exactly 50 years ago, on June 16th, 1963, the first woman went to outer space.

The story of Valentina Tereshkova is also a story of the remarkable similarity between the propaganda tools of the Soviet Union and those employed by feminism and other pathological ideologies of the contemporary Western society.

Gagarin, Popovich, Tereshkova, Khruschchev...

For some time, the Soviet Union appeared to be ahead of the U.S. in the space race. Sending a female cosmonaut to the orbit was a natural next argument designed to support the (preposterous) claims that communism was technologically superior to capitalism.

To make the message really strong and ideologically convenient, many details of the selection had to be social-engineered and many facts about the spaceflight had to be censored for decades.

## Saturday, June 15, 2013 ... /////

### There is no classical world

...even Sean Carroll may say true things about the foundations of physics...

How is it possible? Well, quantum mechanics implies that if a process isn't prohibited by some absolute laws such as symmetries and conservation laws, it may happen even though the probability may be very tiny (like in quantum tunneling; or in Carroll's authorship of valid sentences about quantum or statistical physics).

Sean Carroll decided to promote an animated cartoon film on quantum mechanics, previously embedded in John Preskill's blog – it's nicely done but you may ultimately think that it's missing a Wow factor – and he said some correct things.

The most important one appears in the title: there is no classical world. Carroll correctly states a self-evident fact – that is nevertheless underappreciated by many – that classical physics is just an approximation for certain phenomena. It becomes increasingly more relevant or accurate when objects and processes become more classical (which usually means bigger) but it never becomes exactly true.

Let me admit that whenever Carroll writes such a thing, one that contradicts Carroll's hardwired emotions and sentiments, I can't get rid of the impression that he was just persuaded by John Preskill to do so. It seems somewhat implausible to me that after all these passionate posts he wrote about the need for realism and the extensive space he has given to "philosophers" i.e. crackpots who try to interpret quantum mechanics as an illusion ultimately boiling down to a classical model, he would voluntarily write what he wrote now. But good that he did it, anyway.

## Friday, June 14, 2013 ... /////

### Czech police raid on lobbyists and politicians

Trained plasma physicist and Czech prime minister Petr Nečas' government named some prosecutors and created the environment in which they may investigate and efficiently combat corruption and other economic crime on the interface of the public and commercial sectors.

Ms Jana Bradáčová is the "Czech Cattanni" who has energized these efforts and caught David Rath, a prince of the socialist democratic party, with $350,000 in a box from wine. Mr Petr Nečas with his wife Radka Nečasová, the brunette, and his chief of staff Ms Jana Nagyová who is also his rumored lover. There's a general 2-sigma signal indicating that Czech prime ministers often prefer to abandon their marriage in favor of a blondier woman. Yesterday, police made a raid on some lobbyists and politicians (mostly nominally center-right politicians) in Prague that some global media consider the greatest scandal in the Czech history. Well, perhaps. Perhaps not. ## Thursday, June 13, 2013 ... ///// ### Amazon: 3D printers below$1,200

When Howard Wolowitz bought a 3D printer to print figures of himself, Rajesh Koothrappali, Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz, and other heroes of The Big Bang Theory, he had to be chastised by Bernadette because it was her money and it was $5,000 of them. (Incidentally, I made some research of the 1200 XT 3D modeler PRO device that appeared in the CBS sitcom and I am pretty confident that it's a renamed 3D Systems InVision XT 3D Printer.) But an ex-president of the Harvard Funds and the famous Pirate of Prague, Viktor Kožený, a technological enthusiast who has just gotten access to$22 million of dollars from his (mother's) cottage in Aspen, Colorado but who became a target of a new execution in Czechia at the same moment (he once offered me to become a shadow minister of education which I kindly refused), recommended me to check the rather new 3D Printers Category at amazon.com and I was kind of impressed how accessible those things have become.

### International Linear Collider: Technical Design Report out

Yesterday, as I learned from the CERN website and a CERN press release, the Linear Collider Collaboration (obtained by merging the officials behind ILC and CLIC) has released the ILC Technical Design Report, including a free and colorful 60-page PDF booklet.

It may be meaningful to mention Table 2.1 of that PDF file that describes the planned experiments with their center-of-mass energy.

## Wednesday, June 12, 2013 ... /////

### Murry Salby: CO2 is the integral of temperature

...in the past, on short timescales, it has therefore fluctuated rapidly...

Honza [=Jan] U. sent me the following one-hour April 2013 talk by Prof Murry Salby of Australia's Macquarie University:

This astrophysicist and atmospheric scientist has a rather impressive publication record. At the beginning, I was a bit discouraged by Pierre Gosselin's summary that suggested that Salby was making some widespread elementary errors about the direct attribution of CO2 emissions according to their isotopic composition (the extra CO2 we see in the atmosphere generally has a very different composition than the CO2 when we emitted it, because the carbon is being quickly recycled all the time while chemistry doesn't care about the differences between isotopes but it's still true that our additions of CO2 have increased the CO2 concentration).

But I was wrong, Salby isn't doing these particular trivial mistakes and when I ultimately listened to the talk, it looked rather impressive.

## Tuesday, June 11, 2013 ... /////

### Finding and abandoning incorrect general relativity lore

While I was buying and installing my new fridge, I kept on burning my brain by analyzing various refinements and implications of the paper by Maldacena and Susskind.

Some business with the M2-brane topology change and entanglement looked too obvious to me so I returned to the question how do the black hole exterior and interior really interact. The burning of the brain is composed of various steps that combine and recombine analytic continuation, diverse choices of coordinates, unusual ways to redefine the connectedness of the spacetime, and connections between previously disconnected regions through the complexified spacetime.

At each step, I try to ask not only HOW does it work but also WHY a particular trick that looks clever at a given moment should be picked and WHETHER it is inevitable or unique. Some of the partial conclusions are more convincing than others but I don't want to waste your time with an incomplete picture.

Instead, let me mention that we're probably victims of some bad habits and ultimately invalid lore related to the way how we think about certain issues in general relativity.

## Sunday, June 09, 2013 ... /////

### Bohr model: 100 years ago

One hundred years ago, in July 1913, when the author was 28 years old, Philosophical Magazine received Niels Bohr's manuscript on his model of the atom. Happy birthday. Both 25-page papers are available in English here:

On the Constitution of Atoms and Molecules I
On the Constitution of Atoms and Molecules II
Bohr's model was wrong in details – and he should have been able to see it – but the papers clarified many aspects of nuclear and atomic physics. Bohr referred to Rutherford, Thomson, and others. But only after Bohr's paper, nuclear physics started to be carefully distinguished from atomic physics. For example, Rutherford received the 1908 Nobel prize in chemistry. These days, we would surely not think that nuclear physics is chemistry.

## Saturday, June 08, 2013 ... /////

### Toshiba's Westinghouse claims to be the Czech nuclear frontrunner

While the Czech media discuss politicians' opinions on whether we need an expansion of the Temelín nuclear power plant at all – because of the expected drop in coal and gas prices (due to shale oil) – the Japanese investigative journalists claim that they already know that we need it and the Japanese industrial group is likely to win.

Shinzo Abe, center-right Japanese PM

The leading Czech power utility, ČEZ, will decide whether Temelín will be expanded and who will get the \$10 billion contract in Fall 2013. The French state-owned Areva was eliminated in a previous round because it was claimed that some basic conditions weren't fulfilled – Areva is trying to appeal but the chances are slim – which leaves us with two candidate projects: American and Russian. Being right in the middle of American and Russian interests (or, in some contexts, German-Austrian and Russian) is something that a genuinely central European country like ours is intimately used to.

Well, more precisely, they're a Czech-Russian plan and a Japanese-American one. The Czech-Russian group is composed of Gidropress (RU), Atomstroiexport (RU), and Škoda JS (CZ), while the Japanese-American project is proposed by Westinghouse (US) which belongs to the Toshiba Group (JP).

### Maldacena, Susskind: any entanglement is a wormhole of a sort

...more precisely, EPR is equivalent to ER...

Juan Maldacena and Leonard Susskind wrote a cool paper attacking the horizons of our current understanding of quantum gravity which may look convoluted if not entangled to many readers, which may swallow your attention like a black hole, and which is called

Cool horizons for entangled black holes.
I suppose that the paper was created after Juan Maldacena explained to Lenny Susskind why his recent pro-firewall paper was wrong. Both Maldacena and Susskind have thought about similar things for quite some time but there are many reasons – including my knowledge of the genesis of this modest paper – why I think that the active claims and "choices of the right answers" are Juan's, not Lenny's. ;-)