Friday, September 04, 2015 ... /////

Nothing wrong with IDs for illegal immigrants

People who prevent cops from doing their work must be treated as criminals

Just during one month of July 2015, about 100,000 people arrived from the Middle East and North Africa to Europe. Some people have called it the greatest refugee crisis since the Second World War.

The crisis is not something that influences the lives of most Europeans at this very moment – and I assure TV viewers in America that you can't observe anything on the streets of a generic European city such as Pilsen. But most people understand that this can't become the business-as-usual because at this rate, a century would be enough for the immigrants to become a majority on the Old Continent. The countries would probably cease to function in the old-fashioned, European way much earlier than that.

The immigration wave has many reasons. The recent chaos in the Muslim world – which was partly caused by unwise interventions by some Western countries – has "helped". But the dynamics can't be fully attributed to it. Many people just began to "copy" this new fad. Sometimes, the immigrants seem innocent enough – like the former Tunisian boyfriend of a relative of mine (...) who is already "here" (got married in Italy). I slightly know him and don't believe he will be a burden for Italy but many others certain will – and even innocent people may be a problem if there are too many.

They heard that it's possible, there is some chance, so they're trying. The ships to transport the people are ready and operating. At the end, the main motivation for them to move are economic interests. We may say lots of negative things about the economy and future of Europe but at this moment, it's still an amazingly attractive oasis for billions of people in the world.

Thursday, September 03, 2015 ... /////

CMS: a $2.9\TeV$ electron-positron pair resonance

A model with exactly this prediction was published in June

Two days ago, I discussed four LHC collisions suggesting a particle of mass $5.2\TeV$. Today, just two days later, Tommaso Dorigo described a spectacular dielectron event seen by CMS on August 22nd. See also the CERN document server; CERN graduate students have to prepare a PDF file for each of the several quadrillion collisions. ;-)

On that Tuesday, the world stock markets were just recovering from the two previous cataclysmic days while the CMS detector enjoyed a more pleasing day with one of the $13\TeV$ collisions that have turned the LHC into a rather new kind of a toy.

This is how the outcome of the collision looked from the direction of the beam. The electron and positron were flying almost exactly in the opposite direction, each having about $1.25\TeV$ of transverse energy. A perfectly balanced picture.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015 ... /////

Destruction of Palmyra is worse than several murders

In his text Bel's Temple In Palmyra Is No More, Tommaso Dorigo trivializes the destruction of the Temple of Bel in Palmyra, central Syria, by the Islamic State.

He's "ashamed" that the Western media care about the fate of the temple more than about another daily dose of murders. After all, the Islamic warriors are just "vandals" and what they destroyed were just "few rocks piled on top of one another". We clearly couldn't agree on anything.

GR, QG: horizons, gravitational waves, Hawking radiation etc. are more than beliefs

We haven't visited a black hole – no one will ever return alive from the black hole interior. We haven't directly and/or clearly observed the Hawking radiation, the Unruh radiation, a singularity in general relativity, gravitational waves let alone gravitons, excited strings, additional compactified spatial dimensions, superpartners, quanta of the inflaton field, regions with a different value of the inflaton field, regions with differently compactified extra dimensions than our way, and many other things.

Nevertheless, theoretical physicists generally assume that all those things – or at least most of them – exist. They do so most of the time. They say that they "believe" that those things are needed. Is the word "believe" another proof that their activity has evolved into a religion?

Not at all. The words "I believe X" simply means "my opinion is that X is probably right". Both religious and irreligious people have the right to "believe". The churches have no monopoly over the word. And religious and irreligious people may become convinced about something equally staunchly and feel the same psychological certainty about something. Where the churches differ from the scientists is in the methods to arrive to a "belief".

The methods matter. And because they're so different, science – including modern physics – is something totally different than religion, despite some similarities that may exist as well.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015 ... /////

Richard Muller vs basics of general relativity

Does anyone care that a well-known instructor at Berkeley has no clue about modern physics?

Dilaton, Bill, and Rehbock were among those who followed the newer exchanges under the comment by Richard Muller of Berkeley who has essentially stated that modern physics was a religion (link to Quora).

Some of the newer answers that have appeared there convey the old important points and some new ones – including the comments by David Simmons-Duffin of IAS Princeton (I am still proud for having sold him my furniture), Scott Stratton, and of course also Dilaton and Rehbock. The most important point is that it is simply not a scientific attitude to ignore all expectations – probabilistic statements – that have arisen from the scientific research. After all, all insights that science is giving us only tell us that something is more likely or much more likely and something is less likely or much less likely. To dismiss the existing, albeit arguably "not 100% rigorous and loophole-free", arguments that the general postulates of quantum mechanics can't be deformed (and lots of other things that the researchers generally assume) means to place one's own prejudices above the scientific method.

Both CMS and ATLAS see $5.2\TeV$ dijet (and trijet)

One month ago, I discussed two intriguing dijet events seen by the CMS collaboration at the LHC. They had a pretty high mass. An event from the $8\TeV$ run in 2012 had the total mass of $5.15\TeV$ while a fresh event from the $13\TeV$ run in 2015 had the total mass of $5.0\TeV$ or so.

Two collisions isn't a terribly high number so these events, even though their energy is really higher than the energy of the "following" high-energy events, may deserve to be ignored even more strictly than the bumps in many other searches.

Perhaps, to make you more excited, you were saying, the competitors at ATLAS would have to see the $5.2\TeV$ event as well. Moreover, a miracle should better cut the $0.2\TeV$ gap between the two CMS events. What happened a month later?

Ladies and Gentlemen, the competitors at ATLAS have seen the $5.2\TeV$ event as well. Moreover, CMS has adjusted their energies and the $5.0\TeV$ event from the 2015 run is quoted as a $5.2\TeV$ event as well so the gap is gone! And as a bonus, ATLAS has also seen a $5.2\TeV$ event in a multijet analysis. Isn't it starting to look intriguing?

Monday, August 31, 2015 ... /////

Saner oil prices: an expansion of OPEC could be a good idea

As kids, we were taught that cartels were a terrible thing. They represented the transition from the evil free market capitalism to the even more evil imperialism, the second stage of communism, which is controlled by multinational cartels. I've never parroted this stuff in front of a teacher but I hope that they would give me an A now. ;-)

Needless to say, this hostility towards cartels was sort of "confirmed" by the post-Velvet-Revolution capitalism, too. In fact, just like the systems of most Western countries, the Czech legal system is full of assorted laws and bureaus designed to fight against cartels and monopolies. Don't get me wrong: the competition is usually essential for capitalism to work well. But cartels may be beneficial as well and the top-down social-engineering of the markets attempting to create competition artificially is a counterproductive left-wing misconception.

Certain industries work very well when the number of competitors is relatively low. In that case, some activities are not uselessly copied. In some cases, a country may suffer because it has too little competition; but there can be too much excessive competition, too. The ideal number of competitors depends on the context, the market decides about the value dynamically, and no social engineer may ever be smarter than the invisible hand of the markets. Even though I am no fan of Islam – and people whose main achievement is their sitting on pressurized liquid ground pines – it seems to me that even OPEC has played a helpful role since its birth in 1960.

I am often getting e-mail from Quora.com, a server where people ask and answer questions. I am largely avoiding that server because while some texts over there may be insightful or interesting, there are tons of widely spread delusions written by the ordinary people for other ordinary people. They often drive me up the wall, I think that I've been exposed to that stuff many times, and I just don't want to add any exposure.

But today, I clicked at the Theoretical Physics category over there and was quickly led to a question about the unification of general relativity and quantum mechanics. It was the answer by Richard Muller of Berkeley that has simply stunned me.

Sunday, August 30, 2015 ... /////

Xindl X, Mirka Miškechová: Female stranger in your country

By Mr Xindl X (sings in Czech) and Ms Mirka Miškechová (sings in Slovak)
The Velvet Divorce remains a popular theme in the Czecho-Slovak bilingual songs

CZ: As recently as yesterday, we were speaking the same language.
CZ: Despite the several foreign words, your letters
CZ: Today those foreign ones dominate [over] the familiar ones,
CZ: what happened with us? Hell?
CZ: What happened with us?

Saturday, August 29, 2015 ... /////

The pleasant Cretaceous life

When the insanity of one climate fearmonger trumps the others

When you look at a 2009 blog post about geology, you may quickly figure out what the life was like in Cretaceous (German: K for Kreide, Czech: křída, meaning chalk), the geological period belonging to mesozoic era ("second mountains" in the outdated Czech terminology I was still taught: doesn't "ancient mountains", "first, second, third, fourth mountains" sound easier to remember?).

The Powderville Rocks [Prachovské skály], fun sandstone rocks in the Bohemian Paradise, the Bohemian Cretaceous Basin. A 1977 song by Ivan Mládek, Powderville Rocks, about the mountain climbers, climberesses, and climberbabies was one of the hits of my kindergarten years and beyond.

Cretaceous – 145 to 65 million years ago – came after the Jurassic Period in the same mesozoic; but was followed by Paleogene, the first period of the Cenozoic Era. The 2009 TRF text gives us some basic data:

The Cretaceous: 1700 ppm, 18 °C

figs, magnolias, some mammals, birds, modern sharks

Oil around Venezuela; Earth by 4 °C warmer than today; see Climate Audit
It was clearly a wonderful time to be around. Simply search for Cretaceous at Google Images. Do these pictures look like an environment that is hostile to life?

Leonard's new Asian American GF

Fellowship, related fact: Since the spring, The Big Bang Theory Scholarship Endowment (\$4 million from Chuck Lorre etc.) has been financially helping UCLA science students. It's fair because Chuck Lorre has surely earned millions of dollars by emulating them. ;-)
The nineth season of The Big Bang Theory (TBBT) will begin on Monday, September 21st. Be sure that not every sitcom remains popular after 8 seasons.

According to a Nielsen Admosphere's survey, TBBT is the most popular TV serial of the Czech men. For men, the top answers were the following:
1. The Big Bang Theory, 10%
2. The Street, a junk Czech serial about ordinary people's lives, 9%
3. Game of Thrones, The Simpsons, 5% each
4. Doctor's Office in the Pink Garden (a junk Czech...), Crime Unit in Prague's Angel, Two and a Half Men, all 4%
The percentages for women are substantially different.

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

Decoding the near-Planckian spectrum from CMB patterns

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

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

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

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

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

LHCb: 2-sigma violation of lepton universality

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

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

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

Big volumes don't mean the truth

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

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

Now, he wrote an article about the markets

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

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

Market quotes: widget

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

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

Stephen Hawking "solves" the information loss paradox again

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

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

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

Gaillard vs Ferrara 1981: are these discussions sane?

A sickeningly direct perspective into the feminist manipulations within the Academia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sleeping Beauty, the betting assistant software

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

The story is the following.

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

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

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