## Sunday, December 08, 2013 ... /////

### Would it make sense for the current Academia to fire Peter Higgs?

He's a nice chap but my answer is Yes

Watch the live broadcast of the physics Nobel ceremony now.

I turned it off once a woman talked about "darkness" and mentioned energy-saving light bulbs, sorry, this was just over the edge. What does this junk have to do with the Higgs boson?
Two days ago, The Guardian published an interesting interview with Peter Higgs:
Peter Higgs: I wouldn't be productive enough for today's academic system
Let me make it clear that I find him nice, relaxed, pleasant to be with (I shortly shared an office in Santa Barbara with him) and I have never had the slightest doubt that the Higgs/BEH mechanism is right and the Higgs boson exists. I sympathize with his slight disrespect to the honors (like the knighthood in 1999) and disagree with him on tons of other things (later).

But he says he would have been sacked – and he has been almost sacked several times at a few points in the past – because he wouldn't be productive enough for the current system. I tend to think he is right and – although it will be inconvenient for the numerous fans he has earned – I think that the system might be right to fire him.

## Saturday, December 07, 2013 ... /////

### Salaries and wages since 1932-1934: uniform 30-fold increase

Some data suggest "almost no progress"

I was looking at some reality of the life in the U.S. of the "dirty 1930s":

Incomes and prices in 1932-1934
What I was amazed by is that there seems to be no progress in a vast majority of the entries here. If you just multiply all the prices and wages by a factor of 30 (30 per 80 years corresponds to 300.0125=1.043 i.e. 4.3-percent average annual inflation rate), almost all the entries seem to coincide with the values now, 80 years later!

(Dow Jones went from 50 or so to 16,000, i.e. by the factor of 300+, or the average 7.5% growth in these 80 years.)

Most employed people could buy this home (at least all the material) for 1 annual salary. Hat tip: Joseph Sykora

The only exception I am able to see now is the cigarette lighter for $0.39 – almost$12 current dollars in my conversion which would be too much – but that's it. Well, you may look at the autos: there aren't any cheap models available so they start at prices that are (at most) twice higher than the current ones and there are lots of very expensive cars.

But in some sense, they are anomalies. Well, some of the food entries looked significantly more expensive than today, but not all of them (please add your detailed comments).

## Friday, December 06, 2013 ... /////

### Reply to RealClimate's attack against the IPCC

Rasmus Benestad and similar hardcore green Marxists are dreaming about the past that will never return again

Since its initial fabrication in 2004, RealClimate.ORG was one of the most notorious websites of the climate propaganda, at least among those that attempted to look like an official arm of the scientists.

Because I wrote an essay about the IPCC report for the Václav Klaus Institute two months ago and the title was Fifth IPCC report: a blow of glasnost into the climate panic (where I compared the ongoing sizzling of the climate panic to the reforms in USSR under Gorbachev), I am not surprised that hardcore demagogues at RealClimate.ORG are offended by the toned down character of the IPCC report, especially the Summary for Policymakers that used to compete with the most radical Greenpeace booklets until AR4.

Rasmus Benestad made his unhappiness clear in the new RealClimate.ORG text titled

A failure in communicating the impact of new findings
where he claims that the writing of the summary followed wrong procedures, led to a wrong result, and should be completely changed. What Rasmus Benestad overlooks is a subtlety known as the "reality".

### ER-EPR and distortions in the media

Lots of news outlets wrote stories about the link between the entanglement and wormholes, an insight that I find important, fascinating, and almost certainly true: TRF June 2013. But my excitement about the insight doesn't imply a satisfaction with the newspaper articles because they're just way too misleading.

The first question you should ask is: Why now? Why didn't they write a lot about the ER-EPR correspondence when it was first published? The answer is that the Maldacena-Susskind preprint from June 2013 hasn't appeared in any classical journal. The journalists aren't able to follow preprints on the arXiv, they have no knowledgeable informers, and they are probably ignorant about the importance of names such as Maldacena and Susskind, too. So they missed it. They almost always do.

Let me analyze an article in some detail and clarify why I consider pretty much every sentence misleading. It could be done with many newspaper articles but I will pick International Business Time, a newspaper I have mostly no trouble with. It's useful. A young writer named Charles Poladian wrote a story

What Is Quantum Entanglement? The 'Spooky Action' Of Quantum Mechanics Linked To Wormholes
for IBT. What's wrong with that?

### Thieves of cobalt-60 in Mexico likely to die

Thanks for all the wishes, everyone! Yes, a celebration is a part of it but yes, I do think it's a day just like any other day – perhaps a better one than the average. ;-)
Today, 1/3 of the TRF visitors are Hungarians who came from this Hungarian server, index.hu, to my 2011 page about the radioactive source found in Prague's playground which was medically related.

The reason for the new Hungarian report – and many others in the whole world (e.g. Time) – is that some thieves stole a truck in Mexico. Stealing is wrong and these thieves are likely to learn it in the hard way because they're likely to perish because the truck had lots (40 grams) of cobalt-60 in it.

### Doubly protected Higgs is naturally natural

Nathaniel Craig (now Rutgers) and Kiel Howe (Stanford) released an interesting preprint

Doubling down on naturalness with a supersymmetric twin Higgs
which provides a very nice explicit example why one should never be too ambitious when deducing consequences of naturalness – why "small unnaturalness" is never a problem or a problem that may be solved by a better model.

They consider an extension of the Minimal Supersymmetric Standard Model which protects the Higgs boson by two protection mechanisms. One of them is the supersymmetry, in the usual sense, and the other protection mechanism is (in their particular case) the twin Higgs mechanism.

## Thursday, December 05, 2013 ... /////

### Dark matter $0.11\meV$ axion discovered in 2004 via Josephson junctions

Or at least some deviation may be interpreted in this remarkable way!

Two days ago, Nude Socialist's Katia Moskvitch (yes, it was a Soviet car) wrote an unusually useful article promoting a September 2013 hep-ph preprint by Christian Beck (Cambridge and London; a twin brother of Glenn Beck who is also a Christian, after all, both Mormon and Roman Catholic one) that we apparently missed:

Hints of cold dark matter pop up in 10-year-old circuit (NS)

Possible resonance effect of axionic dark matter in Josephson junctions (arXiv, free)
The probable reason why Nude Socialist managed to notice this interesting paper is that they may follow all papers in PRL where the paper appeared on Monday. And it seems very interesting, indeed.

### Václav Klaus: French criticism of the global warming champions' fanaticism

Translation from Czech (by LM)

Review of Pascal Bruckner's book "The Fanaticism of the Apocalypse" by the Czech ex-president

Pascal Bruckner, a significant personality belonging to the contemporary generation of French writers, a member of the left-wing "nouveaux philosophie", wrote an important book for the French people but comparably important for us as well – us who were mostly suckled on the Anglo-Saxon reasoning and who tend to underestimate the French in the social-scientific fields or, to put it more precisely, who tend to associate the French with a very illiberal thinking.

### Hexagonal shape of Saturn's vortex

Saturn's hexagon (a long-term storm near the North Pole) has been known to exist at least since 1988. See also TRF 2007.

NASA's Cassini mission has just revealed this picture of the six-sided jet stream.

## Wednesday, December 04, 2013 ... /////

### Making exceptional symmetries of SUGRA manifest

I found at least two hep-th papers interesting today. Nathan Berkovits brings us some field redefinition that maps his pure spinor formalism to the RNS formalism, using a new method of "dynamical twisting". My understanding is that it's not sufficient to understand why the calculated amplitudes agree. But I will only discuss

Exceptional Field Theory I: $E_{6(6)}$ covariant Form of M-Theory and Type IIB by Olaf Hohm and Henning Samtleben.
The names may sound German to you but it's technically a French-American collaboration. ;-) I don't know the authors but I know all 4 people thanked in the acknowledgements, Liu, Nicolai, Taylor, and Zwiebach.

Supergravity (or M-theory) compactified on tori produces lower-dimensional theories with non-compact exceptional continuous (or discrete) symmetries (called the U-duality group in the M-theory case). Exceptional groups are sexy and mysterious, too.

It has always been plausible that a decent understanding of the origin of these exceptional symmetries could provide us with a new, spectacularly clear view into string theory's deepest inner workings. It could be just a straightforward technical result without far-reaching implications, too. We can't know for sure.

Formulations that make duality symmetries of string/M-theory manifest became popular in recent years.

### PNAS: male, female brains wired along different paths

Female brains don't separate the hemisphere much but they do divide front and back more sharply

I have been sure for decades that the biological differences between the male and female brains are significant and are the ultimate reason of the statistical differences in the interests, talents, and achievements of men and women. The evidence is formidable and growing.

Two days ago, PNAS revealed the online pre-publication version of a Pennsylvania-Princeton paper

Sex differences in the structural connectome of the human brain
by Ingalhalikar and 9 co-authors. The paper was discussed by all major media including the BBC, the Guardian, Fox News (video report where they spin the female specifics in a much more ludicrously positive direction than in the left-wing media), HuffPo, Forbes (on social implications), and many others.

## Tuesday, December 03, 2013 ... /////

### Hurricane forecasts are worthless

I don't know the methods that folks in NOAA are using to forecast the number of Atlantic hurricanes and I am not interested in these methods because they clearly don't work. Pages such as this one (with different years in the URL) show you tables with the predicted and actual number of named storms, hurricanes, and major hurricanes for the relevant year.

Let us look at years 2001-2013 and focus on the actual numbers from NOAA in May. Note that the hurricane season includes months between June and November and the 2013 season has officially ended last Saturday.

### Feynman lectures on physics: Volume III now free

Free online quantum mechanics course from a top guru

In September, I mentioned that some folks were transforming the Feynman Lectures on Physics to free web pages with MathJax, the same $\rm\LaTeX$-based system to write elegant mathematical expressions that has been used on this blog for two years or so.

Only Volume I was available at that time.

I thought that the Neocounter in the right lower sidebar was the prettiest visitor counter on the market – because of the many types of geographic statistics and the pretty animations that many of you were surely hating (and you will cynically celebrate a few seconds by which the website speeds up!) – and I was paying over $50 annually for that reason. However, I was an exception and the counters went out of business today. Your humble correspondent probably had an obsolete primary e-mail address in the database. However, other users received the following e-mail today: Dear user, It saddens me to inform you that after 9 years of services, I am stopping my web counter activity. The shift from blogs to social networks and the overwhelming competition of free services has dramatically decreased my customer base to the point where I can no longer pay for the hosting of my servers. I will do my best to refund you pro rata of the time elapsed since your last payment. Please wait for an email from the designated company liquidator. I thank you wholeheartedly for the interest you have shown in my products during all these years. It was a great adventure for me. Please find here-after your most recent visitor count. I am sure that you will find a suitable replacement for my counters. Roberto Well, I would like my list or database. In total, the counter was showing almost 10 million visits from something like 240 countries – many more than the folks in the United Nations are able to enumerate. ;-) ## Monday, December 02, 2013 ... ///// ### Einstein and Eddington: a film Joseph Sykora sent me a link to a 94-minute-long 2008 BBC Two film about Eddington and Einstein: It's no documentary. Expect a drama movie that may be watched by those not too interested in physics as well. I liked it a lot (despite the artistic license to modify the history) and you should watch it, too. ### Unconstrained MSSM: LSP is pure Higgsino or pure wino There are several interesting hep-ph papers today, especially those about supersymmetry, but I chose to highlight LHC and dark matter phenomenology of the NUGHM by Maria Eugenia Cabrera, Alberto Casas, Roberto Ruiz de Austri, Gianfranco Bertone (Amsterdam, Madrid, Valencia). They calculate a probability distribution for various masses of electroweak superpartners given the current accelerator and dark-matter constraints (and numerical observables). They work within NUGHM which is a rather generic MSSM with "non-universal gaugino and Higgs masses". This subset of the MSSM parameter space is much less constrained than e.g. CMSSM. ### Ukraine's place in Europe is a subtle issue Thousands of people rallying in the Ukrainian capital demand the resignation of the pro-Moscow president Yanukovitch after he refused to sign a pro-EU trade deal, apparently favoring a closer economic integration with Russia (Putin uses the carrot-and-stick approach to make sure that such an attitude may be rational). The protests turned violent and some of the opposition groups claim that the violence was added to the mix by Yanukovitch's provocateurs. I am aware of no protocol to find out who is right. One of 15 results of the quiz "name the countries of Europe" given to the Americans by buzzfeed.com. Ukraine is the territory labeled as "Kamchatka" elsewhere or "Mongolia" above (don't confuse it with the much more Eastern region labeled as "another Mongolia"; that's Kazakhstan and it's mostly in Asia). Click the map for other attempts. Like during the "Orange Revolution" in 2004, many people in the West think that these events are very important. Well, I don't think so. People in the West love to think that all the nations of the Soviet bloc – and perhaps even all the nations of the Soviet Union – are free-minded Western-like nations who are being constantly suppressed by foul techniques of the Russians. It ain't so. Especially in the U.S., many of the misconceptions boil down to a poor knowledge of geography. In fact, most of the republics in the USSR are intrinsically, culturally, and historically "more Eastern" than Russia itself. Ukraine is a marginal case. ## Sunday, December 01, 2013 ... ///// ### Science writers' weird obsession with the resurrection of ISON The comet has been doomed at least since the first moment when it looked so; claims to the contrary were always just some irrational religion The good folks who were excited about the alleged resurrection of Jesus Christ were not too unreasonable. To say the least, they were not more unreasonable than most science writers who were producing stories about comet ISON's "survival" in recent days. When I wrote the satire about the comet's destruction by global warming (yes, there were some readers who didn't understand it was a satire!), I took one claim for granted: the comet couldn't have survived, at least not to the extent needed for the comet to be visible by the naked eye e.g. today and the visibility of ISON's remains would be guaranteed to decrease quickly. (The debris had magnitude plus 7 late yesterday which already made it invisible. NASA's JPL predicted a year ago that the brightness of the comet could be around minus 11.6 by now, brighter than the full Moon. That prediction has failed rather spectacularly, hasn't it?) But you must have seen reports by pretty much everyone – Fox News, The Guardian, Matt Strassler, and thousands of others – who were completely excited with their thoroughly unjustified claims that the "comet has survived", "we have a hope", and so on – the similarity of ISON with Son of God is almost perfect. ## Saturday, November 30, 2013 ... ///// ### 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 ... ///// ### 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,

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 ... /////

### 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.