Saturday, August 30, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Don Lincoln's introduction to particle detectors

Fermilab's Don Lincoln has recorded a couple of videos promoting and explaining physics concepts.



In this new 10-minute film, he presents particle detectors as subatomic bomb squads.

Friday, August 29, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

CSTO ready to take over Ukraine

I've spent lots of hours by following the events in Ukraine and worrying about them, too. The Western propagandist outlets have informed their undemanding audiences that Russia has finally invaded Ukraine. Well, it wasn't the first time when we heard such a thing. What strategy did Russia choose to invade Ukraine yesterday?



It has sent about 10 soldiers above. They must have supernatural powers if they're supposed to conquer a country with 40+ million people. Perhaps, it wasn't just the ten folks. There may be a thousand of Russian citizens fighting over there. Soldiers on vacations, retired soldiers, and perhaps other volunteers. What a shock. Do you really expect the Kremlin to exterminate people in their military for these hobbies? The Kremlin understands the emotions behind these hobbies. There is a comparable number of Americans (or at least one hundred) on the other side – who have really no business to be there at all – too.

Thursday, August 28, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Borexino: photographing the Sun using neutrinos

Technical: Windows 7,8 64-bit users are definitely recommended to download the stable 64-bit version of Chrome which has twice lower instability rate and is faster, not to mention some new abilities. The installer will automatically update your (now 32-bit) Chrome. Perhaps you have to run it twice, closing Chrome perfectly in between. At the end, "About Chrome" should show "Version 37.0.2062.94 unknown-m (64-bit)".
Physics World and most of other MSM science news sources inform us about the observations by Borexino, an Italian experiment located in Gran Sasso (the word could mean "boring former baby") that observed the \(pp\) neutrinos, the neutrinos created during\[

p + p \to \text{d} + e^{+} + \nu_e

\] i.e. the fusion of proton pairs in the Sun (which produces about 99% of the solar output), for the first time.



A five-minute 2009 video promoting Borexino. Is her accent Italian?

To achieve the goal that wasn't guaranteed from the beginning, they had to use a thousand of tons of water buried 1,400 meters beneath the surface, in order to shield some of the backgrounds.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Kaggle Higgs contest: the solution file for everyone

Well, an approximate one

Have you ever searched for the solution file for the Higgs Kaggle contest? Have you ever asked why the organizers don't just publish it so that everyone is smarter? ;-)



Did you ever want to be able to estimate your submission's score without sending it to the Kaggle server? Have you ever been confused by the normalization of the weights?

Because I just got a permission from my teammate and it is allowed for the contestants to be generous and share their wisdom with the whole Internet and all the competitors, I just decided to help everyone – and, perhaps, to re-energize the contest a little bit.

Cristobal, Marie on animated global wind map

Finally, one may see some exciting realtime pictures on the global wind map (click here to get the interactive app; TRF instructions are available, too).



Yes, the hurricane approaching the Bermudas (East of Florida) is called Cristobal. The Pacific hurricane West of California is called Marie.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Visiting Triton

In the most recent week, the American, European, as well as Russian space programs suffered from bummers.

Elon Musk's new SpaceX F9R rocket self-detonated over Texas. Something went wrong and we're told that this rocket's suicide was their mundane Plan B. It's sort of hard to believe that they really planned such a "maneuver" but maybe it's right. One can't get rid of the feeling that these attempts to privatize the space research are perhaps "too cheap" for them to succeed.



Triton, to be discussed later

The second bummer is linked to the unAmerican competitors of the GPS system. A year ago, a Proton-M rocket carrying a GLONASS (Russian GPS) satellite exploded shortly after it was launched.

Monday, August 25, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

A curious traffic accident

Sunday, a day of playing e.g. with my 5-year-old nephew and niece, was probably more likely a day than Monday for such an injury. But I classified an event in which I was injured an hour ago to be a traffic accident.

A curious one, indeed. Some people who drive cars or bikes hit other cars. In 1999, a friend of mine from Prague and Rutgers, mathematician Petr Čížek, was killed by a truck that they had crashed into while his lively Russian female friend was driving on a seemingly empty road in Minnesota (I didn't go to that expedition, mostly due to the qualifying exams).



The underpass going to the soccer stadium after a fan association named Ultraside gave a permission to itself to paint it. ;-) It used to be prettier than at random moments – the city hall should have hired them to paint the underpass regularly.

People may collide with other people of different occupations and races. The individual I hit an hour ago was a boxer. And it's a race, not an occupation. ;-) Well, I know that the native speakers actually call it a "breed", not a "race", but I will use the word "race" because it's the same concept as the human races, isn't it (well, except that the separation to breeds was mostly bred i.e. man-made), and I am Czech who has never attended any dog races so there is no room for confusions.

Sunday, August 24, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Irradiation of face by LHC beam is better than Botox

Like other trained particle physicists, I have often been asked what would happen if you decided to insert your hand or head or another part of your body right to the LHC beam.

I wasn't sure about the right answer because it's a complicated interdisciplinary question combining particle physics, radiation safety, biology, and some condensed matter physics and thermodynamics. To be sure, I recommended people not to try this experiment because it would almost certainly be lethal.



These charts of Anatoli Bugorski's skull resemble the investigators' map of the JFK assassination scene.

Three weeks ago, Extreme Tech brought us a story that I didn't know and that may actually force us to change our minds. The experiment has already been tried 35 years ago and the guy is still around.

What happened?

Saturday, August 23, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Europe's support for the Islamic State

"The Islamic State" terrorists are so cruel that at one point, Osama bin Laden had ruled out any collaboration with them.

Off-topic: Czech readers may listen to an episode of Planetarium where they interviewed me about string theory. The program (archive) was aired on Czech Public Radio North on Saturday 18:05 Czech Summer Time.

Volcano: Bárðarbunga began to erupt, so far subglacially, but you may watch the webcam and it may get more interesting.
These überjerks show that when you calibrate your moral sense to the situation of Syria, Bashar Assad is the good guy. The Islamic State is the "real Islam that matters" in the region. Their acts humiliate everyone who has been spreading ludicrous PC fairy-tales about Islam as a religion of peace. There may be people who are peaceful and call themselves Muslims but they are unfortunately irrelevant. What's relevant and "truly Islamic" are groups like the Islamic State – and whether you like it or not, their attitudes are supported by much of the Quran, too. Islam is a form of fascism – and it has been almost nothing else for something like 1300 years.

These monsters are murdering lots of peoples including the Yezidis, an eclectic church sometimes considered as an Islamic sect and sometimes a hybrid of shamanism and Christianity. Those mostly Kurdish people worship Melek Taus, an angel considered to be a "fallen angel" by the Muslims (and probably others) because he refused to lick Adam's aß at one point. Count me as a fan of Melek Taus, too. Adam was just a transitional fossil between mutated apes and homo sapiens – no need to worship this ancestor of ours.

Also, the Islamic State has a P.R. department that is doing pretty much the same thing as MSNBC and other cheap sources of "news" (brainwashing of the undemanding audiences) we know in the West. They use clever tricks to spread their message on the "social media" and they have a superior technology capable of filming hours of professional footage containing dozens of types of murders as well as the warriors' distribution of ice cream among children and they obey many rules of the PC P.R. media as well as Hollywood to impress some people.

Friday, August 22, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Ashoke Sen: elementary particles are small black holes

Three string theorists added as Dirac Medal winners

On August 8th of every year, the Abdus Salam Institute in Trieste, Italy chooses up to three recipients of the Dirac Medal. (It's the anniversary of Dirac's 1902 birth. There exist three other awards called the "Dirac Medal" which I will ignore because they're less relevant for this blog's audience.)

Of course, the medal tries to decorate deep minds who are doing a similar kind of profound research as Paul Dirac did which is why dozens of string theorists have already won it. The Dirac Medal shows what the Nobel prize would look like if the committee weren't constrained by the required explicit, dynamite-like demonstration of the physical discoveries.

In 2014, i.e. two weeks ago, the Italian institute avoided all experiments and awarded just three string theorists:

Ashoke Sen, Andrew Strominger, Gabriele Veneziano
Congratulations! Of course, Veneziano is the forefather of the whole discipline (the intercourse that has led to the birth was Veneziano's encounter with the Euler Beta function), Andy Strominger is a lot of fun and a perfectly balanced top thinker in one package and I know him the best of all, of course ;-), and Ashoke Sen is among the most brilliant minds, too. He has previously won the Milner award, too.

The Hindu printed a short yet interesting interview with Ashoke Sen yesterday:
‘Elementary particles may be thought of as small black holes’
It's funny – the title is actually a sentence I have included in almost every general physics talk I gave in the last decade, perhaps 30 talks in total. Sometimes I talk about the panic about the LHC-produced black holes and emphasize that only experts may distinguish a small black hole from an elementary particle such as the Higgs boson – and its evaporation from the Higgs decay etc.

It's true that the Hawking radiation of a "larger than minimal" black hole has a higher number of decay products (particles) so it's more uniform but for the truly minimum-size black holes, there's no difference.

All 365 Sierra Leona ebola casualties due to a herbalist

The Daily Mail and everyone else mentioned the sad and bizarre statistical fact: all 365 people (3/4 of the victims are women because they're more "the social glue" of their communities, caregivers) who died due to ebola (a lethal cousin of flu) in Sierra Leone caught the disease from a herbalist. What an irony.



The mass infection began in Guinea (patient zero has probably been correctly identified) and lots of the infected ones came to the herbalist in Sierra Leone – which used to be a healthy country. She got infected and many others caught the disease from her, many of them during the funeral.

Thursday, August 21, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

David Gross: why do we have faith in string theory

David Gross has given lots and lots of vision talks at various string conferences but this time, in June 2014, he focused on string theory and the scientific method in his 21-minute-long vision talk:



At the beginning, he would enumerate five of his favorite talks, said that Andy Strominger's vision talk brought Gross almost to tears, and he finally concentrated on the explanations why the people in that Princeton room have faith in the theory despite some outsiders' opinions that they shouldn't.

(Paul Steinhardt, a speaker at Strings 2014 who has delivered some "strange" statements to the audience, was chosen as the only named prototype of the critics.)

Nikolay Bogoliubov: 105th birthday

In Czechia and Slovakia, August 21st is primarily remembered as the anniversary of the 1968 occupation by the "brotherly armies" of the Warsaw Pact that ended the Prague Spring, a period of liberalization of socialism in Czechoslovakia. The invaders' actions 46 years ago look kind of moderate to me today, from the perspective of events in Ukraine and elsewhere, so I won't discuss the year 1968 today.

However, physicists are dying and being born on August 21st, too. In 1836, Claude Louis Navier (of the hydrodynamics fame) died. On August 21st, 1995, he was followed by Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar.

However, I want to spend more time with Nikolay Bogoliubuv who was born on August 21st, 1909.

An alarmist embraces the label "alarmist"

There have been many discussions about the ways how the climate realists are being called. We're skeptics, contrarians, mavericks, and shills, among other things. I have always agreed with Richard Lindzen about the word "denier".

While it has been coined with the obvious purpose to link the climate realists to the "Holocaust deniers", it is actually an accurate term, too. In particular, I am a climate denier, not a climate skeptic. The term "skeptic" often indicates that there is a serious "case" to be made about the bold hypothesis and that one is seriously open-minded to both possibilities. Well, I am not. There won't be any CO2-driven global catastrophe in the next 50, 100, or 200 years. I deny the claims that there exists a scientific or otherwise rational basis for the climate panic which clearly makes me a "denier".



While climate realists haven't been as occupied with inventing names for the climate alarmists as the alarmists have been occupied with expletives directed at the skeptics, probably because the realists prefer to focus on the essence and not the propaganda, it is still interesting to watch how some climate alarmists react to various labels, including the word "alarmist" itself.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Adimensional gravity

Natalie Wolchover wrote a good article for the Simons Foundation,

At Multiverse Impasse, a New Theory of Scale
about Agravity, a provoking paper by Alberto Salvio and Alessandro Strumia. Incidentally, has anyone noticed that Strumia is Joe Polchinski's twin brother? The similarity goes beyond the favorite color of the shirt and pants.

At any rate, the system of ideas known as "naturalness" seems to marginally conflict with the experiments and things may be getting worse. Roughly speaking, naturalness wants dimensionful parameters (masses) to be comparable unless there is an increased symmetry when they're not comparable. But the Higgs boson is clearly much lighter than the Planck scale and in 2015, the LHC may show (but doesn't have to show!) that there are no light superpartners that help to make the lightness natural.