Tuesday, January 31, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Anomaly! by Tommaso Dorigo, a review

A guest blog: a review by Tristan du Pree of CMS at CERN


Anomaly! Collider Physics and the Quest for New Phenomena at Fermilab
World Scientific Publishing

Book by Tommaso Dorigo, 2016


To the outside world, Italian particle physicist Tommaso Dorigo is best known for his blogs, not afraid to express his personal thoughts about particle physics research. His new book, ‘Anomaly!’, describes this research from the inside – it covers the parts of the field that one normally does not hear about: the history, the sociology, and everything usually happening behind the screens.

Dorigo

In the world of Big Science, nowadays performed at CERN in collaborations of thousands of particle physicists, press releases have become as common as reconstruction algorithms. Of course, any personal opinion will be carefully hidden and controversial statements should be avoided at all costs. Dorigo’s new book, about the research at the American Tevatron collider at the end of the 20th century, is his latest piece that goes against this trend.

Two Harvard men claim to have produced metallic hydrogen

My former colleague (and the superhero who believes that love has no borders, nationality, or gender: don't worry, at the end of the film, your humble correspondent punishes the nasty illegal immigrant dragon for its murder of Ike and others) Isaac Silvera and his younger collaborator Ranga Dias claim to have achieved the holy grail of high-pressure physics: to turn hydrogen into a metal. The cores of Jupiter and Saturn may be full of solid hydrogen and solid helium.

The achievement was reported in Science:

Observation of the Wigner-Huntington transition to metallic hydrogen

Full text: arXiv.org (October 2016)
See also popular articles at The Cake, Sci News, and Google News.

If they're right, you may repeat the experiment in your kitchen. Take a breath of hydrogen, place it in your fridge, cool it to 3 kelvins, and then slam it with the hammer at the pressure of of 495 gigapascals. The hydrogen will become reflective – with albedo as much as 0.91. Before that point, you should see the hydrogen turning black at 335 gigapascals – the pressure just slightly below that of the center of the Earth. You may find small capsules made of artificial diamond helpful.

As The Wire and many others mention, most people in Silvera's field are highly skeptical.

Prague: coldest January since 1940

In 2008, Barack Obama said that he was certain that in many years, people would see that his tenure was the time when the rise of the oceans began to slow. Sadly for him, we already have the hindsight and the data from his presidency and the sea level continued to increase by the same rate 2-3 millimeters per year, according to methodology, and some Obama voter even see an acceleration that no one else does.

Donald Trump is different. He promised to stop the global warming hoax and the Earth will pay for it. And the plan already has results, at least in Central Europe.



Via Osel.cz. Click to zoom in. A raw table through 2009.

There was one additional day left but even with the extra unknown day (plus hours), it was already virtually certain yesterday that January 2017 would be the coldest January in Prague since 1940 (as Novinky.cz news server reported) and the fourth coldest January since the measurements began in Prague's Klementinum (near the Charles Bridge) almost 250 years ago. The situation is similar in all of Central Europe and beyond. For example, the "march over the frozen Lake Balaton" has attracted many more Hungarian people than the annual "swim over Balaton" – partly because many people are better at walking than swimming, I guess LOL.

Sunday, January 29, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Unreasonable university calls for a civil war against Trump

First, some technical announcements.

I was so proud to have made this blog show "completely safe" in Chrome when opened via the HTTPS protocol (almost no personal website I know has achieved that) that I turned on "automatic redirect to HTTPS" in the Blogger.com control panel.

Everything would work fine except for a detail: all the 200,000 Disqus comments disappeared – before I made them reappear again by abolishing the redirect to HTTPS. And the new ones posted between 8 pm on Saturday and 8 am on Sunday or so are living their "own life" in a separated HTTPS URL multiverse. Please post them again if they're gone and you find them important.

Interestingly, without the redirect, all the comments are opening whether you open the blog via HTTP or HTTPS. I may sometimes make the redirect and fix the URLs in some way but I've spent hours with this HTTPS stuff recently and it was enough.

BTW next month I will have to start to pay $10 a month to Disqus for our conversations to avoid ads – which could be annoying for too many of you and which could also clash with the ads that are already embedded. I expect you to understand that companies like Disqus – but also the content creators etc. – need to make some profit for their work to be sustainable and have some quality. And yes, I think that the quality of the Disqus platform has already greatly surpassed the Blogger built-in comments and the Haloscan/Echo/JS-Kit comments that existed in the following years.

Some of you may view these extra expenses as a reason for some modest PayPal donations. All donations numerically ending with $*1.00 such as $11.00 will be viewed as contributions to the Disqus support.


Now, back to the tension between Trump and the university leftists. At some moment, you could think that the climate hysteria is the most important "value" that the leftist folks really care about. But as the ongoing screaming shows, multiculturalism is ultimately above the climate hysteria. People from universities – including various people I know and sometimes like – are writing petitions, urging their colleagues to fight and resist, and all stuff like that.

The reason is that Trump has fulfilled his campaign promises and suspended the arrival of people from unsafe Muslim countries. It's 7 countries that are "compromised by terrorism" which means that unrecognized terrorist would-be state-like entities such as Daesh are operating on these territories. This is why travelers from these countries may be reasonably considered a threat for the U.S.: their countries have lost their control over the law enforcement on their own territories. This is why Iraq, Syria, Somalia, and four more are included while Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and others (surely pragmatic friendly countries like Azerbaijan) are not included.

It makes some sense to me. I surely don't claim that the exact policies as adopted by Trump are the only right and justified ones. But the philosophy behind the refinement of these policies makes more sense than an average policy of this kind that you could invent. On the other hand, I don't fully understand why e.g. Iran agrees with the description of a "country compromised by terrorism".

Saturday, January 28, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Trump's Blitzkrieg against the rogue and fake U.S. government "scientific" tweeters

While the stupid media discusses big questions such as the size of his inauguration crowd and the length of his tie, the new U.S. president is working hard. We're being assured that virtually all of his campaign promises were meant very seriously. Walls are getting prepared, trade deals are being abolished, immigration is being tamed, healthcare reforms are being reversed, and Trump is having a telephone call with Putin right now. Some people don't like it.

Thousands of hard left scholars have signed a petition against the suspension of the Syrian refugee program and similar reductions of the immigration from the Muslim world. I've spent some five minutes by looking at the list of the signatories and I know about 20-30 of them in person. They're fine and smart people, please don't make a mistake about it. They're just wrong about politics. And it's also interesting to realize how many people could have been signed but they're not. I find it clear that the non-signatories are a silent majority.

Trump is also going to defund the U.S. contributions to the Paris Agreement and similar things which is obviously right and important. Radical environmental activists who used to sleep at the treetops for decades but who have basically hijacked the U.S. government in recent years are expected to return to the treetops so I recommend them to learn something about tree climbing.

Friday, January 27, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Entropy, freedom, life's purpose, animals' desires, consciousness, and vitalism

First, a real advance in biology. A large team in Japan has developed the Manbearpig, a half-man, half-bear, half-pig (OK, so far without the bear) from pluripotent stem cells. They were obviously not satisfied with the fact that the human himself is already a half-chimp, half-pig. It may be a good source of human organs – but this usage will correspond to morally problematic half-murders or half-abortions, too.

Yesterday I was amused by the article

How Life (and Death) Spring From Disorder
by Philip Ball in the Quanta Magazine. My understanding is that Ball is a British science writer with no research experience so this essay is really what a bright journalist, and not a scientist, thinks but I found it inspiring, often thinking that there must be something terribly deep about it.



However, after some efforts, I always return to my normal thoughts which indicate that this depth is mirage – much like the motion of the photograph above that surely isn't blinking (something must be wrong with your monitor or brain!) – and the excitement is mostly poetry. What's going on?

Student visas don't guarantee permanent residence

The self-confidence of illegal immigrants and visa holders is sometimes over the edge

Trump is changing the U.S. immigration policies which the victorious half of the voters considered too dangerous for the American safety and its job market. Trump has stopped issuing new visas for the citizens of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen at least for a month but maybe much longer than that. It will be investigated whether the system may be reformed to be appropriately improved.

Also, he wants to build a 10-meter precast [concrete] wall on the Mexican border within "months". A text by the CATO institute argues against the wall but helpfully summarizes the current fences, their loopholes, and the flaws of the wall, too. Can it be tunneled through? Quantum mechanics says Yes. ;-) The wall should cost around $20 billion and the newest plan is to pay for it from the newly imposed 20% tariffs on Mexican exports to the U.S. A meeting of Trump and the Mexican president has been cancelled.

So it seems Trump wasn't bluffing. He's continuing to pursue the policies promised in the campaign.

Thursday, January 26, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Trump's crowd and leftists' fake news and propaganda

Trump critics love to say that he wears too long a tie but he has has small hands – which is supposed to be an insult of a sort which I can't possibly understand because the hands look totally normal and if their size is below the average, I don't see what's wrong with it. Well, I also like to wear a tie that is as long as Trump's and fashion policemen's and policewomen's problems are their own, not my, problems.

After the inauguration, they have added another small thing. He must have had a small crowd, too. A bizarre pissing contest has emerged around a number that is completely irrelevant, as this video correctly says. It's plausible that both sides of this partisan pissing contest are pushing the truth in their preferred direction but it still seems to me that the anti-Trump side is pushing the truth away from itself much more vigorously.



2017 left, 2009 right, the AP picture that turns out to be highly problematic, as we will discuss. Note that there are shining white places in the 2017 picture because the grass was protected by a white tarp for the first time.

I wouldn't care about the crowd size if it were up to me (Trump's power to change things will matter – and his results are what Americans and others will be able to judge) and I don't think that anything is impossible. In fact, my first blog post about the inauguration stated without much ado that Trump has had a somewhat smaller crowd than Obama in 2009. It was just written at some places and I automatically assumed that the approximate crowd size should be considered a hard fact, given the fact that roughly a million people were there, dozens of TV stations filmed it, and hundreds of millions watched the ceremony, not to mention all the satellites that should be monitoring the place.

Well, I was probably too careless. Certain people are eager to lie even about these seemingly objective facts.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Dow Jones: finally above 20,000

Donald Trump has promised his countrymates to make America great again. Immediately after the inauguration, he began to dismantle the Obamacare, gave okay to the XL pipelines, removed the U.S. from the Pacific trade deal (whether this is helpful for the U.S. is a subtle question: China may replace the U.S. and benefit from the deal a lot), and revealed incredible plans to cut regulation by something like 75% and corporate taxes from 35% perhaps to 15%, among other things. Trump is also suspicious about the elections – millions of illegal immigrants and/or dead people could have voted, he believes (for reasons that aren't quite comprehensible to me), so he started an investigation.

There are surely many things that un-Americans like me simply have to be jealous about. I don't live in a country that seems to be on the path of removing most of regulation. The most powerful politician in the country, the billionaire and finance minister Andrej Babiš, is working hard to increase the regulation. He's added lots of new forms, mandatory gadgets to report all cash transactions, and lots of other smoking and other bans are emerging every week. And the dirty, evil, stupid rabble is applauding him.

Babiš may be exactly as wealthy as Trump and he may even be in a similar process of disentanglement from his company in order to reduce the clash of interests. But the different backgrounds of the two men just can't disappear. Trump and his ex-wife Ivana were two of the people who were carefully watched by the Czechoslovak communist secret police 30 years ago – while Babiš was one of the people working for that despicable agency.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Quantum computing lady: feminized physics is a formula for failure

The 2017 Australia Day address (full video in AU only; transcript globally) denounces the feminist dumbing down of physics education

Ms Michelle Simmons is a physics professor in New South Wales, Australia focusing on quantum computation – which isn't a soft science, I assure you – and surrounding fields and boasting physics/chemistry degrees, 360 publications including 27 in PRL, and \(h=40\), among other things.

She's spent some time in a leading Cambridge, UK lab and is doing well in the land of the kangaroos, too. Her lab has a nontrivial chance to become the first group that actually constructs the quantum computer, whether it's based on quantum dots or a few more approaches she's involved with. You may find lots of her talks at YouTube.

The Australian, a top daily, dared to publish the views of this British-born lady on the deterioration of the physics education in Australia five hours ago:

‘Feminised’ physics a formula for failure, says Michelle Simmons

Also: Australia Day Address orator Michelle Simmons horrified at 'feminised' physics curriculum (SMH)

Also: 'What a disaster': Leading scientist says high school physics is being 'feminised' - with difficult equations taken out of exams to make the subject more appealing to girls (Daily Mail)
The text starts with a rather incredible comparison of some exam questions in 1998 on one side and 2001-2006 on the other side:



In 1998, the students were given a diagram with wires and dimensions and were expected to compute magnetic fluxes and determine directions etc. In the newer type of exams, they were supposed to write essays about the "impact of electronics on the society" and speculate whether electronics will keep on getting cheaper and more powerful.

One must worry how much cherry-picking was made – or how representatives the questions have been.

Czech diplomacy frees Polish evangelist in Syria

Two Czech pro-Kurdish warriors against ISIS were caught by the pro-ISIS Turkish government and most TRF readers believe that they're doomed. But it doesn't always have to be like that. Even seemingly tougher situations may be resolved. Hours ago, we've heard about such a great example.



Leszek Marian Panek (54) has been a well-known character in Poland, especially in Wroclav. He believes that the return of Jesus Christ is imminent and will be accompanied by a nuclear war. His golden Nissan recommends Jesus Christ as the new king of Poland, among other things. God told him to sleep in that car and distribute tens of thousands of flyers. American and other readers surely know similar characters.

Monday, January 23, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

The world's most powerful laser launched near Prague

HiLASE, a $50 million center near Prague employing numerous Japanese, Indian, and Italian folks, among others, has launched the new 1,000-watt laser DiPOLE 100 (Google Images), a fully diode pumped solid state laser (DPSSL) designed and constructed at STFC’s Central Laser Facility (CLF) at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the U.K. and transferred to Czechia in two big trucks in late 2015.



For half a year, the laser will only be used by local employees. Companies will be able to exploit the device from July 2017. The idea is that the laser should be used to manipulate surfaces, test components of the aircraft, and do other things that I am extremely far from being good at.

The center hoping to become an important hi-tech hub is located in Dolní Břežany [The Lower Birchvilles], Southern outskirts of Prague near the river: maps, Google Images. To make the geography more confusing, a similarly named village Panenské Břežany [The Virgin Birchvilles] with a memorial is located some 10 miles North of Prague. That village with 500 inhabitants has no big laser but has also punched above its weight because that's where the Imperial Protectors Konstantin von Neurath and Reinhard Heydrich lived in the early 1940s. After the latter, a violinist and a main author of the Holocaust nicknamed the Blonde Beast, was executed by the Czechoslovak government in exile (while commuting from the Virgin Birchvilles to the Prague Castle in his Mercedes 320 Convertible B) in 1942, the house was used by his wife Lina and her four kids (Klaus, Haider, Frauke, and Marine – OK, I admit the last two, girls, should have been Silke and Marte LOL) up to 1945 when the Heydrich family became a bit unpopular in the Czech lands and the house was taken and exploited by The Research Institute for Metals. Even though Lina also lost her son Klaus in a 1943 car accident, she – a romanticized Nazi up to her death in the 1980s – remembered the years in Tschechei as the most wunderbar years of her life.

Obnoxious climate alarmist had to be ejected from an airplane

Spinoff, off-topic: a new spinoff of The Big Bang Theory is being prepared. A twelve-year-old Sheldon Cooper will be educated by his evangelical mother and others in Texas. I guess that the lead actor will be earning less than Sheldon's, Leonard's, and Penny's $1 million per episode. ;-)
On Saturday, Trump supporter Scott Koteskey and his fellow passengers released and combined this video footage:



On a flight from Baltimore to Seattle, his female neighbor asked him whether he was for Trump or against Trump. Her name isn't known so the Internet only refers to her descriptively as the "wretched liberal hag". He answered that he had come to the East Coast to celebrate democracy, ma'am. She didn't like the answer so she promised to vomit on his lap and demanded that he would be moved elsewhere.

Her complaint was that folks like Koteskey enabled Trump to control the nuclear button. But you may see that the most important concern of hers was that he doesn't "believe" climate change. (The word "believe" was stressed and her hands indicated the quotation marks that I have added to the sentence, too.) Do you believe in gravity, Mr Koteskey was asked? Did you know that gravity is just a theory?

Sunday, January 22, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Arts vs sciences, Rovelli vs Dawkins

In two days, American readers will be provided with an English translation of Reality Is Not What It Seems: The Journey to Quantum Gravity by Carlo Rovelli. Rovelli is tightly connected to the Italian (and French, I believe) inkspillers' community which is the main reason – I believe – why the book became a bestseller in Italy in 2014 and has sold something like 1 million copies in the world so far.

Just to be sure, his book Seven Brief Lessons on Physics was published after the Reality... in Italy but the English translation emerged before the Reality....

Saturday, January 21, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

How many problems were fixed by the inauguration?

First, off-topic. Google Maps have finally adopted the short name "Czechia" as the primary country name on their maps. The frequency of usage of "Czechia" has tripled since early 2016 but it's still a factor of 50 below the "Czech Republic". I am not dreaming about the eradication of the term "The Czech Republic". I just want many people with common sense to understand that it's so much meaningful to use a standardized official short name when it makes sense – e.g. on the maps where the room is often insufficient.



But back to the main topic. Many of us watched most of the inauguration yesterday. Donald Trump did well and I didn't expect otherwise. He has all the basic skills to be a good actor – and the inauguration is a ceremony that needs a good actor. He enjoyed it, gave a good and somewhat touching inauguration speech, but we didn't learn too much from it. Also, I would agree that the speech basically said FU to the rest of the world which hopefully justifies the detached feeling that unAmerican Trumpites like me may have experienced. ;-)

Friday, January 20, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

QM is self-evidently free of causality paradoxes

Someone sent me a 2012 preprint by Aharonov and 3 co-authors that claims that one may prove some acausal influence – future decisions affect past outcomes – with the help of the problematic "weak measurement" concept.

This is such a self-evident piece of rubbish that I am amazed how any physics PhD may ever fail to see it.

In the v5 arXiv version of the paper, the paradox is described as an experiment in bullets on page 12-of-15. In the morning, they measure some spins weakly, in the evening, they do so strongly, and some alleged agreement between the two types of measurements is said to prove that the "later randomly generated numbers" were already known in the morning.

Thursday, January 19, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

A monstrously symmetric cousin of our heterotic Universe

Natalie M. Paquette, Daniel Persson, and Roberto Volpato (Stanford, Sweden, Italy) published a mathematically pretty preprint based on the utterly physical construction of the heterotic string.

BPS Algebras, Genus Zero, and the Heterotic Monster
Well, this paper elaborates upon their previous PPV1 paper which is exactly 1 year old now but I am sure that you will forgive me a 1-year delay in the reporting.

It's just remarkable that something so mathematically exceptional – by its symmetries – may be considered "another solution" to the same spacetime equations that also admit our Universe as a solution.



I still consider the \(E_8\times E_8\) heterotic string to be the most well-motivated candidate description of Nature including quantum gravity. Dualities probably admit other descriptions as well – F-theory, M-theory, braneworlds – but the heterotic string may be the "closest one" or the "most weakly coupled" among all the descriptions.

Heterotic string theory describes our Universe as a 10-dimensional spacetime occupied by weakly coupled strings whose 2-dimensional world sheet is a "hybrid" ("heterosis" is "hybrid vigor", the ability of offspring to surpass the average of both parents). The left-moving excitations on the world sheet are taken from the \(D=26\) bosonic string theory while the right-moving ones are those from the \(D=10\) fermionic string theory (with the \(\NNN=1\) world sheet supersymmetry).

Because the critical dimensions don't agree, the remaining \(D_L-D_R=26-10=16\) left-moving dimensions have to be compactified on the torus deduced from an even self-dual lattice (or fermionized to 32 fermions whose boundary conditions must be modular invariant). There are two even self-dual lattices in 16 dimensions and we obtain theories with spacetime gauge groups \(SO(32)\) or \(E_8\times E_8\). Both of them have rank \(16\) and dimension \(496\).

Brno, Czechia joins plans to build Hyperloop

Ten months ago, I mentioned that our Slovak brothers – with the unmatched support from the Slovak government – decided to seriously work on plans to build Hyperloop between Bratislava, the Slovak capital, and nearby cities like Budapest and Vienna.



Brno [pronounce: burn-naw] is well-known for the Masaryk racing circuit/automotodrom, some industrial exhibitions, Brno's giant penis statues (it's actually Jobst of Moravia and Luxembourg on a female horse), as the golden ship filled with pretty girls (orig.), crooked spire on their city hall saying something about the justice over there, the Špilberk castle with a prison, functionalist villa Tugendhat, and as the place where Gregor Mendel discovered the laws of genetics, among other things

Today, Czech media and Wired (and other English-language outlets)

Slovakia's Hyperloop moves a step closer to not being a joke
told us that my homeland has finally joined this experimental movement. Brno (DE: Brünn), the modern capital of Moravia (an ex-margraviate formally outside the Czech/Bohemian kingdom) and Czechia's second largest city (400,000 people and twice as much in the broader area), signed a declaration with HTT vowing to work on Hyperloop.

They would like to connect Brno with Prague – the Czech capital hasn't signed anything (and the Czech government finds Hyperloop too experimental) – but as far as the city halls' OK goes, you could at least connect Brno and Bratislava which are 70 miles away. That's not terribly helpful because it only takes some 80 minutes by car to go from one city to the other.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

GISS: 1998-2016 comparison suggests a trend of 2 °C per century

Thursday update: British HadCRUT4 have completed their 2016 data, too. The last column contains the annual averages. The difference from GISS is significant. 2016 was only 0.013 °C (GISS: 0.13 °C!) warmer than 2015. December 2016 was 0.432 °C (GISS: 0.30 °C) cooler than December 2015. And 2016 was 0.237 °C (GISS: 0.36 °C) warmer than 1998, indicating just 1.3 °C (GISS: 2 °C, satellites: 0.11 °C) of warming per century!
While Czechia is enjoying the best skiing season – when it comes to the snow conditions – in years (Ore Mountains and the Bohemian Forest often provide skiers with up to 150 cm of snow) and I've exploited this fact as well, The New York Times told us about a press conferences by NOAA and NASA today that finally announced the temperature data for 2016.



GISS temperature anomalies, 1880-2016, in multiples of 0.01 °C

On January 3rd, I mentioned that both satellite-based teams quantifying the global mean temperature (UAH AMSU, RSS AMSU) concluded that 2016 was 0.02 °C warmer than 1998. These were otherwise very similar "end of a strong El Niño years" separated by 18 years. According to these numbers and nothing else, one could estimate that the warming per century is some 0.11 °C, a negligible amount.

The GISS data derived from surface measurements (weather stations for the land and some other gadgets in the ocean) ended up with a very different number than 0.02 °C for the difference between the temperatures in 2016 and 1998.

Maybe tariffs are not worse than taxes

And all sensible "protectionist fees" in the whole economy are basically tariffs

While I sympathize with most plans of Donald Trump's – and his philosophy about many things – it's likely that the potential worsening of the international trade is something that I have the biggest trouble with. His protectionist measures may hurt those who export to the U.S. They may also lead to more or less symmetric responses so the exporters from the U.S. will be hurt, too, like all consumers.

But is it so bad? Am I really scared or disturbed?

Tariffs are worse than nothing, I thought – for those who trade internationally. But they're also an extra income of the government. If the total income by the government is kept constant, the tariffs may really replace some other sources of the government's income – which is mainly taxes.

When I think about the protectionist matters in this way, in this context, tariffs look much less bad. Tariffs are just another form of taxation, one that is robbing a particular group of people – the foreign exporters or the domestic importers who are in between or the domestic consumers buying the foreign goods. (Which of these three participants in the international transaction really pays is a purely administrative detail that doesn't change anything about the essence and impact of these fees.) Is it better or worse when the money is collected from these groups of people – relatively to the taxation which collects the money from all the domestic folks and companies for their sins known as paid work?

Monday, January 16, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

By his Euroskepticism etc., Trump is helpful for most Europeans

Two days ago, I wanted to discuss Black Lives Matter and DisruptJ20, a terrorist organization that plans to disrupt the inauguration on Friday (not to mention the traffic in D.C.), maybe ignite a new U.S. civil war, and that instructs its member terrorists how to deal with cops, courts, and prisons. But at the end, I think that these radical loons will stay irrelevant and the following topic is more important.



Donald Trump has given an interview to Bild,

I don't know how long my trust in Putin will survive (paywall),
which was fortunately summarized in a tendentious (but that doesn't matter) article in WaPo. Like the PC WaPo inkspillers, the Eurosoviet apparatchiks are shocked and they talk about a looming trans-Atlantic split!

But Donald Trump didn't say anything that the Europeans should be scared of. He just makes sense. Much of what he's saying just reproduces what wise Europeans like me have been saying for many years.

Does an increased number and exposure of traders slow down convergence of prices to fair values?

I don't think so, markets with lots of motivated traders are equally fast and more accurate

Here's another thought about the currencies, especially the Czech crown. As I approximately predicted, the December 2016 reading for the year-on-year inflation rate was 2.0%, in precise agreement with the Czech National Bank inflation target, which leads to fundamental reasons to exit the intervention regime.

Inflation rates are rising in Germany, the Eurozone, the U.S. – across the world where bankers were (unjustifiably) scared of deflation. The anomalous era of deflation and especially negative interest rates simply had to end. It's ironic that what central banks couldn't do after purchases of trillions of dollars in bonds and other things for several years (the efforts to increase the inflation rate), the dead squirrel on Donald Trump's head was capable of achieving within a month and for free. (He has also cooled down the Earth and Nature had to pay for it.)

In Czechia, the recent steep jumps in the inflation rate were also helped by the EET Big Brother monitoring of all cash receipts that has already been introduced to the restaurant+hotel industry and will spread to the rest of the businesses receiving cash (and payment cards) in three more waves. But most of the revived inflation is more global, has various reasons (including the non-weakening of oil in the recent year). But yes, I think that Trump's "fresh wind" is the most important single global reason for the growth of the inflation and inflation expectations across the Western world. He's already returned some common sense. It's common sense that you pay positive and nontrivial interest rates for loans. So it will probably be so under common-sense Trump. It's also common sense that a government capable of borrowing – and perhaps intimidating creditors – will probably do so which is why it may be reasonable to expect that despite his affinity to the fiscal responsibility, Trump will run big budget deficits and further increase the inflation rate in this way.

During November 2013 when the floor "EUR/CZK shall be above 27" was introduced, the Czech National Bank reserves jumped from 35 to 41 billion euros (euros are relevant because that's where a majority of the reserves are denominated). By the end of 2016, they stood at 81 billion – more than doubled since late 2013 – because the central bank had to print (both electronic and physical) crowns and buy euros (and euro-denominated bonds and other things) in exchange. In October 2016, the jump was 5 billion euros.

Both in November and December, the buying was close to 0.5 billion euros per month. But that post-Trump-victory slowdown dramatically changed in early 2017. In the first two weeks of the year, 10 billion euros were poured into the Czech currency. At the end of the month, the ČNB reserves may be up to 30 billion or so higher than in the previous month because they also needed to add some 10 billion because of some EU regulation and there are two more weeks.

Saturday, January 14, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Princeton climate realist Happer meets Trump

The media reported that Will Happer, a wise Princeton physicist and climate skeptic whom I have exchanged a couple of nontrivial e-mails with, has visited the Trump Tower in New York and met Donald Trump. Google News. I guess that Happer's background is sufficiently different from Trump's but I think it's vital for the soon-to-be U.S. president to keep some interaction with scholars like Happer.



If you're not familiar with Happer, you should listen to this 31-minute 5-weeks-old interview. He's an important guy in a coalition of friends of CO2 (I've never memorized the exact name, maybe just the CO2 Coalition), has been famous in science for figuring out how to suppress the sodium-line-based twinkling in the telescopes by lasers, and was interested in the environmental and climatological issues since his service in the DOE under Bush Sr. See also this written interview via WUWT and Climate Depot's useful collection of hyperlinks about Happer.

Friday, January 13, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Klaus on Shevarnadze's RT show

Viewers with common sense can distinguish the nuances

Czech ex-president Václav Klaus traveled to Moscow because Russian became another language in which his and his aide Weigl's recently penned book about the "Migration Period v2.0" (which has a removal van on the cover in Czech and some other languages which use the same word for migration and moving) so he used the opportunity to give an interview for SophieCo, an RT show.


Web page of the show and transcript, YouTube backup

In Fall 2015, he already talked to RT's Oksana Boyko at the Worlds Apart show. I think that both young women do their job very well but both have shown some kind of unfamiliarity with the intellectual discourse that Klaus and similar people represent.

Sophie Shevarnadze, the granddaughter of the well-known Soviet minister of foreign affairs Eduard Sh., is considered the hottest woman in Russia by many people. I think she's primarily very smart and her business-like short haircut emphasized that point and reduced the room for distractions. ;-)

Volkswagen #1 carmaker again, Fiat-Chrysler and Renault harassed for emissions cheating

In September 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency began its holy war against the Volkswagen Group which has used a "defeat device", a clever software-hardware gadget that reduces emissions (but also efficiency of the engine) during the emissions testing, but is turned off otherwise.



This war has led to the resignation of the VW boss as well as a brutal collapse of the stocks. Look at the graphs of VOW3, the main publicly traded Volkswagen stock, what it looked like in September 2015. In the month, it collapsed from €170 to €90 or so, almost by one-half. For a year, Volkswagen also lost its yellow shirt for the #1 carmaker to Toyota.

But things are different in early 2017. Volkswagen is the world's #1 automaker again and the current price of the stock is €148, much closer to the September 2015 maximum than the minimum. VW has already paid over $17 billion to U.S. car owners – which I find insanely high but it wasn't lethal. In comparison with that, the 2-day old news that VW would pay $4.3 billion to the U.S. government looked like good news.

Thursday, January 12, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Rex Tillerson, a lukewarmer, stands out like a sore thumb in the new era

Donald Trump has said that global warming was a hoax invented by the Chinese in order to weaken America. And believe me, Trump isn't a great fan of China so this link between China and the man-made global warming movement wasn't meant to be a compliment for the latter.

He has chosen numerous folks for his administration whose climate realist credentials seem indisputable: Scott Pruitt for the EPA, Cathy McMorris Rodgers for the Interior Department, and Rick Perry for the Department of Energy. Given the fact that Rex Tillerson has served as a CEO of ExxonMobil, you would think that it's similar with this guy. Except that it's not.

All climate jihadists who have been fighting "climate change" and ExxonMobil should notice: If you have a relative ally in the Trump administration, it's the former CEO of ExxonMobil! ;-) What an irony. But the green morons don't understand it – instead, they are terribly alarmed by Tillerson. Don't get me wrong. He is not as superficial and insane as his predecessor – he should be an improvement relatively to John Kerry. However, his views are mixed.

Czech president allowed to say many things in WaPo interview

In recent months, The Washington Post has emerged as a flagship among the media outlets that don't hesitate to aggressively promote the misleading and sometimes utterly ludicrous memes associated with the outgoing politically correct U.S. administration. They published an interview with someone on the opposite side of these cultural wars, Czech president Miloš Zeman.

And I would praise the interview for one important quality: Zeman gave his answers to some of the most important questions or questions most often associated with him. One may say that he was not being censored. However, there is a flip side. The journalist was basically trying to mock Zeman from the beginning to the end. At least in between the lines, almost every comment or question contains a suggestion that the reader shouldn't take Zeman seriously.

Let me rephrase the interview in a language that is just a little bit exaggerated.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

What does Obama's drivel tell us about the Science magazine

"For the editors, the left-wing cult is a higher priority than science"

Yesterday, Willie Soon sent me a weirdly placed article in the Science magazine,

The irreversible momentum of clean energy (full, abstract)
signed by one author named Barack Obama. The author's e-mail is press@who.eop.gov – so you could also say that the author is a press department – and in 10 days, the new e-mail will be contact@obamaoffice44.org – so the people will be recycled to the former president's 44th office. It's not bad for a redundant person like that to have 44 offices.

Some naive media admire Obama, the first president to author an article in Science. He's joined elite scientists such as Chinese ex-president Wen Jiabao, Prince Albert of Monaco, Kofi Annan, and yes, also former chemistry postdoc Angela Merkel. Just like Willis Eschenbach, I must say: How infantile you have to be to believe that the presence of an article by Obama in a science magazine implies that Obama is prepared to do scientific research?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

CMS: a small Higgs to \(\mu\mu\tau\tau\) decay hint of a \(19\GeV\) boson

Statistics hasn't ceased to hold in 2017, even though the latter is a prime integer. So excesses keep on appearing in the LHC experiment, including the newly published CMS preprint about an analysis based on 20 inverse femtobarns of the 2012, i.e. center-of-mass energy \(8\TeV\) data:

Search for light bosons in decays of the \(125\GeV\) Higgs boson in proton-proton collisions at \(\sqrt{s} = 8\TeV\) (by Aaallah and 2000+ co-authors)
They only look at events in which the Higgs boson discovered in 2012 is produced – the number of collisions of this type (which were not known at all before late 2011) is so high that the experimenters may look at small special subsets and still say something interesting about these subsets.



Off-topic but fun chart of the day. Source.

So they focus on events in which the \(125\GeV\) Higgs decays to four fermions, as if it were first decaying to two lighter bosons, \(h\to aa\). The final states they probe include "four taus", "two muons plus two taus", and "two muons and two bottom quarks". It's not quite clear to me why they omit the other combinations, e.g. "two taus and two bottom quarks" etc. (except that I know that "four muons" was focused on in a special paper), but there may be some mysterious explanation.

Monday, January 09, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Intelligence report on "Russian hacking" is embarrassing

I followed the claims that Putin and his evil Russia have somehow lost the elections for Hillary Clinton. Lots of crackpots were spreading these news but days ago, we got the opportunity to read the 25-page U.S. intelligence report about the "Russian hacking",

Background to “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections”: The Analytic Process and Cyber Incident Attribution (PDF, NYT browser)
and I have quick read it, too.

The U.S. intelligence community is receiving some $80 billion a year, a staggering amount, and this community has basically signed under this document about this widely discussed theory related to the intelligence agencies' work. So you would expect at least something meaningful in there.

Your expectation would be completely wrong. There's absolutely nothing relevant in the 25-page-long document. Rather than the report of a $80 billion industry about an important accusation, it reads like a homework exercise of an undergraduate left-wing crybaby from a U.S. college that has turned into an indoctrination center nurturing students in a bubble – well, almost all colleges are like that these days. And the student would still deserve a failing grade.

Disappointing composition of top-cited 2016 HEP papers

Stephen Hawking celebrated his 75th birthday yesterday, congratulations! Lots of other websites remind you of the basic facts. He's well-known to the physicists primarily for the Hawking radiation of black holes and related insights about black hole thermodynamics; but also for his and Penrose's singularity theorems and other things. He's also revolutionized the popular physics book market. As Hawking mentioned, he has sold more books about physics than Madonna has about sex.

The experimental counterpart of this statement isn't quite true. We have observed fewer evaporating black holes than Madonna's sex scenes, however, namely zero.

I found it interesting to look at the 2016 data papers on high energy physics that already have over 100 citations according to INSPIRE, the database of particle physics papers. This particular search finds 126 papers right now.

Saturday, January 07, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Only probabilities, not observables, are spherically symmetric around singlet states

Physicist and spy Klaus Fuchs has expressed the opinion that Born's rule (squared complex amplitudes are interpreted as probabilities or probability densities) could be derived from something deeper. I think that this wishful thinking is demonstrably impossible. Why? We just don't have any method or theorem in mathematics or physics that could allow us not to assume any statement of the sort

the probability is \(f(\theta)\)
and deduce the conclusion of the form
the probability is \(f(\theta)\)
For example, think about an electron whose spin is prepared to be aligned "up" with respect to an axis, and then measure the projection of the spin \(j_z\) with respect to the \(z\)-axis. The angle between the two axes is \(\theta\), the amplitude is \(\cos(\theta/2)\), up to a phase, and the probability to get "up" again is therefore \(\cos^2(\theta/2)\).

How could you possibly derive that from something "deeper"? We don't have anything "deeper" than probabilities that probabilities could be constructed from. At most, we may define probabilities as \(N/N_{\rm total}\), the frequentist formula by which we measure it – which would give us rational numbers if \(N_{\rm total}\) were some "fundamentally real" options. And we may deduce that the probability is \(p=1/N\) if \(N\) options are related by a symmetry. Or we may say that each state on a "shell of the phase space" – quantum mechanically, a subspace of the Hilbert space – has the probability \(p=1/N\) to be realized during a random evolution as envisioned by the ergodic theorem.

None of those Ansätze can produce the statement "the probability is \(\cos^2(\theta/2)\)" and there are no other candidates of the "methods" in mathematics and physics. So I find it rather clear that unless someone finds a totally new mathematics that finds completely new definitions or laws for probabilities, and e.g. calculates probabilities from Bessel's function of the number of Jesus' disciples (which seems like a quantity of a different type than probability, and that's the main reason why this example should sound ludicrous), it is clearly impossible to derive statements like "the probability of 'up' is \(\cos^2(\theta/2)\)" from something that says nothing about the values of probabilities.

The people saying "Born's rule smells like it's derived" never respond to the argument above – which I consider a proof of a sort. I think that if one carefully looks at the task, he will agree that the only way to deduce that the probability is a continuous function of some variables is to make at least some assumptions that the probability is a continuous function of some variables. Quantum mechanics including Born's rule is making statements about Nature of the form the probability is a continuous function of some variables. But if you have nothing like that as a fundamental law of physics, you just can't possibly derive any conclusion like that.

Quantum mechanics and its statistical character can't be "emergent". The statements about the values of probabilities have to appear somewhere in our derivations for the first time. So the only way how a physical theory may make predictions of probabilities at all is that it contains an axiom with the formula telling us what the probabilities are, namely (in the case of quantum mechanics) Born's rule. Such a rule can't be born out of nothing or out of something unrelated to probabilities, it's that simple.

Friday, January 06, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

It's not racism to favor domestic models

I think that Lidl is the best supermarket chain in Czechia although my view may be biased due to my getting used to a nearby new Lidl. But I've been to other supermarkets very many times and the reasons to think that Lidl does a better job are too obvious and numerous. Low prices, weekly themes with special products, fast cashiers supported by effective systems to add or remove employees etc.

Well, some flame wars have erupted in which I am not quite on Lidl's side. Well, the story is simple. In the weekly flyer for this week (an XXL week at Lidl), a black model has appeared twice, on pages 22-23. I did see the flyer a week ago for the first time and I didn't react. I obviously don't have a problem with a black model at all. I don't really care about models of any color or type. If you had asked me about the photographs, I would probably say that Lidl is making the flyers for the whole Europe and the incorporation of the black model is mostly driven by the political correctness in Germany.

On the other hand, some Czechs did care and they criticized Lidl for this choice. While I am not one of those critics, I find it essential to respect their right to have opinions. After all, in a truly free market, models should be chosen so that the target audience likes to look at them or is otherwise satisfied with them or encouraged to buy more etc. If they don't like a model or a group of models for any reason, blonde hair, thin muscles, high age etc., it's their choice. You can't change people's aesthetic preferences.

Thursday, January 05, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Weinberg's trouble with quantum mechanics is not even wrong

Bill Zajc and Luke Lea have simultaneously sent me a link to a new (or future) article by Steven Weinberg in The New York Review of Books,

The Trouble with Quantum Mechanics
Weinberg's subjective dissatisfaction with quantum mechanics was growing in recent years, along with our fears about Weinberg's exceptional intellect. Many things in this article are similar distortions that have been discussed repeatedly but we may look at his thoughts again and emphasize those that look slightly new.

Well, the first new thing is the title, apparently a variation of the title of a notorious book by Lee Smolin, The Trouble With Physics. Before his 84th birthday, prominent Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg may have found a new goal – to become an assistant to the crackpot Lee Smolin. Or maybe he was just testing whether I would point out this similarity. Well, Prof Weinberg, be sure that I would.

XENON100 rejects DAMA/LIBRA dark matter modulation at 5.7 sigma

DAMA/LIBRA is an Italian dark matter experiment that most colleagues apparently don't take too seriously. In recent years, it has claimed to detect some clear signatures of dark matter, especially through the dark matter seasonal modulation. Some effects are different in the summer and in the winter, and so on. This is what you would expect from a dark matter counterpart of the "aether wind", if I dare to borrow to a debunked concept. ;-)



DAMA/LIBRA is some microwave oven with some sensitive pieces within 1 meter of concrete in all directions. A theorist must have a similar idea about it as I have about a laser printer, Canon LBP7018C, whose 3-of-4 cartridges I attempted to replace yesterday but the non-original compatible ones got stuck in it and the printer seems broken now. Probably not my fault but I can't be sure. ;-) The Rutgers+Harvard experience taught me that a dedicated professional is needed to maintain a laser printer.

The most recent DAMA/LIBRA paper is this 2013 update which says that the statistical significance of their observed – nominally discovered – dark matter modulation signal is 9.3 sigma. If true, it's a discovery on steroids.

When the pro-dark matter side seemed to be winning in the dark matter wars, there were other reasons to think that this modulation exists. CoGeNT has confirmed some modulation in 2011, too.

The atmosphere is different now and the anti-dark matter side seems to be on an offensive. It's particularly clear from the today's new preprint by the XENON collaboration:

Search for Electronic Recoil Event Rate Modulation with 4 Years of XENON100 Data
XENON, one of the most formidable dark matter detectors in the world (I think that LUX and XENON are upgrading and fighting for the leadership), investigated the annual modulation as well. Using the 2010-2014 data, they have evaluated the theory with dark matter modulation and parameters suggested by the claimed DAMA/LIBRA signal. And they have excluded this theory. Experimenters normally tend to disprove theories with newly proposed effects at 2 sigma or 95% confidence level – because the "null hypothesis" to which they return to isn't extraordinary and doesn't need extraordinary evidence.

But in this case, they could take the DAMA/LIBRA claim to be a "natural hypothesis" and XENON excluded it at 5.7 sigma – because it's more than five, you may say that XENON has made a discovery that DAMA/LIBRA is wrong.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Summers vs Trump on the economy

You know, I've met Larry Summers several times, talked to him during the dinners in the Society of Fellows that he was formally heading, and had to admire him for his seemingly penetrating, hard-science-like thinking and relatively honest attitudes towards the feminists and similar junk, attitudes that gradually turned into a frustrating surrender.

(I remember a party for new junior faculty in his house in late 2004 or early 2005, days before he gave the famous speech about women in science. On that party, I started to apologize to him for some anti-feminist blog post that created some havoc and complaints that had already gotten to his mailbox – but I have already forgotten who the complainer was etc. But of course, I did expect he would say that I had no reason to apologize and he did it. Soon afterwards, he carefully said similar things as those in my blog post and had to pay his beloved job of the Harvard president for that a year later, after some 14 months of annoying battles with the SJW whiners.)

I still think he's sort of very smart and independently thinking but so many Summers' pronouncements in the recent decade make me feel like an idiot because I was considering Larry a relative conservative icon at Harvard, if I exaggerate just a little bit. It just seems crazy to me now. The political atmosphere at Harvard had to be insane – and probably is even worse now – when the likes of Summers could have been viewed as oases of relative conservatism by people like me.

Yesterday, he spoke for some 9 minutes at Bloomberg. See reports in Business Insider, Bloomberg video only, AFR Financial Review, and echoes elsewhere.

Summers criticized the markets and investors for failing to switch to an absolute hysteria. He has also denounced a paper by Wilbur Ross, a billionaire and soon-to-be Secretary of Commerce, and economist Peter Navarro as a paper that is "beyond voodoo economics". This paper is an economics counterpart of creationism and makes climate skeptics look like responsible scientists. Well, the latter is surely OK – we are responsible scientists.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Constitutional right to shoot terrorists

The current Czech minister of interior, Mr Milan Chovanec (social democracy; previously the governor of the Pilsner region who was 65 kg heavier than he is now and started his successful diet-with-a-nutella-punchline and a clerk in a vegetable shop; the smiling grey gay on the picture happens to be our neighbor from my childhood Mr František Hykeš, a communist journalist and at the time of the photograph, a spokesman for the zoo or something like that), has reacted to the recent attacks in Berlin and Istanbul (if I omit the stabbing of a Pole in a Polish kebab shop) in a thought-provoking way.

He proposes a constitutional amendment saying that every Czech citizen has the right to shoot a terrorist dead. It's that simple. When someone is going to be confirmed as a terrorist on a mission – or, almost equivalently, a perpetrator of a violent attack considered an attack against the country – the holders of guns have the right to shoot at this individual and terminate his or her life.

UAH AMSU: 2016 finally beats 1998 as warmest year, by Earth-shaking 0.02 °C

Update: On January 5th, RSS AMSU data are out as well. December was 0.16 °C cooler than November. The result is almost the same as UAH below – 2016 was 0.02 °C warmer than 1998 and the new flagship.



Dr Roy Spencer, one of the folks in the UAH AMSU team who calculate the temperature data from the NASA satellites, published the value of the global mean temperature for December 2016 and therefore the whole year 2016, too:
Global Satellites: 2016 not Statistically Warmer than 1998
In December, the global temperature anomaly (according to the version 6.0 of their product) dropped by 0.21 °C (a lot for one month) to +0.24 °C. Despite the first or second strongest El Niño that we experienced earlier in 2016, the global temperature is just a quarter degree above the normal, 40-year value for a December.



Alexander Ač asked me to publish this video shot by his friend who is an astronaut and irrevocably proving global warming. Czech Globe, the European center of excellence, is impressed by this new proof of climate change. (OK, the previous sentences were a prank but the broader message that institutes like that are employing complete idiots holds.)

The five warmest years according to UAH (and their temperature anomalies) are:
01 — 2016 — +0.50 °C
02 — 1998 — +0.48 °C
03 — 2010 — +0.34 °C
04 — 2015 — +0.26 °C
05 — 2002 — +0.22 °C
You see that 2016 was 0.02 °C warmer than 1998, the year that has defended its gold medal against the following 17 competitors.

Monday, January 02, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Nautilus' disillusioned ex-physicist

Bob Henderson wrote an autobiography for Nautil.Us (via CIP):

What Does Any of This Have To Do with Physics?

Einstein and Feynman ushered me into grad school, reality ushered me out.
He's a Rochester theoretical physics PhD who had come to the grad school after he read some New Agey pop-science books and left a cushy engineering job. He grew disillusioned and at the time of the PhD defense, he decided to switch to Wall Street which he left in 2012, i.e. 15 years later, and became a science writer. While the content of the article is annoying, I think that he is an excellent prospective novelist.

Henderson complains that his dreams were destroyed, he lost the faith that theoretical physics is meaningful or theoretical physicists are marching towards a holy grail. His reasons to leave the university world have nothing whatever to do with my reasons – in some sense, they are the opposite ones – but I am highly familiar with this kind of a frustrated talk because it's widespread among (especially young) physicists. Well, this frustrated talk about physics is less widespread among older physicists because before they reach the higher age, most of the young whiners get eliminated. It's that simple.

Before we look at Henderson's whining a bit more closely, I want to say two more general things. First, it's probably not an accident that the "hero of 2016-2017" in such a popular article is someone who left theoretical physics and mostly began to hate it. Decades ago, such popular journals preferred to celebrate successful theoretical physicists but quitters are apparently more fashionable nowadays. This subtlety strengthens the claims that the science media have switched to a new mission, to hurt theoretical physics.

Second, there are surely lots of other fields in which most people remain relatively unsuccessful and disillusioned. I am sure that there are lots of boys who want to be the world's best athletes and tennis stars and anything of the sort (or actors, add your favorite famous occupation) but find out that not everyone becomes successful and the life of the unsuccessful ones may be hard. Djokovic's life may be comfortable (although I am not certain even about these statements) but for every Djokovic, there are thousands of would-be stars who remain broke and don't get rewarded for their efforts.

Nevertheless, many people play tennis in the afternoon even if they don't earn the same money as Djokovic. Most of those just accept that they're not as good as Djokovic – but tennis is still fun for them, anyway. For some reason, people (including Henderson) don't want to accept that they're less successful than the top theoretical physicists simply because they're not as good. Without the decent salaries and big prizes, these would-be "physicists" find out that they don't actually like physics at all.

Third, Henderson's personality is clearly not that of a theoretical physicist, a fact that the pop-science books have obscured to him. You may see that pop-science books often present physicists as some kind of magicians who are having a great time under shining lights all the time – like Harry Potter or at least the Hollywood stars. What a surprise that many people who actually try to do physics grow disillusioned.

Sunday, January 01, 2017 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Lindzen, me: U.S. climate science needs to shrink by 80-90 percent

The new, Trump administration brings a lot of hope when it comes to the climate change. Perhaps, hundreds of billions of dollars won't be wasted – as they are today – for much more expensive forms of energy and much more expensive alternatives to common things. The climate hysteria has been costly.

But the unnecessary economic costs were not the only problem. Climatology as a discipline of pure science has suffered, too. Well, even the climate scientists aren't cheap. The U.S. spends some $2.5 billion paid through 13 government institutions to fund the American climate scientists. The field has obviously become this huge only because the meme that "the global warming will kill all of us" was spread and it was spread mostly because of political incentives.

Real Clear Investigations wrote a text about the expected transformation of the field

Skeptical Climate Scientists Coming In From the Cold.
The title says that sensible climate scientists will finally be heard. Hopefully. We hope that it will become possible to say that the good weather is actually good, that the Earth won't warm up by 10 degrees in a century, and if it will warm by a degree or two, it won't have any dramatic consequences and the consequences are likely to be beneficial. The bullies who were preventing you from saying important, even elementary things – e.g. that there's no scientific basis for the claim that a higher CO2 concentration increases extreme weather – will hopefully lose their influence over the scientific community.

What happens with the mass of the climate scientists?

NYT publishes new Russophobic fake news against Czech president

Happy New Year 2017, dear readers!

One advantage of 2017 is that it is easy to remember its factorization into primes. Like 2003 and 2011 – and no other year in this century so far – 2017 is a prime. Note that the probability that a number of this approximate magnitude is a prime is around \(1/\ln(2017)\) i.e. about 13%. Let's hope that it won't be the only sense in which 2017 will be a prime year. In three weeks, many things in the world should start to improve from the viewpoint of most of us. Among other things, a well-known German economic institute, ZEW, has praised Trump's plan to reduce the U.S. corporate taxes – at 36.5%, those were just way too high.

Some people will keep on promoting the old world, the world of high taxes, intrusive governments, politically correct bullies, and mindless and primitive anti-Russian racism, among other annoying things. Sadly, two days ago, the New York Times "pleased" us with a propaganda piece titled

How Russians Pay to Play in Other Countries
This kind of rants is basically isomorphic to the Nazi propaganda against the Jews. Like the Jews, the Russians are painted as some evil forces behind the scenes that are the puppet masters of all other evil people and who cause all evil in the world.

This primitive anti-Russian racism is the overt side of disgusting pieces like Neil MacFarquhar's hit piece above. In reality, if you look closely, Russia isn't the only target. Texts like that are mainly hit pieces against those who are – usually nonsensically – painted as the Russian puppets, like all politically decent and conservative people in the West (and in this case, Czech politicians who refuse to become puppets of George Soros). What is the actual story?