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

Quantum computing lady: feminized physics is a formula for failure

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.

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.

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
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.