Wednesday, July 23, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

An interesting interview with Dirac

A few days ago, we talked about Wigner's friend. But who was he?

Edwin Steiner told us about a remarkable interview with Paul Dirac that was done by one of Dirac's few friends (and brothers-in-law), Eugene Wigner, and by Thomas "paradigm shift" Kuhn:

Interview with P. A. M. Dirac By Thomas S. Kuhn and Eugene Paul Wigner At Wigner’s home, Princeton, New Jersey April 1, l962

Dirac talks about the absence of any social life during his childhood. He lived with his parents in an isolated house. The parents didn't sleep with each other and didn't even eat with each other. He could only talk to his father in French. He had one younger and one older sibling. One of them committed suicide at age of 24.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

CMS: a \(2.1\TeV\) right-handed \(W_R^\pm\)-boson

Since the beginning of this month, the ATLAS and CMS collaborations have reported several intriguing excesses such as the apparent enhancement of the \(W^+W^-\) cross section (which may be due to some large logarithms neglected by theorists, as a recent paper indicated), a flavor-violating Higgs decay, leptoquarks, and a higgsino excess, among others.

Bizarrely enough, all of us missed another, 2.8-sigma excess exactly one week ago:

CMS: Search for heavy neutrinos and \(W^\pm_R\) bosons with right-handed couplings in proton-proton collisions at \(\sqrt{s} = 8 \TeV\) (arXiv)
The ordinary \(W^\pm\)-bosons only interact with the left-handed component of the electron, muon, and tau, because only those transform nontrivially (as a doublet) under the relevant \(SU(2)_W\) part of the electroweak gauge group.

Monday, July 21, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Every 300th day in the bulk of a solar cycle is sunspot-free

...they are not that rare...

The Daily Mail is the most influential source that wrote that

Why has the sun gone quiet?

Scientists baffled as sun spots disappear during peak period of solar activity
Surely it must be a miracle that days without any sunspots began last week, inside the Solar Cycle 24. This shouldn't happen, should it? The Sun is going to be turned off, or at least an ice age is coming. But is it? Should we be stunned?

To answer the question, I downloaded the SIDC daily sunspot numbers from a website. Between January 1820 and June 2014, the database provided me with 68,076 daily sunspot numbers. With an 11-year quasiperiod, the sunspot numbers are changing between the minimum near 0 and the maximum between 50-100 or so.

Non-orthogonal quantum states are not mutually exclusive

"Interpreters" of quantum mechanics deny nothing less than Born's rule

In classical physics, if we know that the system has generalized coordinates \((x_i,p_i)\), i.e. that it sits at the corresponding point of the phase space, then we may say that it certainly doesn't have generalized coordinates \((x'_i,p'_i)\) if the collections of numbers differ,\[

(x_i,p_i)\neq (x'_i,p'_i).

\] Different points of the phase space are mutually exclusive even if they are very close to each other. This lesson holds in any classical theory, including classical field theory. If two configurations of a classical field differ as functions\[

\Phi(x,y,z)\neq \Phi'(x,y,z),

\] then we may say with certainty that if the system is found in the configuration \(\Phi(x,y,z)\), then it certainly isn't found in the configuration \(\Phi'(x,y,z)\), not even if the latter is close to the former (but not equal).

The people who are incapable of understanding that the quantum revolution has overthrown the general framework of classical physics almost universally assume that the state vector \(\ket\psi\) in quantum mechanics is a form of a classical variable. They're wrong and their being wrong has very dramatic consequences.

Saturday, July 19, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

CRESST defects from "dark matter is seen" coalition

A year or two years ago, several experiments were claiming the existence of rather similar signals of an apparent dark matter particle lighter than \(10\GeV\). The experimental groups were split almost evenly, to the "Dark Matter Is Seen" allies and the "Dark Matter Is Not Seen" axis.

LUX in South Dakota has totally changed the game 9 months ago and with its precise observations of nothing, it obliterated all the competing experiments that had claimed a signal. Those humiliated "Dark Matter Was Seen" experiments included DAMA, CDMS-Silicon, CoGeNT, and also... CRESST. It didn't become quite clear why they had seen something but with LUX's superiority, it was pretty much guaranteed that what they saw was a mirage i.e. an overlooked or poorly understood systematic effect or background.

As Jester points out, CRESST is no longer an ally and became a LUX-led axis member, too. Incidentally, the LUX experiment itself will be replaced by its king-sized cousin, LUX-ZEPLIN.

Thursday, July 17, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

It's suicidal to fly over New Russia these days

The mysteriously lost MH370 flight of the Malaysian Airlines hasn't been found and there's another tragedy for the company: MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down near Shakhtar in the Donetsk People's Republic, about 30 miles from the Russian border. The 295 people on board (280 passengers + 15 crew members) died.

I was saddened and shocked at the same moment. People get harassed with all kinds of security regulations but when it comes to the actual trajectories of airplanes, they continue to fly right above the de facto warzone as if nothing were happening over there.

Is time going slowly near the equator?

John Rennie – who is going to jump above me at Physics Stack Exchange in a few months unless I will find motivation to prevent him from doing so – has asked a very nice question:

Does time move slower at the equator?
The Earth is spinning so all people living at the equator are apparently moving at 464 m/s relatively to what seems like a "better inertial frame". By the special relativistic time dilation, this should slow their time by one part per trillion. That would be a 100 larger relative effect than the accuracy you may achieve with state-of-the-art atomic clocks.

Has someone measured this effect that should be measurable?

Christy in NYT, little girl, and school bus

The New York Times have published a relatively friendly story by Michael Wines about John Christy, a well-known climate skeptic:

Though Scorned by Colleagues, a Climate-Change Skeptic Is Unbowed
I say that the article is "relatively friendly" because it pictures Christy as a decent human being and an achieved enough expert while his opponents, the climate alarmists who have contaminated the community of atmospheric scientists, were shown as what they are, a cruel, fanatical, inhumane, Gestapo-like sect that won't even shake Christy's hand.

From an emotional viewpoint, they treat Christy well. However, as James Delingpole nicely discusses, there is some hidden negative message in the article because the author partly intends to legitimize the isolation of Christy in certain circles of his colleagues.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Non-empirical confirmation of theories

In science, confirmations are always ultimately empirical in character but science has always been more than just naive empiricism

A year ago, philosopher (and trained theoretical physicist) Richard Dawid wrote a book named String Theory and the Scientific Method where he essentially argued that science is becoming less dependent on empirical observations.

Off-topic: a huge black hole (diameter 80 meters) was discovered at the Yamal Peninsula, Siberia.

Two reviewers admitted that they haven't read the book but as homeless losers, they don't like the price of the book. I have a trouble with this kind of "reviews". If they are homeless losers who can't afford to buy a product, why don't they just shut their mouth? Reviews should be written by someone who knows what he is reviewing. If they haven't seen the book, they can't even say whether the price is appropriate.

Maybe a week ago, Richard Dawid was interviewed by the 3 a.m. magazine:

String theory and post-empiricism
The photograph suggests that Dawid is Max Tegmark's twin brother.

People like Sabine Hossenfelder along with assorted über-šitheads whose names are banned on this blog (and who should be banned in the Solar System, too) disagreed with Dawid.

I am tired of these debates. The basic philosophical framework is so clear.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

U.K. government survey: climate optimists use less electricity than climate fearmongers

There are diverse ways to visualize a climate fearmonger.

You may think that a typical representative alarmist looks like a Luddite maggott who lives in the Stone Age, sleeps in the treetops, eats earthworms, and consumes no electricity.

Another, very different way to visualize a climate alarmist is to think about Al Gore, a hypocritical jerk who preaches about the reductions of the carbon footprint but whose household resembles a medium car factory and whose frequent flying emulates the evacuation of an island.

Which visualization is more accurate?

Monday, July 14, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Three pigeonholes in six physicists' brains

RAF has told us about a new quant-ph preprint

The quantum pigeonhole principle and the nature of quantum correlations
by Yakir Aharonov and five less famous co-authors. Their paper claims to disprove the apparently trivial proposition
If you put 3 pigeons in 2 pigeonholes, at least one pair of pigeons (12/23/31) ends up in the same pigeonhole.
It should be true because the number of pigeonholes is lower than the number of pigeons so they can't be hosted in accordance with the Pauli exclusion principle.

But is that statement right quantum mechanically? The authors claim that the seemingly obvious proposition isn't right which is why quantum mechanics assaults the "very core" of what numbers are and all the mathematics – lots of big words.

One must avoid prejudices. The technical claim in the paper may be right or wrong, and they may either say that they have found a problem with quantum mechanics (like hundreds of cranks love to claim these days) or not (just another example of the failures of the common sense). Which option is right?

Sunday, July 13, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

A new feminist attack on Richard Feynman

PC ideologue and cosmologist Matthew Francis wrote a rant titled

The problem of Richard Feynman
We learn that "Feynman is no hero to us" – he's surely a hero to me – and that Feynman was a "sexist" in attitudes and especially actions which must be so bad.

We are told that it's so bad that he was picking girls in bars. Feynman would pretend he was an undergraduate and had some successes with girls, including the graduate students' girlfriends.

Well, Feynman could afford to market himself as an undergraduate because he looked like one – and he was spiritually a lively undergraduate for most of his life.

Saturday, July 12, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Tennis, taxes, patriotism, and jealousy

Taxes are a form of institutionalized theft. When they get too high, subjectively or objectively, successful people start to escape – covertly or overtly – the nation that is stealing in this way. That's why Depardieu became a Russian chap.

Czech tennis players (plus some other athletes) generally employ their residence in Monaco to get rid of their Czech taxes. It is totally legal and understandable. Our best female tennis player is open and honest about it and I appreciate it. Needless to say, if I could legally save millions in this way (and if I found the amount of paperwork "doable"), I would do the same.

Yesterday, a socialist lawmaker named Stanislav Huml (formerly a politician for Public Affairs VV; during communism, he was a communist party member and a cop; in 2006, he was running for a Eurofanatical party; in 2011, he switched to Jana Bobošíková's strongly Euroskeptical party for a while – quite a record) ignited a tax haven storm; see e.g. Radio Prague or Mid Day or others in English (or hundreds of Czech media sources).

Friday, July 11, 2014 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

A 8,000-year-old dam found near Pilsen

...just a minor report of regional importance...

Four miles from my home, in the village of Kyšice, they are building the new tunnels and tracks for the sped up Pilsen-Prague railway path. I know Kyšice very well not just because it's only 3 miles from my home but because I like to pick walnuts over there every fall. You know, the tree dares to transcend the private garden and reach the public roads which has consequences. ;-)

See a blog post about the railway project. It's a standard practice that archaeologists are checking the place before they irreversibly transform it.

Isaac Newton, the überhistorian

We know Isaac Newton as the founder of classical physics in the modern sense and perhaps the most ingenious scientist in the mankind's history. He's been doing many impressive things and some of them look crazy. But before you suggest that Newton wasn't the top expert in pretty much every discipline he touched, you should read his

The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended by Isaac Newton
which was published as an e-book in 2005.