## Tuesday, June 30, 2015 ... /////

### Memories, asymptotic symmetries, and soft theorems

Last Monday, the Strings 2015 annual conference started in Bengalúru, India. Now it's over. With three exceptions, the written documents used by the speakers are posted on the page with talk titles and videos. Unfortunately, most of the videos have still not been posted; the last released ones were added 4 days ago.

(Update July 1st: thank God, the videos are available.)

There have been numerous interesting talks at the conference. Some of them are nice reviews. In order to focus on talks with a truly new original content that is sufficiently conceptual to be appropriate for a semitechnical blog, let me pick Andy Strominger's talk (PDF), not only because Andy celebrates his 60th birthday in a month.

## Monday, June 29, 2015 ... /////

### Puerto Rico and Greece: a comparison of two defaults

Excessive pensions and similar expenses are always the main problem

The center-left populist government of Puerto Rico just announced that the islands (one big plus many small ones) won't be able to repay their $70+ billion public debt. These announcements just happen to come at the same time when Greece is expected to go bankrupt (tomorrow in the evening). It's tempting to compare these two economies. I think that there are some huge differences as well as some amazingly accurate similarities – both of which are being heavily underestimated. Let us look at those. First, just to be sure, Greece is a country in Southwestern Europe (in the Balkans), very close to Asia and Africa, and it's been considered the weakest link of the European Union and the Eurozone for many years. On the other hand, Puerto Rico is an island East from Cuba that has been governed by the U.S. federal government since the 1930s but it is not officially incorporated as a state. We may say that Puerto Rico is the weakest link of the U.S. – and the U.S. dollar zone. To summarize, these two defaulting entities have totally analogous relationships to their larger umbrella territories or currency areas. I believe that many Americans who tell the Europeans that Europe "should" bail Greece out again totally fail to realize that their relationship with Puerto Rico is totally analogous. If it's right for Europe to bailout Greece again, the U.S. government should surely bailout Puerto Rico as well, shouldn't it? One could argue that Puerto Rico is politically "closer" to the government in D.C. than Greece's solidarity distance from Berlin, Helsinki, Bratislava, or even Brussels. Puerto Rico's main leader "is" Obama in some sense – but the Greeks' main leader is neither Merkel or Hollande nor Tusk or Juncker. ## Sunday, June 28, 2015 ... ///// ### Gay marriage: constitutional revisionism is extremely dangerous I have nothing against gays. My co-existence with gays has been very good and dozens of witnesses exist to confirm my extraordinary tolerance, to say the least. I think that there are biological reasons for gays' inclinations and these inclinations are compatible with their life or individual health. A part of my understanding of the human freedom implies that people may insert their organs wherever they want – as long as they don't harm the freedom and dignity of others. And in a democratic system, voters or their elected representatives may ensure tax breaks for those who insert these organs at the right places. The desired frequency and locations may be specified in the illustrations embedded in the laws. I won't think that they are wise if they do such things but nations surely have the right to establish their internal rules according to their tastes. In general, people in Czechia are extremely tolerant about these matters. Since 2006, we had "civil unions" for gays. But on the other hand, there exist virtually no "enthusiastic advocates" of homosexualism in my country, no "warriors" arguing that the unions have to be called "marriages". We may be just too mature or phlegmatic for such simple new forms of religion. Since the age of 10, Czechs generally know how babies are created etc. But what I find unacceptable is the rewriting of the meaning of words and the meaning of laws and constitutions designed to achieve certain political goals. ## Saturday, June 27, 2015 ... ///// ### Referendum about survival 5 days after death? During the night, the world has learned about a shocker. It is the first one among the "unpleasant and unexpected Greek surprises" the world may face because it was incapable of forcing Greece into formal bankruptcy at a moment chosen by the creditors – not by Syriza. A model of Greece's behavior in coming days or weeks Alexis Tsipras scheduled a referendum about the creditors' proposals on July 5th. If the date were different, it could be interpreted as an effort of the cowards to get rid of their duties and their responsibility. With the referendum, they could say: It's the nation who screwed itself, isn't it? However, the problem is that the referendum is supposed to take place on July 5th. Unless Syriza 100% surrenders in about 80 hours – and it's been suggested that the actual time that remains is shorter – Greece will be in the IMF arrears since July 1st. By the IMF rules (although not by the rules of the rating agencies), it will be in the state of bankruptcy. The European Central Bank will be forced to withdraw the support for all the Greek commercial banks. Those will collapse. The country will completely run out of hard cash. The circulation of the hard currencies will stop. The country will be effectively out of the Eurozone whether or not the elimination will be formally announced by that time. ## Friday, June 26, 2015 ... ///// ### Muslim world is unsafe for Western tourists Three Islamist attacks took place today. Some injuries in a mosque Kuwait, a beheaded manager in a U.S. company in France; and 28 or more people shot at a beach in Tunisia. Beheading looks scary but I am obviously much more shocked by the Tunisian beach. I/we have been to Tunisia twice, in Summers of 1997 and 2008. I think we were in Sousse – the place of the attack – in 1997. And it was certainly Tabarka in 2008. ### Quantum computers won't end people's confusion about quantum mechanics On his blog Štetl optimized, MIT complexity theorist Scott Aaronson announced an essay he wrote for PBS, Can Quantum Computing Reveal the True Meaning of Quantum Mechanics? It starts by sketching the description of Nature in terms of probability amplitudes before it switches to the "interpretations". He mentions three – many worlds, pilot wave theory, and quantum mechanics as discovered by its discoverers, in this very order. Bullšiters about "interpretations" never even agree how many interpretations they consider seriously. They only agree that the only correct one – which serious physicists have used from 1925 – isn't at the top. This negative attitude is the only glue that integrates that "community". (By the way, "Štatl" is a local name for Czechia's 2nd largest city, Brno. The local dialect, "hantec", is a mixture of Czech, Gypsy, German, Yiddish languages and the local argots. "Štatl" is almost certainly a Yiddish contribution and the word is "the same" as the word in Aaronson's blog name.) Aaronson's main point is that the most important consequence of having quantum computers – if and when they are built – wouldn't be practical ones (simulation or codebreaking). Instead, the top consequence would be that the quantum computer would be "the most dramatic demonstration imaginable that our world needs to be described by a gigantic amplitude wave". Well, I don't think so. ## Wednesday, June 24, 2015 ... ///// ### Greece: complete surrender or full collapse For two or three days, the world was fed by the news that a Greek proposal has impressed the creditors and the deal was around the corner. We heard those things once again. Today in the morning, we learned that a part of the creditors rejects the proposal. Which part? It's no secret that the International Monetary Fund finds the proposal unacceptable. Tsipras and his comrades only want to increase the taxation – by adding and increasing various taxes attacking the rich and the corporations – but the IMF knows that this is no recipe for growth. If Greece has any chance to become a growing economy able to repay at least a part of its debt, the policies that are needed are exactly the opposite ones. Reduce the spending, reduce the taxation of those who create jobs, and increase the taxation for those who don't (especially the sales tax that is linked to and therefore discourages consumption). Also, IMF still thinks that the Greek debt is too high (even after the haircuts) so the creditors should accept a new haircut. They don't want to and they have the holy right not to agree with such things, of course. ### Confederate flag has at least the same right to fly as Quran In Germany and Czechia, among other countries, the sale of the Nazi symbols (and the promotion of these ideas) is regulated by the law and nearly banned. The regime has done terrible things, including the murder of 6 million Jews in a plan that was meant to be the "final solution". The ideology and the people behind the regime got to power by using the excessive tolerance of the democratic system, its toothlessness, and the ban was introduced as a common-sense preventive measure that arguably decreases the probability that a similarly bad evolution is repeated in the future. The anthem is at least as good as the U.S. anthem. Americans have often told me that the ban meant that we, the Central Europeans, don't have any respect for the freedom of expression. A ban like this would never take place in the U.S., I was often told, because it's up to the free Americans to choose what they believe. They are treated as the adults and so on. Except that a much more innocent symbol, the flag of the Condederate States of America, is in the process of being banned in the U.S. The president claims that it only belongs to the museum. Hillary Clinton says that the symbol has no place in the U.S., not even in the museums. She says so despite the fact that she and her husband were rumored to have been closet fans of the Confederacy. ### CMS cooling magnet glitch not serious, detector will run Two weeks ago, Adam Falkowski propagated the following Twitter rumor: LHC rumor: serious problems with the CMS magnet. Possibly, little to none useful data from CMS this year. Fortunately, this proposition seems to be heavily exaggerated fearmongering at this point. ## Monday, June 22, 2015 ... ///// ### Strings 2015: India I think that the cost-and-benefit analysis implies that it's not a good idea for me to describe most of the talks at the annual string theorists' conference. If there are volunteers, especially among the participants, I will be happy to publish their observations, however. ## Sunday, June 21, 2015 ... ///// ### Locality, nonlocality, and anti-quantum zealots Quantum field theories and string theory, the two most viable types of quantum mechanical theories, respect the Lorentz invariance, the basic symmetry that defines Einstein's special theory of relativity. This symmetry guarantees that no information can be sent superluminally or instantaneously: there can't be any action at a distance. The relativistic locality ends up being equivalent to the relativistic causality: the cause must precede its effects, $t\lt t'$, in all inertial systems. In quantum field theory (defined through the canonical quantization), we may derive the canonical coordinates $\phi(x,y,z)$ and the canonical momenta $\partial_0 \phi(x,y,z)$ from the Hamiltonian. The usual procedures guarantees that the $t=0$ equal time commutators say that$[\phi(x,y,z),\partial_0 \phi(x',y',z')] = 0$ for $(x,y,z)\neq (x',y',z')$. The Lorentz invariance of the Heisenberg equations motion subsequently guarantees that the commutator is zero at later times, too. The (super)commutator of two fields always vanishes at all spacelike separations. This vanishing commutator has a straightforward and far-reaching consequence. If we make a decision around the point $(x,y,z)$, the decision may be interpreted as a part of the measurement of some observable $F(x,y,z)$. Around the point $(x',y',z')$, we may measure operators such as $G(x',y',z')$. Because $F$ and $G$ (super)commute with one another, it follows that the decision associated with $F$ cannot influence the result of the measurements of $G$. Whether we make the $F$-decision or not, the theory will make the same predictions for all measurements of the type $G$. And because the results of all measurements that are possible in principle encode everything that is meaningful in physics, we see that there is no action at a distance. The Lorentz invariance guarantees that no $F$-decision can ever influence a $G$-measurement at a spacelike separated point. There is no nonlocality. There is no action at a distance. There is no doubt about this statement. ## Friday, June 19, 2015 ... ///// ### When a PC professor talks to sane people Milan Kohout is a man who attended the same basic school as I did when I was 8-10 (but he did so many years before me). He was a dissident in the communist Czechoslovakia. At some point, he emigrated to the U.S. and moved to Roxbury, a black neighborhood in Boston. He became a radical fighter against the evil called the white people, and a super hardcore communist despising the money, banks, and the European and American civilization. He is an "artist" – see some Google images associated with his name. Check e.g. his nude critique of religion and multiply it by 100 to have an idea about his life's work. We have been in the Czechoslovak pub in Boston (e.g. Harvard pub) together many times, and we also drank beer in pubs in Pilsen – sometimes accidentally – most recently just a few months ago. He's a professor of some softer-than-diluted-excrement subject at Tufts university. Sometimes, his proclamations sound so insane that I have always thought that he was just making fun. But he wasn't. His opinions are genuine. You may imagine that even some of the most far left loons at Harvard and elsewhere are right-wingers relatively to Mr Kohout. But they're still pretty close to each other. ;-) ### Sitting and experiencing gravitational redshift isn't enough for decoherence Most of the contemporary research into "foundations of quantum mechanics" isn't good, if I kindly and generously avoid the word "šit", and a recently celebrated 2013 paper Universal decoherence due to gravitational time dilation by Igor Pikovski, Magdalena Zych, Fabio Costa, and Časlav Brukner that just got published in Nature Physics (even though it has only collected 6-9 citations in those 18 months) isn't much better. Well, maybe it is slightly better than the worst papers in this category. It was enough to win some praise in Nude Socialist (probably because they mindlessly view Nature Physics as a stamp proving quality; "Einstein kills Schrödinger's cat: Relativity ruins quantum world" is a really, really painful and completely wrong title) as well as a more sensible response at Backreaction. Just like in all other cases, anti-quantum zeal is the main driving force behind similar papers. In particular, these people just don't like Schrödinger's cat. Much like Schrödinger himself, they believe that the linear superpositions of macroscopically distinct states (e.g. alive cat and pure cat) must be banned or "absurd", as Schrödinger has said. What these folks and especially the inkspillers in assorted Nude Socialists seem incapable of getting is the fact that Schrödinger was completely wrong. The superpositions are always as "allowed" as the pure vectors we started with. There is nothing "absurd" about them. This rule about the "legality" of all the superpositions is the superposition postulate of quantum mechanics and it holds universally and everywhere in the Universe. However, the superpositions don't mean anything absurd. When we're only interested in the question whether the cat is alive or dead, the cat is alive or dead, not alive and dead at the same moment. The options "alive" and "dead" are orthogonal to one another which means, according to the quantum mechanical formalism, mutually exclusive. ## Thursday, June 18, 2015 ... ///// ### Should one believe Bilderberg conspiracy theories? The Pope released his Laudato si' today (English). It's a highly politically sounding combination of his personal version of the IPCC report, Greenpeace and Club of Rome booklets, quotes of the previous Popes, Saint Francis of Assisi, as well as the Bible, and gems such as "...unites us in fond affection with brother sun, sister moon, brother river and mother earth". Jorge Mario Bergoglio's family must be a motley gang! A Brazilian AGW activist group created this trailer for the upcoming Hollywood blockbuster "Pope Francis: The Encyclical". Jesus Christ was hired as Francis' boxing coach while Greece's bankrupt finance minister Yanis Varoufakis ironically defends the evil fossil fuel lobby. He repeats all the usual nonsensical clichés about the lethal nature of carbon emissions, collapse of diversity, and so on, and so on. He denounces the carbon indulgences because they could be a speculators' ploy that will also encourage excessive consumption in some countries. He probably wants to ban carbon altogether. At the very end of the encyclical, he published two amendments for the Bible – his own prayers, one for the Earth and one for the unity of creation. Not bad. If he wrote it himself, it's impressive that such an old man is still able to use his pen and remain the master of his bladder, too. But the content is wrong, deluded, unoriginal, and boring, and I don't believe that the election or appointment by a gang of senile church apparatchiks makes one an expert in either of the topics, anyway, so I decide not to dedicate more attention to Bergoglio's long rant. Mrs Hayhoe will no longer be alone. One of the good things about the encyclical is that many more people will be able to see that the climate alarmism is a form of religion. To change everything, we need everyone. Maybe. But if we destroy creation, creation will no longer be able to destroy us because it will have been already destroyed! ;-) Fix your logic, Mr Bergoglio. Instead, let's talk about the New World Order. ;-) One week ago, the four-day 2015 Bilderberg meeting began in Telfs-Buchen, Austria. The original location was the Bilderberg Hotel in the Netherlands; The Bilderberg Group was first formed in 1954. The annual meetings have been private which is why they became an inspiration for conspiracy theories – produced by extreme enough left-wingers as well as right-wingers (and those nutty enough not to be classifiable in this way). ### Standard model as string-inspired double field theory Patrick of UC Davis told us not to overlook a new intriguing Korean hep-th paper Standard Model Double Field Theory by Choi and Park. They excite their readers by saying that it's possible to rewrite the Standard Model – or a tiny modification of it – as a special kind (or variation) of a field theory that emerged in string theory: the so-called double field theory. ## Wednesday, June 17, 2015 ... ///// ### When Russians simply parrot and "improve" Soviet propaganda The 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia was neither legitimate nor helpful There is a lot of propaganda in the West but a documentary that Rossiya 1, a major Russian TV station, aired last month makes us sure that propaganda is equally alive and well in Russia. The 44-minute documentary was called "The Warsaw Pact: Pages Declassified" ("Варшавский договор. Рассекреченные страницы") and the part dedicated to the invasion into Czechoslovakia starts at 13:45 and ends at 25:00 or 28:00, depending on what you count. ## Tuesday, June 16, 2015 ... ///// ### Rozali vs Johnson: disagreements on Twitter mob's hunt on Hunt Sir Tim Hunt, a Nobel prize winner in biology, was rapidly fired from numerous British and European scientific and scholarly institutions because 9,000 km away from London, he told an audience that even in the lab, opposite sexes mostly attract and women cry more often than men. While committing his blasphemy, Hunt totally forgot to point out that science, it's a girl thing, and it's all about the lipstick – the official definition of science according to the European Commission. It is unnecessary for me to repeatedly explain what I find so crazy about the event. The American Thinker just published an essay about the event. I agree with the author and pretty much with all the commenters. Sometimes, they think that they argue but they don't really contradict each other and almost all the comments are right, too. This movement shouldn't be called PC, it's just evil. And even the term "cultural Marxism" is misleading because Marxism doesn't have any subdivisions. It's one ideology trying to take control of the whole society and to do so, it uses numerous strategies. ### Greek government should be actively sidelined before June 30th Grexit before June 30th preferred, Syriza must be dealt with as a terrorist organization I think that virtually all the non-Greek negotiators who have had the "pleasure" to talk to Syriza have understood what I was saying from the beginning. It makes absolutely no sense to negotiate with these individuals. At most, you can waste lots of time, great amounts of money, and get entangled with their dirty tricks so that you put your well-being and the well-being of your nation at risk, too. Nothing they ever promise may be trusted. They are lying pretty much 24 hours a day. The constant claims that the "deal was around the corner" was the best example of that. When they are expected to present their own proposals, they either submit nothing (Varoufakis has already announced that he will have nothing to offer on Thursday's Eurogroup!) or they repeatedly offer the same low-quality F-graded undergraduate term papers or documents such as this one. They claim that they can get all the required money from the "rich" or from the "luxurious lifestyle". They assume that if they increase some kind of income tax, the revenue will be scaled up proportionally – which is not the case – and so on and so on. They refuse to admit the obvious – that to save these significant amounts of money, some increased revenue or reduced spending must affect rather ordinary people. What most of the European politicians and bankers haven't done yet is to deduce the consequences for their behavior. It's time to stop expecting that a sensible solution of the Greek problem may be achieved with the approval by the current "leaders" of Greece. If you want to do something good about Greece and its relationships with Europe, you should better make sure that your plan will not depend on this bunch of fanatical unhinged criminals. ## Monday, June 15, 2015 ... ///// ### Metric system really is enough and fine for everything Two weeks ago, I discussed the sign conventions and the stupidity of the people who can't comprehend that another sign convention is just as good. A similar exchange arose in the Ráchel Doležal thread. Apparently, many Americans are convinced that people can't possibly conveniently measure things in the everyday life using the metric system units. For a while, I thought that all of them were joking but this meme was so omnipresent that I decided that they actually believe this idea. There can't be life outside the Anglo-Saxon world! Or perhaps, all the Europeans are secretly measuring and thinking in inches and pounds and they only convert the numbers to centimeters and kilos whenever the evil governments are watching them and they want to save their lives. Are you joking? This kind of conspiracy theory is just totally incredible. Almost no one in Europe can quickly estimate real-world quantities in the medieval units anymore. I can't really do it "automatically", either, even though I have lived in the U.S. for 10 years. From my viewpoint, the medieval system is counterintuitive, hard to reason or calculate with, and metric4us.com convincingly argues that it is more difficult for Americans, too! ## Saturday, June 13, 2015 ... ///// ### What Rachel Doležal's transracial success primarily implies Requirements for a university/activism career are lower for blacks The Czech media are already describing the story but Cynthia was the first source from which I learned about Rachel Doležal's [literally] colorful life. A black girl who has been oppressed by evil white racists for 30+ years Rachel Doležal is about 37 years old and for 7 years or so, she has made quite some career. She became a university lecturer in a department of whining blacks as well as an influential civil rights leader, namely the NAACP president in Spokane, Washington state. (No, NAACP doesn't officially stand for "n*groes' affirmative action communist party" which doesn't mean that this explanation of the acronym is completely wrong.) None of the left-wing people around her have ever dared to doubt that she was black! This cute scam reminded me of my favorite Polish sci-fi comedy, Sexmission [URL: full movie, Polish audio], from the 1980s. Two men in a hibernation experiment are accidentally woken up in a dystopian future society where only women exist and all of them are taught to be feminists, brainwashed by the ludicrous stuff that males were evil etc. There is a small relevant catch here. Their "Her Excellency" is male, too. Around 37:00, the guys meet "her" for the first time after they eat their holy apples. Around 1:50:00, "she" appears in her house above the ground (where the two guys managed to escape from the underground propaganda world) and they learn who "she" is. ### A new jazz song on Heisenberg, beauty of uncertainty Some of the readers may suffer from hay fever. You're not the only one. These days, well, on June 7th, it's been exactly 90 years when Werner Heisenberg left for the island of Heligoland in the North Sea which has no trees and no pollen. It's a wonderful place to memorize Goethe's poems and think about noncommuting observables. His first groundbreaking paper was already ready in July 1925 and ended the "Old Quantum Theory" epoch. Portland-based jazz pianist, songwriter, and children’s music maverick Lori Henriques recorded a new song "Heisenberg’s Aha!" about these events 90 years ago and the beauty of the uncertainty principle. Here it is. The lyrics isn't terribly quantitative but it's cute and entertaining and I would say that the musician still manages to present the essence of quantum mechanics more accurately than e.g. Matt Leifer and hundreds of other anti-quantum zealots who lack both the accuracy and the musical quality and creativity: ## Friday, June 12, 2015 ... ///// ### Tim Hunt vs distractingly sexy girls: an insane witch hunt I have been such a great admirer of the Anglo-Saxon world but let me tell you something: the social atmosphere over there got so incredibly fωcked up that it simply leaves me speechless. The 2001 Medicine Nobel prize winner Tim Hunt was forced to resign as an honorary professor in London after he made these comments at a conference in Korea – where you would expect the tolerance to different cultures to be high because those people are different: Let me tell you about my trouble with girls. Three things happen when they are in the lab: You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticize them they cry. As a boss, Dr Hunt prefers separate labs for these reasons. Connie St Louis, a whining obnoxious black feminist and a would-be science journalist, played the role of Nancy Hopkins (from Larry Summers' saga) and has converted this innocent tautology to a scandal. A hashtag compaign #distractinglysexy was started on Twitter and girl scientists are posting pictures claiming to prove that they aren't distractingly sexy. Except that at least one-half of those pictures are! ;-) ## Thursday, June 11, 2015 ... ///// ### String theory and fun: a response to Barry Kripke The Internet's most notorious anti-string blog posted a link to a view from a young impressive ex-string theorist (if you believe what's written there) that was posted on Reddit one year ago. That comment (plus the long thread beneath it) contains numerous ideas, thoughts, and sentiments. I will respond to the following points: 1. the ex-string theorist thinks that he and similar people are really, really smart 2. he left string theory for robotics 3. $h=15$ is approximately required to become a professor and it's too much 4. he found out that string theory wasn't really fun for him 5. string theory is only the journey, not the destination, and you should like the journey or leave 6. Nima estimates that one gets a great idea once in 3 years or so 7. there are too many trained string theorists 8. there's too much competition and it's harmful 9. the term "string theory" should be abandoned because it's too broad a subject 10. the term "string theory" should be abandoned because most people work on different things 11. Lisi's theory seems to be incomplete or provably wrong according to string theorists There are lots of reasons why I think that the author of the text is a genuine trained string theorist with the stellar university credentials he has described. It's very likely that I know this person but I just haven't been able to figure out the name. Well, I have one extreme guess (a person much closer to me than the average) but I am not bold enough to speculate here. OK, let me start to respond. ### Slovak government: low gypsy schookids' IQ partly due to widespread incest An exchange between the Slovak government and the European Commission which was reported in the Czech and Slovak media has turned our Slovak brothers into heroes of a kind. As I wrote in several older blog posts, there exist special elementary schools in Czechia and Slovakia that are dedicated to children with weaker mental abilities. In practice, a majority of these "special" classrooms ends up being composed of gypsy kids. The percentage may be about 60% in Czechia and 88% in Slovakia – the latter figure is higher mainly because the percentage of gypsies in the Slovak population is higher than in Czechia. Almost everyone in Czechia and Slovakia is convinced that this "segregation" is beneficial for both sides – for the "more ready" kids as well as the "less ready kids", not to mention the teachers. Almost everyone is convinced that the whole system is basically meritocratic. ### Europeans should plan how to manage post-default Greece The probability of a Greek default at the end of this month has increased. The IMF has left the talks for D.C. due to the absence of any progress and The European Commission said that a meeting today was the last attempt to reach a deal. Most non-Greek politicians who have spent 4+ months by "negotiations" with the new government of Greece have understood that these meetings have been a complete waste of time – in the same sense in which the "loans" to Greece in previous years have been a complete waste of money. It is especially the ideological situation in Greece that seems completely hopeless. Pensions are the #1 example of the topic in which the insanity of the new Greek leaders is made so obvious. Even though Greece will go bankrupt in 3 weeks if someone else won't save them again, Greece still pays the highest percentage of its GDP to the pensioners among all European nations. The average Greeks are still retiring about 10 years younger than their German counterparts. Poor Greek pensioners have electricity for free. To make things worse, a top Greek court made a bizarre decision. The reduction of the pensions 3 years ago was "unconstitutional" because according to their constitution, the government is obliged to make everyone live a prosperous life forever. So the court says that the government has a duty to add 5%-10% to the pensions now! Holy cow. I think that what really drives me – a physicist by reasoning – up the wall about these Marxist lunatics is that they think that they may defeat the laws of physics, mock Nature, or prove that mathematics doesn't work. ## Tuesday, June 09, 2015 ... ///// ### Von Neumann-Wigner interpretation was just "verbally spiced" original Copenhagen Is the hamburger in your stomach a part of you? And can your brain predict its own future behavior? In a discussion about the tiny added value of QBism, Gordon made an interesting point: that my "interpretation" of quantum mechanics is equivalent to Wigner's, after all. If you want to see what kind of an "interpretation" he means, open Von Neumann–Wigner interpretation (Wikipedia) It's the interpretation summarized by the slogan "consciousness causes collapse of the wave function". The point of John von Neumann and Eugene Wigner was that only "consciousness" is the level of physical reality where the outcomes of the measurements become sharp. ### Chomsky's, Aaronson's, nuts' MIT fossil fuel divestment campaign On June 19th and 20th, the 2015 European Capital of Culture, my hometown of Pilsen, will host the Days of Jerusalem which should show us the Israeli capital as a source of culture. It is a completely apolitical event but you may imagine that the anti-Semites or anti-Zionists tend to get upset as soon as someone mentions the forbidden word, Jerusalem. So you shouldn't be surprised these anti-Israel activists created a petition against the event. Some film directors and singers have endorsed it and so did my former colleague in the Harvard Society of Fellows named Noam Chomsky, a far left activist and linguist. That was another activity of the first man in the title. I've emigrated from the People's Republic of Cambridge because of the likes of Chomsky (not exactly himself who was irrelevant for me) and you would expect that at least people here in Pilsen may live freely but these individuals try to restrict human freedoms and cultural life even here, thousands of miles from their home. Now, complexity theorist Scott Aaronson has described himself as a 97% feminist (TRF). It means that he endorses all the discoveries made by feminists – for example, the value of pi is a result of oppression of womyn by men – and he has scheduled himself for chemical castration. Unfortunately, he escaped from the surgery 3% of the time before it should have taken place. ### Interview with Czecho-Slovak anti-Maidan Legion in Donbass Every war is a serious matter and it polarizes the world's public opinion. Even civil wars unavoidably attract volunteers. It was the case of the civil war in Spain 80 years ago and it is the case of the civil war in Ukraine, too. In the West, we often hear anti-Russian tirades. You don't have to go too far. The G7 leaders provide us with a sufficient amount of these hateful and deluded insanities. For obvious reasons, the Russian nation is the second nation after Ukraine that is most affected by the civil war in Donbass. However, it doesn't mean that members of other nations don't feel the urge to be a part of the story. Czech teacher Ivo Stejskal and Vojtěch Hlinka, a driver who inherited both the wife and the surname of the (late) ice-hockey coach who won the Nagano Olympics, were the two well-known Czechs who fought on the "separatist" side. Once they were killed, you could think it was the end of Czechs and Slovaks in Donbass. Well, you would be completely wrong. Major Slovak mainstream news server aktuality.sk (followed by many Czech and Slovak news outlets that copied the story) informed about the creation of a whole unit of (currently eight) Slovak and Czech volunteers who fight against the Maidan regime. Here is the full translation of the interview with their military headquarters. ## Monday, June 08, 2015 ... ///// ### Is quantum reality "personal"? QBism is a strategy to steal credit flavored by tons of redundant babbling When it comes to the nonsense about quantum mechanics that is written all over the media, I have mostly resigned. But I still do detect new salvos that appear at many places. The newest article at the Quanta Magazine is A Private View of Quantum Reality by Amanda Gefter It promotes QBism (formerly Quantum Bayesianism) and Christopher Fuchs, a man associated with it. The main content of this picture is correct within the error margin defined by all the vague nonsense that is being added even in the similarly correct papers about the foundations of quantum mechanics. But it is not new at all and the amount of sociological and historical nonsense that is being added on top of the correct core is rather amazing. ## Sunday, June 07, 2015 ... ///// ### Tsipras vs Juncker Eurocratic mainstream is finally throwing Syriza under the bus In 2010 and 2012, European officials were totally scared of a Greek bankruptcy. The sky would fall, everyone would say. The bankruptcy of an unimportant and largely isolated country would be like fire that would soon destroy all other countries including Germany, the world economy, and the Solar System, thanks to the contagion and domino effect and so on. So a large part of the debt underwent a haircut (most of the interest on the Greek debt was pretty much deleted and their only task is to repay the principal!) and new gargantuan piles of money were pumped into the country even though at that time, everyone knew that those were not wise investments. Well, many things have changed since those times. People had enough time to think about it and most of them were finally able to realize that this doomsaying was silly. Greece's wallet is isolated from the wallets of others. Their fate is independent. The domino effect only works if the domino pieces are really close to each other and Greece is not so close to anyone. The Greek government must be held responsible for its decisions that others couldn't influence. Second of all, the debt was concentrated at various places such as EFSF, the "eurowall", where it became an abstract pile of money, a largely unphysical number. No companies and banks in the real economy will be too threatened if this abstract amount of money disappears. Indeed, most of the "mostly individual" creditors got a large part of their debt back – but don't forget that they have already suffered a haircut, too. As long as people act rationally and they don't possess too many assets directly in Greece, they have no reason to expect contagion or ignite contagion. ### Ethan Siegel's misconceptions on quantum gravity Ethan Siegel is such a reasonable man when it comes to "ordinary" topics in physics and science. But he didn't hesitate to write about something that self-evidently goes well beyond his expertise, namely quantum gravity and string theory. The result is a repetition of the most widespread, cheapest, and most incorrect laymen's misconceptions that you may hear from generic dirty homeless beggars on the street, except for the smartest and cleanest ones. ;-) His Ask Ethan #91: Does Quantum Gravity Need String Theory? (medium.com) starts with an important quote by Edward Witten: I just think too many nice things have happened in string theory for it to be all wrong. Humans do not understand it very well, but I just don’t believe there is a big cosmic conspiracy that created this incredible thing that has nothing to do with the real world. Witten wants to say that even without definite empirical proofs, the mathematical properties of string theory make us certain that it is an incredibly tight, rich, and unique mathematical structure that seems to contain the ideas compatible with physics as well as many new structures and relationships that came as surprises and taught us to think about physical and mathematical concepts in new ways. If string theory happened to be a wrong theory of physics, a curious researcher familiar with it would still face the surprising "anomaly" waiting to be explained – namely why such an unused or useless unique structure that resembles everything we need physics, but is not the right theory of physics, exists. If string theory were known to be wrong sometime in the future, the question from the previous sentence wouldn't quite be physics. But it would still be one that an intelligent, curious researcher interested in the logical relationships between physical and mathematically physical ideas simply couldn't ignore. ## Saturday, June 06, 2015 ... ///// ### It's childish to vigorously fight against one sign convention A vitriolic blog regularly attacking modern physics has chosen a new target. If you Google search for The West Coast Metric is the Wrong One, you will find a rant where the well-known crackpot presents his "modest proposal" that the HEP community should just admit that the West Coast convention was a mistake, and rewrite all the textbooks (Weinberg doesn’t have to…). LOL. Crackpots (including this one) are usually repetitive and boring but occasionally, their silliness becomes creative and makes you smile. Well, the West Coast Metric cannot be "the wrong one" or a "mistake" because it is just a damn convention and it is spectacularly obvious that it is exactly as internally consistent as the opposite one, the East Coast Metric. One may get used to by one convention or another, internalize it, and it becomes more convenient for him than the other. But once he tries to rationalize it and pretend that the life cannot exist on the other coast, he becomes an irrational loon who is constantly deluding himself. I assure all the readers that I've spent at least a year on both coasts and the life is possible on both. ## Friday, June 05, 2015 ... ///// ### Karl et al. hiatus killer is "research" that began with conclusions All the major teams that try to quantify the "global mean temperature" indicate that the warming/cooling trend has been basically zero for almost two decades. RSS AMSU, a satellite record, shows a trend that is exactly zero (infinitesimally negative, I guess) in the recent 18.50 years. When you allow small trends that are clearly not statistically significant, you will conclude that even longer recent periods lack any sign of "global warming". This absence of "global warming" in the recent decades is usually referred to as the "hiatus". I am using the word myself – and so do most skeptics and alarmists (except for those alarmists who think that the very word is a blasphemy, of course) – but if you asked me, I would probably reply that it is a silly name because the word "hiatus" indicates that it's a temporary break in some process that otherwise takes place permanently. I don't really believe that there is any sufficiently reliable, strong, persistent process that could be called "global warming". So the absence of a temperature trend in a 20-year window is as normal an outcome as you can get. Sometimes, the temperatures get higher in 20 years. Sometimes they get lower. An underlying "warming trend" from some source (e.g. CO2) can make the former possibility slightly more likely than the latter one. Sometimes the temperatures stay nearly constant. There's no rational need to invent catchy names for these three possibilities, especially not for the most mundane third possibility. ### Zambia, new role model for Greece Greece was scheduled to repay €300 million to the International Monetary Fund today. For a week, those of us who follow this hassle in detail have known that there exists a weird technicality in the IMF rules that allows countries to bundle their repayments for a whole month – and delay the payment to the end of the month – if it is too difficult for them to administer too many payments in a short period of time. Anniversary: holography's father Dennis Gábor was born exactly 115 years ago. The rule is meant to reduce the amount of paperwork. The Greeks have abused it because they obviously use it in order to extend the time in which they are living beyond their means. In one of their "proposals", the malicious Greek Bolsheviks have actually used a formulation that made it likely that they were getting ready to use this technicality. It seems that no one reads their rants anymore because everyone – especially the International Monetary Fund – was completely surprised when they were told about the delay last night. The technical rule was codified in the 1970s and before June 2015, it was only used once in the history. In the mid 1980s, Zambia – a country in black Africa – asked the payment to be delayed, too. Some people want to compare the current Greece to civilized countries like Ireland. But this is complete nonsense – and a form of racism, too. Despite the differences in the skin color, it is much more accurate to be comparing Greece to countries like Zambia or Nigeria. In a sane world, a country with the economy and economic attitudes of Greece would be a member of the Sub-Saharan Union rather than the European Union. ## Wednesday, June 03, 2015 ... ///// ### Glimpsed particles that the LHC may confirm The LHC is back in business. Many of us have watched the webcast today. There was a one-hour delay at the beginning. Then they lost the beam once. And things went pretty much smoothly afterwards. After a 30-month coffee break, the collider is collecting actual data to be used in the future papers at the center mass of $13\TeV$. See also Juan Rojo's list of anomalies, updated January 2016, and search e.g. for LHC excess on this blog. So far, no black hole has destroyed the Earth. It's possible that the LHC will discover nothing new, at least for years. But it is in no way inevitable. I would say that it's not even "very likely". We have various theoretical reasons to expect one discovery or another. A theory-independent vague argument is that the electroweak scale has no deep reason to be too special. And every time we added an order of magnitude to the energies, we saw something new. ## Tuesday, June 02, 2015 ... ///// ### LHC experiments to explore new frontiers in physics tomorrow Guest blog by LHC, a collider at CERN The video embedded at the bottom is now live! Let me first thank to Luboš for this great opportunity to inform you about my new work. Webmasters at CERN were equally kind but no one reads their web pages. Breaking news, Wednesday morning: ATLAS published a new paper with a 3.4-sigma excess (locally) in the $WZ$ channel for the mass of $2\TeV$. It's 2.5 sigma globally and could be due to a $W'$ boson of that mass if real. Intriguingly, last July, CMS published a hint supporting a $2.1\TeV$ $W_R^\pm$ boson with right-handed couplings! Early tomorrow morning Prague Summer Time, the CERN Large Hadron Collider will attempt to start delivering physics data for the first time in 27 months. After an almost two year shutdown and several months of re-commissioning, the LHC experiments are ready to take data at the unprecedented energy of 13 TeV, almost double the collision energy of its first run. This will mark the start of season 2 at the LHC, opening the way to new discoveries. ### How ISIS was created in Bucca, a PC prison camp Where was the Islamic State born? In The New York Post, novelist Brad Parks offers a staggeringly precise, maybe even accurate, and captivating answer – one building on the memories of a former prison guard Mitchell Gray. As a guy who knows Arabic, he worked in Camp Bucca, a detention facility in Iraq, near the border with Kuwait, created in the wake of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. The U.S. journalists used to be thrilled with things like Abu Ghraib, a prison near Baghdad where the U.S. Army tortured a couple of the very evil guys. But you have probably never heard of Camp Bucca, one named after a top firefighter who died on 9/11, because journalists have no instinct for what is going to be important. ## Monday, June 01, 2015 ... ///// ### Leon Lederman sells his Nobel prize Mentions dementia; receives$765,002

Half a year ago, James DNA Watson sold his 1962 Nobel prize to the Russian telecoms tycoon Alisher Usmanov for $4 million (RFE). Usmanov found a creative application for the medal: he donated it back to Watson. ;-) One can't see into Watson's head but it was probably due to a combination of his increased need to get some money; and the decreased prestige that was apparently coming from that most well-deserved biology Nobel prize due to the harassment by the politically correct brownshirts. Now, The Daily Mail and Forward.com etc. tell us that Leon Lederman became the second living person in the history who sold the prize at auction (eight other Nobel prizes were sold after the recipient died). He received$765,002 for his 1988 Nobel prize in physics that he had shared with Schwartz and Steinberger for their discovery of the muon neutrino.