Only every 1461st day is a leap day – Ethan Siegel wrote a similar text on physics of the leap day as I would – but many interesting events have taken place on February 29th, anyway.
In 1920, Czechoslovak lawmakers adopted the first Czechoslovak constitution. In 1940, the Nobel prize in physics for the previous year had to be transferred outside Europe, because of the war. Ernest Lawrence got it from a consul in... yes, Berkeley, California. In 1952, Heisenberg's island of Heligoland was returned to Germany. In 2016, Leo DiCaprio won an Oscar.
But I want to spend some time with the first event in the Wikipedia list, an innocent total lunar eclipse in 1504. This event was interesting as a model for the funding of science.
Only every 1461st day is a leap day – Ethan Siegel wrote a similar text on physics of the leap day as I would – but many interesting events have taken place on February 29th, anyway.
Stephen Colbert, a guy who became famous for ludicrously imitating Bill O'Reilly, has another show on TV. Brian Greene is his friend and is often invited by Colbert to talk some physics on TV.
Two days ago, Greene gave this 8-minute introduction on gravitational waves and LIGO and I think that as popularization of science, it was excellent.
I was asked about my views concerning the repeatedly reported neutrino anomalies.
The anomalies have been around from mid 2014 but the recent wave of penetration of this gospel was probably ignited on February 12th by the Symmetry Magazine jointly published by SLAC and Fermilab.
A dozen of other sources that noticed the anomalies includes ArsTechnica UK, Physics World, Science News, and Backreaction.
Will you honestly give me most of the $1 million if you fill the gaps in the incomplete proof below? ;-) I don't claim that I would accept the money but it would be better to have the choice.
Under the previous blog post about the Riemann Hypothesis, Edwin Steiner nicely observed that only the collection of primes as we know them,\[
(p_1,p_2,p_3,\dots) = (2,3,5,\dots)
\] give us the nice wiggly function that suppresses the positive interference. He said that the primes are not just prime: they are "as prime as possible". In other words, the primes are the "primest ones". The choice of the primes above may minimize a certain quantity, the deviation from the optimal primeness. All other "vaguely similarly distributed" collections of numbers that aren't quite prime are doing worse in something.
Michael Crichton predicted the precise link between the demagogy of the Drake equation and the global warming ideology
From many viewpoints, I have been an admirer of Bill Gates. He was a classic geek – but he also managed to become a defining character of the mainstream opinions. When I learned that he created the BASIC for Commodore 64 that I – and millions of others – had quite some fun with some 30 years ago, my excitement for Gates has increased further.
There were also moments when the dynamics went in the opposite direction.
At any rate, two days ago, an unhinged far-left journalist named Ezra Klein managed to interview Bill Gates for Vox.com.
The fight against tax evasion isn't a valid excuse for restrictions of basic freedoms
This is a continuation of my previous blog post about the steps back towards socialism in Czechia.
Exactly 48 years ago, on February 25th, 1948, the Czechoslovak communist prime minister Klement Gottwald (who had that job because commies won the democratic elections in 1946) visited the democratic president Dr Edvard Beneš and convinced him to accept the resignation filed five days earlier by a bunch of non-communist ministers in the coalition government who were desperately trying to stop the arrival of a communist dictatorship.
They have failed, Beneš didn't dissolve the Parliament etc. Instead, he accepted the resignations and fuilfilled Gottwald's desire to replace all of them by communist and communist-compatible ministers. The inarticulate Gottwald came to the Old Town Square and informed the pro-communist working-class losers at a rally that the people's democratic regime – the communist totalitarianism – had just begun.
Since the Nigerian zeta-function scam in November 2015, I have spent dozens of hours with the Riemann zeta function, its various physical representations (and QFT and string models designed to capture its behavior), and attempts to prove the Riemann Hypothesis.
Much of it is too abstract, advanced, or classified. However, there are many things that may be shared without problems.
I have always thought that the roots of the Riemann zeta function are the "dual aperiodic lattice" to tbe "aperiodic lattice" of the primes. In particular, if one of them may be used as the set of allowed winding numbers, the other may be used as the momenta, or vice versa etc. Is there some simplified picture that makes this duality obvious?
"Inside Higher Ed" has published an interesting article
Miniaturization has been with us for decades. In the 1980s (and, in the case of pioneers, 1970s), we had our first personal computers. They were getting smaller and more powerful. It was unavoidable that devices as small as smartphones would be vastly more powerful than my Commodore 64 in the 1980s (although Moore's law seemed too ambitious in recent years).
When it was introduced less than a decade ago, the iPhone became a standard for the smartphones. Apple currently pockets over 90% of the world's profits from smartphones, a result I find incredible and hard to sympathize with. ;-) When it comes to the number of devices, iPhones plus Android phones (the latter are produced by very many companies) make up over 95% of the market. Windows Phone was a small percentage a year ago – and it dropped by more than 50%, anyway.
I have finally played with the raw data from the first LIGO gravitational wave, GW150914. Everyone who can code is invited to do the same. It's a lot of fun.
Although I had to learn some Python for the Higgs Kaggle contest, my preferred tool is Wolfram Mathematica – whose full online version was just completed a week ago.
Czechia through foreign eyes: you may check a fun essay Czech Republic – Where No One Gives a Fúçk by Klotild von SchweinhundsheimThe discovery of gravitational waves by the two U.S. LIGO detectors has energized the fans of this concept in many other countries.
As LIGO.org noticed,
LIGO India should be a collaborative project of 3 Indian institutes as well as Caltech and MIT so things shouldn't suffer from the shortage of expertise and high-tech know-how.
India should launch it before 2025. Why can't they clone the gadgets next week and run it in March 2016?
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, an old Argentinian left-wing intellectual currently employed as a visiting scholar in Rome (under the artistic name "Pope Francis") decided to influence the U.S. presidential elections – and make a fool out of himself, too. Google News.
He commented on Donald Trump's immigration policies (Trump is a Presbyterian so I guess he doesn't care about Bergoglio too much):
Holy daddy: A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not in the gospel.LOL, very funny.
LIGO: Off-topic: the Indian government has in principle agreed with LIGO India!A rather profound report from the medical research spread to the media today. A new clever trick seems to cure cancer, especially leukemia.
The human T-lymphocyte
The Science Magazine published the method already in 2013 but it apparently took years to check whether the protocol works. Now, more than 2 years later, the folks at the New York cancer center finally informed us that 14 of 16 ill people – and they were really considered fatally ill – seem to be symptom-free in early 2016.
The former president of Harvard (from "my years" over there) Larry Summers wants to ban all banknotes that are worth more than $50 in all G-20 countries. Check his original The Washington Post opinion piece.
A set of 10 paper napkins for CZK 9 resembling the CZK 5,000 banknote ($210), Czechia's most valuable banknote. It features Czechoslovakia's founder-president Prof Thomas Garrigue Masaryk and the Prague Castle and various other towers on the opposite side.
That's a rather revolutionary proposal given the fact that $100 bills account for approximately 80% of the U.S. dollars in circulation.
On Friday, we had a fun exchange with Eclectikus about the Einstein-Rosen paper submitted to Physical Review in Summer 1936 that argued that gravitational waves didn't exist (and was rejected). Eclectikus linked to this one-page PDF file about the history of the 1936 paper.
This wrong claim by Einstein and his young collaborator should be kept in mind when people repeat the slogan that "Einstein was right again". The journalists have used this sentence in their titles many times (check e.g. this search query); that's how the average people (whose knowledge of physics and the history of physics reduces to a superficial Einsteinian cult) like to think. You don't need to talk just about journalists. The most average among the U.S. citizens, Barack Obama, has copied the same phrase, Einstein was right!, on Twitter.
Update: Nude Socialist quotes Avi Loeb of Harvard who said in a new preprint that the gamma rays may indicate that the merging couple of black holes could have been twin babies inside a mother's belly and the mother was a very massive star with the weight around 100 Suns. I sympathize with that.Ted has informed us about a fascinating new paper by the Fermi gamma-ray telescope previously known as Glast,
According to Wikipedia, LIGO only cost $0.62 billion up to September 2015. It was a lot of money for a project that wasn't guaranteed to produce results but I believe that the cost-and-benefits counting is different now. The benefits have become more obvious.
Two more gravitational waves: TRF is the only place in the world where you can learn about another gravitational wave that was detected on October 12th, one called GW151012 (later named LVT151012, a weaker black hole merger with masses 13 and 23 Suns and a false positive rate 2.3 years), and a Christmas one from December 26th, GW151226. Web cache was later erase; a screenshot. Stay tuned.There are only two LIGO detectors in the U.S. Consequently, one of the coordinates of the source of the gravitational waves cannot be measured accurately. Also, LIGO is largely insensitive to waves coming from certain directions, with certain polarizations, and it cannot accurately measure the time profile of both independent polarizations independently.
González at an AAAS meeting: When LIGO has 4 detections, they will make alerts of detections public! And according to Dr Weiss, there were at least 4 detections by the end of January. What should the previous sentences imply? ;-) Incidentally, readers-Pythonists should be able to get all the code used by LIGO to manipulate with the GW150914 signal.
It's therefore common sense for Bill Gates to reduce his spending at random charity projects – something that could be easily done by the Western central banks etc. – and build a $1 billion GOGO, the Gates Octahedral Gravitational-wave Observatory. I believe that because the gadgets may be clones of each other, the budget could be much smaller than a simple multiple of one gadget. And if a GOGO clone is built somewhere in Africa, it could be better for the local populace than just a pile of cash.
First, I urge all readers who could be allergic to political topics or who are staunchly pro-immigration to stop reading now.
Visegrád, Hungary [Slavic name means "Upper Castle"], a castle at which the group PL-CZ-SK-HU met and teamed up twice, in 1335 and in 1991.
I haven't written about this issue for quite some time but the situation keeps on evolving. Weeks ago, it looked like the European Union would demand Greece to fulfill its obligation as a border country of the Schengen Area within weeks – or be expelled. Now, it seems that Greece has gotten additional three long months (and this deadline is likely to be ignored, anyway). Clearly, in Brussels, there are no adults in the room. There is no one powerful in the EU who could interact with the lazy Greek Bolsheviks in the appropriate, stringent way.
Meanwhile, Angela Merkel continues to be the German Chancellor and the illegal migrants keep on flowing to Europe en masse (about 77,000 from the beginning of the year, counting just the Turkey-to-Greece migrants).
I guess that many of you have both watched and listened to (!) the National Science Foundation event in the National Press Club, Washington D.C., too.
If you haven't, you should listen to the press conference. YouTube succeeded in guaranteeing a smooth transmission of the live stream to the 90,000 (peak) viewers.
Before NSF posted the official recorded video, I used the earlier Ruptly copy. The sound started at 0:18:05 and ended at 1:29:30 in it.
If I pick a reaction in the newspapers, you may check the NYT movie and article, too.
All the rumors I have heard of were 100% true – and those 50 percent of TRF readers who said Yes Yes Yes in our poll were right – but we still learned some numbers that surprised me.
The event was headed by the director of NSF France Anne-Dominic Córdova. Caltech LIGO director David H. Reitze was the first scientist who quickly announced "we did it" a few minutes after the sound in the YouTube video started at 10:30 DC time. He was followed by Gabriela Gonzalez, the spokeswoman of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC).
Founders of LIGO, Kip Thorne (Caltech) and the "main" inventor Rainer Weiss (MIT), spoke a lot. The third co-founder, Ronald Drever (Caltech), is unfortunately ill now. Joseph Weber who tried to detect the waves by the Weber bars (he died in 2000) was mentioned. A Russian journalist argued that the idea was stolen from the Soviet Union, anyway. ;-) See John Preskill's article for some history and credits or a LIGO timeline. Kip Thorne had to answer this "Russian connection" question on Russia Today (TV), of course. ;-)
Braginsky was like Tsiolkovsky but izvinítě, požalujsta, like the moonwalking, this is an overwhelmingly American achievement.
All of the comments at the press event were pleasure to listen to. They have said lots of things, shown various simulations, and played sounds similar to those that the readers of the LIGO category on this blog have been exposed to. Well, but you may still listen to the actual chirp [also: YouTube, II] from the merger (hidden in some noise, just like in the Black Hole Hunter game).
On Monday, LIGO finally officially admitted that there would be a press conference tomorrow, as we predicted in the poll, at 10:30 am, in the National Press Club, a gentleman journalists' building that is very close to the White House. In 2011, I embedded a talk that the Czech ex-president Klaus gave there. Oops, it was one in Canberra but who cares. ;-)
LIGO's colleagues in Italy, Virgo, should hold an event at the same moment, i.e. 16:30 Central European Time. This should also be webcast – and there are hints that these people will actually be at CERN, not in Italy, and the webcast will actually be aired via webcast.cern.ch, too.
But you should already bookmark this YouTube page on the NSF channel where webcast will start in 29 hours. See also an NSF press release.Incidentally, the arXiv already boasts a theory paper about the first black hole mergers detected by LIGO. ;-) It seems clear to me that they pretend to be ignorant of some numbers that they actually know.
Our latest blog post on LIGO has 12,000 views so far (and 1,000+ Facebook likes LOL) and there are lots of other responses by the media to the tomorrow's event that is gaining the official status these days. An unusually intelligent article written by David Castelvecchi appeared in Nature:
I did my PhD at Rutgers University, the State University of New Jersey. Those were 4 interesting years – ending by the PhD defense on 9/11/2001, 9:30 am, some 50 miles from the Twin Towers.
Shortly before I came to Rutgers in Fall 1997 (not counting a visit in Spring 1997), it was a powerful thinking machine, arguably a top 5 place in string theory in the world. (This comment does not say that Rutgers is not good today, it's very good; and it does not imply that a new graduate student like me was the cause why Rutgers ceased to be at the absolute Olymp of theoretical physics, I was too small a master for such big changes. In the mid-to-late 1990s, it was simply natural for the richer universities like Harvard to attract folks from that "hot field" that did much of their recent important work at "slightly less obvious" top places such as Rutgers and Santa Barbara.)
Before the brains were absorbed by some of the "more expected" famous universities in the U.S., string theory faculty at Rutgers as a group were known – relatively to other physics professors at Rutgers – for their unusual contributions to science and also funding and they enjoyed some teaching advantages relatively to non-string faculty, and so on, a setup designed to further improve their efficient research. I was always imagining how hard such a setup would have been in Czechia, due to jealousy, a feature of the Czech national character.
Guest blog by Gordon Kane
I want to thank Luboš for suggesting that I explain the compactified M-theory predictions of the superpartner masses, particularly for the gluino that should be seen at LHC in Run II. I’ll include the earlier Higgs boson mass and decay branching ratio predictions as well. I’ll only give references to a few papers that allow the reader to see more details of derivations and of calculated numbers, plus a few of the original papers that established the basic compactification, usually just with arXiv numbers so the interested reader can look at them and trace the literature, because this is a short explanation only focused on the LHC predictions. I apologize to others who could be referenced. Before a few years ago it was not possible to use compactified string/M-theories to predict superpartner masses. All “predictions” were based on naturalness arguments, and turned out to be wrong.
Confidence 5.1 sigma, ringdown to a Kerr black hole seen, too
Update: On Monday, 2 pm DC time, LIGO at Twitter has officially announced the press conference on Thursday. An hour later, the LIGO website posted an announcement, too. VIRGO in Italy organizes an event at the same moment, 16:30 Italian time. CERN should do a webcast, too. But please bookmark this YouTube page where the webcast will start on Thursday.
For those of us who "knew" that there would be an announcement of a LIGO discovery (timed to coincide with the publication of their paper in Nature) involving a black hole merger, was there a reason to watch the Thursday February 11th 10:30 am press conference in D.C. (National Press Club)? You bet. As recently as 10 hours ago, we still didn't know some numbers and details that were going to thrill us despite the previous knowledge.
Whenever I was asked why I am still very excited even though it's obvious to me that gravitational waves exist, I forgot to say one important thing. By the detection of the waves, we're not testing just the existence of the waves. We're testing the predictions of general relativity for the unbelievable extreme processes involving black holes, their orbital motion, and their merger. Clearly, I do believe that GR makes the right predictions for all this stuff but even Einstein, the father of GR, refused to believe in the very existence of black holes. Lots of new effects "beating" GR could have taken place, he thought. But he was wrong. There's nothing there – and pure gravity unavoidably becomes the master.
Is there some excitement left for Thursday?
In this case, Clifford Burgess and the Science Magazine have really spoiled much of the Thursday party. But if it's your first encounter with the data, you may experience the shock and awe now.
According to a conglomerate of the information from three exclusive sources, the LIGO collaboration is preparing the press conference for Thursday, February 11th, and it will take place on 10:30 am, Eastern Coast Time, in the U.S. Capital.
Geekwire (and Alan Boyle) has mentioned our poll where people have been voting for a few days.
Františka Plamínková was a brave democrat, kindergarten advocate, and a rank-and-file politician, too
Half an hour ago when I opened Google for the first time today, I was greeted by this "doodle" (modified logo) that contained the portrait of a woman I couldn't recognize. "Who's that?" I asked myself. And I immediately answered: "It must be some feminist and the U.S. company would love such people to be popular here." Indeed.
One click is enough to get a bigger picture and find something about Františka Plamínková. (The first name is the female counterpart of Francis, the surname is the feminime adjective derived from a Little Flame. She was born 141 years ago.) Honestly, I was not familiar with the name or at least, I didn't realize that I was. At the end, she doesn't even seem to have a page on the English Wikipedia – something that thousands of Czechs do have. This already says a lot about the "non-mainstream" status of the folks at Google within the Czech society.
Rainfall variations induced by the lunar gravitational atmospheric tide and their implications for the relationship between tropical rainfall and humidity (PDF)by Kohyama and Wallace (University of Washington) in Geophysical Research Letters.
Their claim may be summarized by a slogan of mine: since it's sunny because of the Sun, it must be rainy because of the... Moon. ;-)
I have received a free copy of "Why String Theory" by Joseph Conlon, a young Oxford string theorist who has done successful specialized work related either to the moduli stabilization of the flux vacua, or to the axions in string theory. (He's been behind the website whystringtheory.com, too.)
The 250-page-long paperback looks modern and tries to be more technical than popular books but less technical than string theory textbooks. Unfortunately, I often feel that "more technical than a popular book" mostly means that the book uses some kind of an intellectual jargon – but the nontrivial physics ideas aren't actually described more accurately than in the popular books.
We went to see the new Czech movie, "Lída Baarová" ("Devil's Mistress" in the U.K.), about the most famous Czech actress before the war (along with Adina Mandlová) and Joseph Goebbels' mistress.
At the end of the trailer, the old Baarová (not really her...) says: I have loved a criminal. But that isn't a crime by itself, is it?
It's a romantic film that also says quite something about one of the faces of the Czech nation, the face that was highly compatible with the German Nazism. Spoilers are all over the place.
Czech justice chose to befriend Lebanon, piss on the U.S.
In July 2015, five Czechs were kidnapped in Lebanon. With some help of Google Translate, I quickly decoded their identities. When a bug/typo is fixed, it was attorney Jan Švarc, translator Adam Homsi (the only exotic name among the five), regional (South Bohemian) TV makers/hosts Miroslav Dobeš and Pavel Kofroň, and military reporter Martin Psík whose name I first misindentified as Merlin Pešek etc. Mr Psík was arguably the main "ace" that was believed to be most valuable for the Czech government.
I am sort of interested how much people believe in rumors, in this case rumors that LIGO is going to announce the discovery of gravitational waves (see a PhD comics explanation of those). You may have read about the rumors on this blog and elsewhere. My most important source of the rumors is a person at a major enough physics place.
I've heard about the date, 11th February (next Thursday), from her or him, too (exclusive communication). Some cosmologists have reported cancellations of LIGO members' events on that day, too.
The Oregon sit-in has led to the first casualty. When the ranchers were driving somewhere, police stopped them. The ranchers' de facto spokesman LaVoy Finicum (who lives in Arizona) raised his hands (as the FBI video shows) but after some unclear movements, he was shot dead.
Cliven Bundy and others say that it was an assassination of a man who has surrendered. A person claims to be an eye witness of this murder.
18-year-old Victoria Sharp who was there claims that 100 or so shots were fired by the FBI (not three, as the FBI claims) and the FBI is lying about tons of other things, too. However, another driver claims that Finicum was preparing to shoot at the police.