## Monday, November 30, 2009 ... /////

I didn't want to write dozens of posts about the ClimateGate although this event almost certainly deserves them. But there are 12 million pages about the scandal on the Internet and some of them are better than what I could write.

There's much to say but I won't say much. Let me hope that you are watching the developments on Google News and elsewhere. Instead, let me just mention a rather irrelevant non-event. Bad Astronomer, Phil Plait, wrote an article called

The global warming emails non-event (click)
in which he argues that you shouldn't look at the documents because there's nothing to see.

The article became the locus of a huge comment activity on his blog, receiving 100+ comments in a few hours. That's not bad for such a non-event. ;-) And most readers actually disagree with Plait and give him decent and thoughtful arguments why the ClimateGate is something one should be concerned with.

Of course, not all readers are climate realists. The following comment is a good representative of the quality of the opposing side's - the new deniers' - thoughts:
T_U_T says:

holy !$!%f ! What a crop of denialists here. Even the arch-crank Motl crawled out of his fetid sewer. Seems every sorry piece of reality denier comes out of the brushwork now. The other alarmists' comments are analogous and I think that every single one of them uses the word "denier" or "denialist". ;-) The gap in the intellectual quality between the two sides couldn't be more stunning. Of course, I have known Plait's far-left political fanaticism for quite some time. Several years ago, we exchanged a few e-mails, learning that we liked the blog of the other. When I suggested we would trade the links, he answered that it was inconceivable that he would ever link to a blog with right-wing blogs on its blogroll. I was really surprised that someone who is interested in astronomy - or at least pretends so - may be so blinded by an idiotic ideology and so thoroughly unable to separate politics from science and other parts of life. He looked like a guy who was advised by a new "Stalin" not to do inconvenient things. In reality, he has always been a prototype of the totalitarian atmosphere in the contemporary left-wing scholarly circles. Well, as environmentalist George Monbiot has said, those who claim that the ClimateGate is no problem are the new deniers. They think that if they won't look, the problem won't exist. Well, while I feel that the ClimateGate is already evolving at a slower pace than the Velvet Revolution did 20 years ago, it is surely continuing and when the dust settles, people will find out that the majority convinced that the case for AGW is not scientifically reliable will be so huge that any projects to regulate the climate will become politically unrealistic. However, the dust hasn't yet settled. P.S. FoxNews just reported that since 2007, the United Nations have wanted to establish UNEP, an environmental watch dog, to push environmentalism as a replacement of religion, "as the only compelling, value-based narrative available to humanity." Whoops. I wonder how these things are going to be established e.g. in the Czech Republic where religious officials are considered "black asses" ("černoprdelníci") by the overwhelming (atheist) majority of the population and where the environmentalists are indeed going to follow the religious example. ;-) Also, we have a bill that outlaws "movements attempting to suppress basic human rights and freedoms." The United Nations, come to visit us in Czechia, you will be kicked into your black asses, too. ;-) ### Royal Society: 60 historical papers online The Royal Society was founded in 1660 so it is going to celebrate its 350th birthday next year. One of its new gifts to the public is their new server Trailblazing (click) with 60 of their most famous historical papers. For example, I am just looking at an Isaac Newton's letter about light and colors sent to the editor of Cambridge University Press ;-) in February 1671/72. It describes some Newton's basic but fun diffraction experiments and his conclusions. ## Sunday, November 29, 2009 ... ///// ### Swiss voters ban new minarets Two months ago, Muammar Gadaffi used the United Nations to propose his ingenious plan to abolish Switzerland which is a "world mafia". The country should have been divided between France, Germany, and Italy. David Černý's Entropa. The only things left from the Netherlands after it is submerged in the ocean are the minarets. Some unrelated news from Switzerland (and France): on Monday, 0:42 am after midnight Swiss time, the LHC has become the world's strongest accelerator, surpassing Fermilab's Tevatron, by having boosted two beams to 1.18 TeV each. They have yet to collide, to give us sqrt(s)=2.36 TeV, above the Tevatron's favorite 1.96 TeV. Today, the Swiss voters were deciding whether minarets, the tall spires towering above mosques, should be banned in Switzerland. And over 57.5% of them (including majorities in 22 out of 26 cantons) decided that they should be banned, indeed. The turnout was high, 54%. They're symbols of the Islamic and Allah's architectonic arrogance and they are meant to be a tool of a believing majority to intimidate the minorities of infidels (and to call everyone to prayer): Google News. ## Saturday, November 28, 2009 ... ///// ### Scientific American about Hořava gravity See also: A dynamical inconsistency of Hořava gravity. The authors show that the lapse function must vanish at infinity and consequently also everywhere, for generic configurations, i.e. all constraints are second-class, unless new ugly constraints are added (and they probably make a long-distance limit converging to general relativity impossible). As I learned from seeing hundreds of visitors to various articles about Hořava-Lifshitz gravity on this blog, Zeeya Merali wrote an article for Scientific American, Splitting time from space — new quantum theory topples Einstein's spacetime. Holy crap, the title sounds bad, doesn't it? And the rest of the article is unfortunately kind of horrifying, too. That's why the comment section attracts almost exclusively crackpots and other laymen who have always hated relativity, anyway. See Relativistic phobia. To make sure that we don't think that the title is an isolated typo, exaggeration, or an error, the absurd statement in the title is repeated many times in the article. The subtitle says Buzz about a quantum gravity theory that sends space and time back to their Newtonian roots while the first sentence that follows asks: Was Newton right and Einstein wrong? Well, when it comes to the questions about the behavior at speeds that are comparable to the speed of light, the answer is a resounding No. I consider this fact to be an elementary insight that should be known to all intelligent high school students who are interested in physical sciences. ### Michio Kaku talks to Lisa Dwan Two times 10 minutes. This is a pretty amazing stream of captivating and mostly ludicrous fantasies. Kaku tells us that we will soon have mirrors on the walls that will choose the sex partners for the evening from the whole world, including secret information about her bankruptcy. ## Friday, November 27, 2009 ... ///// ### Google Chrome extensions Google Chrome 4.0 Dev that you can download by clicking this link has become very serious about the extensions (known as plugins or addons elsewhere), software constructs whose absence has been the greatest disadvantage of this fastest browser so far. Cooliris for Chrome. Shift-click any screenshot to zoom in into another window. ### Blood and Gore on death of short-term capitalism The Financial Times have humiliated themselves by printing an article by two crackpots, Blood and Gore (no kidding), called Time is up for short-term thinking in global capitalism. Let's ignore the fact that one of the authors is a criminal and a template for all hypocrites who should have been sitting in a jail for years, and look at their "ideas" instead. ## Thursday, November 26, 2009 ... ///// ### UAH in November 2009: around 0.51 deg C Update: it worked, the anomaly was 0.50 °C and I predicted 0.51 °C almost two weeks earlier. Based on the daily UAH data, the global UAH anomaly for November 2009 will be 0.51 °C, plus minus 0.2 °C, up sharply from 0.28 °C in October 2009. A significantly strengthened El Nino may be partly blamed for the development. The official 2009 Atlantic hurricane season will be completed at the end of November, too. So far, we have seen • 9 named storms, including • 3 hurricanes, including • 2 major hurricanes • ACE index: 50.8 If this score remains the final one, the season will be below normal, below the predictions, the ACE-weakest season since 1997, the 14th ACE-weakest season among the 59 seasons between 1950 and 2009, twice as ACE-weak as the mean 1950-2005 season (the mean is 102.3), five times ACE-weaker than the 2005 season (whose ACE was 248), but stronger than the average prediction of our August 2009 poll. At any rate, the data above are enough to explain why sleazy, greedy, and immoral environmental opportunists choose different backgrounds for their photographs than a hurricane in 2009. ## Wednesday, November 25, 2009 ... ///// ### LHC at CERN: first collisions ALICE's inner tracker Over the weekend, the Large Hadron Collider smashed the first pairs of protons. Ever. See CERN press release, DVICE, Physics Central, The Independent, The Latest News As The Independent mentions in another article, the current center-of-mass energy was 1 TeV, so we have another Tevatron right now. ;-) They're watching the LHC beams, not baseball! Before the Christmas, the center-of-mass energy sqrt(s) should be raised to 2.4 TeV, bringing the LHC its global hegemony for the first time (the Tevatron collides at 1.96 TeV). Update: that much was achieved already on November 30th, so far without collisions. ## Monday, November 23, 2009 ... ///// ### Holography: unitarity implies chronology protection Previous article about the topic: Time travel: reality and myths Closed time-like curves lead to all kinds of problems with causality: no one knows whether you can kill your grandparents before they met and what should happen if you kill them. Remotely related: 30 neat new hi-res pictures from the LHC However, Kurt Gödel has shown that rather mundane distributions of matter have the potential to produce such closed time-like curves because general relativity makes space and time more dynamical than you might think. ## Thursday, November 19, 2009 ... ///// ### Google Chrome OS Click to zoom the screenshot in. As a user of Google Chrome 4.0, I was interested in the newest Google press conference about the Google Chrome Operating System (OS) that was released to the open-source community today. The conference could be watched by opening the following URL in the Windows Media Player: mms://a1775.l3402457774.c34024.g.lm.akamaistream.net/D/1775/34024/v0001/reflector:57774 I don't expect most readers to be extremely interested. But let me just say that Google Chrome OS is meant to be a lightweight operating system • where everything is based on the Internet which offers its creators an alternative, extreme unifying philosophical approach to operating systems • where applications appear in tabs just like pages in the Google Chrome browser • whose philosophy and justification is advocated in this 3-minute video (YouTube) • whose function may be understood as the Google Chrome browser with the essential underlying processes and drivers and with the native client (able to run applications) incorporated in it • that boots in 7 seconds, instead of the Windows' 45 seconds, because most OS "formalities" are eliminated • that is based on Debian Linux • that will focus on light, undernourished netbooks (with flash drives but no hard disk) in 2010 but may be extended to more full-fledged computers afterwards • that was described in this 7-minute demo (YouTube) • that will make you completely screwed if your internet provider or the service provider of an essential service is down • when they're hacked, you're really down because all your data, including a TXT file you just edit in Notepad, is available via the Google cloud See Google News. ### Thought experiments are essential in modern physics Backreaction has provoked a discussion about the role of thought experiments in physics. Well, they have been really important for quite some time! The gedanken experiments, as they're often called, have been produced en masse since the first examples given by Hans Christian Ørsted who also gave them the name back in the early 1820s. They're situations that we imagine - but don't immediately realize - and that we analyze as carefully as we would analyze a real physical situation, in order to find a paradox, resolve a paradox, find a limitation of the existing approximate laws of physics, or find a universal physical principle. Don't get me wrong. In principle, physics could make a lot of progress even without this theoretical method. Except that in reality, the physical phenomena are organized at so many vastly distinct scales that we constantly need to imagine that various quantities are jumping over many orders of magnitude and we're getting to extreme regimes where the extrapolations of the well-known approximate laws and our experience can clash with each other. That's often possible only in theory. Starting from mechanics ### EU president: Herman Van Rompuy You have probably never heard about this guy, Herman Van Rompuy, a Flemish Christian democrat, but he is now extremely likely to become (update: has become) the "permanent" (non-rotating) president of half a billion of somewhat civilized people, the citizens of the European Union: Google News His greatest achievement is that he saved the unity of Belgium - an artificial conglomerate of two completely different de facto countries that should have been split years ago - for 11 months while in office. Nothing against him - I have no idea who he is, what he thinks, and whether I would agree with anything he thinks (he is almost certain to be a colorless "consensus-builder", an opportunist who always goes with the wind and he may really be good at that) - but the method how it became certain that this particular Mr Nobody would suddenly become our confederate leader is just bizarre and has nothing to do with my ideas about democracy. ### California bans TVs above 183 Watts The Toronto Star, The Tech Herald, and most other media (including the Czech ones) have informed us that the green police in California has focused on flat TVs. Well, you wouldn't expect such a ban in California - the state that is most heavily overrepresented in its contributions to the global film and TV industry. But don't forget that the Hollywood Left and de-facto Left has a lot green activist types in it and one of them has become the governor, too. Big plasma and LCD screens have to consume at most 2/3 of the current average electricity consumption of the same-size TVs by 2011 - less than 183 Watts for the most typical 42-inch (107-centimeter) screens -, otherwise they will be banned in the shops. Since 2013, devices will have to sit at 1/2 of the current consumption - below 113 Watts in the case of 42-inch screens. Note that plasma TVs typically consume roughly twice as much power as the LCD screens of the same size. Watts up with that? ;-) ## Wednesday, November 18, 2009 ... ///// ### Fermilab: muon collider gains steam Last week, between November 10th and 12th, a Fermilab workshop focused on a possible future muon collider as a successor to the LHC (where, by the way, the full beam will circulate again before Saturday 8 a.m.) and a potential weapon to keep the U.S. particle physics in the game: Muon collider workshop (click) Today, Nature reported that Muon collider gains momentum (subscription) Symmetry Magazine (click) We are talking about a 1.5 TeV or 3 TeV center-of-mass muon-antimuon collider. See the following Fermilab resources: Recall that the hadrons are heavier which means that they can be accelerated to higher energies. Leptons are lighter but they don't interact by the strong interaction which means that their collisions are cleaner and more accurate, especially when you look for new physics. A hybrid that unifies both advantages would employ heavy leptons - namely muons which are heavier cousins of the electron. The disadvantage is, of course, that they decay quickly. In the rest frame, the mean lifetime of a muon is 2.2 microseconds which is the time that light needs to travel 660 meters. ### The Adhesive Duck Deficiency After some time, I have to embed the newest a TBBT video because the episode 3x08 was excellent, especially the Penny-Sheldon part. The icon in the middle, with the left-arrow in the full rectangle, switches you to the full screen mode. Rajesh, Leonard, and Howard went camping, to watch the Leonids. However, they proved that they were no Sheldons and a couple of marijuana cookies from two hippies of Lee Smolin's age made them behave like three teenage stoners. Just like in the real world today, the Leonid gazers didn't see much. On the other hand, Sheldon was just enjoying his solitude, going to compute the decay rates of highly excited string modes - which is, by the way, a very interesting class of problems shedding light on the UV behavior of perturbative string theory that gradually changes to the black hole regime and on the character of locality in string theory. ### HK Climate Two Greek Earth scientists, Antonis Christofides and Nikos Mamassis, have written down a couple of pages about the climate on their new server: HK-Climate.ORG (click) The co-authors of this and that paper written together with Koutsoyannis argue that there's no reason to worry about man-made warming because it doesn't seem to occur, and that the climate loves to maximize the uncertainty at all time scales (and distance scales), following a kind of critical behavior. I won't tell you what HK stands for but regardless of this puzzling question, it's a good idea to study Hurst-Kolmogorov processes in the context of the climate! ;-) Via Maurizio Morabito and the HK-Climate authors Bonus By the way, The Breakthrough Institute and others noticed that Al Gore's new book's opening page says: I'm offering you the choice of life or death, you can choose either blessings or curses. A true prophet? :-) Well, we should probably offer him the same, especially the latter. At any rate, you have heard the words of the Anti-Christ and thermodynamic crackpot. Amen. ## Tuesday, November 17, 2009 ... ///// ### Velvet Revolution: 20 years A trailer for a CNN program. The square between 0:18 and 0:20 is our Pilsen's Square of the Republic. Twenty years ago, I was a high school sophomore and a young dissident of a sort. With a few colleagues, we didn't join the Socialist Youth Union and created a small version of Charter 77 instead. We lived in a regime that was largely emptied of the belief in its principles and in its future. Nevertheless, even in 1989 when governments were collapsing in Eastern Europe and perestroika had been rebuilding the Soviet Union itself for years, the socialist regime in Czechoslovakia looked remarkably robust. Our leaders were forced to talk about perestroika and they even had to do something - but they surely didn't like it. It was hard to imagine that something could seriously change about the system because most people looked entirely indifferent. However, events that are hard to imagine sometimes happen, anyway. ### Al Gore: the interior of the Earth is extremely hot, several million degrees You may have heard that the stupidity of the people has no limits but you may have thought that the statement was exaggerated. That's because you haven't heard Al Gore's opinions about the temperature of the Earth's core. He's told by the host that the geothermal energy looks like a plan to defeat Superman. Gore's defense of this ludicrous source of energy is striking. He says that two kilometers under the surface, there are incredibly hot rocks because the interior of the Earth is extre-hehehe-mely hot: several million degrees. And the crust is therefore hot, too. So they have just invented drills that don't melt in these several million degrees, Gore tells us. ;-) What a breathtaking simpleton. It's very clear that he can't possibly have the slightest clue about physics, geology, and energy flows on the Earth. It's sad that many politicians lack the basic science education. ## Monday, November 16, 2009 ... ///// ### CERN: CLOUD experiment began operation CLOUD experimental chamber. More photos. Click the picture to zoom it in. The newest article at cern.ch says: CERN is home to lots of experiments and collaborations. CLOUD is an experiment that uses a chamber to study the possible link between cosmic rays and cloud formation. The experiment is based at the Proton Synchrotron; this is the first time a high-energy physics accelerator has been used in the study of atmospheric and climate science. CLOUD's results could greatly modify our understanding of our planet's climate. Further links: Here is the newest interview with Jasper Kirkby, the boss of the experiment, and another member: The results will arrive "fairly quickly" and detailed quantitative summaries of the experiment will emerge in 2010. If you have gotten to this point and listened to the interview, I actually recommend you the article at The Register, especially the graphs showing the extraordinary correlation of the cosmic rays with temperature in the last 2,000 and 550 million years, while the temperature and CO2 were pretty much uncorrelated. ## Sunday, November 15, 2009 ... ///// ### APEC meeting agrees: no Copenhagen treaty The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Newsbusters, and other media have reported that the leaders who met in Singapore have agreed that there will be no deal on carbon regulation signed in Copenhagen which increases the chances that there will never be another carbon regulating treaty on this blue planet. Bye, bye, Copenhagen treaty. Note that comrade Obama doesn't wave his hand because the agreement about no agreement means that this advocate of the climate insanities has become a big loser once again. Click to zoom in. The gaps between the rich and poor, and between the rich themselves, are just way too wide, especially for 22 days that remain until the summit in the Danish capital. It's not hard to calculate the gap between any pair of countries, X and Y. It's approximately equal to the money that the country with the smaller GDP in the pair wants the bigger country to pay for CO2 emissions reduction. ;-) In a sane world, this number would be equal (and, hopefully, will be equal) to zero, so any nonzero value of this quantity creates tension. The overall gaps sum up to trillions of dollars. And imagine what happens with your friendship when you disagree with another person whether he owes you trillions of dollars. ## Friday, November 13, 2009 ... ///// ### Warm records vs cold records MSNBC and others run a story about the asymmetry between the number of daily hot records and the number of daily cold records in the U.S. Note that in the 1960s and 1970s, the cold records beat the warm records approximately by a 1.3 to 1 ratio. The latest ratio of warm vs cold records is 2 to 1. If there were no trend anywhere and whatsoever, you would statistically expect a 1 to 1 ratio, of course. But what the media don't seem to convey is the sensitivity encoding how much the ratio depends on the number of years on the record and on the ratio between the trend and the annual random fluctuations. Clearly, these are the only two parameters that determine the ratios. ## Thursday, November 12, 2009 ... ///// ### APS fat cats stick to the sinking AGW bandwagon Bad news which is however hardly surprising. The APS has prepared a negative response to the letter by 160 physicists including Ivar Giaever and Will Happer who wanted the society to return to its scientific roots when it comes to the topic of climate change and who proposed a new climate policy statement. Physics World, Google News What was the procedure leading to the official APS reply? The current APS chairwoman Ms Merry Cherry (or so) constructed a "reliable" six-person committee that was asked to recommend the APS Council what is the right way to respond. Not too surprisingly, the committee recommended to say "No," and the APS Council - whatever it means - "almost unanimously" decided to reject the proposal to update the APS statement on climate change on behalf of all the APS members. The radical alarmist blogosphere started a new campaign to sling mud upon the authors of the proposed new APS policy statement. For example, the not-so-gentle men at a Nature alarmist blog think that Will Happer has been discredited because top scientist Al Gore effectively fired him back in 1993 when Gore was the U.S. vice-president. That event must really weaken Happer's credibility - especially because in a sane world, prominent scientist Will Happer would strongly influence these matters while Al Gore would be severely punished for his unacceptable political interventions to science. Joshua B. Halpern of Howard University is also promoting an analysis that tries to show that most signatories of the letter are mature or older (what a sin!) and many of them even dare to prefer the Republican or Libertarian Party over the Democrat Party. ### Harvard Gazette on Vafa's phenomenology The Harvard Gazette published an exciting article explaining what the LHC is all about: A line on string theory A few weeks ago, Cumrun Vafa went to CERN to check how the employees are preparing for their most important piece of work which is to test his and Jonathan Heckman's F-theoretical phenomenological scenarios. ;-) Vafa and Heckman - with their occasional collaborators and competitors - assume that gravity is decoupled and supersymmetry survives to low energies. They're led to F-theory compactifications with gauge fields sitting at real codimension-two manifolds, matter fields sitting at real codimension-four cycles, and cubic interactings arising from the real codimension-six points. This blog has discussed some theoretical aspects of this approach many times. The article in the Harvard Gazette is original because it extracted some concise expectations about the LHC observations from Cumrun. He thinks it's likely - especially if their scenario is valid - that the gravitino (the dark matter particle in these models) together with the stau are the lightest superpartners. ### An expedition to Spooksville See also: A resolution: the little boy In the afternoon, I went to Spooksville to see the haunted house. Let me assure you that I have met no poltergeists, zombies, or extraterrestrial aliens. The following picture is hopefully enough to prove that the "official" science is doing fine: it's an ordinary house, with an ordinary digger digging an ordinary hole, and with tons of thick wires grounding the whole field. ;-) Click to zoom in. ### New Scientist on supersymmetry Being the only blog on the planet Earth that actually expects supersymmetry to be seen at the LHC (more likely than not) and that has explained the reasons in many ways, The Reference Frame is pleased that Nude Socialist, a magazine dominated by crackpots most of the time, has published a sensible article explaining supersymmetry, In SUSY we trust: What the LHC is really looking for. Anil Ananthaswamy sketches some history of SUSY, the hierarchy problem, neutralinos as dark matter, gauge coupling unification, scenarios for the LHC results, and relationships between string theory and supersymmetry. It is a solid introduction to the subject. One amusing misinterpretation does occur in the article: the author argues that the reason why confinement exists is only explained if supersymmetry exists. If you haven't recognized where this statement came from, it refers to the papers by Seiberg and Witten. Well, confinement in N=2 theories has very good reasons and its properties may be analytically computed because of the enhanced supersymmetry. Things fit together - it is a beautiful calculation that showed how powerful supersymmetry is in simplifying calculations. But it is misleading to say that the "very existence" of confinement has to be explained by SUSY because we know theories, such as pure QCD, that are natural but still able to predict confinement. ### EU will ban a couple of "E xxx" food additives From the middle of 2010, the European Union will ban several food additives. Recall that in order to regulate these compounds that are being added to food and beverages with the goal to improve their taste or color, and in order to inform the consumers, the European countries have established the "E xxx" number system which was later adopted internationally. The code "E xxx" really means that it has been tested, included in the database, and at least at some point, it was labeled safe in reasonable amounts. Of course, the consumers tend to view "E xxx" negatively - as a proof that something is wrong with the food. And of course, the scientific evaluation of each compound keeps on evolving. The E's that will be banned since mid 2010 include E 102 - Tartrazin yellow E 104 - Quinoline yellow E 110 - Sunset yellow SY E 122 - Azorubine red E 124 - Ponceau 4R red Unlike these E's, the E-U has not yet been banned. ;-) Well, of course, I can't promise you that all E's are harmless. Quite on the contrary, I can assure you it is not the case. But I can assure you that the typical people's understanding of their meaning and impact is completely irrational and the overall reaction is biased in the direction of "irrational fear" rather than "irrational indifference." ## Wednesday, November 11, 2009 ... ///// ### Pachauri: glaciology is arrogant A few days ago, Indian government climatologists have released a 60-page paper about the Himalayan glaciers (PDF). The document has combined the work of several collaborations that have investigated the changes of the glaciers in the world's highest mountains. They concluded that there was no evidence of local changes that could be attributed to the global climate change. Jairam Ramesh, India's environment minister, was led to conclude that "There is no conclusive scientific evidence to link global warming with what is happening in the Himalayan glaciers." ### Peter Robinson talks to Václav Klaus Czech president Václav Klaus did another tour to the U.S. He has been to many places but here is the interview with Peter Robinson of Uncommon Knowledge (National Review Online): Part 1/5 (remembering fall of communism), Part 2/5 (similarities of EU and the Warsaw Pact), Part 3/5 (Al Gore is wrong on AGW), Part 4/5 (on becoming a free market fan), Part 5/5 (drifts since 1989). For your convenience, the third part on climate change is embedded directly in this short article. ### Currency Exchange Rates: Google Chrome Extension See all extensions I have posted (click). This page doesn't contain too much nontrivial stuff but I just wanted to provide Google with an URL so that the field doesn't remain empty. The actual home page of the extension at Google Chrome's extension server ends with the code dcbifoamfdgdekmhebhlckefhellliim (click) ## An Old Calculator The real page of an old calculator ends with the code: okchmhdoihblcikdcedjpofciafcaoko (click) ### Airborne fraction of CO2 stays constant Prof Wolfcgang Knorr of Bristol has found out that the ability of natural sinks - mainly oceans and forests - to absorb the CO2 emissions hasn't changed by more than 10% or so since 1850. It means that the airborne fraction of CO2 - the fraction of emissions that stays in the air for a very long time - remains constant within the margin of error, near 45%. Sources: Univ. of Bristol press release, The Telegraph, Daily Mail, Bristol 24-7, Bristol Evening Post, Original Bristol 106.5 FM, World Climate Report, Anthony Watts I have noticed that it was a favorite meme of some alarmists who would say - without having any rational justification - that the airborne fraction was increasing i.e. that an increasing part of the CO2 emissions stays in the air. For example, in 2007, The Reference Frame commented on this very delusion by a guy called David Archer. ## Tuesday, November 10, 2009 ... ///// ### Police state starts at 450 ppm CO2 equivalent As I was just informed by Marc Morano, The Heritage Foundation and other sources inform about new, highly enhanced competences of the U.S. president that will be activated according to the Boxer-Kerry or Waxman-Markey bills as soon as the concentration of "Kyoto" greenhouse gases - CO2, CH4, N2O, SF6, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, but not H2O - in the atmosphere exceeds 450 ppm. (I am sure that most lawmakers don't even know the list of the gases.) That's very troubling politically, especially because according to some widespread ways to calculate the figure, the current value of the combined concentration is around 448 ppm and it could reach 450 ppm in 2010. However, this whole story reminded me of a story due to Feynman, Judging books by their covers (click). In 1964, Feynman served on a Californian textbook commission attempting to choose the new textbooks for America to beat the Soviet Union in the outer space and beyond. The textbooks contained almost no applications in science - or practical life, for that matter. They were renaming everything ("integers" became "counting numbers" etc.), the difficult stuff taught to the kids was useless (e.g. conversion from base-five to base-seven), and their authors didn't know what they were talking about so there were errors and misunderstandings everywhere. ### Logical arrow of time and terminology It's probably too short a time for a new comment about the arrow of time. But let me say a few words, anyway. The people who are bothered by the second law of thermodynamics - by the lower entropy in the past - often say that it is "far more likely that the state in the past is a higher-entropy state than the present one". Of course, this statement is incorrect because it directly contradicts the second law of thermodynamics. This law says that the entropy in the past was lower than the current entropy. So as long as the laws of physics are obeyed, it is impossible (or so unlikely that one can identify the probability with zero for all conceivable purposes) for the entropy to be macroscopically higher in the past. But it may be interesting to look why those people end up with the flagrantly wrong proposition in more detail. They are thinking in terms of the picture above. These folks begin with the current, relatively low-entropy state with an egg. Its entropy equals "S1" and this state appears in the middle of the picture. ## Monday, November 09, 2009 ... ///// ### El Niño is strengthening According to the newest El Niño NOAA weekly report (PDF, HTML) the El Niño conditions are getting stronger and will almost certainly become a new El Niño episode once the November 2009 data are accounted for. Click to zoom in. Apologies for the yellow line. The chart above shows the Pacific equatorial (between 5°N and 5°S) sea surface temperature anomalies; the axes are longitude and time. You see that they switched from cool (blue, negative) values to warm (orange, positive) values during April 2009. Recall that from April 2007 through June 2008, we experienced a La Niña episode. At the end of 2008, it seemed like a new La Niña episode was getting started. ### Vitaly Ginzburg (1916-2009) Vitaly Ginzburg, a Nobel-prize winning Russian physicist, died on Sunday night in Moscow, at the age of 93. A cardiac arrest was the cause. AP, AFP, Reuters / ABC, Physics World, PhysOrg.com, ITAR-TASS, Russia Today He was born to a Jewish family in Moscow in 1916. Ginzburg shared the 2003 physics Nobel prize with Alexei Alexeyevich Abrikosov and Anthony James Leggett for pioneering contributions to superconductivity and superfluids. In 1950, he co-authored the Ginzburg-Landau theory of superconductivity - a theory of the electromagnetic U(1) gauge group spontaneously broken to nothing by a complex scalar field with a quartic potential, based on the previous theory of second-order phase transitions by Lev Landau. This phenomenological macroscopic model of superconductivity was probably important for the later birth of the Higgs mechanism. Similar conformal field theories, the Landau-Ginzburg models, have also been extensively used to construct string-size, "non-geometric" compactifications of perturbative string theory, for example in the Gepner models. Ginzburg has also contributed to our understanding of plasmas, the ionosphere, and the origin of the cosmic rays. He has worked on the Soviet hydrogen bomb project together with Andrei Sakharov. Unlike Sarkharov, Ginzburg never became a dissident but they remained friends. ### Cannot connect to some servers If you have been unable to connect to a small portion of servers on the Internet for a few days, you may want to read the rest of this message. I couldn't get to www.climateaudit.org, www.wolfram.com, www.wolframalpha.com, blog.wolfram.com, skydrive.live.com, and pretty much everything in those domains, including the Mathematica's WeatherData functions and similar stuff. Of course, a proxy was enough to circumvent most of these problems. ## Sunday, November 08, 2009 ... ///// ### Fermi: lightnings produce positrons The Fermi telescope, formerly known as GLAST, is on the roll. After having proven that the proponents of all Lorentz-violating theories are cranks, after having told astrophysicists a lot of details about the gamma ray bursts (GRBs), and after having provided us with some new hints that new physics could be behind the WMAP haze, this relatively cheap$0.69 billion experiment is going to question our ideas about the phenomena that are seemingly as mundane as the lightnings. I really mean ordinary thunderstorms.

Many of us like to think of thunderstorms as electric phenomena whose properties can be captured by non-relativistic quantum mechanics. Well, it is just the electrons that move frantically in a thunderstorm, right? But the speed should be much smaller than the speed of light and non-relativistic quantum mechanics should be enough, your humble correspondent would have told you an hour ago.

Lightnings can be dramatic, like this 2007 event in Oklahoma, but we still think that they're "nonrelativistic" events.

After all, the existing standard texts say that the temperatures in the lightning reach at most 30,000 Kelvin which looks like a pretty high temperature but it translates to 2.6 electronvolts (divided by Boltzmann's constant). That's much less than 511 keV, the rest latent energy of an electron.

### Andrew Brown: it's justified to burn the heretics

When we compare the climate alarmists to the religious bigots in the Middle Ages, we often exaggerate. At least we think so. I admit that whenever I make a similar analogy, it's partly meant as a joke, as a caricature of their behavior.

However, we may simply be wrong.

Andrew Brown, a blogger at The Guardian, wrote something that indicates that the comparison could be more than just a vague analogy: an exact equivalence:

We're doomed without a green religion
He writes that "the justification for burning heretics was perfectly simple: dissent threatened the survival of society." Brown criticizes the Western infidels for treating individual morality as a "dogma".

Oh, that nasty Enlightenment, the rise of the blasphemous heretics. ;-)

He argues that a green religion is badly needed and the future will be great when people will be burning the heretics again because all of them actually believe that it's the right thing. "Should that happen, the denialists, who claim that it is all a religion, will for once be telling the truth, and when they do that, they'll have lost. I just hope it doesn't happen too late."

Wow. ;-)

Well, I thought that the civilized world we have known in the 20th century was based on individual morality and the values of the people who used to be heretics. And it actually did survive. Mr Brown doesn't want to see this "detail".

How does he justify his desire to return the world into the Dark Ages? Well, without such a powerful green religion, he "cannot ensure the survival of [his] grandchildren." A religious bigot like himself can indeed believe so.

But an obvious question arises: wouldn't the world without all the people - "grandchildren" - who are genetically linked to this stunning religious bigot a much better place to live? How can we ensure that our grandchildren won't be arrested or burned at stake by the possible human trash that has been or that will be created by the likes of Andrew Brown? Is it really safe to allow similar people to live, despite their plans to transform the world that they are so stunning explicit about?

If global warming helped to eliminate these people [it unfortunately doesn't], we would have a reason to try to create such warming [which is indeed hard to do artificially]. I am afraid that the threat represented by bigots of Brown's caliber can't be avoided by our influence on the climate which is negligible. We will have to go after their necks.

And that's the memo.

### Outsourcing Prague

Everyone who has been to Prague must know what this is:

Click for a much larger picture.

Yes, it is the Old Town City Hall with the Astronomical Clock ("Orloj"). But those who look even more carefully will also say: holy crap, the building on the left side from the city hall looks strange. It should be white and old-fashioned.

So you may be led to check the pictures of the real Old Town City Hall and indeed, the environment doesn't quite look the same.

The picture above is actually the "Castle Praha" restaurant, a replica in Seoul, Korea, near the Hongdae stop of the public transportation. And the astronomical clock is fully functioning! They brew slightly Koreanized, quasi-Czech beer over there, cook some quasi-Czech food, and a new Czech Info Center was just opened over there: a gallery.

We usually think that the Astronomical Clock and similar historical stuff is very precious - billions of crowns, to estimate the value of such things that can't be converted to the money. Tai H. Ham, the owner of the Korean restaurant fortunately couldn't find anyone in Korea who would produce a replica of the astronomical clock. However, the Japanese guys did it for him. And the price was only USD 100,000. And the owner of the restaurant says it wasn't cheap! ;-)

## Friday, November 06, 2009 ... /////

### Predicting exact monthly UAH anomalies up to the year 2109

What is the best method to forecast the future global mean temperatures? You may construct complicated climate models based on your currently believed set of important physical mechanisms and train these models. You should still make sure that their behavior agrees with the previously measured temperatures.

An alternative route is phenomenological. Just construct the best model that predicts the future temperatures, based on the previous temperatures. Ideally, you want to imagine that the global climate is a Markov process. OK, you may be impatient and want to know how the monthly UAH global mean temperature anomalies will look like between now and 2109.

If you have a crystal ball or Mathematica 7.0.1, that's a very simple question.

By the way, see Stephen Wolfram's most recent talk about the philosophy, history, and near future of Mathematica!

Shift-click to zoom in. (This one has replaced a similar graph with a somewhat buggy x-axis label labeling shifted by 50 months.)

Note that you recognize the 1998 El Nino of the century on the graph. You can't recognize the climate variations after 2009 right now - because of the arrow of time - but you may recognize them later, when they arrive, including the big chill in 2016, among other things. ;-)

You see that 2109 will be cooler than 2009, according to this projection.

How I did it

Well, it was a simple yet canonical procedure. I took the monthly UAH temperatures since December 1978, added 288 degrees to make the numbers large (you may understand the shifted figures as season-corrected temperatures in Kelvins: the virtue of this shift is that I don't have to care about the absolute terms) and created the best linear model that predicts the temperature in month "M" as a linear combination of the temperatures in the previous 50 months: fifty was my choice.

### Kevin Rudd: deniers are dangerous

Armchair climate scientist Kevin Rudd whose somewhat reduced ability to perceive the reality around him hasn't stopped him from becoming the Australian prime minister has decided that climate deniers are dangerous.

See Full Transcript, The Sydney Morning Herald, Bloomberg, Reuters, Radio Australia, Google News.

"As we approach Copenhagen, these three groups of climate sceptics are quite literally holding the world to ransom," he told policy think-tank the Lowy Institute in Sydney. ;-) In fact, climate change skeptics are "reckless gamblers".

If you wonder what the three groups of deniers are, they're the people who

1. deny that climate change is caused by human activity
2. refuse to act on the evidence
3. want other countries to act first,
which approximately cover 99.9% of the world's population. ;-) Well, even Al Gore recently admitted that the majority of the 20th century climate change wasn't caused by the mankind. And even most of the remaining people - who are largely agnostic on global warming - realize that even if global warming were an issue, carbon trading is not the answer to our prayers: see e.g. Tracy Corrigan in The Telegraph. And even Friends of the Earth have seen enough to oppose carbon trading.

According to Bloomberg, Rudd has divided the climate realists into different three groups, namely to "do-nothing" skeptics, deniers, and a "gaggle of conspiracy theorists".

## Thursday, November 05, 2009 ... /////

### Bird baguette-bombs and overheats the LHC

The following graph shows the temperature in the 8-1 sector of the LHC:

You see that one of the magnets is near 10 Kelvin. All of them should be at 1.9 Kelvin. The sector 7-8 looks similarly bad. What happened?

As some scientists have argued, God is sabotaging the LHC from the future. ;-) However, the Islamic terrorist no longer works at CERN. So what can poor Allah do? Well, he or He or she or She can always use a bird.

### An anti-inflation paper by Brian Greene et al.

The world must be coming to an end, indeed. :-) Brian Greene, Kurt Hinterbichler, Simon Judes, and Maulik K. Parikh wrote a preprint called

Smooth initial conditions from weak gravity (PDF)
which claims that inflation doesn't solve the smoothness problem and that offers an extremely awkward solution - more precisely, a non-solution - to something that the authors present as a problem even though it is manifestly not one.

The main motivation for the paper seems to be their misunderstanding of the meaning and validity of the second law of thermodynamics, a topic that has been discussed here many times. The authors start their article by repeating pretty much all the myths about the second law. For example, they write:
The status of [Boltzmann's H-theorem] is less settled than often claimed, because it requires the so-called 'molecular chaos' assumption, doubts about whose applicability have not been firmly laid to rest.
Well, doubts will never be "firmly laid to rest" - partly for legitimate reasons (because science is never over) but, especially in this case, mostly for the reason that Brian Greene nicely explained on TV when he tried to teach general relativity to a dog. Certain things will simply always be difficult to understand for many mortals. A more important fact - for physics - is that the status of the molecular chaos assumption has been fully understood by the experts in statistical physics since 1895.

## Wednesday, November 04, 2009 ... /////

See also: Václav Klaus's speech at today's Washington Times Climate Policy Conference
If you have a spare hour (6 times 10 minutes):

In the first part, Lindzen starts to talk about the propagandistic character of the climate change meme, contacts between climate institutes and politicians, and the explicitly stated desires of climatologists to abuse the topic.

### Haunted house in Strašice

Just twenty miles East of Pilsen, your humble correspondent's hometown, and 7 miles North of the cancelled U.S. missile defence radar site, you will find a village called Strašice (Rokycany District: map).

The name of the village may be translated as Spookyville. :-)

And in this aptly named village, you will find the Mráčeks [Mrah-Czech], a family whose house has been tormented by electrical ghosts and their paranormal activity. ;-)

Power outlets, towels, curtains, and even police ribbons keep on igniting spontaneously; windows, thermometers, and light bulbs at the ceiling suddenly explode - sixty times a day, they claim. ;-) The water in the aquarium suddenly boils, too. The poor turtle was dead and looked like being microwaved.

Even professionals from ČEZ, the dominant local electric utility, claim to have seen spontaneous ignitions with their own eyes, and maybe even when the house was disconnected from the grid. See:
Prague Monitor (English)
iDNES (Czech)
iDNES (English, automatic transl.)
Scientific experts from various bodies, especially physicists such as Dr Luděk Pekárek from Sisyfos [Sisyphus], the Czech scientific skeptic society, argue that the inhabitants have made it up while Ms Jitka Lenková, the spokeswoman of the Psychotronics and UFO Club, believes that the house suffers from a poltergeist.

## Tuesday, November 03, 2009 ... /////

### George Monbiot: alarmists are sore losers

The most viewed article in The Guardian right now was written by George Monbiot yesterday:

Clive James isn't a climate change sceptic, he's a sucker - but this may be the reason
What a nice, polite, and concise title. ;-) This well-known alarmist admitted that the debate is over. The alarmists have lost. In his own words:
There is no point in denying it: we're losing. Climate change denial is spreading like a contagious disease. It exists in a sphere that cannot be reached by evidence or reasoned argument; any attempt to draw attention to scientific findings is greeted with furious invective. This sphere is expanding with astonishing speed.
He mentions some polls indicating that the number of global warming infidels vastly exceeds the number of believers. Monbiot argues that his fiercest opponents are in their 60s and 70s.

Well, your humble correspondent is probably not among his fiercest opponents because he's in his 30s - even though he also thinks that Al Gore should be electrocuted long before he would be allowed to become the world's first carbon billionaire.

By the way, the debate about the age gap in the climate debate is an interesting one. I think that the most important correlation between the climate attitudes and age is that among the climate alarmists, the older people such as Al Gore are those who are profiteering while the young, naive people such as Alexander Ač are those who are effectively paying them.

Of course, Moonbat safely avoids any signs of a climate blasphemy. He believes - or at least claims to believe - that the scientific literature supporting a catastrophic global warming became even more certain in the last two years than it had been previously (and if you remember, the certainty was already above 100% back in 2005).

### Klaus signed Lisbon

Unfortunately, the Czech constitutional court ruled that the Treaty of Lisbon is compatible with the Czech constitution, as expected.

President Klaus signed the document at 3:00 pm. No photographs, no champagne, no foreign counterparts: there is certainly nothing to celebrate.

His statement, translated from Czech (see also a video of his speech with English subtitles and some missing audio):

[Good afternoon. Good, gloomy afternoon. Let me read you a brief statement on the Constitutional Court ruling today.]

1. The decision of the Constitutional Court was expected by me and I respect it, even though I fundamentally disagree both with its content as well its justification.

2. I can't endorse its form i.e. its legal quality. The ruling by the Constitutional Court is not a neutral legislative analysis but a biased political advocacy of the Treaty of Lisbon by its champions. This point is obvious from the entirely inappropriate, confrontational elaboration as well as the presentation of the verdict.

3. Most importantly, I cannot agree with the content because once the treaty becomes valid, the Czech Republic will cease to be a sovereign country, despite the political opinion of the court. This change is bringing legitimacy to the efforts of a part of our public that is not indifferent to our national and state existence and that doesn't intend to come to terms with these developments - efforts that will take place today as well as in the future.

4. I can't accept the Constitutional Court's decision to proclaim the obligation of the president of the republic to ratify this (or another) international treaty "without unnecessary delays" by references to the law about the Constitutional Court. This bill only deals with the work of the Constitutional Court: the rights and responsibilities of the president are defined exclusively by the constitution.

5. I inform that I signed the Treaty of Lisbon today, November 3rd, at 3 pm.

Václav Klaus, Prague Castle

Petr Hájek, a deputy boss of the president's office, speculates that the "legitimacy" comment could mean that Klaus may start efforts to cancel the Czech membership in the European Union.

### Spencer on Lindzen & Choi

During the last three months, a paper by Lindzen and Choi (full text, PDF) has been repeatedly mentioned in the climate blogosphere.

Anthony Watts wrote about it July 2009. The key graphs were already announced in June, see Climate sensibilities and sensitivity on The Reference Frame.

This test of intelligence (which of the graphs depicting models doesn't belong here? The red one - it's reality) appeared in Climate feedbacks from measured energy flows, before I studied the paper more carefully.

The point of their paper is that in the reality, as measured by ERBE, the amount of outgoing radiation increases if the temperature increases. Lindzen and Choi claimed that all the 11 climate models had the opposite property: the outgoing radiation was shrinking if the Earth were getting warmer.

## Monday, November 02, 2009 ... /////

### Religions unite against global warming

Four million visitors

First, an off-topic message. The visitor #4,000,000 came to the main page of this blog from the stanford.edu domain with Internet Explorer 7.0 at 12:46:16, Californian time. Click the screenshot to zoom in. And congratulations.

Back to the climate religion...

AFP and Space Daily, among others, inform about a meeting of nine of the world's most important religions at Windsor Castle.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon, who considers himself superior to approximately 9 major Gods who will be instructed by him what to preach about the AGW pseudoscience to their often mindless sheep, will launch the event under the banner "Faith Commitments for a Living Planet":

Windsor2009.ORG (website)
The defenders of a fight against climate change have realized that their ideology doesn't fit together with science too smoothly. It turned out that religion is the right framework for their goals.

Al Gore has come to the same conclusion.

As The Guardian reports, his newest sequel to "An Inconvenient Truth", namely the book called "Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis" that was just published today, appeals to those who believe there is a moral or religious duty to protect the planet.

"Simply laying out the facts won't work," Gore concludes, especially if they support none of Gore's previous major propositions.

"Global warming and its impacts cannot be looked at just as a material problem. The root causes are spiritual," agreed Stuart Scott, whose Interfaith Declaration on Climate Change - calling for the "stewardship and reverence for creation" - has been endorsed by dozens of major religious organisations.

## Sunday, November 01, 2009 ... /////

### David Mermin on reality and abstractions

In May 2009, N. David Mermin wrote a provoking two-page essay in Physics Today:

Mermin is the author of the "Shut up and calculate" dictum about the philosophy of quantum mechanics that is sometimes attributed to Feynman although this attribution is not based on any actual quotes of Feynman. He is also the author of a great pedagogical example of Bell's inequalities - that was used by Mulder and Scully in The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene: it's also reviewed in my lecture on entanglement and interpretation of QM.

While you may see that he's quite a serious guy, the most important source of credibility of his article is obviously the headline, "reference frame". ;-) (No, I couldn't win a copyright lawsuit against Physics Today: they used the headline back in the 20th century but be sure that I didn't know about that until recently.) Unlike other blogs, I can give you a link to the whole article: