Sep 252010

Watching CNN tonight, I was about to swear that if I hear talking heads on TV complaining one more time about Obama not being angry enough, I’d do something angry myself. But then I realized that it’s pointless… they’re going to do it anyway. I do wonder though what these so-called journalists see when they look in the mirror after a broadcast.

 Posted by at 12:05 am
Sep 132010

So here I am, posting to my blog from my new smartphone. Neat. I suppose it was time for me to join others and acquire my very own 21st century toy… I have to confess though, the touch screen is nice but it’s much easier to type on a real keyboard…

 Posted by at 9:28 pm
Sep 122010

As of today, our marriage with Ildiko can legally drink and vote. Well, at least in some jurisdictions, insofar as the drinking part is concerned. Here in Ontario, our marriage could now be employed in a liquor store, but it’d have to wait another year before it is actually allowed to buy the products sold there.

 Posted by at 2:22 pm
Sep 122010

John Moffat and I now have a bet.

Perhaps in the not too distant future, quantum entanglement will be testable over greater distances, possibly involving spacecraft. Good.

Now John believes that these tests will eventually show that entanglement will be attenuated at greater distances. This would mean, in my mind, that entanglement involves the transmission of a real, physical (albeit superluminal) signal from one of the entangled particles to the other.

I disagreed rather strongly; if such attenuation were observed, it’d certainly turn whatever little I think I understand about quantum theory upside down.

Just to be clear, it’s not something John feels too strongly about, so we didn’t bet a great deal of money. John recently bet a great deal more on the non-existence of the Higgs boson. No, not with me… on that subject, we are in complete agreement, as I also do not believe that the Higgs boson exists.

 Posted by at 1:09 am
Sep 092010

Just for the record, I may be a godless atheist but that doesn’t mean I think it’s a good idea to piss off a billion Muslims and, for no particular reason other than to offend them, burn their holy book.

Should this idiot of a pastor go ahead with his Koran burning, however, I would advise Muslims to shut up and move on. After all, “our” righteous idiots, acting in the name of Jesus, only burn the Koran in front of the world’s television cameras, whereas the Muslim world’s righteous idiots end up sawing heads off innocent screaming people, all in the name of Allah. I strongly disapprove of book burning, yet even so, I find the burning of some bound sheets of paper with printing on them a far less uncivilized form of protest than the use of a rusty knife to severe a person’s carotid artery, windpipe, vertebrae, and whatever other body parts there are that connect a human being’s head to his or her body.

If only I could make a similarly favorable comparison between the act of flying passenger planes into crowded buildings vs. bombing a country into submission (remember “shock and awe?”) using a well trained, highly disciplined, high-tech equipped, professional military.

 Posted by at 8:51 pm
Sep 092010

Going to Cuba to interview Fidel Castro, I suspect the one thing no journalist expects is to hear is words from the Leader of the Revolution that would put many ordinary Cuban citizens in jail. Words like, “Cuban Model Doesn’t Even Work For Us Anymore”. Yet, apparently, it was precisely this that Castro told Jeffrey Goldberg, a correspondent of The Atlantic.

I think I’ll listen to some Buena Vista Social Club music this morning. Ah, there’s Ibrahim Ferrer’s CD, I haven’t listened to it in years, and I just ripped its contents the other day. Time to check those MP3s…

 Posted by at 12:27 pm
Sep 032010

Electroweak theory has several coupling constants: there is g, there is g‘, there is e, and then there is the Weinberg angle θW and its sine and cosine, and I am always worried about making mistakes.

Well, here’s a neat way to remember: the three constants and the Weinberg angle have a nice geometrical relationship (as it should be evident from the fact that the Weinberg angle is just a measure of the abstract rotation that is used to break the symmetry of a massless theory).

This diagram also makes it clear that so long as you keep the triangle a right triangle, all it takes is two numbers (e.g., e and θW) and the triangle is fully determined. This is true even when the coupling constants are running.

 Posted by at 7:53 pm