Way Too Smart for Their Own Good

I feel it’s time for another physics rant.

Somebody named Paul Sutter wrote an article in Ars Technica called “ Requiem for a string: Charting the rise and fall of a theory of everything.  String theory was supposed to explain all of physics. What went wrong?

I have some excerpts from the article that indicate the thrust of the problem with string theory.

“Like most revolutions, string theory had humble origins. It started in the 1960s as an attempt to understand the workings of the strong nuclear force, which had only recently been discovered.”

“A group of physicists took a mathematical technique developed (and later abandoned) by quantum godfather Werner Heisenberg and expanded it. In that expansion, they found the first strings—mathematical structures that repeated themselves in spacetime. Unfortunately, this proto-string theory made incorrect predictions about the nature of the strong force and also had a variety of troublesome artifacts (like the existence of tachyons, particles that only traveled faster than light). Once another theory was developed to explain the strong force—the one we use today, based on quarks and gluons—string theory faded from the scene.”

So, look at this.  They borrow a technique from someone who was extremely smart.  But it was a technique that was discarded because it doesn’t work.  They ignore the fact that it produces crazy answers and they try to nurse it along by expanding it into more dimensions and other complications.  Shades of Ptolemy’s epicycles!

“Unlike its quantum cousins, when it comes to string theory, we have no fundamental theory—we have only a set of approximation and perturbation methods. We’re not exactly sure if our approximations are good ones or if we’re way off the mark. We have perturbation techniques, but we’re not sure what we’re perturbing from. In other words, there’s no such thing as string theory, just approximations of what we hope string theory could be.”

Wow.  It’s useless and wrong and yet it lives on decade after decade.

“To be clear, our inability to understand string theory isn’t limited by experiment. Even if we could build a super-duper-collider experiment that achieved the energies necessary to unlock quantum gravity, we still wouldn’t be able to test string theory because we have no string theory. We have no mathematical model that can make reliable predictions, only approximations that we hope accurately represent the true physics. We can test those approximations, I guess, but it won’t help us determine the inner workings of the true model.”

They’re paying these people!  No one’s forcing them to pay them but they keep on paying them.

“The beams of the LHC began their first test operations in 2008 with two main science goals in mind: finding the elusive Higgs boson and finding evidence of supersymmetry.  Four years later, the Higgs was found. Supersymmetry was not. It’s now 15 years later, and there are still no signs of supersymmetry.”

Can we get our money back?

“The dearth of evidence has slaughtered so many members of the supersymmetric family that the whole idea is on very shaky ground, with physicists beginning to have conferences with titles like “Beyond Supersymmetry” and “Oh My God, I Think I Wasted My Career.””

You sure have!  And our billions in funding for this clap-trap!

“Most string theorists of the modern era don’t work on string theory directly but instead mostly on the AdS/CFT correspondence and its implications, hoping that continuing to probe that mathematical relationship will unlock some hidden insight into the workings of a theory of everything.  I wish them luck.”

I don’t!

We really need to restrict the funds available to really smart people such that only the one really smartest guy in the field is allowed to waste his whole life doing this kind of mental masturbation.  This is not physics.  It has the same relation to physics as rhythmic gymnastics has to power-lifting.  I mean should I get tenure for coming up with the new variant called string cheese theory?  Does my background in mozzarella qualify me to expound my theory that the universe is really a large amorphous blob of Italian dairy product?  I think not!

The rest of them should be forced to do this crap in their spare time if they want to when no one can see them and during working hours force them to do something that pays the electric bill.  Maybe they can get an engineering degree on the side and design quantum screw drivers or something.

Look at this quote again:

To be clear, our inability to understand string theory isn’t limited by experiment. Even if we could build a super-duper-collider experiment that achieved the energies necessary to unlock quantum gravity, we still wouldn’t be able to test string theory because we have no string theory. We have no mathematical model that can make reliable predictions, only approximations that we hope accurately represent the true physics. We can test those approximations, I guess, but it won’t help us determine the inner workings of the true model.”

These guys have been futzin’ around with this thing for fifty years and they still haven’t got a theory to justify their paychecks.  In China they would have been taken out behind the building and shot and their families would be forced to pay for the bullets they were shot with.  Here they should have been tarred and feathered and ridden out of Princeton on a rail.

Camera Girl has often told me off for being, in her words, “scholastic-asstic.”  By this she means too smart for my own good or more precisely an educated dope.  And often she is exactly right.  I wouldn’t dare tell her about this outrage to common sense because she would hit me for trying to waste her time listening to this nonsense.  She would equate it with ecclesiastical scholars  attempting to calculate the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin.  That is if she had ever heard of that concept before, which I’m fairly certain she has not.

So instead, I’m bringing this here for the larger audience to hear.  Albert Einstein figured out relativity while working as a patent clerk.  That should be the model.  When someone figures out anti-gravity or faster than light pizza delivery then we can talk about a cushy office in the physics department at Cal Tech and maybe tenure.  But if they’re going to spend forty years of academic salary and perks for this drivel, we need to break out the Chinese model.  Who knows, maybe we can throw in the cost of the bullets for free.  After all we are reasonable people.

Latest Green Fiasco, Offshore Windmills Killing Whales

You couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried.

“A New Jersey congressman is demanding an investigation into whether offshore wind projects are killing whales off the coast of the Garden State and the state of New York.

Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J., announced on Friday that he would be calling for an investigation into the increasing number of dead whales that have washed up off the coast of New Jersey over the last month once committee assignments for the 118th Congress are finalized.

In less than two months, seven dead whales have washed up along the New Jersey-New York coastline, local media have reported.”

I have to admit I don’t see how offshore wind turbines are killing whales.  Sea birds yes but unless these are flying whales I don’t get the connection between the turbines and the dead whales.  But based on the track record of the geniuses in the green clown show I wouldn’t bet against it being so.

Well I guess the whales are just going to have to suck it up to save the planet.  Maybe next time it can be the polar bears’ turn.  Or the pandas.  Thanks Gaia.

Brain Researchers Are Finally Waking Up From Their Alzheimer’s Errors

For the last twenty plus years researchers have single-mindedly chased the amyloid hypothesis as the solution to Alzheimer’s Disease.  And this has led nowhere.  Finally after hundreds of drug trials and billions of dollars spent, they’re waking up from their delusion and realizing that amyloid is a symptom of the disease not its cause.

More than anything this is an indictment of the system of selecting research and development targets in biomedical science.  But ti also may reflect the waning of the scientific method in the West too.  Considerable fraud was involved in a landmark research project that perpetuated the mistaken direction of Alzheimer’s research for decades.

The government/industry/academic “partnership” is at the center of the dysfunction that has become endemic across America and Europe.  The complex no longer rewards merit and is highly influenced by gender and racial politics and other irrelevant considerations that limit the scientific method.

But at least now maybe some progress can be made in this terribly debilitating disease.  In fact it might turn out that small molecule solutions that aren’t as costly or require such long development times as the antibody drugs might turn up now.

String Theorists – The Snake Oil Salesmen of Theoretical Physics

This video is a “debate” between a string theorist and two actual physicists (including a Nobel Laureate) over the legitimacy of the multiverse model of reality.  It’s really quite embarrassing.  The string guy sounds like a penny stock broker trying to hawk his wares by touting the “research” that is just around the corner and right at the edge of proving all the ridiculous tenets of his unprovable or inconsistent or even haphazard concepts.

The other two physicists and the moderator all seem exasperated by repeatedly slapping down both the substance of his argument and the sleight of hand attempts to conflate the standard understanding of quantum mechanics with the string theory basis for the multiverse model.  In fact, these physicists provide arguments against both of these things separately and still the string guy keeps on coming up with cutesy analogies for using space-based probes to look for the equivalent of the “ultrasound image of the gestating baby universe in the first microseconds after the Big Bang.”  He even manages to talk about the umbilical cord of this fetal universe.  It’s beyond silly.

If you’re interested in watching a string theorist getting slapped around this video might be of interest to you.  I know I enjoyed it.  String theory seems to be the physics equivalent of communism.  It’s a theory that has never worked but provides its practitioners with a funhouse version of reality that they can bloviate about and if they manage to get put in charge of resources waste them endlessly until they bankrupt their host.

Highly amusing.  I was especially amused to hear that the string guy works at my alma mater.  Ah, the pride is back.

Reinforcing Stupid

Every bad thing that’s happening right now is the result of Democrat stupidity, either direct or indirect.  In fact, some of them are the result of cascading stupidity that just keeps ricocheting against other examples of former stupidity lying around.  For instance, look at energy costs.  The original anti-petroleum executive orders, like cancelling the pipeline and cancelling the exploration leases got the ball rolling and started gas prices soaring.  And then for laughs Mushmouth Joe decided he wanted to fight a war against Russia the largest provider of energy to the West.  Then just to make doubly sure there was no way to undo the damage, he blew up the Nord Stream pipelines that provide Russian natural gas to Europe.  And when he insulted the Saudi foreign minister a year ago, he set himself up for OPEC to kick him while he is down.  That’s why they just announced a three million barrel a day reduction in oil output just to make sure prices stay high.

It’s true.  No one should underestimate Biden’s talent for hapless destruction.  But there could be a silver lining in this whole situation.  The grownups won’t be able to fix any of the stuff Biden has mucked up for a pretty long time.  He’s still got over two years to destroy our economy.  That might be long enough for the people who believe in green energy to get a real good look at what life in a green economy is actually like.

The people in Texas got a taste of it last year when the grid failed because of dependence on wind turbines that froze up.  There’s nothing scarier than losing power in a real winter storm when you don’t have your own generator and emergency fuel.  Sitting in the dark with no heat and no water is a bad feeling.  And if it becomes a recurring thing it will disrupt your life.  So much so that you’ll go out and install an expensive generator just to get back to a sense of normalcy.

Now imagine if you’re a greenie and you’ve always felt that gasoline and oil and natural gas are the devil’s own brew.  But then imagine if it turns out that your very own gas-powered generator is the only thing saving you from misery.  You might start to get confused about where your priorities were with respect to this whole climate thing.

And the first time one of those cute little electric cars gets stuck in a snow storm and runs out of charge on the road and has to be recharged by a gas-powered generator that a gas-powered truck had to haul out to do the job maybe the Gaia worshipper who gets stuck might start to put the dots together and realize he could just skip a step and buy a gas-powered car.

Of course, these are feeble hopes.  Gaia worship is a cult that seemed to get started in fifth grade when the proselytizing starts.  Really the only hope is that most of these people will need to freeze to death in a sudden storm that takes out the power and leaves them inside their well-insulated walls as the temperature reaches minus twenty.  Hopefully they’ll be too eco-pure to ask to stay with their climate denier neighbor with the 25-kW generator and large oil tank.  After all you just can’t virtue signal too much when you’re an eco-warrior.

Guest Contributor – Chemist – 02SEP2022 – Green Fantasy

I confess I am mystified by Germany and the rest of Europe’s attitude.
They earnestly believe that burning fossil fuels will warm the planet and lead to global Armageddon. Well, unless those fossil fuels come from Russia. Then it is somehow OK.

Nuclear power plants produce zero CO2 and, if done right, are the safest of all power generation methods. (The US nuclear fleet has a perfect safety record going back over 50 years.) Oh, but Japan had an Earthquake followed by a tsunami which caused the pumps to fail at a nuclear plant leading to (Checks notes) zero deaths?
Never mind the fact that Germany is not on an ocean and is not subject to tsunamis, they decided to shut down all of their nuclear plants.

So they put all of their resources into Chinese made solar panels and windmills. Again, the fact that these items are only made by burning tons of fossil fuels (most far dirtier than European fossil fuels) is somehow ok.
They did this knowing that there was no way these “Green” methods could serve their needs. I guess the plan was to make up the difference with that “Green” Russian natural gas which they would still be happily buying if Vlad hadn’t had the bad taste to invade Ukraine.

Tucker is right. They will freeze. The question is – how many governments will fall>

Tucker Carlson Tells America That Europe Will Freeze This Winter

Tucker reviews the disaster that is energy policy in Europe.  Between the embargo of Russia and the “Green Energy” initiatives like Germany shutting down its nuclear power plants, Europe will be freezing in the dark this winter.  The fact that the price of natural gas has gone up 700% and Germans are scouring their forests for scrap wood to turn into wood chips to heat their homes this winter is somewhat shocking.

Carlson makes a very good point when he says clearly that wind and solar were never going to be even close to a replacement for coal, oil and gas for heating and electricity.  But the Russian embargos are happening just at the right moment to create a perfect storm.

And so far, the Russians are still selling some gas to Europe (about 20% of what they could be sending).  If they cut off the supply altogether it will shut down German industry altogether.  So far the politicians are maintaining their stance on the Ukrainian war.  But it’s still summer.  We’ll have a better idea how things will go in January.

Now, we’re in better shape than Europe.  We produce a lot of fossil fuels.  But our energy prices have skyrocketed and they will increase again this winter.  This should have some effect on the November elections I think.

The ZMan Explains How Gaia Hates Plastic Bags

The ZMan tells the story of how his local Wegman’s has compelled him to honor Gaia and stop using plastic bags.  This amusing tale is the green revolution writ small.  And honestly it’s probably the least crazy part of the whole movement.  Plastic has become so ubiquitous in our lives that we no longer even think about it.  Paper bags or even reusable bags might make sense.  But square this with the behavior that occurred during the COVID crisis when reusable anything was suspected of killing old people.

It’s obvious that “science” is not what’s going on with these decisions.  We’re being ruled by cultists who don’t understand the reality behind the narratives.  But read the story for ZMan’s trademark humor and bile.

The Paper Bag Test

Doubts Building Up About the Existence of Dark Energy and Dark Matter. Duh!

Even girls are starting to doubt the existence of forms of matter and energy for which there is no direct observable reality.  The good old expansion of the universe has ceased to be this reliable reason for making up phantom particles that can’t be detected, measured or explained.  Maybe now the physics nerds can try to sharpen their pencils and do the hard observational work that will be needed to obtain accurate data needed to make the next valid discoveries needed to expand our understanding of the cosmos.


How Could I Not Read an Article Called, “Germany’s Energy Fiasco?”

The author is a German professor named Hans-Werner Sinn.  His bio says he is a German economist who served as President of the Ifo Institute for Economic Research from 1999 to 2016. He currently serves on the German Economy Ministry’s advisory council.  He is Professor Emeritus of Economics and Public Finance at the University of Munich.

What’s refreshing is he writes using facts when he discusses the realities of energy production.  Germany has almost completed its program of shutting down both its coal powered and nuclear-powered electrical generation facilities.  But since wind and solar account for 6.7% of the total energy requirements for the country it uses gas to heat most of its homes and businesses.

And even though 29% of electrical generation comes from wind and solar, whenever these resources fail (which is often) the full load of the electrical grid is powered by gas powered plants.  Therefore, Germany has built a large number of gas-powered plants to supposedly allow the transition to 100% renewables.  So currently, Germany is hopelessly dependent on Russian gas for heat and power.  And even if the whole German land mass was covered in solar cells and the sky was filled with wind turbines they would still need a large amount of gas to heat their homes and run their industry.

Germany’s posturing about boycotting Russian gas is just that.  Posturing.  If Russia were to cut off gas from Germany the country would grind to a halt in less than a week.  And several other European nations are in a similar situation.  This makes Biden’s threats especially hollow.

Reading Sinn’s essay, I am struck that the Greens in Germany have slit their own throats.  Germany had 17 nuclear power plants and an abundance of coal in the ground.  They threw these things away to pay the Russians for gas that produces more of the “dreaded” green house gases than they used to produce.

Good.  Let them stew on their current situation and possibly discover wisdom.

Personally, I hope the Russians do shut off gas to the West for a few weeks.  I think it’s valuable for people to get what they say they want.  It has a clarifying effect.  Sometimes it’s even educational, depending on the intellect of the recipient.