Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

A happy New Year to all our readers!

Stefan and I, we will spend the next two weeks in the Southern Hemisphere, so don't expect to hear from us too much.

I found posting my New Year's resolutions would tell too much about my bad habits, so instead I will give you some hand-made future predictions for 2009 or maybe 2099. Feel free to add yours, and be bold:

  • Transparent clothing will become trendy! Especially in footwear.
  • The LHC will finally make the first collision and the world will not end.
  • Instead we will be swamped by rumors about potential discoveries at the LHC that will all vanish into the background mist again.
  • Obama will be accused of populism and run into problems with his own party.
  • We will witness the bankruptcy of many social networking sites and online news providers.
  • Somebody will claim to have found a counterexample for the AdS/CFT correspondence.


  1. Enjoy your vacation!

  2. We will witness the bankruptcy of many social networking sites and online news providers.

    If this is a serious prediction, do you mind giving examples of which sites and why you think this will happen?

  3. The big news in 2009 will be that Lubos Motl will be captured and held prisoner by a conspiracy of feminist meteorologists. Upon his release he will take a vow of silence and enter a Trappist monastery, where he will contemplate global warming and make products with his own hands:

  4. Happy new year!
    Wish you all the best and joy and wonderful things to become true this year!
    It's 2009!

  5. Thanks for your good wishes, we had a wonderful start into the new year, I hope so did you!

    Hi Zach:

    If this is a serious prediction

    It is not. Keep it in mind nevertheless. Best,


  6. Olá Bee e Stefan,

    Feliz Ano Novo e de uma viagem segura.



    P.S. Afinal, quando no Rio :-)

  7. Thanks, Phil. To you too. (That seems like a safe answer). Eu não falo português. (I Googled that). But I speak handwaving very well, unfortunately Blogger has no widget for that ;-)

  8. Hi Bee,

    As you are aware my linguistic skills are virtually non existent and so is my handwaving ability, yet I am not bad with googlese :-) I noticed yesterday in the side bar that you were stranded in Sao Paulo, which brought to mind what is unique about that city is its popular and often necessary method to traverse it is by way of helicopter taxi. They even have a company there that is owned and operated (all it’s pilots) by woman. I hope that you weren’t forced to take such extreme measures to make you exit :-)


  9. Yeah, Happy New Year to all and may it be better than this one - which was disheartening in many ways except for a US election result that pleased most of the World. As for AdS/CFT correspondence: I don't work at the detail level of such things, but thinking generally it seems that string theory should have an appeal in terms of the odd behavior of decaying muons and other "structureless [well, if no string theory they are, right?} particles." It is absurd in principle for identical (and especially, structureless entities) to have different lifetimes. Since they have no internal equivalent of clockwork, even a non-deterministic "process" inside, how can they just go "pop" at varied times? Stating the QM principle is a description and heuristic from observation, not an explanation. If there are "strings" inside, maybe there's some reason for decay one time and not another.

    Yet even that possibility has problems. If there was any determinate or even partially determinate (even if “just in principle”) process behind muon decay etc. we could see structure to (or learn to influence) the decay patterns (from preparation differences, environmental influences - which BTW makes a hit against decoherence IMHO). But we don’t, so the actual situation instead is “fundamental randomness” not even the kind you can seem to model by taking e.g. digits of roots of some number - that still gives the same results each time, unlike “identical muons.”

    BTW Bee I hope you have a post on the issue of validity of decoherence arguments. They strike me and some others as "circular reasoning" from the improperly premature insertion at the outset of that components of probability deriving from squared moduli, into the very math structure (density matrix) that is being used to apparently explain why we don't see macroscopic superpositions. They also borrow an ensemble description and pretend it applies to a given single case ("the superposition becomes a mixture" etc.), and why use an entity like DM geared to mixed possible wave functions if you are the theoretical modeler, who can pick pure states at will just to illustrate the point.

  10. Happy New Year, and have a great vacation!

    This prediction of a counterexample to AdS/CFT - is this a hunch based on what "is in the air"?

  11. A counter-example to AdS/CFT will be found, but the paper will simply be ignored. Or, equivalently, the result will be dismissed on the grounds that, while AdS/CFT may be wrong in detail, it is "morally" correct.

  12. Happy New Year! The Southern Hemisphere sounds nice and exotic. :-) May this year be much more peaceful and healthful for us all.


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