I'll be visiting Perimeter Institute the coming three weeks. If I manage to get to Toronto that is. I'm flying with Lufthansa, but Lufthansa decided they'll go on strike, starting today. According to newspaper reports two thirds of their flights were cancelled, mine among them. I managed to rebook on a partner airline, but since the flight is operated by Lufthansa, I'm still not entirely sure I'll actually make it to the other side of the ocean. Not to mention that the rebooking implies I'll have to get up in the middle of the night, which doesn't lift my mood. Reason for the strike is apparently that the labor union of pilots is afraid Lufthansa will increasingly outsource services and insists on having a say in the decisions which routes will remain for Lufthansa pilots. The employer says this request is "not negotiable." Sympathies for the pilots are limited though because it's a tremendously well-paid job. For what I am concerned, well, next time I'll fly Delta.
In any case I'll probably be stuck in transit for a while. Should I make it to Canada you'll get an update on the building construction at PI.
Some of our readers might enjoy having a look at our last week's colloquium by Jan de Boer, a string theorist from the University of Amsterdam, on "Holography, quantum gravity and black holes" (video and audio here.) I found his talk was somewhat too basic even for a colloquium, it would have been more suitable for a public lecture but it was well delivered and is very accessible indeed. You'll have to take this talk with a grain of salt though. I can basically see some of you'll have their hair stand up with statements like "string theory is right now the only consistent theoretical framework which contains both quantum mechanics and general relativity."Anyway, it will give you an idea why string theorists are excited about the AdS/CFT duality and what it's good for, see also these earlier posts, so forgive the man some overstatements.