Saturday, May 05, 2007


If I am bored, I like to read Wikipedia entries about people I know. This is always very amusing. I wonder how long it will take some of the the contributors to realize that the attempt to capture more than CV facts about 'living people' in an 'encyclopedia' is doomed to fail. Better wait until they are dead so you can analyze them ad infinitum. At least they then won't change their mind anymore, isn't that an annoying habit?

Something else that always gives me the giggles is Googling my own name. One can find a number of really interesting statements about me. My favourite is definitely this one:

Well, Real Steve, indeed. There's nobody more serious than me when it comes to pillows, though occasionally I know better things to do than talking. Woo Hoo.

My bike has made it on a blog called 'American at Heart', and Marcus' guess at physicsforums that I drive a red Miata is already a classic. (I am still driving a Honda, though the color has changed from white to black.) My Inspiration has made it into Spanish (so I assume. Even though I receive my bank statements in Spanish, I don't speak it), and the Wildwestsound made it into a livejournal called 'there is no spoon' (I too would go for the red pill) accompanying a fictitious dialogue of the kind

"Duff: He's lying guys, just listen to the two-faced bastard...[...] You see, he's a string theory denier and just won't admit it! Not only that, but he's a pompous ass!
Smolin: That was the wrong version of my book, dumbass. "

Somebody would be very disappointed to find out how polite physicists are in reality, but then if there is no spoon, what is reality anyway? But, hey: Wikipedia knows!

Anyway, today I came across this message at scienceforums by Martin (physics expert):

    The invited talk about QG phenomenology at LOOPS '07 will be given by Sabine Hossenfelder, it is her specialty. She is the person who could best give the overview to answer your question about "when will..." [QG be tested] click on again and on PROGRAM and scan down to Hossenfelder [...]

    She will sound pessimistic but that is normal for phenomenologists---they are supposed to be unenthusiastic, uncommitted, cautious, and a bit of the devil advocate who throws the cold water of reality on the theorists. But hers is the talk you should hear if you could be there, if you ask those phenomenology questions relating to testability.

This is quite remarkable because I am not even yet sure what I will be talking about (forget about the abstract, I haven't changed it for some years, it says basically nothing). I wasn't aware that being a phenomenologist would require me to be unenthusiastic and uncommitted. If that's what you expect from me, I am afraid you'll be awfully disappointed. In fact, I am usually extremely optimistic.

But I guess some of my colleagues would say I am pretty good with the cold water trick. I can't even recall how many nice ideas I have killed in my life (a considerable part of which were my own.) Indeed, I seem to be very talented in finding flaws. I believe this is due to a combination of being German and a teacher's daughter. My most recent achievement was debunking Dr. H's theory that the fish in the lake next to PI jump because they are gasping for air.

Maybe somehow related to the above or maybe not: If you want to have a laugh, have a look at the deleted nonsensical entries at Wikipedia. You find an excessive list of these under 'Bad Jokes and Other Deleted Nonsense'. My favourite is

From "Apocalypse":

Also nice:

From Banana

"The banana.....possible one of the most cunning and elusive fruits in our world. The banana is also one of the smartest fruits on the market, having a great knowledge in algebra and american history, it is been lead to belive that the banana may to be too smart for our time. The reason we mass grow and eat banana's is so that they cannot group up in large numbers and form a revolution, overthrowing our government and sending our society as we know it into turmoil. The banana has been traced back to the cause of many species becoming extinct. Many predators try to attack the banana thinking it is only an inatimate object.Once the predator comes close enough, the banana has been known to use it's skills in ninjitsu and quick the animal with one swift blow to the head."

And interestingly, Canada seems to be a frequent target of Wiki-vandalism. Here is one:

Vandalism to Canada
At 18:54, 19 July 2006,
replaced the article "Canada" with this:
"Canada, also known as America's Hat, Soviet Canuckistan, or The Shizzle North of Hizzle, but more commonly known as the Great White North, is situated somewhere near the inconsequential continental U.S.A., and slightly south of the North Pole. The United Nations has managed to narrow it down further to not only north of the U.S. but also up, eh? To answer the question the entire world is asking, yes, Canada has an Army, and no, Canada doesn't know about it.

Canadians are known for their peacefulness and politeness in distressing situations, such as during a war or hockey playoffs. The world looks to Canada for international peace-keepers, since they possess no weapons other than snow shovels, and their jovial accent and flannel clothing are comforting.

The unanimously[5] agreed upon capital of Canada is Toronto, although a small number of government offices are located in the far less important city of Ottawa. Proposals made entirely and only by Torontonians have been made to move said offices to Toronto, but have yet to be approved. The city has considered separating from the country because of this. The rest of Canada, meanwhile, continues to think that Toronto "blows" and that the city's curling team, the Leafs, "suck".

The world sees Canada as America's dorky half brother. Canada and the USA share a common mother, that being England, but while America's father was apparently Jesus, Canada's was France. While little brother Canada may not be able to throw the ball as far as its "cool" older half-brother America, Canada can at least find itself on a map (of course, Canada finds itself by locating the USA and going north, much like Mexicans find America by locating Mexico and going north)."

Okay, guys, that's my word for the Sunday evening. Have good start into the week. I will go have a close look at my spoons. Why? Because WikiHow taught me last week, how to hang a spoon from my nose...


  1. Hi Bee, great musings!..I hold my hand up in apology, I made comment at 'marcus' thread over at PF!..spin_network :(

    best wishes paul.

  2. Hey Sabine,

    Warum ist die Banane krumm?



  3. Hi, about "My inspiration" in spanish… Yes, you assumed it correctly. It was about "My inspiration" series in your blog.

    I'm a physics student and those articles were really interesting. I just wanted to share them with people that speaks my language and, of course, can read english.


  4. "I am usually extremely optimistic."

    Bee, define 'usually' - lol!
    Been in any good pillow fights lately?

    I love the way hot air ballooons rise in the air, I love the way feathers and even dust particles hover around, sometimes never seeming to settle on the ground.

    But maybe greenhouse gases is where the answer to how to reduce the Earth's gravity is at.

    The good new is that women living on the moon's gravity would need to worry less about the sagging effects of life on Earth. Now there's a good commercial reason dor opening a Spa on low gravity Moon. And we could send all the California cosmetic surgeons there too.

    Plus I guess low gravity would be a good convalescing place for anyone waiting for or recovering from hip replacement surgery.

    But strangest thing of all would be if gravity were too weak to make rain fall.

  5. I like your new background. It looks really cool. Thanks for this funny post! Sorry I've been absent lately, been so busy with kids and stuff.

  6. Hi Paul,

    always nice to see you around... I like PF. Though I find it somewhat odd people discussing my paper over there instead of just asking me. On the other hand, I hardly ever blog about my own work. Maybe I should?

    Hi Klaus,

    weil die Affen dran schaukeln? Jetzt ich: warum heisst der Tisch Tisch?

    Hi Arturo,

    I often wished I had learned Spanish instead of Latin...

    Hi Quasar,

    usually means you gotta stop asking, otherwise I will tell you I am only optimistic coz non of that matters anyhow, so why should I depress all of us?

    No pillow fights lately...

    Hi RaeAnn,

    Have been missing you around, hope the kids are well? Yeah, the background is funny, though a bit dark. To me it looks like some kind of network. Maybe neurons or websites exchanging links or so.



  7. I thought the new background image represented Bee's hairstyle.


  8. Warming oceans may diminish length of day
    HAMBURG, Germany, May 7 (UPI) -- German scientists say a redistribution of ocean waters caused by global warming will likely affect the Earth's rotation and the length of days.

    Felix Landerer and colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg analyzed ocean predictions contained in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment.

    increasing heat captured by the oceans might raise sea level, thereby changing the ocean's circulation and affecting the ocean-bottom pressure, they said a significant portion of ocean mass may transfer away from deep waters to shallower shelf areas.

    The researchers' model indicates that, by the end of the 22nd century as a result of expected warming, enough water mass could shift toward the Earth's axis of rotation to shorten the length of day by approximately 0.12 milliseconds.

    The study is detailed in the current issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

    Now that's am interesting spin on
    SpaceTime and Gravity (Earth's gravity)
    Not relevant to any of Us here now, but interesting calculations

  9. Hi Bee,

    Banane, kruemmung:
    Sie wuerden in einer geraden Schale nicht passen ;-))

    warum heisst der Tisch Tisch?
    Keinen Schimmer! Google konnte auch nicht helfen... Na, warum denn?

    gruss Klaus

  10. Hi Klaus,

    jah, ich nehm an, die Banane is krumm aus demselben Grund warum der Apfel rund ist. Ich sass mal unter einem Bananenbaum. Aber nicht lang. Sone Staude moecht man echt nicht auf den Kopp bekommen.

    Wegen Tisch, weiss auch nicht. Das ist so mein Satz um zu sagen: schau, es gibt eben Dinge kann man nicht erklaeren. Geht so: Mein Mann: "Und wieso bist Du jetzt schon wieder so gereitzt?" - Ich: "Pfft. Wieso heisst der Tisch Tisch?"

    Erleichtert mich ungemein, dass auch Google diese Frage nicht beantworten konnte. Waer ja ein Disaster gewesen.

    Und jetzt alle:

    Wer, Wie, Was?
    Wieso, Weshalb, Warum?
    Wer nicht fragt bleibt krumm

    (Ich mein, aeh, dumm.)

    Tausend tolle Sachen,...

    Viele Gruesse,


  11. Hi Sabine,

    Ich bin auch mit Sesamstrasse und Sendung mit der Maus gross geworden.

    Danke fuer den kleinen Ausflug "Down Memory Lane" :-)




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