Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane Denial

If you look at the models of the meteorologists for the track of hurricane Irene, one can see a huge amount of uncertainty and a lack of agreement. One can also see that these meteorologists benefit immensely from these dire forecasts...afterall, to whom will local governments turn the next time one of these so-called storms appears on the 'radar' screens? I can believe that the East Coast is going to get some rain and wind, but I bet the Sun will peak and all will be well.

Friday, August 19, 2011

My First Scientific American paper...

Since it's beyond a paywall, let me just give the essentials:

Needle in a Haystack: Our improbable Universe

About the author:
A former collegiate athlete, the author has been recognized by the APS for his long record of NSF-funded research. Outside of physics, he enjoys skiing, and the occasional glass of wine. A dutiful and doting father, he is generally as much of a prick in person as you might expect from this obnoxious blurb.

Have you ever eaten at a brand new restaurant, and wondered what its chances of success are? More than a metaphor, I establish a correspondence between such a probability and the measure problem of cosmology. Based on how one rates the restaurant, one can thereby deduce a proper normalization to establish the probabilities that others will similarly patronize the establishment. With this insight, I compute the most likely value of the cosmological constant and remarkably find that it occurs with the standard measurement to within 2.31 significant deviations without resorting to any anthropic principle.

Friday, August 05, 2011


  • If I put lots of mouthwash in my mouth is it better than a little? With lots, perhaps I get more cleaning if the wash gets "used up" at all. However, if I go with a little bit, I can really swish it around well and probably get it where it needs to go.
  • Pandora is really finding some good music today. It's hindering my ability to work.
  • I orphan lots of my work. I can't remember how many I truly have abandoned, but right now there are two that I'll talk to people about and they ask when the papers are coming out. But they're just not high priority and I only work on them once a year or so. I have two papers to review, an invited talk to prepare, a review to write, and a regular research paper I'm working on. And then in September I've got two proposals to write. But of course, to all my non-physicists friends, I'm somehow "off from work" during the summer!
  • Why don't European hotels have alarm clocks (or at least some form of clock) in the rooms? Even the crappiest hotel in the U.S. has a clock.
  • I get that Europeans tend to think of Americans as dumb, uncultured, spoiled babies, and perhaps some of that is deserved. However, if you're going to group me in particular with them when you make fun of them, I'm going to take some offense. Especially when you hardly know me and I've given no particular reason for the grouping. And whatever criticism Americans deserve, this hardly means that Europeans are particularly well-behaved or cultured. On the whole, they can be as rude and crass. Of course, by necessity they're very likely going to be more aware of the world.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Cosmic Deviants

  • Why doesn't the U.S. get the Honda Civic Type R?
  • Gosh, thanks for the compliment!
  • This is one way to get physics/physicists into the mainstream media. Speaking of famous atheists, what do atheists, in general, think about the idea of right and wrong? I would think (and actually do) that with no divinity, that right and wrong can have no essential meaning. And so, even the most heinous of activities (say killing for the fun of it) can't be wrong. I imagine this is well established within the entire ethics versus morality difference, but just wanted to make sure. Anyone?