Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Danger of positive approach

Few weeks ago, Lubos Motl has won the 2008 Weblog Award price for Best European (Non UK) Blog, which may become a surprise for someone, proponents of dual theories in particular. Whereas AWT is rather invariant/symmetric with respect to string /LQG duality, we can make an attempt for independent analysis of this result. The positive thing may be, Lubos is compatriot of mine, we even both born in the same city - which is not so difficult, after all, as the Czech Republic is really tiny country. Czech Republic is birthplace of many brilliant and intelligent people and beautiful women as well, which is partly due its location in central Europe on the crossroad of many trade routes, along which the mixing of various races can occur.

On the other hand, I'm not very sure, whether Lubos is a typical representative of Czech science, society the less - which is traditionally rather balanced in its opinions, if not opportunistic due it's sensitive geopolitic role of small boundary country between zones of interest of East an West Europe blocks. Buffer countries are often playing a role of branes, which leads to the fragmentation of state boundaries in this area. Aether foam gets more dense at place of density gradient due the potential energy content, where two dual space-time branes/gradients intersects/interfere mutually.

Whereas Weblog Award is rather representative competition, it's still based on results of surprisingly limited number of votes, because the first place in Best European Blog category was a matter of just some 700 voices. Which isn't really too much in the world of anonymous proxies, whereas Goggle is doing a lot more than 1000 queries per second (about 25 queries per second per server). Anyway, Motl's price is well deserved for his frenetic activity and it's even logical in certain extent, because his postings are often quite entertaining and informative and Reference Frame blog is one of few ones, which I'm visiting regularly. Because modern people are basically consumers, Motl's graphomania plays well with their needs, because average visitor can always find something new in his blog everyday.

If so, where's the problem?

Even if we ignore the excentric and subjectively ugly design (typical for Motl's sites) and sometimes unstable behavior of scripts on his site (the purpose of which is to prohibit Motl's opponents in visiting and posting at times), we shouldn't neglect the fact, popularity of this blog is partially based on strongly biased opinions and ad hominem attacks, followed by personally motivated censorship of discussions, which manifest itself by sectarian character of people, which are allowed to post there (simillia simillibus curantur). From these reasons, Motl is often perceived as a controversial person in blogosphere. Personally, I do not believe, most of people, who voted in Weblog Award Poll didn't realize autistic and asocial character of "humble correspondent's" blog - the problem is, the system of voting didn't enable them to express their opinion. Negative voices simply don't count here.

This is a general property of contemporary voting systems, which enable only positive votes, which leads to high degree of populism in side of politicians and ignorance and lack of interests about negative aspects of politics on the side of publicity. Even morally controversial politicians may become successful in this system, if they're is sufficiently active in another areas, in self promotion of personality cult in particular. I believe, this MAY be one of reasons of society problems with its own political representations: voters simply have no veto privilege - they can be only partly responsible. In natural evolution such unbalanced approach to fitness function would suffer consequences, because it violates the equilibrium of supply and demand.

As I'm not expert in social sciences, I'm not informed, whether such approach was proposed or even tested in history and which reasons has lead people to consider only positive voting approach in anonymous elections. Maybe it could have adverse effects and it would lead to undesirable level of opportunism between politicians, I don't know. But as I've met in many cases, most trivial ideas were often ignored for long time just because of their simplicity or generally low asset, which can manifest only under high civilization density. Maybe it could even save Germany from nacism in the mid of 30's of the last century, which was rather inclined to Hitler's populism. If so, maybe the time of more dualistic/symmetric voting system just come up.


Curious-AWT said...

For me, your blog is much original than the Lubos's blog, and much better, too. I would say that it's much better than the others blogs about theoretical physics. Why?

Because your blog is the truly paradigm where all art and all science are merged. And for me, the truly reality is only captured if you use both science and art. Your blog is what I was looking for. Your blog also represents the free market of the ideas, because, it's not censored, even, you permit that some readers insult you.


Zephir said...

Well, technically it's impossible to allow somebody insult you, until you feel hurt. Deletion of such post indicates instead, its poster was successful. Of course, I should take the opinion of other readers into account - but the level of vandalism is still quite low to justify censorship.

AWT approach is rather different from contemporary approach to physics and science in general - so I can't expect, everybody will accept it smoothly. Strong information density gradient promotes turbulence.

Anonymous said...

Zeph. HAHA your blog is a big circus..

Zephir said...

If yes, why not to enjoy that show?

AWT is based on extrapolation of ancient "Boltzmann brain" concept: the complexity of density fluctuations of particle gas can increase with density of gas up to level, they may be able to interact/observe it's own environment by less or more consciouss way.

I didn't invented this idea - it's concept of mainstream science, and it seems, nobody tried to extrapolate it to real observable phenomena. Therefore nobody could disprove it as well.

So, I don't see nothing wrong, if we consider it more seriously for explanation of theories and phenomena, based on ad hoced postulates, like relativity and quantum mechanics. It's physical model like any other.

Why proponents mainstream science should be harmed, if somebody will try to explain/connect mainstream theories by another mainstream idea in logical way? I can see nothing wrong about such approach from mainstream science perspective. Virtually everybody else can attempt for it instead of me.

Curious-AWT said...

Lubos is both, a very smart and ugly dude. He could have been one of the best string theorists and even one of the most influential theoretical physicists in the world, if he had known keep his mouth shut. But, Lubos speaks and writes too. He sometimes attacks other leading figures (and I'm not only referring to other physicists). Because of this, he was driven out of the academia. Now, many people (me included) have judged him as a polemic guy, that sometimes, he doesn't know what is talking about. For example, when he writes about the change climate or about the economy, he seems a true ignoramus. Because of this, I think there is a risk that he becomes a crackpot, too. It's a pity, but a we have lost a great mind for the science.

Zephir said...

Motl probably suffers from weak form of ASD, like many other gifted people. Simple & cheap integrative psychotherapy would save him a lotta problems, I presume.


Anonymous said...

Lubos Motl is a string theorist well known for writing a blog called ‘The Reference Frame’. Lubos was an assistant Prof at Harvard until summer 2007. He currently lives in Pilsen, Czech Rebublic. His blog is a collection of personal insults that are in many cases targeted at PI itself, or PI researchers especially in the QG group. All these insults are still publicly available.

1. Attacks on PI/QG Group
2. Personal attacks on PI researchers
3. General Conspiracy Theories

Curious-AWT said...


Lubos also insults to Peter Woit who is a dude that thinks string theory is a piece of crap.

Anonymous said...

Left out are too numerous insults of Peter Woit-> http://prime-spot.de/Bored/bolubos_short.doc

Zephir said...

From my subjective point of view, Peter Woit has censored all my posts in his blog, while Motl has left at least few ones. It's difficult to distinguish, who is greater censor and personality cult promoter in this perspective, because quantum gravity proponents are still in somewhat defensive stance against other theories, string theory in particular, whereas naively straightforward nature of Lubos suffers a problems in direct confrontation.

Anonymous said...

Jaký je rozdíl mezi Zephirem a Motlem ? Motl je taky psychopat, ale chytrý {:-)

Anonymous said...

Motl insults Sir Roger Penrose as “disconnected” from Reality, but at least he reviewed Roger’s book. It’s one thing for people to flame each other in e-mail, it’s quite another to do it irresponsibly like Lubos Motl making financially damaging comments under false circumstances commenting negatively on books never read without specific details in a review to substantiate the allegations.

Anonymous said...

It is endless pro-string propaganda and personal attacks, disguised as Amazon book reviews, etc. I cannot understand why Dr Motl does not face reality, accept the correct number of dimensions and absence of any evidence for string theory, and do something more useful. He should take up something promising like the use of Representation Theory to understand particle physics, which Dr Woit has been pointing out for some time.

Anonymous said...

Dr Motl is a dictatorship advocate because he wants censorship enforced by a police state system on the arXiv.

Anonymous said...

Luboš Motl Says:
August 31st, 2006 at 9:04 am
Dear crackpot Woit,
this is one of the reasons why you’re crackpot. You “haven’t yet had time to read a paper” - any technical paper, for that matter, and at least for 18 years - but you already offer the other idiots who visit your discussion forum of morons a precise prescription which analyses are correct and which are not.
The cleverest 10% of the chimpanzees will figure out that your opinions are just a worthless piece of garbage, much like 10% of the cleverest visitors of your crackpots’ discussion forum.

Anonymous said...

Lubos was pressured to resign from Harvard because of the kind of unprofessional behavior you remark on above. Probably habits from growing up under Soviet communism or he is \\\"sex-shifting alien\\\": http://www.kolej.mff.cuni.cz/~lmotm275/morf/lhm.gif

Zephir said...

Abstract thinking shouldn't be confused with formal thinking. By my opinion Lubos suffers by weak form of Asperger's syndrome. It's a price for his bright intelligence, which is limited to formal analysis, though. It's typical for formally thinking people, who cannot think in dualities, i.e. to balance both parts of problem. Their visions is black & white, while Lubos usually ignores the black in addition.

By such way, Lubos Motl represents an exaggerated case of formal approach of mainstream physics, typical for recent one hundred years, so I'm using him as a demonstrational example occasionally.

This bias has nothing to do with Motl's personal behavior, which is exceptional. It's true, impertinent & rude behavior is common for inhabitants of post-communistic countries, but at the case of Lubos it exhibits many sociopathic traits, because he tends to dissimulate it in personal contact.

His hypocrisy manifests in many areas, for example in his relation to censorship and respect to foreign opinion. He call himself a "humble correspondent" and it's apparent, he even believes in his own designation, because he often feels "pursued and ostracized" for his "fight 4 truth".

This sort of manipulative behavior is quite common for many politicians, which is why I wrote a post about it in wider context.

Zephir said...

/*..Lubos was pressured to resign from Harvard... */

We can read a bit about it here:


and Motl's own interpretation of it in recent interview for balance (in Czech):


Google translation:


The true is, Motl's way of blogging would be sufficient for lost of carrier in whatever else community, not just the scientific one.

Zephir said...

/*...accept the correct number of dimensions and absence of any evidence for string theory...*/
String theory isn't quite wrong in my opinion and it brings a many important insights into physics.

It's quite apparent, when we compare it to AWT - string and branes are compactified density fluctuations of Aether. The main problem of string theory is, it's quite vague and inconsistent in its postulate set.

The number of dimensions of reality is matter of observational perpective. By AWT every non-linear phenomena and or force violating inverse square law CAN be interpreted like supergravity action in sufficient number of dimensions (Casimir force, nuclear force, even social interactions can be considered as a forces in higher number of spatial dimensions). The consideration of hidden dimensions is dual to Lorentz symmetry violation. Quantum noise or even gravitational lensing can be intepreted like observation in many time dimensions.

Zephir said...

Is Sheldon character based on Lubos Motl?


Zephir said...

The ancient Greeks employed "ostracism" in their elections. The most popular guy won the position and the least popular guy was booted out of town. (original comment)

Zephir said...

People with relatively extreme opinions may be more willing to publicly share their views than those with more moderate views, according to a new study. The key is, extremists have to believe that more people share their views than actually do, the research found.

Zephir said...

Scientists have produced evidence that self-awareness is a big problem for people with autism.

Zephir said...

Valuing negativity

Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science section of The Guardian has a thought-provoking discussion of the relative ease of publication and degree of press coverage devoted to positive results in science, as opposed to negative results. Compare the Is science like democracy?

Zephir said...

Electoral dysfunction: Why democracy is always unfair

Zephir said...

Intellectual capacity of women

Women can be undoubtedly as intelligent, as men - the only problem is, the number of such exceptional women in human population is lower in technical areas (whereas social intelligence of women is generally higher).

Which could brings a problem into areas, where women are hired by sex equality principle and the number of numbers of persons interested about job is limited. Where the numbers of persons interested exceeds the number of job places available, then the equality principle plays no substantial role, because we can always find sufficient number of smart enough women.

Zephir said...

"People don't really like unselfish colleagues. What is objectively good, you see as subjectively bad", said Craig Parks, lead author of "The Desire to Expel Unselfish Members from the Group"

It's a sort of AdS/CFT duality applied to social multiparticle systems. This is an origin of general reluctance against dense aether theory, too. Of course, this stance renders human society in pretty divergent way from morality. We can say, every good idea or principle is accepted just after all other ways are proven wrong by people. With compare to it, the bad ideas (nuclear weapons for example) are developed and widespread in rather straightforward way.

Zephir said...

Tall poppy syndrome (TPS) is a pejorative term used in the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand to describe a social phenomenon in which people of genuine merit are resented, attacked, cut down, or criticised because their talents or achievements elevate them above or distinguish them from their peers.