There is a lot of politics in theoretical physics. Why? Because physics makes people dream, and tells them how to think. Thus, if one wants to make people in advanced countries dream and think wrong, one has to start with physics. Also there is an increasing gap between what technology allows and what legislation forbids, as tech goes ever faster. The crooks work the gap hard. See the Bitcoin story (and the hate mail that goes with it).
That’s how the drug trade was made possible: ultimately all the money has to be laundered. And only the banks can do this. But there were no laws sending bankers to slammers for that, plus lax enforcement. So, in the end a criminal activity, drugs, was rendered possible by another branch of government, banking (dim wits say banks are not part of government).
What lessons can be learned from the presentation of the gravitational-waves story? Ponders Nature (October 14, 2014).
Well, much: the much publicized discovery of Cosmic Inflation was scientific fraud, and it has bit the dust. Yet, it keeps on going. It’s even more than scientific fraud, it’s tax payer fraud: most advanced science, including the prizes (such as Milner prize, see below) is financed by the public (directly or not; so are the plutocratic universities).
Says Nature: “The (welcome) rise of the science blogger has fuelled this navel-gazing. Some bloggers seem to spend most of their time criticizing other science writers, or at least debunking examples of what they regard as inferior science writing. But they do lots of good stuff too. Although traditionalists lament the decline of science coverage in the mainstream press, a terrific amount of analysis and comment, much of it very technical, is happening online under their noses.”
Make no mistakes: it’s not because there are no equations, that it is not technical. An equation, after all, is just a sentence saying that two things that look different are actually the same.
I am notoriously against the Cosmic Inflation Theory (that the universe blew up at 10^10 the speed of light, or so; that is ten billion times faster than c, or more). My reasons are solidly scientifico-philosophical, and have been detailed in many essays previously.
As the evidence for Cosmic Inflation bit the dust, as I had expected, my comments were censored on Quanta Magazine. Silly comments were allowed, so it’s not like the standards are too high.
So I enquired about this bias. I found a possible source quickly. Quanta is financed by the Simons Foundation. (Of course Quanta says they are independent; just like the hand which feeds the pigeon is independent of the pigeon, I guess.)
Jim Simons is a multibillionaire mathematician who built a more than 100 BILLION (yes, with a B, as in billion) dollars business in high frequency trading. Basically Simons has the fastest computers, and employs the brightest mathematicians and physicists. When one has faster computers, and programs, one can make sure money.
This what the best and brightest do these days. Stealing from others, and the faster, the better. A case of degenerating civilization.
It is difficult to explain what the high frequency trading crooks do: their job is exploiting all the loopholes between technique and ethics. They can leverage tremendously some derivative trades (say in the futures market). They can also simultaneously take direct positions extremely fast. The combination is sure profits, by leading the markets where they want them to go, beyond the sight of legislators (who are very happy to be fed caviar by high frequency traders).
In other words, high frequency trading and related derivative activities make the world’s most lucrative organized crime. Except it’s not officially a crime.
The whole thing ought to be unlawful. Just as slavery is unlawful, and for the same reason (because it puts too much power in the hands of too few, making them increasingly vicious, until people really own people as if they were bananas).
Only now, in 2014, American legislators are starting to smell the roses (Simons is a major donor to the Democratic Party). (See note.)
Similarly, the “Double Irish” so many enormous plutocratic corporations use to avoid taxation all together is not an official crime, just a real one.
Simons also worked with his adviser Chern who also created ST Yau. (Together they worked on the Chern-Simons Class; BTW, I also knew Chern.)
It will be interesting to see if I keep on being systematically censored there. The age of computers is also that of unethical behavior rendered particularly easy to implement (see how Mr. Simons made his fortune, although he probably envision himself as a saint, because he gave money to some scientists, tax deductible, of course).
So who is this Natalie W who censored me?
Could she be a chick paid by plutocrats in more ways than one? (As one way is clearly established, through Jim Simons, much respected in scientific circles, because he has trop beaucoup bucks; if you want to be hated and despised in scientific circle, criticize Jim Simons).
Could there be a conspiracy? I quickly found this:
By Natalie Wolchover, Life’s Little Mysteries Staff Writer, February 28, 2012.
Natalie says: “The democratic process relies on the assumption that citizens (the majority of them, at least) can recognize the best political candidate, or best policy idea, when they see it. But a growing body of research has revealed an unfortunate aspect of the human psyche that would seem to disprove this notion, and imply instead that democratic elections produce mediocre leadership and policies.
The research, led by David Dunning, a psychologist at Cornell University, shows that incompetent people are inherently unable to judge the competence of other people, or the quality of those people’s ideas. For example, if people lack expertise on tax reform, it is very difficult for them to identify the candidates who are actual experts. They simply lack the mental tools needed to make meaningful judgments.
As a result, no amount of information or facts about political candidates can override the inherent inability of many voters to accurately evaluate them. On top of that, “very smart ideas are going to be hard for people to adopt, because most people don’t have the sophistication to recognize how good an idea is,” Dunning told Life’s Little Mysteries.”
The most incompetent among us serve as canaries in the coal mine signifying a larger quandary in the concept of democracy; truly ignorant people may be the worst judges of candidates and ideas, Dunning said, but we all suffer from a degree of blindness from our own personal lack of expertise.”
Otherwise said, only plutocrats know who the experts are.
This argument was already used by Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Aristotle thought his friends, lovers and executors, Antipater and Craterus were the best and brightest, they established literal plutocracy in Athens.
Natalie writes nice articles. She knows who is smart. Certainly not those who esteem democracy. Conspirare is breathing together, no need for a plot: conspiracy is better, because impossible to prove (she sat with some of my comments for weeks before rejecting them, no doubt consulting with higher-ups).
A few years back, a Silicon Valley multibillionaire of Russian origin, Milner, funded a three million dollar prize for crazy pseudo-physics, the “Fundamental Physics Prize”. Pseudo-physics has become most of what the public knows as physics. (The Nobel committee revolted against this by giving the prize to a very practical and real invention, blue LEDs.)
“Physics” means “Nature”, and Milner has his own notion of nature. The more un-natural, the better. Most of the recipients of the prize did not discover anything, they are just experts at self-advertising, and the “discoveries” they made (Cosmic Inflation, The Multiverse, String Theory, all sorts of weird and obscure mathematical, or pseudo-mathematical techniques) actually, well, did not happen indeed. At least not in natural nature.
When Einstein (helped to) elaborate a slightly more sophisticated theory of gravitation than the one co-discovered by Newton, at least he started from a fact of nature: the advance of the perihelion of Mercury, which the “Newtonian” theory could not explain at all (the advance comes from the fact time runs slow next to the Sun).
Most of Milner’s prize “discoveries” are not yet discoveries, and probably never will be.
I am certain though that fabulous prizes were attributed in the Roman Empire for the epicycles theory.
Why am I so sure? The richest intellectuals ever, lived in the Second Century of the fascist plutocracy known as the Roman empire. They were, at best, all mediocre thinkers. Plutocracy can survive only if mediocre thinking triumphs, because plutocracy is mediocre thinking personified.
During plutocracy, a degree of magical and superstitious thinking is entertained. Much modern physics, such as String Theory, Cosmic Inflation, is complete superstition: it stands totally above the world, there is no proof for it whatsoever, it stretches reason beyond words, and it’s not even the first thing to think of in fundamental physics.
Thus it is perfect, because pseudo-physics is a killing field for reason. And that’s why plutocrats love it.
Note on American legislators discovering fraud from Simons and the like: On July 22, 2014, Simons was condemned by the U.S. Senate for the use of complex barrier options to disguise short term trading (subject to higher ordinary income tax rates) as long-term capital gains. “Renaissance Technologies was able to avoid paying more than $6 billion in taxes by disguising its day-to-day stock trades as long term investments,” said Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.), the committee’s ranking Republican, in his opening statement. “Two banks and a handful of hedge funds developed a complex financial structure to engage in highly profitable trades while claiming an unjustified lower tax rate and avoiding limits on trading with borrowed money,” said Sen. Carl Levin (D., Mich.) in his prepared remarks. Nice wake-up, guys! Were you playing sleeping beauty before?
Is Simons going to jail for stealing 6 billion dollars? Don’t hold your breath. Just expect my scientific comments to Quanta to keep on being censored.