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Lubos's use of the internet

  1. Mar 21, 2008 #1


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    His recent attack on Smolin 0803.2926 has driven me to do an spires "fight":

    http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/find/hep/www?rawcmd=FIND+A+SMOLIN+OR+A+MOTL+AND+TOPCITE+50%2B&FORMAT=www&SEQUENCE=citecount%28d%29 [Broken]

    And I noticed that while Smolin was a lot better in colaborative papers, the counting was not so different when evaluated in stand-alone mode.

    http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/find/hep/www?rawcmd=FIND+FA+SMOLIN+OR+FA+MOTL+AND+TOPCITE+50%2B&FORMAT=www&SEQUENCE=citecount%28d%29 [Broken]

    Fine. But what actually puzzled me was the content of Motl topcite

    http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/find/hep/www?eprint=hep-th/9701025 [Broken]

    It seems a real serious paper from an undergraduate (the phd thesis is 0109149v1, four years later); besides citation rank, it has also high "googlerank", in the sense of being cited in topcite papers.

    The content has a lubosian feel, with a total misunderstanding of the use of "I" and "we" and a delicious thank-you to his (future) advisor and Witten by comments 'on non scientific issues'. But under this feeling, it still seems a paper aiming towards a real particle physics goal, not very different of the rants of Carl B. or myself, here. It is not PhysMath String.

    Differently to us, Lubos does not appear in the internet during this age. Only some messagess in cz.soc.mensa and some early (1997)activity in BBS. It is only about Jun 2001 that lubos starts its strong activity in the web, inside sci.physics.research (a group voted in 1993. I was there).

    Lubos first post:

    but second one is, surprise, Re: Loop Quantum Gravity vs. M-Theory:
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 21, 2008 #2


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    I like this one, from
    Of course he refers to a result already given in sps and spr (but I took some time to discover it!)

    So Lubos still enjoys speculation. A couple months later, we find him and Tony Smith and others on the topic of preon models, http://groups.google.es/group/sci.p...57be71be?lnk=st&q=+motl+lumo#e8d5e68757be71be


    From here, he keeps himself hard on the internet newsgroups. Eventually s.p.s is founded in Mar 2004
    and it is lodged on Motl's machine at Harvard, becoming orphaned after his departure.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2008
  4. Mar 22, 2008 #3

    Hans de Vries

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    In the genre science and soap, fresh from the press, Luboš Motl's 240 page book:

    The Bogdanov equation: The secret of the origin of the universe?


    In the introduction he sets up a parade of Woit, Smolin and Wilczek "confessing" that
    they are not capable of understanding the work of the brothers.....

    Regards, Hans
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2008
  5. Mar 22, 2008 #4


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    Well, my point here is that the initial works of Lubos were of some interest; one smells some impulse wanting for knowledge of the structure of the elementary particles. If this impulse dissapeared during the thesis period, or later in the newsgroups, or if it was only a "mirage", it is not easy to judge. I have always had some pity of the mensa young guys, their ego being grown so strong during the adolescent period. Academy has not the ability to repair such early damages; it seems that in this case Harvard tried, and failed.

    (In our campus, as Cervantes already tells, it was a custom to leave fools to wander around, partly because of some feeling of reponsability, partly as a way for people to we aware of the danger of mental damage. There was always a couple of them around, the students gossiping about it. In some way the internet, allowing for people as Lubos or as ourselves here in PF, has replaced this need.)
  6. Mar 22, 2008 #5


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    If someone wants to read the first month of Lubos in the sci.physics newsgroups, here is the link for advanced search.


    It was July 2001; whole world was disrupted three months later; I even bought a cable to attach the TV antenna and see the reports. In spain, we had got full internet in the university but only modem from house, so not rare to hear of people using PINE and LYNX.

    Some searches: Who did first (not second ;-) mentioned Woit's physics/0102051 article? Then, when does Motl refers to Woit first time? funny historical record, even if incomplete.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2008
  7. Mar 22, 2008 #6
    I think it's funny how Lubos can be such a polarizing feature. All of these physics bloggers who bash him only feed his ego, I'm sure.

    I'm also sure that Lubos says some things that lots of people only think, especially in regards to Woit, Smolin, and QG that isn't string theory. For example, recently I was talking to another grad student (at another university) about Perimeter institute. He told me about the amount of money they spend there making sure faculty are comfortable so that they could do research. I said ``That must really help people do physics'', and he said ``Yeah, like what?'' And neither of us could think of any field changing research that has come out of there. (Smolin's program doesn't seem to even be at the cutting edge of the Loops field, despite all of the cheerleaders he seems to have in various physics fora across the internet.)

    I don't want this to turn into some huge shouting match, which is probably what will happen if marcus is the next person to comment.
  8. Mar 22, 2008 #7
    BenTheMan, I couldn't agree with you more. The whole 'poor boy' facade wears down pretty quick when you get a $100+ million dollars from RIM and the Canadian government, and then use it to set up your own elitist clique.

    Like, it's so hard to solve the mysteries of the universe when, like, you're poor. Whatever d**khead, go flip a burger like the rest of the hard-working world.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2008
  9. Mar 22, 2008 #8


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    ??? What parallel universe is this discussion about?
  10. Mar 22, 2008 #9
    Contrary to popular belief, Canada is not an parallel universe. It actually exists, though too good to be true kind of fits sometimes.
  11. Mar 22, 2008 #10


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    Well, PI was founded about 2001 (as I said, it is one of the first topics touched by the Lubos of the internet), so results should be put in comparision with other fields.

    On other hand, it is not trivial, nor to say impossible, to create an international theoretical center from something less than a global cataclysm. The topcites of theoretical particle physics keep sourcing from the Ivy universities since WWII. Perhaps an exemplary money-guided attempt to create a new competitor was Austin, Texas, due to the peculiar/legendary circumstances of its money inputs. They got Weinberg and other VIPs, but how do they compare to Perimeter?

    Monay can buy a great *national* research center, and/or some important school.
  12. Mar 22, 2008 #11


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    But having been in Canada your statements bear no resemblance to any place I am aware of.
  13. Mar 22, 2008 #12


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    As for Loopy research coming out of PI (and that is just a fraction of what they do), Freidels results on non commutative field theory arising from 3D SpinFoams came from there, his joint work with Krasnov on the new vertex was developed there and Markopoulo has been doing some very interessting stuff following quite different avenues, etc.

    This is as much physics as any other field has produced in this timeframe.

    Smolins recent results have been a) of questionable relevance, and b) been unquestionably drastically oversold. But he hardly represents the most important/exciting current work in QG even in PI.
  14. Mar 22, 2008 #13

    Hans de Vries

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    Theres always the danger of overly high self expectations turning them against oneself.
    If peace of mind and self satisfaction require extreme, exhaustive work and study it
    can become something like a virtual loop of self torture. It's always healthy to have
    other less "extreme" activities and hobbies which can bring some self satisfaction too.

    To much of an ego can go multiple ways. One way is to simply improve oneself. In
    the less sympathetic cases the self-requirement to excel above others leads to the
    development of a talent to demolish people who stand in the way of their ego, this
    may sometimes be a sign of faltering self confidence. Note that Luboš hardly
    published anything of himself anymore.

    Maybe writing a book was a good thing for him to do as long as it's an overview of
    contemporary physics and theories which it mostly seems to be. (To the regret of
    some Bogdanov fans)

    Regards, Hans
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2008
  15. Mar 22, 2008 #14


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    I included Smolin's recent paper (subject of Lubos' tirade) in the M.I.P. poll for this three-month period
    I'd be interested to know how it is rated by the present company. We know Lubos' assessment, what do others think?
  16. Mar 23, 2008 #15
    What are you talking about? Some well known phenomenon that young students should be aware of?
  17. Mar 23, 2008 #16


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    Indeed, but I am not sure if there is one unique phenomenon or a mix of two. There is, on one side, explicit breakdowns, which in the two or three cases I can remember are related to personal problems (sentimental, medical etc) mixed with the pressure of study. And there is also hidden breakdowns, related to positive self-assessment and perhaps a perceived lack of reward. When I was student, in a mid-sized university, the whole campus frequency of such cases was about one per year or so, thus not very frequent, but surely well known.

    Note that we are not speaking of reallocation of life priorities or reassessment of meanings to life, which are typical causes for people leaving the academy. In some cases, this reallocation can prevent a breakdown of the second kind, but my guess is that such breakdowns happen mostly in early ages, even in Secondary school.
  18. Mar 23, 2008 #17
    Well, the rule of thumb here in Canada is that if you refuse any kind of work (ex: a job that is not adjacent to a hill or body of water), then you have no right to complain about being poor.

    Maybe you should have stayed longer, because you might have learned that Canadian society does NOT owe its adult constituents -- it's the other way around. I think they call it "work ethic".

    True, it's hard to do good quality mental work when you're under physical duress... Just ask the 13 year old prostitutes, constantly self-anesthetized on Listerine, who hop into the half-tons of farmer after farmer, just to get enough cash to buy food and maybe score some drugs (the real currency of the street). So, yeah, the $50 million given out by the Government of Canada could have gone to much better causes. Who cares about solving the mysteries of the universe when there are much more important issues, like taking care of the thousands of children who have been thrust into that kind of life -- the ones who don't get a bed, or breakfast, or school, or love from their parents.

    Or are you too busy snowboarding to think about this?

    Now do you see how banal this person's outlook on life is? Do you even know who I'm referring to? I'm being as transparent about it as possible without actually naming names.

    As for the $150 million: These are numbers gathered directly from the PI website. Do some research before assuming someone's talking about a "parallel universe".
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2008
  19. Mar 23, 2008 #18
  20. Mar 23, 2008 #19


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    Despite any other issues one may have with the guy, Lubos's views on physics are pretty mainstream, conservative and generally correct. I'd say they are roughly 90% similar to what various top people in the respective fields believe.
  21. Mar 23, 2008 #20


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    Had he been in the mainstream of research, he had got more opportunities to collaborate, even taking into account its character. His views are somewhat representative of the common lore, and even in this case fail. Or the common lore fails. They neglect to account all the stream of research on gravity via Asthekar, for instance.
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