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Smolin outsells string average tenfold

  1. Sep 15, 2007 #1

    marcus

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    I just checked amazon and the orange edition of Smolin's book was selling 11.3 times better than the average of the five most popular string books, on salesranks.
    The Smolin book's salesrank was 657 and the five most popular string books at the time were
    Greene fabric
    Greene elegant
    Kaku parallel
    Randall warped
    Steinhardt endless universe

    Their average salesrank was 7416.0. So the Smolin/string ratio was
    7416.0/657 = 11.3

    This was at 2 PM Pacific 15 September. It is pretty remarkable. I never saw it so high.
    Earlier this year, I tracked this ratio for four months to get a baseline and found it stayed around 2.5.
    On average, in the period February-May, the Smolin book was selling about 2.5 times better than the five most popular stringy books. That was the blue hardcover edition.
    Now the ratio jumps up to around TEN.

    I don't know what could have caused this, maybe word-of-mouth amongst students at the beginning of semester, which is a major book-buying time for college students. I don't know of any media coverage that could have influenced it. Does anyone know of anything that has happened which could explain?

    In case anyone is interested in more detail, the averages for that four-month period, and their ratio were 5683.8/2279.1 = 2.5. The string figure tended to be fairly stable around 5683.8 with less than 10 percent variability from month to month so I'm inclined to treat it, at least, as a baseline index of popular interest in the stringy philosophy. It would be quite surprising, to me anyway, if that number would change very much longterm. what we have now, at least temporarily, is an unusual circumstance where that number is up to around 7416.0 (plus or minus roughly ten percent to allow for random fluctuations during the day). Not doing formal statistics here but it does seem to be temporarily "up" some. Not clear if that significant, quite probably not.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2007
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  3. Sep 25, 2007 #2

    marcus

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    The previous post was ten days ago. I just checked as of 3PM pacific today (25 September) and the ratio was 7368.6/1081 = 6.8
    That is, judging by salesranks the Smolin book was selling 6.8 times better than average of the five most popular stringy books. It's pretty remarkable.
    In case anyone is curious, the top five stringy at the moment happened to be
    elegant 5324
    fabric 6400
    parallel 7029
    hyperspace 9035
    becker text 9055
    ===============
    there is a noticeable difference now as compared with the period February-May 2007 when I checked regularly to establish a baseline. Then the average ratio was around 2.5. The Smolin book's sales tended to be between 2 and 3 times better than average topfive string.
    I have no idea why the ratio should be so much higher now. AFAIK the related publicity since May has not been from Smolin (can't think of any from him) but has been mainly coming from the other direction! Maybe the counterpublicity helps Smolin's book sell more?
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2007
  4. Sep 25, 2007 #3

    turbo

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    If you will look up Glen Starkman's recent papers and those of Thanu Padmanabahn, you will see that they are modeling the vacuum as if it is a player in gravitation. Padmanabahn's model troubles me because he says that the vacuum state is insensitive to the presence of embedded matter, which makes me think that at best he may be able to recover a static gravitational model. Starkman's papers point to a a dynamical interaction between the vacuum and embedded matter, which opens the door to a dynamic model of gravitation. This concept meshes well with Smolin/Markopolou's work on the fine-scale structure of the vacuum. If the vacuum is a player in gravitation, and the presence of embedded matter can affect the fine-scale structure of the vacuum, the door is open for variable gravitation, and perhaps a way to explain why the standard model needs DM to explain the rotational velocities of galaxies and the excess binding and excess lensing of clusters of galaxies.
     
  5. Sep 25, 2007 #4

    marcus

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    Turbo, it is interesting that you are thinking along aether lines.
    I just noticed that Renate Loll has a new postdoc and he is a researcher in Einstein aether. She is assembling a remarkable team. The most or among the most promising independently creative postdocs in half a dozen different nonstring QG fields.
    You may know this guy. His name is Brendan Foster.
    Look up his papers.
    http://www.phys.uu.nl/~loll/Web/group/group.html

    these are Renate Loll's "Seven Samurai postdoc"
    Brendan Foster
    Tomasz Konopka
    Daniele Oriti
    Irina Pushkina
    Hanno Sahlmann
    Artem Starodubtsev
    Joe Henson
    ==========================
    maybe this is offtopic but what the hell, look at Brendan Foster's last eight papers (it seems that Ted Jacobson brought him up---Jacobson is a tough maverick and a key figure in QG as I see it)
    Showing results 1 through 20 (of 20 total) for au:Foster_B

    1. arXiv:0706.0704 [ps, pdf, other]
    Title: Strong field effects on binary systems in Einstein-aether theory
    Authors: Brendan Z. Foster
    Subjects: General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology (gr-qc)
    2. arXiv:hep-th/0702124 [ps, pdf, other]
    Title: Lorentz violation and perpetual motion
    Authors: Christopher Eling, Brendan Z. Foster, Ted Jacobson, Aron C. Wall
    Comments: 5 pages, 1 figure; v2. Added reference, and a remark concerning the assumption that the entropy radiated in fields responsible for Lorentz symmetry breaking is negligible
    Subjects: High Energy Physics - Theory (hep-th); General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology (gr-qc)
    3. arXiv:gr-qc/0602004 [ps, pdf, other]
    Title: Radiation Damping in Einstein-Aether Theory
    Authors: Brendan Z. Foster
    Comments: 25 pages, 1 figure; v2: added comments and references; v3: cosmetics; v4: corrected error in spin-1 portion of calculation
    Journal-ref: Phys.Rev. D73 (2006) 104012, Erratum - Phys.Rev. D75 (2007) 129904
    Subjects: General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology (gr-qc); Astrophysics (astro-ph); High Energy Physics - Phenomenology (hep-ph); High Energy Physics - Theory (hep-th)
    4. arXiv:gr-qc/0509121 [ps, pdf, other]
    Title: Noether charges and black hole mechanics in Einstein-aether theory
    Authors: Brendan Z. Foster
    Comments: 14 pages; v2: minor comments added
    Journal-ref: Phys.Rev. D73 (2006) 024005
    Subjects: General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology (gr-qc); High Energy Physics - Theory (hep-th)
    5. arXiv:gr-qc/0509083 [ps, pdf, other]
    Title: Post-Newtonian parameters and constraints on Einstein-aether theory
    Authors: Brendan Z. Foster, Ted Jacobson
    Comments: 19 pages; v2: corrected typos
    Journal-ref: Phys.Rev. D73 (2006) 064015
    Subjects: General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology (gr-qc); Astrophysics (astro-ph); High Energy Physics - Theory (hep-th)
    6. arXiv:gr-qc/0502066 [ps, pdf, other]
    Title: Metric Redefinitions in Einstein-Aether Theory
    Authors: Brendan Z. Foster
    Comments: 11 pages; v.2: Some clarifying remarks added, to appear in PRD
    Journal-ref: Phys.Rev. D72 (2005) 044017

    ===========================
    the fact that Renate Loll and Ted Jacobson point at Einstein-Aether as interesting to pursue is a signal. It looks like I will have to learn something about it. didn't you alrealy look into this?
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2007
  6. Sep 30, 2007 #5

    marcus

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    Last time I reported on TWP sales was five days ago. Smolin book is still doing remarkably well. Salesrank ratio is 8.6.

    As of 30 September noon pacific the Smolin salesrank was 602
    and the salesranks of the five most popular stringy books were
    elegant 3481
    warped 4394
    fabric 4464
    parallel 4911
    endless 8703

    so the stringy topfive average was 5190.6
    and the ratio was 5190.6/602 = 8.6
    Judging by salesranks "Trouble" was selling over eight times better than the stringy average that I've been using as a benchmark.

    this is surprising. I tracked the ratio earlier and it was fairly steady around 2.5 month after month during February-May. But during September it has tended to be five or higher.
     
  7. Sep 30, 2007 #6

    marcus

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    At 4 PM the Smolin/string ratio was 11.8.
    *The Trouble with Physics* salesrank was #463
    and the stringy average was 5462.6
    broken down as follows, in case anyone is interested:
    kaku parallel 3225
    greene elegant 4199
    greene fabric 5055
    randall warped 5352
    steinhardt endless 9482

    At 5 PM the ratio was 13.4
    namely 5865.0/439
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2007
  8. Sep 30, 2007 #7

    wolram

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    And the rest of the population watch Harry Potter.
     
  9. Sep 30, 2007 #8

    marcus

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    If you mean the reading public, not quite all of them are reading Potterbooks.
    the current #1 bestseller is
    The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World
    by Alan Greenspan
    He's the retired chairman of the Fed (the US national bank that controls interest rates and regulates the economy to some extent).
    Thought to be pretty smart and to have done a good job.

    I think the recent Potter offering is only #10 on the list. People read do a lot of garbage and frivolous twaddle----but they don't ONLY read that stuff. They read solid non-fiction too and even some science.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2007
  10. Oct 1, 2007 #9
    Are there people out there to think along ether lines?

    You may have a look at ilja-schmelzer.de/ether/ether.pdf

    Ilja
     
  11. Oct 1, 2007 #10

    turbo

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    Yes, Marcus. I have been pursuing this in hopes of making sense of the mechanics of gravitation. Like Sakharov, Haisch, Rueda, and Puthoff, I have been exploring the foundations of physics, and that requires that we put everything on the table. If you will read Einstein's memoriam on the death of Ernst Mach, you will see what I mean. We cannot blithely accept the mathematical explanation for GR gravitation without demanding a mechanical model of gravitation that underlies the behavior that the math describes.

     
  12. Oct 2, 2007 #11
  13. Oct 2, 2007 #12
    I wonder if there's a correlation between 'sales', and 'grants' for the next year(s)/'given period'?
     
  14. Oct 2, 2007 #13

    marcus

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    I think that has been demonstrated, if sales refers to a serious non-fiction book that has an impact on public discussion of science issues.

    The public supports theory research by tax money and ultimately the public understanding and interest in fundamental physics and cosmology matters a lot. It is what that support is built on, in a democracy.

    The Smolin book does not merely criticize the string establishment. It makes a case for allowing researchers in the US a comparable freedom to what they have in Europe and Canada, to pursue different approaches to fundamental understanding of space time and matter.

    In the past couple of years the situation has become rather satisfactory in Europe---there is quite a bit more in the way of support and positions available. Smolin's book is really addressed to the situation in the US (where there is only ONE university with a nonstring QG group, namely Penn State).

    Outside the US a young researcher can pursue half a dozen different nonstring QG roads, in Trieste, Mainz, Lyon, Tours, Marseille, Nottingham, London, Utrecht, Potsdam, Aachen, Monpellier, Perimeter-Waterloo, Western Ontario U, etc. and get PAID and have a FACULTY ADVISOR/SPONSOR, and have some chance of a future POSITION.
    The situation in the US is rather extreme, a German postdoc has called it "bizarre" if I remember right. In the US string has a stranglehold and I think the impact of Smolin book will be to help break that stranglehold, if it has any substantial impact. Hoping anyway.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2007
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