On aspects of Theranos
20 March 2019 | 5:36 am

...and what it teaches us about bad, hyped science... I admit that I have almost completely missed the story of Theranos and its founder, up to yesterday or so (I missed it partly because they have "only" made big claims about a limited issue, blood tests, not about a world revolution). The media were full of reviews of "The Inventor", an HBO documentary about the most famous recent Silicon Valley fraud. If you want to learn more, you need to Google search for "Theranos" or "Elizabeth Holmes". But let me start with a basic story. Elizabeth Holmes, who is 35 now and awaiting up to 20 years in prison for massive fraud (she's officially broke but still lives in a hyper-luxurious apartment with various paid servants now, it turned out), has been born into an important dynasty. Her ancestors built important hospitals etc. and her father was a vice-president of a hot company – whose name happened to be Enron. I would think that even this fact should have raised some red flags – but it seems largely unknown to the public, even today. She studied some biochemistry at Stanford but became a dropout, starting with Theranos (from Therapy+Diagnosis, originally named Real-Time Cures), a company with gadgets that make equally reliable blood tests fast and only need a droplet of your blood or so. It's not terribly important how many droplets the gadgets needed, it was nonsense for all small values of that number. For a young entrepreneur, she looked like a remarkably average teenager as...

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CMS: 2.4-sigma excess in the last gluino bin, photons+MET
19 March 2019 | 2:08 pm

Gluino, a vampire alchemist with human eyes I just want to have a separate blog post on this seemingly small anomaly. We already saw the preprint for one day in advance but the CMS preprint finally appeared on the hep-ex arXiv: Search for supersymmetry in final states with photons and missing transverse momentum in proton-proton collisions at 13 TeV OK, they look at events in which two photons are created and seen in the calorimeters, plus the momentum addition doesn't seem to add up. The sum of the initial protons' \(\sum\vec p_i\) seems to differ from the final particles \(\sum \vec p_f\). The difference is the "missing transverse momentum" but because such a momentum is carried by particles which must have at least the same energy, it's also referred to as MET, the missing \(E_T\) or missing transverse energy. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); OK, CMS has picked the collisions with the qualitatively right final state, photons plus MET, and divided them to bins according to the magnitude of MET. The last bin has MET between \(250\GeV\) and \(350\GeV\). It's very hard to produce this high missing transverse momentum at the LHC – the Standard Model assumes that MET is carried by the invisible neutrinos only. And although the protons carry \(13\TeV\) of energy in total, it's divided between many partons in average, and it's unlikely that a neutrino created in the process can steal more than \(0.35\TeV\) of energy for itself. (adsbygoogle =...

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Hossenfelder demands $10,000 from me through Czech lawyers
15 March 2019 | 3:13 pm

I just received a message from some Czech attorneys (a Czech subsidiary of a German firm – March 15th ***9 is a wonderful date for such a relationship) that Sabine Hossenfelder hired with her claims of defamation – concerning her expertise etc. She demands the following within 15 days: CZK 200,000 of compensation for hers plus CZK 24,864 for legal expenses, a bit over $10,000 in totalremoval of all my negative texts about herend of any publication of stuff about her in the futureotherwise she will sue and it will be worse etc. I think it's absolutely stunning. She's on her violent campaign against the whole field that I find dear and against its practitioners and she just wants to silence me – which would mean she would continue in her campaign with a terribly weakened real opposition. It is not possible to discuss the relationship between science and the society without touching the people who are many new outlets' preferred sources. The letter is formulated as if she demands a ransom. It adds a new level to her debatable methods to earn money. My knowledge of the law is next to non-existent. I have no idea whether a party that is attacked in this Blitzkrieg way has an effective way to defend itself. I don't know whom I would be inviting as a witness to show that she's been helped by affirmative action, her physics is not good etc. Your recommendations are welcome. If you're extremely rich, your financial help would be welcome, too.

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