Friday, 10 May 2013

It's water Jim, but not as we know it. Ohwaititis.

This somewhat hilarious e-mail just dropped into my inbox. I'm particularly amused by the "gratifying" early reviews... from another scientist who long ago took the exit marked crackpottery.

Dear Colleague,
Our laboratory has uncovered a phase of water not previously recognized.  I am writing to call your attention to the book I've written about this discovery.

You've learned about solid, liquid, and vapor, but fresh evidence reveals a fourth phase. This surprisingly ubiquitous phase resembles liquid water superficially, but it differs; in fact, its ordered molecular structure strays from ordinary H2O. This video describes the basics.

The Fourth Phase of Water: Beyond Solid, Liquid, and Vapor  outlines the evidence for this discovery and its significance for almost everything that water touches. A Cambridge University colleague opines that the book resembles "an illustrated children's book with paradigm shifting content."
Early reviews have been gratifying:
"The most interesting scientific book I've ever read," "The most significant scientific discovery of this century," and "Unputdownable." Nobel laureate Brian Josephson suggests that these discoveries "can be expected to have important implications."
To celebrate the publication of this book, my publisher is offering the hardcover edition for the price of softcover, until May 17. If you choose to order, or merely peruse several free chapters, please visit

Thank you for reading, and best wishes,

Gerald H. Pollack, PhD
Editor-in-chief, WATER
Professor, University of Washington
Founding Fellow, American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering
Fellow, American Heart Association, Biomedical Engineering Society
Honorary Doctorate, Ural State University, Ekaterinburg Russia
Honorary Professor, Russian Academy of Sciences
Foreign Member, Srpska Academy
NIH Director’s Transformative R01 Research Award, 2009
Prigogine Medal, 2012

Monday, 22 April 2013

What's in a name?

A somehow slightly distasteful mixture of posturing, scientific responsibility, prestige and bitterness, I guess.

Sorry posting has been light nonexistant. Trying to formulate something cogent and inoffensive re: the peer review system. (Yes, that tired old war chestnut that should be put out to pasture, to badly mix a metaphor.)

Thursday, 14 February 2013


Love it!

arXiv:1207.3123 (replaced) [pdf, other]
Black Holes: Complementarity or Firewalls?
Ahmed Almheiri, Donald Marolf, Joseph Polchinski, James Sully Comments: 22 pages, 1 figure. v2: We have not changed our minds.

Sunday, 9 December 2012


Welcome back to the Schrödinger picture.

The new LHC+Higgs+Zombie film is now available to watch....

The production values are high for the budget, and the "28-Days-Later"-esque music is brilliant...

.... but the depiction of women in film takes another blow.

The heroine, Amy, is initially a patchwork creation of chummy tomcat (so that she can hang out with the cool boy physicists) and emotional kitten, brilliantly squealing "The Higgs wouldn't do that!", like some highschool cheerleader who has just been told that her leather-jacketed rebel boyfriend is not so much a bad penny as a full-on mass-murdering psychopath, and then, shockingly, appallingly, jaw-droppingly, breezes over the fact that she was date raped less than 24 hours previously by one of the excruciatingly one-dimensional physicists she is trapped with in the LHC.

Am I suggesting that women are so weak as to be utterly unable to overcome such an experience? Am I suggesting that Amy should have been a blubbering mess from start to finish? Not at all. I'm suggesting that the writer threw this crass line into his film without any thought for what it would mean to the character and because he thought, well, that's the kind of thing which happens to girls, right, and we've got a girl in the film, so we'll chuck in a line about her being raped. Now that's character development for you. And now the boys will fight each other, yeah! Which is precisely what happens.

After some more eye-wateringly cringeworthy weepy-weepy scenes, Amy is dropped into the heroine roll the only way badly-written cinema knows how: by silencing her and having her spend the last 15 minutes essentially as a boy, an ass-kicking, gun-firing secret agent spy superhero.

 The supporting female characters are not treated any better, consigned to either being quickly eaten or, in a forehead-slappingly awful moment, left to flirt in doorways with their supervisors, something which is made even more shocking by the fact that the writer is a physicist and should be well aware that the idea of flirting with another of our kind is as vomit-inducing as an ipecac milkshake.

What could have been a gorgeously tongue-in-cheek pastiche of the fearmongering surrounding the LHC is instead reduced to every teenage boy's first draft of a zombie film by some fantastically clichéd, blasé writing. The one highlight on the scaremongering front, over too quickly, is the mention of mini black holes. Although with hindsight, I'm surprised that there wasn't an audible snigger from the boys after that line.

Friday, 26 October 2012


I'm quitting. I've had enough.

Enough of not being able to spend time on interesting research because it isn't trendy, of battling with problems for weeks only to find that they were probably solved fourty years ago and published in some obscure Russian journal which is impossible to find either online or physically, of reading crap papers which appear in the best journals, of being looked over for promotion/conference attendence/citations in favour of people who couldn't tell their arse from an impala, of having to correct all the mistakes typsetting services introduce into my papers, of wasting my research time on admin and beaurocracy, and most of all, of arrogant, rude, unwashed old men with hyperinflated egos.

Goodbye physics. I expect I will miss you sometimes. I would say you're in good hands, but you're not. Best of luck with that. Try not to find SUSY.


Thursday, 23 August 2012

Schrödinger's cat. HA HA HA!

"But hair, in particular cat hair, is not alive."

If you want me, I'll be on the floor, laughing myself sick