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bananas's Journal
bananas's Journal
October 17, 2015

The biggest mystery in mathematics: Shinichi Mochizuki and the impenetrable proof


The biggest mystery in mathematics: Shinichi Mochizuki and the impenetrable proof

A Japanese mathematician claims to have solved one of the most important problems in his field. The trouble is, hardly anyone can work out whether he's right.

Davide Castelvecchi
07 October 2015 Corrected: 07 October 2015, 15 October 2015

Sometime on the morning of 30 August 2012, Shinichi Mochizuki quietly posted four papers on his website.


In December, the first workshop on the proof outside of Asia will take place in Oxford, UK.


Fesenko has studied Mochizuki's work in detail over the past year, visited him at RIMS again in the autumn of 2014 and says that he has now verified the proof. (The other three mathematicians who say they have corroborated it have also spent considerable time working alongside Mochizuki in Japan.)


But so far, the few who have understood the work have struggled to explain it to anyone else. “Everybody who I'm aware of who's come close to this stuff is quite reasonable, but afterwards they become incapable of communicating it,” says one mathematician who did not want his name to be mentioned. The situation, he says, reminds him of the Monty Python skit about a writer who jots down the world's funniest joke. Anyone who reads it dies from laughing and can never relate it to anyone else.


October 14, 2015

Berkeley astronomer in sexual harassment case to resign

Source: Nature

Exoplanet hunter Geoffrey Marcy also quits $100-million hunt for extraterrestrial life.

Astronomer Geoffrey Marcy is stepping down as a faculty member at the University of California, Berkeley, following revelations that a university investigation found he had sexually harassed multiple students between 2001 and 2010.

A 14 October e-mail from Gibor Basri, interim chair of the Berkeley astronomy department, said that Marcy had initiated the process to leave the faculty. Marcy has been a professor there since 1999, and maintains an adjunct position at San Francisco State University.

“We believe this outcome is entirely appropriate and have immediately accepted his resignation,” Berkeley chancellor Nicholas Dirks and executive vice chancellor Claude Steele said in a statement.

The sexual harassment case involving Marcy concluded in June but was made public only last week in a report by BuzzFeed News. The disclosure triggered outrage among astronomers, and many Berkeley astronomy faculty and students have called for Marcy to leave the department. The university had not disciplined Marcy for his past actions but arranged an agreement going forward in which he could be subject to disciplinary actions if he again violated Berkeley's sexual harassment policy.


Read more: http://www.nature.com/news/berkeley-astronomer-in-sexual-harassment-case-to-resign-1.18582?WT.mc_id=TWT_NatureNews

October 10, 2015

Israel, Iran trade barbs at UN nuclear disarmament panel meeting

Source: Reuters

  • Iran propaganda clip shows what a Muslim invasion of Israel would look like

  • Obama predicts 'pretty quick' US-Israel realignment on Iran

Israel and Iran exchanged sharp criticisms at a meeting of the UN General Assembly's disarmament committee on Friday, accusing each other of being a major destabilizing force in the Middle East.

Israeli Ambassador Alon Roth-Snir told the United Nations' First Committee that "Iran remains the most significant threat to the security of the Middle East and beyond."

He reiterated his government's strong opposition to a historic nuclear agreement between Tehran and six world powers, saying it was "unlikely to stop Iran's relentless pursuit of a nuclear weapons' capability." He accused Tehran of continuing "vehement anti-Semitic rhetoric and threats against Israel."

Iran UN Ambassador Gholamali Khoshrou in turn accused Israel, which is widely presumed to have the region's only nuclear arsenal, of being "the only impediment ... towards realizing a nuclear weapon free zone in the Middle East."


Read more: http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Israel-Iran-trade-barbs-at-UN-nuclear-disarmament-panel-meeting-421460

October 10, 2015

Japan's nuclear materials 'imbalanced'

Source: Xinhua

THE supply and demand of Japan’s stockpiled nuclear materials is imbalanced, triggering safety concerns that could affect the world, according to a Chinese study yesterday.

“The fact that Japan accumulates more and more weapon-grade fissile materials, especially separated plutonium, will put Japan, and its neighboring countries and the whole world at risk,” a joint study by China Arms Control and Disarmament Association and the China Institute of Nuclear Information and Economics said.

With the Rokkasho reprocessing plant starting next year, the problem could become worse and may lead to a vicious cycle, the study said. Citing the latest data from the Japanese government submitted to the International Atomic Energy Agency, it found Japan has 47.8 tons of highly sensitive separated plutonium, 10.8 tons of which are stored in Japan, enough to make 1,350 nuclear warheads.

“Once the Rokkasho reprocessing plant under construction starts operating, Japan could obtain the ability of producing eight tons of separated plutonium annually,” the study said.


“Japan does not need that much enriched uranium for producing nuclear energy. So we are suspicious for any ulterior motives by the Japanese government to invest such a large amount of money in that,” said Zhu Xuhui, a senior consultant affiliated with the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association.


Read more: http://www.shanghaidaily.com/world/Japans-nuclear-materials-imbalanced/shdaily.shtml

October 10, 2015

Questions raised over nuclear scientists' suicide data

Source: Hindustan Times

The department of atomic energy appears to be underreporting unnatural deaths of its employees as data show a substantial number of staff suicides at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) in Mumbai over six years since 2008.

The DAE, the nation’s nuclear energy development regulator, said in a recent affidavit filed in Bombay high court that only three BARC employees committed suicide between 1995 and 2014.

The affidavit said the death rate from suicides in the premier nuclear research organisation was much less than the national average. The statement was in response to a petition demanding special investigation into unnatural deaths of nuclear scientists in India.

But a DAE confidential note pegged the number of suicides of BARC employees between 2008 and 2013 at 11. This note on unnatural deaths of its staff members was sent to the prime minister’s office in December 2013.

Ashish Mehta, the petitioner’s counsel, alleged the DAE was deliberately downplaying the number of suicides by its employees to avoid inquiry. “An investigation could throw up several findings that may be uncomfortable to the government,” he said.


“Not only has our prestigious scientific community been plagued by suicides, unexplained deaths and sabotage but those incidents have gone mostly underreported in the country.”

The petition said police haven’t found in most cases the actual reason behind the suicide and murder of people working in nuclear facilities.


Read more: http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/questions-raised-over-nuclear-scientists-suicide-data/story-c4oWWI0JhRjRXAwhCCuz0N.html

October 9, 2015

Wisconsin bill aims to overturn nuclear construction ban

Source: World Nuclear News

Lawmakers in Wisconsin have introduced legislation that would end the US state's 32-year-old effective ban on the construction of new nuclear plants. Bills introduced to both of the state's legislative houses seek to change the approval process for new nuclear power plants by repealing current legislation and specifically including nuclear in a list of generating options.

Bill 288 was introduced to the Wisconsin Senate on 6 October by sponsors led by Senator Frank Lasee. A similar bill, number 384, was submitted to the state's Assembly on 8 October by Representative Kevin Petersen. Both have had their first reading and been referred to the relevant committees: the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy and the Assembly Committee on Energy and Utilities.

Under current Wisconsin law, construction of any new power plant requires a certificate from the state's Public Service Commission (PSC). In addition to the requirements that must be satisfied for any new power plant, for proposed nuclear plants the existing legislation prohibits the PSC from issuing a certificate unless two further conditions are satisfied: firstly, there must be available a federally licensed facility with sufficient capacity to receive the used fuel from all nuclear power plants in the state; and secondly, that construction of the power plant is economically advantageous to ratepayers based on specified factors. As no federally licensed facility for receiving used fuel is operational anywhere within the USA, the first requirement effectively bans the PSC from approving any nuclear construction project. The new legislation would eliminate the two extra conditions imposed on proposed nuclear power plants.

Current Wisconsin law also requires state agencies and local governments to design new and replacement energy projects, to the greatest extent cost-effective and feasible, in accordance with a pre-ordained list of priorities. The new legislation would specifically include nuclear capacity in that list, introducing "advanced nuclear energy using a reactor design or amended reactor design approved after December 31, 2010, by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission" as an option that must be considered after "combustible renewable energy resources" but before "non-renewable combustible energy resources".


Read more: http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NP-Wisconsin-bill-aims-to-overturn-nuclear-construction-ban-0910157.html

These state moratoriums should remain in place. They were put there because people were sick and tired of the lies and bullshit from the nuclear industry, its paid shills, its gullible supporters, and its corrupting influence.

October 9, 2015

EU regulators wave through UK nuclear waste clean-up price plan

Source: Reuters

Britain won EU regulatory approval on Friday for a pricing model to set the cost of disposing of nuclear waste that environmentalists say is too generous to nuclear power plant operators and punishing for taxpayers.

Nuclear energy is a sensitive political issue in Europe that pits the European Union's biggest economy Germany - and its plans to phase out atomic energy and pin costs on its utilities - against supporters of the energy source, such as Britain and France.

Britain wants to build a facility to store nuclear waste, with the operating date planned around 2040 and disposal expected to start around 2075 and last until 2140.

It sought approval from the European Commission for a pricing formula that limits the price that plant operators will pay for disposing of nuclear waste.


Read more: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/10/09/uk-eu-britain-nuclear-idUKKCN0S32BW20151009

October 9, 2015

U.S. commander: North Korea has capacity to miniaturize nuclear warheads

Source: UPI

North Korea has the capacity to miniaturize nuclear warheads, send long-range ballistic missiles to the United States and has sufficient plutonium to create 22 nuclear weapons.

Adm. Bill Gortney, commander of the U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command, said Wednesday that North Korea's nuclear missiles are capable of hitting the continental United States, but added the U.S. military can intercept a North Korean missile.

Speaking at the Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C., Gortney said he agrees with U.S. intelligence claims that North Korea has the capacity to miniaturize nuclear warheads that could then be installed on an intercontinental ballistic missile.


Gortney said the military has been investing in updating the current missile defense system, but also securing cost-effective missile deterrence, including new sensors and radars.


Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2015/10/09/US-commander-North-Korea-has-capacity-to-miniaturize-nuclear-warheads/9831444398424/

October 8, 2015

Pinochet ordered killing on US soil of Chilean diplomat

Source: Al Jazeera

Declassified US documents show that former dictator personally ordered killing of Orlando Letelier in Washington DC

General Augusto Pinochet ordered the 1976 assassination in Washington D.C. of a Chilean diplomat fleeing his dictatorship, according to declassified U.S. documents.

Orlando Letelier, who served as foreign minister under socialist president Salvador Allende, was imprisoned and tortured by the Pinochet government after Allende was deposed in a coup on Sept. 11, 1973.

He later went into exile in the United States, where he led resistance to Pinochet. In 1976 he was killed, along with Ronni Moffitt, his U.S. co-worker at the Institute for Policy Studies, by a car bomb detonated at Sheridan Circle in Embassy Row. Moffit’s husband, Michael, was seriously injured in the blast.

"There is a report from the CIA which is conclusive regarding Pinochet’s responsibility in ordering the assassination of my father. This is the first time there is evidence of this," Juan Pablo Letelier, a Chilean senator and a son of the victim, told Tele13 Radio on Thursday.


Read more: http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/10/8/pinochet-directly-ordered-killing-on-us-soil-of-chilean-diplomat.html

October 8, 2015

Children's cancer linked to Fukushima radiation

Source: Associated Press

A new study says children living near the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer at a rate 20 to 50 times that of children elsewhere, a difference the authors contend undermines the government's position that more cases have been discovered in the area only because of stringent monitoring.

Most of the 370,000 children in Fukushima prefecture (state) have been given ultrasound checkups since the March 2011 meltdowns at the tsunami-ravaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. The most recent statistics, released in August, show that thyroid cancer is suspected or confirmed in 137 of those children, a number that rose by 25 from a year earlier. Elsewhere, the disease occurs in only about one or two of every million children per year by some estimates.

"This is more than expected and emerging faster than expected," lead author Toshihide Tsuda told The Associated Press during a visit to Tokyo. "This is 20 times to 50 times what would be normally expected."

The study was released online this week and is being published in the November issue of Epidemiology, produced by the Herndon, Virginia-based International Society for Environmental Epidemiology. The data comes from tests overseen by Fukushima Medical University.


Read more: https://www.dailystar.com.lb/Life/Health/2015/Oct-08/318143-childrens-cancer-linked-to-fukushima-radiation.ashx

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