Corpuscular Rays in St. Peter's Basilica (the Vatican)

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A few days ago, I stayed in the Vatican (more about this one day symposium in another post). During the stay, I naturally visited St. Peter's Basilica. Near Bernini's Altar, I saw corpuscular rays. It may seem like some godly thing (quite appropriate for the location), but from a physicists point of view, it is simply scattering by dust particles. Here is one can say about this holy dust with the help of a little envelope.

A Nice Black Hole Merger Simulation

I recently stumbled upon a nice black hole merger simulation.
Since it is not in my habit of just regurgitating stuff I see on the internet, here is my added value. How can one estimate the quadrupole gravitational radiation of a binary? How close does the binary have to be for it to coalesce within the age of the universe?

The Hebrew University debate on Global Warming

The panel. From left to right: Prof. Colin Price, Prof. Nathan Paldor, Prof. Dan Yakir, and myself.

On Sunday last week, a global warming debate was held at the Hebrew University, in front of a large public audience. The speakers included myself, and Prof. Nathan Paldor from the HU, on the so called sceptic side, and Prof. Dan Yakir (Weizmann) and Prof. Colin Price (Tel-Aviv Univ.) on the anthropogenic greenhouse gas (AGHG) side.

You can watch the debate, in Hebrew at the Authority for Community and Youth of the Hebrew University. Since most of the readers are not from Israel (98% of the visitors to, here is a short synopsis. It is followed by a detailed response to the claims raised against the cosmic ray climate link.

The fine art of fitting elephants

A few weeks ago, while debating the issue of global warming with an alarmist, my colleague pointed out two facts which appear to be consistent with the "standard" anthropogenic scenario, but not the one I advocate, that the natural climate drivers are large and that Earth's climate sensitivity is small.

Although I knew for quite a while why the first point he raised is meaningless, I must confess that I was a little bothered with the second point. Alas, it was in vain. It turns out that both are fine exemplars for how IPCC science is plain bad.

The inconvenient truth about the Ice core Carbon Dioxide Temperature Correlations

One of the "scientific" highlights in Al Gore's movie is the discussion about the clear correlation between CO2 and temperature, as is obtained in ice cores. He leads his audience to beleive that this correlation implies a clear CO2→ΔT link, but does it really?

Parhelic Circles, Ice Haloes and Sun dogs over Jerusalem

A few weeks ago, a few students saw a nice phenomenon in the sky. Knowing I liked this kind of stuff (and that I may be able to explain it), they called me out of the office to look at the sky. Above us was a nice and almost complete parhelic circle. Unlike the usual 22° halo, often seen around the moon and occasionally around the sun, the parhelic circle keeps a fixed angle from the horizon, not from the bright object.

On the IPCC's summary for policy makers, and on getting interviewed without noticing

Yesterday I was surprised to find out that the IPCC didn't really come out with the Fourth Assessment Report (4AR). I was also surprised to find an article with something which appeared to look like an interview of me. Since I am not senile (getting there, but not just yet) I found it strange that I didn't remember actually being interviewed!

Influenza and a Human Chain Reaction

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Some time ago, I pondered about the effects that mass hysteria could have on a flu epidemic. In particular, on how a fright about flu vaccination (which happened in Israel a few months ago) would cause less people to be vaccinated, and thus be responsible for a larger flu outbreak. A recent news item, though, made me rethink.