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Is the expansion of the universe accelerating? All signs still point to yes

David Rubin, Jessica Heitlauf
Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) provided the first strong evidence that the expansion of the universe is accelerating. With SN samples now more than ten times larger than those used for the original discovery and joined by other cosmological probes, this discovery is on even firmer ground. Two recent, related studies (Nielsen et al. 2016 and Colin et al. 2019, hereafter N16 and C19, respectively) have claimed to undermine the statistical significance of the SN Ia constraints. Rubin & Hayden (2016) (hereafter RH16) showed N16 made an incorrect assumption about the distributions of SN Ia light-curve parameters, while C19 also fails to remove the impact of the motion of the solar system from the SN redshifts, interpreting the resulting errors as evidence of a dipole in the deceleration parameter. Building on RH16, we outline the errors C19 makes in their treatment of the data and inference on cosmological parameters. Reproducing the C19 analysis with our proposed fixes, we find that the dipole parameters have little effect on the inferred cosmological parameters. We thus affirm the conclusion of RH16: the evidence for acceleration is secure.

Read more at https://arxiv.org/abs/1912.02191

Read also: “No Dark Energy? No Chance, Cosmologists Contend

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Upper limit on the Stiffness of space-time

stiffnessAdrian Melissinos
From the recently observed propagation of gravitational waves through space-time an upper limit can be deduced for the stiffness of space-time through which the gravitational wave propagates. The upper limit is extremely weak, implying that the stiffness of space-time is at least 14 orders of magnitude weaker than that of jello.
Read more at https://arxiv.org/pdf/1806.01133.pdf

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Temporal relationalism

Lee Smolin
Because of the non-locality of quantum entanglement, realist approaches to completing quantum mechanics have implications for our conception of space. Quantum gravity also is expected to predict phenomena in which the locality of classical spacetime is modified or disordered. It is then possible that the right quantum theory of gravity will also be a completion of quantum mechanics in which the foundational puzzles in both are addressed together. I review here the results of a program, developed with Roberto Mangabeira Unger, Marina Cortes and other collaborators, which aims to do just that. The results so far include energetic causal set models, time asymmetric extensions of general relativity and relational hidden variables theories, including real ensemble approaches to quantum mechanics. These models share two assumptions: that physics is relational and that time and causality are fundamental.
Read more at https://arxiv.org/pdf/1805.12468.pdf

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A Mini-Introduction To Information Theory

Edward Witten
This article consists of a very short introduction to classical and quantum information theory. Basic properties of the classical Shannon entropy and the quantum von Neumann entropy are described, along with related concepts such as classical and quantum relative entropy, conditional entropy, and mutual information. A few more detailed topics are considered in the quantum case.
Read more at https://arxiv.org/pdf/1805.11965.pdf

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Physics Needs Philosophy. Philosophy Needs Physics

Carlo Rovelli
Contrary to claims about the irrelevance of philosophy for science, I argue that philosophy has had, and still has, far more influence on physics than is commonly assumed. I maintain that the current anti-philosophical ideology has had damaging effects on the fertility of science. I also suggest that recent important empirical results, such as the detection of the Higgs particle and gravitational waves, and the failure to detect supersymmetry where many expected to find it, question the validity of certain philosophical assumptions common among theoretical physicists, inviting us to engage in a clearer philosophical reflection on scientific method.
Read more at https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1805/1805.10602.pdf

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Emergence of Benford’s Law in Classical Music

Azar Khosravani, Constantin Rasinariu

The histograms represents the digit distribution of time
intervals for each piano key played for the 32 piano sonatas by
Beethoven vs. the theoretical (Benford) distribution

We analyzed a large selection of classical musical pieces composed by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert and Tchaikovsky, and found a surprising connection with mathematics. For each composer, we extracted the time intervals each note was played in each piece and found that the corresponding data sets are Benford distributed. Remarkably, the logarithmic distribution is not only present for the leading digits, but for all digits.
Read more at https://arxiv.org/pdf/1805.06506.pdf