Sunday, February 9, 2020

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Tryphon's real name was ...

The Boston Museum of Fine Arts claims that this marvel is Roman:
No way. This is '400 Florentine, probably from Bertoldo di Giovanni's workshop (Donatello's influence is unmistakable here). A very talented and now very famous apprentice may have had a hand at the torch-carrying putto.

Friday, February 3, 2017


After the Franz Hals, the "St. Jerome" attributed to Parmigianino has been deemed a fake by Orion Analytical, a materials analysis firm which was  acquired by Sotheby’s in 2016 (1, 2) .
I am still skeptical. I would bet that the painting is authentic. Paraphrasing G.F. Hardy,  material analysts mess ups are more common than forgers of such talent. I use the word talent on purpose. It takes more than skill to create such a convincingly early-Italian Mannerist work. Still, it being a fake is a possibility, not least because of Giuliano Ruffini is keeping his cards very close to his chest. My guess however is that there may be something problematic in the provenance of the painting, rather than in its production. I have a vague memory of seeing a possibly similar work in the studio of P. Giovanni Felice Rossi, a long time ago.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Drew Peterson

This is a long shot.

Drew Peterson was convicted of murder on the basis of hearsay evidence, which was declared admissible on the basis of an expressly passed law.

Bar hearsay there is no evidence relating Peterson to the death of his third wife and
 there is no proof whatsoever that Peterson's fourth wife was killed.

I predict that Peterson's fourth wife will be found alive.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Measurement artifact

It is curious that the Higgs hid to the last, only to be finally spotted  at the uneasy junction of two radically different measurement procedures.

PS See here for an unrelated but interesting example of scientific statistical mess up.

Friday, February 10, 2012


Assuming that the current value of the cost of default equals the excess
price of assumedly risk-free 10y German bonds over the 10y bonds of other
euronations today we get

Spread b.p. 1057
Default recovery rate % 35
Maturity years 10

Default prob. % 100.39
i.e. assuming a default recovery rate of 35%  the market are certain that
Portugal will default.

For Italy a 50% default recovery rate yields

Spread b.p. 370
Default recovery rate % 50
Maturity years 10

Default prob. % 61.85
which isn't exacly reassuring either.

Also the following is interesting:
 Spread b.p. 3100
Default recovery rate % 5
Maturity years 10

Default prob. % 100.52
The markets, who already know that Greece has defaulted, think that  the recovery rate will be just  5%.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

For a start

Before the end of 2013 the manned Soyuz spacecraft will suffer catastrophic failure. I am an admirer of the Russian space program and I hope I will be proven wrong,