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Comment author: buybuydandavis 02 March 2015 08:30:08PM 2 points [-]

I long for a place where people are devoted to individualism.

Brian: Look, you've got it all wrong. You don't need to follow me. You don't need to follow anybody! You've got to think for yourselves! You're all individuals!
The Crowd: Yes! We're all individuals!
Brian: You're all different!
The Crowd: Yes! We're all different!
Man in crowd: I'm not...
Man in crowd: Shhh!
Brian: You've all got to work it out for yourselves.
The Crowd: Yes! We've got to work it out for ourselves!
Brian: Exactly!
The Crowd: Tell us more!
Brian: No! That's the point! Don't let anyone tell you what to do!

Brian is wrong about about a few things. We're not "all different". We have differences, and we have similarities. And it's simply stupid to try to work everything out for yourself. Other people have brains too. Why not leverage them?

There is a clear environment of intellectual inbreeding here.

Yes, the intellectual influences here tend to be a subset of what is generally available. That's why I came here. Intellectual influences like Jaynes, Kahneman, and Korzybski are in good taste. That's the shared epistemological influences.

There is some inbreeding in the sense of a history and culture that has developed over the years on top of that. Is that surprising? Would it impress you more if being a member of the list had no discernible effect on members?

It has a collectivist feel.

If you're looking for devotional prayers to individualism, you've come to the wrong place. Though I and others will take our individualist hobby horses out for a jaunt every now and again. There are a pretty high percentage of individualists here, and something like a third of the list self identifies as libertarian. I'm of the Stirnerite egoist variety myself.

But there are plenty of collectivists here. You've got that right. I'd say they're the majority. Ideological utilitarians, no less. But they can have good ideas too, and it's actually interesting to get a peek into their alien minds, to be in a culture where ideological individualists and collectivists actually interact.

If you instead want everyone singing from the individualist hymnal, you've come to the wrong place. There is not a shared moral philosophy, and it would not be individualism if there were. We're hardly an average cross section either. I'd say this is more one of the few meeting grounds of moral ideological extremists.

Comment author: skeptical_lurker 02 March 2015 08:24:44PM 0 points [-]

If Harry defeats Voldie because Voldie took every possible precaution except disarming Harry ... I'm worried we might have a huge plot hole ending.

Comment author: Houshalter 02 March 2015 08:18:42PM *  0 points [-]

That for any bet with an infinitesimally small value of p, there is a value of u high enough that I would take it.

Comment author: gilch 02 March 2015 08:17:08PM *  0 points [-]

The problem with using transfiguration sickness as a threat is that LV possesses the Philosopher's Stone and can easily make a transfiguration permanent once he notices it.

A better option would be to transfigure a massive dose of Ebolavirus in the Death Eater's bodies. It will be deadly if made permanent. Once given a chance to reproduce, cancelling the transfiguration won't save them either.

This seems kind of reckless even for Harry.

Comment author: LEmma 02 March 2015 08:14:40PM 0 points [-]

Considering Harry might destroy the world, and this might be the very way he does it, why not let Hermione take care of them?

Comment author: Lumifer 02 March 2015 08:10:25PM 1 point [-]

I don't see how it's different than the mode

Think about a bimodal distribution, for example. But in any case, we're talking about M-estimates, weren't we?

Comment author: polymathwannabe 02 March 2015 08:09:03PM 0 points [-]

It should be possible to have a sane discussion of politics here. Even if we accept the idea that politics naturally leads to mind-killing (which I still don't agree it does), the rationalist approach should be to be constantly aware of the bug in our heads and devise mechanisms to compensate for it.

Comment author: gjm 02 March 2015 08:07:30PM 1 point [-]

I'm not sure this is a useful question. I mean, if you choose the (1-p) quantile (I'm assuming this means something like "truncate the distribution at the p and 1-p quantiles and then take the mean of what's left", which seems like the least-crazy way to do it) then any given Pascal's Mugging becomes possible once p gets small enough. But what I have in mind when I hear "Pascal's Mugging" is something so outrageously improbable that the usual way of dealing with it is to say "eh, not going to happen" and move on (accompanied by a delta-U so outrageously large as to allegedly outweigh that), and I take Houshalter to be suggesting truncating at a not-outrageously-small p, and the two don't really seem to overlap.

Comment author: SilentCal 02 March 2015 08:03:46PM 0 points [-]

Posted on ff.net: Harry realizes that his true power the Dark Lord knows not is his ambition to master the fundamentals of magic, in contrast with how proud of himself Voldemort was for developing one original ritual. Harry cannot explain this to Voldemort-that would go against his Vow. However, he can drop some very juicy teasers in Parseltongue; in particular, he can imply that his secret holds the cure to Voldemort's ennui. It might go something like (in Parseltongue):

"Though you are ambitiouss, you have no ambition. That iss true power Dark Lord knowss not-my ambition. I could purssue ssafely, but cannot trusst you will, sso cannot tell. Do not think can devisse ssafe hint in time I am given. Keep me alive, and perhapss ssomeday I can sshare-maybe I create ssafe hint, maybe I ssee change in you, or come to believe it besst that you know. Or kill me, and learn how long killing idiotss sstayss interessting. Conditionss for creating another like me may not be as ssimple as you think"

Comment author: Houshalter 02 March 2015 08:00:17PM 1 point [-]

a maximum-likelihood estimate is often defined to be a zero of the derivative of the likelihood function with respect to the parameter

And the equation.

I don't see how it's different than the mode. Even the graphs show it as being the same: 1 2.

Comment author: DonaldMcIntyre 02 March 2015 07:58:56PM 0 points [-]

I think you are right, the follow-up responses are what indicate the fallacy intention (conscious or not).

Comment author: gilch 02 March 2015 07:53:09PM 0 points [-]

I've been wondering for a while now: can you say Ththiss ssentensce iss a lie! in Parseltongue?

Comment author: DonaldMcIntyre 02 March 2015 07:51:05PM *  0 points [-]

People don't have endless time to discuss things with everyone...

You are right, many people just want to make sure they are not wasting their time, but when they come back with "if you are not an expert then your conclusion is false" I think they are showing that time was not their priority, but just to state the claim was false.

If they came back with "I prefer to talk to an expert" or "how can I believe you?" it would indicate what you say above.

Also, I simplified above with a simple claim as my starting statement. Normally a claim is below an article that already explains the issue and I may affirm that with the addition of my opinion.

For example after this article about the war on science on National Geographic:


I may just write a comment:

We have a huge bias towards intuitive conclusions rather than taking the time to understand the facts.

Then someone might write "are you a psychiatrist?". I respond "no" and they follow with a "then you don't know what you are talking about".

Comment author: Aiyen 02 March 2015 07:42:35PM 0 points [-]

Let's see. First off, let's consider the problem as thoroughly as possible without proposing solutions. Harry is surrounded by Death Eaters with orders to fire should he move, speak in any language other than Parseltongue (and probably if he makes any sound other than a hiss), raise his wand, and presumably if he does anything else suspicious (such as casting a visible spell without raising his wand or speaking an incantation). Lord Voldemort will presumably order his death (and likely shoot at him) if he does not appear to be complying with the instructions to tell the Dark Lord as many secrets as possible.

Therefore, he needs a countermeasure that can be used without giving any sign until it's too late, or a way to convince the Dark Lord of his cooperation, either to the point of making his continued survival valuable to Riddle Sr., or to the point of buying enough time to use a countermeasure.

Cooperating, or at least plausibly faking cooperation should be fairly simple. He can explain his understanding of Dementors, telling Voldemort that his desire to keep it secret was to prevent an infohazard to conventional Patronus casters; as Voldemort is not one such he will not be harmed by the information. He can explain partial transfiguration-it's not likely a difficult concept for the Dark Lord to grasp, but it seems to be one he hasn't thought of. Buying time is not a problem.

More difficult is what to do while/after buying time. He either needs that countermeasure, or else a way to convince Lord Voldemort that he is worth more alive than dead. As Voldemort fears existential risk greatly, the main way to convince him would be to point out that Harry is not the only source of x-risk, and that he very well may now be a means of reducing it. Prophecies are spoken to those with the power to fulfill or avert them, the "tear apart the very stars in the heavens" prophecy was spoken to Voldemort, suggesting that he might be able to alter the future, and may well have already done so (resurrecting Hermione, binding Harry with the Vow). As such, Harry is no longer necessarily a universal threat. Furthermore, he's not THAT special. He's highly intelligent and a wizard; that's about the sum total of his unusual powers, and it's hardly that rare of a combination (rare enough that we've only heard of one/two Riddle-level intelligent wizards in the story, but if Voldemort plans to live forever, another one will surely arise in the absence of dire action taken to prevent it and/or a catastrophe).

As such, if Harry could have destroyed the stars, another wizard will likely emerge as a threat to do exactly that. For that matter, depending on the method of stellar annihilation, it might be possible for a Muggle to accomplish this as well, or for Muggle actions to end the world as we know it (nuclear weapons, anyone?). Therefore, Lord Voldemort must either drastically repress Mankind to reduce x-risk (and this seems likely to be deadly dull for him, consider his horrified reaction to the possibility of spending his eternity in a dead world-he may not care about humanity the way a normal person does, but he finds us amusing enough to be worth preserving to some extent; also consider that he valued having an equal/near equal enough to make a copy of himself and dragged out his war with Dumbledore far beyond the point he could have easily beaten him, so suppressing intelligence and creativity for fear of their misuse is likely to be repugnant to Voldemort), be destroyed/spend eternity in a dead world, or find an intelligent solution to avert x-risk without taking drastic actions that make the world boring. The last of these options is the only one that Lord Voldemort seems likely to consider acceptable, and Harry might be a useful asset in finding a solution.

Alternatively, he could point out that the prophecy might refer to some form of apotheosis, rather than calamity. Tearing apart the stars for energy/to prevent the loss of negentropy, which seems like a reasonable post-singularity plan. Voldemort is unlikely to want to take the risk, but both of these arguments together might sway him, or at least buy more time. Of course, this may well require hearing the prophecy to learn enough details to craft a convincing argument, but the incident with Firenze might give Harry enough information to start without learning any more from Voldemort.

This might at least avert Harry's immediate death, and thus is one potential solution to Eliezer's challenge. The other option is to find a countermeasure.

The Boy-Who-Lived is naked save for his wand and glasses. Preempting/evading/deterring the Death Eater's curses seems impossible without magic, with suggests that a countermeasure would involve the wand and/or glasses. By the time he speaks an incantation, he will be cursed, suggesting that we need wordless, invisible magic (at least invisible until it's too late!)

Transfiguration is wordless, and Harry can even reverse transfiguration without a wand. Do we see any other spells he's capable of casting without words? If not, we're probably looking at untransfiguring his glasses-air can't be transfigured, and his wand isn't touching anything else. Unless there's a range on transfiguration? He's only done it before on things his wand has been touching, but that doesn't make any sense-the effect isn't limited to a one molecule layer that's "actually touching" the wand, and when you look at the quantum structure of objects there isn't a hard line between "contact" and "not in contact" anyway! That would allow him to transfigure the ground his wand is pointing at. He'd need a weapon or device that was too small to be noticed-possibly nanites or nano-scale line? That could allow him to strike back at the Death Eaters and/or threaten to do so, and explaining secrets/arguing for his continued existence as an x-risk mitigator should give him enough time to do so.

Nanites might provide x-risk in their own right, which means that the Vow might not allow it, but if he could limit them enough (cannot replicate, or can't replicate beyond a few generations?) he might have a shot. Or transfigure the ground into a gas-Harry'd be affected too, but he only needs to avoid immediate death, and if he can get the Stone, otherwise-fatal transfiguration poisoning could be cured.

On the bright side, touching Voldemort with anything magical (and transfigured material should count!) will trigger the resonance, and the Death Eaters are nowhere nearly as formidable as their master. We don't know the exact rules on the resonance, but if the "stronger magic means stronger backlash" theory is correct Harry might be able to incapacitate Voldemort while remaining upright himself.

The main difficulty with this approach is that even though Harry might be able to trigger the resonance with a fairly innocuous gas (heck, just make a little more air!), the Death Eaters would presumably fire the moment their master was affected. Poisonous/soporific gas would work on the Eaters as well, but it would impact Harry too-is there a substance so fast-acting that he could simply hold his breath/keep exhaling while talking to Voldemort, and then everyone inhaling would be dropped? I don't know of any gas that fast-acting, but if one exists it might provide another solution.

To sum up:

Potential solutions that I can think of-

  1. Convince Voldemort to keep Harry on as an x-risk mitigator.
  2. Convince Voldemort that the prophecy refers to an apotheosis, rather than an apocalypse (seems unlike to work by itself, but might be useful in conjunction with 1.
  3. Buy time with secrets/attempts to use 1 or 2; transfigure the ground into a weapon (gas, monofiliment line, nanites?) If the line is used, some form of guiding nanites may be required; alternatively, transfigure the line extending into Voldemort/the Death Eaters.
  4. Untransfigure glasses. Do we know what was transfigured to make the glasses to begin with? Could it be a useful countermeasure?

Non-HPMOR related note-I found organizing my thoughts far easier while typing this than while trying to figure solutions out before. Has anyone else noticed a writing makes thinking easier effect, and could this be a useful technique?

Comment author: lerjj 02 March 2015 07:42:18PM 0 points [-]

Existence of one stupidity does not allow for all stupidities. A perhaps unreasonably pessimistic assumption is that everything LV has done so far has been the correct choice, for reasons perhaps not well understood by Harry and thus the readers.

Regardless, the issue with the challenge is that if we can think of a solution, Voldemort is allowed t think of it unless it uses knowledge we know he doesn't have. The only other viable solutions are ones with no counter. This does have a counter (a very niche one, although I quite like the idea of an invisible death eater army and the visible one all being dummies; there are almost certainly other counters) and thus is not the optimal solution. I don't have a better one though as this is a horrendously high wall.

Comment author: Lumifer 02 March 2015 07:41:58PM *  0 points [-]

Maximum likelihood means taking the outcome with the highest probability relative to everything else, correct?

No, not at all, what you are talking about is called the mode of the distribution.

Why don't you look at the links in my post?

Comment author: Lumifer 02 March 2015 07:41:05PM 1 point [-]

An organism that had 3^^^^3 babies would vastly increase the spread of it's genes

No quite, such an organism is likely to devastate its ecosystem in one generation and die out soon after that.

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 02 March 2015 07:40:09PM *  0 points [-]

There doesn't seem to be any reason why I should be experiencing these specific qualia instead of others, that I "popped into existence" as this specific consciousness instead of another, or that I perceive time subjectively.

..assuming that the I is separable from memories and experiences. Otherwise, you are what you are..

Based on what I know, and that qualia occur, what is the probability (if any) that I will pop into existence again and again, and experience different qualia each time, with no subjectively perceivable connection with the "previous" consciousness?

That still requires the separate I assumptions. Otherwise, it is no different from a bunch of different people experiencing different things.

does suffering have a limit or is it infinite?

If suffering is infinite, likely joy is too. Why not let the infinite cancel out?

Comment author: Illano 02 March 2015 07:38:58PM 0 points [-]

Yes, but who called the Dark Mark, and pointed out the transfigured mask. It could all be a ruse by LV. Constant Vigilance!

Comment author: Lumifer 02 March 2015 07:36:08PM 0 points [-]

I long for a place where people are devoted to individualism.


but she's still miserable. Her fairy godmother reappears and asks why she is so unhappy on the island. The girl says, "Because they're all so ugly!"


As to LW, all self-selected groups show some signs of groupthink, but I think you're mistaken that "conformity is a requirement". I would recommend not paying much attention to your karma and up/down votes.

Comment author: Houshalter 02 March 2015 07:35:47PM 0 points [-]

Maximum likelihood means taking the outcome with the highest probability relative to everything else, correct? This isn't really desirable since the outcome with the highest probability, might still have very low absolute probability.

Comment author: Manfred 02 March 2015 07:32:40PM 0 points [-]

Yeah, this is basically the route I'd do. Except I added one more ingredient. Here, I'll just quote my review.

Ramble to Voldemort about how you have a better knowledge of decision-making systems and scientific research, and about how if you do destroy the world, it won't be because you have some world-destroying-property, it will be a result of bad actions - actions that Voldemort, who is starting to learn muggle science, might take just as easily. Indeed this seems likely, since you make such similar decisions, and he may find the prophecy talking about him instead.

If he really wants to stop the prophecy, the way is not to very thoroughly kill one child, the way is to understand the causal path that leads to bad things happening, no matter who does it, and divert it. For this, it would be beneficial if he had you, Harry, alive and well. In fact, you have several ideas already, which for obvious bargaining reasons you will not mention. Since this is fairly honest, you can even say something in parseltongue about how this increases his chances of survival, playing on Tom Riddle's overriding fear of death.

Then, when he's distracted considering this, kick him in the grill.

Comment author: Houshalter 02 March 2015 07:30:55PM 0 points [-]

In an infinite world, expected reproductions would be a good thing to maximize. An organism that had 3^^^^3 babies would vastly increase the spread of it's genes, and so it would be worth taking very very low probability bets. But in a finite world all such bets will lose, leaving behind only organisms which don't take such bets, in the vast majority of worlds.

Comment author: SolveIt 02 March 2015 07:30:01PM 1 point [-]

Which axiom do you reject?

Comment author: Lumifer 02 March 2015 07:29:26PM 0 points [-]


Comment author: Astazha 02 March 2015 07:24:14PM 1 point [-]

They all showed up when the Dark Mark was called, only one of them has a transfigured mask replica, and no Death Eaters are likely to be allies to Harry since Voldemort can apparently just will them into seven smoldering pieces at any time.

Comment author: Astazha 02 March 2015 07:21:58PM 0 points [-]


Comment author: Houshalter 02 March 2015 07:21:19PM 0 points [-]

You miss my point. I am objecting to those axioms. I don't want to change my utility function. If God is real, perhaps he really could offer infinite reward or infinite punishment. You might really think murdering 3^^^^3 people is just that bad.

However these events have such low probability that I can safely choose to ignore them, and that's a perfectly valid choice. Maximizing expected utility means you will almost certainly do worse in the real world than an agent that doesn't.

Comment author: Kaj_Sotala 02 March 2015 07:19:05PM 1 point [-]

I thought that the ideas seemed awfully familiar, when the story popped up on 365!

Comment author: Apprentice 02 March 2015 07:17:57PM 2 points [-]

I doubt Eliezer - champion of truth and science - would permit himself artistic license with this sort of thing. I think it is more likely that this is a genuine mistake on his part.

Comment author: Houshalter 02 March 2015 07:15:44PM 0 points [-]

Maximum Likelihood doesn't really lead to desirable behavior when the number of possibilities is very large. E.g. i roll a dice with a 2 and a 3 give you a dollar, and unrelated but horrible things happen on any other number.

Comment author: ctintera 02 March 2015 07:15:12PM *  4 points [-]

Having an algorithm fit a model to some very simple data is not noteworthy either. It's possible that the means by which the "pure mechanical invention" was obtained are interesting, but they are not elaborated on in the slightest.

Comment author: TylerJay 02 March 2015 07:14:57PM *  0 points [-]

How would you distinguish you popping into existence with different qualia (and different memories/personality/etc.) from someone else popping into existence with different qualia (+memories/personality/etc.)? As others have argued, I think the flaw in the reasoning is that there is a privileged "I" that you are that is separate from the body/mind you wear.

Comment author: Odysseus 02 March 2015 07:13:22PM *  0 points [-]

I did skim this post and it caused me to spend some time thinking... but what I can't escape is the way the whole speculation is framed is entirely missing the point. I mean, "Merely by asking the question you show you couldn't possibly understand the answer."

Let me try 3 ways to illustrate my point:

1) I wrote a short story some time ago about an unattractive girl who was lamenting her unpopularity. She was crying to herself, and out loud she wished she could go somewhere where people loved her for her mind, where appearance didn't matter. So out pops her Fairy Godmother who transports her to an island filled with people who want the same thing. They are all immediately loving and accepting of the girl, but she's still miserable. Her fairy godmother reappears and asks why she is so unhappy on the island. The girl says, "Because they're all so ugly!"

2) Even neckbeards (your term) do not find each other attractive.

3) The neckbeard wants his sexual appeal to be based on the beauty and purity of this mind and his thoughts and his character, and not on his physical appearance. But the only people he really cares about viewing himself that way are hot, sexy, young girls.

As a final thought, I have concluded (from experience) that my right hand gives me 99.8% of the pleasure I could ever hope to get from a woman, without all the baggage. The question you should be asking is not why isn't the girl interested in you, the question is why should you be interested in the girl at all?

As an aside, I joined this website within the past 2 days. I am almost to the point of abandoning it. There is a clear environment of intellectual inbreeding here. Groupthink. I long for a place where people are devoted to individualism.

This place isn't that. It has a collectivist feel. Original thoughts are not tolerated here. Rather, conformity is a requirement.

Comment author: DeVliegendeHollander 02 March 2015 07:12:42PM *  0 points [-]

I sincerely hope I am seeing an excellent parody of extremely irrational SJW attitudes here.

For what it worths, or if it is not the case, the central idea here is self-help for people who suffer. This is certainly missing from this reply. If this is a seriously meant as an SJW response, then I would translate it to that lingo as being hurt by patriarchy, and learning to undo this hurt by adapting to it.

A social, political response, New Athens or New Sparta is NOT a major point here, because for some people like me adapting to society is more important to changing it because we have one life, thrown into society (Heidegger).

But actually what little I wrote about a social-political response was less patriarchy, less toxic mascuilinity and less bullying, so it seems to be a misresponse at that. I think I am being pretty progressive here as a far social change is covered except that I simply don't care as much about social change helping future gens rather than self-help, adaptation for people who suffer NOW.

I think I am in a community of people who don't have very high fertility rates. I actually have a daughter and I have this impression - parenting hardly ever discussed on LW - that most of the community has no children.

From this it seems logical to me that social change is way way less important than self-help. We are not making many people to live in a future society where everything is right. People with 4 kids may sacrifice their happiness for their sakes. For no-children and few-children people and I think it is the case for us, adapting to society must be more valuable than changing it.

The East vs. West aspect sounds valid but only superficially so - relevant only to the letter, not the intent. Obviously it is about Westernized karate - and obviously to everybody who knows these stuff Muay Thay works just as well. One could raise the same parallel with Greek wrestling not training self-confidence (courage) enough and MT yes.

Comment author: TylerJay 02 March 2015 07:07:31PM 0 points [-]

Here's another object-level tactic I haven't seen mentioned yet. (Assume LV will not just kill Harry for speaking of non-magical powers. I have a way of increasing the likelihood of this assumption being true)

Harry could explain the Power of Expected Utility Calculations and subtly attempt a Pascal's Mugging on LV, convincing him that LV can't possibly assign a probability of less than one in twenty that killing Harry will indeed avert the prophecy, or for that matter cause it, and that the rational action to take is to not kill Harry. He can present it as a "power" to stop the timer and buy a life, regardless of if LV accepts the conclusion, since it is a valuable tool for the future and was probably not in the books Harry gave him to read.

Harry can also explain the Power of Bayesian Probability Updates, both to buy a life and to provide a framework within which to argue that the probability that LV killing Harry backfires is much higher than he previously expected. If the Mugging alone doesn't work, then Harry can combine this with EV calculations to construct a valid argument that LV shouldn't kill him.

I'm starting to develop a way to chain this with some other arguments and strategies into a cohesive strategy and I'm starting to feel pretty good about it. Thoughts?

Comment author: shminux 02 March 2015 07:02:39PM 1 point [-]

Do you believe that the 99.999-percentile by utility-ordered outcome count can be Pascal-mugged? How about 90%? Where is the cut-off?

In response to comment by Baughn on Imagining Scarcity
Comment author: Xerographica 02 March 2015 07:01:35PM 0 points [-]

"Good" is, of course, super subjective. But here are some that I'd recommend...

More liberal perspective...

Miles Kimball John Quiggin Noah Smith

More market perspective...

CafeHayek Coordination Problem EconLog AskBlog

For both a market perspective (Tabarrok) and a liberal perspective (Cowen)...


And for a pragmatarian perspective... my own blog...


Comment author: DanArmak 02 March 2015 07:01:33PM 0 points [-]

If Voldemort was being careful he'd have taken away Harry's wand.

Comment author: Lumifer 02 March 2015 07:00:59PM 0 points [-]


Comment author: ArisKatsaris 02 March 2015 06:53:09PM 1 point [-]

Apologies for the delay this month. Yesterday I failed to notice that February was over.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 02 March 2015 06:52:31PM 0 points [-]

Short Online Texts Thread

Comment author: Lumifer 02 March 2015 06:52:30PM 3 points [-]

A pop-psych mind dump that is in bad need of editing to about a quarter of its current size, maybe less.

And that's before substantive issues -- I am not quite sure that "try hard to be a normal" is good advice.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 02 March 2015 06:52:26PM 0 points [-]

Online Videos Thread

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Fanfiction Thread

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Nonfiction Books Thread

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Fiction Books Thread

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TV and Movies (Animation) Thread

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 02 March 2015 06:52:06PM 0 points [-]

TV and Movies (Live Action) Thread

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Music Thread

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Podcasts Thread

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Other Media Thread

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Meta Thread

Comment author: lerjj 02 March 2015 06:48:21PM 0 points [-]

Ok, there is probably transfiguration material and I can't think of a source that states that transfiguration has wand movements. This therefore seems to meet the minimum criteria (I still think that this is perhaps an obvious solution, so Voldemort will have guarded against it, perhaps all the death eater's are disillusioned and are casting holograms and ventriliquo charms?)

Comment author: Salemicus 02 March 2015 06:46:41PM 8 points [-]

I predict this post will attract a lot of negative comments, but I want to give it the most charitable reading I can. That, of course, is the Straussian reading.

What DeVliegendeHollander is really saying is that nerds are right to hate themselves, and that they deserve to suffer, because they are not truly men. By turning away from the traditional masculine skills and values of leadership, rhetoric, and prowess in combat they (and by extension, Western society) are unworthy of respect. Note in particular the distinction the OP draws between the Western sport of boxing, and the Eastern sport of karate - this distinction between the masculine, self-reliant West and the feminized, exotic East is an ancient trope. But here this trope is inverted, with "nerdiness" being seen as a disease of the West. A further problem is people looking inwards rather than outwards for validation; "gaining validation from respectable looking people choosing to discuss the weather" is presented as a better step. But of course, what the OP really implies is that martial prowess (the obsession of the post) must be turned outwards too. We need a purifying war.

In short, the author is not calling for a New Athens, but a New Sparta, where young boys pass through a series of initiation rituals to take their place in a homosocial, hyper-masculine warrior society. "Nerds" and other unfit individuals must be weeded out, leading to "the bravest, bolderst, cruelest, most aggressive fighters being on top." How this ideal society would treat women is only hinted at obliquely in the post, but I believe that some variant of "Kinde, Kuche, Kirche" is most likely.

I understand why DeVliegendeHollander should feel that such a message could only be delivered esoterically.

Comment author: Baughn 02 March 2015 06:37:03PM 0 points [-]

How do I use it? Fortune is being obstructive.

Comment author: TylerJay 02 March 2015 06:29:21PM 0 points [-]

I agree. This is a good line of reasoning. I was just saying that Harry has to make that argument and it's not guaranteed LV will accept it.

Comment author: TylerJay 02 March 2015 06:25:26PM 0 points [-]

Eliezer himself has a 24.5 hr sleep cycle. I think it was just that and a way to get a time turner

Comment author: Romashka 02 March 2015 06:21:34PM *  -1 points [-]

Pessimistic assumption Voldemort should not be killed, since without him it will never be known if the Prophecy came true.

Comment author: RedErin 02 March 2015 06:08:11PM 0 points [-]

Maybe this is a test for Harry. V wants Harry to find a way to win.

Comment author: Ander 02 March 2015 06:04:48PM 0 points [-]

Yes I agree.

If there is some Magical reason why Voldemort would be constrained to keep his promise, (even though he feels he had been tricked), then Voldemort might be rendered unable to harm anyone.

There needs to be another Magical effect which causes Voldemort's parseltongue statements to become binding in some way.

Comment author: lerjj 02 March 2015 06:02:21PM *  2 points [-]

Stratagem (1) State something that is true, but that LV won't believe. Either LV thinks you've broken the Parseltongue curse, or you gain time in the confusion. Him thinking that you've broken the curse gives you a power he knows not that you can bargain/threaten with. Sub-suggestions: "Sometimes we make our own phoenix tears" (when asked why he told his friends to refrain back near the start) ; "The solar system will die in 10 billion years and you will be forever alone" ; "Hey, you know how you forged a time-turned letter? Well, it didn't actually include my code-word for time-turned messages... I wonder if the great Lord Voldemort can predict what will happen now?" (not a lie).

And someone else made the suggestion of making statements that have a true consequent so that you can make up the antecedent along the lines of "If you destroy me now, the sun will die, and the starts blink out one by one. I know not when, but it shall cause you great grief and misery teacher. If you allow me to live, shall keep them alive for as long as I can, remember my vow"

Comment author: Lumifer 02 March 2015 05:57:03PM 2 points [-]

the problem seems to be using expected values, which is highly distorted by even a single outlier ... Why not "median expected utility"?

This is a common problem which is handled by robust statistics. Means, while efficient, are notably not robust. The median is a robust alternative from the class of L-estimators (L is for Linear), but a popular alternative for location estimates nowadays is something from the class of M-estimators (M is for Maximum Likelihood).

Comment author: WalterL 02 March 2015 05:52:21PM 1 point [-]

It could have made it come true BEFORE the Vow. Now Harry, having Vowed, is only ever a danger to the world through ignorance. Increasing his knowledge cannot increase the danger he poses the world.

Comment author: lerjj 02 March 2015 05:49:01PM 0 points [-]

I might be wrong, but I interpreted that as Tom having made a previous commitment to not raise had nor wand against other versions of himself. That curse is gone, but the resonance is a distinct entity and is still there.

In response to Imagining Scarcity
Comment author: Dagon 02 March 2015 05:48:30PM 1 point [-]

Not sure I see a point.

Is anyone arguing that there is no scarcity, or that they don't understand it in some way that this metaphor helps with?

Comment author: TylerJay 02 March 2015 05:46:57PM 0 points [-]

Voldemort will probably tell him

I don't think that's a foregone conclusion, and not one Harry would be willing to bet his life and the fate of the universe on. Voldemort specifically said that he doesn't want to tell Harry because telling him could make it come true. Harry has to convince Voldie that it's not just okay to tell him, but beneficial to his goals to tell him. That's the kind of argument you'd have to craft here.

Comment author: lerjj 02 March 2015 05:45:22PM -1 points [-]

Pessimistic assumption LV knows that Harry can do partial transfiguration. LV has put up anti- apparition, anti- time turning and anti-transfiguration wards.

Less probable Pessimistic assumption these wards do not count as LV's magic once laid and will not resonate with Harry, meaning they will stay active. Alternatively, a death eater has laid them on previously understood instructions.

Comment author: Plasmon 02 March 2015 05:43:58PM *  0 points [-]

I make the following prediction : the transfiguration exercise of ch. 104 foreshadows the possibility of safely transfiguring a certain kind of explosive, that relies on containing several components that will explode upon contact. The ch. 104 exercise tells us that containment chambers can be formed first, and their contents afterwards, such that the bomb will not accidentally explode during transfiguration.

Comment author: lerjj 02 March 2015 05:43:44PM -1 points [-]

Pessimistic assumption LV has been planning exactly this conversation for months and has thought of every possible plan of action that he could do. He has Harry level intelligence. All viable solutions must therefore use information LV does not have access to, which does not include the fact that Harry is Tom Riddle. Asking for power he knows not is trying to patch this minor hole.

Comment author: TylerJay 02 March 2015 05:42:48PM 0 points [-]

Last line of the article explains the motivation:

I wouldn’t mention it at all, but the inventor is not a human being and it’s a very good example of a “pure mechanical invention”.

Comment author: gjm 02 March 2015 05:40:08PM 2 points [-]

I think (although Thomas leaves it frustratingly unclear) the point is that this algorithm was discovered by some kind of automatic process -- genetic programming or something. (If Thomas is seriously suggesting that his algorithm is an improvement on the usual one containing the "ugly constants" then I agree that that's misguided.)

Comment author: gjm 02 March 2015 05:38:50PM 2 points [-]

I bet a median-utility maximizer can be exploited. But I don't believe one can be exploited by a Pascal's mugging. What makes a Pascal's mugging a Pascal's mugging is that it involves a very low probability of a very large change in utility.

Comment author: WalterL 02 March 2015 05:37:47PM 1 point [-]

I regard fighting as futile (can't speak magic without death eaters attacking, can't cast worldess magic without Voldemort sensing through resonance and shooting). Harry must lose.

Voldemort is only killing him because of the prophecy. Harry should ask to hear the prophecy, so that if he is ever reborn somehow he can avoid it. Voldemort will probably tell him, hard to think how giving information about the destruction of the world to Harry could hurt it, since he's taken the Vow and now can only threaten the world through ignorance.

Once Harry hears the prophecy he can point out that there is no reason (beyond the coincidental timing) to think that he is the person referred to in it. If Voldemort agrees, and no longer NEEDS Harry's death, then Harry offers to earn his life by serving Voldemort with another Unbreakable Vow insuring his loyalty.

Harry, if not the World-Ender, would be super-valuable to Voldemort as: 1. False opposition figure to lure in and betray opponents 2. World-Safety-Vowed Science Czar in the new regime, in charge of monitoring Muggle and Wizard breakthroughs and making certain they don't interfere with the earth's new role as Voldemort's idiot-hunting range. 3. Bodyguard vs. Dementors

If Voldemort accepts, Harry goes through with this, and becomes the Dark Lord's Vowed servant, thereby surviving this crisis. As for the future? Perhaps the horse will learn to sing.

Comment author: lerjj 02 March 2015 05:36:56PM 0 points [-]

Meta reasons? If Harry didn't have a wand this would be even harder.

I agree this seems incompetent though, at least earlier he (may) have needed it for the Unbreakable Vow, which makes it less incompetent that him having had his wand unnecessarily for the last couple of chapters.

Comment author: DanArmak 02 March 2015 05:34:46PM 0 points [-]

Harry only need to move his wand enough to touch his leg. Assuming his hand is already pointing down, this shouldn't be hard. He can then transfigure either the skin on his legs, or possibly the earth in front of him.

Comment author: MarkusRamikin 02 March 2015 05:30:23PM *  0 points [-]

Really like that one. My first reaction was "and yet the Gatekeeper can still say no and kill you". After all, Voldemort's trying to prevent untold destruction, a prophecy whose exact paths to possible fulfilment are a mystery. Killing a limited number of Dementors is less important.

But my understanding of the AI box experiment is that it was never just about finding an argument that will look persuasive to someone armchair-thinking about it. It's about finding an opening to the psyche, an emotional vulnerability specific to your current target. Voldemort doesn't seem to have a lot of those, but we do have this:

Harry asked his dark side what it thought of death.

And Harry's Patronus wavered, dimmed, almost went out upon the instant, for that desperate, sobbing, screaming terror, an unutterable fear that would do anything not to die, throw everything aside not to die, that couldn't think straight or feel straight in the presence of that absolute horror, that couldn't look into the abyss of nonexistence any more than it could have stared straight into the Sun, a blind terrified thing that only wanted to find a dark corner and hide and not have to think about it any more -

So yeah, that might work.

My second objection was that if Dementors are considered national weapons in case of war, destroying Azkaban would weaken the country Voldemort intends to rule. Obvious solution, if Voldemort brings this up: kill some other countries' Dementors.

Perhaps one thing I'd change is not tell about Hermione being the solution until Voldemort agrees to do this and to revoke his threat to Harry's parents and friends, only promise to say what the solution is once they're about to attack Dementors.

EDIT: Bonus points if Harry manages to say something Quirrellike-cynical about how he had asked Dumbledore to come with him to kill Dementors, and he said no, and it took Voldemort to say yes.

Comment author: EGI 02 March 2015 05:29:56PM 2 points [-]

Here is my stab at a solution (already posted at ffnet):

First Harry tells V. that Dementors are death, Patronuses work by not thinking about death and the true Patronus works by using a diferent mindstate which V. probably cannot attain (without specifics). Second Harry states that as long as Dementors are around every person including V have in each moment a small but finite probability to be kissed by one. Over an indefinite timeframe the aggregate probaility that V. is kissed approaches one. How this would interact with V's Horkruxes is unclear but he may easily suffer a fate worse than death. Therfore he should keep Harry around at least until the dementors are dealt with.

Then he points out that given what he knows about the ambiguity of prophecies the prophecy V. heard has probably not clearly identified that Harry and not V. is the threat. Thus V. killing Harry might easily doom the world. This is especially likely as V. is not bound by the vow. Thus V. should keep Harry around to guard against his own mistakes and probably take a similar vow. He himself may offer more vows to further Vs goals in exchange for V. vowing to further Harry's goals and so on. This should be beneficial for even a purely selfish V. who wants the world to survive.

In case V. is not convinced by his above offer of cooperation Harry uses the time they are talking to prepare for an attack on V. and the Death Eaters using partial transfiguration: Thinking about venues for attack he first thinks about transfiguring an invisible nanoweapon such as a monofilament knife to decapitate the death eaters. Though he quickly realizes that that will not work since no known material including carbonanotubes is stiff enough to form an invisible blade of several meters length. Independently acting nanobots are out too, because he lacks time and knoledge to design one let alone test them for safety and efficiency. Then he realizes he does not need them, because partial transfiguration can do everything a nanobot could and even more.

He points his wand to a patch of skin on his leg and starts to transfigure the stratum corneum. An invisible bundle of carbonanotubes extends from his skin to the ground branches out to each death eater running up their robes and into their necks. (They do not feel this, since the bundle of tubes has a crossection of only 50 nm. Pain or touch receptors would not pick that up.) Another branch extends to the Dark Lord, but Harry does not dare touch him with his construct fearing the resonance. Instead he builds a small tower form the ground using carbonanotubes in a pattern resembling the Eiffel Tower extending right into the muzzle of his gun (Beneath the moonlight glints a tiny fragment of silver, a fraction of a line...). He seals the muzzle with a thin sheet of carbonanotubes and fills the barrel with nitroglycerine contained by a second thin sheet of carbonanotubes just before the bullet. All of this is very low volume and quickly transfigured.

If the Dark Lord refuses cooperation he snaps his fingers and immeadetly extends the tube in each of the death eaters neck to severe the brainstem from the spinal cord, the language center from the brain (to prevent wordless, wandless magic) and the neck from the body (black robes, falling). To make sure that everything is properly seperated he turns his entire construct (except for the part in Vs gun) into pressurised air (...blood spills out in litres,...). Now the Dark Lord either surenders or fires his gun. ...and Harry screams a word: "rennervate" and points at Hermione to wake her up. Hermione stunns V. Even if V. fired he should not die immeadetly except if part of the gun passed through his brain. Hermione transfigures V. into a small stone to prevent him from dying and thus from coming back. Afterwards they transfigure the Death Eaters for eventual revival.

I wrote multiple redundant plans, because I genuinely think Harry should be able to convince V. to cooperate for purely selfish reasons. But even if V. is not only rational and selfish but "For the Evulz" Evil and thus refuses, the transfiguration attack should secure Harrys victory.

Comment author: lerjj 02 March 2015 05:27:03PM 0 points [-]

Okay, so far as I can see, this is a relatively new avenue of attack, but I haven't got a clear idea yet.

Firstly, assuming Harry can tell LV about some power he knows not (does simple knowledge count as a power? Harry could explain calculus or imaginary numbers real quick...), who do we save? One presumably banned option is to ask for Harry Potter (or Tom M. Riddle) to be saved. Who else is there? Obvious suggestions like Mad-Eye, McGonagall and others don't actually help Harry in his present situation as far as I can tell. Dumbledore?

Secondly, is there any traction in playing the fact that Harry Potter is... well, not the character we're calling Harry Potter? In Ch. 74 'Harry' actually summons Harry Potter (the fake ritual). I suppose the fact that Dr. Seuss wrote some of it means that it was indeed a fake ritual, so we'll call this this thread's crackpot theory. A similar theme is whether by being Tom Riddle, Harry can enter the horcrux system. I put very low odds on him being able to defeat LV from there, but he might be able to reincarnate in a more powerful wizard at least.

Thirdly, we have powers LV knows not. Partial transfiguration... well a number of suggestions have already been suggested involving this so I'll leave it. I will mention that the fact time-turners are safe seems to imply that anti-matter based ideas simply won't work for some unknown reason, but diamond bullets seem reasonable if you can find transfiguration material such as your own skin / Hufflepuff bones.

Any thoughts on this? How much of this (other than the horcrux thing) has already been mentioned?

Comment author: ctintera 02 March 2015 05:16:29PM 2 points [-]

I'm having difficulty envisioning what problem this solves. Leap years are already defined by a very simple function, and subbing in a cosine for a discrete periodicity adds complexity, does it not?

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