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Comment author: Gondolinian 04 March 2015 09:28:35PM *  1 point [-]

Well, Harry has the Stone now, so he could still try to repeat Hermione's resurrection process for Lucius and possibly other Death Eaters, though without all the rituals afterward.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 04 March 2015 10:11:17PM 0 points [-]

I don't know how well that is going to work after the bodies beings warm for a while and with a fairly big boom.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 04 March 2015 09:05:15PM 0 points [-]

So I guess no effort is going to be made to rescue Lucius or Dumbledore directly.

Comment author: gwern 03 March 2015 02:22:27AM 6 points [-]

Everything is heritable:







Comment author: JoshuaZ 04 March 2015 02:21:25AM 0 points [-]

"What is Wrong with Our Thoughts? A Neo-Positivist Credo"

I'm not sure how I feel about this. A lot of it seems on-point but it seems unfair to take what may be complicated or subtle ideas and take paragraphs out of context to show that they are nonsense. If I took a random paragraph from a category-theory paper it might sound just as nonsensical to someone who didn't have the context. Heck, I strongly suspect that if on used a Markov generator with math terms, telling the difference between real and actual material would be difficult if one restricted to small segments. The author is correct that these things are meaningless (by and large) but simply quoting them in this way doesn't really establish it.

Comment author: pinyaka 03 March 2015 10:44:07PM *  1 point [-]

Meanwhile, in the US, the life expectancy of homeless people.

I think you forgot the rest of this sentence. From the context, I would expect that you were going to say that it's going down, but that's not clear from the linked articles.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 04 March 2015 02:12:17AM 1 point [-]

Fixed- see edited version of comment. Thank you.

Comment author: DeVliegendeHollander 03 March 2015 12:39:29PM *  9 points [-]

What striked me in the article is that it seems the international gap is opening. There are countries striving to improve their education decade by decade, and I have seen countries (e.g. in Eastern Europe) that formerly had an OK education system and it is getting worse and worse every decade, largely due to attracting the lowest dregs into teacher positions because the position is underpaid, spending is constantly cut, and underrespected, being the constant kicking dog of parents and uppity children.

Humankind, or even the West and its fairly close satellites are not all constantly improving. Perhaps on the average yes, but not overally.

It is not even just the old first vs. third world anymore. In the last 10 years or so e.g. Greece is becoming less and less "firstworldish". There are new and new gaps opening, not simply something along the lines of white man is rich brown man is poor, ex-colonizers rich ex-colonies poor, or even global north vs. global south. These heuristics worked in 1970, not anymore.

I keep a fairly close eye on Budapest, in Hungary, and I have no idea what ever could be done even not even to improve e.g. education but at least to stop its free-fall. Virtually anyone with half brains would rather wash dishes in London than to be a teacher there. Every time a decent old teacher retires, someone entirely useless fills their place. Meanwhile children becoming increasingly aggressive, bigger ones beating teachers, parents promising a beating if he does not give better grades, it's a war of all against all. Greece is not much better either. Or Romania.

Sometimes it looks like you should press a reset button on countries to start it all over, but not simply politically, like a revolution, but more like rearranging all human relationships. Like telling kids to respect teachers and telling teachers to behave respectably, spending enough money to give them educational resources which means taxes which means the rich will pretty please with sugar on top of it not keep cheating on the taxes by buying fake invoices from Tajikistan and the tax inspectors will pretty please yield to neither bribery nor death threats when they discover it and so on, and so on. Basically virtually everybody's behavior needs readjusting in some places before they can even think about improving as such. Where do you even find such a reset button?

Any community e.g. a nation can only improve itself if it has trust. If it has the kind of trust that I do not need to grab absolutely everything I can right now, because the community can supply me with what I need in the long run too. I mean for example in a low-trust society everybody takes bribes and is corruptible but not because they want to buy nice things, but rather they need savings as they have no idea if they will have an income next year or not. It may sounds strange, but if you accept that if you are hungry you would steal, then the corollary is that you will refrain from stealing only if you are fairly sure you will never go hungry because your community will reward your honest effort and it requires trust. If you do not trust it, you steal all you can and build a safety stockpile. And without this trust you cannot improve the community - at all.

Basically to kickstart improvement in a society - you need to inject fake trust.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 03 March 2015 03:18:55PM *  1 point [-]

Humankind, or even the West and its fairly close satellites are not all constantly improving. Perhaps on the average yes, but not overally

This really depends on what metrics you are using. For example, life-expectancy has been consistently increasing throughout the world. to the point where many developing nations have life-expectancy matching the US in the 1950s. Meanwhile, in the US, the life expectancy of homeless people now is currently the same as life expectancy for what the general population was in the mid 1960s. (Compare here and here).

I agree that in the specific issue of education in some Eastern European countries there's been a slide back, but that's a relatively short-term trend. So part of the issue here may be how long-term the trends one wants to look at.

Comment author: passive_fist 02 March 2015 04:27:32AM 1 point [-]

I don't remember exactly where I read that, but here's a page with some power calculations: http://launchloop.com/LaunchLoopHeating

100 billion tons/year may sound like a lot but you really do need to launch that much cargo in order to recuperate construction and operation costs. The 0.1 degree heating cited on that page is a bit optimistic since it doesn't take into account secondary effects.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 02 March 2015 04:33:52AM 2 points [-]

Ouch. Yeah, that's not reasonably viable.

Comment author: passive_fist 02 March 2015 02:58:25AM 1 point [-]

I agree with all your points except the fourth. Once outside the atmosphere and up to speed, rockets are actually pretty efficient. The space shuttle main engines achieved 15% propulsive efficiency if I remember correctly; this is better than many land vehicles.

I've studied launch loops and they have massive power requirements, on the order of magnitude of heating up the atmosphere significantly (up to a degree or so). Space elevators can be efficient, if the power delivery system is efficient, and so far all workable proposals (laser power beaming, conductive cables) seem extremely inefficient.

Rockets are in many ways the ideal space launch system, the major disadvantage being enormous unit cost.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 02 March 2015 03:14:52AM 2 points [-]

Once outside the atmosphere and up to speed, rockets are actually pretty efficient. The space shuttle main engines achieved 15% propulsive efficiency if I remember correctly; this is better than many land vehicles

Yes, but getting out of the atmosphere is really inconvenient.

Do you have a citation or a back of the envelope for the statement about launch loops having such large power requirements? I don't think I've seen that before, and I'd be interested in seeing that.

Comment author: advancedatheist 01 March 2015 06:27:07PM 1 point [-]

Some people, like Keith Henson, argue that we've blown the thermodynamic opportunity to get off planet because we've already squandered the best quality fossil fuels.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 01 March 2015 06:56:20PM 2 points [-]

Some people, like Keith Henson, argue that we've blown the thermodynamic opportunity to get off planet because we've already squandered the best quality fossil fuels.

This seems very strange. First, most of our rockets use hydrogen and oxygen. One doesn't directly need to use fossil fuels. Second, there's still a massive amount of energy available in terms of fossil fuels, it just involves lower energy return on energy investment. Third of all, there are many other sources of energy, with nuclear power being one of the more obvious, but massive amounts of solar and wind also being available. Fourth of all, rockets are comparatively inefficient in general since one needs to move most of the fuel itself. Launch loops and space elevators are both obvious substitutes that are more energy efficient once they are off the ground. Do you know where Henson has made this argument and what his reasoning was in more detail?

Comment author: Leonhart 01 March 2015 12:52:28PM 31 points [-]

Here is my best attempt at a delaying tactic, after sleeping on it. Please tear apart/suggest better ways in which LV might tear apart, to replace the poor placeholder responses he has here.


"Agree that I musst die, if it ssavess world. But thiss iss not besst way to kill me. Ssee how you can benefit more, given your goalss."


"Believe power you know not doess refer to power to desstroy life-eaterss. Life-eaterss will find you eventually, teacher. Know you. Will hunt you down, ssomeday. Eat all of you, all of world and magic, in the end."

"Sso you will give that magic to me, now."

"You can never reach needed sstate of mind - incompatible with deadly indifference. Sschoolmasster could never casst - incompatible with acceptance of death. Majority cannot casst, and in the tessting, sstandard defence againsst life-eaterss iss ssacrificed. Will weaken your alliess greatly, should I randomly try to teach."

"What do you proposse, then?"

"Take me to life-eater prisson. Allow me to pour out my life and magic there, eradicate them wholly. How I wisshed to do sso, during the resscue! You called me back, then."


"Many advantagess to you in thiss. Can decimate your final enemy, wipe out their greatesst colony, certainly buy you yearss. Removess them before Wizengamot'ss death throess can releasse them againsst you. Freess your remaining alliess, ass thosse here failed to do. And I am utterly desstroyed - can leave no ghosst behind me. Nothing to fuel ssecret devices of Sschoolmasster's. Presumably, reduced rissk that your great creation will recognisse my spirit - for I doubt you have tessted that."

"You will not desstroy all of them, and sso I will have to find another ssolution anyway."

"Ssolution iss girl-child. Sshe iss closse to learning sspell, and now immortal. My death could drive her to hunt life-eaterss forever; thiss iss not beyond your sskillss at manipulation. You know sshe wantss to be a hero."

Comment author: JoshuaZ 01 March 2015 05:50:12PM 5 points [-]

Please post this one as a review.

Comment author: Nick_Roy 01 March 2015 02:03:10PM *  20 points [-]

Harry hisses "You have missinterpreted prophecy, to your great peril, becausse of power I have, but you know not. Yess, you are sstudying sscience, but, honesstly, you are yearss behind me. It may be that thiss power you know not iss ssomething I have at thiss sspecific time, that you will not know for too many yearss hence.

Before I explain, remember my Vow, and know my honesst intention not to desstroy the world, Vow or no. Now, do you know why I would tear apart the very sstarss? Do you know how? Not to desstroy the world, but to ssave it from whatever threatss require more energy to extinguissh than exisstss in thiss entire ssolar ssystem. There are more thingss in heaven and earth, Dark Lord, than are dreamt of in your philossophy.

I would usse sstar lifting to do it ssafely. In a way, I really would end the world to ssave it, ssince once humanss are out of the cradle, sspread through... er, let uss ssay 'heaven' in Parsseltongue, to mean well beyond thiss planet, why not add the masss of the Earth itsself to the sstuff of the sstarss, to yield that much more energy? And sso, if you avert thiss prophecy, there iss sseriouss rissk you doom yoursself! Are you willing to take that chance?

And why were you the one to hear thiss prophecy, Dark Lord? Why are you the one to causse it or avert it? What iss your abssolute advantage? Not in killing. Killing is eassy. Thiss iss your blind sspot cossting you much more in expected value than lasst time if you do not lissten.

You are the one becausse you have come clossesst by far, ass far ass I know, to true immortality, though thiss project iss not yet complete, elsse prophecy would not concern you to degree it obvioussly doess. Usseful sstar lifting will take time; much more than ussual lifesspan.

Ssupposse you heard thiss prophecy becausse you are to sshare thiss advantage with me, and together we will tear apart the very sstarss in 'heaven' to prevent ssomething actually bad! Ssomething we both may know nothing of yet, though I already have guesssess; and you know thiss project iss likely to go fasster with me than without me. Your lack of complete immortality meanss time may not be on your sside.

All I have ssaid iss my honesst besst esstimate. If you do not trusst my viewss, let uss wake girl-child friend, ass sshe alsso knowss more of sscience than you. No offence. And becausse I have told you of sstar lifting, that you clearly knew not of, at thiss time when it matterss mosst - conssider the sserioussnesss of your error if I had tried esscaping - you will protect and honor deputy sschoolmissstresss, with the undersstanding that your reign hass already begun. Now what iss the resst of the prophecy?"

Harry puts it together mainly from clues in the three most recent chapters and Chapter 86.

Edited to add: if you're reading this, Eliezer, please see this comment below for the Appendix.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 01 March 2015 05:49:10PM 9 points [-]

Please add this is as a review so Eliezer defintely sees it!

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