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Comment author: TomM 01 April 2016 04:42:56AM *  6 points [-]

I think it is worth pointing out that the article selected for 'review' is not entirely typical of the site (most articles seem to discuss lived experience, activism activities and how to get by in unfriendly circumstances rather than philosophy or logic per se).

Additionally, the Facebook thread for the article has a lot of discussion, dominated (in my view) by self-described "SJW"s who had big problems with the anti-rationality stance of the article and made strong arguments in favour of logic and reason.

This article show that the bias of some SJWs against reason is impossible to strawman.

The emphasis is mine.

I think PhilGoetz does not strawman the author of the reviewed article, but by going on to say:

But it isn't just a sign of how irrational the social justice movement is...

does strawman the social justice movement as a whole.

Note: Edited in the first couple of minutes to fix formatting problems.

Comment author: TomM 16 July 2013 05:25:23AM 1 point [-]

Beeminder : +6 : Using it for nearly 2 years with good success in most areas I select to 'Beemind'. Yet to have to pay out on any goals (though I have derailed on no-pledge goals on 2 occasions).

RememberTheMilk : +2 : using it for several years. Best use is to keep track of tasks I have and have not done, but not great on committing me to action. Best suited to keeping track of minor tasks, especially recurring ones.

Trello : +2 : Used for perhaps a year. Similar experience to RememberTheMilk, but better suited to more complex tasks and projects.

In response to comment by TimS on Water Fluoridation
Comment author: gwern 18 February 2012 04:36:53PM 2 points [-]

At a guess, it's a precaution: very young children may eat it down as a kind of candy. (Don't all flouridated toothpastes come with warnings against swallowing?)

In response to comment by gwern on Water Fluoridation
Comment author: TomM 04 June 2012 05:34:49AM *  1 point [-]

Not just the very young - my 5 year old son was consuming toothpaste at such a rate that we have had to cut off his formerly unfettered access to it.

No amount of telling him 'eating a tubeful every few days is probably unhealthy' had any effect - he just loves the stuff.

Comment author: Jello_Raptor 17 March 2012 08:42:58PM *  11 points [-]

Snape's plotting here is interesting, but I'm not sure what he is actually trying to accomplish.

Quick rundown of what we know:

  1. Snape was the one who sent Hermione the notes on where to find bullies.
  2. Snape destroyed those notes when asked to look for them.
  3. He went through great efforts to obliviate everyone at SPHEW's final battle.
  4. Snape had a conversation with Quirrel where he had his ass handed to him. (either he was stupid when dealing with Quirrel, or wanted Quirrel to think he was stupid)
  5. He is probably working outside of Dumbledore's ordersl, and is definitely hiding things from Dumbledore.
  6. After the SPHEW girls kept on winning he stopped the Slytherin bullies from advancing any farther.

So I suspect a few things:

  1. Snape was the one who was forcing the repeated escalation of the SPHEW situation
  2. Snape is actually working to help Harry somehow. (Because of his love for Lily)
  3. Snape is not nearly so biased against muggleborns as he pretends to be. (Remember Lily was a muggleborn)
  4. Snape is trying to restore the reputation of Slytherin house in much the same way as Harry. (He's cutting down on bullying and is, in a way consistant with his character, making the hatred of muggleborns look stupid)

Now, if we ascribe his love for Lily as his primary motivation (Which "Sunk Costs" seems to support) , his support of Hermione, and his plotting to restore the reputation of Slytherin makes sense. What I don't understand is why he needs to hide this from Dumbledore. Even if his motivations are counter to those of Dumbledore (I.E. He's actually evil), all of these actions would cement Dumbledore's trust in him. I can think of a few possible reasons:

  1. Dumbledore thinks Hogwarts needs an evil racist Slytherin.
  2. Dumbledore is a control freak and any plots that are not his are to be distrusted. (Seriously, this is Hogwarts, ancestral home of the gambit pileup)
  3. Dumbledore doesn't have the best interests of Hogwarts in mind.
  4. Dumbledore would think that Snape's methods (Making Slytherin look stupid in its current form, and hurting little girls in the process) are wrong.
  5. Dumbledore is insane. (Like a pie)

None of these are particularly satisfying or convincing, hence why i'm throwing the question out there.

Edit: People have repeatedly pointed out that Snape's attachment to Lily was either broken or reduced by Harry's analysis of the situation, and that Snape's kiss in Sunk Costs was a reflection of that, and I can't help but agree.

Comment author: TomM 19 March 2012 04:17:28AM *  -2 points [-]

I can't see clearly why Snape is being presented as a likely hidden ally of SPHEW.

Without doubt, he involved himself in the group by providing information on where and when to find bullying, but this led to an escalation of hostilities rather than reducing bullying. This culminated in a massive confrontation during which he acted mysteriously, and by no means clearly in SPHEW's interests (I suspect the myriad memory charms were to hide/obfuscate his prior manipulation of almost all of those present!).

The only way in which he openly acted on the matter was to punish and publicly humiliate Hermione.

Snape is not just a tragic lover of a murdered muggleborn - he is a very bitter and emotionally stunted person, and a major bully in his own right up until his actions were curbed through Harry's influence. The idea that he would be on a personal crusade against bullying seems (to my reading) to go against almost every aspect of his character as presented so far in the fic.

If asked to speculate, I would suggest that:
* Snape intentionally escalated the SPHEW/bully situation, and used the final brouhaha as an opportunity to trample Hermione when the bullies failed to do it for him.
* He has observed the warming in relations between Hermione and Draco, and decided it had to be stopped - preferably by making each of them betray (or seem to) the trust of the other.
* He decided that his own handling of the SPHEW situation had been too clumsy and ineffective - he needed to make Hermione herself a villain if he wanted her more permanently dealt with.

My main uncertainty is why Snape would pick Hermione in particular to target (I haven't done a complete re-read for a few months, so I may be remembering events a bit 'selectively' - if I am being to mistrustful of Snape, I would love to see some references to points in the text where any of my interpretation is plausibly contradicted.

Edited: for grammar and clarity

Comment author: matheist 24 January 2012 05:07:37AM 2 points [-]

Nice. I like your explanation much better than mine. Keeping in mind that Lucius knows very little at this point about what Harry is like — and that Harry is only eleven! — I guess it's reasonable for Lucius to assume that such an observation by a fellow student of Draco's would require some adult tutelage.

Comment author: TomM 25 January 2012 01:01:46AM 2 points [-]

I just realised that I missed another very strong piece of evidence which immediately precedes Harry's statement: Draco states that Harry should meet Lucius - he is actually offering Harry privileged access to his father.

This strengthens my view that Harry has noted that Draco offers (multiple paths to) influence with or threat to Lucius.

Comment author: matheist 23 January 2012 06:27:10AM *  1 point [-]

I don't understand Draco's exchange with Lucius at the end of Chapter 7. Anyone know what's going on?

Here are my thoughts, which of course may easily be completely wrong.

Facts: 1) Harry states, "So during the Incident at the Potions Shop, while Professor McGonagall was busy talking to the shopkeeper and trying to get everything under control, I grabbed one of the customers and asked them about Lucius."

2) Harry states, "So you really are his one weak point. Huh."

3) Draco's letter to his father asks about Harry's "weak point" comment, Lucius's reply reads, "I would say that you had been so fortunate as to meet someone who enjoys the intimate confidence of our friend and valuable ally, Severus Snape."

--

Conclusions:

  • The wording of Harry's statement in fact 2 suggests that Harry's source put him on to the "weak point" assertion. The "so you really are" bit sounds like a hypothesis that has just been confirmed.

  • A bit of a reach: Harry's source in the potions shop was Severus Snape, and Snape is allied with Lucius. If the first conclusion is true, then this would explain the speed of Lucius's response to Draco. That is, Snape tells Harry about Lucius, including that Draco is his only weak point, and then reports the conversation to Lucius; when Draco reports the "weak point" comment, Lucius understands that Harry has spoken to Draco.

  • Snape is the potions teacher and hence might reasonably be found in the potions store.

--

This is not very satisfying to me because Harry doesn't later recognize Snape as being someone he has seen before, and his appearance is quite distinctive to Harry. Polyjuice seems like a stretch.

Comment author: TomM 24 January 2012 12:18:21AM *  9 points [-]

No secret information is required for Harry to come to his conclusion of "So you really are his one weak point. Huh."

Available evidence:
* Lucius is well known as a hard bastard (initially supplied by random customer, reinforced by Draco)
* Draco is well cared for (he is healthy, very well dressed, displays no social anxieties, worships his father)
* Draco is probably indulged or even spoiled (Draco's behaviour)
* Draco is being groomed to be Lucius' successor and therefore his equal (very clear by this point)

From this evidence it can be reasonably concluded that Lucius loves his son.
For a hard man like Lucius, this makes Draco his likely weakest point.

Lucius is simply underestimating Harry's ability to make good use of the available information (and possibly also underestimating how much Draco has given away while trying to cultivate Harry).

EDIT: 25 Jan 2012 - I just noticed that a previous incomplete revision of this comment appeared below by accident. It is now retracted...

Comment author: matheist 23 January 2012 06:27:10AM *  1 point [-]

I don't understand Draco's exchange with Lucius at the end of Chapter 7. Anyone know what's going on?

Here are my thoughts, which of course may easily be completely wrong.

Facts: 1) Harry states, "So during the Incident at the Potions Shop, while Professor McGonagall was busy talking to the shopkeeper and trying to get everything under control, I grabbed one of the customers and asked them about Lucius."

2) Harry states, "So you really are his one weak point. Huh."

3) Draco's letter to his father asks about Harry's "weak point" comment, Lucius's reply reads, "I would say that you had been so fortunate as to meet someone who enjoys the intimate confidence of our friend and valuable ally, Severus Snape."

--

Conclusions:

  • The wording of Harry's statement in fact 2 suggests that Harry's source put him on to the "weak point" assertion. The "so you really are" bit sounds like a hypothesis that has just been confirmed.

  • A bit of a reach: Harry's source in the potions shop was Severus Snape, and Snape is allied with Lucius. If the first conclusion is true, then this would explain the speed of Lucius's response to Draco. That is, Snape tells Harry about Lucius, including that Draco is his only weak point, and then reports the conversation to Lucius; when Draco reports the "weak point" comment, Lucius understands that Harry has spoken to Draco.

  • Snape is the potions teacher and hence might reasonably be found in the potions store.

--

This is not very satisfying to me because Harry doesn't later recognize Snape as being someone he has seen before, and his appearance is quite distinctive to Harry. Polyjuice seems like a stretch.

Comment author: TomM 24 January 2012 12:08:49AM *  -1 points [-]

Harry saying that Draco was Lucius' only weak point was probably just an (accurate) surmise given the available evidence: * 1. Lucius is well known as a hard bastard (information from random customer) * 2. Draco is visibly well cared for (and his behaviour suggests that he is indulged or even spoiled in many ways) * 3. Draco is being raised to be his father's successor and equal

Therefore Lucius probably loves Draco, making him a weak point.

No secret information is actually required to make this assessment, though it might be considered a bit close to a guess.

Comment author: dreeves 17 October 2011 06:58:19AM 2 points [-]

Love it. Alarm set for a month (or so).

And, yes, testimonials are, well, cheap talk. But our testimonials aren't like that, baby, I swear it... http://beeminder.com/testimonials

Comment author: TomM 07 December 2011 02:24:46AM 1 point [-]

Hey Danny and Bethany - you forgot to ask me again about using my earlier praise as a testimonial!

To cut short any suspense - you may use my previous statement.

My perspective has now developed a little (I am not sure quite how I let music practice start to slip, given I get so much out of it), but I stand by everything I previously said.

I have in fact recommended Beeminder to a few other people who I thought would "get it" and make good use of it.

Two months now without running off the road on any of my counters - though getting to bed on time has been close to the wire lately...

Comment author: Raemon 05 December 2011 03:50:34PM *  2 points [-]

As I get into some more complicated sections, it's becoming clear that the piece-meal way I'm posting this may not be the best for readers. I'm considering holding off on posting more until I've completed the tutorial section, so that I can edit it as a whole and better optimize the order than information is presented. If I go that route it'll probably be a month before new content goes up.

Edit: I would still wait a few days between sections, so people aren't bombarded with a lot of information at once.

Anyone have strong opinions on that, one way or another?

Comment author: TomM 06 December 2011 03:21:30AM 0 points [-]

I am inclined toward the piece-meal delivery.

I like the content drip fed rather than coming in bursts. I also tend to skim over older sequence posts again as each new one comes in, cementing concepts better than attempting to digest big runs of posts over a few days and then going without for a long period.

Comment author: bsoule 14 October 2011 03:26:08AM 2 points [-]

You're welcome! Glad you're finding it useful. Mind if we excerpt this high praise as a testimonial?

Also that's really an interesting insight about the difference between Beeminding things you want to do vs things you know you should. I've noticed that too, for me reading falls under the former, and pretty much everything else under the latter. With reading it is like a matter of inertia -- once I start reading I'm happy to keep doing it, but it is hard to start. But losing weight I never want to do, I only ever want to have done it.

Comment author: TomM 16 October 2011 11:03:12PM *  1 point [-]

Leaving aside my low opinion of testimonials as evidence for choosing a product or service (I know they work and they are thus an effective marketing tool, but I don't trust them for reasons that should be obvious to LessWrongers), I think it is too early for me to unreservedly recommend Beeminder to the "public at large".

My experience with it is still in a bit of a honeymoon period emotionally (I get excited about new things - don't we all!) so I want to be sure I am not just getting carried away.

I recommend that you solicit my permission for a testimonial in a month or so. If I am still using Beeminder (as seems likely at this time) then I am sure I will be happy to oblige.

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