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Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 · 2011-04-02T04:36:01.867Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It's an interesting idea. I wonder if Carlisle has been publishing medical papers, or something. He's the vampire that has been vegetarian, and hence high-probability for writing in free time, longest (I think). When did the Denalis become vegetarian?

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 · 2011-04-02T04:22:42.378Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Ooh, the latest Flash is interesting...

Do we know why Adelaide (presumably) killed those people? How did she kill those people? Did she in fact get super martial arts skills (or assassin skills, or whatever) from somewhere? What's with the head trauma?

Is this backstory at all canon, or just made up here? Either way, human!Adelaide driving people off with a violin is awesome.

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 · 2011-03-10T05:04:55.090Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Okay. Addy can take Razi's power and go with him, and Alice can scope out the area beforehand (has to, in fact) and note if there's anything too ambushy or powerful there. Thus, single vampires can probably be taken out. It's a pity all the trackers died, though they're much less useful in the Empire phase as the vampire population increases because they have to meet everyone. I would be leery of teleporting to random places, were I Razi, but he can just jump out again on no notice if necessary, I guess.

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 · 2011-03-10T03:56:55.220Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

What does Razi need to know about a place before he can teleport there? Alice can see anyone, but if there are no visual cues as to the location nearby she can't tell where they are (as in Luminosity, in which she is fooled into thinking James is in Florida when he is in fact on a movie set). Does whatever information Alice has on the look of a location suffice for Razi to go there? If not, then a vampire can evade Empire justice for some time simply by staying in a dark room, or being in an undifferentiated forest somewhere. Not long-term, maybe, but enough time to turn a mate and ensure the bond is established.

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 · 2011-03-10T03:51:16.955Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Also, any penalty short of death is going to be relatively little actual deterrent, in the long run. It'll encourage vampires to make a strong attempt to convince their mate, but if that isn't possible they will be quite willing to simply kidnap and turn them, in the sure knowledge that they will forgive them once turned, and make sure that the bond is fully established before the Empire intervenes so that they aren't serving N years hidden in the absence of their mate.

Comment by alethiophile on Rationality Quotes: March 2011 · 2011-03-10T02:04:52.826Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not really referring to the health of the scientific field, per se. For all I know, there are plenty of brilliantly scintillating papers being published in climate journals, that would dazzle me with their astounding respect for methodology. Some anecdotal evidence leads me to believe that this is not, in fact, the case, but it is not of sufficient strength that I would make that claim. The area in which discussion of climate science seems devoid of actual science is in the realm where climate science is meant to inform governmental policy, which, of course, has obvious pressures for politicization of the science in either direction.

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 · 2011-03-10T01:51:22.872Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yay, final update! Now I can put it on my Kindle and not feel like I have to replace it three times a week.

Two questions.

First, are the chapters in Radiance going to be rearranged the way the ones in Luminosity were?

Second, to what degree does Benjamin have control over the classical elements? Can he, for instance, summon fire from the air? If so, then he should be easily the most formidable fighter around, with the possible exception of Pera, and even she would be vulnerable to a less-metaphorical firewall. Can he put himself out if he's on fire? If so, why were the Volturi so blase about igniting Bella and assuming her death, multiple times? (This one I could believe as basic laziness when they have no reason to believe her power makes her immune to fire, but it's a thought.)

Comment by alethiophile on Rationality Quotes: March 2011 · 2011-03-09T01:57:26.116Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I've not read the science journals, and so cannot comment on them. I'm referring to informal debate (as in blogs and so forth) by climate scientists.

Comment by alethiophile on Rationality Quotes: March 2011 · 2011-03-06T20:36:09.929Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I don't have any specific evidence--but even "scientific" debate on the topic, between scientists, tends to largely ignore the merits of the science and become a political affair a la Green Vs. Blue, centered entirely on whether or not the participants accept the prevailing theory.

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 · 2011-03-06T04:59:45.741Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I hereby dub this a Great Idea, and request a short story from Alicorn about it.

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 · 2011-03-06T04:59:18.449Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

True. Okay. I forgot that they have perfect supernatural lie detection available.

This seems like a remarkably harsh rule, since the dynamics of the mate bond with a human provide sufficient incentive to turn the mate without permission--whether permission would have been granted or not--that many people will do it, and it seems likely that a large number of them will successfully finish the turning and bond to their mate, necessitating large punishments for both the perpetrator and the victim of an act of which the victim was entirely innocent and which the victim is overwhelmingly likely to retroactively endorse. Leaving arguments of the morality of nonconsensual turning aside, a law that seems so likely to lead to the Empire carrying out so many morally questionable punishments seems suspect.

Comment by alethiophile on Singularity Institute now accepts donations via Bitcoin · 2011-03-06T04:51:05.180Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That's not the idea. The computational problem is simply a proof of work--you create a specific, verifiable string, with a changeable component greater than 256 bits, then hash that string using incrementing values until you find a SHAsum less than a certain value. Knowing a random, short preimage for each possible hash doesn't help you there, because those will not allow you to create a verifiable string with the correct hash.

Comment by alethiophile on Rationality Quotes: March 2011 · 2011-03-06T04:41:13.896Z · score: 8 (10 votes) · LW · GW

There is some value in criticizing that which has been improperly popularly lionized, but this introduces its own skew. Zinn managed to truly piss me off because in his chapter on WWII he either did not mention or mentioned only in passing the rape of Nanking and similar Japanese atrocities, spent a few paragraphs on the Holocaust, surprisingly didn't particularly mention the firebombings of Dresden or Tokyo, but harped for several pages on the atomic bombs. Perhaps they needed examination, but incessantly and loudly examining them at the expense of everything else leaves the reader with a distinct impression of Zinn's own political beliefs.

I think this might be behind much of (American) conservatives' anger with liberals in the foreign policy domain, as exemplified by the insult "blame-America-first". Liberals are questioning America's policies, which is well and good, while leaving it as read that the actions of their adversaries (since the dynamic evolved, usually USSR or terrorists) are much worse. Conservatives see that apparent bias and gain the impression that all liberals hate America in particular. The situation is not improved by much political mind-death on all sides. This is probably going off on a bit of a tangent, but it's at least marginally relevant.

Comment by alethiophile on Rationality Quotes: March 2011 · 2011-03-06T03:58:25.368Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

The whole "science is settled" debacle in climate change? I'm not going to take a position on it, but it certainly seems to have become about that particular theory rather than the scientific method.

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 · 2011-03-06T03:52:31.378Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Bella's law regarding no non-consensual turning of mates seems like it would be hard to enforce. If a vampire finds their mate and bites them before the Golden Empire can interfere, then even if the Empire finds out before the turning is finished, there's no real way to prove that it was nonconsensual. The mate will be incoherent during the turning process, and after turning will a. have fuzzy memories of right before the turning, and b. be more than willing to lie on behalf of their own mate. The only real way around this is for the Empire to isolate the mate during turning, perhaps applying Alec in order to help them, and then quiz them before they see their mate. However, it also seems that this could be gotten around by simply making sure that the turning is finished before the Empire finds them. It is mentioned that Alice's weekly check for eye color might find the turning, but I should imagine that turning through a syringe should not affect eye color. How might this be enforced?

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 · 2011-03-03T23:19:32.316Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Ah. Okay, I get it now.

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 · 2011-03-03T05:41:18.272Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Now I want to hear more about this nontrivial skill component to War. Unless it's skill at cheating, I really can't imagine what it might be.

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 · 2011-03-01T03:34:51.177Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That implies something very interesting about Allirea's power. The usual criterion for the spreading of umbrella-type effects attached to persons is that events that are heavily influenced by the person are under the umbrella, apparently, and I'm going to assume that that applies to Allirea's fading as well. This means that Allirea can trick someone into thinking that something vitally important to their survival is simply unimportant--that the fact that someone is currently reducing them to gravel is not worth remembering. Wow.

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 · 2011-02-27T03:10:20.910Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Hm. Would a quarter-vamp non-wolf be venomous or immortal? (Presumably a quarter-vamp wolf would be just as immortal as a wolf; would they also be immortal if they quit their wolves?)

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 · 2011-02-27T02:42:39.516Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

While Allirea makes a very effective bodyguard in the combat sense, she is less helpful in the intimidation sense because, of course, no one can remember that she's there. What would happen if a vampire who had a reasonable expectation to win against Bella alone, and was not talked by Elspeth into believing that he could not win a fight, attacked Bella and was taken apart by her and Allirea? Would he know what was happening? What would his relevant memories suggest? Would said memories become clear while Allirea was unfaded? Is this a valid method to control the vampire population? (It might actually be quite effective--anyone who attacks Bella is taken apart by something they can't remember happening. Great creepy factor.)

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 · 2011-02-27T02:36:45.259Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Some thoughts about heredity.

Alicorn, I believe, has said that half-vampires can breed with either vampires or humans (or, presumably, other half-vampires) and create hybrids of different fractions of vampire-ness. Thus, any children Elspeth has will be at least one-quarter vampire, which if I recall correctly is above Alicorn's threshold for "still technically part-vampire" as regards the on-or-off abilities of hybrids (males venomous, immortal are the ones I can think of). It is also hypothesized that male wolves imprint because their imprints are capable of passing on the wolf gene. I'm not sure of the degree of certainty attached to this, but it seems a reasonable supposition. Given these questions, what happens if Elspeth and Jacob have a child? It's quite probable that the child would be a wolf, since Jacob imprinted on Elspeth. The child would also be at least one-quarter vampire. Can you have a hybrid wolf? If the child is male, presumably he would also be venomous--how does this interact with the wolves' very negative reaction to vampire venom? This seems to be a question that would come up even in canon Twilight, and I wouldn't necessarily expect Meyer to have thought about it, but it would be interesting if Alicorn had a perspective.

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 · 2011-02-26T04:57:45.845Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Man, that would be a weird way to wake up. "Hi, you got killed by Aro, he read your mind, I got a bunch of your memories dumped on me, and by the way you exist only in my head."

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 · 2011-02-24T22:46:26.481Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Another thing I'm wondering: what was it, precisely, that deleted Benito's original human memories? Was it the experience of any higher-fidelity vampire memories, or was it the overload caused by all of it simply overwriting the least vivid? If the former, then Elspeth has an easy way to resurrect an arbitrary dead vampire, but needs to be careful sending anything to a human lest their mind be lost (wouldn't it purely suck to have only the vampire memories of a single event Elspeth showed you, and nothing else?). If the latter, then Elspeth needs to blast a human entire and hope they reidentify as the vampire she actually wants to resurrect; which is more chancy.

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 · 2011-02-24T06:27:05.261Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It now seems that the thorny ethical problem is resolved with the fact that the human person caught in the blast no longer exists. (Unless that's just Addy lying, but she's still in range of Edward and one would assume that he would tell Bella if Addy lied about something of that magnitude.) I'm very curious to see what happens if one of the human!vampires is turned.

Comment by alethiophile on Procedural Knowledge Gaps · 2011-02-23T07:46:43.573Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I grew up just east of the Rocky Mountains, which are, being in my area more or less straight north-south, always to the west. No fictional landmarks required. You might be able to do something similar with a coastline, though that's quite a bit less visible.

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 · 2011-02-23T03:38:24.955Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

So what happens to someone who is vampire-memoried and then turned? Do they still have the same memories? What if the current John-as-human was turned, and then Elspeth/Addy gave him another dump of just John-as-vampire's memories? Also, will the mate bond work on Didyme-human turned with Marcus, since she "remembers" it so? If not it would be awfully traumatic for both, probably.

Comment by alethiophile on Anti-rationality quotes · 2011-02-20T18:15:27.744Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I would call this one unfair as well. As I read the quote, he's saying that the rules of evidence as applied to criminal trials, where the goal is simply to determine the truth or falsehood of the accusation, are not really applicable to the goal of determining what the policy should be. Which is entirely defensible.

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 · 2011-02-15T03:15:34.926Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yay, stuff is happening! Siobhan is cool, and having her on one's side is a major asset. I'm still very nervous about what Addy is doing, though. It's not like her to let this major an upset happen without her input. More generally, the second shoe has yet to fall. I wonder what it'll be?

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 · 2011-02-08T06:02:04.574Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I was all bummed by the apparent missed update on Friday, but then now there's two. Yay!

Jacob still has alpha-voice powers over whoever is in his pack, right? If so, couldn't he simply order everyone who can hear him not to tell anyone about anything as soon as he phases? That would work unless a packmate happens to be near Aro at the time. (Or runs into him in future; but is Aro making a habit of reading all the wolves regularly, given the stress this is likely to induce? Or would they be keeping a packmate of Jacob's near Aro at all times? Someone suggested this, and it's certainly a good idea to get info.) Also, Bella could shield Jacob before he phases; if they're keeping a packmate near Aro, then a shield would negate that particular threat, though Aro would have to become aware of the fact that the wolf is suddenly shielded if he happened to try to read him during the conversation. Also, it might have occurred to Aro that keeping one of the few creatures that can credibly threaten a vampire right nearby and susceptible to the mind-control of a known enemy is a bad idea. Unknown whether this could sway him more than the potential intelligence coup. My sense is that even with a surprise, shielded attack a single wolf probably couldn't take out Aro, given the likely quick response by every other vampire; he wouldn't have time to set a fire, certainly.

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 · 2011-02-05T21:49:23.220Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

As far as I can tell, what Elspeth is doing is, in talking to Alice, seeing if her magic, which helps her communicate the truth to people in ways they will understand, would suggest analogies between the current situation and previous situations. I.e., if Elspeth were trying to explain the situation of Addy and Pera to Alice, would her magic suggest Alice and Jasper's own situation as an example? If so, then that means that Alice and Jasper's situation is analogous to that of Addy and Pera, and hence it implies something about their motives. Magic has a mind-reading power, kind of, whose intent is solely to determine how to comprehensibly explain the truth to someone. Elspeth is using this for a method not originally intended, in order to determine something about Alice and Jasper. Thus, it's not an oracle; it depends critically on Elspeth currently being in communication with someone who knows the answer.

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 · 2011-01-27T04:17:30.352Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe not as useful, then. I still think that Bella's shield-pack ability has to be significant in the future; it's too blatant a foreshadow not to be.

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 · 2011-01-27T03:39:02.164Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Wait until the wolves are on a mission with their Volturi handlers, then do it. Have the wolves kill the handlers and run. Doesn't have the same shock value as an attack on Volterra, but may well hurt the Volturi fairly badly depending on who of the guard is in the party and adds the wolves to the rebels' side rather than the Volturi's.

Does Bella's shield extend through the telepathy between different alphas, or not? If not, the utility of the plan is lessened, though the mission variant could still work if the alpha there forwards Elspeth's deprogramming to his/her pack. (Who are the alphas? Still Rachel, Rebecca and Jacob only?)

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 · 2011-01-25T00:37:37.698Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If Bella shields phased Jacob while another alpha is also phased, does the shield extend to that alpha and/or his/her pack? It's mentioned in Luminosity that there can be cross-talk between wolves in different packs to some degree if both alphas are phased. Will this allow Elspeth to transmit to all the wolves at once if the alphas are phased? If both are true, then they can carry out a surprise attack with the wolves by having them all phase, Bella shield Jacob, and Elspeth disillusion them all with the Volturi at once; they would then presumably yield to their general instinct to attack vampires, and with the shield in place they could well be immune to most of the powerful witches in the compound (Jane and Alec certainly, possibly Aro's shield (Renata?) as well). With some intelligent use of Elspeth, the wolves could know just as much about the compound, village, town as the Volturi, and if this was timed in conjunction with another attack (by a newborn army, perhaps), it could cause major damage.

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 · 2011-01-24T22:33:23.604Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Can Elspeth grant a subagent other than the main one control of her body? If so, then she can become much more formidable thus: she has the memories of many, including of course many who are very good at combat, so create a 'Melee' subagent (in keeping with the tradition of names beginning with M) that is in charge of knowing vampire melee combat in and out, and when necessary grant it bodily control. In general, Elspeth+memories is a really powerful combination; with subagents she can process the knowledge in ways unavailable even to vampires, and do fun stuff with it.

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 · 2011-01-13T22:44:20.020Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

There would be little to no plot-relevance either way; it would just be incredibly amusing if the available method of FTL signalling involves someone conditioning on whether or not they can remember Allirea's existence.

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 · 2011-01-13T02:44:07.536Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Stuff is happening.

I really like the writing for Allirea, but it's incredibly frustrating having important plot details constantly being hidden behind a power curtain. Elspeth's reactions are very funny.

Could Allirea use her phasing as a signalling mechanism? For instance, someone she'd met could reasonably often check if they can remember her existence (if doing it mentally is prohibited by the power, then have a PDA or something that sets off an alarm with the word 'Allirea' every five minutes) and if so, take some action. (The relevant question here is, I suppose, whether Allirea's phasing immediately affects everyone on earth who knows her, or not. If the former, is there a lightspeed delay?)

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 · 2011-01-13T02:40:37.900Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I think it's because vampires can't reproduce. If everyone was immediately turned, then you'd have a static population. I didn't read it as a slur on vampires.

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 · 2011-01-10T04:25:59.607Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

So what is Nathan's power? He seems to think telling Siobhan about it would impair its effectiveness on her, and she notes knowing he was on the island but never quite being around where he was. Something like Siobhan's that induces things to go his way?

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 · 2011-01-08T20:22:13.563Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

New chapter is up.

Alicorn, lately the updates have been becoming later and (unless I'm imagining things) getting shorter. It may be worthwhile for you to switch from a M-W-F update schedule to a whenever-it's-ready schedule in order to prevent them from becoming work that is unseemly to contemplate, because that's the easiest way I can think of for this to end prematurely. And that would be sad.

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 · 2011-01-07T04:54:18.630Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

In Luminosity, Alice was able to see her future conversation with Bella about how blood smells to her, even though after she told Bella her results there was no reason for her to ever have that conversation. However, getting arbitrary information by resolving to write it down once she knows it, then seeing herself write it down, seems different. It would also be an absolute game-breaker, so for narrative reasons it probably won't work out that way. (Maybe it wouldn't work if the information pertained to someone that blocks her. That would be less game-breaking, but still bad.)

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 · 2011-01-06T04:55:52.616Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

So does this extend as well to other people carrying out her plan? It could be some sort of generalized psychic ability that tries to make events go as she wills them to, but requires a level of concentration achieved by planning it out in detail. Whatever; it seems that the results are well enough defined, even if the implied method is odd.

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 · 2011-01-06T03:59:09.782Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

So what is Siobhan's power? We have Del's actions to confirm that she has one, but what evidence did Carlisle have that he was so convinced? If Carlisle only saw Siobhan herself carrying out her plans, then it could be that Siobhan is simply of the mindset that puts together elaborate plans in a way that emphasizes fallback positions, and her actual power is something like a supernatural talent for Indy Ploys. However, if Carlisle saw others carrying out Siobhan's plans, and they still worked well enough to convince him that she was a witch and not merely a good planner, then that power must affect others as well as herself, invalidating the theory that Siobhan is simply supernaturally competent at achieving her goals in a way unrelated to plans. The obvious conclusion is that her power is the mode of thought that attempts to put together plans with great regard for the possible holes therein; the alternate hypothesis is that her power somehow contaminates plans she devises with Essence of Success, or something, which is really reaching and not consistent with how witchcraft has so far worked here.

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 · 2011-01-06T01:43:23.553Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Assuming that the needs of the narrative were taken care of, could she? Would she have to already be good at calculus herself to do so? If she was, but it took her entire concentration, could making a Math sub-agent allow her to do it 'in the background'?

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 · 2011-01-06T00:39:02.241Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I'm still wondering about the 'arbitrary numbers of sub-agents' aspect of Elspeth's power. She found Magic there the first time she meditated, but apparently created Memory intentionally for the purpose of dealing with her Del-induced memory banks. Could she create other sub-agents with particular purposes? Could she create a 'Math' sub-agent that was really good at calculus? If she creates multiple sub-agents that then explicitly argue the truth of a point, could she become noticeably better than usual at discerning the truth from opposing clever arguments? This is the sort of mental power that seems like it could do just about anything (inward-directed), depending on the constraints.

Comment by alethiophile on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 6 · 2011-01-05T05:09:39.773Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I really can't wait until the next army fight, and I hope it's described rather than just alluded to. Be interesting to see whether the intuition of the others is correct that his mental upgrade will make him even better at mock battle, or whether his new focus will simply make him not care.

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 · 2011-01-05T04:57:30.257Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I just thought of something. Given Alice's precog, could she, for instance, guess passwords? Assuming a numeric entry code, could she do something along the lines of 1. decide to press 0 first; 2. if she sees the door opening in her precog set, press 0 and then go to 1; 3. if not, then try 1 with the number 1 instead, etc. (i.e., does her precog give her a set of possibilities based on future decisions, or does it give her only one possibility based on what she has in mind at the time?)

If the latter holds, and hence the above algorithm won't work, then how long a password is it feasible for her to guess by exhaustive mental search of the command space (i.e. resolve to type 0000, then if she sees door opening type it, otherwise go to 0001, etc.) with vampire mental speed? The advantage of this over simply trying each password is 1. that it's likely to be faster, with physical bottlenecks removed, and 2. it doesn't trigger anti-brute-force alarms in the system.

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 · 2011-01-05T00:03:47.950Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

One imagines that, if he was doing something akin to Elspeth's heuristic, immediate feedback on what Chelsea's doing to him would be very useful. This is contingent, of course, on him caring, which at the moment he probably doesn't (though, if he's smart enough to put together a Xanatos Gambit instead of just going ape when he finds the memory, it might well be very useful then).

A side question: If Marcus became aware of Aro's part in Didyme's death, could Chelsea snip the emotional bond based around hatred and revenge that resulted? Or is that too tied up with the mate bond to be vulnerable?

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight Fanfic) Discussion Thread 3 · 2011-01-04T03:04:55.008Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Very much agreed. He's kind of badass. I especially like his casual death threats to Chelsea. Does this imply that Marcus is functionally immune to Chelsea, since he can see what she's doing in real time?

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight fanfic) Part 2 Discussion Thread · 2010-12-28T03:53:18.826Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Chapter 22.

Addy has run off without consultation after taking Siobhan's power. That could be bad. I'm having visions of a supervillain Addy running around.

Siobhan has asked the crucial question. They now have a really dandy weapon against the Volturi, can they inject it into the collective knowledge at the right time. This, of course, assumes that no Volturi come across the knowledge beforehand, in which case the effect is not likely to be as drastic, but still interesting.

Did Marcus himself receive the memory dump? If so, I recall reading that he spent most of his time brooding, presumably over Didyme. Would this cause him to immediately look for all the information available about Didyme in the memory dump? If so, he's already found it and gone ape, off-screen. Which would be kind of disappointing, unless we get a meanwhile later on.

Comment by alethiophile on Luminosity (Twilight fanfic) Part 2 Discussion Thread · 2010-12-25T06:51:22.230Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Wow. Arbitrary numbers of sub-agents.

I think this officially qualifies as the most awesome superpower ever.

My commendations, by the way, for updating even on Christmas Eve.