Posts

The Atheist's Tithe 2014-11-13T17:22:46.310Z · score: 7 (16 votes)
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 18, chapter 87 2012-12-22T07:55:08.205Z · score: 4 (9 votes)
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 17, chapter 86 2012-12-17T07:19:33.096Z · score: 9 (11 votes)

Comments

Comment by alsadius on Why capitalism? · 2015-05-12T18:32:13.857Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I am explicitly against subsidies, full stop. I am also of the belief that the fashionable sorts of renewables(wind, solar, etc.) get vastly more subsidies than any other form of power, particularly in the developed world, and this belief is borne out by my own experiences with my local government and with stories from elsewhere. And I thought the US was being discussed, because it usually is, but looking upthread it seems I was in error there. If any country was being discussed it was Germany, though their example is hardly different - they're spending a ton of money for an inferior power source.

Comment by alsadius on Why capitalism? · 2015-05-08T16:00:09.311Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

If that non-OECD number is to be believed, 2% of non-OECD GDP goes to fuel subsidies. Or, if you prefer to think of it this way, it's close to 1/3 of the total world oil market to fossil fuel subsidies. And this number comes from a think-tank that's obviously out to make an anti-subsidy point, with no detail as to where it came from or why we should believe it. Think tanks aren't to be immediately dismissed, but they frequently exaggerate badly.

And the discussion is about why renewables get used. German use of renewables is very different than Canadian or Congolese, and aggregating them leads to muddy thinking and useless stats. Germans use modern renewables because the government is dumping a bloody lot of money into the industry. Canadians use renewables because we have massive amounts of easily-tapped hydroelectric potential, and hydro dams are the cheapest source of power known. Congolese use renewables because they have no better options than burning wood.

I'll agree with you that some poor countries spend a lot on subsidizing gasoline, but it's only a lot by poor-country standards, and it's hardly all of them. I want a better source than naked statement of a number from a biased group before I'll believe it adds up to that staggering a sum. And even if it does, that has no impact on the US, where fossil fuel is nearly unsubsidized - if you want me to think that renewables and an "energy internet" are a good choice for the US, then you need to explain how switching from a cheaper source to one that's more expensive even with bigger subsidies is a net cost savings.

Comment by alsadius on Why capitalism? · 2015-05-05T15:05:19.283Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Remember, a lot of renewables get thrown in together without being the same. The renewables that get subsidies are mostly the flashy new ones, like wind, solar, and ethanol. Those are only a few percent of world consumption. Virtually all renewable energy production is either hydroelectric(which is quite profitable, and attracts basically no subsidies) or burning of wood and dung(which almost entirely happens in poor countries that can't afford to subsidize much of anything). Slightly dated graph, but one that gives a good sense of how things break down: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renewable_energy#/media/File:Total_World_Energy_Consumption_by_Source_2010.png

Also, over 80% of fossil fuel subsidies are outside the OECD? Seriously? 80% of the money spent on anything being non-OECD is hard to fathom, because the OECD has somewhere around 80% of the world's money, and a lot more disposable income to blow on subsidizing things.

Comment by alsadius on Why capitalism? · 2015-05-04T11:56:06.735Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

But renewables are vastly smaller than fossil fuels, and the relevant number is subsidy per unit energy.

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-04T22:36:24.044Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

https://parahumans.wordpress.com/category/stories-arcs-21/arc-23-drone/23-04/

(edited slightly for spoilers)

“I always hated the speeches when I was in school, the preaching in auditoriums, the one-note message. Stuff like saying drugs are bad. It’s wrong. Drugs are fantastic.”

“Um,” Fox-mask said.

Mrs. Yamada was glaring at me, but she hadn’t interrupted.

“People wouldn’t do them if they weren’t. They make you feel good, make your day brighter, give you energy-”

“Taylor,” Mrs. Yamada cut in.

“-until they don’t,” I said. “People hear the message that drugs are bad, that they’ll ruin your life if you do them once. And then you find out that isn’t exactly true because your friends did it and turned out okay, or you wind up trying something and you’re fine. So you try them, try them again. It isn’t a mind-shattering moment of horrible when you try that first drug. Or so I hear. It’s subtle, it creeps up on you, and you never really get a good, convincing reason to stop before it ruins your life beyond comprehension. I never went down that road, but I knew a fair number of people who did.”

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-03T18:41:57.907Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

3) Voldemort is evil and cannot be persuaded to be good; the Dark Lord's utility function cannot be changed by talking to him.

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-03T18:30:41.533Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Anyone who gives a speech in a school talking about how drugs are fun is a good person to emulate, IMO.

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-03T18:29:48.262Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Despite the fact that the rules of the exam specifically prohibited such?

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-03T18:20:46.394Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Different spell. http://hpmor.com/chapter/86

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-03T18:19:08.503Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

As opposed to? (I wasn't keeping close track of the theories as we went forward).

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-03T18:09:27.676Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Well, seems like we passed.

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 113 · 2015-03-03T16:26:03.304Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

You think he had two guns in his pouch? I mean, it's not impossible, but it seems unlikely(and if he did, why did he use the lesser gun to shoot at Voldemort?).

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 113 · 2015-03-01T19:05:49.684Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Right. I mean, it has to have some sort of effect, and that was my first thought. But then, it's small enough that Dumbledore can lift it, so I'm not sure how effective it can be.

Maybe he can jump behind it?

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 113 · 2015-03-01T19:01:43.232Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

That's not a win, but I think it's the best loss possible.

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 113 · 2015-03-01T18:00:36.295Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That solves neither Voldemort's lack of patience nor Harry's whole "dying horribly" problem.

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 113 · 2015-03-01T15:18:53.190Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

That happened about 1997 after a famous school massacre, but the story is set in 1992. Guns are still available in the UK(though, obviously not so freely as in the US).

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 113 · 2015-03-01T15:07:06.699Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

He could certainly request it, but he won't get it.

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 113 · 2015-03-01T15:06:09.661Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Heretical ones actually follow the written holy books.

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 113 · 2015-03-01T14:42:43.977Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

1) Cancel the Transfiguration on his father's rock, use it as a physical shield to block Death Eater attacks.

2) Patronus 2.0 to block Voldemort's attacks - we only know for a fact that it blocks Avada Kedavra, but it is an instance of Harry's magic, which seems to interact poorly with any of Voldemort's magic. If he's got sufficient control, put the Patronus coincident with Voldemort's body - at minimum it'll prevent him from doing too much with magic, and with luck it'll actuaolly cause some sort of resonance that disables Voldemort.

Those two together buy him a few seconds, but no more. After that, frankly, I'm not sure - my best guess is that he'll Accio his pouch and pull out some kind of Muggle gadget, but we already know Voldemort can trump that by ripping the items away. (Unless one of them's a hand grenade, and Voldy doesn't notice? Unlikely...). If he can hold the items long enough to Time-Turn, he can summon some help, presumably pre-mirror Dumbledore. That said, I'm not sure how much that will help.

For a rather out-there option, he is Tom Riddle, and has some of Voldemort's memories. Can the Death Eaters be convinced to change teams? Unlikely, but not specifically prohibited.

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 111 · 2015-02-25T20:57:47.057Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I've spent too long on LW, I think - I saw "Ktlzybplq" and assumed it was rot13.

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 111 · 2015-02-25T20:56:45.758Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It allows for honesty in Parseltongue when hinting at his plan earlier.

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 111 · 2015-02-25T20:48:18.966Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I suspect I'm spoiling the in-joke here, but is that a literal in-story thing, or just a fan joke? Honestly, it's getting hard to tell sometimes.

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 111 · 2015-02-25T20:45:53.835Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Hermione needed them immediately, due to fears of Transfiguration sickness. Voldemort did not.

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 111 · 2015-02-25T20:44:31.955Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

He presumably planned on killing Harry, or just Apparating somewhere and killing a random person.

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 111 · 2015-02-25T20:43:49.572Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Is poison really a good attack against someone who holds the Philosopher's Stone?

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 110 · 2015-02-24T23:52:35.028Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Presumably that they're equal but opposite.

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 110 · 2015-02-24T23:51:42.038Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Worth noting - it is immediately after that laughter that he gives over his father's rock. And given that this chapter comments on how Dumbledore has access to wacky divination, that rock starts to make a heck of a lot more sense. (I mean, we always knew it's be an Important Quest Item, but this does shed a bit of light on why)

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 108 · 2015-02-21T15:22:43.547Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Too time-sensitive, I suspect.

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 108 · 2015-02-21T15:22:11.254Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Both are withdrawn from circulation as they decay, and if they don't decay they'll stick around for a while. As it gets old enough, it'll get picked up by a collector of some sort, who will keep it better-preserved and think nothing of its long lifespan. (This does, however, limit the amount of possessing it can do)

Better idea: Door handles.

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 108 · 2015-02-21T15:17:43.089Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Good call - I only double-checked 108. That makes my theory far less likely.

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 108 · 2015-02-21T15:16:54.781Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I will point out, one per 500 comments was the old system. There was ~30 threads for the first ~100 chapters.

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 108 · 2015-02-21T13:58:00.809Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Is he? I don't recall any such line in this chapter. I mean, it's probably something he's taken precautions against, but it's hard to be sure(unless I missed something).

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 108 · 2015-02-21T04:15:51.639Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Except that magical power has already been established to be genetic. The Potterverse doesn't have Wheel of Time-style shields or cutting people off from their magic, to the best of my knowledge.

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 108 · 2015-02-20T23:06:00.026Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

He managed to last a year.

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 108 · 2015-02-20T23:03:56.310Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Crazy theory: Voldy resurrects Hermione to keep his promise, then kills Harry. Hermione then drops Voldy somehow, and resurrects Harry using the same means that were used on her.

Additional crazy theory: The method for doing both will be the Philosopher's Stone. She will transmute Voldemort into something mortal-but-inert - a bristlecone pine, perhaps.

Comment by alsadius on Stupid Questions February 2015 · 2015-02-20T23:02:43.087Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, that. There's no way of getting money that's so ugly that some poor, desperate person somewhere won't try.

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107 · 2015-02-20T23:00:57.780Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Only if the ability to lie to Harry Potter is more valuable than having a clearly-functioning mind that accurately represents the real world.

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107 · 2015-02-18T23:14:03.919Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Canon!Voldemort, maybe. MoR!Voldemort, not a chance.

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107 · 2015-02-18T01:44:09.092Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Is a sheet of carbon nanotube so thin that it's invisible actually going to stop a bullet? And even if it does, once Quirrell realizes what happened, what are the odds Harry can keep such a wall up for more than three tenths of a second?

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107 · 2015-02-18T01:36:30.032Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

In canon, Harry has also resisted even scarier magic cast by Voldemort.

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107 · 2015-02-18T01:32:11.198Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

For an obvious reason - pretend to have more limits than you do, to be underestimated.

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107 · 2015-02-17T16:53:26.656Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'd argue that's still the case in this story. If anything, it's more misleading than spoiler. (Which is fine for an in-joke, of course)

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107 · 2015-02-17T11:39:38.512Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW · GW

Parseltongue is a low-information-density language - it lacks a lot of technical terms, colloquial phrases, and the like. Communication is much faster in English.

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107 · 2015-02-17T05:01:27.590Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I called it long ago(well before the confession) that the killer was Dumbledore, and that this pledge would cause a rift between Harry and either Dumbledore or Draco. Not 100% sure which side Harry will come down on there, but I'd say I'm about 90% that he sides with honesty.

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107 · 2015-02-17T04:13:10.340Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

...For canon?

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107 · 2015-02-17T01:51:03.451Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

The promise was "tonight", and Harry left the Quidditch game at about 11:30 PM. Using colloquial meanings gives Quirrelmort until roughly sunrise to make good, which leaves him plenty of time even using the short nights of Scotland in June.

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 104 · 2015-02-17T01:35:56.764Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I don't have HP&PS on hand, but if true, that'd be evidence for your theory. That said, while Transfiguration sickness is canonical, it seems that the whole point of the Philosopher's Stone is to bypass concerns like that, so I still lean against it being true.

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107 · 2015-02-17T01:31:53.910Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

After a long gap, or when the old thread hits/gets close to 500 comments and starts getting cut off. During the last serious run of chapters, they were hitting 500 virtually every chapter, but that seemed to be the principle adhered to in past.

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 104 · 2015-02-17T01:25:06.725Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Petunia was made pretty by a potion that made her ill for an extended period, which doesn't sound like the Philosopher's Stone. Interesting theory, but I lean towards it being false.

Comment by alsadius on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107 · 2015-02-17T01:23:30.263Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I dislike this - the existing thread is only at 140 comments, and should be used for at least today's chapter. There's probably going to be another posted Wednesday, at this rate.