## Posts

Comment by mathmage on Torture vs. Dust Specks · 2018-06-21T19:38:01.057Z · score: 3 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It is not humility to note that extrapolating models unimaginably far beyond their normal operating ranges is a fraught business. Just because we can apply a certain utility approximation to our monkeysphere, or even a few orders of magnitude above our monkeysphere, doesn't mean the limiting behavior matches our approximation.

Comment by mathmage on [FINAL CHAPTER] Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 122 · 2015-03-14T19:18:38.559Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Good thing we use M/D/Y calendars here in the States, otherwise we'd have to wait for 3 January 2041. Or, come to think of it, 3 January 4159.

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 121 · 2015-03-13T19:09:29.673Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Awww.

Awww.

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 120 · 2015-03-12T22:52:03.766Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I wonder how Harry would react to Death as written by Terry Pratchett?

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 119 · 2015-03-11T16:34:01.079Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Huh? Harry thought it was McGonagall. What in this chapter changes that?

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 118 · 2015-03-09T19:11:41.158Z · score: 41 (41 votes) · LW · GW

All the students agree to take on the position of Defense Professor de facto.

Next year, all the students die.

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 117 · 2015-03-09T17:41:21.511Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That's the "sadder" ending, which is precisely what EY promised.

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 116 · 2015-03-06T23:08:57.779Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Ch. 84:

"I shall not name any names," said the old witch. "But I shall tell a story, and see if it sounds familiar." Amelia Bones looked back down, turning to the next parchment. "Born 1927, entered Hogwarts in 1938, sorted into Slytherin, graduated 1945.

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 116 · 2015-03-06T22:53:15.894Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Because it wasn't a throwaway anymore. His plan was to take over magical Britain as Voldemort, and have both the 'true' respect that comes from fear of what he can do to people and the pleasure of killing idiots whenever he wants. (And possibly to exterminate the Muggle world, but first things first.)

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 116 · 2015-03-06T22:37:43.657Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

What do you mean? He narrated the whole sequence before the explosion, and fell to his knees at the moment Voldemort supposedly died, which is coincident with the explosion. I don't see a problem, let alone one that would be fixed by shifting the narrative back 20 seconds.

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 116 · 2015-03-06T22:31:01.455Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Nicolelle?

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 116 · 2015-03-06T05:12:36.084Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I would watch this.

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 116 · 2015-03-05T23:19:05.747Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

BABA YAGA FAKED HER DEATH AND POSSESSED PERENELLE, TRUE STORY

Sorry, I think I've read too much Reddit today.

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 116 · 2015-03-05T19:59:39.275Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

The interpretation where the Slytherins are playing to honor their fallen professor is much more straightforward.

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 116 · 2015-03-05T19:51:30.494Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It's not entirely clear how Hermione's troll/unicorn stuff interacts with the depletion of life-force necessary to fuel the Patronus. That said, she has a Horcrux, so at the end of the day it doesn't really matter. And if Harry can eventually destroy Azkaban, Hermione certainly can.

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 116 · 2015-03-04T23:47:05.760Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

"For defeating the Dark Lord, we award Hermione...wait, what was the difference in score again?...four hundred and twenty points."

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-04T17:55:17.241Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

He has the Philosopher's Stone. Not an issue.

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-04T02:51:29.412Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

...or character growth in the protagonist, theoretically.

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-04T02:37:43.130Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Not really. Mind magic is one of Harry's top priorities, Quirrell is the first person he'd ask about Obliviate, Quirrell has no reason not to tell him, and Obliviate wasn't exactly the spell Harry used to defeat Quirrell in the first place. This outcome is about as likely in the world where Quirrell wasn't expecting to lose as in the world where he was, so it doesn't shift the priors substantially.

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-04T00:22:00.069Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Voldemort still killed David Monroe, he just did it earlier than everyone thought he did. Chapter 108:

I had long ago taken my vengeance on David Monroe - he was an annoyance from my year in Slytherin - so I bethought to also steal his identity, and wipe out his family to make myself heir of his House.

Your other questions remain, though. Harry no longer killed Voldemort for good, and Hermione (apparently) has. This should be interesting. I predict this becomes an issue, confidence 70%; and, conditional on that, that Draco sides with Hermione again at a crucial moment, confidence 85%.

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-03T22:14:32.744Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

From 113:

This is the order in which the next acts shall be done. First Harry Potter shall be stunned, then his limbs severed and the wounds cauterized. Mr. Friendly and Mr. Honor will examine him for any trace of unusual magics. One of you shall shoot the boy many times with my Muggle weapon, and then as many of you as can shall strike him with the Killing Curse. Only then will Mr. Grim crush his skull and brains with the mundane substance of a tombstone.

So it was planned, but never executed. All other references to the gun have it in Voldemort's hand.

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-03T22:02:52.934Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Chapter 8:

"No," Hermione said. "Who told you about me? "

"Professor McGonagall and I believe I see why. Do you have an eidetic memory, Hermione?"

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-03T21:59:32.146Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I...hm. Maybe I was letting hindsight bias me here.

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-03T20:34:27.629Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Whoops, that's, right. Thanks.

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-03T20:34:18.413Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Ah, thanks.

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-03T20:31:54.779Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Unless Dumbledore comes back. Even if he doesn't, Harry has made little effort to prevent people from suspecting that Quirrell was connected to Voldemort.

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-03T20:21:56.348Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I would say at least 95% certainty that there's more than wrapup left, but it sounds like handing out prophecies is pretty far down on the list of additional things to cover.

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-03T19:55:50.641Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The Blood-Cooling Charm was invented for the story specifically to offer a means of murder that didn't set off the wards until the point of death; furthermore, if a professor (Quirrell) cast it, the wards wouldn't trigger anyway.

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-03T19:52:55.294Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Over/under on there being such entities at all? It's certainly possible that our current understanding of where prophecies come from is incomplete, but the story doesn't seem to have set it up as particularly likely.

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-03T18:46:11.874Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

He doesn't have to be persuaded to be good, he just has to be persuaded to let Harry out of the box. If he lets Harry out of the box for non-good reasons, that still counts.

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-03T18:40:44.671Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Isn't Voldemort's body going to die in its Transfigured form? I assume Harry has a way around that, and he has a reasonably long time frame to implement a solution (at least compared to the 60 seconds he had to work with just now), but that dangling loose end is gnawing at me.

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 113 · 2015-03-02T22:57:30.390Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Although it sounds persuasive to us, to Voldemort this would sound like exactly the sort of 'intelligent idiocy' that would only solidify his belief that Harry has to be killed right away.

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 113 · 2015-03-01T01:18:12.280Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Because it is unlikely that Harry would have precommitted to blowing himself up as a general emergency countermeasure.

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 113 · 2015-03-01T00:51:32.060Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Obvious potentially useful moves:

• Buy time with discussion of secret powers (partial Transfiguration and true Patronus), since we're optimizing primarily for surviving the immediate situation and not for preventing Voldemort from knowing useful powers.

• Partially Transfigure himself in some useful way, depending on subsequent access to PStone to avoid T. sickness.

• Cast Patronus centered on himself to blind and to block AKs. (Problem: doesn't block other curses. But if he moves, Death Eaters might fire at the shiny thing instead of at him.)

• Un-Transfigure glasses into whatever emergency countermeasure Harry could have chosen. (Note: will still be stuck to Harry's face, so no bombs or suchlike.)

I've been primarily thinking along the lines of defense, escape, mobility. Once Harry gets to the Time Turner or the pouch he has more options.

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 112 · 2015-02-27T21:16:32.215Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

At present, McGonagall has no options because she doesn't know what's going on. In order for your question "What can McGonagall do?" to even make sense, we must first postulate that Harry/Hermione get out of this situation and that one of them is able to contact McGonagall while evading control or surveillance. Even if that is resolved without obviating your reason for considering McGonagall (that Harry is in an impossible situation), it's not clear that McGonagall could:

• Persuade enough Muggles to take her seriously

• Anticipate Voldemort's intentions and avenues of attack

• Explain these to the Muggles in sufficient detail that the Muggles could devise countermeasures (McGonagall certainly can't devise Muggle countermeasures for them)

• Do all this in the time frame before Voldemort could take over magical Britain, not to mention whichever Muggles McGonagall has gone to for help

• Avoid Voldemort while doing all of this

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 112 · 2015-02-26T21:34:25.375Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yes--I claim no points for originality, only timing.

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 112 · 2015-02-26T18:20:02.430Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I am dubious that "seeking help from the Muggles" is as straightforward as you seem to think it is.

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 112 · 2015-02-26T05:47:10.729Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Therefore, LV needs him for something right now.

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 112 · 2015-02-26T01:37:02.215Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

Better yet, Nott is the power that Voldemort knows!

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 112 · 2015-02-26T00:38:53.595Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Native speaker--it's not wrong, but it is somewhat awkward. That said, the whole excerpt is redundant, so I'd be making more extensive changes than replacing "insofar as" with something else if I were editing. (Also: "He tried not to shiver in the falling night temperatures, for...it was getting colder.")

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 112 · 2015-02-25T23:47:31.683Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Not that I think you reason wrongly, but...

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 112 · 2015-02-25T23:42:05.034Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yes--I prefer your version to what happened.

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 112 · 2015-02-25T21:14:52.035Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

And someone did figure it out; congrats to SilentCal.

EDIT: On the other hand, as Reddit is eager to point out, the curse Riddle invoked on his doubles was not exactly foreseeable.

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 111 · 2015-02-25T20:57:44.288Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Taking a short break from trying to figure out just what is going on...how do y'all think Hermione would feel if, assuming no levels of deception, she woke up to this scene?

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 111 · 2015-02-25T20:46:09.314Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think that's the same gun.

And yeah, that line tripped my wires as well, but I think there are two more likely candidates for concealment than lack of intent to kill:

-Lack of ability to kill

-Whether there is a Headmaster of Hogwarts now (one can imagine a magically designated Interim Headmaster being immediately instated for the purpose of the wards)

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 111 · 2015-02-25T20:40:07.461Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

He already did that. After he absorbed the lesson about being nice. So I still don't see how being nice explains away these errors.

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 111 · 2015-02-25T20:28:38.327Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Not quite an either/or--perhaps he's also testing the immortality mechanisms he will use on himself. It hadn't occurred to me, but he may not be as confident as he pretends to be about how the Stone and the troll/unicorn/Horcrux spells will interact. And it closely parallels his previous failure to test his Horcrux system.

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 111 · 2015-02-25T20:23:14.805Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Imagine that Eliezer has 100 possible ways to complete this puzzle. 25% means that the combined weight of all the other possibilities outweighs the one I've outlined, but I am still privileging the one significantly over a typical possibility. (However, lerjj has convinced me that I was most likely wrong to do so.)

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 111 · 2015-02-25T20:18:06.620Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Hm. I did not properly account for that. Specifying "girl-child friend's counsel and restraint" and "that she is a part of this world for you to care about" is definitive in that Voldemort intends to restore Hermione as Hermione. For my theory to work, this would have to be a long-term gambit that Harry has made immediate; but this would not explain why Voldemort has made so many tactical, i.e. short-term, errors. So I agree this is strong evidence against my prediction. New confidence: 1%.

EDIT: If someone can explain how to add strikethrough to my original confidence, that would be helpful.

Comment by mathmage on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 111 · 2015-02-25T20:05:39.540Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

This would explain mistakes particular to being nice, like fortifying Hermione's body first, but it does not explain more general errors like letting Harry keep his wand and pouch.