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Comment by orielwen on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 9 · 2011-09-16T08:54:53.252Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

April now, is it? Then the next thing that's going to happen is that everyone except Harry goes home for Easter (Easter Sunday was 19 April in 1992, and they'll probably take most of the holiday before it rather than after it since it's so late that year) and Harry's parents come to visit him. That should be interesting. I hope he's told them he's not allowed to leave Hogwarts.

Comment by orielwen on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 9 · 2011-09-14T11:45:30.646Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe he's not forgetting, just trying to double-bluff Hermione by appearing suspicious.

Comment by orielwen on 9/11 as mindkiller · 2011-09-13T16:12:46.070Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, I can tell you do, because you don't spell it 'vayse'.

Comment by orielwen on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 9 · 2011-09-13T15:29:19.104Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That's all true. And on re-reading, I'm going to go back to my original thought of Quirrel, with the emotional involvement being faked to keep Hermione's interest. Quirrel did, after all, speak up for her when all others were silent.

Comment by orielwen on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 9 · 2011-09-13T15:09:43.782Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I agree. It was so obvious to me that Hermione was being Obliviated that when I read the instruction at the start of the next chapter I went back to see what I could be missing. It didn't occur to me that peope might not be getting it. And that was when it had ellipses.

Comment by orielwen on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 9 · 2011-09-13T12:07:23.217Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

bad memories are definitely scars you get from death

That's backwards. I suppose experiencing the death of someone close to you could leave a mental scar in the form of a bad memory. But that's hardly the definition of a bad memory. Nor is a painful memory an inevitable outcome of someone's death.

Comment by orielwen on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 9 · 2011-09-12T20:46:26.297Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

There is that. But it's just occurred to me: if the person attacking Hermione is not Snape, then what's Snape been doing to make him late and quite exhausted in Chapter 77?

Comment by orielwen on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 9 · 2011-09-12T12:50:42.626Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

Chapter 76: "And that's why I can destroy Dementors and you can't," said the boy. "Because I believe that the darkness can be broken."

This is interesting, because it touches upon a thought I had about the Dementors back in Chapter 45. In canon, Dementors are manifestations not of death or even fear, but of despair. (I believe Rowling has said she drew upon her own experiences of depression.) That's why chocolate helps, why they generate feelings of hopelessness, why they take away happy memories and leave unhappy ones, and why their ultimate power is to put people into a coma rather than to kill them. None of this makes sense for a manifestation of death.

But Harry's response would work either way. A happy memory, a pleasant thought, can shield against despair, but it can't destroy it. Hope, on the other hand, true grim hope – the belief that things can be made better and, crucially, the unshakeable determination to make them so, not by thinking 'wouldn't it be nice if…' but by knuckling down and solving the insoluble problem – is the only true cure for despair. And that sort of hope, which Harry shows, is actually pretty hard to hold truly, which would explain why almost no-one else has found the same way that Harry has.

I don't believe this was Eliezer's intention. Harry's views on death are far too close to Eliezer's own as shown in http://yudkowsky.net/singularity/simplified for me to feel that the Dementors are intended to be anything else. But I quite like my interpretation. Aside from anything else, since that sort of hope can be reinforced by being shared (enhancing both resolve and the feeling that the task is possible), it leaves open the possibility for a Patronus 3.0 by group-casting.

Comment by orielwen on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 9 · 2011-09-11T20:08:38.922Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I have Sirius down as an outsider for Hat-and-Cloak.

Comment by orielwen on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 9 · 2011-09-11T19:37:33.855Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yes. I don't see Dumbledore in canon being so stupid as to fail to either ward his room against time-travel or recognise that that was how Harry got in.

Comment by orielwen on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 8 · 2011-09-11T08:37:53.440Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

But we know Hermione didn't send herself a signal. Anything simple and quick enough to do unobtrusively (like biting her lip) would have been instantly noticeable to her on the second iteration.

Comment by orielwen on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 8 · 2011-09-11T07:52:41.463Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I wouldn't take at face value anything Quirrel says that's not in Parseltongue. And even then with a pinch of salt: it might be that it's simply harder to lie in such a non-human language rather than there being any actual magical constraint.

Comment by orielwen on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 8 · 2011-08-27T16:39:52.011Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Fred and George didn't do it. They planted a story about Quirrel. Quirrel read the story and, seeking a way to get back at Skeeter, found out that Fred and George were trying to get back at Skeeter on Harry's behalf – but not that they had planted the story about Quirrel. So he offered to help them, and set everything up for Skeeter, then wiped their memory of everything they'd done to plant the story, which included the memory of planting the story about Quirrel.

Comment by orielwen on The Robbers Cave Experiment · 2011-08-19T20:53:38.312Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Has this experiment been repeated since? On kids who weren't growing up in the near aftermath of a great war? It seems to me to be a bit of a stretch to take this as indicative of the nature of all humans everywhere at all times.