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Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 120 · 2015-03-13T17:53:22.875Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Some long time ago he told Draco that Hermione was his enemy.

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 120 · 2015-03-13T17:50:40.626Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe he recognized the voice, assuming it was not disguised by a charm?

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 120 · 2015-03-13T09:34:16.026Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Well, as he said, it was an "obviously hidden" horcrux screaming "I'm apowerful magical artifact" (like the locket in book 6, which he explicitly calls out), as opposed to a random pebble in the middle of the desert.

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 120 · 2015-03-13T09:31:25.789Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Well, I read canon a loooong time ago but IIRC in book 7 in one of the first chapter Voldie goes around humiliating Lucius, in particular taking his wand without offering a replacement, and insulting him for believing he (Voldie) would give Lucius his wand in exchange. The conversation with Mr. White (" most delinquent of my servants") and the fact that he humiliates him similarly by removing part of his magic ability is reminiscent of that.

Also, before I thought Mr. Grim was Peter Pettigrew, but now that we know that Black is the actual bad guy, it's even clearer that Mr. Grim = Sirius Black. In particular, Voldie says to him "I was surprised to see you here tonight; you are more competent than I suspected", which in retrospect clearly means "I thought you were rotting in Azkaban".

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 120 · 2015-03-12T20:21:43.292Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Well, the Dark Mark was not THAT stupid. Also, it's the kind of clever thing you can only pull off when impersonating someone who is not that smart.

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 120 · 2015-03-12T19:35:17.464Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Well I guess eventually the right memories will come back to her. Although I guess Draco can't have been more than a few months old when she "died".

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 120 · 2015-03-12T19:33:55.684Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

For what it's worth, I too thought Mr. White was Lucius before seeing everyone else convinced it was Counsel. It seemed more in line with canon, and "white" evokes Lucius's awesome white hair. On the other hand, Harry could be mistaken, and using codenames that seem to indicate who the person behind is when they in fact bear no relation sounds like a thing Voldie would do.

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 119 · 2015-03-11T21:49:42.203Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Except people are cruel and many of them would rather see criminals in Azkaban than living a relatively normal life. Although to be honest, making criminals chose between Azkaban and the last part of A Clockwork Orangeis pretty awful already in my opinion.

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 119 · 2015-03-11T21:39:15.516Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Ugh... That's such a painful read I had to stop in the middle. Seriously, how is it rational for Harry to be insulting V in English? Even if V somehow does not take offense, one of his Death Eaters will. I know I felt like Adava Kadavra-ing the stupid brat who was pretending to be HJPEV in this...

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 119 · 2015-03-11T18:46:43.175Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

How about "Unicorn Troll Jesus"?

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 119 · 2015-03-11T18:35:45.110Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think this line of analysis works for determining that a work is sexist. At least, it's not sexist in a problematic way (i.e. we need to get rid of it, or at least be aware of the sexism when reading it), it's sexist because the world we live in is sexist and it's practically impossible to write anythong non-sexist. Does HPMOR do anything to advance the condition of women? No, but neither does it do anything to adress racism, ableism, homophobia and plenty of other societal issues. That's not why the book was written. On the other hand, it has two strong female characters that have agency, and no female "characters" that are boobs on a stick, or a reward for the hero, or anything of the sort. Remember that EY was working from canon and could not exactly add plenty of important characters unheard of in the book. He already promoted Daphne, Tracey and (to a lesser extent) Susan compared to their role in the series (although I guess that's partially to make up for the lack of Ginny or Luna in Harry's first year). If your strongest argument to say a work is sexist in a problematic way is "a secondary female character dies without accomplishing anything", then I feel that's too strong a criteria. Hell, even in "Blue is the warmest color" (the book, not the movie, which was admittedly quite sexist in its direction), the main character dies a stupid death without ever having accomplished anything, and you'd be hard pressed to find that book sexist. In Worm, an important secondary female character is killed in an anti-climatic way by a villain we had almost never heard of until the chapter where he kills her. Is Worm sexist? I don't think so.

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 119 · 2015-03-11T06:59:17.969Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Then when someone says "I have information from 6 hours in the future", that would be information in and of itself. It means that 6 hours in the future life is still sustainable.

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 119 · 2015-03-11T06:57:48.843Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

If Coscott is right about the Vow protecting "the world" and not "its people", then it very much did change Harry's >terminal values.

OK, I misspoke. It did not change what Harry feels are good terminal values. He may not in any way choose to assist (even by being passive) someone who would want to change that terminal value, but as long as he has not realized what Coscott may have realized, then letting people with terminal value "make sure human life goes on" know about this Vow will not be in conflict with his Vow. They can then come to their own realization. Basically Harry is unfriendly, but he's not intelligent enough yet that he can predict the outcome of every action like, say, Celestia does. He can still accidentally out himself and be dealt with.

The intended meaning of the three persons making the vow have to match, or the Vow won't work. And I think >that two randomly chosen Death Eaters, who have absolutely no idea that people could survive without the >Earth, who don't even suspect that there's been manned spaceflight, would indeed think that "the world" is "the >Earth".

But the last part (when to ignore the Vow) depend only on Harry and Hermione's subjective evaluation. So what the Death Eaters think is not really in question.

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 119 · 2015-03-10T22:04:40.270Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

So you mean that Voldie screwed it up AGAIN when he tried to mess with a prophecy? Man, some people are simply not meant to hear prophecies.

On the other hand, the Vow did not change Harry's terminal goals. While he may not work to undermine the Vow itself, it is possible that before coming to the horrible realization that he has to protect the world above its people, he lets enough slip to other so that they may find a way to remove the Vow (or put him back in a box). Also, the Vow has some loopholes:

That I shall not... by any act of mine... destroy the world... I shall take no chances... in not destroying the world... if my >hand is forced... I may take the course... of lesser destruction over greater destruction... unless it seems to me that this >Vow itself... leads to the world's end... and the friend... in whom I have confided honestly... agrees that this is so. By my >own free will... If a good agent ever learns the full text of the Vow, they can use the loophole to make a dead man's switch and destroy the world if a significant fraction of its people are gone. Also "it seems that this Vow itself leads to the world's end" would probably be true if Harry ends up killing everyone to save "the world". More specifically, when making the Vow, Harry was probably picturing the people in it rather than the physical planet. Because Atlanteans did not speak English, it seems reasonable to assume that the intended meaning of the speaker, rather than the actual words he used, is binding. He may yet get out of this one.

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 119 · 2015-03-10T21:53:45.089Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I was under the impression that said Wizards had their Magic for the Vow extorted out of them by the Noble houses which had both vastly superior wealth and the ability to make them broke. I can't imagine someone willingly giving away their magic unless they had no real choice in the matter. It would be similar to giving away your legs.

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 119 · 2015-03-10T20:08:14.075Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

The thing, if no wizards are dying any more, how do you get those Unbreakable Vows in any ethical way?

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 119 · 2015-03-10T20:03:24.914Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

So what would he have been doing? Saving victims of accident so that they end up being fine after a small hospital stay? Miraculously curing terminally ill people? I find it unlikely that he could do anything else with long-term benefits without anyone catching on. But yeah, I like that alternate character interpretation of Flamel.

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 119 · 2015-03-10T19:47:07.175Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I can't remember, what was respectively in the Phoenix's Price and Phoenix's Fate rooms. I though both were passwords for the broken wands and similar things, but the narration implies otherwise. I also wonder what will be in the Phoenix's Egg room. It can't be prophecies (which could otherwise be the obvious choice), and I don't think Dumbledore had the foresight to store frozen brains of wizards who died so that Harry could resurrect them.

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 116 · 2015-03-04T23:48:40.645Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Well, people are less likely to believe in an idea if an argument used in favor of it later turns out to be entirely false. For example, if I say "green jelly beans are slightly carcinogenic" and someone says "yes, also each one you eat has a 1/100 chance of killing you immediately", makes a lot of publicity about this, and months later it turns out that that statement was completely unfounded, then people will be less likely to believe me now. Even though they have very little new information compared to just me saying "green jelly beans are slightly carcinogenic".

So in this case we have people saying "Look, some Slytherins are good, see QQ!", and gaining some amount of support with that. QQ turning out to be Voldemort would not only defeat everything the argument did (which is not bad in and of itself, the argument was after all flawed), but also cause a backlash which would make Slytherin appear worse in comparison to before QQ was the Defense Professor.

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-03T21:10:04.669Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Without any hesitation despite his wounds the Dark Lord jerked down and right through the air.

Something that could indicate trying to dodge, or consciousness leaving the body. It's not unreasonable for Voldie to think "I've lost here, no matter what I do this body will be unusable in the near future, in case he has a plan to incapacitate me without triggering my Horcrux wards I'd better go someplace else".

All in all I'd assign a high subjective probability to Voldie's spirit being intact. Voldemort is a thorough planner, so total Oblivation is something he must have foreseen. And even if he did not, he is also known for not taking risks even when other people would be certain their precautions were enough. For example, he went through the trouble of resurrecting Hermione AND having Harry swear an Unbreakable Vow before attempting to kill him. Therefore, seeing something in his plan going terribly awry, there is a very high probability Voldemort would just retreat to a safe haven like the Horcrux Network.

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-03T20:14:10.122Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Well, yes, but it had to be believable that Hermione had cast it, therefore we can assume that it would not have triggered the wards even if Quirrel had not cast it.

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-03T19:48:39.137Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Presumably shields let air through, so they probably also let nanotubes through.

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-03T19:43:14.394Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

We know for a fact that the Hogwarts wards do not raise an alarm when they should, because they did not detect Draco being under a Blood-Cooling Charm. And we also know that Voldie had a better idea regarding those wards (whether he actually had said wards in place around Draco is debatable, but still, he had the idea).

So I think it's extremely probable that the wards he has to detect his own death are more efficient than the Hogwarts wards, and he's currently riding Bella's body and kicking himself for once more not having just used Avada Kedavra.

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-03T19:38:33.099Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

As Weaver, she said something like "Drugs are awesome kids, but it's what comes after that really sucks. Being a supervillain is the same".

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-03T19:36:58.172Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

So I decided not too look at comments during the hunt. I then got a "solution", but decided to wait a bit for something better to post it. And then I did not have time to post it. Well, silly me...

Anyway, because I have not seen this discussed (but maybe it was and I missed it?), here's my take on defending yourself from most ways to kill you. Note that this would not have worked for Harry for various reasons (as I said, my solution was unsatisfying), but I still think it could be debated.

Fact 1: Killing Curses cannot be blocked by magic or material shields Fact 2: Killing Curses can be dodged Fact 3: Dark Wizards don't go around murdering people from far away by just casting Killing Curses in their general direction.

From this I deduce that it is very plausible that any legal target from a Killing Curse absorbs its entirety. Therefore, since it can kill anything with a brain, pulling a Skitter and coating your skin in a layer of insects should do the trick. Harry could transfigure himself a platinum armor (against bullets and similar things) and an armor of insects.

The main problem I see with this idea in the context of Chapter 113 is that any DE can just Finite Incantem Harry's Magic. So it's a strategy better suited to epic-level wizards who have stronger magic than first-years at Hogwarts. Also, I thought it was too ambitious a PT fro 60 seconds, but then Harry did manage to stall successfully.

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-03T19:24:26.038Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I guess micro-managing the nanotubes isn't so different conceptually from micro-managing bugs carrying silk ropes...

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 109 · 2015-02-24T12:54:11.129Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Another possibility if that "unbreakable" works fine on things that have very few moving parts, but if you try that on a human body then they become utterly incapable of changing. Their muscles don't flex, which means they can't breathe and their heart stops beating, and they die very quickly.

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 109 · 2015-02-24T00:43:12.658Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

And changing the genre when the story is over 90% complete would be a questionable move.

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 109 · 2015-02-23T21:27:15.714Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

And now I feel stupid for not thinking of option 3. While it would be very amusing to have everyone fooled into forgetting that mirrors also reflect things (duh), there are convincing arguments for option 1, the main one being timing.

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 108 · 2015-02-23T20:28:55.665Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Bella wasn't entirely arbitrary, it was to set up a joke when Harry thought Quirrel was talking about Sirius.

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 108 · 2015-02-23T20:02:02.051Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Well, given his actions in the past he can hardly call this idiocy worthy of being killed. Also, Firenze was not annoying him by being an idiot, he was annoying him by threatening Harry, for whom he had other plans.

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 108 · 2015-02-21T01:07:31.286Z · score: 1 (7 votes) · LW · GW

No, I mean she had an intact hymen probably, but it's just the fact that "virgin = intact hymen" is a pretty silly notion to begin with. Especially since it outright says she'd been Baba Yaga's lover for some time already. Having sex pretty much means you're not a virgin any more. Kind of the point.

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 108 · 2015-02-21T01:04:29.189Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

I must say, the thought of Voldie kicking himself (well, wanting to, but he couldn't because no legs) while spending nine years as a disembodied spirit in the Voyager Plaque was extremely amusing.

I also loved the fact that his Voldemort persona was designed to be a stupid Dark Lord that would last weeks at most and ended up being way too strong for Magical Britain.

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 108 · 2015-02-21T00:36:18.371Z · score: 1 (9 votes) · LW · GW

The Dark Lady's heart was captured, and they became lovers. And then one night (...) they lay together in the fashion of a >man and a woman. But Perenelle had been a virgin until that night.

I get what is meant, but if they had been lovers for some time then I would say that Perenelle was not a virgin in any meaningful sense of the word. Of course, from an old-fashioned point of view she might have been, but this sentence is not accompanied by a modifier expressing the change in values as the next one is.

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107 · 2015-02-19T23:57:55.002Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Well, it's possible that all the rooms were designed by different professors with little to no cooperations so that one single breach would not compromise the security of the whole thing. If Snape wanted to put claymores in other rooms, he'd need to tell the other professors.

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107 · 2015-02-19T23:54:38.503Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Inbreeding just makes it more likely you get two of the same allele (with bad consequences if said allele is deleterious), it does not make it inherently more likely that any single allele you have is deleterious.

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107 · 2015-02-19T23:45:35.506Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It is still weird, though. Do we have any bounds on the relation between size of the object and time you can maintain the transfiguration. Harry can maintain (without contact) some transfigurations for a pretty long time, even with a large-ish object like a cauldron. Unless the time you can maintain a transfiguration decreases very fast with the size of the end object (Harry transfigured a unicorn and a big rock into something small and maintained it easily), there is no reason why Quirrel would not be able to create transfigured clones able to clone themselves. And we know that transfiguring an inanimate object into something living can easily be done for strong wizards, as McGonnagle proved early in the story with the desk into pig thing.

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107 · 2015-02-19T23:14:08.579Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

This is probably not the case however, as it would feel like a very cheap language trick given that Quirrel has used "you" and "I" in parseltongue in a non-ambiguous manner several times already. Even worse, if Quirrel was going by this then he'd risk Harry picking up the trick and promising to help himself get the stone, and not consider it a betrayal.

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107 · 2015-02-18T08:49:55.038Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

If this was feasible then all Dark Wizards would probably be using temporary clones of their minions to do their bidding instead of real minions.

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107 · 2015-02-18T08:46:29.246Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

That's not how inbreeding works, though... If one of your parents' family (in Voldie's case, his mother) has been inbred for generations but the other parents has a completely different gene pool, then you should be fine. Inbreeding just makes it more likely that you have two of the same recessive allelle (which is bad in many situations), but Voldie only got one of each from his mother.

Comment by subbak on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 28, chapter 99-101 · 2013-12-12T14:59:16.610Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

If you want to play with a (rather tame, since it doesn't always use its regeneration powers) Bucholz Hydra, here's a link for you: http://www.madore.org/~david/math/hydra.xhtml

For my part, I knew about hydra games and had forgotten the name, but the context made it fairly obvious that this was a joke about the hydra being so hard to kill that you can't prove you do it with only Peano arithmetic.