Aluminum sounds like it'd have a long half-life and leave elevated levels in the blood and hair for a long time

That's rather the point. Supplying a dose at a rate that is below the ability to detect at the moment of the untransfiguration causes the aluminium to build up in the brain over the long term and result in a slow but steady decline in function without anything to prompt attention unless the decline in function itself is noticed - and that sort of introspective access is rare.

Lots of drugs damage cognition and disappear quickly; maybe scopolamine, but there are probably better suggestions.

Naturally drugs are the first things to consider - or more precisely the more extreme potions and the venom of exotic magical beasts. But drethelin was considering the easiest option - that of just getting a bunch of easily accessible matter and transfiguring away. Just grabbing an aluminium can and dispersing it once a day seems like the best choice as far as easily accessible mundane materials go. Naturally if we have already ruled out bleach the more complex human poisons are way out but what do you think would be the best magical poison/venom? Basilisk fang has potential. Spiders could be fun. But now I'm speculating about transfiguring philosopher's stones. It seems the HPverse one only works on metal but if there were a related midaslike substance that was less specific it'd be rather hilarious to turn all your enemies to gold in a flash by standing upwind.

  • and so is easily tested for.

And yet isn't. Even muggles who know what Aluminium is beyond "weird muggle softdrink cans" and know what the effects can be don't bother to test for Aluminium even when signs of toxicity start appearing.

And yet isn't. Even muggles who know what Aluminium is beyond "weird muggle softdrink cans" and know what the effects can be don't bother to test for Aluminium even when signs of toxicity start appearing.

But if they start testing, aluminum will likely be one of them. Aluminum poisoning is not that rare or exotic - your deodorant or Antacids can give you it, and so I assume doctors are at least glancingly familiar with it. This tactic works only until someone learns of it. There must be better substances to use!

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 9

by Oscar_Cunningham 1 min read9th Sep 2011725 comments

10


(The HPMOR discussion thread after this one is here.)

The previous thread is over the 500-comment threshold, so let's start a new Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread.  This is the place to discuss Eliezer Yudkowsky's Harry Potter fanfic and anything related to it. The latest chapter as of 09/09/2011 is Ch. 77.


The first 5 discussion threads are on the main page under the harry_potter tag.  Threads 6 and on (including this one) are in the discussion section using its separate tag system.  Also: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.  The fanfiction.net author page is the central location for information about updates and links to HPMOR-related goodies, and AdeleneDawner has kept an archive of Author's Notes.

As a reminder, it's often useful to start your comment by indicating which chapter you are commenting on.

Spoiler Warning:  this thread is full of spoilers.  With few exceptions, spoilers for MOR and canon are fair game to post, without warning or rot13.  More specifically:

You do not need to rot13 anything about HP:MoR or the original Harry Potter series unless you are posting insider information from Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).

If there is evidence for X in MOR and/or canon then it's fine to post about X without rot13, even if you also have heard privately from Eliezer that X is true. But you should not post that "Eliezer said X is true" unless you use rot13.