Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 15, chapter 84

by FAWS1 min read11th Apr 20121239 comments


HPMOR (discussion & meta)
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The next discussion thread is here.


This is a new thread to discuss Eliezer Yudkowsky’s Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality and anything related to it. This thread is intended for discussing chapter 84The previous thread  has passed 500 comments. Comment in the 14th thread until you read chapter 84. 

There is now a site dedicated to the story at hpmor.com, which is now the place to go to find the authors notes and all sorts of other goodies. AdeleneDawner has kept an archive of Author’s Notes. (This goes up to the notes for chapter 76, and is now not updating. The authors notes from chapter 77 onwards are on hpmor.com.) 

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: 12345678910111213, 14.

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Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).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.

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I had this idea about Tom Riddle's plan that I appreciated having criticized.

Tom Riddle grew up in the shadow of WWII. He saw much of the Muggle world unite against a threat they all called evil, and he saw Europe's savior, the US, eventually treated as the new world leader afterward, though it was somewhat contested, of course. That threat strongly defined it's own presentation and style, and so that style and presentation were associated with evil afterward.

Tom didn't want to be Hitler. Tom wanted to actually win and to rule in the longer term, not just until people got tired of his shit and went all Guy Fawks on his ass. He knew that life isn't easy for great rules, but thought that was worthwhile. He knew that life was even harder for great rulers who ruled by fear, so that wasn't his plan.

So Tom needed two sides, good and evil. To this end he needed two identities, a hero and a villain.

I guess he didn't think the villain didn't need to have any kind of history. Maybe he didn't think the villain would matter much or for long. Voldemort was just there for the hero to strike down. That was a mistake, because he lacked a decoy his enemies were eventually able to discover ... (read more)

That's a really good explanation for how Dumbledore's recollection of the purposeless evil of Voldemort can be reconciled with the clearly purposeful evil of Quirrell.

Right now this post has 53 points. WHY?

The post where put down the theory this grew from only has 2 points. Don't go voting it up just because I mentioned that. I don't want anything 'fixed' I just want an explanation.

This isn't written any better than my other posts, which commonly stay under 3 points and go negative often enough. Those other posts are totally contributions to the conversation. Some of them are even helpful.

I left points hanging. I didn't defend what I was saying. I just told a story. That's what you want?

I'm not even the first to revisit this speculation since my low vote theory post. Chris Hallquist was saying pretty much the same thing and he didn't get over 40 upvotes.

What are you upvoting?

[-][anonymous]9y 38

I left points hanging. I didn't defend what I was saying. I just told a story. That's what you want?

Why hello there! We are called humans, have you met us before?

Because votes come more from the location in the thread than from quality of the post - sheer numbers of people reading it swamp a better post made 400 spots downthread. Also, it puts down in decent fashion a thesis that's getting kicked around a lot and that is rather appealing.

7Benquo9yMaybe the illusion of transparency doesn't let you see how much clearer this comment [EDIT: I mean the parent comment] is.

Did you just get burned by the Illusion of Transparency while referencing the Illusion of Transparency?

Well. Done.

6Vladimir_Nesov9yOne factor is that it's a top-level comment to a popular post, and once a top-level comment outcompetes most others it's shown more prominently and read by more people.
5ArisKatsaris9yI don't think your current post "deserves" as many upvotes as it got, but that other post is just bad. Badly written, badly argued, makes lots of unsupported random claims, like "Voldemort killed Narcissa".
5CronoDAS9yWell, I thought it was!

I guess he didn't think the villain didn't need to have any kind of history. Maybe he didn't think the villain would matter much or for long. Voldemort was just there for the hero to strike down. That was a mistake, because he lacked a decoy his enemies were eventually able to discover his identity.

Perhaps not so much. We may believe Voldemort to truly be Tom Riddle for the following few reasons.

  • The Order of the Phoenix thinks Voldemort is Tom Riddle.
  • Voldemort is Tom Riddle in canon
  • In Chapter 70, Quirrell, who we are to understand is Voldemort, talks about a witch taking advantage of a muggle man, which is part of Tom Riddle's tragic backstory in cannon.
  • He just can't seem to help himself from punning his damn name, between the references to 'riddles' and his godawful anagram.

But canon doesn't count, this fic diverges strongly in places.

And knowledgeable, otherwise competent characters are wrong about things.

And, most tellingly, we now know that Voldemort in his Quirrell mask has been dropping hints that he is actually your Scion X (or David Monroe or whomever). He could just as easily be falsely hinting at the Riddle identity.

Yes, I am suggesting that the studen... (read more)

When Tom realizes that his plan has failed and cannot be made to work in the intended fashion, he exits his hero, stage left. At that point, 75 or so, he doesn't have a good plan to leave the stage as his villain, so he kind of kicks it for a few years, tolerating the limits of his rule and getting what meager entertainment he can out of being a god damned theater antagonist.

This strikes me as the least characteristic part of your idea. Quirrellmort doesn't seem like someone who would have taken a few years kicking it around trying to come up with a new plan.

ETA: I think that for the most part this seems like a pretty likely outline. I think the evidence stacks up in favor of the new character being a dupe of Voldemort, and this strikes me as the most plausible motivation for him to be playing both sides. I think his plan would probably even have been workable in the sense of making the heroic identity the de facto leader of the country, but he called it quits when he realized that the prize for heroism was not being lavished with adulation, but being treated as responsible for being a hero all the time, whereas the prize for being a Dark Lord was fawning obedience. There are a... (read more)

I've been thinking along the same lines, probably because I watched Code Geass not too long ago, and this is basically the "Zero Requiem" gambit employed by Lelouch. He creates a totem of pure evil as a target of the world's hatred, then publicly destroys it, establishing a hero as savior-king. Riddle, like Lelouche, is portrayed as a "Byronic hero"--mysterious, cynical, cunning, arrogant, and brilliant. If this interpretation is correct, Harry might not be his future meatpuppet, but actually the "chosen one", who will fulfill the role of the hero and unite the world as savior-king after destroying the risen Voldemort.

But of course it could have just been a "Palpatine Gambit". In this version, Riddle was using his Voldemort persona to create fear, which his other persona takes advantage of to turn Magical Britain into the Empire, consolidating all power to himself. But in this version, much to the consternation of Tom Riddle, the "Republic" actually doesn't give up power to the obviously qualified hero (due to diffusion of responsibility, political maneuvering, etc.) So instead he decides to just seize power as Voldemort, but by bad... (read more)

Tom Riddle grew up in the shadow of WWII. He saw much of the Muggle world unite...

Tom didn't want to be Hitler...

In case it's relevant, remember that Hitler was just a muggle pawn of Grindlewald, and the Holocaust existed to fuel Gindlewald's dark rituals.

7ChrisHallquist9yI think this is right in broad strokes, but what you call "a few years" is '73 to '81, kind of a long time to "kick it" because your plan went astray. Furthermore, Quiddle also often talks about his motives in terms of what he found "amusing," "felt like," or "pleasant" (in conversation with Hermione). Then there's this: I think he's not quite so given to long-term planning as you imagine.
8LucasSloan9yThere's a difference between using long term planning to develop a power base, and being willing to use your power base to indulge your desires.
4gwern9ySo in this scenario, why is he dying? Before, we were unsure that his cataplexy was getting worse; I pointed out that on-screen he seems as active or more active than ever. But Bones says: "And you seem to be resting more and more frequently, as time goes on." and she would know. Are we speculating that whatever dupe's body that Riddle stole is breaking down 60-odd years later after Albania?

Am I losing my mind, or was there a change made to Chap 16? I recall this section:

" No, there is exactly one monster which can threaten you once you are fully grown. The single most dangerous monster in all the world, so dangerous that nothing else comes close. The adult wizard. That is the only thing that will still be able to threaten you."

However now it reads:

" No, there is exactly one monster which can threaten you once you are fully grown. The single most dangerous monster in all the world, so dangerous that nothing else comes close. The Dark Wizard. That is the only thing that will still be able to threaten you."

If it was changed... why the change? The original was better, and (perhaps more to the point) more in keeping with Quirrell's character. He wouldn't distinguish between adult and Dark wizards when it comes to threat-to-his-students assessment.

You're right. I search the PDF version, and have been told it doesn't receive edits in it's build (currently - though that's the plan for the future).

"The adult wizard." pg. 226

And I agree. I don't like the change either. Thinking that other adult wizards aren't a threat to you unless they're Dark is a horribly mistaken bias in more ways that one.

Definitely not insane. Do not like this change.

Yeah. I dislike this change. "Dark" makes sense for Quirrell to say for purposes of not sounding too evil, for not sounding like he's encouraging being dangerous. But at that point in the story, it was pretty clear Quirrell thought it was a good thing to be dangerous, and saying "adult" wizard is more consistent with that. It's also more consistent with his decision to call "Defense Against the Dark Arts" "Battle Magic."

If you're losing your mind, then either I am too or the nature of your mind-losing is a hallucination about what the chapter says now. I remember the same original text as you do (or, at any rate, the words "the adult wizard" and certainly not "the Dark wizard"). And I strongly agree that the original version is better.

4ArisKatsaris9yIt used to say "adult wizard" yes -- I just confirmed it with an old pdf.

Assuming evil people will be susceptible to such arguments

I didn't say evil people will be susceptible to such arguments.

I was naming three reasons that good people have to not be evil, not three arguments that would cause evil people to stop being evil.

Eliezer, in an edit, just reminded me that Tom Riddle is 65 years old. And from there I got to looking that other ages. Dumbledore is 110. Bahry One-Hand and Mad Eye Moody are each at least ~120. From chapter 39, I got the impression that 150 years old is uncomfortably old (maybe 90 in muggle years) and 200 is unthinkably old (110+ for muggles). So now I'm confused again.

Where are all the old people? What would family trees look like if people really lived to be 120+ regularly? If you're a child you've got two parents, and 4 grandparents, but what about the 8 great grandparents...and the 16 great^2 grandparents...32 great^3 grandparents...64 great^4 grandparents... 128 great^5 grandparents...256 ...512 etc? Plus, imagine the number of children each couple would have if people jumped from 40 fertile years to 80. I could buy that with older ages, people would wait longer to have kids (In canon they mention that it was slightly unusual for people to be having children at 20 years old). That would explain why there aren't 7-10 generations of family at the reunions, but on the other hand, I wouldn't expect Wizards to be big fans of birth control or abortion. Plus, that doesn'... (read more)

In recent history they've had two devastating wars. Plotting and infighting seems perpetual. Most adults spend a reasonable amount of their time using dangerous magic (there was some mention of wizard specific diseases like 'dragon pox' in canon). And everyone in the world can kill you instantly with their wand. So even if their notional life expectancy is high the number of dangers that reduce the population is enormous.

Actually given how easy deadly curses are I'm surprised there are any wizards left... Possibly explains why age correlates with magical power/skill.

Actually given how easy deadly curses are I'm surprised there are any wizards left... Possibly explains why age correlates with magical power/skill.

Probably for the same reason the existence of guns hasn't resulted in human extinction.

5DSimon9yOn the other hand, I don't carry a gun on my keychain, but a wizard's wand is used to do everything from insta-death to turning on and off the lights in a room.

Plus, education for 7 years makes no sense if you expect to live another hundred; muggles spend 1/5-1/6th of their life in education, but wizards only 1/15th

This, at least, does not confuse me. It's not like this is a historical constant, for most of human history most people have spent less.

Anyway, it's implied that vocational training exists after one is finished with one's mandatory education.

I wouldn't expect Wizards to be big fans of birth control or abortion.

Are you assuming vaguely medieval tech = Catholic = opposed to birth control and abortion?

The Catholic Church didn't declare that all abortion was murder until the Renaissance, and I don't think there's any reason to think that wizards are generally Catholics. ETA Nor is there any reason to think that Catholics are reliably obedient to Popes.

The simplest explanation might be that wizards (like Tolkien's elves, but less so) just aren't very fertile.

5Percent_Carbon9yChurch of England, surely. As an American I can tell you confidently that the wizards and witches of magical Britain have one quality above all others: they are British.

I wouldn't expect Wizards to be big fans of birth control or abortion.

Why not?

There are only thirty hours in a day and every child means greater demands on your time. It's not like they can hire muggles to raise their kids, like affluent muggle families might hire less-affluent folk to look after theirs. And we don't hear about anyone being raised by house elves.

Why wouldn't they want sex without conception?

5moritz9yWhich is much less of an issue if your own parents and grandparents (and maybe even another generation) are around to dote on your children.
6loserthree9yExcept they'd also be around to dote on your nieces and nephews (who are also their grandchildren) and the children of your first cousins (since those children would be their great-grandchildren just as much as your own children would be). In fact, because they're subject to multipliers as they go further up the family tree, they have even less time for each child. This does not make any stronger argument against desiring sex without conception, not does it weaken my "only thirty hours in a day" argument for sex without conception.
4faul_sname9yParticularly since there's almost certainly an easy spell for that.
9loup-vaillant9yWhich seems to be unknown to 7th year students of Hogwarts. Sigh. Magical education is seriously lacking.
5HonoreDB9yOr you cast the spell after doing the deed, and that one time they were too busy fleeing/claiming this wasn't what it looked like/getting castigated/getting dressed. ...just how many pregnancies has McGonagall caused, anyway?
5moritz9yOr maybe they simply wanted a child? That can happen at that age, even if it's not all that common in our societies.
8Benquo9y1) The war 2) Some wizards are more equal than others.

1a) Also that other war before that one

3) Dumbledore uses his Time Tuner all the time. If he received it in his teens there could be almost twenty five extra years on that airframe.

5linkhyrule59yMight be a Baby Boom effect, combined with high death rates from the wars. Basically, WWII still has visible effects.
5NancyLebovitz9yConsidering how poor the Weasleys are, most wizards might well use birth control and abortion. Both seem like they should be magically feasible, and wizards might actually know whether fetuses are conscious.

(nods) And the Fetusmouths were driven into isolated seclusion in the early 1200s due to ethical concerns, and also they were really annoying at baby showers.

6[anonymous]9yAnd thus did the nine Ancient and Most Noble Houses of Britain become eight.
4Bluehawk9yFetusmouth sounds to me remarkably like a synonym for "babyeater".
[-][anonymous]9y 12

The Weasleys do seem to be more cosmetically poor than anything else. I mean, we're told they're poor, and that they wear shabby clothing and have hand-me-down wands, but they own a big house and land and broomsticks and a car(!) and everyone of age in the family is gainfully employed, often in reasonably respectable and lucrative jobs. Makes you wonder where the money's going.

4NancyLebovitz9yI'm not sure, but it could be that while they're hardly desperate, they can't quite run with people who are upper middle class or better. They're getting by, but they don't have much to spare.

EY doesn't seem so fond of Rand, and it's like he's building her up as the great bugaboo of the story. That whole talk with Hermione was one of those "Gault Recruits a Striker" speeches.

If you live in a world where you are punished for what was called Good:

And yet it was as if they tried to do everything they could to make his life unpleasant. To throw every possible obstacle into his way. I was not naive, Miss Granger, I did not expect the power-holders to align themselves with me so quickly - not without something in it for themselves. But their power, too, was threatened; and so I was shocked how they seemed content to step back, and leave to that man all burdens of responsibility. They sneered at his performance, remarking among themselves how they would do better in his place, though they did not condescend to step forward."

And rewarded for what was called Evil:

"And it was the strangest thing - the Dark Wizard, that man's dread nemesis - why, those who served him leapt eagerly to their tasks. The Dark Wizard grew crueler toward his followers, and they followed him all the more. Men fought for the chance to serve him, even as those whose lives depende

... (read more)

You should break up your quote blocks with an extra line so they look like separate quotes..

7oliverbeatson9yI find some of the most relatable parts of the story to be the vague hero-against-the world / morality allegory, particularly in the dialogue quoted here. I think as much of the micro-morality of the story is Randian in a way that as much of the surface dialogue might paint Rand as a negative colour (if only by showing how ugly her beliefs on the surface, but revealing their purer roots). Harry is basically saying "Yes, everyone is incompetent; woe that they didn't have the luck to be not, and let's try and change that without getting too annoyed". With greater intelligence comes greater ability (and in a sense perceived moral obligation) to restrain or make productive one's hatred towards that which can't be changed or that can't be changed easily. Harry is taking morality as being the extent to which a strength can compensate for weakness in the spirit of creating future strength. The Randian 'strike' is a utilitarian way to achieve Randian values, and not an inherently Randian way or whatever. I don't think it's immediately obvious Harry isn't aiming for Randian values, if perhaps narratively in a way that Ayn Rand would not have imagined - i.e. strength and weakness are much more complexly intertwined. (It's not obvious either that I'm disagreeing with the parent post.)

I took it as Ron approving of killing Malfoys. That doesn't seem unreasonable considering their families were on opposite sides of an extremely bloody war within recent memory.

And that he's twelve.

I've edited the birthdate of the person Amelia refers to, to be 1927 - too many people were interpreting that as "She thinks he's Tom Riddle" despite the House incongruence, an interpretation I'd honestly never thought of due to Illusion of Transparency.

I recommend checking out what your hints mean in canon, because that's what we have to go off of. The first thing I did when I saw 1926 was head over to the Harry Potter wiki and figure out who was born in 1926. It's Riddle and three of his Death Eater pals, all from Slytherin, of which the obvious option is Riddle. Riddle fits the biographical details you give, with minor modification consistent with the upgrades people get from canon (a MOR Riddle might decide to not murder his family while still in school, for example). The canon rules for Houses appear to be "only Black is Noble and Most Ancient," and so we really don't have any idea which houses are the seven mentioned by Bones, and what the eighth missing house could be. Gaunt is a way better option than, say, Lestrange (where we know Lesath is alive).

In a fanfic, you should expect people to suspect that new characters are canon characters rather than completely new characters, which the person Bones is describing now appears to be (no canon births in 1927).

4Paul Crowley9yThank you - I assumed it was a canon character, and came to this thread to find out who it was.

I think you're underestimating how quick people are to latch onto a detected pattern at the tiniest bit of evidence, and highly overestimating how quick they're to let go of the pattern they (brilliantly) detected when evidence to the contrary appears.

Any date at around that era will keep making people think she identified him as Tom Riddle, no matter any other evidence to the contrary, unless you explicitly have her mention a different name for him by chapter's end.

If you don't want people to have that confusion by chapter's end, just edit the chapter to have her name him with whatever non-Tom-Riddle name she thinks him to be.

7ChrisHallquist9yFacepalm Of course, if Riddle wanted to create a hero persona for himself, he wouldn't use his real name, especially not when his villain persona's name was an anagram of his real name. So to create his hero persona, he looked for a dead scion of a Most Ancient House who he could impersonate. In his Voldemort persona, he orders the kidnapping of the Minster of Magic's daughter, then rescues her in his hero persona, &c. Also solves the problem of why doesn't Bones know Riddle became Voldemort.

especially not when his villain persona's name was an anagram of his real name.

I don't think that's an issue. It's a really long anagram - 'I am Lord Voldemort' to 'Tom Marvolo Riddle'. You need his middle name, you need to use 'Tom' rather than 'Thomas', and how many would think of prepending 'I am Lord' to 'Voldemort', especially when 'Lord' is mostly (exclusively?) used by Death Eaters. (Did anyone in the entire world besides Rowling get that anagram before it was published in Book 2? No one in canon but Harry seems to know.)

Remember that folks like Hook would publish hash - I mean, anagram - precommitments to their great scientific discoveries. Against humans without computers, anagrams are pretty effective trapdoor functions. (And that's when you know there's an anagram in the first place.)

EDIT: For 'Tom Marvolo Riddle', the AWAD anagram server says 74,669 possible anagrams. Some are quite ominous, eg. 'Dread Mil Volt Room'.

That, and an anagram that long can become almost anything. Exapmles: Armored doll vomit, odd immoral revolt, and my favorite, devil marmot drool. So even with the "marvolo", and even with the knowledge that it anagrams to something you're not going to spontaneously make that association unless you have prior reason to suspect voldemortiness.

odd immoral revolt

Of course - it's so obvious in retrospect! And it even encodes a hint about Quirrel's future activities too:

devil marmot drool

(If you squint, his resemblance to a devil marmot is clear.)

In fairness, I think the first anyone heard of "Marvolo" as Riddle's middle niddle -- er, I mean name -- was when he anagrammed it for Harry in the Chamber of Secrets. So it's not a big surprise that no one else guessed the anagram.

4HonoreDB9yYeah, it was a total cheat. That's why I put my anagram [http://lesswrong.com/lw/86m/fiction_hamlet_and_the_philosophers_stone/] in the Dramatis Personae.

It's dawned on me that one of the biggest themes of this fic may be the importance of being able to notice flaws in one's models of other people. Virtually every time something has gone wrong in one of Voldemort's plans, it is because he is weak in this area:

  • Failure to predict how Harry would react to seeing him (as Quirrell) trying to kill an Aurour in Azkaban
  • Failure to predict that Hermione would be suspicious of Mr. Incredibly Suspicious Person
  • Failure to see how far Harry would go to keep Hermione out of Azkaban
  • Failure to talk Hermione into leaving Hogwarts of her own free will
  • The initial failure to predict that people would not treat him very well in his hero role

Then there's Lucius, seeing everything in terms of self-interested plots, and concluding Harry is Voldemort because of it.

And finally, the bit in chapter 81 about how Harry is wiser than either Dumbledore or Voldemort, because he realizes he's able to realize when he doesn't understand people.

(I think one of those Azkabans should be a Hogwarts.)

There's also the two miscalculations in the speech before Yule- Harry's wish (which I think genuinely caught him by surprise) and Harry's publicly disagreeing with him (likewise).

7Xachariah9yNot that the theme isn't present, but I almost consider that a general theme of fiction. Romeo and Juliet is enabled by the authorities on both sides not having accurate models of their respective scions. Of Mice and Men is about Lenny's inaccuracy in his model of George. Die Hard always ends because the villain does not have an accurate model of John McClane. I'm sure you could write a whole book about Death Note. etc. While it is present in HPMoR, it doesn't strike me as especially significant any more so than other fiction, compared to the many more overtly rationalist themes already present.
3trlkly9yI think you are erring when you assume that these are Voldemort's plans. They might be, but I don't think they have to be. The story seems to have deviated quite far from the original story. In fact, my reading is that Quirrell may actually be some good guy, destroying our expectations from the story. I mean, has his turban even been mentioned?
5pedanterrific9yChapter 12 (the Welcoming Feast):
3Normal_Anomaly9yThis is a better interpretation of that bit than I've seen before--I approve.

In the spirit of making people flee screaming out of the room, propelled by a bone-deep terror as if Cthulhu had erupted from the podium:

One thing I really enjoy about HPMoR is how it likes to show intelligent people taking unreasonable-seeming ( = actually reasonable) precautions. Amelia Bones in chapter 84, and also in the Azkaban arc, Dumbledore and Snape and even Minerva on various occasions... not quite sure why but I really enjoy reading that sort of a thing.

9Psy-Kosh9yInterestingly enough, that's also why I liked the older seasons of Mythbusters. You'd see much more of the planning/preparation for their tests, including all the safety considerations. ie, they'd do the usual "don't try this at home", but then you'd actually see just how much planning/etc it takes to do such things properly and safely.

Nicholas Flamel (born 1340) could be almost as good a source of ancient spells lost to the Interdict of Merlin as Slytherin's Monster (exact creation date unknown, but Godric Gryffindor was alive in 1202 and Slytherin was a contemporary). He also seems to be dependent on Albus Dumbledore for protection; maybe it's time Dumbledore called in some quid pro quo if he hasn't already?

Nicholas Flamel (born 1340) could be almost as good a source of ancient spells lost to the Interdict of Merlin as Slytherin's Monster

From Chapter 77:

A single glance would tell any competent wizard that the Headmaster has laced that corridor with a ridiculous quantity of wards and webs, triggers and tripsigns. And more: there are Charms laid there of ancient power, magical constructs of which I have heard not even rumors, techniques that must have been disgorged from the hoarded lore of Flamel himself.

So Dumbledore's already using some of Flamel's knowledge in his efforts against Voldemort.

4gwern9yIf Dumbledore had that kind of leverage, he would have used it to either move or destroy the Philosopher's Stone.
[-][anonymous]9y 24

I'm experimenting with reproducing the sound of the really horrible humming in Mathematica. I haven't changed the duration of notes yet, but I've experimented with trying to make things sound as horribly off-key as possible. I've started out with just changing the pitches of the notes by adding normally-distributed noise. So far the main discovery I've made is that for greater effect, the magnitude of the change should be proportional to the length of the note. Any ideas for things to try?

I'm using MIDI sounds, which are the simplest to set up, but also have the drawback that every pitch must correspond to an integral semitone, which limits how horrible things can sound. Also, what is a good standard MIDI instrument for simulating humming?

[-][anonymous]9y 21

After several hours of experimentation, I have figured out what the trick is. Quirrell did nothing except hum the same song for four hours. The Auror's mind filled in the rest. After four hours of listening to the same fifty-one notes over and over again, I'd be calling code RJ-L20 too.

I would think the real key to horrible humming would not be to have it be uniformly horrible, but so close to brilliant that the horrible notes punctuate and pierce the melody so completely that it starts driving you mad- a song filled with unresolved suspensions, minor 2nds where they just should not belong, that then somehow modulate into something which sounds normal just long enough for you to think you are safe, when it collapses again, and the new key is offensive both to the original and to the modulation. This is not just random sounds, this is purposeful song writing, with the intent to unsettle- in my mind, something like sondheim at his most twisted, but without any resolution ever.

7[anonymous]9yWell, first we're dealing with variations on a specific tune. The reason I suspect that random variations might work well is that if the probability of a change is sufficiently low, it would have exactly the effect you suggest: mostly the original "Lullaby and Goodnight", but with occasional horrible. Of course, if I were actually a cruel genius, I could do better, but it would be foolish of me to admit to being one. Another reason random changes might work well is that they are by definition unexpected. If I did something purposeful, it would have a pattern; the real Quirrell might break that pattern by observing his victim's reactions, but not having a pattern at all might also be an interesting thing to try.

I'm not sure how much music you know, and I'm not sure how much music Mathematica knows, so if this is all Greek or too hard, disregard it all:

Try different diatonic modes and different scales altogether. Switch from Major to Phrygian in the middle of a phrase. Switch to different sets of keys depending on whether consecutive tones are ascending or descending. Use a lot of Locrian mode, it is generally wrong-sounding. Try mapping diatonic scale degrees to octatonic ones somehow, and switch between the two octatonic scales at random. See if you can produce a portamento between two notes, and use it a lot when two notes are separated by only a semitone.

8buybuydandavis9yEY is one hilarious fellow. He should do standup. The Horrible Humming was just too funny. And interesting too, because you wonder if it could work.

Tolerance for rejection is a much harder qualifier to meet for success in standup than being funny is. Just, you know, so you know.

I am reminded of the first time Australian musician Lester Vat did his famous show Why Am I A Pie? (there's audio and video there.) He got up on stage at a rock'n'roll pub - it was a "What Is Music?" weird noise festival, but no-one expected this - went up to the microphone, and for forty-five minutes, just repeated the words:

"Why ... am I ... a pie?"
"Why ... am I ... a pie?"
"Why ... am I ... a pie?"

After fifteen minutes people didn't even have the energy left to tell him to fuck off. By twenty minutes people were slamdancing to it.

Repetition. It's powerful stuff.

4q4-g03olf9yYou might check out a program called Max/MSP if you want to get really deep into this stuff. It handles conversions between MIDI and audio signal pretty elegantly. Other ideas.. You might try making notes that change pitch continuously You might try putting the breaks in parts of the music where we expect it to continue. MIDI "doo" or other synth voice instruments tend to sound pretty maddening on their own without much special effort. Maybe layer in helicopter sounds or applause to simulate breathiness?

I've always had a soft spot for Quirrell. It's made me blind to a lot of his flaws, so I've tried to actively focus on his evil actions and how much I would hate someone doing that to me. But this latest chapter made me love him all over again. Even though I realize it probably contains huge amounts of misrepresentation if not outright lies.

I'm worried I may be turning Bad.

OTOH, this may just be superb writing, to make the villain so completely relate-able. Either way, every time a chapter goes Quirrell-heavy I swoon. Glad we got one in the current arc so I don't have to wait longer.

I'm worried I may be turning Bad.

You need not trouble yourself. Examining Quirrell's actions has merely made you realize how much you would like to have his power. "Bad" is just a label applied by those too weak to seize that power.

Do not fear the dark side - we have cookies!

6NancyLebovitz9yIs he actually loyal to his students or Up To Something?.

Could be both. In any case I think it's a fair assumption that Quirrell is always up to something.

9buybuydandavis9yI think he takes his responsibilities seriously. His evil comes from his condemnation of the weakness, stupidity, cowardice, and irresponsibility of others. He lives up to his standards, but others don't.

I'm confident that is how Quirrell is meant to appear. But the villain's real face may be a bit of a riddle.

7loserthree9yYou know you love it.
3Alsadius9yI do, that's the worst part.
8ChrisHallquist9yRemember: Quirrell can care about his students any time he likes, because he's not Good.
8Alsadius9yOr perhaps it's more accurately phrased as "I can show up the good guys any time I want to make them look bad, because I'm not constrained by the same fear of ill consequences that they are".

"But I -" Her excellent memory helpfully replayed it for the thousandth time, Draco Malfoy telling her with a sneer that she'd never beat him when he wasn't tired, and then proceeding to prove just that, dancing like a duelist between the warded trophies while she frantically scrambled, and dealing the ending blow with a hex that sent her crashing against the wall and drew blood from her cheek - and then - then she'd -

This seems to suggest that her memories of the duel are a fabrication (or the "Draco" she was fighting was someone else under the influence of polyjuice). Draco has no particular reason to further provoke her and was genuinely unsure whether he could beat her. It doesn't seem obvious why anyone would do that if there was going to be a genuine duel anyway, though. Maybe the the genuine memories were just touched up a bit? Alternatively, why might Draco behave as in that memory when there's no one else around? (the behavior would have made more sense for the second, public duel)

I notice that the only thing we're told about Hermione's appearance in Chapter 78 is that she has bags under her eyes, no mention of a cut on her cheek.

I needed chocolate to recover from reading this chapter. ;_;

You warm my terrible heart.

[-][anonymous]9y 22

Harry MUST triumph over Quirrel, and he must do so by being more moral, not more intelligent.

That doesn't sound right. If you're looking for ways Harry could win, why not take Harry's advice and draw up a list of his relative advantages? He does have them - knowledge of superrationality, knowledge of science, ability to empathize with non-psychopaths, to name three - and they're likely to be part of the solution.

I will say this much, Mr. Potter: You are already an Occlumens, and I think you will become a perfect Occlumens before long. Identity does not mean, to such as us, what it means to other people. Anyone we can imagine, we can be; and the true difference about you, Mr. Potter, is that you have an unusually good imagination. A playwright must contain his characters, he must be larger than them in order to enact them within his mind. To an actor or spy or politician, the limit of his own diameter is the limit of who he can pretend to be, the limit of which face he may wear as a mask. But for such as you and I, anyone we can imagine, we can be, in reality and not pretense. While you imagined yourself a child, Mr. Potter, you were a child. Yet there are other existences you could support, larger existences, if you wished. Why are you so free, and so great in your circumference, when other children your age are small and constrained? Why can you imagine and become selves more adult than a mere child of a playwright should be able to compose? That I do not know, and I must not say what I guess. But what you have, Mr. Potter, is freedom.

No one seems to be commenting on the way that dumbledore identified quirrel to the wards. It seemed to me to be a very clear hint that someone else was somehow within that circle and so is also recognised as the defence professor, has top level Hogwarts permissions etc. Possibly Mr hat and cloak?

9Nominull9yIt's possible, but not everything that's possible is true. You'd think there'd only be able to be one Defense Professor, especially if that position was referred to with the definite article, and so properly coded wards would throw an exception if his identifier did not uniquely pick out an individual.
9Percent_Carbon9yIt means that he won't show up as Tom Riddle or Voldemort or Quinirius Quirrell or Jeffe Japes or Scion of X on the Marauder Map. He'll show up as The Defense Professor.

A large part of the point of Quirrel/Riddle/Voldemort in HPMOR is that he can assume any identity he wants to. His behavior being at odds with what you imagine a Voldemort would do is simply his deception going to a much higher level. He doesn't act like a Voldemort because he was never actually Voldemort any more than he is actually Quirrel.

I wonder how long it'll be till everyone in Hogwarts realizes that the whole recent attempted-murder plot was designed by Quirrel for the sole purpose of having both Slytherin and Ravenclaw win the House Cup at the same time (because when Slytherin and Ravenclaw lose students mid-terms, the school rules are ambiguous about whether the points earned by those students should be counted towards winning the House Cup)

I'm expecting the plot to have also contained as a crucial component a Golden Snitch with a delayed-action memory charm, which will cause the Ministry to overreact by banning Golden Snitches on school grounds, thus fullfilling Harry's wish of Snitch-less Quidditch as well.

I'm only half-joking with the above.

9Lavode9yQuidditch really nags me, because the team you are playing with has nearly zero relevance. And it is so unnessesary, even if Rowling desired a position on the team of key importance, the way the snitch works is still wrong - If it was worth zero points, but catching it ended the game, then seekers are still key, they just cannot win entirely on their own anymore, and the job would require more than just "flies fast",
[-][anonymous]9y 18

Or if catching the snitch gave you the option of ending the game or of having it re-released after a short random time. That way a seeker of the losing team could still engage in snitch denial other than trying to crash his counterpart into the ground.

That part could still fit. Certainly Voldemort and Noble Hero cannot (simultaneously) exist in the same world.

For more than six hours a day.

Harry is totally schizophrenic in MOR though. He's got all of the Founders in his head.

You seem to be working from a unified view of the mind in which there is one single personality with one single voice, and deviations from this structure are pathological. I don't think this is accurate.

Even if it was, it is common for people to hold internal dialogues, and not unusual for patterns to develop where certain kinds of thought are given certain labels. I don't think this says anything special about Harry, except that he has a rich and vibrant inner life.

Also, a Public Service Announcement: "schizophrenia" is an umbrella term for a long list of possible symptoms whose main common feature is disconnection from reality or warped perception of it. You are thinking of Dissociative Identity Disorder (commonly known as Multiple Personality Disorder), which is a completely different thing altogether.


"Not this again!" Minerva said. "Albus, it was You-Know-Who, not you, who marked Harry as his equal. There is no possible way that the prophecy could be talking about you!"

The old wizard nodded, but his eyes still seemed distant, fixed only on the road head.

This is another brick in the wall of the Prophecy and Potter massacre being a setup by Dumbledore.

6[anonymous]9yNot a nail in the coffin? Evidence for and against Dumbledore and Voldemort as authors of the prophecy: +Dumbledore * Was the apparent beneficiary of the prophecy -Dumbledore * Seems to have a world model that includes such entities as "heroes" and "evil", and is ripe for exploitation * Gives every outward sign of believing the prophecy is genuine * Gave Trelawney a magical clock that's probably a listening device +Voldemort * Was the actual beneficiary of the prophecy, if he pretended to lose * Suddenly has a history of setting up both sides of a conflict (My reaction to Ch. 84 was: ...really? You waited until you were half a million words into the fic before introducing this? Really?) * Has a history of creating orphaned heroes of destiny * Would have been the one who sent Snape to overhear the prophecy * Chose Harry and not Neville as his target, then allowed Snape to learn the meaning of the prophecy and that he intended to attack the Potters -Voldemort * Reacted strongly to a mention of prophecy once, possibly because he takes prophecies seriously * Could have defeated Dumbledore by conventional means * Should not be trying plots as complicated as this one Quirrell has indicated that he plans to go to war with the Muggles and rule the entire world. If Percent_Carbon [http://lesswrong.com/r/discussion/lw/bmx/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/6al1] is right, and "Tom didn't want to be Hitler. Tom wanted to actually win", he may think that conquering Britain as Voldemort would cost him the larger war. He needs a hero, and his first hero failed. So for eight years afterward, he continued to build up the legend of Voldemort, slowly grinding down the opposition, and then, when all hope seemed lost, a prophecy struck like a bolt of lightning and Voldemort was defeated by a baby in his crib. On the evidence so far, I've switched to Team Voldemort. You were right the first time. Dumbledore could still be responsible for th

Suddenly has a history of setting up both sides of a conflict

Hmm? We have no good evidence to distinguish between the following two hypotheses:

  • Voldemort was playing both sides of things up until 1973, when he dropped one side for some reason
  • When Voldemort embarked on the Quirrell deception, he knew investigation would reveal that he wasn't actually Quirrell, so he deliberately dropped hints that would deceive investigators into believing he was a hero who, in reality, died back in 1973.

All we know is Quirrell has let hints drop that he was the hero who disappeared. There is no reason to expect that any of his hints are anything other than deliberate lies. If a competent investigation would discover that Qurrell's not really Qurrell, then the deception absolutely requires a second layer to last the year, so people like Bones can feel satisfied that they've discovered "the truth" about Quirrell without suspecting he's Voldemort. The existence of this second-layer deception now does not provide any evidence that the same deception existed eighteen years earlier.

[-][anonymous]9y 14

There is no reason to expect that any of his hints are anything other than deliberate lies.

Quirrell certainly talks about the need to act exactly as the person you're impersonating would act. His speech to Hermione would be no evidence at all if it were delivered by someone who practised what Quirrell preaches.

But that isn't Quirrell. Far from putting up a perfect facade, Quirrell's mask is constantly slipping. He "makes a game of lying with truths, playing with words to conceal his meanings in plain sight." His dialogue is peppered with hints to his identity, his past, and his intentions. Almost everything he says about himself is a clue.

His love of the killing curse and his intent to kill. His childhood ambition to become a Dark Lord. The Muggle dojo. The Pioneer plaque. His intention to crush Rita Skeeter. Repeated use of the word 'Riddle'. His willingness to be identified as having eaten 'death'. His wish for Britain to grow strong under a strong leader. The story of Merope's enslavement of Tom Riddle Sr. His theft of Quirrell's body using incredibly dark magic.

I think you've confused the actual character of Quirrell with the master of deception that he claims to b... (read more)

4Percent_Carbon9yYeah we do. When EY writes that the heroic Scion of X vanished while traveling Ablania in 45 he is telling the readers that Voldemort took him by making a shout out to what happened to Quirrell in canon. The Ablanian Shuffle is good evidence.
4loserthree9yOn the contrary, the reference to Albania is almost certainly a clue to the reader that the hero was replaced.
5loserthree9ySome time after Chapter 38 showed us that Lucius thinks HJPEV is Voldemort, I took his position seriously and looked over the rest of the story. If Voldemort is the hero, what is Quirrell? I figured he was the Basilisk. And if Quirrell was not the antagonist, who was? I figured it was Dumbledore because the opposite of rational is insane, not stupid. I now think Quirrell is Voldemort and Dumbledore is not especially insane, but I wish I had thought to reinterpret the prophesy without Voldemort as the obvious bad guy back then. There is so much potential there.

I don't actually go to meetups, but Harry's comments about anti-conformity training made me wonder if it'd be worth trying.

You could retest the original experiment, see if lesswrongians can avoid it through knowledge of the effect.

You could mock obviously true statements to practice withstanding opposition.

You could practice the ability to do harmless but nonconformist things to gain the ability to do so if the situation called for something unusual, but you might otherwise be too conformist or embarassed. (each meeting attendee shall order a coffee whilst wearing the ceremonial tea-cosy!). I suspect some of this overlaps with PUA a little and easily veers into general confidence building.

I don't know if rehearsals would do any good, but you could go through the motions of not complying with the Milgram experiment, making people handle little fake emergencies...

You could wonder if EY is planning things like this for the Center for Modern Rationality.

I don't know if rehearsals would do any good

Really, this is how I feel. I'd be really surprised if a setup like that actually worked. I'm not sure Harry is supposed to actually believe (with any confidence) that it works for Chaos. Ultimately you know and everyone else knows that it's just a charade, and that really your "nonconforming" is just conforming one level below surface: You stand there and take abuse that you know to be insincere, and then get a pat on the back about it later, just like everyone else did on their turn.

Hopefully CMR has a better exercise in mind. A really good anti-Asch training tool seems like a great thing to have.

You could mock obviously true statements to practice withstanding opposition.

The danger with this seems to be that you'll also be developing skills for attacking correct positions. It's training you to develop tactics for entrenching yourself in incorrect beliefs. Also it seems to lend itself to the view of arguments as status conflicts rather than group truth-investigation (though I suppose we do need to at least practice how to handle arguments with people who do perceive them this way).

I disagree. I think it would have a very good chance to work.

To a perfect Bayesian, the importance of an act is not what it looks like on the surface, but the state of the world that makes such an act possible. Unfortunately (or fortunately in this case), human minds are not perfectly Bayesian.

To the human mind, merely resembling another thing is enough for the mind to form connections and associations between the two. This is why public speaking courses can improve people's abilities and lessen their fears of public speech. Even though people know they're just speaking in front of a class who is obligated to receive the speech well, their mind naturally reduces the anxiety they feel for any future speaking engagements. The mind says "eh, it's close enough. I can do this," just like how anti-conformity training should fool the mind into considering it 'close enough' to real disagreement. Speech classes don't not work perfectly, just like chaos training (I assume) doesn't work perfectly, but it's pretty good.

Anti-conformity training seems practically identical to a proven training method, and thus I rate it highly likely to work.

Well, I guess it's just an empirical question where we differ in predictions. Personally I don't think the analogy with public speaking is very strong, because public speaking classes are actually public speaking. People stand up and speak in front of lots of people, that's just what it is.

Upon reflection though, it does seem like there's one way that it might help, which is that it might help you figure out how to go about non-conformity, what exactly you can do or say in such a situation. So even if your mind doesn't buy into the charade, roleplaying with good partners might help you figure out ways to navigate a non-conformity situation. Having those methods worked out in advance might make you less hesitant to speak out in real world situations, but only to the extent that your hesitation is about not knowing what exactly to say or do (as opposed to fear of social punishment, the usual explanation for Asch's results).

What I've always wondered about with Asch's experiment is how much of a difference a small monetary incentive (say, $1 per correct answer) would make. It seems like the experiment is odd in that there is no incentive to give correct answers, but at least a potential or perceived social incentive to give conforming ones. This seems like it would be relevant to our disagreement because it's a question of whether the situation becomes different when something is actually on the line. Unfortunately I can't seem to google up any examples of variations like this.

4Solvent9yI would be really interested in the result of this experiment.

I think that if you've got a deeply habitual inhibition against firmly disagreeing with people, even a known-to-be-simulated experience of breaking the inhibition can help quite a bit.

Based on my own experiences being a lone dissenter, the main thing that has allowed me to stand up and maintain my position consistently in the face of uniform opposition and derision, was not expecting much of everyone else in the first place.

For example, in an introductory logic course, when the professor made a mistake, which everyone else in the class agreed with, and I was the sole person to disagree, and attempt to explain it in the face of the entire class brushing me off and laughing about how I thought I knew better when the answer was so obvious to everyone else, it didn't seem weird to me at all that every other person would make the same mistake and I would be the only one to notice it. It wasn't confusing to me, and my success in showing the professor in a couple minutes after class that she had been mistaken after all confirmed for me that my expectations were on track.

Conforming to the beliefs of the crowd is perfectly sensible behavior, in domains where you have no reason to expect yourself to be more accurate than anyone else. Learning to disregard conforming instincts completely is a bad idea, because a lot of the time, it really will be everyone else who's right,... (read more)

6Viliam_Bur9yHaving an experience of being right where everyone else is wrong, is good for breaking the fear of nonconformity. When I was a child, I participated on a science olympiad and on one question I gave an answer that seemed trivially wrong, but in fact it was correct. (There were two objects of different size, made of same material, balanced on a lever, then both immersed in water. How will the balance chance?) Everyone thought I was wrong, and the official solution confirmed it. Then the organizers realized they made a mistake, and confirmed my solution. Since then I knew (also on emotional level) that it is possible to be right, even if everyone else disagrees. Sometimes it is wise to keep quiet, because the social consequences of nonconformity are real, but being alone does not make one automatically wrong. It was a good lesson.

Given that places can be made unplottable, I'd guess identities can be made unknowable. Uncertainty in potterverse can be a quality of the thing itself...

Harry nodded. " At least nobody's going to try hexing you, not after what the Headmaster said at dinner tonight. Oh, and Ron Weasley came up to me, looking very serious, and told me that if I saw you first, I should tell you that he's sorry for having thought badly of you, and he'll never speak ill of you again."

"Ron believes I'm innocent?" said Hermione.

"Well... he doesn't think you're innocent, per se..."

Ron approves of trying to murder Draco Malfoy?

Ron approves of trying to murder Draco Malfoy?

I'm pretty sure even canon Ron would at least say he approves of killing Draco.

9taelor9yIf I recall correctly, canon!Ron has admitted to fantasizing about murdering Draco on several occasions. The one that comes most readily to mind was in book 4, when they were discussing Durmstrang's location in the far north, and Ron comments wistfully about how easy it would be to push Draco off a glacier and make it look like an accident.

Why wasn't one of the first things Harry did when returning from the trial exposing Hermione to the light of the True Patronus while she was still unconscious (it looks like it didn't happen at least)? He already knows it restores recent Dementor damage, has a plausible reason to know in that he experienced it himself under Dumbledore's eyes and could have told Dumbledore to secure his cooperation. Is his anger at Dumbledore getting in the way?

Since I don't anticipate getting a chance to point it out inside the fic itself, and the hint is unreasonably subtle:

When Hermione woke the third time (though it felt like she'd only closed her eyes for a moment) the Sun was even lower in the sky, almost fully set. She felt a little more alive and, strangely, even more exhausted. This time it was Professor Flitwick who was standing next to her bed and shaking her shoulder, a tray of steaming food floating next to him. For some reason she'd thought Harry Potter ought to be leaning over her bedside, but he wasn't there. Had she dreamed that? She couldn't remember dreaming.

Harry didn't think of it instantly, but given a little time...

5Merdinus9yPossibly a rubbish first post, but this highlight draws attention to something rather misleading: she was more exhausted? Reading that originally rang bells in my head at the same pitch as Hermione being memory-charmed. Then, I played with the idea that Harry taught her the True Patronus then obliviated her, for all of two seconds. Mind circles.
3MixedNuts9ySeeing this before the parent, I thought you meant kissing, which worked on Harry when he was demented, and references fairy tales.
5buybuydandavis9yAnd I hope the next thing he does is to teach her how to cast the True Patronus.
[-][anonymous]9y 17

This chapter significantly increased my probability estimate that Quirrell was entirely behind the plot to > 90%. Also, the humming torture was awesome, but not helping his case.

Also, who the hell was Bones' story referring to? That whole section heavily confused me.

The humming torture sounds similar to Vetinari's clock, only taken to the next level. I liked it too.

EDIT: Now that I think about it, the memetic attack is also similar to "The Book" in Anathem, though the delivery vector is different.

Same. The part about disappearing in Albania is from canon-Quirrell's backstory - that's where he ran into Voldemort's wandering ghost, so it's interesting that in MoR he supposedly went there before the war. The rest of the background recounted by Bones and by Quirrell himself don't really ring a bell with me, the closest thing I can think of is him needing "reconciliation" with the Lady of the House being reminiscent of Sirius Black and his spat with his family, but Sirius already exists in MoR and had a different history.

It might be possible that in MoR the house of Gaunt (the one canon!Voldemort is from) did not fall into poverty and retained their household and Wizengamot influence? If the general 'powering up' of characters can go that far back it would be plausible. And now that I think of it, Quirrell initiated talk about witch-on-Muggle magical seduction during the SPHEW arc, which could suggest that that part of his family background was carried over from canon.

(One of the things that annoy me about HPMoR is that when I can't quickly figure out what a certain passage might be hinting to, I have to assign a frustratingly high probability to the event that it's simply a reference/homage/in-joke to one of the myriad HP fanfictions.)

How many instances can y'all remember where Eliezer has repeated himself in an oddly specific way?

  • Chapter 17, when Harry picks up Neville's Remembrall: "The Remembrall was glowing bright red in his hand, blazing like a miniature sun that cast shadows on the ground in broad daylight."

  • Chapter 43, when Harry has a Dementor-induced flashback of the night... something happened in Godric's Hollow: "And the boy in the crib saw it, the eyes, those two crimson eyes, seeming to glow bright red, to blaze like miniature suns, filling Harry's whole vision as they locked to his own -"

That really sets off my deliberate-hint senses - so much is repeated that it's got to be intentional. (My apologies if this was already discussed to death in the considerable time since #43 was posted.)

Likewise the basilisk, which I know was discussed at some point:

  • Chapter 35, H&C speaking: "Salazar Slytherin would have keyed his monster into the ancient wards at a higher level than the Headmaster himself."

  • Chapter 49, the Defense Professor speaking: "or by some entity which Salazar Slytherin keyed into his wards at a higher level than the Headmaster himself."

I'm sure I could find more if I put my mind to it, but that's all I've got for now.

4Benquo9yI have no idea how to interpret the first clue. Are Voldemort's eyes Remembralls?
3LKtheGreat9yMy interpretation was that we're meant to connect the two incidents and conclude that Harry's (seemingly numerous) forgotten memories are something to do with Voldemort, whether specifically memories of that night or something wider.
3bogdanb9yWell, the fact that he remembered the night of Voldemort’s attack (I have 80%+ confidence it was a real memory, though I’m not sure of what), it’s clear that there was at least one thing that he had forgotten at the time he held the Remembrall. I hadn’t made the connection until now. Previously I thought the crimson eyes were a hint pointing to Moaning Myrtle’s recounting of her encounter with the basilisk. Now I wonder if it’s just a coincidence because the “blazing sun” simile works well for a bright Remembrall, or if Eliezer is giving us a three-way hint. A basilisk being present at Godric’s Hollow had a lot of awesomeness potential, but it does seem like the less likely hypothesis. On the other hand, pretty much everyone has forgotten most of their infancy—presumably, Dementors don’t bring such memories back because they’re almost never as traumatic as Harry’s—and Remembralls don’t start glowing like mad in everybody’s hands, so something is still missing there.
3gwern9yMuch more than infancy - apparently everything before 10 is suspect, and everything before 4 especially so according to Wikipedia on childhood amnesia [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Childhood_amnesia].

Regardless of them getting explicitely identified to the wards, so it must get its names independently.

If it must, then Dumbledore overrode it.

He did so specifically to prevent himself from learning the Defense Professor's identity, because that was the term stipulated by Quirrell.

Those lines were specifically included to keep the story from prematurely reaching its climax as soon as Quirrell returns to Hogwarts. I think you will enjoy stories more if you accept that sometimes things happen for story reasons.

but the way its written makes it look like its trying to fool the reader.

Eliezer might be aiming further than just us. Future readers will probably not read the notes and LessWrong threads in parallel with the book, and he knows from past reactions that the Voldie hints are interpreted more ambiguously by readers than he intended to. So the style might be intended to be ironic for us and mysterious for future readers.

Yeah, MoR has a much more well-thought-through concept of what it means to be a powerful wizard, and the difference between that and a normal wizard.

And even in canon, I'm not sure it makes sense for them to be surprised he could escape- everyone thinks of Dumbledore as the most powerful wizard alive- but they could have conceivably been expecting him not to attempt to resist arrest, because he's generally more law-abiding than that.

Wizarding police have to allow for the fact that some possible prisoners (Dumbledore, Grindelwald, Voldemort) are capable of beating up the whole police department put together. When someone displays surprising power, it makes sense to back off, at least until you're sure you can take him.

Two things: one, that first downvote was mine, not ArisKatsaris's. It's still there, someone else just upvoted you.

Two: Quirrell's not stupid. He went through that whole Groundhog Day Attack rigmarole to avoid leaving detectable Legilimency traces; he would be a fool to try it now, after Dumbledore's specifically warded her against "hostile magic [...], or any spirit".

Best rationalization I can think of, but I still don't approve of the change. Let us remember that Quirrell intends to help Harry become a Dark Wizard, in which case, since Harry is in the classroom, he should include Light Wizards in the class of people who can threaten the students present.

It also makes more sense to say "the adult wizard" since that sentence is the conclusion of a list of species that are dangerous, and "adult" sounds more biological.

Maybe there's an important reason for this change, but otherwise I think this is too much like a composer making inane changes to a piece after it's already written, or like George Lucas messing with the original Star Wars trilogy.

Alternatively, the Arresto Momentum spell is quite instantly deadly if you use the right frame of reference.

6Jonathan_Elmer9yHa, another magical weapon of mass destruction. Hop on a broom and repeatedly cast Arresto Momentum on the Earth.

Try this instead; it should work on any OS and generate a .wav file you can play. (It's better than putting up a recording because you can play with the parameters, put in your own tune, etc.)

import math, random, struct, wave
from math import sin,cos,exp,pi
filename = '/home/dgerard/something.wav' # replace with something sensible

def add_note(t,p,d,v):
    # t is time in seconds, p is pitch in Hz, d is duration in seconds
    # v is volume in arbitrary (amplitude) units
    i0 = int(44100*t)
    i1 = int(44100*(t+d))
    if len(signal)<i1: signal.extend([0 for i in range(len(signal),i1)])
    for i in range(i0,i1):
        dt = i/44100.-t
        if dt<0.02: f = dt/0.02 # attack: 0..1 over 20ms
        elif dt<0.2: f = exp(-(dt-0.02)/0.18) # decay: 1..1/e over 180ms
        elif dt<d-0.2: f = exp(-1) # sustain: 1/e
        else: f = exp(-1)*(d-dt)/0.2 # release: 1/e..0 over 200ms
        signal[i] += f*v*(sin(2*pi*p*dt)+0.2*sin(6*pi*p*dt)+0.06*sin(10*pi*p*dt))

def save_signal():
    m = max(abs(x) for x in signal)
    d = [int(30000./m*x) for x in signal]
    w = wave.open(filename, "wb")
... (read more)
7gjm9yThis is quite Quirrellicious: signal = [] t=0 for (p,d) in [(4,1),(5,1),(7,3),(None,1), (4,1),(5,1),(7,3),(None,1), (4,1),(7,1),(12,2),(11,2),(9,2),(9,2),(7,1),(None,1), (2,1),(4,1),(5,3),(None,1), (2,1),(4,1),(5,3),(None,1), (2,1),(5,1),(11,1),(9,1),(7,2),(11,2),(12,4)]: if p is not None: add_note(t, 440*2**(((p+random.choice([-1,0,0,0,1]))+random.random())/12.), 0.3*d+0.1, 1) t += 0.3*d*math.exp(random.random()*random.random()) save_signal() It (1) displaces 20% of notes up and 20% of notes down by one semitone, (2) detunes all notes randomly by about +/- a quarter-tone, and (3) inserts random delays, usually quite short but up to a factor of about 1.7 times the length of the preceding note or rest. [EDITED to add: actually, I think it distorts the pitches just a little too much.] [FURTHER EDITED: really, it should be tweaked so that when two consecutive notes in the original melody are, say, increasing in pitch, the same is true of the distorted ones. I am too lazy to make this happen. A simpler improvement is to replace the two pitch-diddlings with a single call to random.choice() so that you never get, e.g., a semitone displacement plus a quarter-tone mistuning in the same direction. I also tried making the timbre nastier by putting the partials at non-harmonic frequencies, which does indeed sound quite nasty but not in a particularly hummable way. This doesn't introduce as much nastiness as it would in music with actual harmony in it; one can make even a perfect fifth sound hideously discordant by messing up the spectrum of the notes. See William Sethares's excellent book "Tuning, timbre, spectrum, scale" for more details, though he inexplicably gives more attention to making music sound better rather than worse.]

Put yourself in his place and his personality, what would you do? I'd probably get bored and set about creating the only thing I don't have: a worthy adversary.

I wouldn't. Sign me up for unworthy adversaries all the way.

Incidentally, are there no Author's Notes for chapter 84?

Canon!Ron had a lot of time and personal interaction in which to grow to like Hermione. MoR!Ron is in a different house, and much of his interaction with her is informed by her close friendship with Harry, whom he considers Evil. And according to Ron, being friends with Evil is extremely damning in and of itself.

I'm not sure canon Ron was good in the sense of regarding slytherins as people. Harry potter has a rather jolly tendency to rank getting people into detention on a simular scale to getting thwm savaged by a hippogriff, particularly in the early books.

I recall that when Harry discovers curses of unknown effect in the Half-Blood Prince's book, the first thing he does is go and try them out on Slytherins to see what they do. In fact, Eliezer references this.

An interpretation of the revelations of Chapter 84 that is almost surely wrong, but was first to rise to my attention:

Quirrell's description of the War to Hermione was an honest description of the conflict between Voldemort and Dumbledore from Voldemort's point of view. Voldemort, like Draco's father and his friends, thought Dumbledore was an evil wizard who needed to be stopped at all cost. But even as people shored up support for Dumbledore, they reviled Voldemort.

And Dumbledore has realized he was the bad guy. When he says:

There is evil in this world which knows itself for evil, and hates the good with all its strength. All fair things does it desire to destroy.

he's referring to the darkness he saw in himself, when he began to "resent Harry's innocence", and looking back on the way he's lived his life.

As I said, this interpretation is almost certainly not true; Amelia was clearly talking about someone the public would think of as a hero, so didn't mean Voldemort (and it's not supposed to be Tom Riddle's story).

4thescoundrel9yJust for fun, consider this: Quirrelmort is more likely to be able to produce a true patronus than Dumbledore, as Quirrelmort understands that death should be avoided. Patronus 2.0 as the power the Dark Lord Knows not?
5thomblake9yObviously all the good guys are anti-death and bad guys are pro-death.

“People aren't either wicked or noble. They're like chef's salads, with good things and bad things chopped and mixed together in a vinaigrette of confusion and conflict.” -- The Grim Grotto

9Velorien9yI suspect Voldemort is less likely to produce a true Patronus. The Patronus 2.0 comes from facing death and rejecting it. Voldemort certainly rejects death, but it doesn't seem like he's faced it the way Harry has. Voldemort: "This 'death' thing is horrible, get it away from me! I'll tear apart my very soul if that's what it takes to escape death!" Harry: "You dare threaten me and the people I feel responsible for, you pitiful little leftover of the evolutionary process? I will end you if it's the last thing I do." Admittedly, this is based more on a canon portrayal of Voldemort, since MoR!Voldemort's views on the subject have yet to be made explicit (and he seems altogether more emotionally healthy than the canon version).

I thought this bit was interesting:

And felt a distant, hollow echo of emptiness radiating from where Death waited, washing over Harry's mind and parting around it, like a wave breaking on stone. Harry knew his enemy this time, and his will was steel and all of the light.

"I can already feel the Dementors," said the gravelly voice of the Polyjuiced Quirrell. "I did not expect that, not this soon."

"Think of the stars," Harry said, over a distant rumble of thunder. "Don't allow any anger in you, nothing negative, just think of the stars, what it feels like to forget yourself and fall bodilessly through space. Hold to that thought like an Occlumency barrier across your entire mind. The Dementors will have some trouble reaching past that."

There was silence for a moment, then, "Interesting."

[-][anonymous]9y 12

I'm wondering if EY is going to come through on this whole "Dumbledore is the Dark Lord and Quirrelmort was in the right all along" approach that he has hinted at recently. There's a precedent here which raises my probability estimate of this slightly, [rot13 for spoilers from another EY story] va uvf fgbel "Gur Fjbeq bs Tbbq" gur gjvfg jnf gung gur ureb'f pubvpr orgjrra tbbq naq rivy jnfa'g n pubvpr bs juvpu bar gb sbyybj (gung jbhyq or boivbhf, pyrneyl) vg jnf gur zhpu uneqre pubvpr bs juvpu jnf juvpu. Gur "tbbq thlf" ghearq bhg gb or rivy naq gur "onq thlf" ghearq bhg gb or tbbq.

So from recent chapters it seems like we're supposed to at least be considering the possibility of that Quirrelmort has been playing some colossal super-villain gambit this whole time in order to set up the rise of Light Lord Harry and defeat death once and for all, and that the Dark Lord prophesied to oppose all this is Dumbledore, who has marked Harry for his equal by nominating him as the future leader of the people he mistakenly believes to be The Good Guys and who wants us all to embrace death when it comes.

This concerns me a little bit, not because I do... (read more)

Why did he not let Harry - whom IIRC we previously saw saying that Hermione ought to be sent to Beauxbatons - beg Hermione to leave, or failing that, order her?

"Why did he not let"? I don't see any place where Quirrel isn't "letting" Harry do these things. Perhaps your question should be better phrased why he didn't ask Harry to do these things?

I think a simple enough answer is that he feels he has a better chance of convincing Hermione to leave, than to convince Harry to force Hermione to leave against her will. Since Bellatrix, Harry has learned to inquire about what is in it for Quirrel when Quirrel asks him to do things. And he'll see that wanting Hermione to leave may be to the advantage of whomever wanted to frame her in the first place, as both events lead to a Hogwarts without Hermione in it.

Is this all reverse-psychology?

I don't understand your usage of the term. It's me who's saying he wanted her to leave (aka non-reverse psychology), it's LKtheGreat and you who seem to be saying he was applying reverse-psychology and that he really wanted her to stay.

Why did he make the blatantly manipulative hard-sell tactic of 'buy now, this is a limited-t

... (read more)
6Desrtopa9yIt's particularly worth considering that if Quirrel's last success in manipulating Hermione came at the end of a long obliviation cycle, then that was achieved when she was already in a state of mental exhaustion.

It appears to me that the original purpose of the Interdict was as a form of DRM for strong spells. If you want to disseminate a spell, you can't just take a book, magically duplicate the book, and pass it out to all your friends. Learning a powerful spell thus required a willing trainer to teach you the spell, and you couldn't duplicate the knowledge contained in your mind until you knew the spell well enough to teach it yourself (and teaching something is harder than just being able to use it).

If you take this as a starting point, it's just basic classism at play motivating Merlin. All the wrong sorts were getting literacy and learning spells from books, taking away from the right sorts, who had learned from tutors, exclusive clubs, and networking with other powerful wizards. And it probably worked exceedingly well for several hundred years until those damn four decided to start up a school and accept everyone to be taught.

9Alsadius9yI'd think of it as being more like "don't spread nuclear design secrets" than DRM, given the nature of powerful wizardry.

It was labeled as made by them, which isn’t necessarily reliable information, considering the incantation you use to activate it. And at one point it’s shown to locate and identify people under the True Cloak of Invisibility, which seems like powerful magic. (It could also be “made” in the sense that they found some sort of magical ingredient or component, ancient and much more powerful than they could make, which the integrated into the map, or even just that they customized an existing map with their silly “access code”.)

And in MoR, Dumbledore himself needed to use the map. Which suggests it was much more powerful than what four of his students could have made.

5Desrtopa9yRowling probably hadn't even decided that Harry had the True Cloak of Invisibility yet.

Eliezer also has magical pop-top soda cans. I think he's just keeping it as random and nonsensical as canon, which to me accurately maps the way cultures bleed into one another.

Eliezer has retracted that comment, and has stated that such retractions should be spoilered as they are no longer common knowledge.

We can't force you to ROT13 your original comment as well as this one, but you're not being fair to the spirit of the fanfiction and you should expect to take a karma hit if you don't.

5wedrifid9yEliezer does not have the power to declare what is common knowledge. Common knowledge is an objective element of the world, not directly subject to authority. What he can exert power to enforce is that all repetitions of said common knowledge are censored.

The rot13 policy indicates your third sentence should be in cipher, in case you weren't aware.

Okay, can someone answer in what way it would look different if Quirrel did try to get Hermione away and just honestly failed? As opposed to this supposedly not-real attempt?

Because I think too many people in this thread suffer from thinking that Quirrel is literally infallible in regards to anything he tries.

5Percent_Carbon9yI have thought the same in conversations about other puzzles for that character, so I should heartily agree. The evidence shows no reason for him to want her to stay. I update to believing that Quirrell tried and failed to drive Hermione away p>0.6. His groundhog day attack equipped him to expertly apply pressure to her but she still persevered, even barely, because she is heroic. (He was using reverse psychology to drive her toward Harry p0.25.) Thank you for the reality check.

A very minor mistake at ch.84

It was only expected that you should save bullies.

This of course should be something like "save them from bullies" or "save people from bullies".

5pedanterrific9yIt's disturbing that I read that like three or four times without once noticing.

A question not on the latest chapter but ch4:

McGonagall shook her head. "Your father was the last heir of an old family, Mr. Potter. It's also possible..." McGonagall hesitated. "Some of this money may be from bounties that had been placed on You-Know-Who, payable to his ki-" McGonagall swallowed the word. "To whoever might defeat him. Or those bounties might not have been collected yet. I'm not sure."

Did we ever find out whether the bounties were collected? I was wondering whether 40k Galleons was a reasonable sum for last heir of ancient family + entire wizarding world's bounties on Voldemort, but I can't remember the question ever being answered in the first place.

7Velorien9yThe Davises have 300 Galleons in their vault, and they do not seem to be especially poor or especially wealthy. If Harry has 130 times the wealth of an average family, that sounds like a reasonable sum for the circumstances stated. It's worth noting that we don't really know to what extent bounties would have been placed on Voldemort. For one thing, it seems like the international community couldn't give a toss about the fate of Britain, and British wizards seem to have spent their time cowering in terror and believing that Voldemort was invincible, rather than financing mercenary warfare.
5gwern9yIt's hard to compare, yes. But if you want to compare with the Davises and Potter fortunes, it doesn't sound like 40k is all that much. For example, if we wanted to compare bounties, we could compare Voldemort to Osama bin Laden's federal bounty of $25 million; googling, the median net worth of an American household is something like $90,000, which gives us a Muggle multiplier of not 130x but 277x. If the Davises really are average (median) then with a Muggle multiplier the bounty on Voldemort might be as high as 113k galleons*. Then presumably you'd have the Potter family fortune of unknown thousands but let's round to 7k and then 120k total - that's 3 times what Harry actually has. Of course, one can make assumptions which would erase a difference of 300% but you see why I might wonder if Harry did actually receive the bounties. * Which if anything sounds low to me - Lucius shocks people by demanding 100k for Hermione just for attempting to kill Draco, but it seems plausible they would not be shocked by something like 10k - and Voldemort doesn't just attempt to kill one person, he kills dozens, hundreds, thousands, and multiple Noble House members. The Order, a subaltern organization unapproved of by Magical England, is able to raise 100k all on its own for its own operations. And so on.
8Alsadius9yMuggle America is also some hundreds of thousands of times more populous than wizarding Britain. That does change some things when it comes to ratios of that sort.
6loserthree9yThat muggle net worth includes property values that would not be reflected in the Davis vault.
7gwern9yWizards are specifically described as not engaging fractional-reserve banking, which implies that any real estate is bought without debt with saved-up funds; hence, we would also expect to see savings reflected in wizard vaults and the Davises in particular unless we think they already bought a property (in which case the 300 galleons would then become a massive underestimate, yes).

No fractional-reserve banking does not imply this - there could be lenders (whether goblins or wizards) with a large supply of their own gold which they use to make loans. Or landowners could sell property with a "rent to own" payment plan. Fractional-reserve banking is only necessary if you want to lend someone else's gold.

8gwern9yI was not using implies in the logical deduction sense. Not having fractional-reserve banking eliminates a massive source of capital which could be used for mortgage lending and ceteris paribus will reduce such lending, does it not?
6open_sketchbook9yIt's entirely possible that, for the most part, land ownership is not an economic issue for wizards. They are a very small population with no reliance on infrastructure and with easy, accessible and instant transportation from the FlooNetwork and apperation. They don't have pay utility bills either. I'm willing to bet the only properties that change hands with meaningful frequency are shops in Hogsmead and Diagon Alley. Some folks rent rooms in these places when they are young and career-driven, but when they settle down to raise a family, if they haven't got a property to inherent, they just zip out to some picturesque chunk of rural Britain, get their friends together or hire some specialists to magically assemble a house, and then the ministry stops by to register the place and hook the fireplace up to the Floo Network for a fee. The vast majority of wizards we see in canon live rurally. Bill and Fleur get set up with a little seaside cottage when they get married and no mention is ever made of cost. The only wizarding house that isn't rural which we know of is Number 12, Grimmauld Place, which was probably straight-up stolen from it's muggle owners in the 19th century and hidden. Of course, if some muggles show up to ask why their land suddenly has a cozy little house on it that wasn't there yesterday, you bust out the memory charms and suddenly it's been your property all along, sorry for the trouble neighbor.
3thomblake9yIt's probably worth comparing it to "the entire war chest" of the OOTP, 100k galleons. Edit: ah, you did that.

I suggest you reroll. I heal paper cuts in a couple of hours.

I suggest you reroll.

Thanks, but nah. I'm a healthy white male American with a middle class background and an intelligence greater than one standard deviation above the mean. Slow healing wounds are not enough to reroll in the face of the great risk of a less privileged life.

Obvioussly you will ssee persson pretending to be healer on arrival!

Is... is it not possible to lie in Parseltongue? I mean, we have

"I am not regisstered," hissed the snake. The dark pits of its eyes stared at Harry. "Animaguss musst be regisstered. Penalty is two yearss imprissonment. Will you keep my ssecret, boy?"

"Yess," hissed Harry. "Would never break promisse."

The snake seemed to hold still, as though in shock, and then began to sway again.


You ssay nothing, to no one. Give no ssign of expectancy, none. Undersstand?"

Harry nodded.

"Ansswer in sspeech."


"Will do as I ssaid?"


Why do you find repeated condom malfunction more plausible than wanting a big family?

4taelor9yAlternately, they just wanted a girl and kept trying until they got one.
3DavidAgain9yBecause it's the only large family mentioned and the only family that relies on Muggle technology over superior magic (e.g. stitches). Wasn't deadly serious: I don't know if it's mentioned directly, but it can't be a mistake that it's a family of six boys, then a girl, and then no further children. I've seen that pattern before. Oddly, that implies that (some) wizards can't/won't sex-select their kids.

But at least I know now what true evil would say for itself, if we could speak to it and ask why it was evil. It would say, Why not?"

A brief flare of indignation inside her. "There's got to be a million reasons why not!"

"Indeed," said Dumbledore's voice. "A million reasons and more. We will always know those reasons, you and I.

Anyone care to name three?

  1. you will be scolded
  2. your parents would be so very disappointed with you
  3. this is certain to go on your permanent record

Surely "You've broken at least 3 school rules" belongs at the top of Hermione's list.

Anyone care to name three?

  1. Because evil causes people to feel pain.
  2. Because evil causes people to feel grief.
  3. Because evil causes people to feel fear.
  1. Because I grew up watching Thundercats as a kid and it's not what Liono would do.
  2. Because it would look terrible on my TV Tropes page.
  3. Because the part of me that handles abstract reasoning vetos producing negative utilons and this part actually gets quite a lot of voting power over anything I have time to think about - it's even the part I call "me".

There are many parts of Eliezer that are casting votes for good and against evil, for quite widely separated reasons ranging from the silly to the extremely approvable, and once I realized that instead of thinking that there had to be "the" reason, I understood myself a lot better.

But not a million reasons, though. Hermione is severely exaggerating.

1) In most situations, it is not the most efficient means to an end (interestingly, in Voldemort's case, it may have come close).

2) A reputation for defection in PD-like situations means nobody will ally with you. Unless you are in an undisputed leadership position, this is a very bad thing.

3) People are likely to try to kill you.

8Incorrect9y1. Because it's boring if you aren't a sadist 2. Because there's more fun stuff to do 3. Because you may prefer to think of yourself as a sort of person who is not evil.
3MixedNuts9ySelf-modify to be a sadist. Actually, do that regardless, it's fun and non-evil sadism is easy to come by.
7thescoundrel9y1.Unless you have supreme power over everyone, you are very likely to need help from other people, and evil inhibits your ability to gain that help. 1. Evil causes cascade ripples with consequences that are very hard to see- large numbers of people you don't know about having personal vendettas against you, etc. 2. It is hard to inspire people to your cause with evil- they people you are using must at least think they are acting in accordance with good, and at some level have what we would consider a "good" set of rules for how they deal with each other.
5buybuydandavis9y* Why bother? * Idiots and cowards are sure to take care of it for you. * Akrasia.

Tom Riddle needed a Voldemort for his plot so he became Voldemort for a time. Just as he needed a Quirrel and a Mister Jaffe.

Harry had already attempted a few of the Prince's self-invented spells. There had been a hex that caused toenails to grow alarmingly fast (he had tried this on Crabbe in the corridor, with very entertaining results); a jinx that glued the tongue to the roof of the mouth (which he had twice used, to general applause, on an unsuspecting Argus Filch); and, perhaps most useful of all, Muffliato, a spell that filled the ears of anyone nearby with an unidentifiable buzzing, so that lengthy conversations could be held in class with out being overheard.

And people go around complaining about HJPEV being a bastard.

Quirrell would probably have sneezed it away, again.

FYI, in the tuning system commonly used for western music, all notes except A are irrational frequencies in hertz. Example: A below middle C is 220 hertz, and middle C is

(220 * (2 ^ (1/12)) ^ 3) hertz ~= 261.6255653006 hertz.

(To go up a half step, you multiply the frequency by the 12th root of 2.)

4Alsadius9yAt risk of derail, how the hell did they ever get a twelfth root into music?
8[anonymous]9yWe think of intervals between tones as being "the same" when there is a constant ratio between them. For instance, if two notes are an octave apart, the frequency of one is twice the other. Thus, if we want to divide the octave into twelve semitones (which we do have twelve of: C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B) and we want all of these twelve semitones to be the same intervals, then we want each interval to multiply the frequency by 2^(1/12).
3Alsadius9yEvery part of that makes sense except for the lack of E# and B#, and why x2 is called an octave. Thanks for the info, and for reminding me why musical theory is one of three fields I have ever given up on learning.
4[anonymous]9yThe reason we avoid E# and B# is to get nice-sounding chords by only using the white keys. This way, the C-E chord has a ratio of 2^(4/12) which is approximately 5/4; the C-F chord has a ratio of 2^(5/12) which is approximately 4/3; and the C-G chord has a ratio of 2^(7/12) which is approximately 3/2. In fact, before we understood twelfth roots, people used to tune pianos so that the ratios above were exactly 5/4, 4/3, and 3/2. This made different scales sound different. For instance, the C major triad might have notes in the ratios 4:5:6, while a D major triad might have different ratios, close to the above but slightly off. There's also the question of whether the difference between these makes a difference in the sound. There's two answers to that. On the one hand, it's a standard textbook exercise that the difference between pitches of a note in two different tuning systems is never large enough for the human ear to hear it. So, most of the time, the tuning systems are impossible to distinguish. On the other hand, there are certain cases in which the human ear can detect very very small differences when a chord is played. To give a simple (though unmusical) example, suppose we played a chord of a 200 Hz note and a 201 Hz note. The human ear, to a first approximation, will hear a single note of approximately 200 Hz. However, the difference between the two notes has a period of 1 second, so what the human ear actually hears is a 200 Hz note whose (EDIT) amplitude wobbles every second. This is very very obvious, it's a first sign of your piano being out of tune, and in different tuning systems it happens to different chords.
4[anonymous]9yand only 12 notes per octave. With more notes per octave you can distinguish between F# and Gb [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCDMkmVMA2I] without losing much accuracy in the most common keys. Nitpick: I'm no expert in historical tunings, but AFAIK medieval music used pure fifths, where near-pure major thirds are hard to reach. This became a problem in Renaissance music so keyboard instruments started to favor meantone tunings [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meantone_temperament] with more impure fifths, to make 4 fifths modulo octave a better major third in the most common keys. (The video demonstrating the major scale/chords generated by a fifth of 695 cents shows this rationale.) As soon as people began to value pure major thirds in their music the fifths in keyboard music became more tempered. Keyboard tunings with both pure 3/2s and pure 5/4s were not widely used, because of the syntonic comma [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syntonic_comma]. In Renaissance music 12-equal was used for lutes for example, which shows that even though people knew about 12 equal temperament and could approximate 2^(1/12) well they didn't like to use it for keyboard instruments. The tuning of the keyboard gradually changed to accommodate all 12 keys of modern Western music as the style of music started to call for more modulations in circa 18th century. But you are overall correct that different keys in the twelve-tone keyboard sounded different. (even in the 18th century [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Well_temperament].) I find it hard to believe this. If these differences were mostly not significant there would be no reason for the existence of different tuning systems. What kinds of differences between tuning systems are you talking about?
3gjm9yActually it's the amplitude that wobbles, and more than slightly.
3Eugine_Nier9yNotes sound good if they're approximately simple rational multiples of each other. Hence you want your scale to contain multiples. Since the simplest multiple is x2 we use that for the octave. As for why we break it up into 12 semitones, the reason is that 2^(7/12) is approximately 3/2 and as a bonus 2^(4/2) is a passable approximation to 5/4.

set about creating ... a worthy adversary

Just to put slightly differently what others have already said: We're talking here about a version of Voldemort who has read the Evil Overlord List (or written his own version or something of the kind). It is hard to reconcile either half of that with taking considerable trouble and risk to raise up a "worthy adversary".

then EY would be conceding that morality is a weakness, or at the very least that strength and strength alone will determine which AI will win.

I'm pretty sure that he does believe that if an AI goes FOOM, it's going to win, period, moral or no. The idea that an AI would not simply be more preferable, but actually win over another AI on account of being more moral strikes me as, well, rather silly, and not at all in accordance with what I think Eliezer actually believes.

We downvote bad jokes now?

As one of the downvoters, haven't we always downvoted bad jokes?

This was a bad joke, not in the sense of inappropriateness (a similar but better joke at http://lesswrong.com/lw/ams/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/61ew was heavily upvoted), but in the sense of being strained, weak, and largely unfunny.

Please stop talking about your karma. I am tired of seeing these huge long threads arguing with you about your karma and whether lesswrong has groupthink and whether other people are being rude or disingenuous or whatever. You have singlehandedly lowered the quality of my experience reading LW this past week, and I am earnestly requesting that you stop it.

Can you explain what part of the comments by ArisKatsaris that you found disingenuous? I'm not seeing it at all.

the instant she decides he's responsible he echoes her thought

No, he echoes her thought the instant she physically reacts to move away from him. NOT the "instant she decides". Keep the facts straight, please.

We've already been told that common sense is often mistaken for Legimancy. This event doesn't require reading her mind, it just requires reading her body language.

, and her eyes start burning (maybe she's not blinking or something, or EY is adding that as a side effect of legimancy, or it's just to draw our attention to the eye contact

... (read more)
[-][anonymous]9y 9

Can somebody explain to me why Harry was so into House points before Azkaban recalibrated his sense of perspective? It makes sense why most people seek them; you take several dozen kids, split them up into different groups, and soon enough you hear them talking about how they can't let those Gryffindor jerkasses win the House Cup and so on. But it seems to me like you need to identify with your House to an unhealthy degree to take so much pleasure in earning points for it. Hermione obviously has that problem (cf. her speech about House Ravenclaw in ch. 34)... (read more)

4Xachariah9yIn order to be an effective incentive system, house points would necessarily need to be awarded in social circumstances were other students can track them. And in practice that's usually how they're awarded. Points are given out in front of the class so all of the student's classmates can see them instead of privately. Some of this may be because teachers primarily interact with students in classes, but even private events which earn house points are announced publicly later. Functionally, in canon, the house point system physically updates as soon as anyone authorized says "10 points to Gryffindor." Since it's auto-updating I'd be surprised if they don't track the reasons why as well in a magic ledger or something. When teachers were in strong contention for the house cup, they would give out house points on the flimsiest excuses, but they'd always have a reason for it, which implies that it's tracked. Otherwise teachers would subtract 50 points because 'potter looks stupid' when they're alone in the lavatory instead of taking 10 points for backchat while in class to unfairly win the house cup.
3ArisKatsaris9yWho's the person who've deleted their account, and may I ask why? It's always sad/confusing when we lose someone and we can't even know the reason.
9pedanterrific9yThis was jaimeastorga2000. I think Misha deleted their account today too.
8cousin_it9yI regret that Misha is gone, he was one of the smarter commenters on mathy decision theory posts.
4Eliezer Yudkowsky9y(blinks in surprise) How odd and sad...
3Nornagest9ySure. By earning house points, Harry and Hermione are essentially doing a favor for their houses independently of whatever they did to earn those points. It's a favor that's absolutely useless in functional terms (at least, I don't remember the House Cup granting any substantial perks), but that doesn't matter too much to the psychology involved; you're well above the 20 karma threshold but you still get a little spike of satisfaction when someone upvotes you, don't you? Same mechanism at play. This is complicated slightly by the fact that House standing is zero-sum, but I still think in-house status gain would outweigh out-of-house status loss thanks to a number of considerations. Point allocations tend not to be announced to the entire school, for one thing.

Harry concluded that it must have been a false memory charm. That was one of the more popular theories before, and Harry agreeing is probably as much confirmation as we are going to get in-story.

  • Quirrel is pretty much universally agreed to be Voldemort, likely with the 5 places Harry names in chapter 46 as his Horcrux hiding places, among them the Pioneer plate, and probably Harry himself as in canon.
  • Surius Black is generally agreed not to ever have been taken to Azkaban, most likely by somehow making Peter Pettigrew take his place.
  • Lucius is agreed to think that Harry is Voldemort (and be right with respect to Harry's dark side).

There were a bunch of theories regarding the identities of Hat and Cloak and Santa Claus and the details of the prank on Rita Skeeter, but those were mostly settled in recent chapters.

I took ArisKatsaris's and yours to be Dumbledore's and Hermione's answers to that question, respectively, and was amused.

Humor gets highly upvoted. 18 upvotes doesn't mean person X thinks your comment is better than a comment with 10 upvotes; it means that on net 18 people thought to upvote it. And lots of people upvote for humor.

Dumbledore explicitly warded her against mental interference as soon as he got her back - Which is presumably why Quirrell didnt use the groundhog day attack again. He only got one try to sway her this time, and while his mental model was more accurate based on the data from the last go.. nope, fail.

Probably not - Parseltongue is an extremely rare gift.

I specify speaking a human language, incidentally, because mandrakes act like humans to a limited but recognisable extent (they throw tantrums when young, become moody and secretive as teenagers, and attempt to move into each other's pots as young adults), but are still chopped up and used as potion reagents as soon as they achieve maturity. On the other hand, centaurs and goblins are at least recognised as intelligent beings with their own thoughts and feelings to be trampled over.

For those who haven't been keeping up with Eliezer's favorites list on ffnet: Mandragora.

A link would be very helpful.

The edit to 53 recently mentioned seems to be here:

"Your wand," murmured Bellatrix, "I took it from the Potters' house and hid it, my lord... under the tombstone to the right of your father's grave... will you kill me, now, if that was all you wished of me... I think I must have always wanted you to be the one to kill me... but I can't remember now, it must have been a happy thought..."

8ArisKatsaris9yA very disappointing change for me. The previous version had seemingly been a very major clue -- now that clue is nullified and replaced with the standard and uninteresting "some Death Eater salvaged Voldemort's wand from the Potters' House" which is the excuse every HP fanfic out there gives to cover this obvious plot hole by Rowling... Also does anyone think that Bellatrix could have stood over Harry's crib and not finished the task that Voldemort seemed to have wanted accomplished?
5[anonymous]9yWe do not yet know the task Voldemort wanted accomplished that day in HPMOR. For all we know it could have already been completed when Bellatrix salvaged the wand.
5ArisKatsaris9yYeah, yeah, but Bellatrix knew about it? But Bellatrix had been ordered to wait, retrieve the wand if anything interesting happened to Voldemort, and not interact otherwise with other enemy survivors? But Bellatrix didn't burn down the whole Muggle town when she saw Voldemort's burned body? The fact remains that what seemed to me an intentional clue, is now replaced for all intends and purposes by what seems to me an unintentional plot-hole. I don't have to like it.

As of last week Eliezer didn't have any plans to include an allegory to FAI, and expected any such allegory to work very badly in story terms ("suck like a black hole").

4Percent_Carbon9yFor the reference of other readers [http://lesswrong.com/lw/bfo/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/68cp]

If you'll all forgive me a few moments of horrible nerdiness, and the attendant fictional evidence, I've said before that MoR's construction of heroic effort makes a good deal more sense once you've played Fate/stay night. This chapter certainly hasn't given me any reason to doubt that, but after Quirrell's speech with Hermione I think I might need to add watching Revolutionary Girl Utena as another prerequisite. The early parts of that exchange could have been lifted wholesale from Utena's princes and witches, and the world's expectations of them.

4V2Blast9yYou are certainly not the only one who was reminded (eerily so) of a part of Fate/stay night that I won't discuss here for fear of spoiling the visual novel for anyone who hasn't yet played it. Quirrell's talk with Hermione made me think of a certain character from FSN immediately as I was reading.
4Eliezer Yudkowsky9y...I don't know if I can back you on that one, I mean, I've seen Utena, but it wasn't my primary source material for Quirrell's bitterness (and neither was Atlas Shrugged). I don't suppose you have the FSN comment handy? That sounds a lot more plausible (w/r/t heroism).
5Nornagest9yUnfortunately, no. I'm not even sure it was here; it may have been over at TV Tropes when I still posted there. I'm not accusing you of deliberately riffing on either work, though. It's just that FSN is all about a certain way of thinking about heroes -- you wouldn't be far wrong if you called it a character study of the "hero" role -- and Utena is largely (it's a more thematically complicated work) about the way non-heroes respond to heroic effort, and I'm seeing reflections of both here. Although there's more than a bit of the latter in the Unlimited Blade Works route and in Fate/zero, too. I watched Utena first, though, so it has the benefit of primacy effects in my head.

When you think about it, it makes sense that Horcruxing yourself would piss off Deathmentors something fierce.

Quirrell makes 'riddle' puns and told the story of his mother's crime as an offhand remark. The rest is all under Conservation of Detail, which the author suggested we pay attention to.

That is, there is only room for one, true antagonist, everyone else is just an obstacle. Voldemort, more than anyone else (except maybe Dumbledore if you follow that fascinating fringe theory), is set up to be the antagonist. Behind all the things that Quirrell does for HJPEV or anyone else, he is evil. He really is.

Donc, he's almost certainly Voldemort.

I think it is als... (read more)

I was actually thinking that the surface of the earth relative to the core rotates at 1040 miles per hour. Also that the speed of the earth relative to the sun is 67,000 miles per hour, though that could be too deadly. (Edit: Since I was curious, casting arresto momentum with the sun as a frame of reference on a 50kg person would release 22 gigajoules. IE, you'd turn them into a kinetic kill weapon with destructive force equal to 5 tons of TNT)

But you're right, arresting the momentum could be brutal in a lot of different ways.

Presumably, you'd need some kind of conceptual shift like with partial Transfiguration before you could do this. It seems like an implicit rule of Potterverse magic that it works according to the laws of physics you instinctively expect (or perhaps the ones the designer expected), so you have to "jailbreak" the spell before it can work in an updated, relativistic model.

You would need to always have a shield up.

Yes... this is a fact of combat. Not sure why you said this.

For example?

"Accio frontal lobe."

Or "Imperio, kill yourself."

Or for that matter "Obliviate."

Edit: Actually, I'm pretty sure Somnium is invisible. It doesn't kill immediately, of course, but that's easily rectified.

3gjm9yMight have the same sort of problem as partial Transfiguration has for everyone other than Harry: only works on a Whole Object and not on parts thereof. Your frontal lobe, or even your brain, might not be considered a separate object by whatever is responsible for making magic work.

This chapter, for example, led me to believe he was doing good at some point of his life.

Um, his "good" deed consisted of attempting to set up a fake ultimate hero and getting really pissed of when people didn't fall for it.

Pretending to lose can be a good move, and if you are able to play it at the right moment, it makes you stronger.

Did Quirrell ask Harry to accept some unrepairable damage? No. It was only about signalling, and temporary pain (any resulting damage is guaranteed to be healed magically later). Quirrell taught Harry that signalling defeat is not the same thing as being defeated. Just like Voldemort, pretending to be killed by a baby, is not really dead.

(I agree that asking for a worthy adversary is suicidal. Having a sparring partner can be useful, but you sho... (read more)

When I awoke, I had lost half my karma and I was ready to fight about it.
[...] and I am sure as hell not going to change what I wrote now, rules or no rules.

Too bad, agreeing to follow the rules of the thread, even if that means editing/rot13ing past comments, would have been the easiest way to get your karma back.

Edited to add: Some Quirrel-type lesson about learning when to lose, and the costs of needless escalation, seems appropriate.

6pleeppleep9yThe initial shock of having lost so much karma was the only time I felt I really "lost" here. I notice that karma loss does more to infuriate than actually punish, and that it has the potential to hurt the site more than me, by nullifying my ability to reach a larger audience when I have something important to say. When I see a rule I don't like, I tend to ignore it, not that doing so was my intention here. My problem wasn't that I lost karma, it was that I was accused of wrongdoing which I did not believe myself to have committed. (That said, you are probably right about learning to lose. One of my biggest problems has been that I find escalation of conflict fun after it reaches a point where I cannot possibly win. I'm very popular with authority, as you could probably guess.)
5TheOtherDave9yI would also guess that many of your peers don't much care for the escalation of conflict for its own sake, either.

I can't tell if I'm being upvoted for my sarcasm or for mistaken impressions of sincerity, but 18 seems like a lot of points for snark. Either is okay, I guess, but there is some conflict.

I evaluated your response relative to the question, not your intent (and would have put the intent down as 'satire').

Those are actually two of the most powerful reasons real people don't 'be evil' and would even serve as a non-trivial component of what a description of 'evil' would reduce to if we wanted to break down how the cognitive algorithm works.

On the other hand, this 1926/1927 thing made me somewhat more susceptible to possibly meaningful dates …

When it really should have caused you to update in the other direction.

9Random8329yNot so. That he changed it implies that he will make an effort to avoid possibly meaningful dates unless they really are meaningful. Therefore if we see any possibly meaningful dates in the future it is more likely that they are meaningful, than if he had left a non-meaningful possibly-meaningful date in this chapter.



Shelters, both portable and permanent (masonry, carpentry, and textile)

Prepared foods (despite divergence).

Eye glasses.

The custom of men shaving their faces

The custom of women being more likely than men to have long hair (not actually sure about this one for adults, but it seems to apply to the children)


It is a difficult thing to make a complete list. Days later I'm sure I'll have twenty more if I didn't hear of a better puzzle.

5Velorien9yYup. For that matter, Sir Cadogan is fairly unambiguously described as a mounted knight. On the other hand, I'm not sure how this project is to be reliably carried out without knowing what wizards could have invented for themselves - or, indeed, how far back the separation between the two societies goes historically. I'll give you the train, certainly, but on the other hand: Early Christianity may have existed before Muggle and wizard societies separated. It may have had both wizard and Muggle worshippers (Rowling is silent on the matter of religion, but resurrection would be just as miraculous to wizards). For that matter, Jesus could have existed in the Potterverse, in which case odds of him being a wizard are extremely high. The Muggle and wizard communities are tightly bound enough to maintain the same language (they share the same geographical territory, and intermarriage is not uncommon). Assuming that, at some point in the past, wizardry emerged from a Muggle population, there's no reason why the two should not share the same linguistic evolution. Which suggests the existence of Roman wizards, supporting the above point. Fair point. Although I struggle to come up with a mechanism by which nearly-modern Muggle teaching practices should come to be adopted by a school founded nearly a millennium earlier by wizarding purebloods, and maintained in a highly conservative fashion. If anything, one might speculate that British public schools are influenced by Hogwarts. See above. No contest. Ditto the printing press. I think our best bet may be to look at technologies which wizards would not have developed on their own (e.g. in that no other standard wizarding form of transport we know remotely resembles a train, or something which could evolve into a train). But that's a much more limited list.

Jesus in Potterverse, as a wizard who experimented with turning squib-disciples into wizards so he could eventually do the same with all muggles and be their king. His blood in wine-potions and flesh in bread-potions only gave the recipients as much magic as went into creating those body parts, allowing the occasional "miracle".

Decades after this story, Draco and his Science Eaters isolate and replicate the magic genes and start making potions that turn muggles and squibs into wizards (but also marks them in a way they can't see, for ... research, and to give them extra power), and use their huge army of new wizards and noble and blood purist allies everywhere to conquer the world. Hermione leads a resistance force of the best trained wizards alive to stop them. Harry discovers that Draco's mark sets in too soon before the transformation to wizard is complete, becoming fatal within a few years in ~90% of cases, which Draco considers an acceptable risk to become a wizard. And that it bends their will to Draco's. So Harry, the elite Bayesian Conspiracy, and the Chaos Legion, formed from anyone/anything else that would fight, fight to remove the mark, stop Hermione's people... (read more)

4thomblake9yUpvoted for this part.

My comment from fanfic.net:

I loved the chapter- there was nothing wrong with the previous two, but this the mixed bag of very good stuff pointing in multiple directions that I hadn't realized I was missing. I'm talking about psychological/philosophical/emotional material more than the potential plot twists.

I've suddenly realized that this is a chapter in which almost nothing happens in terms of physical action- it's all talk and thought and emotion (and a bit of humming), and it's incredibly engrossing.

Is Hermione's inability to think that she might have b... (read more)

Is Hermione's inability to think that she might have been bespelled part of the spell, or normal psychological reaction? Would fake memories have the same kind and amount of detail as real memories?

I would hypothesise that, to an ordinary person who has not learned about the fallibility of memory in general, the idea that something that feels like a completely real memory would be false is a very challenging one. Thinking "have I been memory-charmed?" is like thinking "I could be wrong about absolutely anything I remember" for the first time. It would be very difficult, and exactly the kind of thought one flinches away from.

From personal experience, I remember recalling a very emotionally charged MSN conversation months later, and thinking about an agreement I'd made with someone in it. But searching through the logs (and I logged everything), I could find no mention of any such agreement ever. It was pretty traumatic to discover that my memory was so fallible on something so important, and I'm not sure I could have accepted it without such firm evidence.

In regard to detail, I'm not sure people ever go through their memories and say "huh, this memory lacks detail so something must be off". Unless some key feature is missing (say, Hermione being unable to recall the words of the curse she used), I imagine any given detail's absence could be easily rationalised.

8fubarobfusco9yBeliefs don't feel like beliefs. They feel like how the world is.
8Alex_Altair9yAnd it's especially surreal to Hermione, because she has eidetic memory.

Harry saying that the first year girls should put their reputations on the line about Hermione is so perfectly Harry...

I'm pretty sure he was inviting everyone in Ravenclaw.

Actually, maybe this is the glitch in the Marauder's Map? 'the Defense Professor' is a little unusual a tag opposed to 'Minerva McGonagall' or ordinary names. (Although yes, it could also be reading 'Tom Riddle' or whatever, and Dumbledore wouldn't notice because IIRC he only grabs the Map from the twins to check for Riddle in Hogwarts after Quirrel goes to the Ministry.)

7RobertLumley9yYeah. p > 0.6 that this is the constant error in the marauders map for me. That's exactly what I thought when I was reading this.
5gwern9yThe glitch in the Marauder's Map is * Quirrel appearing as 'the Defense Professor' [http://predictionbook.com/predictions/6533] * Quirrel appearing under another name [http://predictionbook.com/predictions/6534] (eg. 'Tom Riddle') * the spirit of Voldemort or Riddle [http://predictionbook.com/predictions/6535]

Thank Donny for noticing this, but apparently there's a distinction being drawn between 'Noble' Houses like Potter and 'Noble and Most Ancient' Houses like Malfoy, Longbottom, Greengrass and Black.

Also, I'm slightly confused at how he's being portrayed in this chapter.

I'm not. It's easy enough to say that "character X is Y", but what does that mean ? The motivations of character Y in HP:MoR are very different from what they are in canon. Merely knowing the label "Y" tells you very little; the greater mystery is not what label we should apply to X, but what his goals are, and what actions he has already taken, or is planning to take, and what his overall grand design looks like. Everything we observe the character saying or doing is evidence that can help us expose this design. His canon counterpart's actions in the original HP books, on the other hand, are not.

He acts as different people in Azkaban, as Hat and Cloak (and/or Ghost Lady). He has a different face to every person he interacts with, from Snape to Harry to the public at the ceremony, and in this chapter presenting an entirely new, almost caring face to Hermione.

and in this chapter presenting an entirely new, almost caring face to Hermione.

Which makes perfect sense, since, via his dictionary attack (that took place in earlier chapters), he'd already learned that this is the easiest way to manipulate her.

Lupin was brought in as a special instructor for the Patronus charm, thus might possibly have professor status.

[-][anonymous]9y 7

Well, that's the difference between hard relativism and soft relativism. Hard relativism holds that there is no "right", and that's the one I think has to go. Mind you, I think the relativism you describe is still a bit hard for me - I'd argue that whilst what is right is relative in the sense that it's contingent on the situation at hand, within a given situation rightness is fixed and not at all dependent on one's viewpoint. I certainly don't agree that a relativism with any hardness to it follows from naturalism. I say this only to identif... (read more)

Wait. Wait just one minute.

Can Eliezer edit his posts without leaving an asterisk?

In addition to what the others have said there are numerous other passages and oddities that hint at Quirrel = Voldemort = Harry's dark side. Harry and Quirrel describing a Horcrux between them when they talk about the Pioneer plate. Quirrel saying he "resolved his parental issues to his satisfaction" long ago, just after saying being grateful for his parents could never have occured to him. Quirrel having a much better model of Harry than of Draco or Hermione, particularly when Harry's dark side is involved. Harry's dark side and Quirrel both b... (read more)

5Benquo9yAnd of course, from Chapter 34:

In re: Random Effects: Booger-tasting jelly beans from OT universe would be one.

Feature rather than bug, I think. They don't call them "Every Flavour Beans" for nothing.

Wanting a child does not necessitate responsibility.

IIRC, neither Quirrell nor Dumbledore have pre-cast shields in TSPE, which (IIRC) is the only piece of serious action by competent people in MoR.

Funny thing about the combat in TSPE, we get this little digression:

The Auror was protected by a blue shimmer, it was hard to see the details but Harry could see that much, the Auror had shields already raised and strengthened.

Crap, thought Harry. According to the Defense Professor, the essential art of dueling consisted of trying to put up defenses that would block whatever someone was likely to throw at you

... (read more)

Yes. Elves are valuable and useful - recall Lucius nearly had a stroke when he realized he lost his House Elf. It'd be like casually shooting your stable's prime stallion.

I wonder if Quirrel simply had a bad model when he tried to play the hero:

"I was not naive, Miss Granger, I did not expect the power-holders to align themselves with me so quickly - not without something in it for themselves. But their power, too, was threatened; and so I was shocked how they seemed content to step back, and leave to that man all burdens of responsibility. They sneered at his performance, remarking among themselves how they would do better in his place, though they did not condescend to step forward." (84)

The theory about Qu... (read more)

Hm, so to rewrite the ending...

There were a certain few of the Wizengamot who wondered why Voldemort's lieutenant had made a attempt on the life of the Minister's daughter rather than the Minister, done so publicly rather than privately, and why a recluse was there that day. They had already marked the Miracle of Diagon Alley as an anomalous and important event; they have wondered why it happened, if it did, or if not, why Voldemort is colluding in the praise.

He wants Evil to be taken as Good.

I think it's the other way: he wants good people to be seen as fallible and fallen.

My model of him is like: "So when I tried to be the hero, people disrespected me, but for some reason the same people respect Dumbledore, Hermione, Harry. Why?! Oh, they are probably better at signalling. So let's manipulate them into difficult situations where even if they choose good, it will either ruin them or send bad signals."

He does not want to redefine the words with capital letters. That's a fool's game. He is just jeal... (read more)

Please be aware that not everyone wants you to leave. Whether you conform on not, I hope you stay.

This is fantastic and I look forward to more of the same.

EDIT: downvote me back if it helps. I doubt the regulars will defend this post with their upvotes.

FURTHER EDIT: okay, apparently I was wrong. After a reasonable dip, the comment is headed back up, despite my "No, no. Keep fighting." encouragement.

Look. It's very simple. The only response necessary is a gesture toward the main post:

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

... (read more)

In one of the middle books, the Transfiguration class is practising Vanishing Charms on mice (I think). Hermione, being Hermione, progresses to practising on kittens by the end of the lesson.

In Book 7, it is explicitly stated that a Vanished object disappears from existence. I guess, strictly speaking "annihilating" is more accurate than "disintegrating".

Doesn't seem worse to me than dissecting mice as it was done in biology lessons at school not so long ago here. Well, for the vanishing charms of mice at least. For the kitten it sounds more scary to us who have cats as pets, but the "this is a pet that you can't kill"/"this is a farm animal that you can eat" categorization is very depend of culture.

6Velorien9yI think we had frogs - once - and I opted out of that class. But I imagine those would be already-dead mice? You wouldn't have to kill them yourself? Also, maybe it's just me, but I think that the more intelligent an animal is, the harder it is to objectify and kill. Stepping on insects is easier than killing mice because insects seem alien and thus easier to objectify. Killing mice is easier than killing cats or dogs because the behaviour of cats and dogs is closer to our own in complexity (or seems to be) and thus it is harder to dismiss them as "not really alive the way we are alive". To be sure, the taboo on killing kittens is very much culture-dependent - but Hermione, who apparently has no problems with it, comes from "our" Anglo-Saxon culture. in which kittens are beloved household pets as well as common symbols of innocence and various other positive features. Which edges me towards "Rowling doesn't think" rather than "Rowling is very subtle in showing us the darkness of the Potterverse".

But I imagine those would be already-dead mice? You wouldn't have to kill them yourself?

Until very recently, vivisection was also a staple of biology classes.

You could cut open a frog while it was still alive and watch its heart stop beating as it wished for the faculties necessary to cry for mercy.

In a rather large "Oh Duh" moment: if Harry knew about the stone, he would insist it be used on everyone. Barring some unforeseen mechanism that prevents its mass use, he would view Dumbledore as Evil for knowing how to keep everyone alive, and not acting on it.

No, Flamel and his wife were mentioned as the users of the elixir.

So, it seems more likely that Quirrel was behind the plot.

The thing about there only being seven houses seems big, though, and as far I can tell isn't from canon. (The list of purebloods, for example, doesn't include Jugson, though 500 years old might not be enough to be Most Ancient. I think we have HPMOR confirmation of Malfoy, Potter, Greengrass, and Longbottom, and I think in canon the only ones that get that description are Malfoy, Black, and maybe Potter (really, Peverell).

The 1926 hint narrows it down to four canon characters (though, of course, Bon... (read more)

We know Dumbledore thinks Tom Riddle was Voldemort, because when he's looking for Voldemort within Hogwarts he tells the map to find Tom Riddle.

8gwern9yAnd all the other occasions Phoenix members speak of Tom Riddle or poison his father's grave.

Tom Riddle wasn't a hero. He was a villain whose villainous plot was to create a fake villain named Voldemort for him to defeat. He arranged for there to be a kidnapping attempt on the daughter of the minister of magic so that he could save her and be propelled into herodom. But things did not go according to plan:

"Long ago, long before your time or Harry Potter's, there was a man who was hailed as a savior. The destined scion, such a one as anyone would recognize from tales, wielding justice and vengeance like twin wands against his dreadful nemesis." Professor Quirrell gave a soft, bitter laugh, looking up at the night sky. "Do you know, Miss Granger, at that time I thought myself already cynical, and yet... well."

The silence stretched, in the cold and the night.

"In all honesty," said Professor Quirrell, looking up at the stars, "I still don't understand it. They should have known that their lives depended on that man's success. And yet it was as if they tried to do everything they could to make his life unpleasant. To throw every possible obstacle into his way. I was not naive, Miss Granger, I did not expect the power-holders to align themsel

... (read more)
6Vaniver9yThe reason I think this is odd is because, in canon, Voldemort was a name change , not a new person. So instead of Tom Riddle getting together with his Slug Club friends and saying "hey, maybe we should run this country, and by the way I never liked my old name," Voldemort is some external actor that managed to get the loyalty of a bunch of Britain's nobility.
5ChrisHallquist9yReally? In canon I thought Voldemort = Riddle was a pretty well-kept secret. But as per Eliezer's comment elsewhere in the thread, it looks like Riddle's hero persona wasn't called "Tom Riddle," he impersonated (possessed?) a descendent of some more respectable house to create that identity.
5drethelin9yRemember that Quirrel is NOT Riddle. He's Riddle in the body of someone else. It's pretty damn voldemorty to come back in the body of one of your enemies, too.
4dspeyer9yWay back in chapter 7, Draco refers to "the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black". That's a fifth noble house. JKR said Nott was ranked as highly as Malfoy. Doesn't necessarily apply in MOR.
4Vaniver9yI was going to say the Blacks are all (supposedly) dead in HPMOR at this point, but then I remembered that Sirius is (supposedly) just in Azkaban, not dead yet, and if he's counting the female line (like he would have to for Riddle to count) then there's also Bellatrix.

I evaluated your arguments, I precisely showed how you were wrong in one case (his words didn't exactly echo her thought), how her eyes burning can't be treated as evidence of Legimancy if burning eyes are never correlated with Legimancy.

At this point the only specific argument you got left that I didn't address was that Quirrel is mentioned staring at her. So here, let me address that one as well: In chapter 70 (one of the Self Actualization chapters) Quirrel is again mentioned to be looking at her:

Then Professor Quirrell’s gaze shifted away from Trace

... (read more)

Dumbledore talks about Tom = Voldemort all the time in front of him... I think.

Not even once, in fact.

Hostile magic is obviously not the same as Legilmancy

It's also not the same as the sort of LifeAlert wards Quirrell (claims that he) put on Draco, which we know (that Quirrell claimed that) Heh specifically forbade.

Why would Dumbledore care and what would Dumbledore do differently if Dumbledore found out that Quirrell had looked into Hermione's mind?

Well, for one thing, he might look at the Map again. (He suspects Voldemort is trying to influence Hermione's mind; the Defence Prof is caught trying to read Hermione's mind; it doesn't take a genius.)

... (read more)

It's so totally Snape.

It's taken for granted that bad guys want to rule worlds, but why? Wouldn't it be a lot of work?

Seems Quirrell has a good motive for conquest that you didn't mention, or at least a motive for attempting the unification of wizards, whether under his leadership or not.

"Those fool Muggles will kill us all someday!" Professor Quirrell's voice had grown louder. "They will end it! End all of it!"

Harry was feeling a bit lost here. "What are we talking about here, nuclear weapons?"

"Yes, nuclear weapons!"

And remember h... (read more)

I think you're confused about the meaning of Sword of Good.

No, Argency summarized it well. It isn't a treatise on moral relativism.

Quirrel himself makes fun of the Dark Mark

Ah... no? Actually, the opposite of that.

"Division is weakness," said the Defense Professor. His hand closed into a tight fist. "Unity is strength. The Dark Lord understood that well, whatever his other follies; and he used that understanding to create the one simple invention that made him the most terrible Dark Lord in history. Your parents faced one Dark Lord. And fifty Death Eaters who were perfectly unified, knowing that any breach of their loyalty would be punished by death, that any slack

... (read more)
4drethelin9yShit, you're right. Who was it that made fun of the concept of having a sign that could easily reveal you to your enemies if they just asked you to roll up your sleeve?
8Jonathan_Elmer9yHarry in chapter 21.

I admit all the above flaws.

If I understand you correctly, you're saying that unless I am willing to tie significant amounts of money up for the sake of winning tiny amounts of money, I lack the confidence I claim.

It that didn't have the sound, the feel of a scam with it's a-sure-thing-isn't vibe it'd be a passable bullying tactic for the mathematically adept sort with something to prove. I've pushed people around for a living, so I like to think can appreciate a good push.

Or maybe that scamishness is part of the push?

The mark thinks himself a rational fellow, so he's unlikely to ... (read more)

Hm. If we were using physics here, I'd observe that a usable time turner has to be tied into things like the rotation and movement of the earth, because traveling back in time without taking those things into account somehow leaves one stranded in interplanetary or interstellar space. Given that we're talking magic, well, who knows. But sure, I agree that it's suggestive but inconclusive.

[-][anonymous]9y 6

The dark side is ridiculously afraid of death, which we know to be a Voldemort trait. It's also very much separate from Harry.

I don't think he really believes in magic... he just points out that belief is not necessary since it can be tested:

"Then you don't have to fight over this," Harry said firmly. Hoping against hope that this time, just this once, they would listen to him. "If it's true, we can just get a Hogwarts professor here and see the magic for ourselves, and Dad will admit that it's true. And if not, then Mum will admit that it's false. That's what the experimental method is for, so that we don't have to resolve things just by arguing."

Although... (read more)

5Desrtopa9yYou know, if it weren't for everyone else taking it so seriously, I would have (and did, before I started following discussions) dismissed Harry's so called dark side as a perfectly normal personality quirk which he makes a big deal of because once he's told he's a prophesied hero he feels he ought to have something dramatically appropriate like a mysterious dark side. In his place, I wouldn't be thinking "My mysterious dark side is good at X," I'd be thinking "I'm good at X when I put myself into the right frame of mind." Well, actually, in his place, I might be thinking "my mysterious dark side is good at X," but that's because if I were in his place, I'd be eleven.

An accused person has the right to know why they are being accused and to defend themselves before receiving a penalty.

Irrelevant. Damage was done, and downvotes were used to route around the damage. Try not to take it personally.

In canon, Snape was able to shut down everything Harry tried against him in combat in the sixth book, because as long as Harry hadn't mastered occlumency or silent spellcasting, his attacks were all sufficiently telegraphed that a superior duelist and leglimens like Snape could simply counter them all before he could fire them off.

4gwern9yIndeed. I'm reminded of martial arts - in a sparring match between a very fit beginner and a creaky master, the master still just toys with the beginner because their movements are so predictable. I've seen this in fencing, taekwondo, and karate, and it's a mixture of hilarious, impressive, and sad all at once.

You should probably cipher a bit of that. This part, specifically:

jub Dhvevahf Dhveeryy npghnyyl vf

I mean, unless you intend specifically to not follow a rule while criticizing the rule. You might notice that seems to attract disapproval.

I guess for me the thing that tips the scales between 'real healer' and 'minion pretending to be a healer' is that I don't think it's actually in Quirrell's interests to deprogram Bellatrix of her loyalty to Voldemort.

Though presumably she is at least competent in regular healing, of the sort needed to get Bella back in fighting trim.

Both were groomed to be Messiahs but failed, for one reason or another (though being groomed through eugenics is rather different than being groomed through circumstance); both carry a sardonic and world-weary detachment through much of the plot, broken by a few dramatic moments (Fenring's refusal to kill Paul, Quirrellbody's dramatic appearances and disappearances).

That, and Fenring's secret humming language (obviously with a different purpose, but still).

Listening and watching - monitoring - appears to be part of the job.

Because of the humor, I'm willing to suspend belief a little on realism. It's not a fundamental plot point. But it is funny.

I also really doubt that any police force would let a prisoner resist them that way again and again, they would call reinforcement and break him.

It happens they did not. We know that, because he isn't broken and there's no sign they tried, other than the mention that he has apparently sneezed more than once. Also, he's not under arrest.

The Defense Professor of Hogwarts was being detained, not arrested, not even intimidated.

Magical Britain has a history of exceedingly powerful individuals that the muggle world just doesn't. It is not unreasonable that law enforcement developed differently as a result.

“There is no good and evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it."

-Lord Voldemort

It does, a little bit. I think there's one church service, seen from the outside, and some important grave -- Harry's parents? -- has a quotation from the New Testament on it. ("The last enemy to be defeated is death", which of course plenty of not-at-all-religious people would have much sympathy with.) But yes, religion in the UK tends to be rather less conspicuous than in the US.

Hypothesis: Once upon a time, the wizarding world had no popular sport of its own, and Quidditch was more akin to aerial dueling, a one-on-one contest of skill. Then, someone realised all the various benefits/opportunities offered by popular sports (perhaps by watching the Muggle world), and added extra rules and a team element to give the crowds something to watch while the Seekers continued their long periods of boredom interspersed with sharp bursts of activity.

Quidditch today generates a massive market in terms of matches, merchandise, contracts, celeb... (read more)

Canonically the situation was quite reversed, the Snitch (or rather it's predecessor, the Snidget) having been introduced to the already existing Quidditch game by a noble's quirk. I doubt this is different for MoR.

8Velorien9yAlas. I have not read any of the follow-up works, and did not realise that they would persist in demolishing any attempt to inject credibility into the Potterverse.

The twins never mention in canon seeing the Basilisk on the map.

That would have borked the plot, and it's entirely probable that Rowling hadn't even come up with the Marauder's Map by then.

In MoR canon it probably makes more sense if it doesn't show up on it though; the whole Chamber of Secrets certainly doesn't.

[-][anonymous]9y 6

In Methods of Rationality, the Weasley twins refer to the Map as being part of the Hogwarts security system. So it probably gets the information from the wards.

My interpretation of the quote is that the Headmaster overrode the usual process of identification (which is automatic) in order to protect Quirrell's privacy; in that case, the Map would also know nothing beyond "The Defense Professor".

An alternative interpretation, however, is that the circle-drawing bit was only meant to key Quirrell into the wards as a professor. Normally, I suppose, ... (read more)

A general norm in forums discussing fiction is that all material published through normal channels (or all but the most recent) is treated equally in regards to the spoiler policy. This would include the entire fic and all authors notes, and not allow for any "retractions" to make something "no longer common knowledge"

Even granting that this is indeed the "general norm" in such forums (I wouldn't know), don't you think that when a thread in some forum states different rules, then it ought be respected?

Or do you feel that no thread, anywhere in the internet, should be allowed to utilize different rules than what you consider the norm?

This difference is poignantly illustrated by the fact that HPMOR Harry knows Tom Riddle is Voldemort but never catches on to the Riddle puns.

Harry in HPMoR hasn't been told Voldemort was once named Tom Riddle.

If you're going to correct me, please make sure that I'm actually wrong in the first place.

I've just made sure, by searching for all occurrences of the word "riddle" in the Methods of Rationality PDF -- and seeing that Dumbledore never once mentions the name Tom Riddle in front of Harry. Is this enough "making sure"?

I d

... (read more)
3drnickbone9yThis is a good catch by the way, and itself another oddity. Canon Dumbledore told Harry a lot about Voldemort's background (including the Riddle years and his theories about the horcruxes) - HPMOR Dumbledore has done none of this. And yet he expects Harry to fight him, and Harry already knows about the prophecy. Another issue is that I'm recently doubting whether Quirrell/Voldemort is actually Tom Riddle in the HPMOR universe. It is clearly implied that Quirrell = Voldemort, but then suddenly in chapters 84 and 85 we get this Quirrell = Hero identification (from a Noble and Ancient House, no less). Further, Eliezer has made it clear that Hero is not Tom Riddle (by adjusting the birth year). So what are the possibilities? It seems that either Tom Riddle killed the original Hero character, and then impersonated him in the fight against his alter ego Voldemort. Or, even more intriguingly, the Hero character fought and defeated Tom Riddle much earlier on, then set up the Voldemort character to be the awful Dark Lord with a "secret" identity of Tom Riddle, while himself being the "secret within a secret" identity, and the heroic adversary. This is a plot worthy of a truly evil Sith Lord such as Emperor Palpatine. Presumably the Death Eaters as well as Dumbledore and aurors are all deceived, and this is the real reason why booby-trapping the grave of Tom Riddle's father (after TSPE) is going to be of no use. Quirrelmort has no need to hide the father's grave, because it's totally irrelevant.

Here's a vote for not-mind-reading. This seems deliberately written to suggest Quirrell's reacting to body language, not thought:

Without any conscious decision, she shifted her weight to the other foot, her body moving away from the Defense Professor -

"So you think I am the one responsible?" said Professor Quirrell.

I've made a recording with SuperCollider using almost the same algorithm as in the Python script above, here's the link /watch?v=wjZRM6KgGbE.

How likely is it that the outcome of the Defense Professor's talk with Hermione was genuinely not what he wanted? Surely he has to have realized by now that Hermione is the sort of person who'd act like that, however incomprehensible it may be to him. I am reminded of the passage in the LotR omake that reads:

"If the Enemy thought that all his foes were moved by desire for power alone - he would guess wrongly, over and over, and the Maker of this Ring would see that, he would know that somewhere he had made a mistake!"

Maybe he truly doesn't un... (read more)

Hermione came very very close to agreeing with the Defense Professor, and we see him using all the ways and mannerisms which cause her to trust him a little bit more -- not to 'acquire extra suspicion'.

So, no, I think Quirrel made a very very good attempt at what he wanted -- getting Hermione away. He simply failed.

When I accepted the bet by ITakeBets, it didn't feel like a status attack -- just that he/she was honestly evaluating the likelihood of the event differently than I was, and so we both had a positive-return expectation given our different models. And I had the odds enough tilted enough away from my confidence levels, so that it worth the bother of betting.

I'd most likely not have accepted a bet from someone that offered it in the way that "see" did though. And I'd not feel the need to offer any excuse other than "No, I don't feel like making a bet with you".

If anyone makes you feel like you're obliged to bet money, just refuse to bet -- you don't have to offer any excuses.

We cannot privilige the human experience, and therefore the length of the earth day cannot be a physical constant.

The length of an earth day is part of all Earth life experience, not uniquely human.

[-][anonymous]9y 5

This attempted murder was well-planned to evade detection both by the wards of Hogwarts and the Headmaster's timely eye.

Quirrell sure loves his stealth puns. Is there any reason he is not openly telling Hermione about Dumbledore's time turner?

The Defense Professor turned his head down from the sky to regard her; and she saw, in the light of the doorway, that he was smiling - or at least half his face was smiling.

Is Quirrell's half-smile a reference to Robin Hanson's picture?

"In all honesty," said Professor Quirrell, looking up at the stars, "I still don't understand it. They should have known that their lives depended on that man's success. And yet it was as if they tried to do everything they could to make his life unpleasant. To throw every possible obstacle into his way. I was not naive, Miss Granger, I did not expect the power-holders to align themselves with me so quickly - not without something in it for themselves. But their power, too, was threatened; and so I was shocked how they seemed content to ste

... (read more)

Quirrell as the Big Bad, is busy giving the No Duty to others, free to be an Egoist speech. I don't think we're intended to sympathize.


And Percy's a tool, but he's not actually evil, he's mostly just self-important and clueless - ditto Lockhart, for that matter.

Lockhart mindwiped a bunch of people to steal credit for their good deeds. He ended up attempting to mindwipe Harry and Ron. He's evil.

The dark side isn't even a personality, as such, which implies strongly that it's not a soul.

I was originally going to put a quote here, but it turned out to be pretty much half the chapter, so... Chapter 56. In particular, when you read

a blind terrified thing that only wanted to find a dark corner and hide and not have to think about it any more - [...]

Visualizing himself cradling his dark side like a frightened child in his arms.

Think back to Deathly Hallows, Chapter 36: King's Cross, specifically the bit

He was the only person there, except for

... (read more)


Not so, good sir. Do you call me a liar? I would challenge you on the field of honor, had I any.

For what it's worth, I hadn't read the Rowling books when I first read MoR, and finding out who Quirrell was was actually somewhat of a shock. I'm the target audience for this rule, so far as any such exists, and I think it's pretty dumb.

Is anyone logging anecdotes? We've got one here!

I wouldn't just slap it on as a chapter title if I was the editor, but if you're reading this forum thread, certain things are assumed of you.

Okay. That's coo... (read more)

It's also been stressed in MOR that Harry's dark side isn't giving him access to any of Voldemort's powers.

I would have thought Parseltongue was an obvious example.

8Velorien9yIt also allows him to master the preparatory Occlumency exercises with extreme speed and ease. Which makes sense since the heart of Occlumency is assuming whatever personality you want at a given time, a gift Voldemort claims to have in abundance. My guess is that he's filling in Snape's character background to give him the full complexity he deserves as one of the major players. Although Dumbledore doesn't seem to think twice about him, Harry treats him as an obstacle, and Quirrell dismisses him as an opponent, it's been made clear that Snape is running his own multi-stage plans (such as his manipulation of Hermione), which interact and interfere with everyone else's. Perhaps his role is due to expand.

fairness means only following the rule that reactions should be proportionate to the initial action.

Of course - each person's reaction was to downvote your post once (ignoring for the moment the issue I've mentioned elsewhere of additional penalties for defending yourself - it's not really relevant in this case since that's theoretically a second 'initial action'). So, what you really mean is the collective response should be proportionate to the initial action. The way the voting system works creates a strange set of incentives - downvoting a post that... (read more)

He said "responding to unmarked edit" as though there was something wrong with failing to mark a simple addition made 10 seconds after the original post. I was confused, since it was not my experience that anyone considered this a problem anywhere.

That said, even the sort of people who go to such events probably have some limits.

Yes. It sounds like it takes them twenty minutes to start making the best of things.

I hadn't realized that Eliezer retracted the statement or that I was I was violating the rules.

In general, when someone says something is a spoiler and should be put in ROT13, the polite thing to do is to comply. You can then argue that it shouldn't be necessary, after the damage control is done.

If you're failing to do that, then the only recourse the rest of us have is to downvote the comment several times so that it is by default hidden from view. I will generally check back in a day to see if the spoiler has been ROT13'd, and reverse my downvote if... (read more)

6pleeppleep9yI have never posted a spoiler before, nor had I intended to. I was not aware that confidence was to be given to the accusing party. I will keep this in mind in the future.
3ArisKatsaris9yIt's not about who's the "accusing party", it's about limiting potential damage. It would have cost you only a few seconds to edit in order to rot13 or remove something you were told was spoiler -- an action which would have been of positive utility to us, of hardly any cost to you -- instead you preferred to spend a hundredfold times that amount of time in a negative-sum game, where we lose because the damn spoiler is still up, and you lose by losing all your karma, and we ALL lose by wasting time debating this back and forth. Why don't we instead trade utilities, you by editing to remove/rot13 the spoiler, and I by removing my own downvotes of you? As could have been done from the very first post?
5Percent_Carbon9yNot everyone is losing. For example, I've been enjoying this. I doubt I'm the only one.
4Viliam_Bur9yFirst time it can be amusing, but if such situation would repeat often, the amusement would fade and the costs would stay. So I cooperate with my future selves by resisting to act on my amusement.
7Percent_Carbon9yI can't tell if you're telling me I don't actually enjoy this or if you're threatening me with promises that time will deliver retribution. Things like this are why I can't convince my friends that you guys aren't a "system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object." I don't know what you're saying but I'll bet p>0.75 there's a way to say it without sounding like a fucking time traveler. EDIT: I mean to say that you use phrases that reference something common to some group you belong to, but uncommon to the public majority. I could say you sound like you come from fairy land or a phyg or outer space, but saying that you sound like you come from another time seemed the most apt until I noticed the phrase I criticized said something about your future selves. Maybe that's why I thought of time travel. I wasn't taking you literally. EDIT II: Son of Edit: Phyg [http://lesswrong.com/lw/bql/our_phyg_is_not_exclusive_enough/6ch6]
3Viliam_Bur9yI'm threatening you that time may deliver more discussions about whether we should or shouldn't rot-13 the spoilers, how exactly the spoiler is defined, etc... and that can become rather boring. And by the way, I am a time traveller [http://lesswrong.com/lw/ve/mundane_magic/], I just always move in the same direction with a constant speed. Point taken, though.
3pleeppleep9yI actually agree, Although it is rather exasperating to argue against a larger group of people.
[-][anonymous]9y 5

Your response basically is why I'm not "evil". I up voted because of that.

People like you worry me.

I identify as 'evil' when it's safe to do so, because it's apt. I worry about people who think they're not evil but act evil when they think no one could ever know, or who think they're outright good but may one day be faced with a traumatically delivered realization of the fiction that is the ordered, punishment-delivering universe their parents conditioned them to act as though they believed in, or who surrender their judgement of right and wrong to the mob.

Those sorts of people tend to not be very good at being good, and to be even worse at being bad. They can't be depended on to either follow a system of laws or their own self-interest to the best of their ability. They are difficult to model and surprisingly volatile.

Of course, my problem with this might be my fault. I'm not sayin'; I'm just sayin'.

6[anonymous]9yI don't think I ever claimed to be "good". Most people do. Feature. Not bug.

Yeah, makes sense. There goes that theory of mine...

(Hm. This "changing your mind" business is strangely unpleasant.)