All of avichapman's Comments + Replies

Thanks for your great story. I particularly enjoyed 'Swimming Upstream'.

I'm much earlier in my journey and the milestones are probably different than yours. In Australia, a PhD is 3 years and I don't know if you get much choice on committee selection. As it happens, I haven't even started it yet as I am currently doing an Honours research project to prove my research bona fides.

My first challenge is to find a way to pay for my PhD. In Australia, you can get a salary to do a PhD, but it is 1/4 of my current salary and I have kids to... (read more)

Wow. I see now what EY meant when he said it wasn't fair to criticize HPMOR as sexist before it was done. I finished reading the last chapter with the feeling that this was actually an origin story for Hermione.

Even without the enhancements, in real world terms Hermione was the most admirable character. Harry was a young boy with an old genius's brain patterns and an Oxford professor of science to raise him. Not really a fair benchmark to compare a 12 year old with.

She got better grades than Dumbledore did at her age, was beating the young Tom Riddle with a time turner in class, and beat Harry and Draco in the first battle, with neither a mysterious dark side nor military training. It was Hermione who knew more than than Draco and Harry how to properly make use ... (read more)

Does it really nullify the criticisms of sexism? The Self Actualization arc remains mostly the same, Hermione is one of the characters that gets the least "upgrades" compared to canon for most of the story, so is McGonagall she's still fridged for the sake of Harry's quest (although I don't think that fridging is a good criticism), she ends up awesome through no actions of her own and her future is steered by Harry. People who criticized HPMOR for being sexist won't change their mind because of this ending.

As Harry's pet? EDIT To head off the inevitable need to clarify myself, I clarify now: This refers entirely to Hermione's current status as the not-in-the-know smiling gofer being handed her role by the ever so wise 11-year-old savior and master of the fate of the universe who is of course the only person who could ever guide the whole fricking world in such a way that it won't be destroyed and tell her what she should be because reasons. And of course she just takes it. I interpreted this not as sexism but as the exaltation of Harry over all others who are of course less than sane/rational/special/human/important/worthy/cosmically-significant for basically no reason other than Time Says So. And everyone just goes along with it. That whole aspect of this whole chapter (and the last several) made me cringe. For multiple reasons.

Brin seems to equate 'rational' with 'non-violent'. They're not always the same thing.

Why is Harry special? His sleep cycle? Anybody can use a time turner.

In the text, they made it clear that the vow was based on the meaning of the words and not the words itself. V said that it was important that everyone understood the meaning.

Harry would not consider star lifting or terraforming or the creation of a virtual world at the expense of the actual one to be 'destroying the world'. He would considering 'destroying the world' to mean 'the ending of all life' or somesuch.

Did Harry time-turn the day Hermione died, and, if so, what did he do?

Yes. When he went into the room with Hermione's body, he turned the time turner and transfigured her body into a ring while also transfiguring something else (presumably something very small) into a copy of Hermione's body. He then hid from his past self and left the room just after his past self entered. After the transfiguration wore off, the 'body' dissapeared.

Yes, but he could do all of that with a single twist.
HPMOR seems to have changed this.

QuirrelMort's wand is in Quirrel's hand.

Harry went to where Quirrell lay, and straightened out the body as best he could, and put Quirrell's wand into his hand.

Voldemorts wand is the one that Harry took.

After rereading, I beleive that Mr White is Lucius Malfoy. Not only is the name an allusion to his hair, he is said to be less useful than he was in the past due to the fact that V will soon rule openly. In the past Lucius was V's puppet in the Wizengamot.

Mr Write then proceeds to sacrifice most of his magic to bind Harry Potter. I suppose with him dead, this doesn't matter.

I remember that part too. I had thought that they had searched all of Harry's things. Upon re-reading the relevant part of Chapter 94, I now realise that they only searched his trunk and mokeskin pouch. If he left it in his bed it would have escaped detection.

By the way, why did Voldemort make a description of Hermione resurrection ritual and put it in a pouch if he planed to kill Harry anyway?

He was planning for the possibility of failure. If he failed to kill Harry, he wanted Harry to always have Hermione to consult.

I woke up in the middle of the night with an idea that could still be true, but wasn't needed in Chapter 114-115. It had bothered me that the Hermione toe-ring wasn't detected. In fact, it was explicitly checked for magic and it was discovered that it was portkey magic rather than transfiguration magic.

Overnight, I had the idea that perhaps Harry put his portkey toering on Hermione's body (though obviously not her toe) before he transfigured her. I have no idea how such things work, but I suppose its possible that the portkey magic would still be detectible when transfigured and would even mask out the transfiguration magic.

From chapter 94 : I assume that he swapped the Hermione-toering with the portkey-toering at this point, leaving the Hermione-toering beneath the covers, or making it drop into the moleskin pouch, or something like that.
At least she won’t be unarmed.

I doubt she'll have any problem saving Voldemort single-handedly.

I see it also. I believe that broke her out as a backup plan in case his attempt to get the stone failed. He could then always grab a peice of Bellatrix and a peice of an enemy (Harry? Someone else?) and come back that way.

I agree. A carbon nanotube metres long and whipped around fast. And Hermione screaming, "Harry!!!"

Such a thin chain of carbon nanotubes like that would have almost no mass, ergo no force. It'd be like if you could make a string perfectly rigid and then you hit something with it.

You may be on to something. Merlin created his Interdict with exactly that sacrifice.

Some 11 year olds aren't interested in sex yet. Others are forks of an adult Tom Riddle who similarly isn't interested in sex.

It the simulation were infinitly parrallel and all simulations that weren't consistent crashed, the Harry that made the observation about the loop would necessarily be in a self-consistent simulation.

And the clock is ticking. If Dumbledoor is aware of the plot to kill hundreds of students, the folks inside the box have some leverage.

I wonder how much of that plot to kill hundred of students can actually be foiled/averted by Dumbledore if he were to know, especially if helped by Harry's "creativity" to find solutions.

Harry can go months without using his dark side. Quirrel on the other hand goes into zombie mode every day. Perhaps zombie mode is what's left of the original Quirrel.

My prediction is that zombie mode is Quirrel checking up on Horcruxes in the same way he views the stars.

Your idea caused me to connect two dots. Perenelle and Alissa Cornfoot. They are both students who are attracted to badass professors. On one level, the example Miss Cornfoot provides plausability for Prenelle's interest. On a more conspiracy-theory-y level, Perenelle is still hanging around near the stone?

I just had another thought in relation to Harry's second transfigured object. I had thought as Quirrel did that Harry's second transfigured object was Hermione's body. (Though Harry successfullly fooled Quirrel into thinking the second object was the steel ring. It wan't, but we know he has something because of the mention of 'the other one' in Chapter 104.)

But just after Hermione's body dissappeared, they throroughly searched Harry's person and stuff for transfigured objects and finite incantatem-ed the lot. Perhaps Harry's second transfigured object is not Hermione, but something aquired more recently? I'm thinking of Cedric. Can a living body be transformed into something solid like a rock without deleterious effects?

The corpse could be transfigured into the necklace of the time-turner. This is such an incredibly stupid and dangerous idea that no-one would ever suspect Harry to do anything like this. Or he can transfigure Hermione into one chain link of the necklace (safer failure mode). Are there any (known) size limits to the transfiguration? If not, there's plenty of room at the bottom...
Emphatically not, according to McGonagall. "In a few hours you would be sick, and in a day you would be dead".

I just made a mental connection - probably a stupid one. The pouch's capacity was recently expanded and Cedric has yet to make an appearence...

I noticed that too. It's often a sign of obliviation. My secondary hypothesis is that it was a mistake and will be corrected in a later update.

Yeah, it's already been changed:

We do know that devil's snare will play a part.

"It's not as if he wants to keep the students out, oh no, they need to go in and get stuck in my Devil's Snare!"

The only answer that doesn't feel like a stretch is that the O is a reward for the phenominal progress made during the year.

Quirrel had a very low opinion of science and didn't seem to appreciate the power it confers until the most recent chapter - which doesn't gel well with what we know of Harry. Of course, future-harry could be lying about that when interacting with his past self, but that would require a complexity penalty against the hypothesis.

I don't think that would bother me. If the resulting person has all of my memories and personality and everything else that I consider important about myself and the original copy was destroyed painlessly it would make no difference.

But then again, I'm a programmer. I copy data structures and destroy the originals all the time and yet treat them as one and the same.

An increase in the sense of doom? What if Quirrel can possess many bodies at once. He created Voldi to have a villain to fight back in the olden days and then retired Voldi when he got sick of it. He periodically takes over other people's bodies for his own ends, sometimes even when he's not in his 'zombie mode'. Perhaps the variability in the sense of doom is correlated with his extra-body activities. When he takes over the body of a dead centaur, you get an increase in the sense of doom. The fact that he's not in 'zombie mode' at the same time as possess... (read more)

Whether Voldemort's persona was or wasn't real, the suffering caused by him was real. If I would for some reason decide to pretend that I'm Voldemort, and I would kill many people (shooting them by gun while pretending to cast Avada Kedavra), finding out this all was a disguise would prove that I'm not Voldemort, and that Voldemort's professed beliefs don't have to be my actual beliefs... but I would be a horrible person anyway.
Then he would rule the world the day he decided to rule the world (which he did at one point, at least extending to magical Britain). A single Quirrell is among the most powerful wizards in the world. A team of Quirrells would have no meaningful opposition, even before he took advantage of the hive-mind benefits of instant coordination and reaction. That would imply that all the words and actions that portray him as a sociopath are an act for Harry's benefit. What would his motivation be in doing this?
I don't think inferii are possessed by their creators. Pretty sure they're just zombies that do the summoners' bidding. I always thought the sense of doom was related to how strongly Quirrel was drawing on his power.

Good point about the light hours thing. It sort of kills the hypothesis.

I agree with drethelin that the 6 hour mark doesn't have to correspond with Quirrel's last day of school. However, in the last story arc, Quirrel talks like his time limit is only a short time away, perhaps only a month. Of course, he could be talking about his inevitable firing from the defense professor position.

Sorry, I didn't mean to suggest that Quirrel went away to the plaque when he was in zombie mode, nor to suggest that it had become a Horcrux. Instead, what I am suggesting is that Quirrel is always in the plaque and is operating his body by remote control. If it takes some effort to do so, he might let the body go slack when he doesn't need to be doing anything.

As for the horcrux, this could always be a different, but perhaps related, spell.

Oh, right. I just assumed you meant horcruxes. Vg'f na vagrerfgvat gubhtug, ohg Ryvrmre unf fgngrq gung gur Cyndhr jnf fhcbfrq gb or n Ubepehk.

I was re-listening to the podcast of Chapter 20 (Bayes's Theorem) when I was struck by an idea. It builds on another idea I heard in this same forum. The original idea was that Quirrel had Horcruxed the Pioneer plaque and that, due to the nature of magic, his Horcrux passing beyond a distance of 6 light hours would lead to his death due to a limitation on magic's ability to affect things more than 6 hours into the past - which would be needed for faster than light communications.

Having now re-listened to that chapter, I've picked up some new clues. Harry h... (read more)

Very clever idea! But it doesn't pan out, sadly. I just checked on Wolfram-Alpha. The distance from the earth to Pioneer 11 on the Ides of May, 1992 [] , Quirrell's presumed last day of class, is actually 4.84 light hours, not 6. Some experimenting on W-A shows that Pioneer 11 passes 6 light hours around August 25, 1995.
Hmm. It's certainly not impossible, but there seem to be two main problems with it - not unanswerable problems by any means, but problems nonetheless. * If Quirrelmort is spending his zombie periods at the voyager plaque, what on earth is he doing during that time? Watching the stars? But he said he can only rarely cast the spell that shows him the stars (seems like an odd thing to lie about.) * This clashes massively with the horcruxes from canon. Sure, there could be differences, but ... if horcruxes act as "remote controls" you have one horcrux, presumably, which seems like a rather drastic change (and IIRC Q implied having multiple horcruxes somewhere, didn't he?) In canon, horcruxes were intelligent and capable of using magic, but also acted to prevent your soul from leaving this plane. If there turns out to be an afterlife, which EY hasn't ruled out AFAIK, then possibly different minds with the same ID confuse whatever mechanism is responsible; thus Q has given over a copy of his mind to an eternity of space, which is an interesting notion.

Here's my first attempt. It was meant to be about confirmation bias. On rereading it, it seems more like it's about finding the positives in bleak situations. I guess that's important, too.

Nothing much happened this week, you tell your mum at week's end. Because 'nothing' never gets mentioned, when talking to your friend.

Because inside all that nothing, there are things both here and there. If a room is mostly empty, You'll find a table or a chair.

On Monday you did nothing, except you stubbed your toe.

On Tuesday you did nothing, but it begain to snow.

On We... (read more)

If it's true that intelligence correlates with height, I wonder if it is because childhood nutrition affects height? Perhaps childhood nutrition also affects brain development. Interesting.

Could this constraint apply in other ways? Suppose magic is the result of something that responds to the wishes of witches, as suggested at one point. If that something is Earth-based, perhaps a wizard on an outbound spacecraft would stop being able to do magic when he reaches 6 light-hours out. An interesting experiment.

Harry might be able to realistically do an experiment similar to this as a first year if there is a magic spell that lets you communicate with an object. He could use a spell to accelerate that object to a very high speed and then check in on it as it approaches the 6 light-hour point.

I hadn't realised I could. I've just done so. I didn't write any kind of note to that effect. Is one needed for a spelling edit?

I generally don't mark edits that I do essentially immediately or that don't change the meaning.

Ah. In that case, your comment makes a lot of sense. I apologise for the confusion.

Thanks for both pieces of advice. Apparently what karma goes around comes around, because I'm back up to 2/3 or what I had before the misadventure started. I'm at peace.

Nice read. That's exactly what I should do. Someone else made a similar comment about definition issues. In retrospect, the conversation on Facebook could have been wrapped up very fast.

That's possible, but I got the feeling that they wouldn't know what those positions are. Their positions were so self-contradictory that it makes me think that they had simply absorbed some of the zeitgeist without any kind of formal study and then failed to propagate the change all the way across their belief networks.

It's still the same in the original post. Maybe you forgot to change it?

I don't think you need to be superstitious to commit the fallacy of choosing a belief that is less accurate intentionally. All you need to do is buy into the meme that all belief is good. I know plenty of atheists-by-default who still think that there's nothing odd about intentionally choosing to believe something arbitrary.

Yes. I chose to say something only partly right. If I was talking to a creationist, I would suggest that maybe god could have used natural processes to create the world - because if I told them that there was no evidence for a god's action on the universe, they'd assume that I was doing the devil's work and not listen.

If I ended a conversation with my interlocutor's beliefs now being one step closer to the truth, I would feel like I'd done a good job. I can always shift them again next time around.

I take your point about the alternative phrasing. I don't think that that would have undermined my point, so I should have used it.

I'd disagree that I was going for the fallacy of gray. The fallacy of gray is replacing a two coloured world (black & white) with a 1 coloured world (gray). The post you linked to goes on to say that it is quite appropriate to point out that there is such thing as 'less white' and 'more white' - in fact, a world with millions of shades. It's a great antidote to two-colour thinking.

I didn't mean you were committing the fallacy, I meant you were similarly trying to point it out ("going for this kind of article and explanation").

I think an admin has already moved it for me.

I recently got into communicating with non-scientific people. I got really proud of a new way of trying to convince post-modernists that there was indeed such a thing as ideas that were 'more right' and 'less right' that I wrote up a blog post and posted it here for review. (

But I misunderstood the posting rules and put it on the main site instead of the discussions. 4 people didn't like what I wrote, which more than wiped out all of the karma I've built up since I joined.

I'm no... (read more)

It's very easy for new people to care way too much about karma. I did. I still care too much, but I mostly shrug it off if I get downvoted. It happens to everyone, even EY. So I'd encourage you to not worry about it too much, even though I know that's hard for new people to do. It certainly was for me. Just remember getting downvoted doesn't mean we hate you. :-)

Secondly, you can hyperlink like this: LessWrong by using this format: [LessWrong](

I never wrote an article to LW -- is it possible for the author to move their article from Main to Discussion? Or is some moderator help needed? EDIT: A nice functionality would be also to move one's article from Discussion to Open Thread, preserving the comment structure below the article. (This is not related to the article about CEOs, just generally.)

But these people I was debating refuse to accept that there is such thing as a 'right' by that definition. They say that 'what actually happened' is forever unknowable. I was trying to point out that while we may or may not find out exactly what happened, we can always tell if an explanation is 'more right' or 'less right' than another, based on how useful it is in explaining the evidence.

It's worth asking whether your interlocutors were physical anti-realists or moral anti-realists [] who got quite confused about the scope of their anti-realist position.
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