All of cultureulterior's Comments + Replies

Feels like we could escape the risk of coordination with many patients distributed over many doctors, and patient and doctor allocation is always random.

I don't understand why showing the thinking of the DM/Author is important for this problem. To me it feels sufficient to show the thinking of the characters alone?

I think we'd like a summary of how the decisions were arrived at

A one-atom wide line of antimatter along his skin, down through his shoes, through the ground, and into Voldemort's brain, where you make a microgram lump. Still doesn't kill him, precisely, but it should at least make him mad

If I were Snape, I would use a gas. Something which becomes hazardous after a certain time. Or merely change the nitrogen/oxygen balance after a certain time.

There are two prophecies at work here that I don't understand, which even now have to be vital to the ending

  • Thrayen beyn Peverlas soona ahnd thrih heera toal thissoom Dath bey yewoonen

I really don't get why Quirrel is doing this knowing the prophecy of the stars.

Prophecies are told to those with the ability to fulfill or avert them, and Trelawney told her prophecy to Quirrell. Thus, he knows that his actions may be able to prevent Harry from ending the world.

Also, the transfiguration Harry is doing is an obvious hint as to the antimatter weapon ending.

I'm too obsessed with antimatter
I thought it was more of a hint as to how he's going to bring Hermione back. Seems to me like surgery gets a lot easier when you can just partially un-transfigure the injured part and fix it, while leaving all the vitals transfigured into something unchanging, like a rock.

Assuming that the Mirror of Erised works the same, Bellatrix is the obvious wielder

Good point. As skeptical_lurker said:

The mirror shows what you want, so the idea is a "good" person like canon Harry would see themselves finding the stone (which allows them to actually find the stone), whereas a "bad" person would see themselves drinking elixir of youth or making gold. Harry would presumable see himself providing everyone with elixir of youth, which means that he would not see himself finding the stone, which means he could not find the stone.

In that case, we would assume that Bellatrix would see herself presenti... (read more)

Who is Sirius? Fudge!

  • It is well known that Sirius was replaced before he went to prison (the repeated "I'm not serious", the phoenix screaming particularly loudly at one particular door)
  • Fudge was present at the capture of Sirius, and made Sirius go to Azkaban without a trial- which means Fudge needs to keep the person in Sirius's body locked up for some reason.
  • Sirius can switch bodies somehow (Someone who looks like Sirius enough to fool everyone else is in prison)
  • Fudge is under the thumb of the Malfoys- why? He's using them for support, but
... (read more)
So in this theory, Pettigrew is just innocent and dead, and Sirius was the one who betrayed the secret to Voldemort? []

Seriously? Same location again?

6Paul Crowley9y
Please do post suggestions here or to the mailing list!
This is the standard location. What is the problem?
If you ask at the bar to speak to "Aunt Mabel", they'll show you the secret entrance to the Rationalist speak-easy under High Holborn*. * This is sadly not true.

I'm beginning to think the/a final enemy might be Dumbledore after all.

(1) Wouldn't Dumbledore, when he was invisibly following HP to the graveyard, have seen the millennia-old stone alight with prophecy?

(2) What if it was Dumbledore's troll, and Quirrel can prove it or, Dumbledore has had a troll guard and he can make it seem like this was it?

Hmmm. I figured Quirrell tricked Dumbledore into assigning the Troll as the Defense Professor when Dumbledore opened the wards for Quirrell. Maybe it was Dumbledore doing the tricking.

Does Bellatrix have a horcrux backup, and if not, why not? You'd think that if Voldemort thought enough of her importance to remove her from Azkaban, he'd have made sure to back her up beforehand?

her flesh is what's important-for the revival ritual (IF that's why quirrelmort broke her out, which is quite likely.). she doesn't have a servant of her own to revive her with, so getting her a horcrux would be of no use.
If Bellatrix was that important, Voldemort could have just ensured she wasn't sent to Azkaban to avoid the problems Velorien points out. More likely, the importance only came later and Voldemort decided on a quick ret-con.

Evil Overlord List, revised edition:

After discovering the secret to immortality, I will not share it with the world's third most powerful wizard (or so), no matter how certain I am of her loyalty to me, or of her ability to keep secrets. The worst case scenario then is having to train up a new powerful lieutenant, rather than having to kill an immortal ex-lieutenant or trying to contain the secret once it's out.

What steps has Harry taken to investigate the characters of those killed by Voldemort? You'd think that he'd kill/order killed, in particular, people that he did not care to have around in his future realm, once he took power. I'm assuming that the Dark Mark comes with its own self-destruct switch, so he does not have make sure any Death Eater dies. People killed by Death Eaters in self defence do not count.

This might explain why, for example, he did not kill Dumbledore, or any of the truly awesome people in the OOTP (Moody, et al), because he knew that they would be reasonable subjects.

He got Lucius Malfoy to give him a huge sum of money in exchange for admitting something true at no cost to himself, and gained goodwill from Lucius in the process (which set up for his subsequent conditional alliance), and probably left Lucius feeling he'd got the better side of the deal. All in a matter of minutes. Personally, I find that somewhat more interesting than half a chapter of watching Harry mess about with economics.

Two points:

  • Did anyone remember to take the "42" envelope, before returning Hermione's effects to her parents?
  • Are Harry's and Hermione's parents allowed to talk to each other?
I think only Harry knew about it. Besides, it was supposed to be understandable only if the reader figured out it was about dementors.

"Rule 8: Any technique which is good enough to defeat me once is good enough to learn myself"

Voldemort has been defeated once. What would he do, if he wanted to learn how?

Assuming the official account is accurate, we have no better explanation for what happened than Rowling's love shield(though I've heard the closely related theory that it was Voldemort breaking his promise to Lily that did it, because the laws of magic somehow enforce contracts). MoR!Voldemort is not the sort to leave it as an enigma, so he's likely gone looking through obscure magical texts of the sort that he didn't check pre-death to figure out what had the power to do it. As such, he would presumably have learned the importance of true love and/or honesty, and altered his tactics accordingly, which may be why Quirrelmort is noticeably less evil-acting than Voldemort.
I am inclined to believe that he wasn't defeated - the body everyone believes to be his had been "burnt to a crisp", which is inconsistent with everything we know about the Killing Curse. Assuming, however, that the official account is accurate, the logical next step would be to learn the True Patronus Charm, the only thing he knows which can block a Killing Curse. He might also want to study Harry for lingering magical effects (if any such effect can endure over twelve years), though this is made more difficult by the resonance effect.

This does not imply that prophecies have intended recipients, though.


I'm not sure that's the way of it in the HPMOR universe. Consider the final chapter- who were those aborted prophecies for?

Chapter 77 []:

Why doesn't voldemort have a source of prophecies? If I were him, I'd have kidnapped a known seer, and kept them locked up inside a mountain, or something like that, and recorded their output like it seems dumbledore does. Every power he sees he tries to take for himself, etc..

A prophecy only occurs if the intended recipient is able to hear the seer in question. Dumbledore has just found a way to be in hearing range at all times, making it less likely a third party will overhear a prophecy meant for him. Unless Voldemort regularly receives prophecies, it would be a waste of resources - you need an impenetrable prison, which is unlikely to be cheap. Of course, if he does regularly receive prophecies it would be useful, but that seems unlikely.

The deeper problem in Ch. 6 is that Harry’s conflict with Professor McGonagall looks too much like a victory – it is a major flaw of Methods that Harry doesn’t lose hard until Ch. 10, so he must at least not win too much before then. That’s the part I’m working on at this very instant.

Strongly disagree with this. That's the bit that caused me to continue reading. Luckily, I have the raw text downloaded, and can make my own canonical printed version.

But Professor McGonagall had made other visits after her first trip, to "see how Miss Granger is doing"; and Roberta couldn't help but think that if Hermione said her parents were being troublesome about her witching career, something would be done to fix them...

This quote in particular makes that point...

I'm not sure the Powers that Be at Hogwarts would allow her to be taken home by her parents...

Do Hermoine's parents even have the right to withdraw her? Harry's parents apparently do not have such a right:

I think that Salazar's Serpent was a trap Tom Riddle fell into. It was a Langford Basilisk Horcrux, like the book Ginny got in the original timeline, so When Tom Riddle read out the information embedded, he was possessed by Salazar Slytherin. That's why nppbeqvat gb Ibyqrzbeg/Evqqyr/Fnynmne vg frrzf gb unir whfg orra n terng frecrag, abg n onfvyvfx, juvpu vf whfg jung ur jbhyq fnl. Guvf nyfb rkcynvaf gur qnzntrq guvaxvat Uneel frrf.

This might well explain Harry as well, since in OT Voldemort had a giant serpent hanging around. He might not have had one in... (read more)

I've been seeing stuff like this all thread: "That's why nppbeqvat gb Ibyqrzbeg/Evqqyr/Fnynmne vg frrzf gb unir whfg orra n terng frecrag, abg n onfvyvfx, juvpu vf whfg jung ur jbhyq fnl. Guvf nyfb rkcynvaf gur qnzntrq guvaxvat Uneel frrf." What does it mean? I assume it's some sort of code.
You're assuming that a culture as ossified as modern wizarding society has lots of people striving to create new spells en masse, and that it's sufficiently easy to do so that they'd be getting created if the people were trying and "slots" were available. That's absurd. Also, you seem to have no understanding whatsoever of the Interdict of Merlin - it says that spells above a certain power level can only be passed between intelligent minds, with no intermediaries(like books) allowed. The best I can assume is that you're engaged in circular reasoning, with the lack of new spells proving the slot theory proving your weird interpretation of the Interdict proving the lack of new spells.
Its purpose might simply have been to slow down the rate of high-level spell development and use. We know that the greatest body of magical lore would have been lost with Atlantis (going with the theory that the Atlanteans created the Source of Magic) and that magical research appears to largely be the province of individuals. The Interdict of Merlin would be like going to medieval Europe and saying "OK, you can carry on developing science/natural philosophy/etc., but you can't read any classical works, and if you want the latest research, you've got to get it in person rather than reading your fellow thinkers' texts". Is anyone here familiar with the "Labyrinths of Echo" sequence by Max Frei (the first book of which has recently been butchered into English)? That has the central premise that magical power is fuelled by the magical axis running through the the world, and that overuse of said power has nearly drained away the soul of the planet. As such, the protagonists are a magical police force dedicated to protecting the ban on high-level magic so that the heart of the world can recover and the all-too-near apocalypse can be averted. I wonder if the Interdict of Merlin is based on a similar idea.

My non-conclusive arguments for this are as follows:

  • Each rotation equals one hour.
  • We cannot privilige the human experience, and therefore the length of the earth day cannot be a physical constant.
Are we certain that the amount of time that each rotation takes you actually is an equinoctal hour, or a constant? If broomsticks can use Aristotlean physics, maybe Time Turners can be limited to six solar hours.
The length of an earth day is part of all Earth life experience, not uniquely human.
A good bit off topic but replying here anyway. If humanity was not special enough to set the Interdict of Merlin on absolutely everybody it could really turn against them when the aliens arrive.
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.

How Magic Works, Some Facts, Inferences, Conclusions, and Speculations

The Facts:

  • Wizards did not have clocks before muggles did.
  • Time turners are limited to 6 solar hours.
  • Therefore time turners were limited after the invention of Equinoctal hours, in 127CE.
  • The Aurors are planning a jinx to stop opposite reaction effect rockets, but they don't understand rockets.
  • There was a significant flux in children's spells, but children did not seem to use more or fewer spells in the past.
  • Brooms work via Aristotelian physics.
  • It's easier to put together spells to
... (read more)
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You don't distinguish your facts from your inferences well enough. Your list of "facts" seems to contains inferences like "Therefore time turners were limited after the invention of Equinoctal hours, in 127CE.", speculations like "Wizards seem to spend most of their time in pocket universes, otherwise you'd spot dragons and hogwarts trains on satellite imagery." and assumptions like "Children have unconscious magic, but not to the extent that OT Harry did."
Chizpurfles [] appear to be canon.
Can you expand on the reasoning here? I don't see how you conclude that the limitation on time turners is somehow dependent on someone thinking in terms of equinoctal hours. It seems just as plausible that the (length of day)/4 limit (which happens to equal six equinoctal hours) is based on the physics of time turning and has applied all along.
Would you mind giving your evidence for the following points? We don't actually have any general comments on what kind of animals and plants don't exist. We only know which ones exist in the vicinity of Hogwarts, plus a limited sampling of foreign ones (such as Veela). Isn't this the opposite of what it does? I thought its sole effect was to prevent the impersonal transmission of spells (and thus the rediscovery of old powerful spells from books). Example, please? This is Draco's opinion, IIRC, and apart from the fact that he's an 11-year old boy of limited education, we know that his information sources on wizard power over the ages are strongly biased and unreliable.
This made me think of an omission that's probably not a very big deal, but preHogwarts Rationalist Harry never reports having used magic before. At the same time, he believes in magic. So maybe he did some magic or saw some magic and was Obliviated? Also, since Harry's magic bag responds to sign language, can all spells be cast that way even by people who're bad at nonverbal magic?
That page is old, as I noted in my other comment, and if you read the Constitution [] (article 3) which governs the Hugo award, the nomination is not so numeric; for example: and Going back to the 2011 data (and being mindful the vote counts have set records frequently in the 2000s as the convention apparently grows), we see the last place novel is 306 ballots. pg17 gives us the original nomination votes: last place novel there was 78 ballots. So, yes, MoR could probably get on the ballot if >78 people all remember to register by 31 January of that year (good thing MoR isn't finished yet because it's too late for 2012) so they are eligible to vote on nominations, and actually put MoR #1 on their ballots; see the Constitution again:

Not only the attendees. People with supporting memberships can vote as well.

All you need to vote is a supporting membership, cost $60 or so. You don't have to attend.

As soon as HPMOR is finished (hopefully not soon), I will buy a supporting membership to the next year's worldcon. On that note, let me urge Eliezer to finish HPMOR in the summer of some year, so enough supporting memberships can nominate it by January 1.

I also think this is a good idea, and hereby vow to buy a membership when HPMoR is finished for this purpose of voting it for Best Novel. As pointed out, even being nominated would get it a lot more attention. I'm hoping for something like Neil Gaiman had when he won and then they banned comics/graphic novels afterwards.
I'm not sure that materially increases the number of votes one could expect. Gee, only $60...

Personally, I think Eliezer keeping the train- qua train- is a mistake. It shows too much influence from the muggle universe. I mean, what did Hogwarts use as soon as 200 years ago? Why would they change it given their extremely conservative world-view? A Eberron-style lightning train would be more plausible.

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.

Hat and Cloak might have tried the algorithm on Ron first.

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Ron was not a target of interest. Hat and Cloak wanted both Hermione and Draco out of the picture.

I'm not sure there is a difference:

"You know that spell?"

"Oh, no, it's the Charm of the Most Ancient Blade, it's only legal for Noble and Most Ancient Houses to use -"

Hermione stopped talking and looked at Harry, or Harry's grey hood rather.

"Well," said Harry's voice, "I guess I could take down the rest of the Sunshine Regiment by myself, then." She couldn't see his face, but his voice sounded like he was smiling.

Pretty sure that's "[Noble and Most Ancient] Houses", not "[Noble] and (Most Ancient) Houses".

Oh, crap. Malfoy's blue krait is Voldemort's spy in the Malfoy home.

The Malfoy's have a whole bunch of snakes. I think there's a word for a place you keep a bunch of snakes, like an ofidarium or something. Also, they know that Voldemort was a Parseltongue. Lucius would at least be aware of these spies. I think he would, anyway... do we know that the Death Eaters know that Voldemort was a Parsletonue in this fic? Also, what kind of snake is Quirrell's animagus form? Should we have compared descriptions?

I guess you're right, even though there's no reason for that limitation either, given how the physics of transfiguration works- e.g is there really a difference between the electron clouds in a metal and clouds of gas.

Anyway, he can transfigure through the ground, up through a leg, and to the face.

All powerful wizards have this ability and it is implied that every magical power in the world would turn against him if he tried anything that foolish.

I've always felt that that was peculiar. Iraq used chemical weapons and no-one cared in the least.

Now that I think about it, why hasn't Harry bought a pet snake yet? Having an animal minion he could command would be extremely useful in any amount of situations, and you'd think he'd make the best of his abilities. If he's worried about remembering to feed it, he can have Hermione be responsible for it.

In fact, a pet snake would be a great gift from professor Quirrel.

Because the pet rock turned out so well.
Besides the reasons already mentioned, the standard Hogwarts letter in canon had restrictions on what kinds of animals were allowed as pets -- owls (like Harry has), cats (like Hermione gets in PoA), and toads (like Neville's). All three are stereotypical wizardy/witchy beasts. The Weasley rat is not explained in canon but can be assumed to have been granted as an exception. A snake would probably not be given such an exception, as it might be used to scare other children. Or perhaps snakes are disallowed because then the Gryffindors would ask to be allowed pet lions.
Because getting a pet snake is going to be interpreted as either a sign of Slytherin(which will hardly play well in Ravenclaw) or, if the observer is clever, as a sign that he's a Parselmouth, which is something he'd prefer to keep hidden. The image effects may outweigh the uses.
IIRC, Harry thought through similar issues with respect to having a pet owl in the early chapters and rejected it on ethical grounds. Perhaps he is generalizing that to all pets. If so, though, I don't think he's correct to do so. A pet that is (assuming Parselmouth works this way) only social when it's with me and not when I'm absent has a very different set of ethical costs than one that is social even when I'm absent.
Evil image, more work and complexity (Harry is busy - is a animal minion really a marginal gain?), the need to run it by Dumbledore to get a vault withdrawal (large healthy snakes in the real world are expensive, AFAIK) and the lingering issue of creating sentience?

I'm not sure I get what Harry's evidence for being able to summon the Phoenix is. It seemed more like wishful thinking to me. Any ideas on why he believed he could do that?

Also, Fawkes did have some connection with Harry after he returned from Azkaban - he asked Harry to help him destroy the place, and it's clear he asked the same of Dumbledore (perhaps many times). So he's not totally off the mark in thinking that Fawkes would come to him - in that case he'd be agreeing to do what Fawkes wants, instead of restraining him like Dumbledore usually does. I bet if Harry called to Fawkes with a wish to go to Azkaban and destroy it, Fawkes would be there to take him in a heartbeat.
Chapter 82,

I'm noticing the Hugo nominations just came out. I'm not sure about which category it would be eligible for, but I think it would be worth trying to push for a nomination next year. For one thing, HPMOR is definitely in the same class as Ender's Game, which did win a Hugo.

Ah, so you're an optimist.

From a cursory glance, it seems that the categories it'd be eligible for are "Best Novel"(>40k words) and "Best Fan Writer"(non-paid work). I'd advise the latter, because the competition will almost certainly be lighter.

There was some interest [] in getting the podcast nominated but I guess that didn't amount to anything. I'm not familiar with the Hugo Award categories but since there was no concurrent push for the nomination of the fic in written form, I imagine there was some difficulty finding a category for it. Maybe the pool is a lot smaller for podcasts though and the Eneasz thought that the fic wasn't popular enough on its own to compete in a much larger bracket.

You transfigure (a one atom line in the air to the person and his face) to cyanide.

Harry can do partial transfiguration; he can't transfigure gases.

Agreed. However, very few people are villains in their own minds. And You Fool! has classically been a narrative tag for villains for over a century.

Cube root(number of atoms in a 1m^3 cube of silicon(simplification)=number of atoms in a one atom line, assuming that the atoms were arranged in an cubic crystal(simplification). Mass-energy of those atoms, times two (for complete destruction) and then subtract for the particles that do not decay immediately (I had to look that up, I think I got about 5/6th remaining)

The individual colored patches are the five first JKR books, and the overlapping patch is The Methods of Rationality, plotted by chapter and book, vs the number of total words written. MoR is now longer than all the first four books put together. The reason I made the graph was I was wondering if those two individual EY statements (rot13'd in my statement above) were would add up to make more than one bit of information, but they did not.

If Eliezer finishes Methods of Rationality at 150% of current length, we'd end up midway into the sixth book.

I'm confused; you said you plotted the first five of JKR's books, but you said that MoR's longer than the first four books. The graph shows that MoR is longer than the first three books but halfway through the fourth. And why did you graph five books when Mr. Yudkowsky says it won't be longer than seven books? Shouldn't you have done seven?

"You fools!" shouted Lucius Malfoy.

Lucius is using classical villain language (Matthew 5:22 etc...), which he really shouldn't be doing in any sensible world unless he's been contacted by Voldemort, or believes that Voldemort would have wanted him to do so. If we assume that he thinks that Voldemort wants him to play the villain role, the reason for his villainous behavior is made rather more clear.

I'd say trying to have a 12 year old girl tortured to death is a better example of villainous behavior. I also don't see much evidence of Lucius doing any of this to help Harrymort. It seems more like a desperate attempt to sabotage him out of fear and anger.

Progress of Eliezer vs JKR, Fvapr Ryvrmre unf fgngrq gung gur fgbel jba'g or ybatre guna gur frira obbxf, cre jbeq, naq gung vg'f zber guna unysjnl qbar

I don't get it pretty clear. Could you explain in few words?
One book that takes a very mechanical approach to story plot is Dramatica Theory (free, online, see link below). If I were to try to write a program to write fiction, I'd start with this and see what I could automate. [] cultureulterior is talking about plots to overthrow governments.
I'll check this one. Thank you.
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