All of Dufaer's Comments + Replies

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11

If his explanation about the nature of the patronus was believed, the active patronuses should dispel. So if he demonstrated and convincingly explained his patronus and chose not to destroy the dementor he would be the sole person in the room with control over the creature.

EDIT: The trouble is, that even if he manages to control the Wizengamot in this way, he can only control them for so long, as they remain in the room.

So he probably would have to rely on their status and/or 'Most Ancient Tradition' keeping them from fleeing the room or calling in reinfor... (read more)

0Lavode9yThat would antagonize the wizengamot very, very badly. Not a good long term strategy, even if you intend to dissolve it. Destroying it, explaining, and letting them work through the logical implications on their own suffices. If most people lose the ability to halt dementors at all, and a few people gain the ability to destroy them outright, they are no longer usable tools of enforcement, and disposing of them all together becomes quite urgent.
Dead Child Currency

All the links to your blog are broken.

(e.g. "abstracting compassion" leads to "" instead of "")

0jefftk10yfixed; thanks!
Stupid Questions Open Thread

I think Eliezer's reply (point '(B)') to this comment by Wei Dai provides some explanation, as to what the decision theory is doing here.

From the reply (concerning UDT):

I still think [an AI ought to be able to come up with these ideas by itself], BTW. We should devote some time and resources to thinking about how we are solving these problems (and coming up with questions in the first place). Finding that algorithm is perhaps more important than finding a reflectively consistent decision algorithm, if we don't want an AI to be stuck with whatever mistak

... (read more)
Facing the Intelligence Explosion discussion page

From the "About" page:

The header image is a mashup [full size] of Wanderer above the Sea of Fog by Caspar David Friedrich and an artist's depiction of the Citadel from Mass Effect 2.

Resolving the unexpected hanging paradox

OK, let’s look at this: The prisoner receives 2 pieces of information from the warden at the beginning:

  • The first piece of information is: He will be killed at noon of one day of the next five days.

Assuming that the warden's claim is true, there are 5 possible outcomes:

Death at noon of Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu or Fri.

Assuming furthermore that the prisoner has no other information that and that he uses probability theory, he will construct the following uniform probability distribution:

P(Death at noon of X.)=1/5 where X can be Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu or Fri.

Further... (read more)

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 7

Once again Harry's voice shrieked "Stupefy!", and later on, when she was remembering this, she could never quite believe she'd managed to do it, but she slashed out with her blade of light like it was a Beater's bat, and hit the stunbolt back at Harry who just barely managed to twist out of the way.

Seems more like just a further Star Wars reference to me.

Well, even if she was somehow protected, note that she was not passively protected (not like a shield spell) - she still had to move to deflect and:

They were both moving slowly, and Hermione

... (read more)
1bigjeff511yThey were directional, not particularly large but large enough for one or two people to stand behind, could not be fired through, and had to be maintained with the wand. The larger versions expand that up to a full sphere that can be fired through and only require concentration to maintain once cast. It seemed that each hit would drain the shield caster's magic, so your shield strength depended directly upon the strength of your magic.
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 7

Also, everyone seems to be shouting their incantations, which seems just dumb.

Harry could have also just Somniumed Daphne, after she has reflected his first Stunner and was currently cumbersomely battling Neville – it would cost him just the magical cost of a Sleep Hex itself. Instead he risks Neville getting heavily fatigued or even stunned and chats on.

7benelliott11yI'm not sure of the details of the spell she and Neville were using (I don't think it appears in cannon) but I had assumed that is protected both of them from everyone else for the duration, which would make sense if its purpose is to allow two aristocratic wizards to have their own private duel.
2HonoreDB11yI think if he'd tried to Somnium Daphne, the other sunnies would have blocked it.
8Sheaman377311yAgreed, but they're first years. Plus, I got the impression that the dueling incantations were shouted for effect, and that Stupefy was such a large spell for them that they couldn't spare the concentration not to shout, that in fact they needed to shout in order to generate the required amount of magic (I forget what it's called, but there's a concept in some martial arts that making a sharp noise as you strike increases the strength of the blow. A similar concept could apply here). Yes, he could have, and in some ways he should have. But would it have had the same effect as everyone saying that he defeated almost every Sunshine soldier by himself? Harry has already shown that he'll do what he needs to to boost his legend.
Attention Lurkers: Please say hi

Hi, there! Trying to get through the sequences. And past akrasia...

Babies and Bunnies: A Caution About Evo-Psych

How is it even reasonable to expect some arbitrarily visitor to notice (or guess correctly) your gender?

Do you evaluate your writing style or your expressed thoughts to be so typically female as to yield to no other conclusion? Or do you count on the “obvious” connotations of a name like “Alicorn” - for it is surely obvious that anyone naming oneself thus must be thinking about some fluffy, girly sparkling unicorn instead of, for example, making a reference to the Invisible Pink Unicorn - or something (especially on a rationality website!).

There is no per... (read more)

Less Wrong Q&A with Eliezer Yudkowsky: Ask Your Questions

Oh, how convenient, isn’t it? Well, then what about a self-deception in order to increase a placebo effect; in a case where the concerned disease may or may not be life-threatening?

0pwno12yI didn't say the costs always outweigh the benefits.
Of Exclusionary Speech and Gender Politics

The categorical goal should not be a "successful community", but rather a truly rationalist community. As such the process of truth-finding should not be compromised by any social "niceties". Now, I can bear some extra effort on the writer's part, but if you feel the pressure to please everyone, it is already a step in the direction of self-censorship, which should not be tolerated. No policy here should step on such a slippery slope, for there is a reason why they are called such.

And an explicit ban on any topic is (of course) categori... (read more)

0Lightwave12yYou might want to read Eliezer's posts on the importance of a healthy community. I will link some later if noone's done it before me.
4Alicorn12yThere have already been explicit bans on topics. In the early days of Less Wrong, there were bans on discussing the Singularity and artificial intelligence, for fear that without such a ban the conversations about these topics would overwhelm the fledgling site and create an undesireable skewed tone. The ban was lifted after a certain amount of time, when the tone was supposedly established. If pickup artist discussion is creating a tone that is skewed in ways we don't like, it is not without precedent and not in opposition to rationality to end it.
0thomblake12yFixed it for you.