All of Fermatastheorem's Comments + Replies

A LessWrong Crypto Autopsy

I think the percentages of 'successful' LW readers need to be recalculated. What percentage of LW readers were in the SSC survey, but started reading LW after the most profitable window for buying bitcoin had already passed? What percentage were students with no spare funds in 2011, or otherwise had too little risk tolerance to invest?

I started reading LW in 2014, took the advice of the 2015 post to the extent I could, but was only able to make a little money because I didn't have any savings and 1 bitcoin was worth $200. Later, I heard a... (read more)

2013 Survey Results

The only reason I see blue when I look up during the daytime at something higher than a ceiling, an airplane, or a cloud, is because the atmosphere is composed of reflective blue material (air) intervening between me and the darkness of space. I would still like an explanation from the great-great-grandparent as to what constitutes 'turning the sky green'.

2013 Survey Results

Nevermind - I thought I'd found a site that would flip a coin and save the result with a timestamp.

Why hasn't anybody made this yet?

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4MugaSofer8yThey have - they're known as "dice rollers", because they're usually used for rolling dice in play-by-post RPGs. For example [http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/4385065/].

Precommitment is a solved problem which doesn't need a trusted website. For example, simplicio could've released a hash precommitment (made using a local hash utility like sha512sum) to Yvain after taking the survey and just now unveiled that input, if he was serious about the counterfactual.

(He would also want to replace the 'flip a coin' with eg. 'total number of survey participants was odd'.)

You can even still easily do a verifiable coin flip now. For example, you could pick a commonly observable future event like a property of a Bitcoin block 24 hours ... (read more)

2013 Less Wrong Census/Survey

Survey taken! Can't wait to see the results.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 28, chapter 99-101

I used top-to-bottom, but dires first on each level, and that seemed to work consistently pretty well.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 28, chapter 99-101

Or he's telling us that Quirrell is playing the role of someone who is on the verge of dying.

Advice for a smart 8-year-old bored with school

I didn't intend to devolve into platitudes; sorry if that happened anyway. I was just trying to relate your comment to the general topic.

Advice for a smart 8-year-old bored with school

What this means is that we should teach the kids what they can and can't change about those things, and how to change them (via hard work), instead of continuing to teach them that appearance and intelligence are completely fixed, and then rewarding them for those traits anyway.

0TheOtherDave8yI certainly agree that it's important to learn what we can and can't change, and how to change what we can change, and that it's important to teach kids things that it's important to learn.
rational dating - can we escape the rat race be setting smarter goals?

Data point: your final paragraph is an accurate description of my expercience as well.

3Creutzer8ySame here.
1fractalman8yHe thinks draco is much more suited to dealing with the politics, and that it's much less work to optimize draco's morals and hand power to him than to figure out how to navigate a political atmosphere for himself. To put it crudely, harry plans to use draco as a puppet.
5Velorien8yIt occurs to me that for a normal person "his words are worth examining" and "worth respecting" would be the other way round in that sentence.
6gattsuru8yRon's disguise in the book 7 Gringrotts break-in was a transfiguration (as contrasted to the polyjuice used by Hermoine), and explicitly removed by Thief's Downfall. It's not clear that Rational!Harry's transfiguration operates by the same rules as conventional ones, and could have been stored in some way to protect against exposure, but this provides both narrative and practical evidence against the theory. I expect that point of the pen is to demonstrate to Lord Malfoy that a) Harry is a man of his word, and thus his words are worth examining, and b) Harry is a man of /exactly/ his word, and thus worth respecting.
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 26, chapter 97

Not the same; agreed. However, there was no ritual done to Harry!Horcrux in JKR-canon either.

1Aureateflux8yI think the idea was that with Harry the requirements of the ritual were fulfilled, though accidentally. One of those requirements is the death of an innocent. But the HP wiki says that there's some kind of incantation that goes along with it, so that's either optional or... whatever. It seems to be like the Goblet of Fire portkey. The rule is the rule except when it isn't. The biggest difference between Harry-as-horcrux and Quirrel-as-horcrux is that Voldemort doesn't seem to have killed anyone (as far as we know) to possess Quirrel. So even if Harry might have accidentally become a horcrux, Quirrel didn't, although he might have served the same purpose a horcrux does in "keeping the soul anchored to the mortal world." I'm definitely not trying to argue that these things are consistent here, though. The point is that when people say something is "effectively" something else, they mean "practically" or "almost" rather than "actually." Unless someone finds some corpus data that suggests that Rowling's dialect (or, hell, her ideolect might be workable since she HAS written several rather large books) has a different usage...
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 26, chapter 97

Last paragraph of this Pottermore screenshot describes him as an 'effective horcrux' I presume because he's possessed by the remaining part of Voldemort's soul.

1Aureateflux8y"Effective" is not the same as "actual." Quirrel wasn't a horcrux in the sense that Harry or Nagini were horcruxes, even with what she's saying there. She just meant to say that Quirrel was like a horcrux. No ritual was done to make him into a horcrux.
9Velorien8yYou know, I'm suddenly starting to see why goblins aren't allowed wands. * Compare what we've seen of Gringotts and Hogwarts security, given that the latter arguably contains the more valuable resource. * IIRC, there is such a thing as "goblin nations", meaning they've managed to preserve national sovereignty despite being being as inferior in magic to their oppressors as the Native Americans were in technology. And despite starting a number of wars (the Goblin Rebellions) against said oppressors. * They hold exclusive control over Britain's only bank, and this goes unquestioned by the general public. * They can already legally hire wizards to do magic for them (cf. Bill Weasley, Curse-Breaker for Gringotts). The fact that spellcasting is an enormous force multiplier in battle (free teleportation, perfect camouflage, armour-piercing hexes...) may be the only reason why they're not already the master race.
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 26, chapter 97

'ought to' is often not the some as 'do' especially when the subject is Wizarding Britain.

2Alsadius8yWizards aren't totally stupid. You shoot down a dozen or so, and the rest will remember their Bullet-Repelling Charms quickly enough.
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 26, chapter 97

For that, I'd point to undermind's comment that this is only what Harry wants the Malfoys to know.

There might also be an element of Harry's art as a rationalist being forgotten when he needs it most.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 26, chapter 97

What if the Galleons are actually fake gold created by Goblins, and they can tell 'fake' currency because it's real?

That way, only the Goblins can test for 'real' vs. 'fake' currency because the wizards all have it backwards.

2[anonymous]8yGriphook says earlier in the fic that "only a fool would trust anything other than goblin stamped galleons", or words to that effect. So maybe wizards are free to trade gold with Muggles, but raw gold is easy to fake, so nobody is interested in raw gold, and only galleons are valuable. The goblins will stamp some galleons for you for a fee, but they don't want to hyper-inflate the economy so they only do small batches. Either its near-impossible to fake up galleons, or the threat of goblin war against counterfeiters is too scary for people to try. Or have I missed something?
0RichardKennaway8yYou're suggesting that there are two substances, difficult to tell apart, both called "gold". On what grounds does one decide which to think of as "the real thing" and which to think of as "an imitation of the real thing"?
0DanArmak8yI don't believe that goblins' magical power could outsmart that of wizards in this way. Particularly with the emphasis on wizards having access to wands and spells. Also: why would goblins do this?
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 26, chapter 97

This only narrows Harry's list to 'The Defense Professor and people who could rig the wards to say the Defense Professor killed her.' Dumbles is easily on that list.

2OnTheOtherHandle8yYes, but "The Defense Professor" and "anyone else who can rig the wards" shouldn't have the same probability in his mind. What with all the rest of Quirrell's strange behavior and the curse on the position, "The Defense Professor" should be allotted a massive probability, with a comparatively smaller piece left for "whoever else has the ability to do this." He should be suspect number one by far.
3David_Gerard8y"Commentfic" is a thing, after all.
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 26, chapter 97

True, Hermione doesn't have a link to Voldemort.

I am aware of how horcruxes work and V had eight in canon (although only one was another human - the only example of such a horcrux that we have. There is no mention anywhere whether it's impossible to horcrux two humans). I tried to leave the possibility open that V and Harry's connection is something other than a horcrux, although my wording wasn't as clear as it could have been.

I like the Bellatrix possession idea a bit better than my own, but I don't think we've hit on Lucius' reason yet.

2elharo8yActually in canon (or at least word of Rowling) there were two human Horcruxes: HP and Quirrell. That Quirrell was a Horcrux isn't explicit, and isn't relevant by the time Harry learns about Horcruxes, but Rowling has confirmed that he was.
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 26, chapter 97

Perhaps that Hermione is also Voldemort in the same way HJPEV is Voldemort (since, Horcrux or not, that seems the likely explanation for Harry's power and bloodthirst)?

1DanArmak8yUnlike Harry, Hermione has no past link to Voldemort. And, if you're unaware of how Horcruxes work, it would seem much more likely that Voldemort's spirit is possessing some one person, rather than two.
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 25, chapter 96

I think Dumbles is trying to tell McGonagall that he took the Potters there while letting her keep plausible deniability.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 24, chapter 95

I think probably the latter. His conclusion is "So you really do care" not "So other people aren't rational enough to try to ressurect their loved ones."

3hirvinen9yFrom "So you do really care" and his well-established view that most people are painfully stupid, he should deduce also the latter, as it is more unlikely that Harry is both exceptionally rational and exceptionally caring unless he has a reason to believe that the former causes or at least strongly correlates with the latter. Then again, someone who has a low opinion of others' intelligence should already believe that others are not rational enough to seek resurrection, even if they cared to want it.
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 23, chapter 94

My model of Eliezer wouldn't troll us that blatantly.

Then again, this is the guy who wrote Quirinius One-Level-Higher-Than-You Quirrell.

Seed Study: Polyphasic Sleep in Ten Steps

How much did you sleep on a monophasic schedule?

0wwa9yBefore experiments pretty close to 8 on average, maybe slightly less.
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 23, chapter 94

My first thought was that Dumbledore was referring to Salazar Slytherin. However, there can certainly be additional interpretations.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 22, chapter 93

Because Quirrell's going to claim he's been framed.

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Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 22, chapter 93

What if Harry transfigured the bedsheet to look like Hermione, and the transfiguration wore off some time later?

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 21, chapters 91 & 92

According to this interview, Hermione no longer has a sister in canon either.

The relevant Q and A:

Does Hermione have any brothers or sisters?

No, she doesn’t. When I first made up Hermione I gave her a younger sister, but she was very hard to work in. The younger sister was not supposed to go to Hogwarts. She was supposed to remain a Muggle. It was a sideline that didn’t work very well and it did not have a big place in the story. I have deliberately kept Hermione’s family in the background. You see so much of Ron’s family so I thought that I would keep

... (read more)
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 20, chapter 90

The latter explanation was my assumption. I am curious whether this capacity loss transfers across bodies when one is possessing someone else or has been resurrected.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 20, chapter 90

The trace is only placed on muggleborns. The Ministry expects magical parents to supervise the magic use of their own children.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 20, chapter 90

Probably, because the Ministry is in charge of cleaning up after abovementioned slips in the Statute of Secrecy.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 20, chapter 90

Does Dumbledore observe Quirrell's interaction with either Harry or McGonagall?

0Decius9yNot that I know of. That isn't a requirement for Dumbledore to be GenreSavvy enough to effectively manipulate Quirrell and/or Harry. Has Dumbledore ever done anything for Quirrell or Harry that he didn't want to?
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 20, chapter 90

I agree, but he also doesn't want the universe destroyed in the process.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 20, chapter 90

In canon, Hermione casts Obliviate in her 7th year (presumably without consulting a restricted text from the Department of Mysteries), so the widely available book may actually have enough information for an intelligent reader to learn how to cast it.