All of LucasSloan's Comments + Replies

The first is understanding the habit formation process, as summarized by Kaj Sotala here.



The health benefits of fish outweight the health detriments of mercury until way beyond the level of consumption you're likely to get to.

Just eat fish.

The health benefits of fish outweight the health detriments of mercury until way beyond the level of consumption you're likely to get to.

Supporting data..?

Sure. That still doesn't answer the question of who does hear about it. We could just say that 1% of people who read SF have heard about it, but then my experience is hard to explain - I hadn't read all that much SF by age 11. It seems quite reasonable to say that the 10 years that the Internet existed between me and Harry was decisive, but I'm asking what variables explain the difference between two SF readers, only one of whom has heard of cryonics.

Uhm - an personal experience like this holds approximately zero data about its own frequency. The sheer number of things you encounter and learn about while growing up, and the universe of learning are both so vast that if your exploration of the library strays from the beaten path of school assignments, bestsellers and nigh-compulsory classics at all, you will learn many, many things which only small minorities have also encountered.
Well, how did you hear about it? I didn't (or didn't see it as a real possibility) until I read a mostly non-fiction book by Robert Anton Wilson, long after the age of 11.

Does your theory have anything more to say than "the internet has changed things" to explain why I knew about cryonics at Harry's age?

5Eliezer Yudkowsky10y
...not especially? I heard about when I read "Great Mambo Chicken and the Transhuman Condition", memory says at age 11 but the book's publication date might imply I should have been 12. "The Internet has changed things" - yes it did.
Harry is very, very likely to have come across the concept of cold sleep. That is not cryonics. Cryonics is the idea of freezing the dead in the hope of fixing the problem later with better tech, even if you do not even know how to revive the frozen at the time. As a serious idea, it is new and fringy, as fiction.. It does come up, but not very often - even people wishing to throw a character into the future usually handwave a stasis field.

A little digging suggests less than a thousand tons. Most of the metal wealth extracted by the Spanish empire was in the form of silver, not gold. The spanish were able to mine about a ton a year from hispanola for some unknown period, and the inca paid a ransom of 24 tons for their king.

I'm sorry, but you've already communicated information about this sort of thing just by saying that.

Note that this in no way contradicts ygert's claim.

They will be on the about page shortly.

Needs the tag group_rationality_diary, they reload every time there's a new comment or every 12 hours.

Where did the "Top Contributors -- All Time" go?

It's a wonderful reference if nothing else.

In the intervening hours did Hermione have any interesting thoughts about the Philosopher's Stone? Will Harry shortly?

Dear Lord, I hope EY is a better writer than that.

Let me be more specific then.

*Dumbledore has had the intention of creating the boy who lived since before Harry's birth and likely, before his parent's marriage.

*Dumbledore has access to many, many more prophecies than anyone else and has been using this fact for decades.

Those are vastly more interesting predictions. Plausible, and it'd be an interesting story if true.

Well, in the spirit of sticking your neck out:

Harry was sorted into Slytherin.

Dumbledore created Harry to be the ideal literary hero.

Lord Voldemort doesn't want to conquer the world.

Dumbledore is working on way more advance information than everyone else.

This is canon. To a lesser extent, this is as well.

Counter-evidence: Harry produces blue and bronze sparks at Ollivander's.

As long as we're sticking necks out, though:

  • Definitely: The horcrux technology uses the ghost phenomenon. Specifically, by causing the violent death of a wizard under controlled conditions (i.e., murder) it's possible to harness the powerful burst of magic to make a ghost of the living caster instead of of the dying victim: a backup copy. A ghost may be static data rather than a running instance, but hey, so is a cryo patient.

  • Definitely: Baby Harry was overwritten with a horcrux-ba

... (read more)

And thus, Hermione Jean Granger was permenantly sacrificed in a ritual which manifested Harry Potter.

Clever, but I just can't bring myself to upvote it.
You know, that is way funnier than it has any right to be.

Now accepting bids for this change.

ETA: not pointed directly at you, Eliezer.

(Suggested an idea.) How would you feel about a thread devoted to brainstorming feature ideas?

Eventually, each user will be able to specify which blogs to construct the feed from in their preferences.

Hm, that seems like overkill. If I wanted to manage a feed of blogs, I'd use an RSS reader. And there will always be a default set of blogs shown to non-logged-in users and users who haven't modified their preferences (though, maybe this could be aggregated somehow based on the users who did modify their preferences?) Have you thought about soliciting Less Wrong users for feature ideas for you to implement, by the way? Think I've got a list of features I was considering implementing myself somewhere on my hard drive... I'd expect some features to be 10x or more as valuable as others, so figuring out which features to work on seems like a good use of time.

Draco can't? What happened to Quirrel saying that he was strong enough to lose?

Do you remember the first time he lost for real? He put a dark torture spell on Harry and locked him in an unused classroom.

It seems clear to me that Padma has a future, whereas Blaise has none. This isn't quite the same as saying that she has been more important than he. Also, Padma has been developed as a character insofar as she has actually been changing over the course of the story, but her personality is only slightly more explored than Blaise's.

It is true that you receive dimishing marginal returns whenever you try to import people. Even if we were to use the largest available population sink, eventually we'd run into limits. The larger the population sinks you use, the less it has been filtered, so while your returns diminish more slowly, the effort required at the outset is larger.

Given the small size of our group, physics departments are more than large enough population sinks for the forseeable future.

I think this comment is the first that I couldn't decide whether to upvote or downvote, but definitely didn't want to leave a zero.

Don't worry, I'll fix it.

I can think of ways to be vanquished much quicker than he did, especially if he's willing to be reverted to horcrux. Challenge Dumbledore to a duel and lose. Be seen doing some dark ritual, which then goes out of control, killing him. Hell, I'm sure someone as competent as Voldemort could have faked a prophecy about his doom. I don't see why you think that Voldemort wasn't willing to use villainhood to achieve total dominance - he was winning, he would have gotten what he wanted.

If I were Voldemort, I wouldn't have waited on that prophesy until I needed to make an exit.

You think that someone as competent as Voldemort couldn't have created a faster exit strategy?

The world was not offering him an opportunity to be vanquished in a fashion that would allow him to escape. Moody and Dumbledore would be too thorough, and everyone else wasn't good enough to touch him. Or maybe he had reasons for staying Voldemort until he heard about the 'prophesy' and decided that was a good opportunity.

It seems like the obvious cut-off point would be the original houses founded when Merlin created the Wizengamot.

There'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.

So the quote is not the best illustration of Quiddle's character. But does seem to have abandoned the "hero" plan (at least in its initial version) on the basis of what was "more pleasant."

It seems perfectly in keeping with the foresight and planning we've seen from Quirrell that he killed off a classmate soon after Hogwarts in the event that he needed an identity to assume later. It seems equally plausible that Quirrell would have tried, to the extent he could do so costlessly, play a person on both sides of the conflict he created. It is worth noting that this supposed hero used Avada Kedavra on the Death Eaters, a signature of Quirrell. This hero also failed to kill Belatrix Black, a major pawn of the other side. I do not think that the name of this supposed hero is Riddle, given that Dumbledore knows that Voldemort and Riddle are one and the same, but it seems very likely that Quirrell was playing this man.

This was the primary conclusion that I came to as well. Quirrell has already demonstrated a propensity for playing multiple identities. Plus, if I were in his place as a professor needing a fallback secret identity, I would want it to be someone who nobody would find me suspiciously incongruous with on account of it actually also being me. Also, the fact that the unnamed person lived in isolation, and was estranged from his family and friends, is evidence for this hypothesis. If he's under Imperius, being impersonated with polyjuice, or otherwise being magically replaced, Voldemort wouldn't want people around him who would notice any sort of incongruous behavior, or force him to play a role full time.
Well, the theory of this identity being Riddle has been jossed by Eliezer. And you're right, I was thinking in terms of Riddle manipulating this other person into being Voldemort's nemesis since the start of his Hogwarts education (given how apparently magically talented this person was) but now after reading what you wrote I realize there is no information regarding this person's magical talent or political alignment while he was attending Hogwarts. So Riddle/Voldemort murders this person when he is travelling after graduation. He assumes his identity in 1970 and gives this person a solitary life so he can manage his time better better between identities, and also to avoid commiting mistakes that would give away his impersonation in front of his family. A year later he jump-starts Britain's wizarding war setting this other identity as a prominent player in the anti-voldemort side in a single move. Beautiful. I think most of the confusion surrounding this new character stemmed from the assumption that given his importance in the war, he would have an analogous in canon, and Tom Riddle seemed to fit pretty good (or maybe he is a modified canon character, but I can't really think of any). Now I'm curious about the details of this impersonation. Amelia Bones mentioned that there was no explanation for his absence, so why did they just assume it was him? Surely someone would have tried a Polyfluis Reverso as soon as they saw him, so it's possible there are darker magics involved, which is totally justifiable with Voldemort. But perhaps it's not that uncommon for wizards seeking power to disappear for a few years and then reappear with a better mastery of magic and a more jaded personality. After all, travelling to exotic places is normal for wizards in canon too.

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 fa

... (read more)

What is the difference between a thought you can't think and one you don't think?

Well, for example I don't think very much about soccer. There are thoughts about who the best soccer team is that I simply don't ever think. But I can think them. Another case: In two different senses of 'can', I can and can't understand Spanish. I can't understand it at the moment, but nevertheless Spanish sentences are in principle translatable into sentences I can understand. I also can't read Aztec hieroglyphs, and here the problem is more serious: no one knows how to read them. But nevertheless, insofar as we assume they are a form of language, we assume that we could translate them given the proper resources. To see something as translatable just is to see it as a language, and to see something as a language is to see it as translatable. Anything which was is in principle untranslatable just isn't recognizable as a language. I think the point is analogous (and that's no accident) with thoughts. Any thought that I couldn't think by any means is something I cannot by any means recognize as a thought in the first place. All this is just a way of saying that the belief that there are thoughts you cannot think is one of those beliefs that could never modify your anticipations. That should be enough to discount it as a serious consideration.

True, but there was a ceasefire in place regarding friends and family and such. That's what accepting the death of Aberforth, and the murder of Narcissa were about. All of the players anyone knew about had kept to the truce since then.

He does have the ability to turn the world into a lake of fire, true. 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. He has a giant hammer which he dare not use, if only because he's not evil. Also, he is still amazingly vulnerable to almost any adult wizard who wishes him ill - powerful weaponry doesn't imply a powerful defense. He might have been able to assassinate every member of the Wizengamot, but I doubt he would have survived the attempt. ... (read more)

I've always felt that that was peculiar. Iraq used chemical weapons and no-one cared in the least.
If he were to go nuclear, his perfect offense would be his perfect defense. If he truly wanted to end the world, he'd cancel the world's patronii, seize the wizengamot with the entirety of the world's dementors, and tell half a dozen of them to go out and replicate until they turned the planet to dust. Nobody could come in because they'd be toast without the presence of a patronus, they couldn't nuke the building from the outside, and dementors are an unstoppable weapon that reproduce like Von Neumann machines. Hell, even if people obliviated each other to be able to recast the patronus charm, without Patronus 2.0, dementors could just replicate off the muggle population until they could overwhelm any defense.

How much of the cost of saving Hermione was announcing that Harry responds to blackmail? He made his entrance onto the stage of players in a way that cannot endear him to any of the others. No matter what he did, he would antagonize Lucius, but he demonstrated an extreme disrespect for the rules of the game and preserving the existing order is in the interests of all the players. Not to mention, he implicitly declared challenge to the ministry of magic. If he actually had the power that Lucius believes he does, he might get away with that, but he canno... (read more)

Well, if his trick for deactivating other wizards' patronuses (patronii?) works, he basically has an unblockable army of instant-death assassins, the only defense against which would be Apparition... That's a pretty good ultimate weapon in a Mutually Assured Destruction sense. And as long as we're discussing mutually assured destruction, there seems little doubt that Harry would be able to transfigure nuclear weaponry. Or botulinum toxin (of which it would take an appallingly small amount to kill every human on Earth). Etc, etc. Harry does not lack for access to Ultimate Weapons.
There was no explicit blackmail, was there?

No, seriously, it's figureable from the main text and PKH isn't going to help much.

Jryy vg'f rvgure gung Uneel'f qnexfvqr vf gur sentzrag bs Ibyqrzbeg'f fbhy be gung Qhzoyrqber'f rivy.

Agreed. I initially felt a lot of tension as to the answer, and it didn't fade upon a day or two's speculation, but I did not feel that tension when I read the chapter. I definitely think that a wait over major cliffhangers is indicated, but a long one (even 5 days) cannot sustain the tension.

What meetups are potentially planned for this time?

There's a weekly meet up in Berkeley on Wednesdays and a weekly meet up in Mountain View. If you like, you could contact Nisan about having a monthly Berkeley meet up while you're in town.

Will there be a Rationality Bootcamp?

I really doubt it, but there might be some seminars run by the Center for Modern Rationality

Would it make sense to visit any of the "SI/LW houses", even if just to soak up the aura?

Absolutely. Visiting is the highest value thing I can think of to do in the Bay Ar... (read more)

He already interrogated Draco under Veritaserum, so he knows that Draco saw his patronus light. That seems not to have swayed him.

Also, if there were going to be a wizard to discover a charm that does something completely impossible, my bet would be on Dumbledore and Voldemort.

Even if he can order the dementor around (seems likely), how in the world would he overcome the aurors already maintaining patronuses, not to mention Dumbledore?

Reveal to everyone the secret of Dementors so that their animal patroni are no longer effective. Wait until the Dementor has taken out most of the room (Harry has already managed to resist Dementors without his patronus), while either protecting Hermione himself or encouraging Dumbledore to grab her and phoenix-flee. Quirrell said that the best strategy against a Dementor is just to Apparate away, which suggests that, if the Wizengamot room has an anti-Apparition defence like Hogwarts, everyone who has neither a phoenix nor a Patronus (and isn't Harry) is screwed. I don't think this is going to be Harry's solution, but I think it might be the best of the violent solutions.

"Are you all lost?" cried Albus Dumbledore. "She is too young! Her mind would not withstand it! Not in three centuries has such a thing been done in Britain!"

The leading article, written by some name that Harry didn't recognize, had called for the minimum age for Azkaban to be lowered, just so that the twisted mudblood who had defaced the honor of Scotland with her savage, unprovoked attack upon the last heir of a Most Ancient House within the sacred refuge of Hogwarts could be sent to the Dementors that were the only punishment commensurate with the severity of her unspeakable crime.

This is a definite break from the historical record.

Dumbledore is a seasoned politician who may be assumed to know how to take the mood of the Wizengamot. However, he incorrectly predicts that they will not call for Hermione to be sent to Azkaban. Was his model of reality wrong or was he ignorant of a force on the board? I notice certain parallels to Quirrell's predictions about the Slytherin bullies.

Indeed, they called for it before Lucius did. So did the newspapers, as noted below. I feel the hand of H&C continuing to guide events, and it's now clear that one goal of this plot is to maximize Harry's reaction...
I think he just didn't want to believe that.

Point in favor of this all being a plot by Quirrell to cause Harry to be more willing to overthrow the ministry:

But by then he'd already declared war on the country of magical Britain, and the idea of other people calling him a Dark Lord no longer seemed important one way or another.

ETA: Evidence this is the result of Quirrell's plotting at all:

Harry's mind flashed back to another day of horror, and even though Harry had been on the verge of writing off Lord Voldemort's continued existence as the senility of an old wizard, it suddenly seemed horribl

... (read more)
Harry is naive. Why not assume that many people can be this non-empathetic? It's a useful quality to have, after all.
I'm trying to figure out what the heck that even means. I sure hope Harry doesn't make a habit of deducing plot points - such as "Voldemort did it" here - from such vague moralipsychologising.

About Harry's darkside. It seems new and weird that his darkside can be hurt by Hermione's plight. Last time he went over to his darkside strongly (after dementor exposure), he ended up in a state where he hated everyone he cares about and only came out because he didn't know how to respond to her kissing him, not because he cared.

He did achieve some progress with his darkside in Azkaban - he became less affected by them, and now it seems it shares his goals to some degree.

Last time his darkside had control its response looked like this:

There was a com

... (read more)
This is in fact exactly what happened:

Get the dementor to eat "yes" voters until the "no" voters outnumber them.

Quirrell did, I don't think that Harry knows the spell that Quirrell used.

Whoops. It seems my memory was playing tricks on me; that's not actually stated in the story. The scene I was thinking of was:

He is a member of a noble house. He is probably entitled to observe, even if his age prevents him from taking his seat.

Load More