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Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 14, chapter 82

Because a Dark Ritual could force a sacrifice that adds redundancy. Leave the Basilisk alone, mostly satisfied. Kill it and you are bound to transfer the knowledge to the next heir. Attempt to kill the heir and end up as a horcrux.

2pedanterrific9yAgain, Harry wasn't the Heir of Slytherin when Voldemort was plotting to kill him, or attempting to kill him, or even afterwards. He was only ever a Horcrux of the Heir of Slytherin.
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 14, chapter 82

2d) Something Voldemort didn't expect. If Slytherin's Monster transferred it's secrets with a Dark Ritual, Salazar could have planned for Rule 12 and plotted to transfer secrets to future heirs. How would you identify a baby as a parselmouth?

2pedanterrific9yWhy would (how would) the Basilisk transfer its secrets with a Dark Ritual rather than just, you know, talking? Also, in canon Harry wasn't a Parselmouth until after that Halloween, and stopped being one when the Horcrux was destroyed.
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11

Harry & Draco have learnt to send Patronus messages. With the goal of preserving Hermione unbroken while working towards her exoneration, Harry could

  • Arrange teaching of sending messages to any Patronus wielders in SPHEW/Sunshine or anyone else willing to help Hermione ** will confirm whether it is possible to maintain a Patronus at a distance for long periods
  • Arrange teaching of Patronus to those willing to help who don't know it.
  • Given the Cloak & Harry's Patronus hide those protected from Dementors, research Rituals/Potions to confer that ** An
... (read more)
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11

Last night Damian Conway talked about Lingua-Romana-Perligata as part of his "Fun with Dead Languages" talk. He makes the point that Latin's suffixes don't constrain the word order. Given Harry's dream of destroying Azkaban and Dumbledore in Ch 79 muttering strange incantations that sounded not quite like Latin and echoed in their ears in an unusually creepy fashion, maybe Latin provides a larger space to search for a mnemonic phrase that the Source of Magic will match and action, than languages with a more constrained grammar.

There's also

"Um..." Harry said. "If there are any spells you can cast to make sure no one's listening to us..."

Professor McGonagall stood up from her chair, firmly closed the outer door, and began taking out her wand and saying spells. [...]

Professor McGonagall finished a spell that sounded a lot older than Latin, and then she sat down again.

Not to mention the Sumerian Simple Strike Hex. Mahasu doesn't sound much like Latin.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 10

Perhaps Imperius is one of the charms detected by Hogwart's wards.

2sketerpot9yIf that were so, then it would have made detecting Imperiused infiltrators during the war trivial: just floo everyone in the Ministry through a room in Hogwarts, with in- and out-fireplaces, and arrest any who set off the wards. You could do it once a week, or every morning, or randomly thrice a week, or whatever. It's too obvious, and too easy and non-controversial, for someone like Dumbledore not to have noticed and put in place. This did not happen.
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 9

If transfiguration can only result in non-magical substances, then science would help to transfigure to CBW agents - ending up too close for comfort. Wards cast in transfiguration classrooms and dormitories to detect intent to violate transfiguration rules would catch those, a wise expansive interpretation would catch the worst I can think of (critical mass of fissile material => will generate gas). The Hogwarts House system should force conformity and channel risk-taking into known paths. If failing to attempt homework would lose points, depression and... (read more)

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 9

Why not use the epub or mobipocket versions, depending what the Kobo supports? Calibre reads both, the mobipocket is fine on my iRex and I have an epub version on my phone.

http://ikeran.org/rationality.epub http://ikeran.org/rationality.mobi

(mentioned on http://www.fanfiction.net/u/2269863/Less_Wrong ) Android, iPhone/iPad app links there too.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 9

Chapter 24: Machiavellian Intelligence Hypothesis: Act 2 ... The line of reasoning continued: Atlantis had been an isolated civilization that had somehow brought into being the Source of Magic, and told it to serve only people with the Atlantean genetic marker, the blood of Atlantis.

And by similar logic: The words a wizard spoke, the wand movements, those weren't complicated enough of themselves to build up the spell effects from scratch - not the way that the three billion base pairs of human DNA actually were complicated enough to build a human body from... (read more)

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 9

In part 7, Michaelos observed that Dumbledore blames himself for Harry being left with his evil stepparents, and wrote the comment on Lily's musing on modifying the (D&D-style) Eagle's Splendor potion in her text book while she slept.

Ch 1. "And Lily would tell me no, and make up the most ridiculous excuses, like the world would end if she were nice to her sister, or a centaur told her not to - the most ridiculous things, and I hated her for it. ... "Anyway," Petunia said, her voice small, "she gave in. She told me it was dangerous, ... (read more)

Hm. Quoted in the linked post is the fact that Dumbledore's suggested revision to the Potion of Eagle's Splendor (the one that would end up making the imbiber sick for weeks, as happened to Petunia) was, specifically, replacing blueberries with Thestral blood. Now where else has that come up recently?

And Harry knew, now, that the concealment of the Cloak was more than the mere transparency of Disillusionment, that the Cloak kept you hidden and not just invisible, as unseeable as were Thestrals to the unknowing. And Harry also knew that it was Thestral bl

... (read more)
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 8

If Salazar Slytherin foresaw use of Rule 12, a hidden requirement to pass on the knowledge to the next heir in the transfer ritual could explain Harry's survival. The transfer ritual requiring a later deposit, a checkpoint of the recipient's state, could explain why Quirrell seems more than how Voldemort has been described - if he does contain multitudes. Or the different instantiation has avoided physical pathologies Voldemort lived with.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 8

Is this partly a practical in updating estimates?

  • I guessed Quirrell for Mr-Hat-and-Cloak after Zabini's interaction and obliviation

Since then

  • Snape has been shown to be a player
  • I think Quirrell has never been shown using obliviation
  • Quirrell comments on Snape's 52 obliviations after the ambush
  • Quirrell has been shown to have a very good model of Harry. Assuming that is of importance to him, he would have needed a better model of Hermione that Hat&Cloak has shown and "I do permit myself to read faces".
  • House Slytherin Marauder's Map equi
... (read more)
8Xachariah10yI would add as weak evidence the need each person has for being Mr-Hat-and-Cloak. * Hermoine Granger recognizes the true face of Mr-Hat-and-Cloak. This should rule out proxy agents or Sirius Black. * Mr-Hat-and-Cloak does not understand girls. Dumbledore or Lucius would understand the need for appearances immediately. Quirrell would get it very quickly. Which leaves... * Severus Snape does not understand girls. Until Sunk Costs, he'd never kissed a girl. He does not have a good model of relationships or seemingly girls in general. * Mr-Hat-and-Cloak is emotionally invested in converting Hermione Granger. This implies that it is important to Hat's plans that it succeeds. Quirrell and Dumbledore have a multitude of options to influence the outcome and shape of Harry's life; Snape has effectively zero.
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 8

I'm probably missing an tag, but consider the evidence.

  • Dumbledore told Harry that Quirrell intervened so Daphne could take down Astorga
  • As I understand it, all the bullies have been under Snape's tutelage, their entire Hogwarts careers, with the Slytherin bullies having had him as head of house.
  • Prof. Sprout was warned off after dealing with Slytherin bullies on Harry's first day

Quirrell's "they have tolerated worse in their hallways" and give a finger from my wand hand, suggest that bullying has been tolerated for a long time.

What are Snape... (read more)

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 8

Timing his disclosure spell so that Snape is stunned by the massed fire of his own proteges, would be a more satisfying move in his game against Snape. Plausible deniability again, once the disciplined educated adult observer is removed? What are the longer term goals here? Increase pressure within Hogwarts so Harry feels his confinement more?

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

Is the Half-Blood, Legilimens, Snape sending a message to Quirrell with the SPHEW setup? Harry's use of Slytherin messaging and Margaret Bulstrode's Time-turner declare a Slytherin confederate, if Snape has looked. [Snape requested the check of Harry's time turner after Azkaban (para 62.99)]

"a successful Legilimens was extremely rare, rarer than a perfect Occlumens, because almost no one had enough mental discipline." (Dumbledore, Snape, Mr Bester, presumably Quirrel)

"Harry noticed that he was confused. And his threat estimate of the Head o... (read more)

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

Perhaps SPHEW will help there. Harry has had knowledge of the nature of the "magical remnant of the Dark Ages" since meeting Draco at the station, reinforced by Azkaban,.

Hermione would know intellectually (quoting Harry) "So the world is broken and flawed and insane and cruel and bloody and dark. This is news? You always knew that, anyway...", but should lack direct experience, that her fellow students may have.

Will Draco conspire to protect Hermione against the Slytherin bullies?

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

If there is a training effect in increasing magical strength, and or improving concentration, keeping the rock transfigured works that way too, without being Transfiguration specific. Quirrel's armies help too - would normal classroom activity exhaust magic that much?

Harry could try a controlled experiment over the Easter holiday if he thinks about it. With McGonagall's permission, ask his classmates to keep a loop of cord transfigured into an unobtrusive platinum toe ring (or more than one) over the holiday when they're not otherwise allowed to use magic.... (read more)

0bigjeff510yThe toe ring test probably wouldn't fly, the Ministry detects underage magic outside of the vicinity of Hogwarts and responds harshly.
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 6

Harry could usefully collaborate with Hagrid, but Hermione or Draco may need to point that out. Hagrid has had limited access to practicing his magic, so provides something of a control to his classmates, to test whether magical strength is an increasing function of magical use, if magical strength is easily measured - Dumbledore seemed to be able to sense it. Hermione challenged by Fawkes, may see improving the performance of everyone in the class as the effective way of working harder. Asking Harry "Why are we different?" and based on "Great artists steal", what existing techniques should we look at could be both effective for both of them.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 6

Is it an error? The reply in McGonagall's voice with Dumbledore's voiced reaction is good authentication, he is after all still supposed to be under Quirrell's guard, and trying to avoid causing suspicion.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 6

Has Harry ever been offered any useful threat assessment on Voldemort by anyone but Quirrell? Depending on the requirements of the spell, Quirrell could easily have a sample of Harry's blood from their Saturday lunches. (Disillusioned confederate or magic item, magical anasthesia, healing, even transfusion, ...) If magical stasis and templated copying is possible, he can have any needed amount whenever needed. If the Philosopher's Stone remains in play, why rush if healing Bella improves that choice?