All of tegid's Comments + Replies

It's unfriendly in the sense that its values are not aligned with ours. I thought that's what the U in UFAI meant. Luckily, it's either not so powerful or not so misaligned that it will kill us all. But I think it's more or less reasonable to say it's unfriendly.

Why is that further evidence? Transfigurations last for a time, whatever Hermione is transfigured into, she would not revert just because it stopped to be in contact with Harry's body.

For the record, I think it very likely that Hermione is the glasses

This has appeared in the popular science page "I Fucking Love Science", followed by almost 20 million people on facebook. I think this is extremely good news. Despite the picture and its caption, the article seems to take the matter seriously.

To be fair, I'd say that happens with many esoteric or unknown problems that are presented in the comic

Yeh, that's why I stopped reading xkcd.

If you mean many esoteric or unknown problems get presented in a lighthearted way, sure.

If you mean they get presented together/associated with a second, separate, and much less worthwhile problem, and explicitely advised in the comic's hiddentext "this stuff is mockable", not so sure.

Excellent advice, both in the post and in the comments. I only wanted to add that at least some readers (that I guess belong somewhere in between the skimmer and full reader categories) read the figure captions (and look at the figures, obviously) besides reading introduction and/or conclusions, as a way to see directly, but rapidly, the main results of the paper and how they are demonstrated. This obviously depends on the field, and I can only know for sure that it happens in my own field(s), stochastic processes/modelling of biological processes/other related fields.

I personally also do it for biology papers, because I do not trust the conclusions, but I'm not sure biologists do this.

Interesting. It really seems to be field thing - neither the maths nor the philosophy I did were much into figures.

I was also a bit surprised by Stuart's lack of emphasis on figures. Having worked in 2 biology labs, I think most of the people I know who read or write a lot of papers agree that the figures are the most important thing to "read" first and the first thing to "write". When you have lots of data in a table (or ten), that is where the truth is, but it will tend to be very hard to interpret without scatterplots, error bars, tree diagrams, color coding, maps, and suchlike things.

One of the interesting things about the "figure first&q... (read more)

You missed the point entirely. 'Listening to their (own) hearts' is not empathy, it's just giving credibility to your instinctive beliefs, regardless of wether they have a basis or not. How is believing that everyone is connected by a network of magical energy tethers and acting according to that any different than believing that my soul will be saved if I massacre 40 people and acting on that?

The only difference is the actual acts that you take due to the beliefs. Mind you, it's a very important difference, but the quote is not talking about that, it's talking about beliefs themselves and using them as a sufficient justification for acts.


Sometimes you would do the same thing anyway if it weren't an obligation. If that is the case, it's much more useful to focus on the fact that you want to do that, because obligations carry a negative connotation. In fact, I think focusing on the 'should' may sometimes create the '... but I don't want to' AndekN mentions above, or at least reinforces it.

You make really good points. The 'laws' of storytelling go against it, though, in the sense that with only 3 mentions, Baba Yaga being important would be unsatisfying. In any case, if this were true there must be other things on top of it that are more meaningful (i.e. Quirrel is Voldie who is BY, or whatever...)


1 - The troll regenerated.

2 - The troll was identified as a professor, not as a student.

Plus, if troll-Hermione wanted to kill a fake-Hermione I doubt she would start by eating her legs.

The simplest I can think of is if huge amounts of energy are needed.

Or raw materials, perhaps. Tearing apart stars sounds like something you might resort to if you needed more stuff than you could harvest from a planet. Computronium maybe?

A star would make a great sacrificial component for a spell. This chapter talks about both sacrificial magic and inventing new spells.