All of TobyBartels's Comments + Replies

It's a fact that it messed with my suspension of disbelief for a bit. It would be better if it hadn't. I still like the story; it's just a minor flaw.

Whether or not you were able to suspend disbelief seems irrelevant, as the purpose of the post is not to tell a plausible story. It's to illustrate certain concepts. In fact, if you had been able to suspend your disbelief entirely then the post would have failed, as your attention would have been on the story, rather than the underlying points being made. Criticising a parable such as this for its implausibility is rather like doing the same for the trolley problem, or the utility monster. I think it misses the point.

The club is now closed until further notice.

I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that the game went on last night as planned. The good news is that my parents won't be attending any more large games. The bad news is that there are still going to be more large games, at least one tonight. Although it's mostly the same population every time.

The club is now closed until further notice.

Everybody says that immunity to coronaviruses is not robust (although we don't know yet about this specific one).

  1. Alcohol and bleach are both extremely common in our current environment, so if it's possible to create these superbugs, then we should already be doing it, although this could speed up the process. And quick Google searches tell me that nothing is evolving resistance to bleach; but we are indeed creating alcohol-resistant superbugs that are starting to infest hospitals. So those may get worse.

I thought that we were right about Y2K, people spent a lot of time preparing for it, and their hard work saved us all. Is that wrong? (I understand if you just link to somewhere else and don't clutter up your thread any further with this digression.)

According to some as summarized by wikipedia [], there's not all that much evidence that people who didn't prepare were bitten by it, or that fixing ahead of time was cheaper / better than fix-on-failure.
I mean Y2K in the sense of lots of fretting about something that turns out not to happen, whether because of significant preparation or from just being wrong about the urgency. I realize it doesn't seem likely, but in the spirit of humility before humanity's collective ignorance, how might we know we were wrong? Like, clearly nobody's expecting US cases to suddenly level off and then disappear, but what if that happens anyway? At what point would we say we were just totally wrong?

Hi, I haven’t posted in a while, and I hope that people are still reading new comments in this thread, because I need an answer fast, and this is the best place that I know to get a good one. (Well, second best. I posted to SSC first.)

My parents, age 70, live in Lincoln NE (population 285 thousand, no reported cases of Covid-19 yet, 17 reported cases in the State, schools just closed and are preparing to go online). They pretty much run their bridge club, most of whose members are in their 70s but generally in good health. The club has an event planned f

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I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that the game went on last night as planned. The good news is that my parents won't be attending any more large games. The bad news is that there are still going to be more large games, at least one tonight. Although it's mostly the same population every time.
Asked a general version of the question here []
Previous versions of this question: [] []
Here is what I wrote my dad in attempt to get him to close up the church of which he is an elder, in a similarly sized city. My dad is a statistician and 30% prepper, so this was more about giving him evidence to take to others than convincing him: I didn't think of this at the time, but in retrospect it would have been helpful to suggest replacements for an in-person service. I'll bet it is easier to convince your parents' friends to switch to online bridge with voice chat than to give it up entirely.

Greg Egan (who, you may remember, started out in supernatural horror before he switched to hard science fiction) has now written (and published) a p-zombie horror story:

The story isn't far off from reality, there have been cases of people murdering their loved ones due to Capgras delusion. The only fictional part was describing it as a contagious disease.

Eliezer never wrote an epilogue, and probably isn't going to, since Alexander Wales already wrote a better one.

Every ‘Tick.’ is a moment where Harry wastes time by acting suboptimally (given what he then knows).

I see, the comments do sometimes get posted in the wrong place. [My comment on the previous chapter had been here before.]

The forward links here are messed up, in various ways.

Dhveeryy znl unir orra qryvorengryl yvfgravat sbe gung juvfcre, fvapr ur'q urneq vg orsber nf Gbz Evqqyr naq xarj jung gb rkcrpg. Nygubhtu jr'er abj trggvat qnatrebhfyl pybfr gb gur cbffvovyvgl gung Dhveeryy jbhyq unir fhfcrpgrq nyy nybat, xabjvat Uneel'f onpxtebhaq.

Gur *cbffvovyvgl?* Ibyqrzbeg hfrq gur hctenqrq ubepehk fcryy gb vzcevag uvf zvaq vagb gur vasnag Uneel'f. Ur nyzbfg pregnvayl xarj gung Uneel jbhyq or n Cnefryzbhgu.

I remembered the bit about the chest, and I accepted that as showing that Michael's a Muggle, but it's vaguer about Petunia. But I forgot about the potion that had already worked on Petunia; that seems pretty clear. So thanks!

It says 4 comments to me, so at least yours is now being counted, but I don't know what those mysterious 3 other comments are either. (It still says 4 to me, after adding this. But after reloading the page, it says 5.)

Harry seems convinced that his mother Petunia is a Squib, since the potions wouldn't work on his father Michael but are expected to work on her. Has this ever been established? Based on the genetics alone, there's a 1/3 chance that Petunia is a Muggle like Michael appears to be. (In contrast, both Petunia's parents and Hermione's parents are guaranteed Squibs, short of any mistaken parentage.)

We do know that Lily gave Petunia a very strong potion to change her appearance, and it worked. It seems reasonable for Harry to assume that that potion would only work on Squibs, not Muggles. Also, from chapter 7: " There were no questions about his father accompanying him to the magical side of King's Cross Station. Dad had trouble just looking at Harry's trunk directly. Magic ran in families, and Michael Verres-Evans couldn't even walk." The fact that Michael is singled out here suggests that Petunia doesn't have the same problems interacting with magic.

Yeah, I've been having some issues too.

In canon, a Squib is simply a Wizard-born Muggle, the counterpart of a Muggle-born Wizard. Here it seems to be something different.

You can't go to the Moon, you need a rocket ship! Do you have rocket ship, Potter? I bet you do.

I've been marvelling at the Britishisms that have been picked into this, but ‘I shouldn't ought to shake his hand’ takes the cake.

I think that you can probably rewrite this comment without the rot13, except for the last bit.

Gur checbfr bs gur svany rknz jnf gb frr vs jr ernqref pbhyq svther bhg gur fbyhgvba gung Ryvrmre unq va zvaq nyy nybat, abg n jnl sbe hf gb trg Ryvrmre bhg bs gur ubyr gung ur unq qht Uneel vagb.

I suppose that someone ought to mention here that when it says above the author loves reviews, he means that he loves reviews on Not that he would necessarily mind reviews here, of course.

Sure, that explains why the story was written with this flaw, but it doesn't remove the flaw. But I don't have a better suggestion.

It does remove the flaw, because it's a thought experiment. It doesn't have to be plausible. It merely tests our evaluative judgements and intuitions.

Well, right, when one speaks of the disaster of war, the first thing that comes to mind is of course the senseless and wanton scattering of perfectly correct pebble piles. Further thought reveals other problems, such as a reduced population leading to fewer future correct pebble piles and so forth, but that's not the visceral image that you get when contemplating the horrors of war.

Voted down this comment, because 2 other people voted it up and didn't even have the guts to admit to it.

2Eli Tyre9mo
I'm voting up some pseudo-random selection of comments in this chain, because...well because I found that there was a bottom, and it seemed natural to extend it one further.

But it seems weird to me that they have computers and algorithms if they can't figure out this pattern. That messed with my suspension of disbelief for a bit.

Well if the pattern was too complicated, then a reader of the blog post wouldn't be able to notice it.

Voted up this comment, for reasons that should be self-evident.

Voted up this comment, for kabbalistic reasons.

Yes, the only logical course is to remove all except the outer two quotation marks.

The ironic thing about those exceptions is that bringing in Barbour's timeless physics is arguably itself one of the errors. In Harry's explanation of how he was able to perform partial transfiguration, there's nothing from Barbour except the phrase ‘timeless physics’; Harry's explication of that, as enforcing a relationship between separate time slices rather than performing a change, is the standard idea of a block universe, going back at least to 1908.

If quantum mechanics allowed for small violations of energy conservation (which sometimes people even say that it does, on short time periods, although this is not really correct), then McGonagall's tranformation would still violate physical law as we know it. In physics, you don't always push everything down to the most fundamental theory, which is a good thing, since we don't actually have a most fundamental theory of physics. There is no such thing as ‘our best [single] model of reality’; there are some ways in which our quantum models are (so far) worse than our classical ones.

This doesn't seem to me to address MinibearRex's proposal.

We don't want to extrapolate the sociopath's volition; we want the sociopath to extrapolate our volition. The idea is that sociopaths have experience with thinking objectively about humans' volition.

I don't disagree (similarly to how the proverbial fox might know many ways for a predator to get into the henhouse, and may seem like a good guard candidate for that reason, if the obvious problem with this were to be solved).

No, he's certainly not completely wrong, but he's bringing up irrelevant complications and missing the main point. Quantum vs classical has nothing to do with it, for example.

The fact that quantum mechanics conserves energy is stronger evidence for the hypothesis that reality conserves energy than the fact that classical mechanics conserves energy. He is saying "our best model of reality conserves energy" which is very relevant.

I agree, brushing makes it harder for stuff to get caught in my hair when it gets thrown at me.

Probabilities aren't ontological; they're epistemological. I agree with everything that Eliezer writes about that, probabilities are in the map, etc.

But remove that word; there is something ontological that assigns measurement outcomes when I make a measurement. Or to keep it simpler: when I make a measurement, the measurement outcome is ontological.

A belated thank you for your replies. I feel like I'm starting to get the hang of what it means to take seriously the idea that probabilities are epistemological. It's difficult, moving between papers espousing differing interpretations, because their very language tends to presuppose some ontological commitment or other.

But at the same time, Harry tries several times to give Hermione her own agency and not reduce her to this role. Or at least he says that he's trying to do that. He's not very good at it yet.

I believe that what happens on stage is what's important in a story. More generally, I think Harry should be doing more towards putting together a team. I hope that Eliezer more fully learns the lesson from how well HPMOR fans did with the final exam. To be fair, HPMOR was a major achievement. Doing justice to fiction about a team of very smart people might be more than can be expected.

Sure, the problems with the physics are right in there with bothersome things that Harry says that you could still justify, starting with the non sequiturs about conservation of energy when McGonogall turns into a cat.

I disagree with su3su2u1 (the tumblr author) about levitation; that doesn't violate conservation of energy if it's mediated by a force, and why shouldn't it be? On the other hand, turning into a cat violates conservation of mass (or would appear to, and that should be easy to check with a bathroom scale), which (via E = mc²) translates into ... (read more)

Lifting someone does work. Where is that energy coming from?
"But bringing up the quantum Hamiltonian? FTL signalling? Su3su2u1's analysis is correct." Is it? Noether's theorem implies the Hamiltonian is conserved. The Hamiltonian is the quantum operator that give you the energy of a system. If energy conservation is violated, either the basic equations of quantum mechanics don't hold, or (magical) physics is not time invariant. I'm not saying Harry is being technically precise but he's not completely wrong, either.

I like the name ‘Hariezer’.

There are a lot of things about Hariezer in the early chapters that enrage this guy and that also slightly bothered me. Many of them end up justified later, some much later when we learn that Harry was overwritten by Tom Riddle while a baby (not made into a Horcrux). It's not just that Hariezer has flaws, but that he has them for a reason. (The parallel with Eliezer's April Fools story are striking.)

I think that this guy has a fair point, however: that Hariezer's flaws can interfere with the pedagogical purposes of HPMOR.

I wasn't really concerned with his points against the story, and his points against the story's didactic purposes felt weak at best. What I found most pertinent in his critiques were the points about HPMoR's science. I'm no physicist, but from what I could tell, most of it seemed pretty sound (though the thing about the levitation vs. cat transformation in Chapter 1 was, I felt, pretty lazy reading). Any domain experts around here that could chime in, specifically on the physics? EDIT: Poor wording in the above paragraph. What I meant was that the guy's critiques seem pretty sound, not that the science in HPMoR seems pretty sound.

The longer explanation said that it was bungled, that the antimatter blew before the transfiguration was finished.

But it only matches canon halfway. They're describing Harry raised by James and Lily, not by the Dursleys. They suggest that Harry and Hermione won't be friends, although later suggest that they'll at least be allies. And … another difference, I'd have to look.

I agree with the second, but I read it as ‘and Harry certainly did not’, which makes the actual phrasing seem slightly more justifiable than it otherwise would seem.

This order (including the m/dd/yy abbreviation) was wisely chosen so that Super Pi Day would actually happen once a century. Without that reason, it's completely illogical, so there is no other possible explanation.

BrindIf said it, but I'll confirm: Nymphadora Tonks appeared in MOR, and there was no suggestion that her mother [ETA: Andromeda, who is Narcissa's and Bellatrix's sister] differs from canon. (ETA: In particular, Andromeda must have still married a Muggle for Tonks to get her surname.)

Ah. Even ignoring that the context is from when they are children, I don't consider the black sheep disowned from the family as having a bearing on where the House stands, but alright. Semantics, I suppose.

If Harry has to do harm in order to obtain security, then I expect him to do it, but I still expect him to feel guilty about it. That's Harry. (And in this case, I also don't see the need.)

He may post the last chapter at 9:00, but I'm not reading it until 9:26 and 53.58979… seconds. It wouldn't be right.

I always thought pi hour was 3 in the afternoon. (3.14 15:9:26), or plausibly 2 in the afternoon (3.14 1:59:26) if you go with hours mod 12 and then choose the one where you're awake.
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