Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Jorpho » Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:17 am UTC

No doubt, but I am not quite ready to shell out for an e-reader for this alone. (It did cross my mind that I could use my DS, but that would be slightly nuts.)
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby OmenPigeon » Thu Nov 04, 2010 4:18 am UTC

Yakk wrote:A few new episodes have shown up.

Spoiler:
So, when did Harry notice that touching his teacher caused pain? And why isn't he being really weirded out by it again?


Spoiler:
I think that this is the first time Harry's felt actual *pain* while around Quirrel. There have been repeated mentions of a "sense of doom" while around Quirrel, but as far as I remember nothing more substantial than that. I think he tried to mention the doomy feelings to either McGonagall or Dumbledore once before, but they dismissed it. That and Harry's tendency to ignore feelings in favor of rational analysis has, I think, caused him to largely put it on the backburner in favor of other things he sees as more pressing. (Of course, if Harry were more experienced in magic-y things, his rational analysis would, presumably, lead him to lend *greater* credence to vague feelings of doom, since they almost always seems to be magically significant.)

(Different spoilers for different topics)
Spoiler:
I really, really, like how Eliezer's constructed Bellatrix's character. The assumption that everyone (both in the story and us (or, at least, me, and I think the readers Eliezer expects)) is that Bellatrix does what Voldemort says, and Voldemort says to do evil things, therefore Bellatrix is evil. Portraying her as someone whose agency has been so thoroughly stripped away as to make moral judgments about her actions completely meaningless is so much more horrible and cruel and *interesting* than anything I remember about her from the original books. It also completely rearranged any hypotheses I'd had regarding how more knowledge of Bellatrix would impact our knoweldge of Quirrelmort. In rough terms, I'd assumed that

IsReallyEvil(Bellatrix) => IsLyingAboutBellatrixBeingInnocent(Quirrel) ^ IsRatherMoreLikelyToBeVoldemort(Quirrel)
IsReallyGood(Bellatrix) => IsNotSoEvilAfterAll(Quirrel) ^ IsRatherLessLikelyToBeVoldemort(Quirrel)

But of course Bellatrix is neither really good nor evil, since those are the simplistic moral frames that we get from the regular Harry Potter stories. (And the other high fantasy stories in it's local genre.) In MoR world, both of those statements are vacuously true, and we're left trying to reason from more indirect evidence, like how Quirrel knew enough about Voldemort's relationship with Bellatrix to know how to convince her to leave with them.


(As a side note, writing this post reminded me of The Magicians. I suspect that if you like MoR, you'd like that too.)
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby semicharmed » Sat Nov 06, 2010 7:50 am UTC

Jorpho wrote:No doubt, but I am not quite ready to shell out for an e-reader for this alone. (It did cross my mind that I could use my DS, but that would be slightly nuts.)


The .pdf was surprisingly easy to read on my netbook, the formatting was such that I could have an entire page open, with the text at a decent size for reading, and just use the arrow keys to page down and around.
It's not nearly as bad as it looks, and I find for long texts on the computer, book-formatting is nicer to read than walls o' text.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Josephine » Mon Nov 08, 2010 7:04 am UTC

Chapter 58 is too epic for words.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Yakk » Mon Nov 08, 2010 11:05 am UTC

Spoiler:
Know what happens the first time you test a rocket engine design?

It doesn't work. :/
But I'll give the author the leeway.
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision - BR

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Josephine » Mon Nov 08, 2010 12:59 pm UTC

Yakk wrote:
Spoiler:
Know what happens the first time you test a rocket engine design?

It doesn't work. :/
But I'll give the author the leeway.

Quirrel put some charms on it to stave off murphy's law.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Levi » Tue Nov 09, 2010 2:15 am UTC

Spoiler:
It sounds like it was a rocket that Harry already knew about and that he hadn't come up with a design from scratch.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Josephine » Tue Nov 09, 2010 3:01 am UTC

Levi wrote:
Spoiler:
It sounds like it was a rocket that Harry already knew about and that he hadn't come up with a design from scratch.

Spoiler:
I suspect harry knew about simple solid fuel rockets.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby OmenPigeon » Tue Nov 09, 2010 4:58 am UTC

nbonaparte wrote:
Spoiler:
I suspect harry knew about simple solid fuel rockets.

Spoiler:
Even so, taking an existing rocket design and modifying it on the fly to work with a broom carry 2 (and a half? How much does QuirrelSnake weigh?) passengers is something that even Harry-under-stress should recognize as foolhardy at best.

That said, it clearly falls under the Rule of Cool, which can only be intentional given the Bruce Campbell reference it's paired with.

(Of course, the rocket doesn't even really need to work *well*, it just needs to work enough to get them out of range of the Azkaban no-fly zone with enough of a lead on the Aurors that they can portkey away.)
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Josephine » Tue Nov 09, 2010 5:13 am UTC

Belial wrote:Listen, what I'm saying is that he committed a felony with a zoo animal.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Yakk » Tue Nov 09, 2010 11:53 am UTC

Spoiler:
And they are cheating by using magic for the aim problem (which is a large problem I think -- but I'm not a rocket scientist).

And Harry's "glue the rocket on" became "magic the rocket on", probably with "keep the passengers safe and attached" charms.

Which gives you a thrust, all torque magically bled off, direction fixed and under control, and structural integrity magically reinforced. And the pattern for the rocket design magically being a perfect one (presumably with the power of names, Harry researched such a sized rocket, and learned its name). At that point, I'm willing to give it to the author.
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision - BR

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Levi » Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:43 am UTC

What effect does temperature have on transfigurations? It seems like transfiguring ice would have some strange effects.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby HonoreDB » Fri Nov 12, 2010 8:54 pm UTC

Came to this fic late since it sounded terrible. Only after I came across the author through unrelated channels (the AI-box, the book I've been pimping in my signature), did I decide to give it a shot. It's just that nobody ever mentioned that it's actually compelling, well-written fiction on top of everything else. Love it.

Levi wrote:What effect does temperature have on transfigurations? It seems like transfiguring ice would have some strange effects.


Well, this is exactly the kind of experiment that people never, ever do in MoR, because having an unexpected state change in a transfigured substance is a recipe for disaster. But I imagine that transfiguration includes setting the temperature when necessary (it's just a property of matter, after all), so you'd get a block of ice in dramatic thermodynamic disequilibrium with its environment, same as if you put an ice cube in a microwave.

Now, I wonder if Harry ever tried transfiguring an object into a meme, or a concept, or a number before Hermione scared him straight? If you can pull off partial transfiguration by thinking of objects as concepts, surely you can pull off much stranger things by thinking of concepts as objects.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Levi » Fri Nov 12, 2010 10:13 pm UTC

HonoreDB wrote:
Levi wrote:What effect does temperature have on transfigurations? It seems like transfiguring ice would have some strange effects.


Well, this is exactly the kind of experiment that people never, ever do in MoR, because having an unexpected state change in a transfigured substance is a recipe for disaster. But I imagine that transfiguration includes setting the temperature when necessary (it's just a property of matter, after all), so you'd get a block of ice in dramatic thermodynamic disequilibrium with its environment, same as if you put an ice cube in a microwave.


That would make transfiguration extremely powerful, especially for first-year students, even if it took an hour or so to dramatically change the temperature of something.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Josephine » Fri Nov 12, 2010 10:24 pm UTC

thermodynamics go out the window with magic, Harry may be the only person to think of using that.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Jorpho » Sat Nov 13, 2010 2:29 am UTC

Diane Duane goes to considerable lengths to work thermodynamics into her Wizardry books, actually. It's kind of nifty, as fantasy goes.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Josephine » Sat Nov 13, 2010 3:07 am UTC

Hmm. Elizier would do that on his own, but he's working with Rowling's universe here.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Levi » Mon Nov 15, 2010 5:45 am UTC

Has anyone read the Wastelands of Time fanfic that he mentioned a couple of times? I think I'm around halfway through. It seems to be your "crank everything up all the way to 56" sort of thing, but I've been enjoying it. Harry is pretty much a god, yet still unable to win because he is an idiot. It's a little bit frustrating. What are you doing sleeping when there are goddamn demons right behind you?!
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Azrael001 » Mon Nov 15, 2010 6:21 pm UTC

The thing that I like about Wastelands of Time is all of the objections to the way that he's acting can be hand waved away by saying that he tried that already. And yes, I did read it.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Levi » Mon Nov 15, 2010 11:11 pm UTC

Aaaaand now Harry's imagining a three-way with Delacour and Tonks. Guess I should have been expecting that.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Yakk » Tue Nov 16, 2010 4:12 am UTC

Levi: huh?
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision - BR

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Josephine » Tue Nov 16, 2010 4:21 am UTC

I thought MoR had updated and was taking a weird turn, but I'm assuming it was wasteland.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Levi » Sun Nov 21, 2010 2:03 pm UTC

Yeah, it was Wastelands.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Kewangji » Mon Nov 22, 2010 12:15 am UTC

The two new chapters are pretty cool. Feels like denouement now.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Levi » Mon Nov 22, 2010 3:48 am UTC

I was just watching the first HP movie and I realized: When Harry finds out about the Sorcerer's Stone, he is going to be so fucking pissed.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Josephine » Mon Nov 22, 2010 3:54 am UTC

I think he'll end up doing it with an irrecoverable horcrux. more permanent.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby HonoreDB » Mon Nov 29, 2010 1:33 am UTC

Levi wrote:I was just watching the first HP movie and I realized: When Harry finds out about the Sorcerer's Stone, he is going to be so fucking pissed.


Seriously. Nicholas Flamel, his wife, and Dumbledore have effectively killed everyone who died of old age in the past five hundred years.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby WaterToFire » Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:51 pm UTC

Well, the last update before the hiatus is up. I'm quite excited for to see what direction the next arc takes.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby DrSir » Fri Dec 24, 2010 12:33 am UTC

The hiatus will be ending soon, too which will be interesting. Within the next 5 days or so.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Chandani » Fri Dec 24, 2010 8:14 pm UTC

Just started reading this and throughly enjoy it.
I know most of you probably have read past this point, but anyway...
Spoiler:
Quirrell read the Valdemar series.
WHAT.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby aleflamedyud » Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:38 pm UTC

I wish to note that Harry is a goddamn sucker who really should have noticed how suspicious Quirrell is by now.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Yakk » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:08 pm UTC

I presumed that the Dark Arts professor tossed at least one charm on Harry.
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision - BR

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby aleflamedyud » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:36 pm UTC

Yakk wrote:I presumed that the Dark Arts professor tossed at least one charm on Harry.

Wow, this would make a remarkable amount of sense. We never heard in the real books precisely how the Confundus Charm works, but it would make a lot of sense it functions as a Somebody Else's Problem Field around observations or thoughts someone doesn't want you seeing or thinking.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Josephine » Sat Jan 15, 2011 9:39 pm UTC

Lightsabers!
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Vaniver » Tue Jan 18, 2011 8:16 am UTC

Yakk wrote:I presumed that the Dark Arts professor tossed at least one charm on Harry.
The problem with this theory is that when their magic touches, terrible things happen. The explanation, as far as I can tell, is that Harry is really rather unimaginative, and has cripplingly poor morals. Luckily he's clever enough that he only screws up once, otherwise he would have been Quirrel's thrall by now.

Now, it's possible that Quirrel Imperiused McGonagall who Imperiused (or Confunded) Harry, and there's a hint of that with the "Professor, this isn't like you!" line.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Yakk » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:36 pm UTC

Speaking of which, when did they first notice that horrible things happen when their magic touches?
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision - BR

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Levi » Tue Jan 18, 2011 2:54 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:Now, it's possible that Quirrel Imperiused McGonagall who Imperiused (or Confunded) Harry, and there's a hint of that with the "Professor, this isn't like you!" line.

It couldn't have been an imperius. It's obvious to the imperiusee that he's been imperius'd. A confundus is entirely possible, but I'm leaning towards it just being a failure on Harry's part because Quirrel is the only person Harry sees as an equal (or really, better than him) and Quirrel is a mentor/friend.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Josephine » Tue Jan 18, 2011 10:04 pm UTC

And McGonagall is adamant about keeping Quirrel around, and Harry doesn't quite trust Dumbledore enough to say something about the Sense of Doom, even if he does notice its connection to Quirrel.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby aleflamedyud » Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:04 pm UTC

Also, Rationalist!Harry believes that magic has a scientific basis. He described the magical interference between him and Quirrell as their magic "antiharmonizing"... he thinks it has a natural explanation completely unrelated to Quirrell just being evil, or rather Quirrell being Voldemort.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Levi » Fri Jan 21, 2011 2:42 am UTC

That sounds pretty plausible. I doubt he would even consider that there's any magic attached to emotions. Well, maybe emotions, but certainly not alignment.
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