Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

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Gopher of Pern
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Gopher of Pern » Thu Mar 17, 2011 3:35 am UTC

I thought the whole point of avada was not that it broke magical defences, but that it ignored them. It only works on living things, so it would go right through a magical shield. Thus, the only defence is to not be hit by it.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby 4d0m » Thu Mar 17, 2011 3:47 am UTC

Ohh, if that's the case then it obviously wouldnt work.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby HungryHobo » Thu Mar 17, 2011 12:06 pm UTC

but if it interacts with living things then even something tiny like a kitten could be used to block it.
Just carry something living with you and use it as a shield.

*imagines someone in a duel thowing kittens into the air to block curses*
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Levi » Thu Mar 17, 2011 3:14 pm UTC

Bacteria.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby EmptySet » Wed Mar 23, 2011 10:57 am UTC

HungryHobo wrote:but if it interacts with living things then even something tiny like a kitten could be used to block it.
Just carry something living with you and use it as a shield.

*imagines someone in a duel thowing kittens into the air to block curses*


Image

Kitten armour: the ultimate magical defence?

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby 4d0m » Wed Mar 23, 2011 1:17 pm UTC

Levi wrote:Bacteria.

Haha, clearly we're doing something wrong, otherwise the spell would be pretty useless.


And that picture is hilarious.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Levi » Wed Mar 23, 2011 8:01 pm UTC

Hey, the Avada Kedavra spell could be used to find out once and for all whether viruses are alive.

A couple of possible explanations for killification despite bacteria are: Only kills conscious things (another property that would be useful), only kills multicellular organisms, only kills humans, only kills certain species, only kills things imbibed with magic (which would imply that there is some magic in Muggles), and has an area of effect (meaning at least some part of the beam hits the target).

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby 4d0m » Wed Mar 23, 2011 8:27 pm UTC

Levi wrote:Hey, the Avada Kedavra spell could be used to find out once and for all whether viruses are alive.

A couple of possible explanations for killification despite bacteria are: Only kills conscious things (another property that would be useful), only kills multicellular organisms, only kills humans, only kills certain species, only kills things imbibed with magic (which would imply that there is some magic in Muggles), and has an area of effect (meaning at least some part of the beam hits the target).



I doubt it would be just multicellular organisms, that seems to arbitrary, and as far as just humans, Fake Moody kills a spider with it (i think). Only killing certain species also seems like it wouldn't be the culprit. The only working on things with some magic makes a sort of sense though, as does the area of affect hypothesis. Where there any examples of multiple people getting hit by the same avadakadavra?

(how funny would it be to use avadakedavra to purify water, or to kill a virus without damaging it's structure for use in a vaccine)

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Sandry » Wed Mar 23, 2011 9:05 pm UTC

4d0m wrote:(how funny would it be to use avadakedavra to purify water, or to kill a virus without damaging it's structure for use in a vaccine)
Nice! This should totally be suggested to the author. Those would be such awesome uses for Harry to think of which Hermione would also find massive value in.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby 4d0m » Wed Mar 23, 2011 9:39 pm UTC

yeah, maybe somebody should put it in a review. i think he said that he's gotten ideas from reading reviews before. i'm not sure hermione would be quite all right with using the killing curse though.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Macbi » Wed Mar 23, 2011 9:57 pm UTC

EmptySet wrote:Kitten armour: the ultimate magical defence?

You have sent that picture in to the author, right?

I imagine that Avarda Kedavra kills whatever the wizards who invented it expected it to kill, and not a lot else. Look at how broomsticks don't even follow Newtonian laws of motion, even though they clearly should.

Also the kitten picture reminds me of this fanfanfiction. Extract:
That would take care of the Time-Turner. He was glad his model lacked the length limitations of the standard version: six hours wouldn't have been enough time for Dolohov to finish the tests. Those idiots at the Ministry had no idea how easy it was to extend the gas mileage of one of those things. Or maybe they did and were too squeamish to go around obtaining the secret ingredient. He smiled lovingly at the jar of kitten hearts on his desk. Those things were like the duct tape of evil magic - you could use them for anything.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby 4d0m » Wed Mar 23, 2011 11:29 pm UTC

That's a buzz-killingly good point. I guess it makes sense that most of Harry's findings are about transfiguration (partial transfig, trasfig to lift things or operate a lever) since it doesn't have spells but more of a direct connection between the user and the forces of magic.

Is a significant portion of that fanfanfiction that good?

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Levi » Wed Mar 23, 2011 11:57 pm UTC

4d0m wrote:too arbitrary

It's fucking magic. I agree with everything else you said, though.

4d0m wrote:That's a buzz-killingly good point. I guess it makes sense that most of Harry's findings are about transfiguration (partial transfig, trasfig to lift things or operate a lever) since it doesn't have spells but more of a direct connection between the user and the forces of magic.

Is a significant portion of that fanfanfiction that good?


The idea that magic would do what the creators intended it to do seems like it would make magic a lot more predictable. Also, if that were the case for all magic, then the comed-tea would actually change the future instead of causing people to drink it at the right moment. I doubt the creator would intend the latter even though Harry thinks that's what it is. It's possible Harry's conclusion was wrong.

And I would say that yes, a significant portion of it is that good.

Edited for name of drink thoughtfully provided by the poster below.
Last edited by Levi on Thu Mar 24, 2011 2:03 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby 4d0m » Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:08 am UTC

Yeah, the comed-tea does put a dent in the idea that magic does what was intended. On the other hand, however, I think that it could have the opposite effect of predictability. With a bunch of people creating magic with different intentions, it makes a lot of sense that it would be super inconsistent.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby EmptySet » Thu Mar 24, 2011 2:38 am UTC

Macbi wrote:
EmptySet wrote:Kitten armour: the ultimate magical defence?

You have sent that picture in to the author, right?


Nope. Didn't even think of it, to be honest. Plus I don't actually have an account on fanfiction.net, since I don't generally read or write fanfic and wouldn't have any use for an account.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby 4d0m » Thu Mar 24, 2011 2:44 am UTC

Is anybody else really anxious for the next update?

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Levi » Thu Mar 24, 2011 2:50 am UTC

I am practically bursting at the seams. How long has it been, a month? I'm gonna have to start writing fanfanfic. Dammit, I just had an idea. Nooooo... I've already got too much stuff to do.

As a stopgap, I've been reading Tied for Last (A Voldemort/Hermione ship [not as bad as it sounds, honest {not so far anyway}]) and James Potter.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby 4d0m » Thu Mar 24, 2011 3:00 am UTC

What is tied for last about? I saw it on the C2 he posted but it didnt look like something i'd want to read. Is "James Potter" a separate fic? If so, what is that one about? And which is better?


btw, i think upon his next update he'll overtake Partially Kissed Hero for 3rd place. he should hurry up!

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Levi » Thu Mar 24, 2011 5:08 am UTC

In Tied for Last, Voldemort wins and Hermione dies at the battle of Hogwarts (well, actually, she dies before it ends so it's not entirely certain which way it went, but they were losing and Harry and Ron were both hiding). She shows up in limbo where there are a bunch of other wizards, including Tom Riddle (because of the Horcruxes). She is an idiot and talks to Riddle too much.

There are three books so far in the James Potter series. First one's James Potter and the Hall of Elder's Crossing. If you've read the seventh book,
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I like it better. The tone is very pleasant and magical; it reads a lot like the first couple HP books.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Sandry » Thu Mar 24, 2011 5:19 pm UTC

4d0m wrote:yeah, maybe somebody should put it in a review. i think he said that he's gotten ideas from reading reviews before. i'm not sure hermione would be quite all right with using the killing curse though.

That would be the interesting bit, to me. It's morally grey, and it's pretty clear that you could make a great case for it being a net moral good. I'd love to see what could be made of the whole thing.

I suppose the intention line of discussion might eliminate the use of kitten armor, but we'd still be on for vaccination possibilities...

Also, yes, really want the next chapter. This is the frustrating bit of following series that aren't done yet, but in fanfiction form.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby HungryHobo » Thu Mar 24, 2011 5:25 pm UTC

Or perhaps another question: does it work on transfigured creatures?
if you can make a live chicken with transfiguration would the curse work on it?
using a suit made entirely of something(s) live and transfigured would remove the moral problem since it's going to turn back into an ice cube after a while anyway.

some kind of worms might be good since you could make a woven layer out of them which could withstand quite a number of killing curses.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby 4d0m » Thu Mar 24, 2011 6:24 pm UTC

Good call with the transfigured animals; they may not be alive enough to be killed. Worms were a path to immortality in his story The Sword of Good so it would be awesome if they served a similar utility in MoR .

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Brooklynxman » Thu Mar 24, 2011 6:58 pm UTC

Every time I hear avada kedavra is unblockable I keep thinking so what?

We already know wizards can bend space like nobody's business, why not bend it so that from the spells perspective it travels in a straight line, but from your perspective it either curves around you, or disappears in front of you and reappears behind you, or any other manner of impossible without magic but clearly possible with magic temporal folds.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Levi » Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:12 am UTC

Probably because blocking means "blocking", which includes any form of avoiding it aside from a simple dodge.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby 4d0m » Fri Mar 25, 2011 5:22 pm UTC

Yeah, it would probably ignore any space folding defences.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby jobriath » Sun Mar 27, 2011 11:58 am UTC

4d0m wrote:Yeah, it would probably ignore any space folding defences.


But if space is bent, space is bent. I guess it depends if the effects are not "bent space" but "magically bent space"; i.e., space isn't bent in exactly the same way a heavy object would bend it, but something is simulating most of the effects while leaving that space "unbent".

Another example of this labelling of some effect by the keyword "magical" is magical fire. Casting fire and holding it at the tip of a wand is presumably still "magic"---finite incantatem would cancel it. But would finite cancel a house-fire that was started by magical fire? My intuition says no, 'cos the new fire is mundane fire, no matter how it was started.

Would a magically-summoned large mass bend space legitimately, in such a way that avada would curve because of it?

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby 4d0m » Sun Mar 27, 2011 5:44 pm UTC

I think it would work if you summoned a huge object, but the object would have to be huge. The difference lies exactly where you stated it, the change between space bent by magic and space bent by the laws of physics acting on a magical body. I agree that finite wouldn't put out a house fire even if it had started out as magic fire. But that's a tough one. I think a strong enough finite would cancel out a fyndfire fire, but in that case the entire fire would be magical. Come to think of it though, I dont really know how fire spreads. I would probably think of it as growing rather than mulitplying, and that distinction makes me want to think that a finite would work, which seems really unintuitive. Is conjured fire magic fire though? (wow, i totally talked myself out of having a conclusion to my thoughts and ended up rambling.)

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Josephine » Sun Mar 27, 2011 6:01 pm UTC

If avada kedavra ignores magical space folding, what would happen if it was shot at the pillar to platform 9 3/4?
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby WarDaft » Sun Mar 27, 2011 6:03 pm UTC

Well it depends if magic obeys relativity really. If there's an absolute frame of reference that magic can tap into, then you can't trick it by twisting space a bit.

If magic does obey relativity, then unless the incoming spell is intrinsically aware of the magic causing the spatial distortion, then it must follow the spatial distortion because it's distorted space.

If you're levitating an object, the object is still above it's rest state and dispelling the magic will naturally cause it to fall back down because nothing else is supporting it. If you 'levitate' an object in zero g to push it around (or some more appropriate spell perhaps) it won't move back if someone dispels it.

If you cause a fire by using magic to pour heat into an object, it's definitely a real fire.

So to have space do the dodging for you, you'd just have to have magic 'pull' space in the right direction. That could be substantially harder than the kind space folding wizards usually do.



And does it usually take this long for updates? Otherwise, at >1 month for an update, this thing must have been in progress for over 6 years now.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby 4d0m » Sun Mar 27, 2011 6:18 pm UTC

It doesn't usually take this long, and the fic has only been going for a little over a year and a month. Sometimes he'll post multiple chapters per update, and for a while he was posting almost every week.
I think that avadakedavra does have some sort of intelligence though, because I doubt it would move through space indefinitely until it hit a person (passing through walls and stuff on the way) but it would certainly go through a wall that somebody conjured to block it.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby mister k » Thu Mar 31, 2011 8:35 am UTC

Brooklynxman wrote:Every time I hear avada kedavra is unblockable I keep thinking so Eh?

We already know wizards can bend space like nobody's business, why not bend it so that from the spells perspective it travels in a straight line, but from y'all's perspective it either curves around you, or disappears in front of you and reappears behind you, or any other manner of impossible without magic but clearly possible with magic temporal folds.


Theres actually not a great deal of evidence that they can do it as freely as you suggest. Platform 9 and 3 quarters is enchantment, which seems to take longer, its not clear if a wizard could redirect space at duelling speed. Theres certainly no textual evidence I'm aware of.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Levi » Thu Mar 31, 2011 9:39 pm UTC

Depends on how the hover charm works.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods o' Rationality

Postby existentialpanda » Fri Apr 01, 2011 4:47 pm UTC

There ѕhould totally be a fake update of some sort today.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods o' Rationality

Postby HungryHobo » Fri Apr 01, 2011 6:44 pm UTC

I've been reading some of the things linked to from Less Wrongs favorites.
Currently reading "Odd Ideas" by Rorschach's Blot.

It's noticable that quite a few ideas in TMOR came from Rorschach's Blot.
Oddly I don't think Rorschach's Blot is a terribly good writer but he has fantastic ideas which Yudkowsky polished to a glorious shine.
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods o' Rationality

Postby 4d0m » Sun Apr 03, 2011 6:46 am UTC

existentialpanda wrote:There ѕhould totally be a fake update of some sort today.


I was totally expecting one. :(
This wait is getting really long.

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby WarDaft » Sun Apr 03, 2011 7:30 am UTC

The author hasn't been quietly abducted by aliens or something has he? People have heard from him?
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby 4d0m » Sun Apr 03, 2011 3:22 pm UTC

He's been posting comments on Less Wrong. Maybe he's going to post the entire Third Floor Corridor in one go.

I'm quite enjoying Odd Ideas. I didn't like Harry's Game much though (a fan-fanfic about MoR that was posted in a review).

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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby 4d0m » Wed Apr 06, 2011 3:01 am UTC


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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Josephine » Wed Apr 06, 2011 4:13 am UTC

I was thinking about this, and couldn't come up with a possible explanation. say you transfigured something to antimatter. something very small, hopefully. And then annihilated it. what happens when the transfiguration wears off? do the gamma rays turn to atoms? what about the photons that were converted to heat?
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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Postby Levi » Wed Apr 06, 2011 12:19 pm UTC

I think they would suddenly all move to the positions they would be in and become the particles they would have become and the energy in what it would have been if the thing had never been transfigured, but were still annihilated. Well, they might not move.


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