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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality - What if Harry was smarter than Ender? (Page 15)

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Author Topic: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality - What if Harry was smarter than Ender?
Raymond Arnold
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I sort of see what you mean now, but there's a perfectly good explanation for why she said that which ISN'T a hint at an entire secret plot twist. Until we get more information, there's no reason to assume either possibility is more probable than 50%.

I don't think you were seeing "what you want to see" when you read the line. But I think an initial random interpretation lead you to a hypothesis that suggested a cool plot twist, and once that possibility occurred to you, you got attached to the cleverness of that idea. I think your attachment is NOW leading you to extreme overconfidence in your interpretation.

I DO think Voldemort's wand will turn out to be important, but it doesn't need to be any more important than "Harry and Quirrel both know where the wand is now."

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Ron Lambert
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Aris, your observations and arguments have stirred up some interesting debate. Some will also feel it is a needless distraction. But that is all right. Let the sparks fly. That is how "iron sharpeneth iron" (Prov. 27:17).

But I wish to point out that you have a tendency to compensate for a lack of sound, common-sense reasoning, by being pedantic. This is a tactic that may have worked for you in high school, but mature minds are not so easily snowed or impressed.

HP 7.1 opens today (last night at midnight, for the truly fanatic fans). I expect to see it in a little over an hour from now. I hope everyone enjoys the movie.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
But I wish to point out that you have a tendency to compensate for a lack of sound, common-sense reasoning, by being pedantic.
Were I not at work, Ron, I would have literally curled up on the floor and laughed until I cried. As it was, I still got asked what was so funny. [Smile]
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Aris Katsaris
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Ron, we have an utterly different understanding of what "sound reasoning" means, and we certainly have a different understanding of what "mature minds" are like. E.g. a mind that doesn't acknowledge the possibility of uncertainty in its "deductions" isn't a mature one, by my definition.
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Ron Lambert
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You are the funny one, Tom. In a very pathetic sort of way. It will be too bad if in the end your life has to be told as a comic-tragedy. But you are the one writing it. So you will have no one to blame but yourself.

(For those of you latecomers, the real issue between Tom and me is my refusal to accept the theory of evolution, because it is flatly impossible; and my insistence that the Creationist view of origins is the one that is the most scientifically sound. For this reason he hates me compulsively. I guess I am like a Mordecai at the gate to him (even though I am not Jewish).

Aris, the supposed wisdom some see in agnosticism is entirely illusory. We have to live real lives in the real universe, and that requires making realistic choices in a timely fashion. God will hold us accountable and render final judgment on us according to the choices we make, based on the level of knowledge and understanding that we have, or could have had if we had not hardened our hearts and closed our minds.

There are no guarantees in anything. All you can do is optimize your chances. Your pedantic approach to decision-making is not useful. You, if anyone, are the one guilty of not properly acknowledging uncertainty in your deductions. You are riding a thesis that most people see as quite silly, as a hobbyhorse, and you are riding it to death. Where is your healthy self-questioning?

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Ron Lambert:
(For those of you latecomers, the real issue between Tom and me is my refusal to accept the theory of evolution, because it is flatly impossible; and my insistence that the Creationist view of origins is the one that is the most scientifically sound. For this reason he hates me compulsively. I guess I am like a Mordecai at the gate to him (even though I am not Jewish).

Oy.

Is the sky blue, in your world?

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
A. I think a lot of people are getting more freaked out about than they need to. I never saw the Transfiguration rules as actual absolute rules that could never ever be broken - it's just that high school children have nowhere near enough knowledge to properly decide when it is actually safe to do so. For example, the food thing: it's not that something bad automatically happens when you transfigure something into food - it's that with hundreds of students, if you have a few people transfiguring food safely, a few students may get distracted and leave the food for a minute while someone else comes and eats it.

Harry was in a desperate situation, he needed to do SOMETHING, and he made as much effort to keep the rulebreaking safe as he could. It may turn out that a few molecules of transfigured ice WILL still somehow kill you, but I doubt it.

Because at least a couple of you have expressed this sentiment, I am very interested to know why you think the author introduced the idea that eating, drinking or inhaling anything transformed is very dangerous. This is not from canon and the author took a good portion of a chapter setting it up. It seems like a great deal of effort to just to show Harry places little stock in following the rules. It also seems hardly necessary since breaking into Azkaban to free death eater shows a great deal more disregard for "rules" than transforming ice to a solid fueled rocket.

Frankly, Yudkowsky spent good portion of a chapter establishing the danger of transfiguring things into something that could be consumed or inhaled. If he then lets his main character do it big time with out any consequences, it would be particularly poor story telling.

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Raymond Arnold
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My assumption is that the point of McGonnagal's new lecture was twofold: one was that transfiguration should always have been treated as more dangerous that it is in the books, because any attempt to include Transfiguration magic that remotely relates to actual physics should result in something extremely dangerous. It was a combination of idiot-ball removal on McGonnagal's part as well as the universe in general.

The other part WAS plot related, I'm sure. Making transfiguration more grounded in reality makes it something Harry has an easier time manipulating and applying rationality to, leading to experiments that can go both horribly wrong and horribly right.

I DO think the "don't eat anything Transfigured" will come up eventually, but I don't think it will here. This is not an example of Harry dangerously skirting the rules "Big Time." He tried his best to keep it safe, and unless it's dangerous for reasons that DON'T have anything to do with actual physics (which I doubt, since all the dangerous seem directly RELATED to real physics/chemistry), I don't think he needed to be that worried.

Again, we're talking about a few molecules here, and a substance that wouldn't be dangerous to start with. (Also, I'm not up to speed on my rocket science, but wasn't the fuel going to turn back into water as part of the combustion process, so you'd have transfigured water turning back into water?)

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Ron Lambert
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rivka, at times the sky in my world is lapis lazuli, sapphire clear as the sky, like God's throne. (Ex. 24:10; NIV margin; also Ezek. 10:1; NRSV margin.)

Do you have any good reason not to believe Genesis?

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Raymond Arnold
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Fake post edit: I could have sworn there was a section specifically talking about the rocket fuel being composed of hydrogen and oxygen, further addressing the safety issues. Must have read that in a comment section somewhere.

quote:
Do you have any good reason not to believe Genesis?
Because it contradicts itself. Also, because there's no evidence to lend credence to it beyond any other randomly generated creation theory in the history of mankind.
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Hobbes
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Really is that where this thread is going? I guess this is what happens when we're too long without an update to the story.

Hobbes [Smile]

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Raymond Arnold
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Apologies for encouraging it.

quote:
I guess this is what happens when we're too long without an update to the story.
This hypothesis is correct.
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dabbler
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In other news, Harry Potter Lego for the iPhone/iPad has been released for $5 and I'm totally going to get it.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
My assumption is that the point of McGonnagal's new lecture was twofold: one was that transfiguration should always have been treated as more dangerous that it is in the books, because any attempt to include Transfiguration magic that remotely relates to actual physics should result in something extremely dangerous. It was a combination of idiot-ball removal on McGonnagal's part as well as the universe in generalp.

Well no, not really. McGonnagal's explanation of "Transfiguration sickness" doesn't make any sense at all from a molecular standpoint and Harry even notes that at the time as he tries to puzzle out what it would mean from water to turn back into wood once the molecules had been dispersed and distributed through the body. From a biochemical standpoint it makes no sense at all.

quote:
I DO think the "don't eat anything Transfigured" will come up eventually, but I don't think it will here. This is not an example of Harry dangerously skirting the rules "Big Time." He tried his best to keep it safe, and unless it's dangerous for reasons that DON'T have anything to do with actual physics (which I doubt, since all the dangerous seem directly RELATED to real physics/chemistry), I don't think he needed to be that worried.

Again, we're talking about a few molecules here, and a substance that wouldn't be dangerous to start with. (Also, I'm not up to speed on my rocket science, but wasn't the fuel going to turn back into water as part of the combustion process, so you'd have transfigured water turning back into water?) [/qb]

But McGonnagal specifically talks about the danger of transfiguring things into something that burn or vaporize which also only amount to a few molecules that might be enhaled. Solid Rocky fuel is exactly the kind of thing she warns them never to make by transfiguation.

When Harry and Hermione are working on transfiguring a thread and plastic rings in carbon nanotubes, McGonnagal thinks there is some danger even thought inhaling tiny particles thread, plastic and superglue would be no more intrinisically dangerous than inhaling buckyballs (probably less so actually).

The point is that McGonnagal only says that inhaling or consuming a material that had been transfigured would cause serious illness. Harry postulates a mechanism of this, then presumes that if he transfigures something harmless like ice it's no problem -- but he never questions whether or not the mechanism, which he made up, is valid, even though he himself notes that the whole thing makes no sense from a physical standpoint.

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Raymond Arnold
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quote:
But McGonnagal specifically talks about the danger of transfiguring things into something that burn
I would not be surprised if water transfigured turned out to be harmful. But I WOULD be surprised if a few molecules of water (which is the most the following aurors could be expected to inhale) would be dangerous. I would also be surprised if it would be dangerous for reasons other than inhaling (which is all Harry would end up facing giving the bubblehead charm).
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Raymond Arnold
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SPOILERS: Next chapter up:

-

Okay, I am now conceding that getting a blast of transfigured rocket fire to the face is probably dangerous on all kinds of levels. Did not see that particular problem coming.

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Rakeesh
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It's interesting to consider just how possible it is Harry really might get away (as far as proof is concerned) with all of this. I mean, there are those who might put two and two together and come up with transfiguration sickness - if it's correctly diagnosed - and other various clues and cue to Harry Potter. But would the people able to put those clues together know, say, what a rocket is, much less what rocket fuel or rocket exhaust is? So far the only people we've seen with any inkling of modern science are Quirrel...and that's a pretty narrow view, so far as I can tell, and Snape, though that was never explored, so it's hard to tell how deep that goes, or whether it was just mind-reading.
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Ron Lambert
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It could be that Snape read Harry's mind, that the answer to the question, how many electrons are in the outer orbit of a carbon atom, is four. Then again, as potions master (a.k.a. "The Half Blood Prince") Snape would surely have had to know something about the very basics of chemistry, such as the periodic table of the elements, and the successive electron shells of atoms and how many electrons are in the outer orbit (shell), since that is crucial to understanding what elements will combine with what, and how. Just to please Aris, let me estimate the chances are maybe 50-50, either way (Snape knew by legilimancy, or by chemistry).

When I was eleven years old, I figured out the periodic table and the electron shells of atoms and their combining factors. I worked out my own code for representing them. I thought in terms of how many electrons an element had to give in a combination, and how much of a capacity or "appetite" it had to take electrons to complete the total limit for the outer shell. I represented carbon as +4 -4. That's the same as silicon, except that having a more inner and therefore higher energy shell, carbon was more chemically potent. (I was home from school alot with asthma, and studied our encyclopedias for fun. Sort of like Hermione might have done.) I was even able to predict what combinations might make superior batteries. If only I had known how to file for a patent on lithium hydride back then! (53 years ago.) I also came up with some chemical combinations that might make better explosives than gunpowder--but I never followed up on those, either. My parents wouldn't buy me the kind of chemistry set I really needed. Just as well, I suppose. I still have all my fingers, and never blew up the house. My secret ambition was to be a mad scientist, like Lex Luthor. My parents may have suspected that.

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Raymond Arnold
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Assuming his disdain for the atomic knowledge was genuine, I think a more likely scenario is that Snape briefly studied real chemistry to see if it helped him with alchemy, but since chemistry doesn't actually have anything to do with magical alchemy, he decided it was useless and gave it up. (I'm assigning a 45% probability to him having having read Harry's mind, 45% chance he knew it based on brief, failed research, and 10% chance he actually studied chemistry extensively to improve his potions making.)
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Rakeesh
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I don't think Snape would have to know any sort of science to be a skilled potions brewer, in the Potterverse. I don't know, but we see no signs of it anyway.

Personally, I'd assign the probability that he knows some actual science higher (not sure how much) than 10%, because he does after all come a recently diverse background, and would have a higher likelihood to be exposed to it than others. And his outlook on life, enjoying to learn things, might just like to learn things for their own sake-particularly since he doesn't seem to have had much of a social life. Hell, could've even been one of the things he and Evans got along well on. *shrug*

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Ron Lambert
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Is it likely that magical potion-making is completely unrelated to chemistry? Even in Snape's lab, if you add water to pure sulfuric acid, it could get explosively hot. (Chemists and anyone else who do not want a horrible lab accident know to always add sulfuric acid to water.) And if you use Castor beans, you could make ricin. Not exactly recommended for love potions.

And how did the Atlanteans establish magic, anyway?

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Ron Lambert
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Here's a way to explain how the Atlanteans established magic. They created an alternate universe, and merged it with ours using certain pre-set interfaces. (Sounds good, anyway.) And that implies that there may be additional interfaces that can be created.
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ricree101
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New.

Looks like Harry is having to confront some of his illusions regarding Quirrel. Going to be interesting to see what happens with Dumbledore next chapter.

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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
Originally posted by Ron Lambert:

Aris, the supposed wisdom some see in agnosticism is entirely illusory. We have to live real lives in the real universe, and that requires making realistic choices in a timely fashion.

Yes, which however just means we can't avoid making guesses, assigning probabilities and acting in accordance with them.

Pretending you're 100% certain of any result is just foolish arrogance -- but *nobody* said you must treat all options are equally probable.

As I've tried to explain: the world doesn't divide between "certain" (100% chance) "impossible" (0% chance) and "equally likely as not) (50% chances).

The world divides into possibilities from 99.999999% certainty and 0.0000001% certainty and everything in between.

quote:
God will hold us accountable and render final judgment on us according to the choices we make,
I would assign a higher probability to the existence of some God that would better pleased if we stopped believing in the Christian God, than I would assign on the Christian god himself.

quote:
All you can do is optimize your chances.
An optimizing gambler must acknowledge the existence of all possibilities. If you're 100% certain that in the roulette table the ball will either fall on red or black, (instead of the proper 94%-98% depending on the type)then you're ignoring the chance it will fall on the green zeroes.

quote:
You are riding a thesis that most people see as quite silly, as a hobbyhorse, and you are riding it to death.[/QB]
Have you ever tried to check out some of the author's other writings, especially his "sequences" at the Less Wrong forum? Given your conclusions about other matters (like evolution and God) what makes you think you have *anything* in common with how the author's mind functions, that you can anticipate how he's plotting the story?

"Most people" here have not a clue about the most fundamental logic. So frankly, if most people here see my theory as "quite silly", that is only weak evidence for the wrongness of my theory.

[ November 21, 2010, 06:24 AM: Message edited by: Aris Katsaris ]

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Rakeesh
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Please, please don't turn this thread into a discussion about religion with Ron.

quote:
And Harry just looked at the Defense Professor with cool eyes that would never flinch from anything; not even death, now. He was no longer in Azkaban, no longer fearful of the part of himself that was fearless; and the solid gemstone that was Harry had rotated to meet the stress, turning smoothly from one facet to another, from light to darkness, warm to cold.
Boy, Harry has sure come off the rails a bit if he believes that about himself, particularly given that he less than a few moments ago recognized that he was finching from something, but it's understandable in the circumstances.

And, goodness, if there were ever a person whose answer it would perhaps be unwise to trust to that last question...though Harry does seem finally to have recognized it.

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Raymond Arnold
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So... placing bets on whether the woman in chapter 59 is Wormtail, who has indeed retired to the Caribbean like Harry jokingly hypothesized? (I'm assigning 60% probability to that).

My impression is that the thing Harry is flinching from in chapter 60 is not the question itself, but the obvious answer, which is that Harry has Voldemort inside him, and that Quirrel is somehow connected to that.

quote:
And, goodness, if there were ever a person whose answer it would perhaps be unwise to trust to that last question...though Harry does seem finally to have recognized it.
Well first of all, yeah Harry pretty explicitly is skeptical here, second, we haven't even heard Quirrel's complete answer yet.

I'm sad we're getting a hiatus, glad we're getting more than one "book" (I was getting a little worried that Azkaban would turn out to be the end of the whole series). A little particularly sad that I don't expect much interaction with Draco or Hermione in chapter 61. Hermione and Draco are my favorite re-imagined characters, and while I thought the Azkaban adventure was a great finale for this book, having several weeks of dreary misery and Harry being on his own was getting exhausting. Going another month without some good Harry/Draco/Hermione-ness is going to be particularly sad.

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TomDavidson
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I think, given the changes made to the attack on the Potters' house, it is very likely that Voldemort is using Harry as a horcrux in this version of the story.
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Raymond Arnold
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quote:
I think, given the changes made to the attack on the Potters' house, it is very likely that Voldemort is using Harry as a horcrux in this version of the story.
Elaborate?
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Please, please don't turn this thread into a discussion about religion with Ron.

Seconded.
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Ron Lambert
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Rakeesh and Rabbit, after 64 years, I have earned the right to be sure of what I believe. If you cannot hack it, that is your problem.

But for the record, I did not elaborate the religious view until challenged by Aris Katsaris' rather militant agnosticism, aided and abetted, of course, by Tom Davidson's usual sniping.

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Hobbes
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No one cares if you have that right Ron, they just don't want to discuss it here. Though I suppose I'm no[w] engaging in some sort of meta version of the conversation I wanted to avoid... I don't know that that's any better. I guess I wont respond again in this avenue.

I hope the next chapter does something for the characters. I found this last chapter less coherent than previous ones when it comes to motives and thoughts. I'd like to see some more explanation and just the typical "I pulled a fast one on you!" author-to-reader joke that surprise endings so often have. I feel like there's a lot of information to clear up before this installments over. Not so much plot as character information.

Hobbes [Smile]

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TomDavidson
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*blink* I have no idea how my sniping -- which consisted entirely of an appreciation of a certain irony -- might be considered "aiding or abetting" Aris' position on, of all things, whether or not a reader of a specific piece of Harry Potter fanfiction might reasonably believe that, as presented by the author, Harry (and the wizarding world as a whole) has no rational reason to conclude that he was in fact targeted by the Avada Kedavra curse.
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Aris Katsaris
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On other news, we've finally gotten the revelation of what the Rememberall thingie was indicating that Harry had forgotten: Newtonian physics and their (non-)application to broomstick flying.
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Raymond Arnold
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Oh snap.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Ron Lambert:
Rakeesh and Rabbit, after 64 years, I have earned the right to be sure of what I believe. If you cannot hack it, that is your problem

At 64, you are certainly old enough to know that age does not with any consistency bring wisdom, rationality or knowledge. Get back to me when you get Pope Benedict, Ayatollah Tehrani, Thomas Monson, and Richard Dawkins (all of whom are older than you) to agree on the nature of God, and I will reconsider your claim to an age based "right" to certainty. If you can't hack that, it's your problem. Until then, don't expect anyone to defer to your age based wisdom.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
Rakeesh and Rabbit, after 64 years, I have earned the right to be sure of what I believe. If you cannot hack it, that is your problem.
Ron, no one's challenging your right to believe what you want to believe. I'm just asking you not to discuss it here, on a discussion thread about a Harry Potter fanfic discussion thread.

[ November 22, 2010, 12:49 PM: Message edited by: Rakeesh ]

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Ron Lambert
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Then don't anyone try to impose their agnostic pseudo-religious views on me, either. I will always challenge that kind of foolishness. Those among us who are agnostics do not own this forum. They get no special protection from rebuttal.
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Rakeesh
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Alright. Territory marked. Can we move on now, please?
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ricree101
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New chapter.

**Spoiler***


Except for the Auror and Harry's interference, Quirrel seems to have just about every angle figured out. I wonder if he or Harry will have some way of getting around the time turner test.

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Raymond Arnold
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I actually would consider it perfectly acceptable if Harry DOESN'T find a way to get out of it, and the actual end of this section is that he realizes Quirrel is a bad guy. (That said, the foreshadowing that the showdown with Quirrel would happen on the last day of school was too funny to get rid of him in mid-winter.... dunno).
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King of Men
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If Harry thinks fast enough, perhaps he can do this: Go back however long he has left on his Time-Turner, acquire a fresh one in the two hours that gives him, and use that one for the test. Quirrell may have the resources for it, who knows? But it looks rather bad.
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Seatarsprayan
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Information cannot travel back in time more than 6 hours, and chaining time turners together won't work.

Does that mean if it is 9pm, you can't go back back before 3pm, no matter how many time turners you possess, but that you can keep going back to 3pm over and over again as long as you have a fresh supply of time turners?

Or does that mean you have six hours in a day to travel through time, and whether you go back 1 hour six times, or 6 hours 1 time, it makes no difference, and additional time turners won't help you?

"No body or soul, no knowledge or substance, could stretch an extra seven hours in a single day."

I take that to mean that if Harry has already traveled two hours, he only has four left, and can't go back any further, even if he gets additional time turners.

So how will he get out of it? Go back three hours, Imperius Flitwick into thinking it was 3pm instead of 6pm?

Go back as long as he can, then break his own legs and stuff himself into a closet? When found, claim he arrived at 3pm and was attacked by persons unknown before he could deliver the message to Flitwick...

Harry may not be able to go back, but the information (the message for Flitwick) can, so if he can find another person with a time turner, they could do it. Quirrel, for instance, if at 5pm he isn't already in St. Mungo's, which I think he probably is... Harry can use his newfangled Transfiguration to copy the time turner...

Quirrell left the animagus potion (since when is there such a thing? Not canon, where it's never stated how people become animagi) precisely to explain how they were undetected by the Dementors, to throw suspicion off Harry. Man that guy is prepared.

This works because the one possibility that Dumbledore doesn't consider is Voldy and Harry working together.

If Voldy is acting alone, there is no reason to leave the potion. It makes no sense, and Dumbledore assumes it's a message he doesn't understand.

Brilliant.

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Raymond Arnold
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quote:
Harry can use his newfangled Transfiguration to copy the time turner...
Nope. The reason Harry's transfiguration is so powerful is because he knows about MUGGLE artifacts to transfigure. You can't transfigure magical items, but you can transfigure ordinary ones. Wizards just don't normally think of non-magical things as powerful.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
This works because the one possibility that Dumbledore doesn't consider is Voldy and Harry working together.
Well actually, this is only one of many possibilities that Dumbledore doesn't consider, the most obvious of which is that Quirrel (who might or might not be Voldy) and Harry were working together or most generally that the jail break might have involved a team of people rather than a single individual.

I'm disappointed that it didn't occur to anyone but McGonagall that rockets might be transfigured from inexpensive easily obtained from objects. I'm also a bit flabbergasted that McGonagall didn't mention that possibility.

On a side note; If some one transfigured a wooden block into a nuclear bomb and detonated the bomb, do you suppose the radio isotopes produced (and hence radioactive emissions) would disappear when the transfiguration reverted to its original state.

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Raymond Arnold
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quote:
I'm disappointed that it didn't occur to anyone but McGonagall that rockets might be transfigured from inexpensive easily obtained from objects. I'm also a bit flabbergasted that McGonagall didn't mention that possibility.
It specifically says she was about to bring it up when a bunch of other things happened that distracted them. Truth be told I don't think it matters a WHOLE lot whether she waited a few minutes. I'm sure she'd bring it up by the time the nine o'clock test rolled around (either before or immediately after).

quote:
On a side note; If some one transfigured a wooden block into a nuclear bomb and detonated the bomb, do you suppose the radio isotopes produced (and hence radioactive emissions) would disappear when the transfiguration reverted to its original state.
Not sure (it's magic, so it could operate in any number of ways) but it'd be interesting if it did work that way. If you NEEDED a nuke for som reason, it'd be much more human (realizing that we're starting from very negative numbers of humane-tude) to transfigure it so you only get the immediate destruction rather than all the lingering side effects.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Not sure (it's magic, so it could operate in any number of ways) but it'd be interesting if it did work that way. If you NEEDED a nuke for som reason, it'd be much more human (realizing that we're starting from very negative numbers of humane-tude) to transfigure it so you only get the immediate destruction rather than all the lingering side effects.
I can imagine a number of ways one might wish to use a nuclear bomb that wouldn't have "very negative numbers of humane-tude" if there where so residual radiation.

For example, nuclear rocket propulsion has been proposed a number of times. Explosives can be extremely useful in mining and construction. Magic nukes would be perfect for testing or simply studying nuclear chain reactions. Magic fuel rods would lead to waste free nuclear energy. Magic radio-isotopes would be excellent for medical treatments and scientific research.

On a more negative but not as negative as all out thermonuclear attack, magic "Tactical" nuclear weapons would become a practical alternative.

I'm wondering whether Quirrell could be suffering from Transfiguration sickness and that's what caused his collapse, although I'm kind of doubting it since we've gotten messages from 6 hours into the future from Azkaban and there were no reports of unusual illnesses. I'm going to be disappointed in the writer if no one get's transfiguration sickness. I think its very bad form to put so much time into establishing a rule, if you let it be broken without consequence at the first convenient moment.

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ricree101
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
I'm going to be disappointed in the writer if no one get's transfiguration sickness. I think its very bad form to put so much time into establishing a rule, if you let it be broken without consequence at the first convenient moment.

When did Quirrel get transfigured? I seem to have missed that part.
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dabbler
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I think the reference is Harry transfiguring something that will turn into a gas (the water --> rocket fuel) that could be absorbed into the body before it gets transfigured back.
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Raymond Arnold
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I think she's specifically talking about the people who were literally burned by the rocketfire. While I think it's possible for that to result in transfiguration sickness, the only possible reason for it to do so is "It's Magic." And yes, that certainly has been established as a reason that Magic does things from time to time.

But transfiguration is also something that's been established as an area that Harry has greater power over BECAUSE he knows science and is applying it intelligently. Rocket fuel is made out of hydrogen and oxygen and burns back into water. There's really no reason that water transfiguring into water should cause problems. This isn't an author breaking his own rule, he's circumventing it using perfectly logical means.

I absolutely think someone will transfigure a rocket at some point and it'll cause transfiguration sickness and it'll be a big deal and Harry will be involved. But it won't be Harry himself, it'll be someone else copying his technique without fully understanding the reasoning behind it (Draco might be a good candidate for this, or possibly some random Death Eater). Harry still ends up responsible in a way, since he inspired it.

In fact, after the last chapter, this seems all the more likely. The huge threat Dumbledore fears is not this single incident but the escalation it will inspire. That escalation's danger perfectly echoes the original Transfiguration rules: it's not that transfiguring food automatically causes bad things to happen. You can safely transfigure food, use it only for display purposes, never eat it, and then let it revert to its original form. The issue is that once you start doing that, you may get lax about it, or something unexpected might happen, or other people might start doing it too and eventually someone gets hurt.

And thus, a blanket, absolute prohibition is necessary. Not because a single incident is necessarily dangerous, but because there's no such thing as "a single incident."

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Hobbes
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I thought this was a well written chapter, one of his better ones. I have to admit I'm not following this closely enough to really have a full grasp on what happened but I didn't feel like I needed to remember every detail to enjoy it. I've noticed the characters keep changing more and more as the story progresses. I was under the impression that originally the idea was to write Harry Potter only now Harry's different. Clearly Quirrel was different too (along with Harry's family but I think that was more of an explanation of Harry than actual change) but that was it for a while. Then other character started changing (and not character development changing, their bio, so to speak, changed). I don't know if this was always the plan or he found it necessary to advance the plot he wanted. I don't mind at all, his story and I think the changes have been perfectly reasonable, I was just noticing this.

I am curious how Albus thinks a ban on muggle inventions for wizarding war would play out with Voldemort. I agree with Raymond's reasons for why it's a good idea but this isn't the US and the USSR (who were stable and seeking a future for their countries as international players) this is someone who, at least in the cannon, is displayed as cartoonishly evil. Why would he ever follow that restriction? I understand it was brought up in the context of a warning (Albus thinking it's a message to not do it or Voldemort will) but why would Voldemort keep his word?

Hobbes [Smile]

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