Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Horcruxes

All Your Tuesday Morning Links

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If You Leave Open A Million Tabs, ‘The Great Suspender’ Chrome Extension Is For You. Gamechanger.

* When Birds Squak, Other Species Seem to Listen.

Two-Thirds of Risk Managers Say Frats Are Major Liability. The other third are on vacation, check back next week.

This sort of thing is a problem in academia too. If a male prof refuses to mentor female students, that’s also bad.

* “Neoliberalism is the real affront to higher education — not Kanye West’s honorary doctorate.”

The idea of using “drive-up advising” to reach these students started as a joke, Murray said, but it quickly turned into a reality.

Low cost college isn’t enough. I’ve tried to argue that plans like #FreeCommunityCollege will actually be a strong accelerant to some of the other problems David is talking about, but it hasn’t exactly set the world on fire.

* The humane and the anti-humane.

What matters more is the loose agglomeration of practices, institutions and perspectives that view human experience and human subjectivity as a managerial problem, a cost burden and an intellectual disruption. I would not call such views inhumane: more anti-humane: they do not believe that a humane approach to the problems of a technologically advanced global society is effective or fair, that we need rules and instrumments and systems of knowing that overrule intersubjective, experiential perspectives and slippery rhetorical and cultural ways of communicating what we know about the world.

Academic Freedom versus Academic Legitimacy.

Vote No on Every Fee.

Public universities are using non-need-based aid to recruit out-of-state students, at the expense of low-income and in-state students.

Three New Jersey colleges are appearing to be more competitive than they are in admissions by counting incomplete applications, reported.

* Race and Duke redux.

* Hamburger U: As more firms have set up their own “corporate universities”, they have become less willing to pay for their managers to go to business school.

The best historical model for the transition from the WWIII-devastated Earth to the post-First Contact regime may be the rise of the Soviet Union.

* Strange result, what could explain it? Students Who Attend Class Outperform Those Online, Study Says.

* Like Dylan plugging in, Simon Pegg Worries The Love Of Science Fiction Is Making Us “Childish.”

* “Keep Foreskin and State Separate”: Battle Over Florida Boy’s Circumcision Heads To Federal Court.

N.C. Senate bill would criminalize, fire teachers for having political views.

* Why Did NY Ban Fracking? The Official Report Is Now Public.

Fossil fuels subsidised by $10m a minute, says IMF.

Canada Approves Nuclear Waste Site on Great Lakes Shore.

Texas Elementary School Accused of Locking Boy up in a “Focus Room.” Why did we turn all our schools into torture chambers?

Homework is a Social Justice Issue.

Obama to Limit Military-Style Equipment for Police Forces.

Washington State Is In A Drought ‘Unlike Any We’ve Ever Experienced.’

Sure it looks as if things are getting more peaceful. But, looking at the mathematics, that’s exactly what we should expect to see, even if we’re most likely due for a much more violent future.

* Spies, they’re just like us.

* In fan fiction, even the Dursleys can potentially be redeemed.

* Counterpoint: Republicans Are Not on the Edge of Extinction.

The White House Is Archiving Every Tweet Begging @POTUS for Sex.

The truth about poo: we’re doing it wrong.

Scientists examine why men even exist.

* Like Uber, but for stopping this from happening all the time.

* Great moments in spin: “New Jersey voters say they don’t think I would be a good president because they want me to stay.” It might just be because they’re jealous.

* “That’s an extraordinarily high number of medications in a state with less than 2 million people.”

* Generation gibberish. I think a version of this sort of thinking organized around the penetration of consumer technology is probably viable, but a lot harder to wrangle than assigning arbitrary birth years.

Mad Men and the Coke Jingle Theory. Mad Men and the Movement.

* And from the archives: As good as it gets: Mad Men and neoliberalism. And today’s followup: The commodity is the better Jesus: On the Mad Men finale.

In any case, I regard the genre of television as completed now. The most critically acclaimed, culturally prestigious, artistically ambitious television show of all time — and judging by current trends, I include the future here too — has culminated in a tacky commercial. By doing so, it made us experience its moving utopian qualities and its sinister cult-like qualities. There’s nowhere else to go at this point. That’s “the real thing.” That’s “it.”

Written by gerrycanavan

May 19, 2015 at 8:34 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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‘Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality’

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The only fan fiction I’ve ever recommended, and perhaps even read at all: “Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality,” loosely organized around an alternate universe version of the J.K. Rowling novels in which (among other things) Harry’s adoptive parents were not the repulsive Dursleys but instead an rationalist Oxford scientist. The piece is written in accordance with the author’s self-established principles of fan fiction:

The First Law of Fanfiction states that every change which strengthens the protagonists requires a corresponding worsening of their challenges. Or in plainer language: You can’t make Frodo a Jedi without giving Sauron the Death Star. Read any book on writing ever and it will tell you that stories are about conflict; a hero too strong for their conflict is no longer in tense, heart-pounding difficulty. For example, Dark!Dumbledore and Dark!Harry both permit a Harry strengthened over canon – the first by turning one of Harry’s canon!allies against him, and the second by turning Harry against his canon!allies. The most spectacular application of this principle that I’ve seen is Harry Potter and the Wastelands of Time, in which Harry has gained all the knowledge of ancient Atlantis and has been through literally hundreds of Peggy Sue cycles in which he learns every possible twist of fate… and Voldemort, who unfortunately got to Atlantis first, has still won every time. The Mary Sue is not defined by her power, but by her lack of an even more powerful opponent. I mention this (1) so that you know I know it and (2) because the First Law of Fanfiction ought to be in a giant banner on every fanfiction site. The most fatal temptation of fanfiction writing is to think of how much easier some character’s life would be if they were a ninja. We are naturally inclined to think up ways to solve our characters’ problems for them, but must learn instead to make their lives more difficult.

The Rule of Rationalist Fiction states that rationality is not magic; being rational does not require magical potential or royal bloodlines or even amazing gadgets, and the principles of rationality work for understandable reasons.A rationalist!hero should excel by thinking – moreover, thinking in understandable patterns that readers can, in principle, adopt for themselves. As opposed to the hero just being a born “genius” who comes up with amazing gadgets through an opaque discovery process, or who pulls off incredibly complicated gambits that would fail miserably if the reader tried something similar in real life.

I found this strange and slightly wonderful mess (where else?) at TV Tropes, which points out that it’s a self-conscious Author Tract for self-educated AI researcher Eliezer Yudkowsky, who seems to take Bayes’s theorem as something like religion.

Of course “HPatMoR” is definitely not for everyone—I can only imagine what Alex will say if he takes the bait and clicks the link—but it displays that precise nerdly obsessiveness I find I just can’t resist. When a fan-fic writers imagines his souped-up Voldemort turning the outbound Pioneer 11 spacecraft into one of his many Horcuxes—well, look, I’m not made of stone.

I should also say this link is roughly the complete opposite of “breaking news”—the ongoing project is nearly a year old.