Author’s Notes, Ch. 85

“Thank you so much for writing this! My 12-year-old son used to say that he hated math, and now, after reading HPMOR for only 84 chapters :-) he’s coming to me and asking me to explain Bayes’ Rule!” — KSVH

Speaking of which:  We’re setting up an expenses-paid week-long summer camp for 20 mathematically talented youths, of high school age (14-17), on August 6th-13th.  The focus will be on the more technical side of rationality – Bayesian statistics and such – but also teaching the same sort of mental skills as the Rationality Minicamps.  Several International Olympiad-level instructors have already volunteered to teach there.  This program will be fully subsidized, including your plane flight, for accepted attendees.  The extremely tentative name is the Summer Program on Applied Rationality and Cognition, it will definitely be hosted at U of C Berkeley, and you can fill out a preliminary application here.

It is now too late to apply for the May 11-13 Rationality Minicamp.  If you want to attend the Minicamp in June or July, apply instantly.

The Singularity Summit 2012 will be October 13-14 in San Francisco.  Enter your email address here to be notified the moment tickets go on sale.  Our speaker lineup this year includes Steven Pinker, Vernor Vinge, Peter Thiel, Peter Norvig, Robin Hanson, and random other awesome people.

Anna Salamon would like to note that the Center for Modern Rationality (possibly to be renamed to Center for Applied Rationality, though we’re still experimentally testing names) is especially interested in job applications from anyone who’s done a lot of successful self-modification.  (We’re aware that this will probably get us a lot of applications from wacky people, but experience shows that the few people who do this successfully and sanely often have highly important contributions.)

Jay Dhyani announces that there is now a somewhat-active HPMOR subreddit, with over 100 subscribers.  “This could be interesting,” I mused.  And if anyone has suggestions, I’d like you to comment on “What similar books / stories to HPMOR exist?” – I’m in need of better reading material.

Not to neglect the existing forums, the TV Tropes thread is up to 3,057 comments and the LessWrong Discussion thread just for Ch. 84 surpassed 1,097 comments.  (I expect there’ll be a new thread for Ch. 85 shortly, hence the link to general Discussion.)   On Fanfiction.Net, Methods is up to 17,417 reviews and 9,403,977 non-unique pageviews; and there have been 435,362 pageviews on the new version of HPMOR.com.  And on Facebook HPMOR has 2,934 “likes”, only four of which are from my Facebook friends.  I know damned well that more of you read Methods than that.

Fan art:  Tavoriel brings us a heartbreaking moment.  Nancy Hua shows us wizards shielding their eyes from the shock.  Pencil-Monkey depicts Harry vs. the Dead Duck.  Prima Donna 9396 enters Azkaban (contact me with your cameo name).  Byakubyaku imagines the dark side (ditto).  Harry and Draco appear in this sketch dump by Prite (double ditto).  On the cameo side, Ben Gutierrez cameoed as an Auror in Ch. 83; as did Josh Larios, maintainer of HPMOR.com, cameoing as Arjay Altunay.  RJL20 is his usual Internet handle – bonus points if you noticed what “Arjay Altunay” sounds like.  And Fan Tong has finally gotten her cameo, which I’d originally written for the end of Ch. 63, and then moved to Ch. 85, not dreaming how long the delay would be.

At least three of you utter lunatics went off and wrote computer programs to simulate Professor Quirrell’s horrible humming.  Jason Gross posted this MP3 recording.  Fgenj posted this YouTube recording.  GJM posted cross-platform Python code with tweakable parameters.  Incidentally, I actually do practice humming that lullaby horribly out of tune, as a way to torture my girlfriend Erin.

I’ve eliminated the “distant cry” from Ch. 84 – it was based on a projected part of Ch. 85 that I couldn’t seem to make work out right.  As a result, Ch. 85 is shorter than I’d planned. I may add that part back in later, if I can ever get it to work.

As the next arc is set immediately after this one and will take time to write, we’re probably entering a bit of an interregnum now.  My current plan is to post progress updates in the Author’s Notes on the 1st day of every month, starting June 1st, because I plan to spend from now until May 11th focusing on getting ready for the first Minicamp.  After that, I intend to try writing the next set of updates using Scrivener, which looks like it might be a huge improvement on Word; I’ll keep you posted on how that works out.

While you’re waiting, I commend to you the ongoing series Dungeon Keeper Ami by Pusakuronu, a strangely compelling read which has included some Creative Uses of Science in recent updates.  The stories Mandragora (canon!HP, short) and To The Stars (Madoka) have also recently made my Favorites section.  On the webcomic side, I’m currently going through My Little Pony: Friendship is Betrayal.  And some of you may find Alicorn’s Earthfic amusing.

And the Sequences of Less Wrong await you, as they ever do.

The next progress report will be posted to the Author’s Notes on June 1st at 10PM Pacific Time.