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 ūüôā 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 ¬†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, 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.

Author’s Notes, Ch. 82-83

Best comment on Ch. 81, by Hokuten Mage: ¬†“When Harry Potter stares into the abyss, the abyss runs away and hides.”

New fan art: ¬†Karen Dutton brings us that poor Dementor, HK66 (contact me with your cameo name!)¬†brings us Mr. Crabbe and Mr. Goyle, and¬†Chloe silhouettes the Three. ¬†Darek says this was inspired by Quirrell’s many identities – I’m not quite counting it as fan art, but I’m linking it. ¬†And Dinosaurusgede is baaaaaack!

Some people have been asking why I’m posting these at 1 per week. ¬†One answer is that each posting involves a lot of last-minute editing and finalizing, so they are¬†still tiring – the last arc’s final pace of 1 per 3 days was exhausting – and I’m trying to hold it down to one per week this time. ¬†Ch. 83 will be a short¬†chapter posted Wednesday (Apr 4) at 1pm, and then, since that one doesn’t really count, Ch. 84 will be posted next Tuesday (Apr 10) at 7pm. ¬†(And Ch. 85 a week after, according to current plans; that’s the last one queued.) ¬†Next time I may consider trying to finalize the arc further before beginning it, and then posting at a faster pace (at the price of additional delay before starting).

The Center for Modern Rationality is now accepting applications for the next set of Rationality Minicamps, the successors to the highly successful Rationality Minicamp of 2011.  Dates are May 11-13, June 22-24, and July 21-28.  These Minicamps will be planned on the assumption that attendees have read at least some of the Less Wrong Sequences, not necessarily all.  We plan to send out the first batch of acceptances soon, and applying should only take about 10-15 minutes, so please fill out the application now, especially if you prefer to attend in May.

The Center for Modern Rationality is offering¬†$50 prizes¬†for any suggested rationality training exercises that look good enough to test, and¬†$500 prizes¬†for any suggested exercises that we actually adopt into a unit. ¬†Specific descriptions of mental skills, accompanied by the request for exercises to teach them, have been posted for the units¬†Be Specific and Check Consequentialism. ¬†(Think of this as trying to invent the actual content of the bizarre exercises that Harry has been inflicting on the Chaos Legion since Ch. 29… oh, wait, I haven’t mentioned those in the text yet, have I?)