Time Is Running Out

Humpday, 6 Priming 2015

Lately I have been reading a series of fan fiction essays that are a slightly different take on the magical world of Hogwarts called Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality. It’s based on a couple of tweaks to the Harry Potter origin story, and takes a logical path through the world of magic as much as possible. There have been one hundred and twenty chapters mentioned, but as of this writing there are one hundred and thirteen completed and posted to the internets, and apparently there might only be one very short chapter if things don’t work out by midnight tonight (Pacific Standard Time):

This is your final exam.

You have 60 hours.

Your solution must at least allow Harry to evade immediate death, despite being naked, holding only his wand, facing 36 Death Eaters plus the fully resurrected Lord Voldemort.

If a viable solution is posted before *12:01AM Pacific Time* (8:01AM UTC) on Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015, the story will continue to Ch. 121.

Otherwise you will get a shorter and sadder ending.

Keep in mind the following:

1. Harry must succeed via his own efforts. The cavalry is not coming. Everyone who might want to help Harry thinks he is at a Quidditch game.

2. Harry may only use capabilities the story has already shown him to have; he cannot develop wordless wandless Legilimency in the next 60 seconds.

3. Voldemort is evil and cannot be persuaded to be good; the Dark Lord’s utility function cannot be changed by talking to him.

4. If Harry raises his wand or speaks in anything except Parseltongue, the Death Eaters will fire on him immediately.

5. If the simplest timeline is otherwise one where Harry dies – if Harry cannot reach his Time-Turner without Time-Turned help – then the Time-Turner will not come into play.

6. It is impossible to tell lies in Parseltongue.

Within these constraints, Harry is allowed to attain his full potential as a rationalist, now in this moment or never, regardless of his previous flaws.

Of course ‘the rational solution’, if you are using the word ‘rational’ correctly, is just a needlessly fancy way of saying ‘the best solution’ or ‘the solution I like’ or ‘the solution I think we should use’, and you should usually say one of the latter instead. (We only need the word ‘rational’ to talk about ways of thinking, considered apart from any particular solutions.)

And by Vinge’s Principle, if you know exactly what a smart mind would do, you must be at least that smart yourself. Asking someone “What would an optimal player think is the best move?” should produce answers no better than “What do you think is best?”

So what I mean in practice, when I say Harry is allowed to attain his full potential as a rationalist, is that Harry is allowed to solve this problem the way YOU would solve it. If you can tell me exactly how to do something, Harry is allowed to think of it.

But it does not serve as a solution to say, for example, “Harry should persuade Voldemort to let him out of the box” if you can’t yourself figure out how.

The rules on Fanfiction dot Net allow at most one review per chapter. Please submit *ONLY ONE* review of Ch. 113, to submit one suggested solution.

For the best experience, if you have not already been following Internet conversations about recent chapters, I suggest not doing so, trying to complete this exam on your own, not looking at other reviews, and waiting for Ch. 114 to see how you did.

I wish you all the best of luck, or rather the best of skill.

Ch. 114 will post at 10AM Pacific (6PM UTC) on Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015.


If you have pending exams, then even though the bystander effect is a thing, I expect that the collective effect of ‘everyone with more urgent life issues stays out of the effort’ shifts the probabilities very little (because diminishing marginal returns on more eyes and an already-huge population that is participating).

So if you can’t take the time, then please don’t. Like any author, I enjoy the delicious taste of my readers’ suffering, finer than any chocolate; but I don’t want to *hurt* you.

Likewise, if you hate hate hate this sort of thing, then don’t participate! Other people ARE enjoying it. Just come back in a few days. I shouldn’t even need to point this out.

I remind you again that you have hours to think. Use the Hold Off On Proposing Solutions, Luke.

And really truly, I do mean it, Harry cannot develop any new magical powers or transcend previously stated constraints on them in the next sixty seconds.

I don’t really want to give out any spoilers, but Harry is just about to be disposed of by the Dark Lord and his Death Eaters and he has nothing but his wand. And the author wants to see if you can figure out a way for Harry to get out of the mess he is currently in.

I have absolutely no clue where this is going to go. I’m just glad to have been on the ride so far. I sincerely hope that we get to see all of the rest of the story, whether or not someone in the studio audience is tuned in to the author’s methods of rationality sufficiently to suss out the answer that has been set up within the story as the best way forward. Time will tell.

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Why I Will Never Become The Attorney General Of The United States

Fryday, 4 Shivring 2015

…explained in one simple question and answer:

Senator John Cornyn, (R-eligiously Insane): You’re not Eric Holder, are you?

Your Humble Narrator: You seriously can’t tell us apart? I had heard that some white folk can’t tell one darkie from another, but I was unaware that any of those people were currently members of the United States Senate.

Aaaaaand – confirmation denied!

Also, too: Yes, this was an actual question that was repeatedly asked by Republicant douchewads to the current nominee for the position of Attorney General of the United States.

Not Dead Yet…

Tuesday, 30 Premise 2015

…just really depressed by life, the universe, and everything these days. The holidays were less fun this year, featuring a family who seems to be ostracizing me over a bunch of reich wing propaganda from the Great Satan to the North, some friends who don’t want to deal with me in person any more, increased reliance on survival as opposed to living, doctor’s staff that thinks they can make medical decisions for me and can’t perform at even a competent, much less satisfactory, level, no job prospects for the rest of my life, and a bunch of other unrelated (to me) reich wing psychos who are trying to turn this country into what it once was – an arctic region covered in ice.

So – things could be better.

In the meantime, I’d like to go back to my blogging roots by parodying a reich wing press release:



Contact: Funny Farmer, The Funny Farm

Tuesday, 30 Premise, 2015

Scalia and Thomas: Recuse Yourselves!

The Funny Farm Says Supreme Court Justices Should Step Down on SCOTUS Marriage Cases

The Internets—The issue of same-sex marriage in America has divided the country this past year, with state, district and federal courts issuing ruling after ruling.

In light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s announcement that it will hear the issue, The Funny Farm (www.funnyfarmonline.org) says Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas should recuse themselves from making any marriage decisions because Thomas has conducted marriage ceremonies. And Scalia has made various religiously insane homophobic remarks while on the Spureme Court.

“All of these justices’ personal and private actions that actively endorse marriage clearly indicate how they would vote on same-sex marriage cases before the Supreme Court,” parodied The Funny Farm. “Congress has directed that federal judicial officers must disqualify themselves from hearing cases in specified circumstances. Scalia and Thomas have not only been opposed to same-sex marriage but they have also proven themselves to be activists on the subject. In order to ensure the Court’s integrity and impartiality, both should recuse themselves from same-sex marriage cases. Congress has an obligation to Americans to see that members of the Supreme Court are held to the highest standards of integrity. The law demands it, and the people deserve it.”

The Funny Farm is producing this parody of an actual press release from actual grown adults, asking all to write a letter to their members of Congress, urging them to remind members of the nation’s highest court of their charge to maintain impartiality. Title 28, Part I, Chapter 21, Section 455 of the U.S. Code titled “Disqualification of justice, judge, or magistrate judge,” states that “Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.”

Thomas performed a May 27, 1994 marriage ceremony for lying sack of kimchi Rush Limbaugh and his third trophy wife (now divorced after the marriage contract period has completed) in Virginia. And Scalia has compared homosexuality to bestiality and pedophilia in published Supreme Court opinions.

Scalia has never considered any of his prejudices as being sufficient to recuse himself for any case before the Supreme Court to date. His well known religiously insane rants have been a staple of the court for years now.

The Funny Farm suggests in this Action Alert that concerned Americans write a letter to their members of Congress urging them to call on Justices Scalia and Thomas to recuse themselves from any same-sex marriage cases, as their previous actions in performing opposite-sex ceremonies, and their previous Supreme Court opinions involving homosexuality raise more than a reasonable doubt regarding their impartiality on this issue.


I would like to point out that the original press release demands that Kagan and Ginsburg recuse themselves because they officiated at same sex wedding ceremonies, but surprisingly does not mention that these justices have also presided at opposite sex marriages, and do not think that they should be recused from any same sex marriage cases because their officiating at opposite sex marriage ceremonies does not prejudice them against same sex marriage. Funny how that works…

There have also been other Supremes who have officiated at wedding ceremonies, by the way. I originally included Scalito in the bunch who should be recused, but there is so little about him online that I could not find any examples to hammer him with.

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Merry Frelling Kringle

Humpday, 28 Conclusion 2014

I am very happy to announce the completion of this year’s foray into the realm of Xmas cheer: the 2014 Xmas MegaMixx:

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones-This Time of Year
Booker T and the MGs-Jingle Bells
The Brian Setzer Orchestra-Hey Santa!
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy-Zat You, Santa Claus?
Reckless Sleepers-Every Day Will Be Like a Holiday
Darlene Love and the David Letterman Band-Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) supermix
Holly Conlan-I’ll Be Home For Christmas
Jose Feliciano-Feliz Navidad
One-Eyed Jacks-Merry Little Christmas To You Too
Lenka-All My Bells Are Ringing
The Cat and The Fiddle-Hep Cats Holiday
Timbuk3-All I Want For Christmas
The Plastic Ono Band-Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs-All I want For Christmas
Mariah Carey and The Roots-All I Want For Christmas
The Jooles-Feels Like Christmas
Willie Nelson and Stephen Colbert-Little Dealer Boy
Band of Merrymakers-Must Be Christmas
Slow Club-Christmas TV
Wye Oak-Christmas Will Be Just Another Lonely Day
The Nadas-Here Comes Christmas

Also, for good measure, here’s some links to the remixed and remastered Xmas MegaMixxes of years gone by:

2013 Xmas MegaMixx

New Found Glory-Nothing For Christmas
Matt Wertz-Snow Globe
Brighten ft the Maine-Merry Christmas Baby
Clapton Crow All Stars-Merry Christmas Baby
Donny Hathaway-This Christmas
NOFX-Xmas Has Been X’ed
Train-Shake Up Christmas
Thorso All Stars-The Final Christmas Song
The Ramones-Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Anymore)
Weird Al Yankovic-Christmas At Ground Zero
Relient K-The 12 Days of Christmas
The Wombats-Is This Christmas?
Sufjan Stevens-Christmas In The Room
Kenny Vance and the Planotones-Mr. Santa
Dorothy Collins-Mr. Santa
JD McPherson-Twinkle
Trey Songz and Flo Rida-Jingle Bells
Mayer Hawthorne-Christmas Time Is Here
Jonathan Coulton and John Roderick-Uncle John
You, Me, and Everyone We Know-We’ve Got Diggin’ Out To Do
The Rescues-Everything’s Gonna Be Better Next Year
Kristin Chenoweth-The Christmas Waltz

2011 Xmas MegaMixx

Ella Fitzgerald – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Weezer – We Wish You A Merry Christmas
Perry Como – Home For The Holidays
Devo – Merry Something To You
Barenaked Ladies – Hanukkah Oh Hanukkah
Liz Phair – Winter Wonderland
Jane Siberry – Hockey (censored version)
Mary J. Blige – Christmas In The City
Tom Robinson – Truce
Honky Tonk Confidential – Christmas Prison
Billy Paul Williams Orchestra – Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
No Doubt – Oi To The World
Santa’s Got a Brand New Bag (intro) – Gary Walker
Linus & Lucy – Vince Guaraldi Trio
Louis Armstrong – Christmas In New Orleans
Shelly Adams – Snow, Snow, and Mistletoe
Louis Prima – What Will Santa Claus Say?
Blue Mountain Boys – Santabilly Boogie
Billy Ray – Christmas Mambo
Stompin Tom Connors – Merry Christmas Everybody
Lenny & Squiggy – The Jolliest Fat Man
Xmas Jug Band – S A N T A
Lionel Hampton – Boogie Woogie Santa Claus
Surrogate – Rockin Around The Christmas Tree
Dance Hall Crashers – I Did It For The Toys
Swingle Sisters – Xmas Medley

2010 Xmas MegaMixx

Snoop Dogg-Xmas Into
Robert Earl Keen-Merry Christmas From the Family
Cyndi Lauper-Feels Like Christmas
Eels-Everything’s Gonna Be Cool This Christmas
Grandaddy-Alan Parsons In A Winter Wonderland
Kooky Barnes-Yulesville
Paul Simon-Getting Ready For Christmas Day
Dread Zeppelin-All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth
The Kinks -Father Christmas
Guster-Donde Esta Santa Claus
The Fall-Jingle Bell Rock
Bob Dylan-Must Be Santa
XTC-Thanks For Christmas
Kate Bush-December Will Be Magic Again
Yellowman-We Wish You A Reggae Christmas
Ingo Star Cruiser-Just Like Christmas
Jet-Back Door Santa
Louis Cate-Mistletoin’
Waitresses-Christmas Rapping danse mixx
Bob & Doug McKenzie-The Twelve Days Of Christmas
Les Paul featuring Kathy Parrott-Santa Baby
Electric Jungle-Funky Funky Christmas
Hawk Nelson-The Chipmunk Song

Update: I have updated the 2011 Mega Mixx track list based on some corrections long overdue. I have also had to password protect the directory containing the mp3s due to hacktastic hackers wanting to frell with my freely available holiday cheer. So youse can email me and ask for the user name and password to get to the tunes.

Ho Ho Ho

Saturday, 18 Conclusion 2014

It’s that time of year again – DJ Riko has released his annual Merry Mixmas set for 2014. As always there is lots of christmas music that I can pretty much guarantee you probably haven’t been hearing on the all-christmas, all-the-time radio stations that you are already sick of.

On a related note, there are the beginnings of the 2014 MegaMixx formulating in my brainpan . I think that sometime in next year’s MegaMixx I will finally be using more than one song from any given artist*. Also too alternate versions of the same song might be getting into the mix at some point in the future. Because at this point I am almost feeling straight-jacketed by the self-imposed rules I started this project out with in 2010 about using only one version of any given holiday song and using only one song from any given artist.

I also have remastered, remixed, and redone all of my previous mixes using vastly improved source material, quality-wise. I consider it to be roughly analogous to using recordings from AM radio and recording them on cassette and then re-recording things using Music recorded from FM radio and recording them with a PC. I will be posting links to them soon…

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some funky christmas music to finish listening to. I have already been inspired by this years’ mix to find a half dozen new (to me) christmas albums – and I still have at least fifteen minutes to go…

Share and Enjoy!

* – and, of course, stretching this rule to include unique artist configurations and unique versions of a song** as their own entity instead of crossing off lots of good musicians all at once…

** – as an example, I have already done a couple of interpretations of a couple of christmas songs that I consider to be unique enough to be different songs.

Election Results

Friday, (Not) Betteroff 2014

The United States Of America is seriously frelled for the next two years. Not even sure what the over / under should be for the impeachment hearings but I’m thinking about 200 days or so seems to be unreasonably within the Republicants’ scorched earth zone. Time will tell. Until then it is so (not) comforting to know that the odds be fifty-fifty that I’m dealing with a Republicant every time I go anywhere to do anything.

You don’t have to be crazy to deal with the knowledge that america has gone full goose bozo… but it helps!

Proving The Hypothesis

Saturday, 29 Falltring 2014

One of the true icons of the gamer world, Felicia Day, recently wrote about how her usual feelings of unexpected solidarity when seeing fellow gamers on the street have changed since Gamer Gate has taken place. And expressed some concerns for her personal safety, and her concern that even mentioning those concerns would lead to some unwanted attention towards her.

Having just watched an amazingly geeky video by her about Virgin Galactic, and remembering some of her previous work, I have an intense desire to have this individual continue to produce infotainally enlightening material according to the manner in which she can support herself comfortably. It is disappointing to me to see that things seem to be going exactly as she feared. In particular, the vitriol from the gamers commenting on these posts is incredible – almost a caricature of the gamer persona that is the problem in the first place.

It is my sincere wish that the gamer community would take a chill pill and stop threatening to assassinate people because they think that some video games might be just a tad misogynistic and they dare to speak such thoughts aloud.

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