ETA:  Any Late-comers, We did end up in the VLSB.

Hi all, it seems we've reach that time of the month, that time when we get together and be rational in Berkeley.  As usual, we'll meet at the Starbucks at 2128 Oxford Street at 7 pm, then move into the atrium in the Valley Life Sciences Building on the Berkeley Campus.  There'll be an expedition to get food, so don't feel that you have to eat before hand.

I want to make a special plea to the lurkers on lesswrong to come, I promise no one will think poorly of you if you're still in High School, aren't a member of Mensa, or haven't read the sequences.  This is a social event where we get together with people who like rationality, not a way for the shadowy cabal of beisutsukai to puzzle out the secret of quantum gravity.  Even if you only just linked here from Methods of Rationality, I and everyone else here wants to get to know you.

Hope to see you all there!

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Yes, yes, come! Everyone will be wearing robes except for you, the sacrifice, and we will call for the sanity waterline to rise up and drown all of the fools, dancing with manic glee as we pay our debt to Tegmarkian Abominations outside of Space and Time, shouting "Iä! Iä!"


Oh and who's bringing the comed-tea? I don't know about you guys, but I can't make it through one of these meetups without at least a sip.

Nick, I understand you're joking, but that doesn't mean that you aren't discouraging people from coming. Please understand just how scary it is to go meet other people, especially people who have very large amounts of those character traits you value the most.

On a side note, are you in contact with Bay Area people on KW? I know Ashley's in SF and I think Jomun Dogu is too. Could you advertise this over there?

ETA: The main way I see this sort of joke reducing attendance is by making the scenario in which a person goes to the meet up only to be mocked for ignorance or lack of in group fashion much more available. There are quite a few people who feel that they either intrinsically fail to meet the standards of LW or would only meet them after having read the sequences/graduated college (high school)/read all the fashionable literature/whatever. Even with me specifically renouncing this point of view, people are still being intimidated. I don't want someone to either think harder about possible negative receptions or think that the official line (as espoused by me) will not be held to by everyone.

I can agree with this. I was really hesitant when I went to the last one of these, and I'm still not sure if I'm going to go again. It's not that I had a bad time, it's just that everyone there seems far more competent than me.

Edit - please disregard this post


I'm glad that you're looking out for people, I just don't know who these particular people are! You must have mental models of people which I don't have; send me a PM about what sort of person would be less likely to attend after reading both your post and my comments.

Personally, the big relief for me when I came to a meetup was not that I knew too little, though that was the fear of which I was aware. Instead, the big relief was that people were allowed to have fun, that Seriousness was optional. That made my sense of relative ignorance seem less important as well. Humor seemed like a good way to communicate this aspect of the meetups, I thought.

As for KW, I haven't been around there much, but I'll see what I can do :-)

This is a social event where we get together with people who like rationality, not a way for the shadowy cabal of beisutsukai to puzzle out the secret of quantum gravity.

How do I join the latter?

1: Assemble beisutsukai in a shadowy location.

2: Declare yourselves a cabal.

3: Puzzle out the secret of quantum gravity.

I'm pretty sure we'd have to generate any beisutsukai at all first, as well.

  1. Create a beisutsukai.

  2. ??? (event horizon)

  3. Profit.

I've tried to start cabals before, but most of them never got much momentum. I was hoping to join a preexisting cabal so as to determine whether I'm more effective caballing that way.

All the evidence necessary for a Bayesian to infer the answer to that question is publicly available. Finding the cabal is the first requirement for entry.

What? No figuring out quantum gravity? I'm not going then!

No, seriously, sadly I'm out of town this week. I had lots of fun last meetup, and I'll probably come to the April one!

Hmm, I can probably make this.

When will the next Berkeley meet-up be? April 2 or April 9?

For the benefit of latecomers, would it be possible tomorrow night for someone with a smartphone to post a comment right here to say where the group is, once it's settled down to its meeting location (whether VLSB or Free Speech Cafe or Kevin's house)?

Yes, I'll be doing that.

at 7 pm, then move into the atrium in the Valley Life Sciences Building on the Berkeley Campus

According to the calendar on the door (I checked it last night), VLSB closes at 5 p.m. on March 12. Recall that last month the building was also closed when we tried to get in. We can go to the Free Speech Cafe as we did last month, but the indoor area is too small to fit us all, and the outdoor area is likely to be colder than it was during that unseasonably warm evening last month. Still, I think that that outdoor area would be the best choice. Just remember to bundle up!

If we really want to meet at VLSB sufficiently strongly and are that confident the door will be locked, we could get someone to camp out there and let everyone in. This strategy should actually work for any building on campus. Any Cal students have a pick for other buildings we could crash? Though I actually like outdoor spaces, so if that's where we end up I won't be unhappy. I wish I could get people to internalize the idea that the rules don't apply to them more generally. The rules stopped applying to me sometime around Spring of 2007.

We can also meet at my house, but more than 10-12 people can't really fit at all comfortably so was planning on having the after party at my place which will naturally filter away some people that don't want to stay out late.

I plan on being there likely with at least 2 people. Still Starbucks on Oxford?

That's where we'll meet at 7. The only difficulty is if you show up late.


I'll probably come.

Ahh... this is the second month in a row I can't make it. Saturday night is a friend's birthday party! Next month, though, I'll be there, for reals!

If you care, there are other events that LW folk will be at in Berkeley this weekend. A bit more focused on a particular topic, but that doesn't mean that it won't be at all social.

Like what?

There's a Berkeley LW lifehacking group which meets on Sunday mornings.

Hey, I remember you mentioning this tonight, but I didn't get a chance to find out the details. I'm definitely interested though.