Burning Man Meetup: Bayes Camp

In celebration of the virtues of applied rationality, Less Wrong is going to Burning Man! And because Heinlein rationalists should win, Bayes Camp is going to be the most awesome place there.

A bunch of people from SingInst/Less Wrong will be descending upon the desert, bedecked as the members of the Bayesian Conspiracy. Kevin, Jasen, JustinShovelain, Peter de Blanc, Michael Vassar and Nick Tarleton, among others, will be there. If you'd like to stop by, say so in the comments! 

We'll be at 6:50, F, and should be there from Monday 30th.

Please note: Burning Man is serious stuff, and if you don’t think you’re up to the desert, you shouldn’t come. Either way, read the survival guide.


EDIT: updated location

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Well, we all survived, and only one injury (a tooth). It was pretty awesome, all told. We trecked through a dust storm with 5ft visibility and ran into another group of Bayesians in the Sandstorm, forming an epic fellowship.

Next year, of course, will be even better. We might even remember to bring cutlery.

Excellent! Where was this other group camped?

For the record, I didn't need to find my fellow conspirators; they found me. I was sitting though some of Future Camp's lectures when I found myself surrounded by hooded figures, familiar symbols drawn on their garbs. They lured me off to their camp, leaving behind JustinShovelain to collect information in my absence. We all played a sleepy game of Nomic in the shade, and meanwhile I may have been an unwitting pawn in a larger, life-or-death game concerning paperclips. It was very pleasant!

The idea that Bayes Camp could have been the most awesome thing at Burning Man is funny to me, looking back on this.

Awesome. I'm mostly a lurker, but I'll stop by and meet you people.

It is not at all clear to me why this was upvoted three times.

With meetup threads the trend tends to be to up vote people for showing enthusiasm, or just for saying they're going. Maybe up voters justify this as way to encourage people to be vocal about participation, but I doubt the up voters are thinking that far ahead. More likely: people excited about a meetup up vote people that seem excited.

Comments informing that someone is going to be attending a meetup fall in the category "I would like to see more comments like this". I just hope it doesn't lead to abuse of strange incentives.

Could be people using votes as an "I've read this" marker; I've done that sometimes.

A marker for their own future reference or for other people's?

I was thinking for their own, but it seems like it would accomplish both.

This is a level of awesomeness I would have expected of the Bardic Conspiracy.

Just wait until we put on our Erotic Conspiracy costumes.

Oh dear. Is there a theorem that members of the Erotic Conspiracy cannot disagree about having sex?

They also have arguments over which is more erotic, 50 years of the best sex ever or 3^^^3 accidental nipple brushes.

Just the opposite, I'm afraid. There's a meme to the effect that "your kink is not my kink but your kink is okay" -- an explicit recognition of the need to agree to disagree.

Now I've written certain unfinished and unpublished stories set in Brennan's world, so I know there's an Erotic Conspiracy and that it's called the Erotic Conspiracy, but may I inquire as to how you know there's such a thing as the Erotic Conspiracy when Google shows that the first reference on LW is in this very thread? Lucky guess, or did the information escape some other way?

Nooooo! You should have said that how you know it is a secret of the Conspiracy Conspiracy! :)

Shhh! The secrecy of the Pbafcvenpl Pbafcvenpl is tantamount!

Makes sense. I thought I had a distant memory of that, but wasn't sure of the context.

Good luck, oh glorious emissaries. We'll want pictures afterwards, of course.

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.” ~ Robert Heinlein

Do you think Mr. Heinlein could do all this stuff? I don't think he could. I most certainly can't.

It would be astonishing if this list were not pretty much shaped around skills Heinlein happened to have.

But could Heinlein "die gallantly"? I think most people tend to leave that one off of their to do lists. I mean if the opportunity arrises, you walk past a burning orphanage for example, why not? But very few people set out to do this one.

Being able to die gallantly doesn't imply that you should or will die gallantly, only that, should the necessity arise...

Unfortunately, Heinlein reportedly refused cryonics (offered without cost to him, if I recall correctly) because he believed it might interfere with reincarnation. From reading the just-out first volume of his biography, it seems quite likely that he was serious.

Do you think Mr. Heinlein could do all this stuff?

Yes I do. He was a naval lieutenant. He and his third wife designed their own house. It's a broad set of skills but not amazingly broad. Anyone who is both book-smart and has spent time in highly physical occupations should have a similar spread.

That quote needs it's punchline! Specialization is for insects.

It's also easy to think that you know how to do all of those things, if you read instruction manuals and never have an opportunity to find out that you're wrong.

Also, I'm working on it. I'll skip on the dying part though.

I was going to mention the heat death of the universe, but surprising breakthroughs do tend to happen, and we have a while to work on it.

That's actually a quote from a character in one of his novels, I think.

Actually, there are more layers of deniability than that.

Lazarus Long may have said that, but he may or may not have believed it. He was encouraged to just talk, and he very clearly wasn't putting together a codified system of what he believed. Also, he was known to lie.

And we don't have a full transcript of what he was supposed to have said-- it was a computer-edited compendium of advice, and the computer may have had her own agenda.

Did Heinlein believe everything in the Notebooks of Lazarus Long was good advice? Or was some of it just characterization?

Getting back to the book, LL had longer to acquire skills than ordinary humans.

And, for a counter-argument, see Brin's Glory Season-- one of the reasons women are in charge is that men think they ought to be good at everything and don't get the advantages of specialization.

I will be there! Also, if you want to be part of a village next year, The Playagon would totally welcome Bayes Camp! (We'll have discussions and lectures thanks to Future Camp, and mine, The Time Colony, is a "Resource Center for the Temporally Dislocated". We do a Historical Preenactment. Serious Stuff.) We'll be on Athens between 9:30 and 10.

Someone get on that. This is cool enough to get me out there next year.

Additional campers or small groups of campers are welcome to share our space. If today's land grab went as anticipated, we should have a decent chunk of prime space. Try to let us know ahead of time.

My girlfriend and I are looking for a camp, we should get there tomorrow (Thursday). I know it's last minute, so if there isn't any more room we'll just camp at the walk-on site. Current plan is to show up at 6:50 and F and see if there is any room with you guys.

-Jim and Jessica

Sorry we missed you, though maybe you stopped by and said hi when I wasn't there. Our camp was kind of hard to find, we were actually at 6:50 and F and a half, F.5, F.G, or whatever you want to call it. Hope you had a great burn.

Land grab? I thought the whole area was still off-limits. How does land assignment work?

People apply months ahead of time and get assigned space and early access passes. We have some friends that did that and are on the playa already. The unreserved space is first come first serve and they were up there first.

We will now officially be at 6:50 & F.

I'll be there! I shall look forward to meeting some of you. :-)

I'll be attending as well (A reminder: My real name is Zachary Vance). I will be flying in on the 29th to Reno and leaving the 8th. If anyone wants to meet up for rideshare, I'd be pleased. Post a comment here, or call me: (513) 549-5690.

I hope the costuming is serious. Now I want to wear white noise so people know who I am. P.S. Is there a way to get email notifications for responses to a comment? This would be terribly handy.

Edit: Also, if anyone would care to share a tent, it would be helpful to know today, the 28th. I would save $50 in check-on.

yo bayesian conspirators,

i stopped by the tridome a handful of times throughout the week, and i was curious if i could reconnect with some of the people i met. you may remember me from when we brought bacon. i was the one with the chessboard.


paul (friend of michael, alexa, and darby)

paul.gafni at gmail dot com

Very cool. If this goes down next year as well I'm totally there.

Indeed, very cool. If it happens again, I'll be there too.

If this goes well, next year we may organize a more formal theme camp.

I'll arrive in BRC on Tuesday night. I'm part of camp cryo, which I'm pretty sure will be around 9:30 and E. The camp is about liquid nitrogen ice cream, not cryonics. Look for the reflective geodesic dome with an electroluminescent ice cream cone on top. Most of my burner friends don't know my screenname so ask for Geoff.


I guess the east-coast version.

Heinlein also had a thing for redheads....