First Waco, Texas LW Meetup, 4/09, 1PM

by SilasBarta1 min read6th Apr 201156 comments


Personal Blog

Date: Saturday, April 9

Time: 1PM

Location: Common Grounds Coffeehouse, IH-35 and S 8th Street (east side of interstate).  (If you can't find parking behind the place, use the parking garage [free on weekends] just a short distance down the street.)

Well, I'm going through with it!  We'll have our first Texas LW meetup.  No other known Waco LWers, but it's not a bad drive (~90 minutes) from Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth, or Bryan/College Station.

I will be the guy in the blue blazer with a Less Wrong sign.  I have no idea what the turnout will be, but I'll stay until at least 5pm, so come on by if you can.

The website reports an all-day 100 Cameras event, but this shouldn't interfere.

Edit: Looks like that was an old notice for the Saturday two weeks before this, so there is no interfering event to worry about.

Edit2: I've set up the Waco Meetup Group with this event shown.  (And promoted it on Craigslist.)

REPORT: Success!  Vaniver, NMJablonski, his wife, Clippy's humanoid robot, and I showed up.  We talked about various rationality issues: the potential for the upcoming boot camp, the heritability of personality traits and intelligence, the inefficiencies and lost purposes in the economy today, and of course, string theory.  At the end, we helped Clippy decide whether he should go to Rationalist Boot Camp (if he's accepted) by doing a probability-weighted CBA, which Vaniver helped coordinate very well.

Here is a picture of us at the meetup: from left to right: Vaniver, me, Laura (NMJablonski's wife), and NMJablonski. Clippy's robot did not want to be in it.  (I tried to upload it to this site, but even after resizing it down to the limit it wouldn't accept.)

We're planning to have another Texas meetup in Austin in two weeks.


56 comments, sorted by Highlighting new comments since Today at 12:23 PM
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UPDATE: I added the report of what happened to the article. I'm going to have to reverse my opinion on Clippy, he was really cool (if a bit secretive) in person, and I no longer hold his posting as a paperclip maximizer against him.

Upvoted for publicly changing a previously committed-to position.

I really liked the report!

I will go to this one.

You say that a lot. Can you name anyone who will confirm that you showed up at any meetup you said you would attend?

I haven't gone to any meetups yet. I did not state intention to do so for previous meetups either; I only asked questions about the permissibility or possibility of me or my robot going.

[+][anonymous]11y -14

Great meetup! I liked that the others were so willing to work with me on instantiating correct reasoning for my cost-benefit analysis for the "Rationality Boot Camp". Person:SilasBarta was not nearly as anti-paperclip in physical interaction as User:SilasBarta is on this internet website.

The humans I met really are a credit to your race!

It was great to meet you and the others Clippy!

Seeing you and User:SilasBarta interact reminded me that one must be careful when interpreting tone in internet comments. You were both polite and reasonable, and I thoroughly enjoyed the discussions.

you and User:SilasBarta interact

Transscripts anyone?

Did Clippy take the photo, then?

Yes, it did. Its chitinous carapace, though rather fetching, was also far too reflective for us to get a good picture while outside, and so it graciously opted to not impinge on us humans feeding our vanity, as well as using its superior eyes and memory to accomplish the photography itself.

I was under the impression that Clippy's robot was more humaniform than that. Huh. Live and learn.

p>.9 that I will be there (coming from Austin).

Awesome! I didn't know you were so close. (My family's in Austin and I go there a lot ... last Saturday, in fact.)

Hope to see you there, try not to grill me on our last discussion ;-)

Departing now, which raises the probability up to 1-epsilon. I am amused that my directions are essentially "get on 35; drive; get off 35.".

As a citizen of Houston, I am positively terrified of Waco, although your presence there seems to indicate that there may be some sort of underground vein of rationalism in the area...

As a citizen of Houston,

Awesome! Good to see another LW Texan!

I am positively terrified of Waco, although your presence there seems to indicate that there may be some sort of underground vein of rationalism in the area...

Heh, I keep telling the folks here the same thing, that they're overestimating the latent rationalists in the area. For my part, I'm only even here because I got a good job offer a while back and haven't done much to find other jobs/cities since.

The primary sources of latent rationalists would be:

  • The Unitarian Universalist church that I visited last Sunday
  • White-collar employees at the two aerospace employers (yes, Waco has an aerospace industry), L-3 Communications and SpaceX (yes, SpaceX has operations in Waco)
  • The Baylor and community college students that aren't gung-ho churchgoers

Anyway, in the future, maybe the Texas LWers could meet in College Station, which would put the meetup about equidistant from Dallas, Waco, Austin, and Houston. Bonus points for you if you make it to this one, but that is quite a ways to travel.

I don't think I'll be making the trek out to those parts of the world anytime soon but College Station may be do-able. It is good to know that the UU has survived in Waco, I generally make it a point to stop by there whenever I'm in town (if only to annoy my extremely southern Baptist family). But anyway, keep fighting the good fight and keep Texan rationalism alive (or at least not picked over by the vultures and other scavengers).

I'm mostly a lurker, but the reports from other groups sound excellent. My wife and I will be there.

(coming from Austin)

Awesome! Looking forward to meeting you and your wife!

And you didn't even need to visit New York City to work up the gumption!

Well, arguably I did :-P