Who Wants to Help With a Science Project on Playa?

Who wants to help with a science project on playa! Click here!

Admit it, we’ve all thought that the “Six Degrees of Separation” idea has to apply at Black Rock City. And then we’ve wondered if it isn’t even more powerful: what if everybody at Black Rock City is really five degrees of separation from everyone else? Or four?


It seems possible, but we could never prove it, right?

WRONG! A team of researchers based out of MIT’s Media Lab has an experiment they’re going to conduct at Burning Man this year. Like all great Burning Man experiments, it will also lead to an art project: the first ever “Black Rock Atlas” – a map of the social patterns and networks that exist on the playa.

The Black Rock Atlas Team is going to send technological “vessels” through the gift economy of Burning Man, tracking how far they go and how many steps it takes them to get there. They need committed volunteers to ensure that the vessels reach their ultimate destination.

That’s where you come in. Do you like science? Or maps? Wanna help them map our in-person social networks?

If you are curious, inspired, or just generally interested in helping out, please fill out the THIS FORM (with the code MLP) and members of the Black Rock Atlas Team will reach out shortly to you shortly.

You will be supporting one of the most exciting scientific research efforts on the playa this year!

For more information, visit Black Rock Atlas’ website.


About the author: Caveat Magister

Caveat is Burning Man's Philosopher Laureate. A founding member of its Philosophical Center, he is the author of The Scene That Became Cities: what Burning Man philosophy can teach us about building better communities, and Turn Your Life Into Art: lessons in Psychologic from the San Francisco Underground. He has also written several books which have nothing to do with Burning Man. He has finally got his email address caveat (at) burningman (dot) org working again. He tweets, occasionally, as @BenjaminWachs

8 Comments on “Who Wants to Help With a Science Project on Playa?

  • Timothy Bevins says:

    This will be my first time in a sound camp. Deep Sea Divers. I mention this because I will have duties as a camp member, as well as arriving early to set up.I’m very curious on this project and would love to help. Fill me in!!

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  • Julie says:

    It’s time we change the name of Black Rock City, because ‘black’ is a micro aggression word. We don’t want the rest of the world to think we’re racists. Plus, African Americans should get free tickets.

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    • Nethonnius says:

      Exactly! Let’s get rid of the word ‘city’, too. We all know that’s a microagression against indigenous people across the globe! Pull your heads out your asses!

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      • Don says:

        … and let’s get rid of the word “Rock” as well as that clearly is a micro=aggression against beloved dub-step!

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      • Spacemonkey says:

        Wait, how culturally insensitive are projects these days? Can we not find mythological characters to name oneself after besides old bearded white men, like ‘Atlas’? What about a differently-abled goddess of color such as Kali? Have we not progressed beyond #metoo on the playa?

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    • Cris says:

      Guys, you gotta be kidding! Let’s end the whole Earth, after all we are excluding all extra terrestrials! This conversation is at least hilarious. African americans should get free tickets? Are they incapable to look after themselves and work like anybody else? Is being black some sort of illness that keeps you from living like everyone else? If I were black I would be very pissed with these type of rascist idea about me. I am brazilian, a third world country with lots of problems like poverty and violence. Does it qualify me for a free ticket?? It better don´t. Cheers!

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  • The Hustler says:

    OK, The Hustler is in.

    Let’s see what happens.

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