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A math degree can take you to a lot of places, both physically and figuratively, and if you play your cards right, you too can argue counterfactual definiteness with a shaman. First in 2008, and several times since, a fellow math PhD and I traveled to the Burning Man art festival to sit in the desert and talk with the locals about whatever they happened to be curious about.


This is the accepted manuscript of an article originally published in The Mathematical Intelligencer, available at



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