"This is the one time the tech guys can do something ephemeral." I am seated on the "Burner Express", a bus that will carry me from San Francisco into the dusty heart of the Nevada desert for this year's Burning Man festival.

A nearby passenger is explaining loudly to his fellow pilgrims why the annual bacchanal — where artists and hedonists push the boundaries of their creativity with a brief return to the Sixties ideals of free love and drugs, against a backdrop of thumping electronic music — has become a choice destination for moneyed Silicon Valley executives (alumni include

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