Bass Versus Burn

Students Viet Tran (L) and Seth Robertson with their invention, a sound extinguisher, at the Fairfax Campus. Photo by Alexis Glenn/Creative Services/George Mason University

Students Viet Tran (L) and Seth Robertson with their invention, a sound extinguisher, at the Fairfax Campus. Photo by Alexis Glenn/Creative Services/George Mason University

Two students at George Mason University have come up with a remarkable invention, which could be a game-changer in the eternal war of hippies vs ravers. You want us to turn the music off? Well maybe we’ll just turn your fire off!

From factmag:

By blasting a fire with low frequencies between 30 and 60 hertz range, the extinguisher separates oxygen from fuel, explains inventor Viet Tran, who built the device with fellow student Seth Robertson. “The pressure wave is going back and forth, and that agitates where the air is. That specific space is enough to keep the fire from reigniting.”

The pair faced plenty of opposition to their project initially because they’re electrical engineers, not chemical – several faculty members refused to act as advisers on the project. Eventually their professor Brian Mark agreed to oversee their work and not fail them if the whole thing flopped, said Tran.

Some further details from the Washington Post:

They weren’t at all sure that it would work

“I honestly didn’t think it would work as well as it did,” Tran said.

And neither did their professor

“My initial impression was that it wouldn’t work,” Mark, their adviser, said. “Some students take the safe path, but Viet and Seth took the higher-risk option.”

They MacGyver’d it

Image: Evan Cantwell/GMU

Image: Evan Cantwell/GMU

the goal was to create something portable and affordable like a fire extinguisher that would generate the sound wave at the correct frequency, which they were able to do with the help of an oscilloscope that measured the waves. They connected their frequency generator to a small amplifier and linked the amplifier to a small electric power source. These are hooked up to a collimator that they made out of a large cardboard tube with a hole at the end, which narrows the sound waves to a smaller area.

They tried ultra-high frequencies, such as 20,000 or 30,000 hertz, and could see the flames vibrating but not going out. They took it down low, and at the range of 30 to 60 hertz, the fires began to extinguish…the trial-and-error began. They placed flaming rubbing alcohol next to a large subwoofer and found that it wasn’t necessarily all about that bass, musically speaking, at least. “Music isn’t really good,” Robertson said, “because it doesn’t stay consistent.”

The next level of testing will determine if it can put out large structure fires.

So how does it work?

The basic concept, Tran said, is that sound waves are also “pressure waves, and they displace some of the oxygen” as they travel through the air. Oxygen, we all recall from high school chemistry, fuels fire. At a certain frequency, the sound waves “separate the oxygen [in the fire] from the fuel. The pressure wave is going back and forth, and that agitates where the air is. That specific space is enough to keep the fire from reigniting.”

Like the Internet and SIRI, the technology is straight out of the Pentagon’s secret research division.

In 2012, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency conducted a project on “acoustic suppression of flame” and found that it worked on small levels but could not determine if it would work at “the levels required for defense applications,” the agency said.

One of the students works for the Defense Department…coincidence?

Robertson has been working at the Defense Department and has been offered a job with the Air Force. Tran has interned at a Dulles, Va.-area aerospace firm with a promise of a job after graduation.

This could be a great solution for fire-fighting in dry areas, like Nevada, drought-stricken California, or the new frontier of space:

Although the students originally envisioned their device as a tool to attack kitchen fires and to eliminate the toxic monoammonium phosphate used in commercial fire extinguishers, they can see more uses: in confined areas in space, or wide areas outdoors, such as forest fires. Not having to use water or foam would be a bonus in many situations.

Read the full story at the Washington Post.

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Fire truck of the future?

 

 

hgh ems

BMOrg, Humboldt Hospital Cut Contract Early

In the wake of the departure of Joseph Pred, long-time head of Burning Man’s Emergency Services Department, BMOrg have severed the half-million dollar a year contract with Humboldt General Hospital to provide emergency medical services at Burning Man.

From the Reno-Gazette Journal:

For the past four years, Humboldt General Hospital has been at the helm of the onsite clinic and any emergency medical services which require transport to either its main facility in Winnemucca, Nev. or other facilities in Reno.

But Burning Man has severed its current medical services contract with Humboldt General Hospital and is reviewing its options.

In 2011, Burning Man signed a five-year contract with Humboldt General Hospital, which was expected to be operate the medical services at the event through this year’s festivities.

Burning Man was to pay $500,000 annually for Humboldt General Hospital’s services at Burning Man, according to a statements in August by Humboldt General Hospital CEO Jim Parrish…Burning Man has made no promises that Humboldt General Hospital will continue to provide medical services for the weeklong event that this year will take place from Aug. 30 to Sept. 7.

“We are looking at possible new medical support service providers, and Humboldt General Hospital is part of that review,” said Jim Graham, special projects senior adviser for Burning Man…

Burning Man expects to have a new contract in place as early as April, according to Graham, who noted that it very well could include Humboldt General Hospital.

…Up until 2011, the Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority of Reno, better known as REMSA, served Burning Man.

“It’s a logistical nightmare,” said Kevin Romero, REMSA director.

Setting up a medical clinic in the middle of a desert is no easy task, he said, especially when the bulk of participants are receiving heavy doses of heat and sun exposure. Not to mention, many of them are under the influence of alcohol and drugs…

The Reno-based ambulance service served Burning Man for 12 years before the free spirit festival held in the Black Rock Desert decided to sign with Humboldt General Hospital, which put in the highest bid for the contract at the time.

If Humboldt General Hospital again signs a contract with Burning Man, REMSA may re-enter the equation, according to Pat Songer, chief of Emergency Medical Services at Humboldt General Hospital.

Humboldt General Hospital has provided between 300 and 350 employees on site at Burning Man.

The employees range from nurses to physicians to maintenance staff. Their departments range from emergency medicine to radiology, according to Songer.

One of the resources that Humboldt General Hospital is short of, however, is ambulances.

REMSA has a larger fleet, and Humboldt General Hospital is interested in requesting an extra five ambulances from REMSA, in addition to the eight that the hospital provides on site already.

Still, the decision to bring REMSA back into the equation ultimately would be Burning Man’s, as it will come at an additional cost to the nonprofit.

Songer said that it is the hospital’s hope that Burning Man recognizes the value of bringing REMSA’s backup resources on board since it could namely would improve the event’s mass injury and mass casualty plan.

medical staff that practice on the playa gain a multitude of new skills working in such a remote location that lacks the conveniences provided by a standard clinic or hospital. 

“It’s really the optimal place to practice medicine. It’s really hands on,” said Louis Meneiola, chief of hospital operations for Burning Man.

The majority of incidents treated at Burning Man are dehydration related, followed by minor trauma cases that may include abrasions or lacerations.

Alcohol and drug related cases make up a surprisingly small number of the cases that are seen by Humboldt General Hospital’s staff, though they require perhaps the most attention, Songer said.

In all, Humboldt General Hospital Staff treat an average of about 450 patients each day

Read the full story at the Reno Gazette-Journal
Video

The First Unpowered Flight to Burning Man

Burner Kurtis Carter wanted to skip the entry traffic so much, he jumped off a mountain 70 miles away and flew through the air for more than 6 hours. Sure beats sitting in the Will Crawl line!

 

BMOrg Tips Hat to Caravancicle Camp Director

Voices of Burning Man has a story from Communications Director Megan Miller, the latest BMOrg employee jetting around the world to attend a festival: Envision, in Uvite, Costa Rica. Her report is very favorable – as it should be, Envision is a great event as we said in 2012:

This week, Burners.Me is lucky enough to be coming to you live (well, sort of!) from the Envision festival in Puntarenas, Costa Rica.

There are some immediately obvious differences from Burning Man. We arrived and were welcomed by Stephen Brooks, one of the world’s leading experts in permaculture, singing on stage songs about the potential within all of us to make the future better than the past our parents handed us. Later singers acknowledged the presence of different tribes, and asked us all to unite as one to protect the earth. The message was that tanks, bombs, machine guns and torpedos could not stop the love that all humans have for one another. We found it very inspiring, and great to dance to.

From the musical side, the score was Hippies 1 Ravers 1 – a lovely balance, and nice to be able to move between the two. The music was great on both counts. All the people were happy and everyone’s attitude was great. If you were thirsty, a mere $2 got you a giant refreshing coconut.

[Read the full story: Envision 2012 Costa Rica – Burners By The Beach]

Megan seems to think the same:

I was deeply impressed with the way people at Envision took responsibility for the environment around them, and for the experience had by themselves and others. I didn’t see a single piece of out of place trash on the ground (also called ‘MOOP’ by Envision-ers). I saw people jumping in, helping out, and bringing what they had to offer the collective experience.

While there were goods available for purchase in the tasteful marketplace and food stalls (no huge corporate banners, here), everywhere I turned I witnessed people genuinely enjoying acts of gifting. At times I found myself searching for price listings only to realize the activities didn’t cost any money – these included a face painting booth, a place to immerse yourself in blue clay, and a treehouse slide made of bamboo straight out of Tom Sawyer’s jungle paradise.

The connections between Envision and Burning Man run deep. One of Envision’s 6 Co-founders, Stephen Brooks, has been attending Burning Man for the past 14 years (his father has been ten times!), and you could see and feel the connection between the two communities everywhere.

Village Stage schedule (Photo by Zac Cirivello)
Village Stage schedule (Photo by Zac Cirivello)

There’s a strong theme camp presence – leadership from Fractal Nation, Sacred Spaces, Abraxas, and others are interwoven into the fabric of Envision. Members of various on-playa departments work as Envision staff and volunteers – DPW, Gate, Rangers, Café, Media Mecca, ESD – they’re all there, putting to use the skills they’ve mastered on the playa. In the Costa Rican jungle.

It’s not a tough sell, really. “Sort of like Burning Man? But on the beach?” Say no more.

It is interesting that Megan chose to highlight Stephen, who is one of Envision’s founders, as the example of how tight Burning Man is with Envision.

Stephen was the manager of Burning Man Project Director Jim Tananbaum’s now infamous Caravancicle camp. He insists that the camp was a great example of giving, and he worked hard to teach the Ten Principles to all their guests:

Screenshot 2015-03-18 18.52.32

Image: Facebook (Public)

Remember when Danger Ranger blamed all the camp’s woes on a rave promoter, who was now banned for life?

I have also conducted my own personal investigation into this matter and have come up with answers that may be more specific than some of those presented thus far.

My conclusion is that Burning Man broke Caravansicle. I might add that the individual who profited from Caravansicle will not be allowed back into Burning Man.

When I was finally able to confront Mr Tananbaum face-to-face, my first words to him were; “You really stepped in some shit.” I believe that he truly regrets the wreckage in the wake of his camp. Mr Tananbaum started out with the best of intentions. Caravansicle was not intended to be commercial in nature. His goal was to fund and produce a large camp for friends and associates, much like the camps that he had done in the two previous years. But this year it was going to be grander and larger. His first mistake was to hire a professional camp producer from the commercial EDM world with no Burning Man experience. This is what brought in the sherpas and wristbands. His second mistake was having a bar so big and so public that it ran out of liquor. Nothing is worse than a half-drunk lynch mob. And I’m sure that the professional camp producer was surprised to discover no trash dumpsters at Burning Man. None-the-less, the camp producer took the money and ran.

Tananbaum’s account was almost the complete opposite of Danger Ranger’s, singing the praises of his camp manager. In his own statement on the Burning Man web site he said:

I am writing to respond to a number of posts regarding Caravancicle, a camp of which I was a member in 2014 – I also helped envision and fund the camp.

The hero of this unfortunate situation was our camp’s manager who worked tirelessly for 2 days along with other camp members to help provide basic infrastructure for all of us. While the crisis was going on, all of us were greatly distracted and weren’t able to properly respond to the many people coming through our camp. Our supplies were also dwindling. Since the camp was so large, we used wristbands to help manage the food, water, and booze supply during non-public hours. It was really sad for me to read the accounts of people who visited our camp and were turned down for drinks during the day (including a number of my friends). Ughh….  If we had simply posted a sign providing details on camp gift times, it would have made a big difference.

Our camp breakdown was also compromised because the group responsible for providing the infrastructure was also responsible for part of the breakdown. In the end, our camp manager and some other members of the camp, plus breakdown staff, cleaned up our camp by Saturday after the event.

Let’s hope this story means the lifetime ban’s been lifted – if it ever existed in the first place. Stephen is a good guy and a good Burner – don’t believe everything you read on the Internet, if the source is not credible.

Definitely go check out Envision, and the beautiful country of Costa Rica which has 300,000 different kinds of bugs.

envision 2015

Google Employee Creating Burning Man Musical

A couple of weeks ago we brought you news of Burning Man: The Musical – a new Kickstarter project. It seems the idea is ramping up fast, with a big profile from the Reno Gazette-Journal.

The man behind the idea has never been to Burning Man. Does that make him a pre-Burner?

The musical is the brainchild of Matt Werner, a 30-year-old New York City-based Google employee who has never been to Burning Man. This year will be his first.

The Oakland, Calif. native — a former “hacker house” resident and a friend to many Silicon Valley hipster techies — admits that he sees the irony: A virgin Burner orchestrates a musical version of the world’s favorite desert Utopian festival that he has never been to.

His own story seems to be a little bit reflected in the plot of the unborn musical. The story line focuses on a 25-year old techie named Joe who lives in San Francisco and commutes down to Silicon Valley.

Joe goes to Burning Man one year and it disappoints initially.

Who wants to dance with a sparkle pony, right?

Who wants to dance with a sparkle pony, right?

“His lofty ambitions to network with high-powered executives are not met. Between getting dumped by his girlfriend, dancing with sparkle ponies, and nearly dying while on a vision quest in the desert, he reaches a real low,” according to Werner’s web page.

“In the midst of this low, the acceptance, connection, and playfulness he experiences at Burning Man make him start to question his past life of ambition and power in Silicon Valley. The sharing economy and free spirits he meets in the desert make him wonder--is his real mission in life just to make money? Or is it maybe to authentically connect with others and help others?” the synopsis reads.

The RGJ asks the hard-hitting questions:

Q: Are you going to be critical at all of Burning Man and its direction? Is this just about a trip to Burning Man, about Burning Man? Or is it about Burning Man and its direction today?

I’m using “Book of Mormon” as a model. It does satirize the Mormon faith, but it does celebrate it too. It’s laughing with them, and not at them. It is going to be a satirical piece. It’s going to be a musical comedy. I mean, people recognize the absurdity of the festival. It is going to be a celebration of the values, and about the conflict between Silicon Valley and Black Rock City.

Q: Which side of that conflict are you on?

For me, I live in multiple worlds. I’ve worked at Google for five years, but I’m going to go to Burning Man. What is interesting to me, this notion of utopia. Some people I know, they believe that technology will solve all the world’s problems. Then there’s this other version of utopia, where we’re really in tune with ourselves. What I think is fascinating is seeing these worlds collide. I’ve lived in both of them. I used to live with these Russian programmers living in this “hacker house” pad. But we’ve had these really deep, meaningful conversations about all of this. Some of the media depictions have really hammed up the influence of these guys.

Q: So, do these techies come back changed people? Can you be a Google guy, or a tech savant, and be a true Burner too?

If you’re a billionaire, can you really say you’re a Burner? I really don’t know. Working at Google, the co-founders, they’ve all been to Burning Man. Some of the Silicon Valley people that go — some of the guys, they’re going to hook up with girls, and do drugs, and dance. There’s others who are radically transformed, and who do decide to find other work. I don’t have a statement I am trying to make: Silicon Valley, bad; Burning Man, good, or vice versa

[Read the rest of the story at the Reno Gazette-Journal]

There’s a conflict between Silicon Valley and Black Rock City? Could’ve fooled me. But perhaps that is the ironic premise for this Big Farce. Donate here if you want to find out.

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