Video

Burning Man for Water Geeks

desal prize

I think Bloomberg Business perhaps believe too much of their own coverage, which portrays Burning Man as a contest between rival techno-billionaires trying to outdo each other with the latest innovations in art cars, blinky lights, and slavery sherpas and Mistresses of Merriment. This caused them to liken the USAID Global Development Lab’s Desal Prize competition to Black Rock City. I see desert, nerds, and solar panels, so I get the association…perhaps needs a little more nudity, drugs, and electronic music.

Still, this event sounds like a great one – and I wish there was more stuff like this at Burning Man.

Here’s the official press release from USAID:

USAID ANNOUNCES WATER DESALINATION PRIZE COMPETITION

For Immediate Release

Friday, March 21, 2014
USAID Press Office
202-712-4320 | Email: USAIDPressOfficers@usaid.gov

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Swedish International Development Agency, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of The Netherlands announced the launch of the Desal Prize for innovations in brackish water desalination.  The Desal Prize is part of the $32 million Securing Water for Food: A Grand Challenge for Development. The U.S. Bureau for Reclamation is providing support in the design and implementation of the prize.

USAID Global Water Coordinator Christian Holmes announced the prize at a U.S. Department of State event marking World Water Day, an annual global celebration highlighting the importance of freshwater resources. White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Director John P. Holdren also spoke at the event.

“Water scarcity is one of today’s most pressing development challenges, and the impact of water on all aspects of development is undeniable,” said Holmes. “We must augment traditional water supplies to satisfy future demand. We urgently need solutions to fulfill the growing need for potable water.”

While water desalination technologies currently exist, few are suitable for rural or remote areas where brackish water is abundant and there is a great need for technologies that can provide fresh water for home and farm use.  Projections indicate that by 2025, two-thirds of world’s populations could be living in severe water stress conditions.

The Desal Prize will award up to $500,000 in grand prize money to individuals or organizations that develop cost effective, energy-efficient, brackish water desalination technologies that provide safe water for drinking and agricultural use. Up to ten semifinalists will also receive seed money to test or further develop their device.

In addition to the prize launch, 83 semi-finalists were named from Securing Water for Food’s first $15 million call for innovations. Launched at the 2013 World Water Week in Stockholm, Securing Water for Food aims to source, incubate, and accelerate innovative solutions to reduce water scarcity around the world. The semifinalists are working on groundbreaking water technologies and new financing products to improve water access. The finalists, who will be announced in September 2014, will receive between $100,000 and $3 million in funding and business development assistance.

To learn more about the Desal Prize, visit www.thedesalprize.org.  For more about Securing Water for Food: A Grand Challenge for Development, please visit SecuringWaterforFood.org.  To stay updated on twitter, follow @SecuringWater.

CNBC has further details about the contest, as well as a story about the winning team.

We desperately need innovation in water harvesting and conservation; there are billions of dollars at stake.

 

How to Survive Burning Man

Image: Scott London

Image: Scott London

Elyse Romano at D’Marge has published some tips on what to expect at Black Rock City. This could be some useful background information for Virgins. Here are some highlights:

For years you’ve heard tales of a wild utopian wonderland in the Nevada desert. For one week, the blank canvas of that barren wasteland turns into something magical.

You’ve envisioned a world of hot hippie women searching for their spirit animals, of chemically-enhanced sex fests, of all-night raves and socially-acceptable nudity. You’re ready to take that dusty plunge and rage until you can’t even remember what planet you’re on.

Slow down, tiger. I’m not saying Burning Man isn’t those things, but I am saying it isn’tonly those things. I’m also saying that the back of every Burning Man ticket warns that you might die at the event, so maybe you want to show up with your shit together. One of the Burner mottos is “Keep Burning Man potentially fatal” for a reason.

So how do you drop into one of the least hospitiable places on Earth and have the most wild, weird and wonderful week of your life? Allow me to be your tour guide…

The Burning Man Living Quarters

Expecting cabins? Prepare to be deeply disappointed (and relentlessly mocked). This is roughing it in the most Bear Grylls sense. You have three best bets: a tent, an RV or a yurt. The tent is classic, but make sure it’s tough enough to withstand a windstorm and know it will be hotter than the inside of a mouth by 9am. Sleeping in is not an option…

The Naked Truth

When it comes to Burning Man style, pretty much anything goes. The more outrageous the better, but skip feathers, sequins and anything else that’s likely to detach and cause litter in the desert. Those things are strictly forbidden.

Have a tutu on hand for Tutu Tuesday – the playa collectively celebrates (yes, even the men) and it’ll let you skip the line for free pancakes at the Pancake Playhouse camp. On the practical side, goggles and face protection (think masks and bandanas) are a must for dust-storms, have warm things on hand for the cool evenings, and don’t forget your sunglasses.

Make sure footwear is comfortable. The event spans many miles and you’ll do a lot of walking. Plenty of Burners ditch the shoes entirely, but take care of your toes because the alkali dust can cause playa foot. And yes, if you’re feeling extra free-spirited, you can leave the clothes in your camp and go totally nude.

Burners are some of the nicest, nakedest people you’ll ever meet, unless you’re shirt cocking – wearing nothing but a shirt with your pants canon out. In that case, we will silently (or loudly) judge you…

Hello, Hedonism

It’s time to talk about the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. It’s all out there for you to enjoy (not as much the rock ‘n’ roll – Burners tend to prefer electronic music), but it has to be done responsibly.

Dying to dance? There’s a party to be found 24/7. Dying for a drink? You’re constantly surrounded by bars serving free booze. Dying to get down with the cutie you just met? There are camps designed solely to facilitate such salacious shenanigans.

Dying for something more dubiously legal? It’s out there too, but remember that, as much as it seems like an autonomous entity, Burning Man is still governed by state and federal laws. Undercover cops are out there and they’re ready to seriously eff-up your day.

What it all comes down to is this: have fun, challenge your boundaries, but don’t be a dick about it. There’s a right way and a wrong way to do everything, and you don’t want your poor decisions to land you in the hospital or a Nevada jail cell.

Read the rest of the tips at DMarge.com

 

 

Avoid the Riff Raff and Fly In

Pilatus PC-12 at Burning Man. Image: Peter Ruprecht

Epic Experimental at Burning Man. Image: Peter Ruprecht

Playa Air Express have been serving Burning Man for more than a decade. A couple of years ago they flew my sister in, we were very happy with the experience and value for money. Now they have expanded their fleet and their routes. They are open for reservations now, book early as things will get crazy closer to Aug 30. Flights start at $475.

Here’s their latest newsletter.


 

from flypacificcoast.com:

PLAYA AIR EXPRESS 2015: Annual Burning Man Newsletter

Hello everyone and Happy 2015! We would like to take a special moment to thank all of our existing clients for flying with us after all these years to the annual homecoming on the Playa for Burning Man 2015, as well as welcome new clients who will fly with us.

During the past several months we have been developing more routes from desirable cities to fly directly into the Burning Man event, and we wanted to share the good news with you as you begin to make your travel plans. Along with the great news that JetBlue is expanding their services, and will now be offering daily, non-stop service from JFK to Reno, Playa Air Express has also expanded our services, aircraft fleet, and routes as well into Burning Man/Black Rock City (88NV).

Beechcraft King Air 200

Beechcraft King Air 200

We now offer a King Air 200 for non-stop service from the Los Angeles, Phoenix and Las Vegas areas!

  • Flights originating from the Los Angeles area direct to Burning Man, we will fly out of Hawthorne airport (Jack Northrop Field-KHHR) which is approximately 10 minutes from the LAX airport.
  • Flights originating from Las Vegas area direct to Burning Man we will fly out of the North Las Vegas airport (VGT) approximately 20 minutes from Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport.
  • Flights originating from the Phoenix area direct to Burning Man we will fly out of Chandler, AZ, (Chandler Municipal Airport-KCHD) approximately 25 minutes from Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International.
  • We will also have an additional aircraft positioned for our Bay Area routes direct to Burning Man which will be flying out of Hayward, CA. (Hayward Executive Airport-KHWD) approximately 30 minutes from the SFO and Oakland airports.

 

If you desire to travel to Burning Man originating from another regional city such as Seattle,Portland, Salt Lake City, San Jose, San Diego, or Denver please inquire with us when you submit your email to us. In addition, we can arrange jet charter services from many US locations and either connect you to a shuttle from Reno direct into Burning Man, or connect you to our other designated gateway cities to get you there as well. Helicopters are available as well.

We still offer our great air shuttle services from Reno direct to Burning Man with (2) five seat aircraft (depending on baggage) out of Atlantic Aviation which is a short 10 minutes from the Reno/Tahoe International airport.

Please email us for rates and scheduling information at burnershuttle@gmail.com.

We will begin taking reservations and answering questions for travel arrangements to the 2015 Burning Man event on Monday, April 13th, 2015. We look forward to continuing to serve all of your Burning Man flight needs, and we appreciate your business. Thank you.

Dionne Chinn

Playa Air Express | Pacific Coast Flight Solutions LLC.

Reno, NV. 89519

burnershuttle@gmail.com

www.flypacificcoast.com

https://www.facebook.com/sierranevada.burners

https://twitter.com/playaairexpress

(775) 848-2030

If Radical Inclusion is more your thing, this guy will be waiting for you at the Gayte - naked and looking for hugs...

If Radical Inclusion is more your thing, this guy will be waiting for you at the Gate – naked and looking for hugs…

BurnerCon – #glc2015 Report [Update]

BMOrg’s Global Leadership Conference just happened, at the Kabuki Hotel in Japantown. Why there, you ask? Well, perhaps this is just a coincidence, but it’s a Joie De Vivre boutique hotel, part of the empire built by BMP Director Chip Conley. Hope they got a good discount on the space.

BMOrg had promised us that we would be able to watch the sessions on video, even if we weren’t lucky enough to be invited to the conference. Unfortunately, Friday’s sessions were plagued with technical difficulties, so all we at home got to see was the warm-up. @motorbikematt from the Mars Rover Art Car team (and NASA) was in charge of the streaming; it appears sending live video from the Mission to Mars, is not as technically challenging as streaming it from the Mission in San Francisco. The stream was working slightly better on Saturday. Not all of the sessions have been uploaded to YouTube, I hope they will be soon.

BMOrg are “side by side with us, collaborating, co-creating”…

Of course, they’re still camped in a private Commodification Camp which is not shared with the public. And they’re making this statement at an event that regular Burners can’t attend, only insiders.

Marian made the point that if we want change in the Org, we should just be patient because it’s a hundred year plan. She revealed that the size of the business now is $34 million in revenues.

They are going to cut the wait times at Will Crawl by a third to a half – so it might drop to 4 or 5 hours. They are negotiating to increase the population cap, too – a team of 5 are going to Washington in 2 weeks, meeting high level people in the Department of the Interior and Law Enforcement.

You can see Marian’s presentation in this video, you will need to fast-forward to 18:49. The recording is a little patchy.

Handheld lasers are now banned; fixed lasers are still permitted.

As much as I love lasers, this is probably a good thing. Idiots scanning the crowd led to blindness for a BRC Ranger. Another safety concern is people pointing lasers at the Man and the Temple on burn night. Both structures get packed with highly inflammable materials – it’s not just wood – so that they burn brightly and in a controlled fashion. Right up to the Burn, there are people inside the structures preparing them. If some of this combustible material was hit by a powerful enough laser, the whole thing would go up before it’s ready – maybe before the people can get out.

nice things catIt is interesting to note that in this case, which I would see as a workplace injury, it was Burners who provided the financial compensation to the injured worker. BMOrg just made up a new rule to restrict the behavior of Burners. I kind of think it sucks that Burners pay for this and get punished; all BMOrg has to do is come up with a new rule. Lasers could have been managed with licenses, regulations, and fines – like how they are handling drones – instead of an outright ban. This seems like a knee-jerk reaction. What’s next, someone OD’s, so they make drugs illegal? All have to pay the price for the idiocy of a few, while BMOrg has to pay $0. Burners carry the cost, BMOrg get all the benefits. They don’t even have to worry about their workers comp insurance premiums going up! Since they’re side-by-side with Burners, perhaps they could at least match the funds raised by Burners.

BM founder Harley Dubois is determined to change corporate America.

Larry Harvey expressed similar sentiments recently, when he told Bloomberg “my mission is to reform the 1 percent“.

This reminds me of the Timothy Leary days, when all politicians and CEOs needed to do was drop acid and then they would “get it”, so the world could be saved.

BM founder Crimson Rose is fresh back from Ireland, where she was sent to watch David Best’s Temple burn.

In Crimson’s session, she revealed the combined power of Burning Man Arts (basically, The Burning Man Project acquired Black Rock Arts Foundation as well as Black Rock City LLC). Her numbers also include art grants within the Regional Network. Art grants for 2015 are up to $1.2 million, and a further $100k has been granted to off-Playa art projects. Of course, we don’t know what the official figures for Burning Man Project are for 2014 or 2015, that information is years away – we’ll just have to take Crimson’s word for it. Was any of the $1.2 $1.3 million “in kind” contributions, or was it all cash? Again, we won’t know until we see the 2015 IRS Form, some time in 2017. This new multi-year lag in transparency makes it easier for BMOrg to make claims that can’t be verified, which in turn makes the Minister of Propaganda’s job easier.

For 2015, Burning Man Arts received 510 Letters of Intent for art projects. Of these, 222 were invited to submit a grant proposal. 210 were submitted, plus 34 from the regionals. In total 123 grants were awarded in 2015, for $1.3 million – an average of $10,569 per artist – substantially down from previous years. The amount of Art Grants as a percentage of revenues has stayed about the same, even as revenues have grown massively.

I have updated my previous table with the new information, and to list BRAF and Art Honoraria grants together.

Screenshot 2015-04-12 10.46.34

The 2014 and 2015 figures have been distorted further by including art grants from the Regionals network. It’s not clear to me if these are now funded by BMOrg, or by the Regionals from their own ticket sales. So far, I have no information that BMOrg ever sends money to the Regionals for any type of grants; rather, the Regionals are required to put some of their own ticket money into funding art projects. If BMOrg are going to count all these art grants in their public figures, then they should count them the same way in their tax filings. Right?

There seem to be four types of Art Grants now:

  1. Honoraria Grants – partial funding of on-Playa artworks
  2. Global Art Grants, continuation of BRAF’s Grants to Artists program. 12 years starting in 2003, awarded $450,000+ to 112 projects – an average of $4000 each. These were in 23 US states and 18 foreign countries.
  3. Civic Arts – formerly a BRAF program. 10 years, starting in 2005. 45 projects to date. $216,800 to 8 projects in 2014 (average $27,100 each).
  4. Community Innovation Grants: collaboration and partnerships with like-minded people.

Crimson stated that since 2001, Burning Man has funded more than $8 million in art. Let’s drill into that a bit.

That’s over 14 years; in the last 5 years, they’ve made more than $122 million in ticket sales to their Art Festival, and spent just under $5 million on art. We will probably never know how much they spent on lawyers and accountants since 2013, the last year when they made their financial chart available to Burners. Now it is secret, while they boast about being more transparent. Ah, such irony! What we do know that in the 5 year period of 2009-2013, they spent more than $6.6 million on lawyers and accountants, and $3.6 million on art.

Screenshot 2015-04-12 09.14.50

Interestingly, BMOrg are no longer sharing the 2010 Afterburn financials on their web site. They’re still available at the Wayback Machine.

Dennis Kucinich spoke about Quantum Physics, manifesting your ideal destiny, the nature of reality, and being a Fox News analyst.

We got a report from Detroit, about what Burners are doing in the city where houses cost less than Burning Man tickets:

And we got an update from the International Regionals:

It sounds like the most important issue will be addressed…”coming soon”.

Finally, here is the Dear Leader of this cultural movement:

The next few days are going to be long and exhausting, challenging GLC participants to pack as much information and ideas and conversation into their brains as possible before heading back to their region to bring the seed home. One thing’s for sure, they’ll leave as tired as they are inspired.

Oh and here’s Larry Harvey in a worm costume:

DW5A0031
Larry “Bookworm” Harvey is judging you (Photo by Sidney Erthal)

[Update 4/13/15 1:13pm]

There has been some confusion in the comments about the funding of the Regionals.

Here are the relevant slides from Crimson Rose’s presentation.

Screenshot 2015-04-13 13.11.17Screenshot 2015-04-13 13.12.45

Screenshot 2015-04-13 13.13.16

So it looks like for 2015, there were 78 Burning Man projects, as well as 27 art projects funded by the regionals. This makes 105 projects, and $1.2 million. It appears to me that the funding for the regional art projects is being included in the total. However, maybe there has been some sort of policy change now, and money will be flowing from the non-profit out to all the Regionals to spread Burner art through the world. We can only hope…

Everything might be within the $1.2 million, including the $100,000 Global Arts Grants. And what of the Civic Arts grants? $216,800 cash handed out in 2014, is this part of 2015’s $1.2 million budget, or on top of it?

As for Global Art Grants, it seems the 4 international projects are part of the 18 total; but, are the 18 counted in the 105? Are the 8 Civic Arts Project part of it? Or is it actually 131 art projects funded in 2015?

Confusing, isn’t it.

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.

mad_max_4_fury_road_speaker_truck_wtf___2_by_maltian-d5okx0d

Fire truck of the future?