Quanto?

how much

In a gift-based economy, how much is enough? How much of what? Exactly.

David “with a small d” Kittay is a professor at Columbia University, teaching “Technology, Religion, Future” and “Interpreting Buddhist Yoga”. He’s also the father of Burning Man’s Social Alchemist, Bear Kittay. Last year he gave a talk at TEDx Black Rock City about How Much?

The discussion is on the subject of a hermeneutic algorithm to determine meaning in our conversations. How much meaning resides in what is said and understood.

Teacher and lecturer in Columbia University’s Religion Department, specializing in Buddhism. Moderated panel at Columbia last year on “Burning Man, Religion, Technology, and the Future,” with Larry Harvey, who attended my seminar on the same subject. Many years experience as trial lawyer, and teach and appear on panels speaking on ethics, law, technology, the future, and religion.

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.

 

DEA Activity at Burning Man? Sorry, That’s Classified

PNN-190-Burning-Man-Police-State-600x400

VICE reports that a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) related to the DEA’s activities at Burning Man between 2011-2015 returned 43 pages of results. However, the report was heavily redacted.

From motherboard.vice.com:

A Freedom of Information Act request asking the Drug Enforcement Administration for “investigative files concerning the Burning Man Festival 2011-2015” is a great idea—after all, any neo-hippie-desert shantytown gathering is going to have as much drug use as it has nudity, and Burning Man is known for epic portions of both.

The results were rather disappointing, however. The FOIA-requesting/distribution site Government Attic just posted the response to​ the request this morning, and you’re welcome to check them out if you’re the type of weirdo who is really into blank pages of redacted information.

The request was sent down to the Las Vegas Field Office, where it brought up a hefty 43 pages alluding to the DEA’s work at the festival. Most of the material was redacted to protect the privacy of individuals involved and to obscure the exact techniques used by law enforcement.

“On August 29, 2013, Detectives of the Department of Public Safety, the Bureau of Land Management and other local law enforcement agencies worked as a narcotics task force at the Burning Man Festival in the Black Rock Desert, Pershing, Nevada,” the first page opens tantalizingly.

But instead of account after account of people trading mushrooms for beads outside the Slut Olympics—source material for a surefire comedic hit starring Will Ferrell as the uptight Agent Johnson—what follows is blank page after blank page.

Specifically, the exemptions are in the name of protecting against invasions of personal priv​acy; protecting information “which would reveal techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions or that would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions;” and protecting “law enforcement information which could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual.”

The documents reveal that the DEA conducted investigations in 2012 and in 2013. The agents from DEA and their collaborating agencies were on the playa just after midnight in August of 2012, and “working in an undercover capacity.”

One investigation led to a heavily redacted case that was “prosecuted at the state level” in 2012. “DEA retains no evidence or arrest responsibility for this investigation,” the DEA investigation report says. “The case is administratively closed.” However, there are no details on what the case was about.

Still, the few details provided may open the door to other FOIA requests, which hopefully will have more fruitful results. It also gives a place for the imagination to run wild. [Source: Vice]

We’ve all seen plenty of TV shows and movies about the DEA and what they do to gather evidence on suspects. Wiretaps, drones, infrared vision that can see through walls, undercover stings, hidden cameras, sniffer dogs. So what techniques could be so secret that they have to be classified?

This art car was revealed to us in 2013 by a whistleblower, as full of undercover cops.

In 2013 a whistleblower revealed that this art car was used by undercover cops at Burning Man.

marge burning manMeanwhile, even childrens cartoon shows like The Simpsons depict rampant drug use at Burning Man, while political figures like Grover Norquist and celebrity commentators like John Oliver and Jon Stewart make jokes about it to their mainstream audiences. This seems to be a double standard. “Oh we’re trying to keep drugs out of Burning Man”…really? You sure the whole thing wasn’t actually created specifically for the LSD/magic mushroom/DMT crowd? Anyway, where did that stuff originate from in the first place?

It seems like FOIA requests are about the only way we can get information out of the new, improved, “clean well-lighted suite of rooms” of transparency that is BMOrg 2.0. Things that used to be released publicly every year like crime statistics, are now kept quiet. Good luck trying to get them, either from BMOrg, Pershing County Sheriff’s Office, or BLM officials.

Here’s a previous FOIA request that shows that the FBI are also active at Burning Man, running intelligence operations. It also contains many redactions and page deletions. One thing that is mentioned is a company that who were contracted to provide a security threat assessment in 2010 – wonder if there was any specific concerns that led to that? Perhaps ISIS will have an art car this year – hopefully one without too many flamethrowers.

Screenshot 2015-04-27 12.52.08

Screenshot 2015-04-27 12.55.57

The lucky agents even get paid overtime for attending Burning Man. I’m guessing they’re not waiting in the STEP or Will Crawl lines for tickets, either…

Screenshot 2015-04-27 14.02.52

 

marge iron wrinkles

 

Reminds me of this old saying we have, back in Australia…