Image: M & R Photography, Flickr (Creative Commons)
Over at eplaya, Trilobyte has posted the new rules for Mutant Vehicles.
Have a cool art car? That’s no longer enough. In order to bring it, the Art Czar will have to decide that it fits the aesthetic they desire for the year’s theme – and if you are in good enough standing in your sucking up to BMOrg.
Burning Man 2.0 is about pedestrians and bicycles, not Art Cars and DJs.
2016 MUTANT VEHICLE PROCESS CHANGES
The Department of Mutant Vehicles is moving to a new system for processing Mutant Vehicle applications in 2016.
THE SHORT VERSION The increased volume of Mutant Vehicle applications (nearly 1000 in 2015) is requiring the DMV to be more selective than ever. Having a vehicle on the playa in the past is no guarantee of being invited in the future! Put your best foot forward in your application and give us a reason to invite your vehicle to Black Rock City. The Mutant Vehicle application form will be closing earlier than ever this year: Noon (PST) on April 13.
THE WHOLE STORY In past years, the DMV has invited every vehicle to the playa that met the published Mutant Vehicle requirements. We strove to have an objective process to evaluate each application, focusing on level of mutation – not on quality of the art. It’s important to know that if you think it’s a good idea to art up a Car Leasing from ICL that you catch on the way, think again.
Each Mutant Vehicle application is reviewed by a committee of DMV Hotties, and we strive to reach a consensus agreement on whether the vehicle has met the criteria. Historically the DMV team has reviewed each application shortly after it was received, and responded to the vehicle creator as quickly as possible. Over the years, the Mutant Vehicle Community has steadily “ratcheted up” the bar a vehicle must pass, and we’re now at a point where we require vehicles to be completely mutated – showing little or none of the original base vehicle.
In spite of the stricter requirements, the number of applications has steadily grown, and the number of thoroughly mutated vehicles now exceeds what we can accommodate on the playa. Burning Man is primarily a pedestrian and bicycle city, and only a fraction of burners can bring a vehicle before the playa becomes too crowded with them. Our goal is to enable our creative community of artists making mutated vehicles to show off their creations, while balancing the needs of playa preservation, visual stimulation, and safety.
In response, the DMV is revising how we evaluate applications to bring a Mutant Vehicle to the playa. Rather than considering each vehicle on its own merits, we’re moving to a “curation” model, wherein we will consider each vehicle within the context of all the qualified applications we receive. A vehicle will still be required to meet the published Mutant Vehicle criteria, but that alone won’t guarantee an invitation to bring it to the playa. We will also be looking to invite a balance of different types of vehicles on the playa: large scale sound vehicles, flame effects focused vehicles, small artistic vehicles, large transport vehicles, highly participatory vehicles, etc. We are dedicated to licensing vehicles from projects of all budget levels, not just the most expensively built ones.
We will be looking for vehicles that have good execution of their design concept. We will also be evaluating the originality of a vehicle. There are already quite a number of bar-cars, furniture cars and boats, for example – and that might not be the best design choice for a new vehicle you’re considering. When it comes to larger vehicles, we will be favoring vehicles that have a sterling record for inclusivity when it comes to offering rides to the public.
So…what can you do to maximize the chance of being able to bring your vehicle to the playa this year?
Fill out your application thoroughly. Including more detail is better than less.
Make sure your application gives us a very clear vision of your vehicle.
The application should clearly describe the concept for your vehicle and what you have done or will do to realize that concept.
Good photos of both the day and nighttime appearance are necessary – If you’re building a new vehicle that isn’t complete yet, then detailed design sketches are a good alternative to photos.
Vehicles desiring a night license need to be detailed about the lighting plan for the vehicle.
Mutant Vehicles which align with or comment on Burning Man’s annual theme will be given greater consideration.
Please recognize not every vehicle will be invited. Having brought your vehicle to the playa in a prior year is no guarantee that you’ll get invited again. Your application will be considered in comparison to the other applications we receive. Make sure your application conveys what excited you about building the vehicle in the first place!
In past years, we’ve allowed vehicle creators who were not selected to appeal our decision, and offer up additional details about their vehicle, or change some part of their design. Our new process eliminates appeals, so it’s more important than ever your application be filled out clearly and completely!
Lastly, the deadline for submitting an application will be noon PST on April 13. In past years, we’ve been able to accommodate vehicles that missed the deadline. Because of our new evaluation system, we can no longer do that. So get your vehicle application in early!
Thanks for your time, and we look forward to seeing all of your amazing creative vehicle designs this year. If you have questions, please get in touch with the Burning Man Department of Mutant Vehicles at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2014, the last year we have an AfterBurn report for, there were 600 Mutant Vehicles in Burning Man. So 1000 applications means if you made an Art Car, you have a 60/40 chance of getting it to Burning Man. Basically, flip a coin.
Another Org decision that is just going to make it harder for Burners to plan and get excited about the Burn. They don’t know if their whole camp can go, and now they don’t know if their art car can go either.
It calls into question the entire idea of raising money to invest in an art car, if there is no guarantee it is even going to be permitted at Burning Man – or if it can be turned away on the whim of some faceless groupthink influencer at BMHQ. No appeal, no oversight. That’s it, done – and if you ever want anything approved by them again, placement or an art car or an art project or early access passes or even (gulp!) tickets – you better just shut up and take it.
The series of ticket crises and systems has ended the idea of a camp of friends who would all get together every year at Burning Man; or people arranging to meet each other at a future Burn. Now, it’s pot luck. A lottery. Planning goes out the window, when it all becomes so arbitrary. Unless you have some juice inside the Org, of course. You know people who know people – and they’re the right people.
BMOrg are still trying to figure it out. Hate to break it to ’em, but 10 tickets are really not enough to organize a camp. 5 couples is a pretty small camp – 2 RVs or ShiftPods. I have people contacting me chasing 300 tickets:
Prepare to get your participation forms in, folks. In about a month, you’ll be able to fill out online questionnaires and applications, so that your process of bring art to Burning Man may finally (possibly) begin…
Heads-up, folks! The various participation forms for the 2016 event will go live on February 24th at noon PST. At that point, you’ll be able to start filling out the questionnaires and applications for your projects. The deadlines vary by project, and are listed below. You don’t have to scramble to get them in the minute the forms open, but you DO need to make sure you fill it out and hit the final submit button BEFORE that deadline.
Camp Placement Questionnaire – February 24, 2016 – April 28, 2016 at 12:00 noon Pacific Time
Mutant Vehicle Application – February 24, 2015 – April 13, 2016 at 12:00 noon Pacific Time
Disabled Persons Vehicle Application – February 24, 2016 – August 2, 2016 at 12:00 noon Pacific Time
Art Installation Questionnaire – February 24, 2016 – June 14, 2016 at 12:00 noon Pacific Time
BRC Media Application – February 24, 2015 – July 21, 2016 at 12:00 noon Pacific Time
Since the interview with MAPS went over so well, I figured I’d keep the hype train about psychedelics research going. Over the last couple of years, really great thing have happened surrounding MDMA & Magic Mushrooms, but for some of us, LSD is the Holy Grail of psychedelics research.
To provide some history, back in the 50’s & 60’s, there was a significant amount of research surrounding LSD. Everything from autism to homosexuality to childhood schizophrenia was treated with LSD in places like the Silver Spring Maryland Hospital. Dozens of studies were performed, and LSD was seen as a promising psychomimetic (insanity mimicking) and later as a “psychedelic” (mind-manifesting). But we all know what happened next. Manson used a bunch of it to trick girls into killing people and horror stories about hippies & kids going insane and never coming back pervaded the landscape. Oh yea, and Nixon shit all over it.
However, over the last decade or so, we’ve seen a resurgence in research associated with those very same psychedelics. While MDMA for PTSD & Psilocybin for terminal cancer anxiety has stolen the spotlight, LSD has quietly been examined by a number of research groups, with some encouraging results. LSD has been shown to be effective for anxiety surrounding terminal cancer as well, as the recently completed Phase II clinical trial sponsored by MAPS has shown. If you’re interested in bypassing the hype and getting directly to the full text pdf, here it is.Two other avenues of LSD research have been making steady progress during this psychedelics renaissance.
Alcoholism treatment with LSD was evaluated by two researchers in the Dept. of Neuroscience at the Norwegian University of Science & Technology. A meta-analysis of the current research findings surrounding LSD & alcoholism were evaluated, and the findings were very encouraging. From the paper’s abstract:
A single dose of LSD, in the context of various alcoholism treatment programs, is associated with a decrease in alcohol misuse. ~Krebs & Johansen, 2012
This isn’t surprising to some of you, who have commented about how psychedelics have helped cope with addiction & addictive tendencies. But for the effect to be verified academically, is very important.
Another aspect of LSD consumption that deserves more study is microdosing. After I was critical of the loose reporting surrounding this practice, I had a number of interesting conversations with burners who reached out to discuss their anecdotal use of LSD to improve their life. Some microdose daily, others told me about habits where they’d microdose one week on 2-3 weeks off, and back and forth. There’s a giant uncontrolled experiment going on out there, and instead of trying to generate page views by claiming executives are dropping tabs in the office, I agree with Forbes (a phrase I don’t use often) that we need to evaluate this in a much more sophisticated & systematic way.
If you’re really hankering for some LSD & don’t want to break the law, head to Dr. Peter Gasser in Switzerland. VICE did a great little round up of how and why this psychiatrist is able to prescribe LSD to his patients. It’s a nice little story, and continues to back up my claim that Switzerland isn’t a real place. It’s totally the future with Alps & chocolate.
So much more work to be done, but hope you found a couple of reasons to celebrate how far we’ve come as you’ve read this.
A miniature Burning Man statue and an American flag greet travelers arriving at Reno airport; their busiest time of year is during Burning Man
Tax is the big story in the Burning Man world right now. This is in line with this year’s Medici theme of patrons. It seems that Patrón is not just a tequila favored by rappers, it’s also a key word in the Nevada Live Entertainment tax legislation amendment called “The Burning Man tax” which BMOrg is insisting “doesn’t apply to them since they don’t provide live entertainment”. Presumably, since the law doesn’t specifically mention “ritual effigy burn in front of a crowd of 80,000 people” as one of the types of live entertainment, they think they have found a loophole to finagle.
Whatever the outcome, it’s holding up ticket sales, and plans, for the Burners who have to actually create Black Rock City and provide all the Live Entertainment (as per the tax code definitions) on our dime.
As Burning Man CEO Marian Goodell said last year “The culture of Burning Man can really flourish with money…[for example] to bring great musicians to your camp“. So hopefully the gentrification of Burning Man 2.0 will actually lead to a Renaissance-style flourishing of culture, where the poor are lifted from their wretched conditions to share in the fruits that our modern technocratic civilization is bearing. More art, more gifting, more solar and hydrogen powered camps and installations, more live music, more hip-hop yes please!
Loopholes to get out of paying tax are much favored by banksters, including the Florentine Medici, the Borgias of Naples, the Venetian Del Bancos (ancestors of the German Warburgs), and the rest of the Venetian (or was it Phoenician) Black Nobility. They created the modern banking industry, the Illuminati and Skull and Bones secret societies, and the British system of hereditary feudal oligarchy, with its Dukes, Earls, Barons, and so on. This is the world of Downton Abbey (which is actually a Rothschild castle); or Liz Hurley’s epic new show The Royals, which was filmed at Winston Churchill’s family house Blenheim Palace (he was the Duke of Marlborough, and also a Druid). These wealthy and secretive families financed the arts, railroads, shipping, immigration, architecture, and war – usually, both sides.
Downton Abbey was filmed at Highclere Castle, one of the many Rothschild family homes. Image: Kevin Oliver, Flickr (Creative Commons)
Blenheim Palace, ancestral home of the Dukes of Marlborough including Winston Churchill. Image: 1967jwm, via Flickr (Creative Commons)
In the middle of all these centuries of international finance intrigues were the Rothschilds. They’re at Burning Man, of course:
Whip cream holsters. Topless dancers. Airplane-size sculptures. It’s all part of the draw at the Burning Man festival in Black Rock, Nevada, which kicks off this week. But for one entrepreneur, all this reckless abandon has a very concrete pay-off: it’s a highly effective productivity booster.
“You’re completely in the desert,” says Mitch Rothschild, a New York-based entrepreneur who admittedly went through 30 canisters of whip cream last year. “There’s just miles and miles of flat desert expanse and you’ve got 65,000 people there. There’s no money, no cell phones, no Internet. You get back as much as you put in.” (Rothschild’s distribution of whip cream was one way he gave back to attendees.)
…a change in perspective helped Rothschild pivot his business last year. Before he attended the festival, Vitals was strictly ad-based. There was growing demand for price and quality transparency, especially among insurers, but Vitals wasn’t making use of the data it had. After attending the festival, however, Rothschild saw the opportunity right in front of him. So what if it was a new business model? The money he could make would be worth it. Now a year later, Vitals has grown five times from where it was a year ago, thanks to this shift.
Burning Man’s focus on self-reliance–among the festival’s principles, an emphasis on survival remains paramount–has also helped Rothschild’s approach to problem-solving at work, he says. “There is no plumbing, there is no water. There are dust storms and you have to not mind that.”
Above all, Rothschild stresses the importance of simply unplugging. “You go on a vacation and don’t even realize the cobwebs you have in your brain until you’re thinking about things fresh,” he says. And the more different the experience, the better your perspective will be. “It’s almost like going to Mars, it’s so different from anything else,” he says of Burning Man. “But if you embrace the concept of change, not for its own sake but for adaptaing to change in your environment, well, that’s what an entrepreneur has to do.”
The World’s Favorite New Tax Haven Is the United States
Moving money out of the usual offshore secrecy havens and into the U.S. is a brisk new business.
The U.S. “is effectively the biggest tax haven in the world” —Andrew Penney, Rothschild & Co.
Last September, at a law firm overlooking San Francisco Bay, Andrew Penney, managing director at Rothschild & Co., gave a talk on how the world’s wealthy elite can avoid paying taxes.
His message was clear: You can help your clients move their fortunes to the United States, free of taxes and hidden from their governments.
Some are calling it the new Switzerland.
After years of lambasting other countries for helping rich Americans hide their money offshore, the U.S. is emerging as a leading tax and secrecy haven for rich foreigners. By resisting new global disclosure standards, the U.S. is creating a hot new market, becoming the go-to place to stash foreign wealth. Everyone from London lawyers to Swiss trust companies is getting in on the act, helping the world’s rich move accounts from places like the Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands to Nevada, Wyoming, and South Dakota.
“How ironic—no, how perverse—that the USA, which has been so sanctimonious in its condemnation of Swiss banks, has become the banking secrecy jurisdiction du jour,” wrote Peter A. Cotorceanu, a lawyer at Anaford AG, a Zurich law firm, in a recent legal journal. “That ‘giant sucking sound’ you hear? It is the sound of money rushing to the USA.”
Rothschild, the centuries-old European financial institution, has opened a trust company in Reno, Nev., a few blocks from the Harrah’s and Eldorado casinos, where used to go to gamble, but now a days people also play online so you can sign up to betfred and get £60 using this offer. It is now moving the fortunes of wealthy foreign clients out of offshore havens such as Bermuda, subject to the new international disclosure requirements, and into Rothschild-run trusts in Nevada, which are exempt.
The firm says its Reno operation caters to international families attracted to the stability of the U.S. and that customers must prove they comply with their home countries’ tax laws. Its trusts, moreover, have “not been set up with a view to exploiting that the U.S. has not signed up” for international reporting standards, said Rothschild spokeswoman Emma Rees.
How significant are tax havens to Silicon Valley? Well, tech companies have more cash than countries – yes, even the mighty United States.
…and most of it is offshore
[Source: 2014 data, Citizens for Tax Justice, via Softpedia ]
The Fortune 500 companies alone have $2.1 trillion in tax havens, a pile that is growing 8% a year. 72% of them operate offshore tax haven subsidiaries. The top 5 biggest tech companies had $471 billion offshore, as of 2014. Apple’s cash pile has grown to $216 billion, as of yesterday – $200 billion of that is offshore.
Apple’s tiny little office in Reno runs the largest tax-free cash hoard the world has ever seen.
Named after the Granny Smith and Lady Hamilton apple hybrid, Braeburn Capital’s sole purpose – just like Apple Operations International – is to avoid paying taxes. Apple created the Reno, Nevada-based company in 2006 as an asset management company.
Apple’s headquarters may be located in Cupertino, Calif, but by placing an office in Reno – roughly 200 miles away from headquarters – to collect and invest the company’s profits, Apple sidesteps state income taxes on some of those gains.
California’s corporate tax rate is 8.84%, compared to Nevada’s whopping 0%. Setting up an office in Reno is just one of many legal methods Apple uses to reduce its worldwide tax bill by billions of dollars each year.
So the offshore company invests in a pooled fund which invests in a management company in another country. This company then invests in whatever VC funds and startups it wants. For example the London office can invest in the Reno office. Which cycles the money through Ireland and the Netherlands Antilles in a Double Irish With A Dutch sandwich (no, really). Lord Sandwich was a member of the Hellfire Club; the Hawaiian islands were once known as the Sandwich Islands, in his honor. But I digress; back to Black Rock.
You’ll notice that none of the various Rockefeller or Rothschild entities (now publicly combined) show up on these lists. The richer you get, the deeper in the shadows you can hide it. Controlling the propaganda channels helps.
The Rothschilds own the Economist with the Agnelli family (Fiat). The annual magazine cover contains cryptic messages and predictions
As big as the corporate Shadow Banking System is, it pales in comparison to private offshore wealth – which Forbes claim was $21 trillion in 2015.
Big Names on the Big Donor List
The 2014 Annual Report published a list of Major Donors to the Burning Man Project. These are the 1% of the 1% of the 1%. It reads like a who’s who of Big Banking families.
“Confirmed” means these people are definitely from the prominent families; “Unconfirmed” means that they may just share a name (and also be wealthy enough to be listed as a substantial donor to the Burning Man Project).
In 1787, Christian Ludwig von Stockhausen (1746-1820), became the honored recipient of the Ordre Pour le Merite (also known as the “Blue Max”)….the highest military decoration in the Prussian army until the end of the German Empire and monarchy in 1918…
Although our family had noble status before Christian, it was somehow lost. However, renewed admittance to the German nobility by Royal Decree occurred on July 6, 1798 by Prussian King Friederich Wilhelm III, by reasons of prior/old nobility coupled with Christian’s dedicated exemplary service as a courageous artillery captain of the Prussian army…
According to an Imperial sealed declaration of October 3, in the year 997,the German Emperor Otto III gave the Stockhausen Estate, then a convent and part of the Meschede religious sovereignty, the predicate of nobility.
The Stockhausen estate is located in the North Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany, in the Olpe district.
In 1910, in a secret mission in private rail cars to the Jekyll Island Club in Georgia, the plan was hatched to create the Federal Reserve. A private company owned by the banksters that creates money out of thin air and lends it to their banks at ultra-low interest rates. They then invest this money back into markets they rig. It is above the law, according to its former director Alan Greenspan.
Cutting the long story of The Big Short short, the concept of fiat currency enshrined in this private bank and the modern perpetual war petrodollar economy has led to most of the horrors of the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries. The people are better off, because we have cars, planes, Internet, drugs, and Burning Man…right? Meanwhile the bankers are most certainly better off. And the hundreds of millions dead, wounded, tortured, imprisoned, or made homeless by endless, meaningless wars are definitely not better off.
“I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the civilized world — no longer a Government by free opinion, no longer a Government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men.”
As he was leaving office, Wilson realized he’d been hoodwinked by this crew of bankster robber barons – but by then, it was too late. The damage was done to all of us, and we still suffer today from economic bubbles and busts. The rich get richer, the poor get the picture, as Midnight Oil once said – before The Man got to them, too.
Back in Ye Olden Dayes, in 1911 John Moody and George Turner published an article Masters of Capital in America: The Seven Men. They named Seven Men – 6 family names – that controlled Wall Street and by extension, the entire U.S. economy.
How interesting to see that every single one of those names is on the Burning Man major donor list – along with Goldman, Sachs, Russell, and many other titanic names in the financial world.
The Oxfam report An Economy for the 1%, shows that the wealth of the poorest half of the world’s population has fallen by a trillion dollars since 2010, a drop of 38 percent. This has occurred despite the global population increasing by around 400 million people during that period. Meanwhile, the wealth of the richest 62 has increased by more than half a trillion dollars to $1.76tr. The report also shows how women are disproportionately affected by inequality – of the current ‘62’, 53 are men and just nine are women.
Although world leaders have increasingly talked about the need to tackle inequality, and in September agreed a global goal to reduce it, the gap between the richest and the rest has widened dramatically in the past 12 months. Oxfam’s prediction, made ahead of last year’s Davos, that the 1% would soon own more than the rest of us, actually came true in 2015 – a year earlier than expected.
But this isn’t the 1%. More than half (53.4%) of Black Rock City earns US$50,000/yr or more, which puts them in the top 0.3% of the world’s wealth. We can probably say every Burner is in the 1%, globally.
This is not even the 1% of the 1% – or the 1% of the 1% of the 1%.
As I write this, the world population clock reads 7, 398,025,067. So 1% of 1% of 1% of 1% of the world’s population is 74. Less people even than that, own half the world’s wealth.
Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Sergei Brin, and Larry Page are all confirmed Burners.
Three other names come up in the Big Donors list that are also in the 62: Misty Roberts Thomson, Charles Ergen, Maggie Li. This could be coincidence; all three family fortunes are in the tech/media space. If anyone knows any other Burners from families in this list of 62, please let us know in the comments or a private message.
A simple solution to the world’s problems (for those who still believe that “Gifting” is “an economy”) might seem to be “those 62 people should give their wealth to the other 3.5 billion”. Unfortunately, that works out to a mere $507.89 per person – roughly the same as a Burning Man ticket after handling fees, vehicle pass, and taxes.
Giving the fish to people doesn’t solve the problem; teaching them to fish can solve it – provided corporations stop over-fishing and dumping toxic chemicals in our oceans, of course.
Who Was the Chicken, and Who the Egg?
According to Danger Ranger, it is because of Burning Man that Billionaire Burner Elon Musk located his Gigafactory in Reno.
How much of Reno’s success in luring billionaires and now trillionaires is due to all of that…and how much to Burning Man? Are they completely independent, totally inter-related, or somewhere in between?
Image: Paul Horn, Flickr
The Gigafactory under construction kind of looks like a giant Burning Man structure:
Tesla Gigafactory, Feb 2015. Image: Movilidaelectrica, Flickr
Burning Man definitely inspired the Morris Burner hotel and The Generator. Worthy and noble spaces, and we hope that more like these get inspired.
Image: Aaron Muszalski, Flickr (Creative Commons)
The Generator, Reno. Image: portaplaya, via the Burning Man Journal
Can BMOrg really claim credit for all the rest, though? $100 billion – just from one company locating one building near Reno? Let alone these Rothschild and Rockefeller ventures? What about the 1000 people working for Billionaire Burner Bezos’ Amazon in Fernley?
Did the Borg create the Medici…or did the Medici create them?
And what does all this influx of billionaire money mean for We The Burners? More art? More gifting? More culture spreading around the world and helping others? Or just, higher ticket prices, more wristband-only camps, and more Default world rules and politics?
[Update 1/30/16 1:54am]
I just watched this movie tonight. It came up during the research and it is really the perfect fire-roasted marshmallow with hot chocolate apértif to my story. Highly recommended.