EXCLUSIVE: ShelterCoin Founder Christian Weber

Screenshot 2017-09-01 11.55.57Screenshot 2017-09-01 12.02.22We have been a fan of the “inspired by Burning Man” SHIFTPODs since day one, and we have covered them before:

SHIFTPODs: The New Generation of Burnitecture

Where Did The SHIFTPOD Come From?

SHELTERCOIN is something new, and as far as I know, the first Initial Coin Offering (ICO) connected to a real company with real products. Most of the ones I’ve seen promise that something will be built a year or more in the future, hoping at that time there will be a community ready to use their digital tokens. This offering is drawing an existing community of stakeholders together to solve old problems in new ways.

This seems like an idea that has come at just the right time, as the devastation of Hurricane Harvey has shown us amazing scenes of citizens springing into action to help each other, instead of waiting for centralized authorities to get their bureaucracy together. The decentralized model works; the centralized model keeps failing us.

Last week, Fast Company magazine profiled the company behind SHELTERCOIN and SHIFTPOD, Advanced Shelter Systems Inc of Napa, CA

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Arriving in the desert that August, in 2015, I saw a SHIFTPOD for the first time. As someone who, like Weber, had explored countless Burning Man camping methods, I was intrigued by how a SHIFTPOD could both keep the dust out and be set up in less than five minutes. It looked like a lunar habitat–conversation piece!–and you didn’t freeze overnight. There’s nothing else like it. So prior to Burning Man 2016, I bought one.

In my camp alone last year, there were five SHIFTPODs and more than 1,000 on the playa. By then, Weber had sold his green-fracking operation and launched Advanced Shelter Systems Inc. (ASSI), the Napa-based company that’s turned his late-night Burning Man lodging idea into a multimillion-dollar business whose market extends far beyond the U.S. festival circuit—so far, in fact, that it requires an entirely new currency.

[Source: Fast Company]

The article caused  somewhat of a stir on the Burners.Me Facebook page, with some Burners screaming “Commodification!” and (predictably) “Burning Man is over!” and “ICOs are just a fad!”

Christian Weber, Sheltercoin Foundation

I got the chance to raise these concerns with company founder Christian Weber directly. The ShelterCoin Foundation’s Initial Coin Offering on the blockchain is actually inspired by giving shelter to those who need it most – which seems very compatible with Burner principles like Gifting, Immediacy, Civic Responsibility and Communal Effort.

 

B.Me: What is interesting about this story for Burners?

CW: One of the things I learned over 23 years out on the playa is to help people out if they needed it.  The Black Rock Desert is one of the most inhospitable places on Earth.  Back in the day, before chefs and camp producers the thing that really struck me was that everyone wanted to help the other have a better experience.  That has faded a bit but we all still bring extra parts and even heavy equipment to share with surrounding people and camps.  When you get right down to it, beyond ego and politics it feels good to help others.  Especially in times of need.  This is a natural extension of the burner ethos and experience.

B.Me: Just before Burning Man started this year, “Hell Storm” Hurricane Harvey hit Houston. Are you doing anything to help them?

Texas National Guard soldiers helping out in Houston. Image: defense.gov

CW: We already mobilizing product, family care hygiene kits and getting ready to load trucks and planes to get the goods down there.  We are in contact with FEMA, Team Rubicon and several other NGOs with boots on the ground to enlist help with distribution.  I have my chainsaw gassed up and ready to go. I can’t wait to get down there and help.  I just spoke to a friend and colleague who has been running a boat for 48 hours straight rescuing people.  After the initial rescue efforts subside he has committed to help run shelters and supplies for us.  Once we mobilize he will gather the people he is working with to help distribute and deliver the goods and material we bring in.

The need for shelter and supplies in Houston is huge, with more than 30,000 people in emergency shelters. People are reaching out to help their fellow citizens, regardless of skin color or political affiliation. Helping those who need it most is the American way, and that is what we are trying to do with this ICO.  The recovery is a massive task and unfortunately we will only be a small part of the solution, for now.

B.Me: Are your pods safe in a Hurricane?

CW: We have put a lot of work into making our products highly wind, rain, and temperature resistant. We recently wind tested them up to 106 MPH sustained winds, which is above the highest level 12 of the Beaufort Scale. Hurricane Harvey was an unprecedented storm with some winds being recorded even higher than that.

B.Me: What is SHELTERCOIN?

CW: SHELTERCOIN is a new crypto-coin that will be used to build and supply emergency shelter, equipment and responders to people in need in disaster areas in advance, of and in times of need.  This is a natural extension of our “sell 20 donate one” program we have had in place from the beginning of our shelter company.  So far we have donated hundreds of SHIFTPODS all over the world including to the fire victims in California, Earthquake victims in Japan and Ecuador, victims in Haiti and to refugees on Lesvos, Greece.  We even donated to the earthquake victims in Nepal but these units got stuck in customs when the government wanted 100% tax on the full retail value before they would release them as gifts to the people.  Crazy.  Most recently we donated to the Nation of Hawaii to help with a homeless program there.  In this program the people will have to “pay rent” to live in the SHIFTPODS and they will pay this “rent” by taking classes on their heritage and working in the garden to grow their own food.  If successful the SHELTERCOIN will allow us to do more and build more product to donate to people in need.  It will also allow us to build and stage product in advance so when there is a disaster the units will be close or on site so there is no waiting for equipment to be shipped in from across the country.

B.Me: What can people use SHELTERCOIN for?

CW: Anyone can buy, trade and use SHELTERCOIN to make purchases, get discounts, make donations, to access new software or to store wealth. As we build our SHELTERCOIN community and eco-system we hope to have many vendors that will offer discounts on product purchased with SHELTERCOIN.  We will offer steep discounts on our products for both retail and large commercial buyers and we will show people how to convert to SHELTERCOIN on our check out page to get the instant discounts.  This is just one of the ways to support the demand for SHELTERCOIN.  The other use for SHELTERCOIN is to directly support missions to disaster areas.  Rather than donating to a normal NGO where less than 5% goes to the actual cause, we will use SHELTERCOIN to raise funds for a specific disaster or mission and then the donors will be able to track the use of funds almost in real time with transparency.  We hope to shift the donation and disaster response paradigm with the SHELTERCOIN. A decentralized solution on the blockchain lets us connect donors and responders more directly to people and areas in need, and much more efficiently than the centralized institutions who seem to take most of the money for overhead.

B.Me: Is this a for-profit, or altruistic venture?

CW: We have created the SHELTERCOIN Foundation to issue the tokens. SHELTERCOINs are an altruistic token, not an investment. When you buy them in the ICO there is no guarantee that they will go up in value or be worth anything in the future. Cryptocurrencies and alt-coins seem to generally be doing well, we think it is an exciting new trend with a lot of potential to fix old problems in new ways. If our idea works, more and more people will start using SHELTERCOIN and will donate to bring shelter rapidly to places where it is needed.

B.Me: Why would people buy a coin in an ICO if it was not tied to profits?

CW: We are seeing right now with Hurricane Harvey the immediate response from people stepping up who want to help. When you give money to a relief fund, the money is gone from you and most of it won’t reach the people who need the aid. When you give money to our ICO you get something in return: SHELTERCOINs.

Buying tokens in our ICO will help bring shelter in response to disasters. People who buy the coins will be able to get large discounts in our online store and VIP access to our latest products and disaster response software platform. They can also choose to use the coins to enable relief efforts, or hold on to them in the future.

Screenshot 2017-09-01 12.03.26B.Me: How does the price of an alt-coin get determined?

CW: there are many alt-coin exchanges around the world and we will endeavor to get SHELTERCOIN traded on as many as we can. The laws of supply and demand set the price, and we hope demand will grow over time. Our supply is fixed. We hope that as people become aware of what we are doing and see the success of a decentralized approach to disaster relief, demand will increase.

B.Me: So if a disaster strikes like Hurricane Harvey, people will be able to use SHELTERCOIN to send aid to people?

CW: Yes. We will be able to finance many units for the SHELTERCOIN FOUNDATION from the ICO, and future donations will help us pay for the first-responder personnel to get on site. The blockchain and our software platform lets us connect donors and first responders directly to the people, places and projects where shelter is needed.

B.Me: What problems are you trying to solve with a new alt-coin?

CW: Well, with so many people forcibly displaced in the world and so many disasters happening all over the world many people want to help.  Most donate to large NGOs that have huge executive teams and lots of overhead. In most cases these NGOs only get less than 5% of what is raised to the actual people in need.  It is really astounding.  In the case of an NGO that raised hundreds of millions for Haiti, less than 1% actually made it to the people in Haiti.  This is a huge problem and there has to be a better way.  We hope SHELTERCOIN will be the first of many new tools built to decentralize disaster response.  We aim to create a response eco-system around the SHELTERCOIN that can move quickly and efficiently to get goods and services into disaster areas and to the actual people in need. Through technology we should be able to make the whole process more efficient and deliver more value to the actual cause.  In some cases we will also be able to get ahead of the curve and get shelters and equipment staged in problem areas in advance of the disasters.  This is a very exciting prospect.

B.Me: Most of the money goes to overhead, instead of going back out to those who need the charity? Sounds like Burning Man! How does your solution compare to the existing “big institution” approach to disaster relief?

CW: We believe software and crowd-sourcing can help with a lot of this. Much of the distribution can be done without a lot of executives and overhead.  A lot of systems and agencies get too top heavy over time to be really effective.  You need the people for an event but then you don’t want to get rid of them so you have to raise more money to keep them and the next thing you know you have a huge bureaucracy that only really works when there is a disaster.  The beast needs more and more fuel to continue.  We are not running an event or a year around bureaucracy and connecting people and disasters is something that can be done online.  The blockchain can be used to let people see were money raised for a specific campaign gets spent. Our hope and belief is most all of this can be done with much much less overhead than the traditional model.  This will allow more money to get to the hands that really need it.

As for the shelters, many tents the large NGOs are using are made of that same material as the standard blue tarp, not fabric but a cheap plastic material with no thermal or reflective qualities.  These do not last and when you consider many of the refugee camps are in place for 5 years or more, we need a better solution.  We believe our SHELTERPOD is the better mouse trap.  It sets up quickly, is large and spacious, it uses new long lasting fabric technologies and has great thermal and heat reflective characteristics.

One of the other issues in response to disasters is the time between the disaster, raising funds, manufacturing goods and then delivering them to the disaster zone.  This timeline can run many months and by that time the dire need has past.  We hope the SHELTERCOIN will help us and other vendors get ahead of the problem so we can manufacture and stage goods and equipment in or near areas that are prone to or expecting disasters.  This will reduce the delivery times and make more product available faster when it is needed.  Why wait?

Screenshot 2017-09-01 12.04.15

B.Me: Are ICOs just the latest fad?

CW: ICOs are getting very popular.  I believe we are at the very beginning of the alt-coin craze and over time some coins will fail and some will become community standards.  The alt-coins or tokens give people all over the world an unrestricted way to support projects and causes they believe in and the block chain can be a way to track efforts and spending.  The beauty of it is that they are really market supported.  If people believe in the project they will succeed, if not they will fall away into the abyss, the way it should be.  My Grandfather once said buy what you believe in.  With alt-coins it could not be more true.

 

B.Me: So if I buy the coin in the Initial Coin Offering, that enables shelter to get to people in need. But in return I get the coins, which still have value and may go up in value like BitCoin?

CW: Exactly.  They may go up or they may crash and completely lose all of their value.  They are really not a security and we do not have a crystal ball.  Sorry, had to put that out there to keep the lawyers happy.  How much is BitCoin today? If the value of SHELTERCOIN went up like that I think we might be able to solve the homeless issue all together.

 

B.Me: It’s philanthropy with upside!

CW: Yes. This is the beauty of alt-coins, it is a new way to crowd-source support for worthy projects where everyone is a winner.

sheltercoin image

B.Me: Do you think SHELTERCOINs might one day be worth as much as BitCoins?

CW: We are not trying to be or replace BitCoin or any other crypto-currency. Decentralization is a new world with a whole new financial model. There will be thousands of digital currencies, we want to use ours to bring together a community of shelter providers and disaster responders with our enthusiastic and fast-growing SHIFTPOD community.

 

B.Me: You are literally making money. Is that what this is all about?

CW: This is about more than making money, which is why we created the SHELTERCOIN Foundation. This is about the decentralized, peer-to-peer model of the blockchain providing a more efficient way to get shelter to people who need it immediately, they don’t have time to wait for big bureaucracies to raise billions but never spend them. We are building a new system and community around SHELTERCOIN. We have emergency responders vetted and ready to get on planes with a moments notice.  If we can create value in an alt-coin it can support the mobilization of not only equipment but also people.  We have vendors we can engage to support the coin and the cause.  We can bring all of this together and use software and the Internet to take a lot of the cost out of the process.  The money we are creating is borderless and can be used to support projects all over the world.  It is all there and we can use SHELTERCOIN to bring it all together.

 

B.Me: Why use a SHIFTPOD for disaster relief? Aren’t they expensive?

CW: Expensive is relative.  Many of the “tents” used in disaster response can cost $5000 to $50,000 each.  Many of these take multiple people hours to set up.  We have the fastest shelter set up for the best price available on the market anywhere in the world.  We can deploy hundreds of units in a matter of hours for housing, triage units, and even operating rooms.   Our units can be dropped by plane or helicopter.  When you consider the mobility and speed of set up, durability and all we offer a very inexpensive option that is setting a new standard that is quickly being adopted.

Screenshot 2017-09-01 12.12.32

B.Me: Some Burners have said “this is just a glorified ice fishing tent”. How do you respond to that?

CW: Some ice fishing tents have a similar look and fiberglass poles but that is really where the similarity stops.  It is pretty funny when people think they can compare them especially for use in the desert.  The list of differences is very long but the most obvious ones are most ice fishing huts are a dark color and are designed to keep heat in, they do not have floors and they have velcro windows.  We have developed and patented a 5-layer composite fabric that reflects the heat of the sun in the daytime and keeps body heat in at night and engineered our units to be all weather and long term shelters.  Our patented shape sheds the wind and has been tested to 109MPH! We have created many other features make it possible to live comfortably for extended periods of time.  We have spend a lot of time and attention on the details of long term living, in some of the harshest environments in the world.  We currently have people in Hawaii living in our original unit for more than a year and we have units going to Iraq, South Sudan and Haiti for long term in-field testing.  We are building our current units for families to live in for up to five years.  This takes a lot of engineering.

 

B.Me: How can people participate in the ICO?

CW: Our ICO will be open to the public next month, and our white paper will be released at http://sheltercoin.io in the next few days. Sign up to our ICO mailing list there if you are interested. People can buy into the ICO with BitCoin, Ether, or by wiring fiat currency to the SHELTERCOIN bank account. To improve security and give us time to get the word out the ICO will happen in stages, with a lower coin price for earlier participants, just like our camp contributions.

Spread the word, buy, use, trade and store SHELTERCOIN and more importanly get involved in your community and help those around you.  Just get out there and make it happen.  Remember, everyone can make a difference and every second in life counts

B.Me: Thanks very much Christian for giving us this exclusive interview. It sounds like an exciting project and the right thing at the right time with so many victims of Hurricane Harvey needing shelter. Good luck down there!

 

Can Millenial Progressive Elites Spark Utopian Socialist Change?

How does Burning Man change the world? How does this centrally managed counter-culture exist in a world where politics shouldn’t be spoken of, in a 30 minute speech about politics?

The comments are classic (reproduced below). Is he dressed as a faun? Is that a remote control or a pan flute?

Like most of these Millenial Burner TED talks, it is almost entirely about himself with very little about the stated topic.

He boastfully shares that he lied on his resume to get a job in Washington DC (remember, there is nothing in the Ten Principles of Burning Man about honesty, integrity, ethics, morality, or kindness). He doesn’t even care that the organization found out about his lies, it was worse when his friends found out.

Screenshot 2017-07-02 07.12.54

Ronan’s husband, “Rainbow”

He went to Hogwarts for environmentalists. He quotes a report from British think tank the New Economics Foundation, which suggests days should have 21 hours instead of 24. Because the main problem most of us have is too much free time.

He was studying a Masters of Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University. This is where former Clinton Foundation CEO Eric Bravermannamed as the DNC Leaker by Chief of Staff John Pedosta, and now working for Pentagon adviser Eric Schmidt – who was ambushed at Oxford last week by George Webb’s truth-sourcing spidey sidekick Jason Goodman. We’ve also explored some of the recent connections between Burning Man and Oxford University over the fluid gender-reaffirming census, funded by the CIA-spawned Templeton Foundation.

Although Ronan begins his talk by saying “this talk is not political”,  by the end of it he is predictably pushing Progressive Politics and “reimagining masculinity”.

The basic gist of the argument is that going to Burning Man and having a transformational episode is the thing that will fix politics by helping people experience their own power. “Personal growth in the future will be the lode star of progress” – I wonder how many holocracy meetings were necessary to Groupthink that?

I guess fake news and political corruption don’t matter if you can just Tune In (to the propaganda), Turn On (by taking drugs), and Drop Out (from meaningful political discourse). Want to transform politics? Focus entirely on yourself, go to raves and party up, have sex with any of the 75 genders you like, merge Google into your brain and get a Robot Heart…it’s all good, do what thou wilt! Just make sure that under no circumstances do you ever read WikiLeaks or Judicial Watch or research #Pedogate.

Screenshot 2017-07-01 19.56.35Screenshot 2017-07-01 19.56.17Screenshot 2017-07-01 19.55.53Screenshot 2017-07-01 19.55.37

 

 

The Anti-Burning Man

The New York Times has a story about the Bombay Beach Bienalle at the Salton Sea in California.

They just had the first one, seems like it was a hit. Art, opera, and weirdness: sign me up.

The Times have coined it the Anti-Burning Man.

Last weekend, a mostly abandoned town on the Salton Sea was transformed into a pageantry of art and opera and weirdness.

The three-day Bombay Beach Biennale was free to attend, unpublicized and driven by a mission of local engagement.

Call it the anti-Burning Man.

The idea came from Tao Ruspoli, a Los Angeles filmmaker, who years ago became fascinated by the Salton Sea, a onetime tourist mecca straddling the Imperial and Coachella Valleys that has succumbed to environmental decay.

He started visiting often and even bought a house in Bombay Beach, a speck of a town on the eastern shore.

“This idea of Bombay Beach Biennale popped in my head because rather than play up the sadness of the place,” he said, “I thought it would be more interesting to play on the surrealness of the place…It’s such a mixture of contradictions, of natural and unnatural, of beautiful and ugly.”

[Source]

Forget Leave No Trace. These artists want to leave it better:

Mr. Ruspoli partnered with two friends, Stefan Ashkenazy, an art lover and hotelier, and Lily Johnson White, a philanthropist and member of the Johnson & Johnson family.

Last year, the trio self-funded the inaugural festival, under the theme “Decay,” and invited artists, philosophers, writers and other assorted merrymakers from their network of friends to join. It was a hit.

But rather than simply clear out once the fun was over, the festival has aimed to reinvent some of the abandoned buildings in town as permanent art spaces.

“The ethos is to be playful but also leave a lasting impact to the town,” Mr. Ruspoli said.

[Source]

The Johnson (and Johnson) family are full of interesting characters, to put it mildly.

crazy rich

Stefan Ashkenazy is the owner of La Petit Ermitage, one of the commercial hotels doing pop-ups at Burning Man VIP camps.

petit ermitage

And as for the third player in this trinity, the description of “film maker” doesn’t quite do him justice:
Tao Ruspoli is an Italian American filmmaker, photographer, and musician. Ruspoli is the second son of occasional actor and aristocrat Prince Alessandro Ruspoli, 9th Prince of Cerveteri and Austrian-American actress Debra Berger. He is the older brother of Bartolomeo dei Principi Ruspoli, second husband of oil heiress Aileen Getty.
A prince(ling), whose sister-in-law is a Getty. No big deal. Oh and he got engaged to Olivia Wilde at Burning Man and married her at 18 on a school bus
olivia wilde tron
The Salton Sea is a seriously trippy place.

This year the Biennale theme was The Way The Future Used To Be. There were more than 100 artists and performers, with attendance “in the hundreds rather than thousands”.

Carmiel Banasky in LA Weekly described the psychedelic space station and other accoutrements:

My first stop at the fest was a Mad Hatter-esque tea party, where cake pops (made by a local family), joints and edibles were passed around while fairy women made bondage art in the branches. Along the beach was a lifeguard stand turned into a psychedelic space station. Colorful smoke bombs set off at sunset through large sea creature cut-outs asked us to remember where we were, while the outdoor bar next door (tended by men in yellow bikini briefs) asked us to forget it.

Read the full story at the New York Times

Read the LA Weekly Story

See more photos on Instagram

An art installation on the sand at Bombay Beach. Credit: Jennifer Wiley
Photo

Artists explored the surreal setting of the decaying Salton Sea. Credit: Laura Austin
Photo

Men in yellow bikini briefs tended a bar at the Bombay Beach Club. Credit: James Frank
Films were screened at a drive-in theater featuring the shells of broken-down cars. Credit: James Frank
A performance at the Bombay Beach Opera House featured dancers from the San Francisco Ballet. Credit: James Frank

“Davos Is Burning Man With Clothes” – Sergey Brin

davos-2

Google Co-Founder and Billionaire Burner Sergey Brin, rumored to be one of the Anonymous donors backing Burning Man’s year round philosophy center/nude bathing retreat Flysalen, has chosen the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland to show off his “cool kid” Burning Man credentials.


re-blogged from The Hollywood Reporter (because Switzerland is so close to Los Angeles)

Google Co-Founder: Davos World Economic Forum Is Like Burning Man “Except We’re All Wearing Clothes”

Sergey Brin, the president of Google parent company Alphabet, on Thursday lauded the technology company and Silicon Valley’s culture of pursuing new ideas and businesses, even if they don’t succeed, arguing that it allows for innovation and creativity.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in a session that was live-streamed, he said his first visit to the event in eight years reminded him a bit of Burning Man in Nevada.

“Not having been to Davos in eight years, I’m even confused in a good way, because there are all these business executives and CEOs and everybody wondering how are people going to find purpose and what about all these refugees, what about income inequality,” he said before drawing laughs by adding. “I kind of feel like I’m at Burning Man — almost, except we’re all wearing clothes.”

On a more serious note, Brin told the Davos crowd on Thursday that outside of the Forum, “oftentimes, there is a very antagonistic [relationship] between government and business,” which he said is “very unhealthy.” He called on all to focus on tackling issues “in a real collaborative way.”

He was also questioned about the culture at Alphabet/Google and Silicon Valley in general. “We are just lucky to have the environment that tolerates making lots of risky bets and tolerating the failures that inevitably result,” he said about the company.

In that context, he also shared that he thought about the idea for Google as part of his graduate student project at Stanford University and asked his advisor whether he should become an entrepreneur or finish his PhD, the advisor said: “Why not!? Go for it, and then if it doesn’t work out, you come back, you finish your PhD, which I am still planning on doing.”

Brin said “that mentality permeates Silicon Valley, and I think that’s one of the strengths that it’s not viewed so negatively to try something even if it doesn’t work out.”

Asked about Alphabet/Google’s key values, he said: “For whatever weird reason, maybe it’s because we are San Francisco hippies, Google has always had a little bit of that social responsibility view.” And he added: “It can’t be the case that companies such as ours are just purely profit motivated. … You can’t just think narrowly, this is your business, you are just going to maximize earnings, it doesn’t matter what else is going on around you.”

Image: Noah Zerkin, Twitter

Image: Noah Zerkin, Twitter

Asked if he had any idea where Google would go when he started it, Brin said: “I could not possibly have imagined.” 

What’s his advice for young people? Brin said “you should have fun” instead of thinking about an IPO from the start or trying to be number one in their field on a global basis, explaining: “I certainly had no dreams of economic success.” He concluded: “I would encourage young folks to take chances and pursue their dreams and try to silence out the voices that say well, actually there are a thousand startups trying to solve self-riding bicycles or whatever they happen to be doing.”

[Source: Hollywood Reporter]


We know most Burners would rather talk about refugees and income equality than LSD and Molly. Right? We’re not just partying, we’re actually making the world a better place…by partying.

I guarantee you there are after parties at Davos where you can find naked people. Perhaps Brin isn’t “in”?

google-machine-gunWhen Sergey described the “very antagonistic relationship between Government and Business”, was that based on his company having 427 meetings at the Obama White House, a “hand in glove” arrangement with the State Department, and its Billionaire Burner CEO being chairman of the Pentagon’s technology board and the top outside advisor for Hillary Clinton’s Presidential run? If that is antagonistic, I’d hate to see what “in the pocket” looks like. The close collaboration between corporations and government Sergey dreams of is also known as  “fascism”.

the-groundwork-logo

Source: Quartz


Burning Man for Billionaire Bilderbergers

What other rave lets you see billionaire dicks swinging in the wind? If you want to see your Davos colleagues rock out with their shirt-cock out, invite them to Burning Man. Maybe they can connect with venture capitalists and hot new startups – even BMorg themselves have an incubator now, Black Rock Labs. Sergey will be there, sans vêtements, he’s the 13th richest guy in the world. Allegedly. If they’re lucky (or even unlucky, as long as they’re rich) then knowing the right insiders might swing them a VIP invite to the offsite. There’s a geyser (Ser-gey-ser?), where you can get naked in the hot springs. It’s called Radical Self Expression, and it’s life-changing. Transformative. You may be the CEO of a Fortune 100 company, but if you’ve never done Special K with supermodels at sunrise at Robot Heart then you’re living a false reality, a lie that you need to cast off so you can make the world a better place. Tune In to Larry Harvey and the Ten Principles, Turn On to liquid acid, and Drop Out of all those clothes that stop you from expressing who you really want to be. Come to the Burn, Man, and leave Transformed.

transformers-robots-in-disguise-season-1_1431949109

How long until Google hosts an executive retreat at Flysalen? It’s probably already happened. Wonder if any goats were sacrificed.

 

Sergey’s speech this week is not the first time Burning Man has been linked to Davos, which has been called Burning Man for Billionaire Bilderbergers.

In 2014 BMorg told us about all the Burners at the World Economic Forum in Davos is Burning. Strangely, they didn’t think it was relevant to mention that Burning Man’s first Chief Technology Guru went from Black Rock City, Nevada to Davos, Switzerland, to set up all the tech for the World Economic Forum. A promotion for a job well done, perhaps?

hyperledger-s-executive-director-brian-behlendo-originalBrian Behlendorf, lead developer of Apache and creator of the SFRaves Mailing List, went from being Burning Man’s Chief Technology Guru to the same role for the World Economic Forum. Now he’s Chairman of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (founded by CIA consultant John Perry Barlow) and on the board of crypto-messenger Wickr, along with Gilman Louie (founding CEO of CIA venture capital incubator In-Q-Tel, and former employer of Burning Man founders Carrie Galbraith and Kevin Evans), Jim Breyer (BBN Technologies, early Facebook investor), and former CIA man Joseph Detrani (President of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance). The CIA.gov web site runs on Brian’s Apache software.

Sergey Brin himself is no stranger to the CIA either. His claim above…

he thought about the idea for Google as part of his graduate student project at Stanford University and asked his advisor whether he should become an entrepreneur or finish his PhD, the advisor said: “Why not!? Go for it, and then if it doesn’t work out, you come back, you finish your PhD, which I am still planning on doing.”

Brin said “that mentality permeates Silicon Valley, and I think that’s one of the strengths that it’s not viewed so negatively to try something even if it doesn’t work out.”

…sounds sweet, and suits the mythology of Silicon Valley. A student was encouraged by his professor to drop out of college to become an entrepreneur, he took a risk and achieved great success through hard work, talent and luck. The American Dream! But he’s leaving out a pretty significant component, as Nafeez Ahmed from Insurge Intelligence revealed in his stunning 2015 report How The CIA Made Google: Inside The Secret Network Behind Mass Surveillance, Endless War, and SkyNet

The inside story of Google’s rise, revealed here for the first time, opens a can of worms that goes far beyond Google, unexpectedly shining a light on the existence of a parasitical network driving the evolution of the US national security apparatus, and profiting obscenely from its operation

Nafeez quoted Dr Bhavani Thuraisingham, who stated in 2013 “the Google founder Mr. Sergey Brin was partly funded by this program while he was a PhD student at Stanford”. After Nafeez’s article was published, Dr Thuraisingham dialed that back a little  – heat from the bosses, perhaps? This is from his revised update:

Prof. Jeffrey Ullman (at Stanford) and my colleague at MITRE Dr. Chris Clifton together with some others developed the Query Flocks System, as part of MDDS, which produced solutions for mining large amounts of data stored in databases. Also, Mr. Sergey Brin, the cofounder of Google, was part of Prof. Ullman’s research group at that time. I remember visiting Stanford with Dr. Rick Steinheiser from the Intelligence Community periodically and Mr. Brin would rush in on roller blades, give his presentation and rush out. During our last visit to Stanford in September 1998, Mr. Brin demonstrated to us his search engine which I believe became Google soon after.

 

Despite Dr Thuraisingham’s milquetoast clarification, the story of Google’s intelligence community origins has been independently corroborated by a second source, 20+ year CIA veteran Robert David Steele. Julian Assange wrote an entire book about it, excerpted here: Google Is Not What It Seems.

google guys.pngJust like CIA contractor Timothy Leary was presented before crowds at the 1967 Human Be-In as a leading voice of the counter-culture, so CIA contractor Sergey Brin is presented at Burning Man for Billionaires as the leading voice of the tech world (and hippies). Flower power reigns supreme! If you think endless war and mass surveillance by A.I.’s is cool, then Google is a pretty cool company. Neat-o! Come to Flysalen and learn how to be just like Sergey. Naked.

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Doodle, by ABC.XYZ

Last year 62 people had as much wealth as the poorest 50% of the world. Thanks to monetarism, that’s now only 8. Of these, 3 are connected to Burning Man: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and Oracle founder Larry Ellison (his kids go). Of course, all of those have CIA ties as well. Zuckerberg went to an elite program for gifted children at the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth in Baltimore, Maryland – as did Sergey Brin and spirit cooking enthusiast Lady Gaga. Zuckerberg then “accidentally met on the street” Sean Parker, who was recruited by the CIA at 16. Parker introduced Zuckerberg to Don Graham, whose family owned the Washington Post – exposed by Carl Bernstein in 1977 as one of the key CIA propaganda assets in Operation MOCKINGBIRD. Graham took a board seat at Facebook, and later sold the Washington Post to Jeff Bezos for $250 million at almost exactly the same time that the CIA gave Amazon an unspecified $600 million deal  (just before Amazon released their Echo always-on listening device). Amazon CEO Bezos is also on the Pentagon technology board with Google CEO Eric Schmidt. Larry Ellison was working for Ampex and the CIA on a database project they named Oracle, after the popular counter-culture magazine that organized the Human Be-In. He left to start his own company funded by a juicy contract with Oracle’s first customer: the CIA.

Silicon Valley’s mantra of “it’s OK to fail” is definitely enhanced when you are working for the military/intelligence community with 55% of the country’s discretionary budget.

 

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Alphabet and Pentagon Innovation Board Chairman Eric Schmidt at the 2016 Further Future Festival in Nevada, organized by the owners of Robot Heart. He claimed in his speech that he was wearing a new generation of bullet/laser-proof vest, recommended by the Defense Department because of the threat of laser weapons. Perhaps he was joking, but the laser threat is no joke. A Burning Man ranger was permanently blinded by a handheld laser in 2014

“Dear White People, Standing Rock Is Not Burning Man”

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It seems that the idea of “using The Ten Principles of Burning Man to make the world a better place” is not yet embraced by everyone else in the world.

screenshot-2016-12-01-01-35-18There has been a barrage of press this week about complaints that Burners are trying to turn the Dakota Pipeline protest at Standing Rock into Burning Man.

Some of the headlines:

The Independent (UK): Standing Rock: North Dakota access pipeline demonstrators say white people are ‘treating protest like Burning Man’

SF Chronicle: Standing Rock Activists Asking White People Not To Treat The Protest Like Burning Man

Daily Caller: White Hippes Descend on Standing Rock Protest, Treat It Like Burning Man

Papermag: White People Are Reportedly Treating the #NODAPL Protests Like Burning Man

Washington Times: Complaints Grow Over Whites Turning Dakota Access protest into hippie festival

Yes, the demonstrators have a new thing to protest about: Burners. The colonial subjects do not want to have a transformational experience from the colonists, they are quite happy with the culture that they already have – an ancient one sacred to them, principles that their people have risked their lives for centuries to defend.

GQ says:

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Opponents of the nearly-completed Dakota Access Pipeline have been confronted with some harrowing stuff during their ongoing occupation of Standing Rock Indian Reservation: pepper spraystrip searchesrubber bulletswater cannons, and now, as the calendar rolls over into December, plunging temperatures and the prospect of snow. It’s a volatile, dangerous situation, and the continued integrity of the demonstration will depend heavily on the exercise of restraint, sound judgment, and common sense. Unfortunately, your college roommate who was way too into Dave Matthews Band is apparently out there doing his best to fuck everything up. From the Independent:

People demonstrating at North Dakota’s Access Pipeline protest have expressed frustration at white demonstrators who are reportedly turning up to “colonise” the camp.

Concerns have been raised by protestors on social media, who claim that people are arriving at the Standing Rock demonstration for the “cultural experience” and treating it like Burning Man festival.

Yes, apparently some Johnny-come-lately Caucasian protesters have been comparing the protests to Burning Man, using donations to buy fluoride-free water, and—the cardinal sin of white people everywhere—playing their guitars around campfires. My fellow white people: do not do this shit! Standing Rock is not the place for you to embark on a meaningful spiritual journey to find yourself. 

If they are so inclined, it’s great for people to show their support for the tribe’s efforts to protect its water supply and preserve their traditional tribal burial grounds. But while it sounds there are plenty of non-tribal protestors in attendance who are doing things correctly, others need to learn some dang manners. 

Nobody wants to hear your songs with your guitar or drum around the fire” is an evergreen reminder, to be honest, but it especially applies to anyone who treats Standing Rock like it’s a friend of a friend’s housewarming party that they can crash.

[Source]

This is particularly amusing because BMorg have been boasting about how they have teams on the scene, including [former] Social Alchemist/House Bard Bear Kittay. If “playing guitars around campfires” was a middle name, it would be his…

 

As a rule we don’t share personal Facebook posts here, but in this case Bear was happy for his take on Standing Rock to be published on Medium, who bring us Bear Kittay From The Bismarck Airport Leaving Standing Rock (on a private plane, perhaps?):

Photo by Bear Kittay. Note their Principle “No Children in Potentially Dangerous Situations”, something the Org really needs to consider

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“Real, immediate dialogue. That is what we need. How can we create an environment where an indigenous person, gypsetter, and rust belter will be imbued with a sense of peership?

My experience of the microcosm of a cauldron that Standing Rock, in my brief visit there, has left me with much to ponder and digest. So many layers simultaneously coexisting.

Deep ancestral distrust, how can we begin to address the underlying fears and victimization?

On my journey to North Dakota I read “Quiet Thunder: The Wisdom of Crazy Horse” (thanks Michael Costuros) and was astounded to revisit, in chilling detail, the magnitude of the atrocities committed by the United States upon the Lakota Nation.

For all the focus we put on the inequities of the wider world, it struck me so deeply to look here into the history of our own land, and demystify the historical injustices, that were not from some far off historic time. For indeed, there is a through line that, very immediately connects the vile, systemic campaign against the Native Americans to the current moment of Standing Rock today.

I have tried to balance and remain agnostic from the many conspiracy theories that are in sprinkled around the Internet and spoken as if they are high truth. I believe this world is complex and that oversimplification can lead to the worst in human behavior.

So, can someone please give me an explanation as to why all of the major media companies are refusing to cover standing rock in earnest? It has all the telltale signs of conspiratorial activity, with huge corporate interests conspiring to suppress public outrage through misinformation and, even, fake news. If any of you that are reading this are deeply connected in the mainstream media, please use your influence to send field reporters.

Thank you to Seth BuntingElana Meta Jaroff and the many others who are on the front lines of this conflict vigilantly documenting and broadcasting the scene. Your work is making real impact, your courage is real.

This isn’t going to be one of those Facebook posts where I prescribe eloquent solutions or pruned emotional reflections — I’m sleep deprived, exasperated and very much in process.

If you’re reading this, I implore you to create conversation with those who may challenge you, trigger you, who you may easily judge, and subconsciously look down upon… get off of the Internet and receive the incredible gift of human connection outside of our affinity bubbles.

This is what the world needs. This is what our hearts need. This is but one facet in the many layers of Standing Rock as a metaphor for the front lines of our nation and indeed our world, in transition.

In love, and to the ongoing ceremony and prayer in our Greater Circle. Aho

And PS — it’s COLD AS HELL out there. Please consider the comfort of your warm home when making a donation to support the Water Protectors: http://www.ocetisakowincamp.org/

[Source]

I wondered if this “camp ocetisakowin” had anything to do with the Dakota Pipeline, or if it was some plug-n-play that BMorg had set up so they could fly execs in via their new airline. At first glance it looked like an anagram of “white ocean“…Turns out it’s the traditional name of the Sioux People and one of the largest camps up there. Among other things they’re seeking:

The sacred fire must be kept burning until it is guaranteed the water is protected for future generations.  One of our greatest needs for the winter will be wood.  It warms our lodges, cooks our food, heats the stones for our sweats. 

Tipis, winter liners, and poles

Yurts or other winter worthy structures

[Source]

Ask for yurts and help to keep the sacred fire burning and don’t be surprised if Burners show up! Perhaps they should’ve asked for ShiftPods…they could blast the pipeline away with that stadium-grade Funktion1 system.

Actually, the Daily Mail features “Burning Man-style” aerial photos…I see multiple Shift Pods. Where’s the DJ booth?

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[Source]

To be fair to Bear, the Standing Rock protestors were complaining about people treating it like Burning Man before he showed up:

Burbank Airport is a popular hub for General Aviation

Burbank Airport in Los Angeles is a popular hub for General Aviation, but an unusual departure location for an SF resident on a commercial flight

Tracing this story to its roots, it seems like the complaints about Burners started two weeks earlier, on November 14.

GQ quotes The Independent who plagiarize quote without attribution Counter Current News who quote Alicia Smith on Facebook.

Standing Rock has reportedly been overrun with white demonstrators trying to soak up the ‘cultural experience’

Demonstrators at North Dakota’s Pipeline protest have spoken out about the amount of white people who have turned up to “colonise” the camp.

The concerns have been raised by protestors in a series of tweets and Facebook posts. According to them, people have turned up to the Standing Rock demonstration to soak up the “cultural experience”, and are treating the camp like it is “Burning Man” festival or “The Rainbow Gathering”.

“They are coming in, taking food, clothing… and occupying space without any desire to participate in camp maintenance and without respect of tribal protocols,” said protestor Alicia Smith on Facebook. “I even witnessed several wandering in and out of camps comparing it to festivals. Waiting with big smiles expectantly for us to give them a necklace or an ‘indian’ name while our camp leader was speaking.”

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If you read our post Making Sense of the Non-Census (or did the Creepy Census) you will have encountered the term “2 Spirit”. I wondered what that was, now I know: someone who travels to sacred Indian land to scream at the Elders.

Burners Without Borders has been involved since at least October 28.

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There seems to be a battle going on of “which nerds should be the ones to collect donations to [*cough*] pass on to the protestors”. BWB director Chris Breedlove asked “where does this money go?” on Bear’s Facebook post asking for donations to ThriveAction.org , which redirects to thrivemarket.com, which says that the distribution really gets done by UpToUs.Net – which is a “coming soon” 1-page web site four months after raising $41,104 of their $75,000 goal for a “caravan to the DNC” . They have partnered with All It Takes, created by Divergent actress Shailene Woodley and her mom to send poor kids to training camps. It’s about 100% of their annual budget. Where does the money go? It’s complicated…

While I share Breedlove’s concerns and his intentions sound noble, it turns out Burners Without Borders are promoting their own preferred charity, in partnership with Patricia Arquette.
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Isn’t this exactly the kind of thing Burners Without Borders is supposed to be doing? The Burning Man Project has $7.5 million cash (at least, it did at the end of 2015). Why can’t they spare $80k for this project, if it’s so worthy? Why can’t they redistribute $1 from each of our tickets for this? Why are they promoting Patricia Arquette, who a couple of months ago was hating on Burning Man?

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Why does Burning Man with many millions have to wait for Patricia Arquette to raise tens of thousands before they can help the Sioux tribe in North Dakota? The tribe’s potty requirements presumably tick the Ten Principle boxes of “Immediacy”, “Civic Responsibility”, and (dare I say it) “Radical Self Expression”…meanwhile the existing portapotties are freezing up.

Perhaps They want to ameliorate the concerns Hollywood quasi-celebrities have about Burning Man’s environmental values by partnering with them on a composting toilets project. Whether such projects get funded enough and completed in time is not as important as the “optics”. Someone semi-famous who went to Burning Man once is making something happen, somewhere, somehow, coming soon. Woo-hoo! We’re saving the world with Larry’s Ten Principles, and OPM!

So far this “fund by Becca Dakini” has raised $30k of their $85k goal. I guess if there’s one thing Burning Man is good at, it’s managing dumps in remote locations…

porta-potty-blowdown

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In this case it’s not just Burners Without Borders and Burning Man raising money for toilets. It’s also people (and networks) from Do Lab, Symbiosis, Lucidity, their brand consultants, and “others” from the “global festival community”. Colonize turns out to be an apt word, since their “focus is on village building”:

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Protector’s Alliance is a unified platform and partnership effort of aligned organizations, skilled workers, producers and individuals from the global festival community. We are working to support front line environmental crisis and social justice conflicts. We gather accurate information about the needs of an action, manage a database and resource bank of our community’s assets, deploy and distribute resources effectively with a focus on “village building”. We support on the front lines with effective aid, skills, labor, infrastructure and tools, through an agile approach to fulfilling the emergent needs of actions. We are committed to working as allies, building pathways for inter-cultural cooperation, with cultural sensitivity training and education for our partners and affiliates to ensure appropriateness of our conduct towards nurturing respectful relationships and empowering peoples of place. Individuals and Organizations that are part of this alliance include the communities and networks of Burners Without Borders, Burning Man, Do LaB Inc, UPLIFT, Lucidity Festivals, Keyframe-Entertainment, ReInhabiting the Village, Take Root Productions and others
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Deploy and distribute resources effectively? Who’s counting that? Are they planning to build their villages on tribal land? And who are these unnamed “others” collecting all the databases? What happens to the data? Is it shared with the “Burning Nerds” or “Burning Man Earth” teams?
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Composting toilets might not be “fulfilling the emergent needs of actions” if the protest gets shut down next week like the Governor has ordered:

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On Tuesday, the Morton County Sheriff’s Department indicated that it would block delivery of food, medicine and other supplies to protesters who defy orders to leave the Oceti Sakowin camp. Gov. Jack Dalrymple on Monday ordered mandatory evacuation of the camp because of a predicted strong winter storm. 

 

The first blow to the camp’s security was an announcement last week that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would shut an area to the public that includes the main camp. The corps said its decision was based on growing violence between police and protesters and the onset of cold weather.  

 [Source]
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Burner General Wesley Clark‘s son is leading 2000 unarmed Veterans up there to make a human shield. Frozen or not, shit’s about to get real. The Veterans group have raised nearly a million bucks on their GoFundMe. Like the Haiti earthquake, Standing Rock seems like a goldmine for all the helpers. How much of the money leaves the hands of the white folks non-indigenous groups and flows into the hands of the tribes is an open question. I didn’t notice any Indians amongst all these various fundraising entities.
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A search for “Standing Rock” on GoFundMe turns up thousands of fundraisers.
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All of these are still open, which begs the question “which will close first, the protests or the fundraisers?” Back in the day, people used to pay their own costs to protest for things they believe in.
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Another BWB-backed group called Red Lightning are setting up a real Burner-style camp there. You can send donations directly to them:
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Reality Sandwich, a site founded by Daniel Pinchbeck, today published a lengthy feature by Tamra Lucid “From Burning Man to Standing Rock”

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But now, 300 indigenous nations are there in Cannonball, North Dakota, protecting the water. Among them the Yaqui, Bianca’s tribe.

But Bianca has another tribe, too — she’s a Burner. Burners have been getting a bad reputation at Standing Rock because of some who treat it like just another festival. Burners who freeload, you know, tourists, or colonists. People who play guitar at campfire when they shouldn’t. People who explain when they should be listening. But they aren’t the only Burners at Standing Rock.

…I witnessed festival families showing up at Standing Rock.  Fortunately, many burners came in service to the indigenous, while unfortunately others came to “have an experience” to showcase on social media.  The later is what became most evident and publicized and provides our community with an opportunity to grow and become culturally aware of how we show up in the world.  It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for those of us who have not grown up with tribal people to interact, and to garner a more real understanding of what it means to interact with tribal people. Go and sit quietly in the different councils (preferably giving the primary seats to the Natives), go and engage with the gathered nations by asking one simple question, “How can I be in service to you today?”  

 

If you’re unsure of how to do this or nervous you will step on toes, connect with https://www.protectorsalliance.org

[Source]

In fact there are more than 500 tribes there from around the world. My people are there too, although our way of protest is a little different from kumbaya, kombucha, and fluoride-free water…here’s Kereama Te Ua from my hometown of Wellington at Standing Rock doing a haka, the Maori war dance..

You may have seen this sort of thing before in sporting events with the New Zealand national team, or in the movie Invictus with Morgan Freeman. I can guarantee that you haven’t seen a haka like this, though. This is the real deal, he’s not messing around. It’s significant that he doesn’t rise from his knee. If he does, it’s to fight. These people are not to be trifled with, they ate the brains of their enemies on the battlefield to take their power.
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It remains to be seen whether these more traditional forms of protest will be more effective than thousands of GoFundMes for unemployed/trust-fund Burners looking for a transformational experience and promising that “100% of the money” goes to the Indians. We wish everyone involved a peaceful and successful protest. It’s a global village now. Mess with the tribes and you mess with all the tribes.
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[Update 5/12/16 7:27am]

Chris Breedlove from Burners Without Borders has commented on this story on our Facebook page. Predictably, instead of addressing any of the issues we raised, he tried to spin it and place the blame here.
BMorg can do no wrong! It is only Burners.Me that does wrong. BMorg good! Burners.Me bad!
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