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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.

 

The Digital Renaissance Faire: A New Burner Event Gets Off the Ground

by Whatsblem the Pro

DRF Logo by Corey 'Endeavor' Rosen

DRF Logo by Corey ‘Endeavor’ Rosen

The first annual Digital Renaissance Faire is coming up at the end of May in South Lake Tahoe, Nevada. It isn’t particularly digital, and it’s not a Renaissance Faire; Corey ‘Endeavor’ Rosen‘s brainchild is, in Rosen’s own words, “a B.Y.O.E. (Bring Your Own Everything) community-based educational collaborative art festival practicing decommodification and sacred economy within a festival community environment.”

In other words, it’s a big burner party!

The DRF will be taking place near South Lake Tahoe from May 23rd to the 27th, with some familiar names among the theme camp participants that will be attending; Barbie Death Camp, for instance, will be hosting one of the distinct ‘villages’ at the event (Air Village), with Digital Apex providing sound.

Corey 'Endeavor' Rosen - Photo by Yobi Bear

Corey ‘Endeavor’ Rosen – Photo by Yobi Bear

“We’ll also have InpsydouT and their incredible black-light art gallery,” Rosen reports, “and the Financial Liberation Institute will be hosting a village workshop space. Remixed Ink will be bringing a screen-printing SWAG theme camp. MAP (Music, Art, Poetry) is presenting a live music and performance theme camp. . . and the YUM Truck will be cooking up some amazing food for us to sample on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.”

Sacred Spaces will be hosting Earth Village, with the Hookahdome as their village sound camp. EVOLVER will furnish some workshop space, and don’t miss Healing Sensations massage healing theme camp, even if you feel fine. SoulShine will balance your chakras with aromatherapy using scented candles, oils, soaps, and elixirs, which sounds like a pleasantly smellful time even if you’re ungroovy and don’t believe in chakras or care if they’re unbalanced.

FluxFire will be rapidly combining things with oxygen in order to threaten and enliven your very existence on this planet in Fire Village at the Digital Renaissance Faire, with soundtrack courtesy of The Othership. The folks from Leafy Green Gallery will be on hand with a sculpture gallery featuring live welding and glass-blowing demonstrations. Rainbow Heart will run a village workshop space while the Sensuality Salon will be hosting an activity theme camp designed to “connect your heart to your senses,” which is probably not as painful as it sounds. Our esteemed colleagues from Burn After Reading Magazine and Raised By Wolves will caffeinate you ’til you’re sore at their coffee bar, while PyroClastic Flow spins fire art.

Camp Happy Hour will host Water Village with a bar and art gallery, and sonic assistance from Sustainable Bass Collective. The Inversion Playground and outdoor workshop space will be available for your use courtesy of a coven of hawt adrenaline princesses known as the Tahoe Ciello Aerialists. There will be a photo booth run by Unique Exposures, and you might just find some stylin’ new (to you) duds at the Clothing Exchange.

The four traditional elements being insufficient for modern needs, there will also be an Aether Village, where the DRF Spirit Guides will man (or woman) an Information Booth, Ice Sales, and the Spirit Stage, a 24-hour open mic stage where YOU can be the star (or possibly jackass)! Rainbow Ranch will present a village workshop space, and Sk8&Create will welcome you into (out to?) their outdoor art gallery and mini skate park. 9Energies will be there, too, to determine which of the nine energies is your superpower.

The Auburn chapter of the Hip-Hop Congress is running the show in Youth Village, with ZeroDB‘s Silent Disco, and the Illumination Dissemination Theater, a movie theater providing educational documentaries and forward-thinking programs all weekend long.

It all promises to add up to an interesting event. Weather allowing, it should be a good time for everyone.

Even Cookie Monster. Photo by Tim Eliseo

Even Cookie Monster. Photo by Tim Eliseo

For More Information:

DRF Hotline: 916-WIRE-DRF
Event Website: www.digitalrenfaire.org
Ticket Page: www.pccn.ticketbud.com/digitalrenfaire
Facebook Community Page: www.facebook.com/digitalrenfaire
Facebook Event Page: www.facebook.com/events/530324116983560/