CryptoBeast #7 – Nanotechnology, Liquid Robotics, Augmented Reality and Factory 4.0

Remember when Burning Man was all about the Maker Movement? In 2016 the theme was Da Vinci’s Workshop, and Minister of Propaganda Will Chase left to do PR for Maker Faire. This year they have returned to the latest Silicon Valley buzzwords with I, Robot.

3DToken (3DT) is an upcoming ICO in the nanotech and robotics space. Their vision is “Factory 4.0”, transforming the entire economy with Just-In-Time, made to order manufacturing near the point of sale instead of making stuff in factories in China then shipping and trucking it around the world. Their 3D printers can use environmentally friendly, recycled materials. CryptoBeast interviews Politronica and 3D Token CEO Alessandro Chiolerio.

Trailer:

Full Interview:

Elon Musk: “Burning Man IS Silicon Valley”

Mike Judge is one of this country’s comic greats.

As well as Beavis and Butthead and King of the Hill, he made the classic movie Idiocracy.

Now he’s back with a terrific new show on HBO, a sardonic look at Silicon Valley called “Silicon Valley”. It has been called “Entourage with Asperger’s”. It debuted last night, I just watched it with a friend who also has a lot of experience in the Valley, and we both found it hilarious. They’ve totally nailed it, and I can’t wait for the show to develop.

Trailer:

Here’s the whole first episode:

spacex-headquarters-main-office-4Being San Francisco, of course, not everyone is happy about it: including Burner and Tesla founder Elon Musk, who has judged Judge for not radically including himself in our shenanigans. He should be a Burner more like Elon, who flies in by private plane to his plug-n-play Segway model RV compound. Does that put you in a position to be saying “Silicon Valley is Burning Man”?  Hey, when your plane takes off from your office which has 5 Spaceships and you bring the Lucent Dossier Experience to the party, that’s fine by us! You clearly know how to do it better than the fresh-from-Crimea virgins who (shock! horror!) wore a t-shirt with some sort of logo on it, or had to hitch a ride because they couldn’t score a vehicle pass.

Recode brings us the full story, of Elon’s comments over bacon and waffles:

If the crowd reactions at the Silicon Valley premiere of HBO’s comedy series “Silicon Valley” are any indication, the show will hit a nerve with tech’s power players.

Young programmers said they saw themselves in the show. Lawyers and venture capitalists were happy that people would finally see how much power engineers have these days. And Tesla founder Elon Musk, whose name was dropped in the first few minutes of the first episode, hated it.

vice-mike-judge-talks-beavis-butthead-2Created by Mike Judge, Dave Krinsky and John Altschuler, and filmed on location in Palo Alto, the show, which debuts on April 6, follows six roommates, all programmers, as they try to strike it rich in Silicon Valley. During the first two 30-minute episodes at Redwood City’s Fox Theatre, the audience of around 400 locals responded with laughs and sighs as the characters enacted the constant pitching, striving and inanity that felt familiar to those in the recent tech boom.

Afterward, the audience and cast filed uneasily together down Broadway to an after-party at the Fox Forum banquet hall, where a group of Silicon Valley lawyers and venture capitalists formed a tight circle.

“It was no more unreal than real life here,” said Selwyn B. Goldberg, a partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. “Since the last bubble, it’s been complete insanity.”

Simon Roy, president of Jemstep, agreed, and said the show captures the enormous power that engineers have today.

“In the ’90s, in the 2000s, it wasn’t like this.”

If the VCs and law firm partners were fans, serial entrepreneur Musk was less so. He sees the Valley through Playa-dust encrusted glasses:

Elon Musk, whose high-profile companies SpaceX and Tesla have made him a very big star of tech, recognized a friend in the VC scrum, and joined in.

“The truth? It’s stranger than the fiction,” Musk declared, as the large group debated the verisimilitude of the show and also tech versus Hollywood in general. “Most startups are a soap opera, but not that kind of soap opera.”

Musk did not much like the show and continued talking about the issue of truth versus fiction, in what was an instant television review of “Silicon Valley.”

The verdict of the digital Roger Ebert? Thumbs very much down.

“None of those characters were software engineers. Software engineers are more helpful, thoughtful, and smarter. They’re weird, but not in the same way,” he insisted. “I was just having a meeting with my information security team, and they’re great but they’re pretty fucking weird — one used to be a dude, one’s super small, one’s hyper-smart — that’s actually what it is.”

Musk continued his lively assessment, as waiters passed trays of sweetbread, truffled potatoes, Brussels sprouts and bacon and waffles around them, making larger points about the tech landscape and offering a kind of on-the-fly script notes session for those gathered.

“I really feel like Mike Judge has never been to Burning Man, which is Silicon Valley,” opined Musk. “If you haven’t been, you just don’t get it. You could take the craziest L.A. party and multiply it by a thousand, and it doesn’t even get fucking close to what’s in Silicon Valley. The show didn’t have any of that.”

An early Tesla prototype spotted at Burning Man in 2007

An early Tesla prototype spotted at Burning Man in 2007

Musk looked around the circle and asked who had been to colorful annual desert festival that is a favorite of tech’s elite. Not a one answered in the affirmative.

Then, Musk made the observation that the geeks are without the same social aspirations as those in the entertainment industry, an aspect which he thought the show completely missed.

“The parties in Silicon Valley are amazing because people don’t care about how they’re perceived socially, which I don’t think Mike [Judge] got. Hollywood is a place where people always care about what the public will think of them … and the show felt more like that,” he said. “I’ve lived in Hollywood 12 years, and I’ve never been to a fucking good party.”

Musk reached for a bacon waffle and proclaimed that he would take Judge to Burning Man this year.

We look forward to seeing a Beavis and Butthead art car (at least). Huh huh huh huh. These people are naked. Huh huh. Or at least, a Silicon Valley episode set at Burning Man. Starring Elon, natch.

If Elon thinks that there aren’t just as many celebrities at Burning Man as at your typical Hollywood party, then clearly he hasn’t been reading our coverage of the event.

After his film review, the twice-divorced billionaire Musk was forced to deal with the bevy of young hotties wanting to learn about the latest in SULEV technologies.

musk girl geeksDespite some misgivings about the show, it was clear that Musk was definitely more of a star than anyone present at the premiere. A coterie of millennial women, waiting for him to break away from the group, circled him.

Outside on the street, actor T.J. Miller was having a cigarette. Was he having a good time at the party?


“Yeah, but, and I’m not gonna name names, but if the billionaire power players don’t get the joke, it’s because they’re not comfortable being satirized,” said Miller, who plays a buffoonish character named Erlich, who owns the hacker house. “And they don’t remember that to be a target of humor is an honor — you have to be venerated to be satirized. Like, I’m sorry, but you could tell everything was true. You guys do have bike meetings, motherfucker.”

Also outside smoking was one of the show’s writers, Clay Tarver, who said he had been anxious about having the premiere in the heart of the Valley.

“We knew this would be either a lovely evening or the worst night of our lives,” Tarver said. “I’m still not sure which it is.”

musk_and_obamaTarver said he felt that Silicon Valley was a perfect topic for satire — and that the increasing public resentment toward tech means that the show didn’t even feel that mean anymore (after all, earlier that morning, protesters had vomited on a Yahoo shuttle in Oakland).

“When I first read the pilot, I thought maybe it was too harsh,” he said. “But even just in the last four months, the resentment toward the Valley has come through the roof, so I think it works.”

The HBO jet was docked at an airstrip nearby, and the media execs started filing out to head back to Los Angeles. By the photo booth in the back of the banquet hall, the stars of the show were dancing with their girlfriends.

“The Valley is a place that takes itself too seriously, and it has yet to be properly lampooned,” said lead character Thomas Middleditch. “So it’s time for … it’s time for a wedgie.

It sure is. And I can think of another San Francisco subculture of self-important hipsters who could use a wedgie or three also. Let’s hope Elon gives Mike Judge a LOT of inspiration at Caravansery.

Elon’s comments got some feedback from the show’s creators in the Hollywood Reporter:

producer Alec Berg was still trying to make sense of Musk’s criticisms. “I’m not quite sure what going to Burning Man has to do with anything that was in the show,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “I feel like [Musk] may have a slightly skewed opinion of people because he’s a billionaire and everyone wants to be helpful to him. It’s like he’s the most beautiful woman in the world and he’s saying, ‘Gosh, men are so helpful. They carry your bag and they get the door for you.’ If no one ever says ‘no’ to you and everyone is following around trying to help you, you probably lose perspective pretty f—ing fast.”

He added: “I also feel like the people that disliked it the most are the ones we were most going after, so it seemed like we probably hit the target if they got irked.”

Judge appeared less bothered by Musk’s remarks. “I would not claim to know Silicon Valley better than he does. I’m just going off of what I’ve observed,” he told THR, joking: “Maybe I’ll go to Burning Man with him and smooth it over.”

The show — which has been dubbed “Entourage with Asperger’s” by those involved — follows Richard (Middleditch), a young, socially awkward programmer who creates a search engine that allows musicians to see if their songs are too similar to existing ones. When a bidding war erupts between two tech billionaires over the algorithm behind the app, Richard has to decide between $10 million or taking a risk and possibly making billions. Judge relied on his past experiences working as a test engineer for a Silicon Valley start-up and a few tours of modern tech companies, including Google, to create the series.

While Musk may not have found the satire entirely accurate, he still was able to appreciate the humor. “Some of these billionaires, we have to poke fun at them. That’s the idea,” noted actor T.J. Miller. “They may not love that we’re pocking fun at them, but I said to [Musk], ‘Did you think it was funny?’ and he said, ‘Yeah, it was funny. I was laughing.’ ”

The biggest laugh at the Silicon Valley screening came with one of Kumail Nanjiani‘s (Dinesh) lines, in which he joked that Google co-founder Sergey Brin‘s partner, Larry Page, actually does nothing. (The line didn’t play quite as well with Thursday’s Hollywood audience.) 

“What was neat is all the inside-baseball tech stuff – all stuff we were thinking, ‘Is this right? Are people going to get this?’ – they got all that stuff,” added star Thomas Middleditchof a reception he found rewarding, acknowledging: “We were kind of nervous premiering Silicon Valley to the Silicon Valley.” 

Drone Bombardment Develops

Award-winning technology journalist Susan Karlin has written an excellent, in-depth article for Fast Co Create on drone use at Burning Man – something that is becoming increasingly popular, making some Burners disgruntled (of course!). You can also listen to this story on Los Angeles NPR station, KCRW.

Burning Man–an annual bacchanalian, clothing-optional experimental community in Nevada’s Black Rock desert–is regarded as a weeklong end-of-summer party and escape from the outside world. But it’s now attracting real-world attention for how it balances drone use with freedom of expression, privacy, invasion of space, and commercialism–issues that have been vexing the FAA, law enforcement, and municipalities as hobbyist flyers and commercial potential proliferate.

We’re kind of a Petri dish for what’s going to happen out in the ‘default world,’” says Graham, evoking the festival term for “real world.” “The FAA is looking at certain types of rules for civilian use of drones in the United States and we just happen to be a testing ground for them right now. The Bureau of Land Management is going to send in their aviation person to talk with our drone pilots and see what they can learn from it.”

Great news, Burners. We’re no longer just a petri dish for the social engineers and game theorists of BMOrg. Now the Federal Government is doing experiments on us too!

Currently, the U.S. is more restrictive than Europe on commercial uses for drones–also called unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), the more PC term used by flyers wanting to distance their hobby from combat use. “In the U.S., the FAA is supposed to implement rules that enable commercial use of UAVs by 2015, but it hasn’t happened yet and no one really has a sense of whether it’s going to,” says Sergei Lupashin, a postdoctoral researcher in aerial robotics at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. Lupashin spoke at the first annual Drone and Aerial Robotics Conference in New York over the weekend.

“It recently approved two high-end UAVs that can be used commercially, but that doesn’t handle the 99% of people flying their own drones, who have to do it as a hobby,” he adds. “In Europe, you can actually make money as an aerial drone operator shooting for things like real estate, events, journalism, and surveying oil pipelines.”

(L-R) Video consultant Eddie Codel demonstrates his quadcopter for filmmaker Sam Baumeland NASA engineer Kevin Panik.

The BLM are taking a keen interest in drones, particularly for surveillance. You can bet their Pershing County Sheriff’s department special integration task force is looking at this too.

Back in Nevada, the Bureau of Land Management–which can’t comment on drone use for investigative techniques, like surveillance–is considering drones for firefighting, and is more interested in regulating safety than privacy. “As far as a long-term vision goes, you’re going to see the BLM state office and aviation manager taking a look at how this is run to make sure everything is as safe as can be,” says Mark Turney, the public affairs officer for the BLM’s Winnemucca, Nevada, district office. “We will certainly take lessons learned from this and perhaps incorporate it into a larger overview.”

Burning Man has always been a “hotbed of early technology adopters”. Perhaps – I know it was a long time before I saw a full-color laser out there. It’s not often that Australia leads Silicon Valley in technology.

The rise of the drones at this year’s event was hardly surprising. Burning Man has long been a hotbed of early technology adopters, applying real-world engineering to fire-spewing art cars, computerized LED-lit installation art and clothing, and solar and wind energy-fueled power grids. There are even science-themed camps, like Phage (offering science lectures), the Alternative Energy Zone (sustainable energy engineering tours), and Math Camp (invitations to “drink and derive”).

There’s always been an experimental technology undercurrent to Burning Man, and a lot of R&D that’s tried out here and taken into the default world,” says Eddie “Ekai” Codel, a live video streaming consultant based in San Francisco. Codel’s footage (below), which he shot from a DJI Phantom Quadcopter, went viral within a few days of posting on YouTube, with more than 1.4 million views. “Technology is used to further art out here. It’s a giant sandbox to figure these things out.”

You can build your own drone from scratch. And, if you thought feathers were bad on the Playa, look what the birds got to contend with now: skydivers, light aircraft, multi-rotor helicopters, General Wesley Clark‘s Blackhawk, Mark Zuckerberg’s chopper and now – now we got giant Imax blimps too.

Most of the UAV users here fly ready-to-fly models, like the $700 DJI Phantom Quadcopter, and add GoPro HD cameras and gimbaled stabilizers for steadier views. But there are also serious professional aerial photographers and hard-core DIY enthusiasts who build their own from scratch. This year, Ziv Marom, a professional aerial cameraman now in Bulgaria shooting Expendables 3, operated a Red Epic camera from his octocopter, “Big Mama” (see lead photo), while a European IMAX crew used an elaborate multicopter-propelled balloon to guide their footage.

“I think I have about $1,500 invested in all of it,” says Ed Somers, a retired Los Angeles sound engineer of his self-made quadcopter. “There’s the airframe, motors, motor controllers, computer, five different kinds of battery chemistries to choose from, the chargers, and on and on. I thought it would be an incredible education, by forcing me to learn all that stuff. I’m a tech head anyway, so this is right up my alley. It’s just a gigantic learning curve.”

Drones offer a particularly interactive way into the Burning Man art scene and unique views of the event’s five square-mile expanse. Artists Bruce Tomb and Maria del Camino used a UAV with first person view (FPV) technology–allowing folks on the ground to see the craft’s viewpoint in real time–to display giant ground drawings only decipherable from above.Death Guild Thunderdome, a Mad Max-like cage fight with foam rubber clubs, attempted close-up combat footage with a drone before accidentally smashing it in the process.
Aerial roboticist Sergei Lupashin and his self-made Fotokite quadcopter.

It’s the perfect Petri dish to test the technology in very harsh conditions,” says Lupashin, who flies a tethered quadcopter drone, called a Fotokite, that he hopes to commercialize. “The scale of the event lends itself well to aerial photography. Once you reach those high altitudes–50, 100 meters–you get a whole different sense of how huge this thing is.”

…Wayne Miller, a San Francisco event planner and handyman better known as Sweetie, attempted to project live video footage from his fixed-wing Dynam C-47 Dakota model cargo plane, Duststar, onto two giant screens at a stage at his camp, Dustfish. “I’m also pretty sure I’m the first person to do aerial bombardment,” he laughs. “I just dropped six plastic paratrooperson the Esplanade. I have lots of ’em!”

It turns out that Free Bird wasn’t the only Temple controversy last year. We got Whirly Bird as well.

Discussions about UAV regulations began last year after a buzzing drone disrupted a silent, solemn burn of the festival’s spiritual center, called The Temple. It prompted a flurry of angry emails to the Burning Man organization, which responded with a Drone Summit in July at its San Francisco headquarters and online. Roughly 140 participants expanded theAcademy of Model Aeronautics rules to include Burning Man quirks–among them, don’t fly over crowds, at the Temple burn, by the airport, during the playa’s frequent dust storms, or near the Man on burn day.

Retired audio engineer Ed Somers flies his DIY drone by his camp

“What they really don’t want is people flying UAVs where there’s a potential of hurting someone,” says Somers. “You have to realize that, even a 10-inch plastic propeller spinning at 10,000 rpm can cut up a person real quick.

This is as serious as flamethrowers people. A young guy was flying his drone helicopter in a Brooklyn park last month, and lost his head – literally. DUIs for drugged-out drone pilots might be difficult to dole out in the dust.

Other rules, such as registering drones with Media Mecca, the event’s media center, pertain to a grayer area of privacy. Despite the festival’s mantra of radical self-expression, Burning Man takes pains to protect participant privacy and commercialization. Professional journalists and photographers arrange photo passes and sales contracts with Burning Man granting different types of image use. Burning Man disallows sales to stock photo agencies, but takes a 10% commission on fine art sales, as well as joint copyright so it can stop inappropriate usage. It also urges all photographers to ask permission of subjects before taking pictures.

More secrets of BMOrg finances come out. They get a 10% commission on fine art sales. So much for no commerce on the Playa. The booming use of drones (140 people attended last year’s Burning Man Drone summit) also raise a controversial privacy issue – “I went to Burning Man and all I got was photographed”

You may not have a right to privacy out here, but we try to give people the opportunity to express themselves how they want, and sometimes it’s a balancing act,” says Graham. “A drone with a camera is separated from its operator. That’s why there’s this extra sensibility training that we do with the drone pilots and we let the community know about it as well.”

The UAV community falls on both sides of that line. Sweetie, for one, balks at privacy restraints.

“I think that anybody who comes to Burning Man and walks around naked or wears a dildo on their head or whatever silliness they feel they need to do, if they need to protect their privacy, I think that should be on them, not on the rest of us,” he says.

Then you have Sam Baumel, a Brooklyn filmmaker and UAV flyer who believes privacy rules actually enable expression.

There are a lot of exhibitionists. But there are also people like myself,” he says. “Yesterday, I went out to deep playa. I was completely by myself at sunset and got naked. I wouldn’t have wanted anyone to photograph me. But the reason I did it was because, how often do I get to just stand on this Earth, in my body, and nothing else? If someone were to have flown a drone over my head, it would have made me uncomfortable.”

Carlos Abler, the global manager of online content strategy for 3M in St. Paul, Minnesota, found his reaction running that gamut when a drone interrupted a wedding he attended there.

“We were embracing the couple as a group when we suddenly heard this buzzing, whirring sound, and saw this thing hovering over us with a camera,” he says. “At first, it felt like a violation–it was really disturbing and distracting. But then we realized, ‘Oh my God, this is the best shot ever!’ So now we’re pretty excited to get our hands on the footage.”

This year’s rules were a good start, but need consensus, considering the vitriol spewing on the Burning Man drones mailing list. Subscribers clashed on how to define a crowd, whether to designate special flying areas, and how to penalize rule-breakers, like the wiseguy who flew his drone over the Man on burn day. Turns out, it was our very own Sweetie.

“They said to me, ‘Don’t you realize you could have set off the remote detonators?’“ Sweetie recounts. “I said, ‘If I can set off the remote with an RC plane, you guys are amateurs!’”

Apprised of Sweetie’s comments, Graham shakes his head and sighs. “Sweetie’s got a lot of self-confidence.”

 

And so this tug of war over UAV rules continues, while being watched by the outside. But what happens in the desert will be only so useful to bureaucrats dealing with drones in the real world. Because at Burning Man, freedom of expression will almost always trump anything else.

“I’m not only operating a camera, I’m operating a remote-controlled flying vehicle,” says Baumel. “I feel like I’m playing when I’m using it, and in that space of play, that’s where I can be most creative.

 

[Images courtesy of Carolyn Marut (Top) and Susan Karlin]

The Eye in the Sky: Drone Views of Cargo Cult

From The Week:

aerial 2013When most people think of drones, they probably think of remote-fired missiles raining down on Pakistan and Yemen. But it turns out that drones — or, technically, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) — are also a pretty good platform for capturing a flavor of Burning Man, the surreal celebration of fleeting beauty, self-reliance, generosity, and elaborate self-expression held every year in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert.

If, like me, you’ve never been to Burning Man — or, like Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg, you just helicopter in for one day of the weeklong festival — these drone’s-eye views of the big party in the desert are certainly a better introduction than the photos on your friend’s smartphone or Instagram page. If you are a Burning Man regular, here’s a different way to relive the magic.

The video above was taken by Eddie Codel from a DJI Phantom quadcopter UAV. The one below was captured by Tugrik d’Itichi from a TBS Discovery Pro quadrotor. Both UAVs held GoPro Hero3 cameras.

Here’s some more drone footage from 2013:

SHOP LOCAL: Twin City Surplus Has Burner Needs Covered

by Whatsblem the Pro

1675 E. 4th St. Reno, NV (888) 323-5630 -- PHOTO: Whatsblem the Pro

1675 E. 4th St. Reno, NV (888) 323-5630

Every year, a mighty throng of burners congregating from all over the world passes through the Gateway to Burning Man: Reno, Nevada. In their wake they leave some fifteen to twenty-five million dollars in revenue for local stores that sell the supplies they need.

It’s a regrettable fact that Walmart takes such a huge slice of that pie; their stores in the Reno/Sparks area do a booming business just before and after the burn, at the expense of locally-owned retailers and wholesalers who rely on location and word-of-mouth to bring in customers, rather than million-dollar ad campaigns.

TWIN CITY SURPLUS has no advertising budget. They’re family-owned and have been since 1963, they have everything you could possibly need for camping in the desert, they brought; emergency means to water, fire, shelter, a bushcraft knife, loads of preperartion and their diverse staff of friendly employees has been working there happily for years or decades.

It’s not nearly as big as Walmart, but Twin City Surplus is familiar with the needs of burners and is well-stocked with everything you might need to hit the playa, aside from groceries. . . although they do have MREs (“Meal, Ready to Eat” – in other words, a soldier’s rations) and a small selection of camping/survival food if you happen to swing that way, cuisine-wise. If you just got off an airplane and have no camping gear, you can walk into Twin City and walk out ready to burn like a pro. They’ve also got gear that you won’t find at Walmart, like enormous Army tents, and military-grade shade materials on the roll, with modular pole-and-butterfly-nut structures for easy-peasy DIY shade of any size or configuration you like.

The building is comfortably crammed with gear, and the two outdoor yards (one in back of the building, one across the street) are marvelous troves of treasure for campers, artists, makers, tinkerers, handymen, and builders of all stripe. There’s a distinctly family vibe to the place, and expert help available with finding what you need. There’s some pretty exotic gear for sale there, along with all the essentials you’ll need, including clothing and footwear.

Sure, you could buy your gear and supplies at Walmart, or some other corporate chain store; you probably will have to buy something or other (like booze) from a Big Box retailer, regardless of how conscientious you are. If you spend more of your money at ethical family-owned local businesses, though, then the money tends to stay in the community, where it keeps on working to make burners welcome in the eyes of the townies. Burning Man has transformed Reno in many ways, and you’re more than just another tourist when you pass through the Arch on your way to the playa. The city and its business community have proven to be very accommodating to burners over the years, and have fostered a thriving arts community as well. . . so let’s show them that they’re doin’ it right and should keep on showing us the love.

Check out Twin City Surplus; you’ll be glad you did.

 

TWIN CITY SURPLUS
http://twincitysurplus.com/
1675 E. 4th St.
Reno, NV 89512
(888) 323-5630 toll-free
Se habla español

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