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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: Do You Know What You Are Supporting?

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to raise money for the ALS Association is sweeping the nation, and going viral in social media. However, do you know what you are supporting if you contribute funds to the ALS Association?
The ALS Association describes their “mission”:
Established in 1985, The ALS Association is the only national non-profit organization fighting Lou Gehrig’s Disease on every front.  By leading the way in global research, providing assistance for people with ALS through a nationwide network of chapters, coordinating multidisciplinary care through certified clinical care centers, and fostering government partnerships, The Association builds hope and enhances quality of life while aggressively searching for new treatments and a cure.

As the preeminent ALS organization, The Association leads the way in research, care services, public education, and public policy — giving help and hope to those facing the disease.  The Association’s nationwide network of chapters provides comprehensive patient services and support to the ALS community. (Source.)
ALS is the acronym for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.” Media portrayals of the Ice Bucket Challenge generally state that ALS “is always fatal and has no known cure,” and therefore urge people to contribute to the ALS Association to fund research to find a cure.
Where Does the Money Contributed to the ALS Association Go?
So where does the money donated to the ALS Association actually go? You may be surprised to find out that the Association itself claims that only 27% of its funds go towards research.
We pulled up their 2013 tax returns to take a closer look at how their funds are spent. Here are the salaries for the leadership of the group:
  • Jane H. Gilbert – President and CEO – $339,475.00
  • Daniel M. Reznikov – Chief Financial Officer – $201,260.00
  • Steve Gibson – Chief Public Policy Officer – $182,862.00
  • Kimberly Maginnis - Chief of Care Services Officer – $160,646.00
  • Lance Slaughter - Chief Chapter Relations and Development Officer – $152,692.00
  • Michelle Keegan – Chief Development Officer – $178,744.00
  • John Applegate – Association Finance Officer – $118.726.00
  • David Moses – Director of Planned Giving – $112,509.00
  • Carrie Munk – Chief Communications and Marketing Officer – $142,875.00
  • Patrick Wildman – Director of Public Policy – $112,358.00
  • Kathi Kromer – Director of State Advocacy – $110,661.00
Total administration costs, as seen in the pie chart above, were just under $2 million. “Other salaries and wages” (Part IX line 7) were $3.6 million, with another half million dollars in “pension plans” and “employee benefits.” Expenses for non-employee labor were about $4 million, and “travel expenses” exceeded $1.3 million.
So total costs for labor to run the association was around $12.5 million, from revenues received totaling $24 million.
Over 50% of what the ALS Association receives appears to support salaries of people working for the Association, based on these tax returns.
So what about the rest of the revenue?
Almost $1 million was spent on “Lobbying” (Schedule C Part II 2a). Here is what they wrote concerning their Lobbying efforts:
Explanation: The purpose of our advocacy program is to sensitize legislators to, and obtain their sympathy for, the plight of ALS victims, patients and their families, and to influence legislation regarding the appropriation of federal funds for ALS research and the use and cost to patients of “orphan” drugs.
The largest amount of what is remaining is: “Grants and other assistance to governments and organizations in the United States” (Part IX line 1) – $6.2 million. This amount is itemized on Schedule 1. Almost all of these recipients are medical schools, with strong ties to the pharmaceutical industry.
The ALS Association was started in 1985, and they still have not invested in any new cures for ALS. One of the latest failures was Biogen’s drug dexpramipexole, which halted research in early 2013. The drug was in research for more than 10 years at an estimated cost of between $75 million and $100 million, but was abandoned in last stage development due to poor results. (Source.)
If You Are Pro-life, You Are Supporting Research in Stem-Cells from Aborted Fetuses for ALS
The ALS Foundation’s primary work in “research” is in the development of new pharmaceutical drugs, and that includes stem cell research. Here is one study where they have been listed as a sponsor: A Phase I, Open-label, First-in-human Feasibility and Safety Study of Human Spinal Cord derived Neural Stem Cell Transplantation for the Treatment of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Quote:
These stem cells have been engineered from the spinal cord of a single fetus electively aborted after eight weeks of gestation. The tissue was obtained with the mother’s consent. 
When we make a contribution to a charity, typically we want to know that the particular charity reflects our own values, so this will be important information for many people.
Are There non-Drug Alternatives for ALS Treatment?
Yes! However, you are not likely to read anything about this from a non-profit charitable organization supporting the pharmaceutical industry. We have previously reported the story of Clarence and his experience in using coconut oil: Coconut Oil Reverses Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
Coconut oil can be used in a strict ketogenic diet that has been shown to be successful in treating Alzheimer’s diseaseParkinson’sdiabetes, and cancer. among others. The principles of the ketogenic diet are completely different from the philosophy that the pharmaceutical companies start from in their research, where the assumption is that ALS is a “genetic disease.” Most of the current research on fighting disease with a ketogenic diet starts out with the assumption that modern diseases are primarily metabolic, and not genetic, caused by such things as poor diet, toxins in our food and environment, etc.
Another non-drug approach currently seeing success with those suffering from ALS is the Deanna Protocol. This nutritional protocol has seen great success among many users, but I could find no information on any research being done on it by the ALS Association, sadly.
Charities and fun activities like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge can often give us a feeling of contributing to something very helpful and worthwhile, but it is always wise to research any charity first. Examining their tax returns is one good way to find out where their money is actually being spent.

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Meditation is Actually Quite Similar to Hitting the Gym - A Redditor's Guide to Mindfulness Meditation and What It Has in Common With Lifting

Article by Reddit user 'eaumechant'

So I've been going to the gym for the last couple years - with no real discipline if I'm going to be honest, but I'm not too worried about bulking up or anything - rather, I do it for my mental health. I've been struggling with depressive tendencies for as long as I can remember, and if there's something I've noticed about working out with weights it's that the whole exercise is, in fact, almost entirely mental. The body can always do a lot more than you think it can, and the trick to a really good workout is getting into the right mindset - the hardest thing about lifting with depression is that you're really lifting two things.
So to this end I've been getting into meditation recently - it comes highly recommended from just about any source on mental wellbeing you care to mention and sits next to antidepressants and CBT as one of the most effective treatments for depression currently known. The interesting thing, however, is that a meditative exercise is actually a lot like lifting. To demonstrate, I want to share with you all an exercise I recently did with a group here at the London Buddhist Centre called "Mindfulness of Breathing" - don't worry too much about the Buddhism or the buzzwords - just because something good happens to have come from a religion doesn't mean it's a religious practice (indeed, after all, did we not get Modern Science from the Muslims?).
Try this exercise once a day - before you go to sleep, and you'll sleep better; instead of drinking or smoking and it will help you cut down drinking and smoking; more generally, it will train your mind, giving you greater control of your thoughts, the way training your muscles gives you greater control of your body. All of these factors (sleep, drugs, mindset), as you already know, contribute to making a fitness regime more effective.

Let's Begin

First up you need to find a suitable place to do this - you want as little distraction as possible, quiet and dimly lit, with a chair or a soft floor/mattress against a wall. The position in which you do this is everything: sitting (NOT LYING) with your back straight and your butt flat on something - the best way to do it is in a chair with your feet flat on the floor, but I usually do this on my bed with my back against the wall and my legs loosely crossed with as little weight sitting on my feet as possible - with a small cushion in the small of your back (not essential but I find it makes it easier to keep my back straight) and under your butt if you so desire.
The easiest way to find out how you should be sitting is to slip your hands under your butt and find the two little bony bumps near the tops of your legs. These are your "sit bones" (tuber ischiadicum) and as you rock your upper body back and forth you'll feel them press more or less firmly into your hands. You want these to be as firmly in contact with your seat as possible, so wherever you feel them pressing hardest into your hands, that's how you should sit.
Now take your hands out from under your butt and put them in your lap. It doesn't matter where they are as long as they're still and comfortable - I usually hold them close to my belly, palms up, one inside the other, but they can literally be any way you want them to be, fingers entwined, palms down, one hand on each leg, wherever feels most natural.
Finally, close your eyes.

Warm Up

First thing you're going to need to do is take two deep breaths. Breathe in as deep as you can, hold it, breathe out. Repeat. Simple, and vital. This is analogous to stretching before you work out - it eliminates the initial tension (stiffness) that will hold you back for the rest of the exercise if you don't do it.
Now we're going to do a "body scan" - this is akin to warming up - again, you can skip it if you really want to, but it will make the rest of the exercise a lot easier - this process will simultaneously relax your body and bring your mind into the particular mode/state which makes meditation possible. A body scan goes like this:
  1. Focus on the sensation in your toes. What do you feel? Perhaps you can feel your socks, the hair on top of your toes, maybe a bit of tingling, the skin of your toes against each other. Focus on this and nothing else. Notice what you feel - don't try to put it into words, don't try to change how it feels, just try to notice.
  2. Focus on the tops and bottoms of your feet. Same thing - what do you feel? Maybe there's a subtle ache from walking around through the day, some heat. Be receptive. If your feet are flat on the floor pay especial attention to the horizontal surface-to-surface sensation - this is your connection back to the ground, your solidity, your base, and there is a lot of strength here for the mind.
  3. Heels and ankles, same thing.
  4. Calves - carry a lot of tension - just feel it, don't try to relax necessarily - the attention itself will do the relaxing for you - tension is a very unconscious thing.
  5. Shins - maybe you can feel the material of your clothing - if indeed you feel nothing, focus on the lack of sensation itself, the negativity, the absence. It's a curious feeling, isn't it? It's rather strange when you actually notice it.
  6. Knees - and don't forget the backs of your knees either.
  7. Thighs - front and back, and as you go up toward your butt you're likely to feel a lot of tension here too (women especially carry a lot of tension in the buttocks) - feel the buttocks flat on the horizontal surface - again, here is your connection back to the base - feel your body heavy on this solidity, almost like you're a part of it (which you are).
  8. Lower back, and from here up the spine - this is the hardest part of the scan - feel the muscles radiating out of your spine - feel the spine extending all the way from the seat up to the back of the head - it's long! It's really long, and a lot of your muscles connect directly to it - feel all the aches and strains in your back as your focus moves upward (as slowly as it needs to) and outward to your shoulders.
  9. Down the arms - from the shoulders through the triceps and biceps, the elbows, the forearms and wrists - try to feel each of these muscles individually (a mental ability which, by the by, comes in very handy in the middle of a lift - if you can feel where in your body the lift is actually happening you're more likely to know if you're doing it as you intend it, and to shift the weight accordingly) and the skin on them - linger as long as you need to to register some kind of sensation, whatever it is.
  10. The hands - like the feet these are complex systems and require some time on their own - the tops and palms of your hands first.
  11. The fingers - whatever your hands are touching, you'll feel it most in your fingers - there is a lot of sensation here, so take the time to feel each finger individually, the touch of the fingers against each other and against the surface on which they're rested.
  12. Your belly and chest - there tends to be a knot of tension somewhere in this area - linger on it and feel it ever so slowly loosening - feel your ribs as they move, little by little, inward and outward with your breath - feel your diaphragm expand and contract - feel the tension under your armpits which spreads all the way back to your spine.
  13. Your neck - like your hands and your feet, your head is a complex area with a lot of muscles and a lot of sensation - and, perhaps more importantly, a LOT of tension - so we're going to do each individual little bit separately - feeel the muscles in your neck radiating toward your chest, your shoulders, your upper back.
  14. The back of your head and your ears - move your focus slowly up in a band around the back of your head and to the crown - you should be able to feel all the hair on your head (or skin if you've got no hair) - it might help to imagine what it would feel like to be massaged in this area.
  15. Your forehead - lots of tension here - from the hairline down to the eyebrows.
  16. The orbits and cheeks - ditto - linger as you need to.
  17. The nose and lips - you'd be surprised how much tension there is in the top lip and the little bit between your lips and your nose - feel it, let yourself feel it all.
  18. The jaw - this is the most tense part of most people's bodies - the ideal for meditation is that the jaw should be just slack enough that your teeth aren't touching - this is harder than it sounds.
Easy, right? Now do this twice more. Try to feel each of these parts of your body relax progressively as you repeat the process. It can help to imagine light moving up and over your body as you do this, especially if you imagine this light comes from your belly - a warm, golden orange light - starting as a little ball in your solar plexus/sacrum and expanding out into a ring, then moving down to wrap in around your toes, before proceeding upwards as above.

The Lifts

To recap, you've done 2 x deep breaths + 3 x body scans. You will now do four exercises, analogous for our purposes to lifts - and each will involve a number of sets of ten reps - literally. The aim of these exercises is to focus on your breath. You want to be intensely aware of the sensation of the air moving in and out of your body and the way your body reacts to the air as it comes in, moves about, and then exits - and then, most importantly, that very still period between the breaths when your body is empty. Ultimately you should feel your breath in your whole body - this is why we do the body scan first, so as to bring the sensation of your body to the fore in your mind.
During this time you're going to notice thoughts coming into your consciousness. This is where "meditation" properly speaking happens - the aim is to bring your focus deliberately back to the breath. Make no mistake: you're not trying to suppress your thoughts - rather, what you're trying to do is recognise your thoughts as thoughts (instead of as facts or realities) - these are mental phenomena, and (so the story goes) you do, in fact, have the freedom (if you train yourself) to choose how you respond to their presence in your life.
Every thought process is a train, and your consciousness is a train station - when the train pulls up to the station, you decide whether or not to get on. Much of life's happiness involves getting caught up in a thought train (read up on Flow Psychology for more info) but for the purposes of meditation your aim is not to get onto any of these trains. This is harder than it sounds - much harder - that's why you train.
For the first two exercises (or lifts) we are going to count the reps - 1 to 10 - for one reason and one reason only: the moment you realise you've lost count or stopped counting, that's when you know your attention has deviated - bring your attention back to the breath and start again from 1. Don't be discouraged when this happens - on the contrary, take joy in these moments, for each of these is a little triumph - you'll notice it feels almost kind of uncomfortable to do this deliberate focussing of the attention - this discomfort is analogous to the burn - and indeed when meditation is difficult (like lifting, sometimes it's easy and sometimes it's hard) you will have to dig to bring the attention back to the breath.
How to breathe? Naturally. Don't try to breathe slowly, don't try to hold the breath, just let yourself breathe - indeed what you want to do is notice - the whole aim of meditation is to notice, to watch your body react, to watch with curiosity and receptivity - notice how the breath changes, how the state of the body changes as you breathe and as your breath changes - you might feel your heart beating, you might feel your body temperature dropping - let all of this sensation become as bright and intense as possible - and indeed it can get very intense, sometimes overwhelming - stick with it, try to focus on the positive feelings you have.
Focus always on the breath: the life-giving breath. Imagine the air is fresh and imbuing your body with energy - because, of course, as you'll already know from your reading on fitness, this is in fact what is actually happening. Oxygen is entering your red blood cells, which produce adenosine triphosphate or ATP, whose responsibility it is to transfer the caloric value of whatever nutritional intake you've provided for yourself to the rest of your body - your muscles, your organs, your brain. Remember: there are people in this world who live on 500 calories a day or less - for example, Buddhist monks, whose entire caloric intake is determined by what they can beg - and live to old age in great health. It's the breath that you need before you need anything else: whatever life throws at you, if you can breathe with it, you can be with it. Meditation makes you a hardier person - this is why we do it.
Enough talk!
Let's do it:
  1. First you're going to focus your attention on the little infinitesimal moment at the end of the exhale - as soon as you notice the breath stop moving, say to yourself in your mind: "1" - repeat, and this time, as soon as you notice the air stop moving: "2" - and so on and so forth. You're going to do three sets of tenreps for the first few weeks of your meditation - as you continue and develop, the time it takes for the distraction to happen grows, and the number of sets increases.
  2. Same thing again, but this time you're going to focus on the moment the breath starts - the tiny infinitesimal moment just before you inhale - and as soon as you feel the air start to move, say to yourself in your mind: "1" - repeat, and this time, as soon as you notice the air start to move: "2" - and so on up to "10" before beginning again at "1" - repeat this three times.
  3. At this point you're going to stop counting - but always remember, as soon as you notice yourself getting on a thought train, get off, and get back to the breath. In this exercise you are going to focus on the breath as a whole. The breath is a process - it involves your whole body and it moves in a cycle from beginning to end - feel the breath move through you, feel your body respond to the breath.
  4. Finally, you are going to focus - again, without counting - on just the place where you first feel the breath. This might be at the end of your nose, where you feel the cool air entering your nostrils; it might be your belly, where you feel your diaphragm drop; it might be your rib cage, where you feel your lungs expanding. These sensations all happen simultaneously, so which one you feel first will change each time you do this meditation, but for each individual meditation pick a spot and stick to it. Do this for as long as you can bear it, always looking out for thought trains.
Finally, cool down - all you need to do is sit, and relinquish control of your thought. Just be still for a moment. Slowly let your eyes open. Notice the room around you. Notice where your thoughts want to go. Let them go. Slowly start moving. Stand up. Stretch. Go forth. Be prosperous.
Best of luck all.

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A Study by Focus Autism Foundation Finds: CDC Whistleblower Reveals Widespread Manipulation of Scientific Data and Top-Down Pressure on CDC Scientists to Support the Fraudulent Application of Government Policies on Vaccine Safety

Jenny Kefauver - Marketwired
Whistleblower Says CDC Knew in 2003 of Higher Autism Rate Among African-American Boys Receiving MMR Shot Earlier Than 36 Months
WATCHUNG, NJ--(Marketwired - August 18, 2014) - A top research scientist working for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) played a key role in helping Dr. Brian Hooker of the Focus Autism Foundation uncover data manipulation by the CDC that obscured a higher incidence of autism in African-American boys. The whistleblower came to the attention of Hooker, a PhD in biochemical engineering, after he had made a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for original data on the DeStefano et al MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) and autism study.
Dr. Hooker's study, published August 8 in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Translational Neurodegenerationshows that African-American boys receiving their first MMR vaccine before 36 months of age are 3.4 times more likely to develop autism vs. after 36 months.
According to Dr. Hooker, the CDC whistleblower informant -- who wishes to remain anonymous -- guided him to evidence that a statistically significant relationship between the age the MMR vaccine was first given and autism incidence in African-American boys was hidden by CDC researchers. After data were gathered on 2,583 children living in Atlanta, Georgia who were born between 1986 and 1993, CDC researchers excluded children that did not have a valid State of Georgia birth certificate -- reducing the sample size being studied by 41%. Hooker explains that by introducing this arbitrary criteria into the analysis, the cohort size was sharply reduced, eliminating the statistical power of the findings and negating the strong MMR-autism link in African American boys.
Dr. Hooker has worked closely with the CDC whistleblower, and he viewed highly sensitive documents related to the study via Congressional request from U.S. Representative Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The CDC documents from Congress and discussions that Hooker had with the whistleblower reveal widespread manipulation of scientific data and top-down pressure on CDC scientists to support fraudulent application of government policies on vaccine safety. Based on raw data used in the 2004 DeStefano et al study obtained under FOIA, Dr. Hooker found that the link between MMR vaccination and autism in African-American boys was obscured by the introduction of irrelevant and unnecessary birth certificate criteria -- ostensibly to reduce the size of the study.
The results of the original study first appeared in the journal Pediatrics which receives financial support from vaccine makers via advertising and direct donations, according to a CBS News report. The DeStefano et al study is widely used by the CDC and other public health organizations to dismiss any link between vaccines and autism -- a neurological disorder on the rise.
Dr. Hooker stated "The CDC knew about the relationship between the age of first MMR vaccine and autism incidence in African-American boys as early as 2003, but chose to cover it up." The whistleblower confirmed this.
When asked if there could be any scientific basis for excluding children born outside of Georgia, Hooker responded, "I know of none, and none has been provided by the authors of the DeStefano study." He added, "The exclusion is reminiscent of tactics historically used to deprive African-Americans of the vote by requiring valid birth certificates."
Dr. Hooker concluded further study is needed to determine why this specific effect (3.4-fold increase when MMR is administered prior to 36 months) is seen exclusively in African-American males, and determine whether delaying the first MMR vaccination should be advised for this population. A link between the MMR vaccine and autism has been conceded in cases compensated by the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.
The CDC whistleblower informant, who has worked for the government agency for over a decade, remarked to Dr. Hooker in phone calls: "We've missed ten years of research because the CDC is so paralyzed right now by anything related to autism. They're not doing what they should be doing because they're afraid to look for things that might be associated." The whistleblower alleges criminal wrongdoing of his supervisors, and he expressed deep regret about his role in helping the CDC hide data.
According to David Lewis, PhD, former senior-level microbiologist with the U.S. EPA's Office of Research & Development, skewing scientific data to support government policies is a major problem at federal agencies, including EPA, CDC, and USDA. Lewis, who was terminated by EPA for publishing papers in Nature that questioned the science the agency uses to support certain regulations, believes top-down pressure on federal scientists and researchers working on government-funded projects in academia is jeopardizing public health.
"Working for the government is no different than working for corporations. You either toe the line or find yourself looking for another way to make a living," Lewis says. "No one would be surprised if Merck published unreliable data supporting the safety of its products. Why would anyone be surprised that the CDC is publishing skewed data to conclude that the vaccines it recommends are safe? We need a better system, where scientists are free to be honest." 
The Focus Autism Foundation is dedicated to providing information to the public that exposes the cause or causes of the autism epidemic and the rise of chronic illness -- focusing on the role of vaccinations. Learn more at www.Focusautism.org


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Friday, August 22, 2014

Psychedelic Art: An Exclusive First Look At The Other-Worldly Creations Of Burning Man 2014

Carly Schwartz - Huffington Post
One of the very best things about Burning Man, the week-long, post-apocalyptic celebration of creative expression that pops up in the Nevada desert each August, is the awe-inspiring collection of art on display.
The installations and the “art cars” roaming through the two-mile stretch of temporary city render humanity’s capacity for imagination limitless. Where else in the universe would a giant, fire-breathing steampunk octopus glide past a 55-foot tall, LED-powered homage to the female form?
The Huffington Post was lucky enough to preview a handful of the projects that will be on hand at this year’s event, which kicks off in mere weeks and is built around the theme “caravansary.” As artists scramble to put the finishing touches on their brainchildren and raise the final funds to bring their weirdest dreams to life, we’ve rounded up what will undoubtedly be some of the most influential works of Burning Man 2014.
From a giant, glowing vagina to a collection of mechanical lotus flowers that light up to the rhythm of your heartbeat, take a look at some of the bizarre creations that will grace the world's dustiest canvas this year (Grover Norquist not included):
Though enormous in scale, the piece is simple -- a 72-foot sculpture of two figures embracing. But creator Matt Schultz hopes his work will convey a deeper message to onlookers, one that was inspired by the loss he felt when his stepfather passed away two years ago. “Embrace is a reminder to take the time out of your busy life to spend time with those that you love,” he told HuffPost. “We hope that people will think of all of the relationships in their lives, past present and future, and consider what has made them so important.”
The Super Pool
super pool
The Super Pool is a bigger and more badass version of the legendary Burning Man installation The Pool. For this new and improved iteration, sculptor Jen Lewin has created a 5,000 square foot immersive LED playground where participants can interact with circular pads of light through their own unique movements. “Imagine a giant canvas where you can paint and splash light collaboratively,” Lewin told HuffPost in a statement.
Bryan Tedrick’s climbable psychedelic totem pole first debuted at Burning Man in 2010, and he’s reprising it this year. “This lighthouse of the desert draws people to it and naturally becomes a point to gather and meet,” he explained, adding that the trip to the top is not for the weak of mind or body. “The climb can be arduous, a gritty challenge progressing from the coarse to fine, from the earth to the sky, from the physical to the spirit.”
Wheel of Fortune
wheel of fortune
The all-female designed and produced installation features a massive spinning wheel emblazoned with tarot card designs, a gazebo area where spectators can relax and, of course, a chandelier made of fire. And it’s all powered by solar energy, to boot. “It’s made of salvaged and reclaimed materials and will also act as a large compass, a place for personal reflection, card readings, high teas, and insight,” project designer Jill Sutherland told HuffPost in a statement.
The Vulvatron
the vulvatron
Who’s more fit to build a behemoth tribute to the female anatomy than a group called the Clitterati? The 18-foot tall, LED-lit vagina will also feature video projections of feminine forms and sensory fabrics called the “erogenous zone.” “We’re delighted when the name makes someone uncomfortable,” the Vulvatron’s lead designer, Rebecca Frisch, told HuffPost in a statement. “We’re using this opportunity to engage in conversation, and we’re eager to help each other explore our triggers and push social boundaries imposed by our culture.”
Pulse and Bloom
pulse and bloom
An entirely interactive experience, Pulse and Bloom is made up of 25 mechanical lotus flowers. When participants touch the flowers, they light up to the specific rhythms of their heartbeats. “We want to use technology to make our inner invisible worlds more visible,” artist Saba Ghole told HuffPost.
Lost Tea Party
lost tea party
More art caravan than art car, the Lost Tea Party will traverse the playa as a train of enormous teapots breathing real steam. Revelers are encouraged to climb aboard and will be guided by “bedouin tea-pod pullers dressed in traditional desert garb.” According to the artist Wreckage, who’s spearheading the project with the Mutoid Waste art collective, the piece looks like the unlikely union of Alice in Wonderland meets Lawrence of Arabia.
The Wheels of Zoroaster
wheels of zoroaster
This year’s Wheels is the sixth iteration of a series of human-powered spinning fire wheels that artist Anton Viditz-Ward told HuffPost are inspired by watching Burning Man’s legendary fire dancers.
Celestial Mechanica
celestial mechanica
Viewers are encouraged to interact with artist Jessika Welz’s churning, 50-foot replica of our planets revolving around the sun. “We’ll provide the opportunity to experience our solar system’s beauty and power with all five of your senses,” Ashley Ortega, who volunteers on the team creating the piece, told HuffPost. “At night, each planet will glow from within.”
First time Burning Man artist Dan Benedict, who hopes to keep the aesthetics of his piece a surprise until it debuts, describes the project as “a large ring of red parasols that pass through a human figure while closed. As the parasols exit the figure and rise they open, blossom toward the apex and close again on their way down.” He added that, as a former member of the Mormon church, he often turns to his art as a means of connecting with others.
Return of the Racken
“We are the only art installation you’re supposed to lock your bike to,” artist Tyler Fuqua told HuffPost of his octopus-shaped creation, which first made an appearance at last year’s Burn and has since been updated with new tentacle sections. “I mean, who will forget they locked their bike to a giant octopus?”
Charles Gadeken’s 50-foot-tall tree, made entirely of LED-lit cubes attached to square steel tubing, “reflects the universe of complexity, mystery, and serendipity that defines our journey through time and our emergence into the future age,” he told HuffPost in a statement. “The tree provides shade during the day and a magical light show when from dusk till dawn.”
Tree of (Im)permanence
tree of impermanence
The Tree of (Im)permanence rises from a tiny toy piano that, when it’s played, activates tubular bell chimes that form its branches. At night, the branches light up as their note is played, and creator Nick Geurts hopes individuals will lead yoga and meditation sessions beneath it. “This is meant to be not only an auditory experience but a journey of self-discovery,” he told HuffPost.
The Last Outpost
the last outpost
A house that will haunt the darkest corners of your psyche, the Last Outpost is an “immersive experience” that tells the story of a group of Burning Man volunteers who mysteriously disappear. “I love slow, psychological, horror and science fiction and fantasy, and this installation is pretty much like building a set for an insidiously scary play that no one has written yet,” artist Shing Yin Khor told Huffpost. “I hope that people will wander through this house, and spend some time unraveling the mystery within it.”
Hayam Sun Temple
hayam sun temple
Designer Josh Haywood drew his inspiration from the Moorish buildings he studied as a graduate student of architecture. He hopes his “tiny palace named for love” will serve as a physical and spiritual retreat for passersby. “The structure provides a refuge from the heat of the sun and an intimate spiritual place for people to gather and rest,” he told HuffPost. “During the night the four pillars illuminate like a giant lantern.”

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