Think Globally, Pee Locally: Urine-Powered Disaster Zone Lighting

girl-carrying-water

An invention that I see becoming pretty popular in places where human overpopulation creates a torrid scenario for both waste management and lighting, let alone just having any lighting itself… solving the problem of lighting in places where there is no power (or even fuel to make the power) just does not get the kind of funding that it deserves.  This is urine-powered electricity.  From Reuters:

A toilet that uses urine to generate electricity will soon light up dark corners of refugee camps after being tested by students in the UK. The pioneering toilet, the result of collaboration between global aid agency Oxfam and the University of the West of England in Bristol, uses live microbes which feed on urine and convert it into power.

Led by Professor Ioannis Ieropoulos, the scientists developed microbial fuel cells that use bacteria grown on carbon fiber anodes that feed on urine, breaking it down and generating electricity which is stored in a capacitor. They used up to 24 of these microbial fuel cells in 2013 to prove that urine could produce enough electricity to power a mobile phone. For the pee-power toilet they are using 288 fuel cells, though a thousand-unit cell stack is planned for the next version of the device.

This is the work of Professor Ioannis Ieropoulos from The University of the West of England, Bristol:

Ok, for those of you that didn’t watch the video, from Power Technology:

The technology works by utilising specialised, naturally-abundant microbes, housed within the anodic chamber of the fuel cell as a bio-catalyst. When fed urine, the microbes naturally consume it as part of their normal metabolic process, which in turn generates electrons. When connected to a cathode, these electrodes are given a path and generate a current.

Urine has never been exploited for power purposes before now. Although it has been proven technically possible, can it be scaled up and is it practical? In this second phase of research the scientists want to prove the answer is yes to both of these questions. They will now be working to maximise the power output, which will inadvertently have the advantage of improved breakdown of the waste material, thus making it safer for disposal.

The ultimate aim, however, is to develop and refine the process to make enough energy to charge a battery, and in the future, be installed into domestic bathrooms to harness the urine and produce sufficient electricity to power showers, lighting or razors.

“The beauty of this fuel source is that we are not relying on the erratic nature of the wind or the sun; we are actually re-using waste to create energy,” said Dr Ieropoulos.

Why does it deserve funding?  One reason – lighting creates safety.  Families feel they can protect themselves during times like this when there is illumination.  We are humans; darkness is our #1 largest predatory fear bred by evolution, and we’ve been praying to the light during the darkness for millions of years, regardless of species.  Look at North Korea, for example, even though this isn’t what the article is really about — what do you think the lack of power and light does for people?  It allows you to enslave them:

north-korea-won-earth-day

Proper management of human waste in places where a major disaster event has happened also happens to be the second most important thing to provide.  There are emergency waste management guides for conflict zones and disaster event zones all over the place, which should give an idea of the importance of something along these lines, providing a use for waste and a positive item to the zone itself.

 

Here’s a bit of an eye-opening reason why waste management in disaster regions is important… from Johns Hopkins/Red Cross (PDF link) on getting a community in a disaster zone involved in their own management quickly, which is what the Professor’s work does, by providing light:

Experience has shown that wide-ranging benefits result when communities actively involved in their own health and participate in water and sanitation projects. Using participatory approaches to engage the community has many benefits. Such approaches give community members the opportunity to build and strengthen problem-solving skills Public health guide for emergencies I 381 Water, sanitation and hygiene in emergencies 8 and empower them to take action. While communities, initially, might have limited capability to respond, giving them the opportunity to be involved helps with their own recovery process (see the mental health chapter for additional thoughts on the community recovery process). Through community involvement, water and sanitation programmes and projects can gain a thorough understanding of the needs, concerns and values of the beneficiaries. The local skills and capacities that exist among the disaster-affected population can also be identified and strengthened. Strong community involvement is critical for projects being sustainable long after external assistance stops.

The Good Professor’s work is being funded in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation too (and has been since 2013), which is super cool!  From the Foundation website news section:

“Today, 2.5 billion people practice open defecation or lack adequate toilet facilities  so we are always looking for new ways to ensure that less human waste winds up in the environment, untreated,” said Brian Arbogast, director of the Water, Sanitation & Hygiene team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Innovations don’t need to be complicated or expensive in order to be impactful which is why we are so excited about the range of approaches these projects represent.”

GCE grants fund innovative ideas to tackle persistent global health and development problems. Phase II grants are awarded to Phase I winners whose projects have shown progress and are particularly promising. Phase II projects also show a strong alignment to the foundation’s strategic priorities and maintain the innovation and excitement of the great idea that was funded during the first phase.  We also look for projects which have demonstrated the development of partnerships and collaboration that would help move projects toward implementation.

New Phase II grants were awarded to five organizations working to improve water and sanitation conditions in the developing world:

  • University of the West of England, Bristol in the U.K. to develop microbial fuel cells that can be powered by urine. The electricity generated can be used to power sanitation of the waste, and even to charge a cell phone.
  • Beijing Sunnybreeze Technology Inc. in Chinato develop a waterless toilet including an inexpensive mini waste processor.
  • North Carolina State University in the U.S.to improve and develop a low-cost, portable auger-based technology that can reliably and hygienically empty a wide variety of pit latrines and septic tanks which contain waste with a range of moisture contents.
  • Rice University in the U.S. to extend the capabilities of a solar steam sterilizer into a self-contained human waste-to-fuel converter for the manufacturing of clean, safe biofuel to satisfy demands for energy sources and agricultural fertilizer in the developing world.
  • National University of Mexico in Mexico to develop a digital tool for water survey facilities around the world, so that faster and more reliable water quality analysis is available for efforts to reduce enteric diseases worldwide.
  • The University of Delaware in the U.S. to develop and implement breathable membranes that could not only protect groundwater from contaminants but also accelerate the drying and disinfection of human waste.

urinicity 600

Also, a cool interview from Financial Times with Professor Ieropoulis — it’s quick, read it:

CB: How did the idea for recharging electrical devices using urine come about?

Dr Ieropoulos: As a research group, we have been working with this same fuel cell technology for 12 years, feeding it with different “fuels” and putting it to the test by powering electronic devices. The types of fuel we have been experimenting with are different kinds of organic waste such as domestic waste water, rotten fruits, prawn shells, dead insects and grass clippings.

Urine was just another candidate “fuel”. However, the level of power output improvement was so good that we were able to charge a commercial battery [of a mobile phone] directly, for the first time.

CB: Does the fuel cell have a special name and how does it work?

Dr Ieropoulos: The technology is known as the Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) and works on bacterial metabolism. Effectively, live microbes, which we collect from the natural environment, inhabit the inside of these devices and break down the organic fuel for their growth and maintenance, which is exactly what they do in nature.

One byproduct of the bacterial respiration comes in the form of electrons, which are transferred on to the electrode surface inside the MFC. These electrons flow through a circuit, which produces the electrical current.

CB: As the Gates Foundation has supported the project, can we expect to see it mainly being applied to developing-world problems, where mains electricity is hard to find?

Dr Ieropoulos: This is the ultimate goal for the work carried out under the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant, and not only as a means of electricity generation but also as a technology that can improve sanitation. But in addition, the work carried out under the UK EPSRC grant is primarily focused at developing this technology for the developed world.

CB: Do you know how Bill and Melinda Gates feel about your project?

Dr Ieropoulos: We do indeed, and this is through Dr Carl Hensman, our programme officer from the water, sanitation and hygiene programme. The co-chairs and trustees, Bill and Melinda Gates, are kept regularly informed and feel excited about our project, as they do for all the projects funded under the different programmes of the Gates Foundation.

CB: How might it be applied in the developed world?

Dr Ieropoulos: We consider the MFC to be a platform technology [something that enables products and processes to be developed from it], with numerous applications in different sectors of society.

The electricity is generated because the constituent microbes break down – and therefore treat – the organic waste, hence one area of focus is waste water treatment.

As the energy generated can be used for powering or recharging electronic devices, low-power electronics is another area of application. Biosensing is a third. This is exploiting the immediate response of the micro organisms to the presence of different compounds.

More recently, it has been demonstrated that MFCs can synthesise chemical compounds, while generating electricity. This means that elemental recovery [turning waste products into useful resources again] is an area that is beginning to grow. So, there are several avenues that can be explored in order to implement the technology in the developed world.

CB: Do you see this as a “disruptive” technology? Could it be an idea that will change the way people produce batteries for torches, say, or make domestic electrical appliances?

Dr Ieropoulos: At community level with waste water treatment, we do not necessarily see the MFCs as a disruptive technology at present, but rather as a complementary solution that can be part of a hybrid system. There is still some way to go before it can replace an existing technology such as batteries, but the EcoBot work we have been developing over the years has shown that small robots can be powered directly by MFCs, without any other form of power supply onboard. This is part of our self-sustainable systems work.

CB: Is it satisfying to see what from the outside seems a completely outlandish idea bear fruit?

Dr Ieropoulos: It is exciting, and this is the very essence of scientific research. To think about the difficult or even impossible and push the boundaries of current knowledge to see if it can work.

CB: How would you like to see this development being used in 10 years’ time? Does it have applications for helping counter global warming, for instance?

Dr Ieropoulos: In this timeframe, we would definitely like to see the technology deployed at different scales, in both the developing and developed worlds. There are so many sectors that MFCs can contribute to, either by cutting down energy consumption, increasing the efficiency of waste utilisation or even assisting in the recovery of useful nutrients from organic matter.

This is a technology that turns waste into useful commodities and it would be extremely beneficial to integrate it in existing processes, as it can help cut global warming.

Take a moment too and just view the contributions that Professor Ieropoulis has made to the field:
https://scholar.google.co.uk/citations?user=73ox1OgAAAAJ&hl=en

Hat Tips:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/20/us-uk-peepower-urinal-idUSKBN0NB13F20150420
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/d704de86-6695-11e4-9c0c-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3YQq0cL52
http://www.power-technology.com/features/featureurine-tricity-golden-power-from-human-waste-4159093/featureurine-tricity-golden-power-from-human-waste-4159093-1.html
http://www.gatesfoundation.org/Media-Center/Press-Releases/2013/12/Gates-Foundation-Awards-Grants-to-Waterless-Toilets

World Health Organization Guide on Emergency Waste Management:
http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/publications/2011/tn7_waste_mangt_en.pdf

United Nations and Humanitarian Affairs Guide on Emergency Waste Management:
https://docs.unocha.org/sites/dms/Documents/DWMG.pdf

 

Do Carrots Improve Eyesight? No, No They Don’t.

carrots-booze

Well, that old tale that we’re all told as kids that if we eat our carrots we’ll have better eyesight has been busted.  Mom and dad, you guys are LIARS!  It’s a good thing I like carrots as a general rule, otherwise I would still have no reason to be pissed.

Now it’s not that carrots are NOT the cure-all for eyesight, they’re just not THE cure-all for eyesight.

In all seriousness, the tale of carrots being the best thing for your eyesight came from World War II in the United Kingdom.  From Scientific American Magazine:

Decades later rumors swirled that the British Royal Air Force pushed that message as a cover-up for the recently adopted radar technology they were secretly relying on for their nighttime skirmishes. Information from the de Havilland Aircraft Museum suggests that subterfuge was indeed the British Ministry of Information’s plan. But Bryan Legate, assistant curator at the Royal Air Force Museum in London has a different view. “I would say that whilst the [British] Air Ministry were happy to go along with the story [of carrot-improved vision], they never set out to use it to fool the Germans,” Legate says. “The German intelligence service were well aware of our ground-based radar installation and would not be surprised by the existence of radar in aircraft. In fact, the RAF were able to confirm the existence of German airborne radar simply by fitting commercial radios into a bomber and flying over France listening to the various radio frequencies!” he adds.

It’s not to say that carrots are bad for your vision, because frankly anything with that much vitamin A and beta carotene is frankly great for your eyes!  But there are other sources of these nutrients for your eyes, funny enough — GREENS are AWESOME for eyesight!  Kale, collard greens, spinach, even arugula to some point, anything with lots of lutein, which is just purely great for your eyesight.  The general thought among the scientific community is that having these proteins and nutrients in your body helps your eyes by filtering out high-energy wavelengths of light from causing retina damage.

So remember:  beta carotene, lutein, green leafies, and Vitamin A.  THOSE things are great for your sight!

Maiko Takeda – Naked Light in its Purest Form with Fashion

I’m in love with Maiko Takeda.

Let me back up:  This is the work of Maiko Takeda, and she blows my mind.  Maiko takes fashion, incorporates the idea of pattern projections based on fabric, and turns them into unbelievable works of human art.  Maybe this is why I’m in love with Maiko Takeda.

Check this out:

maiko-takeda-rose-head-piece

 

Right?

maiko-takeda-cat-and-mouse-gloves

maiko-takeda-winking-eyes-collar

maiko-takeda-ballerina-dress

 

Riiiiiight?!

From Maiko’s portfolio page, about Maiko:

Logic + geometry + space form the common denominator in all Maiko Takeda pieces. It’s a world in which the simple will seem complicated and order turns to chaos. But do not be afraid to indulge, as at the end you will always find that the common denominator stands (right there at the bottom where it belongs).

Maiko Takeda grew up in a post boom Tokyo where she quickly was faced with the challenge of wanting to create products of individual and timeless quality in a country slowly coming to a grinding halt. This meant that she more and more looked to areas outside of fashion and pop culture for impulses, exploring the city by foot, finding inspiration in the smallest and most random of things.

Within the pieces, there is the juxtaposition of various elements. Environmental influences such as shadow, wind and gravity, create an experience of wonder and bewilderment for the adorned. The form of her work itself can never be its sole feature as the extra element is always seeking to transcend the expectations of the wearer as part of the work.

After having moved to London she studied Jewellery Design BA(Hons) at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and is currently doing a Masters in Millinery at the Royal College of Art. Her work experience includes Issey Miyake, Stephen Jones, Philip Treacy and Erickson Beamon.

Enough talking.  MORE MAIKO!

maiko-takeda-untitled-nude

maiko-takeda-fox-jacket

maiko-takeda-winking-corset

maiko-takeda-skull-hat

maiko-takeda-winking-eye-shirt-collar

maiko-takeda-lip-hat

maiko-takeda-catface-mask

maiko-takeda-lizard-bangle

maiko-takeda-sunglasses

maiko-takeda-eye-neck-scarf

 

In case you’re feeling frisky, check out Maiko’s photography collections page, and definitely check out Maiko’s Camera Obscura work.  Unreal!

 

Dancing with Light, Literally

marc-antoine-locatelli-1

Are you kidding?  OF COURSE when Fox posts something I’m posting that stuff over here, especially when it’s tres awesomesauce!

This is a video short from Marc-Antoine Locatelli, in which a dancer, Lucas Boirat, fights different geometric forms of light.  This is what I offer to fire up your Tuesday morning!

Nuance from Marc-Antoine Locatelli on Vimeo.

marc-antoine-locatelli-2

marc-antoine-locatelli-3Thanks, It’s Colossal!

 

 

Can the Little People (ie, US) Beat Xcel Energy in Boulder? These People Say YES

xcel-energy-sucks

Xcel Energy, the people who started up the Colorado solar-to-home movement only to withdraw from it quicker than John Wayne Bobbitt lost his wang, are back at the douchebaggery again.  This time, a group of very smart and very environmentally conscious people called New Era Colorado is putting the kibosh on their plans for coal-fired world domination.  Check this out:

From the video page:

This is a grassroots David and Goliath campaign to create a landmark model for how communities can take control of their energy future: http://igg.me/at/localpowerYou can support this effort on Indiegogo:http://igg.me/at/localpower

This is pretty great.  These folks are simply trying to stop the mass amounts of money from flowing into the pockets of the “we don’t give a shit” power brokers and back into the hands of the community, and to save the Earth one city at a time.  Can you imagine what would happen if this works?  I for one would love to see solar panels and wind turbines out en masse instead of coal fired plants spewing black death into the atmosphere.  But, that’s just me.  I’m sure the Xcel Energy executives need their Mercedes and homes in the Hamptons, too.  Right?

Check out the Campaign for Local Power’s IndieGogo campaign.  Feeling frisky?  Donate ten bucks, you’ll literally change the world.

From the IndieGogo campaign website:

Back in 2011, our community did something no other community had ever done before: we voted to explore taking control of our power supply for the sole purpose of lowering our impact on the planet. Xcel Energy spent nearly $1 million dollars on that election, but lost–because a committed group of community advocates and a small nonprofit that engages young people in politics won the day. Outspent 10-to-1, the grassroots coalition registered voters, knocked on doors, and made thousands of phone calls.

With voter approval, the city launched an extensive analysis and found that it could get cleaner, cheaper power that was just as reliable all on its own.

But now, Xcel is back, with a misleading initiative they’ve helped place on Boulder’s fall ballot that would stop the city’s formation of a local electric utility dead in its tracks. Their ballot measure is masquerading as a way to reduce government debt, but it’s really just a dirty trick–the measure includes impossible, even illegal, requirements that would stall out the very process voters already approved.

They’re back to undermine our local process, because the city’s findings made it clear that they stand to lose more than the $35 million dollars in profits they make annually from Boulder. They know that Boulder is on the verge of setting a precedent of national significance that would threaten not just Xcel, but the very core of the coal energy’s business model–not to mention that industry’s billions of dollars in profits.

We out-organized them in 2011, and we know we can again in 2013 if we have the resources to achieve the reach we need. Boulder has already voted to move forward–this fight is about keeping the coal industry from holding us back.

Can you help these smart people defeat the coal giant in the region?  Like New Era Colorado on Facebook, I’m sure they’d appreciate it.  Xcel Energy will not.

Crazy Friday Science: New “Dua’s Layer” Discovered in Human Eyes, Ophthalmology Changed Forever

From May 28, 2013 onward, the study of the human eye will forever be changed.  A doctor named Harminder S. Dua, Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Nottingham has discovered a new layer of cells that lies just above Descemet’s Layer of the cornea and the corneal stroma.  Like so:

duas-layer

“Now hold on there cowboy, what’s the cornea?!”

The cornea is the covering for the iris, pupil, and the anterior chamber  – basically the spot in front of the eye’s lens.  It’s one of the body’s most nerve-filled tissues, and it’s filled with fluid for light transmission.  Check this out, it’s an excellent visual description of the cornea, anterior and vitreous chambers — for reference, Dua’s Layer is right between the rear edge of the cornea (closest to the iris) and the middle of the cornea:

Three_Main_Layers_of_the_Eye

 

What Dr. Dua has discovered is a layer within the cornea that seems to have something to do with failures in the cornea where misshaping takes place.  These kinds of diseases are thought to be caused by water becoming waterlogged within the cornea itself, perhaps caused by a tear in this new Dua’s Layer.  They give the person afflicted a cone-shaped cornea that can be corrected with glasses, contacts, or in extreme cases, corneal surgery.  I’ve never seen anything quite like this before, so I’m guessing you haven’t either:

Keratoconus_eye

keratoconus-eye

from http://thesclerallenscenter.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/IMG_8964.jpg

Dua’s Layer is the new tissue discovery that is thought to cause things like this crazy degenerative keratoconus, which looks very annoying and painful to me.  Keratoconus causes pretty awful headaches and eye strain for people afflicted, which nobody wants.  But, this discovery is being heralded as a potential game changer for corneal diseases and degenerative conditions.  From Sci News:

“This is a major discovery that will mean that ophthalmology textbooks will literally need to be re-written. Having identified this new and distinct layer deep in the tissue of the cornea, we can now exploit its presence to make operations much safer and simpler for patients,” said Dr Harminder Dua, Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Nottingham and lead author of a paper published in the journal Ophthalmology.

“From a clinical perspective, there are many diseases that affect the back of the cornea which clinicians across the world are already beginning to relate to the presence, absence or tear in this layer.”

The human cornea is the clear protective lens on the front of the eye through which light enters the eye. Scientists previously believed the cornea to be comprised of five layers, from front to back, the corneal epithelium, Bowman’s layer, the corneal stroma, Descemet’s membrane and the corneal endothelium.

…and from Science Daily:

The scientists proved the existence of the layer by simulating human corneal transplants and grafts on eyes donated for research purposes to eye banks located in Bristol and Manchester.

During this surgery, tiny bubbles of air were injected into the cornea to gently separate the different layers. The scientists then subjected the separated layers to electron microscopy, allowing them to study them at many thousand times their actual size.

Understanding the properties and location of the new Dua’s layer could help surgeons to better identify where in the cornea these bubbles are occurring and take appropriate measures during the operation. If they are able to inject a bubble next to the Dua’s layer, its strength means that it is less prone to tearing, meaning a better outcome for the patient.

The discovery will have an impact on advancing understanding of a number of diseases of the cornea, including acute hydrops, Descematocele and pre-Descemet’s dystrophies.

The scientists now believe that corneal hydrops, a bulging of the cornea caused by fluid build up that occurs in patients with keratoconus (conical deformity of the cornea), is caused by a tear in the Dua layer, through which water from inside the eye rushes in and causes waterlogging.

This is the first time I am ever researching Keratoconus — I have a good friend who has Retinitis Pigmentosa, another degenerative disease of the eye (in that case the retina), but the conical cornea is quite an odd phenomena.  Have you ever had or know anyone who has had this disease?  I found some information at WebMD on Keratoconus on diagnosis and treatment:

Keratoconus changes vision in two ways:

  • As the cornea changes from a ball shape to a cone shape, the smooth surface becomes slightly wavy. This is called irregular astigmatism.
  • As the front of the cornea expands, vision becomes more nearsighted. That is, only nearby objects can be seen clearly. Anything too far away will look like a blur.

An eye doctor may notice symptoms during an eye exam. You may also mention symptoms that could be caused by keratoconus. These include:

  • Sudden change of vision in just one eye
  • Double vision when looking with just one eye
  • Objects both near and far looking distorted
  • Bright lights looking like they have halos around them
  • Lights streaking
  • Seeing triple ghost images

To be sure you have keratoconus, your doctor needs to measure the curvature of the. cornea. There are several different ways this can be done.

One instrument, called a keratometer, shines a pattern of light onto the cornea. The shape of the reflection tells the doctor how the eye is curved. There are also computerized instruments that make three-dimensional “maps” of the cornea.

How Is Keratoconus Treated?
Treatment usually starts with new eyeglasses. If eyeglasses don’t provide adequate vision, then contact lenses may be recommended.  With mild cases, new eyeglasses can usually make vision clear again. Eventually, though, it will probably be necessary to use contact lenses or seek other treatments to strengthen the cornea and improve vision.

A last resort is a cornea transplant.  This involves removing the center of the cornea and replacing it with a donor cornea that is stitched into place.

Congratulations to Dr. Harminder Dua and his team at the University of Nottingham for this amazing discovery!
Keep up the excellent game-changing work, good sir!

dr-harminder-dua

Check out the abstract at the journal Ophthalmology.

keratoconus-normal

from http://www.centralohioeyecare.com/user-files/PageImage206991.jpg

Thanks to Wikipedia on Keratoconus, Dua’s Layer, Traffic Shaper!

The Daily Lamp: Mike Thompson’s BLOOD LAMP – Would You BLEED for Light?

Blood_Lamp4

Today’s Daily Lamp is a bit off-norm, if you will — artist Mike Thompson has posed a simple question:

Will you bleed for illumination?  

Blood Lamp from miket on Vimeo.

From Mike Thompson’s page on the Blood Lamp:

What if power came at a cost to the individual?

The average American consumes 3383kwh of energy per year. That’s equivalent to leaving the light on in 4 rooms for a whole year. The simple flick of a switch allows us to power appliances and gadgets 24/7 without a thought to where it comes from and the cost to the environment.

For the lamp to work one breaks the top off, dissolves the powder, and uses their own blood to power a simple light. By creating a lamp that can only be used once, the user must consider when light is needed the most, forcing them to rethink how wasteful they are with energy, and how precious it is.

Mike raises a great point — one my parents instilled in me at an early age — shut the lights off when you’re not in a room!

Mike’s lamp is a fairly simple design, but definitely ingenius.  The design is basically a sealed glass envelope that includes an amount of Luminol powder that, when dissolved and mixed with human blood, creates a bioluminescent light source.  Now is it bright enough to provide any real usable illumination?  Probably not.  But regardless, this isn’t Mike’s point.  The point is to help you make better choices as to when you really need light.

Step one, the unbroken envelope:

Blood_Lamp1

Step two, remove the stopper with the Luminol powder:

Blood_Lamp2

Step three, bust the top off of the envelope so that there are lots of nice little jaggeties for you to bleed from:

Blood_Lamp3

Step four, cut yourself on the glass envelope and bleed into the Luminol:

Blood_Lamp4Game, set, match.  The Blood Lamp.

 

A Grim Reminder of the Latest Deaths in Our Beloved Industry Before Summer Work Kicks Off

indiana-state-fair-collapse-falling

HEY!  YOU! 

You there, with the rigging bag.

You there, with the crescent wrench and fearless attitude.

You there, sporting the “supervisor” face but looking at your cell phone when motors are moving.

You there, new guy and new girl, who are googly-eyed at the awesomeness but should be watching their own backs and paying attention to the work.

The summer season of outdoor music and theatre has started, and no matter if you’re doing corporate shows, theatre, music, or art production, this post needs to serve as a reminder.  Along with orgs like PLASA and the Event Safety Alliance, JimOnLight.com is doing everything they can to NOT have a summer like the last few we’ve had – and what I can do is provide a reminder of the hell that we as an industry have seen, not to mention the families of those killed in these accidents and disasters lately.  If I might reiterate, what we do is entertainment; it may pay the bills, but if you see something less than safe happening or took place in putting something together that you might not feel 100% about once it was finished, SPEAK UP NOW!

YOUR DUTY:  It is your duty to the safety of others and your own personal safety to keep your head in the game once you are onsite.  This includes WEATHER concerns, Safety concerns,

To address an email I got from a guy out there who prefers to remain anonymous out there, who asked me what would happen if a person got fired for refusing to do something unsafe.  My response was something along the lines of:

  1. You are probably working for a company that is a time bomb of fail waiting to happen — don’t be the fuse, and don’t feel bad about not wanting to die at work.
  2. Regardless of Fact #1, you should probably consult an attorney before you go thermonuclear.  Most attorneys do so for free.
  3. Call people like OSHA, PLASA, USITT, anyone you can think of if something shady is going on.  So you lose your job – don’t for a second think that the industry won’t be behind you for saving lives.
  4. You can file unemployment in a case like that – a company doing shady safety work will sooner than later be discovered, it would not be in their interest to fight your claim.  But, your mileage may vary, and frankly, some people have better luck than others in life at these things.
  5. Feel good that you aren’t in that situation anymore, and get right back out there and find another gig if you lose yours.  Do the right thing.  Having deaths on your conscience is good for no human, no matter how little of a part you played in the process.

That’s my opinion, anyway.  That’s what I’d do.  An industry that won’t take care of people who keep it safe is not an industry anyone should participate in, regardless of the possible profits.  Money is less valuable than lives.

Here’s a reminder of sacrifices have been made to further the standardization of safety in our business – please forgive me if I overlooked one close to you, all you have to do is email me and I will append this post.

APRIL 5, 2013: 
RIGGERS, TAKE HEED:  Houston Dean Williams slipped and fell to the stage floor while moving around a beam in San Antonio at the AT&T Center.

RIGGERS-NOT-SKYDIVERS

MAY 6, 2013:
A man was killed when a PA stack fell on him
at a protest rally in Moscow.

russia-man-killed-protest

APRIL 17, 2013:
Boston Marathon Bombings claim the lives of three marathongoers, wounding several dozens.  Let’s not forget, this was at an entertainment function.

Boston Marathon Explosions TOPIX

March 15, 2013:
A video wall came apart and fell on stage hands
in Miami for Ultra Music Festival.  No one killed, fortunately, but several people were hurt.

ultra-music-festival-accident

June 16, 2012:
1 dead, 3 wounded at a Radiohead concert in Toronto, Ontario
.

radiohead-stage-collapse-toronto

December 15, 2011:
1 person was killed and 8 people injured when truss collapsed
in Trieste, Italy at a Jovanotti concert.

trieste-jovanotti-collapse

August 19, 2011:
5 people killed and 70+ injured when a storm blew over a stage
at the Pukkelpop Festival in Belgium.

pukkelpop-collapse-5

Perhaps the worst of them all lately…  August 15, 2011:
At the Sugarland show at the Indiana State Fair, a storm blew over an outdoor stage loaded with audio and lighting truss, killing 7 people and injuring 58.

indiana-state-fair-collapse-falling

May 13, 2010:
A young lighting tech in West Palm Beach fell to his death from a catwalk while working on a show.

andy-hollingsworth1.jpg

July 27, 2009:
A Pepsi Battle of the Bands in Guangzhou, China experiences a huge, sudden storm that tips over LED screens and injures several dozen.  Reports of people killed were removed from the web, so I think it’s fair that we can assume several people died in this accident.

pepsi-battle-of-the-bands-accident

July 16, 2009:
At a Marseilles, France tour stop for Madonna’s Sticky and Sweet tour, a stage roof collapsed, killing 2 stage hands involved in the load-in.

madonna-stage-collapse1.jpg

Let’s also never forget the Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake truss collapse in August 2003:

timberlake11.jpg

Just don’t forget.  Also, don’t forget that you are responsible for yourself out there, and when you’re putting equipment together, keep in mind that your diligence will mean the difference between you and others going home on the bus and going home in the ambulance – or even worse, getting a ride home with the coroner.

Be safe out there, Road Warriors!

 

Light + Water + The Nude Human Form = Tomohide Ikeya’s Amazing Visuals

Tomohide Ikeya is an artist who works with an uncontrollable medium to achieve moments frozen in time from that world of non-compliance.  Meet Tomohide Ikeya’s water-based photography, where light, water, and the human form are introduced to express the irony of control:

tomhide-ikeya-breath-17

tomhide-ikeya-breath-9

From Tomohide Ikeya, about his work:

I’m a photographer who has a concept of “Control” for my work. Water is one of “uncontrolled” things which the human being never can to do. I had a lot of opportunities to think about ‘water’ with doing scuba diving in several countries as a hobby. The beauty of sunshine viewed from under water, daily life of aquatics and me as human just be able to see their world for a moment… We thought human could control water if we had lots of equipments and cared for risks in water, but human never be able to live in water. And we also never be able to live without water. Water doesn’t only give a life, but also takes a life. On the other hand, water is not the Mother of Creation or the Master of Destruction, it’s just be there as ‘water’. Water is a philosophical existence very much even be as ’just water’. I had been fascinated with water more and more and I had gotten a zeal for expression it. It is one of reasons which I became a photographer, so I have been creating my works which has a relation with water. I’m expressing “enthusiasm for life” by photography throughout the figure of Water and Human.’ – Tomohide Ikeya

tomhide-ikeya-moon-4
tomhide-ikeya-moon-18

tomhide-ikeya-breath-7

These images are from both the Moon series and the Breath series.  You have to go through these two galleries, these works are absolutely amazing.  Tomohide just captures the uncontrollable properties of the water as they are creating their uncontrollable world for the humans bathing in it, and the results are outstanding.  Very amazing work, Tomohide!

A huge thanks to Tomohide Ikeya, KoiKoiKoi, and Sweet Station!