Burning Man Laser Policy

Share your views on the policies, philosophies, and spirit of Burning Man.
User avatar
trilobyte
Site Admin
Posts: 16750
Joined: Tue Mar 02, 2004 10:54 pm
Burning Since: 2004
Camp Name: Eridu Society
Location: San Francisco
Contact:

Burning Man Laser Policy

Post by trilobyte » Thu Apr 16, 2015 9:32 am

From the Voices of Burning Man blog post...

While the list of things you can do at Burning Man is about as long as your imagination, the list of things you can’t do at Burning Man is very, very short. But things on that very short list are the things that can either outright kill you (weapons, speeding vehicles, serving iffy food) or screw up the environment (burning stuff right on the playa floor, visiting the hot springs during the event).

Why is the list so short? Because radical self-reliance, that’s why. We firmly believe that people should exercise their own personal responsibility when it comes to their entertainment and personal safety. The Burning Man organization has long resisted establishing rules when we could instead establish community guidelines that would accomplish the same thing. We believe in acculturation and education over creating a rule when something needs fixing — Leave No Trace is a great example.

But sometimes you have to make a rule, because it’s the right thing to do. And this is one of those times.

At the 2014 Burn, a member of our Black Rock Rangers reported that somebody in the crowd scanned her face with a laser, and that as a result she was blinded in one eye and partially blinded in the other. We didn’t know of any other incidents like this one in the 30 years of our event, but once her story went out on the airwaves, we started hearing from other folks who’d been hit by lasers but had not reported anything to us.

When handheld lasers first came onto the scene, they were expensive and not very powerful. In recent years, they have become stronger and more easily accessible. Lasers are now so powerful that even the handheld ones can do permanent damage to somebody standing 10 miles away. And that, by any definition, by any standard, is a weapon. And dangerous weapons — ones that can permanently and irreparably injure somebody standing literally on the other side of Black Rock City — really have no place at Burning Man.

So this is one of those times. Starting in 2015, handheld lasers will be prohibited in Black Rock City. Mounted lasers are only permitted on art pieces, Mutant Vehicles and in theme camps if they comply with specific restrictions.

To learn more, visit our Lasers page on the Burning Man website.

User avatar
Dr. Pyro
Posts: 4624
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2003 8:11 am
Burning Since: 1999
Camp Name: Barbie Death Camp & Wine Bistro
Location: Newcastle, CA
Contact:

Re: New Burning Man Laser Policy

Post by Dr. Pyro » Thu Apr 16, 2015 9:49 am

This is really very good news. How anybody could oppose it would indeed be a mystery to me. Good work BMOrg.

User avatar
digital
Posts: 608
Joined: Sun Jul 21, 2013 7:38 pm
Burning Since: 2018
Camp Name: Middle'a-nowhere
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: New Burning Man Laser Policy

Post by digital » Thu Apr 16, 2015 10:10 am

As someone in the line of danger, THANK YOU!

User avatar
Simon of the Playa
Posts: 18566
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 6:25 pm
Burning Since: 1996
Camp Name: La Guilde des Hashischins
Location: Rochester, Nevada.

Re: New Burning Man Laser Policy

Post by Simon of the Playa » Thu Apr 16, 2015 10:33 am

eyes second that. 8)
Frida Be You & Me

User avatar
Lonesomebri
Posts: 2451
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:54 pm
Burning Since: 2018
Camp Name: CAMP THREAT
Location: NorCal

Re: New Burning Man Laser Policy

Post by Lonesomebri » Thu Apr 16, 2015 10:38 am

I can't think of a time that the radical inclusion of lasers has negatively affected my own personal Burn, but I suppose that isn't the criteria we are using here.
Good riddance.
Camp THREAT: Dominating the porta potties 3 years running.
"If this is the best of all possible worlds, what are the others?"
- Voltaire, Candide

User avatar
EspressoDude
Posts: 4920
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2006 7:30 pm
Location: the first Vancouver
Contact:

Re: New Burning Man Laser Policy

Post by EspressoDude » Thu Apr 16, 2015 10:51 am

Banning of lasers has been over due for a few years. Working at the base of projects prior to them being burned has been a bit of a problem with lasers shining everywhere.

Even lasers on mutant vehicles are often not being operated properly; and without knowledge of the federal rules that are put out by the FDA CDRH (Food and Drug Administration Center for Devices and Radiological Health).

DO NOT LOOK INTO THE BRIGHT RED LIGHT WITH YOUR REMAINING EYE

Actually getting painted by relatively high powered hand held lasers damages your eyes before the blink reaction or look away. If you are painted, it is too late.
Is 4 shots enuff? no foo-foo drinks; just naked Espresso
Tactical Espresso Service http://home.comcast.net/~espressocamp/
Field Artillery Tractor
FOGBANK, GOD OF HELLFIRE
BLACK ROCK f/x Trojan Horse,Anubis,2014Temple
burn shit and blow shit up

User avatar
FlyingMonkey
Posts: 1173
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:33 am

Re: New Burning Man Laser Policy

Post by FlyingMonkey » Thu Apr 16, 2015 12:25 pm

I think it would've only been a matter of time before someone else got blinded by idiot (did I say that or just think it loud) with a LASER.

I'm not much for new rules but this makes so much sense.
In your wildest dreams you can not imagine the marvelous SURPRISES that await YOU.

User avatar
danibel
Posts: 918
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 9:50 pm
Burning Since: 2009
Location: Ben Lomond, CA

Re: New Burning Man Laser Policy

Post by danibel » Thu Apr 16, 2015 12:37 pm

I don't like rules but this is one that I completely agree with. I actually would prefer to see MV's not lave lasers either, but if they are regulated, I guess I am okay with it.
In dust we trust.

Elliot
Posts: 7706
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2005 8:41 pm
Burning Since: 2006

Re: New Burning Man Laser Policy

Post by Elliot » Thu Apr 16, 2015 12:55 pm

I'm all for this ban.

User avatar
some seeing eye
Posts: 2817
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2008 12:06 pm
Burning Since: 1999
Camp Name: Woo
Location: The Oregon

Re: New Burning Man Laser Policy

Post by some seeing eye » Thu Apr 16, 2015 12:59 pm

Solid to reference the ILDA. There are many more ways to radically participate than laser pointing. WTF BM is not a Powerpoint.
increasing the signal to noise ratio with compassion

User avatar
Simon of the Playa
Posts: 18566
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 6:25 pm
Burning Since: 1996
Camp Name: La Guilde des Hashischins
Location: Rochester, Nevada.

Re: New Burning Man Titty Laser Policy

Post by Simon of the Playa » Thu Apr 16, 2015 1:09 pm

cut that out, you'll go blind.



[media]
Frida Be You & Me

User avatar
mudpuppy000
Posts: 1552
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 3:54 pm
Burning Since: 2009
Camp Name: THE BELLIGERENT GAP
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: New Burning Man Laser Policy

Post by mudpuppy000 » Thu Apr 16, 2015 1:48 pm

Man, so much for my laser beard... Guess I'll have to save the fun stuff for the regionals. :D

Image

maladroit
Posts: 2327
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:37 pm
Burning Since: 2012

Re: New Burning Man Laser Policy

Post by maladroit » Thu Apr 16, 2015 2:06 pm

I do think the language is slightly vague. Is a "handheld laser" just a category of laser, or is it any laser being held in a hand? Burning Man is exactly the place where someone would tape a laser pointer to their dick and claim it's not handheld.

"Stop that, WE'LL go blind"

User avatar
remi
Posts: 711
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2011 12:58 pm
Location: Calgary, AB, Canada
Contact:

Re: New Burning Man Laser Policy

Post by remi » Thu Apr 16, 2015 2:18 pm

mudpuppy000 wrote:Man, so much for my laser beard... Guess I'll have to save the fun stuff for the regionals. :D

Image


Now that his came up, my regional (Freezer Burn in Alberta,) was contemplating following this model, but I think we decided to educate instead of restrict... which is doable with a +/- 700 people festival.
Can you at least admit that nuclear explosions are awesome!?

User avatar
Sham
Moderator
Posts: 8218
Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2008 2:10 am
Location: The hidden mythical place.....

Re: New Burning Man Laser Policy

Post by Sham » Thu Apr 16, 2015 2:55 pm

maladroit wrote:I do think the language is slightly vague. Is a "handheld laser" just a category of laser, or is it any laser being held in a hand? Burning Man is exactly the place where someone would tape a laser pointer to their dick and claim it's not handheld.

"Stop that, WE'LL go blind"
The problem lasers are the ones that look like a pen and can be aimed at objects off in the distance.
I have a stationary light on my bike that shines onto the ground and makes a great light show on the playa. This non-handheld one is more for a lighting effect and does not shine upward.

maladroit
Posts: 2327
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:37 pm
Burning Since: 2012

Re: New Burning Man Laser Policy

Post by maladroit » Thu Apr 16, 2015 3:28 pm

Sure...but what if it bounces off something shiny on the ground. Or if it's aimed skyward, what if someone decides to float a metallic mylar UFO above the city. These things aren't automatically safe just because of how they're installed, it takes a human monitoring the situation in realtime and making judgement calls (as called for in BMORG's new policy).

User avatar
Eric
Moderator
Posts: 9305
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2003 9:45 pm
Burning Since: 2003
Camp Name: BRC Weekly
Contact:

Re: New Burning Man Laser Policy

Post by Eric » Thu Apr 16, 2015 3:28 pm

Sham wrote:I have a stationary light on my bike that shines onto the ground and makes a great light show on the playa. This non-handheld one is more for a lighting effect and does not shine upward.
My reading is that your's would still be prohibited:
Mounted lasers are only permitted on art pieces, Mutant Vehicles and in theme camps if they comply with specific restrictions
I think any small, even potentially "pointable" laser is out for the general Burner. I am fine with this.
It's a camping trip in the desert, not the redemption of the fallen world - Cryptofishist

Regarding Scammers & Scalpers
Please read above link for all official information.

Eric ShutterSlut
Ass't Editor, BRC Weekly

User avatar
trilobyte
Site Admin
Posts: 16750
Joined: Tue Mar 02, 2004 10:54 pm
Burning Since: 2004
Camp Name: Eridu Society
Location: San Francisco
Contact:

Re: New Burning Man Laser Policy

Post by trilobyte » Thu Apr 16, 2015 3:35 pm

@maladroit...

Fixed install/mounted lasers are allowed, any laser (pointer, stage lighting gear, whatever) that is handheld are not allowed. As with weapons, possession/use of such items could result in either the item being confiscated or the participant being removed from the event entirely.

As per the linked page on lasers (that you probably didn't bother to read), you would need to disclose all use of laser effects on your project as part of the DMV application process, and then have a safety officer inspect it and clear it before it could be used.

User avatar
EspressoDude
Posts: 4920
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2006 7:30 pm
Location: the first Vancouver
Contact:

Re: New Burning Man Laser Policy

Post by EspressoDude » Thu Apr 16, 2015 5:08 pm

conduct an internet search for "laser variance" According to where this will lead searchers, a Federal Variance is required for operation of a laser that exceeds certain parameters...an office pointer or target pointer... This is according to Federal Rules 21CFR1002 ~ 1040. Operation without a variance for your specific laser and operator and location is a Federal issue..........maybe BLM will do the confiscating
Is 4 shots enuff? no foo-foo drinks; just naked Espresso
Tactical Espresso Service http://home.comcast.net/~espressocamp/
Field Artillery Tractor
FOGBANK, GOD OF HELLFIRE
BLACK ROCK f/x Trojan Horse,Anubis,2014Temple
burn shit and blow shit up

maladroit
Posts: 2327
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:37 pm
Burning Since: 2012

Re: New Burning Man Laser Policy

Post by maladroit » Thu Apr 16, 2015 6:33 pm

trilobyte wrote:@maladroit...

Fixed install/mounted lasers are allowed, any laser (pointer, stage lighting gear, whatever) that is handheld are not allowed. As with weapons, possession/use of such items could result in either the item being confiscated or the participant being removed from the event entirely.

As per the linked page on lasers (that you probably didn't bother to read), you would need to disclose all use of laser effects on your project as part of the DMV application process, and then have a safety officer inspect it and clear it before it could be used.
I did read it and just slighty above this post, pointed out something from that policy to another ePlayan who mentioned that their bike-mounted laser was safe because it points down.

User avatar
Jovankat
Posts: 1670
Joined: Tue Jul 23, 2013 4:11 am
Burning Since: 2013
Camp Name: Methuselah's Children
Location: Oakland or Australia

Re: New Burning Man Laser Policy

Post by Jovankat » Thu Apr 23, 2015 12:15 am

I think this fun little toy some guy made for himself in a couple of weeks and will apparently sell copies of illustrates why this is necessary. :shock:

User avatar
melodiousdirge
Posts: 687
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:29 pm
Burning Since: 2011
Location: Central Coast, CA

Re: New Burning Man Laser Policy

Post by melodiousdirge » Mon Apr 27, 2015 3:23 pm

I agree with having rules for lasers, but I think they need to put a whole lot more language and clarity into the rules. The sentence:

"As of 2015, all Theme Camp, Art Installation, and DMV Mutant Vehicle applications include the requirement to disclose the presence or inclusion of a laser as part of the project or operation."

Leaves a lot unsaid. What if my non-theme, unregistered "installation" includes a fun little commercially available party light show using low powered lasers? You know, one of the crappy $99 jobs I've seen thousands of out there. Am I going to get kicked out, or have my gear confiscated, even though its rated for safe use in crowds? What if I have a stage lighting setup inside my personal dome in my camp? Considering the sheer volume of lasers available, and the large percentage of burners who do not read publications (or simply ignore them) I think the rangers are going to have their hands full trying to keep a lid on the laser issue; especially given that it's not immediately obvious what the difference is between a 'safe' (<5mw) laser and a higher powered unit.

Like I said, I'm definitely not opposed to restricting these dangerous toys, but I think there is a lot of room for clarification there. I personally have a few "safe" laser projects that are about halfway complete that I'll likely now abandon ship on. I'm OK with doing so for the greater good but it's kind of a piss-off having taken the time to use harmless components, only to have them banned.
Beware teh snarkasm

User avatar
Ugly Dougly
Posts: 17112
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2003 9:31 am
Burning Since: 1996
Location: เชียงใหม่
Contact:

Re: New Burning Man Laser Policy

Post by Ugly Dougly » Sat May 02, 2015 7:02 pm

You have my coherent assent.

User avatar
louisacrystal
Posts: 41
Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2013 12:08 am
Burning Since: 2000

Re: New Burning Man Laser Policy

Post by louisacrystal » Sun May 03, 2015 9:11 am

last year I took 100 star cap laser pointers and handed them out as gifts. Me and my crew all dressed up in bright green with hundreds of blinkies attached to us, and our costumes laced with green EL wire. It was honestly one of the best nights I've ever had in all my years on the playa. People told me that they were some of the coolest gifts they have ever received. It was tons of fun because we had all of our green laser blinky shit and we randomly ran into some people with tons of blue blinking shit! I guess you would just have had to have been there to experience it, to understand how cool it was. It was definitely a lot of eye candy! But I can see how people can be irresponsible with the larger more powerful dangerous lasers. And yes I can see how they can be annoying to some people. But I'm glad that I made that shit happen when I did! Because that old saying "Its going to be banned" just happened!
I have gone out to find myself. If I get back before I return, Please keep me here until I get back. Thank you!

User avatar
Zhust
Posts: 710
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 12:46 pm
Burning Since: 2004
Camp Name: Camp CampCampCamp
Location: Rochester, NY
Contact:

Re: New Burning Man Laser Policy

Post by Zhust » Sun May 03, 2015 4:42 pm

Here's a simple test before heading to Burning Man: shine the laser in both your eyes. If you're unable to drive to the event anymore, you shouldn't bring the laser.
May your deeds return to you tenfold,
---Zhust, Curiosityist

User avatar
some seeing eye
Posts: 2817
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2008 12:06 pm
Burning Since: 1999
Camp Name: Woo
Location: The Oregon

Re: New Burning Man Laser Policy

Post by some seeing eye » Mon May 04, 2015 12:02 am

My observation is that the ORG comes out with a simple policy, easy to be enforced, including by the community, in the first year of an issue.

Or they could of course hire a laser safety officer, inspectors, bring in NIST traceable laser power meters and monitor individual uses. That would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars added to the ticket prices just to start in the first year. Or they could have a policy with so many exceptions and clauses it is confusing and unenforceable.

But of course you have tested your personal use lasers with NIST traceable calibrated power meters, or your lasers have an ANSI/FDA traceable certification and your Chinese manufacturer hasn't switched the innards to get cheaper parts without recertifying, you know the sidelobes of the spectrum of your specific laser, or leakage from the source laser in a frequency doubled laser, and you can guarantee any of the burners you expose have fast iris reflexes and an unaltered desire for self preservation and common sense.

The policy directs ALL laser users who think they are "special" through the Artery, DMV or Placement, who then forward each case to BM Laser Central. ALL other uses are banned. Period.
increasing the signal to noise ratio with compassion

User avatar
gaminwench
Posts: 2794
Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2005 11:57 am
Burning Since: 1999
Camp Name: DOTA, EoD, OBOP, Destiny Lounge
Location: Shangri-la

Re: New Burning Man Laser Policy

Post by gaminwench » Mon May 04, 2015 2:42 am

I think this is a well-considered and executed policy.

A powerful laser, in the hands of an impaired, under-educated enthusiast, constitutes a weapon capable of doing unintended harm to an innocent populace.
"the prophecies of doom were better last year" trilo

User avatar
trilobyte
Site Admin
Posts: 16750
Joined: Tue Mar 02, 2004 10:54 pm
Burning Since: 2004
Camp Name: Eridu Society
Location: San Francisco
Contact:

Re: New Burning Man Laser Policy

Post by trilobyte » Mon May 04, 2015 9:59 am

@melodiousdirge - the exact same could be said for flame effects. In fact, it's exactly the same approach...all registered projects are asked/required to disclose the use of flame effects (and now lasers), and invariably there is a safety inspection requirement.

The policy seems pretty simple - handheld, no. Fixed install yes, but place/operate it safely. Common sense is a pretty good rule of thumb - if you're genuinely unsure about whether your camp's setup would be safe, I'd recommend pinging placement@burningman.org and let them know you are an unregistered camp and would like to find out about having someone come to your camp once you've set up to take a look at your installation. My guess would be that they'll direct you to someone from the flame effects team and you'd go visit them on playa at either Salem's Lot or the ARTery to request somebody come out... but check with them to be sure.

If you see a laser installation at a camp that you think is unsafe, you could do one of a couple things. First, try mentioning it nicely to someone at the camp. Most people are trying to build something awesome, and wouldn't want for one of their guests to get hurt... so as long as you're nice about it they'd probably be appreciative and happy to make an adjustment. If you're wary of any kind of confrontation, or if despite your best efforts the person is a jerk (genuinely a jerk or on day 7 of no sleep jerkiness) then let the nearest ranger know. If you've got a digital camera with you, snap a picture of the camp sign and then the street sign of the nearest intersection so that when you find that ranger you don't need to worry about forgetting those details.

User avatar
melodiousdirge
Posts: 687
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:29 pm
Burning Since: 2011
Location: Central Coast, CA

Re: New Burning Man Laser Policy

Post by melodiousdirge » Mon May 04, 2015 3:06 pm

trilobyte wrote:@melodiousdirge - the exact same could be said for flame effects. In fact, it's exactly the same approach...all registered projects are asked/required to disclose the use of flame effects (and now lasers), and invariably there is a safety inspection requirement.
I don't mean to be the pain in the ass guy here, I'm just pointing out that there seem to be a few situations that aren't fully addressed. No handheld lasers is clear enough. Fixed lasers on installations and on art cars need to be registered is also clear enough. There is some middle ground there where they seem to be saying "just use common sense" which is totally great, but grey areas like that lead to arguments with LE in my experience. Another sentence in there saying that UL listed (or whatever safety authority you choose) devices that are manufactured for use in crowds and bear a label confirming that are fine, or else saying any non-registered laser will be confiscated. If we're gonna have rules, we should make them clear.

FWIW I won't be bringing any of my lasers, and I didn't last year, mostly because I wasn't comfortable with the public safety issue; point being I'm on board, but I'll be betting on seeing all kinds of low power laser shows in peoples camps anyway.
Beware teh snarkasm

User avatar
melodiousdirge
Posts: 687
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:29 pm
Burning Since: 2011
Location: Central Coast, CA

Re: New Burning Man Laser Policy

Post by melodiousdirge » Mon May 04, 2015 3:15 pm

some seeing eye wrote:My observation is that the ORG comes out with a simple policy, easy to be enforced, including by the community, in the first year of an issue.

Or they could of course hire a laser safety officer, inspectors, bring in NIST traceable laser power meters and monitor individual uses. That would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars added to the ticket prices just to start in the first year. Or they could have a policy with so many exceptions and clauses it is confusing and unenforceable.

But of course you have tested your personal use lasers with NIST traceable calibrated power meters, or your lasers have an ANSI/FDA traceable certification and your Chinese manufacturer hasn't switched the innards to get cheaper parts without recertifying, you know the sidelobes of the spectrum of your specific laser, or leakage from the source laser in a frequency doubled laser, and you can guarantee any of the burners you expose have fast iris reflexes and an unaltered desire for self preservation and common sense.
Very impressive intellectual puffery sir.
some seeing eye wrote:The policy directs ALL laser users who think they are "special" through the Artery, DMV or Placement, who then forward each case to BM Laser Central. ALL other uses are banned. Period.
I don't think they said that. They said installations, and art cars using lasers need to be registered, and no handheld lasers are allowed, leaving a massive foggy loophole in between those things. If they said ALL lasers must be registered, period, that would be clearer, and I wouldn't disagree with that.
Beware teh snarkasm

Post Reply

Return to “Philosophical Center”