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Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Police Cracking Down at Burning Man

Strongest presence in the festival's history

Early arrivals at this year’s Burning Man, Nevada’s long-running art, music, and free expression festival, are reporting heaviest police presence since the festival began in 1986.

An August 21 post from Burning Man regular Aaron Muzslaski describes this year’s scene:

The pigs are here. And uncommonly badge heavy. Earlier tonight, the #BLM pulled over El Couchino for a registration violation. In 18 years on the playa, I’ve never seen a more aggressive police presence than what’s been going down today. Deeply upsetting, outrageous stuff. One DPW member was issued a $275 ticket for urinating on the playa, and threatened with being forced to register as a convicted sex offender. (A note for people not familiar with Burning Man, the “Playa” is what Burning Man attendees or “Burners” call the land that this event is held on.) I suspect this is fallout from the lawsuit BMORG won against the BLM earlier this year. Whatever the cause, know this: Law enforcement is going to be VERY AGGRESSIVE at Burning Man this year. Keep your shit as right as you do back in the world. Don’t give them any excuses. Be extremely cautious, and MAKE SURE TO TELL YOUR FRIENDS. Things are changing. #BM2013 #LEO #police IF YOU DO GET STOPPED: Make sure to file an incident report with Burning Man. And before you get here, LEARN YOUR RIGHTS. [1]

In response, workers and volunteers at the festival are calling for a general strike, refusing to continue setting up the festival unless the police promise to keep their distance and let them handle security inside the event.

Hot Mess: An Oral History of Burning Man


The new North Korean ski resort     Photo: rapgenius/Flickr

Little Progress at North Korean Ski Resort

Hampered by rain and lack of chairlifts

Construction at North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's first "world-class" ski resort, the Masik Pass Skiing Grounds, has been delayed by torrential rains this summer and the refusal of the Swiss government earlier this month to sell chairlifts to the North Koreans.

Seasonal rains dropped 16 inches of water on the ski area in one week, causing mudslides and flooding. The clear-cutting of trees for ski runs exacerbated the effects, blocking ditches and damaging portions of the resort.

The Swiss government banned the export of chairlifts to North Korea, after the government attempted to buy a $7.57 million chairlift system. “The Federal Council decided on July 3 to also put infrastructure for sports facilities on the list, especially when they have a more luxury character for resorts,” Ms. Avet of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs told Reuters. “These resorts have a luxury character, that is why it is not appropriate to export.”


D.C. To Bid For 2024 Olympics

Boasts cheap venue space and top flight security

Officials in Washington announced Tuesday their plans to seek the 2024 Summer Olympics. They hope to bring the Games to one of the few major capital cities never to have hosted the event.

"We will be a front-runner," Robert Sweeney, the president of D.C. 2024 and former head of the Greater Washington Sports Alliance told the Washington Examiner. He said that all city officials and sporting executives are behind the effort.

The initial plans look to capitalize on the region's cheap venue space, hotel infrastructure, and "world class security," according to a fact sheet released by Sweeney. He believes costs could be kept to $4 to $6 billion.

The city is slated to compete with up to 10 other American candidates, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Boston, and Dallas. Paris is considered the international front-runner.


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Photo: Douglas County Sheriff's Office

Teen Obsessed With 'Into the Wild' Found Dead

Car abandoned in the wilderness

An 18-year-old believed to have been increasingly obsessed with the movie, Into the Wild, at the time of his disappearance has been found dead in rural Oregon. Police, who found Johnathan Croom’s body 1,000 feet from his abandoned car, suspect no foul play and are investigating the teen’s death as a suicide.

According to the boy’s father, David Croom, Johnathan had been showing a strong interest in the movie over the past six months and possibly wanted to follow in the footsteps of the film’s subject, Chris McCandless. "Maybe he said, 'I want to do it.' That's our theory, “ said Croom before his son’s body had been found. “Because he kept talking about the movie."

Johnathan was last seen at the home of a friend he had been visiting in Seattle, Washington. He was due back in Arizona to begin classes at Mesa Community College when he went missing.  

His green Honda CRV was found on a back road in the town of Riddle, Oregon. Inside the car, police found a sweatshirt, a blanket, and a jug of water, leading some to believe he may have been preparing to enter the wilderness. According to Johnathan’s father, his son’s camping experience was extremely limited.