Glass doorknob causes fire

Knob shot 2969722b

A glass doorknob acted as a magnifying glass, focusing sunlight into a burning beam that torched some clothing and set fire to a bedroom in a south London home.

"The focal length from the window was just the right distance and it became the same principle as when you try to set fire to paper with a magnifying glass when you are a child," The London Fire Brigade's Charlie Pugsley told The Telegraph.

Apparently, a crystal ball and a mirror are to blame for similar fires in London this year.

DIY X-Men: Pyro flamethrowers

Colin Furze, who made the amazing DIY Wolverine claws, continues his X-Men experimentation with wristworn Pyro flamethrowers; demo above, how-to video below (via Laughing Squid).

Super-slow motion match burning

Lighting a match at 4,000 frames per second. UltraSlo says, "There was over 2000 Watts of light within 4 inches (10 cm) of the match with mirrors and reflectors too."

Swedish yule goat burns. Again

Linguinineenie writes, "Despite the best efforts of the authorities, vandals have managed yet again to burn down the Yule Goat in the city of Gavle. This is at least the 24th burning since Gavle started putting up a giant version of the traditional Yule Goat in 1966. While illegal, it's become something of a cat and mouse game between the erectors and the destroyers." Cory 7

Two great long reads about fire, science, and the human lives caught in between

At Outside, Kyle Dickman interviews the lone survivor of the Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighting team and tells the story of the decisions that lead to the deaths of 19 men. Read it, and then head over to The New York Times Magazine, which has an amazing piece by Paul Tullis about the scientists, fire fighters, and forest rangers who are trying to get a better handle on how wildfires behave ... and how best to control and limit the damage they cause. That's no small task when you're talking about a force of nature capable of creating its own weather systems.

Surviving a massive wildfire

In 2011, the Pagami Creek Fire burned through 92,000 acres of Minnesota's Boundary Waters Canoe Area. At Outside magazine, Frank Bures tells the story of two kayakers caught in the inferno. Includes some amazing photos taken by one of the kayakers.

Molotov cocktail in slow motion

Slow motion Molotov cocktail! (via Devour)

Homebrew Nintendo laser zapper is powerful, awesome

"The plan was simple. Take a nostalgic NES "duck hunt" Zapper, and retrofit it with a ridiculously powerful laser."

A project from North Street Labs. In case it's not obvious, this is dangerous, and could lead to death or blindness without safety precautions.

Components: "2.1A input buck driver, 2x 750mAh 35-70c Lipo batteries, M140 445nm diode, G2 lens. homemade custom heat-sink, turn key safety switch."

Learn how to build your own, here. But remember, kids, always wear protective safety goggles. And, wear the right kind for the laser you're working with. [Video Link].

Molotov cocktail in the shape of a heart


"Armament" is Francis Baker's Arab Spring-inspired Molotov cocktail in the shape of a glass heart: "I created this work, inspired by the Egyptians and the so called Arab spring. The visual starting point is the Molotov cocktail that has been the weapon of choice for the protesters. There is a connection in any conflict between the combatants."

armament (via Richard Kadrey)

Fire tornado

NewImage


Chris Tangey took this intense image of a tornado sucking a brushfire into the sky near Alice Springs, Australia. From The Australian:

"There was no wind where we were, and yet you had this tornado," Tangey says.

For him, it sounded "like a fighter jet"; for (firefighter Ashley) Severin, it was like "standing behind a 747". "I've never seen anything like it. I just thought the ground was going to start trembling," Severin says. "The noise it was making, the speed, the red flames in the centre of it. It was like a kaleidoscope show."

"Alice dust devils pack a gullet full of flames"

What would you take with you if your house was on fire?

Maria Popova: "That’s precisely the question Foster Huntington asked himself, so he gathered the belongings he himself would take and photographed them, then asked a few friends to do the dame. Then, on May 10 of 2011, he launched The Burning House with 10 such photographs. Within a few hours, he got his first submission from a complete stranger. Within a few days, he was making headlines" [Brainpicker]

7' fire-breathing, flying dragon built by RC airplane hobbyist

Franceso sez, "Rick Hamel, an American RC airplanes builder, created the Mythical Beast, a radio controlled fire-breathing dragon. It's powered by a Jetcat P80 Kerostart turbine, is over 7 feet long and has a wing span of 9 feet. Beside flying, this scratchbuilt dragon is able to breath fire thanks to a liquid propane and a stun gun circuit. Mythical Beast won Best of Show at the Weak Signal event held in Toledo a few weeks ago."

Drago Volante Sputafuoco Radiocomandato - RC Dragon (Thanks, Francesco!)

Flaming muscle-car stroller

Kaiser21 and child show off this flaming tailfined auto-stroller at the 2010 June 5 Monthly Muscle Car Show in Plano, TX. Papa Kaiser notes, "This little stroller won first place in the Open Car class. It has air-ride, lights under the car, and even fire out of the tailpipes!"

Brady Cash Custom Cadillac Baby Stroller (via DVICE)

HOWTO make a fire-breathing animatronic pony

Karen sez, "Instructables user lvl_joe has built the ultimate Fire-Breathing Animatronic Pony from a FurReal Butterscotch play pony."

For Maker Faire Detroit 2011, I displayed a hack I made to a FurReal Friends Butterscotch Pony. My fellow LVL1 Hackers and I had taken control of the motor control system of the toy and added a flame thrower to it. It seemed to go over really well with the crowd, so I am putting up the information for anyone to make there own. It was a blast to make and I hope everyone has as much fun remaking it. Just remember that this project uses Fire and should only be built and operated by no less then 2 adults with appropriate experience in fire safety and proper fire safety equipment on hand.

Make a Fire Breathing Animetronic Pony from FurReal Butterscotch or S'Mores (Thanks, Karen!)

Why would a battery burst into flame?

In several crash tests, the battery on a Chevy Volt began to heat up or burst into flame. The battery problems happened a few days or weeks after the impact and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating. (One potential factor: NHTSA testers didn't drain the batteries of juice after the crash, which is recommended. As a comparison, it's standard practice to drain a gas tank after a similar collision. So this could be an issue of new technology learning curve.) If you want to better understand why a battery that's been through a car accident could burst into flame, I'd recommend reading this piece by the Midwest Energy News. It's a nice summary of how lithium-ion batteries work, and how they respond to damage.