That time I blew up a power strip with a Marshall amp and a space heater

Over at Wirecutter, I have some handy advice for how to live safely with a space heater. Which is to say, don't do what I did:

It was the winter of 2019, and I was down in my unfinished basement putting the finishing touches on my band’s next album. I had to get through only a few more guitar overdubs, but my fingers were too cold to play the parts quite right. So I grabbed a space heater I was long-term testing for Wirecutter. I placed it down on top of the wooden workbench where my digital audio workstation was set up and plugged it into the nearest power strip, which just so happened to be the same one through which I ran my half-stack Marshall amplifier.

I turned the heater on. Five seconds later, the power strip blew up.

This might not have been the single dumbest thing I’d ever done in my life. But as I watched the sparks fade from the smoldering lump of freshly burnt plastic before me, I knew it was up there on the list.

There was one commenter who very much did not enjoy this self-deprecating anecdote. But there is more to the article than that, including some (hopefully) useful and relatable tips for keeping warm in the winter without risking your life and/or destroying everything you own. This is especially helpful if you, like me, live in the Northeast of the United States, which has been suffering through a nasty cold front lately. Read the rest

Woman burning love letters sets apartment on fire

A woman in Lincoln, Nebraska was burning love letters from her ex when she fell asleep. She was woken by the smoke alarms with her apartment on fire. Insert joke here about hot love affairs, burning passion, etc. From UPI:

Police said there were no injuries, but the fire caused about $4,000 worth of damage...

The woman was cited for negligent burning, police said.

Read the rest

45,000 barrels of Kentucky bourbon went up in flames

If you're a fan of Kentucky bourbon, get ready to cry: According to a number of reports, 45,000 barrels of Jim Beam just went up in flames.

From The New York Times:

The fire started around 11 p.m. in Woodford County on Tuesday and was still burning at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, fire officials said. They expected the warehouse to burn for five more hours. No injuries were reported.

“The biggest issue we are dealing with is the environmental aspect,” said Drew Chandler, the Woodford County emergency management director. “If we put the fire out, we are going to dump a lot of water on it and that water will be contaminated.”

He said that fire officials did not know what had caused the fire, but a spokeswoman for Jim Beam said she believed lightning had sparked it.

Because of the fear that water in the area around the fire could be contaminated with ethanol if firefighters turned their hoses on it, 'let is burn' was the order of the day. The good news for Jimmy B aficionados is that the barrels that burned were full of relatively young hooch. As such, there shouldn't be any interruption in the amount of the bourbon available to the public for the foreseeable future--the burnt out warehouse is one of many. The bad news is that the lost alcohol was worth a small fortune. According to the New York Times, each barrel contains enough bourbon to fill between 150 and 200 750 milliliter bottles. Read the rest

How to build a nice fireplace in Minecraft

It's been a while since I returned to the blocky, charming world of Minecraft, but this video from 2010 is going viral and satisfies the urge. The fireplace tutorial begins about a minute in. Read the rest

Burned down National Museum of Brazil rises from the ashes, thanks to Google

This past September, a savage fire cost the world dearly: the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro, along with 20 million unique artifacts that provided untold insight into our planet and our civilization's past, went up in smoke. In the months since the flames were extinguished, researchers have only managed to recover a small fraction of the museum's collection from the ashes. It's a loss that even the most obtuse of us can get their heads around. That said, if you're interested in some colorful commentary on the incident, my friend and Faces of Auschwitz collaborator Marina Amaral talks about it at length here.)

While the chances of recovering everything lost in the inferno is pretty much nil, Google's made it possible to virtually tour the museum in its former glory.

From Engadget:

A couple of years before a fire devastated the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro in September, Google's Arts and Culture team started working with the museum to digitize the collection. Just a few months after the inferno, Google has reopened the museum's doors -- albeit in a virtual form using Street View imagery and digital exhibits.

The museum and Google were already planning to make the collection available to view online before the incident. Of course, no virtual tour could ever truly replace a physical museum, nor the estimated 20 million artifacts that the blaze destroyed. But tools such as 3D scanning, hi-res photography and virtual and augmented reality can offer some form of protection to items of historical value.

Read the rest

Cop chases speeder so hard his car catches on fire

A speeder! A cop! A high speed chase ending in a police cruiser catching on fire! Honestly, this video has everything. Read the rest

These mini tiki torch swizzle sticks actually light on fire

Artist Michael Grider of Santa Maria, California makes all kinds of neat tiki accessories. He's got his own branded cocktail umbrellas, bar spoons, and lots more.

But it's his brass swizzle sticks that look like mini tiki torches that are catching the most attention. Why? Because you can actually light them on fire.

Warning: If you light this on fire, it will be HOT! Extinguish before drinking and if lit the metal torch topper will get hot to the touch! Do not burn yourself! We take no responsibility for injury! These are novelty items that are USE AT YOUR OWN RISK 😆

He's completely sold out but when you can get them, you can also buy his Tiki Torch Juice, a flammable lemon extract he's specially created for burning in the swizzles. Be careful out there, tikiphiles!

View this post on Instagram

So the Torch Swizzle sticks are officially sold out! Half the online orders have shipped and the other half go out next week!! 😄 I will be doing another run of them in a couple of weeks or so depending on how I feel...I’m also going to try and have a small amount available at the @shipwreckedmdr show coming up next week!! ...and also some for Tiki Island expo show coming up September 8th...at original mikes. Keep an eye out on our accounts if you want to get some!!! @kdgrider @grider_adventure_art we will post when they come back online!!!

A post shared by Michael Grider (@mkgrider) on Aug 19, 2018 at 12:21pm PDT

(Nag on the Lake) Read the rest

Report: Three Apple employees treated after iPad battery "explodes" at store

Michael Potuck: "Apple’s Amsterdam store has been evacuated and temporarily closed after an iPad battery exploded and released potentially harmful substances into the air. As reported by iCulture, Apple employees secured the iPad and punctured battery in a container of sand after it exploded. Fortunately, there was no fire or smoke, or major injuries. However, three employees who experienced trouble breathing were treated by first responders. Read the rest

This is the summer of the firenado

Leicestershire Fire and Rescue captured this firenado footage in Derbyshire at a plastics factory fire. Via The Guardian Read the rest

Watch a waterjet device for firefighters cut through steel to battle blazes

Waterjets are very useful for many kinds of industrial cutting, including this giant handheld one available for firefighters. The PyroLance allows water to enter an enclosed fire without adding dangerous oxygen from opening a door or punching a larger hole. Read the rest

Firefighters burn down careers with sweet, sweet pornography

Firefighters sleep together in the same room, eat and risk their lives together. Getting your ya-yas out for all the world to see together? Well, that’s not a part of the job. According to the Akron Beacon Journal, a pair of firefighters from Akron, Ohio may have burnt down their careers by making a pornographic video on city property.

Lt. Art Dean and Provisional Lt. Deann Eller were hired by the Akron Fire Department on the same day in the fall of 2000. For 18 years, they served their community with diligence and honor—a fact that’s reflected in their work jackets. According to their performance reports, Eller rarely missed a day of work and always displayed a strong work ethic. The same can be said for Dean. Over the years, their careers saw them separated to work at different fire halls in the city. But the time that they spent together allowed for the kindling of a hot personal relationship that may have ended up burning them both.

Opportunities for firefighting puns are few and far between. Let me have this.

After receiving an anonymous tip, City of Akron officials launched an investigation whether the city’s next fiscal year should include a larger budget allotment for cleaning supplies: it’s alleged that the Dean and Eller were filming pornography in the basement of one of the city’s fire halls. Apparently at least one of the videos, which were filmed in a readily identifiable gym located in an Akron fire station, features Eller, working out in the nude. Read the rest

These soccer-ball-shaped water jugs make great firestarters

Some World Cup fans who picked up AquaStar's commemorative water jugs found out the hard way that leaving them in the sun is not a good idea, as they make fire-starting magnifiers. Read the rest

Fire and brimstone: watch volcanoes emit psychedelic blue flames

Hawaii's Kilauea volcano has been spewing hypnotic blue flames thanks to the burning brimstone (aka sulfur). Read the rest

Watch how organic farmers use tractor-mounted flamethrowers on weeds and pests

Flame weeding involves strapping a tank of propane to the back of a tractor and running specialized equipment down rows of crops, burning any non-crop stuff that gets in the way. Read the rest

Scientists design fire alarm wallpaper made from the same mineral as bone and teeth

Researchers demonstrated a prototype "fire alarm wallpaper" that's meant to be flame-resistant while also integrating a nanotechnology-based sensor that triggers a siren and warning lights. Ying-Jie Zhu at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and colleagues published their work in the journal ACS Nano.

The new wallpaper is based on hydroxyapatite, which is the primary inorganic component of bone and teeth. Although hydroxyapatite is typically brittle and inflexible, in previous work the researchers found that forming ultralong nanowires made of hydroxyapatite gives the material a high flexibility suitable for making wallpaper.

In order to make the nonflammable wallpaper a "smart material" capable of automatically sounding an alarm in response to a fire, the researchers incorporated an ink-based thermosensitive sensor onto the wallpaper.

The thermosensitive sensor is fabricated on the surface of the wallpaper by a simple drop-casting process using an ink containing graphene oxide. The tiny sensor is placed on the backside of the fire- resistant wallpaper so that it is out of sight and protected by the fireproof wallpaper.

The sensor is composed primarily of graphene oxide, which is electrically insulating at room temperature. However, when exposed to heat, the oxygen-containing groups are removed, making the material highly conductive. The sensor is connected to an alarm, so when a fire occurs and the sensor begins to conduct electricity, it causes the alarm to go off.

"Fire alarm wallpaper detects, resists, and warns of house fires" (Phys.org)

Read the rest

Cufflink lighters

I generally don't wear French cuff shirts, but I like the idea of Uncrate Supply's Lighter Cufflinks, $70. Problem is, I'd most certainly fiddle with them, leading to scorched sleeves or worse.

Read the rest

Watch this test of a campfire in a can

Taras Kul tried out a "campfire in a can," essentially an enormous four-pound tea light used in places where firewood is unavailable or prohibited. Read the rest

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