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)

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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.

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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

Here's what happens when you set fire to a glued ball of 42,000 matches

All is Art, via Adam Koford:

What happens when you start gluing matches together? Because the heads are slightly wider than the wooden bodies, they begin to form a sphere. This was an experiment in how many matches it would take to get all the way around to make a perfect globe. After months of gluing and gluing and gluing we made it to the other side. Then the experiment shifted to see what it would look like when this thing burned. Enjoy!

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Man spontaneously combusts

London's Evening Standard reports that a man burst into flames in a Haringey street before horrified onlookers, and investigators can find no cause for the fire.

Passers-by saw John Nolan, 70, ablaze in a street in Haringey in the middle of the day and attempted to put out the flames before calling police and fire crews. The former construction worker, who was originally from County Mayo in Ireland, was taken to a specialist hospital but died later. Today detectives said his death was being treated as unexplained. There were no accelerants found on his body and specialist fire investigators could find no obvious reason for Mr Nolan to catch alight.

I was terrified of spontaneous human combustion as a kid. Not combusting myself, but of those creepy scenes from Time Life books about spontaneous human combustion, where there's just a burned-out chair and half an old lady's leg, with nothing else touched but by smoke and a yellow film of melted human fat. The wick effect is widely held to explain circumstances such as those, but it seems inadequate for examples such as Nolan. Arson or suicide seem equally unlikely: he was a well-liked, quiet Irishman close to home in a safe part of London. Read the rest

Citizen journalist enthusiastically reports local house fire

Rhoda Young turned in a series of high-energy live reports after being first journalist on the scene of a house fire in Norfolk, Virginia. It's got everything local news should have: vertical video, swearing, interfering with authorities. Read the rest

Rich people in Northern California got better firefighting services, thanks to private insurers

Wealthy people whose homes were threatened by last month's Napa wildfires got better fire-suppression services than their poorer neighbors, thanks to private firefighters paid for through their insurance plans. Read the rest

Cartoonist makes webcomic about losing his home in the Calistoga fire

Tragically, cartoonist Brian Fies and his wife Karen lost their home in the recent Calistoga Fire. Brian shares their heartbreaking tale in his webcomic A Fire Story.

He writes:

My house burned down. I made a comic about it.

That seems to be how I handle trauma. It's kind of a feature and a bug.

This is quick, loose work...

I'd be pleased if you'd consider this as a journalistic dispatch from the front.

and...

My family, pets and I are all fine--a lot better off than many others. There's not a person in the county who hasn't been touched by this disaster. Karen and I know at least a hundred people burned out of their homes, including a lot of cops, firefighters, and government staff who've been working hard for others all week.

See the entire webcomic here.

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Portable fireplace in a briefcase

Colin Furze turned a briefcase into a gas-fueled portable fireplace. Seems that it would be impractical, inefficient, and possibly rather dangerous, but still stately and impressive.

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"Intellectual property rights" are why UK government won't say which housing failed fire safety test

60 UK tower blocks, including 9 owned by local governments, have failed a new round of more-stringent fire tests conducted in the wake of the Grenfell fire disaster. Read the rest

Watch a car crash spark a spectacular electrical fire

After a van creamed an electric pole, the sparks started arcing in London, Ontario. The sound and light show was captured by an onlooker. Read the rest

At least 12 dead after fire guts London high-rise where residents complained about safety for years

London's Grenfell Tower, built in the 1970s, is 27 stories tall and the subject of years of desperate complaints by its residents concerning safety. Last night it was completely consumed by fire, claiming the lives of at least twelve residents and sending hundreds more to hospital. Witnesses report that they heard no alarms and saw no sprinklers, despite a recent "renovation."

Eyewitnesses described people trapped in the burning Grenfell Tower, in north Kensington, screaming for help and yelling for their children to be saved.

Firefighters rescued "large numbers", but London Mayor Sadiq Khan said "a lot" of people were unaccounted for.

The 24-storey block, which is still on fire, looks at risk of collapsing.

During the night, eyewitnesses said they saw lights - thought to be mobile phones or torches - flashing at the top of the block of flats, and trapped residents coming to their windows - some holding children.

The Grenfell residents association's blog amounts to years of postings, desperately pleading with local government and the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation for their lives, in full knowledge that they would soon lose them. It's disgusting and terrifying.

A baby was caught by a member of the public after being dropped from Grenfell Tower as it was engulfed with flames, a witness said.

Samira Lamrani said she saw a woman try to save a baby by dropping it from a window "on the ninth or 10th floor" to waiting members of the public below.

"People were starting to appear at the windows, frantically banging and screaming," she said.

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Scary 360-degree video of a house fire

The New Zealand Fire Service put together a terrifying interactive website showing how quickly a house fire spreads. They hung some clothes too close to a heater, and within a minute, the entire room was an inferno. Scroll up the ceiling for a sense of how intense it gets. Read the rest

Should you worry if you left your stove burner on?

Did you forget to turn off your stove burner before leaving the house this morning? Don't worry about it. Easier said than done, but...

"A stove is designed to run indefinitely," says John Drengenberg, the Consumer Safety Director at Underwriters Laboratories where they test such things. "Do we recommend that? Absolutely not."

"If you leave it on, and there's nothing on the stove or near the stove, it probably will stay running until you come back," he tells DIGG.

UL tests just about every stove that hits the market. Part of that testing involves ensuring they hit thermal stability. In other words, they turn the stove on, and check the temperature of the burner, and keep checking the temperature until it stops increasing — just to make sure the burner doesn't ultimately set the entire stove on fire.

That said, leaving something cooking unattended on the burner can absolutely cause a fire. Read the rest

A candy corn and pretzel fire for your HD fireplace

PES's classic stop-motion animation The Fireplace, newly remastered in 4k.

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Oakland Ghost Ship benefit concert 12/14 with Primus, Rogue Wave, Dan Deacon, Tycho, more

Our friends at Noise Pop and Another Planet Entertainment are co-hosting a benefit concert headlined by Primus on December 14 to support the Oakland Fire Relief Fund raising money for victims of the devastating Ghost Ship warehouse fire. The artist community tragically burned during an electronic music party earlier this month, killing 36 people and destroying the lives of so many more in the Bay Area creative community.

The concert, taking place at Oakland's Fox Theater and will also feature Dan Deacon, Geographer, Hieroglyphics, Jay Som, Rogue Wave, Sidecar Tommy, Thao Nguyen, The Coup, tUnE-yArDs, and Tycho.

Buy tickets here.

More info in this Billboard article. Read the rest

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