Reasons NOT to be an Astronaut -- Having to Wash Your Eyes

This photo here shows a spaceman washing his eyes. Because of the way water floats about in space thanks to gravity stuff, if something nasty gets in your eye up there there's no flapping a bit of water in your face from the sink. It's on with the eye-torture goggles for a rinse. Read More >>

Sony Recalling 26,000 Vaios as Old Battery Fire Worries Return

Owners of the Sony VAIO Fit 11A are apparently being contacted by Sony, over concerns that the batteries inside may pose a fire risk. Some 26,000 Vaio models are affected, with the Panasonic-made batteries implicated in three cases of overheating and users receiving burns as a result. A return & replace scheme will be put in place soon. [WSJ via The Verge] Read More >>

The World's Oldest Underground Fire Has Been Burning for 6,000 Years

If you've heard of underground coal fires, then you've probably heard of the one raging under the abandoned town of Centralia, Pennsylvania, since 1962. Fifty-two years is a long time—and a lot of coal—but that's barely a blink compared to Burning Mountain in Australia, which has been ablaze for 6,000 years. Read More >>

London's Car-Nuking Deathray Skyscraper Getting Aluminium Fins to Absorb Sunlight

The unfortunate Walkie Scorchie, or the London tower with the ability to harness the Sun's power and melt parked cars on the street below, is set for a redesign. Its owners have applied for permission to install aluminium fins on it to dissipate the deadly heat-ray. Read More >>

New York City is Fighting Fires With Data Mining

Helmets? Check. Oxygen tanks? Check. Hoses? Ditto. Algorithms? Yep: the New York City Fire Department is using data mining to predict which of the city's buildings are at highest risk of catching fire. Now that's metadata we can get behind. Read More >>

How to Survive a Skyscraper Fire

A man died trying to escape a fire in his high-rise apartment building in Manhattan earlier this month. What makes this all the more tragic is that he would have survived—if he had only stayed in his apartment. Skyscrapers are designed to contain fires, so that, even when you're hearing alarms and smelling smoke, the safest thing to do is to ignore every instinct to flee and stay put. Read More >>

Match Head Igniting at 4,000 FPS Looks Like Dying Alien Worlds

It's usually over in an instant, but when you capture macro footage of a match head igniting at 4,000 frames per second, suddenly that almost instantaneous event becomes a fascinating look into the science of fire and ignition. Read More >>

Carbon Nanotubes Can Now Fireproof Your Furniture

If you've ever lamented the fact that putting your sofa right next to a warm crackling fireplace was dangerous, carbon nanotubes might one day come to the rescue—again. Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology—or NIST—have created a carbon nanotube-based coating that makes the foam used in furniture considerably less flammable. Read More >>

This Slick Steel Bucket Holds a Flame or a Fern: Your Choice

What's classier than a tiki torch, tougher than a Chinese lantern, but less commitment than a big backyard pit?  It's this cool Fire Bucket. What's more it can double as a planter. Read More >>

Let the Sun Spark Your Cigarette With This Solar-Powered Lighter

Perfect for smokers who live in windy cities, this compact parabolic reflector lets you harness the sun as your own personal lighter—one that's immune to even the strongest winds. Read More >>

ISS Astronauts Are Testing Water That Acts Like Fire

Here's how it works. When you compress a sample of water to 217 times its ambient atmospheric pressure and heat it to 703.4 degrees Fahrenheit, it goes supercritical and transforms into a liquid gas plasma. In this state, any organic material that comes in contact with the water rapidly oxidises—essentially, burning without the flames. Read More >>

What Causes Spontaneous Combustion?

Most of us experience combustion, a chemical process where a fuel combines with oxygen to produce heat and light, in the form of a fire where both the fuel and ignition source are well known. Read More >>

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Red Hot Nickel Ball vs. Paper: 1, 2, 3, Burn

Everyone's favourite Red Hot Nickel Ball has taken on a rogue's gallery of adversaries in its day, with varying levels of success. Now the spherical metal "rock" is taking on its greatest challenger ever: paper. Read More >>

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What Happens When You Drop a Red Hot Nickel Ball in Molasses

The red hot nickel ball has destroyed many foes, but it seems to have met its match ... in molasses. Read More >>

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What Happens When You Drop a Red Hot Nickel Ball in E-Cig Liquid

E-cigs are all the rage with the coolest cyborg-wannabes, but even though there's no real fire involved, the syrup inside those glowing nic-stix is still plenty flammable. And who better to show you than everyone's favourite Red Hot Nickel Ball. Read More >>

Who Fancies Trying a Man's 8p-a-day Room Heating Method?

This week's viral internet sensation isn't a cat eating a wasp, a lady falling over or down something, or a baby saying something stupid because its brain doesn't work properly yet -- it's a rather ordinary man talking about convection heating systems. Read More >>


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