fire

Finally, we marry to make a nice feeling permanent. We imagine that marriage will help us to bottle the joy we felt when the thought of proposing first came to us.

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{ Storm Thorgerson, cover for Pink Floyd’s album Wish You Were Here, 1975 | US release, UK release }

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For Pink Floyd’s 1975 triple platinum Wish You Were Here album, Capitol Records execs headed to the L.A. offices of Stunts Unlimited. Ronnie Rondell, 59, a veteran of TV shows such as Baretta and Charlie’s Angels, was cast as the man on fire. “I got $500 and only worked an hour.” Fellow stuntman Danny Rogers, 53, the glad-hander, was paid only $250 but caught a lot less heat during the carefully controlled shoot on a nearby movie lot, where a crew armed with fire extinguishers stood by. Rondell’s suit was painted with rubber cement and ignited three times before it ripped and his flame-retardant long Johns peeked through the holes. His eyebrows and eyelashes were singed in the process. “It’ll happen in a heartbeat,” says Rondell. “The fire wraps around your face real quick, like a barbecue thing. The wig was fried, it melted up into a ball.”

{ People | Continue reading }

Wendy, darling, light of my life

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Researchers are a step closer to demonstrating that explosives – rather than water – could be used to extinguish an out-of-control bushfire.

Dr Graham Doig, of the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, is conducting the research, which extends a long-standing technique used to put out oil well fires.

The process is not dissimilar to blowing out a candle: it relies on a blast of air to knock a flame off its fuel source.

{ University of New South Wales | Continue reading }

‘But where danger is, grows the saving power also.’ –Hölderlin

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Heaven is hotter than hell

Proof:

The temperature of heaven can be rather accurately computed. Our authority is the Bible, Isaiah 30:26 reads,

Moreover, the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold as the light of seven days.

Thus, heaven receives from the moon as much radiation as the earth does from the sun, and in addition seven times seven (forty nine) times as much as the earth does from the sun, or fifty times in all. The light we receive from the moon is one ten-thousandth of the light we receive from the sun, so we can ignore that. With these data we can compute the temperature of heaven: The radiation falling on heaven will heat it to the point where the heat lost by radiation is just equal to the heat received by radiation. In other words, heaven loses fifty times as much heat as the earth by radiation. Using the Stefan-Boltzmann fourth power law for radiation

(H/E)4 = 50

where E is the absolute temperature of the earth, 300°K (273+27). This gives H the absolute temperature of heaven, as 798° absolute (525°C).

The exact temperature of hell cannot be computed but it must be less than 444.6°C, the temperature at which brimstone or sulfur changes from a liquid to a gas. Revelations 21:8: But the fearful and unbelieving… shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone.” A lake of molten brimstone [sulfur] means that its temperature must be at or below the boiling point, which is 444.6°C. (Above that point, it would be a vapor, not a lake.)

We have then, temperature of heaven, 525°C. Temperature of hell, less than 445°C. Therefore heaven is hotter than hell.

Refutation:

In Applied Optics (1972, 11 A14) there appeared a calculation of the respective temperatures of Heaven and Hell. That of Heaven was computed by substituting the values given in Isaiah 30 26 in the Stefan-Boltzman radiation law. […] This is hard to find fault with. The assessment of the temperature of Hell stands, I suggest, on less firm ground.

{ Applied Optics/Journal of Irreproducible Results | Continue reading }

photo { Harold Diaz }

I recognize the signals of the ancient flame

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Sweden’s successful waste-to-energy program converts household waste into energy for heating and electricity. But they’ve run into an unusual problem: they simply aren’t generating enough trash to power the incinerators, so they’ve begun importing waste from European neighbors. […]

Sweden has recently begun to import about eight hundred thousand tons of trash from the rest of Europe per year to use in its power plants. The majority of the imported waste comes from neighboring Norway because it’s more expensive to burn the trash there and cheaper for the Norwegians to simply export their waste to Sweden.

In the arrangement, Norway pays Sweden to take the waste off their hands and Sweden also gets electricity and heat. But dioxins in the ashes of the waste byproduct are a serious environmental pollutant. Ostlund explained that there are also heavy metals captured within the ash that need to be landfilled. Those ashes are then exported to Norway.

{ PRI | Continue reading }

Who is the ghost from limbo patrum, returning to the world that has forgotten him?

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When analyzing cremated remains it is important to be aware of the broader burial and not focus so narrowly on the remains themselves if one wants to be able to understand the funeral process. We can learn a lot about the funeral from the bones themselves when they have been burned. The coloring on the remains, the amount of warping and the completeness can reveal fire temperature, how the body was placed on the pyre, whether it was clothed or was burned as dried bone, and if there were any problems with the burning (such as interruption by weather or incomplete incineration). However, often when cremation remains are collected there are macrobotanical or charcoal fragments which can further aid in interpretation by revealing details of the actual pyre construction.

Moskal-del Hoyo (2012) discusses the charcoal remains from Polish cremation necropoli in a new article from the Journal of Archaeological Sciences. She posits that analysis of the wood remains from pyre construction could be revealing about the identities of the individuals and the various necropoli.

{ Bones don’t lie | Continue reading }

‘If you’re going through hell, keep going.’ –Winston Churchill

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Manufacturers all have their own recipes for creating their fireworks; but the basic chemistry behind is the same for any fireworks.

Manufacturers start by combining a mixture of metals and oxidizers such as chlorates, perchlorates, or nitrates. The type of metals used influences the fireworks colours while the oxidizers provide the oxygen needed to achieve the required temperature for the reaction. Water is also added to the mixture to bind the metals and oxidizers together. This damp mixture is then cut into smaller pieces known as “stars”.

The manufacturers then fill a fireworks shell with “stars” and black powder, a mixture of potassium nitrate, charcoal, and sulfur. A time-delay fuse is also inserted into the shell which ignites the black powder and stars causing the shell to burst open.

There are 5 basic colours for fireworks, and each colour is produced by a different metal:

Red—strontium
Green—barium
Yellow—sodium
Blue—copper
White—aluminum, magnesium, or titanium

[…]

“Some colours are pretty easy, and those colours would be red and green,” says Worsey, “but you can tell how good a firework manufacturer is by the quality of their blues.” Blue is such a difficult colour to produce because the reaction temperature has to be perfect.

[…]

Some fireworks create familiar shapes like as rings, stars, and hearts as they explode. The trick behind these fireworks is the plastic mold that’s placed inside the fireworks shell.

{ Basal Science Clarified | Continue reading }

artwork { Cy Twonbly, Untitled, 1993 }

Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit

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New findings at the Wonderwerk Cave, in South Africa, suggest that early humans started using fire 1 million years ago, approximately 300,000 years earlier than previously thought.

{ United Academics | Continue reading }

How sexy am I now flirty boy?

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Spontaneous Human Combustion occurs when a human body bursts into flame and is reduced to ashes without any apparent external source of ignition. Moreover, while the body is almost completely incinerated, which requires temperatures of about 3,000 degrees, the rest of the room, the furniture remain almost undamaged by the fire. SHC takes place in Charles Dickens’ novels but also in contemporary police investigations. A few months ago, the badly burned body of a pensioner was found in his living room in Galway, Ireland. Apart from his body, investigators could only find minor damage on the ceiling above him and the floor beneath him. “This fire was thoroughly investigated and I’m left with the conclusion that this fits into the category of spontaneous human combustion, for which there is no adequate explanation,” said the coroner.

{ We Make Money Not Art | Continue reading | Thanks Rob }

photo { Mark Thiessen }

Sun and flesh (Credo in unam)

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Some unusual solar readings, including fading sunspots and weakening magnetic activity near the poles, could be indications that our sun is preparing to be less active in the coming years.

The results of three separate studies seem to show that even as the current sunspot cycle swells toward the solar maximum, the sun could be heading into a more-dormant period, with activity during the next 11-year sunspot cycle greatly reduced or even eliminated.

{ Space | Continue reading | + video | Read more: Major Drop in Solar Activity Predicted }

artwork { Richard Serra, out-of-round X, 1999 | On view through Aug. 28, 2011, at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC }

We’re all unlucky in love sometimes. When I am, I go jogging. The body loses water when you jog, so you have none left for tears.

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{ I’ve just come across a deeply disturbing paper: Attempted ignition of petrol vapour by lit cigarettes and lit cannabis resin joints. The authors set out to discover whether you could set petrol on fire by dropping a lit cigarette or hash joint onto it. It turns out, surprisingly, that you can’t. | Neuroskeptic | full story }

Holding in each hand an orange citron and a pork kidney

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(Brimstone fires spring up. Dense clouds roll past. Heavy Gatling guns boom. Pandemonium. Troops deploy. Gallop of hoofs. Artillery. Hoarse commands. Bells clang. Backers shout. Drunkards bawl. Whores screech. Foghorns hoot. Cries of valour. Shrieks of dying. Pikes clash on cuirasses. Thieves rob the slain. Birds of prey, winging from the sea, rising from marsh lands, swooping from eyries, hover screaming, gannets, connorants, vultures, goshawks, climbing woodcocks, peregrines, merlin, blackgrouse, sea eagles, gulls, albatrosses, barnacle geese. The midnight sun is darkened. The earth trembles. The dead of Dublin from Prospect and Mount Jerome in white sheepskin overcoats and black goat-fell cloaks arise and appear to many. A chasm opens with a noiseless yawn. Tom Rochford, winner in athletes singlet and breeches, arrives at the head of the national hurdle handicap and leaps into the void. He is followed by a race of runners and leapers. In wild attitudes they spring from the brink. Their bodies plunge. Factory lasses with fancy clothes toss redhot Yorkshire baraabombs. Society ladies lift their skirts above their heads to protect themselves. laughing witches in red cutty sarks ride through the air on broomsticks. Quakerlyster plasters blisters. It rains dragon’s teeth. Armed heroes spring up from furrows. They exchange in amity the pass of knights of the red cross and fight duels with cavalry sabres: Wolfe Tone against Henry Grattan, Smith O’Brien against Daniel O’Connell, Michael Davitt against Isaac Butt, Justin M’Carthy against Parnell, Arthur Griffith against John Redmond John O’Leary against liar O’Johnny, lord Edward Fitzgerald against lord Gerald Fitzedward, The O’Donoghue of the Glens against The Glens of The Donoghue. On an eminence, the centre of the earth, rises the field altar of Saint Barbara. Black candles rise from its gospel and epistle horns. From the high barbicans of the tower two shafts of light fall on the smokepalled altarstone. On the altarstone Mrs Mina Purefoy, goddess of unreason, lies naked, fettered, a chalice resting on her swollen belly. Father Malachi O’Flynn, in a long petticoat and reversed chasuble, his two left feet back to the front, celebrates camp mash. The Reverend Mr Hugh C. Haines love MA. in a plain cassock and mortar board, his head and collar back to the front, holds over the celebrants head an open umbrella.)

{ James Joyce, Ulysses, 15, 1914-21 | Continue reading }

Do not stand at my grave and weep; I am not there.

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In my column in Skeptical Inquirer (November/December 1996), I dealt with the major cases of alleged spontaneous human combustion (SHC) reported in Larry E. Arnold’s book Ablaze! The Mysterious Fires of Spontaneous Human Combustion (1995). (…)

Obviously, the Hess case had nothing to do with spontaneous human combustion, as Larry Arnold should have realized.

Arnold, who is not a physicist but a Pennsylvania school bus driver, had no justification for asking ominously, “Did Hess succumb to SHC?” The unburned clothing should have led any sensible investigator to one of the possibilities limited by that fact: for example, that Hess had been burned previously, or his skin injuries were caused by steam or hot water, chemical liquids or vapors, or some type of radiation (possibly even extreme sunburn through loosely woven clothing).

{ Skeptical Inquirer | COntinue reading }

If you’ve never started a fire in a fireplace (and no, those automatic electric fireplace don’t count), then this guide is for you.

1. Make sure your chimney is clean and free of blockages.

2. Open the damper.

3. Prime the flue.

4. Develop an ash bed.

5. Build an “upside down” fire.

{ The Art of Manliness | Continue reading }