practical pyromaniac

Announcing the Winners of the Practical Pyromaniac Clerihew Contest!

Last month, we announced, here on MAKE, a contest I was running, with my publisher. The winners have been selected in Chicago Review Press’s Practical Pyromaniac Clerihew Contest. The Practical Pyromaniac is my latest book.

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Hello Poetry Lovers

To celebrate the publication of my new book, The Practical Pyromaniac, the Chicago Review Press (my publisher), is sponsoring a contest to see who can write the most creative Clerihew about fire, scientists, and similarly geeky subjects. For the budding poet, writer, or wise acre with a scientific bent, it’s a great opportunity for creativity!

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A Most Notable Nobel

Happy International Year of Chemistry! And this is also the 100th anniversary of the award of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Marie Curie. To commemorate the occasion, the magazine, Chemical and Engineering News asked several chemists to contribute essays about the achievements of chemistry. Well worth reading is Naomi Pasachoff’s essay on Curie. Truly, has there ever been a scientist as courageous as Madam Curie?

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Hobby Micro Distilling

Producing high-proof alcohol is possible because of two wonderful scientific truths. The first is that yeast ferments sugar; that is, the tiny yeast fungi feed on sugar and convert it carbon dioxide and ethyl alcohol. The second is that alcohol and water boil at two different temperatures.

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ARE We All Pyros? (and Practical Pyromaniac Book Giveaway)

Congrats to Bill Gurstelle for his Esquire article, “We Are All Pyromaniacs.” As you know, Bill is guest authoring on the blog, in celebration of the 4th and the release of his new book, The Practical Pyromaniac.

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The Flame Tube Project (and Contest Coming Soon!)

Based on the work of German quantum physics pioneer, Heinrich Rubens, I designed this flame tube so propane gas inside the tube flows through holes drilled along the top, and flames are then lit above. I send a sound wave into the tube with a loudspeaker at the other end. When the tube is driven at one of its resonance frequencies, flames form a visual standing wave pattern, as you can see in the picture. Vary the pitch and change the volume to get different patters.

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Unscrewed by Ed Sobey

Every time I see some great mechanical, hydraulic, or electromechanical contraption left by the side of the curb for trash, I think about all of the great raw materials inside that I could use. Ed Sobey’s new book, Unscrewed, gives sage advice regarding how to mine the gold in them thar heaps of broken appliances.

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