Back in June, after installing a new lithium-ion battery into its ape-inspired RoboSimian and plugging it into charge, researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory had their lunches cut short when the battery suddenly exploded in a spectacular fireball that completely torched the bot.
Tagged With fires
An out-of-control bushfire ripping through California's central coast is expected to get worse before it gets better. On Saturday, California's Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire) announced that the so-called Soberanes fire, which has already burned an area larger than San Francisco, could quadruple in size and rage for another month.
One more horrific prediction has come to pass for California's drought-ravaged forests. According to the US Forest Service, trees are dying at an even more astonishing rate than they were last summer (Australia's winter), creating fuel for what will almost certainly be the worst wildfire season in memory.
On the list of things you're not advised to do in closed quarters with a limited oxygen supply, lighting a fire definitely ranks high. But this week, NASA did exactly that: The agency intentionally ignited a "large scale fire" aboard a spacecraft.
It had all the elements of a catastrophe: A truck hit an electrical pole in the bone-dry canyons outside LA, exploding a transformer. Winds were brisk with temperatures above 32C. Despite that, the 500-acre blaze that looked particularly scary has only damaged three structures, reportedly because local residents had take the right precautions to protect themselves from bushfire.
A new observation tower will be built in Dubai, and it's already being billed as an "architectural wonder that will be as great as Burj Khalifa and Eiffel Tower". That's great, but what I really want to know is this: Will it catch on fire?
If drones aren't chasing firefighters away from a fire, then they're probably close enough that the delicate plastic and sensitive sensors are slowly melting. Fire and drones are basically a terrible combination in every way, unless they're a tool being used by firefighters to map out a burning building.
After three separate instances of drones grounding firefighting efforts, a Southern California county is getting serious about finding and punishing their operators. San Bernardino County Supervisors have offered a $US75,000 reward which they hope will entice people to come forward with information about the quadcopters in question.
Last week firefighting crews couldn't do their job because five amateur drones were circling the area. And this wasn't the first time. Drones are getting in the way, and some lawmakers in California want to change all that. Specifically they'd like to give emergency responders the legal ability to disable drones.
The season of terrible drought and fire keeps getting worse in North America. In the past few weeks, hundreds of patches of forest in the Canadian and Alaskan boreal have gone up in flames. Now, one of America's last remaining old growth forests — the Queets rainforest in Olympic National Park, Washington — is also burning.