For their latest Op-Doc, the New York Times traveled to El Salvador where they caught up with Rich and Dee Gibson, an unusual couple who have spent their entire relationship literally playing with fire. Sparks first flew when the couple met while skydiving. Rich (a Vietnam vet) was the pilot and Dee (formerly employed by the Army Corps of Engineers) was jumping. By 1981 they founded a pyrotechnic business out of Rockford, Illinois and for the next three decades designed orchestrated explosions for air shows.
If the story of the Gibson’s relationship isn’t enough, watch the short documentary above to see what extraordinary passion and love for your craft looks like. The Gibsons mention that in 30 years in the business “no spectator, crewmember, or volunteer has been hurt or injured.” You can read a bit more over on the New York Times.
This is a lovely video profile of artist Steve Spazuk (previously) who has developed a unique way of “painting” using the soot left behind from candle smoke. While it seems like he just holds a candle to paper and draws with the smoke, his range of techniques are a bit more subtle. Spazuk often doesn’t know what images he intends to make but instead explores patterns and shapes found in the soot to guide the artwork. He also employs stencils and a reductive process akin to etching, where he scrapes images into the soot with feathers and paint brushes. You can see more of his recent work on his website. Directed by Patrick Peris. (via iGNANT)
So here’s a thing to never try at home. Derek Muller from the very fine science video blog Veritasium visits with a team of “phsyics and chemistry demonstrators” who built this ridiculous sound board that demonstrates the effect of sound waves traveling through flammable gas. The first half deals mostly with how it works, around 3:38 it turns into pure music and fire.
The plume from an exploding bomb. Black and white flowers. X-Rays of a human brain cortex. These all seem like valid guesses when looking at this new series of photos by Fabian Oefner (previously here, here, here), but the truth is more amazing: it’s fire. To create the photos Oefner added a few drops of alcohol into a large glass vessel and waited for the fumes to fill the void. He then ignited the gas and managed to capture these fleeting images as the fire consumed the interior of the vessel. You can see more plus a brief video here.
This is what happens when you mix Mercury(II) thiocyanate (Hg(SCN)2) and Ammonium chromate (NH4)2CrO4 and then set it on fire. I was honestly expecting the fiery volcano part, but at about 30 seconds in something… horrifying happens. The kids witnessing the experiment really make the video. “The kraken!!!!” (via The Awesomer)