Deep down, are we all pyrophiles?

lewes-bonfire-nightFire is the one common element of every culture. The use of fire distinguishes humans from other animals, and has enabled humans to become what they are today. In advanced societies, the domestic and industrial use of fire has been largely replaced by electricity and other sources of energy, but we still seek out the [more…]

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In what different ways can a fire be started without matches?

face-in-fireIn what different ways can a fire be started—without matches, of course? Matches have been around a lot longer than I thought, appearing in Europe around 1530. A 10th century Chinese book reports that splints of pinewood impregnated with sulfur were invented and used as matches in 677 AD.  But this article is not about [more…]

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What insurance do I need when starting a business?

Will I need fire insurance for my new business? (photo by Ed CC-BY)If you are starting up a business in the UK, one of most important things you must consider is insurance. There are many types of insurance. Some are required by law, while others you should consider to ensure that you and your business are protected. As to what types of insurance, it depends on the [more…]

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How were the emergency phone numbers chosen in different countries?

Photo by robinsonsmay - CC-BYMost countries have a short phone number to contact the police, fire or ambulance services. In the United Kingdom the emergency call number is 999, and was introduced in 1937. But why was 999 chosen? Back then, the digits from 2 to 8 were used at the start of regular telephone numbers. The telephone dial [more…]


What is the Sidmouth Folk Festival?

Gathering for the Ceilidh in the Ford (photo by eiffel - CC-BY)Sidmouth is a quiet retirement town in Devon, with a population of 15,000. But the first week of August each year is Sidmouth Folk Week, when the town is completely taken over by a huge folk festival which has been running for over 50 years. Dance marquees are erected in Blackmore Gardens and feature a [more…]

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