True to the predictions in Superstorm and (more recently) some global warming models, planet earth is now experiencing increasingly dangerous extremes of heat and cold. While the northern mid-latitudes endure record cold, the southern mid-latitudes are experiencing record heat. While the Australian city of Adelaide experienced its hottest temperature on
Halloween, the time when we lure strangely-clad strangers to our homes by lighting lanterns in our windows, and offering them food and welcome at our doors.
This tradition is firmly associated with the celebration of ghosties and ghoulies and long-legged beasties and things that go bump in the night, but does it also fulfil some deep-rooted need in us to just go forth into the darkness of a night lit only by lanterns?
Fire is fast becoming an elusive element in our lives, yet for our ancestors it was a vital part of their existence. After human ancestors controlled fire 400,000 to 1 million years ago, flames not only let them cook food and fend off predators, but also extended their day.
In some places, forest fires make up an important part of the natural ecosystem. Wild fires burn is an area of land greater than the country of India every year.
In Ireland, it looks as if a man has spontaneously burned up. A coroner has ruled that a man who burned to death in his home was a victim of spontaneous human combustion. This is the first time in 25 years that an Irish court has recorded this verdict. "Spontaneous combustion" occurs when a living human body is burned without an apparent external source of ignition. Investigators find a charred body in an unburned house, with no burned furniture or other signs of a fire nearby.