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October 20, 2012

Banana Boat Is Recalling Its Sunscreen That's Catching People on Fire

Banana Boat Is Recalling Its Sunscreen That's Catching People on Fire - Business - The Atlantic Wire
Banana Boat is recalling its UltraMist spray-on sunscreens after five people in the past year have literally caught on fire from wearing it, the AP reports. It's not the sunscreen that's the problem—it's the bottle. Allow us to explain: Banana Boat, owned by Energizer Holdings (seller of batteries, razors, sunscreen, and lots of other stuff found near the registers at drugstores) sold more than 20 million bottles that sprayed too much sunscreen out of the valve. The result: it didn't dry fast enough, making it more vulnerable to nearby flames. Poor Brett Sigworth of Massachusetts figured that out this past summer at his backyard barbecue. Right after he sprayed on Banana Boat's Sport continuous spray, he went to tend the grill, and his entire body immediately lit on fire. Photos from a video by WBZ-TV in Boston showed that the burns lined up with sunscreen sprays. (Warning: The photos are not pretty.) A couple days after the story blew up in late May, Banana Boat vowed to investigate the cause. Again, sunscreen itself is usually not flammable. As Anahad O'Connor explained in The New York Times after the Sigworth case, when it's sprayed from a can it can become flammable. Turning something into an aerosol requires flammable ingredients like alcohol, which is why products like spray sunscreen and hairspray include flammability warning labels. Alcohol usually should evaporate quickly, but because Banana Boat spray valves let out too much, the alcohol did not evaporate quickly enough.

October 09, 2012

Skydiver plans twenty-two mile dive, will break the sound barrier with his body

‘Fearless Felix’ Baumgartner to Try to Become First Sky Diver to Break Sound Barrier - NYTimes.com
Felix Baumgartner, a professional daredevil, plans to step off a balloon-borne capsule 22 miles above Earth on Tuesday morning and plummet for five and a half minutes until opening his parachute a mile above the New Mexico desert. If all goes as planned, he will do a series of barrel rolls in the near-vacuum of the stratosphere and then plunge headfirst at more than 700 miles per hour, becoming the first sky diver to break the sound barrier. Mr. Baumgartner, 43, a former Austrian paratrooper who became known as Fearless Felix by leaping off buildings, landmarks and once into a 600-foot cave, said that this was his toughest challenge, because of the complexity involved and because of an unexpected fear he had to overcome: claustrophobia. During five years of training, he started suffering panic attacks when he had to spend hours locked inside the stiff pressurized suit and helmet necessary for survival at the edge of space. . . .

October 03, 2012

American Airlines has a problem with their seats becoming unbolted in mid-air

American Airlines Finds More Planes With Loose Seats, Blames Installation Problems – The Consumerist
Because American Airlines doesn’t need any more 757 jetliners hitting the air with loosey-goosey seats slip-sliding around, the company has been busily conducting inspections of its fleet to get to the bottom of the problem. In just the last week, three American Airlines flights had to make emergency landings due to seats becoming unbolted in mid-air. American is close to completing inspections on 47 of its fleet of 757s and thus far has found six planes with the loose seat problem. All of those planes had been cleared by maintenance before taking off, reports CBS News. The problem seems to lie in how the seats were installed, and American Airlines is placing the blame on a piece of equipment called the saddle clamp, a tool used to fasten rows of three seats to the plane’s floor.