Elon Musk created huge furore on Twitter in 2017 when he tweeted that he will be selling flamethrowers through his tunnel drilling company – The Boring Company. Frustrated by the long commute hours in Los Angeles traffic, Musk dreamed up a commuter’s utopia – high speed travel through underground roads. Musk, the dreamer, is also an executor. He quickly founded the Boring Company to make that dream a reality. The Boring company creates super strong tunnels which can be used for underground tunneling whether for travel or for laying fiber optics.
But why is the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX organizing a Flamethrowers Sale branded under this company’s banner? Is this his style of April Fools day trick? Or maybe Halloween even? The term flamethrower brings up deadly images of thick smoke and raging fire, screams and mass destruction everywhere. Flamethrowers do not have good reputations. History of this world shows enough evidence for one to be wary.
Man’s experiment with fire began when he rubbed the flintstones together and created the first spark. Since then humans found numerous uses for it. Lighting homes, cooking food, growing food, fighting off animals, entertainment, self defense, and war weapons. Notice how the use cases become more and more morbid. Well sadly that is exactly how the transition looks. Of course fire played a vital role in the Industrial revolution and advancement of science, technology and human race. However its great contributions are marred by the images of destruction it has caused when used intentionally or unintentionally.
The earliest Flamethrowers date back to the 5th Century BC. During that time their design was like a long tube filled with combustible material like coal or sulfur and operated as a blowgun. The Greeks had used such fire throwing devices during the siege at Constantinople. The destructive physical and psychological effects of this tactic was captured as the popular Greek fire tales.
In modern history, an improved design of Flamethrowers made a comeback during World War I. Designed by the German inventor Richard Fiedler, the “Flammenwerfer” – the 20th century Flamethrower was improved to be portable and used carbon dioxide and nitrogen to blow out flames till 18-36 feet. The German used it against the British and French soldiers during the battle at Hooge in Flanders. Numerous British and French soldiers lost their lives. The British and French military came up with their own version of this flaming beast. By the end of the war, flamethrower use expanded to tanks, a strategy carried forward to World War II, Korean war and Vietnam war. Flame throwing equipment, albeit somewhat refined, continues to be used in the present day as a controlled military weapon, domestic equipment and now with Elon’s announcement as an entertainment tool. So why is the world rejoicing at this instead of being scared, critical and cautious? Shouldn’t the world be worried by the sale of the Boring Company Flamethrower?
Well I wasn’t the only one skeptical of this announcement. Sale of flamethrowers is banned in almost 49 US states. Politicians in New York and California criticized Elon’s move and issued strict regulations and concerns. In return the founder of Boring Company rebranded his merchandise as the Boring Company Not-A-Flamethrower and released a couple of tweets and videos to alleviate these concerns. The video showed that the flamethrower was just a nicely packaged roofing torch using a propane tank to create fire that spreads to 6ft. It almost looks like a very fancy nerf gun or a G.I. Joe weapon. But don’t let its innocent look deceive you. The unboxing review of the product reveals a thick safety manual and use instructions. And I advise every owner of the Boring Company Flamethrower to abide by its rules and play with fire cautiously! Better buy Musk’s fire extinguisher deal as well while you are at it.
Come Spring, usually my Instagram feed looks like a florist or boutique shop’s catalog with infinite photos of blooming flowers, new green leaves, flowery dresses, beautiful nature spots and smiling faces soaking up the sun. But Spring 2020 is anything but usual.
People all around the world are under shelter-at-home orders and are socially distancing to protect themselves and others from an invisible enemy – the COVID’19. Yes the flowers are still blooming, the birds are still chirping and the sun is shining bright with each passing day. But with no way to step outside to capture these moments and increased time spent at home, people’s Spring updates have found a new muse – “The Spring Cleaning”. Going viral on social media for doing boring activities like cleaning needs one to think out of the box. Some influencers adopted Mary Kondo’s zen style of tidying up while others attracted viewers with photos of their babies wiping the floors, dogs holding dust pans or cats taking a nap on the iRobots.
I stepped up my “Game of Cleaning” in a true Mad King style of “Burn them All”. Armed with my recent acquisition, the Boring Company Flamethrower (branded as Not-A-Flamethrower), I torched all of the useless paraphernalia that I hoarded over the years.
The founder of companies like SpaceX and Tesla, Elon Musk added The Boring Company – a tunnel drilling venture, to his entrepreneurial portfolio in December 2016. The company’s aim is to provide cost effective and resistant tunnels to facilitate high speed underground transit and forms the basis for big projects like Hyperloop. Musk raised awareness and $10 million worth of funds for his firm through a wacky marketing campaign where he sold around 20,000 branded flamethrowers (branded as The Boring Company not a Flame thrower) each for $500
The product is just a fancy looking roofing torch nicely packed into an airsoft gun that shoots fire till less than 10ft. More powerful flamethrowers are used as weapons of mass destruction during wars and operate on gasoline and produce much wider flame. The off-the-rack propane torches found in stores like Home Depot are used for barbecues, burning weeds and roofing work.
But what use does Elon Musk’s flamethrower have? Well to be honest, Nothing. It went on sale for its cool factor and not one person who bought it had any idea of what to do with it. Having been Elon fan for life, I was way too happy to add it to my collections to even notice its exuberant pricing. But the Spring cleaning gave me a perfect opportunity and to put it to use and I thoroughly enjoyed rating its features and utility.
The Boring Company Not-A-Flamethrower’s not a usual review:
- Coolness rating: 5/5
- Utility rating: 2/5
- Safety rating: 3.5/5
- Price rating: 1/5
- Overall rating: 2.7/5
How does it work?
Open the connection to the propane tank and get the gas going, now press the ignition switch and blast out a flame and use the gun’s trigger to control the intensity of your fire. Before you fire away make sure to read through the safety instructions and the manual.
- Super cool collectible and sleek look – almost like a nerf gun
- A roofing torch that can be used for lighting fire during camping, barbecuing and cleaning
- No license required
- Safe to use and comes with a detailed safety instructions and manual
- Very small range
- Runs out of propane very quickly and needs constant refueling
- Can’t be used in public
- Gets heavy for extended periods of use
Now that you know my weapon well, let the purge begin!
Overly ambitious goal dresses
Remember how we all lapped up size zero dresses when size zero was a thing! I neatly hung all of mine in the front row of the closet to serve as a motivating reminder for reaching the goal weight that will let me fit into those dresses. It’s been 8 years since and I am a lifetime away from that goal. While home workouts are great, with reduced outdoor activities my fitness routine has already taken a toll. The only way I can achieve size zero now will be to go back in time to my teens. I wonder when Elon Musk will get onto the time travel venture? Until then I chose to burn these dresses over burning calories!
My mother has a drawer full of all kinds of medicines – allopathic, homeopathy, natural, alternative. Name it and she’s got it. I don’t remember going to the doctor often as a kid. The moment I complained of any pain or sickness, my mother would be ready with a cure from her stash of medicines. As I left the nest to go to college and gradually work, she handed me a huge box of her trustworthy tinctures and tablets to take along. With every trip back home, I returned back with some more additions. But truth be told, I no longer fall sick that often and those medicines accumulated over time have all expired. I probably would get sick by just popping on them. The only medicine the world needs now is for COVID’19. Alas my mother’s box of cure does not have anything for it. So farewell my apothecary box!
I diligently stored all the friendship bands I got on Friendship’s day during high school and beyond. If you lose a band then that bond is lost forever. And I protected my friendships like a rottweiler protects its owner. My stash of friendship bands had survived many such Spring cleaning sessions. But this time round they got a different treatment. What changed? Age makes you realize what beliefs and things are worth actually holding onto. Also stressful times like a global pandemic make you more aware of those who truly love and care for you and vice versa. You don’t need a band to respect them! So let those bands burn but keep those bonds alive!
A flip phone that no longer works, a Dell laptop with a broken screen, a set of floppies, a pen drive that refuses to connect and 20 other items lying in the corner of my storage closet waiting to be fixed since the 2000’s. Give it another 10 years and they can be honored as antiques and displayed in a tech museum. But today they are nothing but electronic junk that will no longer provide me with any hands-on engineering experience. They are almost analog in this highly evolving digital world. I will let you know how the chip looked after I fried it.
A trip to the grocery store is never complete if one does not end up impulsively buying the newest skin or hair product in the market or the fifteenth shade of red lipstick and some funky new nail paints. One simply does not go to the grocery store to get just greens! That is a social faux paus! But as much as I liked the idea of owning these products I hated coloring my nails on my own and preferred the salon pampering. Unfortunately these products weren’t made to last for a lifetime. So my shelves are filled with full bottles of dried up nail polishes, expired lip colors and makeup products. As I try to curb my impulsive buying habits in the future, for all my old collectibles – “We gonna let it burn burn burn burn”!
My Spring 2020 purge lasted for an entire day and the Flamethrower’s heat protected me from getting bored and giving up. The instagram updates of my cleaning spree are still trending like hot fire while I relax in a clean house with toasted marshmallows and hot chocolate (cooked completely using the Flamethrower campfire burning up the thrash of my past!).
And now my purge has ended!