Elon Musk Nearly Ready to Ship Cool New Forest Fire Starter

Steven K. Doi via ZUMA

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Unless, in the end, this turns out to be a joke after all, visionary entrepreneur Elon Musk is getting ready to ship 20,000 flamethrowers to waiting customers next week. It’s not clear why Musk decided to market flamethrowers as “fun” toys for the masses, but that’s how it goes with visionaries. They see things that you and I don’t, and they see around things—brush fires, third-degree burns—that ordinary humans view as obstacles.

But enough about that. The idiocy of this project is pretty obvious, and one of Musk’s flamethrowers will either be responsible for starting a huge forest fire or it won’t. We’ll have to wait and see.

UPDATE: This post originally continued with some stuff about an attempt to ban recreational flamethrowers in California. However, it was based on misreading a quote from Eugene Volokh by 180 degrees. It wasn’t salvageable in any way, so I’ve deleted the whole thing. Apologies to all involved.

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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