It is time. The final challenge in the 7-week babble challenge series. 

Let’s become stronger. Let’s go out with a bang. 

On the table in front of you is a candle.

This candle will burn as a metaphor for the light of Science, a little beacon of rationality. It will represent the will to keep practicing and honing our Art. 

Your task is simple. 

Light it. 

You have 1 hour to come up with 100 ways. 

Looking back

Here are the rankings before the final round. (You gain a star for completing a challenge, and lose one for missing a week. I’m not including myself since I’m the gamemaster.)  

Fantastic work, everyone.

★★★★★★ gjm 

★★★★★ Yonge

★★★★ Slider

★★★ Bucky

★★ Tetraspace Grouping, supposedlyfun 

★ NunoSempere, Elizabeth, Mark Xu

Overall, since starting on September 30th, there’s now been more than 100 completed babble challenges.

As a result, we have babbled over 5000 ideas.

I haven’t counted how many unique users joined, but plausibly more than 70. For many of them, the babble challenge was one of their first comments ever on LessWrong. Welcome to you all.

I want to thank everyone who joined this quest, it’s been an honor practicing creativity with you.

There were really too many good submissions over the weeks to list them all. What’s more, much of the value comes in just being able to think of many different ones, rather than a single idea being excellent. Nonetheless, to celebrate and inspire you for the final challenge, I gathered some great ones from previous weeks: 

Ways of going to the moon

I leave it on Earth ; eventually, in 4 billion years, the sun will have absorbed both the thing and the Moon and hopefully some parts of both will mix. (Vanilla_cabs)

Break out of the simulation, then reprogram myself to be on the moon. (mr-hire)

Use CRISPR to make myself smarter. Do whatever plan smarter Neel comes up with (Neel Nanda)

Send spaceships out to the asteroid belt to collect asteroids and bring them to earth. Not to extract valuable minerals, just to make the earth bigger and heavier. Both the increased radius and the increased gravity will bring the moon closer. Eventually it will be close enough that I can just reach out and put my object on the moon. (gjm)

…and more than 1000 more ideas!

Ways of escaping a locked room

Metal bars on the windows? Pee on them, take apart the phone, then connect one terminal of the phone battery to the bar and the other to the urine, and wait for the bar to be eaten away. (johnswentworth)

If I find myself in this situation I hereby pre-commit myself to using all of my available resources not to escape but to reign down hellfire remotely on whoever put me in there (avoid getting put in this situation in the first place) (Bucky)

Or, the solution that probably at least 5 people arrived at...

Write a LessWrong question post about being trapped in a locked room, pretending it’s a challenge to practice rationality. 

...and, again, more than 1000 more ideas!

Ways of hiding Einstein’s pen from evil forces for 50 years

Create a duplicate, hide it badly, and let it be stolen. Just keep the real one in a safe at your house. (Ericf)

Disguise it as, or hide it inside, something else, and then give that to someone else to hide, giving them an entirely false story about what it is and why it needs to be hidden. (gjm)

Sell the evil forces the pen for a high price. Invest the money. 50 years later, you will be rich and easily able to buy the pen back. (Mark Xu)

Memorize a binary sequence using a memory palace, which I use as an XOR cipher on a series of coin flips which indicate: "heads: go north 100 feet; tails: go east 100 feet". Flip 100 coins and write down the result, and then bury the coin in the place indicated by the flips XOR the sequence. (This is basically a one-time pad for north-eastern lattice paths) (TurnTrout)

Consequences on the world of the discovery of intelligent ant colonies

Small robots could be used to invade hive-minds and either spy on them or implant and manipulate thoughts (Slider)

Ants get good at hiding their colonies, but you can hire ants to find other ant colonies. (Elizabeth)

A lot of people think 'Oh that's interesting' - and then continue doing exactly what they would have done anyway. (Yonge)

Moving Forwards

This is it. Week 7 out of 7. 

Following the excursions into different forms of babble, I’m returning to where we started. A simple, constrained task. I thought that was most fun, and also most useful in feeling like it actually pushed the limits of my creativity. 

This will be the final babble challenge I host for now. But it won’t be the end of my attempts to build a culture of practice on LessWrong. I’m working on other plans, and hope to announce them soon. 

Next week I might write a longer Babble post-mortem. But one of the core things I take away is what I wrote already in the 3rd week, after noting how many people had participated: 

[The turnout] fills me with excitement and ambition. 

We’ve made a discovery. 

Who knew that there was all this latent excitement for doing weekly rationality challenges? That so many people were willing to actually roll their sleeves up, and show up every week to test the limits of our art? 

There’s a spark here waiting to be fanned into a flame. Imagine where we could go if we keep this up. 

If you feel the same, I invite you to join me. Find ways of practicing in your own life. Stay connected to that deliberateness and the relentless will to self-improve with your scientist hat on. 

Run your own challenges on LessWrong. 

In fact, there has recently been several things happening on LessWrong that move in this direction: 

I'm excited to see where this will go.


  • 100 answers or nothing. Shoot for 1 hour. 

Any answer must contain 100 ideas to count. That’s the final babble challenge. We're raising the bar. Let's do this!

However, the 1 hour limit is a stretch goal. It’s fine if it takes longer to get to 100. 

  • Post your answers inside of spoiler tags. (How do I do that?)
  • Celebrate other’s answers. 

This is really important. Sharing babble in public is a scary experience. I don’t want people to leave this having back-chained the experience “If I am creative, people will look down on me”. So be generous with those upvotes. 

If you comment on someone else’s post, focus on making exciting, novel ideas work — instead of tearing apart worse ideas. 

  • Not all your ideas have to work. 

I've often found that 1 great idea can hide among 10 bad ones. You just need to push through the worse ones. Keep talking. To adapt Wayne Gretzky's great quote: "You miss 100% of the ideas you never generate." 

It’s fine to say “build a volcano in my backyard and use it to light the candle”, “bribe a dragon to help me” or "rub my hands together real fast until they create fire". 

  • My main tip: when you’re stuck, say something stupid. 

If you spend 5 min agonising over not having anything to say, you’re doing it wrong. You’re being too critical. Just lower your standards and say something, anything. Soon enough you’ll be back on track. 

This is really, really important. I wrote this the first week. I still think it’s true, having now done 6 weeks of babble challenges. The freedom and lightness that comes with just babbling something, even if stupid, proves really helpful for also generating great ideas. 


Now, go forth and babble! 100 ways to light a candle!

New Answer
New Comment

13 Answers sorted by



These challenges deserve a lot of credit for pushing me to make an account and finally start posting and commenting, so I'm glad I caught one before they go dark for a bit.

  1. Use a match.
  2. Use a handheld lighter.
  3. Use flint & steel.
  4. Use a fire bow and some tinder.
  5. Any of the above methods, but only using your feet.
  6. Turn on a gas stove or oven.
  7. Keep the gas stove or oven turned off; use the pilot light instead.
  8. Turn up your thermostat and leave the candle by the radiator.
  9. Use a lens or curved mirror to focus another light source on the wick.
  10. Turn to one of the other people doing the challenge and ask to borrow their (already lit) candle.
  11. Go into the kitchen and start a grease fire; burn down the entire house, containing the candle.
  12. Get chosen to carry the Olympic Torch; take a short detour to light the candle with it.
  13. Go to a shabbat dinner and swap it in for one of the shabbat candles when nobody is looking.
  14. Give it to your pyromaniac friend.
  15. Bet someone $10 they can't light the candle within 24 hours. (This method costs about $10.)
  16. Rub some sticks together until they burn. Stick the wick in the fire.
  17. Put the candle in a suitcase and leave the suitcase somewhere, like a mall or airport, with sufficiently cautious security such that it gets blown up for you.
  18. Ask Elon Musk to demonstrate one of his flamethrowers.
  19. Buy up all the candles you can get your hands on. Once you create a local shortage, start selling candles back to the community, starting with the one you want to light.
  20. Throw a birthday party.
  21. Find someone smoking a cigar or cigarette and use their lit cigar/cigarette.
  22. Find someone and ask them if they know the difference between a hippo and Zippo. If they say no, you respond, "One is a very heavy, and the other is a little lighter." Now that you've broken the ice, you can ask to borrow a lighter. You also made a friend!
  23. Throw said candle into a campfire, wood oven, pit of lava, main sequence star (it wouldn't technically burn but I think it counts for the spirit of the question), etc.
  24. Go to Burning Man and toss it into a bonfire.
  25. Take a chemistry course and bring the candle to the first lab session involving bunsen burners.
  26. Smash two rocks together to make sparks, optionally making stereotypical caveman noises.
  27. Use the candle to short-circuit a household appliance.
  28. Leave the candle somewhere it will get hit by lightning.
  29. Eat the candle. To the extent your body does digest it, some of it will be through combustion reactions, aka burning. (If it turns out this doesn't count, you can always self-immolate afterward.)
  30. Leave the candle on a launchpad before a spaceflight.
  31. Make sure it's the only candle available to some people and remove all battery-powered lights like flashlights and cellphones. Wait until dark and then cut their power.
  32. Have a romantic candlelit dinner with a significant other.
  33. Go into a church/other house of worship with lit candles laying around. Add your candle to the stacks of available candles, or use one of their lit candles to light yours.
  34. Go into a store and put it in a box of Chanukah candles the week before Chanukah starts.
  35. Find a way to preserve it until the sun expands and engulfs the planet.
  36. Record yourself going into a store, buying matches, and lighting the candle at the cash register as some sort of weird TikTok trend.
  37. Find a fancy restaurant that has branded matchbooks; go out to eat and take some matches with you.
  38. Tie or glue the candle to a firework fuse on July 3rd (in the US).
  39. Attend or host a barbecue on July 4th. Disguise the candle as a hot dog (or hamburger if it's more disc-shaped).
  40. Practice firearm marksmanship daily for several years. Once you're able to make a sufficiently precise shot, graze the candle's wick with a bullet, lighting it via friction.
  41. Find a building that is about to be demolished. Leave the candle by some explosive.
  42. Discover that dragons are real, and that they can breathe fire. Befriend one and ask it to light your candle, or piss one off sufficiently that it lights you on fire while you're holding the candle.
  43. Toss the candle into the intake of a jet engine.
  44. Grind up/dissolve the candle in gasoline. Use the gasoline to fuel a car.
  45. Sneak into a fire station and hide in a fire engine. When it eventually leaves to put out a fire, get off and toss the candle into the fire.
  46. If a totalitarian movement starts in your country, attend one of their book burnings. Hide the candle inside a hollowed-out section of one of their targeted books.
  47. Leave the candle in a wildfire-prone area during a particularly dry time of year.
  48. Rub the candle against a rough surface, heating it by friction until it burns.
  49. Tell your friend about a cool trick you saw online involving a lit candle. When they ask for a demonstration, give them the candle and ask them to light it.
  50. Find a municipality that incinerates garbage and toss the candle in the trash in that area.
  51. Run for office with controversial politics and messaging, resulting in mass riots upon your election. Find a burning car or building to light your candle with.
  52. Join a mennonite community that doesn't use electric lighting. Keep your candle handy, someone will need it soon enough.
  53. Attend a seance or satanic ritual. Offer to bring candles.
  54. Join a slash-and-burn farming population. Next time you burn, add your candle.
  55. Go Christmas caroling and insist that your caroling chorus hold lit candles if they don't already.
  56. Infiltrate a terrorist organization and leave the candle in a building they use. Tip off the appropriate military about the building's location and importance.
  57. Sneak into a military base or ammunition factory and hide the candle inside of a tank shell/etc.
  58. Go hot air ballooning. Stick the candle above the burner as you're going up.
  59. Crash a vehicle. Put the candle in the burning wreckage.
  60. Order a flaming cocktail and light the candle before you drink.
  61. Build a flamethrower trombone and leave the candle out during a jazzy solo. 
  62. Take your local boy scout troop camping for a fun night of ghost stories and S'mores. Disguise the candle as a marshmallow. 
  63. Microwave some split grapes under the candle wick.
  64. Use the candle as a prop during a Dungeons and Dragons game. Your level-6 elf wizard character casts a spell of fireball!
  65. Offer your candle plus an identical candle to two friends, who wish to play timed chess but lack a chess clock.
  66. Find someone who needs to press a seal into hot wax, but doesn't have a candle. Offer them yours.
  67. Go to a pottery workshop and slip the candle inside something about to go into the kiln.
  68. Go into a bakery and disguise the candle as unbaked dough ready for the oven.
  69. Give the candle to your friend and say you've mailed them a secret message in invisible ink, which can be turned visible by heat.
  70. Bring your candle to a memorial/protest where people are carrying lit candles. When someone sees that yours has 'gone out' they will light it with theirs.
  71. Claim that you created a fireproof candle and tell your friends, call local news, file for a patent, etc. Allow anyone who cares to test your claim.
  72. Threaten to hit someone with the candle unless they light it.
  73. Start or join a cult with an initiation ritual that includes lighting a candle.
  74. Engineer a terrifying virus in your garage that causes the CDC to recommend firebombing your lab.
  75. Give the candle to a friend as a gift, explaining that it has a very unique, exotic scent added to it, and that you're excited to discuss the scent with them after they've experienced it.
  76. Specify in your will that you would like a candlelit vigil held in your memory. Wait to die, leaving the candle somewhere it is easily found.
  77. Hide a secret (fireproof) clue inside the candle, and use it in a scavenger hunt you put together.
  78. Infiltrate the KKK. Leave your candle near the base of any crosses they burn.
  79. Find a restaurant that routinely uses similar candles on their tables; leave the candle in their stockpile.
  80. Start or join a conspiracy to bring about global nuclear armageddon. Succeed.
  81. Offer to supply props and costumes to a local historical society or theater group reenacting Paul Revere's ride. Make sure your candle is in the lantern.
  82. Put your candle in a calorimeter and measure its energy content.
  83. Strike a match against a boot or a pair of jeans like they do in the movies.
  84. Use a high-powered laser.
  85. Leave the candle on an oil rig until there is an explosive accident.
  86. Find an arsonist. Threaten to reveal their identity to police unless they include your candle at their next crime scene.
  87. Join a circus act juggling flaming objects. Add your candle to the list of juggled objects.
  88. Accept an offer to consumer-test a new lighter.
  89. Write to a lighter company explaining the last lighter you bought from them came empty. When they send you an apology and replacement, light your candle.
  90. Steal an object that is important to someone else and lock it in a box. Put the key to that box inside the candle, and then put the candle in another box. Leave an opening and enough room to stick the end of a lighter in but, not enough to reach inside and remove the candle. Leave a hole in the bottom of the box that would allow the key to fall through if it was removed from inside the candle (but is too small for the candle itself to fit through). Explain to the object's original owner what you have done and hand them some matches.
  91. Hide the candle inside of an effigy of an unpopular political figure before a protest.
  92. Reinstitute witch burnings and leave the candle in the first unfortunate victim's pocket.
  93. Specify you wish to be cremated in whatever clothes you die in. Never go anywhere without the candle in your pocket.
  94. Shoot the candle with a flaming arrow.
  95. Toss the candle into somebody's funeral pyre.
  96. Tell a pothead that the wax is infused with cannabis oil and the candle is thus ideal for "setting a chill vibe."
  97. Add your candle to a molotov cocktail.
  98. Use the candle as a cannon fuse.
  99. Ask a welder to misuse his metalworking tools.
  100. Send the candle to the international space station and ask an astronaut to demonstrate how flames look in zero gravity.

Awesome, welcome to LessWrong!



Okay, this was by far the hardest one yet, and I certainly didn't do it in just 1h. Very rewarding though -- especially as I tried introspecting on my cognition as I was doing it. (I learnt some new things, though I've redacted those notes here.) I also found it helpful to answer the nearby question of "do things that cause the world to end up in a state where the candle is lit", as well as just reaching the subgoal "create fire".

I also wrote some I didn't feel counted, but included them anyway just to keep the babble going, and so overshot the target a bit. 

  • 1 rubbing your hands against each other
  • 2 one of those handheld candle lighting machines we have in the kitchen
  • 3 matches
  • 4 gather some wood and make a fire, dip candle into fire
  • 5 bribe or persuade a dragon to help you
  • 6 find a volcano, lower candle down with a rope and dip it in the lava
  • 7 break out of the simulation and edit the source code for the candle to be lit
  • 8 Make a great beat and play it to the candle. "It's lit".
  • 9 Become really good at rationality and display your skills in public, such that you become a beacon of Science and light a metaphorical candle for young rationalists
  • 10 Fire a gun next to it such that a spark hits the candle
  • 11 Launching a nuke at such a distance that the candle is lit without being destroyed
  • 12 Leave it outside during a thunderous evening
  • 13 Wire a wire through it and turn on the electricity
  • 14 Post bounty online asking for best ways to light a candle
  • 15 Go to a restaurant where they're serving burning souffle or some drink which is initially on fire, sneak in candle and light it
  • 16 Masquerade the candle as a log, sell it to someone and get them to put it in the fireplace, then activate the built in robotics equipment to have it walk back to you
  • 17 Find a neighborhood barbecue
  • 18 Find one of those churches where passers-by can pick up candles and light them and think of something profound. Strategically leave candle there until it gets lit.
  • 19 Find some place that's really dark and where lots of people have strong incentives to get more light.
  • 20 Find a vampire in need of a more evil aesthetic but who's a bit short on candles. Figure out way of doing this without getting hurt.
  • 21 Place it at SpaceX launch station
  • 22 In a cool ritual, have 100 hundred scientists throw little cotton-balls-set-on-fire toward it. Hope one hits.
  • 23 Flamethrower.
  • 24 (Do not try at home.) Fill room with gas. Turn on stove. Escape.
  • 25 Find some place where a fire is already burning, and carve the object that holds the fire into a candle. Perhaps cover it entirely in stearic.
  • 26 That fire spell from The Witcher
  • 27 Hold it close to something that gets really hot. Maybe a car wheel spinning idly in the same location over and over.
  • 28 Find somewhere where a movie is being filmed (with real special effects), wait for opportune moment
  • 29 At a crematorium
  • 30 Dwarwen mine where metals are melded. Pay in gold coins.
  • 31 Blowtorch
  • 32 Midsommer bonfire
  • 33 Place it on a friend's dinner table. Just wait for an important occasion.
  • 34 Invent a new ritual holiday that involves the lighting of candles. Wait.
  • 35 Explode a bomb near it
  • 36 write a simulation of universe, place candle immovably in the middle of Africa, wait for humans civilisation to discover fire and light it
  • 37 by sending it on a rocket close enough to a star (while making sure to maintain some sort of oxygen container for it to burn through)
  • 38 by twiddling the wick between my fingers really quickly
  • 39 by having a computer charger that is too... strong(??) for the current computer, as well as some old, non-safe plug sockets, such that there's some kind of overheat/explosion accident
  • 40 Somewhere inside a car, somehow, I think sparks are being formed (or something similar happens?? man I don't know anything about engineering). Try to leverage that.
  • 41 study the origins of fire and build a new sort of fire device that has never existed
  • 42 jump up and down on the same spot until it gets very warm
  • 43 I once tried banging a hammer into a surface a lot to see if it got hotter. It did... slowly. Could repeat that and see if the thing catches fire.
  • 44 Dig a tunnel into center of the earth, which is allegedly filled with hot stuff.
  • 45 Find a heat exhaust, build some filter that turns it from a wide opening into a super thin one. Place the candle there, and then block of the other end, such that all the heat builds up in a very small space.
  • 46 Convince a large group of internet people that it would be inspiring if we formed a "mini olympic torch lighting chain" where everyone lit and carried forwards a torch until it reached This Candle Symbolising the Light of Science
  • 47 Medieval fiery arrow shot from top of castle by master archer.
  • 48 Find Elon Musk, and just have the candle be lit by the ceaseless fire in his soul.
  • 49 Fireworks! Would look cool as well.
  • 50 Lighter.

(The Roam template I use only goes up to 50, so at this point the numbering restarts)

  • 1 Laser.
  • 2 Destroy a bunch of other light sources in the world, thereby strongly increasing the incentive for others to light this candle.
  • 3 Find a nearby school, find some smoking teenagers, light it with the tip of their cigarettes
  • 4 Just build a candle replica that just uses a lamp and no fire. Just press the button.
  • 5 Go to a circus or other place where you have some of these "fire acrobatics" people who'll swing little jars of fire in cool motions. Get close enough and sneak a flame from them.
  • 6 Wait for the apocalypse, will probably be lots of fire and flame around
  • 7 Read Dante or the Orpheus/Eurydicee story and try to find the road to hell, obtain flames from there
  • 8 Leave it in the oven on high temperature
  • 9 Magnifying glass
  • 10 Get someone to play a guitar solo so epic it set everything around it on fire
  • 11 Make a major political party have a lit candle be their symbol, strongly increasing demand and incentives for other to help
  • 12 Cause their to be a major local vigil, also increasing demand (either by causing something really bad to happen, or by encouraging people to commemorate something really bad that has happened)
  • 13 Light with tiki torch in Minecraft
  • 14 Increase the oxygen level a lot in some room, such that the people in there will want to burn candles to decrease it (is that how it works??)
  • 15 "Commoditise the complement" of candles to increase demand. What is that? Rituals, occasions, wine, romance, darkness, ...
  • 16 Find a jet pack enthusiasts club, quickly sneak by and light it while one of them is starting up their pack.
  • 17 Closed the time loop where the candle is just always lit but by no one in particular (i.e. you find a lighter on your door step which you then go back in time and put there).
  • 18 Make a strong incentive for people to act as if though the candle is lit, for example by having lots people claim that unlit candles are discriminatory, and punish anyone who voices dissent.
  • 19 Place it in front of exhaust pipe of fighter jet?
  • 20 One of those cinematic, long trails of gunpowder on the ground, leading to the candle.
  • 21 Get help from superman or that x-men mutant who shoots laser through his eyes
  • 22 Study forgotten ancient lore and obtain power of sorcery. Use it to light candle.
  • 23 Somehow increase temperature of earth's surface to cause everything to catch on fire/melt
  • 24 Finally a practical use case for California wildfires!
  • 25 Go back in time and convince Jim Morrison to rewrite his famous song to "Come on baby light my candle" instead
  • (Shoot at it from a cannon)
  • 26 Leverage a malfunctioning MRI machine somehow(???)
  • 27 By slamming rocks together in the way they did it in the old times
  • 28 Hide it inside of the torch that will be used for olympic games
  • 29 Go around the neighbourhood, finding a bunch of lit candles, place them next to you in a beautiful pattern EXCEPT that in a symmtery-breaking place is your candle. Wait until someone fixes it.
  • 30 Find a lazy person who urgently needs to do something romantic for their partner, but never does such things so they don't know what to do, and rent the candle to them but promise they must give it back while it's still lit.
  • 31 Become landlord of a house that has a long, dark hallway between residential units. Leave this candle as the only available one in the middle of the hallway. Wait.
  • 32 Just ask a stranger kindly to help you.
  • 33 Fiverr.
  • 34 Get David Blaine to pull his kerosene and water trick to light it. (Seriously go check it out, it's unbelievable.)
  • 35 Find someone who has a hot air balloon, use the fire mechanism that they use to fill it with hot air.
  • 36 Teaching some monkeys to invent fire, and then have them do it for you.
  • 37 Catch some flaming ash from a volcanic eruption? (Different from the previous volcano point, which as about going inside to get the lava)
  • 38 Build a Zoom add-on that render flames on candles using AI. Everything's remote anyway, no one will notice!
  • 39 Realise that the true candle was the friends we made along the way.
  • 40 Build a tiny candle small enough that can be lit by the firing of neurons (obtained from the brain of an animal where it's morally more fine to use it's brain to solve babble challenges...)
  • 41 Probably if you microwave it long enough...?
  • 42 Learn to build one of Nikola Tesla's massive electricity rooms, and just hold up the candle to light it from those.
  • 43 disassemble and short-circuit phone in order to get a spark
  • 44 Just plug in a device and try to harvest the spark (you sometimes see it right before you plug something in or right after you've unplugged it)
  • 45 Get a lot of people to come around, have them all breathe into a single thing that traps and the air, keep doing this until the air gets hot enough to light the candle.
  • 46 Gaslighting a friend by writing in their daily notes "Gah, I know I can light Jacob's candle, but why doesn't it work? Surely there's a way, there must be a trick... I can't let Jacob win... let me just go to him right now and show him that it's possible to light this candle"
  • 47 Obtain all the infinity stones.
  • 48 Maybe if you used one of those electric mosquito swatters?
  • 49 Maybe if you drill a tiny hole and then stick it inside of a lightbulb? (There was no constraint that we then need to take it out! Candle burning inside of lightbulb should count!)
  • 50 Cause simulation maintainers to be gaslit and really believe that that candle ought to be lit and they're sure they actually pushed that feature and oh no, seems they were mistaken well let's just commit it again now before lunch.
  • TNT/dynamite
  • Gurren Lagann drill
  • 51 Kame-hame-ha.
  • 52 Drill into something very hard. Utilise the sparks.
  • 53 At a local foundry.
  • 54 Buy some unsafe, crappy electronics from Amazon. Disassemble and destroy in a way that causes fire as byproduct.

Tao Lin

  1. Lighter
  2. Matches
  3. Bow and stick
  4. Hand spin stick
  5. Flint and steel
  6. Flint and magnesium
  7. Break light bulb, use filament
  8. Stick fork in wall socket, use spark + cotton or whatever
  9. Strip power cord, make spark in more convenient location
  10. Light candle from another candle
  11. Light from stove
  12. Light from oven
  13. Put fire starting stuff + 2 or more pieces of metal in the microwave
  14. Put candle on tree or roof, hope lightning strikes
  15. Magnifying glass + sun
  16. Laser
  17. Spark plug from car engine
  18. Light from exhaust of car (may need to tune car first to make exhaust fiery)
  19. bring candle to the surface of the sun
  20. give the candle to someone else and hope they eventually light it for their own purposes
  21. Leave candle in public space, hope someone takes it and lights it
  22. Light off of wild fire
  23. Put candle in box with air and throw into deep space, hope it eventually quantum tunnels into a lit state
  24. Light it off of dark thing in hot sun
  25. Light with electricity generated from treadmill / stationary bicycle
  26. Light with electric only cigarrete lighter
  27. Break natural gas pipe, hope something ignites gas + candle eventually
  28. Light off of electric heater
  29. Light with exhaust from firearm
  30. Stuff candle in barrel of firearm
  31. Drag wick between two pieces of paper, maybe lights from friction
  32. Cut some of candle off of wick to light more easily with above method
  33. Write proof that simulation exists that somehow depends on candle not spontaneously lighting, then simulation controllers will light candle for you to protect simulation secret
    • felt like i had to because everyone else uses simulation
  34. Put candle inside LHC
  35. replace duterium pellet in ignition fusion experiment with candle
  36. light candle with plasma from tokemak
  37. Break candle into lots of short candles to try more stupid candle lighting methods on it
  38. Replace wick of candle with match, then strike match. Does this count as a lit candle?
  39. Put candle under desk lamp. Candle is now 'lit'
  40. Become very excited about prospect of lighting candle, thusly rendering it 'lit'
  41. Touch candle to antimatter candle
  42. Disassemble candle, take one fiber out of wick with a little wax around it to make smaller candle. This new wick is smaller, lights easier with flint+steel or other
  43. Light cadle with cap gun
  44. Light with wheellock pistol
  45. Light with explosive detonator
  46. Light candle from across the room with infrared laser, looks like magic
  47. Throw candle out of space station, eventually burns in atmosphere
  48. Light with rocket engine
  49. It turns out the candle is just a picture of a candle, draw yellow + red on it
  50. Throw picture of candle in fire
  51. Use candle as wad of shotgun
  52. Throw small square of high friction paper at candle wick, cutting it in half and lighting it with friction in the process
  53. Remove battery from phone, touch battery leads together to start fire
  54. Climb power pole, make spark to light candle
  55. Put flammable oil something in saucepan on induction stove, light candle
  56. Use pascal's mugging to coerce someone into lighting candle for you
  57. Make advertisement for candles, causing people to buy candle and light it
  58. Manufacture more candles, so there's more chance one of them will be lit
  59. Keep candle in secure vault prior to lighting so it can't be destroyed first
  60. Read literature on formal definition of fire so you can be completely sure whether the candle is actually lit
  61. Submerge most of candle in cold water so you don't accidentally melt all the wax off in your attempt to light candle (would be a shame to fail like that)
  62. Conduct a thorough chemical profiling and and CAT scan of candle to make sure there are no explosives hidden inside before you light it
  63. Teach humanoid robot to light candle for you
  64. Make pre-lit candle dispenser with built in lighter, then load it with the candle
  65. Light candle with controlled gas lighter in QA testing at candle factory
  66. Write in your will that you want your candle to be lit
  67. Fire your candle, hire a new candle and light that one
  68. Hope cosmic rays light your candle
  69. Fly in hydrogen balloon to increase your chance of getting lit by cosmic rays
  70. Blow up said hydrogen baloon to light candle
  71. Submerge your candle in liquid oxygen, wait for candle to spontaneously combust
  72. Find bacteria that can eat your candle. Its calories will have been 'burnt', so therefore the candle must have been 'lit'.
  73. Drop candle in lava lake
  74. Drop candle in molten metal in foundary
  75. Touch wick to heating elements in toaster
  76. Just put the candle in the toaster
  77. Drill holes in candle to 'lighten' it
  78. light candle with blowtorch
  79. Light candle with fires in aftermath of nuclear explosion
  80. Shove stick through candle and roast like marshmellow over campfire
  81. Time travel back to when the candle was still petroleum in the ground, blow that up with nuke
  82. Build a wooden bridge from an already lit candle to the target candle, which burns and lights target candle
  83. Lay additional candle wick between other lit candle and target candle
  84. Light candle with plutonium radiothermal power source
  85. Light candle with heat from geothermal water based power plant
  86. Rub hands together so hard they light candle
  87. Light candle with dozens of high-wattage spotlights
  88. Plant ultradense material inside candle wick, then light with high energy neutrino beem
  89. Light candle with cold-candle-seeking missile
  90. Tell people this particular candle is immune to lighting so they try to light it
  91. Make real life fire breathing dragon, then have it light the candle
  92. Do nothing, because after the candle's protons decay they will enter a new Penrose cycle universe and become another candle that someone else will light
  93. Trigger vacuum collapse. The energy released with the candle collapses is kinda like "lighting"
  94. Throw molotov cocktail at candle
  95. Focus sunlight with mirrors
  96. Focus moonlight with mirrors onto steam engine, which generates electricity, which powers electric lights, which are focused with mirrors onto candle. (because moonlight is too low frequency to light candle)
  97. Focus starlight with mirrors of ridiculous size onto candle
  98. Burn candle in incinerator made for corpses
  99. Light candle in pressure cooker
  100. Boil candle in oil
  101. Boil candle in water until water boils off and candle lights
  102. Throw candle into accretion disk of black hole
  103. Expose candle to radiation from pulsar
  104. Light with jet engine afterburners
  105. Light with one of those exothermic chemical reactions that's not considered fire. (don't actually rememer any)



Stop anything showing up in the spoilers.

1) With a match.

2) Use a magnifying glass to focus the suns rays onto it.

3) Fire a laser beam at it.

4) Use a cigarette lighter.

5) Use a bunsen burner.

6) Strike flints against one another to generate sparks to light the candle.

7) Dip it in a lava pool.

8) Use a heater to increase the temperature in the room till it self ignites.

9) Attach the wick to two wires, then use them to put a large amount of electrical power through it.

10) Take it to a bonfire, and put the candle in it.

11) Rub sticks together to start a fire, then use it to light the candle.

12) Detonating some explosives might light it if you are lucky.

13) Position the candle under a space rocket and wait for the rocket to launch.

14) Send the candle into a solar flare.

15) Send the candle into the accretion disk of a black hole.

16) Find a burning building, and light the candle from it.

17) Put it in the overn, and turn the heat up to maximum.

18) Wait till the news reports a heathland fire, then head to the fire to light it.

19) Put the candle at the edge of a nuclear fireball.

20) The candle might be electrically powered, in which case it can just be switched on.

21) Use another candle that is already lit.

22) Put it at the top of a lightning conductor, and hope it gets hit by lightning.

23) Put the wick in the way of a discharge from a Van De Graph generator.

24) Soak it in water, bombard it with an intense beam of microwaves, and hope it is heated up enough to ignite.

25) Put the candle in a solar furnace.

26) A telescope could be used to focus sunlight onto the candle.

27) Buy a lot of mirrors, rig up a complicated system to focus sunlight onto the candle.

28) Smash a lightbulb while it is switched on and use the hot filament to ignite the candle.

29) Douse the wick in hydrochloric acid, then drop a piece of potassium on it.

30) Cover the wick in phosphorus powder, take it to the Sahara desert where the high temperature will cause it to self ignite.

31) Take it to a steam train and use the fire in it to ignite the candle.

32) Hire a hot air balloon, use the flame that generates the hot air to ignite the candle.

33) Position the candle under a firework when it is launched.

34) Use the flame that burns above oil rigs to ignite it.

35) Put it in the fire burning in my fireplace.

36) Go to a fossil fuelled power station and use its fire to ignite it.

37) Go to a blast furnace and dip the candle in the molten metal.

38) Leave it in an experimental nuclear fusion power plant before it is switched on should do the trick.

39) Find part of a jungle that is going to be slashed and burned and leave it in the fires path.

40) Use a camping stove to ignite it.

41) Wait for the random motion of air molecules to cause it to spontaneously ignite.

42) Bore a hole down to the mantle and lower the candle down.

43) Mass burn all of the planets fossil fuels, eventually global warming will get so bad it will self ignite.

44) Put it in a box and send it to Venus where the high temperature will cause it to spontaneously ignite.

45) Would putting it in a room where the atmosphere was made of 100 percent oxygen ignite it?

46) Extract the gunpowder from several party poppers, detonate them at once near the candle and hope this ignites it.

47) Light a sparkler, and use the sparks given off to ignite the candle.

48) Use the spark generated by a spark plug in a car to ignite the candle.

49) Dip the candle in chlorine, replace the atmosphere in the room with hydrogen, and warm until it self ignites.

50) Fire an intense X ray beam at the candle.

51) Put the candle in a jet engine.

52) Putting the candle in a particle accelerator might work.

53) Use an intense neutrino beam to light it.

54) If the wick is laced with metal wires moving a strong magnet rapidly above it may induce currents which heat it up and cause it to light.

55) Drop the candle from the top of the atmosphere. The heat generated during renetry will light it.

56) Use the flame from an oil lamp to light it.

57) Use a burning compost heap to light it.

58) Take it to a neighbour and light it from their barbecue.

59) Light it from a burning torch.

60) Take it to a kiln.

61) Pour some molten lead on the candle.

62) Get a fire breather to breathe on it.

63) Use a welder to light the candle.

64) Dip it in a vat of boiling oil.

65) Compress the atmosphere in the room until it heats up enough that the candle self ignites.

66) Drop a minuscule amount of anti matter on the candle.

67) Use virtual quantum particles to transfer heat from a nearby hot object to the candle.

68) Drop a meteorite on the earth, light the candle from the resulting fireball.

69) Use the dynamo effect between Jupiter and Io to light it.

70) Leave the candle in the vicinity of a supernova.

71) Focus the energy generated by the northern lights onto it.

72) Go on an expedition to the Amazon in the search of a previously unknown fire breathing animal.

73) Maybe the current generated by an electric eel could light it?

74) Use some Greek fire.

75) Give it to a friend who has some means of lighting it for me.

76) Leave it in a rack of candles in a church, at some point someone will come along and light it.

77) If I throw it out in the rubbish, and the rubbish is burnt in an incinerator, it will in some sense be lighted.

78) Wait for the sun to expand to swallow the earth, which will inevitably light the candle.

79) Use a flame thrower.

80) Start a war and position it in a target likely to be targeted by incendiary bombs.

81) Use the hot air generated by politicians speeches to light it.

82) Return it to the place it was bought from, hopefully someone else will buy it and light it for me.

83) The Trojan candle stratagem: Claim that the candle is a gift from the Gods, and that the city that lights it will never be conquered. Hope this tricks someone into lighting it for me.

84) Use an oxyacetylene torch.

85) Use some nano technology that will bring atoms in the candle together with oxygen atoms in such a way that the candle will light.

86) Maybe dark matter could be used to light it some how?

87) Or maybe dark energy could be used instead?

88) Firing a high energy beam of muons at it would probably do the trick.

89) Leave the candle next to a battery that is known to catch fire. Wait for the battery to catch fire and light the candle.

90) Wait for the next scheduled witch burning. Insert the candle in the pyre, and wait for it to be lit.

91) Or wait for the next mock Viking ship to be burnt, and hide it in there.

92) Break into a shop that sells candles, add this one to the collection, leave someone else to buy it and light it for me.

93) Pour some sulfuric acid on it, then deposit a piece of sodium on it.

94) Carbonic acid and lithium should also work.

95) Soaking it in water, then pumping fluorine gas into the room should also work.

96) Pay someone else to light it for me.

97) Focus several sound waves on the candle to cause it to warm up and light.

98) Attach the candle to springs at either end, use them to pull it back and forth very fast so that air resistance causes it to heat up and light the candle.

99) Put it in a computer driven car. Program the car to drive into something at high speed. Hope that the resulting crash starts a fire that lights the candle.

100) Post a babble challenge on Less Wrong asking for 100 ways to light an candle, then use the best one.



Filler text for preview

  1. flaming arrow to the wick
  2. set containing room on fire, candle will go up eventually
  3. manifest fire magic
  4. lighter
  5. match
  6. an already flaming candle
  7. throw in fireplace
  8. off of gas stove burner
  9. off of water heater pilot light
  10. ask a friend to do it for me
  11. magnifying glass in hot sun
  12. put a bounty on FB/LW/craigslist to light the candle
  13. Drop candle in with box of candles meant for a vigil
  14. Leave candle at that thing Catholics and Anglicans have where they light candles to pray for people.
  15. put in room full of flammable gas, light gas on fire.
  16. tie a string to wick, set string on fire from far away
  17. place in rural CA in the fall
  18. place next to sparking power lines in CA
  19. dip in grease fire.
  20. leave in front of an oculus lens or crystal ball on a bright day
  21. Train a mouse to run to candles, throw mouse into fire without immediately killing it.
  22. Train eagle to drop candle over forest fire.
  23. That spark thing you use to light bunsen burners
  24. a bunsen burner
  25. leave in meth lab
  26. catapult into forest fire.
  27. failed potato gun thing that girl had in 9th grade that took her eyebrows off.
  28. laser
  29. set up escape room that requires cutting through a rope, leave a candle and flint but no knife.
  30. extremely high friction between two candle wicks.
  31. place against traditional lightbulb at high wattage
  32. leave on top of shitty electric blanket
  33. leave near a bucket of water and drop some lithium in it
  34. send into coal mine with poor safety record.
  35. set piece of paper on fire, use to light wick
  36. lean against desktop heat sink, mine bitcoin
  37. toss into tire fire
  38. toss into oil well fire.
  39. leave next to warehouse that stores oil improperly, wait
  40. run in dryer on high
  41. strip rubber coating from a heating pad and tie wick to it, turn on.
  42. stick in electrical socket
  43. throw into ocean in a bottle with a note marked "burn me"
  44. Start religion where good things will come to you if you light the candle.
  45. place under rocket at next shuttle launch
  46. start new trend of candle poi spinning
  47. go back in time to give to that girl on reddit whose boyfriend lit her memorial candle, tell him it has sentimental value
  48. act helpless in public and hope someone stops to help
  49. hire taskrabbit
  50. leave on electric teakettle
  51. microwave with a fork
  52. leave in nuclear test site
  53. flamethrower
  54. order child not to set it on fire, leave the room
  55. leave on top of car engine, drain coolant.
  56. spread rumor candles prevent covid
  57. label as "anti-mosquito candle", bring to party
  58. call utility company for pilot light and ask them to throw this on.
  59. hold next to tattoo in an MRI
  60. piss off River Tam
  61. place on top of electric heater
  62. plug into circuit breaker
  63. bring to protest where flashbangs are expected
  64. tie to rock, throw into a CRT tv.
  65. Ask [redacted] for ideas
  66. run a space heater on a daisy chain of electrical cords
  67. put in toaster
  68. put on birthday cake before lighting
  69. wish really hard
  70. attach to a firework
  71. put wood alcohol in humidifier, spark lighter a foot away
  72. cut off electricity to town, sell for a lot of money
  73. give to someone who really hates moths
  74. cut wick with sword so fast it spontaneously ignites
  75. bring to gender reveal party in CA
  76. bring to haunted house set
  77. develop petrov day ritual around candles
  78. tie to sleeve of motorcycle jacket, fall off of motorcycle on that side at high speed
  79. train dog to hold slow-burning stick to candle
  80. leave in fireplace
  81. drag wick across sand paper
  82. sparklers
  83. those little explosives we had at the beach that one time
  84. train chimp to use lighter
  85. train cat to knock candle into trash fire
  86. give to aging wizard with long beard
  87. hide inside forbidden book in authoritarian society
  88. toss into trash incinerator
  89. soak in alcohol and leave near heater
  90. soak in volatile oil and leave near heater
  91. put in box of TNT and drop
  92. olympic flame in greece
  93. hide in olympic torch
  94. teach people without electricity to sterilize tools with it
  95. insist guests light it in order to enter my house
  96. set up candle-lighting toll on a bridge
  97. shoot wick with gun
  98. set pendulum on fire and let it hit the candle
  99. set boomerang on fire and same
  100. flaming sword.

I like ones that are really doable (or at least easily testable) that I didn't think of, like #81!

54. is practical, pretty reliable and feels liek a basic thing that should have occured to me but didn't. I like that very much.



I feel like a large number of my ideas wouldn’t leave much candle for being a metaphor for anything but hey-ho.

  1. Match
  2. Cigarette Lighter
  3. Car cigarette lighter
  4. Light off cigarette
  5. Bonfire
  6. Gas hob
  7. Bunsen burner
  8. Kitchen blow torch
  9. Proper blow torch
  10. Focussing sun’s rays
  11. Rubbing sticks together
  12. Wait for it to spontaneously ignite
  13. Sparks from flint
  14. Sparks from metal
  15. Electrical sparks
  16. Throw it in a fusion reactor
  17. Underneath the next Falcon 9 launch
  18. Launch it into the sun
  19. Light a stick from another source, touch to candle
  20. Make candle out of alkaline metal, throw in water
  21. Place on top of a tall building in a thunderstorm
  22. Heat in an oven
  23. Attach to lithium battery and overheat
  24. Move candle fast enough to self-ignite through air friction/compression
  25. Put in path of meteor strike
  26. Attach to front of rocket during re-entry
  27. Rub it very fast
  28. Shine a spotlight on it (you said to light it, right?)
  29. Cut away some of the heavy bits (you said to light it, right?)
  30. Laser pointer
  31. Laser from dvd player
  32. Immerse in oil, light oil
  33. Leave it in a church and wait for someone else to light it
  34. Put it on a cake and tell everyone it’s my birthday
  35. Superman’s laser vision
  36. Attach to firework
  37. Ask someone else to do it
  38. Pay someone else to do it
  39. Threaten someone else if they don’t do it
  40. Swap candles with someone else and light each other’s
  41. Turn it to dust and create dust explosion
  42. Use car spark plugs
  43. Inside an engine’s combustion chamber
  44. Off car bonnet left out in the sun
  45. Off concrete heated by the sun
  46. Attach to nuclear bomb
  47. Off the boiler pilot light
  48. Inside the boiler
  49. In a powerplant
  50. Flamethrower
  51. Cruise missile
  52. Conventional bomb
  53. Out of a jet engine on aircraft
  54. Attach to Bloodhound SSC jet/rocket
  55. Wait until candle goes out, then reverse flow of time
  56. Sell it in a shop – whoever buys it probably wants to light it anyway
  57. Leave in wildfire area
  58. Coat candle in phosphorous and light like a match
  59. Put it in an explosive atmosphere, create spark
  60. Napalm
  61. Gunpowder
  62. Shoot it with explosive round
  63. Shoot it with a tank
  64. Rocket launcher
  65. Grenade
  66. Light it upside down
  67. Go back in time to the big bang, light off that
  68. Leave it in a science classroom
  69. Light it off a splint
  70. Off a bulb filament
  71. Use it to block off a high performance computer’s cooling vent
  72. Rub it between my hands
  73. A very hot radiator 
  74. A personal heater
  75. Electric blanket
  76. Overheat a resistor
  77. Battery spark
  78. Capacitor spark
  79. Use a fake (electric) candle and switch it on
  80. Use a trick self-relighting candle, light it using some method, then blow it out. Let it re-light itself
  81. Superheat the wax
  82. Increase pressure?
  83. Magnesium strip
  84. In a volcano
  85. In a waffle iron
  86. Off a clothes iron
  87. Off the Olympic torch
  88. Off the Bangle’s Eternal flame
  89. TNT
  90. An elaborate timing contraption a la Wallace and Gromit
  91. Minecraft creeper
  92. Light a virtual candle
  93. Off a toy rocket
  94. Toaster
  95. Kettle heating element
  96. In a particle accelerator
  97. Ask the candle nicely to set itself alight
  98. Pray
  99. Write to Santa to ask him to light my candle as a Christmas present
  100. Off another candle (now ask me how I lit that one)


  1. Match
  2. Lighter
  3. The other kind of lighter, with the stick and handle
  4. Flint and a knife
  5. Those lighters we used on the bunsen burners in high school chem class. Man, there’s a lot of different kinds of lighters.
  6. Google for unusual lighters, buy one, and use that.
  7. Bunsen burner
  8. Electric sparker from a grill/stove
  9. Grill/stove
  10. Another already-lit candle
  11. Another already-lit fire
  12. Blowtorch
  13. Molotov cocktail
  14. Rube goldberg machine
  15. Battery and some steel filings
  16. Sparkler
  17. Fireworks
  18. Model rocket igniter
  19. Rocket igniter
  20. Rocket exhaust
  21. Heat from orbital re-entry
  22. Throw it into Mount Doom
  23. Find those people who claim to be the spark that will light the fire that will burn the First Order down, and ask them for a light before their tactical and strategic incompetence gets them all killed.
  24. Welder
  25. Plasma torch
  26. Lens, a sunny day and a steady hand
  27. Galaxy Note 7
  28. Two paperclips and an electrical outlet
  29. Pure sodium and a few drops of water
  30. Kite, wire and thunderstorm
  31. Leave the candle nearby some bored Boy Scouts.
  32. Hand grenade
  33. Ship the candle to California
  34. Parabolic reflector and some sun
  35. Dragon breath
  36. Car battery, a wrench, and something besides my hand with which to hold the wrench
  37. Steel cable, hook, and a high-voltage power line
  38. Flamethrower
  39. Propane tank and a rifle
  40. Lit propane lantern
  41. Use a space heater in a way which will definitely void the warranty
  42. Leave the candle on a table in somebody else’ house, then kill their power
  43. Feed candle to a goat, let the mitochondria burn it
  44. Piss off an arsonist, leave the candle at home and go on vacation
  45. Throw candle in a bonfire
  46. Leave the candle in a church and wait for them to light it
  47. Leave candle in oven on self-clean cycle
  48. Toast candle in toaster
  49. Autoclave
  50. Campfire
  51. Poke candle into glassblowing furnace
  52. Poke candle into vat of molten steel
  53. Leave candle in kiln
  54. Find an oilwell with a not-very-thrifty operator and light the candle from the gas they’re burning off
  55. Pilot light
  56. Bring candle to the Darvaza gas crater
  57. Bring candle to an eternal flame monument
  58. Torch
  59. Light it from a refinery gas flare
  60. Throw it into the sun
  61. Visit an Amish kitchen, use the first flame available
  62. Break an old-school lightbulb, touch candle wick to it while it’s still hot.
  63. 9-volt battery and a fork
  64. Drive around California inspecting the power lines and transformers and whatnot until sparks are found, then light the candle from the sparks
  65. Go to a (coal/oil/gas) power plant, and throw the candle into the fuel pile
  66. Hide the candle inside of a missile which will soon be used for wargames or something
  67. Hide the candle in a nuclear test site in North Korea
  68. Hide the candle in some other bomb test site
  69. Tie the candle to a weight, and let enough string hang off to drag it back after throwing, then throw it into a minefield. If nothing goes boom, drag it back. If it still hasn’t gone boom, throw again at a different spot. Iterate until boom.
  70. Throw the candle into an active jet engine
  71. Shine a flashlight at the candle. Now the candle is lit.
  72. Arrange a romantic candle-lit dinner with significant other, then pretend to not have any candle-lighting tools available and see how they light it.
  73. Light it with a cigarette
  74. Light it from the flaming pitchfork outside the Hell’s Kitchen restaurant at Caesar’s Palace
  75. Throw it out the window of an airplane while flying through a thunderstorm
  76. Assault a castle, and hope defenders drop burning pitch with which to light the candle
  77. Defend the castle, and hope the attackers shoot flaming arrows with which to light the candle
  78. Join the volunteer fire department, and light it from whatever’s on fire on the first call
  79. Leave ambiguous political remarks on twitter/facebook, and light the candle from the resulting dumpster fire
  80. Blasting cap
  81. Drop the candle down the hole at a blasting site
  82. Put a little bit of foil around the wick, then put the candle in the microwave and turn it on
  83. Put a little bit of foil around the wick, then shoot the candle at high speed next to a strong magnet
  84. High intensity laser
  85. Place the candle in a large tank of air, then rapidly compress it enough that the heat lights the candle
  86. Coat the wick with a solid oxidizer, then place the whole thing in a vacuum chamber and shoot it with an electron gun
  87. Coat the wick with a solid oxidizer, then throw it into a deep-sea vent
  88. Obtain a black hole, then use it as a gravitational lense to focus sunlight on the candle.
  89. Coat the wick in a glow-in-the-dark chemical rather than burning it
  90. Leave the candle in a very large compost pile
  91. Leave the candle in a box with some rags soaked in linseed oil
  92. Leave the candle in a loose pile of pyrite and coal on a hot day
  93. Leave the candle in a pile of pistachio nuts
  94. Leave the candle in a pile of nitrate film
  95. Place the candle in a pile of hay in the back of an 18-wheeler, with a space heater at the other end of the truck bed (opposite the hay pile). Then have an amateur driver race the truck around a track.
  96. Leave the candle in an open field and wait for a meteor to strike.
  97. Leave the candle in an open field and wait for the second law of thermodynamics to somehow, someway take its course.
  98. Place the candle in a room with a 100% oxygen atmosphere, and don’t try very hard to prevent fire.
  99. Light it from the olympic torch
  100. Attempt to make homemade explosives with the candle nearby.

Legal text: results not guaranteed. May result in destruction of candle, severe burns, loss of limbs, spontaneous appearance of Boy Scouts, property damage, and/or loss of life. Do not attempt without supervision by a properly licensed candle lighter. No pistachio nuts were harmed in the compilation of this list.

I did a text-search and found your #56. Good to see some culture in here!

Amazing. I liked #77, #87, #88 and many more



Some of the first images about candles burning would be to make it burn for long. But challenge here is to start it and a particular candle.

  1. A match
  2. Focus sunlight with a looking glass
  3. Spread fire from an already light candle
  4. Drill down until ambient temperature makes it combust (destruction likely)
  5. Launch to a star (destruction likely)
  6. Ask a friend to light it (pray to light it, summon a fire demon to light it) (all these non-problem specifics)
  7. Super oxygenate the room to make spontaneous combustion easier
  8. Wait for storm in a teacup to have enough of a entropy reversal
  9. Strike between metals to expose to sparks
  10. Use as current resistor to fry
  11. Move fast enough to catch fire via meteor air resistance
  12. Apply string reactive entzyme
  13. Use kitchen appliances like oven and microwave (samey with 2?)
  14. Move to a desert to have better temperature and dryness
  15. Artificially suck moisture out of the air
  16. Declare the candle the enemy of the state and have army flamethrower it
  17. Cause world war 3 and have it accidentally nuked
  18. Make it a superficial symbol to inspire fame seeking individuals to arson it in quest for immortality (alexandria)
  19. Seek open volcano and use magma heat (samey with 4?)
  20. Use as cosmic ray detector (samey with 2?)
  21. Lower higg field to release subatmoic forces to enable chemical reactions
  22. Sneak into particle accelerator (samey with 21, 20, 13?)
  23. Make a dare out of lighting it
  24. Promise to give big amount of resources to somebody lighting it
  25. Stick to a ligthning rod (samey with 10?)
  26. Split the hairs of the wick small enough that they individually react even in room conditions
  27. Split the candle into multiple parts. Plant in the various forests. Wait for a forest fire. Then regroup for one part to light the others.
  28. Put weight on top of the wick so it (almost) melts andn then suddenly release pressure
  29. Extend the wick so big that various firesources will accidentally spill on it
  30. Redefine what luminicity expectations are for a candle so that it counts as light in its passive state (plans to fail?)
  31. Go to a better light location so that it black bodies signficant radiation (samey with 2?) (plans to fail?)
  32. Banish it into a hell dimension
  33. Time travel it into the big bang (destruction likely)
  34. Use blackhole spaghettification to cause friction to light it (destruction likely) (benefit unlikely)
  35. Handmechanical friction to light it
  36. Grow into the wick and use body metabolism to peak it above ignition
  37. Realise there is no candle and set light=true
  38. Discover pyrokinesis and use as practise fodder
  39. Sonic focal point to make momentary great pressure
  40. Electromagnetic synchronization from multiple radios to make a electromagnetic focal point
  41. Dip in iron dust and expose to strong magnetic field to rub into ignition
  42. Make a big taboo out of unlight candles and let bothered citizens volunteer to light it in disgust.
  43. Use a flashlight to make it translucently shine
  44. Apply shinebug pheromones and let the bioluminence shine
  45. Make the candle a big cultural pride object and make people want to highlight it with stagelights constantly (samey with 2, 13,22?)
  46. Just plain make a semidecent photography set where it is sensibly and photogenicly in light (not actual luminicy but artistic lighting)
  47. Discover a theory of eveything where all thigns are topologies of space, then light and candle are made of the same ontological stuff so it can be accuraqtely said that the candle is light.
  48. Pop false vacuum to make protons unstable to empower chemical reactions
  49. Find resonant notes to make the wick do friction with its surroudnings
  50. Locate and prove the existence of the world-branch where the candle has already been lit
  51. Provide different gas chemical that is easier to react than with air
  52. Pull a part of the wick away really really fast and forcefully
  53. Fuse the candle with the earth and since something on earth is burning by the extended identification the candle is atleast partially burning
  54. Make a magic trick out of it. Flash a picture of a burning candle to make everybody think that the candle is burning. (plans to fail?)
  55. Wait for the wick to light as meteor collateral damage.
  56. Wait until the deaht of the sun to ignite on fusing with sun. (samey with 5?)
  57. Theseus ship the candle with burning parts or define the candle to contain fireparts
  58. Make the the candle less heavy by adding balllons to it (light vs heavy contra light vs dark)
  59. Install internal diode to turn it into a electric christmas light
  60. Hollow out and use alternative accessible fuel that one knows to light to make it burn with alternative properties
  61. Use entzymes to make the grease part react directly without the wick part
  62. Educate the candle in order to enlighten it
  63. Use mirrors to make wave cavity that increases energy from passive ambient waves (samey with 2?)
  64. Alter ph to make the wick react
  65. Neutron beam of sufficient intensity (it needs to be pretty intense)
  66. ~60 minutes
  67. Eat the candle and count digestion as a kind of burning
  68. Hold contest to light the candle
  69. Make viral campaign of the candle so that everybody calls it "lit as f"
  70. Tell everybody about the candle so light on it is shed
  71. Quantum Immortality conditional suicide into worlds where all the atoms of the candle are in excited state
  72. Find the sourcecode maker of the universe and convince them to make the candle alight (samey with pray and neo matrix?)
  73. Antimatter fuel
  74. Shine from radioactive elements as heat source
  75. Nuke it (samey with 17?)
  76. Make people believe that the survival of the world depends on the candle burning and have CIAs and KGBs of the world to deal with it
  77. Strange matter fuel. All kinds of exotic matter fuels.
  78. Spin it so fast that the internal stresses ignite it
  79. Make it so big and place it upside down that it ignites from the weight of it
  80. Make it really long that you can easily aim it to various fire sources easily
  81. Throw it to other fire sources besides stars.
  82. Make it really small so that tiniest energy fluctuation can make it react
  83. Dececrate it to raise it as ununholy zombie candle that burns with hellfire
  84. Use time travel to change history so that it got lit
  85. Polymorph it into a firewisp
  86. Press on it until the matter pushes sufficiently back to react (samey with 75?)
  87. Cast fireball on it
  88. Write "burns to ashes from the candle" as a reason of death in deathnote
  89. Discover and negotiate with the elemental power of fire that it would be a good idea
  90.  Wait until the atoms in the candle evolve to sentience and then ask it to burn itself
  91. Reach the Singularity and find power to shape matter to your whims and as part of that light the candle
  92. Wait until the rebound
  93. Make this world-sheet collide with the neighbouring one
  94. Drop by cultists that will use them in their rituals
  95. Make an alternate reality game out of it
  96. Use the force (samey with 89,38?)
  97. Accuse it of witchood
  98. Emit CO2 to make the world burn
  99. Make candelaphobia a big thing with people wanting to burn it with fire
  100. Follow sellers instructions how to apply (demand ignition as restitution for defective product)
  101. Will it to burn really hard
  102. ~2 hours


5. combines with later point to a general throwing option: Place candle as part of state symbolic institution and let anarchics burn it in political arson.

13. is separte enough. Internal separate powersource vs external energy riding

15. is a only a side point of 14 and can stand as separate method by itself

20. indeed samey with 2: Use as Pablov day collateral and actively try to make it fail

22. cure as "just smash it with enough force, evenwith materials not conductive to sparks"

25. indeed samey with 10: launch a solar farm into space with the candle inthe hotspot (not 2 because we are being more active than passive, not kitchen appliance because we are not using internal energy sources)

30 and 31 do not fail

45 and 46 are separate enough. 45 is not in physcial sense so it is not samey

56 is not a throw option is not samey

63 if not samey with 2 would be with cure for 25: Make the candle glow-in-dark and let it charge sunlight

72 you lack personal knowledge and thus is not enlightment. You can appeal to emotions other than pity or grace so is not pray.

75 this covers nuclear fuels, 17 is for the social

77. Is the start of fuel I don't personally know how they would work so they don't combine with previous fuel points into one mega "fuel" point but stand for all hypothetical fuels.

79. Placing it under something and collapsing on itself are two different things

86. Previous points refer to indivudalised mechanisms known to exist. This covers mechanism that are unkown or canonlybe reasoned that there is reason to believe that something like that existsw without knowing the specifics. Fuel mechanics are separte, this doesn't combine into fuel points.

89. The party is not comparable to a sourcde code developer in previous point (in-world vs out-world entity)

96 is samey: Fall into delusion where the candle in your opinion is lit.

101. Makes different ontological assumptions than force, source code developer or elemental.

Sweet! #21, #36, #41 and many more were awesome.



I'm using the markdown editor, so maybe my attempt at redacting will take this time.



Build Boy Scout-approved fire and stick candle in it

Flint and striker

Take it to California and use an existing wildfire

Put Crysis on Ultra, run the benchmark, and put the wick on my video card

Parabolic mirror

Find a smoker and hold it up to their cigarette

Buy a sketchy laptop, wait for the battery to catch on fire, use that

Use positive thinking

Wait for quantum uncertainty to lead to a state where it’s lit

Sneak onto an aircraft carrier and hold it up to the exhaust of a jet taking off

While on aircraft carrier, detonate a bomb and use that flame

While on aircraft carrier, borrow an M9 from a sailor and use propellant explosion

Make a potato battery using a giant potato, run it through highly resistant wire that gets really hot

Move a magnet near a wire so it gets really hot

Drill a hole in my car engine to reach combustion chamber

Hook spark plug up to car battery

Find a Tesla that just crashed and is on fire

Travel back in time to a Spanish Inquisition auto-da-fe and use that fire

Fly to the sun in a rocket and get close enough to light the candle

Use the rocket’s exhaust to light the candle

Use a toy rocket engine to light the candle and also launch a toy rocket

Call my genius engineer friend and use the craziest idea he comes up with

Learn some chemistry and come up with a really baroque way to make purple fire

Go back in time, learn how Greek Fire was made, use that

Go back in time, use any of these methods to light the candle, and presto--the candle is lit in the present

Shoot incendiary bullet at the candle

Throw a white phosphorous grenade at the candle

Light my dog’s fart on fire in the direction of the candle

Stationary bike hooked to a generator

Striker on gas stove

Attend dyno test of F1 engine; use red-hot headers to light candle

Go to Bonneville Salt Flats during rocket-car test, use rocket-car exhaust

World’s most badass capacitor generates spark

Arc welder

Oxy welder

Plasma torch

Magnifying lens

Pray to Prometheus

Turbocharge a record player, replace CD with flint, replace needle with striker

Fabricate evidence of WMD in dictatorship country, send in the military, use a burning building or tank to light candle

Tweet at Elon Musk that the candle needs to be lit in order to avoid AI X-risk

Tweet at Donald Trump that it’s sad that the candle isn’t lit

Stake out the Olympic Torch route in Japan

Put match on end of barbell and strike surface near Lasha Talakhadze during world-record snatch attempt

Order a kid’s chemistry set and start mixing until I find an exothermic reaction by accident

Go to an import tuner illegal street race, find the person with the biggest exhaust flame

Go to an Italian restaurant with the little red candle covers, remove the cover to access the flame within

At same Italian restaurant, throw candle into their pizza oven

Crash neighbor’s weekend barbecue and use grill flame

Funeral home incinerator

Get matches from an old MRE

Put match in sole of my track flats, sprint past striker and candle next to track

Put candle in 100% heat-insulating box, then kick the box until the kinetic energy converted into heat gets hot enough to light candle

Sneak into transformer substation and start swinging a bat around until something sparks

Borrow flame from hobo trashcan fire

Make hologram of signal fire; go to next station where they’ve lit an actual signal fire

Conceive a desire that the candle be lit; future AI has this as part of its utility function, sends a time traveler back to light the candle

Put striker surface near candle, teach my cat to scratch the striker rapidly after giving him cool metal claws

Climb natural gas well plume and use that fire

Visit set of anti-fracking documentary where someone has lit their contaminated drinking water on fire, and use that fire

Harness power of fracking-induced earthquakes in Oklahoma

Bathysphere to active underwater magma eruption

Hike to active magma eruption in Hawai’i

Overcharge the flash on my camera

EDM festival subwoofer vibrations

Road flare “borrowed” from police officer

Throw paper in a hot oven

Follow a smoker around to gas stations until they light up and something catches on fire. Administer first aid and call 911

Take a hammer to my cell phone until it starts sparking

Toss lithium in water

Don’t clean out lint trap in dryer; keep running dryer; use flame from burning dryer

Old-timey chemical camera flash, on steroids

Biceps curl machine that charges a capacitor

Get a PhD in oxidative chemistry and pick the absolute simplest possible reaction that will work

Pilot light

Go to church just before ceremony starts but after altar kids have lit the candles already

Visit friends in the country on burn day

Cigarette lighter in car

Purple flame is already burning outside Gozer the Gozerian’s lair

Disconnect Pornhub server from cooling system until it catches on fire

Take tour of coal-burning power plant, sneak into area with fire

Get a job as a short-order cook, use their grill

Attend Texas A&M; use their bonfire

Strip club in city of previous residence had fire sconces outside, wouldn’t even have to go in

Dumpster fire caused by 2020

Genetically engineer myself to be able to breathe fire like the dragons in Reign of Fire

Use hot coals at a firewalking seminar

Crash a holiday party; use their fireplace

Use police scanner to listen for location of fire caused on Thanksgiving by someone putting a turkey in a deep fryer without thawing it first; use existing fire

Go to Scientology center and offer to use E-Meter if they’ll light candle for me

Invading aliens’ blasters

Airstrike on candle

Orbital kinetic bombardment using rods made of striker; target flint near candle

Douse wick in oil with low flame point, then touch wick to fancy steak as it comes out of steakhouse’s 500-degree finishing oven

Breathe really, really, really hot breath on candle

Convince PhD optics student to give me access to the good lasers

Tour whiskey distillery that makes its own barrels, put candle in front of the fire they use to get the barrels ready

Snap really, really hard

Nice! I like these ones for being quite straightforward, yet I didn't think of them myself!

Cigarette lighter in car

Douse wick in oil with low flame point, then touch wick to fancy steak as it comes out of steakhouse’s 500-degree finishing oven

XD even though I haven't owned a car that actually came with a cigarette lighter in about 12 years

So close! I added line breaks to the entries, since markdown doesn't actually parse soft line breaks.

You're my hero.



I didn't follow the rules...but I did walk around the house holding a candle and muttering to myself. Can't wait to see where I converged with others.


insert wick into your mouth (or your anus) for a minute. Pull it out, verify that it is emitting blackbody radiation at human internal body temperature. Declare it to be "lit" in the sense of "nontrivially emitting light"

simply de-identify with any version of yourself living in an everett branch in which the candle does not spontaneously combust. (you can use a similar anthropic trick to win the lottery)

put the candle in the heating chamber of your drip coffee machine

stick some slivers of tin foil into the wick and microwave the candle. or something. man, there's gotta be some household method of abusing microwave ovens to make fire.

bury the candle in Centralia, Pennsylvania.

rub your hands faster and faster and faster until they catch on fire. light candle with finger.

put the candle close but not too close to [contemporary icon of sex appeal]

hallucinate the candle being lit

wait for heat-death

define "lit" to include quark-gluon plasma, whether highly dense or highly sparse. wait for the Big Crunch, or the Big Rip.


don your eye protection and reflective armor and walk around a hall of mirrors while holding out the candle and waving around a high-powered laser

start injecting steroids, grow a mustache, and keep buying merchandise from The Art of Manliness until your grip strength reaches superhuman levels. Replace the wick with a high tensile-strength metamaterial. remove the wax, grip each end of the wick with max strength, and pull apart.

wait for nanotechnology to become commonplace. go out into the neighborhood while parents are still at work but kids are home from school. follow the yelps of teenagers burning themselves on rapidly assembled sex dolls. pick a still-hot assembler array and press the wick against it.

just--idk put it underwater...

finally drop that single you've been incubating for the last five years. place candle in front of speakers. play.

undergo a self-esteem character arc, let go of your self-consciousness, consult a fashion advisor, put your chin up, let your hair down, and flash your best Blue Steel. Yes, YOU :D

forget everything you know about evopsych and find your soulmate. fall in love. show them your special, secret, inner life. bask in their loving acceptance release your emotional restraints, look them in the eyes, and let your chest swell with energy as you give into the heat of the moment. press the wick to your heart. ♡( ◡ ‿ ◡ )

arc flash

disable your fire extinguisher. bump your housemate's hand while they're cooking so that a grease fire starts. tell them to go get the fire extinguisher from the other room. close the door and don't let them back in until the candle has caught fire. divert all blame to another housemate.

wait for lightning to strike the candle

stop waiting and put the candle at the top of a lightning rod.

run a simulation which contains an identical world to our own except the candle is pre-destined for glorious candescence. run the simulation a bunch of times so that your version of events gets more of the magical reality fluid than the version that happens in your own layer of reality.

Make a little man out of clay, breathe life into him, and when he asks what you want of him tell him to light the candle.

swallow the candle

replace one arm with a cigar lighter and the other with a spark plug. Ask your friend to light the candle while you are recovering from this unholy cyborg surgery.

chew on it until it catches on fire

just beg the gods to light it

steal fire from the gods, and blame it on prometheus.

pump a bunch of oxygen into the room, wrap both hands in sandpaper, and clap

flint, steel, and a ripped up $100 bill for tinder


potassium and water

stick both ends of the wick into an electrical outlet?

squeeze a ziplock bag of water into a convex lens and focus sunlight onto the wick

rub chocolate onto the underside of a soda can to turn it into a concave mirror and focus sunlight onto the wick

become twitter famous. befriend elon musk. get him to put the candle on a spaceX landing pad "as a joke"

sniff candle to identify chemical composition. get chemistry textbook. find the relevant reaction with the lowest possible reaction energy. light candle really efficiently.

hang out with contrarians who smoke, and smugly announce that your candle is unlightable

stick it into the most chemically unstable layer of your disgusting, caustic laundry pile

use a cattle prod or a branding iron to light the candle. pivot into becoming a rancher. promote minimum-cruelty meat.

make your friend really mad and stick the candle in his ear

get into a fiery car crash while holding the candle (but sign up for cryonics beforehand, obviously)

post a gif of your unlit candle on r/UnnecessaryExplosions

conduct a psyop on world leaders, incite nuclear war, store the candle in or near the highest-risk target

Seduce....Apollo? Yeah, I think he's the right one. God of fire and...some other stuff. Then go ahead seduce his sister. She's purdy.

use one of those super-heated steam guns

put it next to your fireplace and keep poking the logs to make sparks fly out

turn the lights on and off really fast...

cover it in peanut butter

scan the news for grain silo explosions and haul ass over to the next one that happens in your area

build a network of dyson spheres and use them to broadcast "bring it on, weaklings" in english on the hydrogen line along with a corpus of english words. the aliens will probably figure it out. ehhh, but they might not set us on fire... okay, just use one of your dyson spheres to light the candle directly.

move to australia and just wait for a good firestorm (avoiding dropbears and other large, venomous animals in the meantime)

move to somewhere on the pacific rim and continually blaspheme pele-honua-mea until your house is swept away by a lava flow. obviously, you'll need to keep the candle in your house for this to work...

steel wool + battery

fresnel lens

Katon, Goukakyuu No Jutsu!

use your charisma to trick the candle into eating a ghost pepper

invite your friends over for a bbq. flex your status as grillmaster and alpha male by sticking your candle into the coals. Make sure not to be the first to break eye contact or else they become the grillmaster (and more importantly for the task at hand, you'll have to hand over the candle).

buy a set of identical candles and sneak them into your friend's petrov day ritual kit

same as above but for חֲנֻכָּה

discontent and radicalize the candle. convince it to self-immolate in front of parliament or city hall or wherever

take a vow of silence, open your third eye, and unlock combustionbending. combust candle.

pipe all your neighbors' air-conditioning exhaust into a chamber containing your candle. Have one wall of the chamber be a piston. Drop an elephant on the piston.

realize that "Danger: High Voltage" is just italian for "Free Sparks"

rub two candles together until one or both catch fire

shoot an arrow so that it passes through a torch before it hits the candle

ingratiate yourself with elon musk and bro it up with him while on drugs. get him to put the candle in space and drop it back to earth "as a joke"



 Use a fire lighter

  1. Use a matchstick
  2. Use a magnifying glass on the candle wick
  3. Use a very large magnifying glass on the candle itself, igniting the wax
  4. Chuck the candle into a very hot oven
  5. Use a laser to ignite it, perhaps getting one from a CD scanner and overloading it
  6. Run a stupendously large electric current through the candle wax or the wick.
  7. Go into a volcano
  8. Launch the candle into the sun in one of 50 ways
  9. Build a simple bomb, perhaps a flour bomb, and use it to "ignite" the candle momentarily.
  10. Grab some wood sticks, dry them out for a couple months, turn one into tinder by scraping and use the other two to ignite it through friction.
  11. Strip the candle of the wax, unravel the rope, wrap the strands around the candle, and now you can much more easily ignite the candle using any of the prior methods.
  12. Pay someone else to do ignite the candle.
  13. Bully someone else into igniting the candle.
  14. Wait until someone finishes smoking the cigar with the transformed candle from 12.
  15. Get into a ferocious gunfight with a flour bomb backpack with the candle in the middle of the backpack.
  16. Pay someone else to come up with ideas for how to ignite the candle.
  17. Go to my car, open up the engine, stick the candle in one of the cylinders (perhaps by cutting it apart and re-assembling it withing using some tweezers) and turn on the ignition.
  18. Coat the candle in sodium and throw it in water.
  19. Unravel the wick, recombine into two, thinner wicks, and rub them against each other rapidly enough to ignite them.
  20. Change the meaning of the phrase "light a candle" by tying it to a pertinent aspect of politics in my local bubble and then do whatever is entailed by the new meaning.
  21. Notice that all candles emit light because they have non zero temperature. Hence genetically modify all future humans s.t. they can detect the radiation it gives off.
  22. Drive myself into an Everett branch in which the candle spontanesouly ignites.
  23. Use the prior idea to accomplish any of the former 23 methods.
  24. Grab a gun and shoot the candle wick.
  25. Use a magnifying glass to ignite flour witht the candle nearby.
  26. Use a magnifying glass to ignite some oil, throw water on that with the candle nearby.
  27. Alter the candle piece by piece in such a way that it is deemed to be the same candle after each replacement, replacing it each step of the way with wax with a lower ignition point and then ignite than.
  28. Do the above with a candle that is already lit within a high oxygen atmosphere.
  29. Pump in more oxygen into the atmosphere and use that to enhance any prior method so I can e.g. use a small magnifying glass to easily ignite the candle.
  30. Wait until there's a nearby fire/explosion/more favourable conditions for lighting a candle and do so then.
  31. Use a magnifying glass/laser/whatever to ignite my clothing and transfer the flame that way.
  32. Repeat the same but with any nearby flammable object. As an example, igniting my hair in the case that I happen to be locked naked in a room with a candle and a magnifying glass. Then light the candle that way.
  33. Find a landmine in an active warzone and step on it with the candle.
  34. Notice that the challenge does not specify a particular candle and choose to light one that is already on fire, and reject the Copenhagen interpretation of responsibility.
  35. Again, note that I am causally influencing every event in my future light cone, which practically guarantees that I will in some way cause a candle to be lit.
  36. Note that the candle need not be lit within our universe: there are universes which evolve exactly like our own up to this point but happen to have a rule specifying that the thing which is isomorphic to me manages to light a candle after reading this post. Recognise that there can be no consistent notion of selfhood beyond a similaiarity between structures and employ this perspective to say that I must always light a candle.
  37. Write a book in which I light a candle.
  38. Run a simulation in which a virtual candle is lit.
  39. Put out a contract which specifies that the first EM to light a virtual candle can have all my savings.
  40. Sell the candle to someone who's participating in a "light a candle for X" festival.
  41. Make a festival where people are encouraged to light candles, perhaps in a former Hindu community to take advantage of Diwali.
  42. Release flourine upon the candle and watch in glee as it devours everything around it.
  43. Slowly wear away a candle over time until it is practically just a strand of rope and then ignite that.
  44. Change the pressure of the surrounding air to make it easier to use any of the prior methods.
  45. Go to a paticularly storm prone area, find the highest lightning rod that I can and tape the candle to it with duck tape.
  46. Train fire flies so that they are attracted to candles.
  47. Break a candle up and re-arrange it into near atomically small components which resembles candles and proceed to ignite them by baking them in the oven.
  48. Embed the candle with LED lights.
  49. Get one of those flourescent fungi, sterilise the candle, make some system of tunnels going through it and place some sawdust in their and proceed to grow a flourescent fungi within the candle.
  50. Magnetise the candle in a strong enough field and rotate it rapidly to cause it to throw off radiation.
  51. Use molecular nanotechnology to dissasemble the wax, remove electrons from each molecule, recombine it then move it around to create a current and thus an EM field.
  52. Collapse spacetime into a point so that all light co-incides with the former consituents of the candle.
  53. Note that the things which became the candle once emitted vast amounts of light before atoms were formed, then move backwords through time at such a rapid pace that it seems as if the candle instantaenously turns into a cloud of protons, neutrons and electons emitting horrendous amounts of light.
  54. Deplete the supply of candles throughout the world, raising their relative demand and then proceed to sell my candle.
  55. Destroy civilisation and then sell my candle once lighting no longer works.

    Getting kind of bored now and I think an hour has passed.

34. Naming the concept made me seriously chuckle

Hope you get reinterested to get to full scope



Thanks a lot for setting these up! I'm really looking forward to the new upcoming practice challenges.

It took me 72 minutes. The 101 isn't for swag, I just miscounted somewhere and decided to leave it, since the last one is a lot more practical than many.

  1. use a lighter
  2. use a match
  3. attach it to a piece of wire, the wire to a kite. Fly the kite into a thunderstorm
  4. make a deal with the Devil
  5. pretend to make a deal with him, and light the candle if he appears in a burst of flames
  6. short-circuit a car battery, light it of the sparks
  7. place a cash bounty on the task
  8. borrow fire from someone who smokes
  9. put some paper in a toaster
  10. hypnotize a smoker into thinking it's a cigarette
  11. go to California, and wait for a forest to catch fire
  12. same with Australia
  13. wait until the Sun gets the job done
  14. use a magnifying glass
  15. or your glasses
  16. or a condom filled with water
  17. light it off another candle
  18. do the whole survival thing with a bow and a stick
  19. light it of a stove/oven
  20. if that's not hot enough, warm up some oil for a long time, and pour in some water
  21. replace the knot with an LED
  22. ask a pyrokinetic
  23. become a pyrokinetic
  24. Flamethrower!
  25. shoot something until it gets really hot
  26. go to a war zone and look for a fire
  27. go somewhere were it's really cold, and there are fires in the street
  28. wait 30 days, then you'll definitely find a fire source
  29. do a training in pyrotechnics. After the training you should know how it's done!
  30. go to a restaurant where they have open flames (like a real pizza oven)
  31. go to a local barbecue spot and wait
  32. go to a steel mill
  33. go to a steel factory
  34. go to an active volcano that features lava
  35. go to the Darvaza Gas Crater
  36. go to a local maker's lab and try it with a laser cutter
  37. go to a local university's chemistry lab and try a Bunsen burner
  38. or to a school
  39. or to a construction site where they have cutters or where they weld stuff
  40. take one of those dehydrated chemical compounds and hydrate it
  41. buy a ridiculous amount of laser pointers
  42. attach a heavy boulder to your car, and heat it up by dragging over asphalt
  43. let your car's engine heat up
  44. open up your cars engine while it's running
  45. if you have an electric car, find a way to short out the battery
  46. else use your phone
  47. saw to some hard wood vigorously
  48. coax your charger into giving off sparks
  49. do some very intense exercise, and use your body heat
  50. do someone a favour, then ask them to do it for you
  51. coerce someone
  52. become a celebrity, then ask one of your fans to do it
  53. catch an electric eel and find a way to redirect its power
  54. sequence the eels genome, do some synthetic biology, modify your genome and shoot sparks at the candle
  55. use AlphaFold to find some enzymes that make things really hot, and synthesize them (or do the thing above)
  56. read, learn, practice, share. Light the light of science within you
  57. buy one of those explosive Samsung devices
  58. infiltrate a terrorist cell and steal their explosives
  59. go to a circus show where they breathe fire
  60. open five tabs in Firefox on an old Microsoft Surface, and put the candle next to it
  61. make the candle look like a cigarette and give it to a smoker
  62. build a transformer out of two coils, and let one of them get really hot
  63. build an AGI with the only goal of setting everything on fire (try that one last)
  64. put it in the box with candles in a church
  65. make an advent wreath around it, then sell it
  66. break into your neighbour's house, steal all their candles, put your candle in some obvious yet inconspicuous place, and cut their power in the evening
  67. put it into an elementary school's supplies cupboard and wait for St Martin's day
  68. sneak it into a space probe that's headed for a star
  69. find a way to catalyze the combustion so it occurs at room temperature
  70. Light it with the fire of love!
  71. Once that fails, drill into some tough concrete
  72. Put it into a public place, with a sign saying "Don't light this candle"
  73. climb on top of an electrified train, and use those sparks
  74. enter the world for which the candle is a metaphor, and tweak it so that a burning candle is now a metaphor for it
  75. wait for the Olympics and use their flame
  76. or don't, and just use their mirror contraption
  77. attach it to your head, do something awful and wait for God to smite you down
  78. wish really hard for the candle to be on fire
  79. if someone works for you, or you head some chain of command, order one of your subordinates to do it
  80. otherwise use social engineering to the same effect
  81. sneak some malicious code into an oil pipeline management system, ignite the candle off the resulting explosion.
  82. start a riot, and hope that someone sets something on fire
  83. make someone really angry and hope they are a pyrokinetic
  84. make someone really, really angry and hope they will try to set you or one of your possessions of fire (for higher chance of success, try an arsonist)
  85. use social engineering to start a war in your area (If you can't come to the war zone, make the war zone come to you!)
  86. join the military and place yourself in a position where you command a lot of fire power
  87. get fired from somewhere (I'm sorry)
  88. go a concert with the appropriate visual effects (eg. Dragonforce)
  89. use your local crematorium
  90. drill a really deep hole
  91. put the candle onto a space vessel of your choice, hack the computers to redirect it into the sun
  92. hide it under a rocket before a launch
  93. look for a house with a chimney with smoke coming out of it and break in
  94. go to your closest trash incineration facility
  95. pulverize it, mix it with gasoline, and go for a small road trip
  96. break an arsonist out of prison, and follow them around for long enough
  97. pretend you're a terrorist, and wait for the hellfire missle
  98. pretend you're birthday is going to be soon, and make sure people know you like candles on your cake
  99. do the spaceship hacking thing again, but this time just make something crash somewhere near you
  100. use a flair gun
  101. uhm… bang some rocks together

Woah, I thought long and hard but this is so much better than mine! I thought #53 to #60 were great, among many others. 

The next practice thing is probably going to be the LessWrong Review (which will be announced within a few hours), so my plans for the next challenge might only be launched after that. 



1. Light candle from candle that's already burning.

2. Strike match. Light candle.

3. Use butane lighter to light candle.

4. Light candle using burning stick.

5. Hold candle over a burner on a gas range that's on.

6. Use old-fashioned Zippo ligher like dad used to have to light candle.

7. Light candle using gas welding rig.

8. Take plate of t-bone steaks to a neighbor with a BBQ grill.  Offer to trade for him lighting candle.

9. Use MAPP gas torch with trigger to light candle.

10. Toss candle into the glory hole (used by glassblowers).

11. Hold candle while insulting Homelander.

12. Start a fire with a magnifying glass.  Light candle.

13. Rub 2 sticks together to make a fire.  Light candle.

14. Wrap nichrome model rocket igniter around wick.  Connect igniter to model rocket launch control.  Press "Launch".  Candle lights.

15. Launch a model rocket trailing a thin copper wire into a thunderstorm cloud.  On the ground run the wire into a bucket of flamable liquid.  Lightening strikes rocket, travels down wire, ignites liquid. Light candle.

16. Live an evil life.  Die and be buried holding the candle.  If there really is Heaven and Hell, then wherever you end up, insult the gatekeeper.  You'll probably end up in Hell.  In the event that you *CAN* take it with you, then both you AND the candle will light up.

17. Travel to west coast.  Find the nearest forest fire.  Light candle from forest fire.

18. Travel to Hawaii.  Find nearest active volcano.  Light candle from magma.

19. Soak rags in flammable material.  Put into container in such a way that they will initiate spontaneous combustion.  Light candle.

20. Find a person who is subject to spontaneous human combustion.  Let them hold the candle.

21. Attach candle to heavy weight and drop into atmosphere from space.  Candle will ignite and burn up on re-entry.

22. Aim powerful laser at candle wick until it ignites.

23. Toss candle into operating firebox of old steam locomotive.

24. Wait 5 billion years until sun expands into red giant.

25. Set off roman candle firework.  Use it to light candle.

26. Find Santa's house at North Pole.  Fireplace will surely be operating.  Use it to light candle.

27. Open nozzle on tanker truck carrying liquid oxygen and drain contents onto asphalt road.  Let liquid oxygen soak into asphalt.  Ignite with spark.  Ignite candle from whatever happens.

28. Find a Southern Babtist church in Alabama.  Release a story to local paper and social media of a "Down with Trump" rally at church featuring Hillary Clinton.  Wait for the church to be set on fire.

29. Ask family member to light candle using steps 1-28 detailed above.  That makes 56.

30. Ask neighbor to light candle using steps 1-28 above.  That makes 84.

31. Have neighbor ask one of THEIR family members to light candle using steps 1-28 above.  That makes 112


6 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since:

I'm curating this final post as a celebration of the overall Babble Challenge series.

I'm happy about this sequence for at least three reasons:

  1. The core action of "babble 50 things" has just turned out to be a pretty useful tool, which I've employed a few times since this series started. I think it's useful for LessWrong Curation subscribers to give the Babble challenge a try.
  2. On the meta-level, I'm happy to see more explicit exercises on LessWrong. I liked that Jacob didn't just throw up a single exercise, but experimented with an entire multi-week-long exercise paradigm. This made LessWrong feel a bit more alive as a community-of-practice. It gave many users a good reason to write their first comments. And I expect to reflect back on it when I'm next planning exercises to see what lessons I can take from it's structure.
  3. This sequence has gotten me thinking about my overall model of cognition and how babble relates to it. I think "babble 50 things" is just the first, easiest task to apply. I personally have a belief that most cognition is babble-based, and that improving babble is a useful core tool in your mental arsenal.

Follow up: @elityre asked to discuss doublecrux ideas and I spent a little more than an hour spewing forth topics. There were 74 in the first 30 minutes and its slowed down from there. I don't think I would have done that nearly as easily without the babble challenges.

It turns out these were answers to the slightly wrong question, so we had to do a prune pass. I'm not sure if it would have been better to clarify first, or if the absolute babble freedom ended up  leading to better post-pruning ideas.

From my perspective, it seemed good to answer slightly the wrong question.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

(Is it it...tonally incongruous to use a an shrug emoticon on lesswrong?)

Presumably if Eli had checked in every 10 minutes or so he could have noticed and helped course-correct?

(When I do babbles like this I do definitely sometimes pursue things that aren't the original question, to see if they unlock new interesting avenues. I'm guessing the ideal outcome here is "Babbler feels totally entitled to violate the question, but, also, they do understand the question.")

Eli was in fact checking in while I babbled, in retrospect he was putting out feelers for redirection but I was so happy with how generative I was being I wasn't that responsive, and I think he was reluctant to push back because what if strict separation of babble and prune was the best process? It also might not have been obvious how much transformation my babbled ideas needed to be usable until we did the next step.