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Suit Yourself™ International Magazine #20: Fireworks

  

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Suit Yourself™ International Magazine #20: Fireworks

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This is a special issue on fireworks in celebration of our upcoming annual National Holiday. 
This is the 20th in our articles series and I hope this information is helpful.
Get out and see them! 

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All previous articles in the series can be found in our library and in the magazine archives.  Upon request, reprint permission and an addendum of substantiating resources are available for all magazine articles. When requesting reprint permission or addenda, please include the issue date and full issue title. All magazine articles are copyright © Debra Spencer, Suit Yourself ™ International. All rights reserved. ISSN 2474-820X. 

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FIREWORKS !!!!!

 

"There are very few problems which can't be solved by a suitable application of high explosives". 
(Attributed to, in alphabetical order, Scott Adams, Richard Feynman, William W. Hughes, and William Law.)

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Americans generally celebrate the 4th of July with a suitable application of high explosives known as a "fireworks display".

There is more to this than meets the eye. 

 

Fireworks Color Chemistry. 

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The United States' National Day is the Fourth of July. A national day is a designated date for celebrations marking nationhood, of a nation, or non-sovereign country.  Ours is also referred to as 'Independence Day'. This national holiday commemorates the approval, on July 4th, 1776, by the Continental Congress, of the Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining the decision of the thirteen American colonies to declare themselves a new nation, the United States of America, no longer part of the British Empire and independent of Great Britain's rule.

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 Buy-1-Get-11-Free American FireWorks Stand, Plus 3 Art Deco Period Fireworks Advertisements. 

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For centuries, all around the world, it's always been traditional to celebrate ceremonies with a notable pyrotechnic display.  Humans have been doing this for fun and fanfare for literally hundreds of years.  

 

3 Views of Ryogoku Fireworks: Kako Morita, Utagawa (100 Views Edo), Shotei.

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We deliberately and peacefully launch explosives into relatively high altitudes above gathered crowds of expectant people, showering the watching crowd with brilliantly colored falling configurations of intensely sparkling lights, generally accompanied by loud booms and rather a lot of smelly smoke. 

 

Toyoharu, Ryogoku Bridge Fireworks Display, 1770's.

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Fireworks displays really are 'rocket science'.  

 

Fireworks Effects, From Great Grizzly. 

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They require depths of specialized skill and expertise, including but not limited to a sophisticated knowledge of projectiles and combustible chemistry.

 

Harry Whittier Frees, Kitties Set Off Canons, c1900.

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They also require a suitable amount of prefabricated carefully timed combustibles, canons with which to launch them, a license for blowing up projectiles, funding to cover the costs, and a solid flair for the dramatic.

 

Harry Whittier Frees, The 2nd Story Rescue, c1900. 

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In addition to all this, they do require reasonably cooperative weather, and reasonably well behaved crowds.

 

Harry Whittier Frees, Firefighting Kitties, c1900. 

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What is interesting to note is that firework displays are universally adored. 

 

3 Views, Watching Fireworks: (top) Kuniyoshi c1849 Watching Fireworks from Boats, (bottom) Utagawa Toyokuni,  Ryogoku Bridge Fireworks c1825. 

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Just about any significant crowd gathering event is used as an excuse for fireworks.

So just what is it about fireworks that makes us love them so?

 

Gordon Hotels Ltd. Xmas Fireworks, Georges Barbier. 

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Even the dichromats among us enjoy the show regardless; the fantastic colors are neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for enjoyment. Dichromats are those of us lacking one of the three standard signals of color experience; it's also called 'color blindness'. No, it's not the colors. And we know it's not the smelly smoke.  It's something else.  Let's see what this might be.

 

Couples celebrating with fireworks; 2 Pahari miniatures, Kangra school, late 18th Century. 

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Is it the explosions?

Most Americans don't often have the chance to stand safely under Mother Nature while she lets loose. 

 

Sosaku Hanga Fireworks, Japanese Woodblock Print.

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Our eyes are blasted with a piercingly wide field, covered in every direction we look with unremitting intensely contrasting bright pinpoints of light, rapidly descending in the dark, sudden piercingly loud sonic booms, smoke and sulfur in the air we breath. Our brain is deluged, our senses drenched, our skin prickles, our ears are deafened, the adrenaline rushes, and our eyes carry home after image 'take outs'. If we've been 'parked in' for the show, there's nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and our primitive selves know it. We also know this is transitory; all this shall pass. We love these brief displays; we go out of our way to experience them, and most of us won't pass up the opportunity to see them whenever we can. 

 

Artist's Rendering Of A Meteor Shower, 1910. 

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Firework displays allow us to experience beauty alongside destruction, from a safely controlled, comfortable distance.  For many of us, these demonstrations of humans harnessing the awesome and powerful forces of Nature is as close as we want to get.  With fireworks, we can readily imagine actual first hand involvement in the results of humans doing this badly. 

 

How Strike Anywhere And Safety Matches Are Made ~ Very Hard To Find Information! 

Figure 5-6, Chemistry Of Hazardous Materials, Eugene Meyer, 1977, Prentice Hall, ISBN 0-13-129239-0. 

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Fireworks are controlled, safe, direct demonstrations of the forces inherent in Nature, and from them we remember to respect her. The spectacular beauty of these displays is a reminder that tools can only do the bidding of those who use them. We can choose to weld bombs, or boats, or Fireworks. It's entirely up to us.

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Are you feeling adventurous?

For those of you who want to know how sparklers are made,  HERE IS THE RECIPE TO MAKE SPARKLERS!

Dr. Calvert says "The common sparkler is a steel wire coated with a KClO4-Al mixture that makes white sparks. Added Ba(NO3)2 makes the sparks green, and SrCO3 makes red sparks. Fe filings and the barium nitrate make golden sparks. The binder used is dextrine, a gum made from starch. The sparks can be received on the skin with equanimity. Wowsers have attempted to ban sparklers as dangerous, though a more innocuous firework that gives so much pleasure can hardly be imagined. Any child waving a wire can probably cause injury sometime, but sparklers are probably less dangerous than rubber ducks. They can certainly be allowed in residential areas, and are a safe outlet for festive feelings." For more on Explosives, see http://mysite.du.edu/~jcalvert/phys/bang.htm

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Harry Whittier Frees, Kitten Engineers, c1900.

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Happy Independence Day!

Animated Japanese Woodblock Print Of Edo’s Yoshiwara district, with people watching the Sumida River fireworks.

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I sign our magazine articles "See Into The Invisible". Thanks for reading.

Best Wishes, 
Debra Spencer

All Content is © Debra Spencer, Suit Yourself™ International. Technical Library FAQ Index ISSN 2474-820X. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce in part or in whole without express written consent. Thank you.
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All Content is ©2019 Debra Spencer, Appanage™at www.suityourself.international Suit Yourself ™ International, 120 Pendleton Point, Islesboro Island, Maine, 04848, USA 44n31 68w91 Technical Library FAQ Index ISSN 2474-820X. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce in part or in whole without express written consent. Thank you.

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All Content is ©2019 Debra Spencer, Appanage™at www.suityourself.international Suit Yourself ™ International, 120 Pendleton Point, Islesboro Island, Maine, 04848, USA 44n31 68w91 Technical Library FAQ Index ISSN 2474-820X. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce in part or in whole without express written consent. Thank you.
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. ~ Winston Churchill