My daughter and I were driving home at 9:00 p.m. when she saw them. "Fireworks!" she exclaimed. And there they were, bursting over the fairgrounds. No matter how often I see them, it's still exciting. Boom! Boom! Boom! I instinctively starting singing the national anthem. Today's recommendations are for everyone who just cannot get enough of those summertime fireworks. Have a blast! [Editor's Note: An updated version of this topic can be found here: Fireworks]
No, I am not advocating creating a fireworks display in your back yard. These fireworks will be an online creation. First choose your skyline: Will your pyrotechnics explode over Atlanta, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C. or Little Rock? Then choreograph your explosions by choosing from four sizes and four colors. Under options, you can choose whether to have the music on or off, and whether the default fireworks display will run automatically. As usual, this fun requires the free Shockwave plug-in.
This PBS site is my pick of the day. Be sure to turn your speakers on for the full effect of the Shockwave animation on the opening page. Start your tour with Anatomy of a Firework, which explains each firework component from the lift charge (gunpowder to hurl the firework shell) to the breaks (separate cardboard containers of stars). Next, in Pyrotechnics, is an explanation of the role played by each chemical element. This includes an excellent lesson on how the Periodic Table is organized. The site concludes with a fascinating interview with demolition expert, Stacey Loizeaux, whose family specializes in imploding buildings. Now that's a big kaboom!
Pyrotechnics is a combination of art and science. Finnish chemist Petri Pihko, began his chemical career at the age of ten. Chemicals for his kitchen laboratory were expensive and hard to find, so he formed a Chemistry Club. Today, as a graduate student, pyrotechnics is one of his hobbies. This site is a collection of all that he loves about fireworks. For science buffs, the don't-miss-it click is Petri's explanation of the physics of colored fireworks.