Tag Archive: Fireworks

Aug 24 2014

Rant of the Week: John Oliver – Fireworks

As summer is coming to a close and we are coming to the last holiday weekend of “official” summer, in a web exclusive from the 4th of July, here is John Oliver’s take on the American fixation with fireworks.

Jul 02 2012

Pique the Geek 20120701: Fireworks Safety

This time of year I generally write about fireworks since they are integral to the celebration of Independence Day.  I have written some rather technical pieces in the past, so this time I thought that it might be a good idea to write about some safety factors that users of consumer fireworks should observe.  Even though consumer fireworks are designed to minimize risk of injury, there is a finite probability that accidents and injuries will occur.

Many of you know how much I enjoy the music of The Who, and I shall work them into this piece.  It happens to involve one of the most treacherous pyrotechnic composition, flash powder.  In a former life, I was a professional pyrotechnician, and I am still scared of flash powder.

Many accidents involving consumer fireworks are either personal injuries caused by negligence (often alcohol fueled), ignorance, or bravado (also often alcohol fueled).  Many other accidents involving these products have to do with unintentional fires cause by firework use, storage, or transport.

Jun 14 2012

My Little Town 20120613: Fireworks

Those of you that read this regular series know that I am from Hackett, Arkansas, just a mile or so from the Oklahoma border, and just about 10 miles south of the Arkansas River.  It was a rural sort of place that did not particularly appreciate education, and just zoom onto my previous posts to understand a bit about it.

One advantage of living in a little town is that I could set off fireworks.  Arkansas has a quirky law that allows sale of fireworks only a few days per year, a week or so around New Year’s Day and a week or so around Independence Day.  I would get my parents, when I was little, to stock up.  Later I would stock up myself.

I have seen lots of folks who have been injured by fireworks (when I was little, many of the consumer protection rules had not been put in place).  Until adulthood I was never injured by any kind of firework (I DID come close a few times).

Jul 04 2011

Pique the Geek 20110703: Annual Fireworks Essay and a Fantasy

I have written pieces about fireworks in this space for several years now.  This year is no different, but instead of describing how modern fireworks operate, we shall, courtesy of The Doctor, take the TARDIS back to 1784, the first Independence Day after ratification of the Treaty of Paris, so for the first time the United States was a truly independent Nation on 04 July.

Unfortunately, my video camera was not working at the time, so I shall have just to describe what fireworks looked like at the time.  The Doctor told me that he would come again and that we would go to the 1785 one for next year, and make sure that I had a functional video camera.

Except for color, fireworks in that era were similar to some of the least advanced ones that we have today.  The complex aerial effects are quite modern, bright color is modern, and set pieces are also modern.

Jul 05 2010

Pique the Geek 20100704: The Science of Fireworks

This has been sort of a recurring theme for me the past few years for the installment nearest Independence Day.  You can hit my profile and find the earlier entries in this series.

This time, I intend to focus on the single greatest improvement in technology (other than the development of black powder) that has made modern, highly colored fireworks possible.  Until relatively recently the only colors available were white, yellow, and a dull red, with very faded out, compared to today, other colors.

First some theory, then some facts.  Please follow.