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Monday, July 17, 2017

Greetings Infomaniacs,

Even weeks after Independence Day you can still hear the occasional firework going off. Americans love their fireworks.

If you have ever wondered how those spectacular explosions and brilliant colors are made, the Smithsonian magazine has some facts about the science behind those bombs bursting in air. Read all about it in today's issue...

Enjoy!

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WHO SAID IT?

QUOTE: "Independence is happiness."

HINT: (1820 - 1906), was an American social reformer and feminist who played a pivotal role in the women's suffrage movement.

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RANDOM TIDBITS

As early as 200 B.C., the Chinese were writing on green bamboo stalks and heating it on coals to dry. Sometimes if left too long over the heat, the wood expanded and even burst, with a bang of course. According to Scientific American, Chinese scholars noticed that the noises effectively scared off abnormally large mountain men. And, thus, the firecracker was born. By some accounts, fireworks were also thought to scare away evil spirits.

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Sometime between 600 and 900 C.E., Chinese alchemists accidentally mixed saltpeter (or potassium nitrate) with sulfur and charcoal, inadvertently stumbling upon the crude chemical recipe for gunpowder. Supposedly, they had been searching for an elixir for immortality.

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Firework color concoctions are comprised of different metal elements. When an element burns, its electrons get excited, and it releases energy in the form of light. Different chemicals burn at different wavelengths of light. Strontium and lithium compounds produce deep reds; copper produces blues; titanium and magnesium burn silver or white; calcium creates an orange color; sodium produces yellow pyrotechnics; and finally, barium burns green.

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Most modern fireworks displays use aerial shells, which resemble ice cream cones. Developed in the 1830s by Italian pyrotechnicians, the shells contain fuel in a cone bottom, while the "scoop" contains an outer layer of pyrotechnic stars, or tiny balls containing the chemicals needed to produce a desired color, and an inner bursting charge.

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Americans have been setting off fireworks to celebrate their independence since 1777, at least. Even some of the very first Independence Day celebrations involved fireworks. On July 4, 1777, Philadelphia put together an elaborate day of festivities, notes American University historian James R. Heintze. The celebration included a 13 cannon display, a parade, a fancy dinner, toasts, music, musket salutes, "loud huzzas," and of course fireworks.

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Layers of an organic salt, like sodium salicylate, combined with the oxidizer potassium perchlorate burn one at a time. As each layer burns, it slowly releases a gas, creating the whistling sound associated with most firework rockets. Aluminum or iron flakes can create hissing or sizzling sparkles, while titanium powder can create loud blasts, in addition to white sparks.




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*** Weekly Mind-Scrambler ***

Some are quick to take it.
Others must be coaxed.
Those who choose to take it
gain and lose the most.

Submit your answer by clicking: TheDailyTease

Answer will be posted in Friday's Trivia Today. Good Luck! If your name appears in Friday's newsletter, EMAIL MICHELE your complete name and address to be shipped your prize.

Be sure to put "Winner" in the subject line.

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WHO SAID IT?

QUOTE: "Independence is happiness."

ANSWER: Susan B. Anthony.

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