As I watched the beautiful fireworks last night (yes, they were on July 5th), it made me wonder once again why such a spectacular sight is marred (in my opinion) with the loud booms. Is it really necessary? The most enjoyable fireworks I ever saw was 15 years ago when I was in the hospital after having our son. We were able to watch them from the nursery window and we couldn't hear the noise. It was perfect! Anyway, when I got home from the majestic show last evening, I did what I always do when I am pondering such a question - I got online.
This is what I found:
Fireworks were invented in China more than a thousand years ago, when the explosive substance called black powder-a mixture of potassium nitrate, charcoal, and sulfur-was developed. For centuries, fireworks were little more than small rockets that exploded with a loud bang. It wasn't until the nineteenth century that the chemistry and physics of fireworks were studied in earnest, giving rise to the kind of spectacular, colorful displays we now enjoy on the Fourth of July and other occasions.
I thought the history of fireworks was interesting and I found my answer regarding the noise also:
When the last stage of the rocket explodes, atoms of aluminum, magnesium, or titanium are heated to extremely high temperatures, causing the metal to become incandescent. The incandescent metal gives off radiation across a wide portion of the visible spectrum, producing a bright flash of white light. The high temperature causes the nearby air to expand rapidly, producing a loud bang.
It definitely is a case of not being able to have the good without the bad. I will try to remember this in the future and not complain about the noise.
Yesterday was apparently a "pondering" day for me because the other question I asked myself was why the Japanese baseball player Ichiro Suzuki, who plays for the Seattle Mariners, has his first or given name on his jersey instead of his last or family name. The three Japanese players who play for the Boston Red Sox all have their last names on their shirts. Once again, I headed for the internet and found the answer. Apparently in Japan, the custom is to put the first name on the jersey and Ichiro wanted to continue that. Major League Baseball granted his request.
Isn't the internet an amazing thing? The information you can find is mind-boggling. I can get answers to most of my ponderings. Want to know when to use affect or effect? There is a paper online that explains that. Want to know what song that lyrics came from that you can't get out of your head? You can find that online too.
What are you pondering about today?
Here's to the internet and answers!