On July 4th, most of us are going to watch fireworks. The Chinese invented fireworks sometime between 200 BC and 900 AD. The US has been using fireworks to celebrate Independence Day since 1777, before we even knew if we would survive as an independent country. But few of us know what’s actually in them.

Corey Binns writes in LiveScience.com that each tube contains a mix of metallic and chemical powders that are designed to produce certain colors when heat is applied to them and they explode, as well as the sound effects that go along with them. Fireworks that go off sequentially come in the shape of a group of connected sections. Some of the ingredients used in fireworks are copper, which produces blue sparks; barium, for green; calcium for orange; and sodium for yellow. Aluminum and titanium explode into white star-like shapes.

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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One really exciting thing that’s coming your way in the future is Whitley Strieber’s extraordinary new novel The Grays. Did you know that you can pre-order a copy TODAY by clicking on the above link? It will be published on August 22nd, just in time for a trip to the beach.

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