Gorgeous, illustrated Japanese fireworks catalogs from the early 1900s

The Yokohama Board of Education has posted scans of six fantastic catalogs from Hirayama Fireworks and Yokoi Fireworks, dating from the early 1900s. The illustrated catalogs are superb, with minimal words: just beautiful colored drawings depicting the burst-pattern from each rocket. Read the rest

Senko hanabi: Japanese sparklers light the summer nights

Summer in Japan isn't summer in Japan unless there are fireworks—and lots of them. Cities and towns, temples and ports; somewhere near you, on one of these hot and outrageously humid summer nights, there will be a fireworks show. It will be loud, and it will be incredible.

The quiet side of summer pyrotechnics, though, is called senko hanabi. Senko in Japanese meaning an incense stick, and hanabi (literally flower fire) is the word for fireworks. The senko hanabi is one cool little dude with a lot of meaning and charm packed into a very short and very serene ten seconds.

First, one of these delicate sparklers looks like a roughly 20 centimeter long, tightly twisted, rainbow-colored piece of tissue paper, with one end not so tightly twisted. That’s the top. There’s no stick inside, so the way to burn one is to pinch the top, holding the senko hanabi vertical, while you light the bottom. After a second or two, a molten bubble will form. Here’s where you have to have a steady hand. If you’re not careful, that tiny shimmering ball of fire will drop off and the show is over. If, however, you can hold it very still, you will be able to enjoy the serene, mesmerizing, indeed almost hypnotizing beauty of a Japanese senko hanabi.

This beauty is divided into five stages that go like this:

1. Bud. The fire bubble looks like the bud of a flower. 2. Peony. When the first burst of sparkles appear, breaking the surface of the tiny molten ball, the shape is said to look like a peony. Read the rest

Roman candles are best when held by terrified children

Give your kids Roman candles to use in a confined space. What could go wrong?

Sure, they might drop them in terror. Yeah, the sparkling, white-hot explosion of entertaining color that pours out of the firework could cause them life-altering injuries, but it’s totally cool. Just enjoy the colors.

Enjoy. Those. Colors. Read the rest

Buzzkill alert: The thousands of illegal fireworks over L.A. cause air pollution

It brings me no joy to write this, as I love me some fireworks (including the amateur ones) on the Fourth of July. However, it seems the thousands of (mostly illegal) fireworks set off over Los Angeles each Independence Day are causing bad air pollution.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

Americans’ fervor for Fourth of July fireworks has some unfortunate side effects.

There’s a jump in fires, gruesome injuries and runaway pets spooked by the noise.

But there’s also a more widespread hazard from the yearly outburst of pyrotechnics: It spikes air pollution so sharply it becomes dangerous for everyone to breathe.

Independence Day and July 5 consistently have some of the worst air quality of the year. With so many fireworks going off at once, levels of fine-particle pollution — a stew of tiny, lung-damaging specks of toxic soot, smoke and ash known as PM2.5 — surge several times higher than federal health standards across Southern California, air monitoring data show...

Fourth of July pollution may pose even greater risks compared with typical smog because it contains higher concentrations of toxic metals like barium and copper that are used in fireworks to generate bright colors, said Jun Wu, a professor of public health at UC Irvine who has studied the effects of air pollution.

Previously: Watch this timelapse of illegal 4th of July fireworks over L.A. Read the rest

Watch the insides of a firework explode in super slo-mo

Ever wonder what the inside of a giant firework looks like as it explodes? This super-slo mo footage shows what happens when a shell that's been cut in half gets lit. Read the rest

This mini fireworks stand has real working explosives

Not sure what inspired Mav Vasquez to craft this miniature fireworks stand but I'm glad he did. He not only took the time to make each tiny papercraft firework look realistic, he also made them fully functional. Yes, each one is packed with powder and blows up!

Want to make your own? See his behind-the-scene photos over at Imgur.

Though, for $155, he'll make a replica of the stand for you (although its fireworks won't be functional).

(MAKE) Read the rest

The Mexican town where 75% of residents manufacture fireworks

Brimstone & Glory is a new documentary about the annual National Pyrotechnic Festival in Tultepec, Mexico, a ten-day orgy of sparks and sulfur. Almost everyone in town manufactures fireworks, so the festival is beyond the beyond. Read the rest

Spectacular shots of Japanese summer fireworks

Japan's many summer fireworks festivals have inspired enthusiasts who specialize in photographing hanabi (literally "flower-fires"), and Keisuke is emerging as an Instagram favorite thanks to works like these. Read the rest

Watch this timelapse of illegal 4th of July fireworks over L.A.

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Happy Fourth of July Timelapse Tuesday! The best fireworks are in the hood. They are technically illegal, but that doesn't stop much of the city from getting down. This is a blend of a short video and an hour long timelapse made up of 800 photos on a Rokinon 50mm and Canon 6D. The music is from my super talented friend ARWon (check my profile for his SoundCloud). . . #westcoast_exposures #WeOwnTheNight_la #wheream_i_la #intheheartofthecity #igbest_shotz #igpodium_night #ig_color #ig_masterpiece #instashooterz #ig_exquisite #ig_shotz_le #allmediumsaccepted #ABC7Eyewitness #discoverla #dtla #global_hotshotz #jaw_dropping_shots #losangeles_city #losangeles_la #longexpoelite #losangeles #lastory #best_timelapse #conquer_la #nightphotography #night_shooterz #NBC4You #heatercentral #uglagrammers #in_losangeles

A post shared by Kevin Greene (@thekevingreene) on Jul 4, 2017 at 10:02am PDT

Photographer Kevin Greene created this amazing timelapse using photographs of illegal Fourth of July fireworks going off in Los Angeles. To get the series of shots, he traveled to Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook seven miles out of town.

Wondering why the city in the front doesn't have much action?

Kevin explains,"The foreground is Culver City. Culver City Police Department is super strict about fireworks. Those houses are relatively expensive and in Los Angeles the best street fireworks tend to be in the hood."

Check out all his cool night shots on his Instagram. Read the rest

Lego announces "Women of NASA" minifigs

Last year, MIT News editor Maya Weinstock submitted her Women of NASA minifigures design to LEGO Ideas. LEGO has just approved the idea and laster this year or early 2018 will release an official minifig set of these five inspiring women in science:

Margaret Hamilton, computer scientist: While working at MIT under contract with NASA in the 1960s, Hamilton developed the on-board flight software for the Apollo missions to the moon. She is known for popularizing the modern concept of software.

Katherine Johnson, mathematician and space scientist: A longtime NASA researcher, Johnson is best known for calculating and verifying trajectories for the Mercury and Apollo programs — including the Apollo 11 mission that first landed humans on the moon.

Sally Ride, astronaut, physicist, and educator: A physicist by training, Ride became the first American woman in space in 1983. After retiring as a NASA astronaut, she founded an educational company focusing on encouraging children — especially girls — to pursue the sciences.

Nancy Grace Roman, astronomer: One of the first female executives at NASA, Roman is known to many as the "Mother of Hubble" for her role in planning the Hubble Space Telescope. She also developed NASA's astronomy research program.

Mae Jemison, astronaut, physician, and entrepreneur: Trained as a medical doctor, Jemison became the first African-American woman in space in 1992. After retiring from NASA, Jemison established a company that develops new technologies and encourages students in the sciences.

(via Laughing Squid)

Read the rest

Watch one of the world’s biggest firework shells fill the sky

Set off in Zurrieq, Malta late last year, this impressive chain-reaction firework is believed to be the biggest single firework ever, although it’s rivaled by a display in Kounosu, Japan from 2014. The Daily Mail has more details about the Matla display. YouTube user Janet Reed originally captured the massive single firework as well some of the show around it (the single firework begins at 1:36):

[via maria-ruta.tumblr.com] Read the rest

A roundup of the hilarious, terrible, wonderful art of 4th of July fireworks packaging

Every July 4, Cabel Sasser photographs the artwork used to sell that year's crop of Independence Day fireworks, which are a graphic design sub-genre that reflects pop culture sensibilities and the national mood. Read the rest

Idiots ignite fireworks shelves inside a Walmart

Interestingly, you can buy fireworks at Walmart stores in Arizona. You aren't supposed to light them all at once inside the store, though. The gentleman who did will soon learn that fireworks are harder to come by in prison. Read the rest

Watch what happens when you ignite 10,000 sparklers packed in a bucket

It would take two days to go through 10,000 sparklers if you were to burn them all one right after another. In this video you'll see what happens when you light them all at once.

A man and his nephew packed the sparklers together in a bucket and drove to the middle of nowhere. (It seems nuts to transport something so explosive back of a car, but this is Russia, after all.) With a couple of fire extinguishers on hand, they lit the fuse and got away. The resulting jet of sparkly fire was spectacular. It was a good thing they had the fire extinguishers on hand because the dry grass surrounding the bucket immediately caught fire.

As the narrator says, "All that is shown in this video is very dangerous, it is forbidden to repeat, but you can enjoy it."

[via] Read the rest

Watch 6,000 match heads ignite in super-slow motion

"Match Head Bomb at 2500fps." Read the rest

Match Head Bomb video: 6000 matches in a blender, shot at at 2500fps

The Slow Mo guys are back at it with an amazing, totally unsafe, possibly illegal homemade pyrotechnics display. Read the rest

Don't strap fireworks to your head

A fellow in Maine lit a firework that he had "strapped to his head." He was killed instantly, reports WCSH. Local officials stress that fireworks are dangerous, "especially if they are not used properly." Read the rest

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