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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Physics and Fireworks

One of the things that homeschooling has the ability to really emphasize is learning everywhere. This certainly applies to historical events--it's the 4th tomorrow and what better time to brush up on some history?

But equally compelling, if not more so, is the historical reason we use fireworks to celebrate the day (guns were involved? Really?). At least, the prospect of explosions was a tad more interesting to me as a youngster than taxes... that may have shifted since then.

...I must be growing up. I think about taxes more than pyrotechnics.

Ouch.

So, as an "elderly chap", what can I do to get back into the spirit of learning? War and struggle for freedoms has become a little too sordid for me as of late, and I while things aren't perfect, I'm not sure it's time to start throwing tea in the lakes of my land-locked state.

Well, I still like fireworks. I could go research what chemicals make the fireworks turn red or yellow or blue. Well, looks like "lithium carbonate", "sodium nitrate", and "copper (I) chloride". Cool. It's been a while since I looked at those kinds of equations.

Or how about physics? If one of the kids on my block lights a 5 gram fire cracker and it goes into the air at a rate of 2 meters/second^2, it would have a force of 0.01 newtons. Not that there'd be a good way to find the acceleration of your firecracker, but it does give a visual representation of what force looks like in action.

So while you're "ooo"ing and "aaa"ing over the noisy light show tomorrow, remember the incredible blessings we experience here in the US, and rejoice in the opportunity and freedom you have to learn at home. And if you get sick of covering your ears to avoid permanent hearing loss, maybe go brush up on sound and the odd world of decibels.

Happy 4th!

~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father

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Luke Holzmann
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