Make fireworks. not war in Buenos Aires on NYE

  • As you stand on the nearest available rooftop to see your neighbors’ fireworks, think about this background from the New York Times today.

    What if wars were decided by fireworks shows rather than gunpowder? Plenty of awe, and, if handled carefully, no deaths.
    My assumption was that fireworks had evolved from weaponry, but I had it backward.
    Bamboo fireworks still exist. This was set off at a Shinto shrine in Japan in 2018. Yasuyoshi Chiba/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
    The Chinese are credited with the first fireworks, discovering that roasting bamboo caused its closed cells to explode. The early use was to ward off evil spirits.
    China is also thought to be where the first gunpowder was mixed, enhancing bamboo’s explosive power with a blend of mainly potassium nitrate (a food preservative also known as Chinese snow or saltpeter), charcoal and sulfur. Military use followed within a few centuries.
    When the technology spread to Europe, development accelerated. Germany took the lead on arms, Italy on fireworks.
    China is still the world’s leading exporter of fireworks, but its own biggest displays come at the Lunar New Year. That will be in a few weeks, starting Jan. 25.