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Ever wonder what gives fireworks their colors?
Chemical elements, the fundamental units of all matter on Earth, are the answer.
Colors result from the burning of chemical elements. Those elements are usually part of molecular compounds.
These compounds can look quite different from the elements that created them. For example, the elements hydrogen and oxygen are gases at room temperature. But add two atoms of hydrogen to one atom of oxygen and you get water — H2O — which is liquid at room temperature.
Some compounds, however, still show their elemental traits. Sodium gives off flashes of yellow when it burns, but so does the sodium nitrate, a compound that is easier to work with (pure sodium reacts violently to water and moisture in the air).
So pyrotechnicians — the experts who create fireworks — select compounds they can more safely use and still give off an element’s color.
Blue is the most difficult color to produce, says Ben Schwegler, chief scientist of Walt Disney Imagineering Research and Development. Schwegler advises the company on the science and technology behind many of its rides and shows.
COASTWATCH Summer 2010 Issue | Story by BENJAMIN YOUNG LANDIS
To many of us, “spiny dogfish” are meaningless words. Some of you might know it’s a small species of shark, while others know that the species is found worldwide and eaten by Europeans as “rock salmon” or used in fish and chips.
But to commercial fishermen along North Carolina’s Outer Banks, spiny dogfish have been a reliable, highly abundant fishery during the normally harsh winter months when few other species are accessible. Yet federal managers disagree, predicting sharp declines for spiny dogfish populations in coming years and issuing limited catch quotas for the fishery.
So for East Carolina University doctoral student Jennifer Cudney, “spiny dogfish” means an important research question. She’s listening closely to what the fishermen are saying and wants to know how science can clarify this heated debate.
That science also involves listening to the Outer Banks waters — listening for dogfish.
Up and down the East Coast, something fishy is happening in local communities. People gathering at Harvard University to pick up freshly caught cod and pollock. A truck pulling up to an inland Maine church to deliver shrimp from nearby Port Clyde.
It’s all part of a movement called “community supported fisheries,” or CSF for short. Riding on the wave of the local food movement, CSFs are being billed as a solution to bring more income to struggling fishing communities while educating their urban customers on the quality and diversity of affordable, local seafood. With media coverage from the Wall Street Journal to the Washington Post, CSF is now a new buzzword in town.
Community supported fisheries have a surprisingly young history, one that shows how whole communities — commercial anglers, neighborhood organizers, academics, students — have found themselves working on common ground.
Reading the Journal and the Post, you might think the story begins far away in the cold waters of Massachusetts and Maine. But surprisingly, it all started with a North Carolina Fishery Resource Grant project…
The Marine Aquaculture Research Center (MARC) opened in December 2009. I produced this map for Dr. Marc Turano at North Carolina Sea Grant, who will also be a core researcher at the center. (I also covered the opening ceremony; see photos.)
The original map image is taken from the U.S. Census Bureau’s OnTheMap web GIS tool. This is a really handy, free resource for simple geospatial data layers, and a decent alternative to Google Maps for source maps to capture and manipulate.
The screen captures were tweaked in Adobe Photoshop, then traced in Adobe Illustrator. Final layout was done in Illustrator.