Cats and dogs may not be fans, but for most Americans, the defining feature of any 4th of July celebration is fireworks. Behind the spectacular explosions, of course, is science – physics and chemistry. Julia Greenberg gives a brief explanation of what’s inside fireworks at Wired (gunpowder, glitter and starch, basically), while Scientific American’s Science Buddies blog offers a kid-friendly tutorial on making sparklers in various colors. But keep in mind, fireworks can be dangerous! Drew Magary at Deadspin rounds up readers’ best fireworks horror stories for your horrified holiday lolz.
I promise I’ll get back to science soon, but the Supreme Cat of the United States (SCOTUS) handed down a few decisions this week that benefit many hoomins. Cheers!
For once, you should listen to the dog.
Do I even have to mention this week’s top story in science? Nah.
Researchers have discovered seven new species of miniature frog – all from the genus Brachycephalus – living in the Atlantic Rainforest of Brazil. In a fascinating case of geography influencing evolution, each species lives on a separate mountaintop and has evolved a different skin color and texture. Rachel Feltman’s article in The Washington Post has much more detail about the tiny (less than 1 cm long!) frogs and the paper that introduced them to the world.
The frogs are not, of course, actually new. I’m sure they’ve been living peacefully on their mountaintops, minding their own business, for many years until a bunch of scientists came along to discover them. Sorry, little guys. If the tourists start bothering you, band together and use your toxins.