Thursday, March 19, 2009

Blowing Stuff Up as A Kid

Last night, I tried out a new combination of pyrotechnical chemicals in some fireworks I made. It was a fountain, or in pyrotechnical lingo, a gerbe. It worked wonderfully. The key was the addition of fine iron particles into the fuel-oxidizer and those iron flakes lit up the night with intense sparks and streamers.

I mentioned this on my twitter feed and was gratified that fellow like-minded technologist and my electronic correspondent, Dan Dubno, wrote me immediately and directed me to a wonderful article he wrote in yesterday's Huffington Post.

A few years ago, I questioned a large number of scientists working for the Office of Naval Research on critical projects for our nation's security. In this room full of doctorates and inventors I asked, "How many of you hold a patent or have been closely involved with one?" Most of the several hundred scientists here raised their hands.

I wondered what gave them the "permission" to invent. "Since this place is clearly full of inventors," I wondered, "how many of you blew stuff up when you were kids?" Nearly every hand in that audience -- an audience filled with the nation's leading innovators -- shot up.

In particular, Dan relates how he asked a group of accomplished scientists "did you blow things up as a kid?"

Well did they? What do you think, of course they did! And that's something to think about: Is the world to led by small minded, tort fearing, safety-first, second, and always, nanny staters? Let's hope not. More on this subject later

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