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You're A Firework (Scientifically Speaking)

Take a basic firework — a mortar shell shot up into the air during Fourth of July displays. The explosive black powder in that firework contains almost the exact same amount of energy as a simple hot dog.

The firework uses the energy in black powder to fill the sky with light. We use the energy in a hot dog to do everything — move, breathe, think, stay alive.

And here's the surprising thing: the firework and your body use the same basic chemical process to get at that energy. Luckily, as Skunk Bear's latest video explains, our version of this reaction is a bit less explosive.

Want to learn more about fireworks? This Skunk Bear video explains the chemistry behind their bright colors. (Hint: It has something to do with everyday table salt.)

You can ask Skunk Bear your science questions here. Subscribe to follow the answers.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Ryan Kellman is a producer and visual reporter for NPR's science desk. Kellman joined the desk in 2014. In his first months on the job, he worked on NPR's Peabody Award-winning coverage of the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. He has won several other notable awards for his work: He is a Fulbright Grant recipient, he has received a John Collier Award in Documentary Photography, and he has several first place wins in the WHNPA's Eyes of History Awards. He holds a master's degree from Ohio University's School of Visual Communication and a B.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute.