Ah, July 4th, America's favorite annual indulgence in grilled food, cold beer, and aggressively irresponsible fun with explosives.
Fireworks, like any mass-market pyrotechnics, come with the twin possibilities of extreme fun and extreme injury. In 2016, nearly 12,000 Americans were rushed to hospitals with fireworks-related injuries; a full third of those were to the fingers and hands. And of the approximately 15,600 fires started by fireworks annually each year in the U.S., more than a quarter occur over the Independence Day holiday, according to government data.
Why do we indulge in this dangerous ritual every year? Simple: It's fucking awesome. Playing with fire is as old as human civilization, and finding new ways to make giant explosions at the risk of serious bodily harm is as American a past time as baseball and apple pie. And there's no better example of this than the recent emergence of the DIY firework 'minigun,' the apex of American ingenuity and stupidity.
Though not technically a minigun due to the noticeable absence of six rotating barrels, firing off more than 1000 fireworks in 45 seconds ain't half bad. Luckily, this video was shot in January 2016, and the folks featured spent the next year improving their design:
"I apologize for the swearing at the end but I nearly lost a finger when the mortar was launched," the uploader writes. "Please do not ever attempt anything similar to this." Agreed on both counts, but we'll still be toasting your pyrotechnic badassery come this holiday weekend — from a safe distance, of course.
U.S. soldiers surveil the area during a combined joint patrol in Manbij, Syria, November 1, 2018. Picture taken November 1, 2018. (U.S. Army/Zoe Garbarino/Handout via Reuters)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States will leave "a small peacekeeping group" of 200 American troops in Syria for a period of time after a U.S. pullout, the White House said on Thursday, as President Donald Trump pulled back from a complete withdrawal.
Construction crews staged material needed for the Santa Teresa Border Wall Replacement project near the Santa Teresa Port of Entry. (U.S. Customs and Border Patrol/Mani Albrecht)
With a legal fight challenge mounting from state governments over the Trump administration's use of a national emergency to construct at the U.S.-Mexico border, the president has kicked his push for the barrier into high gear.
On Wednesday, President Trump tweeted a time-lapse video of wall construction in New Mexico; the next day, he proclaimed that "THE WALL IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION RIGHT NOW"
But there's a big problem: The footage, which was filmed more than five months ago on Sep. 18, 2018, isn't really new wall construction at all, and certainly not part of the ongoing construction of "the wall" that Trump has been haggling with Congress over.
(From left to right) Chris Osman, Chris McKinley, Kent Kroeker, and Talon Burton
A group comprised of former U.S. military veterans and security contractors who were detained in Haiti on weapons charges has been brought back to the United States and arrested upon landing, The Miami-Herald reported.
The men — five Americans, two Serbs, and one Haitian — were stopped at a Port-au-Prince police checkpoint on Sunday while riding in two vehicles without license plates, according to police. When questioned, the heavily-armed men allegedly told police they were on a "government mission" before being taken into custody.
Army Sgt. Jeremy Seals died on Oct. 31, 2018, following a protracted battle with stomach cancer. His widow, Cheryl Seals is mounting a lawsuit alleging that military care providers missed her husband's cancer. Task & Purpose photo illustration by Aaron Provost
The widow of a soldier whose stomach cancer was allegedly overlooked by Army doctors for four years is mounting a medical malpractice lawsuit against the military, but due to a decades-old legal rule known as the Feres Doctrine, her case will likely be dismissed before it ever goes to trial.
The first grenade core was accidentally discovered on Nov. 28, 2018, by Virginia Department of Historic Resources staff examining relics recovered from the Betsy, a British ship scuttled during the last major battle of the Revolutionary War. The grenade's iron jacket had dissolved, but its core of black powder remained potent. Within a month or so, more than two dozen were found. (Virginia Department of Historic Resources via The Virginian-Pilot)
In an uh-oh episode of historic proportions, hand grenades from the last major battle of the Revolutionary War recently and repeatedly scrambled bomb squads in Virginia's capital city.
Wait – they had hand grenades in the Revolutionary War? Indeed. Hollow iron balls, filled with black powder, outfitted with a fuse, then lit and thrown.
And more than two dozen have been sitting in cardboard boxes at the Department of Historic Resources, undetected for 30 years.