Dazzling fireworks can have big drawbacks. But technology can help.

This article originally appeared on 07.05.18.


Some of us can't wait for the summer sun to go down so we can set off fireworks.

But for others, the loud sounds and bright lights can be a problem.

If you've ever been to a fireworks show, you know that they can be spectacular. They can also be really overwhelming, especially for those who live with anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


Vince Bryant, a veteran living in Texas, told ABC News that the sounds of the fireworks are so much for him that he puts on headphones and locks himself in a closet when they start.

"It sends me right back to Iraq. Automatically it puts me in a situation like we fighting," Bryant said.

And those with PTSD aren't the only ones affected by bright, noisy light shows.

Cats and dogs are often terrified by what's going on. And fireworks are not particularly great for some environments — especially those susceptible to wildfires. Even when fire isn't an issue, environmental concerns remain. Fireworks contribute to pollution, and in some cases, the smog they create can last several days.

Once a spent firework has reached the ground, it can hurt in other ways. The residue that fireworks leave behind often ends up in lakes or rivers, and that can lead to health problems in humans.

Fortunately, technology has come a long way, and fireworks are only one way to celebrate summer holidays.

For one, fireworks distributors often sell silent fireworks. And communities are starting to celebrate with large-scale productions that aim to include everyone while keeping tensions, and pollutants, low.

At Travis Air Base in Northern California, traditional fireworks were replaced with 500 perfectly synchronized drones.

The drones fly in colorful formations without booms or whistles, allowing everyone to enjoy the beautiful light show without having to worry that a giant bomb is going off somewhere.

Other areas like Aspen, Colorado, where wildlife could be hurt by the fallout from fireworks, have ordered drone shows as an environmentally friendly display.

Here's what some of the drone shows look like:

And there's something even cooler on the horizon: Fireworks you can feel.

Disney (of course it's Disney) is working on fireworks displays that aren't just cool to look at but inclusive for all — including those without sight.

These fireworks allow those who are visually or hearing impaired to touch the magic without being burned (or even getting their shirts singed a little bit — something that will definitely happen if you, like me, chose to light six sparkers at once just to see what would happen).

In order to make the viewer feel the explosion, jets of water are shot onto the back of a flexible screen as light plays on the front. The person watching puts their hand on the screen and can enjoy the show in real time. Pretty cool, right?

Bottom line: A more inclusive fourth is awesome for everyone.

There's nothing exactly like the thrill of setting off a firework in the middle of the street and running as fast and far as you can before it goes off in a shower of sparks and shrieking whistles. But that's just not fun — or even doable — for everyone.

More options means more ways for friends, families, and loved ones to enjoy holiday light shows together. And after unlimited hot dogs and an entire day off, that's the best thing of all.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

via CNN / Twitter

Eviction seemed imminent for Dasha Kelly, 32, and her three young daughters Sharron, 8; Kia, 6; and Imani, 5, on Monday. The eviction moratorium expired over the weekend and it looked like there was no way for them to avoid becoming homeless.

The former Las Vegas card dealer lost her job due to casino closures during the pandemic and needed $2,000 to cover her back rent. The mother of three couldn't bear the thought of being put out of her apartment with three children in the scorching Nevada desert.

"I had no idea what we were going to do," Kelly said, according to KOAT.

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