In practice, strike-anywhere matches are super simple; just hit things until fire starts. But there’s actually a whole bunch of chemistry hiding in those little red and white tips, and even the sticks below them.
Wired explains the surprisingly complex marriage of chemicals that let strike-anywhere matches burst into flames at your beck and call without setting you on fire in the process in this beautiful little video. How those chemicals help you make meth though, we'll just keep that part a secret. [Wired]