Posts tagged ‘color’

So it turns out that bees really love M&M dye, and it makes their honey change to different colors.

Beekeepers in northeastern France have been flummoxed by the appearance of colored honey in their hives. They suspect that the bees were traveling about 4km to a processing plant that was working with Mars’ M&M dyes, and the resulting honey was taking on those colors.

Although the colored honey tastes the same as the normal golden variety, the beekeepers don’t intend to sell it. They’re also worried that the chemicals in the dye may be harmful for the bee population, which already took a hard hit last winter.

The processing company has decided to stop keeping waste in open containers outdoors, opting to seal them and store them inside. Good call there, I think.



Last year, the comic/blog XKCD had the Internet examine various colors and name them. They ended up with a sample size of 5,000,000, and designer Stephen Von Worley turned the 2,000 most common responses into a gender-exploring interactive infographic. As it seemingly turns out, men and women call the same colors different names.

Hat tip: Flowing Data

When a comic becomes a science experiment, this is what happens. And it is awesome.

I had completely forgotten about this, but the wait was worth it. Definitely check out this hyper-interactive look on the naming and color perception differences between genders.

The things Randall Munroe does with xkcd, What-If, and his projects outside of it (like this) makes him one of my favorite science communicators. We may not need to know how powerful and how many lasers it would take to light up the moon, but the process and consequences are fascinating.

And that’s what makes science cool.

“Students from Coastal Marine Biolabs were doing night diving observations of marine organism fluorescence at Santa Cruz Island, California. I recorded several glowing life-forms, including this beautiful anemone with special filters, on my underwater camera.”

From National Geographic’s weekly desktop wallpaper selection. Definitely check it out, there are a ton of beautiful, high-definition photos that make great backgrounds.

Magnified peacock feather.


This isn’t false color! Just a pink spitfire… No big thing. This is how they rolled… Or flew… Or whatever.


The Spitfire is a much loved plane, even today. Built in the late 1930s, it has the look of a classic airplane, with an oblong, slightly rounded body, wings that look like a huge oval strapped to the plane, and a ‘blister’ of glass over the cockpit. World War II marked a time of great innovation, which was sometimes practical and sometimes loony. Those two kinds of innovation came together when great military minds decided that to keep an airplane from being spotted, they needed to paint it pink.

The pink, slightly too washed-out to be an actual baby pink, still seems bright enough to signal every enemy within five miles. This is certainly true when the Spitfires were seen from above. They stand out brightly against the ground. To make sure they were rarely seen from above, these planes were painted to fly just under cloud cover. Although the planes were ideally meant to fly at sunset and sunrise, when the clouds took on a pinkish hue and made the plane completely invisible against them, they were also useful during the day. Clouds are pinker than we give them credit for. 

One of the troubles with the Spitfire was the fact that the pilot felt garish and exposed. Having to keep an eye on the sky above to check for enemy aircraft, fly with cloud cover, and frequently fly at dawn or at sunset, these Spitfires were real challenges to their pilots. However, as early spy planes they allowed the Allies to collect much-needed data, while flying close to the ground. And of course, in the evenings, when the sky was pink with the sunset, they were far more invisible than a white plane shining against a pastel cloud.

Everything I know about WWII planes comes from the Jane’s WWII Fighters game. When the joystick was hooked up for it, the Red Baron had nothing on me.

The spitfires were not pink though, learn something new everyday!


Neuroscientist David Eagleman, author of the excellent Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain, explains the curious neurological wire-crossing of synesthesia. Complement with a synesthetic person’s first-hand account of the experience.

It seems today’s Tumblr theme is synesthesia. No complaints!

The Wonderful World of Synesthesia

Link: The Wonderful World of Synesthesia


On a late winter day in 1922, the sound of a gun shot resounded with a loud boom in the hills surrounding the house of three-year-old Edgar Curtis. The sound itself wasn’t out of the ordinary, since the Curtises lived near a firing range. What was extraordinary was the question the boy turned to ask his mother: “What is that big, black noise?” 

A few days later, when his mother was putting him to bed, Edgar heard the chirping of a shrill cricket and demanded, “What is that little white noise?” For Edgar, low, rhythmic notes were dark in color. High-pitched sounds were pale, and, researchers later discovered, tones in between were variously red, blue, and purple. A rainbow was “a song.” 

Edgar Curtis’ story is an early example in the scientific literature of synesthesia, a neurological phenomenon in which one or more sensory modalities are linked. “There are many different forms,”  says David Eagleman, a neuroscientist known for his ability to garner important insights into the nature of perception and consciousness through idiosyncratic methods. “Essentially, any cross-blending of the senses that you can think of, my colleagues and I have found a case somewhere.” 

Synesthesia seems like an awesome thing to have. Not sure if living in a city would be beautiful or a bad acid trip.

Anybody have synesthesia (of any type)? What’s it like?

Some pure titanium, and the TiO2 (“titanium rust”) is such a nice color. Also if you kinda squint it looks like a T-Rex is formed by the blue.


A cyrstallized solution of sodium hydroxide, sodium sulfate, and D76, a photochemical made by Kodak.

Image by Loes Modderman, Science Art.

A trippy chunk of malachite. Just look at those whorls!