colors

White Sun of the Desert

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…the immaculate ultrawhite behind the French doors of a new GE Café Series refrigerator […] the white hood of a 50th anniversary Ford Mustang GT […] the white used to brighten the pages of new Bibles, the hulls of super yachts, the snowy filling inside Oreo cookies […]

All this whiteness is the product of a compound known as titanium dioxide, or TiO2. A naturally occurring oxide, TiO2 is generally extracted from ilmenite ore and was first used as a pigment in the 19th century. In the 1940s chemists at DuPont refined the process until they hit on what’s widely considered a superior form of “titanium white,” which has been used in cosmetics and plastics and to whiten the chalked lines on tennis courts. DuPont has built its titanium dioxide into a $2.6 billion business, which it spun off as part of chemicals company Chemours, in Wilmington, Del., last fall.

A handful of other companies produce TiO2, including Kronos Worldwide in Dallas and Tronox of Stamford, Conn. Chemours and these others will churn out more than 5 million tons of TiO2 powder in 2016. China also produces large amounts of the pigment, and its industries consume about a quarter of the world’s supply. Most of China’s TiO2 plants, however, use a less efficient and more hazardous process than the one developed at DuPont. Starting in the 1990s, if not earlier, China’s government and Chinese state-run businesses began seeking ways to adopt DuPont’s methods. Only they didn’t approach the company to make a formal deal. According to U.S. law enforcement officials, they set out to rip off DuPont.

“At first, you’re like: Why are they stealing the color white?” says Dean Chappell, acting section chief of counterespionage for the FBI.

{ Bloomberg | Continue reading }

oil on wood { Ellsworth Kelly, White Plaque: Bridge Arch and Reflection, 1951-55 }

An eye like Mars

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In 2012, a genetic analysis confirmed that Concetta’s enhanced color vision can be explained by a genetic quirk that causes her eyes to produce four types of cone cells, instead of the regular three which underpin colour vision in most humans. […]

Women with four cone types in their retinas are actually more common than we think. Researchers estimate that they represent as much as 12% of the female population. […] A woman has the potential to produce four cone types because she inherits two X-chromosomes. […]

The three cone types that most of us have in our retinas allow us to see millions of colours. Each cone’s membrane is packed with molecules, called opsins, which absorb lights of some wavelengths and cause the cone to send electrical signals to the brain. […]

Four cones don’t automatically grant you superior color vision. […] Only one of the seven women with four cones behaved as if she actually perceived differences between the colour mixtures that were invisible to everyone apart from her sons.

{ The Neurosphere | Continue reading }

Prettimaid tints may try their taunts

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{ Women Who Dye Their (Armpit) Hair | NY Times | Photo by Ruth Fremson }

Just boob it

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In a series of 7 experiments we demonstrate that women perceive men to be more attractive and sexually desirable when seen on a red background and in red clothing. […] The influence of red appears to be specific to women’s romantic attraction to men: Red did not influence men’s perceptions of other men, nor did it influence women’s perceptions of men’s overall likability, agreeableness, or extraversion.

{ APA PsycNet | Continue reading }

In blue dungarees, stands up in the gallery, holding in each hand an orange citron

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The researchers also found that men require a slightly longer wavelength to see the same hue as women; an object that women experience as orange will look slightly more yellowish to men, while green will look more blue-green to men.

This last part doesn’t confer an advantage on either sex, but it does demonstrate, Abramov says, that “the nervous system that deals with color cannot be wired in the exact same way in males as in females.” He believes the answer lies in testosterone and other androgens.

{ Smithsonian | Continue reading }

photo { Nicholas Nixon }

Every explanation is after all an hypothesis

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The study suggests that we have limited ability to perceive mixed color-shape associations among objects that exist in several locations. […]

Say, for example, a person sees a string of letters, “XOOX,” and the letters are printed in alternating colors, red and green. Both letter shape and letter color need to be encoded, but the associations between letter shape and letter color are mixed (i.e., the first X is red, while the second X is green), which should make neural synchrony impossible.

“The perceptual system can either know how many Xs there are or how many reds there are, but it cannot know both at the same time,” Goldfarb and Treisman explain.

{ APS | Continue reading }

graphite, paint, and ink on paper { Abu Bakarr Mansaray }

I was indecently treated, I… inform the police. Unmentionable.

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People usually associate the color black with aggression. Previous studies have revealed that people are perceived as more aggressive, and act more aggressively, when wearing dark clothes. To investigate the influence of black clothing on criminal justice agency personnel, this study examined whether police departments that wear dark uniforms are more aggressive than those that wear lighter uniforms. It was predicted that departments utilizing black uniforms would experience more assaults on officers, citizens killed by police, and excessive force complaints. No statistically significant difference was found between departments wearing black and light uniforms.

{ Criminal Justice and Behavior | Continue reading }

Nothingness haunts being

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We tested whether eye color influences perception of trustworthiness. Facial photographs of 40 female and 40 male students were rated for perceived trustworthiness. Eye color had a significant effect, the brown-eyed faces being perceived as more trustworthy than the blue-eyed ones.

{ PLOS | Continue reading }

Hereinafter called the vendor, and sold and deliveRED

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{ A new study suggests that if you’re looking for employment, wearing red is a bad decision }

photo { Nadav Kander }

She’s a yellow belt. I’m a green belt. That’s the way nature made it. What happens is, she throws me all over the place.

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Cerebral cortex has a very large number of testosterone receptors, which could be a basis for sex differences in sensory functions. For example, audition has clear sex differences, which are related to serum testosterone levels. Of all major sensory systems only vision has not been examined for sex differences, which is surprising because occipital lobe (primary visual projection area) may have the highest density of testosterone receptors in the cortex. We have examined a basic visual function: spatial and temporal pattern resolution and acuity. […]

Across the entire spatio-temporal domain, males were more sensitive, especially at higher spatial frequencies; similarly males had significantly better acuity at all temporal rates. […]

We suggest that testosterone plays a major role, leading to different connectivities in males and in females. But, for whatever reasons, we find that males have significantly greater sensitivity for fine detail and for rapidly moving stimuli. One interpretation is that this is consistent with sex roles in hunter-gatherer societies.

{ Biology of Sex Differences/NCBI | Continue reading }

We examined the possible sex differences in color appearance of monochromatic lights across the visible spectrum. There is a history of men and women perceiving color differently. However, all of these studies deal with higher cognitive functions which may be culture-biased. We study basic visual functions, such as color appearance, without reference to any objects. […]

There were relatively small but clear and significant, differences between males and females in the hue sensations elicited by almost the entire spectrum. Generally, males required a slightly longer wavelength to experience the same hue as did females.

{ Biology of Sex Differences | PDF }

image { Jaymes Sinclair }

Love, whose month is ever May

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Bees at a cluster of apiaries in northeastern France have been producing honey in mysterious shades of blue and green, alarming their keepers who now believe residue from containers of M&M’s candy processed at a nearby biogas plant is the cause.

{ Reuters | Continue reading }

Small eyes ahunger on her humming, bust ahumming

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In many restaurants throughout the world, wait staff’s income depends largely on the tips received from customers. According to this study, male restaurant customers give higher tips to waitresses wearing red. […]

Men gave between 14.6% and 26.1% more to waitresses wearing red, while color had no effect on female patrons’ tipping behavior at all.

{ SAGE | Continue reading }

photo { Nick Meek }