Adam Sayner 17
Guitars, Origami, Golf, Computers
Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Paul Gilbert, Eric Johnson, Yngwie Malmsteen, Led Zeppelin, X Japan
Favourite TV Shows
Family Guy, Top Gear, Robot Chicken
Map of the supercontinent Pangaea in the Triassic period, when “first appeared beasties of fur and feather”.
The Tethys Ocean looks like it would have had nice beaches to lounge around on, hunting for nautilus shells, sipping Diño Coladas.
(by Richard Morden on Redbubble, available as a poster there if you’d like one!)
Is Pink a Color?
MinutePhysics, a popular YouTube channel, posted a video a little while back saying that there is no pink light. This seems to have sparked a debate over whether or not pink is a color - an issue not really brought up by the original video. So, is pink a color? As usual, science is more complicated than you’d initially believe.
Since this is a physics blog, let’s go with the usual physical understanding of what ‘color’ is. Every color, effectively, is just a certain frequency of light. Electromagnetic radiation is characterized by its wavelength, frequency, intensity, etc. When the wavelength is within the visible spectrum (the range of wavelengths humans can visually perceive, approximately from 390 nm to 700 nm), it is known as “visible light,” a range which we breakdown as Roy G. Biv.
There is no single frequency which our brains correspond to “pink” light. Then, how does pink exist? Effectively, pink is a combination of red and violet light - two colors from opposite sides of the visible spectrum. Since these two colors are literal opposites on the visible spectrum, pink could not exist as a fundamental frequency in nature (if you tried to average out the frequencies and “mix” them, you’d arrive at a color somewhere near the middle of the spectrum, around yellow or green). Thus, pink isn’t a fundamental frequency floating out there in space - a single frequency that we could call “pink” doesn’t exist.
Hold on Tumblr bro, Pink obviously exists, I see it on Nicki Minaj all the time!
Yes, yes - what we perceive as Pink does exist on its own, but does that necessarily make it a true color? Will Pink be excluded from the highly exclusive Color Club much like Pluto was ousted from the Planetary Patrol?
Take a second to look around you, you’ll see tons of objects - probably many colored ones. When you look at, for example, a red object - that object absorbs all of the other frequencies except red, and it reflects red back to you. However, when you look at a pink object - you are not seeing pink wavelengths of light. An object would appear pink because wavelengths of both red and violet are being reflected - and our brains perceive it as a new “color,” namely pink.
On a very fundamental level, pink is not a fundamental part of the universe - because no color is. The universe is chock full of electromagnetic radiation, and the only truly fundamental properties of it are wavelength, amplitude, frequency, etc. Color is a phenomenon completely produced by your brain - it’s how we perceive the light. Even different animals perceive light differently than us - like certain animals that can see beyond the visible spectrum, including infrared light. As biologist Timothy H. Goldsmith wrote for Scientific American, “color is not actually a property of light or of objects that reflect light, it is a sensation that arises within the brain.” So, by existing only as a human means of understanding the universe, pink is just as “real” as any other color.
So, there you have it - pink is not a part of the light spectrum, it is the effect of our brains filling the gap between blue and violet, but does that make it any less of a color than anything else?
Let’s look at two common definition for what a color is - one artistic and one scientific.
Scientific Definition: The sensation produced by the effect of light waves striking the retina of the eye. The color of something depends mainly on which wavelengths of light it emits, reflects, or transmits.
Artistic Definition: Color is the element of art that is produced when light, striking an object, is reflected back to the eye.
While there is no fundamental definition of color in all respects, personally, I’d say that pink fits both of these descriptions. Since no color is a fundamental property of the universe, pink does not exist as a part of the visible spectrum, but since all colors are just fabrications of our brain, I have to side with pink here. There are intelligent people on both sides of this debate, and one’s interpretation of definition seems to be how one decides whether to draw the line or not to exclude pink. Where do you stand?
NASA Beams Mona Lisa to the Moon Because Lasers
Using a new kind of laser communication device, NASA transmitted an image of the Mona Lisa to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, a 240,000 mile broadcast. Communicating from Earth across great distances in space can difficult because of signal loss and distortion by the atmosphere. Radio waves work pretty well, but lasers can serve as a backup and possibly carry even more information than previous methods. It isn’t faster, because the speed of light is the speed of light, but it has potential to be more useful.
Can you imagine a deep space network of space laser broadband? It’s like Star Trek!
In 1503, Leonardo started the painting of Madonna Lisa Maria de Gherardini (born in Florence in 1479 and died at the age of 37.) He worked on the painting for 4 years. The Mona Lisa has been acclaimed as “the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world.”
With only a history of premature death as a clue, let’s move on to the clinical examination of the beautiful and ever-smiling Mona Lisa. Two important findings are present:
Firstly, a careful inspection of the famous painting reveals a yellow irregular leather-like spot at the inner end of the left upper eyelid. This is currently known as a Xanthelasma, which is a yellowish deposit of cholesterol underneath the skin.
Secondly, there is a soft bumpy well-defined swelling of the dorsum of the right hand beneath the index finger about 3 cm long, which raises the possibility of a subcutaneous lipoma.
An infrared detailed photograph published in 1974 reveals that the yellow skin alteration was an integral part of the painting at the time of its initiation, and not a subsequent addition.
These findings in a 25-30 year old woman, who died at the age of 37, may be indicative of essential hyperlipidemia, a strong risk factor for ischemic heart disease in middle age. A stronger evidence for this would be the observation of a corneal Arcus, but that is not the case with the Mona Lisa.
In short, the Mona Lisa probably died of a heart attack.
Although Hyperlipidemia is often primary and familial, it could also occur secondary to other disorders including Hypothyroidism (could explain the absence of eyebrows, although that could have been the result of epilation, a common practice at the time), Diabetes Mellitus and Nephrotic Syndrome.
As far as is known, this portrait of Mona Lisa painted in 1506 is the first evidence that xanthelasma and lipoma were prevalent in the sixteenth century, long before the first description by Addison and Gall in 1851.
Some geeky holiday cheer
Txchnologist wishes all a happy and geeky holiday!
World’s smallest snowman (10 µm across tin beads, 1/5th the width of a human hair) by the UK’s National Physical Laboratory.
“Christmas Ornament” planetary nebula NGC 5189 by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.
Chemistry glassware tree ornaments by Etsy user What. No Mints?
Periodic table tree ornaments by AngelFire user C’s Charms.
“Christmas fungus on a petri dish” by Tumblr user Geneticist.
It’s Not Rocket Science Christmas Special via WeLoveHastings.
Christmas tree worm by Nick Hobgood via Smithsonian.
Russian artists Leonid Tishkov and Boris Bendikov created a fantastic world illuminated with the moonlight where they tried to convey relations between the man and the Moon. This is a romantic story about a man who met the Moon and decided to stay with it forever. They named the installation ‘Private Moon’.
In the neighborhood of 600 million years ago, the embryos of the animal kingdom branched into several distinct arms based on how that little ball of cells that’s created after fertilization begins to pattern and fold itself into what will one day become a fully grown adult.
Think about this: If you go far enough back in evolution, the common ancestors of all of these various families of organisms, from vertebrates to insects to sea slugs, had the same set of genes to call upon in order to make a three-dimensional animal. Very quickly, and quite beautifully, the diversity of life’s forms exploded.
Much of the amazing variety you see among animals today begins with the patterns laid down in the earliest stages of development, and this represents the crossroads where they all began their journey to the modern age.