Factoids Part 2
Explore the world of color with these amazing "factoids" about color. You'll find unusual snippets of information from the world of nature, vision, psychology, business, and from all dimensions of our lives.
Hue and Cry #2
Stressed Polymers Change Color
Light-emitting fluorescent dyes that respond to stresses and strains by changing their hue are part of a new polymer blend. Potential uses range from anti-tampering films for packaging to early internal failure sensors according to the polymer scientists who developed the materials at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland.
"The dyes serve as integral sensors," Weder says. They allow a material's mechanical deformation to be traced through a change in its fluorescence--for example, from red to green. Under UV light, the effect is readily seen by the naked eye.
Editors Note: This invention would come as a welcome relief to the shrink-wrapped world of over the counter medications and food products.
Color Preferences and Trends in the USA
Favorite Toothbrush Color
Nature's Sunscreen: The Red Pigment of Autumn Leaves
Plant researchers Bill Hock, Eric Zeldin and Brent McCown of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, while studying the fall color changes on trees, discovered that brilliant red pigments shade sensitive leaf tissue in fall while trees reabsorb nutrients from their leaves. They explained, "Trees need to store as many of those nutrients as they can before the leaves drop." In actuality the red pigment produced by the leaves performs much the same important function as sunscreen on human skin.
As proof, consider how the outer leaves of maple trees are more colorful than shaded leaves inside the canopy and leaves on the north side. Professor Hock said that their conclusions also explain why most of our native maples and oaks in the Midwest and New England turn red, while European species such as the Norway maple do not. The absence of red leaves is the result of the cloudier and warmer weather in these locations during fall. Therefore, these species don't need the protection of these pigments.
The meaning of red and green at Christmas
... and why Santa wears red
Red and green mean it's Christmas time. These colors might not tell the story of divine birth, but they do tell a story of the Christian past.
Green, experts say, might be a throwback to the pagan winter festivals when greenery was used. Also, green comes from the pine tree and the holly, which retain their color in winter.
The meaning of red is open to debate. People speculate that red represents the blood of Christ. It might also have to do with holly berries or the increased popularity of red in 19th century England and America.
The official liturgical colors of Christmas tend to be white and gold.
... and Santa?
In 1931, the Coca-Cola company used its signature red color to dress Santa and market its products at Christmas. Although this was not the first red-robed Saint Nicholas (a 1653 English woodcut portrays a red Santa ) it took this major marketing campaign to convince the world that Santa was a jolly old man in red suit.
A Fish That Glows Red
Shining brilliantly in ultraviolet light and shining with bright fluorescence in regular light, GloFish fluorescent fish are born with their unique color and display these beautiful hues for life.
The origin of green in US currency
In the US, paper currency was created 1862 to help pay for the Civil War. These Notes were printed in $5, $10, and $20 denominations, redeemable in coins on demand, and green in color--hence the name "greenbacks."
No definite explanation can be made for the original choice; however, it is known that at the time of the introduction of small-sized notes in 1929, green was continued because pigment was readily available in large quantities. Also, the color was relatively high in its resistance to chemical and physical changes, and green was psychologically identified with the strong and stable credit of the Government.
Another fact: Coins date back to 600 BC in Lydia (now western Turkey); paper currency began in China around A.D. 800.
Redheads need 20% more painkillers
A University of Washington in Louisville study reported that natural redheads are more susceptible to pain and need more anesthesia when they go under the knife than do people with other hair colors. This confirms what anesthesiologists have suspected all along - that redheads can be a little harder to put under than others.
Scientists explained that redheads have a "defective receptor" for melanin, a pigment responsible for tanning. This same melanocortin-1 receptor cross-reacts with a related receptor on brain cells that influences pain sensitivity. Ouch!