Real words that work as CSS colors for your website

In CSS, the style markup that goes with HTML, colors are encoded as hexadecimal RGB values of either 3 or 6 letters. This means that certain words, such as EFFACE and FACADE, are legitimate CSS colors. Allow for substitutions, such as 0 for O, and a full gamut presents itself, with BIOTIC and OTITIS and so on. c0ffee.surge.sh is a beautiful collection of all the words that work. Read the rest

Why are doughnut boxes usually pink?

At the Los Angeles Times, David Pierson unties the story of why doughnut boxes are so frequently pink, particularly in southern California. It's a story of Cambodian refugees who emigrated to the US in the 1970s and built the donut market. But why pink? From the LA Times:

According to (Bakemark, formerly Westco) company lore, a Cambodian doughnut shop owner asked Westco some four decades ago if there were any cheaper boxes available other than the standard white cardboard. So Westco found leftover pink cardboard stock and formed a 9-by-9-by-4-inch container with four semicircle flaps to fold together. To this day, people in the business refer to the box as the “9-9-4.”

“It’s the perfect fit for a dozen doughnuts,” said Jim Parker, BakeMark’s president and chief executive.

More importantly to the thrifty refugees, it cost a few cents less than the standard white. That’s a big deal for shops that go through hundreds, if not thousands, of boxes a week. It didn’t hurt either that pink was a few shades short of red, a lucky color for the refugees, many of whom are ethnic Chinese. White, on the other hand, is the color of mourning.

Len Bell, president of Evergreen Packaging in La Mirada, first noticed the proliferation of pink boxes as a regional manager for Winchell’s in the early 1980s. Back in the Southland after a few years in Minnesota, Bell was amazed to see the doughnut business seemingly transformed overnight by Cambodian refugees, who proved quick studies and skillful businesspeople.

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Paint names selected by neural network

We can't be far off a time where we can order buckets of paint by punching in RGB color values. The big paint companies could obviously do this, but right now all they seem to offer are elaborate, bloated interfaces wrapping their own marketing-driven color schemes. And I'll grant that the paint pigment gamut might have some very weakly-covered areas, lightfastedness issues, and so on. I hope whoever eventually does this (brand suggestion: LATHEX) also creates a robust API for it and a affiliate program, so that Paint Colors Invented By Neural Network can be tested and refined against thousands of actual purchases. Read the rest

Why are so many cartoon characters yellow?

The Simpsons, SpongeBob Squarepants, Minions, Pikachu are yellow. So are many, many other popular cartoon characters. Why? The answer lies at the intersection of psychology, color theory, and, of course, aesthetics. (ChannelFrederator)

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Beautifully color-coded watershed maps of America

You can buy high-res versions on Etsy, with Europe and other countries also on offer.

High resolution map of all the permanent and temporary streams and rivers of the contiguous 48 states in beautiful rainbow colours, divided into catchment areas. It shows Strahler Stream Order Classification. The higher the stream order, the thicker the line. Map made mostly with the open-source QGIS software.

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Skittles trick turns plate into a rainbow

Simple DIY rainbow magic with Skittles candies. Form a circle with Skittles on a plate (colours should be in repeated order, preferably according to colours of the rainbow e.g. purple, green, yellow, orange, red), then pour hot water over them. Wait for the magic to unfold right in front of your eyes

Also funny are the various YouTubers attempting to replicate the effect only to end up with a brownish mix of melted candy slime on their plate. Read the rest

The most popular website colors

This image depicts the most commonly-found stylesheet colors on the web's top sites—Paul Hebert did an amazing amount of analysis and this is just one of the intriguing visualizations he came up with.

Most of these are obvious staples, especially HTML red and blue, though it's interesting how far the blue "cluster" is from the default blue hue, whereas the red cluster merely modifies the saturation and lightness. This might be influenced by various "studies" of the most effective link color.

The odd thing is the popularity of #d2b48c (triggered by the "Tan" HTML color name), which appears to be the single most popular nonblack color after #0000FF (HTML Blue) and #FF0000 (HTML Red). Google uses it somewhere (though I don't see it) Is everyone just following the leader? (UPDATE: see below)

UPDATE: Hebert explains the Tan thing in the comments.

UPDATE: 10/22/2016. Hebert's updated his method to exclude false positives (including the mysterious Tan) Read the rest

Video feedback emulator generates gorgeous glitchy art

Thea video feedback emulator offers a vague memory of fooling with video cameras and a strong flavor of crisp and fractal generative art, The results lurk somewhere between the decades. Click and drag your results for wild (and often brightly-flickering) variations. The creator explains how it works. [via Github]

What we’ve found most interesting about video feedback is: the sheer complexity of the images it produces through such simply-defined and implemented spacemaps that really only have to do with the relative positioning of two rectangles. It’s somewhat intuitive, but always surprising.

This is all just scratching the surface of the mathematics behind the patterns that video feedback is capable of, but hopefully it’s good enough for a start!

P.S. You’ll notice that many of the “interesting” patterns contain regions of diverse sizes. That is, they appear to have a broad range of spatial frequencies. What’s up with that?

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World's "ugliest color" will be used on cigarette packs

According to an Australian survey, the shit brown color seen above (Pantone 448C, or "Opaque Couché") is the ugliest hue around, reminding respondents of dirt and death. To deter smoking, Australian officials required Opaque Couché to be the main color and cigarette packages and now the UK is following suit. Apparently, Australian officials first referred to the color as "olive green" but the Australian Olive Association was none-too-pleased. Now, Pantone is grumpy about the choice of Opaque Couché. "At the Pantone Color Institute, we consider all colours equally,” Pantone's exec director Leatrice Eiseman told The Guardian. "(There's no such thing as the ugliest color."

The new UK regulations also ban the use of logos, requiring a plain font on the packs.

More at Smithsonian: "The World’s "Ugliest" Color Could Help People Quit Smoking" Read the rest

How the color "drunk tank pink" is used as mind control

Atlas Obscura, a website about unusual places around the world, has a great video series, too. In this episode of Atlas Obscura's 100 Wonders, Dylan Thuras tells the story of Baker-Miller pink (aka drunk tank pink) and how it was used to try to control people's emotions.

PREVIOUSLY: Why "Drunk Tank Pink" is a poor paint color choice for your baby's bedroom

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Watch this wonderful video celebrating colors!

Daniel and Katina Mercadentes' new short film "Colors" is a delightful piece of montage moviemaking. It's the feel-good film of the day! Read the rest

Burger King to sell Red Burger

Remember when Burger King introduced its black gothburger in Japan last year? Coming soon is the Aka ("red") Chicken or Samurai Beef Burger with red cheese and red bun colored with tomato powder, and red hot sauce. Read the rest

'Arrangements,' Emily Blincoe: assorted objects neatly arranged

Why do these little tableaus of neatness delight us so?

Aquaman's costume would look different underwater than above

Water filters light. The more water that's above you, the more light is filtered out before it can reach your eyes. The deeper you go, the more this effect alters which colors you can see and how those colors appear, writes Andrew David Thaler at Southern Fried Science. Even at a depth of just 5 meters, reds and oranges become difficult to distinguish from one another. Read the rest

Dyed chicks go for less than a dime

These chicks, dyed in the egg before hatching, were sold as pets for 4 pesos (8 U.S. cents) at a market in Manila, The Philippines. WikiHow offers instructions for dying your own chicks, while The New York Times reports the downside of all that impulse-bought cuteness: humane societies overflowing with now-normal chickens a few weeks after Easter. (Photo: REUTERS/Cheryl Ravelo) Read the rest

Movie poster colors through history

Vijay Pandurangan visualized the colors found in movie posters since 1914. Would you look at all that teal? Thanks, Hollywood complementary color voodoo! [via Explore] Read the rest