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19Oct

Every autumn leaves turn color from green to orange, yellow, red and brown. What causes this process? Here is a simplified explanation.

Year after year leaves change color from green to a whole palette of yellows, oranges, and reds. This process can be so spectacular some areas in USA and Canada actually offer guided fall leave tours for groups of tourists. While everybody can enjoy in beauty of turning colors, some people also wonder why do leaves change color in autumn.


The complete answer to this question is still partly a mystery for scientists, but we can find a pretty simple explanation, understandable to ordinary people. Before we try to find the reason for the colors of autumn we should know why are leaves green in the first place. So what makes leaves green?

Leaf Pigments

The simple answer is - because of chlorophyll. Plants are green thanks to the pigment called chlorophyll and chlorophyll is green because of the magnesium ion in the active part of the molecule just like iron ion causes hemoglobin in animals' blood to look red.

Chlorophyll is not interesting for our case just because it gives a color, but because it synthesizes carbohydrates (sugars), which are the source of energy for the plant as well. This process is called photosynthesis.


Apart from the chlorophyll, we have two important groups of pigments in the leaves: anthocyanins and carotenoids. They both contribute to the color of the leaves but are in most cases almost completely overshadowed by the power of green chlorophyll.

This is an example of the chemical structure of anthocyanin:

Several fruits and vegetables are known by containing anthocyanins. For instance blueberries or eggplants:


And this is an example of the chemical structure of carotenoid:

We can find several different carotenoids in fruits and vegetables as well.

We are all familiar with plants containing carotenoids, aren't we?

The presence of different pigments in a plant can be proved by a simple experiment:


You can make a similar experiment with the use of paper with good absorptive properties (think coffee filters) and an improvised equipment. Just an idea for a rainy Saturday activity with kids...


Now we know two important facts:

  • why are leaves green,
  • green is not the only color in the leaves.


But why do leaves change color?


When the plant gets enough sun, chlorophyll makes food and some energy is used to synthesize additional units of chlorophyll (in the meantime some units of chlorophyll will inevitably decompose just like ever worker's tool will eventually become worn-out). Days are shorter In the autumn. Less energy from the sun reaches the plant.

Chlorophyll is less and less useful. The plant switches into energy-saving mode. The loss of useless pigment is just the first step. In the next picture, you can see some hypothetical byproducts of decomposition of chlorophyll.

The reaction can be pretty complex thanks to varying conditions (presence of different sugars, time of exposition to sunlight, temperature changes, the presence of enzymes and other substances, ...), but the general idea is here. Percentage of chlorophyll pigment is obviously lower than before, other pigments are more visible and several other colorful molecules appear.

Eventually, all chlorophyll will disappear and the basic function of the leaf (making food) is completely turned off.

Leaves are just a ballast now. They should fall off. Well, this is actually our final answer to the question of why leaves turn color in the fall!

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22Nov

Rainbows fascinate humankind for thousands and thousand of years. While we can totally scientifically explain the rainbow phenomena, there are still numerous superstitions alive and here are also many other interesting facts about rainbows.

A rainbow is a natural phenomena, by which the humankind is fascinated from the very beginning. Scientifically it is caused by refraction of the light in dispersed water particles in the atmosphere. The so-called white light coming from sun is actually a mixture of rays with different frequences (lengths), what means some need slightly more and other slightly less time to pass different media like air or water. In practice we see this as a bent curve made of lines with differen colors.

Appropriate mixture of water and air of course occurs when it's raining and if we have a part of the sky with sun, the necessary conditions for a rainbow are available. Some believe the name rainbow comes from rain (it can be most often seen right after the rain) and bow (rainbow's arc has the same shape as the bow for shooting arrows). There are only seven colors in a rainbow and they are always positioned in the same order (from up/longest radius to down/shortest radius) with their wavelengths:

  • Red (650 nm)
  • Orange (590 nm)
  • Yellow (570 nm)
  • Green (510 nm)
  • Blue (475 nm)
  • Indigo (445 nm)
  • Violet (400 nm)

First man who explained how a rainbo is formed was Isaac Newton after publishing the results of a series of experiments in 1672. He refracted white light with a prism what resulted in a bundle of colored rays with the same order as in a rainbow. To prooe the prism was not coloring the light (coming through his window), he refracted the light together - making white again.

Before that the rainbows sparked imagination of ordinary people for millenniums and many superstitions were formed:

rainbow-and-waterfall-photo

Rainbow related beliefs and superstitions

* Early Christian saw a rainbow as a promise coming from God to not destroy a world by a flood.

* In some religions rainbows represent bridges to heaven or other (higher, more spiritual) worlds.

* In Hindu religion a rainbow is actually an arch used by Indra to shoot arrows of lightning.

* All Aboriginal tribes share stories about a gigantic Rainbow Snake who created the world and all living beings. Being visible after the rain which brings water, a necessity for life in mostly dry land, it definitely carries a logical explanation.

* In some cultures a rainbow, mostly understood as a good omen, can help you make a wish come true and there's a similar belief about a pot of gold being hidden at the end of the rainbow.

* Here is an old song helping you at that:

Rainbow, rainbow,

in your colors of different hue,

my wish is (say it),

dear rainbow, let it come true.

* If the colors of the rainbow reflec on your clothes, you'll be rich as a royalty.

* An interesting superstition is also a belief of ability to change one's gender if a person walks under the rainbow (a reflection might have the same effect). Or jump over it! For some time kids in today's Germany and France were expected to run into a hous as soon the rainbow became visible just to prevent this change. When we think about that it's clear why LGBT community choosed a rainbow for their symbol - they are not afraid of changing gender roles and breaking sterotypes.

* Bohemians, on the other way, believed everybody who gets wet with a rain which passed through a rainbow, was cursed.

* An old English custom of securing one's good luck when seeing a rainbow is making a cross from two sticks on the ground and spitting on all the four corners.

* Old Greeks believed a rainbow placed over a cemetary predicts a start of epidemy.

* If you point at a rainbow, it will bring you bad luck.

* Very intense colors of the rainbow suppose to forcast very hot summer and a rainbow in the winter suggests there will be no more snow until next winter. By the way, a rainbow in cold weather is very rare, because water drops freeze into snow flakes what makes a formation of the rainbow impossible.

*Wood which was touched by a rainbow was considered as sacred among Egyptians and used for sacrifices.

beautiful-photo-of-rainbow-over-waterfall


Did you know?

  • Each drop of rain reflects light rays and makes its own rainbow, but we need millions of them to see a rainbow (actually made of millions mini-rainbows).
  • Every human see different rainbow, because he or she stand in different position what means seeing different rain drops at different angles, meaning completely different, altaugh often very similar rainbows.
  • Sometimes a light is reflected twice in the same raindrop, what can cause so-called double rainbow. In that case one of the rainbows (called secondary rainbow) have mirroring order of colors with violet on the top.
  • An arch of the rainbow always always starts at an angle of 42 degrees. When the sun is higher in the sky, a rainbow is positioned lower and vice versa.
  • From the ground we can only see semi circle of the rainbow, but from high positions (for instance from an airplane) we can see full circle.
  • There are also moonbows, also called lunar rainbows, caused by moonlight (sunlight reflected from the moon), but they re rare because this kind of light is very weak.

free-rainbow-photo-spectacular


















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30May

RGB stands for Red-Green-Blue and is one of the most important color standards in color graphic displays. RGB is built on the fact we have three different types of cones for percepting colors by our eyes.

RGB is abbreviation for Red, Green and Blue, the colors of ray, from which the colors on TV and computer screens are produced. To understand RGB better, we need to know the basics of color creation for displays.

What Does RGB Stand For?

Each monitor's display is made of pixels and each is composed of three subpixels, tiny dots, which have one of three possible colors: red, green or blue. The value of each dot can be defined with a number between 0 and 255 and the end result is a combination of all three.

If we want, for instance, represent color orange, the value would be (255, 165, 0), what gives the maximum (255) value of Red colored ray, approximately half (165) value of Green and minimum (0) of Blue. 

From very close, a display where all the values were at max, would look like this:

RGB and HEX
While RGB standard looks pretty straightforward, computers prefer communication to hexadecimal codes, where only two digits are needed for each value. For this reason, a simple conversion is needed and to refresh some memories from school, we should note hexadecimal code uses A instead of 10 (in decimal), B for 11, C for 12, D for 13, E for 14 and F for 15.

Color orange would be written as FFA500. As you notice, we didn't only simplify the writing with a fixed number of used digits (RGB can use 1, 2 or three digits, depending on the value, for each ray), but we don't need brackets anymore. Hexadecimal (or HEX) code is today's most popular standard in the world of computers and each web designer is very likely closely related to it.

If for any reason, you need a conversion between RGB and HEX codes, you can use one of many free web tools, like next:

http://www.rapidtables.com/convert/color/rgb-to-hex.htm

or vice versa:

http://www.rapidtables.com/convert/color/hex-to-rgb.htm

There are also many similar tools for other useful uses. One of my favorites can find a HEX value of any color from any image, no matter if we are dealing with a picture on the web or the graphic file on one's desktop computer.

You can find this tool here:

https://html-color-codes.info/colors-from-image/

While all these info gives an impression of full control, we should never forget we are actually dealing with optical illusion. Graphic displays are tailored to human eyes, where three types of receptors (color-sensitive cells) are used and each human being has at least slightly different receptors (sometimes called cones), what gives plenty of possibilities for confusion.

One such fact is the difference between the perception of colors for women and men. Women are in general much better in recognition of color hues, tints, and shades, while men have better so-called peripheral sight.

Well, all these details can be addressed at one or more of next posts. By for now.



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30May

Feng shui is an ancient teaching about finding a balance in human's life. Choosing the right colors for our homes is definitely on the list of the tios we can get from feng shui.

What are the best feng shui colors for your home?

Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese philosophical system dealing with harmony between living beings and their environment. It is built on the belief of mutual impact of all elements in certain situation and colors are among the most important 'players'. If you want to live by feng shui principles, you should know what a certain color means and what colors are best for each room in your home.

As you maybe already know, there are five elements in feng shui and each one of them is represented by the color:

  • Fire with red, orange, lively yellow, pink and purple
  • Water with black and blue
  • Earth with pale yellow, light brown, beige
  • Wood with dark brown and green
  • Metal with white and gray

Applying right colors to rooms is not easy because feng shui takes into consideration not only rooms and their functions but their absolute and relative positions as well, but in general, you want:

  • Blue in the areas related to money and career, like a home office, and places where you want some piece, like a bedroom.
  • Green is best for places where you expect regeneration, like a bedroom.
  • Red as the most passionate color gives the most in rooms where an action is expected - living room or workout place, for instance.
  • Yellow where you expect family events, like in dining room or living room.
  • White in places where you need additional creative energy flows, like in study room, or in the kids' room, but striking white is rarely used in feng shui (instead of that a pinch of earth tones is added or several soft gray hues are used).

Did we mention the impact of light for each specific wall? Another important thing is the use of patterns and material which make wonders when used in right amounts. Never follow blindly to some rigid rules, especially if you, for some reason, don't like certain color or colors. We recommend some common sense and application of personal taste with a healthy dose of adventurous spirit. In feng shui, it's all about balance!

Let's check each room in your home ...

Bedroom

Pastels, muted tones, and earth colors are the best. An addition of bolder colors like black (some believe you need to color whole wall - the one behind the bed - with black) or red (some red elements would definitely add some energy into the bedroom of newlyweds) can actually make bedroom much more pleasing.

Very bright and very dark colors are not recommended for bedrooms, so if you decide to use them, be very frugal. Even for children's bedrooms go with some peaceful pastels and use one or two livelier colors just to accessorize. In general, it's a place for retreat and rest, but a pinch of yellow will very likely help at revitalization.

Bathroom

While blue (or green) might be the first thought, it's actually not recommended for a place, where water element is already present in such quantity. Earth and pastel tones are best in bathrooms too. A whole family of whites all to the browns should also be considered.

According to feng shui, the wasted water in the bathroom is closely associated with wasted wealth, what can be (among other actions) achieved by an addition of red and black. The balance between in (light) and yang (dark) colors is a winning combination.

Kitchen

According to feng shui, it's the heart of every home. This is where nourishing of the family starts and this is where the happiness happens. Apart from classic earth colors, different bright choices, like yellow, are very thankful too. The kitchen should always be warm - thanks to the oven, colors of the walls, presence of family members ...

Don't forget this place already has elements fire and water, what can be best balanced by the earth. If you want to enhance fire, use some green and brown as wood elements and if you want it really warm, go with red.

Dining Room

As you already expect, earth tones and pastel colors are the best bet here too. This is a place where we need some peace for eating and digesting, so use red or orange, as stimulants in very low doses. Unless if you are dealing with lack of appetite!

The dining room is a place of abundance which should always be shared, so inviting colors (for family and visitors) like pinks or corals can also be considered. An addition of green will add some calmness and pastel blue refreshment.

Home Office

Now it's finally time for more lively colors. A home office is a place where we need to be active, so bright and energetic whites or cream colors should work best. Don't hesitate at accents in bolder tones!

Living Room / Family Room

Muted colors are always a safe bet, but depending on your social activity also try to include some sunny optimistic yellow or uplifting orange, which is known as the best conversation starter.

If you plan to mostly rest and relax in the living room, make sure greens and browns are prevalent. If you expect more action, red and purple with closely related orange and yellow will help to bring more energy in the room. Remember: pale tones will bring lower and brighter tones higher levers of energy.

Exercise Room

This is a place for action, so stimulation in form of red, orange, and maybe some bright/dark contrasts is not only allowed but recommended. Interesting alternatives for less aggressive feel are mauve, peach, and gold. Especially for morning workouts, white and metallic colors should work great too. Follow your heart at final choice!

Study Room

Studies can be a bit tricky. You definitely need to active there, but still, need to stay enough calm to keep reading if necessary in spite of possible bursts of inspiration. It's probably best to start with a palette of earth tones and build the desired feel on this - with red, purple or navy blue elements in the right quantity.

Laundry Room

Another slightly tricky place. We surely need some energy here because it's a working place, but it's also place related with water and losses like the bathroom, so some pastel blues or browns are the most popular option. If you are afraid of losing your money, go with dark brown as a strong opponent to water or very light blue to make it weaker.

Hallway / Garage

Both places are extremely transient, in general, we rarely stop in them, but maybe walking through on very regular basis, so active, the vibrant color should always be present. Your final decision is of course closely dependant on light conditions and effect you intend to achieve. Several nice contrasting choices are possible.

For the end - a tip from the pro: no matter what color you choose for a certain room at your home, the final result will be very likely very different at different hours of the day. If you have a chance to paint with an example quantity of paint a large sheet of paper and hang it on the wall before you buy the whole quantity, take a few days and do it - you'll often find a much better solution as you thought at first. In most cases, one or two tones lighter shades will satisfy you more as the one you have chosen in the store.





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30May

Each color is traditionally associated with different feelings, meanings, symbols, but this can vary from culture to culture.

Colors have huge impact on us. They can make an influence thanks to their powerful symbolism, infused in us through many years of living in a community where a certain color is associated with a certain meaning.

Here they are listed by alphabet:

Beige

- calmness,

- cleanliness,

- comfort,

- conformity,

- conventionalism,

- diligence,

- encouragement,

- flexibility,

- friendliness,

- naturalness,

- neutrality,

- piety,

- thoughtfulness,

- serenity,

- simplicity;

Black

- authority,

- discipline,

- elegance,

- formality,

- independence,

- power,

- prestige,

- seriousness,

- sophistication,

- strength.

Blue

- confidence,

- faith,

- honesty,

- intelligence,

- loyalty,

- order,

- peace,

- serenity,

- stability,

- trust,

- wisdom.

Brown

- authenticity,

- comfort,

- fertility,

- friendliness,

- maturity,

- responsibility,

- security,

- stability,

- support.

Gold

- abundance,

- compassion,

- elegance,

-  extravagance,

- glamour,

- illumination,

- love,

- luxury,

- magic,

- passion,

- prestige,

- prosperity,

- sophistication,

- success,

- status,

- wealth,

- wisdom.

Green

- balance,

- freshness,

- fruitfulness,

- growth,

- health,

- joy,

- harmony,

- rejuvenation,

- wealth,

- youth.

Grey

- adaptability,

- balance,

- conformism,

- depression,

- loss,

- maturity,

- modesty,

- neutrality,

- practicality,

- steadiness,

- timelessness.

Pink

- acceptance,

- calmness,

- care,

- charm,

- cuteness,

- femininity,

- inexperience,

- innocence,

- intimacy,

- intuitiveness,

.- love,

- nurture,

- playfulness,

- romance,

- sweetness,

- tenderness.

Purple

- ambition,

- creativity,

- devotion,

- dignity,

- eccentricity,

- extravagance,

- grandeur,

- independence,

- luxury,

- magic,

- mystery,

- nobility,

- peace,

- power,

- pride,

- royalty,

- wealth,

- wisdom.

Red

- action,

- anger,

- courage,

- danger,

- desire,

- determination,

- heat,

- joy,

- leadership,

- longing,

- love,

- lust,

- malice,

- passion,

- radiance,

- rage,

- sensitivity,

- sexuality,

- strength,

- stress,

- vibrance,

- vigor,

- willpower,

- wrath.

Silver

- clairvoyance,

- diligence,

- elegance,

- intuition,

- purification,

- reflection,

- sleekness,

- ornate,

- glamour,

- grace,

- sophistication,

- truth.

Turquoise

- calmness,

- creativity,

- energy,

- freshness,

- friendship,

- intuition,

- joy,

- love,

- loyalty,

- luck,

- opulence,

- patience,

- prominence,

- prosperity,

- purity,

- serenity,

- tranquility,

- wholeness,

- wisdom.

White

- clarity,

- faith,

- goodness,

- innocence,

- perfection,

- purity,

- softness,

- sterility,

- virginity,

- wholeness.

Yellow

- caution,

- challenge,

- courage,

- egoism,

- enthusiasm,

- happiness,

- hope,

- impulsiveness,

- inquisitiveness,

- jealousy,

- optimism.


Several colors are associated with very similar or even the same meanings or interpretations. This is logical - gold, for instance is close relative to yellow and orange. Beige is very similar to yellow and white. Some differences are caused by different cultures, but in general majority or Western world interpret a certain color the same in each area.

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