The Regenboogbuurt (Rainbow district) in Almere, Netherlands is painted in bold colors. Three bright red towers mark the district from afar. Even though the colors, in all shades of the rainbow, are quite bold, together they form a rare unity. When the district was conceived, in the early nineties, an intricate color design was part of the overall design. The colors were then protected by law, they could not be changed at will. Everyone had to adhere to the overall color design.
However, lately it has appeared that the color design could be sidestepped. Much to the chagrin of most inhabitants, some people decided to ignore the overall color plan and paint their houses in bold colors of their own choosing. Thus the composition of the original plan got affected.
So, now a group of inhabitants is railing against the changes, demanding that the law be fixed. Local media have been alerted and they've set up a Facebook page. They want to protect the colors of the district, arguing that the original design was one of the reasons to go live there in the first place. They're very proud of the extraordinary colorful look of their neighborhood and want to keep it that way. 

Towns and districts where color is an indivisible part of the overall design are very rare. The Rainbow district was inspired by a famous Berlin district, designed by Bruno Taut in the ninety twenties. Today, this part of Berlin is regarded as a marvel of light and color. 

Photos of the Regenboogwijk by Geert van der Wijk


blue tarantula
Some species of the Tarantula, your favorite big hairy spider, tend to have a deep cobalt shade of blue. Interestingly, this color is not produced by pigments but by nano structures on the animal's hairy body. Structural colors instead of pigmented colors aren't unusual in nature. You could think of bright colored insects and birds as examples. However, most structure colors in nature tend to be iridescent, which means that they change when viewed from different angles. Structure colors that remain the same under different angles, such as seen on tarantulas, are quite rare.
The iridescence of structure colors is a problem for using it in industrial products such as paint. Therefor, taming iridescence would open up a host of new possibilities. That explains why researchers are so keenly interested in structure colors and tarantulas in particular.
Bill Hsiung, a postgraduate student in biology at the University of Akron in Ohio, studied the nano structures of tarantulas and published a paper recently in collaboration with some colleagues.
"We discovered not just one kind of nanostructure but at least two or three different kinds of nanostructures that produce the same blue colors," Hsiung said. "Previously only one kind of nanostructure had been recorded as producing blue color in tarantulas, but we found that there are other types."
The tarantula's blue hues could inspire new, non-iridescent structure colors, according to Hsiung, who noted that these colors would not only be brighter and less likely to fade than pigment-based colors, they'd also be better for the environment.
"We can decrease waste and use more eco-friendly materials to produce structure colors, unlike the current dyes." Hsiung said

US based Enchroma promises to fix color blindness with a set of special glasses. According to Don McPherson, co-founder of the company: "The glasses work by selectively removing certain wavelengths between the red and green cones that allow them to be in essence pushed apart again"
McPherson recalls: “This happened almost by mistake,”
The glasses were designed as protective eyewear for doctors during surgery. But one day he wore them with a curious friend who happened to be color blind.
“My friend said, ‘Oh, those are cool. Can I borrow them?’ And I said, ‘Here, wear them.’”
“And he said, ‘Oh, I can see the cones!’” referring to bright orange cones.

Who would have thought the 'white' Taj Mahal has so many colors?

These are pictures of the Taj Mahal in India. You can find thousands of snapshots of the Taj Mahal online. These four have been taken taken on different times of the day from the exact same angle. Not only you see the light shift during the day, the color of the Taj Mahal also shifts dramatically.
No, this is not due to the different cameras. While we have the illusion that colors always remain the same, in fact they most certainly do not. The light, and therefor all colors, depend on the angle of view, the moment of day, the location, etc. We tend to always see the Taj Mahal as white, due to a very powerful psychological feature called 'color constancy'. Only when you actually compare photos you can see the difference.

A shocking fact: we cannot perceive color. Really. We can only perceive color differences. That’s one of the reasons the eye constantly makes tiny little movements called saccades. So that the eye can register the differences between one view and the next. 
So what does that teach us?  It’s always about the relationship between colors, never about one single color.

fandeckOccasionally, people ask where to find white and black paints in our software. The blackest black is S 9000-N in the NCS fan deck. The whitest white is S 0300-N. But that black isn't as black as the darkest parts of the monitor. And the white is not as light as monitor white. How can that be?
The short answer is: there is no such thing as an absolute black or white. What we call white is generally the lightest color we can see. And we call the darkest color black. So, when viewing colors on the monitor, a pixel that blasts out all 256 levels of light in Red, Green and Blue is perceived as white. If a pixel doens't emitt any light, it is perceived as black. 
If you compare the monitor white to a white paper, you'll notice that it is not the same. The paper might actually be lighter, depending on the ambient light. And magically, the color you first perceived as white on the monitor changes to grey when viewed next to a lighter piece of paper. That's because your eyes just adapted to the new situation. 
So where does that leave us with regard to paint? In theory, white paint should reflect all light 100%. Black paint should reflect no light at all. But such paint doesn't exist. Paint manufacturers try to come as close as they can but will never achieve 100% result.
The NCS color code already shows the flaws. In NCS, absolute white should have a color code starting with the number 00, which indicates it contains no black at all. But in fact, the best possible white in NCS has the number 03, which means it contains 3% black and 97% white. And this is a color that is already quite difficult to achieve in paint.
NCS black has the number 90, which means 90% black and 10% white. So the blackest paint the industry can come up with, still reflects 10% of the light.