hullo world!

welcome to color

Hello! Welcome to midnight mind, my new blog about the mind, the brain, cognitive science, color, easy-to-read-and-understand-philosophy, language and thought, consciousness and related subjects. The name of this blog stems from the name of my {previous, other, more personal} blog called Midnight Breakfast. And that blog was so-called because my last name rhymes with waffles.

My main area of research is color. What it is, how we see it, how we think about it and how we talk about it.  Color is central to the two largest debates in cognitive science: one is about to what extent does the language we speak effect our thoughts and the other is the problem of consciousness. It is not only a fantastic subject to study, but it is a great way to get a feel for the interdisciplinary nature of cognitive science itself. The topic of color and/in the mind/brain spans physics, cognitive linguistics, neuroscience, anthropology, psychology, vision science, from the lowest levels of neuro-anatomy to the highest. So, come with me as I explore all of the various aspects of cognition in the coming months.

In other words, this color gig is preparing me for a job at crayola.

For now, this is just an inaugural post, the good stuff won’t get posted for at least another day. In the meantime, have some interesting trivia about color:

  • Most of the languages in the world have one word for what we otherwise call green and blue
  • Purple and Pink aren’t in the rainbow, but for completely separate reasons.
  • It is possible for humans to have a non-conscious experience of color.
  • We can detect a much, much larger range of physical phenomena via our ears than we can detect via our eyes.\
  • A small percentage of women see the world colored very differently from the rest of us.
  • The answer to the question “what is the best example of blue” is the same around the world. Really. Also true for red, green, and yellow.
  • The colors green and blue almost never appear together on a flag.
  • Red is universally recognized by everyone, babies included, to somehow be more important than the other colors.
  • Some cognitive scientists have no idea what color the sky is.

I will also be making a handy page that does proper color conversion, which took me a few weeks worth of research to figure out and code properly. This kind of accurate conversion cannot be currently found online. [for the curious, you currently can’t do an rgb to CIEla*b* conversion with specific primaries, which completely defeats the whole point of doing the conversion in the first place]

Forthcoming posts and general subjects:

Color –an overview

Color systems

Vision/perception- how your eyes work

Color ethnography


Consciousness and the problem of color


Bits and pieces from the xkcd color database

My philosophy of perception

My perception of philosophy

Language and thought

Does math actually exist?



I promise to never use the word qualia any more than is strictly necessary. So, in other words, never.

There will also be posts about my research, the research of people I know well, the research of people I only vaguely know, and the research complete strangers. One of the things I currently do is look at the xkcd color naming database, which, as far as I can tell, has gone un-looked at since its inception.

I can’t make any promises about how often I update. If I ever figure it out, I will let you know. I currently plan on there being new, quality material once a week, updated every Sunday. As for the organization of this site, I will be writing blog posts, and in addition to that, I will be writing longer articles and/or condensing several blog about specific topics into separate pages. For example, I will have a page explaining color spaces, and another giving a history of color ethnography.


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