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Wed, Oct. 10th, 2007 05:35 pm (UTC)
talash

A gradual change, not a band. Some people see distinct bands.

I think that this is not necessarily true and that most people do see a gradual progression of colors one into another; however when asked to name up to ten colors, they break and group them into ranges, each of which represents a particular color. I do not, however, have sufficient evidence (or any evidence whatsoever for the matter) to maintain this and might be totally wrong.

They are chosen and consented to for a reason. It's that reason that interests me.

Well, length, for example has been defined in proportion to a ruling monarch's arm. Likewise, the colors of the spectrum have been defined by sir Isaac Newton, who said "this to this range is red and this one's orange." The reason, in this case is that he was there first. Reasons for standards may be diverse, but are usually based on stuff around us, which then evolve with then need for precision. For example, time had once been defined in terms of periods of celestial bodies. Now, the definition of a second goes like this:

"The duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the cesium 132.91 atom."

A really nice example though would be the reason for US railway gauge standard. The US standard railroad gauge is 4 feet 8.5 inches. Why was that gauge used? Because that's the way they built them in England, and English expatriates built the US railroads. Why did the English build them like that? Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that's the gauge they used. Why did *they* use that gauge then? Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing. Okay! Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing? Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break on some of the old, long distance roads in England, because that's the spacing of the wheel ruts. So who built those old rutted roads? The first long distance roads in Europe (and England) were built by Imperial Rome for their legions. The roads have been used ever since. And the ruts? Roman war chariots first made the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels and wagons. Since the chariots were made for, or by Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing. Thus, we have the answer to the original question. The United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches derives from the original specification for an Imperial Roman war chariot. Specifications and bureaucracies live forever. So, the next time you are handed a specification and wonder which horse's ass came up with it, you may be exactly right. Because the Imperial Roman war chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the back ends of two war-horses.

Wed, Oct. 10th, 2007 06:15 pm (UTC)
mme_n_b

"I think that this is not necessarily true and that most people do see a gradual progression of colors one into another"
We are already agreed, I think, that most people see an infinity of colors progressing smoothly one into another. I'm more interested in what they believe themselves to see. :)

" the colors of the spectrum have been defined by sir Isaac Newton,"
In China? And Russia?

" Roman war chariots first made the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels and wagons"
I never believed that story, mainly because I do not think that an average road in Britain saw more war chariots than wagons.

Wed, Oct. 10th, 2007 06:46 pm (UTC)
talash

In China? And Russia?

Sir Isaac Newton was the first person to conduct a *scientific* study of color and his model represents the *contiguous* range of colors in the spectrum. Now, is the Chinese model as contiguous? Or, given some shades from the infinity that exist in the range, a *chinese* person would fail to relate them to one of the five colors that are supposed to represent everything?

I'm more interested in what they believe themselves to see. :)

and what are your conclusions about those people who see the rainbow differently?

Wed, Oct. 10th, 2007 08:46 pm (UTC)
mme_n_b

"was the first person to conduct a *scientific* study of color and his model represents the *contiguous* range of colors in the spectrum."
I'm not trying to argue which standard is better. I'm saying that
a) there are plenty of different standards
b) most of them are not Newton's
c) I'm interested in understanding, not comparing them

"and what are your conclusions about those people who see the rainbow differently?"
Not nearly enough data as yet, but there are some things:
a) going to kindergarden does not help
b) having a dislike of authority does
c) being male improves your chances of seeing black and grey
d) being female improves your chances of seeing fine shades of blue and green

Wed, Oct. 10th, 2007 11:39 pm (UTC)
talash

there are plenty of different standards

What people in your responses that do not see the standard colors claim to be seeing cannot be called a standard because they are inconsistent even with their own very selves over time, not to mention with other people-- and a standard that different people do not agree on is an oxymoron. There are plenty of different standards pertaining to color and its representation, such as RGB, HSV and CMYK etc and these are pretty well-defined rigorous mathematical models which can and are used to represent up to and beyond 16 million shades of color, which is about what the human eye can distinguish. As for perception-- well, we have agreed that individual perception of color, as of anything, may vary. Moreover, the colors of each individual rainbow may vary depending on the setting and, like I said, if we wear green glasses, we might as well see the Wizard of Oz pop up, but still.

I'm not trying to argue which standard is better

I am. Because, the Chinese standard set aside, I believe that the standard that we have is better than naming arbitrary colors from the top of the head. I am ready to accept the Chinese or any other standard given that it can be defined with equivalent rigor to what I use. As for naming arbitrary colors from the top of the head in response to the question "what colors are there in a rainbow"-- I perceive it as lack of education. Because, for example, black is, strictly speaking, not a color and particularly in the context of a rainbow it is ridiculous. I am all for pluralism, but that does not mean that some ideas aren't just wrong. I mean, this is equivalent to saying: "some people perceive the world as flat. this has been so since ancient times in many cultures, some of which also maintain that it stands on four elephants on a turtle. we should respect and tolerate this belief and understanding it is very interesting." They are very close to that in the USA (cf: theory of evolution vs intelligent design). So I say-- no, naming a bunch of colors from the top of the head as something representing the rainbow is not equivalent to my standard. It is something usually referred to as "bullshit."

Thu, Oct. 11th, 2007 12:25 am (UTC)
mme_n_b

"What people in your responses that do not see the standard colors claim to be seeing cannot be called a standard because they are inconsistent even with their own very selves over time"
You just made an axiom from a hypothesis. Try to resist the lure.
My guess (based on admittedly insufficient data) that over time the basic make-up of every person's rainbow will be stable with minor changes (e. g. four shades of green rather than five, or slightly different five). This basic make-up is the individual standard, i. e. every person sees a multitude of rainbows, which group themselves into what may be called a platonic idea of this person's rainbow. Individual rainbows, in turn, group themselves into a "group rainbow" (these are the ones which I find particularly interesting). An example of a group rainbow is a national rainbow, we can safely say "the Russian rainbow has seven colors" because on average that's what the Russians see. These, in turn, will group themselves into a true rainbow, and it is possible (but unlikely) that this rainbow will be the Newtonian one.


"There are plenty of different standards pertaining to color and its representation"
I think you may be missing the point. I'm not interested in representing color. That's not what the survey is about. It's about perceiving color.

"we have agreed that individual perception of color, as of anything, may vary. Moreover, the colors of each individual rainbow may vary depending on the setting"
Which kind of ends the argument right there. Here's a game to play: find a large grouping of small multi-colored lights (like a New Year tree). Look at it quickly (no more than 5 seconds) before breakfast. Turn away, and write down on a piece of paper approximately how many lights of each color you saw, or at least the proportions of different colors. Have breakfast. Briefly look at the lights again. Write down the result. Compare. Guess what the result is?


"I'm not trying to argue which standard is better

I am"
Really? With whom?

"As for naming arbitrary colors from the top of the head in response to the question "what colors are there in a rainbow"-- I perceive it as lack of education"
You are wrong. No one is so uneducated that they've never seen a rainbow. Nor (as I mentioned above) is the question "what are the colors of the rainbow", it's carefully framed to be closer to "what colors do you see in the rainbow". See the difference?

" I am all for pluralism, but that does not mean that some ideas aren't just wrong."
It is pointless to say that someone is wrong about their sensory perceptions. Especially if a number of individual somebodies have the same perceptions.

"So I say-- no, naming a bunch of colors from the top of the head as something representing the rainbow is not equivalent to my standard. It is something usually referred to as "bullshit.""
If you want to continue this (or any) conversation with me you will have to do so within my definition of politeness. I, in turn, will attempt to meet yours as soon as you show it to me. This last quoted statement does not fit within my personal definition of politeness. Therefore I will not answer it and, if repeated in this form, will end the conversation.







(Deleted comment)

Thu, Oct. 11th, 2007 09:27 pm (UTC)
talash: Re: Reality vs Perception

+1.

Thu, Oct. 11th, 2007 11:08 pm (UTC)
mme_n_b: Re: Reality vs Perception

"People drew the colors of rainbow in bands before there was Newton"
Don't say it to me, say it to Talash :)

"Every person will see R(ed),G(reen),B(lue) as the major color groups"
Some people (quite a few) see only two of these. Usually Red and Blue. It's genetic.

"you're asking them what THEY REMEMBER they see"
Actually, I'm asking them what they remember usually seeing.


"measures how well people remember what they actually saw, and then how many adjectives they have in their vocabulary to express what they remember"
If a person sees only one band they will not use two adjectives to describe it. If they see a red-type band they will not use a blue-type adjective to describe it. No one sees pink and calls it "indigo and celadon". You can be pretty sure that the number of the bands and their affiliations, for lack of a better word, are accurate.

"And I think the major part of this argument is the misunderstanding of the word "SEE"."
Which is why I keep pushing the words "perceive" and "remember seeing". There's a difference between that and "seeing" itself.

"If you put different people (Chinese, Indian, Russians, Africans, Australians, even throw some monkeys in for a good measure), and point to a rainbow, they will all call out same/similar colors if you point to a point on a rainbow, so obviously they'll see the SAME RAINBOW"
This is a non-argument, since in answering the survey they did the exact opposite. If someone perceives black, and someone else perceives white, pink, and green you cannot say that at any point they perceive the same thing.

"Nobody will argue if there's brown in there or not, it either IS brown or it's NOT"
There is no brown in there. That we already established a dozen posts ago. The thing we're discussing now is that some people _perceive_ brown, even though it's not there.






Thu, Oct. 11th, 2007 11:18 pm (UTC)
talash: Re: Reality vs Perception

"People drew the colors of rainbow in bands before there was Newton"

Don't say it to me, say it to Talash :)

I never said they didn't. If you re-read my post above, what I say is that Newton was the first person to conduct a scientific study of color and his model is based on rigorous measurements, as opposed to earlier models, which are based on perception only.

Thu, Oct. 11th, 2007 11:45 pm (UTC)
talash: Re: Reality vs Perception

This is a non-argument, since in answering the survey they did the exact opposite. If someone perceives black, and someone else perceives white, pink, and green you cannot say that at any point they perceive the same thing.

memory and perception are not the same and your survey is more a test of what people REMEMBER, since there is no rainbow right before them and even if there is a rainbow right before them it is a test for what names of colors are commonly used in their LANGUAGE. also, if there if a dark green which someone sees and thinks of as "black" this does not necessarily mean that he and the man who names the color as "dark green" see differently, but only that they name differently.
(Deleted comment)

Fri, Oct. 12th, 2007 12:22 am (UTC)
talash: Re: Reality vs Perception

*standing applause*.
(Deleted comment)

Fri, Oct. 12th, 2007 02:06 am (UTC)
talash: Re: Reality vs Perception

You just expressed my opinion better than I.
(Deleted comment)

Fri, Oct. 12th, 2007 03:54 pm (UTC)
mme_n_b: Re: Correction of analogy:

"But as far as your study goes, it has very little to do with the rainbow (if anything at all)."
Well - duh! Like I haven't been explaining this for two days now?

"Similarwise you can argue that Northern people are more sensitive to blue shades and southern people are more sensitive to red shades (probably true to a very small degree)."
Actually, hungry people are more sensitive to blue and fed people to red.

"So if all those people want to mark black and white as a part of the spectrum, well it's just plain wrong."

I wrote a really long answer to this one, involving Chinese people with long purple wings, which this correction made unnecessary. You got the point precisely right: what interests me is what kind of people draw "weird humans", and what kind of "weird humans" they draw, e. g. "do all fiftyish black male accountants draw stick figures with five legs?"
(Deleted comment)

Fri, Oct. 12th, 2007 08:58 pm (UTC)
mme_n_b: Re: Correction of analogy:

They do. It's not actually that way. It's an infinity of ways. Or, rather, it has the potential to be perceived in an infinity of ways. But (for instance) if you know that there's nothing between blue and purple you may not notice the extra fifty shades of blue, and your experience will be poorer.

Fri, Oct. 12th, 2007 11:48 pm (UTC)
(Anonymous): Re: Correction of analogy:

Define "NOT KNOW". Doesn't know what? The name of the color? Or the eye is physically incapable of seeing the color? What is "knowing a color"?

Sat, Oct. 13th, 2007 07:20 am (UTC)
mme_n_b: Re: Correction of analogy:

Well, I wasn't the one who brought up knowing the name of the color. Personally, I think that every respondent knew enough to name or describe the colors they saw.

Wed, Oct. 17th, 2007 08:15 am (UTC)
talash: Re: Correction of analogy:

#FF0000 is red, but so is #FE0000 and #FA0000 and so on and so forth. I can distinguish between them, but the name for all of them is still "red". There might be a few synonyms for darker or brighter shades, but clearly there are more colors the eye can distinguish than there are names for them.

Wed, Oct. 17th, 2007 03:35 pm (UTC)
mme_n_b: Re: Correction of analogy:

Yes, that's why I allow qualifiers :) There is nothing in nature that cannot be expressed.