November 07, 2018
There is more to colors than Roy G. Biv. The colors we all learned about in grade school have a much more bizarre and, dare I say it, 'colorful' history than we ever knew!
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Today's Random Fact:
Did anyone tell you when you were a kid that too many carrot sticks would turn your skin orange? It's true! (Sort of). Hypercarotenemia, or carotenosis, is a yellowy orange discoloration of the skin caused by high levels of carotene in the blood, the result of eating a LOT of vitamin A.
'Pink' once meant 'yellow.' We know, it's confusing. See, Dutch 'pink' was a yellow pigment; but because 'pink' also means a frilled edge, it became closely associated with the dianthus flower, which has notched petals. And what's the most common color for dianthus flowers? You guessed it: pink.
For thousands of years, green was a tricky pigment to nail down, but the 19th century saw the rise of two stable and incredibly popular green dyes. There was just one problem: Both were laced with arsenic. At the time, the health risks of arsenic exposure were unknown, but before long, doctors and newspapers began attributing illnesses to green-wallpapered rooms. (There is even a theory that arsenic-laced wallpaper helped do in Napoleon.)
Isn't indigo basically blue? Why is it even in Roy G. Biv (Red, Orange, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet)? We have Isaac Newton to thank for this one: He wanted the number of colors in the spectrum to match Rene Descartes' seven-tone musical scale, and indigo brought the color count to seven.