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  #21  
Old 24 September 2014, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Ryda Wong, EBfCo. View Post
That actually looks pretty intriguing. I'd try it.
Squid Ink Pasta. If you make pasta, you can also just buy a jar of squid ink and make it that way.

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Originally Posted by Mosherette View Post
It was licorice at the place I used to work.
Licorice is the only kind I've seen that is quite that dark, and it's probably from food coloring in that case.

I've had ice creams made from foods that are supposed to be black (like black sesame ice cream), but when you make ice cream out of it the end product is more of a grey than dark black, or it becomes blue/purple/etc.
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  #22  
Old 24 September 2014, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Mosherette View Post
It was licorice at the place I used to work.
Huh. I've never seen soft-serve licorice ice cream. Out here in the boonies, in those rare instances when you CAN find licorice ice cream, it's vanilla with bits of black licorice in it (a la chocolate chip).
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  #23  
Old 24 September 2014, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Little Pink Pill View Post
TIt's the black cheese that's really squicky, though.
Hey, do you overseas snopesters know the name of one of our most popular brands of cheese?

Got a bit more "squicky", didn't it?
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  #24  
Old 24 September 2014, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by WildaBeast View Post
Don't humans have a natural aversion to food that's the "wrong" color? I can't provide a cite, but I recall hearing about an experiment where subjects were given a common food, like French fries, with color added to make them an unnatural color like blue or green. Subjects first ate them in the dark or blindfolded or something to eliminate the possibility that the coloring itself affected the flavor; they reported they tasted fine. But when the subjects were given the same food and could see what they were eating they found them unappetizing. Supposedly some even got sick when it was revealed they had eaten strange colored fries.
I've heard similar. One theory is that's why we have the ability to determine between red and green. It developed over the last several hundred years as we went from hunter/gatherers to farmers and traders, and needed to know what was ready to eat.

Slightly off topic, I heard that ice-cream on movie sets is often mashed potato, as ice-cream would melt under the lights. And those closeup shots of pizza are normally cold, to prevent steam fogging the camera.
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  #25  
Old 24 September 2014, 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Skeptic View Post
I've heard similar. One theory is that's why we have the ability to determine between red and green. It developed over the last several hundred years as we went from hunter/gatherers to farmers and traders, and needed to know what was ready to eat.
That seems frankly unbelievable, since Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, and others all over the world all have extremely similar visual capabilities. They've been genetically distinct for thousands of years, so would not have been able to share new mutations. They've also experienced different rates and directions of cultural evolution. Humans have been pretty similar to their modern form for tens of thousands of years, with the biggest changes coming from culture and nutrition rather than rapid genetic changes.

Furthermore, most apes have trichromatic vision, and see the same three primary colors as us. Some more distantly related primates have only two color vision, as is common with many other types of mammals. So somewhere in our primate past we evolved trichromatic vision, and distinguishing food sources may well be an important reason for it. But it happened millions of years ago rather than hundreds of years ago.

Pigeons see in 5 primary colors, which is pretty awesome. They must have some completely foreign experiences of how colors interact that we don't even have concepts for. Our printed images and movie/TV screens would often look completely different to them from the object it was meant to be representing. They have yellow as a primary color, so to them, yellow on most of our TV screens (traditionally, though not always, produced by combining red and green light) would just look like reddish green, some completely different color from yellow that we are incapable of experiencing. Similarly, to animals with dichromatic vision (or to color blind people), the point on the rainbow directly between their two primary colors looks indistinguishable from white (or grey) light. White is just another hue to them, and "saturation" isn't a thing at all.

Last edited by Errata; 24 September 2014 at 10:00 PM.
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  #26  
Old 24 September 2014, 10:56 PM
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Correct except, to pick extremely minor nits, I'm not sure pigeons have such excellent colour vision just because they have so many receptors. Primates have the best colour vision organ of all: extremely powerful brains. Most of the processing that makes our colour vision (and our vision in general) so good happens there. They certainly would see a bit outside of our spectrum into UV but I think it's an open question whether within our spectrum they have better colour vision. Primates have pretty amazing vision all around.
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  #27  
Old 24 September 2014, 11:10 PM
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Some birds are fairly intelligent, and also highly visual creatures. Their brains are proportionally pretty big and some bird species have been observed in behaviors that appear to demonstrate reasoning abilities similar to primates.
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  #28  
Old 24 September 2014, 11:14 PM
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Originally Posted by WildaBeast View Post
Don't humans have a natural aversion to food that's the "wrong" color?
I can confirm that kids will refuse to eat green eggs and ham or to drink green milk, no matter how much their father thought it might liven up their St. Patrick's Day.
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  #29  
Old 24 September 2014, 11:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Errata View Post
Some birds are fairly intelligent, and also highly visual creatures.
True. It wouldn't come as a surprise to find out they could distinguish far more colours.

However, even some humans have four types of receptor. They have better colour vision than most people but I don't think it's as if they live in a different colour world because they have the same basic processing circuits as the rest of us and that's where much of the work is done.
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  #30  
Old 25 September 2014, 01:26 AM
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Originally Posted by she-geek View Post
My curiosity is piqued. Is the stuff in the ice cream cone actually ice cream, and what flavor is it?
We usually eat black soft ice cream made with black sesame seeds. It's not that black, though. That photo is ikasumi ice cream, also supposedly made with squid ink. (I have to wonder if they darken it with lots of food color. It can't be 100% ink!)
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  #31  
Old 25 September 2014, 01:28 AM
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Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
However, even some humans have four types of receptor. They have better colour vision than most people but I don't think it's as if they live in a different colour world because they have the same basic processing circuits as the rest of us and that's where much of the work is done.
In humans, having those receptors is a fluke, and it's unsurprising that those humans don't also have traits for a matching brain architecture to process that extra information very well. In birds, 4 color vision is no fluke, they've been that way for a long time. They're subject to a lot of selective pressure, and for many species visual acuity is essential for survival, so I would expect their brains have adapted to put those receptors to good use. The 5th receptor is somewhat anomalous, and it's possible it's some quirk that is not being used to its full potential.

I think studies have pretty well established that pigeons can distinguish 4 dimensions of color, but it's still debated whether they can really distinguish the 5th, despite their receptors.
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  #32  
Old 25 September 2014, 01:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Errata View Post
I think studies have pretty well established that pigeons can distinguish 4 dimensions of color [...]
Really? The electromagnetic spectrum only has one dimension but I suppose there are a practically infinite number of patterns. What does dimension mean in this sentence? How would any experiment establish that? We can describe human colour vision with three numbers but (in their most correct forms) they are non-euclidian and are not in any way dimensions of colour. Still, with humans, such experiments tend to rely on some non-trivial tasks. I don't think any pigeons have been trained to do that. ETA - Gah, now I'm going to spend all weekend reading about pigeon experiments. Not good! And it's all your fault. But, no, I haven't seen any claim that describing their colour vision requires more than three values. On the contrary, it looks like three is enough at this time.

Last edited by ganzfeld; 25 September 2014 at 01:41 AM.
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  #33  
Old 25 September 2014, 01:37 AM
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Originally Posted by she-geek View Post
I can confirm that kids will refuse to eat green eggs and ham or to drink green milk, no matter how much their father thought it might liven up their St. Patrick's Day.
Many years ago a friend's mom decided to make green mashed potatoes for St Patrick's Day. Instead of food coloring, she used celery salt. It takes a LOT of celery salt to color potatoes bright green. Even the dog wouldn't eat them.
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  #34  
Old 25 September 2014, 01:52 AM
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetrachromacy
This Wikipedia article makes this mistake:
Quote:
In tetrachromatic organisms, the sensory color space is four-dimensional, meaning that to match the sensory effect of arbitrarily chosen spectra of light within their visible spectrum requires mixtures of at least four different primary colors.
Just because a colour vision system has four types of sensor doesn't mean it requires four numbers to describe the colors the animal is able to discriminate. In fact, the human eye has four types of sensors if we include the rods. The misunderstanding is that we use the three numbers in a colour vision space to describe what's happening in the receptors alone. That wouldn't be an accurate colour space at all.
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  #35  
Old 25 September 2014, 02:35 AM
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Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
We can describe human colour vision with three numbers but (in their most correct forms) they are non-euclidian and are not in any way dimensions of colour.
Yes they are in any way dimensions of color. Humans can distinguish colors that vary in ways that are naturally described by 3 different numbers. That's what a dimension is. You can add a little more red, green, or blue, independently, and we can distinguish all the different permutations of that as distinctly different colors.

If you try to map out all the colors that humans can see, a 2 dimensional chart is inadequate to represent it very well, without major discontinuities at arbitrary intervals. It requires 3 dimensions. There are different schemes for how to map it to 3 dimensions, red-blue-green, hue-saturation-brightness, but regardless of the representation it varies along 3 dimensions. There is no possible way to design a display system capable of producing 2 wavelengths of light that can accurately represent pictures the way (non-colorblind) humans see them naturally, but if you have 3 different colors of light you can do a very good job of it. You need 3 degrees of freedom, because we have a 3 dimensional color space.

It requires more data to perfectly describe all the infinite variations of different wavelengths of light in different combinations that you could possibly have. You could try out color representations that vary along far more than 3 dimensions, but you'd have lots of colors that look identical to the human eye, because we can't distinguish all possible variations. Some other animals however, may have a vision system in which 3 is inadequate and it is better represented by 4 or more dimensions. I would agree that simply having the receptors doesn't in and of itself prove that they have the ability to make these distinctions between different combinations of wavelengths. It needs to be proven experimentally what sorts of combinations of wavelengths look the same to them or look different.

Last edited by Errata; 25 September 2014 at 03:04 AM.
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  #36  
Old 25 September 2014, 03:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Errata View Post
There is no possible way to design a display system capable of producing 2 wavelengths of light that can accurately represent pictures the way (non-colorblind) humans see them naturally, but if you have 3 different colors of light you can do a very good job of it. You need 3 degrees of freedom, because we have a 3 dimensional color space.
Three dimensions is very different from three degrees of freedom (at least to my understanding). But OK.
Quote:
Some other animals however, may have a vision system in which 3 is inadequate and it is better represented by 4 or more dimensions.
This hasn't been established. The dimensionality (as you call it) of the human visual system doesn't follow directly from to the fact that we have three types of receptor (actually four - see rods). Those signals are combined into a separate set of signals (in some ways simpler, in others more complex) even before they reach the brain.

Also, don't confuse the systems we use to produce colors with the visual system itself. No three-color system (RGB or any other - even four-color systems) can produce all of the wavelength patterns the human vision system is capable of recognizing. So if you use that as your method of determining the number of "dimensions" - it would have to be way more than three.
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  #37  
Old 25 September 2014, 04:11 AM
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Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
No three-color system (RGB or any other - even four-color systems) can produce all of the wavelength patterns the human vision system is capable of recognizing.
Cite please. If you add more primary colors than that, most people couldn't tell the difference to save their lives. Some people can tell a small difference, but 3 does a remarkably close to accurate job as far as we are capable of perceiving.
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  #38  
Old 25 September 2014, 04:27 AM
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Originally Posted by she-geek View Post
I can confirm that kids will refuse to eat green eggs and ham or to drink green milk, no matter how much their father thought it might liven up their St. Patrick's Day.
Did you read them the book.
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  #39  
Old 25 September 2014, 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Errata View Post
Licorice is the only kind I've seen that is quite that dark, and it's probably from food coloring in that case.
Yes, ours was an incredibly dark green. It was pretty much black though. You only realised that it was green food colouring ...um, a couple of days later. It was LEGENDARY amongst the kids in our town

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Originally Posted by she-geek View Post
Huh. I've never seen soft-serve licorice ice cream. Out here in the boonies, in those rare instances when you CAN find licorice ice cream, it's vanilla with bits of black licorice in it (a la chocolate chip).
Ours was the stuff you scoop out with a scoop.
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  #40  
Old 25 September 2014, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Errata View Post
Cite please. If you add more primary colors than that, most people couldn't tell the difference to save their lives. Some people can tell a small difference, but 3 does a remarkably close to accurate job as far as we are capable of perceiving.
Not so. For any specific "primary" based system, no matter which primaries are chosen, there is a large set of colors that cannot be reproduced, to wit:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamut
As you can see for most common systems, it's upwards of half of the colors on these diagrams (which make it look a little worse than it actually is because these diagrams are not normalized for the noticeable difference). ETA - As I hope you can also see from these diagrams, there are no three primaries, no matter how perfect, that would cover the curves so this is not a matter of pedantics; it can't be done.

Last edited by ganzfeld; 25 September 2014 at 08:03 AM.
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