viernes, 23 de septiembre de 2016

The Bird-Based Color System that Eventually Became Pantone


The Bird-Based Color System that Eventually Became Pantone

Bird diagram from the 1886 'A nomenclature of colors for naturalists : and compendium of useful knowledge for ornithologists' by Robert Ridgway (via Smithsonian Libraries)
Bird diagram from Robert Ridgway’s ‘A nomenclature of colors for naturalists : and compendium of useful knowledge for ornithologists’ (1886) (via Smithsonian Libraries)
WASHINGTON, DC — An effort to describe the diversity of birds led to one of the first modern color systems. Published by Smithsonian ornithologist Robert Ridgway in 1886, A Nomenclature of Colors for Naturalists categorizes 186 colors alongside diagrams of birds. In 1912, Ridgway self-published an expanded version for a broader audience — Color Standards and Color Nomenclature — that included 1,115 colors. Some referenced birds, like “Warbler Green” and “Jay Blue,” while others corresponded to nature, as in “Bone Brown” and “Storm Gray.”
Colors in the 1912 'Color Standars and Color Nomenclature' by Robert Ridgway (via Biodiversity Heritage Library/Missouri Botanical Garden)
Colors in Robert Ridgway’s ‘Color Standards and Color Nomenclature’ (1912), including “Peacock Blue” (via Biodiversity Heritage Library/Missouri Botanical Garden) (click to enlarge)
Ridgway wrote in his 1912 preface that “the nomenclature of colors remains vague and, for practical purposes, meaningless, thereby seriously impeding progress in almost every branch of industry and research.” He railed against confusing trade names like “‘zulu,’ ‘serpent green,’ ‘baby blue,’ ‘new old rose,’ ‘London smoke,’ etc., and such nonsensical names as ‘ashes of roses’ and ‘elephant’s breath.'”
A copy of Ridgway’s 1912 book is on view in the Smithsonian Libraries’ Color in a New LightInstalled in two large display cases on the ground floor of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, the exhibition examines the point at which art, history, and science blend through color. Ridgway’s research is joined by the work of 19th-century painter Gerald Handerson Thayer, whose studies of animals disguising themselves influenced military camouflage; a discussion ofFiestaware, which was painted with orange-red uranium oxide glaze and thus became unintentionally radioactive; and the history of Tyrian Purple pigment, made by mashing up snails.
Color systems date back centuries, at least to Richard Waller’s 1686 Tabula colorum physiologica. Yet bird-watching hones a sharp eye for color differentiation, so Ridgway had an edge — as well as a drive for perfection enabled by 19th-century synthetic dye advancements. This new color technology wasn’t without its dangers. One sample in Ridgway’s book is labeled “Scheele’s Green,” a reference to Wilhelm Scheele’s toxic mix of arsenic and copper.
Installation view of 'Color in a New Light' at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History (photo by the author for Hyperallergic)
Milton Bradley’s ‘Elementary Color’ (1895) with three leaf warblers (photo by the author for Hyperallergic)
Milton Bradley, 'Elementary Color' (Springfield, Massachusetts, 1895), Milton Bradley Co., (Gift of Binney &Smith, Inc., makers of Crayola Crayons , courtesy Smithsonian Libraries)
Milton Bradley, ‘Elementary Color’ (Springfield, Massachusetts, 1895), Milton Bradley Co, Gift of Binney & Smith, Inc, makers of Crayola Crayons (courtesy Smithsonian Libraries) (click to enlarge)
Ridgway’s scientific work was inspired by Milton Bradley, who, along with selling board games, was a proponent of color education. He published Elementary Color in 1895 and manufactured a color wheel that, when spun, visually mixed different hues. Daniel Lewis, author of a 2012 biography of Ridgway, wrote in an article for Smithsonian magazine that the ornithologist paid tribute to Bradley in his color system with “Bradley’s Blue” and “Bradley’s Violet.” Lewis added that Ridgway’s “book evolved into the Pantone color chart,” the first edition of which was printed in 1963.
Nevertheless, Ridgway’s colors were not widely adopted as a system. In a 1985 article published by the Beta Beta Beta Biological Society, Elisabeth B. Davis explains, at least in part, why: “Ridgway described his procedures carefully, Color Standards lacks precise descriptions of how to reproduce the colors. In addition to this problem, Ridgway chose some pigments that were not as permanent as he had hoped, but were affected by humidity, abrasion, and hue shift.”
The whole 1886 book is available to flip through online, thanks to the Smithsonian Libraries, and the 1912 expanded edition is accessible through Columbia University Libraries. At the Smithsonian Libraries, the institution’s copy of Color in a New Lightis installed alongside three stuffed leaf warblers from the Philippines, so you can compare the synthetic sample of “warbler green” to its inspiration in nature.
Installation view of 'Color in a New Light' at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History (photo by the author for Hyperallergic)
Three stuffed Philippine leaf warblers (photo by the author for Hyperallergic)
Installation view of 'Color in a New Light' at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History (photo by the author for Hyperallergic)
Robert Ridgway, ‘Color Standards and Color Nomenclature’ (1912), with “warbler green” third from the bottom on the right (photo by the author for Hyperallergic)
Colors in the 1912 'Color Standars and Color Nomenclature' by Robert Ridgway (via Biodiversity Heritage Library/Missouri Botanical Garden)
Colors in Robert Ridgway’s ‘Color Standars and Color Nomenclature’ (1912), including “Jay Blue” (via Biodiversity Heritage Library/Missouri Botanical Garden)
Feather diagrams from the 1886 'A nomenclature of colors for naturalists : and compendium of useful knowledge for ornithologists' by Robert Ridgway (via Smithsonian Libraries)
Feather diagrams from Robert Ridgway’s ‘A nomenclature of colors for naturalists : and compendium of useful knowledge for ornithologists’ (1886) (via Smithsonian Libraries)
Robert Ridgway Color Standards and Color Nomenclature Washington, D.C.: Published by the author, 1912 (courtesy Smithsonian Libraries)
Robert Ridgway, ‘Color Standards and Color Nomenclature’ (1912) (courtesy Smithsonian Libraries)
Colors from Robert Ridgway's "A Nomenclature of Colors for Naturalists : And Compendium of Useful Knowledge for Ornithologists." (1886) (via Boston Public Library/Wikimedia)
Colors from Robert Ridgway’s ‘A Nomenclature of Colors for Naturalists : And Compendium of Useful Knowledge for Ornithologists’ (1886) (via Boston Public Library/Wikimedia)
Colors from Robert Ridgway's "A Nomenclature of Colors for Naturalists : And Compendium of Useful Knowledge for Ornithologists." (1886) (via Boston Public Library/Wikimedia)
Colors from Robert Ridgway’s ‘A Nomenclature of Colors for Naturalists : And Compendium of Useful Knowledge for Ornithologists’ (1886) (via Boston Public Library/Wikimedia)
Colors from Robert Ridgway's "A Nomenclature of Colors for Naturalists : And Compendium of Useful Knowledge for Ornithologists." (1886) (via Boston Public Library/Wikimedia)
Colors from Robert Ridgway’s ‘A Nomenclature of Colors for Naturalists : And Compendium of Useful Knowledge for Ornithologists’ (1886) (via Boston Public Library/Wikimedia)
Installation view of 'Color in a New Light' at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History (photo by the author for Hyperallergic)
Installation view of ‘Color in a New Light’ at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (photo by the author for Hyperallergic) (click to enlarge)
The Smithsonian Libraries’ Color in a New Light continues at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (10th & Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC) through March 2017.

11 clever kitchen hacks that only the professionals know

11 clever kitchen hacks that only the professionals know

They say that architects cover their mistakes with ivy, chefs with mayonnaise. Unfortunately, not all your cooking mishaps can be fixed with the help of a thick layer of sauce. Sometimes you need to make use of much more tricky hacks. But don’t worry! In fact, from overcooking to oversalting, you can use simple ingredients to balance flavors and mask those screwups.
So before throwing out the dish you just made, or offering it to the dog, check out our culinary life hacks that will help you rescue your dinner and your pride.

1. Tough meat

Have you ever bought meat which really looked good but after cooking got hard and difficult to chew? If your answer is ’yes,’ don’t worry. Here are a few tricks to end up with tender, great-tasting meat every time.
  • Use fruits. Apple, pineapple, mango, and pear all work well. Peel the fruit if necessary, then cut it into thin slices. Cook the meat covered with slices of fruit. Fruit juices are great at tenderizing tough cuts of meat. That is why pork is very often cooked with pineapple.
  • Use sake. Prepare a marinade in a separate bowl by combining grated onion and apple. When done, add olive oil and a bit of sake. Marinate the meat overnight in the refrigerator to add flavor and tenderness.
  • Use Coke. Coke acts as a perfect meat tenderizer. Before frying, soak the meat in Coca-Cola for just 10 minutes. Then remove the meat from the marinade, let it dry a bit, and stir fry with black pepper. Use this method to give your meat dishes a delicious taste. And one more bonus: this recipe is suitable for fairly thick slices.
  • Use a lemon. Marinating meat in lemon juice for 30 minutes before cooking is enough to make it much softer. You can also use vinegar. However, in this case, the meat should be soaked in the marinade overnight.

2. Overly salty soup

If you’ve added too much salt to your soup, here are a few chefs’ secrets that will help you to rescue it:
  • The easiest fix is, of course, to add more water and cook your soup for a few additional minutes. However, this method may not be very appropriate since it can affect the taste of your dish.
  • If you have unsalted broth left over, simply add some of it to the pot. This will help you make your soup less salty without compromising on taste at all.
  • If the trick with the broth doesn’t work for you, you can try putting a small bag filled with rice into the pot. Rice is a great absorbent that has a way of soaking up the extra salt.
  • Some chefs also use refined sugar to fix the taste. Just place a cube of sugar onto a spoon and put it into the soup. Wait until the sugar dissolves and add another piece. Repeat several times until the salt level is acceptable.
  • Foods like potatoes, noodles, or pasta can also help to absorb salt. If the recipe allows, simply add more of these ingredients. If none of these products are included in the recipe, throw in a few peeled potatoes and let them cook for about 10-15 minutes before pulling them out. The potatoes will absorb the excess salt and won’t spoil the taste of the dish.

3. The harsh taste of onion

The sharp smell or taste of uncooked onions often leaves you feeling uncomfortable. However, cooking dishes without onion can be a challenging task. Luckily, here is an easy way to make raw onions tastier. Just slice or cut raw onions as desired, and put them into a bowl of cold water. This will help you get rid of the bitter taste.

4. Overly salty meat

Sour cream can help balance out excess saltiness in a meat dish. Put the meat in a bowl of sour cream, and let it chill. Alternatively, you can also add some unsalted oil or flour sauce (flour, water, and sour cream) to your dish. An unsalted garnish is one more way to salvage the food. If you’ve oversalted the ground beef, add finely chopped cabbage, zucchini, or grated raw potatoes to it. These ingredients will make your dish even more tender and juicy.

5. Overly salty veggies

Vegetable ragout will become less salty if you add a few tomatoes to it. Just chop them finely, and cook together with your oversalted dish. In order to remove excess salt from the cooked vegetables, you can pour unsalted boiling water over them and cook for a few minutes. Mushroom dishes can also be rescued by using unsalted sauces, garnishes, or sour cream.

6. Charred meat or other foods

If, while cooking the meat, you end up with a charred block of protein that is essentially raw inside, cut off the burnt layer and continue to simmer it with oil, water, or broth. In order to remove the burnt smell from your dish, transfer it to another bowl and cover it with a damp cloth. It will soak up much of the unpleasant odor. One more way to get rid of the burnt flavor and taste is to add hot milk to your dish.

7. Cooled dishes

Have you ever set up a buffet at home? If so, you probably know that keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold until serving time can be challenging. Fortunately, the solution is quite simple. Just warm plates or other serving pieces in the oven for 5 minutes prior to putting food on them. Or chill the plates in the refrigerator if you’re planning to serve cold foods.

8. Broth with too much fat

If the broth has too much fat in it, put it in the refrigerator to get cold. Wait until the fat hardens on the top, and then remove it.

9. Pancakes sticking to the pan

There are several reasons why pancakes stick to the pan. If the batter is too wet, add some flour. If the flour is of low quality, add some semolina flour. It is also important to preheat the frying pan with oil before putting the batter into it.

10. Custard that is too thin

Custard must have a consistency thicker than cream or whipped cream. However, it can sometimes be too thin. Fortunately, there are some tricks to thicken it. Take a little flour and mix well. If it still does not thicken, add a little more. You can also try to cook the custard for a few additional minutes, or simply put it in the refrigerator.

11. Frostbitten vegetables

Letting frostbitten potatoes warm gradually for 5-7 days at room temperature (18-20°С or 64-68°F) can reduce their sweet taste. A frostbitten onion won’t be spoiled if you let it thaw at 3-5°C (37-41°F).

Research on stress hormone effects on the brain reveals unexpected findings

Research on stress hormone effects on the brain reveals unexpected findings

September 23, 2016
Research on stress hormone effects on the brain reveals unexpected findings
Credit: University of Bristol
Stress is a common problem often resulting in poor health and mental disorders. New research has revealed that current concepts on how stress hormones act on the brain may need to be reassessed.
It is thought that disturbances in the action of  play a key role in causing , like major depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Learning to cope with is known to require changes in the expression of genes in the hippocampus, a limbic brain region involved in learning and memory. Such changes in gene expression are brought about by stress-induced glucocorticoid hormones acting via receptors that can directly bind to genes and alter their expression.
A BBSRC-funded study, published in the international journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), has found that the action of mineralocorticoid receptors (MRs) at the neuronal genome cannot be predicted based solely on receptor occupancy by glucocorticoid hormone. As a result the concept on tonic and feedback action, which over the past few decades has been cited in textbooks, may require some adjustment.
Professor Hans Reul together with Dr Karen Mifsud, of the University's School of Clinical Sciences, investigated the actual binding of MRs and glucocorticoid receptors (GRs) to genes in the hippocampus after stress. To their surprise they found the binding of MRs to genes was not constantly high but actually low under non-stress conditions and increased substantially after stress. GRs, however, followed the expectation that binding to target genes would be minimal under baseline conditions and increase dramatically after stress following the GR binding profile to glucocorticoids.
Hans Reul, Professor of Neuroscience, said: "These novel findings are a significant step forward in our understanding of how glucocorticoid hormones act on the brain after stressful events. They allow for the first time identification of genes within the hippocampus of the brain that are directly affected by GR/MR binding after stress. Given that stress-related psychiatric diseases such as major depression, anxiety and PTSD are an ever-increasing burden in our society, these new insights are important to find novel treatments and therapies in the future."
The researchers also discovered that MRs and GRs don't always act separately but can actually bind together at the same site within hippocampal genes after stress, possibly resulting in a boost in the expression of such genes. Their work provides the first strong evidence in vivo that MR and GR are heterodimerising and that MRs may require the presence of GRs in order to bind to specific target .
Thirty years ago, Professor Reul, who was working at Utrecht University in The Netherlands, observed that glucocorticoids exert their effects on the brain via two different types of receptors, the MRs and the GRs.
Professor Reul discovered that due to their extraordinarily high affinity for glucocorticoids, MRs are always fully occupied by these hormones whereas GRs, as a result of their lower binding affinity, only became occupied after a stressful event. Based on these results, the concept was launched that MRs have a constant ('tonic') action on brain function whereas GRs mediated negative feedback and enhance learning and memory after . Due to Dr Mifsud and Professor Reul's new research at the University of Bristol, this concept may require reassessment.
More information: Karen R. Mifsud et al. Acute stress enhances heterodimerization and binding of corticosteroid receptors at glucocorticoid target genes in the hippocampus, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2016). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1605246113