Monthly Archives: January 2017
Favorite Colors – What Do They Mean?
“Oh yes! He loved yellow, did good Vincent… When the two of us were together in Arles, both of us insane, and constantly at war over beautiful colors, I adored red; where could I find a perfect vermilion?” ~Paul Gauguin
Most of us have a favorite color. Maybe you’re drawn to sky blue because it makes your eyes stand out or you find forest green particularly comforting. Whatever the case, your preferred hue can reveal a lot about what makes you tick. And the same holds true for the people you date — you’d probably have a different impression of a date if he or she said, “My favorite color is yellow” versus “My favorite color is black.” That’s because color speaks a powerful, silent language.
What it represents: Ah, the color of passion, anger and high blood pressure. Red is a primal color. It represents primal urges, like lust (“I must have you now!”) and fury (you know the phrase “seeing red,” right?). Yes, red is a commanding color: think of how stop signs get you to halt in your tracks and how you stand back when a red fire engine goes whizzing by.
Understanding people who love it: They act — sometimes without thinking — on immediate desires. In fact, they’re usually the poster children for immediate gratification. It’s up to you if you go for it… or proceed with caution.
What it represents: OK, orange is not exactly the easiest color to wear and it’s not the most common favorite color, but guess what? Orange is as sensual as it gets. Orange is a mellowed red — and it takes primal, lusty urges and mellows them with a softer vibe. Orange is the color of early attractions, emotional responses, and inner magnetism. Oh, and one other thing: orange is also close to gold, the color of success and wealth.
Understanding people who love it: Someone who likes orange is alive with feelings, the ability to nurture, and can intuit a path to success. If your favorite color is orange, you don’t have an “off” switch when it comes to passion. This is all good stuff, but there’s nothing casual about the connections this kind of person usually forges.
What it represents: Yellow is the color of the sun, vitality, power and ego… but it’s not a great indicator of romance. Watch out for self-centered, “me first” energy when someone prefers yellow to the rest of the rainbow.
Understanding people who love it: If yellow is your favorite color, temper your use of the word “I” when you’re interested in someone else. You can come across as too ego-centric otherwise. Now, if you’re dating someone whose favorite hue is yellow, make sure to jump in and share stories about yourself, since this person may not give you much room.
What it represents: Here is the heart of the matter: green is the color of love. (It’s no coincidence that we make our money in the same color…) Green is the color of life and abundance — leaves, grass, plants — it’s all about growing, expanding, and living. So why don’t we give ferns instead of roses on Valentine’s Day? Because green is about expansive, humanistic love and acceptance, not bodice-ripping romance. What’s more, green is a nice-person color, a “do-gooder, be-gooder” kind of color. This person has a warm heart. Passion is probably in there somewhere, buried under their integrity and honor.
Understanding people who love it: If you love green, you put the greater good before your own good — but try a little selfish behavior once in a while.
What it represents: Blue is a color of clarity, communications and charm. And regardless of the shade, this hue says: “I like to be understood.” On the downside, under stress, a “blue” person can send mixed messages, have trouble making up their mind, or just space out during conversations.
Understanding people who love it: If blue is your favorite color, you never run out of anything to say — expression is your strong suit. And if you’re dating a “blue” person? The same holds true; you should always know where you stand.
What it represents: Purple evokes the energy of illusion, imagination and fantasy. Or should we say purrrrple? Purple tends to inspire coyness, romance, flirtation and teasing — it builds anticipation with a dash of playfulness. The downside of purple is unrealistic expectations. Is it easier to live in your fantasy world than the real world? Some purple-lovers prefer it.
Understanding people who love it: If you love purple, you can be an imaginative romantic or prefer imaginary romance, depending on how you feel.
What it represents: White is light — the combination of all colors. White symbolizes purity (the traditional bridal dress, the christening gown) and spirituality. There’s a simplicity to it, too.
Understanding people who love it: People who love white are probably clean and orderly. While white isn’t the sexiest color, it is certainly healthy.
What it represents: Like white, black is a combination of all colors, but instead of purity, it represents the unknown, the unseen — mystery. Black basically holds back information… but there’s no denying that it has strong associations in our culture with “the dark side” and evil.
Understanding people who love it: If your favorite color is black, you are more hush-hush than high-strung in nature. The silence of this color lets others fill in the blanks. Black says, “I’m not telling you anything.” People who love black can be tough nuts to crack, but quite possibly worth the effort.
You Can Pee a Rainbow
From red to blue to violet, all the colors of the rainbow appear regularly in urine tests conducted at hospital labs.
The prismatic pee collection seen in this stunning photo took only a week to assemble for medical laboratory scientists at Tacoma General Hospital in Tacoma, Wash. Heather West, the laboratory scientist who snapped the picture at the hospital, said she and her colleagues collected the urine colors to highlight their fascinating behind-the-scenes work.
“My picture was intended to illustrate both the incredible and unexpected things the human body is capable of, the curiosity in science, and also the beauty that can be found in unexpected places,” West said. “A mix between art and science.”
None of the urine samples were treated with chemicals in the lab to change their hue, West said. “When I posted the picture [on Flickr], people thought that we did something magical to it. They did not believe it was actually urine,” she said.
Hospital labs are often tucked away in a windowless basement, but they play a critical role in patient health. West, 26, who works the night shift, said a love of science and a wish to work in the medical field drew her to the career. “We are impacting every patient that comes into the hospital in multiple ways,” she said.
While the chromatic colors of pee are amazing, doctors are usually more interested in the contents of urine. Only a few colors, such as red or dark brown, warn that something is wrong with a patient’s health.
“I wouldn’t generally just monitor the color of someone’s urine,” said Kirsten Greene, an assistant professor of urology at the University of California, San Francisco. “But if it’s red or bloody, that’s a really strong cue that there’s infection or cancer, and that’s the one I would worry about the most.”
Here are some of the reasons for the pee shades.
Blood is the most common cause of red urine, and is a definite health warning signal. “As a urologist, I’m always worried when people have red urine,” Greene said. Bladder cancer, infections and kidney stones can all cause bleeding that shows up in urine, and all are worth a trip to the doctor.
More benignly, eating a lot of beets can turn your pee pink.
Dark-colored urine also points to health problems. Liver cancer can cause dark brown urine, containing excess bilirubin, a brownish pigment produced by the liver.
A drug called phenazopyridine (Pyridium) created the bright orange urine seen in West’s photograph. It’s a painkiller given to people with urinary tract infections, and converts pee into a Gatorade-like color.
“Antibiotics often alter urine color to orange,”Green said. “People who eat enough carrots to turn their skin orange can have orange pee, too,” she added.
Many people have seen the effects of dehydration on pee — a dark yellow- colored urine. Without enough water, a pigment called urochrome becomes more concentrated in urine.
On the other hand, in hospitals, some patients on intravenous fluids are so hydrated they produce nearly colorless urine, West said. The cloudy, yellow urine in West’s picture was caused by an infection.
Green urine usually flows from dilution of blue urine, as in West’s image. Occasionally, a urinary tract infection may trigger green pee.
The rarest of all on the pee rainbow, blue urine often comes from chemicals and drugs given to patients. The No. 1 offender is a drug called methylene blue, used to treat carbon monoxide poisoning, and as a dye during surgery. It makes the blue and green urine seen in West’s photograph.
Methylene blue was also a malaria treatment during World War II. Other medications that make blue urine include Viagra, indomethacin and propofol — the anesthetic drug infamously linked with Michael Jackson’s death.
Genetic conditions that affect the breakdown of dietary nutrients can also cause blue urine. Even blue food dyes sometimes passes into pee.
Indigo and Violet
In this photo, the deep purple urine comes from a patient with kidney failure. “The dark black one is something that you usually see in kidney failure,” West said. “Your kidneys should be filtering your blood and getting rid of your waste, and when you damage the kidneys, there’s a lot more blood [in the urine],” she said.
Another violet venue: Patients with catheters can develop a rare complication called “purple urine bag syndrome,” linked to a urinary tract infection and highly alkaline urine. A genetic condition called porphyria may also trigger deep purple pee.
Purple Planet Earth
The earliest life on Earth might have been just as purple as it is green today, a scientist claims.
Ancient microbes might have used a molecule other than chlorophyll to harness the Sun’s rays, one that gave the organisms a violet hue.
Chlorophyll, the main photosynthetic pigment of plants, absorbs mainly blue and red wavelengths from the Sun and reflects green ones, and it is this reflected light that gives plants their leafy color. This fact puzzles some biologists because the sun transmits most of its energy in the green part of the visible spectrum.
“Why would chlorophyll have this dip in the area that has the most energy?” said Shil DasSarma, a microbial geneticist at the University of Maryland.
After all, evolution has tweaked the human eye to be most sensitive to green light (which is why images from night-vision goggles are tinted green). So why is photosynthesis not fine-tuned the same way?
DasSarma thinks it is because chlorophyll appeared after another light-sensitive molecule called retinal was already present on early Earth. Retinal, today found in the plum-colored membrane of a photosynthetic microbe called halobacteria, absorbs green light and reflects back red and violet light, the combination of which appears purple.
Primitive microbes that used retinal to harness the sun’s energy might have dominated early Earth, DasSarma said, thus tinting some of the first biological hotspots on the planet a distinctive purple color.
Being latecomers, microbes that used chlorophyll could not compete directly with those utilizing retinal, but they survived by evolving the ability to absorb the very wavelengths retinal did not use, DasSarma said.
“Chlorophyll was forced to make use of the blue and red light, since all the green light was absorbed by the purple membrane-containing organisms,” said William Sparks, an astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Maryland, who helped DasSarma develop his idea.
Chlorophyll more efficient
The researchers speculate that chlorophyll- and retinal-based organisms coexisted for a time. “You can imagine a situation where photosynthesis is going on just beneath a layer of purple membrane-containing organisms,” DasSarma told LiveScience.
But after a while, the researchers say, the balance tipped in favor of chlorophyll because it is more efficient than retinal.
“Chlorophyll may not sample the peak of the solar spectrum, but it makes better use of the light that it does absorb,” Sparks explained.
DasSarma admits his ideas are currently little more than speculation, but says they fit with other things scientists know about retinal and early Earth.
For example, retinal has a simpler structure than chlorophyll, and would have been easier to produce in the low-oxygen environment of early Earth, DasSarma said.
Also, the process for making retinal is very similar to that of a fatty acid, which many scientists think was one of the key-ingredients for the development of cells.
“Fatty acids were likely needed to form the membranes in the earliest cells,” DasSarma said.
Lastly, halobacteria, a microbe alive today that uses retinal, is not a bacterium at all. It belongs to a group of organisms called archaea, whose lineage stretches back to a time before Earth had an oxygen atmosphere.
Taken together, these different lines of evidence suggest retinal formed earlier than chlorophyll, DasSarma said.
The team presented its so-called “purple Earth” hypothesis earlier this year at the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society, and it is also detailed in the latest issue of the magazine American Scientist. The team also plans to submit the work to a peer-reviewed science journal later this year.
David Des Marais, a geochemist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California, calls the purple Earth hypothesis “interesting,” but cautions against making too much of one observation.
“I’m a little cautious about looking at who’s using which wavelengths of light and making conclusions about how things were like 3 or 4 billion years ago,” said Des Marais, who was not involved in the research.
Des Marais said an alternative explanation for why chlorophyll doesn’t absorb green light is that doing so might actually harm plants.
“That energy comes screaming in. It’s a two-edged sword,” Des Marais said in a telephone interview. “Yes, you get energy from it, but it’s like people getting 100 percent oxygen and getting poisoned. You can get too much of a good thing.”
Des Marais points to cyanobacteria, a photosynthesizing microbe with an ancient history, which lives just beneath the ocean surface in order to avoid the full brunt of the Sun.
“We see a lot of evidence of adaptation to get light levels down a bit,” Des Marais said. “I don’t know that there’s necessarily an evolutionary downside to not being at the peak of the solar spectrum.”
Implications for astrobiology
If future research validates the purple Earth hypothesis, it would have implications for scientists searching for life on distant worlds, the researchers say.
“We should make sure we don’t lock into ideas that are entirely centered on what we see on Earth,” said DasSarma’s colleague, Neil Reid, also of the STScI.
For example, one biomarker of special interest in astrobiology is the “red edge” produced by plants on Earth. Terrestrial vegetation absorbs most, but not all, of the red light in the visible spectrum. Many scientists have proposed using the small portion of reflected red light as an indicator of life on other planets.
“I think when most people think about remote sensing, they’re focused on chlorophyll-based life,” DasSarma said. “It may be that is the more prominent one, but if you happen to see a planet that is at this early stage of evolution, and you’re looking for chlorophyll, you might miss it because you’re looking at the wrong wavelength.”
“Light is a nutrient much like food,and like food,
the wrong kind can make us ill, and the right kind can keep us well.”
Humans need light of specific intensity and color range to regulate their internal biological clock. Without it, our daily, monthly and annual rhythms become disrupted. A lack of sunlight can lead to ill health with a variety of mental, emotional, and physical symptoms.
How does “light starvation” or “Malillumination” happen?
Working and living indoors: Poorly illuminated environments with inappropriate artificial lighting could have serious health implications. For example, most artificial indoor lighting lacks ultraviolet light (UV), which at the proper intensity is essential to the production of vitamin D and the metabolism of calcium.
Unhealthy artificial light: Most indoor lighting lacks the requisite full-range color distribution and the proper intensity to sustain health and certain functions, such as vitamin D and hormone production. Light’s effect on human mind body health has, until recently, been ignored in architecture, design, and engineering. Both fluorescent and incandescent lights have lots of Red, but are lacking in Green, Blue and Violet. Furthermore, indoor lighting is generally not bright enough, amounting to only 1/20th the intensity of outdoor light in the shade on a sunny day. The amount of light that we receive from 16 hours indoors is dramatically less than the amount we receive from a single hour outdoors.
Negative lifestyle habits: Even in sunny California and Florida, the average individual receives little sunlight in a 24-hour period. The additional interferences we have, such as tinted sunglasses and contact lenses, tinted car windshields, and tinted windows, don’t allow in the health-giving properties of the entire spectrum of light.
Seasons/low light conditions: In winter in the northern hemisphere, the onset of winter depression and seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.) occurs in late fall and peaks in February. (These symptoms usually wane in early spring, as the days get longer.)
The Symptoms of Light Starvation:
- Fatigue Increased illness – due to lowered immune function
- Hypersomnia – sleeping too much
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Calcium deficiency
- A disturbance of bodily rhythms such as SAD, winter depression and other phase shift disorders.
What Light Nourishes:
Light enables us to see, and it plays several vital roles as it enters our eyes and our skin. Light enters the pineal gland (the body’s light meter) via the retina. Its neurotransmitter, melatonin, influences the hypothalamus, which is responsible for controlling many of the endocrine functions that are disturbed in depressed individuals such as sleep and wakefulness, reproductive physiology, mood, and the timing of the biological clock.
Sunlight shining on the skin triggers the production of melanin, a dark pigment that protects the surface of the body. As UV rays from the sun penetrate the skin’s surface layer of melanin, the body’s supply of vitamin D is replenished. Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin”, and although vitamin D can be obtained from milk and fish, this form is not as biologically effective as the vitamin D produced by sunlight.
Vitamin D3 is a skin hormone called solitrol, which works in conjunction with the pineal hormone, melatonin, to control the body’s response to light and darkness. Solitrol works antagonistically with the melatonin to produce changes in mood and our 24 hour bodily rhythms, as well as affecting our immune system.
Vitamin D enters the blood stream and goes to the kidneys and liver where it plays a key role in the absorption of calcium from foods, as well as the utilization of the mineral phosphorus. Nutritionally oriented physician Dr. Elson Haas states that since vitamin D is intimately related to the metabolism of calcium and phosphorus, it is important to the growth and development of bones and teeth in children. Dr. Haas adds that D3, because of its effect on calcium levels, is important in the maintenance of the nervous system, heart functioning, and blood clotting.
The Psychology of Color
“Color has got me. I no longer need to chase after it. It has got me for ever. I know it. That is the meaning of this happy hour” ~Paul Klee
Color is a form of non-verbal communication. It is not a static energy and its meaning can change from one day to the next with any individual.
- A person may choose to wear red one day and this may indicate they are ready to take action, or they may be passionate about what they are going to be doing that day, or again it may mean that they are feeling angry that day, on either a conscious or subconscious level.
- Orange is the color of social communication and optimism. From a negative color meaning it is also a sign of pessimism and superficiality.
- Yellow is the color of the mind and the intellect. It is optimistic and cheerful. However it can also suggest impatience, criticism and cowardice.
- Green is the color of balance and growth. It can mean both self-reliance as a positive and possessiveness as a negative, among many other meanings.
- Blue is the color of trust and peace. It can suggest loyalty and integrity as well as conservatism and frigidity.
- Indigo is the color of intuition. In the meanings of colors it can mean idealism and structure as well as ritualistic and addictive.
- Purple is the color of the imagination. It can be creative and individual or immature and impractical.
- Turquoise is communication and clarity of mind. It can also be impractical and idealistic.
- Pink is the color of unconditional love and nurturing. Pink can also be immature, silly and girlish.
- Magenta is a color of universal harmony and emotional balance. It is spiritual yet practical, encouraging common sense and a balanced outlook on life.
- Gray is the color of compromise – being neither black nor white; it is the transition between two non-colors.
- The color silver, however, has a feminine energy; it is related to the moon and the ebb and flow of the tides – it is fluid, emotional, sensitive and mysterious.
- Gold is the color of success, achievement and triumph. Associated with abundance and prosperity, luxury and quality, prestige and sophistication, value and elegance, the color psychology of gold implies affluence, material wealth and extravagance.
- White is color at its most complete and pure, the color of perfection. The color meaning of white is purity, innocence, wholeness and completion.
- Black is the color of the hidden, the secretive and the unknown, creating an air of mystery. It keeps things bottled up inside, hidden from the world.
How Color Effects Us
“Colours win you over more and more. A certain blue enters your soul. A certain red has an effect on your blood pressure. A certain colour has a tonic effect. A new era is opening.” ~Henri Matisse
Physical color in the environment affects our moods, relationships, and well being. As a tool for healing, color can be gazed at, beamed as healing light, meditated on, bathed in, worn, used in art, and in ritual such as candle magic and mandala work and painting. The colors you wear and see in your surroundings have a huge but perhaps largely subconscious effect on your moods, actions, and mental emotional states of being and function. We can use color as a tool to create wellness and contentment, to incite passion or anger, to calm and soothe, to express frivolity or seriousness.
Marketing experts, psychologists, advertisers and designers have long used color, to affect you directly. The color in your surroundings has amazing power to affect your moods and decisions. The packaging on anything you buy has had the color scheme carefully worked out to encourage you to buy it.
Restaurant color themes are often designed around appetite promoting colors such as reds and oranges and colors designed to affect how long you will want to stay in the particular room depending on the kind of turnover they need. The colors of your food can increase or destroy your appetite.
Researchers exposed a group of volunteers to a range of colors and lights. They found that blue and green made male subjects feel happier, while blue, purple and orange did the same for women. Everything is made up of electromagnetic energy vibrating at different frequencies that correspond to sound, light and color.
We are drawn to the colors needed to create balance in our lives, the goal in all healing. Colors attract … certain clothing and accessories, colors in our homes, and even the foods we eat.