Colors For Your Health: Plants

Colors For Your Health: Plants

It is pretty much expected that we will encounter toxins everyday. Whether it is plastics, cleaning products, or other synthetic materials, we are surrounded by harmful toxins. Toxins that in large enough doses could kill us, so even encountering small traces of these can probably lead to health problems, and would logically be something to avoid, if given the chance. Lucky for us our plant friends live to clean the air around us - thanks guys.

In the June issue of GOOD Magazine they put together a great info-graphic of the three most common household toxins and the plant species that research has shown to cleanse and detoxify the air of these potentially harmful toxins.

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The three most common household toxins, as broken down by the GOOD info-graphic, are:

  • Trichloroethylene: Effects similar to alcohol poisoning: headache and dizzinness, with long-term damage to the liver and kidneys
  • Formaldehyde: A very common indoor pollutant; can cause headaches, watery eyes, and difficulty breathing; is classified as a possible human carcinogen by the EPA
  • Benzene: Can cause drowsiness, dizziness, vomiting, and unconsciousness; has a pleasant smell, which is why it used to be a common ingredient in aftershave


Photo by WebMic

  • Trichloroethylene: Varnishes
  • Benzene: Oils

Toxic chemicals like formaldehyde, benzene, radon, trichloroethylene and carbon monoxide can come from a variety of seemingly innocuous household sources like cleaning materials, your furnace, and even your house itself. These chemicals can contribute to allergies, asthma and a host of other conditions including cancer.

NASA studies have shown that the presences of plants in your indoor environment can significantly reduce your exposure to these toxic airborne chemicals and greatly improve the quality of living. Since many of us spend so much time indoors at home and at work it’s very important that we bring some of the outdoors in and here are some of the best plants to do that with…

Golden Pathos

Photo by Plant Oasis

  • Formaldehyde: Carpet

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Color Inspiration: Umbrellas

Color Inspiration: Umbrellas

The umbrella or parasol, brolly, gamp, parapluie and bumbershoot, as it is also known in other names, is one of man's oldest artifacts. Its long history spans great empires and interminable distances, and has been on record since there were records for things to be on. The history dates back just far enough that there is no conclusive evidence or agreement among brolliologists, those who study umbrellas, of the its true origin. Nor is it agreed upon whether it was first used as protection from the sun or from the rain.

Below is a wonderfully interesting article about umbrellas that I found over at the Big Site of Amazing Facts, mixed in with a little color inspiration.

482438_316460b100.jpgPhoto by dearootumbrella 1

The umbrella is so old that brolliologists can't agree on its origin, or decide whether it was first used for protection from the rain or the sun. They do know that it was employed as an item of religious and ceremonial regalia from the earliest days of ancient Egypt. Egyptian mythology held that the visible sky was actually the underbelly of a god stretched from one end of the earth to the other like an immense umbrella. Hence, in contemporary art, priests and Pharoahs were often placed in the shade of an umbrella to symbolize royal and religious power.

Assyrian tablets dating from 1350 B.C. depict a king leading his retinue while servants shade the royal head with a long-handled parasol. In India, a religious group known as the Jains called their ultimate heaven of perfected souls by a name that translates as "The Slightly Tilted Umbrella."

2427520147_d457d3c9f8.jpgPhoto by Elizabeth Thomsenumbrella 9

The early Greeks used the umbrella as a symbol of productivity and sexual aggression, usually associated with the god Bacchus, and they carried umbrellas in many of their parades and festivals. In later centuries, the Greeks put the umbrella to a more utilitarian use as a sunshade, and developed sunshade hats similar to the sombrero.

The Romans, too, used parasols against the sun. Women attending chariot races in the amphitheatre sometimes dyed their parasols to denote their favorite chariot team. If you've ever attended a football game in drizzly weather and have been annoyed to no end by umbrellas blocking your line of vision, you may find it comforting to know that the Romans had a similar problem at their games, with a hot dispute over parasol use finally decided by the emperor Domitian, in favor of the sunshade.

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Colorful Allusions vol. 10

Colorful Allusions vol. 10

Though printed in black and white, great literature is bursting with vibrant colour.  In this rebus-style puzzle, color words and parts of words have been replaced with colored boxes.  Try to guess the exact hue of each.  Roll your mouse over the colored boxes to reveal the missing words.  Click the colored boxes to learn more about each hue.  Special thanks to Paul Dean for his colorful research.


Photo by arlo_bates

He woke up the next day with a feeling of incomprehensible excitement. The April morning was bright and windy and the wooden street pavements had a violet sheen; above the street near Palace Arch an enormous red- blue- white flag swelled elastically, the sky showing through it in three different tints: mauve, indigo and pale blue.
—Vladimir Nabokov, The Defense, 1964.


Photo by jurvetson

The gauges sizzled with blue light. Long sparks crackled along the wall. Somewhere a red light blinked, like a silent, threatening eye, and a vial behind Joachim's back was filled with a green glow. Then everything calmed down; the spectacle of lights vanished.
—Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain, translated by John E. Woods. Mann is describing the workings of a primitive X-ray machine.

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Color Inspiration: Fixed-gear Bikes

Color Inspiration: Fixed-gear Bikes

The reasons to ride a bike are aplenty: infinite MPG, exercise, no pollution, and my favorite, no sitting in traffic. While bikes can't offer a solution to every commuting situation, bike communities around the US have been growing, and so have the number of custom color palettes found on bikes.

Looking through the gallery at Fixed Gear Gallery it was easy to find inspiring color palettes from the thousands of user uploaded images of fixed-gear bikes. Here are a few:

bike 1

Bikes are a great canvas to showcase color compositions, and it doesn't just have to be about painting your frame, with simple color additions in the way of grip tape or saddles, down to the tiniest component, there are many ways of creating a unique color palette, one that could even inspire the people stuck in traffic to ride a bike.


bike 2bike 3

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Colors From New York Design Week

Colors From New York Design Week

This years New York Design Week has come and gone, but those designs that made a big enough impression on the public will hopefully be around, and in production, for everyone, who can afford them, to enjoy. Here we are taking a look at some of the more colorful designs from this years event.

'nickel couch'


With its sleek silver design, Johnny swing's 'nickel couch' uses 7,000 nickels welded together with 35,000 welds. Johnny is an artist based in Vermont who specializes in the repurposing of materials.

'dek' lights


This simple spot lighting solution from mmckenna only comes in green, but the 'designer emulation kits (dek)' lighting series is based on famous lighting designs.

'tush-in' extension cord


Designer Arihiro Miayke has created a colorful and useful extension chord hub. With multiple outlets contained within a single brightly colored felt bin, it offers a place to keep the tangled mess hidden inside.

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Colorful Allusions vol. 9

Colorful Allusions vol. 9

Though printed in black and white, great literature is bursting with vibrant colour. In this rebus-style puzzle, color words and parts of words have been replaced with colored boxes. Try to guess the exact hue of each. Roll your mouse over the colored boxes to reveal the missing words. Click the colored boxes to learn more about each hue. Special thanks to Paul Dean for his colorful research.


imgPhoto by jsc*

We found [mushrooms] in all shades of brown, yellow, and red, from velvet darks up to the most vivid orange scarlet. But most wonderful of all were the deep purple ones. Purple has always been to me the mystery color, the magician's color. All the mushrooms looked very wise and as if they could weave spells and incantations, but the purple ones were the Merlins of the wood. —Una Hunt, Una Mary: The Inner Life of a Child, 1914.img

imgPhoto by zebble

Then Grandfather would begin to speak of the dreams that would visit him so often as time wore on. ... He'd been
tyle="font-size: 25px">dreaming
in blue, he'd say: the rain in his dream was the deepest blue, midnight blue, and it was this never- ending blue rain that made his hair and his beard grow even longer. —Orhan Pamuk, The Black Book, translated by Maureen Freely, 2006

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Best Color Compositions From Across The Web

Best Color Compositions From Across The Web

We thought we would take a look at some of the best designed color compositions from across the web. Organized by base color, we searched through the CSS galleries over at Design Meltdown and CSS drive to find some websites whose color palettes we think are great.






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Colors Of A Cause: Ghost Bikes

Colors Of A Cause: Ghost Bikes

As more people are using bicycles as their main form of transportation, especially within metropolitan areas where most people only travel a few miles everyday, sharing the roads has become more of an issue.

In an attempt to raise public awareness and start a dialog about the rights of cyclists and the problems with our current road sharing systems, people across the country, and across the world, are creating Ghost Bikes as a memorial to those who have been struck or killed while riding on the public streets.

Photo by Howard Kaplan

What Are Ghost Bikes

Ghost Bikes are bikes that have been built from scrap or donated parts that can no longer be reused. They are stripped of all unnecessary parts that could potentially be desicrated or reclaimed for scrapes, painted stark white, then fixed to the site where a cyclist has been hit or killed.

Photo by wiki

The History of Ghost Bikes

The first ghost bike was erected in St. Louis, Missouri in 2003 by Patrick Van Der Tuin. He got the idea after witnessing a cyclist get hit by a car in the bike lane. He painted and placed a bike frame with a hand painted sign using red lettering which read: "Cyclist Struck Here." Since then, similar projects have started across the US and other cities worldwide.

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Artists In Color: J. Albers, J. Cloutier & M. Womack

Artists In Color: J. Albers, J. Cloutier & M. Womack

Today we are featuring the work of Josef Albers the famous Bauhaus teacher, painter and designer. Julie Cloutier a young artist with an eye for finding color inspiration in daily life, and Mike Womack, an interactive artist who plays between the lines of sculpture and painting to crate a unique experience of color.

Josef Albers

Josef Albers was a professor at the famous Bauhaus before immigrating to the United States after the Nazi's closure of the school in 1933.

Once arriving in the United States, Albers began teaching at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, where his students included, Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, Ray Johnson and Susan Weil.

He most famous work, and the work featured here, is from his 'Homage to the Square' series, which included hundreds of paintings and prints that explored the interaction of color presented simply on squares. The mediums and techniques changed slightly over the 25 year span that he devoted to the series, starting as oil paintings on Masonite panel, Albers also produced the work as lithographs, and finally, as screen-prints.

Julie Cloutier

Taking inspiration from her daily observations of living in New York City, Julie paired up photos with color swatches to create this wonderful little book.

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Beyond the Rainbow with the Mantis Shrimp

Beyond the Rainbow with the Mantis Shrimp

Imagine distinguishing a dozen primary colors, seeing ultraviolet and infrared, and perceiving six different types of polarized light.  For the giant Mantis shrimp of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, the world is colorful beyond human imagination.  Reuters reports a new study by Swiss and Australian marine biologists, suggesting that Mantis shrimps need to detect minute changes in color and polarization to detect nearly invisible prey in murky seawater.  They probably also use color to send sexual signals during mating.  The scientific report is available online at the Public Library of Science Journal.

Photo by CybersamX
Mantis Shrimp Waits

The typical mantis shrimp has emerald green eyes and a pale green or orange body, with bright yellow outlines.


  • Mantis shrimp have the fastest kick in the animal kingdom: 75 feet per second.  They can punch a hole through aquarium glass.
  • Mantis shrimp are named for their resemblance to the praying mantis insect.
  • Their coloration varies to match their habitats.  The golden mantis is green when it dwells in sea grasses but tan in sandy areas.  The crevice-dwelling rock mantis varies from dark green to black.
  • Mantis shrimp tend to be active hunters at night.

Photo by sandstep

Here are some color palettes inspired by the Mantis shrimps:

Shrimp Grass shrimp with gems

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