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    To Save Drowning People, Ask Yourself “What Would Light Do?”

    Imagine you’re a lifeguard and you see someone struggling to stay afloat. Being a responsible lifeguard, you want to get to them as quickly as possible. You’re pretty fast when swimming, but even faster running on sand. So what’s the quickest route to get to the swimmer? It may not sound like it, but this […]

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    Color Is a Dance Between Your Brain and the World

      When Robbert Dijkgraaf was a little boy, growing up in the Netherlands, he’d play in his home attic after school, often with a friend. It was dark inside except for the light streaming in from one window. One time, they closed the shades so only a sliver of photons could pass through. Robbert, holding […]

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    Why the Dark Side of the Force Had to Be Dark

    You don’t have to look very hard to see that our culture has some pretty powerful associations between colors and feelings. As a recent example, the new Pixar film Inside Out has characters representing emotions, and the color choices for these characters—red for anger, and blue for sadness—feel right. Red, specifically, is one of the […]

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    A Material So Dark That It Looks Like a Black Hole

    Even when applied to a highly reflective surface like aluminum foil, Vantablack renders the entire surface, including creases, all but invisible.Surrey Nanosystems via Wikipedia Color is such a powerful and evocative sensation—one of the first that we learn to describe as children—that we don’t often think about what it really is. In a sense, color […]

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    Are Digital Cameras Changing the Nature of Movies?

    A landmark use of deep focus in film: The young Charles Foster Kane—in the background, but still in focus—is sent away by his poor parents in Colorado to live with a wealthy banker in New York.Mercury Productions / RKO Radio Pictures This is part one of a three-part series about the movie industry’s switch to […]