Interactive Version of a Classic Color Manual Used By Charles Darwin Is Now Available Online

iStock
iStock

Scientists who study the natural world do more than tally numbers. Sometimes making an accurate scientific observation comes down to finding the perfect word to describe the shade of dried lavender flowers or the breast of a screech owl. In the 19th century, naturalists had Werner's Nomenclature of Colours to refer to—and now anyone looking to expand their color vocabulary can access the book's contents online, Fast Company reports.

Published in 1814, painter Patrick Syme designed the guide based on the work of geologist Abraham Gottlob Werner. It features 110 distinct hues, each with a name, number, and a list of the animals, plants, and/or minerals that feature it in nature. Prussian blue, for example, naturally occurs in blue copper ore, the stamina of bluish purple anemone, and the spot on a mallard drake's wing, while wine yellow can be found in the saxon topaz, white currants, and the body of a silk moth. The book was used as a handy reference guide by researchers recording observations the field, including Charles Darwin.

Now, using free scans of the book from the Internet Archive, designer Nicholas Rougeux has transformed it into an interactive digital experience. The original color swatches and descriptions are included, as well as some modern additions. Click on a color and the entry will expand to show photographs of the plants, animals, and minerals mentioned. Rougeux has also made posters based on the manual available on the website.

Werner's Nomenclature of Colours may have been the color bible of its time, but it still covers just a fraction of all the shades that have been named. After exploring the digital guide online, continue to grow your knowledge with this color thesaurus.

[h/t Fast Company]

22 Whimsical Clear Phone Cases That Let You Show Off Your Favorite Art

Society6
Society6

It seems like Society6 is constantly coming up with more and more products that you can get emblazoned with your favorite artists' work. From notebooks to shower curtains, we're getting to a point where an entire apartment can be covered in artful sloths. And so can your phone.

The art print site's clear iPhone cases are transparent and incorporate the look of the phone underneath into the design. Often, the patterns look like stickers, but with the advantage of never peeling. The protective cases come in two versions: slim (a frosted plastic case) or tough (a two-piece, impact resistant case) and are available for $36 for iPhone 6 and later.

We collected all our favorite designs to give you a quick look at what's available.

1. WITCHCRAFT

2. BANANA!!

3. MY SLEEPY PET

4. FRIDA KAHLO

5. PUG YOGA

6. UNICORN LAND

7. NATURE WALKS

8. SNEAKY CAT

9. CACTUS OUTFIT

10. FLY ME TO THE MOON

11. GOLDEN CELESTIAL BUGS

12. HAMMERHEADS

13. I SHOW YOU THE STARS

14. FOR THE TREES

15. SKELETON

16. GREEN AND BLACK GARDEN WITH RED FLOWERS

17. CAT'S EYES

18. BABY AXOLOTL

19. SOLAR SYSTEM

20. BEAR GARDEN

21. TRICKSTERS

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

A version of this story first ran in 2017. It has been updated to reflect current availabilty.

Boston-Area Students Convince their City to Install 3D Crosswalks

iStock.com/olaser
iStock.com/olaser

Motorists driving through Medford, Massachusetts may notice something unusual on the street outside Brooks Elementary School. On April 22, the city installed a new pedestrian crosswalk painted to look like 3D objects raised from the ground. The new crossing path aims to make the intersection safer, and it's one of several set to debut around Medford, Curbed reports.

By painting additional, shaded shapes around the traditional white strips of a crosswalk, the city was able to create an optical illusion for drivers. From far away, the flat shapes look like blocks in the middle of the street. The effect is meant to make drivers slow down before they reach the crossing, and to make them more alert to pedestrians in the area.

Two students—a fourth- and a fifth-grader—worked with their teacher and the Brooks Center for Citizenship and Social Responsibility to convince the city to add the safety feature. The 3D walkway, designed by Boston artist Nate Swain, will be painted outside three other elementary schools in the city.

Medford is the first city in the Boston area to experiment with 3D crosswalks, but the illusion has been used for years in other parts of the world. In 2016, Shakuntala Pandya and her daughter Saumya Pandya Thakkar designed their own version of the blocks for a highway in Ahmedabad, India, and in Chicago, the crosswalks have been around for nearly a decade.

[h/t Curbed]

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