Blobologist-approved reads: Blue traffic lights, out-reaching scientists, delicious endosperm & poisonous water

My ScienceSeeker editor’s picks for this week: the pretty-much-on-time edition

The crayola-fication of the world: How we gave colors names, and it messed with our brains (part I) at Empirical Zeal

There was a recent Radiolab episode on colour that I loved. And the story that I loved most was “Why isn’t the sky blue?”. And luckily for me, the brilliant Aatish Bhatia was inspired to explore a similar topic in more detail, in one of his infrequent, but worth-waiting-for posts. Read it. No, really, you should read it. Discover why English-speakers ‘eat their greens,’ while Japanese-speakers ‘eat blue-things.’ Apparently there’s a part II in the works as well.

On Outreach: something’s got to give at Neurotic Physiology

Sci-curious has written a thoughtful post in which she takes issue with scientists being told that the dearth of public outreach is all their fault. Not only is the post great, but there’s a pretty decent discussion going in the comments too. I definitely take her point about scientists being BUSY. We are FREAKING BUSY PEOPLE, people (even if some of us love outreach).

A Loverly Bunch of Coconuts at Alien Plantation

I spent a small, but formative part of my childhood living in the tropics, where I consumed vast, vast quantities of liquid endosperm – that’s the delicious drink that you get when you stick a straw in a coconut. Kathryn Turner at Alien Plantation has written a loverly post about my all-time favourite beach snack and sea-faring seed, where she talks about what coconut water really is and where coconuts come from.

[Bonus tip for the coconut gourmet: My favourite way to eat coconut is to look on the beach for a old, wrinkly, or germinating one, crack it open and eat the spongy ‘flower’ inside that has replaced the endosperm-milk. Monsieur Google has just told me that most people call this sutff the coconut ‘apple’ and it is actually the coconut’s cotyledon. Which is to say, the coconut apple consumes the delicious endosperm and transfers all the sugary goodness up to the newly formed shoot, to give it a head-start in life. Aww, it’s food for baby coconut palms!]

Is Arsenic the Worst Chemical in the World?  at Elemental

Finally, before I fall asleep, please let the fabulous Deborah Blum tell you something a little disturbing about arsenic, which is a surprisingly common contaminant of water from private wells. I recommend avoiding the stuff.

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Update: For those wondering what exactly endosperm is for, here’s a little explanation.

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