Sex, Color, Spelling, and Randall Munroe

We all know Randall Munroe, the creator of the xkcd comic, is special, and I mean that in a good, geeky way. Today he took his obsessive quest for the sweet spot between science and entertainment to a new level. His report on the results of his color survey, in which “[o]ver five million colors were named across 222,500 user sessions,” is fascinating, and yes, fun too.

Here’s an example. Notice that men don’t make as fine distinctions among colors as women (this is Munroe’s figure–I’m not endorsing his specific terms). There is a disagreement about the color men call “salmon” and women call a variant of “hot pink” (seriously?).

color-names

I love this color-name map, except for the fact that the caption obliterates the lower left corner. (See comments by Kenneth Fair and Rick Dickson.)

Then there’s the spelling problem:

fuschia

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