Some birds use illusion to escape

A good magician knows the secret of a quick getaway – create an illusion! And it seems like some Australian birds are feathered Houdinis when it comes to distracting predators. Some birds only flash their colours when they are moving, creating the illusion that they are a different animal. A new study, published in Proceedings … Continue reading Some birds use illusion to escape

Whitest, coolest paint ever made

A team of US engineers has developed the whitest – and therefore coolest – paint in the world, able to reflect 98.1% of the sunlight that hits its surface. The researchers from Purdue University in the US say that the paint could improve energy efficiency by reducing reliance on air conditioning. A description of the … Continue reading Whitest, coolest paint ever made

The shape of colour

The age-old question of whether we all see colour the same may now have an answer. Researchers at the National Eye Institute in the US have found that human brains process specific colours in a similar way, and the “shape” of this brain map can predict what colour people are seeing. These shapes also were … Continue reading The shape of colour

How much colour do we really see?

Colour awareness has long been a puzzle for researchers in neuroscience and psychology, who debate how much colour observers really perceive. A new US study probably raises more questions than it answers. In a series of trials, researchers from Amherst College, MIT and Dartmouth College found that observers routinely failed to notice when colour vanished … Continue reading How much colour do we really see?

A matter of degrees

There’s a Tibouchina tree on the street that leads from my son’s school to the railway station. I pass it once or twice a week, the brilliant flare of its colour pressing hard against my eyes when it’s in bloom. Tibouchina lepidota: its flowers blaze with one of the least subtle purples in the world. … Continue reading A matter of degrees