Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Tuesday Trivia: Rainbows and Spectrums

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Warning: risque language included

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The gay community and Pink Floyd owe a lot to Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1726).

He is responsible for our modern understanding of light and colour, having been the first to separate white light into its component colours of red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. Until Newton's displays, the thinking had been that colours represented the amount of dark that was added to light. Newton showed, by use of a prism, that white light was made up of the above spectrum colours and that light alone was responsible for colour. 

He published the results of his investigations in 1672, including a conceptual arrangement of colours around the circumference of a circle, which allowed the painters’ primaries (red, yellow, blue) to be arranged opposite their complementary colours (e.g. red opposite green), as a way of denoting that each complementary would enhance the other’s effect through optical contrast. This was the first colour wheel.

And the gay community and Pink Floyd? . . .

Pink Floyd’s album cover for The Dark Side of the Moon

The Rainbow Flag, commonly called the gay pride flag and LGBT pride flag, has been a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) pride and LGBT social movements, since 1978.. 

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Btw, the Pink Floyd spectrum colours on the cover continue to the inside as a band of rainbow light with a visual depiction of the sound of a heartbeat, then continues to the back of the cover where another prism recombines the colours:

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Now, you just help us out today, and find yourself a place where you won't get into any trouble.

Some place where there isn't any trouble.

Do you suppose there is such a place, Toto?

There must be. It's not a place you can get to by a boat or a train. It's far, far away -- behind the moon -- beyond the rain --

Somewhere, over the rainbow, way up high,
There's a land that I heard of once in a lullaby.
Somewhere, over the rainbow, skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow, from the Wizard of Oz, became Judy Garland’s signature song and an enduring standard of the 20th century. It is surprising, then, that it was almost bumped from the film. MGM chief executive Louis B. Mayer and producer Mervyn LeRoy thought it "slowed down the picture" and that "the song sounds like something for Jeanette MacDonald, not for a little girl singing in a barnyard." Associate producer Arthur Freed and Garland's vocal coach/mentor Roger Edens agitated to keep it in and the rest is history.

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A rainbow is actually a full circle.

We usually only see the half arc of it due to our positioning in respect to it; if you were to be positioned higher up (such as on a tall building or an airplane) then you could view it's actual full circle. 

So in reality there is no end to a rainbow, just as there is no end to a circle. 

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The rainbow has a place in legend owing to its beauty and the historical difficulty in explaining the phenomenon.

  • In Greco-Roman mythology the rainbow was considered to be a path made by a messenger (Iris) between Earth and Heaven.

  • In Chinese mythology, the rainbow was a slit in the sky sealed by goddess Nüwa using stones of five different colours.

  • In Hindu religion, the rainbow is the bow of Indra, the god of lightning, thunder and rain.

  • In Armenian mythology the rainbow is a belt of Tir, a Sun god.

  • In Norse Mythology, a rainbow called the Bifröst Bridge connects the realms of Ásgard and Midgard, homes of the gods and humans, respectively.

  • The Irish leprechaun's secret hiding place for his pot of gold is usually said to be at the end of the rainbow. This place is impossible to reach, because the rainbow is an optical effect which depends on the location of the viewer. When walking towards the end of a rainbow, it will appear to "move" further away.

  • In the Epic of Gilgamesh the rainbow is the "jewelled necklace of the Great Mother Ishtar" that she lifts into the sky as a promise that she "will never forget these days of the great flood" that destroyed her children. 

  • According to Genesis, after Noah's flood God put the rainbow in the sky as the sign of His promise that He would never again destroy the earth with flood (Genesis 9:13–17).

Why there are no unicorns today.

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. . . and an item I have posted previously . . .

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