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What's Wrong with This Snowflake? (npr.org)
16 points by fortran77 4 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 8 comments

People who draw octagonal snowflakes freak me out a little, as do people who aren't bothered by them.

It's like if someone drew a rainbow with four colors. Or a tree with square leaves. Something is wrong with them.

Octagonal snowflakes are understandable since 8 is easy to make by folding and cutting paper and results in a symmetric design. I can kind of forgive that, especially if it's done as a crafting project.

What really confuses me is the 5-sided snowflakes. I really don't understand where that comes from, and there's pretty much no basis for it in nature other than starfish, which have practically no relation to crystalline structures.

I also get annoyed at restaurants that give children 4 crayons. I understand 3 (primary colors), 6 (primary and secondary colors), and _maybe_ 4 colors if one is black, but I see red, blue, green, and yellow quite often. What happened to orange and purple/violet? Is it really that much more expensive to make two more crayons? It's like they mashed RGB with the primary colors and called it a day. So if you're making a rainbow with 4 colors, I blame restaurants that give out 4 colors of crayons.

Re: color — it's not just restaurants. Board games, card games, Google/Microsoft/other logos, etc. also use 4 colors. Why?

Opponent-process theory (https://psyc.ucalgary.ca/PACE/VA-Lab/colourperceptionweb/the...) says that the eye converts the three wavelength inputs into six orthogonal axes (dark-bright, yellow-blue, red-green). From these axes we get the four primary colors: red, yellow, green, blue. Of course things are never so simple. There are various attempts to measure the perception of color (https://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/vismixmap.html#ncs), and none of them place red-yellow-green-blue exactly along the axes.

“Four primary colors” is bugging me like a 4-sided snowflake.

Can we agree:

  Additive - RGB
  Subtractive - RYB / CMY
I found this bit in the Wikipedia article interesting / relevant:

Thus for trichromats like humans, we use three (or more) primaries for most general purposes.[25] Two primaries would be unable to produce even some of the most common among the named colors. Adding a reasonable choice of the third primary can drastically increase the available gamut, while adding a fourth or fifth may increase the gamut but typically not by as much.

> I also get annoyed at restaurants that give children 4 crayons

As long as they're different colors, four is all you need.


“Is it really that that much more expensive to make two more crayons”

Baseline, 50% increase in materials costs, unless they make all the crayons correspondingly smaller. New packaging, unless they make the crayons thinner, which solves for the first issue too, I suppose. Modify marketing materials and website. Add a SKU. Make space in the warehouse. Double the cost initially? Then amortize that out as they take a serious bite out of the 4-color crayon pack market... profit! Maybe.

Agreed. Matt Parker and mathematician James Grime are out and about in London today and have been upset by 8-sided "snowflakes"


I really dislike when someone draws a rainbow with the colors in random order. (I'd dislike if they use the reverse order, but I never remember, so I have to forgive this.)

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