Some women are born with hyper-sensitive eyes that can see the world in ways most of us cannot even imagine. What’s it like to live with this gift?

“Some women, however, are “tetrachromat”. Thanks to two different mutations on each of the X chromosomes, they have four cones – increasing the combination of colours they should be able to see. The mutation isn’t very rare (estimates of the prevalence vary and depend on your heritage, but it could be as high as 47% among women of European descent), but scientists struggled to find someone who reliably demonstrated enhanced perception.”

The world’s first thesaurus of colour shades: What kind of yellow is an egg yolk?


“I started to fall in love with words that could do double duty,” admits Sundberg, “colours you could load with metaphorical meaning and would give a reader more information than simply hue.

“For example, ‘porcelain white’ evokes stature, texture, possibly even a time period. ‘Watermelon pink’ makes you think of summer, sweet things, makes your mouth water. ‘Chartreuse’ feels sharp and bold, adds a hint of magic. My goal became to create a spectrum of words that I could endow with meaning and help add new layers to my stories.”

New study shows that taste, like all reality, is but a fragile illusion

“You probably know that we perceive five basic tastes, and that taste has something to do with the tongue and the brain. But a new study shows just how weird our perception of reality truly is: Scientists showed that all it takes to convince a mouse that their mouth is full of sweet nectar or bitter poison is the manipulation of a few brain cells.”

Podcast: Only Human: Listen Up

“Only Human invites you to participate in a listening bootcamp week that starts November 16 (but you can start the challenges at any time). With guidance from a memory champion, a world-class mediator, actors and improv comics, we’ve got five challenges designed to help you sharpen your listening skills.”

Life Without a Sense of Smell

“We don’t think of ourselves as being particularly good smellers, especially compared with other animals. But research shows that smells can have a powerful subconscious influence on human thoughts and behavior. People who can no longer smell — following an accident or illness — report a strong sense of loss, with impacts on their lives they could never have imagined. Perhaps we don’t rank smell very highly among our senses because it’s hard to appreciate what it does for us — until it’s gone.”

What’s the Color of Your Favorite Song?

“Imagine yourself as a graphic designer for New Age musician Enya, tasked with creating her next album cover. Which two or three colors from the grid below do you think would ‘go best’ with her music?

“Would they be the same ones you’d pick for an album cover or music video for the heavy metal band Metallica? Probably not.”

If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don’t change Europe’s attitude to refugees, what will?

syrian-migrant-boy-turkeyBelow are a couple of links to articles that focus on the Syrian refugee crisis and this issue, while important in its own right, offers us a lot of interesting TOK questions and insights.

  • What are the ethical guidelines of using such sad and brutal images in newspapers? Do such images fairly or unfairly affect our decision making about this crisis?
  • When is it appropriate for nations to get involved in foreign conflicts?
  • How does the use of language affect our perceptions of this conflict and these people?

“They are extraordinary images and serve as a stark reminder that, as European leaders increasingly try to prevent refugees from settling in the continent, more and more refugees are dying in their desperation to flee persecution and reach safety.”

How a Single Photograph May Be Changing the Way the World Thinks

On whether the images should be shown

Brutal Images of Syrian Boy Drowned Off Turkey Must Be Seen, Activists Say

On the use of language in this crisis:

The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence

Migrant, Refugee or Infiltrator? How Our Language Affects Legislation

Migrant, refugee, asylum-seeker…