02 January 2011

Overanalyzing the Crayola 64 with the Amoeba.

So, starting around the time of the release of the seventh Harry Potter film, I've been dating this really great person. We have traveled very different roads in the last several years of our lives, but are in quite a compatible place right now. It's pretty exciting, and pretty fun. We shall call her the Amoeba (because of this post on her blog).

So, because we're both incredibly nerdy people, we overanalyzed her box of crayons. We looked at crayon names and overall color distribution.

Following is our data, and conclusions.

First, we looked at the ROYGBV combinations. I remembered from my childhood that both Red Violet and Violet Red existed. So we looked at all twelve possible matchups, thinking about them in "adjective noun" pairs. Meaning that Red Violet is a shade of violet that's reddish (and thus later categorized as a purple):

We discovered:
- Orange is not an adjective.
- Stoplights (red, yellow and green) are very adjectival.

Then we decided to look at how many crayons there were in each color group. We predicted a lot of browns, and that shades of red and pink, when added together, would have the highest count of any color group. Here's how they all look when parceled out. Asterisks indicate colors whose placement could easily be disputed.

Our conclusions:
-There were not as many reds and pinks as we expected.
-Orange is the most ambiguous color group. We filed two questionable colors under it, and Burnt Orange is not an orange.
-Carnation Pink and Tickle Me Pink are not different enough to necessitate two crayons.
-We're short on yellow choices.
-The cooler shades clearly have the most interesting names.
-Do there really need to be that many browns? Are we going for a range of possible skin tones via arboreal references? Or are there just a lot of browns?
-Purple Mountains Majesty is the best name. Followed closely by Mauvelous.
-Peach is not peach-colored. It's kind of the color of peach ice cream, but not peaches.
-There's a lot of food going on (I count 10, excluding Orange); this is especially true in the greens and oranges (3 foods each).

What are your conclusions and queries?

A conclusion from Linden: Had I thought of this while still at Oberlin, I totally could have done an expanded version and probably used it to fulfill the quantitative proficiency requirement.

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