I’m embarrassed to say that I just read Randall Munroe’s fabulous color survey from early May. Readers were asked to supply names for colors. It’s a rich experiment: Naming and discrimination, gender differences, hacking, tagging, spamming, hilariousness. The results also seem to support prototype theory’s idea that we agree on what the “real” (prototypical) colors are, at least within a culture: This is blue, but that one is a variant that needs a modifier in front of it (“light blue”) or for which we use a variant name (“teal”).
Randall writes the webcomic XKCD, of course, which is the Doonesbury of his generation, except while you can imagine Garry Trudeau writing a satiric HBO series, you can’t imagine him running and analyzing a color survey.
(I heard about Randall’s color survey via the Mainstream: Christopher Shea at the Boston Globe blog. Christopher also points to Stephen von Worley’s color map. BTW, that post by Christopher also has a great note about iPad censoring a graphic version of the oft-banned James Joyce’s Ulysses. Anyway, I’ve really got to do a better job keeping up with XKCD.)