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Know Your Karl The Fog Colors

May 9, 2014
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Real San Franciscans know that @karlthefog actually comes in a wide variety of exciting colors. I use an iPhone app called Color Identifier to detect exactly what mood Karl is in any particular day.

karlthefog colors 1 karlthefog colors 2

Apparently I am not the first person to think of this (via Gilly Youner):

I stumbled onto this 18th century instrument designed to measure the blueness of the sky called a Cyanometer. The simple device was invented in 1789 by Swiss physicist Horace-Bénédict de Saussure and German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt who used the circular array of 53 shaded sections in experiments above the skies over Geneva, Chamonix and Mont Blanc. The Cyanometer helped lead to a successful conclusion that the blueness of the sky is a measure of transparency caused by the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere.

I have helpfully labeled this 225 year old chart to reflect San Franciscan values:

karl the fog color chart half

On a serious note, this article on a blind man using the VoiceOver feature of the Color ID app is pretty amazing.

The next day, I went outside. I looked at the sky. I heard colors such as “Horizon,” “Outer Space,” and many shades of blue and gray. I used color cues to find my pumpkin plants, by looking for the green among the brown and stone. I spent ten minutes looking at my pumpkin plants, with their leaves of green and lemon-ginger. I then roamed my yard, and saw a blue flower. I then found the brown shed, and returned to the gray house. My mind felt blown. I watched the sun set, listening to the colors change as the sky darkened. The next night, I had a conversation with Mom about how the sky looked bluer tonight. Since I can see some light and color, I think hearing the color names can help nudge my perception, and enhance my visual experience. Amazing!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 9, 2014 4:39 pm

    Your translation of their original observations is excellent! That’s what I call localizing for SF…

  2. May 9, 2014 8:28 pm

    Burrito: Thank you so much for the color wheel. I think will help generations of San Franciscans understand my many moods.

  3. May 11, 2014 8:55 am

    @KarlTheFog – What a terrific tool, especially as it’s predicted that, as the global climate changes, you’ll be staying home a lot more. Irrelevant for those amongst us exquisitely attuned to every nuance of your existence, it is still terrific for tourists, the uninitiated, and the insensitive.


  1. A Gorgeous, Dreamlike Tribute to San Francisco's Fog - Top 10 RSS Feeds | Follow the Most Popular RSS Feeds

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