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Thanks for the links David.  I suspected there wouldn't be an "official list".  I had a thought a few months ago that it might be interesting to have an official list of human-centric colors and shapes.  I was thinking about how nobody seems able to say much about a criminal except "he was tall, white, and had dark hair".  If on the other hand people had a vocabulary of say, 20 words for skin colors, 40 words for hair colors, 10 words for nose shapes, 10 words for face shapes, and everyone had this vocabulary in common through common education (which would include calibration by assigning values to pictures and people in the classroom), then it would be easier for people to narrow the list of suspects in a crime.

It might also be easier to remember the names of people and their characteristics.  If you told someone to meet your friend Joe at Starbucks, you could say more than "he's tall and has dark hair", you could define him specifically enough that there would probably only be one person in Starbucks that matched his description.

This is all part of a broader idea I had of "human calibration".  Right now we allow ourselves to be horribly uncalibrated.  If I put a random object on a desk about 10 feet away from someone and asked them how big it is, they'd probably be off by several inches on an object only several inches long.  If I ask someone the length of a car they'll probably be off by several feet, which is large proportionally.  If I ask someone how tall a building is it will probably be off by 10 feet or more on average.  If we calibrated our visual measurements better, I think this might have practical uses.

For example, if you calibrated how large common things appear in your own vision at a given distance, you would be able to tell far more accurately than you can now the distance from you to that object or an object near it.  How far away is that car?  If I asked an average person they'd probably be off even more as a proportion of the distance than they are in proportions of lengths.

What side effects would better calibration have?  Would we be able to think more clearly about the world around us?  Would we start to evaluate our environment quantitatively as well as, or instead of, qualitatively?  What would the effects of this be?

- Doug