Thursday, March 13, 2008

On being blue

First, let me apologize to William Gass, author of the seminal 1976 work whose title I borrowed for this posting.

But I couldn’t help thinking about colors as I worked on The Blue Zone by Andrew Gross for the current issue of Select Editions. Gross tells us that the U.S. Marshals describe three stages of a participant’s involvement in the witness protection program: the Red Zone, when a subject is in protective custody; the Green Zone, when the subject, along with his or her family, has been placed in a new identity and location; and the Blue Zone, when there is suspicion that a subject’s new identity has been penetrated or blown.

That got me wondering—what other things can be described as being in a red, green, or blue “zone”? Many more than I would have imagined, it turns out. Here is just a partial list:
- Campus buildings at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks
- Shelves in the library at Lancaster University in England
- Blood alcohol levels, according to a scheme devised by the counseling center at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania
- Asthma symptoms, according to the Pennsylvania Medical Society
- Exhibits at the Natural History Museum in London
- Parking spots in San Francisco

Who knew?


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