post

Winky winky

from the NY Times, Pagan Kennedy (no, not a typo)

“The first line of my obituary is going to mention the smiley face,” says Scott Fahlman, who would rather be remembered for his research into artificial intelligence. But like it or not, Fahlman has become famous for three keystrokes. In 1982, as a young professor at Carnegie Mellon University, he realized the need for a symbol to temper the bickering that plagued online forums. The Internet was just a baby then, and yet already flame wars raged. Fahlman decided that a smiley face could be useful as a “joke marker” (as he called it) to take the sting out of mocking statements or pranks. And so he hunted around the keyboard for a way to make the face. “But what do you use for eyes?” he wondered. Once he found the colon, the rest was easy. He dashed his suggestion off to friends. “I didn’t even proofread the message,” he says.

The emoticon — perhaps one of the first online memes — spread to other campuses, hitching a ride in e-mails. And as the Web expanded in the ’90s, so, too, did the colon-hyphen-parenthesis. “Wherever the Internet went, the smiley face was there within weeks,” Fahlman says. The symbol has endured because it’s a quick way to soothe hurt feelings or express joy. But Fahlman still hears complaints that it is a hallmark of lazy writing. His critics tend to raise questions like “Would Shakespeare have used a smiley face?” Yes, Fahlman says, if Shakespeare were around today, thumb-tapping a screed “about parking at the Globe Theater, he might say something intemperate. And then he might think twice about it and want to use an emoticon.”

FACE VALUE

Tyler Schnoebelen, who has a Ph.D. in linguistics, analyzed millions of Twitter messages to understand how people use emoticons.

You found that about 10 percent of the tweets in your sample had emoticons in them. Why so many?
In a full paragraph, you might be able to express how you’re feeling. But it becomes harder in a tweet, where you only have a few words.

What is the difference between people who use :-) and people who use :) ?
The people who use :) follow a younger set of celebrities. They swear more, and they use spellings like “sooooo” and “loooove.”

What about ;) ? Is it a flirt?
Yes, we can assume that. It tends to appear near words like “horny,” “attractive,” “hot” and “dirty.” It doesn’t occur near words like “pleasant” or “irritated.” The world of ;) is sexy.

Do you use emoticons?
Actually, yes, I’ve become a connoisseur of them. I love the :))) — it’s like saying “I’m soooooooo happy.” But I don’t personally use that emoticon, because to me it looks like someone with multiple chins. And over the last year, I’ve been using the ;) a lot.

So now that you’ve finished this research on the emoticon, you’re ;)-ing a lot?
Yes, now I do more flirting.

THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE?

Western-style emoticons often read from left to right, as “sideways faces.” Japanese thumb-typists, meanwhile, have invented their own system.

m(_ _)m

Bowing down in apology

(>_<)

Ouch!

(9_9)

Tired

d(-_-)b

Wearing headphones

(;_;)

Crying

(=_=)

Bored

(^_-)

Winking

more …
*\(^o^)/*
Happy

o(`ω´ )o
Angry

!(◎_◎;)
Shocked

((((;゚Д゚)))))))
Very Upset

 

post

RIP Ray Bradbury

From now on I hope always to stay alert, to educate myself the best I can. But lacking this, in the future I will relaxedly turn back to my secret mind and see what it has observed when I thought I was sitting this one out. We never sit anything out. We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.

We are the miracle of force and matter making itself over into imagination and will. Incredible. The Life Force experimenting with forms. You for one. Me for another. The Universe has shouted itself alive. We are one of the shouts.

I don’t describe the future. I try to prevent it.

You must live feverishly in a library. Colleges are not going to do any good unless you are raised and live in a library every day of your life.

Write only what you love, and love what you write. The key word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for.

My stories run up and bite me in the leg — I respond by writing down everything that goes on during the bite. When I finish, the idea lets go and runs off.

Why would you clone people when you can go to bed with them and make a baby? C’mon, it’s stupid.
All from Ray Bradbury, 1920 – 2012

post

QOTD and SUDDENLY SUMMER

Did you know who John Mortimer was, prior to today?  I didn’t, but these quotes were amusing.

Check-ups are, in my experience, a grave mistake; all they do is allow the quack of your choice to tell you that you have some sort of complaint that you were far happier not knowing about.

If I don’t like the way the times are moving, I shall refuse to accompany them.

I found criminal clients easy and matrimonial clients hard. Matrimonial clients hate each other so much and use their children to hurt each other in beastly ways. Murderers have usually killed the one person in the world that was bugging them and they’re usually quite peaceful and agreeable.

I refuse to spend my life worrying about what I eat. There is no pleasure worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward.

I suppose that writers should, in a way, feel flattered by the censorship laws. They show a primitive fear and dread at the fearful magic of print.

No brilliance is needed in the law. Nothing but common sense, and relatively clean finger nails.

We don’t know much about the human conscience, except that it is soluble in alcohol.
All from John Mortimer, 1923 – 2009

—John Clifford Mortimer was born at Hampstead, London on this day in 1923, the son of a barrister. After Harrow he entered Brasenose College, Oxford, then worked for the Crown Film Unit when he was barred from military service due to his poor eyesight, writing his first dramatic scripts. He was called to the bar in 1948, handling wills and divorces, then “took silk” in 1966, moving into criminal law but also gaining prominence as a defender of publishers and book sellers in obscenity cases. He wrote in the mornings before court, most notably of the combative curmudgeonly Horace Rumpole, which allowed him to retire from the law in 1984.

————-

The quotes and notes above are from Quotes of the Day, sent out by G. Van Horn, the Quotemaster.  Subscribe here.
Some days I just skim, some I open and and feel a kinship to the author. “Heh.  I could’ve written that one.  My sentiments exactly.”  This was one of the latter types of days. :)  Hope your day is lovely.  It’s SUDDENLY SUMMER here.   Low 60s until yesterday.  Today should be 93.  Whew.

post

Been to the library lately?

When you are growing up, there are two institutional places that affect you most powerfully: the Church, which belongs to God and the public library, which belongs to you. The public library is a great equalizer. — Keith Richards

—————————————————–
I grew up in the library.  I read every single book on the children’s section floor before I was out of 6th grade and had to argue with the librarian to let me upstairs.  Books were my friends and my solace.  Books gave me the huge vocabulary that let me place so high on the standardized tests.
Go read the article in the link above, it’s depressing.  One of the tech guys I follow went to a (sparsely attended) SXSW talk and tells us a little about it.
Two of my favorite people are librarians.  Neither of them get to work in libraries anymore.  My (30 year old) stepson is going to school to become a librarian.  I am having difficulty understanding his thought processes about it.  Not that I ever understand him, anyway, but library science in this day and age seems like a dead end.
post

Leap Day!

When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap.
– Cynthia Heimel

Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.
– Gloria Steinem

When men have come to the edge of a precipice, it is the lover of life who has the spirit to leap backwards, and only the pessimist who continues to believe in progress.
– Gilbert Keith Chesterton, 1874 – 1936

Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at it destination full of hope.
– Maya Angelou

Half of the failures in life come from pulling one’s horse when he is leaping.
– Thomas Hood, 1799 – 1845

Life is a traveling to the edge of knowledge, then a leap taken.
– D. H. Lawrence, 1885 – 1930