January 12th, 2011

krazy koati

What a difference and more of the same

Now this is one to blame on chipuni and tracerj, through their Twitter feeds, without which I might not have spent some of the night looking through the proposed Unicode 6.0 standard. Unicode covers up the problems that ASCII has, as a way of conveying text --- mostly that ASCII supports only twenty characters and several key symbols, such as ``T'', are completely unrepresentable in it --- by trying instead to throw in everything that anyone writing any possible language might ever use for any purpose, thus forcing all would-be font designers to look at the infinite work before them and suicide. This may seem excessive, but they have to stop the people behind Comic Sans somehow.

So, I started poking around http://unicode.org/charts/PDF/Unicode-6.0/U60-1F300.pdf and ran across many amusing things in the symbols market. Among them, none of which I'm making up:

A Penguin (symbol 1F427) A Steaming Bowl (suggested to be ramen noodles, 1F35C) An Alien Monster (who sure looks like Morbo to me, 1F47E) A Rabbit (as in the Chinese Zodiac, 1F407)
A Rabbit Face (1F430) A Woman With Bunny Ears (1F46F, clearly representing how far the devilbunny agenda has infiltrated whoever it is makes up Unicode) A Bikini (1F459) A Hamster Face (1F439)
The Statue of Liberty (1F5FD) A Hocho (Japanese kitchen knife, 1F52A) Clockwise Rightwards And Leftwards Open Circle Arrows With Circled One Overlay (which apparently is meant to signify ``repeat one time over'', 1F502) Collision Symbol (1F4A1)
Splashing Sweat Symbol (which it subtitles ``plewds'', which apparently the Unicode Organization thinks is a word, 1F4A6) A Fisted Hand Sign (signifying a punch, 1F44A, and cross-referenced to the Raised Fist, 270A) A Mouse Face (1F42D) The Milky Way (1F30C)
A Carousel Horse (1F3A0) A Ferris Wheel (1F3A1) A Roller Coaster (1F3A2) A Deciduous Tree (1F333)
Ice Cream (1F368) A Battery (1F50B) Hatching Chick (1F423) Custard (1F36E)

And that's not nearly all. I sincerely recommend taking a reasonable time and looking through for more wonderful symbols. But what stands out to me is that despite the inexcusable omission of raccoons from a template that supports multiple dragon entries (1F409, for the Chinese zodiac; 1F432, for the face), more than one mouse, and a ``Love Hotel'' (1F3E9) and videocassettes (1F4FC), is that with the number of wildlife symbols and the variety of fists now finally Mark Trail can be transmitted in plain text, as long as the animals are in large enough typefaces. I can't wait.

Trivia: Toward the end of 1963 the Sunday New York Herald Tribune phased out its half-century-old Bodoni headlines in favor of Caslon, at the direction of newly hired design editor Peter Palazzo. Source: The Paper: The Life And Death Of The New York Herald Tribune, Richard Kluger. And only three years later the newspaper was dead, although I wouldn't say abandoning Bodoni was the sole cause.

Currently Reading: A Browser's Dictionary: A Compendium of Curious Expressions and Intriguing Facts, John Ciardi. To demonstrate the expression ``petered out'' Ciardi gives the example, ``Isaac Asimov did well enough in his first 200 books but began to peter out by the 500th''; way to call your shot there, Doc. He also admits to making up for the book a word which seems like it could be useful after all: ``kelemenopy'', accent on penultimate, to mean the one essential trope neglected by classical rhetoricians: a sequential straight line through the middle of everything, leading nowhere ... a strictly sequential irrelevance, which would seem to well-describe the N-th go-round of the same old argument in any Internet group needing new blood.