Popular Science

The winding, heated, and absurdly technical oral history of the ginger emoji

¶ EMMA KELLY, editor and founder of the site Ginger Parrot: I checked and saw that redheads were just not on there. I wondered, has no one brought this up? Is there no one at Apple with red hair? Has everyone forgotten about EdSheeran?

Kelly fired off a post on her blog, launched a petition on change.org, and fed quotes to The Guardian and other media outlets. But she soon discovered it would take much more than an online protest to get her way.

Emoji are subject to a complex technical bureaucracy. The type and number of new pictograms released each year are strictly controlled by the Unicode Consortium, an international nonprofit organization of companies—including, most notably, representatives from Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Adobe. Unicode’s core mission is to convert the world’s alphabets and symbols into code that all smartphones, desktops, laptops, and computers can read. The dollar sign, no matter the phone or font, is U+0024. The taco: U+1F32E. Websites, email clients, word processors, and other interfaces then transform that code into words and icons—and vice versa.

For most of its 27-year history, Unicode was concerned with simple characters—musical and mathematical notations, currency signs, punctuation marks. Starting a decade ago, this group of accomplished linguists, font designers, and software developers began including the smileys that had become popular across several Japanese telecom companies. Thereafter, these technical overlords were tasked with debating such matters as the prevalence

Stai leggendo un'anteprima, registrati per continuare a leggere.

Altro da Popular Science

Popular Science1 min lettiComputers
Short Circuits
The 522 snap-together parts in Ubtech’s Jimu Competitive Series ChampBot Kit combine to create three different configurations, including this catapult. Once a child has one built, they can use an iOS or Android app and program actions via Google’s Bl
Popular Science1 min lettiPsychology
Why Did We Evolve To Goof Off?
Playful behavior can help a species survive. Adult bonobos, for example, seem to make silly faces as a way of reducing tension with potential mates. Similarly, male polar bears sometimes fake-fight, which may help them to gauge the limits of their ow
Popular Science2 min letti
Popular Science
Editor-in-Chief Corinne Iozzio Group Digital Director Amy Schellenbaum Design Director Russ Smith Features Editor Susan Murcko Articles Editor Rachel Feltman Senior Editors Purbita Saha, Chuck Squatriglia Technology Editor Stan Horaczek DIY Editor Jo