And a bunch of crazy crap on the walls: Things I Learnt This Week

Hee hee hee... why yes, I am 12, why?
1. Some Japanese ads are trippy in a "lots of surreal stuff happens really fast, and then a cute girl winks at you while holding the product" way, but some of them are, like, totally deep, man. Check out this commercial for Kewpie-brand low-fat mayonnaise (I think). I'll wait.

Woah, right? That hole is a warp hole to the sky that makes things big... but, like, maybe what we think of as normal is actually totally tiny and it just makes them regular size... and what if you fell into the hole and all the way into the small world? Could you enlarge the hole and go through it again and just be, like, colossal? And if you flew an airplane straight up into the sky, would you buzz out of the hole below you, insect-sized?

2. One of my students has spent his entire life thinking that that gigantic metropolis on America's east coast is pronounced "Mew York".

3. The reason a lot of old websites in Chinese have a space between every single character is because back in the day, USA-made browsers and other software didn't know where to put breaks in text that had no spaces. So Chinese webmasters would put a space in every other character, so that the program could break the line anywhere rather than trying to render it as a single endless horizontal beam.

4. You can look at DoCoMo's emoji charts on the web. Note that they're all in the Unicode "private use area", despite the fact that many of them duplicate "Miscellaneous Symbols" in U+2600-26FF. Bad DoCoMo! Stop hindering convergence!

This guy has a helpful but grumpy page saying that DoCoMo's overseas units putting the same icons into different places in the character set, but since (e.g.) 58942 = 0xE63E, I think the problem is actually that DoCoMo's Japanese mobiles use Shift-JIS, whereas their overseas units started more recently and must serve peoples of more varied languages and so use Unicode. That is to say, presumably if you were to specify in the header that a page was in Unicode, you could serve it up to European or Japanese mobiles with the same code numbers and expect the same emoji to emerge(y). I could be wrong, though, I'm not a mobile developer.

5. Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life was the best English-language comic book published in 2004. ("That's not something you learned. That's just an opinion." Silence, reader!) Immediately after finishing it I leapt aboard my internet stallion and rode it to ordering-issue-2-and-O'Malley's-previous-book-at-Amazon town. That's one inconveniently-named town.

6. That's no inconveniently-named town... that's a hard-boiled mystery!

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(Laughing) okay... so who's gonna be studying how to use the toilet?


Terrifying apple-headed freak-children, to judge from the sign.

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