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🍔  💀  📸  😭  🕳️  🤠  🎬  🥔 posts about emoji

Last Week’s Reads: Scrabble, Emoji, Quilts

Hey, I took the week off last week! But I missed it here and am glad to be back. Here are a few things I enjoyed while I was gone:

1. Emily Gould’s ranking of 15 recent children’s books written by celebrities, in The Cut. For instance, No. 15 (lowest):

Finally, it’s here, the book everyone has been clamoring for: woke retellings of Aesop’s fables, by Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman! In Portman’s version of “The Three Little Pigs,” the first two pigs unwisely build their houses out of fast-food leftovers and plastic drinking straws. The wolf blows their houses down to warn them that only sustainable, environmentally friendly building practices are acceptable.


2. This little half factoid, teased on the Iowa Quilt Museum’s Instagram: “The Double Wedding Ring is one of the most unfinished patterns in American history.” But why? Broken engagements? Is the design too ambitious? I can confirm that it was difficult even to draw.

3. The Most Misunderstood Emojis of 2024, in Axios. The revolving hearts don’t make the list, but maybe we cracked the code on those. 💞

4. “As was the case with alcohol, my first and last thoughts of the day are usually Scrabble related.” Brad Phillips’ essay in the Paris Review about swapping one addiction for another. “Editing this essay today, on six different occasions I’ve stopped to open ISC.RO [and play Scrabble]. Each time, I’ve played more games than I’d intended.” Also: “A common obsession is a powerful unifier, one that renders all other biographical information meaningless.”

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What Do the Different Emoji Hearts Mean?


The other day while chatting on Discord, I paused to pick out an emoji to apply to a friend’s comment. I wanted to use a heart to show that I liked the comment, but I’d already used the red heart and wanted to add a little more flair. Usually I just pick a pink one arbitrarily, but in that moment, I was like, WTF do all these little hearts actually mean? Do they have official meanings? Am I using them wrong?

It’s a common question, and the answer seems to essentially be: “No, there are no official meanings,” although according to Emojipedia the hearts do at least have official names: growing heart, beating heart, and revolving hearts (to choose the three that were least obvious to me).


The revolving hearts were the most confusing, in my opinion. Why are they revolving? According to The Pioneer Woman, they mean “falling in love, or deep affection.” That didn’t seem right, so I asked a few friends.

  • “Sending love?” my husband said. “I don’t know.”
  • “Love,” a friend said. “But specifically between you and the person you’re sending it to. It’s like a step up from ❤️.”
  • Another friend said something similar: “Like ❤️,” she wrote, “but 10% more girlie and romantic.”
  • I asked Jason. “I would say there’s a strong feeling of being intertwined,” he said. “Like, I wouldn’t send that to a friend. I don’t think I have ever received that particular emoji from anyone.”
  • “Ok, I’ve never used that particular one,” another friend echoed, “but I always use the two hearts 💕 instead of a red heart, because I think it’s cuter. I have no idea what 💞 means.”

Emojipedia leaves it open-ended in its 💞 emoji-descriptor: “Hearts revolving around one or more other hearts.” (Around even more hearts?) In a 2020 post, Emojipedia also acknowledged that “intrinsically each heart has no more coded meaning than what meets the eye.”

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Perfect Friday Thing: Emoji Kitchen

Ok, if you haven’t seen this before (or even if you have), I need to warn you that Emoji Kitchen is just a little bit addictive. They’re mashup apps for making new emoji like these:

a variety of emojis created from exisitng emojis

Curiously, the eggplant seems to be missing from both kitchens… 🤔

Update: I switched the Emoji Kitchen link to the proper URL at Google. From Jennifer Daniel:

Sadly, the site you link to about emoji kitchen (.dev) is not mine. This developer has taken my artwork without permission 😐 and worse, hosts a repo so others can steal it too

Here’s more from Daniel about the project.

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Noto: A Typeface for the World

character sample from the Noto typeface

Google has developed a typeface called Noto that seemingly includes every single character and symbol used for writing in the history of the world. I mean, look at all these different options: Korean, Bengali, Emoji, Egyptian hieroglyphs, Coptic, Old Hungarian, Cuneiform, Linear B, Osage, and literally dozens more.

Noto is a collection of high-quality fonts with multiple weights and widths in sans, serif, mono, and other styles. The Noto fonts are perfect for harmonious, aesthetic, and typographically correct global communication, in more than 1,000 languages and over 150 writing systems.

A particular shoutout to Noto Emoji: it supports the latest emoji release (14.0) and includes 3,663 emoji in multiple weights.

Noto Emoji

Perhaps it’s time for a new typeface ‘round these parts…

Update: I got it in my head that Noto was a new typeface, but it was first released in 2013. But Noto’s monochrome emoji font is new — I think that’s where I got confused.

Iconic Art & Design Reimagined for the Social Distancing Era

While it predates the COVID-19 pandemic and its accompanying social distancing by several years, José Manuel Ballester’s Concealed Spaces project reimagines iconic works of art without the people in them (like what’s happening to our public spaces right now). No one showed up for Leonardo’s Last Supper:

Corona Art Design Reimagined

Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights is perhaps just as delightful without people:

Corona Art Design Reimagined

And Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus has been rescheduled:

Corona Art Design Reimagined

Ben Greenman, Andy Baio, and Paco Conde & Roberto Fernandez have some suggestions for new album covers:

Corona Art Design Reimagined
Corona Art Design Reimagined
Corona Art Design Reimagined

Designer Jure Tovrljan redesigned some company logos for these coronavirus times.

Corona Art Design Reimagined

Corona Art Design Reimagined

Corona Art Design Reimagined

Coca-Cola even modified their own logo on a Times Square billboard to put some distance between the letters.

Corona Art Design Reimagined

(via colossal & fast company)

Update: Some emoji designed specifically for COVID-19. The Earth with the pause button is my favorite. (via sidebar)

Pantsdrunk, the Finnish Art of Relaxation


You’ve likely heard of hygge, the Danish word for a special feeling of coziness that’s been productized on Instagram and elsewhere to within an inch of its charming life. The Finns have a slightly different take on the good life called kalsarikännit, which roughly translates to “pantsdrunk” in English. A promotional site from the Finnish government defines it as “the feeling when you are going to get drunk home alone in your underwear — with no intention of going out”. They made the emoji above to illustrate pantsdrunkenness.1

Finnish journalist Miska Rantanen has written a book on kalsarikännit called Päntsdrunk (Kalsarikänni): The Finnish Path to Relaxation.

When it comes to happiness rankings, Finland always scores near the top. Many Finnish phenomena set the bar high: the best education system, gender equality, a flourishing welfare state, sisu or bull-headed pluck. Behind all of these accomplishments lies a Finnish ability to stay calm, healthy and content in a riptide of endless tasks and temptations. The ability comes from the practice of “kalsarikanni” translated as pantsdrunk.

Peel off your clothes down to your underwear. Place savory or sweet snacks within reach alongside your bed or sofa. Make sure your television remote control is nearby along with any and all devices to access social media. Open your preferred alcohol. Your journey toward inner strength, higher quality of life, and peace of mind has begun.

Kalsarikännit isn’t as photogenic as hygge but there is some evidence of it on Instagram. As Rantanen explains, this lack of performance is part of the point:

“Pantsdrunk” doesn’t demand that you deny yourself the little things that make you happy or that you spend a fortune on Instagrammable Scandi furniture and load your house with more altar candles than a Catholic church. Affordability is its hallmark, offering a realistic remedy to everyday stress. Which is why this lifestyle choice is the antithesis of posing and pretence: one does not post atmospheric images on Instagram whilst pantsdrunk. Pantsdrunk is real. It’s about letting go and being yourself, no affectation and no performance.

I have been off alcohol lately, but kalsarikännit is usually one of my favorite forms of relaxation, particularly after a hard week.

  1. That’s right, the Finnish government made emoji of people getting pantsdrunk. Americans are suuuuuper uptight.

An entomologist rates ant emojis

Ant Emoji Ratings

An entomologist rates the ant emoji from a number of services including Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, and Twitter. You can check out more reviews here.

Safety pins as a symbol of solidarity against racism

Safety Pin

Post-Brexit, people in the UK started wearing safety pins to show their stance against racism and their solidarity with immigrants.

In response to the open environment of hatred, people across the U.K. are now wearing safety pins — and tweeting pictures of themselves wearing them — in an act of solidarity with immigrants.

In the wake of the election and reports of racism incidents across the nation, some are advocating using the safety pin strategy here too.

We need a symbol like that in the United States now. These are vicious days in America. The deplorables are emboldened. The Washington Post reports that there have already been two attacks on Muslim women on college campuses. At San Diego State University, two men ranting about Trump and Muslims robbed a student wearing hijab.

I like this idea, that a subtle marker can denote a social safe space of sorts, a signal to someone who might feel uncomfortable that an ally is nearby. That’s not to say you can put a pin on your coat and *dust off your hands, job well done* but it may help. I’m going to try it.

Update: During the Nazi occupation of Norway in World War II, Norwegians took to wearing paperclips to signal their rejection of Nazi ideology.

The people of Norway also had to deal with German soldiers day in and day out for five years. By 1945, some 400,000 German troops were operating in Norway, controlling the population of about 4 million people.

It was in the autumn of 1940 when students at Oslo University started wearing paperclips on their lapels as a non-violent symbol of resistance, unity, and national pride.

Symbols related to the royal family and state had already been banned, and they wanted a clever way of displaying their rejection of the Nazi ideology. In addition to wearing a single paperclip, paperclip bracelets and other types of jewellery were fashioned as well, symbolically binding Norwegians together in the face of such adversity.

Of course, once the Nazis got wind of this, wearing paperclips became a crime. (via @ckrub)

Update: That co-opting thing I warned against above? Seems like it’s happening.

wear safety pin to fool people into thinking you’re a safe space, trigger them

If I had to guess however, this behavior will be short lived and they’ll move on to some other genius scheme. I’m not taking my pin off. (via @_McFIy & @pattersar)

Update: There’s no safety pin emoji, but some people are adding the paperclip emoji to their Twitter usernames as a virtual world counterpart to the safety pin.

Simulating the world with emoji

Emoji Epidemic

Nicky Case built a tool for simulating systems with emoji. You populate your world with things (represented by emoji), add a few rules about how those things interact, and boom, you’ve got yourself a little world. The default simulation is of a forest fire, but others have made simulations of predator/prey cycles, animal skin patterns, and epidemics. Try making your own here.

Why you should emoji review your sleep

A screenshot of how Taylor Hodge data labels his sleep.

The other day I posted about the trend away from five-star reviews to emoji reviews, and on Twitter reader Taylor Hodge shared his unique method of using emoji to data label his sleeping patterns: “Recently I’ve been using emoji as data labels in @sleepcycle,” he tweeted. Interested in learning more, I interviewed Taylor via email about how he tracks his personal data with emoji.

How old are you, what do you do for a living, and where do you live?

My name is Taylor Hodge, I’m 25 years old, and currently I live in Myrtle Beach, SC (although my plan is to change that in 2016). I’ve spent the past ~5 years working in restaurants and serving tables to support myself, but I harbor a deep, wholehearted fascination with data science and machine learning that I am in the process of pursuing.

What’s Sleep Cycle and why do you use it?

Sleep Cycle is an alarm clock for iOS and Android that tracks your sleep cycles during rest by monitoring your movement and behavior during sleep via sound analysis. This information is then used to optimize your waking time, ensuring that you wake up in your desired time window between the light and REM sleep cycles.

I use Sleep Cycle because it wakes me up more effectively than any other alarm I’ve ever used. (Admittedly, I’ve never tried any “sunrise” alarms like this one, but I’m very interested in doing so.) In my experience, its combination of sleep tracking and alarm windows (with steadily increasing alarm volumes) leaves me energized and rejuvenated after being gently woken, as opposed to being groggy and sleep drunk when being woken up by harsh, shrill, traditional alarm clocks. Sleep Cycle also allows you to use “sleep notes” to label activities and learn how they effect the quality of your sleep. This feedback is incredibly useful and has allowed for actionable changes in my behavior that have drastically improved the quality of my sleep.

Where did you come up with the idea of using emoji for data labeling?

The idea for using emoji for data labeling arose out of my own laziness. After training myself and practicing to become a morning person over the past ~6 months, I wanted a clean slate with Sleep Cycle, so I erased all of my past data, not realizing that all of my previous data labels would be erased as well. When I realized this was the case, I decided that I didn’t want to take the time to type the meticulous labels I was using before, so I thought it’d be neat and efficient to label them using the smallest number of characters possible, so I decided to try emoji.

Can you explain what a couple of the labels in your screen grab mean?

Of course! In the screenshot I tweeted, a few of the labels are as follows:

emoji —> meaning
beer —> Did I drink alcohol today?
coffee/tea —> Did I consume caffeine today?
rosary + 20 —> Did I meditate for ~20 minutes?
valley + 30 —> Did I spend ~30 minutes outside today?
OFF + 60 —> Did I turn off/avoid electronic screens ~60 minutes before bed?
book + 60 —> Did I read for ~60 minutes before bed?

Do you think emoji are a more effective way of labeling data?

Subjectively, for personal data or pet projects, I think emoji for data labeling can be very effective. In this way, you’re able to use a minimal amount of characters in a robust fashion that allows for an unambiguous meaning. However, I think it would be difficult to pass this data on to someone else and have them objectively understand it without explicit explanations of the emoji’s meaning in the label.

What do you think of the trend away from five-star reviews to emoji reviews?

I think using emoji in place of five-star reviews could be effective, depending on the context, constraints, and clarity of how they are used.

For example, a “sick” emoji next to a restaurant review tells about that person’s specific experience in a clear way, one that is arguably more effective than “1 star” with an accompanying paragraph, and definitely more effective than just a lone “1 star” review. But, on the other hand, if I see a review for a dentist that’s labeled with an “Easter Island head” emoji, then I’m even more lost than when I started.

Scrapping the five-star system in favor of emoji reviews

There’s no point in sticking with the old school system of reviewing restaurants and rides with stars when emoji can offer other users more nuanced and specific feedback. Facebook and Uber are trying to figure how to make emoji reviews work.

Kristen V. Brown and Cara Rose DeFabio share their take on how and how not to enable emoji reviews.


Do you speak Kim Kardashian?

Just in time for the holidays, Kim Kardashian, queen of the selfie, is releasing her own line of emoji. They are called Kimoji. The emoji include a butt, a doughnut, Kim’s censored boobs, Kim ugly crying, a word cloud featuring Kim calling someone “basic,” a solo cup, Kim taking a selfie, and a hairdryer.


Emoji version of The Force Awakens teaser trailer

YouTube user darman212 used iOS coding app Hopscotch and Final Cut Pro X to make a version of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser trailer entirely out of emoji. BB-8 is a soccer ball with a bowl of ramen on his head!

Emoji BB-8

(via @marcprecipice)

Beyonce emoji

Jesse Hill made a music video for Beyonce’s Drunk in Love entirely out of emoji. Fantastic work.

Fist Eggplant! Poo! Surfbort! Oh man, that was fun.

Emoji rebus puzzles

Rebus And Emoji

Using pictures to represent words dates back to Egyptian hieroglyphics and Chinese pictographs. But in the 1500s in France, a particular format of picture writing called the rebus was invented. A rebus is a word puzzle which uses pictures to represent words (or parts of words). The rebus became very popular in Europe and elsewhere. Here’s a French rebus from 1592:

French Rebus

Alice in Wonderland’s author, Lewis Carroll, was fond of rebuses…here’s the first page of a letter he wrote in 1869:

Lewis Carroll Rebus

Compare the rebus with the use of emoji on mobile devices and social media, like this emoji version of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song:

Emoji Rebus

It’s OK

It’s OK to like Vanilla Ice.

It’s OK to eat bologna.

It’s OK to acknowledge your past.

It’s OK to use Microsoft products.

Isn’t it?

Dancing to the Beat Radio

I went a’dancin’ last night. Beat Radio is going off the air so they threw a little party at First Ave last night called “Beatoff”. It was fun…for the most part…it was a little annoying because of the nature of the crowd. Usually, a techno show at First Ave means a techno crowd; a crowd that comes to dance and experience the event instead of scoping for that night’s lay or getting drunk. Instead, last night’s crowd was very much the typical bar crowd. Sigh. Don’t get me wrong, the music was good (most of the time) and I had fun dancing, but it just wasn’t the most ideal atmosphere to deal with when all I really wanted to do was dance.

Saving Private Ryan

Usually when the hype machine is up and running on a film, I tend to be a little sceptical about it, even when I’ve seen it and enjoyed it. A lot of “yeah, I liked it, but….” I love to ride the backlash.

Saving Private Ryan is the hyped movie of the moment. I liked it. That’s it. I liked it. It was a good movie. I don’t care if it’s not the best war picture ever made. Or the bloodiest. Or the most shell shocking. Or if Tom Hanks’ character was too Mr. Goody Two Shoes. It was just good. I went twice and it was good both times. And I’d recommend it to friends.