gee geek gee geek

Slashdot of the Moment
Slashdot had some talk about if one can have an entire career in IT. (Comes from this editorial at MSN.) I think I'm generally good at some things beyond computers, but I'm not entirely sure what...

Cross Culture of the Moment
Cool page on Japanese Smilies. For one thing, they tend to be horizontally oriented, without the 90 turn we give ours. They make up for not having a simple smile curve by making better use of the eyes...which makes sense, eyes are important in Japanese animation, which is why they're so huge.

The Japanese smilies have the advantage of a much wider range of characters in their fonts. That's the 1-byte vs. 2-byte thing the author talks about... the "John Lennon" emoticon was pretty amusing.

Heh, this ties in with yesterday's Davos link I guess, about Japenese youth culture. The author claims the first set is pretty widely used. I know American Emoticon Dictionaries can be huge, but people tend to stick with :-) :-D :-/ and :-P (Software that automatically translates these into their yellow cartoon equivalents is a really dumb and overplayed idea, taking away the charm of the concept...and AOL Instant Messenger gets it wrong-- :-D is not big toothy smile, it's "laugh"...duh.)

Here's another page of 'Anime' Emoticons, with some overlap, but that can all be done with regular characters. I don't know if most people use the parens on the side or not.

Science of the Moment
Alas, it looks like the Spike Report, a good source of oddball news links, is going away. But what might be the last issue has a cool link about a new psychology experiment that shows how little of the world we really observe, compared to what we think we do. In this case, a guy asks you for directions. As you answer, two men pass between you, carrying a wooden door. Chances are that you won't notice that you're not talking to the same guy you were before the door passed between you. Amazing! Spike pointed to this page with video footage and this page with some cool links as well.

This indirectly ties in with some of the points in my mortality guide...coming back to the idea that our sense of self is more of a story we make up as we go along. Also, the first link really echoes what scifi author Douglas Adams described when he proposed the SEP ("Somebody Else's Problem") field: a way of making an item-- even a large one, like a spaceship-- effectively invisible by getting the brains of potential viewers to edit it out as "somebody else's problem".