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Smileys: 30 years

On Wednesday, it will have been 30 years since the birth of the smiley emoticons. You probably don't know who invented them.

Well, here is the original e-mail from its creator:

19-Sep-82 11:44 Scott E Fahlman :-)
From: Scott E Fahlman <Fahlman at Cmu-20c>

I propose that the following character sequence for joke markers:


Read it sideways. Actually, it is probably more economical to mark
things that are NOT jokes, given current trends. For this, use

Note that the format of the e-mail address is a bit obsolete today.

Unfortunately, computer scientist Dr Fahlman forgot to include the following line
Could someone please help me with applying for a U.S. patent?
and this omission decided that he hasn't become a billionaire. ;-)

Some acronyms have become useful, too. For example, David Cameron used to sign his letters with an "LOL" which, he believes, is interpreted as "Lots Of Love". :-D

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snail feedback (9) :

reader Shannon said...

Imagine if Einstein had put a patent on E=mc2 :-)...
I thought the British would always put "x"'s for lots of love... the more x's the more love. Although I guess it can also mean kisses, and I don't think Mr Cameron, as a perfect rosbif, would dare being so familiar... Lol ;-)

reader Dilaton said...


reader Mephisto said...

,XXf ~~~[XX] ~~~XX
,XXX <@> [XX] <@>XXX,

reader guest said...

I guess Halloween comes early when your name is Mephisto...

reader Jason said...


reader Luboš Motl said...


reader fh12 said...

Allow me an off-topic spam please:

reader James Gallagher said...

I'm pretty sure I was already using these at primary school in the 70s, or almost exactly the same thing. I also invented the joke "Patient: Doctor Doctor I've only got 59 seconds to live ......... Doctor: Wait a minute." © me circa 70s/early 80s

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