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"a whisper of perfection in an otherwise cruel and inhumane world"

Beyoncé's "Rosie the Riveter" Instagram photo is causing internet waves. The Independent has a more substantive, historically concerned article.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Jul 23, 2014 - 287 comments

Origins of Common User Interface Symbols.

Ever wanted to know why the Bluetooth symbol looks like it does, or what the deal is with the logo on the Command button on Apple keyboards? This link, which tells the story behind the design of many common user interface symbols, has got you covered.
posted by Effigy2000 on Dec 20, 2013 - 28 comments

Charter of Quebec values to ban religious symbols for public workers

Today the government of the Canadian province of Quebec released its proposed charter of Quebec values. “The minister in charge of the charter, Bernard Drainville, announced … that if the charter were adopted by the legislature, the wearing of kippas, turbans, burkas, hijabs and "large" crosses would be banned for civil servants while they are on the job.” (Images of acceptable and unacceptable religious symbols) The Canadian federal government indicated that it would “challenge any law that [it] deem[s] unconstitutional.”
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear on Sep 10, 2013 - 176 comments

Ah! They DO have a name!

Quimps, Plewds, And Grawlixes: The Secret Language Of Comic Strips [more inside]
posted by Tevin on Jul 16, 2013 - 10 comments

Grave symbols of many faiths

There are 50 symbols currently allowed on the gravestones of US military personnel. The Wiccan pentacle was only approved in 2007 after a fight that invoked President George W Bush's views on the faith, though other symbols, such as Thor's Hammer, have been added with less of a fight. Most recently a Sandhill Crane was approved for the first same-sex spouse member buried in a military cemetery. Military gravestones are very light on symbolism, however, compared to older religious gravestones or, say, the Victorians.
posted by blahblahblah on Jul 9, 2013 - 61 comments

Vexillology

Saturday flag links: Colorful EU flags (and more) and the old national food flags. A natural Canadian flag. Proposed Earth flag. A couple Inception flags. The flag of Oceania. Evolution of the US flag and wikipedia’s timeline of national flags. Dannebrog, the oldest state flag still in use (since 1219) and the flag of Christiania. One of the most famous photos of a flag, Soviet troops raising the flag of the Soviet Union atop the German Reichstag. The powerful flag of the NSDAP. A flag designer, the principles of flag design, and flags by design. 204 pixel art flags made for an Olympics video game. [more inside]
posted by growabrain on Nov 3, 2012 - 28 comments

Admiral Ackbar mousetrap exclamation mark

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, narrated in icons. By Wayne Dorrington (Previously). The Empire Strikes Back. Return of the Jedi.
posted by running order squabble fest on Feb 14, 2012 - 16 comments

Quivera, a fairly complete Unicode font

𝑯𝒆𝒓𝒆 𝒊𝒔 𝑸𝒖𝒊𝒗𝒆𝒓𝓪, 𝓪 𝒇𝒓𝒆𝒆 𝑻𝒓𝒖𝒆𝑻𝒚𝒑𝒆 𝒇𝒐𝒏𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝓪𝒕 𝒄𝒐𝒏𝒕𝓪𝒊𝒏𝒔 10,000 𝒄𝒉𝓪𝒓𝓪𝒄𝒕𝒆𝒓𝒔. 𝓘𝓯 𝔂𝓸𝓾 𝓱𝓪𝓿𝓮 𝓲𝓽 𝓲𝓷𝓼𝓽𝓪𝓵𝓵𝓮𝓭, 𝔂𝓸𝓾 𝓬𝓪𝓷 𝓻𝓮𝓪𝓭 𝓽𝓱𝓲𝓼 𝓶𝓮𝓼𝓼𝓪𝓰𝓮 (𝔲𝔫𝔩𝔢𝔰𝔰 𝔶𝔬𝔲'𝔯𝔢 𝔲𝔰𝔦𝔫𝔤 𝕮𝔥𝔯𝔬𝔪𝔢).
"Here is Quivira, a free TrueType font that contains 10,000 characters. If you have it installed, you can read this message (unless you're using Chrome)." [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Dec 10, 2011 - 111 comments

“This is not a definition, it is not true—and, therefore, your questions do not make sense.”

In reflecting on the project, McAllister feels “caught between the intimacy of each individual response, and the pattern of the cumulative replies.” The question remains: Why did they answer? McAllister claims no credit, describing his survey form as “barely literate.” He recalls that in his cover letter (no examples of which exist) he misused the word precocious—he meant presumptuous—and in hindsight he sees that he was both, though few writers seemed to mind. “The conclusion I came to was that nobody had asked them. New Criticism was about the scholars and the text; writers were cut out of the equation. Scholars would talk about symbolism in writing, but no one had asked the writers.” Sixteen year old boy dislikes English homework, goes outside the chain of command.
posted by villanelles at dawn on Dec 5, 2011 - 55 comments

Web Symbols typeface

There are those points in every interactive designer’s career when he becomes fed up with producing the same set of graphics all over again for every website he designs. It could be the social network icons or gallery arrows. Similar for interactive developers that have to slice the same GIFs and PNGs each time the art director asks them to. Until now. Just Be Nice Studio came up with a typeface that includes frequently used iconographics and symbols. Although, the idea is not unique — Webdings and Windings have been around for quite some time — all of them have a lot of unnecessary symbols. Web Symbols is a set of vector html-compliant typefaces, so it might be used in any size, color and browser (okay, mostly — but IE7 for sure).
posted by netbros on Nov 18, 2011 - 37 comments

Shapecatcher: draw to explore Unicode characters

Shapecatcher let's you draw a picture to find the matching Unicode characters. via
posted by Foci for Analysis on Nov 11, 2011 - 33 comments

Simple Symbols

= ½ * QED ? 4 3 [more inside]
posted by twoleftfeet on Jul 1, 2011 - 19 comments

Sharing, Celebrating and Enhancing the World's Visual Language

The Noun Project collects, organizes and adds to the highly recognizable symbols that form the world's visual language, so they may be shared in a fun and meaningful way. The goal is to collect and organize all the symbols that form our language into one easy-to-use online library that can be accessed by anyone. All the symbols on their site are completely free to download, and can be used for design projects, architecture presentations, art pieces — just about anything.
posted by netbros on Jan 11, 2011 - 23 comments

Hero of WWI. Traitor of WWII. Honored in Milltown, NJ.

A Local Street and a Lesson in History [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 7, 2010 - 20 comments

☃ [unicode table for you]

LI'L MUSHROOM GUY
LEAP-FROGGIN' O's
☣☮ BIOHAZARDOUS HIPPIE WARNING
THREE VIOLINS SHARING HULA HOOP
Unicode table for you: with sliders to help you whiz through all those characters you didn't even know you had.
All symbols in the table have links underneath them which lead to active Wikipedia Pages.
[ previously , via ]

posted by not_on_display on Aug 31, 2009 - 91 comments

Please Call Me Hararie

Japanese Element Symbols is an introduction for non-Japanese to the Japanese language through Kanji symbols, its alphabet, elements of Japan's culture, and what to expect on the culinary front.
posted by netbros on Aug 6, 2009 - 12 comments

Watch out for falling icicles, Helvetica Man!

Symbolic Gestures. How, exactly, does a simple picture go about telling you, "Be careful here. It's cold, and sometimes ice forms on the roof, and it can fall off, and it can be sharp, and that can hurt you"? Inspired by the upcoming Ken Burns documentary, The National Parks: America's Best Idea, Jesse Smith of The Smart Set examines the pictograph designs that convey important information to park visitors. [more inside]
posted by amyms on Jul 31, 2009 - 35 comments

The simplest and earliest forms of communication

A video of 2000 Symbols set to the Cool Kids via Matchstic.
posted by cashman on May 7, 2009 - 7 comments

You Are My Type

The Ministry of Type is a weblog about type, typography, lettering, calligraphy and other related things. The FontFeed, from the folks at FontShop, is a daily dispatch of recommended fonts, typography techniques, and inspirational examples of digital type at work in the real world. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Mar 31, 2009 - 12 comments

In case your system's fonts don't support the snowman.

Decodeunicode.org has a useful and full-featured search for the names and glyphs for those Unicode characters that display as a plain box full of despair. It is presented by the Department of Design at the University of Applied Sciences in Mainz. Roll the dice and try it out. [more inside]
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim on Jan 23, 2009 - 25 comments

Alchemistry

Despite some rather interesting biographical information, Iridius’s interest in typographical symbols is noteworthy, especially the section on alchemical ones.
posted by cthuljew on Jan 20, 2009 - 6 comments

Mixed Messages?

This strange mixture of meanings and symbols confuses me. maybe it's just that some of the ideas are confusingly named.
posted by StrikeTheViol on Aug 4, 2007 - 34 comments

Picasso and the Minotaur - an animated short

Minotauromaquia - a stop motion animated short set to Stravinsky's in which Picasso confronts the minotaur and some other painted characters come to life. The image of the Minotaur is a recurring symbol of self in Picasso's works. (main link via Milinkito [more])
posted by madamjujujive on Nov 5, 2006 - 12 comments

wide right turns

You see, when large trucks make a right turn, they swing a little bit wide to the left first. Simple idea. Many ways to express it. God bless us all.
posted by signal on Oct 29, 2006 - 35 comments

A Brief History Of The Clenched Fist

A Brief History Of The Clenched Fist. With illustrations.
posted by jack_mo on May 3, 2006 - 18 comments

Symbols

✙ ☪ ◊? The addition of a third protective symbol (fourth, if you count this happy lion) will allow the Magen David Adom of Israel to join the Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies after over 50 years. It might look odd, but a lot of other symbols we take for granted have interesting recent origins. ☮ was designed in 1958. ☣ was created by Dow in 1966. ☢ first appeared as a doodle in the 1940s. The symbols of the planets have many origins, but here on earth, the origins of ☺ remain so convoluted that it might take a fictional "symbologist" to sort it all out.
posted by blahblahblah on Oct 3, 2005 - 44 comments

This is not a self link.

? , !, & @ .
posted by ?! on Aug 22, 2005 - 46 comments

Not getting symbolism

"Almost half the children committed one or more of these mistakes. They attempted with apparent seriousness to perform the same actions with the miniature items that they had with the large ones. Some sat down on the little chair: they walked up to it, turned around, bent their knees and lowered themselves onto it. Some simply perched on top, others sat down so hard that the chair skittered out from under them. Some children sat on the miniature slide and tried to ride down it, usually falling off in the process; others attempted to climb the steps, causing the slide to tip over. (With the chair and slide made of sturdy plastic and only about five inches tall, the toddlers faced no danger of hurting themselves.)"
posted by Tlogmer on Aug 18, 2005 - 34 comments

Hidden from History?

Claudette Colvin --a Montgomery teen arrested 9 months before Rosa Park's now-famous refusal to sit in the back of the bus. There were 4 women who stood up before Mrs. Parks, yet most of us know nothing about them. It was their actions that led to the Supreme Court overturning segregation on public transit, yet Rosa Parks is the visible symbol. On worthy and "unworthy" messengers and symbols.
posted by amberglow on Aug 13, 2005 - 14 comments

More than one way to look at this?

These people are apparently unaware that the swastika was not a Nazi symbol in 1880. Is there more than one way to look at this? One Jew's perspective.
posted by spock on Jul 29, 2005 - 181 comments

A symbolic gesture, yet sincere in the offering

Symbol fun. Happy Friday.
posted by DeepFriedTwinkies on May 27, 2005 - 13 comments

The year the stars fell: Lakota Winter Counts

Lakota Winter Counts. Lakota and other plains tribes counted time by winters. An appointed recorder would choose one major event to mark the year, depicting that event by name and symbol. Early records dating back to the 10th century were often painted on buffalo skins; more recent winter counts were recorded as text journals. These fascinating records offer insight into natural and historic events for our land that precede accounts of European settlers. - more -
posted by madamjujujive on Apr 26, 2005 - 12 comments

It all starts by looking a baby right in the eyes

Language started with emotional signaling. That's the thesis of a new book, The First Idea: How Symbols, Language, And Intelligence Evolved From Our Primate Ancestors To Modern Humans, by Stanley I. Greenspan and Stuart G. Shanker.
Lived emotional experience is key to language learning, the authors suggest. "Mathematicians and physicists may manipulate abstruse symbols representing space, time, and quantity, but they first understood those entities as tiny children wanting a far-away toy, or waiting for juice, or counting cookies. The grown-up genius, like the adventurous child, forms ideas through playful explorations in the imagination, only later translated into the rigor of mathematics."
The book is very ambitious, and I don't think we'll ever know where language came from, but this sounds like a more fruitful line of thinking than Chomsky's deus ex machina "language gene" mutation.
posted by languagehat on Sep 29, 2004 - 32 comments

Color communication & symbolism

Colors in motion - an animated and interactive experience of color communication and symbolism. (flash. via One's web)
posted by madamjujujive on Jun 26, 2004 - 10 comments

Rongorongo!

Rongorongo! Say it twice -- don't it feel nice? Most people think of the enigmatic maoi when they think of Easter Island but an equally vexing mystery is found in twenty-six wooden objects which contain pictographic symbols comprising...what? A language? A mnemomic system for recording stories now long forgotten? A resource for modern primitives' tribal tatoos? We could ask, but the authors are long-gone -- the victims of hard times -- leaving only a few tablets and a bunch of carved stone to puzzle over.
posted by Ogre Lawless on Jan 19, 2004 - 5 comments

What's YOUR favourite ascii fart? \m\ (-_-) /m/

Ascii Farts.
posted by holloway on Nov 15, 2003 - 5 comments

Hate on display.

Hate on display. The Anti-Defamation League has a visual database of symbols devised or co-opted by neo-Nazis and supremacist groups worldwide, as well as numbers and acronyms with racist connotations. Although most of us know what 88 means, there's also info about others such as the communist-separatist American Front and the Five Percenters. More neo-Nazi flags here; flags and badges here. Please remember: while racism is always immoral, symbols themselves can have several meanings.
posted by 111 on Jul 23, 2003 - 26 comments

swastika

The Swastika, Swastika links, and a complete index.
posted by hama7 on Nov 17, 2002 - 64 comments

Did you know "88" means "Heil Hitler"? Neither did a buyer at Target.

Did you know "88" means "Heil Hitler"? Neither did a buyer at Target. "August 27, 2002 -- Target, the nationwide department-store chain, said today it will pull shorts and baseball caps emblazoned with neo-Nazi hate symbols from its shelves." After dithering for a few weeks, Target responded to tolerance.org's campaign, but is now shooting themselves in the foot again by being less than accomodating of returns of the offending (and I do mean offending!) product. The link above is to the original story, the Aug. 27 update is linked at the bottom of that page. Howcum I never saw this on CNN? 8
posted by BGM on Aug 27, 2002 - 104 comments

Warchalking

Warchalking Collaboratively creating a hobo-language for free wireless networking. Here is the first draft of a warchalking symbol card. [via Boing Boing]
posted by srboisvert on Jun 24, 2002 - 26 comments

Are you seeing the world differently? You may be suffering from synesthesia, a rare condition that allows an individual to perceive symbols in color. Someone who has synesthesia will read a newspaper in multitudinous colors, often perceiving a color change within particular syllables. In one case reported in this article, a man overhead a conversation in Korean, only to have his mind inundated with colors, despite being unable to understand the words. Rare condition or a state of sensory cognition to come?
posted by ed on Mar 19, 2002 - 48 comments

How

How the biohazard symbol came to be (from NYTimes Magazine)...
posted by Miyagi on Nov 18, 2001 - 12 comments

If you find that flags on SUVs or for sale in pop-under ads water down the meaning of Old Glory, have I got some flags for you. Art's exploration of the flag as a symbol both strengthen it's value as a powerful icon, and question our country's fallibility.
posted by machaus on Oct 27, 2001 - 9 comments

The American Institute of Graphic Arts offer a selection of useful symbols in eps and gif formats for free download. Are there any other sites offering similar symbols?
posted by ecvgi on Sep 10, 2001 - 15 comments

A Subliminal Nazi Swastika

A Subliminal Nazi Swastika has been found in a few different toys. In the first toy, the swastika is pretty blatantly obvious. In the second one, however, the swastika was made to be more transparent and less noticeable. And for those of you that don't know about the history of the swastika, when inverted (counterclockwise) it's actually an ancient symbol for good luck. But when shown clockwise (like these toys are) it is a symbol of hate. You can learn all about it here.
posted by kingmissile on Sep 5, 2001 - 22 comments

Important Massachusetts Legislation

Important Massachusetts Legislation shown here makes me pruod to live in the Commonwealth...
posted by phunkone on May 10, 2001 - 20 comments

You know those house flags?

You know those house flags? I recommend finding one with this graphic to send a message to your neighbors. Better yet, how about this one?
posted by geronimo_rex on May 2, 2001 - 12 comments

Mississippi Reaps What it Sews?

Mississippi Reaps What it Sews? Mississippi votes overwhelmingly to keep the Confederate flag as part of the state flag design. Is this democracy in action? This type of issue is usually decided by a state legislature. I understand the idea of heritage but surely there are ways to preserve it without having a banner on every corner widely seen as a symbol of slavery and racism. Even if you don't view the Southern cross as representing this, why hurt the people who do? The Nazi's built their power on the nationalistic idea of German "pride and heritage", but you don't see swastika flags flying today over Berlin. Does anyone think there should be an economic boycott of the State, like the one that was effective in getting North Carolina to remove the confederate symbol from its capital building? (Public buildings here in Texas now display the official Confederate State's flag when flying our "six flags" - not the Southern cross which was actually a battle flag.)
posted by sixdifferentways on Apr 18, 2001 - 41 comments

Bow down to Frosty! Frosty commands you!

Bow down to Frosty! Frosty commands you! Snowmen as symbols of patriarchic oppression. Some people really just look for things to get snitty about.
posted by Skot on Dec 29, 2000 - 12 comments

never acknowledged:

never acknowledged: evidently, reparations were never made to gay holocaust survivors in germany. never mind that's where the pink triangle came from...
posted by patricking on Jun 16, 2000 - 2 comments

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