1953: The History of Unicode
|The History of Unicode|
Title text: 2048: "Great news for Maine—we're once again an independent state!!! Thanks, @unicode, for ruling in our favor and sending troops to end New Hampshire's annexation. 🙏🚁🎖️"
| This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by XEROX - Please change this comment when editing this page. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.|
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.
An encoding of a character set is a mapping from characters to numbers. For example, the letter "A" might be represented by the value 65. Unicode was planned as a way of representing the various characters used in the world's languages in a single encoding. Prior to Unicode, each script had its own character set. Different characters would be represented by the same value. Some languages, such as Japanese, had several inconsistent character encodings, so before people could send text, they would have to have agreed which character set to use. Unicode attempts to solve this by providing for a single character encoding for all the worlds languages. Unicode is run by a consortium of major technology companies and stakeholders.
The founders of Unicode include Joe Becker, who worked for Xerox in the 1980s. He wears a beard and may be the character featured in the first and third panels.
New characters have continued to be added, and recently many "emoji" (picture characters) have been added to Unicode. One recently added emoji is the "Lobster emoji". It was approved as part of Unicode 11, for release in 2018.
This is supposedly important for the US State of Maine, which has a large lobster fishing industry. The second panel quotes an actual tweet by a Senator from Maine, Angus King. The tweet is signed using 🐮 cow face emoji (an angus is a bovine) and 👑 Crown emoji, which stands for "king".
The central role of Unicode in setting standards for emoji was not foreseen by the consortium's founders.
The title text imagines that Unicode will gain other unexpected roles in the next 30 years. In particular it acts as an international armed force, capable of intervening in military disputes, such as an annexation of Maine by its neighbour, New Hampshire. The title text ends with three Unicode emoji, "🙏" code point 1F64F "PERSON WITH FOLDED HANDS", "🚁" code point 1F681 "HELICOPTER", and "🎖" code point 1F396 "MILITARY MEDAL".
|This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.|
- [A bearded man holds a document labeled "Unicode".]
- Bearded man: My "Unicode" standard should help reduce problems caused by incompatible binary text encodings.
- [A tweet from Twitter is shown. To the left of Senator Angus King's name is his avatar (a face with a mustache) and to the right is the blue checkmark used by Twitter to signify a verified user.]
- Senator Angus King
- Great news for Maine - we're getting a lobster emoji!!! Thanks to @unicode for recognizing the impact of this critical crustacean, in Maine and across the country.
- Yours truly,
- Senator 🐮👑
- 2/7/18 3:12 PM
[Cueball and the bearded man are looking at a wall with the Unicode standard, labeled "1988", and Senator King's tweet, labeled "2018", posted on it.]
- Cueball: Wait, what happened in those thirty years?
- Bearded man: Things got a little weird, okay?
- Initial version of the comic had "1998" in panel 3 instead of "1988" as shown in panel 1. This was fixed later.
- Ironically, the first version of this article (automatically generated by a bot) had problems with emoji encoding.
- The scenario in the title text isn't quite as far-fetched as it sounds. Maine and New Hampshire were for many years involved in border disputes, primarily over fishing rights and whether Seavey Island, located in the middle of the river that forms the border of the two states, was part of Maine or New Hampshire. The latter issue was not settled until 2002. Neither dispute ever quite rose to the level of a full-on shooting war but they got surprisingly close.
add a comment! ⋅ add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ refresh comments!