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Which Emoji Scissors Close? (wh0.github.io)
1545 points by _nhynes on Jan 3, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 126 comments

I really enjoyed this. It is very similar to "Please, enough with the dead butterflies!" [0] I'd like to see a list of everything like this. Similar to Awesome falsehood [1] but not quite.

0: https://emilydamstra.com/news/please-enough-dead-butterflies... ( HN 1: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14460013 HN 2: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21788356 )

1: https://github.com/kdeldycke/awesome-falsehood

While rating emoji ants:

> This is a termite. 10/10

I think you missed the minus sign there ;)

I did! I parsed it as a delimiter and completely overlooked it.

You missed the -

I've added these to https://href.cool/Crimes/Simple. Thank ya.

I wish more old www sites were still up. YTMND suffered a server failure. fark.com seems up, but rather a shadow of its former self. Shock sites seem to have mostly gone away or devolved into a sea of ads.

(Your site gave a sudden surge of nostalgia, and for some reason those sites were the first to jump to mind.)

https://poo.com/ is another slice of old www style. It's not a shock site, just a chat site. But it has some funny functionality like a radio you can listen to, and customizing your avatar with various multicolor schemes and blinky text, myspace-style.

How about modernizing the old animated gif/flash sites so they work in modern browsers? I've started on hamster dance[0] and leekspin[1], but the sounds leave something to be desired (hamster dance is more annoying than I remember, and I completely forgot the sound on leekspin).

0: https://efreak.github.io/loopy/hampsterdance/hampdance.html 1: https://efreak.github.io/loopy/leekspin/

YTMND is up, at least partially. ytmnd.com says: "As of 2019-12-01, YTMNDs and the search are back online." Random example (http://picard.ytmnd.com/) works.

http://ysflight.in.coocan.jp/main/e2019.html is one more old-www-style.

Also, many Japanese websites still use old-www-style too.

> I reserve the right to link to dipshits and crazies. I link to what piques my curiosity, what amazes me or what horrifies me. This includes you.

Awesome site. Thanks

> You might also look at it like: maybe I’ve friended these links. But instead of putting them in a big number that represents my friends—my 11 friends, for instance—I list my friends out neatly and try to coax you to meet them.

Perhaps there is no need for friending. For likes. For upvotes. For hashtags. For boosts. For trending. For rank. For followers. For an algorithm.

Perhaps linking—and spending time telling you why I linked—is good enough. Perhaps it’s superior!

Wow. That DePew story is messed up. Thanks?

Agree with others about the old school nostalgia. Never would have occurred to me that someone could or would lip sync to whistling. TIL about PBJ.

Yes!!! I live for these completely pointless obsessions into a topic.

If you haven't seen the Holotypic Occlupanid Research Group yet, you really should.


Also leads to http://www.mmuseumm.com. Thankyou.

Profile checks out. todays.pointless.click looks good :D I started https://furious.engineering/ to add random stuff, but so far there's only one which shows the spanish equivalent of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th.

I think these ones could be added to awesome-falsehoods. I'd love a list that was more centered on this idea, but for now awesome-falsehoods would probably be the best place for it. Maybe a design or visual category?

I had hoped that the internet, beyond the 90s, would be a place where almost everyone has a webpage like ours populated with whatever it is the individual decided was noteworthy.

To an extent it's come true in a small subset. But discovery is the hard part. Right now discovery leads you to social media pages full of, for the most part, a low budget substitute for air.

I track homemade weblogs and pages - there's actually a lot still going if you know where to look. https://kickscondor.com

Thank you for your links, I'll cover them soon in my next 'href hunt'.

I too love your website thank you

Oh God your website is so crusty and 90s. I love it. Thanks for sharing.

I feel like everyone running a webpage/blog like that should have a somewhat standardised page crosslinking to pages/blogs that person likes to keep track off

Reminds me a bit of the old web ring concept. I like your idea better.

Ya, I also assumed, hoped?, the 80s quirkiness (weird news, dr demento, archie mcphees, zines, and other earnest trivias) would have flourished. Making the jump from BBSes to the web.

Instead we got ad funded autobot outrage factories.

why do you have male/female (primero/primera) and then female/male (1ª/1º)?

Just to nitpick: grammatical genders are "masculine" and "feminine" (not male and female)

Oops, I got it backwards. I'll fix it when i get a chance. Thanks for noticing!

This one was pretty pointy if you ask me


Calm down, it's a bit of fun.

View the HN comment section for some more examples (ants, trains,..). I feel inspired and will most likely write a blog post for the parachute emoji soon.

You inspired me to go hunting around Hacker News and I ended up with this lil' curated list: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21961222 :)

That's really great! I'm surprised it didn't make it onto the front page. Oh well.

I wouldn't have thought so if it had made it, but I think think maybe the name should be changed to something like "Awesome Uncanny Design" or something, and perhaps the logo could be something that evokes the uncanny valley or the twilight zone or something. The current one might make it sound like we want to ban this stuff, which is not the idea. I just want people to be aware of it. It also isn't all crap, so maybe an upside down smiley face would be a more fitting emoji, or a horse, parachute, butterfly, or another example.


Thanks! Not only did you make something I thought should exist, it helped me find the Caddy GitHub issue about cogs which was super interesting.

Yeah, I admit I was stuck on what to name it too! Uncanny evokes a nature of mystery, which I'm not sure is totally approproate here.

Haha! I literally just Google'd "something that is attempted but misses the mark", after writing the above paragraph, and I found this article on Wikipedia [1]. It means "tragic flaw" or "to miss the mark". Feels quite apt! Perhaps "Hamartian Design" could work.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamartia

Interesting! First I've heard of the term Hamartian. I think it works amazingly.

I see you updated the repo. It looks good. I hope it gets noticed and other stuff gets added. Could submit it to https://github.com/sindresorhus/awesome/

Along those lines, horse emojis judged by a horse enthusiast: https://twitter.com/jelenawoehr/status/1191872816372600832?l...

> OpenMojij 12.0

> Believe it or not, this horse's lack of eyes may not limit athletic performance. Many blind horses do well under saddle. However, the missing right hindlimb will severely limit potential for soundness even as a companion. Discuss euthanasia with vet. -20/10


Thanks for that - it was really fun to read.

[0] is a twitter thread in a similar vein about train emojis.

[0]: https://twitter.com/BisTheFairy/status/1192557730709622790

Interesting how almost everyone goes for a 4-4-0 style train with the American-style balloon smokestack. It's funny that this is called "wild west" because it's rather anachronistic for that design. In the 1870s and onward, railroads are buying 4-6-0 trains instead of 4-4-0 trains. And the balloon shape is a feature of wood-burning locomotives (which produce a lot more embers and sparks than coal does). The Great Plains and Great Basin being rather devoid of trees, western railroads generally favored coal-burning designs, and so used much lower-profile smokestacks. The stereotypical "wild west" design is therefore closer to what you'd see in 1850s Ohio than 1870s Oklahoma.

In 1870 > 50% of locomotives were 4-4-0 and there was plenty of wood to be had in the Sierra Nevadas. For sure, times were changing but if you came to California then, you’d see no shortage of wood-burning engines.

Probably the challenging thing is to define “Wild West”.

I know very little about the 1800s outside of European warfare. Was railway technology really advancing so rapidly in the United States that missing the mark by a mere 20 years and a few hundred miles counts as an anachronism?

From Stephenson's Rocket in 1830 to Mallard (still current World Steam Speed Record) in 1938, trains were changing rapidly. Rail was being built out everywhere, as fast as possible. From 1830 to 1900 they were the cutting edge of human travel technology, that only really transferred elsewhere with the rise of the car, tram and bus in the very late 1800s, but mainly 1900 on. Fast travel was a new big deal in comparison to the slow discomfort in a coach that had preceded them. Even with an efficient network of coaching inns, and fast team changes, they were expensive, slow, uncomfortable, and unheated.

Competition was intense - by 1900, the UK had a couple of hundred train companies, many in parallel competition with competing lines, sometimes competing stations in the cities too. 20 years could easily be the equivalent of 5 or 10 years of computing in the 1980s or 1990s. We'd immediately pick up similar anachronisms in halt and catch fire, or the latest hacker movie. Or loads of 1940s or 1970s cars in a movie set in the 60s.

As a European, train emoji just look odd for being wild west, as they're so unlike the common European designs (mainly from the cow catcher and silly funnel shape).

Would a Minié rifle be an anachronism in the Franco-Prussian War, only 20 years and a few hundred miles from the Second War of Italian Independence? (Yes, the Austrians discovered that they were outdated compared to the Prussian guns, and so the French retooled to the chassepot rifles instead.)

It's not so much the fact that the technology was wildly obsolete as it is the fact that there are distinct visual styles that are localized to particular places in certain eras. If you know what those are, seeing people get it wrong can be quite jarring. Imagine a scene supposedly set in Ancient Rome where one character shows up in Prussian court dress.

But your statement is about purchases, rather than common use. Just because 4-6-0 locomotives were being purchased then, it certainly doesn't follow that you wouldn't see any 4-4-0 locomotives in 1870, does it? Especially since 4-4-0s were still being built in the US as late as 1893 according to Wikipedia [1].

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4-4-0#United_States

Also "wild west era" is pretty vague to start with and can be considered to cover almost whole 19th century. So the specific situation at 1870s might not be even all that relevant

Even parts of the 20th century as well.

I don't know a lot about trains in particular, but mechanical technology was advancing very rapidly during this period. It's roughly when the mass production of interchangeable machine parts started to take off. Singer (sewing machines) and Colt (revolvers) are two notable examples.


> It's funny that this is called "wild west" because it's rather anachronistic for that design.

It's the form of the Central Pacific Jupiter¹, famous for being the western locomotive at the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad.

¹ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jupiter_(locomotive)

Sadly, I only see the first image, and the rest are behind links. Each link requires me to press "Yes", before being redirected, sometimes to the intended link, others to the link I tried to view an hour ago.

Reminds me of "Artist Asks People to Draw a Bicycle from Memory and Renders the Results" https://twistedsifter.com/2016/04/artist-asks-people-to-draw...

In the MONA museum in Tasmania, they have real life versions of the “renders”. It was amazing to see the inoperable bicycles in front of me.

These are so weird. It is strange to me that complaints about number of legs or the google ant's weird closer-middle leg passing under the closer-front leg are eschewed.

Even if you don’t care about scissor physics, read the article for the A-level file pun, which is fully worth the price of admission.

I missed the pun initially because I associate that icon (U+1F4C1) with a folder, not with a file. :(

Are folders not a type of file? Or is it that files are types of folders? Hmm...

This reminds me of how someone filed a bug against a quick illustration I did of some cogs on my website because the cogs don't actually turn: https://github.com/caddyserver/caddy/issues/2949

Does anyone remember how Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, chimed in on the debate regarding Google's Burger emoji?


I don't know wh0 this person is but they do good marketing - the "last post is either ..." is genius.

Well, I hoped to read a similarly opinionated piece on transporting convex objects on a camel :(

But then I went through a bunch more posts, including one on how SVG renderers mix in background color before figuring out the mixed colors of objects—which seems obviously wrong.

Goes to show that humor is a great tool to speak of important things! :D

Also, funny that Apple should fail at skeuomorphism. [whistling face]

This post was sponsored by the text-emoticon resistance.

> The handles on these collide very close to the hinge, so they barely close at all. If you could file those parts down, you could close them a lot more:

> But you couldn’t, because [edit: file emoji that HN strips out :( ] is the only file you can get in emoji, so this altered version doesn’t count.

Inspired by this, I have written a similar post regarding the "parachute" emoji [1].

[1] https://darekkay.com/blog/parachute-emoji/

Why does Facebook have 3 sets of emojis?

Different groups working on different projects, lack of communication and global company vision or even internal competition leads to wasting money producing the same thing multiple times.

Basically the "Not Invented Here" syndrome, at the company level.

You could actually end up wasting more money if you get "alignment". Thats why things take a shit ton of time for the most part.

Move fast and duplicate things.

Move fast and don't deduplicate things.

Move fast and don’t not repeat yourself.

which is ok. we wouldn't have proliferation of software or arts if we didn't have desire to redo.

Move fast and don’t deduplicate things.

Move fast and complicate things.

Although fun to say "the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing", I think it's unlikely that the designer for Messenger didn't know that Facebook had emojis. In fact, the Facebook and WhatsApp scissors look similar enough in style that I wouldn't be surprised if they were drawn by the same person.

I think the real answer is that they are 3 products with 3 different target users, and Facebook really wants to keep them separated in the minds of users (to keep bad karma from one brand tainting another). So, "brand differentiation".

It's because they learned from how other dotcoms failed to capitalize on acquisitions by plastering their brand all over them and making them an appendix of the mothership, that would then usually wither and die.

The most lucrative decision that Facebook ever made was not messing with Instagram, but keeping it as its own separate brand. And with that goes that it should have its own visual identity. Then they just applied the same thinking on several of their other properties.

I just adore that someone went the lengths to write such an article and someone else posted this on HN. So geeky and cool at the same time! :)

Unicode scissors emoji originate from two sources, and they both contribute to this plethora of non-closing scissors.

First, Unicode scissors character (U+2702) originates from ITC Zapf Dingbats series 100 [1]. As a result they have, unlike most Unicode characters, pretty much standardized reference glyphs. And scissors glyphs do not completely close too there.

Second, the original emojis were implemented in limited space (say, 16 by 16 pixels) and the design was constrained. In some platforms (especially SoftBank) they were animated instead, and indeed there were some reference emojis that close only in the animation [2].

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zapf_Dingbats

[2] https://unicode.org/emoji/charts/full-emoji-list.html#2702

On the other hand, there is no danger of stepping over a design copyrighted by scissor makers if your scissors do not close.

Makers of non closing scissors might sue you if their business is not running well lately.

Now do, "what human figures in Renaissance paintings would not be absolute monstrosities in the Real World"

I'd never even realised that scissors could be right or left-handed, and now that I do, I checked all the (physical) scissors I have, and it turns out I have one left-handed pair and the other three are right-handed. I never used one after the other, so didn't notice the difference.

I don't really find that the way it's hinged make any big difference. So I've never used that to consider if a scissor is left or right handed.

The problem is when it's not symmetrical. For instance the Fiskars [0], is impossible to get the thumb through when using the left hand.

[0]: https://imgur.com/a/bN3XkHp

It depends a lot on how much slop there is in the hinge. Your grip should pull the blades together; if you use the scissors with the wrong hand it pulls the blades apart. The shape of the grips is just for comfort, the geometry of the blades is the true handedness.

There can only be one #1. Joypixels or LG?

Depends if you are lefty or righty.

So, not only LG is the only manufacturer of more or less usable smartphones up to this point, but it is the single place that employs that only (as it seems) graphic designer on the planet Earth that can actually draw a scissors? Huh. It's a pity their advertising department sucks.

These are special scissors that have internal gears that allow them to be closed, even though it doesn't seem like they can be closed. The advantage is that you don't need to move the handles that much, and you train your hand to become stronger.

The latest responses to the grand unsolved question of "Which Emoji Scissors Close?"

> Designers: What were the design teams behind these scissor emojis thinking? Some of the designs break made important design principles these 'scissors' should be redesigned by an AI. Dieter Rams would call this another level of wrongness.

> HNers: Look at the intricate detail with all the designers from different companies attempting to create an emoji for a pair of open and closed scissors. Wow!, great analysis, so cool!

> Everyone: It's a scissors emoji.

> Me: Who cares? They are scissors emojis. Even if the designers can't create one closed so what, do a redraw later?

I'd side with the everyone else crowd here, since the change will be so tiny that this storm in a tea cup will be a thing of the past.

This is super amusing but also isn’t this like “which emoji faces have an anatomically correct bone structure?” Or “which floppy icons could be actual floppies?”

This was cutting it close my best waste of time all day. :P

This analysis assumes only 2 dimensions! I think the handles should be able to overlap somewhat. Some handles in real life do!

"Critique" aside, I adore this site!

It's very unusual to find scissors in real life where the handles overlap, so I think it makes sense to assume they don't.

Read the last few oddballs, they are indeed expected to overlap.

I just did now! And came back to comment how I had not read to the end! :)

When the handles can overlap, it tends to cause unwanted torque.

I appreciate the "My last post was about either Wire toothbrushes or Rasterization of coincident edges" bit at the end of the articles.

Note that scissors cut well when kept partially closed (instead of repeatedly fully opening and closing)

What a nice century we live in that we have time for describing and discussing these kind of problems. :)

Interesting and entertaining article, I enjoyed reading it. Now I want a "Which Emoji Weapons Shoot Real Bullets". I'm only half joking as many emoji sets transitioned from the depiction of real weapons to some form of toy, like a colorful water pistol. It would be interesting to find out who started it and when the others followed.

Apple started it. For a time, a text like this:

> Let’s meet at the park [pistol emoji]

Would have have very different meanings between platforms.

Eventually, all platforms followed Apple and switched to the water pistol. (The ones that still show real pistols are obsolete fonts.)


At this point, Apple gets to decide what emojis look like, not the Unicode Consortium.

Apple spearheaded this but you could imagine Facebook spearheading it and everybody else following.

Honestly the original gun emoji was simply a bad idea because it makes it hard to make apps that are age-rated for small children when there's a fricking gun in the system keyboard.

I don't understand how "there's a fricking gun in the system keyboard" => "hard to make apps that are age-rated for small children". It's just a tiny picture of a gun, hidden in a pile of hundreds of emojis at that. Where's the problem?

There’s also the knife, bomb, cigarette, and middle finger emojis. And Apple decided to keep the peach emoji looking like a butt:


It was quite literally leftist virtue signalling. A way for those companies to say "I support gun control".

I support gun control but do not support the censorship in emojis. So I don't know about that.

If you're making such an app, you'd be filtering the content for obscenities anyway. I mean, Unicode already includes a swastika character [1]. Wouldn't you just add the gun emoji to your list of censored words and emojis?

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swastika#Written_characters

Per your link, the swastika is a religious symbol for a large number of people for a long time. It's strange to suggest that it is an obscenity just because a small number of people used it to mean something bad.


I’m a youth firearms instructor - are you saying that any app that contains so much as an icon shaped like a gun is inappropriate for children?

Having a character in the system font does not mean having it on the system keyboard.

Unicode doesn't decide anything about character appearance. Unicode is just about giving a character a number (among other interesting things for text, like collation, bidirectional text, etc.).

If Unicode issue a standard naming U+1F49A as 'Green Heart' and all major platforms implement a green heart, I'd say unicode decided something about character appearance :)

take more adderal - you can't

this is important

Absolutly! First world problems are really important.

I realize this opinion is likely to be unpopular, but this industry wastes so much time and energy on such irrelevant things.

Wasting time on irrelevant things? Like someone taking the time to post a comment about something they consider to be irrelevant? ;)

I wouldn't consider this to be a depiction of the "industry". Someone pulled on an OCD thread and shared what they found with the community, and now I'll be on the lookout for poorly designed scissor emojis as a result...

It was a fun read for me - one of the less serious posts for today being the kick off of a new decade. Reminds me of how there are so many colors of hand emojis now. I wonder if they'll try and make scissor emojis that represent left and right handed people equally at some point - letting the user decide.

Are you talking about the article? Because the people creating the emojis clearly didn't spend a lot of time checking that the scissors would actually work, which it seems like you'd approve of.

The article itself isn't so much "the industry" as a blogger just trying to write something amusing.

You know what he means dude.

I honestly don't.

Is the entire entertainment industry a waste of time? Some people create things for their own and other's enjoyment even though it has no "practical" use.

If "waste" is "many organizations making the same emoji," and if the alternative is a standards committee, I think standards committees are hit or miss. I'm fine with organizations doing it themselves.

Just a reminder that Archimede's law was (allegedly) discovered while wasting time in a bath.

his is very funny scissors

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