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Equating Angels with Transistors: Shatner at His Best

In this 1976* AT&T promotional video, William Shatner explains the miracle of microprocessors. As an AT&T historian writes: "Back in 1976, microprocessors had a maximum of 8.5K transistors for 64bits of memory. The Queen of England sent her first email, and Steve Wozniak designed the Apple I." The video is very Seventies with its retro-futuristic music and narration. This is basically a LOST Dharma Station training video, but real.

Sample quote: "There was a time when philosophers argued the question of how many angels might fit on the head of a pin -- defying the laws of physics and reason. Well, today, if we take the liberty of equating angels with transistors, we can make the case for the existence of a modern kind of miracle: like fitting 7,000 transistors on one insignificant chip. In fact, by the time you hear me say this, that number will seem too modest." Indeed, today it's typical for CPUs to include hundreds of millions (or even billions) of transistors -- but very few angels.

Recommended for: nerds, Shatnerphiles, technology buffs, history buffs, and fans of sweet/smooth Seventies style (this video is so peaceful, it would make great bedtime viewing).

* = apparently this video was first created in 1976, then updated in 1980, hence the appearance of Apple ][ computers in some later shots.

(Via Kottke.org.)

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The Design Tricks That Make Smartphones Addictive—And How to Fight Them
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iStock

Two and a half billion people worldwide—and 77 percent of Americans—have smartphones, which means you probably have plenty of company in your inability to go five minutes without checking your device. But as a new video from Vox points out, it's not that we all lack self-control: Your phone is designed down to the tiniest details to keep you as engaged as possible. Vox spoke to Tristan Harris, a former Google design ethicist, who explains how your push notifications, the "pull to refresh" feature of certain apps (inspired by slot machines), and the warm, bright colors on your phone are all meant to hook you. Fortunately, he also notes there's things you can do to lessen the hold, from the common sense (limit your notifications) to the drastic (go grayscale). Watch the whole thing to learn all the dirty details—and then see how long you can spend without looking at your phone.

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Design
New Lobster Emoji Gets Updated After Mainers Noticed It Was Missing a Set of Legs
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Emojipedia

When the Unicode Consortium released the designs of the latest batch of emojis in early February, the new lobster emoji was an instant hit. But as some astute observers have pointed out, Unicode forgot something crucial from the initial draft: a fourth set of legs.

As Mashable reports, Unicode has agreed to revise its new lobster emoji to make it anatomically accurate. The first version of the emoji, which Maine senator Angus King had petitioned for in September 2017, shows what looks like a realistic take on a lobster, complete with claws, antennae, and a tail. But behind the claws were only three sets of walking legs, or "pereiopods." In reality, lobsters have four sets of pereiopods in addition to their claws.

"Sen. Angus King from Maine has certainly been vocal about his love of the lobster emoji, but was kind enough to spare us the indignity of pointing out that we left off two legs," Jeremy Burge, chief emoji officer at Emojipedia and vice-chair of the Unicode Emoji Subcommittee, wrote in a blog post. Other Mainers weren't afraid to speak up. After receiving numerous complaints about the oversight, Unicode agreed to tack two more legs onto the lobster emoji in time for its release later this year.

The skateboard emoji (which featured an outdated design) and the DNA emoji (which twisted the wrong way) have also received redesigns following complaints.

[h/t Mashable]

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