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The World Wishes Colin Happy Birthday

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Colin will turn eleven years old on March 9. On February 2, his mother Jennifer created a Facebook page and told us a little about Colin.

I am Colin's mom, I created this page for my amazing, wonderful, challenging son who is about to turn 11 on March 9th. Because of Colin's disabilities, social skills are not easy for him, and he often acts out in school, and the other kids don't like him. So when I asked him if he wanted a party for his birthday, he said there wasn't a point because he has no friends. He eats lunch alone in the office everyday because no one will let him sit with them, and rather than force someone to be unhappy with his presence, he sits alone in the office. So I thought, if I could create a page where people could send him positive thoughts and encouraging words, that would be better than any birthday party. Please join me in making my very original son feel special on his day.

Since then, the page has gone viral, both on and off the internet. The Facebook page has received 1.9 million likes, and the initial post has over 187,000 comments -and the other posts each have thousands of comments and shares. Due to popular demand, Jennifer rented a post office box to receive cards and letters from Colin’s fans. The address is:
Colin-
PO Box 756
Richland, MI 49083-0756
USA  

As you can see, a lot of people have taken the snail mail approach! Colin’s parents have shielded him from the Facebook project and the resulting publicity as best they can so far, so the page and the correspondence will be a birthday surprise for him. But he is excited about turning eleven. This video was recorded this past weekend.

The responses are coming in in the form of cards and letters at the post office box and online, from comments and Facebook messages, from news reports all over the world, and from Facebook users who sent pictures and videos created especially for Colin.

The Rosenberg Police Department of Rosenberg, Texas, made a video greeting for Colin. Photograph from the Rosenberg Police Department. The sorority Alpha Xi Delta at Indiana University made a video to wish Colin a happy birthday.

Luselys Lugardo sent video greetings along with her Army compatriots.

Colin says that when he grows up, he wants to be either a pastor, a comedian, or a missionary. Comedian John Heffron votes for comedian. Heffron sent not only his best wishes in a video, but involved a bunch of his friends, too. He’s a real standup guy!

Jennifer was quite surprised to see Colin’s story in Arabic in a news story from Jordan. But Colin’s story has also made headlines in Russia, England, Mexico, Japan, Finland, India, Norway, Czech Republic, Portugal, Colombia, Italy, Peru, Poland, Austria, France, Netherlands, Brazil, Switzerland, Australia, Uruguay, Israel, Sweden, Indonesia, Serbia, Denmark, Pakistan, Faroe Islands, Bosnia, Spain, Taiwan, Argentina, Germany, Belgium, Paraguay, Ireland, Turkey, Canada (Quebec), Sri Lanka, Kurdistan, and Lithuania. But those are just the links posted at the Facebook page, and there are many other nations represented in the comments that people have left.

From Rachael Spiess.

From Bianca Romeiro.

From Baran Ketabi.

From Jinger Brinkley.

From Emilie Chauvin Giroire

So many people cannot wait to see Colin’s reaction when he finds out about all the good wishes from people all over the world. But Colin isn’t the only one benefitting from the project. Jennifer writes:

I am overwhelmed and overjoyed but all the love, support and birthday wishes coming from all over the world for my little man. I can't thank you all enough for everything you've all done. My favorite part of this whole thing has been the messages from parents and teachers who have told me they used Colin's story to talk to their kids. And the kids are responding, and realizing that ostracizing someone is wrong, and that they can make a difference. I love that! We love you all, and we can't wait to share Colin's birthday with all of you!

You can follow the progress of Colin’s birthday surprise at Facebook.

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History
Marshall McLuhan, the Man Who Predicted the Internet in 1962

Futurists of the 20th century were prone to some highly optimistic predictions. Theorists thought we might be extending our life spans to 150, working fewer hours, and operating private aircrafts from our homes. No one seemed to imagine we’d be communicating with smiley faces and poop emojis in place of words.

Marshall McLuhan didn’t call that either, but he did come closer than most to imagining our current technology-led environment. In 1962, the author and media theorist (who is the subject of today's Google Doodle) predicted we’d have an internet.

That was the year McLuhan, a professor of English born in Edmonton, Canada on this day in 1911, wrote a book called The Gutenberg Galaxy. In it, he observed that human history could be partitioned into four distinct chapters: The acoustic age, the literary age, the print age, and the then-emerging electronic age. McLuhan believed this new frontier would be home to what he dubbed a “global village”—a space where technology spread information to anyone and everyone.

Computers, McLuhan said, “could enhance retrieval, obsolesce mass library organization,” and offer “speedily tailored data.”

McLuhan elaborated on the idea in his 1962 book, Understanding Media, writing:

"Since the inception of the telegraph and radio, the globe has contracted, spatially, into a single large village. Tribalism is our only resource since the electro-magnetic discovery. Moving from print to electronic media we have given up an eye for an ear."

But McLuhan didn’t concern himself solely with the advantages of a network. He cautioned that a surrender to “private manipulation” would limit the scope of our information based on what advertisers and others choose for users to see.

Marshall McLuhan died on December 31, 1980, several years before he was able to witness first-hand how his predictions were coming to fruition.

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Apple
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technology
Apple Unveils Zombie, Yoga, and Breastfeeding Emojis
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Apple

We’ve been so very patient, and now the wait is almost over. That’s right: the sandwich emoji is coming soon. Apple announced the long-overdue addition, plus others, in celebration of World Emoji Day.

This latest suite of pictograms and smileys has been in the works since autumn of 2016, when the folks at Emojipedia proposed 51 new icons, many created in response to user requests. Apple took those ideas and applied their own graphic twist, as they're wont to do.

Illustration of four smiley emojis: one with starry eyes, one with an exploding head, one vomiting, and one with rolling eyes and a lolling tongue.
Apple

An Apple press release described the T. rex, zebra, zombie, and elf emojis as “a fun way to describe situations.” We’re not sure exactly what those situations could be; clearly, we’ve been living our lives the wrong way.

In addition to the long-awaited sandwich, we’ll also be getting a pretzel, a slice of pie, and a coconut; a person wearing a headscarf; a woman breastfeeding; a guy with a hipster beard; and a dude doing yoga.

Apple has not provided a release date, although some have speculated that the new emoji will be included in iOS updates in autumn of 2017.

[h/t The Verge]

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