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A Brief History of the Heart Symbol

In the emoji era, most of us encounter the heart symbol—whether it be red, blue, or sparkling—on a regular basis, but this symmetrical representation of love wasn’t born in the digital age. It’s actually thousands of years old, and its relationship to the physical heart and romance has been ever-evolving.

Vox recently created a video on the subject, based on a Priceonomics post from Zachary Crockett. It’s a quick look at a long history that starts with ivy and fig leaves, and really takes root with widespread societal ignorance about what the anatomical heart looked like. We can thank the Catholic Church’s ban on autopsies for that one.

Check out the recap above, and read the original post for a deeper dive. The history is admittedly a bit murky; some historical accounts theorize that the heart symbol is indeed derived from certain elements of the human anatomy—albeit, anatomy located a bit lower than the heart.

[h/t Vox]

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Comics
The Origins of 36 Marvel Characters, Illustrated
Pop Chart Lab
Pop Chart Lab

No matter what their powers, every super hero has an origin story, from Spider-Man’s radioactive bite to Iron Man’s life-threatening chest shrapnel. In their latest poster, the designers at Pop Chart Lab have taken their infographic savvy to the Marvel Universe, charting the heroic origins of 36 different Marvel characters through miniature, minimalist comics.

Without using any words, they’ve managed to illustrate Bucky Barnes's plane explosion and subsequent transformation into the Winter Soldier, Jessica Jones’s car crash, the death of the Punisher’s family, and other classic stories from the major Marvel canon while paying tribute to the comic book form.

Explore the poster below, and see a zoomable version on Pop Chart Lab’s website.

A poster featuring 36 minimalist illustrations of superhero origin stories.
Pop Chart Lab

Keep your eyes open for future Marvel-Pop Chart crossovers. The Marvel Origins: A Sequential Compendium poster is “the first release of what we hope to be a marvelous partnership,” as Pop Chart Lab’s Galvin Chow puts it. Prints are available for pre-order starting at $37 and are scheduled to start shipping on March 8.

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technology
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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