Aliens on my screen!!!

April 24, 2007 at 3:00 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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I chanced upon an incredibly cute easter egg (or whatever you’d like to call this mental off-spring of some eccentric Unicode designer) yesterday while extracting text from a PDF document. I wanted to include the 4Cs of abstract writing as recommended by Rutger University (there are tons of similar handouts, and I have written my own as well, but like to include quotes from texts written by native speakers, as I myself am none). I copied the text and then pasted it into a plain text editor, to get rid of the formatting.

The copied passage contained bullet points, but no bullet points could be seen in the text editor. Instead, I saw a shape that vaguely reminded me of an Alien’s head. So I zoomed in… zoomed in in in in in in, until I discovered this:


Isn’t this absolutely whacked? I found out meanwhile that this is the way some Unicode characters are displayed if, for some reason, they cannot be explained properly, characters that belong to the private use plane 16. More aliens to be found here. Not that I understand any of it. But that doesn’t matter – it brightened up my day for a moment:-)


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  1. that post was on your blog yesterday, then it disappeared!

    did you just make it private so you wouldn’t have to write anything today? 😛

  2. No, stupid, it was of course the other way around;-) I published it too early – found at that you can use the edit time stamp thingy as a timing tool – the post will be live if you use the exact link to the post (which nobody else but you will know) but only visible on the blog from the point on that you schedule it. So that was written three days ago, and was only supposed to go live today (but it seems as if I don’t know my calendar very well).

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