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Dear ramp community,
Two thin ovals far up inside a circle, a curved arc below, sketched on sunny yellow. In a split second, our brain has combined the elements into a smiling face, instantly putting us in a good mood. Wonderful! A smiley like that just feels good.
The smiley was invented twice: once in 1963 by Harvey Ball, a graphic designer and advertising expert, who was commissioned by a U.S. insurance company to create something to motivate its employees. The company paid $45 for it, but Ball never had the idea of applying for trademark protection. Franklin Loufrani, a French management consultant, was more enterprising. He placed his smiley in the newspaper »France Soir« in 1972 as an indication of good news and had it legally protected. So much for the first round of inventions.
We owe the second invention to Scott Fahlman. The professor of computer science wrote on the Carnegie Mellon University electronic discussion forum on September 19, 1982: »“I propose the following character sequence for joke markers: :-). Read it sideways.« It was probably the ten silliest minutes of his life, Scott Fahlman revealed extremely gleefully in conversation. So let's take note right here: Just ten minutes of silliness can make the world a happier place.
With this in mind, we wish you a lot of fun!
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