Hello, this is the (optional.is) quarterly email. Mostly the thoughts of Brian Suda.

02020Q2 REYKJAVIK:  The first quarter is over, the equinox has passed, the days are getting longer. Iceland sits so close to the Arctic Circle that we only experience two seasons a year, winter and summer. We've just passed the Icelandic holiday: The First Day of Summer (sumardagurinn fyrsti) celebrating the old calendar's change from winter to summer. We're all one more winter older and wiser.

Unicode and Emoji

Apple Monochrome Emoji

Apple offer to engrave a select set of emojis when purchasing new Apple devices. After a bit of digging around, we found the Font File for these Monochrome Emojis. The font file is labeled as v3‽

When you look at the list of the options, there are some fun and obvious ones, but there are also a lot of seemingly strange animals until you realise they map to the 12 zodiac animals. Get the animal of your birth year.

We inexplicably got hooked on these monochrome emojis. Then we found the Symbola Font (pdf). Designed for multilingual symbola, they have a wide selection of monochrome emojis! If you install Symbols, you can use it in all your print projects, but for communications, unless both you and the receiver have to have the font installed, it shows a default emoji.

Creative Commons in Unicode!

Unicode 13.0 now includes the new Creative Common Licence symbols. It will take a little while for fonts to catch-up, but it means is that all the symbols used to denote creative common works will soon be available in mainstream fonts, just like ©®™

Shady Characters: Emojis

If you are interested in the history of Emoji, there is a 12 part series on the website Shady Characters, that you should really read.


@sageboggs wrote a twitter thread about the origin of the name Triscuit. 

Spoiler Alert: After a bunch of digging and a few dead-ends, it turns out that Triscuit is a portmanteau word for "Biscuit" and "Electric". Now, that seems really odd, but when you realise they were invented in 01900 (over 120 years ago) it makes complete sense.

Awhile back, we found an article from December 01900 in Lady's Home Journal predicting the next 100 years. We annotated their predictions as best we could and there is an obvious running theme of the power of electricity to solve all problems!

The Electric Biscuit or Triscuit, in the context of the 01900s would have been a modern marvel of its time. Know the context and you understand why being the first electric baked biscuit was such a unique selling point.

Dr. Rush's Thunderbolts

From emojis in 02020, to a 01900s cracker, we continue back in time to 01803 and the Corps of Discovery.

From emojis in 02020, to a 01900s cracker, we continue back in time to 01803 and the Corps of Discovery.

In 01803, the US nearly double the size of its country through the Louisiana Purchase from France. The U.S. government, through the branch of the Army, established the Corps of Discovery to survey this new land and discover if there was a convenient way to connect the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic.

Captain Meriwether Lewis and Second Lieutenant William Clark headed the Lewis and Clark Expedition that began in May 01804. The team consisted of Army members and hearty trappers, but one thing was for sure, the journey wasn't going to be easy.

Enter Dr. Benjamin Rush. As part of the medical kit that Dr. Rush prepared for the expedition, he included fifty dozen of what he called Dr. Rush's Bilious Pills. Among the team though, they were better known as "Thunderbolts" because they were strong laxatives. About 4 times larger than aspirin, they contained more than 50% mercury! This poisonous heavy-metal cleared their insides fast.

One strange side-effect is that over 200 years later, due to their high mercury content, it is possible for today's archaeologists to track the Expedition's actual route to the Pacific based on what they, ahem, left behind.

We all leave our mark on the planet, but the Expedition probably wasn't expecting this! 💩☢️


Beautiful, Letterpressed, Island Notebooks. A series of 6 interesting islands and stories from around the world. 3 pack for $15. Remember, the future is analog.

Designing with Data eBooks. If you need to tell your story using data, pick up these books today. Now pay what you want pricing for epub, mobi, pdf.

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