The 38 New Emojis Proposed For 2016


Emojis occupy a peculiar place in the public lexicon. In a texting world, they say the unsayable. Somehow, when a friend texts to ask for a raincheck, the blow is softened when she appends the message with a (crying face) or a (disappointed face). Emojis lend an air of fun to tweets or Facebook posts that would otherwise come across as staunchly promotional, dry, or factual. Millennials and the younger set love them for the ironic twist they put on messages.


Yet, at this very moment, if I wanted to use emojis to express to a friend “Hey, call me, an owl just stole my scooter – face palm!” I wouldn’t be able to (not that that scenario comes up too often…). But with the list of proposed emojis released this month, I could. The “call me” hand gesture, as well as the owl, the scooter, and the “face-palm” expression are all among brand new emojis that are up for consideration.  


In a report released this month, the Unicode emoji subcommittee (a name worthy of its own emoji, but alas) announced 38 new emojis they are considering for 2016. Many of these are responses to public request — avocado and bacon, I’m looking at you — and others simply seek to fill in the gaps missing in the current graphic language. Apparently we’ve gone this long without the ability to express handshakes — so many deals made without flourish! Some seem more experimental — a rather humble-looking croissant (to appease the French?), a cucumber (see Notes: “Also represents pickle”).


Click here to see the full list — with pictures. Or scroll down to see the full list.


Where Do Emoji Come From?


How does an emoji get born? They first originated in emails and webpages in Japan. The word emoji means, quite literally, “pictograph” (picture [e] + character [moji]). They didn’t reach the U.S. until 2011, when Apple first included an emoji keyboard in its iOS. Today they come to us via Unicode, an encoding standard that determines how text looks on digital devices.


But it’s actually designers, such as Apple’s William Van Lacker, who bring us our graphic little friends to life. Van Lacker is credited with his team for creating many of the emojis on Apple’s iOS that have become familiar to us today.



After designers submit ideas for new emoji to Unicode, the committee meets to “recommend” new characters to the language, sort of like how the Oxford Dictionary board meets every year to decide which neologisms will be added to our official vocabulary (and thereby capable of earning points in Scrabble).


The Full List of Proposed Emojis for 2016:

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Amazon is predictably upset about the FAA’s proposed drone rules



The Federal Aviation Administration has introduced new rules detailing how businesses can use drones. And as with all other forms of regulation, the tech industry is expected to work itself into a tizzy over the cautious governance.

Perhaps the most controversial new guideline is the requirement that drone operators maintain line-of-sight with the contraptions and their dangerous mish-mash of whirring blades, plastic bodies, and assortment of extensions.

The rules also prevent drones from flying above people not “directly involved with the flight,” and would force operators to stop a flight when “continuing would pose a hazard to other aircraft, people or property,” among other things.

These restrictions wouldn’t allow for the drone-powered delivery systems with which companies like Amazon, Google, and Alibaba have been experimenting. (This could change if the proposed rules are revised before they are finalized.)

Instead of providing the traditional “no comment” about the issue, Amazon is on the offensive. As the New York Times says in a report on the new rules:

Paul Misener, Amazon’s vice president for global public policy, said the proposed rules could take one or two years for final adoption and would not permit Prime Air to operate in the United States. ‘The F.A.A. needs to begin and expeditiously complete the formal process to address the needs of our business, and ultimately our customers,’ he said.

Misener must live in a strange world where making sure people aren’t injured by flying robots — and that’s what the autonomous vehicles envisioned by Amazon would be — falling out of the skies isn’t good for “our customers.”

Drones might be good for some of Amazon’s customers some of the time. But some caution about how drones are flown, or how these flying robots are used, is probably more beneficial to the common person than a fancy delivery drone.

That isn’t to say these proposed rules are perfect. They aren’t. But taking safety into consideration instead of giving businesses whatever they want isn’t nearly as bad as some tech companies (not naming names) pretend.

Amazon might be upset that the current rules don’t allow for its flying robots. But I suspect the people who won’t receive a drone to the head while the kinks are worked out of their autonomous flight software will be awfully grateful.

[illustration by Brad Jonas]