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Smiley

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A smiley is a graphic representation of a smiling human face.

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Invention

The smiley face, a yellow button with a smile and two dots representing eyes was invented by Harvey Ball[?] in 1963 for Worcester, Massachusetts based insurance firm State Mutual Life Assurance. Though there was an attempt to trademark the image, it fell into the public domain before that could be accomplished. The symbol has been satirized with a smile and three dots (a mutant), and has been reborn as the image of the Microsoft Bob software and Walmart's price cutting ads.

Smileys on the Internet

In the context of the Internet, "smiley" sometimes means the same as "emoticon" (a short string of characters representing a human face) but more frequently means an emoticon that represents a smiling human face. Smileys are usually used in email messages or in chat. To more easily recognise them, put your head on your left shoulder.

The first recorded instance of an ASCII smiley occurred on September 19, 1982 on an online bulletin board, when Scott Fahlman[?], a researcher at IBM, suggested the emoticon after an online joke caused a false alarm and a discussion ensued in response, about the need for markers for humorous comments. (Other suggestions included +, %, &, (#) and --/.)
Some basic examples: . . . . . . .

  :-)             is a smile
  ;-)             is winking
  :'-(            is crying
  :-9             is whistling
  B-) or 8-)      has (sun)glasses
  @@@@@@@:-)      Marge Simpson

There are a lot of possibilities, people are very good at interpreting pictures as smiles.

See ASCII art and emoticon.

Smileys in Club Culture

The smiley was one of the main icons adopted by the dance music culture that emerged in the early 1990s. Especially in the UK, the logo was especially associated in the dance culture underground with the drug Ecstacy.

Smiley Bomber

Luke Helder, midwestern pipe-bomber in May 2002 tried to replicate a smiley face in his pattern of pipe bombs. His first 16 bombs formed circles, the first in Nebraska and the second on the border between Illinois and Iowa. Those bombs completed the eyes. Two other bombs in Texas and Colorado were apparently the beginnings of the smile. However, he was captured before he completed the smile itself.

Smileys in Cinematography

The film Forrest Gump (Robert Zemeckis, 1994) remembered the Smiley with a humorous reference.



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