Miscellany № 56: an octothorpean Christmas

We need to talk about the octothorpe — primarily because everyone else is talking about it too. The past couple of months have see the ‘#’ dusted off, dressed up in its party clothes, and presented to the world at large in a variety of articles, videos, and radio programmes. But the octothorpe’s current renaissance does not stop there; by means of diligent detective work I have determined that it is now possible to experience the #-symbol with every human sense. I mean it: you can see, hear, smell, touch and taste the octothorpe if you so desire. How, you ask? Let me tell you.

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The 2014 Shady Characters gift guide

A couple of years ago, my wife gave me a pair of interrobang cufflinks (as shown above) for Christmas. They were the perfect gift, and I was lucky to get them — I’m afraid to say that they’re no longer available. But if you’re still looking for a gift for the punctuation-phile in your life, worry not: ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the inaugural Shady Characters holiday gift guide!

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Miscellany № 51: a new-old-stock irony mark

A grab-bag of miscellaneous links for you this week; I am knee-deep in nineteenth-century printing history at the moment, courtesy of The Book. Enjoy!

After writing about irony marks again recently (specifically, Michele Buchanan’s project to introduce an irony mark along with two other marks of punctuation), I was simultaneously happy and dismayed to come across yet another irony mark on Twitter recently. This one, however, is something of a blast from the past.

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Miscellany № 45: the endangered @

I learn from Mashable and Buzzfeed that Twitter is planning to streamline its user interface so as to downplay the roles of the @-symbol and the ‘#’, or octothorpe.

I am troubled by this.

For the uninitiated, Twitter is a “microblogging” service where users post messages restricted to 140 characters or fewer. When replying to a message, the response is automatically prefixed with an @-sign and the original author’s name. For example, if I, as @shadychars, posted this message:

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