Spacebound Emojis Learn with Libs

Teaser medium

The Geeks discuss the need to constantly learn in their jobs; Emojis can be misinterpreted; and there have been two successful spacecraft landings recently. These and many other stories on this week’s episode of GeekSpeak.

Zone of proximal development

The zone of proximal development, often abbreviated as ZPD, is the difference between what a learner can do without help and what he or she can do with help.

“Blissfully happy” or “ready to fight”: Varying Interpretations of Emoji

Emoji are commonly used in modern text communication. However, as graphics with nuanced details, emoji may be open to interpretation. Emoji also render differently on different viewing platforms (e.g., Apple’s iPhone vs. Google’s Nexus phone), potentially leading to communication errors. We explore whether emoji renderings or differences across platforms give rise to diverse interpretations of emoji.

Face With One Eyebrow Raised Emoji

A face with a neutral, straight mouth and single eyebrow raised. May be used to denote scepticism, disbelief, or disapproval. Has been likened to the quizzical looks of Stephen Colbert, yet currently raises the opposite eyebrow to the one raised by Colbert.

Automatically Generating patents

All Prior Art is a project attempting to algorithmically create and publicly publish all possible new prior art, thereby making the published concepts not patent-able. The concept is to democratize ideas, provide an impetus for change in the antiquated patent system, and to preempt patent trolls.


A draft version of a Senate bill would effectively prohibit unbreakable encryption and require companies to help the government access data on a computer or mobile device with a warrant.

The draft is being finalized by the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and the top Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California.

Their goal, they said in a statement, is to ensure adherence to any court order that requires helping law enforcement or providing decrypted information. “No individual or company is above the law.”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) makes it easy to take action.

SpaceX successfully lands its rocket on a floating drone ship for the first time

SpaceX has finally landed its Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship at sea, after launching the vehicle into space this afternoon. It’s the first time the company has been able to pull off an ocean landing, after four previous attempts ended in failure. Today’s success is a crucial milestone for SpaceX, as it shows the company can land its rockets both on solid ground and ocean.

Blue Origin’s Reusable Rocket Just Stuck Its Third Landing

Jeff Bezos’ private spaceflight company Blue Origin just relaunched and relanded a rocket—again. It’s the second time that Blue Origin has reused this particular New Shepard rocket and the third time the rocket has gone to space. If Bezos has his way, reusable rockets that take off and land will be as unremarkable airplanes that do it everyday.

HTTPS Everywhere: Encryption for All Sites

Today we are excited to announce free HTTPS for all custom domains hosted on This brings the security and performance of modern encryption to every blog and website we host.

As the EFF points out as part of their Encrypt the Web initiative, strong encryption protects our users in various ways, including defending against surveillance of content and communications, cookie theft, account hijacking, and other web security flaws.

ER docs get heart rate info from Fitbit, save patient’s life

One man’s Fitbit device proved to be much more than a smart pedometer. After a 42-year old New Jersey man suffered a seizure at work one day, emergency room doctors used his Fitbit Charge HR to understand his heart rate history and decide how they could best treat him.