Do We Need More Emojis?

mikejuk writes to note that the Unicode Consortium has accepted 38 new emoji characters as candidates for Unicode 9.0, including characters depicting bacon and a duck.”Why could we possibly need a duck? Many of the new characters are the ‘other half’ of gender-matched pairs, so the Dancer emoji (which is usually rendered as Apple’s salsa dancing woman) gets a Man Dancing emoji, who frankly looks like a cross between John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever and your dad at the wedding disco. … Other additions include carrot, cucumber, and avocado, and bacon. … The list of additions is rounded off with new animal emojis. Some are the ‘missing’ zodiac symbols (lion and crab). Others are as baffling as ever – is there *really* a demand for a mallard duck? Sorry: it’s in fact a drake!

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5 can’t-miss apps: ‘Fallen,’ Inkboard, Ditty and more

Approundup

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With Apple finally revealing the date of when we’ll see the next iPhone and Instagram abandoning square photos, you may have missed some of this week’s best new apps.

Luckily, every weekend, we round up our favorite new and updated apps. This week’s list includes an app to send doodles to your friends, an update to Facebook’s newest standalone app and a new gravity-based game.

Check out the gallery, below, to see our top picks. If you’re looking for more, take a look at last week’s roundup of can’t-miss apps.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments. Read more…

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Justin Morneau propels Rock Cats by Sea Dogs

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. — Justin Morneau, who is on a three-game MLB rehab assignment from the Colorado Rockies with the New Britain Rock Cats, hit a fourth-inning solo homer, snapping a 1-1 tie and giving the Rock Cats a 2-1 Eastern League win over the Portland Sea Dogs Saturday night …

The taking of Raqqa by the Islamic State (in Arabic)

Raqqa

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The Islamic State took control of Raqqa in 2014, declaring it their capital

The video above — in Arabic — is a first-hand account of how ISIS took over the city

The animation, which was first published in English, is based on verified eyewitness photographs and videos, and documents real events

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More about Arabic, Syria, Us World, Islamic State, and Raqqa

Ankles beware: Watch the NBA season’s 60 nastiest crossovers

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To dunk on someone is savage, but to cross them over is sublime

Now we can relive the 60 nastiest crossover dribbles of the NBA season, thanks to the 15-minute video embedded above. Watching hapless defenders look like they just roller-skated over banana peels never gets old

Produced by the NBA itself, the compilation features some Kyrie Irving, some Kemba Walker, a whole lot of Stephen Curry and many others

If that’s not enough for you, check out the NBA season’s 100 best dunks here Read more…

BONUS: 25 of YouTube’s Funniest Sports Fails

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New algorithm gives photos Van Gogh-style makeovers

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Google has already shown us the weird possibilities when images are processed through a neural network

But a new experiment takes this dynamic to a new level by transforming any photo into an image that mimics the painting style of one of the old masters

The details of the project are revealed in a research paper titled “A Neural Algorithm of Artistic Style.”

“Here we introduce an artificial system based on a Deep Neural Network that creates artistic images of high perceptual quality,” reads the paper, penned by a group of researchers from the University of Tubingen in Germany. Read more…

More about Art, Algorithms, Tech, Apps Software, and Dev Design

In solemn homecoming, convoy escorts remains of Maine man killed in Afghanistan

ARUNDEL — Dozens of Mainers gathered on Maine Turnpike overpasses Saturday night to pay respects to Corey Dodge of Garland, a civilian contractor who was killed on Aug. 22 by a car bomb in Afghanistan. His body was returned to Maine in a convoy Saturday night that included the Patriot Riders and other motorcycle groups.

Dodge, 40 and the father of four, was killed when a car bomb that targeted the NATO convoy he was in went off in Kabul. At least 11 others died in the attack. Dodge was working for a private contractor that was providing training and mentoring to Afghanistan’s Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Defense.

Dodge began what he planned would be his last tour in Afghanistan in July and hoped to return to Maine in October. He had previously worked in Rockland as a Knox County sheriff’s deputy and planned to become a Maine State Police trooper after returning to the state.

Red Sox relish playing spoiler role in win over Mets

NEW YORK — If the Boston Red Sox can’t be a part of the pennant race, at least they can impact the playoff push in both leagues. Center fielder Mookie Betts homered and scored two runs Saturday and right-hander Joe Kelly threw 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball to win …

Email Is The Last, And Ultimate, Social Graph

email-forgotten One of the magical innovations of the Web 2.0 era was when the bigger social platforms opened their doors to third-party app developers. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter widely touted ,and profited from, the concept of allowing consumers to plug their social graph into other applications. We saw the meteoric rise of games, apps and business tools that leverage the ability to quickly insert… Read More

Always showing up, fan wins place on Windsor Fair harness racing program

For nearly the last half-century, Eino Leinonen has never missed a harness race at the Windsor Fair.

But with nearly 5,000 races under his belt and more than a decade of rating the horses and drivers for people betting on the races, Leinonen, is ending his long-running hobby and passion. Maybe.

Bill McFarland, the agricultural fair’s race director who encouraged Leinonen to start coming to the races, said Leinonen is the fair’s “No 1 fan.” Leinonen has attended the approximately 100 races at every Windsor Fair since 1967, McFarland said.

“Some of those days might have been rained out,” McFarland said. “He might have still come, knowing him.”

For his 47 years of dedication, Leinonen will be honored in the harness racing program for this year’s fair, McFarland said. The Windsor Fair, on Route 32, will run Sunday through Sept. 7.

Leinonen, 76, said he told McFarland last year that it would be his last year attending all of the harness races.

“I’ve done it for 50 years, every race, and that seems like enough,” Leinonen said in a recent interview at his Nobleboro home. “But you never know. If somebody comes to me the next couple of days and says, ‘Would you like to do it again?’ Well, that’s what they’ve always said.”

Leinonen, who worked as a civil engineer with the Maine Department of Transportation for about 40 years, said he’s always liked working with numbers and statistics.

His daughter, Sandra Leinonen Dunn of Chelsea, said her father used to recognize people’s cars by their license plate numbers, not the makes or models.

In order to create the tip sheets for bettors, Leinonen developed a system that he used to rate the horses and drivers. One winter, he looked at which racers won and identified different attributes they had in common. He then assigned points to the different attributes, such as whether they won their most recent races or whether they were from the area, and added up all of the points.

“I guess I’m a statistics nut that likes to see what works and what doesn’t,” Leinonen said.

He said he’s able to guess the winners of more races correctly with his rating system, but he never made that much money betting on the races. The tip sheets, which the fair sold for $1, haven’t been made since Leinonen stopped making them a few years ago. He said they were popular among people who bet on the races.

“A lot of people just don’t trust themselves or like to have someone else to blame if it doesn’t turn out right,” Leinonen said.

A few years ago he stopped creating the tip sheets, after having done it for around 13 years. He said the commitment, which often kept him up until 2 or 3 in the morning, became too much. Now going to every race seems like too much of a commitment too, he said.

Leinonen plans to attend the races Sunday, but he doesn’t think he’ll go to all of them this year.

“It’s been fun. I enjoy it because I like horse racing, but like I said, enough is I guess enough,” Leinonen said. “There comes a point when you can’t keep going on and on and on.”

Paul Koenig can be contacted at 621-5663 or at:

pkoenig@centralmaine.com

Twitter: pdkoenig