Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Yo, Russkies, You're So Sixties

Russia has progressed from monuments to useless letters:

[A] Monument to the Russian alphabet letter, an e with an umlaut, pronounced as “yo” is planned to be erected in the Central Russian city of Ulyanovsk.

This letter called “yo”, the only Russian character with an umlaut, was introduced in 1797 by the famous Russian historian and writer Nikolai Karamzin who was born not far from Ulyanovsk, then called Simbirsk.

....Linguists to this day dispute the utility of the letter. It is replaced by the simple e in official documents.

Controversy that has for years delayed permission to proceed with the monument centered mainly on the fact that to the Russian ear the “yo” sound is closely associated with a range of colorful profanities or other exclamations considered in poor taste....

to 40 years late copyrights:

[A] Regional court in St. Petersburg has found the use of smileys in the Siemens cell phones illegal because smileys were invented and patented by a local resident.

45-year-old Viktor Petrov,...sued Siemens’ Russian branch in 2002 over usage of his invention, .... Before suing, he wrote a letter to the Siemens office proposing cooperation but received no answer. His claim was answered on August 2, 2005.

Petrov applied on a patent for a “way of a directed regulation of human psycho-emotional state” in April 1999. In 18 months, he received a Russian patent.

Of course, someone might have a big Mr Yuk for the above:

Richard Ball, co-owner of an advertising and public relations firm in Worcester [Mass.], designed the Smiley Face in 1963 to help ease the acrimonious aftermath following the merger of two insurance companies.

A vice president ordered a "friendship campaign" to ease tensions between the bickering workers and hired Richard Ball to come up with a suitable graphic for a button.

"I made a circle with a smile for a mouth on yellow paper, because it was sunshiny and bright," he recalled in a 1996 interview with The Associated Press. Turning the drawing upside down, the smile became a frown. Deciding that wouldn't do, Ball added two eyes and the Smiley Face was born.

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