Dear Dr. Boli: Under certain circumstances a key combination on my computer will produce an emoji, which is a graphic substitute for thought that has become very popular among the lower classes lately. Since it is possible to hit one of these key combinations by accident, my question is this: is there some adjustment I can make in the preferences that will prevent my computer from ever producing another emoji again as long as I live? —Sincerely, 😠.

Dear Sir or Madam: An amendment to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act makes it illegal to tamper with the emoji system in any software, even if the software is otherwise open-source. A reporting requirement is included in the amendment, which probably explains the pounding at your door right now.


  1. Those of us who grew up in the email-list/USENET/web-forum eras of the internet, who are used to engaging in online arguments via long multi-page rants-with-footnotes, rather than 280-characters-or-less pithy soundbytes, can get quite annoyed by modern software that interprets certain combinations of periods, numbers/letters, and parentheses as keyboard shortcuts to an emoji wearing sunglasses, rather than item B or 8 of a numbered list of bullet-point propositions.

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