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Fiat Multipla

According to several reputable polls and automobile journals, the Fiat Multipla is widely considered to be the ugliest car ever made.

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Recent Index Entries:
Paraph

A flourish after a signature, originally used as a precaution against forgery. Paraphs were also employed by medieval rubricators to mark the distinction between manuscript sections. 

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Countermark

A countermark (also referred to as punchmark or counterstamp) is an element added into the face of a coin while in circulation. Reasons for countermarking include adjusting the value of a coin, marking foreign currency as legal tender, and making a political statement against the regime in power.

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Recent Index Entries:
Softies

In 1972 the iconic graffiti artist Phase 2 premiered a lettering style known as “softie” or “bubble letter” which caused a transformational shift in the art form at the time. As copycat “softies” quickly spread throughout the landscape, Phase 2 was forced to adapt and spin-off the ballooned letters into new micro styles with names as equally as brilliant as the forms themselves: Phasmagorical Phantastic, Bubble Clouds, Bubble Big Top, and Squish Lucious, to name a few.

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Recent Index Entries:
African Reference Alphabet

The African Reference alphabet was first created in 1978 at a UNESCO conference in Niger in an attempt to use single letters (rather than letter combinations) to represent a sound.  The alphabet was later revised in 1982 as a unicase system.

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Wang Zhen’s Revolving Typecase

Wang Zhen 王禎 (1290–1333) was a Chinese mechanical engineer responsible for revolutionizing wooden moveable type printing. He improved upon earlier experimentation with wood by outlining methods of type production and inventing machines to streamline the process. One such machine, the revolving typecase, housed movable type arranged by rhyme scheme making individual characters easier to locate.

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Pareidolia

Pareidolia is the illusion of something vague and abstract appearing as distinct and familiar. A common instance of pareidolia is seeing faces in objects that are otherwise unrelated. At one point pareidolia was thought to be a symptom of psychosis but today it is understood as commonplace.

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Recent Index Entries:
Talking Gloves

Gloves proposed by Leslie Callard (c. 1917) as a communication system for deaf and blind people. 

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Recent Index Entries:
Grawlix

Grawlix is a string of typographic symbols used in comics as a stand-in for profanity. The technique was created by Rudolph Dirks in 1902 for his comic Katzenjammer Kids. Note the use of an anchor as one of the symbols, which alludes to the idea of “swearing like a sailor”. The actual term “Grawlix” was coined by Mort Walker (creator of Beetle Baily) first in the article “Let’s Get Down to Grawlixes” in 1964 and later solidified in his book The Lexicon of Comicana published in 1980.

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Recent Index Entries:
Prince Symbol

In 1993 Prince announced that he would be changing his name to the “Love Symbol,” an unpronounceable icon combining the signs for male and female. The new and confusing name was a protest against his record label which had forced him to adhere to a rigid production schedule. The press especially struggled with the change, referring to the singer as “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince,” and were sent a floppy disk with a custom font containing the icon. In 2000, following the expiration of his record deal, Prince reverted back to his original name.

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