Nerd Alert: Ampers-Fan on BBC4

What is your nerd quotient?

If you are a regular reader of the blog it is probably quite high. But unless you've developed a daily habit for BBC 4, with its documentaries and posh accents, you're just a poser.

NOW, for only four more days, be sure and catch BBC 4's half-hour documentary on the ampersand.

I know! Right!!??

There in all its typographic glory is the tale of how the word "et," meaning "and" in Latin, went from a scribe's squiggle to Monsieur Garamond's masterpiece of font engraving with the advent of moveable type.

It was every font designer's way to show off.

And just as those fancy modern folks were about to replace it with the plus sign, Steve Jobs dared to "Think Different" and typography became a part of the Mac. But now, in logic that only an engineer and computer programmer could understand, HTML requires a whole string of characters, beginning with an ampersand itself, just to make an ampersand part of a web page. 

Notwithstanding the engineers and code punchers, typography and elegance march on.

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Dana Livingston - February 13, 2013 12:18 PM

You should have seen the look on my 11-year old's face when I explained to her that the word ampersand derived from "et per se and" and that the way the ampersand looks is a stylized form of an E and a T. This was my long and painful way of explaining to her that she was writing her ampersands backwards and that, if she would just think about which way the prongs of the "E" in "et" point, she'd never write them backwards again.

You can only imagine her response (and the accompanying look she gave me).

Kendall - February 13, 2013 12:21 PM

I get that look all the time. My kid is way cooler than I am.

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