It's hard to believe the emoticon : - ), which signifies smiling or laughter, had to be created by someone. As was the emoticon : - (, which signifies sadness. It seems obvious to modern e-mailers, texters and instant messengers. But like words themselves this was someone's creation. There is some debate as to the first usage of the symbol, with a group of computer science professors at Carnegie Mellon University making perhaps the best claim. According to the professors, a long conversation about the physics of falling elevators (apparently, the facilities where they worked weren't great) encouraged Scott Fahlman to propose using : - ) for jokes and : - ( for serious discussions. From there the idea spread and now we're stuck with emoticons forever. There was a lot of bad news today in the automotive world today, which probably led to a lot of :-( symbols among texting GM employees. President-Elect Obama said he'd lend a hand, prompting Braff to make his own pictographic representation of his hope for the industry.

Get it... [Top Photo/info: CS.CMU.EDU, Photos: The Auto Channel, wikinomics,]