This week in Tech Reads: emoji, stolen passports, and what happens to our digital avatars when we die. And more!

  • Caroline Porter examines the strange and wonderful new language that is emoji, through the lens of people like Laura Ustick, who's launching a campaign to add a hot dog icon to the texting and Twitter iconography. [WSJ]
  • Nicola Beckford shows what happens to a passport once it's been stolen. It's a strange, sordid life of crime, and it happens more frequently than you might realize. [BBC]
  • Patrick House looks at the quest to build a computer that can beat a human player in the complex Chinese board game Go. Last year, a computer program called Crazy Stone defeated master Go player Yoshio Ishida, though the victory wasn't decisive and the quest for a superior computer player continues. [The New Yorker]
  • Nolan Feeney explains the deep and strange psychological artifacts that cause some of the selfies we take to look unfamiliar, or downright unattractive, to ourselves. [The Atlantic]
  • Greg Lindsay talks to Neal Goldman, founder of big-data professional networking service Relationship Science, and examines the science and tech that go into analyzing and commodifying our interpersonal relationships. [Inc.]
  • Carmen Maria Machado uses the story of Pia Farrenkopf as a jump-off point to examine the concept of digital doppelgangers. Farrenkopf died in her Pontiac, Michigan garage in 2009, but her body wasn't discovered until last month, in part because her online banking setup paid all her bills and nobody's suspicion was raised until the money ran out. [The New Yorker]


Top animation: a clip taken from video shot in September by daredevils BASE jumping off Manhattan's One World Trade, the tallest building in the U.S. The video was made public this week, leading to the arrest of the four men involved in the stunt. This, coupled with news that a 16-year-old snuck past a sleeping guard to climb to the top of One World Trade, led a security official to resign today.