Special characters be damned! Upside down text is ǝbɐɹ ǝɥʇ 11ɐ

Flipping your text upside down seems to be all the rage these days.

First, I saw this on pop up on Facebook:

ǝƃɐd ɹnoʎ oʇuo sIɥʇ ǝʇsɐd puɐ ʎdoɔ 'sʎɐs sɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ ʇno ǝɹnƃIɟ oʇ ɥƃnouǝ ʇɹɐɯs ǝɹɐ noʎ ɟI

Then today I was browsing my usual news sites and saw this on Engadget:

(Updated 2016: The screenshots has been lost to time.)

I mean, come on. Yeah, it's kind of cool, I'll give you that. It's a fun little trick to send around, kind of like when your family sends you e-mail chain letters with pictures of people whose bare asses look like pumpkins. Not that that's ever actually happened to me. Twice. But I digress...

A quick survey of the intarwebs landed me at www.fliptext.org, but there are many others out there that do the same trick. So what was I to do after trying it out myself with success? (And yes, it even handled one of the many terms you've never heard of before this film.)

I opened up Firebug and perused their JavaScript a bit, of course. At first, one would think there would be some fancy CSS hack for text direction. However, that wouldn't work on Facebook now, would it? No, because they're smart enough to block custom CSS and JavaScript like any decent web site would. Very unlike some other famous site. (Here's a video of it for posterity's sake, should whoever maintains that page decide to make it even more awesome.)

Nope, all this and its brothers, cousins and illegitimate children do is:
1. Convert everything to lowercase
2. Reverse the sequence of the characters
3. Replace the characters with others that look them in a mirror

For example, the text Ditch Runner becomes ɹǝuunɹ ɥɔʇıp. Note the D and R are lowercased. It's evident the 'd' is swapped for a 'p'. However, the real fun begins with letters that do not have another letter that looks like it would if it looked at itself in a mirror. Letters can do that right? Sesame street would lead one to believe so.

Though not found in Ditch Runner, but certainly found in another term that starts with D and R, letters like t, c, h, r, and e have no luck here. They have to be replaced with some of the unassumingly fun non-standard characters in the unicode set. Credit for this type of fun goes to the peace sign ✌ (#270C) or perhaps the most common of them all, the copyright symbol © (#169).

But things like ɹ (#0279)? Just what are these for? Certainly they're not just for amusement. Well, as it would turn out, there really isn't a meaningful purpose for these characters. And as for what I found in my extensive research (about 5 minutes, aka a millennium in the Twitterverse), well, nothing.

Nevertheless, this is certainly all not for naught. Someone remind me to try this out at work when exercising our app with special characters. Come to think of it, this script would probably make a fun automated unit test. We have a name for those.