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Dealing with Unicode

From: Alex Schroeder
Subject: Dealing with Unicode
Date: Fri, 11 Oct 2013 12:01:45 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.3 (darwin)

Sometimes I'm writing an email that contains "Emoji" characters such as this one:

            position: 219 of 800 (27%), column: 34
character: 😍 (displayed as 😍) (codepoint 128525, #o373015, #x1f60d)
   preferred charset: unicode (Unicode (ISO10646))
code point in charset: 0x1F60D
              syntax: w         which means: word
            category: .:Base
to input: type "C-x 8 RET HEX-CODEPOINT" or "C-x 8 RET NAME"
         buffer code: #xF0 #x9F #x98 #x8D
file code: #xF0 #x9F #x98 #x8D (encoded by coding system utf-8)
             display: no font available

Character code properties: customize what to show
 general-category: So (Symbol, Other)
 decomposition: (128525) ('😍')

After a few seconds, I get shown the buffer ` *Format Temp 0*' and a warning:

These default coding systems were tried to encode text
in the buffer ` *Format Temp 0*':
 (emacs-mule (164 . 128525))
However, each of them encountered characters it couldn't encode:
 emacs-mule cannot encode these: 😍

Click on a character (or switch to this window by `C-x o'
and select the characters by RET) to jump to the place it appears,
where `C-u C-x =' will give information about it.

Select one of the safe coding systems listed below,
or cancel the writing with C-g and edit the buffer
  to remove or modify the problematic characters,
or specify any other coding system (and risk losing
  the problematic characters).

 utf-8 gb18030 utf-7 utf-16 utf-16be-with-signature
 utf-16le-with-signature utf-16be utf-16le utf-8-auto
 utf-8-with-signature utf-8-nfd utf-7-imap utf-8-emacs

How can I prevent this error message? Why is Gnus (or Emacs?) using emacs-mule to save this buffer?

My .emacs contains this setting:

(prefer-coding-system 'utf-8)


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