Alberto's weekly email #31: Ethnology, Space Cadet Keyboard and more! 🚀

Hi All,

What I am reading 📚

I spent the weekend revisiting the first chapter of Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World. The book is very dense and so packed with paradoxes and surprising ideas that I decided to read and summarize one chapter at a time. I want to learn and extract everything I can from it!

So far this has proven very fruitful. Just yesterday I spent the better part of the evening down a rabbit hole of Wikipedia articles and links that started with me wanting to know more about the history and definition of Ethnology since it plays a central role in Girard’s discussion about religious systems. In turn, this lead me to spend quite some time reading about the Incest Taboo, Exogamy and the Westermark effect and finally reading about Christian Eschatology and the theories about the Great Tribulation.

If all that didn’t seem random or serendipitously enough, one of the final links I went through lead me to an article about the Tomb of Cyrus—the first king of Persia—and reminded me that I should visit Iran whenever possible and explore its rich culture and history.

Now, back to Girard’s book. I will be going through the same process of revisiting each chapter and doing complementary reading. I’ll keep you updated as I go along!

In other news, I am super excited to tell you that I’ve joined the 4th Cohort of “Write of Passage”, an online writing course that I hope will help improve my writing and share better ideas with you. The course lasts 5 very intensive weeks. I’ll be posting updates and publishing essays on my blog as I go along. Stay tuned 😊.

Nerd Corner 🤓

As a programmer, I spend a lot of hours typing on my keyboard so I am obsessed with finding ways to reduce the number of keystrokes I need to make in order to get stuff done. For the past week, I’ve been reviewing different keyboards and systems to help me achieve this.

One of the best historical examples is the Space Cadet Keyboard:

Source Among the novel things that this keyboard introduced, my favorites are:

  • A “Greek Shift” to type in Greek letters, this is particularly useful for writing mathematics symbols.

  • Four types of modifier keys Control, Meta, Super and Hyper that allow for many different key combinations that the user can memorize to get things done faster.

While not in use anymore, this keyboard has inspired many to devise their own system and give more power to our boring QWERTY keyboards. This blog post provides a thorough attempt at recreating the Space Cadet Keyboard in a modern computer.
On my part, I have been playing around with the “Super Duper Mode” and have been modifying the system to suit my needs. While I don’t have any measurements yet, I feel I can type faster and, with the help of new shortcuts, I can get what I need without getting lost in a jungle of open windows:

Cool Finds 🤯

  • One of the coolest finds of last week is this site of AI-generated art. Every time you refresh the page you will see new “paintings” generated by a computer program. I find some of them fascinating:

  • Brown color doesn’t exist, it is just a weird kind of orange. Check out this awesome video "Brown color is weird” to know more.

  • Technology is changing everything, especially the way we learn and interact with information. This site of “Explorable Explanations” is wonderful. I’ve gotten lost in it multiple times revisiting topics that I learned (or should’ve learned) in school but always seemed boring and dry.

Before you go 😎

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Have an awesome week!