I came across this interesting short video documentary on the historical developments of the typewriter for the Korean alphabet (Hangeul). The following article by Young Back Choi gives a fascinating insight in the developments of this technology and its various path dependencies. From the article:
The evolution of the Korean keyboard reveals complex processes of dealing with nested path dependencies. As technologies change, one type of path dependence may turn into another type, and then into yet another. What had been first-degree path dependence in the age of handwriting had to be reexamined with the possibility of the mechanical typewriter. Difficulties for a mechanical typewriter included the conventions of writing vertically (instead of horizontally), the mixed use of the Korean alphabet and Chinese characters (which was impossible for a mechanical typewriter), and certain design features of the Korean alphabet, FALIASITB. Had all the conventions been kept, the Korean mechanical typewriter would not have been possible and Koreans would have had to rely on handwriting for much longer—second-degree path dependence. As it was, Koreans quickly adopted the convention of writing horizontally—third-degree path dependence. The mixed use of Chinese characters was also suspended, for the purpose of typing—third-degree path dependence. But FALIASITB was kept, after vigorous debates over whether a switch should be made to OLAAH—second-degree path dependence.
The following Vox video details how the invention of a “Chinatown style”, that can be found in cities around the world, can be traced back to an earthquake in San Francisco in 1906 and the subsequent re-imaging/invention of a new style and culture.
Today, after making home-made kimchi, my partner and I decided to listen to this podcast on Sinica about the history of the chile pepper in China. In the episode Kaiser Kuo talks with historian Brian R. Dott about his latest book “The Chili Pepper in China: A Cultural Biography.” A summary from the book’s web page:
Brian R. Dott explores how the nonnative chile went from obscurity to ubiquity in China, influencing not just cuisine but also medicine, language, and cultural identity. He details how its versatility became essential to a variety of regional cuisines and swayed both elite and popular medical and healing practices. Dott tracks the cultural meaning of the chile across a wide swath of literary texts and artworks, revealing how the spread of chiles fundamentally altered the meaning of the term spicy. He emphasizes the intersection between food and gender, tracing the chile as a symbol for both male virility and female passion. Integrating food studies, the history of medicine, and Chinese cultural history, The Chile Pepper in China sheds new light on the piquant cultural impact of a potent plant and raises broader questions regarding notions of authenticity in cuisine.