Alien: 1970s, City, Futura, Helvetica

All of this is fantastic, but especially this:

There's one more typographic anomaly to be found during the self-destruct sequence. Remember when Ripley was punching NUCLEAR BOLT CODE No 1 into that funny-looking keyboard? Well, it turns out to be a very strange keyboard indeed:

The first key of note is "PRANIC LIFT 777":

Prana is the Sanskrit word for "life force". It's a cosmic energy believed to come from the sun, and to connect the elements of the universe.

We also have "PADME", a possible variant of Padma, Sanskrit for "lotus flower":

...and "LINGHA" (or Lingam), a representation of the Hindu deity Shiva:

Lingha is balanced by "YONI", Sanskrit for "womb":

Yoni is a symbol for the Hindu Divine Mother, an embodiment of Shakti, the concept of divine feminine creative power. This might explain why we also have a "SHAKTI EXCESS" button on the keyboard:

But perhaps the oddest key on the keyboard is this one in the top right hand corner -- "AGARIC FLY":

Now, Agaric Fly -- or Fly Agaric, as it's more commonly known -- is a mushroom and psychoactive fungus known for triggering a hallucinogenic experience. You might think this is an odd thing to be written on the keyboard of an emergency destruction system. You would be correct.

This might also explain why the key to the left of "AGARIC FLY" is labelled, simply, "TRIP":

So why are all of these strange references on the Nostromo's emergency destruct keyboard? Well, according to the Alien Explorations blog, designer Simon Deering needed some complex-sounding labels for the keyboard at short notice. He was reading The Secret Doctrine by Helena Blavatsky, a Russian philosopher and occultist, at the time of filming. Blavatsky's book attempts to explain the origin and evolution of the universe in terms derived from the Hindu concept of cyclical development. Deering found his inspiration in its pages, and the Nostromo's odd keyboard was born.

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8 Responses:

  1. Ok but where's the Meta key?

  2. James says:

    Off topic: the Orion Crew Module can not go to Mars, because it doesn't have radiation shielding or artificial gravity. Sadly NASA public relations is very strongly implying, if not saying outright, that it can. The actual manned mission to Mars proposed by Boeing and selected by NASA is in the GIANT PDF FILE at but doesn't have its own website yet.

  3. mcdavis says:

    The icon for SHAKTI EXCESS looks like the male gender symbol with a wilted, umm, ah, lingam. Someone was having fun with this.

  4. Bill Paul says:

    This keyboard still doesn't make using Emacs any easier.

    • hattifattener says:

      You need to get the version with the original buckling spring switches so you get the proper tactile response and predictable make and break points to let you type common sequences like Meta-DRUZEPILE AUM-⏃.

  5. I think those are all psytrance album names as well.

  6. Rick O says:

    For your its-a-small-world file, Dave, the author of that post, is also the author of much of Apple's Swift documentation.

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