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A Better Keyboard Than QWERTY

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An illustration of a keyboard layout overtop a screenshot of The Vergecast.
Image: Alex Parkin / The Verge

There are fewer things more ubiquitous in technology than QWERTY keyboards. If you type anywhere, you almost certainly type the QWERTY way. But why? It turns out that by almost any objective measure, the keyboards we use are decidedly unoptimized. Commonly used keys are too hard to reach; your fingers have to move side to side too much; it requires way too much movement overall. There are a million theories about why QWERTY was invented — the most common one holds that its creator wanted to make sure old typewriter mechanisms didn’t crash into each other as you whacked the keys — but almost everyone agrees, it’s not the best way. And yet, after decades of using it, hardly anybody wants to switch.

On this episode of The Vergecast, we have…

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Police Arrested Four People Over $300,000 Of Stolen Lego Kits

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A picture of a Porsche 911 Lego set.
Image: California Highway Patrol

Los Angeles citizens can rest easy knowing that a criminal theft ring is no longer stalking the city’s retail stores to feed a Lego black market. That’s because the California Highway Patrol (CHP) announced this week that it had arrested four people it accused of swiping what police estimated was “approximately $300,000” worth of Lego sets.

The four had allegedly burgled stores like Target, Home Depot, and Lowe’s of their Lego stock and sold them to black-market dealers who would then vend the stolen bricks at “seemingly legitimate businesses, swap meets, or online.” Police say they were booked on “charges related to Organized Retail Theft, Grand Theft, and Conspiracy to commit a crime.”

Image: California Highway Patrol

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Bluesky Lifted Its Ban On Heads Of State Signups

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An image showing the Bluesky logo on a gradient blue background
Image: Bluesky

Bluesky is apparently ready for a bigger challenge. It says it’s allowing heads of state to sign up now, a little over two months after it opened for general signups. In May last year, the site asked its users not to give invitation codes to “recent/prominent heads of state,” stating that it was its policy not to accommodate them.

When Bluesky instituted its heads-of-state policy, the site was still in its showing-everyone’s-ass phase, and its moderation approach wasn’t in place, yet. So instead of the varying degrees of controlled chaos that social networks are, Bluesky was filled with, well, lots of unsettlingly sexy pictures of the cat-eating alien puppet star of the 1980s sitcom Alf, which The Verge’s Elizabeth Lopatto pointed out…

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This Week’s Trailers Offered Twists On Familiar Genres

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This week saw some fun trailers tapping into heady science fiction, comic book movies, and taboo horror, each with a fun mixed genre twist. Joker: Folie à Deux is a comic book movie about the love affair of The Joker and Harley Quinn that’s also a musical, and Apple TV Plus’ new Dark Matter series is a kidnapping thriller with an interesting alternate reality twist. Then there’s Maxxxine, a horror slasher that looks to also be a whodunit crime mystery.

Joker: Folie à Deux

Joker: Folie à Deux takes a crack at the origin of The Joker and Harley Quinn’s romance, which has been explored in some of the best episodes of Batman: The Animated Series and lightly featured in 2016’s Suicide Squad. This movie is supposed to be a “jukebox musical”…

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