I don’t spend much time on youtube. Usually, I decide I am interested in something, then race around and download a bunch of the videos for later review while I’m doing something else.
That seems to have an odd effect on “The Algorithm” – it goes crazy for a while, offering me more of the same – lots more of the same, and then reverts to offering me random-ish other stuff. Sometimes the offerings are interesting enough to pursue further. This is one:
I had also heard the story of the Rosetta Stone (I’ve walked past the damn thing enough times!) but I never spent any time thinking about the topics surrounding it – my understanding of ancient Egyptian was probably over-influenced by Helen Fouche Gaines’ book Cryptanalysis [wc] which led me to assume that most languages were gussied-up substitution ciphers. That was completely wrong, but it served as a good place-holder for a long time.
My high school Latin teacher used to emphasize that we don’t really know what an ancient Roman sounded like, either, in spite of having a very good idea how they wrote and thought. I suppose that now, for the forseeable remainder of human history, nobody will doubt what an American sounded like; how embarrassing.
Of course there’s a lot more going on, and I thought that the video above is a pretty good, loving, introduction to the topic.