I don't think that transparency thing is really Maya, it seems more like some os implented feature. Most major os'es has transparency now, it's a GUI thing that is fun for about 5 minutes, until you realize that it's more annoying than fun. You probably have some applet or something (maybe in osx it's standard) that maintains such a hotkey. It should then be another hotkey to disable it again.
In the begining God created a whole lot of rigid bodies, and set some motion paths. He also set the lighting.