British Library Wi-Fi Blocks Access to Shakespeare’s Hamlet Due to Violent Content
Author Mark Forsyth was writing his latest book in the British Library when he needed to cite a line from Hamlet. Too bad the British Library decided he wasn't allowed to do that because the play is too violent! Kids could get the wrong idea about poisoning their brothers or uncles, you see.Read on...
Shakespeare Quotes, Music, and More Hidden in BioShock Infinite Audio
Act 3, Scene 2 of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet has a soliloquy by Juliet as she waits for night to fall so she can see Romeo. It's right before she finds out Romeo has been banished. The bit is rather beautiful, but if you want to hear a creepy, terrifying version of it, just go play BioShock Infinite. It's hidden in the game along with some other audio surprises.Read on...
Scientists Code All 154 Shakespeare Sonnets and MP3 Files With DNA
I recently picked up a 32 gig micro-SD card, and I was impressed by how much data could fit into something so small, but that's nothing compared to the research being done in DNA data storage. Science has been able to code information with DNA, but the amount of data capable of being stored was low, while the error rate was high. New techniques have allowed scientists to encode large amounts of data into DNA, including all 154 Shakespeare sonnets, a photo of their lab, a PDF file, and an MP3 of a portion of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, and to decode the information from the DNA successfully.Read on...
A Million Virtual Monkeys Are About to Produce the Works of Shakespeare
While many of you are probably familiar with the thought experiment about the infinite number of monkeys chained to an infinite number of typewriters eventually producing the works of Shakespeare, few of you have probably attempted this. Programmer Jesse Anderson, however, is giving it his best shot and his million-strong army of virtual monkeys are 99.990% through reproducing the Bard's corpus. Amazingly, they've only been at it since late August. There are a few middling differences between the thought experiment and Anderson's approach. First and foremost, Anderson's monkeys only exist on a computer in the form of software that produces random nine-character strings. Second, Anderson uses an evolutionary approach which saves only the worthwhile character strings and discards the rest. So instead of waiting for the single impossibly lucky monkey that just happens to bang out every word of Shakespeare, the monkeys are working together; chipping away nine characters at a time.Read on...
Shakespeare Sort of Sounded Like A Pirate
One of the best classes I ever took in college was The History and Structure of the English Language, where one of the many, many fascinating things our lexiconnoisseur professor revealed to us like an endless buffet of the best intellectual candy was that the English accent in the time of Shakespeare is closest to what we would now, in America, identify with International Talk Like A Pirate Day. Thankfully, some theater productions do occasionally experiment with presenting the Bard's work with the sounds of contemporary speech. This video from the University of Kansas is of a production advised in it's Original Pronuciation efforts by professor Paul Meier. Probably the most exciting thing about this to me is that now all those awkward couplets actually rhyme again. (via Kottke.)Read on...
Geekolinks: 10/16We Quite Like The BBC, Too (yesthatmitch) The Rapping, Dancing X-Men Cosplayers From NYCC (G4) Sometimes Fictional Superheroes Save Real Lives (Reddit) World Record for Reciting Hamlet's Soliloquy While Using a Shake Weight (The Universal Record Database) The New GoldenEye Game Has A Plot (GameInformer) We Think This Miss Havisham Cake is In Excellent Taste, Actually (Hotham Street Ladies) Chris Sims Explains How a Bit of Silver Age Crack Introduced Him to Comics (Comics Alliance) (pic via Reddit.)Read on...
Superlatively Determined Gamers Still Playing Halo 2
Halo 2, released in 2004, was a historic game in the progression of online multiplayer first person shooting game, and it kept its following for years, right up to the middle of this month, when Microsoft ended its Xbox Live support for titles and services corresponding to the original Xbox.
But, as Eurogamer reports, there are still a dedicated few fighting the good fight with needlers blazing, and by now they've had their Xboxes on nonstop for eleven days.Read on...
Five Geeky Ways to Celebrate Shakespeare’s Birthday
In case you somehow neglected to mark your calendar, today is William Shakespeare's birthday. His 446th birthday, to be specific. Shakespeare has been far better eulogized and analyzed than on some geek blog -- we recommend A Clockwork Orange author Anthony Burgess' amazing biography of Shakespeare and Harold C. Goddard's insightful essays for that -- but suffice it to say, Shakespeare is a towering influence over all of literature and entertainment.
Though Shakespeare's influence tends to be thought of in the context of academics and books, he's also had a steady influence on geekdom. After the jump, five geeky ways you can bring in the Bard's birthday:Read on...
D. melanogaster, D. melanogaster, Wherefore Art Thou, D. melanogaster?Back when I was in AP Biology, we had a lab experiment that involved breeding Drosophila melanogaster for traits. After explaining the months-long fruit fly plague that had swept his classroom the last time he had tried doing the lab with real D. melanogaster, our teacher showed us the web-based simulation that we would be using this year. So, I've never actually spent much time around fruit flies that didn't involve swatting them. But that doesn't mean I don't know how important they are to geneticists! D. melanogaster are well suited to the study of hereditary traits for a great number of reasons, including their fecundity (18 points in Scrabble), short life cycle, and easily determined gender, not to mention that they are extremely easy and cheap to care for. They also have only four chromosomes (pictured above, because I wanted to find a relevant picture that didn't give me the willies). Drosophila researchers are in an uproar, however, over a taxonomic change that may rename the species.Read on...