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Social Networking and Some Shakespeare Trivia

Ben Jonson famously said that Shakespeare was “not for an age, but for all time.”

This is undoubtedly true—as is the fact that Shakespeare has moved with the times: the very nature of the ISE is a testament not only to the power of the digital age to make the Bard's work and life accessible across the globe, but to Shakespeare's truly "global" appeal: lovers of Shakespeare can be found on every continent and all across the world wide web. The ISE is proud to be a part of this incredible international community, and to play a part in drawing this widespread web closer together through our work and yours.

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Shakespeare trivia

The Sonnets encoded in DNA

Here's a snippet from the e-zine Tidbits that will set any true Shakespeare-lover's heart beating.

Ewan Birney and Nick Goldman, two scientists from the European Bioinformatics Institute, have worked out a system to encode text, audio, and other data in DNA. Teaming up with Aligent Technologies, the two encoded all of Shakespeare’s sonnets, an audio clip of Martin Luther King Jr. speaking, and a photograph into a synthesized DNA sample. Though Aligent did the DNA synthesizing work for free, the cost of the DNA synthesis is estimated to have been roughly $12,400 per megabyte. Luckily, prices for DNA synthesis are dropping, and it is estimated that 50 billion megabytes of text, roughly equivalent to everything ever written by humans, could be encoded into a sample that would weigh less than “a granola bar.” 

All that, and a new way of measuring weight by granola bars. Very sixties?

Richard III's body found


Courtesy of Deborah Selden and the Shaksper listserv. 

Researchers from the University of Leicester have identified and dug up the bones of Richard III from beneath a parking lot. Here's one of many news reports of the discovery, with a nice Canadian twist. 

Osteologist Jo Appleby said the 10 injuries to the body were inflicted by weapons like swords, daggers and halberds and were consistent with accounts of Richard being struck down in battle — his helmet knocked from his head — before his body was stripped naked and flung over the back of a horse in disgrace.

She said some scars, including a knife wound to the buttock, bore the hallmarks of "humiliation injuries" inflicted after death.

The remains also displayed signs of scoliosis, which is a form of spinal curvature, consistent with contemporary accounts of Richard's appearance, though not with Shakespeare's description of him as a "deform'd, unfinished," hunchback.

For the full report, including an unexpected Canadian connection, see the full article on the CBC website.

And for the reactions of some actors who have played the part, see this article in The Guardian.

February 2013
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