Tag Archives | Shakespeare

New Evidence Shows William Shakespeare Smoked Weed

A stoner?

A stoner?

Could Shakespeare have been high when he penned his plays?

State-of-the-art forensic technology from South Africa has been used to try and unravel the mystery of what was smoked in tobacco pipes found in the Stratford-upon-Avon garden of British playwright William Shakespeare.

Residue from clay tobacco pipes more than 400 years old from the playwright’s garden were analysed in Pretoria using a sophisticated technique called gas chromatography mass spectrometry.

Chemicals from pipe bowls and stems which had been excavated from Shakespeare’ garden and adjacent areas were identified and quantified during the forensic study. The artefacts for the study were on loan from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

The gas technique is very sensitive to residues that can be preserved in pipes even if they had been smoked 400 years ago.

What were they smoking

There were several kinds of tobacco in the 17th century, including the North American Nicotiana (from which we get nicotine), and cocaine (Erythroxylum), which is obtained from Peruvian coca leaves.… Read the rest

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The Dictionary Is a Sci-fi Novel (and We’re All Trapped Inside It)

The Dark Meaning Research Institute has published its most mind-blowing paper yet. It reveals that we live in a linguistic simulation of the universe, and it suggests ways we can escape from it…

DMRI escape

Figure 1: A diagram showing the escape route of a Shakespearean escape artist from an Elizabethan playhouse. All the words ever written form a passage through which the player must pass.

The vast majority of people never learn the big secrets about their existence due to the huge amount of work done by the authorities to keep certain things hidden (and then to make a secret of their secrecy). Fortunately, the DMRI has spent many years trying to undo that work with its undercover research and is now in a position to begin the Big Reveal.

One of the biggest secrets you will ever learn is this: The universe we live in is a simulation.

This may seem like an idea that can only exist in science fiction, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

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Who wrote the works of Shakespeare? (Answer: Shakespeare)

Front Cover for KindleLast week would have been Shakespeare’s 451st birthday, had he been as immortal as his work. Some might say that you’d need to have lived that long to have garnered the experience, the wisdom, and even to have had the time (or sufficient typing monkeys) to have been both so prolific and profound as Shakespeare.

In the latest podcast from The Eternities, Nick Buchanan, author of What Happens in Shakespeare’s King Lear, explains why he believes it entirely possible that this one remarkable man could indeed have been the sole author.

“The folks who argue that [it couldn’t possibly have been] Shakespeare really dislike the idea that he didn’t go to university and he was a country boy. How dare he become this great playwright!”

Those who question Shakespeare’s authorship offer several alternatives – typically aristocrats – the most popular current candidate being Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, while others have argued for highly educated urban intellectuals such as Francis Bacon.… Read the rest

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The Clash of the Shakespeareans


I tried to think of a fitting Shakespearean insult that would suit this, but I came up short. I did, however, find this fun Shakespeare Insulter.

via The Guardian:

Shakespeare wasn’t immune to throwing around the odd insult, penning some of the greatest put-downs in the history of the English language.

“Thine face is not worth sunburning”; “Thou art as fat as butter”; “You are as a candle, the better part burnt out”.

But now the Bard himself is at the centre of some distinctly colourful language after academics traded blows over the publication of a Shakespearean journal.

The row erupted when one professor submitted a paper in which he cited evidence that poems and plays attributed to the “man from Stratford” were in fact written by Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford.

The essay – intended for the Italian journal, Memoria di Shakespeare – was said to examine the case for the theory as well as “the conscious and unconscious psychological factors behind the taboo against openly discussing the authorship question”.

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Treason and Tyranny: Defense Attorney David Coombs Rallies Public Support at All Souls Unitarian Church

David Coombs, Army Reservist, America Hater Photo: Tyler Bass, Washington Correspondent, The Internet Chronicle

On December 3rd,, 2012, David Coombs–Bradley Manning’s Attorney and an Army Reservist–spoke to a congregation near Mt. Pleasant, District of Columbia. He spoke for almost 90 minutes, part of which included a question period in which he answered questions from the press fed to him by members of the Bradley Manning Support Network, a group that has collected legal fees for the private suspected of leaking thousands of pages of data documenting war crimes, innocuous activity, the overclassification of information. Some call the Army Private a traitor; others, including Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg, have called him a whistleblower.

“He told me that his dream would be to go to college to get a degree. And as a young man at that time he was 23. That makes sense. We all know that college degrees are pretty much the ticket to a productive future.” The Unitarian Church is notable for being one of the most educated denominations in the country, and certainly this line resonated well with attendees.… Read the rest

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The Neverending Will Shakespeare Conspiracy Theory

File:ShakespeareRandy Dotinga writes for the Christian Science Monitor that despite theories like those in the new movie Anonymous that William Shakespeare was someone else entirely, drama professor Scott McCrea says conspiracy theories surrounding the playwright are all false:

This weekend, thousands of moviegoers will get their first glimpse of the theory that the playwright and poet named William Shakespeare wasn’t a balding guy named William Shakespeare. “Anonymous,” starring Vanessa Redgrave, suggests a grand conspiracy obscured the true identity of the Bard of Avon. (Well, make that the Bard of Not-Avon.)

The Will-wasn’t-Will idea isn’t ancient, but it’s not entirely new either. Ever since the 19th century, skeptics have been questioning whether an upper-middle class man with a rather ordinary background could have become one of the most influential humans of all time.

Recent books have debunked the doubters, including 2010’s “Contested Will,” by Shakespearean scholar James Shapiro (you can read my review here) and 2005’s “The Case for Shakespeare: The End of the Authorship Question,” by Scott McCrea, a drama professor at Purchase College, State University of New York.

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(Virtual) Monkeys at Typewriters Reproduced Shakespeare

Monkeys At TypewritersThis is a thousand monkeys working at a thousand typewriters. Soon, they'll have written the greatest novel known to mankind. [Reading one of the typewriters] "It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times"?! You stupid monkey! [Monkey screeches] Oh, shut up. —Montgomery Burns This Simpsons episode inspired programmer Jesse Anderson to see if it could actually work. As he explains:
Instead of having real monkeys typing on keyboards, I have virtual, computerized monkeys that output random gibberish. This is supposed to mimic a monkey randomly mashing the keys on a keyboard. The computer program I wrote compares that monkey’s gibberish to every work of Shakespeare to see if it actually matches a small portion of what Shakespeare wrote. If it does match, the portion of gibberish that matched Shakespeare is marked with green in the images below to show it was found by a monkey. The table below shows the exact number of characters and percentage the monkeys have found in Shakespeare. The parts of Shakespeare that have not been found are colored white. This process is repeated over and over until the monkeys have created every work of Shakespeare through random gibberish.
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