Shakespearean Mind Memes

Historians believe that Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564, making today his 449th birthday. He also died on this date in 1616. And so Shakespeare is the subject of today's Mind Memes.

Historians believe that Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564, making today his 449th birthday. He also died on this date in 1616. And so Shakespeare is the subject of today's Mind Memes.


1. Shakespeare <3 Spring

Shakespeare might be a poet for all seasons, but Germaine Greer writes in The New Yorker that the bard had a special penchant for spring:

A poet may recollect the early spring of his native countryside when he is far away. For him to do so as vividly as Shakespeare does, however, suggests that for him rural Warwickshire was not a place of irksome exile in the custody of an aging and unloved wife, but a place his soul longed after, and where it eventually found peace.

Read more here

2. Shakespeare, mathematician

Shakespeare had a penchant for the number 14, writing in rigid iambic pentameter. In the video below, Professor Roger Bowley explains how poetry is "an extreme form of wordplay in which numbers dictate form and structure." 

Watch here:

Read more at Brainpickings

3. Richard III Had Severe Scoliosis

Archaeologists have excavated King Richard III's bones that were discovered underneath a parking lot in Leicester, England in February. They have now concluded that the king portrayed as an evil hunchback by Shakespeare may have endured painful treatments to correct severe scoliosis. 

So what does this tell us about this enigmatic man and how might it help answer the question "What was he like, really?" Read more here

4. Shakespeare, The Murder Mystery Game

Shakespeare is brought to life this excellent online game that involves a series of bizarre murders. Players are asked to collect information, solve puzzles and interview suspects, immersing them in the context of Shakespeare's world. 

Check it out here

5. Thriftless ambition, that wilt ravin up Thine own life's means! 

In a highly anticipated performance, Alan Cumming "gets to indulge in the kind of high-hurdle challenge (or ego trip) that can prove irresistible to actors," writes Charles Isherwood in his review of The National Theater of Scotland's production of Macbeth, now playing in New York. Cumming not only plays Macbeth, he also plays all of the other major roles in what is essentially a one-man show. Isherwood's judgement: "while Mr. Cumming had persuasively differentiated all the key roles, he had not fully inhabited any one of them."

Read the review here

'Upstreamism': Your zip code affects your health as much as genetics

Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."

Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
  • Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
  • Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
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Meet the Bajau sea nomads — they can reportedly hold their breath for 13 minutes

The Bajau people's nomadic lifestyle has given them remarkable adaptions, enabling them to stay underwater for unbelievable periods of time. Their lifestyle, however, is quickly disappearing.

Wikimedia Commons
Culture & Religion
  • The Bajau people travel in small flotillas throughout the Phillipines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, hunting fish underwater for food.
  • Over the years, practicing this lifestyle has given the Bajau unique adaptations to swimming underwater. Many find it straightforward to dive up to 13 minutes 200 feet below the surface of the ocean.
  • Unfortunately, many disparate factors are erasing the traditional Bajau way of life.
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Golden blood: The rarest blood in the world

We explore the history of blood types and how they are classified to find out what makes the Rh-null type important to science and dangerous for those who live with it.

Abid Katib/Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • Fewer than 50 people worldwide have 'golden blood' — or Rh-null.
  • Blood is considered Rh-null if it lacks all of the 61 possible antigens in the Rh system.
  • It's also very dangerous to live with this blood type, as so few people have it.
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Scientists create a "lifelike" material that has metabolism and can self-reproduce

An innovation may lead to lifelike evolving machines.

Shogo Hamada/Cornell University
Surprising Science
  • Scientists at Cornell University devise a material with 3 key traits of life.
  • The goal for the researchers is not to create life but lifelike machines.
  • The researchers were able to program metabolism into the material's DNA.
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