Shakespeare's Globe Theatre is feeling the financial strain of coronavirus

Shakespeare's Globe — a reconstruction of the original Globe Theatre opened by William Shakespeare and the Lord Chamberlain's Men in 1599 — has issued a plea for donations in the face of its pending insolvency and closure.

We hope to open the doors to our wooden O as soon as possible but in this unprecedented time for theatre, and as a charity that receives no annual government subsidy, we are in desperate need of donations to help us to continue to strive in the future.

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We remain one of the most affordable and accessible theatres in the UK, despite many pressures, managing to retain our £5 Groundling ticket and over 50% of tickets in the Globe Theatre at £25 or less. Without your support, we will be unable to continue this work.

The BBC expanded on this, with some more quotes from a representative of the theatre:

In evidence to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee, the theatre said: "Without emergency funding and the continuation of the coronavirus job retention scheme, we will spend down our reserves and become insolvent.

"This has been financially devastating and could even be terminal."

The original Globe Theatre also endured a plague, as well as some fires, and financial collapse. But letting such an historical monument — the place where the modern English language was essentially revolutionized — fall apart once again is a depressing indictment on our societal priorities.

Shakespeare's Globe theatre calls for urgent funds to avoid insolvency [BBC]

Image: Yair Haklai / Wikimedia Commons (CC 3.0) Read the rest

"What is a robot?" Pioneering roboticist Rodney Brooks answers with a sonnet

IEEE Spectrum asked pioneering roboticist Rodney Brooks, co-founder of iRobot and former head of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, the eternal engineering question: "What is a robot?" Inspired by computational neuroscientist Warren McCulloch who enjoyed writing sonnets, Brooks responded to the query in iambic pentameter. Here's the beginning:

What Is a Robot? By Rodney Brooks

Shall I compare thee to creatures of God? Thou art more simple and yet more remote. You move about, but still today, a clod, You sense and act but don’t see or emote.

You make fast maps with laser light all spread, Then compare shapes to object libraries, And quickly plan a path, to move ahead, Then roll and touch and grasp so clumsily.

Read the rest: "What Is a Robot? Rodney Brooks Offers an Answer—in Sonnet Form" (IEEE Spectrum)

image: Brooks led development of the COG robot seen in this photo by Rama (CC BY-SA 3.0 FR) Read the rest