April 23, 1564: William Shakespeare Is Born
April 23, 1564 is widely known to be the day of William Shakespeare’s birth. Take Shakespeare Uncovered's “Which Shakespeare Character Are You?” quiz to see if you’re a Macbeth, Hamlet or Ophelia!
Marking the 450th Anniversary of William Shakespeare’s Birth
Every year at the end of April, a celebration of the life and works of the great playwright William Shakespeare takes place in the market town of Stratford-upon-Avon, England. Shakespeare was born there in 1564 and cultural celebrations in Stratford’s streets, with entertainers, street performers and traditional Morris dancers, go back hundreds of years.
From his plays to his sonnets, Shakespeare’s extensive works have produced a legacy of characters, ideas, histories and, of course, words—it is thought he contributed more than 2,000 to the English language. His plays are a staple on many school curriculums, and continue to be reinterpreted on stage, rewritten in fiction and retold on screen.
The man himself is still very much a mystery and few details exist about his private life. Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway with whom he bore three children, before relocating to London to pursue his acting and writing career. He died at the age of 52 on April 23, 1616—a date which fell very near to his birthday in the same month (the exact date is unknown).
This year marks the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth and, on Saturday, a special procession will take place in Stratford, ending with celebrants laying flowers on Shakespeare’s grave in the Holy Trinity Church. The world-renowned Royal Shakespeare Company will also host a full program of shows.
feeling kin d a tired lately. , ,
Huntington’s disease is a grim diagnosis. A hereditary disorder with debilitating physical and cognitive symptoms, the disease usually robs adult patients of their ability to walk, balance, and speak. More than 15 years ago, researchers revealed the disorder’s likely cause—an abnormal version of the protein huntingtin; however, the mutant protein’s mechanism is poorly understood, and the disease remains untreatable.
Now, a new project led by Pamela Bjorkman, Max Delbrück Professor of Biology, will investigate whether the huntingtin protein can form crystals in microgravity aboard the International Space Station (ISS)—crystals that are crucial for understanding the molecular structure of the protein. The experiment was launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida on Friday, April 18 aboard the SpaceX CRS-3 cargo resupply mission to the ISS. On Sunday, April 20 the station’s robotic arm captured the mission’s payload, which included the proteins for Bjorkman’s experiment—which is the first Caltech experiment to take place aboard the ISS.
In the experiment, the researchers hope to grow a crystal of the huntingtin protein—the crystal would be an organized, latticelike arrangement of the protein’s molecules—which is needed to determine the molecular structure of the protein. However, molecules of the huntingtin protein tend to aggregate, or clump together, in Earth’s gravity. And this disordered arrangement makes it incredibly hard to parse the protein’s structure, says Gwen Owens, a graduate student in Bjorkman’s lab and a researcher who helped design the study.
"We need crystals for X-ray crystallography, the technique we use to study the protein, in which we shoot an X-ray through the protein crystal and analyze the organized pattern of radiation that scatters off of it," Owens says. "That pattern is what we depend on to identify the location of every carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur atom within the protein; if we shoot an X-ray beam at a clumped, aggregate protein—like huntingtin often is—we can’t get any data from it," she says.
Researchers have previously studied small fragments of crystallized huntingtin, but because of its large size and propensity to clumping, no one has ever successfully grown a crystal of the full-length protein large enough to analyze with X-ray crystallography. To understand what the protein does—and how defects in it lead to the symptoms of Huntington’s disease—the researchers need to study the full-length protein.
Looking for a solution to this problem, Owens was inspired by a few previous studies of protein formation on space shuttles and the ISS—studies suggesting that proteins can form crystals more readily in a condition of near-weightlessness called microgravity. “The previous studies looked at much simpler proteins, but we thought we could make a pretty good case that huntingtin would be an excellent candidate to study on the ISS,” Owens says.
They proposed such an experiment to the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), which manages U.S. research on the ISS, and it was accepted, becoming part of the first Advancing Research Knowledge, or ARK1, mission.
Because Owens and Bjorkman cannot travel with their proteins, and staff and resources are limited aboard the ISS, the crystal will be grown with a Handheld High-Density Protein Crystal Growth device—an apparatus that will allow astronauts to initiate growth of normal and mutant huntingtin protein crystals from a solution of protein molecules with just the flip of a switch.
As the crystals grow larger over a period of several months, samples will come back to Earth via the SpaceX CRS-4 return mission. The results of the experiment are scheduled to drop into the ocean just off the coast of Southern California—along with the rest of the return cargo—sometime this fall. At that point, Owens will finally be able to analyze the proteins.
"Our ideal result would be to have large crystals of the normal and mutant huntingtin proteins right away—on the first try," she says. After analyzing crystals of the full-length protein with X-ray crystallography, the researchers could finally determine huntingtin’s structure—information that will be crucial to developing treatments for Huntington’s disease.
I saw this post going around, and noticed people pointing out two things: a) the minimum wages are not accurate, and b) income tax may be higher in countries with higher minimum wages.
For the first point, I tried to get the most recent minimum wages, which were (in local currency): Australia - $16.37, France - €9.53, New Zealand - $14.25, United Kingdom - £6.31, Canada - $9.95, United States - $7.25, Japan - ¥664. For Canada and Japan, I picked the lowest of the various regional minimum wages.
The second point was far harder to tackle. The calculations use 40-hour weeks and a 50-week year, for someone with no spouse or children. As noted, I included charges that weren’t strictly “income tax”, but France’s Social Security Contribution was a nightmare to figure out, especially since I don’t speak French. My calculation is based on 8% of income going towards SSC, half of it being tax-deductible.
Re-calculating minimum wages didn’t change much, except that Japan’s minimum wage was now lower than in the US. Accounting for tax gave a much more surprising result: USA actually had one of the higher average tax rates out of the seven at 11.92%, more than double that of Canada (5.51%) and Japan (5.00%) which had comparable minimum wages. All this, even though USA is the only country in the group without universal healthcare.
Obviously, this still doesn’t account for factors such as cost of living and tax deductions for families, but it seems pretty clear that Americans on minimum wages are paying far too much tax for far too little income and social security.
Commonly known as the “Arctic Comb Jelly” or “Sea Nut” Mertensia ovum is a species of cydippid ctenophore that occurs in Arctic and polar seas. Like many other ctenophores M. ovum is weakly bioluminescent and can produce a striking rainbow effect by beating their eight rows of cilia. Mertensia ovum is a carnivore and will feed on copepods and other small crustaceans that are snagged by its two sticky tentacles.
MUTHANGHI, Andhra Pradesh — In late March, Raveela Gangula rallied a dozen women to stop a drunken man from savagely beating his wife in Muthangi, a village in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Although they restrained him and called the police, he was released that evening without charges.
“The police should have locked him up for at least a week and scared him from ever touching another woman like that again,” Gangula said. “The government does not support us.”
For Gangula, the tenacious leader of a local microlending organization for women, the injustice was another reason to challenge a broken system — especially at a moment when India appears ready for change.