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November 3, 2016 / consort3

Shakespeare Scrapbook

Another alliterative professor (see 741) was Ephraim Everitt who came up with the radical idea that Shakespeare had written more plays and suggested some. His idea was pooh-poohed at the time but these days there is more of an academic consensus that the bard wrote Edward III. Everitt also reckoned that the manuscript of Edmund Ironside was in Shakespeare’s own hand.,8599,1930971,00.html

Well this is interesting. Kims FFP technique produced the following table:


Which shows Edward III to be more like Marlowe than Shakespeare. Also interesting is that the  Henry VI part 2 and 3 plays are grouped with Marlowe, possible collaboration when they were both working for Stanley, but part 1 is elsewhere, possibly Nashe had some involvement. Dido, Queen of Carthage is also in the same area, might Shakespeare be the collaborator with Marlowe back in 1587. So keen is Shakespeare on the story of Dido, the Queen of Carthage,  that he mentions her four times in The Tempest, twice in Titus Andronicus, and once each in The Merchant of Venice2 Henry VI, Antony and CleopatraHamlet, and Romeo and Juliet.

One issue I have with Kims FFP technique is the spelling or lack of consistency in Shakespeares time:

Co-author with Marlowe of Henry VI ?

More statistical text analysis

Another play to add to the canon?

Amazing what people can derive from a few lines of Shakespeare

Shakespeare Hackfest

Shakespeare as it would have been pronounced in 1600

Translate your text to Shakespearean dialogue!

Cumberbatch does Hamlet

Not a lot of people know that Shakespeare translated Hamlet from the original Klingon. For too long, readers throughout the Federation have been exposed to The Tragedy of Khamlet, Son of the Emperor of Qo’nos, that classic work of Klingon™ literature, only through inadequate and misleading English translations. Now at last, thanks to the tireless efforts of the Klingon Language Institute, this powerful drama by the legendary Klingon playwright, Wil’yam Shex’pir, can be appreciated in the elegance and glory of its original tongue. khamcov

Talking Sci-Fi I realised I had just missed towel day:

I have an obscure connection with Douglas Adams and it’s not that I once drove a Ford Prefect! There is a related obscure connection between Adams and the renaissance in that Douglas lived in the same small village as William Byrd, the medieval composer.

Consorts conjectures The absence of information about the ‘lost years’ of the Bard has led me to make some informed guesses about those lost years.

1578 Shakespeare leaves school early due to his father’s financial downfall and becomes teaching assistant at a noble house. He develops playwriting and acting skills teaching children. The noble house could have been the Stanley family place at Lathom. I think he could have developed into Stanleys Poet as it was fashionable then for noble people to have your own tame poet. When Stanley formed his own acting troupe in 1587 Shakespeare would have been in a good position to join the troupe. Stanley was  a lawyer and he might have doubled as Stanleys scrivener..

1582 Aged 18, he marries Anne Hathaway and they have a child (this is known)

1585 After his twins are born moves to London. Possibly with Stanley at his London base (Cannon Row).

1587 He becomes so useful to acting company that he is invited to join, writing plays from scratch.

One more alliterative professor Hildegard Hammerschmidt-Hummel and Shakespeares portraits

A history channel documentary covered this (50 mins in)

Modern re-creation of Shakespeares portrait

The lack of evidence of Shakespeares life has led to some notorious forgeries:

These are extensively covered by yet another alliterative Professor, Samuel Schoenbaum’s in Shakespeares lives. Schoenbaum dominated Shakespeares studies and was intolerant of others views, yet with so little factual evidence there is only speculation. Ian Wilson in “Shakespeare the evidence” has a convincing argument that Shakespeare was under the patronage of Ferdinando Stanley.

The worldwide following of Shakespeare

Another attempt to rewrite the Bard

Where did Shakespearean Londoners go when they wanted a day out? To Brentford Staines or Ware according to Middleton and Dekkers Roaring girl of 1612. In Jacobean times the Thames was tidal up to Staines, so they would go up river on a flood tide and back downriver on an ebb tide. The journey to Ware was more difficult up the River Lea. Edmund Spenser described the river in his epic poem The Faerie Queene as “the wanton Lea that oft doth lose his way”. The Lea could confuse travellers with its twisting, splitting course.

Parody of “Shall I compare thee to a summers day”

Discussing memorable Shakespeare lines with a friend and he remembered “What news on the Rialto” from the Merchant of Venice. This had resonances with me as I am restoring a Reliant Rialto car! Another line from the same play he remembered was “Do  cream and mantle like a standing pond”

The poisons, potions and charms of Shakespeare

On the 400th anniversary this seems apposite:

Which is Shakespeares most popular play:

Interesting that King Lear does not appear in the top ten in the US but is popular in the UK, perhaps we have more ageing thespians. More on Lear and ageing:

Shakespeare web-comic

There is a link between the rythym of  Rap music and iambic pentameter which I have only just realised, thanks to Lenny Henry.

Restoration of Religious paintings John Shakespeare supposedly whitewashed

Hi tech version of the Tempest:

I recommend the BBC comedy series Upstart Crow by Ben Elton.

🆕A new source of Shakespeares plays

Not alliterative but Oxford professors CS Lewis, Tolkien and Lewis Carroll turned Christianity, Anglo Saxon and mathematics into successful works of fiction.

Cornish influence on medieval Theatre:

I mentioned Douglas Adams towel day another literary anniversary celebrates Joyces controversial Ulysses. All I know is that Allan Sherman rhymes it with Sissies!

November 1, 2016 / consort3

80 years of BBC TV

On Nov 2 1936 the BBC started TV broadcasts from Alexandra Palace. There were 2 systems the Baird and the Marconi-EMI and both systems were tried, the Marconi system winning. That decision was made in March 1937. On May 12th 1937 the first British outside broadcast was made, the Coronation of George VI. You could buy these sets at launch:
By September 1938 KB and Philips sets were also available
These were household names back until the 1980’s, when Sony, Hitachi (GEC) Toshiba(Rank), Panasonic, Sanyo(Philips/Pye) and Tatung (Decca)  took over. The bracketed make is the factory that the Japanese took over. Pedants will point out that Tatung was from Taiwan. Funny how the Japanese made a success of TV production in the UK when the Brits could not.
A BBC programme covers the start up:
The Baird work was not wasted as the flying spot Telecine became a useful piece of kit.
The 1953 coronation of the present Queen provided a major boost for TV. A lot of the population finding a place to view a TV set. My father in law built a DIY one for the occasion.

Here is the history straight from the horses mouth:

German experiments with early TV

Yet another great engineer beginning with B, Blumlein gets a posthumous Grammy award for inventing stereo, but his inventions  helped establish Television.

Another great engineer beginning with B was Walter Bruch who invented the PAL colour TV system

Aug 14 2017 is the 50th anniversary of the Marine offences act (hello Sailor!) which outlawed the Pirate radio stations:

Restoring old programmes:


August 13, 2016 / consort3

TTL & Microprocessors

TTL (that is transistor – transistor logic) is 50 years old–more-or-less–in-2014-

Good article on the history of TTL

A 4bit microprocessor built in TTL

An even simpler TTL processor

A more complex TTL microprocessor

See inside the 74181 ALU

A TTL processor that does not use the 74181 ALU also interesting web-ring

Not a lot of people remember the Signetics 8200 series and the AMD 9300 series TTL

While I am on a historical bent, this site is good on old microprocessors etc.

The z80 versus the 6502

Simple z80, 6502 and 6909 computer designs

The development of the 6502

A FPGA version of the 6502

🆕Illegal opcodes of the 6502

and this on the 70s and 80s personal computer boom

Historical computer designs index

The modern way of designing a microprocessor using VHDL

These days you normally turn a 7400 TTL design into a FPGA. Here a designer has emulated a FPGA with 7400 TTL

People still use DOS

The 16 bit (2 byte) microprocessor came out in the mid seventies


More on the TI 9900:

I have not been paying attention to what can be squeezed into the humble 8 pin DIL package. How about the NXP LPC810M, a 32 bit ARM microcontroller or the Microchip 128K X 8 serial SRAM? Are they the most complex chips put in the package?

Cloning electronics hardware

Fortran is 60!

Humorous article on why real programmers use Fortran

A brief history of programming languages

How to design an ASIC on a budget

Sinclair ZX81 emulator

August 12, 2016 / consort3


There has been a renaissance in beer brewing in the UK and US. I think it started with the Campaign for real ale (CAMRA) in the UK and spread to the US where it is called craft beer.  Dissatisfaction with the products of the large breweries in each country started the trend. With 1400 breweries in the UK and about 4200 in the US it has taken off.–finance.html

I recently found the best brown ale,  Lewes Castle Brown by Harvey’s of Sussex. I must go and see the Widmer Bros Brewery in Portland, Oregon since it combines 2 of my interests beer and trains.

Maybe us Brits know something about beer

Beer and a statistics pioneer

Reddit beer forum

I am only going out for one


This guy likes beer


Taxonomy courtesy Ratebeer


How to make a 10 year whisky in weeks

I was amazed to find they still have prohibition in the US:



June 1, 2016 / consort3

Sallen & Key slope

The humble unity gain Sallen and Key filter can be versatile. Don Lancaster’s Active filter cookbook showed me some of the filter shapes you could get. By varying the damping you can get upward and downward slopes to the frequency response . A nice article by Kenneth Kuhn showed me how to calculate the component values given the damping and the frequency.

At step 4, here is where I deviate from the above by using this website

Enter the capacitor values and it will compute R1 and R2 as 6.2k and 18K respectively, as per Kuhn’s analysis. Here is a Ltspice analysis of the circuit showing the 6dB peak of the underdamped case, even though the op-amp is configured as unity gain! By swapping the capacitors we get an overdamped case.


Good article on the above:

Or you could use a Quad style tilt equaliser, if your overall system has a problem.

Very nice article by the late great Chu Moy on headphone equalisers including the tilt type


Archive of Chu Moys Headwize site:

Good website on headphone amplifiers

Talking of headphones, Bose Qc35

Back to Sallen and Key. an interesting analysis:

The damping factor on the High pass Sallen and Key is perhaps more interesting in that the ratio of the 2 resistors determines the damping. Von Recklinghausen of KLH observed that the family of curves you get by varying one of the resistors could be used in a small vented box loudspeaker to get good bass by varying the bass boost. It will not handle large bass signals, but by varying the boost the drive unit is not overloaded. This is called dynamic equalisation and was used on the KLH 3, they called it their Analog Bass Computer.

The Analog Bass Computer concept is comprised of three basic elements: A variable gain equalizer with equalization slopes that are also dynamically variable, a threshold circuit to determine the levels at which gain and slopes are altered, and a transducer analog circuit that examines the power amplifier signal returning from the loudspeaker for evidence of thermal overload or mechanical fatigue. The analog bass computer is in essence, therefore, an equalizer that changes its equalization curve continuously over a wide range of levels to protect the loudspeaker from damage that might result if a simple bass-boost circuit were used.

Interesting powerpoint slide show on active filters:

April 24, 2016 / consort3

Rare pigs

Unusual  rare cute pigs

The result of American efforts to create a pig with Hereford cattle markings, the Hereford pig originated in Iowa


The result of Danish efforts to create a Sandy saddleback, the Danish protest pig originated in Schleswig-Holstein


What would you get if you crossed the two? A White faced saddleback?

This one is so rare it was initially rejected by the Rare breed survival trust, thankfully now approved, the Oxford Sandy and Black


Not cute but rare and interesting the Ossabaw island pig

September 5, 2015 / consort3

Flying Scotsman

The Flying Scotman the Cornish Riviera Express and the Brighton Belle are featured on this:
The Trains That Time Forgot: Britain’s Lost Railway Journeys
Timeshift journeys back to a lost era of rail travel, when trains had names, character and style. Once the pride of the railway companies that ran them, the named train is now largely consigned to railway history.
Writer and presenter Andrew Martin asks why we once named trains and why we don’t do so anymore. He embarks on three railway journeys around Britain, following the routes of three of the most famous named trains – the Flying Scotsman, the Cornish Riviera Express and the Brighton Belle. We reflect on travel during the golden age of railways – when the journey itself was as important as reaching your destination – and compare those same journeys with the passenger experience today.
A glorious, evocative, journey back to a lost era of rail travel, when trains had not only names, but also huge character and style. Back to a time when, instead of buying a ticket for a journey, you booked yourself on a ‘service’. If you were travelling to Bristol, the fortunate passenger could choose ‘The Bristolian’; to Sheffield, ‘The Master Cutler’; and to Dover, ‘The Golden Arrow’.

The launch of a named train was, for the time, a highly sophisticated marketing tool. They attracted the discerning passenger by giving them a markedly superior product offering than the competition. Yet, once the pride of the railway companies that ran them, the ‘named train’ is now largely consigned to railway history. An astonishing three hundred and fifty named trains have come, and mostly gone, in this country. Trying to resolve the conundrum of why we once we were in love with named trains and why we aren’t anymore, noted railway writer Andrew Martin Andrew embarks on three railway journeys around Britain.

He follows the routes of three of the most famous named trains: The Brighton Belle, from London Victoria to Brighton; The Flying Scotsman, from Edinburgh to London Kings Cross; and The Cornish Riviera Express, from London Paddington to Penzance. The contrast between travel during the golden age of railways and what many would consider as the bland and densely packed passenger experience of today, is palpable. An un-missable programme for anyone who cares about our rich railway heritage.

Confusingly the FS term can refer to the train or  an engine. The engine had a special tender with a corridor so the crews could change without stopping. At some time they ran with 2 tenders.

New livery for the Flying Scotsman
The Belle is being restored:
One of the technical achievements enabling the Flying Scotsman to be non-stop was the water scoop, picking up water from troughs in the track. The last time the system was used was in 1968

I found this on a forum:
“In UK there were many installations of water troughs. Without research I know of ‘West Coast Route’ say 390 miles long at four locations between London and Crewe. On the ‘East Coast Route’ I think there were similarly about three. The Great Western used them but not the Southern. If you want I can research and list. I used to spend many hours at Bushey Troughs on the WCR, 12 miles north of London, Euston. I was just a few feet from the track and enjoyed the frequent passage of fast and slow, passenger and freight trains collecting water on the move. The scoop needed lowering and lifting with skill. The fireman would need to be quick turning a screwed actuator. At commencement of the troughs the scoop would be quickly lowered energetically by the fireman who would then watch the tender water level gauge to estimate when to start lifting the scoop. If the lift was late then there would be an overflow, washing coal off the tender and soaking un-warned passengers in leading coach compartments. If there were two engines they would arrange to collect in turn, requiring more skill and co-ordination between two firemen. The scoop was fitted with a deflector which assisted the passage of water into the scoop mouth. Water troughs were first used and invented by the London North Western Railway, a constituent of the WCR and at its time the largest Joint Stock Company in the world. On reflection I seem to remember a list of about twenty UK installations. Locomotives were fitted with large deflector plates protecting leading small non-driving wheels so that water from the collection activity did not wash lubricant from bearings. Diesels were fitted with steam heating boilers for train heating with water tanks. Early deliveries of some classes were fitted with scoops. I worked a lot on diesels but am unaware of the pick up equipment ever being used. Later deliveries came without the equipment and it was soon removed where fitted. Some equipment and buildings associated with trough installation remain in place”

Overflow from the tender (courtesy Jimquest)


The trains consumed so much water which weighed a lot, so that carrying it cut down the payload, hence the scoop idea. It  is rather similar to long haul flights today where they have a reduced number of passengers so they can carry more fuel. The idea of in-flight refuelling has resurfaced.

Whether one wants these long haul flights also depend on sleeping arrangements as well I would have thought. How about this for an idea:

With a re-jig of the aisles, the economy class layout is 1:2:2:1 twin module so that everyone has access to an aisle, the idea would work. I was unaware that the Douglas DC3 was originally conceived as a ‘sleeper’ A typical overnight trip would be Newark to Los Angeles in 14 hours 40 mins

Stage 1 Newark to Memphis 945 miles, Stage 2 Memphis to Dallas 418 miles, Stage 3 Dallas to Phoenix 886 miles, Stage 4 Phoenix to LA 357 miles Total miles 2606

They are providing a sleeper bus service from SF to LA

A further program in the Timeshift series covered the diesel engine and mentioned the Deltic diesel. A beautiful concept and the Type 55 was used for the Flying Scotsman.

I found this on another forum: If you ever get the chance to hear a Deltic at full speed, do. The turbo  is huge and turns 140,000 rpm at full speed. It creates an incredible  shriek that I’ve never experienced from any engine other than a Deltic, not  even the sound of a Formula 1 car turning 19,000 rpm can equal it.

Youtube has let me down, I easily found the Vulcan howl (see Olympus) But the Deltic howl is elusive If anyone has a recording please let me know. Imcidentally the opposed piston 2 stroke diesel concept has been taken up by a company called Achates who claim better fuel economy.

Trains and boats and planes