Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Building a Castle: Guedelon

We have been looking week by week at how castles were built in medieval times. For reference I am using the Haynes Manual of The Medieval Castle which chronicles the creation of a medieval-style castle at Guédelon in France, using only medieval tools and methods.

I thought it would be good to pause and have a look at this actual castle. The picture below is a photo of two pages in the book - that's why it's crooked!

Guédelon Castle under construction

Saturday, 24 August 2019

Research: Climate Change and the First Great Walking

Global warming and climate change are buzz words today. Despite what President Trump says, it is a present reality. Temperatures today are 0.74 °C (1.33 °F) higher than 150 years ago. Many scientists say that in the next 100–200 years, temperatures might be up to 6 °C (11 °F) higher than they were before the effects of global warming were discovered.
Ocean acidification threatens damage to coral reefs, fisheries, protected species, and other natural resources of value to society. Greenhouse gases absorb and emit some of the outgoing energy radiated from Earth's surface, causing that heat to be retained in the lower atmosphere.

The challenge is to try to limit the extent and mitigate the effects.

Monday, 19 August 2019

Waterloo Uncovered

At the Chalke Valley History Festival I visited the stand of an organisation called Waterloo Uncovered. I was drawn there by the men in the uniforms of the period, since before medieval Gower I was fascinated by the Peninsula War, which culminated in the famous Battle of Waterloo. The war covered most of Spain and Portugal and into Belgium and France, between Napoleon and Wellington.

But this is not just about the history. Hougoumont Château in Belgium was the scene of some of the fiercest fighting in one of the most decisive battles in history. Waterloo Uncovered are casting new light on what actually happened there, through a project that brings together professional archaeologists, serving soldiers and veterans.

Yes, soldiers and veterans doing archaeology!

Monday, 12 August 2019

Speech Recognition

Before my blogging was rudely interrupted by falling down the stairs, I was working my way through a book called A Brief History of the Future by Charles Joynson. I was looking at the developments he predicted and seeing where we have got to today.

He says that by 2093 speech recognition
was far quicker and more accurate than ever before. This meant that the very last keyboards were recycled and speech became the standard way to communicate with computers. Throat microphones also became common and more sensitive, which meant that they could detect and understand speech without it being audible to others.