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In 2018 we marked the 250th anniversary of the founding of the modern circus, an event traced to the entrepreneurial initiatives of Philip Astley (1742–1814). Astley enclosed a circle of ground on the south side of the Thames in 1768 where he exhibited his unusual equestrian skills for a paying public. The circus’s specialised history in different parts of the globe reveals that for just over 250 years this hybrid entertainment, with its own codes of physical and comic performance, visuality, and business management, has developed and diversified through multiple cycles of reinvention. Oscillating through phases of illegitimacy on the fringes of society and validation for its aesthetic and entertainment appeal, the circus’s restless evolution has always been influenced by unique confluences of the political environment, artistic heritage, and aesthetic trends particular to its geographic context.
The Cambridge Companion to the Circus provides a complete guide for students, scholars, teachers, researchers, and practitioners who are seeking perspectives on the foundations and evolution of the modern circus, the contemporary extent of circus studies, and the specialised literature available to support further enquiries. The volume brings together an international group of established and emerging scholars working across the multi-disciplinary domain of circus studies to present a clear overview of the specialised histories, aesthetics and distinctive performances of the modern circus. In sixteen commissioned essays, it covers the origins in commercial equestrian performance during the late-eighteenth century to contemporary inflections of circus arts in major international festivals, educational environments, and social justice settings.
The Subglacial Antarctic Lakes Scientific Access (SALSA) Project accessed Mercer Subglacial Lake using environmentally clean hot-water drilling to examine interactions among ice, water, sediment, rock, microbes and carbon reservoirs within the lake water column and underlying sediments. A ~0.4 m diameter borehole was melted through 1087 m of ice and maintained over ~10 days, allowing observation of ice properties and collection of water and sediment with various tools. Over this period, SALSA collected: 60 L of lake water and 10 L of deep borehole water; microbes >0.2 μm in diameter from in situ filtration of ~100 L of lake water; 10 multicores 0.32–0.49 m long; 1.0 and 1.76 m long gravity cores; three conductivity–temperature–depth profiles of borehole and lake water; five discrete depth current meter measurements in the lake and images of ice, the lake water–ice interface and lake sediments. Temperature and conductivity data showed the hydrodynamic character of water mixing between the borehole and lake after entry. Models simulating melting of the ~6 m thick basal accreted ice layer imply that debris fall-out through the ~15 m water column to the lake sediments from borehole melting had little effect on the stratigraphy of surficial sediment cores.
There is a long history of software programs that implement creativity, imagery, and imagination. They are used for generation of entertainment, creation of art, and simulation of the world. Some of these programs are created to shed light on the nature of imagination, and some are explicitly designed to model imagination in humans. These AIs also display a range of domain areas, from the creation of paintings, music, and plot structures, to the generation of entire fictional worlds. AI aids our understanding of imagination in several ways: It provides ideas of how it could work, it tests the feasibility of theories, and brings to light assumptions and new problems that are difficult to generate from theories that are only described in words.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a scientific discipline that seeks to understand intelligence through the design and construction of intelligent machines. AI and cognitive science have a strong two-way relationship: Cognitive psychology often has inspired AI theories, and AI research has led to new theories of cognition that have been tested through psychological experimentation. While AI theories of cognition often are under-constrained, cognitive theories of AI tend to be over-constrained. Nevertheless, AI is useful for cognitive psychologists both as a source of new ideas and insights, and an experimental testbed. In this chapter, we describe some of the basic concepts and methods of AI by taking robot navigation in a city as an illustrative example. We also briefly discuss the history of AI, methods for assessing progress in AI, and some of AI’s potential impacts on society.
In 2018, the Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia) finalized its first video compression format AV1, which is jointly developed by the industry consortium of leading video technology companies. The main goal of AV1 is to provide an open source and royalty-free video coding format that substantially outperforms state-of-the-art codecs available on the market in compression efficiency while remaining practical decoding complexity as well as being optimized for hardware feasibility and scalability on modern devices. To give detailed insights into how the targeted performance and feasibility is realized, this paper provides a technical overview of key coding techniques in AV1. Besides, the coding performance gains are validated by video compression tests performed with the libaom AV1 encoder against the libvpx VP9 encoder. Preliminary comparison with two leading HEVC encoders, x265 and HM, and the reference software of VVC is also conducted on AOM's common test set and an open 4k set.
In a study of some of the more prosperous middle-class Irish migrants to London in the eighteenth century, Craig Bailey has argued that it is important to emphasise ‘the possibilities rather than the limits of Irishness’ and that ‘Irish identity was far too important for most middle-class Irish to jettison’.1 The largest population of middle-class Irishmen outside of Ireland was resident in London in the eighteenth century, but, says Bailey, ‘scholars have mistaken the identity of middle-class migrants by making poverty the touchstone of Irishness, and by presuming that visible Irish characteristics such as language, accent and name necessarily had negative meanings’.2
There was no generic audience for English melodrama. Audiences varied by theatre and changed as the nineteenth century progressed; their social background ranged from royalty to the working classes. Melodrama provided emotional and visceral thrills for its audiences, but also enabled them to negotiate with modernity and the many problems it engendered. Despite its entertainment value, it did not instil passivity among its spectators. In London it attracted audiences to the West End, East End and to theatres south of the Thames, while it was also very popular in the provinces. Certain theatres were particularly associated with melodrama, such as Drury Lane and the Adelphi theatres in London’s West End in the latter years of the nineteenth century. The Surrey in south London and the Pavilion in east London were particularly renowned for nautical drama, while the Adelphi Theatre was associated with Boucicault’s sensation melodramas in the early 1860s. Although contemporary journalists tended to describe melodrama audiences in very formulaic ways, we should be wary of their constructions. Melodrama audiences were diverse and reacted to the genre in very different ways.