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Randal Oulton

Randal Oulton

Author: Education: Trinity College, Toronto, and University of Florence.

Location Toronto, Canada



  • @BrendanFlynn I knew what you meant! I live in the Canadian province of Ontario, where we have a Ministry of Transportation (MOT) and over the years I have heard people refer to such vehicle checks as getting "MOT'd" or "safety checked". (It isn't currently an annual requirement though.)

  • Third one: it's interesting that in some words the "q"s look to me like "e"s.


  • I think I saw on Twitter that one of the people who had been involved in running the Portus course died.

  • Good question

  • Good question

  • I had no image in my mind. I guess if anything, I just assumed she was the Macdonald cigarette lady.

  • Audio but no visual. I am on iPad. I was able to view it after downloading it. So likely something to do with html coding on this page slightly different than for.videos on previous pages.

  • Same here audio no visual

  • @DavidArmitage Good questions, David Armitage

  • All this writing by her, but nothing to clarify the status of the relationship between her and Bothwell from her point of view?

  • Devil’s advocate here maybe, but could anyone else whether female or male have done better in her situation? Scottish politics of the era even before her consisted of constant infighting and betrayals and drama, and we haven’t even looked at the broader context of highland vs lowland fighting, or the constant internecine murderous battles between the clans. I...

  • Pretty Jordy. Again another random comment about someone’s appearance but nothing about Bothwell.

  • To me this all just really enforces how right Elizabeth was to stay clear of formal romantic entanglements, so that some twit of a man wouldn’t drain her of her agency.

  • Okay so here we have Mary later setting the record clear about that document. Odd that nothing is similar is extant about Bothwell.

  • Mary was literate. So odd that in all her years in England, she never wrote of it.

  • Side point here, but it is hard not to note that while it is pointed out that Darnley is good-looking and Rizzio is ugly, no mention is made of Bothwell’s appearance.

  • How does someone go down in history as ugly? I mean who makes that determination, and how do we from this distance in time validate it or not?

  • Knox seems like a nasty, twisted, bitter piece of work.

  • Wait. The precious week just established that Mary, Queen of Scots, had a strong education.

  • Something to do with the whole de guise clan losing influence after the death of Francis II

  • Mary and Francis were married from 24 April 1558 to 5 December 1560. That's about a year and a half, but no children.

    "Her first husband had been Francis II of France, and that had been a fine marriage, in its own way. Sure Francis was stunted, bloated, and sickly, with an ineffective pair of undescended testicles, but Mary loved him and he loved her....

  • “Step 1: divide the first term in the bus stop..”. What is the bus stop? This is the frustrating learning barrier I have always faced when trying to learn maths, those teaching use “inside language” terms that act as barriers to exclude others.

    Similis est mihi subito Latine loqui.

  • I found a definition for the word factor as used in mathematics in the Cambridge dictionary: “ in mathematics, any whole number that is produced when you divide a larger number by another whole number: Two, three, four and six are all factors of twelve.”

  • I know what a factor is in other definitions of the word and in other fields of human endeavour, but I don’t know what it means in maths. Maybe a one sentence definition of what it means in the mathematics field at the start of the page might have helped me.

  • "The relationship between Essex and Elizabeth was often tempestuous but by 1588, the year of the Spanish Armada, Devereux’s star " << I don't think there's a need to flip back to referring to him as "Devereux", with Essex seeming to have already been established in these paras as the name by which he is being referenced. Just potentially causes confusion in...

  • "Essex displayed considerable bravery in both campaigns against Spain in 1598 and in Normandy in 1591-2" << Why not flip the reference there around to be in chronological order?

  • Future Learn has an entire course on this:

  • Minor typo? "Many silk weavers and needle makes"... makers?

    Also, one word or two words? "Many silk weavers and needle makes practised trades that imported skills from the European continent. Silkweavers and needlemakers were skilled trades and well-reputed. "

  • Minor typo: "There’s little doubt that the Bard was inspired by [the the] street scenes"

  • Minor typo? "Their actions and perceptions are sometimes crucially affected [by] their participation in the corporate life of a city or realm."

  • Thank you!

  • All English policy towards Ireland throughout the centuries was a failure.

  • Elizabeth the golden age. 2007. It is on Netflix

  • Why not just ship her back to Scotland, or some god-forsaken island?

  • Randal Oulton made a comment

    I learnt that in the early period, crucifixion depictions were rare.

  • I'm going to second what Lynn said, because it's such a rare, original yet essential way of seeing Jesus. I had just never realized that it was a Canadian conception, with copies of it now being installed all over.

    Interesting some of the reactions that Wikipedia editors have noted:

    "Reception of the statue has been mixed. According to NPR, "The reaction...

  • The Brescia casket is apparently from the late 300s. It's interesting to see the same Roman skills, artistry and sensibility that would have been applied to classical themes being pressed into service to portray Christian themes instead. The crafts people just seem to have "pivoted".

  • Minor typo? “ These reprisals appear excessive not only when compared to [the] Crown’s response…”

  • “ in part because an extensive Elizabethan cover-up operation” Minor typo? Because of?

  • Perhaps an interesting subject for a separate Future Learn micro course?

  • Charming language in the epilogue! Also it expected the audience to have in their heads this whole framework of classical references, which now would be lost on a modern audience.

  • This film sounds wonderful! Now I have to see it!

  • "A law in 1585 made any priest found in England guilty of treason..."

    The overwhelming majority of ordained ministers in the Anglican Communion are priests. Was that title reviled in Elizabethan times and later revived, or did the writer of this course material mean *Roman* Catholic priests?

    In general, I'm also continuing to find the non-distinction...

  • I'm not sure that any of them did anything to move people's lives, the economy, or the advancement of knowledge forward.

  • Randal Oulton made a comment

    I don't think Henry's intention was to make people Protestants. I think his intention was for them to become Anglo Catholic instead of Roman Catholic.

  • Funny meme: Henry VIII's wives if they'd never met him (smiling faces)

  • I had to read that several times to track all the "name changes" and realize they were all referring to John: Dudley >> Lisle >> Warwick >> Northumberland

  • "Dudley was successfully operating as a courtier" I wonder what "operating" as a "courtier" means. I always just thought they stood around and held drinks.

  • "How quickly did people leap to embrace [Roman] Catholicism under Mary? Or were the people only weaned off [Roman] Catholicism over a series of generations?"

    The above should more accurately say "Roman" Catholicism. Anglicans recognise themselves as Catholic but NOT Roman Catholic.

  • Interesting to learn that the deliberate abolition of Roman Catholic traditions didn't happen "overnight" but happened successively overtime starting in the mid 1530s.

  • He reigned for 36 years. Were his people's daily lives any better off after the end of his reign?

  • Did any of that loot actually go to help Henry's subjects daily lives, even by accident maybe?

  • "colourful and gossipy list of sins and abuses"... I'm left wondering how much of that was simply fabricated out of thin air. And even if there were, how different was that from what went on in the court or other parts of society?

  • Compounding comorbidities.

  • Typo? " sending their children away at a very young age the [to be?] raised"

  • This put me in mind of social media letting the genie of self-broadcasting out of the bag, half-educated idiots on all sides causing societal dissension.

    " Henry wanted the scriptures reverenced and seems to have grown concerned that Bible-reading encouraged dissension, rather than obedience. He lamented those people who were “too stiff in their old...

  • hisser? hoist?

  • For 26 years apparently he was triumphant or relatively so, which must have meant there were a lot of losers. We are focussing here on the time when Henry was defeated, and the impact of that on his health. That makes me wonder about the wellbeing of those other people over the previous 26 years.

  • Randal Oulton made a comment

    It could be that it was at this point that the far-right began trying to appropriate the classics.

  • Randal Oulton made a comment

    Henry VIII may not have felt the need for the divorces and the resultant split with the Bishop of Rome and ergo there might not have been a Church of England.

  • "The British Library has acquired official financial accounts for the 1580s which detail the finest foods and other luxuries given to Mary, Queen of Scots during her captivity. Each of her courses offered a choice of up to 16 individual dishes."

  • You posted the link to the survey on 24 January 2022. By 1 Nov 2022, idle gremlins in the background had gotten bored, moved things around, and broken the link.

  • Very interesting!

  • “ We started looking at this in the fourth ‘biological concepts’ step in week one” I am guessing that is step 1.11

  • How do you train the media? It might be an impossible task. Often a writer is assigned a topic with a deadline of 48 hours and only has that timeframe in which to bone-up on it, and hand in the piece. How many reputable mainstream papers these days still maintain full-time reporters dedicated to specific fields, who can produce more professional pieces?

  • Zheesh. That counts as good? Let's hope further advances come quickly to reduce toxicity and increase response rate.

  • Hope, but not without challenges.

  • Really interesting!

  • “ funded an excavation to try to undercover…” Undercover? Uncover?

  • Minor typo: "When a cell wants to make a particular protein, it first locates the gene, then unwinds it, reads it[s] sequence..."

  • Minor typo: “ This height was exaggerated [by] the domes, cupolas, turrets, and pinnacles that adorned the rooftops of these wonder houses…”

  • The film is on youtube.

  • Question 1, answers B and C, in the PDF are screwy.

    "Answer: Tabloid.
    Feedback: Incorrect. This is taken from a tabloid newspaper."

    Answer: Broadsheet/mainstream newspaper.
    Feedback: Correct. This is taken from a tabloid newspaper"

    My question, therefore, is this PDF a reliable source?! hahaha.

  • The exercise link at is broken. I tried in Chrome, Edge, and Firefox on a Windows 11 computer. I used the PDF.

  • "A new cancer treatment can stop the disease advancing in patients who are resistant to immunotherapy, doctors have discovered. “Immunotherapy has shown amazing promise in cancer care over the last decade, but it doesn’t work well in all cancers and cancers can often become resistant. This combination might be a way to target their cancer even after it has...

  • 1/2 of cancer deaths attributable to preventable risk factors. "Modifying behavior could lead to millions more lives saved greatly overshadowing the impact of any drug ever approved."

    The global burden of cancer attributable to risk factors, 2010–19: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study...

  • If you are in the US (and even if you are not) and use Google, one helpful technique among others can be to conduct your search in the following way: cancer site:*.edu . This will restrict your search scope only to sites from American universities or other accredited educational organizations, which will right away dramatically up the reliability of your...

  • "Assistive technology" link has gone bad.

  • Caring in home can from some aspects seem to be one person giving up their life to care for another. A decision that must be carefully thought out, as you won't get back the years you sacrificed, and by the time the person you are caring for passes, you may have no energy or time left to to the things you wanted to do in life. Both lives matter, the carer and...

  • Depends on the type and stage of dementia! There are different types that don't affect long-term memory.

  • Sherry in a hospital! I don't know if that would be allowed in Canada! :}

  • Minor typo in explanation of Question 4 on the previous quiz: "which might result in you understand[ing] more."

  • Minor typo: "We demonstrate respect for a person’s identify"

  • Two of the suggested courses are now sadly defunct. They looked as though they would have been incredibly useful.

  • I'm putting this here for those more qualified than me to pronounce on. This hit the science media on 27 July 2022:

    "Dementia Risk Climbs With Intake of Ultra-Processed Foods. — Swapping out ultra-processed for unprocessed or minimally processed foods can lower risk sharply."

    Huiping Li, Shu...

  • Randal Oulton made a comment

    Page text says 64,000. Transcript says 65,000.

  • Randal Oulton made a comment

    Minor typo: " meeting new people who [are] involved in caring for them "

  • I hope that Shaheen is able to progressively get back to her life. One lost life is tragedy enough.

  • Here's another aspect, the economic losses, a highly-skilled, highly trained worker having to leave the workplace to provide care in a field she has no expertise or qualifications in : "So, I had a very successful career before. I have a degree in engineering, I went to business school in America. I used to work as a management consultant. And it’s just not...

  • Minor typo: " from an initial memory test [that] didn’t pick up the symptoms,"

  • I hope the live streaming remains an option.

    I’m in Canada, but we all heard about the disgrace of Britain’s Brexit Prime Minister drinking it up with friends while the Queen sat alone at her husband’s funeral.

  • Some pop songs would be great. Being an Anglican, I'd also want this one:

  • "who died listening to Ode to Joy after enjoying a last fish supper, starts to look like a socially approved good death."

    I can't resist being a wag here and pointing out that the poor fish was denied any choice of being a part of this! :}

  • No transcript?

  • I am conflicted because I feel that the bounds of statutory protections for the vulnerable are going to be tested soon. Here's one instance:

    "Madeline Can’t Afford To Live With Her Illness. She May Choose To Die Instead. For the past 20 years, the 54-year-old Vancouver woman has amassed $40,000 in debts trying to treat myalgic encephalomyelitis and other...

  • really interesting!

  • Could be very tricky these days assembling food baskets for people. People can be so picky about what they like and don't like these days. I think it's a great idea, but just also thinking realistically, as so often I'd seen the other end of food gifts and seen people say thank you, then when the giver leaves, curl up their noses and throw half it out. I hate...