Answer to Wednesday’s Teaser

An answer to one question and a new question. Also some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

I also have a few new photographs to share, but the main purpose of this post is to answer the question I included in “Midweek Medley“. 

THE ANSWER

There are three elements to this section – first a screenshot showing the correct answer, then my written explanation of how I worked it out (I did it in my head in rather less time than the explanation takes) and then another screenshot showing a solution posted on brilliant.

18

I solved this one as follows:

Firstly I noted that the smallest base that need be considered is base 8. Then I converted 777 from bases going upward from 8 back into base 10 and assessed whether or not the number was a fourth power.

777 in base 8 is 511 in base 10 = 73 x 7 = not a fourth power.
777 in base 9 is 637 in base 10 = 91 x 7 = not a fourth power.
777 is not a fourth power
777 in base 11 is 931 in base 10 = 133 x 7 = 49 x 19 = not a fourth power
777 in base 12 is 1099 in base 10 = 157 x 7 = not a fourth power.
777 in base 13 is 1281 in base 10 = 183 x 7 = 61 x 7 x 3 = not a fourth power
777 in base 14 is 1477 in base 10 = 211 x 7 = not a fourth power
777 in base 15 is 1687 in base 10 = 241 x 7 = not a fourth power
777 in base 16 is 1911 in base 10 = 273 x 7 = 39 x 7 x 7 = 39 x 49 = 3 x 13 x 7 x 7 = not a fourth power.
777 in base 17 is 2149 in base 10 = 307 x 7
777 in base 18 is 2401 in base 10 = 343 x 7 = 49 x 7 x 7 = 7 x 7 x 7 x 7 = 7^4 = a fourth power.
Thus the answer is indeed 18.

Below is a screenshot of Jerry Han Jia Tao’s solution posted on brilliant:

18sol

Rather more elegant than my method of solving by brute calculation – but it was early in the morning when I tackled this problem, which is possibly why I missed this approach. 

A NEW PROBLEM

This was the one I solved this morning to extend my solving sequence on brilliant to 252 days:

7

PHOTOGRAPHY

GullSwimminjg cormorantgulls and lapwingsGulls

Midweek Medley

A mixed bag of a post with nature, mathematics and photography all featuring prominently.

INTRODUCTION

This post features stuff from a variety of sources, and of course plenty of my photographs. I am going to start with the focus on…

NATURE

I start with some news from Germany, where in a bid to reduce congestion and air pollution a number of cities are trialling free public transport. The image below comes from the Guardian’s coverage of this story:

Regular visitors will recall that I mentioned something about London possibly becoming a National Park City in one of my earlier posts. I am now delighted to say that it will happen – London will become the world’s first National Park City. 

Finally moving on to a local level, the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk have produced a new pamphlet titled The Walks Tree Trail. Copies are in stock in the Custom House, which houses King’s Lynn’s tourist information office, and I have photographed every page of one of the pamphlets:

WTT I
A really good idea, and a we,lcome show of ‘treespect’. Thst the nearest entrance to The Walks is a mere few minutes walk from my flat is a bonus.

WTT IIWTT IIIWTT IVWTT VWTT VIWTT VIIWTT VIIIWTT IX

EDUCATION MINISTER REPEATS PREDECESSOR’S BLUNDER

A while back the then education minister Nicky Morgan was interviewed about some comments she had made regarding mathematical standards and during that interview was challenged to perform a very simple multiplication, which she balked at doing, bringing down on herself a storm of mockery. You might think that Nick Gibb would have learned from his predecessor’s embarrassment but you would be wrong. Interviewed on TV after announcing the launch of tougher maths tests for primary school children he was challenged to perform a very simple multiplication (8 x 9) and in a repeat of Ms Morgan’s performance he refused to do so. Nicky Morgan may not have known what she was bringing down on her head by ducking the question in her interview, but for Nick Gibb there is no excuse. In the event that I am ever interviewed on TV and challenged in this fashion I will give them the answer (72 if it is the same question that Mr Gibb shied away from answering) and then ask if they might care to set me a proper question. I have three takes on this story for you:

  • The Guardian’s version
  • The Evolve Politics website’s version
  • Mike Sivier of Vox Political’s version

This is a good preamble to my next section…

A MATHEMATICAL TEASER

I offer you a question from the mathematical website brilliant which I greatly enjoyed when I tackled it myself. I will give the answer to this little conundrum at the weekend.

777

PHOTOGRAPHS

These are from today, in and around King’s Lynn:

MoorhenCormorantMoorhen 2BlackbirdMute Swan CMjute Swan CIMute Swan CIIside by side by sideMute Swan CIIIMute Swan CIV3 Muscovies, 2 MallardsMute Swan CVMultiple species

 

Rachel Caine’s Great Library Novels

A review of Rachel Caine’s series of books featuring the Great Library.

INTRODUCTION

There are three novels under consideration in todays post, and they form a series. 

GLT

OVERVIEW

These books are an exercise in “Alternative History”. They are set in the 21st century in a world in which the Great Library of Alexandria did not get destroyed, but instead ended up as a global power, not merely a centre of learning. For some centuries a conflict has raged between the forces of the Library and rebels known as Burners. Also, since the Great Library have decreed that no books shall be privately owned there is a third group in the mix, the smugglers who for a price satsify the cravings of those who in defiance of the law still want to own books. 

BOOK 1: INK AND BONE

Ink and Bone

In the opening pages of this book we meet Jess Brightwell, then 10 years old, and already running contraband books as part of his father’s smuggling business. Jess performs a mission which leads him to an encounter with an ‘ink eater’ – a man who in this instance eats the pages of the only known copy of a book by Aristotle. The effect witnessing this has on Jess sets the scene for the subsequent story. We skip forward six years and Jess’s father has entered him (at vast expense) for the Great Library entrance exam, considering that it would be useful to have someone on the inside. Jess manages to pass and finds himself bound for Alexandria along with 30 or so other scholars. Among his fellows are Thomas Schreiber, a German with massive talents for engineering and inventing, Khalila Seif who has achieved the first ever perfect score in the entrance exam, Glain Wathen, a tough Welsh girl who has an eye on a place in the High Garda, the Library’s security force/ army and Dario Santiago, from a wealthy and influential Spanish family.

These and the other postulants find themselves being put through their paces by Scholar Christopher Wolfe, a very harsh judge. Twelve of the postulants have gone by the end of the first week, and their numbers continue to fall regularly. One new person arrives on the scene, Morgan Hault, who it turns out is an obscurist, and as such vital to future of the library. Her unwillingness to suffer the obscurist’s usual fate of being confined in the Iron Tower is one of the causes of conflict between these scholars and the Library. The other direct cause is Thomas Schreiber’s passion for inventing – he designs and creates a printing press which would enable the bulk production of books, not realising that various previous scholars have been harshly punished for the same invention, as the Library will tolerate nothing that might reduce its power. It further harms Thomas’ cause that Christopher Wolfe is one of those scholars who have previously been punished for this offence.

Before Thomas  Schreiber gets hauled over the coals there are major clues that all is not rosy in the garden. As a final exercise the postulants are sent to Oxford to retrieve some rare books gthat have come to light there, and the only way to get them there in time is to use a technique called ‘translation’, which is fraught with danger. One of them, Guillaume Danton, dies while being translated, which generates suspicion. Then, when they have barely escaped from Oxford with their lives and are being returned to Alexandria on the Archivist’s personal train they are ambushed by Burners who have somehow found out their whereabouts. 

This book ends with Morgan Hault confined in the Iron Tower, Thomas Schreiber in prison, with the others having been told that he is dead, and all the other main characters having been assigned various positions. 

BOOK 2: PAPER AND FIRE

Paper and Fire

This book follows on directly from the end of book one. It deals with the discovery that Thomas is not dead, merely in prison, and the subsequent quest to break him out and escape from the Library’s clutches. In the Iron Tower, above the levels occupied by the obscurists, the Black Archives are revealed to us for the first time. The Archivist (boss of the whole library) has ordered the Artifex Magnus to destroy them, but the rebel scholars get away with a quantity of the most important books and head for London, Jess Brightwell’s home town. They then find themselves betrayed and sent to the Burner city of Philadelphia. It is also in the course of this book that we see how the automata (I dropped a hint about these in this post)  that the Libfrary uses in addition to the High Garda can be switched off. Thomas, with the help of Morgan Hault the obscurist, manages to change one of the automata so that it works for them.

BOOK 3: ASH AND QUILL

Ash and Quill

Thomas Schreiber creates a version of his press from materials available in Philadelphia, which works sufficiently well to impress the Burners but not to end his usefulness. He also makes a weapon that will ultimately be used to make a hole in Philadelphia’s walls so that he and his band can escape. 

Meanwhile, having previously kept the city under siege for a hundred years, the Library having discovered that their rebel scholars are there have ordered the complete destruction of the city.

While the city is being destroyed, Thomas Schreiber’s weapon creates enough of a hole in the walls for the scholars to escape, and one of Jess’ smuggler acquaintances gets them back to Britain. London is now off bounds, having finally fallen to the Welsh forces who have been attacking it for some time, but Jess’ father owns a castle in the north of England.

While hiding there Thomas builds a sophisticated press which is immediately put to work churning out bulk copies of previously concealed works, and he also creates a better version of the weapon he used in Philadelphia to make a gap in the walls. The book ends with Jess, disguised as his brother, about to visit the Archivist. It is fairly clear that whatever happens in that meeting only one of those two will emerge alive (at most).

THE EPHEMERA

Interleaved with the story proper are regular sections titled Ephemera, which give as insights in to the history and development of the Library. We learn through these, and through discoveries in the Black Archives, that the first Archivist with a view to making the Library a military as well as an intellectual power base (“using the sword as well the pen”) was Zoran who saw in a conflict between the Roman emperor Aurelian and the eastern queen Zenobia the opportunity to bring this about, that the first scholar to suggest a printing press was a Chinese man in the year 868, and the scholar Gutenberg was punished for the same “crime” some six centuries later. Thus we can trace the corruption of the Library, and the view that its power counted above all else back at least to 868AD, almost 1,200 years before the action in these books takes place, and possibly all the way back to the scheming Archivist Zoran half a millennium before that.

FINAL THOUGHTS

These books are excellent, the story being thoroughly gripping. Although a couple of minor errors slipped in to the history (“Scholar Plato”, which reference is made during the story is incorrect, since he lived and died before the Great Library was created, and Archimedes of Syracuse lived a century and more earlier than Heron of Alexandria, not vice versa) they are not sufficient to detract from the overall quality of the work, which is excellent. I really enjoyed reading these books and hope that there are more to come. You can find out more about Rachel Caine from her website and on twitter. Also, shrewd observers will have noted that my pictures are of Library books, so I finish this long post about a library system that went badly wrong somewhere along the line by thanking a library system that is still working nicely, Norfolk Libraries, through whose good offices I gained access to these books.

An Important Petition and The 2018 NGS Launch

An account of the 2018 Launch of the National Garden Scheme prefaced by the Autistic Bill of Rights and a petition to save Morley House Respite Unit.

INTRODUCTION

This post in entirely autism focussed, so the text is in #RedInstead. I will build up to the account of the 2018 Launch o the National Garden Scheme, which will occupy most of the post. First, to set the scene for all the follows, stimtheline’s Autistic Bill of Rights:

Autistic Bill of Rights.pub

SAVE MORLEY HOUSE RESPITE UNIT

Morley House Respite Unit plays a vital role in the lives of many autistic people and their families in the West Norfolk area. It is now facing closure. Jessica Kibble, a volunteer with NAS West Norfolk, has created a petition on 38 Degrees against this planned closure. At the moment, less than two full days after launch there are just short of 600 signatures, which is a respectable start, but we need more. Below is a screenshot of the petition homepage, and by clicking it you can sign and share the petition:

MH

THE 2018 LAUNCH OF THE
NATIONAL GARDEN SCHEME

NAS West Norfolk have an allotment/ sensory garden in West Lynn for which we received a grant from the NGS. As beneficiaries we were invited to be present at their 2018 Launch Eventm which took place today at Houghton Hall.

Houghton Hall complex

For various reasons the only person able to be present on behalf of NAS West Norfolk was me. Being represented by one person is not ideal, but with that one person being me it did ensure that there was some genuine autistic presence at the event.

The arrangement was that I would catch a bus from King’s Lynn to the point at which the road from Harpley joins the A148, where I would be collected by car and driven up to the hall (many thanks Julia for making the arrangement and Gus for collecting me). I had initially being thinking in terms of the 8:45, arriving at the Harpley turn at approx 9:10 if it runs to time, but last night following a suggestion that this was too early I changed plans to aiming for the 9:45 bus, about which I had certain misgivings (through long experience I have developed Diogenes-esque levels of cynicism as regards British public transport running to time). 

I was at the bus station with everything I needed in good time, and, mirabile dictu, the bus arrived when it was supposed to. That unfortunately ended the good news. At Gaywood, rounding the curve near the clock tower, an impatiently driven lorry got too close to the bus and damaged one of the external mirrors. The driver had to inspect the damage to see how serious it was, and that was over ten minutes gone with no prospect of any it being made up in the rest of the journey. Fortunately, my delayed arrival at the Harpley turn was not sufficient to actually make me late for the start of the event (10:30), but it was a closer thing than it should have been.

There was a table for me to set up the NAS West Norfolk display board, leaflets and some of my own personal cards, and refreshments were laid on for free (I consumed some of the sausage rolls, which were excellent, and some ginger cake, and also, having been invited to do so, took some more cake away with me). 

NASWN display

Marie Curie Cancer Care were present as major beneficiaries of the NGS, and there was a display showcasing a sensory garden in the Dereham area. Julia, gracious host of our 10th birthday Garden Party, introduced the speeches. There were four speeches by people from Marie Curie Cancer Care, and at the end Lord Cholmondeley (pronounced as ‘chumly’), owner of Houghton Hall, said a few words. 

ceiling section
These pictures were all taken in the room where the stall was.

WindowNGS attendees INGS attendees IINGS attendees IIIPicture Ilight fittingJulia introduces the speechesPicture IIMarie Curie SpeakerJo from Marie CurieMarie Curie final speakerLord Cholmondleigh

Lord Cholmondleigh II
Lord Cholmondeley speaking

NGS attendees IVPicture IIIDereham Sensory GardenMarie Curie tablePicture VPicture VI

In her role introducing the speeches Julia had very kindly mentioned the NAS West Norfolk presence, and many people came to the stall to find out more. Of course this was delightful, but it was also challenging (though I am fairly confident that the only person present who knew just how challenging I was finding it was me). Our branch chair Karan had hoped to be present for the last stages of the event, which would enable her to give me a lift back and to collect the display board for Friday, when a visitng speaker will be giving talks on autism and puberty at a venue near the Hardwick Industrial Estate (unless something else intervenes I will be present for the evening talk). She arrived at about quarter to twelve, which gave me an opportunity to look at the gardens. 

TriptychCourtyardCourtyard IICourtyard IIIAvenueFloor plaque, rose gardenPart of the hallWeathervanesGroundsCiolumn 1Column 2BuildingEntrance to courtyardCupola

Water Feature
This water feature put me in mind of some books by Rachel Caine that I have recently been reading, but unlike in her books these are just statues, not automata!

Water Feature IIstone bathtub and guardiansSC plaqueGravel pathMapWalled Gardenrock formationarchwayClamp IClamp IILong viewGardenscorner treeTreeedge pathThrough the trees

tree temple
This building looks very like a small temple (perhaps given the materials used in its construction, a temple to Artemis!)

Tree temple pedimentTree temple RHTree temple LHFrosted grassGardens IIICourtyard FLCourtyard FRGardens IISnowdropsFrontageTree and stoneworkHoughton Hall IICourtyard blockHoughton Hall

The journey home had a delayed start, because the field in which visitors cars were parked proved to be too muddy for most of said vehicles to handle. Karan’s car was one of those that needed a tractor-assisted start (I will endeavour to remember this next time I find myself travelling behind a slow-moving farm vehicle!). One underway however, our return journey passed without incident. 

Assisted starting

 

Musical Keys and Birds

A brief account of Musical Keys and some bird pictures.

INTRODUCTION

Saturday was a music day, and I have plenty of pictures to share from recent days.

MUSICAL KEYS – THE KORG

These sessions are organised for the benefit of autistic people, so before I get into the meat of this section here is stimtheline’s magnificent Autistic Bill of Rights:

Autistic Bill of Rights.pub

The Korg is a very sophisticated machine (for classical music enthusiasts it looks a 21st century version of a clavichord, but it does so much more). I will let the photographs tell the story (I got most of these by playing with my left hand while using the camera with my right FYI):

Korg IKorg IIKorg IIIKorg IVKorg VKorg VIKorg VIIKorg VIIIKorg IXKorg X

BIRDS OF ALL SIZES

We start with the largest bird to be a regular feature of life in Britain – the mute swan:

MSXMSXIMSXIIMSXIIIMSXIVMSXVMSXVIMSXVIIMSXIXMSXXMSXXI

Next we come to a much smaller species, which I have not previously captured on camera, a little wader called a turnstone (I seem to recall that a few years back The Lynn News had a columnist who used Turnstone as a nom de plume):

Turnstone ITurnstone II

Further along the Great Ouse and on the side of the river were a few specimens of a larger bird that is not a regular sight in these parts – the greylag goose:

Greylag geese

We end with a couple of cormorant shots:

Cormorant CSwimming cormorant

 

 

Blogger recognition award by Thomas

This is Antonella’s response to me nominating her for a blogger recognition award (bear in mind when you read it that she is an Italian writing a blog post in English)…

ioinviaggio

Hi Thomas,
hi all bloggers,
Thank you Thomas, https://aspi.blog/, for this blogger recognition award, it’s a great honour for me.
The requirements for participation are:
1. Show your gratitude to the person who nominated you and provide a link back to the person’s blog.
2. Give a brief story on your blog.
3. Share two or more pieces of advice for beginner bloggers.
4. Choose 10 other bloggers to nominate.
5. Comment on each blog, letting them know they’ve been nominated and provide a link to your award post
https://aspi.blog/ is a very interesting blog, I ‘m really fascinated by Thomas’ photos, expecially nature’s ones. He speaks about everything, his blog is so rich and various. I invite to follow him.
My blog was born in a difficult moment of my life, when I felt lost for love questions and I thought to begin a travel to my inner self…

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