Your essential evolution library

A very interesting account of some of the best books about evolution. I was personally gratified to note how many of them I have read!

Why Evolution Is True

by Greg Mayer

I frequently teach evolutionary biology in the spring semester, but for various reasons I will not be teaching it this coming spring. A few days ago, a student who wanted to take the course, but now couldn’t, asked what he could read in lieu of taking it. We discussed some suggestions, and then I sent him a copy of a chapter on “The evidence for evolution” that I’d written for The Princeton Guide to Evolution, edited by my friend and colleague Jon Losos. The point was not for him to read the chapter (although there’s nothing wrong with doing that!), but rather to send him the list of “Further Reading” that closed the chapter. The Guide is intended for students, and for scientists reading outside their specialties, so the recommended readings are not at a highly technical level, but can be edifying for any curious and…

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Birds and a Coin

Some photographic highlights from in and around King’s Lynn and a coin used as case study in editing techniques.

INTRODUCTION

This post features some of my recent pictures of King’s Lynn’s thriving bird life, and also some pictures of a coin that I use to demonstrate the different degrees of editing to which a picture might be submitted.

THE BIRDS

The title of this section both refers to its contents and pays tribute to Italian composer Ottorino Respighi one of whose pieces has this title. Every bird you see pictured here was within walking distance of my town centre flat, in some cases very close indeed.

Where the Nar flows into the Great Ouse - always a good spot for observing birds
Where the Nar flows into the Great Ouse – always a good spot for observing birds

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No cormorants this time, but  these will feature later.
No cormorants this time, but these will feature later.

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The last two pictures you have seen were taken on the bridge over the upper Purfleet, separated from my flat by the length of a car park.
The last two pictures you have seen were taken on the bridge over the upper Purfleet, separated from my flat by the length of a car park.
On Wednesday afternoon the cormorants were back in force - on both sides of the mouth of the Nar...
On Wednesday afternoon the cormorants were back in force – on both sides of the mouth of the Nar…
...as witness
…as witness

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The mouth of the Nar showing the cormorants on both sides.
The mouth of the Nar showing the cormorants on both sides.

SOME OTHER PHOTOS

Of course it was not only birds that caught the eye while I was out and about on these occasions…

The next two pictures show fallen leaves.
The next two pictures show fallen leaves.

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Yes, even in October boats still moor on the Great Ouse
Yes, even in October boats still moor on the Great Ouse

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Greyfriars Tower
Greyfriars Tower
A carving on Greyfriars tower.
A carving on Greyfriars tower.
A picture in my aunt's kitchen
A picture in my aunt’s kitchen
I carried this across from the neighbour with whom it had been left in my aunt's absence. Note that this delivery had been made on the Saturday and then look a the big sticker on top of the box! (and the box already had three extra bottles in it to compensate for previous blunders!)
I carried this across from the neighbour with whom it had been left in my aunt’s absence. Note that this delivery had been made on the Saturday and then look a the big sticker on top of the box! (and the box already had three extra bottles in it to compensate for previous blunders!)

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THE COIN

On Tuesday I happened to notice that one of the coins with which I was going to pay my bus fare was one that had been issued to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade, so I photographed it while waiting for the bus to arrive. Later while editing the shot I decided to use it to demonstrate various editing techniques…

This is the coin picture after cropping but nut other editing.
This is the coin picture after cropping but no other editing.
This is the coin after cropping and sharpening.
This is the coin after cropping and sharpening.
This is the coin after my usual edit (shadow and highlights protection, lighting adjustment, sharpening and brightness for extra clarity.
This is the coin after my usual edit (shadow and highlights protection, lighting adjustment, sharpening and brightness for extra clarity.
This one features the use of colour boost as well (I almost never do this)
This one features the use of colour boost as well (I almost never do this)
Finally this one also had the contrast enhanced (something I used to do regularly but now only do on rare occasions)
Finally this one also had the contrast enhanced (something I used to do regularly but now only do on rare occasions)

Banknotes, Bonds and Stamps

Some glimpses into James and Sons next live auction (October 28th, The Maids head Hotel, Norwich).

INTRODUCTION

This post deals with things I have been doing at James and Sons today. Before I go into the main meat of the post, the photographica that I have previously mentioned on a couple of occasions will be going under the hammer on  November 25th. This auction on October 28th, which puts us back on shcedule after our previous auction happened six days later than planned is a small auction, but very high quality.

CHINESE BONDS

Lots 1-12 in this auction are old Chinese Government Bonds (I will be putting out an official press release tomorrow) ranging in face value from £100 to £1,000. Imaging these items took a lot of work, particularly lot 12.

1 (2) 1-a 2 2-a (2) 3 3-a 4 (2) 4-a (2) 5 (2) 5-a (2) 6 (2) 6-a (2) 7 (2) 7-a (2) 8 (2) 8-a (2) 9 (2) 9-a (2) 10 (2) 10-a (2) 11 (2) 11-a (2) 12-a

Lot 12 waqs so difficult because of the effect of overhead lighting on it (see earlier pic with coupons on display) that ultimately it had to be done in the kitchen with the light in that room switched off.
Lot 12 waqs so difficult because of the effect of overhead lighting on it (see earlier pic with coupons on display) that ultimately it had to be done in the kitchen with the light in that room switched off.

BANKNOTES

I only did a couple of banknotes today – producing smarter images of a couple that needed that treatment…

16-a 18-a 18-b

STAMPS

Although I did image some stamp lots day there will be far more about the stamps tomorrow when I have put out a press release about them. For the moment a handful of today’s images…

38-a 43 46-a 47

A full catalogue listing for this auction can be viewed at the-saleroom.com

My Life on Camera: A unique look into the world through the eyes of a person with Autism 

I hope you will all join me in supporting this important project.

PoliticalSift

The following was written by Sib | @Film2240

I’m a professional filmmaker with autism. I’m also a full-time equality and disability rights campaigner who is passionate about making the world a better place for everyone. I am currently running a crowdfunding campaign and was wondering if you, the reader, could help me spread the word and help with my project.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a powerful story to tell about my life and after a year of planning and developing ideas, I came up with the idea for ‘My Life On Camera‘ – a unique look into the world through the eyes of a creative person with autism. As well as making my voice heard, I hope to inspire other people to make positive social changes worldwide.

I have produced many successful short films over the course of the last decade…

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Photographica

INTRODUCTION

Some of you may remember that a while back I wrote about having been assigned a project involving a ridiculously large amount of photographic kit in a post called Emails and Cameras. Since then I have completed the process of sorting through the stuff, describing, photographing etc. and this post is about that.

THE INITIAL DESCRIPTIONS

My initial listing ran to 65 lots, but I subsequently condensed it down to 21 lots. I decided that all the bags, flashbulbs etc that were not connected to particular cameras could go as one huge lot, while the bulk of the cameras were combined to make just four lots. Here are a few pictures to help tell the story…

A bulk lot of box cameras.
A bulk lot of box cameras.
This lot consists mainly of Kodak cameras.
This lot consists mainly of Kodak cameras.
Folding cameras are usually worth selling as individual items.
Folding cameras are usually worth selling as individual items.

P25

One of the Bencini Korolls in the sale - these cameras will sell as indvidual items.
One of the Bencini Korolls in the sale – these cameras will sell as indvidual items.

P39 - a P39 P49 - a P49 point and click Starmite and Polaroid

THE REST OF THE STORY

All that now remains is for these cameras to go under the hammer, hopefully on October 28th.

Why should a young person at the start of their life feel like they want to end it? 

Please read and share this important story.

The poor side of life

Today was our usual Thursday afternoon outside the Jobcentre. The rain kept off and everyone was still in a fairly good mood. It had been a good weekend at the Manchester demonstrations and our visit from Natalie Bennett had given everyone a good morale boost. And quite rightly so, they deserved it. The team are amazing.

Not long after most of our regular attendees had arrived I received a telephone call. It was from a claimant at Ashton Jobcentre. They were panicking and I could hear them crying. I asked what was wrong and they said that they had received a letter stating that they had to attend a work programme course in a different town too far away to walk and they didn’t have enough bus fare to get there. They didn’t know how to get there.

I asked them if they could meet me outside the Jobcentre which…

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An Antique Railway Map

A post about my most recent acquisition.

INTRODUCTION

This is the story of Lot 51 at our last auction. I was immediately struck by it when imaging – no great surprise since I am an avid fan of both maps and railwayana.

IMAGING

This item was one of a number of railway themed lots that I imaged that day, but apart from lot 52, which also appealed none of the others caused me much pause. Here is the original image that I took then…

51

PUTTING A BID IN

When I checked the valuation of this and lot 52 I saw that both had a minimum estimate of £25, and realised that therefore I had to concentrate my attentions on just one of them, so went for lot 51. My parents are now registered with Air B and B, and a couple who had previously stayed there to house hunt were staying there again to view a property that they were particularly keen on. My mother arranged for the night’s rent to be paid to me in cash so that I would have the benefit of it (for which I am very grateful). Fortified by this knowledge I duly placed a bid of up to £30 on lot 51 (£30 plus Buyers Premium at 15% = £34.50 actual cost – and the nights rent was £35).

DISPLAYING AT THE VENUE

Although I had a personal interest as shown above, I was determined that this item should be on full view for all, and I believe that I positioned it well.

51 at auction

When it came to time for this lot to go under the hammer auctioneer David started the bidding at £25, and that was where it finished.

GETTING IT HOME

I looked after it with due care and attention, and when i got home I spread it out on the sitting room floor, anchoring the bottom end with a couple of weighty tomes…

51 spread out on floor at 117E

THE FINAL LOCATION

I had decided that this item needed to be out on display, and this is how I chose to display it…

51 in its new econiche

MORE ABOUT THE MAP

The map was created by John Bartholomew of the Edinburgh Geographical Institute, and the company whose advertisement appears at the top was incorporated in 1877. I also know from studying the London & Suburbs close up section that this particular map must be from before 1910 as it shows a connection that ceased operating that year. Don’t forget that in the not too distant future I will be launching the website londontu.be which will feature many pictures of maps and schematic disgrams. I end this post with a few more pics from the map…
London and Suburbs Northern (South Lancs and Yorks) close up