An Eulerian Birthday

A distinctive (I hope) way to mark the occasion of my 41st birthday.


Today is my birthday, which is the last part of the title explained, so where does the word “Eulerian” come in?


For all his immense output Leonhard Euler (pronouned “Oiler”, not “Ewe-ler”) is best known to the world at large for his solution to the “Bridges of Konigsberg” conundrum. Citizens of this then German town (it is now Kaliningrad, Russia) used to amuse themselves by trying to walk around the town crossing each of its seven bridges once and once only in the course of their peregrinations. Nobody ever managed it, and Euler (pioneering the science of topology, a minor offshoot of which is the “Beck Map”, versions of which are now used worldwide as an easy way to display urban public transport routes, in the process) proved that there was no way to do this. This is because each the four landmasses involved contained an odd number of bridgeheads – had specifically two (and it could have been any two), or all four of these landmasses contained even numbers of bridgeheads it would have been possible to devise a walking route using each bridge precisely once.

Much less well known than the above, Euler also noticed that if you feed values into the equation Y = X2 + X + 41 every value of X from 0 through to 39 produces a prime number for Y, and even after the inevitable break to the sequence where X = 40 produces Y = 1681 = 41 * 41, and X = 41 produces Y = 1763 = 41 * 43, the formula continues to produce a very large number of prime numbers – far more than any other formula of similar type. This then is why I described this an Eulerian birthday – it is my 41st. A clue to bear in mind for next year’s birthday is that the person who will play the role in my blog post on that day that Euler has played today was proud of the fact that he was born in Cambridge in 1953 and had initials DNA. More details, including a full listing of the primes produced before X = 40, can be found in Keith Devlin’s “Mathematics: A New Golden Age”.


I have some pictures, mainly from today at work. These are presented as a ’tiled mosaic’ – click an individual image to view at full size.


Many people on both facebook and twitter have wished my a happy birthday and I thank all of you for so doing – the main celebration, a Sunday lunch at the Crown in East Rudham two days before the actual day was superb.



Trials and Tribulations

An account of recent events at James and Sons.


Yesterday was James and Sons’ May auction, at Fakenham Racecourse, and today we had a badge sale at our shop in Fakenham.



Our main auction was blighted by problems with the internet connection at the venue. Eventually we relocated the auction itself to Cool Roxy, the owners and trainers bar, while leaving the stock in the Prince of Wales Suite. This left us way behind schedule. Nevertheless, the sale was very successful, with five pieces of postcard artwork accompanied by sample postcards by a man called Twelvetrees selling phenomenally well, some old vinyl records selling well (a Black Sabbath recording went for £340), and many other items faring well. Among the lesser lights a book of photographs from King’s Lynn’s past went for just £4 (it goes well with my substantial digital archive of pictures from King’s Lynn’s present thank you), while a Cornwall Polytechnic Society medallion featuring a bust of James Watt (he after whom the unit of power is named, and who along with his distant predecessor Heron of Alexandria, his closer predecessor Thomas Newcomen and his near contemporary Richard Trevithick played a key role in the development of the steam engine, the first power source for locomotives) went for £11. In amongst all this I had to get images of the reverse sides of the some of the badges being sold today to resolve queries.

Overall, the early problems not withstanding it was a successful day, and here are some photos…


Today’s sale proceeded smoothly. Although no huge prices were recorded a number of items did better than expected. Overall therefore I think we can say it was a successful week, although very draining (especially yesterday).

Press Releases

Details of four significant press releases that I have put out recently.


This post covers one particular qaspect of my work at James and Sons. Everything yousee has gone out between Thursday of last week and this morning.


I am sharing four of these with you:


This one is about our upcoming auctions on Wednesday and Thursday, the first of which contains a few military badges, including both of those used in the image, and the second of which, taking place at our own premises, is a pure badge auction. I will provide the images, a jpg of the full document and a link to the original word document:



For various reasons instead of a dedicated auction devoted entirely to fund-raising we are incorporating the Great Centenary Charity Auction within our own programme, with lots in June and November being sold for fund-raising purposes. I have put out two press releases thus far about this:


The first press release focuses on a collection of medals and paperwork relating to Jack Cornwell, who at the battle of Jutland became the youngest person ever to win the VC. He was also a boy scout, giving an extra connection. I have a jpg of the press release, the press release itself and all the images I took of the various items:

Cornwell PRIJCKings Medal ReverseKings MedalMedals - FrontMedals Photo - reverseMedals PhotoMedals reverseMemorialNewspaper cuttingVC Paperwork 1VC Paperwork Hi-resGCCAPRGREAT CENTENARY CHARITY AUCTION


The second Great Centenary Charity Auction press release is about an oil painting of the Poppies at the Tower by one of the two artists who created the real thing…

Poppies At The Tower - croppedPOPPIES AT THE TOWERPATPR


This was chronologically the first of the press releases to go out, focussing on this Wednesday’s auction:




A Comic Strip Explanation of Life on the Spectrum Courtesy of “The Art of Autism”

This post comes from The Art of Autism, altough on this occasion I am keeping comments open here. It is a superb explanation of life on the spectrum.

This wonderful post from The Art of Autsim can be viewed in its original niche by clicking here. I have also reproduced it below:

Although I do not usually do so when sharing other people’s work I am on this occasion keeping comments open here.

Jaguar Catches Caiman

A fabulous video showing a jaguar catching itself a jumbo sized meal.

This is a wonderful video first brought to my attention by Why Evolution Is True:


Shadow Minister for Neurodiversity

An initial to response too a couple of excellent ideas brought to my attention by a tweet from John McDonnell MP. Please share widely.


This post comes from a tweet by shadow chancellor John McDonnell:


It will not surprise anyone that I am in full agreement with Mr McDonnell about the excellence of the ideas mentioned above. While I have a few ideas as what an Autism Manifesto should prioritise, most notably doing something about the shameful statistics relating to Autistic people and employment in this country. 75% of all adults on the autistic spectrum in this country are unemployed, while good portion of those in employment are in low paid and/ or part time work – 85% of us are classed as ‘underemployed’.

More important however than the precise details of the Autism Manifesto (at least to me) is the question of who will be involved in creating it. While I am not arguing for the exclusion of neurotypicals from this process (never in a million years) I do repeat the autistic person’s mantra:


We must be involved in this process, and I conclude this section by saying to Mr McDonnell: if you are prepared to involve people from outside your party you are welcome to contact me.


Again, an excellent idea. For similar reasons to those mentioned above in connection with the idea of an Autism Manifesto I would prefer if possible the the holder of this post be someone who is themselves neurodiverse. Other than that I have no further comments to make as yet, although you can expect me to revisit the themes of this brief post in future.


Chris Packham and the Foxhunters

An account with links to the three source pieces of the vile abuse of Chris Packham by the pro-hunting lobby and his dignified response to it.


I live with Asperger’s Syndrome, have previously had mental health issues including depression and am a nature lover. Chris Packham presents nature programs on TV, has Asperger’s Syndrome and has had mental health problems. Mr Packham has recently gone public about his Asperger’s and depression, and this is where the story starts…


Yesterday morning Hunting Solutions put out the following tweet, quoted in his own piece immediately after it had happened by Miles King on anewnatureblog:

hunting solutions

This tweet was retweeted by Nicholas Soames, a politician whose own party leader has spoken of the need to end the stigma attached to mental health. As Miles King points out, given the hysterical reaction to Naz Shah having liked an offensive facebook post before she became an MP, you might think that this could cause more trouble for the party concerned. When Miles King challenged Soames about the retweet, rather than attempting to defend himself Soames blocked King. Please follow the link I provided near the top of this section and read that post in full before proceeding.


Chris Packham provided what was in the circumstances a remarkably restrained response in the form of an interview that was published on Huffington Post, which I urge you to read in full.


Miles King on anewnatureblog returned to the fray this morning because Hunting Solutions had provided a response of sorts. As this image, taken from the Miles King piece, which I urge to read in full shows it was exactly what we might expect from these people:


This is classic victim blaming of the sort that Tories specialize in. I will conclude this section with my own comments on Miles King’s posts which I once more urge you to read in full:

As someone with Asperger’s Syndrome and who has experience of depression I am in no doubt that the both the original tweet and Soames’ retweet were bang out of order, and in the continuing absence of an apology there is no doubt to give these people the benefit of. The use of the word “nutjob” in the context Mr Packham having recently gone public about his Asperger’s and depression is reminiscent of the the prolonged series of smears that functioned (thankfully and deservedly very badly) as Zac Goldsmith’s London Mayoral campaign.

And Miles’ response to that comment:

thanks Thomas – a good analogy. The hunting community, feeling threatened, are resorting to a smear campaign against high profile people like Chris Packham.

My comment on the second post:

Excellent follow up piece. I would take your reasoning re the comments about foxhunting being psychopathic a small step further and say that for true equivalence between the remarks Packham would have to labelled not just foxhunters as a group (which as you point out he did not) but an individual named foxhunter as a psychopath. As for the ‘if he hadn’t criticised us we would not have said it’ “defense”, that is simply another example of a favourite tactic of these kind of people – victim blaming.

I conclude this post with some photos…


An eight-legged friend


Gibraltar £1
I noticed something about this £1 coin that caused me to examine it closely – just as well I did, as it is Gibraltarian and would probably not have been accepted by the bus driver!
Close up of the reverse
Close up of the obverse