The Douglas Adams Birthday

A birthday post.

INTRODUCTION

It is my birthday, and this year the number is the same as the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. 

OTHER 42s

There are a total of forty-two eyes in a standard deck of playing cards – three two-eyed kings, one one-eyed king, all four queens are two-eyed, and two two-eyed and two one-eyed jacks makes a total of 21, which needs to be doubled as the faces appear twice on each card.

There are 42 spots on a pair of standard dice – 21 on each.

The great game of cricket has a code of 42 laws governing it. Law 42 governs fair and unfair play. The most important phrase in this law is: “the umpires shall be the sole judges of fair and unfair play“.

Adams is not the only famous writer to have used the number 42 – Charles Lutwidge Dodgson aka Lewis Carroll was responsible for the following:

  • The original Alice in Wonderland had 42 illustrations
  • “All persons more than a mile high to leave the court” was Rule 42.
  • The Baker in The Hunting of the Snark had 42 boxes

A COUPLE OF “HITCHHIKER” LINKS

To conclude this brief Birthday post I hand over to Laina of thesilentwaveblog with:

  1. The Hitchhikers Guide to Neurotypicality and…
  2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Asperger’s / autistic people (*one* autistic person): A manual for non-autistic people.

James and Sons’ May Auction

An account of James and Sons’ May Auction.

INTRODUCTION

This auction was a three-day affair, on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. All three days were at our premises, 5 Norwich Street, Fakenham. Our next auction will also be over a three-day period, but there will be no selling on the second day, as the third day will be at Fakenham Racecourse and we will be setting things up down there. 

MONDAY

The setup was accomplished with no problem and the first item went under the hammer at 10AM as intended. The auction started with coins which fared reasonably well, cheques which did not, some interesting ephemera which attracted some attention, and some joint numismatic/ philatelic items which fared well. The militaria which concluded day 1’s action started very quietly but picked up again later. Here are some pictures from this day…

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The big screen display for people who turned up at the venue.

Lot 359, one of those joint numismatic/ philatelic items, came my way for £8. I will be going into more detail about it in a future post, but here is the shot that appeared on our slideshow…

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Lot 359 – five images.

In between moving stuff for day 2 down into the shop ready for the morrow, consuming my sandwiches and other little bits I also did some work on our next auction. Here are some pictures of items that will be going under the hammer at the end of June…

TUESDAY

This was the quietest of the three days. It featured stamps, postal history and first-day covers. There were no room bidders, and the internet bidders did not bestir themselves and the second half of the day. However, eventually some items did sell, although it was a hugely unsuccessful day. Here are some shots taken before proceedings got underway…

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There was an addition to the routine today – three large items that feature in our next auction needed to be offloaded into the shop, photographed and given lot numbers. They are now lots 791, 792 and 793 in our June auction – two dolls houses and a rocking horse:

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Lot 791 – the thatched cottage version of a dolls house
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Lot 792 – a more modern style version of a dolls house.

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Lot 793 a rocking horse, and not just any rocking horse…
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…a locally made rocking horse.

After attending to this and to bringing down the lots for the morrow I had time for some more work on the June auction…

WEDNESDAY

This final day of our sale featured postcards, cigarette & trade cards, Liebig picture cards and books to end the auction. We needed a good day, and we got one. All else was overshadowed by three postcards, lots 1038, 1039 and 1040. These were early 20th century Real Photographic (RP) cards featuring football matches. 1038 and 1039 went for £495 and £450 respectively, while lot 1040 sold for no less than £900. Most of the rest of the postcards found buyers (one postcard, an RP featuring the 1910 visit of Halley’s Comet sold to none other than science writer Ben Goldacre), the cigarette cards had some successes, and the Liebig cards fared pretty well. The books did what ordinary books usually do at auction. Here are some pictures I took early that morning:

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I redid this one after seeing a few of the less huge lots that I had omitted to bring down (see third pic). Although the dolls house was not in this sale no place had as yet been found for it.

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Lot 1107 (about which much more later) went to me. Going into this auction I had a couple of other items besides the two I actually bought (for £8 each) mentally filed as possibles, but found myself obliged to ignore them since my old camera (after somewhat in excess of 80,000 pictures) had conked out, necessitating a replacement which in turn meant that I could not entertain mere ‘possibles’ at this stage. Here is the image that appeared in our slideshow:

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The auction concluded, wiring tidied up and internet bidders list printed out I finished my working week by doing some more work on the June auction. Here are some of the items I imaged…

 

 

‘Special interest’ vs obsession 

Laina on why the word ‘obsession’ needs to be dropped from usage in relation to autistic people – she is spot on as usual…

the silent wave

The diagnostic criteria for Asperger’s/autism includes the tendency toward:

“Highly restricted, fixated interests that are abnormal in intensity or focus (e.g., strong attachment to or preoccupation with unusual objects, excessively circumscribed or perseverative interests).”

…At least, as described by those with cultural authority (a topic that will in itself be the focus of a future post).

(That criterion is Part B-3, for the curious.)

This is often shorthand-termed “special interest”, by some on and off the spectrum, and although I’ve used this term myself, you’ll see that it’s usually enclosed in quote marks, which I intend to indicate that although it’s a common and recognizable term, I don’t particularly like it.

For the record, I prefer terms such as “niche specialty”, “subject area of expertise”, “topic/subject of interest”, and so on. (Don’t those sound more dignified, not to mention more accurate?). Mix and match Dignified Terms until your heart’s content…

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Two Great Manifestos

Covering the Labour and We Own It manifestos.

INTRODUCTION

The two manifestos to which I refer are those the Labour Party and the We Own It Campaign. In this post, which as a purely political post features text that alternates between red and green I will share links to some of the posts that the Labour Manifesto has already generated, and links to both manifestos and some of my own thoughts. 

THE WE OWN IT MANIFESTO

This is a must-read document about public ownership. At the end of the document there is a link to click to enable you contact your candidates to ask them if they will support these measures – I have just done so. As a sampler, here is the section on Railways:

Railways

As a coda to the above I point out that most of our railways are in the hands of profit making arms of other countries state owned railways – the Dutch state owned railway by way of Abellio operates more track in this country than there is in the whole of the Netherlands.

THE LABOUR MANIFESTO

I recently shared the draft version of this manifesto with you, The final version was released yesterday, and is every bit as good as expected. The screenshot below shows the scope of the document. Please do read it in full – primary sources are always better than secondary, even on those occasions when the authors of the secondary sources don’t have axes to grind.

LM

MORE ON THE LABOUR MANIFESTO

In this section I will share four links to posts concerned with the Labour Manifesto:

  1. Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK first response was this post, titled “Labour has delivered a good manifesto for the UK
  2. Following up on the above post, Prof. Murphy has also produced the following, titled “How to pay for renationalisation
  3. The Skwawkbox have produced a piece that combines commenting on the Labour Manifesto with showing the sheer desperation of the Tory response to it. This post also has an excellent accompanying graphic, reproduced below:
    con fake news grinder.png
  4. Jeff Goulding on RAMBLINGS OF AN ORDINARY MAN has produced a splendid piece titled “Labour’s manifesto: a triumph of leadership and hope over cynicism and despair“, a very detailed analysis accompanied with some excellent pictures, one of which I reproduce below:

JUNE 8TH

I have no objection to tactical voting where such represents a chance to be rid of a Tory. In certain seats, notably Brighton Pavilion which they already hold and the Isle of Wight among others I would unhesitatingly call for a vote for the Greens, given that they have stepped aside in no fewer than 30 seats to improve Labour chances there and that I have a great deal of time for the Greens. In my own constituency of North West Norfolk there is only one way for any progressively minded person to vote – for Labour Candidate Jo Rust. Make sure you use your vote on June 8th.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Just a few photos to end this post:

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Lot 1107 in James and Sons upcoming auction.
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1107-a – A Northern line train of 1956 stock.
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1107-b: The last two items in the album.
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Mama duck with her brood, the Gaywood River near Beulah Street.

A Little Bit of Many Things

A mixed bag of stuff – hope you enjoy it.

INTRODUCTION

Much of this post will be sharing finds from elsewhere, but there will also be some pictures of my own. I will be starting with politics,  moving from there on to transport, then some science and finishing up with some stuff about autism. Other than in this introduction most of the text will be coloured, and links as usual will be in bold and underlined. 

POLITICS

There is a particular reason why I am mixing red and green in this section and priveleging green by having it come first. The Greens have pulled out of a number of seats in the upcoming general election to make Labour’s task easier. These seats include at least one held by a current cabinet minister. I urge Labour to reciprocate by at the very least not fielding a candidate in Brighton Pavilion (the only seat currently held by the Greens), and preferably also by leaving a clear field for them on the Isle of Wight, and in a few other seats that the Greens are particularly targetting. In my own constituency of Northwest Norfolk Labour is the only party with a chance of unseating the Tory, and I will thankfully be able to vote Labour with a smile as they have very sensibly reselected the excellent Jo Rust as their candidate. My first two shares are both about Labour’s plans to deal with tax avoidance. The two pieces in question are:

I conclude this section with a reference to Labour’s manifesto, now in the public domain. I have read the document in full and urge you to do likewise by clicking here. As both an aperitif and a lead-in to the next section of this post I reproduce the transport section:

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TRANSPORT

A brief section, containing two important links. The first, from the Campaign for Better Transport is titled “Improving air quality: buses are key to success and details precisely how serious an issue air pollution is in the UK and how buses can help solve this.  The second piece I am sharing in this section comes from livescience.com and has the self-explanatory title “New Battery Could Power Electric Cars 620 Miles on Single Charge“.  Below is a picture of the battery taken from that article.

 

An illustration that shows how the new electric battery is stacked like a ream of paper.

Credit: Fraunhofer IKTS. 

SCIENCE

I have three recent finds to share, all courtesy of the Guardian. The first of these another link in the chain of whale evolution, published under the headline “36m-year-old fossil discovery is missing link in whale evolution, say researchers“. Here is the picture:

Two Mystacodon selenensis individuals diving down to catch eagle rays along the seafloor of a shallow cove off the coast of present-day Peru.

From water creatures we move to ancestors of flying creatures, with this piece titled Dinosaur tail trapped in amber offers insights into feather evolution” again accompanied by an excellent picture, reproduced below:

Having covered water creatures and the ancestors of air creatures we finish with land creatures, and the largest fossilized footprints ever discovered, with a diameter of 1.7 metres. These dinosaur footprints are located near Broome in northwestern Australia, a place I visited in 2006. The largest creatures living there these days are crocodiles which at an absolute peak might grow to a body length of six metres. The article is titled
World’s largest dinosaur footprints discovered in Western Australia” and accompanied by some good pictures, one of which I reproduce below.

The prints indicate enormous animals that were probably around 5.3 to 5.5 metres at the hip.

The prints indicate enormous animals that were probably around 5.3 to 5.5 metres at the hip. Photograph: Damian Kelly/University of Queensland/EPA

AUTISM

I have several pieces to share in this section, starting with two from americanbadassadvocates as follows:

My next share is from visualvox and has the self-explanatory title “Done with that autism spectrum “disorder” business

I finish this section with a link to piece from thesilentwaveblog. There is another very recent post from this same blog that will be featuring in the post I shall be producing for my birthday. As a clue I will tell you that due to the particular number it will be I am calling this birthday the “Douglas Adams Birthday”. Today’s link is to a post titled
Asperger’s / autism and microaggression” with the picture reproduced below:

PHOTOGRAPHS

Just a few photographs today, mostly of items going under the hammer at James and Sons next auction (full catalogue available here):

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Lot 359 – five images.

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Various cigarette card lots, all in the 1100s

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A 2016 £2 coin, commemorating the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London, the first I had ever handled (taken just before I handed over as part of a bus fare).

 

 

 

 

Why and how I blog

Some excellent ideas and advice on setting up a blog from one of my favourite bloggers…

the silent wave

Not too long ago, I received an email from a friend who passed along a forwarded message from a new WordPress user about how to go about starting up a blog and promoting it. Interestingly enough, this friend mentioned my name to this person (which is totally fine with me; I was surprised–in a good way–and honored).

Well, eager to help and share, I typed up what could be considered a small e-book in response, and emailed it back. My friend asked me if I would consider making a blog post out of my reply; the funny part is, I had already copy-pasted the email I sent into a separate file, to do exactly that: share it with others.

I meant to share it on my one-year anniversary of blogging, but I had forgotten, and lined up several other posts for publishing. Then I got to thinking howit might be…

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