Links, Pics and Puzzles

Lionks to various pieces I have found on the internet, an answer and solution to one problem and a new problem, and some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

This is a sharing post with some of my own stuff as well. I hope you enjoy it.

CROSSBOW BOLT STOPPED PLAY

Play between Surrey and Middlesex at the Oval has been halted and the ground has been locked down because a crossbow bolt was fired from outside the ground into the ground. Everyone at the ground is now in sheltered areas not out in the open. Armed police are now present at the ground. The match has now been officially abandoned, and a controlled evacuation of the ground is now underway.

SCIENCE AND NATURE

First a trio from wildlifeplanet:

  1. “Unreal Photos Of Animals From The Scandinavian Vicious Forest” – a piece highlighting the work of Finnish photographer Konsta Punka taking pictures of forest creatures:

  2. “Beach That Disappeared 33 Years Ago Has Reappeared” 

  3. “Here Is The Bird That Is Able To Fly For 10 Months Non-Stop (Video)” – a piece about the swift.

Hurricane Harvey has quite rightly received a lot of coverage. Here are three of the better pieces:

THE BEST BUS STOP

This bus stop is the subject of a post on illaboratoriodipleeny titled “Una meravigliosa fermata del bus….” that was brought to my attention by Anna, who was as impressed by it as I am. Here is the bus stop:

SOME POLITICAL PIECES

I start with a tool created by the Labour Party called the living wage calculator. You enter your postcode and it tells you how many people in your area would benefit from the minimum wage being increased to £10 per hour. Below is what is says about my postcode:LW

My next two pieces both come from the Skwawkbox:

A SOLUTION AND A NEW PROBLEM

In one of my posts on Monday I set a problem from brilliant. Here is I show the answer and an impressive solution. I also offer a new problem to end the section.

Thomas’ answer:

Screenshot 2017-08-31 at 5.51.15 PM

I admit to being lazy on this one – knowing that the internal angles of an octagon add up to 1080 degrees and that 7 x 90 = 630 I realised that with seven acute angles the remaining angle would have to be over 450 degrees, and the max is just under 360 degrees which takes you back to where you started. However 6 x 90 = 540 which means that the remaining two angles would have to add up to something in excess of 540 degrees, which is no great difficulty. Therefore I gave the correct answer of six (in less time than it has taken me to type this). However, one solver by the name of Atomsky Jahid produced a splendid effort:

Screenshot 2017-08-31 at 5.52.52 PM

A NEW PROBLEM

The mass extinction at the end of the Permian era is at the time of writing officially the largest in Earth’s history. An estimated 96% of all species on Earth at that time were rendered extinct. If the death rate in species that were not completely wiped out had been the same as the extinction rate what proportion of living creatures would have been wiped out in this event?

PHOTOGRAPHS

Guildhall
With Heritage Open Day coming up soon I decided to revisit these first two pics which feature thw town hall.

window

Greyfriars + wm
Greyfriars tower and the war memorial
Library
The library, taken today

P1040565

P1040566
A hald-moon in an early evening sky.
P1040564
The first of three closer up and enhanced shots of the half-moon.

P1040563P1040562Moorhen£2 - end of WWII

Auction Delayed

The rescheduling of an auction – a first in my time at James and Sons.

INTRODUCTION

Yesterday was the day on which James and Sons’ second August auction should have taken place. This post is about what actually happened.

TECHNOLOGY ISSUES

I arrived at Fakenham Racecourse precisely as planned, which was about the last occasion on that day that anything could be said to have gone to plan. We were slightly late getting things set up. Then my computer failed to connect to the racecourse’s internet as their set up is not secure enough for my computer’s liking. Another laptop having been located it then became apparent that we would not be able to run video, although the audio seemed fine. 

Just after lot 923 went under the hammer we finally and definitively lost our audio as well. Discussion with the folks at the-saleroom.com, which included them being given remote access to one of our computers failed to resolve the situation, and after 15 minutes attempting to resolve the situation we decided that the only option was to postpone the auction, so on Friday 8th September at 10AM we will be having an auction at our shop which will start at lot 924 and end at lot 1600. 

shop front

DAMAGE LIMITATION

Once the we had got the stuff back to the shop we got the auction officially rescheduled and I sent out a bulk email and a press release about the new auction. Here are both documents, and all the images used in their creation save for that of the record.

publicity
I know I got the date wrong on this one – I was very tired and failed to notice.

JAMES AUCTION ON SEPTEMBER 10THemailJAMES AUCTION ALERT92410011001-a1053-d1053-c10531053-a1053-b127314151415-a1415-b1415-c1415-d1600

A Classic Test Match

some thoughts about the recent test match between England and the West Indies, declarations and umpires.

INTRODUCTION

This post is devoted the second test match of the current England versus West Indies series, which ended at about 6:45PM on Tuesday. 

THE EARLY EXCHANGES

England batted first and reached 258 only because Ben Stokes (100) and Joe Root (59) were reprieved early in their innings by bad West Indies fielding. Kraigg Brathwaite (134) and Shai Hope (147) were the cornerstones of a the West Indies response, which eventually reached 427, a lead of 169. In the second England innings no-one reached three figures but there were solid efforts all the way down the line, and at 490-8 Joe Root decided to declare and give the West Indies a little session of batting just before the close of the fourth day. 

THE FINAL INNINGS

The West Indies made it to the close of the fourth day without losing a wicket. Brathwaite made 95 in this second innings, coming within five of becoming the first batsman ever to score twin centuries in a first-class match at Headingley (and this was the 534th such fixture at the ground), a feat that was finally achieved by player of the match Shai Hope, who also received support from Roston Chase (30) and Jermaine Blackwood (a rapid 41 in the closing stages) who ended up 118 not out, and appropriately enough scored the winning runs. 

There are two features that I am going to make specific comments about, starting with…

JOE ROOT’S DECLARATION

For all that the end result was not what he would have wanted I still say, as I said on twitter at the time, and again a day later when the result was imminent, that this was a good declaration, and that Root was entirely right to go for victory. I remember (though few others will as it was not actually a pafrticularly good match) the Australia v West Indies test match at Adelaide in 2009 when the West Indies were one match down in the series after being soundly defeated at the ‘Gabbatoir’ (a nickname for the Woolloongabba stadium in Brisbane, also known as the Gabba) based on what often happens to visiting teams there) but declined to declare, batting on into the final day. Australia faced a target of 330 off 81, and skipper Ponting decided to settle for the draw rather than going after this target. By the end of the day there were not many people left in the ground (I know whereof I write – I was one of the few who did stay right to the end). I condemn Ponting for this decision to preserve his team’s 1-0 lead in the series rathwer than trying to make it 2-0, as also I condemn the decision of Ryan Ten Doeschate today to extend the Essex second innings into the final afternoon rather than make a serious attempt to win the match by declaring at or even before lunch. PS when I wrote this paragraph I did not realise that Somerset’s “resistance” would be quite so utterly spineless – it now looks like Essex may get their victory after all.

While I do not quite as far as the legendary Sammy Woods (who played for Somerset in the lat 19th and early 20th centuries) who once responded to an enquiry about whether his team might have played for a draw in a game they ended up losing responded with “draws…they’re for bathing in” but I do not hold the draw in high regard and would much prefer a team take risks in the attempt to win than see them play safely for the draw. In the special case of a team being one match to the good going into the final match of a series I would condone a more cautious approach being taken, although Kevin Pietersen’s magnificent series clinching innings at The Oval in 2005 was hardly cautious!

To finish this section: Joe Root was justified in declaring when he did (as was David Gower at Lord’s in 1984 when the result was even more embarrassing for England, courtesy of a magnificent 214 not out from Gordon Greenidge), and this result stands to the credit of the West Indies batting, especially that of Brathwaite and Hope and not to the debit of Root’s declaration. 

SOME SENSIBLE UMPIRING

According to the strict letter of the law play in a purely day game cannot continue if the floodlights are providing more light than the natural light. I congratulate the umpires in this match for not acting with Emeritus Professor of Biosophistry like pedantry and curtailing play due to the light, thus depriving the West Indies of their well-earned victory. There seems little doubt that the light was bad enough to have warranted taking the players off, but the umpires realised given the match situation was such that the players should be kept out there. 

Here are a couple of links relating to this test match:

LOOKING AHEAD

The final match of this series should be good, and almost certainly will feature a moment of history as James Anderson goes into it with 497 test wickets to his credit. Then England have the task of taking on Australia in Australia. This is a seriously tough task, but I think that this England squad can do it.

PHOTOGRAPHS

As always I end this post with some of my own photographs:

squirrel 3squirrel 2squirrel 1wagtails

Science and Nature (and other stuff)

Some recent internet finds and some of my own photographs.

INTRODUCTION

This post features links to some recent internet finds and some of my own photographs. 

SOME SCIENCE AND NATURE LINKS

I start with a piece from mongabay which argues that “The Sixth Great Extinction” is actually “The First Biotacide“. Below is a picture from this article:

Steller’s Sea Cow holds the the world record for rapidity of extinction. Illustration from “Extinct monsters,” London: Chapman & Hall, 1896. Photo via Wikimedia Commons, licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The second piece in this section comes from thewildlifeplanet and is titled “Italian Super-Volcano Approaches Eruption

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

I have five links to share in this section:

  1. vlogexpedition have a piece about the world’s longest railway journey – that along the Trans-Siberian railway.
    4 days on the Trans-Siberian Train
  2. My next piece comes from Vox Political, who got direct from the person whose story it is, Paula Peters. The title of the piece “Bus driver subjects disability activist to humiliating discrimination” gives you a good idea of the nature of the story. British law on this matter is unequivocal – the bus driver is legally obliged to give wheelchair users priority over mothers with buggies (this courtesy of a court ruling in January). Given the completeness of the information Paula provides, the bus company in question have only one option open to them both legally and morally – they must sack the offending driver and must make sure that all their drivers are aware of their responsibilities to disabled passengers.
  3. I am treating my last three pieces in this section together, as all are connected with London Underground, all come from indy100.com and all have been pressed on to my London transport themed website. They are respectively:
    This is Officially the best Tube line
    Quiz: Can you name the London Underground line by its colour?
    This gif exposes the lies the London Tube map is telling you

FAB FOUR FINAL LINKS

First in this section comes a link to RobertLovesPi’s Blog for this piece titled “A Twisted Expansion of the Truncated Octahedron“, which features a very cool graphic. 

The Skwawkbox have produced an excellent piece titled “ATTACKS ON PIDCOCK SHOW MORAL BANKRUPTCY OF RIGHT – IN OR OUT OF LABOUR” Laura Pidcock is the recently elected MP for Northwest Durham and she has been making waves for her unashamed hostility to Tories and her criticisms of the cosiness and clubbiness of the House of Commons.

I started this post with a couple of science and nature related links, and now as we approach my photographs we are finishing where we started with stuff about nature, first of all Cindy Knoke with a wonderful post about a castle that has been dedicated to raptors, titled “Castle Rapture“.

With the last word before my photographs is Anna, who has recently posted part 13 of her amazing Paradise on Earth series, this time focussing on some of the smaller creatures who live in and around Trosa.

PHOTOGRAPHS

I will start this set of photographs with some of the smaller creatures I have recently captured, before finishing with some general pictures. These pictures were all taken yesterday.

white butterfly, yellow flowersTB on dandelion 3TB on dandelion2TB on dandelionBeeButterfly in nettlesButterfly and dandelionWhite butterfly on nettleWBTB1TBButterflybutterfly on nettleleaflike butterflyFlying buitterfliesred boattwo boatsBoatBoatsFlying gullmagpie 2magpie headmagpiesadolescent mallardMoorhen and chickMinis2Minis1Moorhen

 

What is Autism?

Some thoughts about autism provoked in a good way by anonymouslyautistic and a bad way by the folk at magiquiz.

INTRODUCTION

I am not going to attempt a scientific answer to the question in my title, merely to lay out some of my own thoughts. The original inspiration for this post was a post produced by anonymouslyautistic, titled “WHAT IS AUTISM – FROM AN AUTISTIC’S PERSPECTIVE” and brought to my attention by americanbadassactivistsAs readers of this blog will be aware I am branch secretary of the National Autistic Society’s West Norfolk branch as well as being autistic. 

 

WHAT AUTISM IS NOT

Among the things that autism is sometimes supposed to be but is not are:

  • A form of mental illness (more on this at the end of this section as you will see). 
  • A disorder
  • Something to be feared or worse still hated
  • Something that needs to be cured

I end this section with an example that absolutely shocked me when I saw it by way of twitter this weekend. I invite readers of this post to collectively identify everything they can find that is wrong with the formulation of the question below:

ableist question

If you click on the image you can go to the quiz, take it yourself and then post a comment (if you choose to do this please follow me in highlighting the problems with this question).

AUTISM AND ME

My unsuitability for front-line customer service and the difficulties I have with communication are down to autism. On the other side of the ledger my eye for detail, reflected in my photography among other things, my mathematical skills, my aptitude for working with computers and several other of my strongest attributes are also due to autism.

I will finish this section by reminding people that different does not necessarily mean less, and that we are autistic people – note the emphasis given to the second part of that designation.

PUZZLES

In this section I provide the solution to one puzzle and offer another for your inspection. Both are mathematical in nature. 

In ‘Midweek Mixture‘ I set the following puzzle:

The above table shows two putative sets of coin toss records, each for one coin tossed thirty times. Which is more like to be genuine based on what you can see?

a) series one
b) series two

To begin the solution, here is the table above with a column added:

coin tosses complete

You will see that the two sets of coin toss lists in the original problem were made up, but if you look at the results for the set of coin tosses I actually performed you will note that it looks much more like series two than series one – randomness is clumpier than we intuitively expect (the idea for this problem came from a book by Natalie Angier, in which she tells the story of a teacher who uses an experiment in which half of her class are assigned the task of inventing a series of coin tosses, and half of actually tossing coins and recording the result, while the teacher goes out of the room – and nearly always the teacher can tell the real from the fake). 

My new problem comes from the mathematical website brilliant:

octagon

PHOTOGRAPHS

As usual I end this post with some photographs, in this case featuring a family of swans I saw swimming along the Gaywood River yesterdary morning:

Swan familySwan family 2Swan family3Swan family 4Swan family 5young swanstwo swansyoung swanwhite swanwhite swan 2white swan 3Swansswans 2Swans 3

 

Coming Up: Heritage Open Day 2017

Official publicity for Heritage Day 2017 in King’s Lynn.

INTRODUCTION

I have mentioned Heritage Open Day 2017 several times in this blog, including the fact that I will be stewarding at 11-13 King Street between 12 and 2PM. The official pamphlet for the event is now out, and with just less than two weeks to go I take this opportunity to share it with you.

THE MAP

Here is the map that is in the middle of the pamphlet, to help you orient yourselves:

HOD map

THE PAMPHLET IN ORDER

This section shows the full pamphlet in all its glory:

HOD FCHOD introHOD 1-11HOD 12-20HOD 30-32 + HMktHOD map + busHOD on the river & 33-39HOD 40-49 (incl 11-13 King Street)HOD 50-62HOD 21-29HOD stories plus classic carsHOD BC

A COUPLE OF CLOSE FOCUSES

The first place I havce chosen to focus on is Hampton Court, where my aunt lives:

Hampton Court

I finish this post with 11-13 King Street:

11-13 KIng Street11-13 King StreetK&H11-13 King StreetPassageBeyond the passage

James and Sons First August Auction

An account of the first of James and Sons’ two August auctions.

INTRODUCTION

As I have previously mentioned the presence of a Bank Holiday at a crucial time means that James and Sons are having two auctions in August. The first took place yesterday and is the subject of this post. The second will take place on Wednesday, with setup happening on the Tuesday.

THE GOODS

For this first auction, which took place at our own premises on Norwich Street, Fakenham, the following items were going under the hammer:

  • Coins – lots 1-300
  • Stamps – lots 301-400
  • Postal History – lots 401-550
  • Cigarette Cards – lots 551-650
  • Postcards – lots 651-807

These lots would take somewhat in excess of five hours to sell at our usual rate of progress. 

THE DAY FROM MY ANGLE

With viewing advertised as starting from 8AM it was necessary for someone to be present from that hour of the morning. My colleague Andrew would be turning up to assist with the IT setup, which left me with a choice of two options:

  1. Get the 6:23 bus and arrive at the shop very early
  2. Get the 7:30 bus and arrive at the shop a bit later than ideal

Being me I preferred the first option, and duly unlocked the shop at 7:20AM. I made a coffee, checked my personal emails, knocked up a poster to explain what was going on (screenshot and link to original below):
warning poster800 LOT AUCTION

The originals were A4 sized – Arial Black 64pt in bold for this interested in such matters, and I produced 3 copies, one for a window towards the town centre end of the shop, one for the window at the opposite end and one to go with the regular closed/open sign on the door which was also set to closed. Next up came transferring everything needed for the setup downstairs, and doing as much as could be done at that stage. Then, just as I decided to turn the downstairs lights on and acknowledge my presence to the world in general my colleague arrived and we were able to complete the set up, and I fetched a couple of extra chairs from behind the shop so that we had seating for five room bidders. When the auctioneer arrived I was then able to connect up both the computers we were using for the auction (one is his laptop), switch them on, log in to the correct screens in each (the operator screen on his laptop which we use as that master computer and the auctioneer screen on the other), get the slideshow going on the big screen and precheck audio and video so that even if no one at atgmedia (they are seriously understaffed) managed to do an official check I would know that they were working. At 9AM the auctioneer asked me to make a preliminary announcement in case anyone was already logged on, so I did so. A second announcement at 9:30 was heard by someone at atgmedia who confirmed that audio and video were working. Just after this our first room bidder arrived and I issued him with a bidding card (and later added his details to our client database as a coin buyer) and gave some advice about car parks (although I am a non-driver I am well acquainted with the ways of car parks in Fakenham, and my advice was sound – if he wants to park free then go to Tesco where he could park free for three hours, which as a coin specialist would be enough to see every lot of interest to him go under the hammer, if happy to pay use the car park behind our shop). At 9:50 I closed down the operator screen on the main computer, and relogged in from scratch, a regular precaution that I take. Finally, the time reached 10:00 and the start of…

THE AUCTION

The coins by and large sold well, with several bidders in the room and some action online. The stamps were quiet although some did sell, including a Chinese stamp which went for £85. The postal history also started quiet, but a large number of the later lots sold to an internet bidder. Some of the cigarette cards sold. There were some good sales among the postcards, and others which attracted no interest elsewhere were knocked down to a postcard dealer with whom the auctioneer has a regular arrangement. Each time an item sold to an online bidder whose name I did not recognize I noted their surname, paddle number and area of interest so that whatever else I have time to do in that respect actual bidders will definitely be added to the client database. 

The last lot went under the hammer at about 2:30PM, and I then attended to clearing up the IT/ electronic equipment, and as my last work related action of the day sent an email written by the auctioneer to the buyer of postal history regarding some of the earlier lots in that section that he might have missed (he is based in the USA, so the first postal history lots went under the hammer quite early morning his time). 

In total those items that did sell had a combined hammer price of just over £3,900 which made it a good day. We wait to see what happens on Wednesday.

PHOTOGRAPHS

I will end with some pictures that relate to this post:

Auction stock full
The whole stock for this auction in one shot
Coins
The coins
Bulky lots
The bulky lots down on the ground
PH and CC
postal history and cigarette cards
CC
cigarette cards and postcards
28
Lot 28 – sold for over double the upper estimate (3 images)

28-a28-b

638
Lot 638 – I thought about bidding on this but decided not to – there is stuff on Wednesday that I want more than I want this.
1053
This is lot 1053, which will be going under the hammer on Wednesday (5 images)

1053-d1053-c1053-a1053-b

1549-a
Lot 1509 on Wednesday

1549-b

1222-a
Lot 1220 on Wednesday.

1222