The First Ducklings of 2018

Pictures of ducklings exploring the Gaywood River.

INTRODUCTION

I saw two broods of ducklings while on my way to a Musical Keys session on Saturday. 

THE PICTURES

I was delighted to see the ducklings, particularly in that location, on the Gaywood River, where they are far enough from the Great Ouse that they should not fall victim to large and aggressive gulls (yes, gulls do target ducklings).

Duck family outingDucklingspale ducklingducklingduck and ducklingFemale mallard with ducklingssix ducklings

Lot 1047

A detailed look at lot 1047 from James and Sons’ April Auction.

INTRODUCTION

When I did my post about James and Sons’ April Auction I said that I would be devoting a whole post lot 1047, an album of railway postcards that fell to me, and here it is.

IMAGING LOT 1047

I had time for only one close up in addition to a sample shot of four images, so this is what I did:

1047

1047-a

LOT 1047 IN DETAIL

Here are is a detailed look through look lot 1047:

Front Cover1234567891011121314151617181920

Welcome to Sunday Social

Another ‘Sunday Social’ courttesy of Rachel McKee….

Rachel McKee~Illuminated Literation

Sunday Social is a place to mingle, collaborate, and share our blogs. Sunday Social is one more place where you can share a post that maybe didn’t get as much feedback as you were hoping for. Sunday Social is a place to meet new bloggers.

This weekly post is a “wild card” of sorts. There aren’t many rules but I do ask that you follow a few guidelines.

  • Give honest, constructive feedback, but always be courteous.
  • If someone takes the time to comment on your post, please return the favor and check out their endeavors too.

How do you participate?

It’s very easy.

  • Copy and paste the link to your blog or a specific blog post in the comment section below.
  • Give us a little blurb about your blog, the feedback you are looking for, or if you are just hoping to meet some new blogger buddies.

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Cricket, Solutions and Photographs

Some cricket related thoughts, photographs and solutions to my most recent set of problems.

INTRODUCTION

I have a couple of cricket related things to share, a few photographs, and solutions to the puzzles I set in the post “Cricket, Photographs and Puzzles”. 

CRICKET

The third round of Championship matches were scheduled to start yesterday, but most did not get underway due to the weather, and those that did get underway were heavily affected by the weather. I have two other things to mention in this section:

WORLD CUP 2019 SCHEDULE

The schedule for the 2019 World Cup is now available to the public (see here for full details). The tournament is as usual spread out over far too long (starting at the end of May but not finishing until mid July) because the organisers will not stand up to the TV people and schedule multiple matches for the same day. In 2015 I put up a post demonstrating how a 16-team tournament could be scheduled to last no more than three and a half weeks, and I reproduce the text from that post below:

THE SUTCLIFFE FORMULA FOR ORGANISING A CRICKET WORLD CUP

There has been much talk at the Cricket World Cup about how the tournament should be formatted, especially given that there are those who would reduce it to a ten team tournament (so utterly harebrained a notion that I do no more than mention it). Several of the associate nations at this world cup have given good accounts of themselves, with Ireland having a strong chance of progressing to the quarter finals.

My formula for a Cricket World Cup would be as follows:

16 teams to play in the tournament. Stage one would involve two groups of eight teams, the top four from each group progressing. Each group would play its matches in sets of four (hence two groups of eight), making seven rounds of matches for each group, to played on alternate days (i.e. this stage would span two weeks, with each side having a day off between matches.

After the group stage would be a three day break before the quarter-finals, which would be played all on one day. After a two day break the semi–finals would take place. Then following another two day break the final would take place. This would mean that the tournament would be played in a period of three and a half weeks (a sensible length for a global tournament).

As for the TV people: If they don’t like it they can lump it.

A SUGGESTED ENGLAND TEAM FOR 1ST TEST MATCH

The early stages of this cricket season have been less than satisfactory, but I have some thoughts about an England team for the first test match nonetheless. In batting order:

  1. A Cook
  2. H Hameed – Mark Stoneman has had ten test matches without producing a serious score, and the fact that he has reached 50 five times but not gone beyond 60 is enough for me to call time on him. Hameed is restored to full fitness (it was injury that ciost him his place after an encouraging start to his test career) and should be given another chance.
  3. J Bairstow, playing as a specialist batsman (he is plenty good enough to do so).
  4. J Root (Captain)
  5. D Malan – one of the few England test batsmen to be able to claim a successful tour of Australia and New Zealand.
  6. B Stokes 
  7. M Burgess (wk) – a fine wicketkeeper, and in what is currently a very exclusive club of batsmen who have produced two major scores this season. 
  8. S Curran – a left-arm pace bowler who has been knocking on the door. The fact that he bowls with his left-arm will lend variation to the seam attack.
  9. J Leach – finally given a chance in the last test of the New Zealand leg of the tour, he bowled well and must surely be persevered with.
  10. S Broad
  11. J Anderson
  12. D Bess – stranger things have happened than an English pitch in May warranting the selection of two spinners, so Bess gets the nod as 12th man. Incidentally, controversial as it would be, the person who would have miss out were I going the two spinners route is Broad, going for a new-ball combo of Curran and Anderson.

Of the three players who went into the Ashes tour as England players and who do not feature above James Vince may yet redeem himself by producing some huge scores for Hampshire, while Stoneman and Ali are as far as I am concerned firmly in the category of ex-England players.

PHOTOGRAPHIC INTERLUDE

We now change focus, and I am marking this with some photographs. There will be more after I have presented solutions to the problems I left you to tackle.

Gull on chimneytwo gullsBird on The Granaries roof

OSSA1
During the fine weather last week I used the ‘outside study area’.

OSSA2White Butterfly in flightFlowers 1Flowers 2Red FlowersFlowers 3

SOLUTIONS

All of these problems were taken from brilliantThe first was:

MATCHSTICKS

matchsticks

First the answer:

matchstick answer

Now here is Marvin Kalngan’s published solution:

Kalngan

SOLUTION 2: CLEAR ICE

Here is the problem:

Clear Ice

And the answer:

clear ice

SOLUTION 3: POLYOMINO

The problem:

Polyomino

The answer:

polyominoa

I solved this one the lazy way – I noted that shape B very easily forms a rectangle, and after visualising various assemblages of shape A and noting that none were rectangular I opted for B only given that this is a Basic level problem. Stefan van der Waal published this solution:

van der Waal

SOLUTION 4: CONVERGENCE

The problem:

Convergence

The answer:

CVergence

Since the sequence involves numbers between 0 and 1 being multiplied together, and such numbers multiply to produce smaller numbers, the series actually converges on 0.

SOLUTION 5: CUBE

The problem:

Cube

The answer: 

Cubesol

I solved this as follows:

1)Because you are specifically allowed to rotate the cube you can see every individual block that appears on the outside…
2)This means that the only blocks that can you cannot see are those wholly inside the cube…
3)…Which since the surface layer is 1 block thick, and occurs twice in each direction amounts to a 4 x 4 x 4 cube…
4)…Therefore 64 blocks are invisible, which means that (216-64) = 152 blocks are visible.

To end this section here is Aaa-Laura Gao Gao’s solution:

ALGG

FINAL PHOTOGRAPHS

For those of you who have made it to the end:

White butterflyRiver view IRiver view IIWBNar Meets OuseSmall Tortoiseshell XVSmall Tortoiseshell XVIOuse Rowers IOuse Rowers IIBaden PowellBaden Powell IIMallard pair on Great OuseMariners cornerFriar NicholasMariners corner IILower Purfleet

 

A Three Day Auction Extravaganza

An account of James and Sons’ April auction – very successful overall, and to my immense relief free of any technical issues.

INTRODUCTION

This week saw James and Sons’ April auction, a three day affair on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Overall it was very successful, with a couple of disappointments, but lots of sales. 

DAY 1: SPORTING MEMORABILIA, BOOKS AND EPHEMERA

In order to avoid being rushed during the preliminaries I caught the first bus of the morning, and got to the shop at 7:10AM. I attended to an urgent query first thing, and then it was time to complete the IT setup. To my great relief there were no hitches at all, and everything was in working order. During this period the auctioneer also briefed me about the May auction, and what was required in terms of imaging a very large quantity of military badges. In view of this I decided that I would have to leave some of the railway photographs unimaged, although it was a necessity from an ethics point of view to image lots 1203-12 as I was intending to buy a couple from that range, and it would not do for there to be any suggestion of influencing things in my favour by not making images available to the public. 

We got underway bang on schedule at 10AM, and while there were no headline making prices a decent quantity of the sporting memorabilia did sell. Then came some books, and a few big sales. Lot 260 had an estimate of £50-75 but vigorous internet bidding pushed the final price up to £220.

260
Lot 260 – old and rare, and a big hit (two images)

260-a

Willie Hoppe’s “Thirty Years of Billiards”, lot 279, was in with an estimate of £20-30, but caught the eyes of online bidders to such an extent that the final hammer price was £180!

279
Lot 279 (three images)

279-a279-b

Less dramatically, lot 282, Levi Riso’s “Billiards in a Lighter Vein” had an estimate of £15-20 and actually fetched £30.

282
Lot 282 (two images)

282-a

Lot 302 had an estimate of £10-20 and went for £30.

302
Lot 302 (three images).

302-a302-b

Near the end of the first day lot 340, a curious little item, attracted no interest from anyone other than me:

340
Lot 340 – my first purchase of this auction.

340-a

After lunch I started work on the badges for the May auction.

DAY 2: COINS AND MILITARIA

Another early arrival, and another hitch-free preliminary before going live at 10AM. We had three coin buyers in the room, and some internet interest, so the coins sold well. Lots 475, 501 and 695 all went signifiantly above estimate, and most of of the other coin lots also found buyers.

475
Lot 475
501
Lot 501 (two images)

501-a

695
Lot 695

We had a 15 minute break between the coins and the militaria, which kicked off in style with lot 700. Lots 704, 705, 711, 719, 727, 761, 802, 823, 824, 828, 830, 831, 832, 837, 838, 844, 846 and 847 all also went significantly over estimate, and almost none of it remained unsold. 

700
Lot 700 (two images) – £470 hammer price

700

704
Lot 704 (four images) – est £100-200 actual hammer price £440!

704-a704-b704-c

705
Lot 705 (four images) est £60 – 80, actual £120

705-a705-b705-c

711
Lot 711 (two images) – estimate £15-20, actual price £55

711-a

719
Lot 719 0- estimate £35-40 – actual price £85.
719-a
This close up of the two rings was in response to a query.
727
Lot 727 – est £15-20, actual £50
761
Lot 761 est £60-80, actual £150.
802
Lot 802 – only just above top estimate, but the buyer was somebody to whom I had sent an image of the reverse of this badge in response to a late query.

823-a

823
Lot 823 – a holster with no gun – est £10-15, actual £28.
829
828
831
831
832
832
837
837
838
838
844
Lot 844 – These images (alo incl those for 846 and 847) were suppliued by the vendor, along with descriptions

844-a

846
846
847
847

DAY THREE: POSTCARDS AND RAILWAY POSTCARDS

I arrived early once again, did some badge imaging and then paid a visit to Tony’s Deli (Thursday is market day in Fakenham, and this food stall is excellent value for money). For the third straight day there were no hitches in the preliminary stage – although I was not especially happy about doing the official sound check at 9:57, not least because I already knew it was working. A couple of early postcard lots (856 and 857) achieved big prices, and most of the postcards found buyers. 

856
Lot 856 sold for £80
857
Lot 857 sold for £100

The other notewaorthy postcard lot was 1047, which became my second purchase of the auction. I will at some stage be giving this lot a whole post to itself, but here are some pictures for the present:

1047
These are modern reproductions rather than original pictures, hence why no one else showed any interest in this item.

1047-a

ML ex 1047
An old Metropolitan line train near Wembley.
NL ex 1047
Abstract art featuring a Northern line train of 1959 stock
PL ex 1047
A picture of one of the original ‘gated stock’ trains that ran services on what was then the Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway – this scene would have taken place in 1906 or not long after.

The Railway Photographs did not attract any interest, although this was not helped by the fact that the auctioneer was hurrying through them. The only three to sell were all bought by me – lot 1071 (locomotive at Haworth), 1208 and 1209 (respectively arriving at and leaving Mallaig – for more on this journey go here):

1071
The images available to the public (three per lot – nine in total).

1071-a1071-b12081208-a1208-b12091209-a1209-b

1071h
And to finish, now that the items are bought an paid for, unwatermarked images taken at home (three in total)

1208

1209h
The departure from Mallaig, with Skye visible in the background.

A few more badges imaged for the May auction, and I was able to make my last ever journey on a Stagecoach X29 (on Tuesday, when I return to work it will be on a Lynx Bus number 49, since squillionaire bus company Stagecoach have deemed their Norfolk services insufficiently profitable and bailed out on them),.

Beyond The Ice Limit (Book Review)

A review of Douglas preston and Lincoln Child’s “Beyond The Ice Limit” – an example of the best kind of science fiction.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to my review of this recent book by the team of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. As so often with books reviewed here I found it courtesy of a library (in this case Fakenham library, which is a couple of minutes walk from where I work).

PUTTING THE BOOK IN CONTEXT

Beyond The Ice Limit is a sequel to the The Ice Limit, and also an addition to the Gideon Crew series, but has also been carefully crafted by its authors to work as a stand alone novel. 

The phrase ‘ice limit’ refers to those latitudes in which there is sea ice all year round (at least until climate change renders it meaningless).

As this story starts, an alien life form has been slowly developing on the floor of the Southern Ocean for a period of five years, and Eli Glinn, who was inadvertently resonsible for the alien life form taking root, is now leading a mission to kill it before it can destroy the world. One of those who he ropes in is Gideon Crew, who has only a few months left to live. 

Glinn and his team head south on a huge research vessel with a two-part plan – first find out whatever they can about the alien life form, and then use that knowledge to destroy it. The reason for this approach is because the ‘seed’ from which this alien emerged was actually a huge meteorite, weighing 25,000 tons, and there is only one such ‘seeds’ could be dispersed into space – by the destruction of the host planet (yes, this alien is the ultimate parasite). 

Among their equipment are the components for a nuclear weapon (the explanation for how they have acquired such is that in certain former satellite states anything is for sale if you have sufficient money). 

Since the creature is living two miles below the surface of the sea they also have four DSVs (Deep Sea Vehicles – more sophisticated versions of the bathyscaphe) for carrying out research. These for DSVs are painted yellow on the outside, and hence have been named George, Paul, John and Ringo.

Eventually they discover that the alien, dubbed The Baobab, has no brain of its own, but instead commandeers the brains of others (the first clue comes when they decode messages put out in the form of blue whale calls, which translate as “kill me” – a message that the current brain being used by the Baobab manages to put out). They also discover that deep below the sea floor are six egg-like structures which at their centers appear to have human brains. Five of these they can account for, because three headless bodies were discovered in the wreck of the Rolvaag, the ship that was carrying the meteorite when it broke open, and two of their own people have been taken by the Baobab, and an autopsy of one revealed that her brain had been extracted. 

Gideon Crew gets launched on what he fully expects to be a suicide mission, to trigger the nuclear device directly above the Rolvaag in order to cause enough of an explosion to destroy the Baobab in its entirety, just before infected crew members (the Baobab sends out parasitic worms which take up residence in the brains of those they infect, causing them work for the Baobab) seize control of the ship. 

Unfortunately another infected crew member is in the only intact DSV other than the one Gideon is piloting, and so Gideon prevented from carrying out his intended plan, but the nuclear device ends up on the Rolvaag, and the explosion is (apparently) sufficient to kill the Baobab.

With the Baobab dead, the parasitic worms also die, and the brain of the alien that it had commandeered is finally released, and sends a thank you message to the people of who have released it before it too dies.

SPECULATIONS

While the manner of its arrival and emergence makes it clear that the Baobab is a product of a process that has destroyed at least one planet already (by breaking it up so the ‘seeds’ can be dispersed) there is a question of whether this parasitic system has accounted for even more planets (either because the planet from one of whose inhabitants the Baobab commandeered a brain was not the first to have been subjected to this process, or because some of other ‘seeds’ from that occasion did hatch and destroy their new host planets). The second part of the question is clearly unanswerable, but I would incline to the Baobab being a ‘second generation’ of its type because there are a couple of things that would have made it even better at what it seeks to do than it is:

  1. Although it is somehow able to commandeer brains to make up for its own lack of such it is not able to completely subdue said brains to its requirements – remember the message that the alien brain manages to get to the team.
  2. Although the worms work perfectly in terms of getting everyone they infect to act on behalf of the Baobab they have no capacity for identifying the significance of those they infect – had their first victims been Eli Glinn and Gideon Crew then the mission would almost certainly have been doomed to failure.

FINAL THOUGHTS

This book represents the very best of science fiction: there is nothing that definitely flouts any laws of science, and none of the events are impossible to believe. The story is never less than compelling (I have actually read it twice in the space of a week, and the second reading was at least as satisfying as the first, and with a memory like mine there could have been nothing new in that second reading), and the actual scientific theories that come for discussion are well and interestingly presented. I believe that given its component parts this book could not have been improved on, and hence were I permitted to review in the place where reviews carry a star rating (I am not because the copy I read was not purchased through them) I would unquestionably give it the full five stars.

Beyond The Ice Limit

 

Welcome to Sunday Social

For those who are interested here is an opportunity to publicise your blog…

Rachel McKee~Illuminated Literation

Sunday Social is a place to mingle, collaborate, and share our blogs. Sunday Social is one more place where you can share a post that maybe didn’t get as much feedback as you were hoping for. Sunday Social is a place to meet new bloggers.

This weekly post is a “wild card” of sorts. There aren’t many rules but I do ask that you follow a few guidelines.

  • Give honest, constructive feedback, but always be courteous.
  • If someone takes the time to comment on your post, please return the favor and check out their endeavors too.

How do you participate?

It’s very easy.

  • Copy and paste the link to your blog or a specific blog post in the comment section below.
  • Give us a little blurb about your blog, the feedback you are looking for, or if you are just hoping to meet some new blogger buddies.

Voila! That’s it.

View original post 46 more words