Monday Miscellany

A mixed bag of an offering this Monday afternoon!

INTRODUCTION

This post will be every bit as varied as its title suggests, featuring a mix of politics, mathematics, music, nature and photography (and possibly more). 

SOME MATHS RELATED STUFF

I start with one of more recent followers, RobertLovesPi, and I have several pieces of his to share:

My next piece, courtesy of whyevolutionistrue is titled “The Coffer Illusion“, which concerns the picture below:

If the illusion defeats you, you can find out where the circles are by going to the original post. 

I finish this little section with a nod to the mathematical website Brilliant, which I am a regular visitor to (I am currently on a 64 day problem solving streak). As a sample here is a problem I solved today, rated at maximum difficulty by the site, pretty close to minimum by me:

Pythag

You can look at solutions to this problem on the website, and I will reveal the answer on this blog tomorrow. 

A FEW POLITICAL PIECES

There has been a lot of coverage from various people of events in Charlottesville. I choose to draw your attention to Richard Murphy’s excellent piece on Tax Research UK, titled “Charlottesville is a cradle of extremism: we should take note“. Below is a screenshot of the first few paragraphs:

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My second link is to the petitionsite, regarding a young women in El Salvador who having been raped and then had a miscarriage has then been jailed for 30 years due to the Catholic church influence anti-abortion laws of that country. The screenshot below is formatted as a link to take you to this petition to sign and if possible share it:

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I finish this section on a lighter note, courtesy of whyevolutionistrue. This little piece titled “Where is North Korea? Some Americans have no idea” reminds us how unacquainted USians are with that area known as the rest of the world! Here is a screenshot of the opening paragraph:
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PHOTOGRAPHS

I usually end my blog posts with some of my own photographs, but this photograph section has an additional feature – as a nod to the principal subjects of many of the photos that follow I offer you a musica prelude – Ottorino Respighi’s “The Birds”:

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I did not notice the white bird on the far side of the river until I was editing this one – I think from the shape and colour that is a Little Egret but the image is not clear enough to be sure.

Cormorants and swimming gullPollinator3Flybutterfly wingPollinator2white butterflyPollinator

Squirrel does Meerkat impression
This squirrel is clearly an impressionist – and his meerkat is very good!

Cricket, Music and Local Elections

Some cricket, some music including references to the Classic FM Hall of Fame, some stuff about upcoming local elections and some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

An odd combination of topics to appear in a title, but all will be made clear in the course of this post. There will of course be some of my photographs as well. 

CRICKET

The English cricket season is well underway. Because of an alteration to the structure of the two divisions of first class counties last season to a first division of eight teams and a second division of ten teams, it is now possible for all 18 first class counties to be in action simultaneously, as was not the case when there were nine teams in each division. Over this Easter weekend, for the first time since 1999 (the last season of the single division championship) all 18 of said sides have been in action. Glamorgan lost heavily to Worcestershire before today was underway. Leicestershire had also suffered an innings defeat at the hands of Gloucestershire. Essex and Somerset also finished early, a century from Alastair Cook anchoring Essex in their fourth innings chase of 255. Warwickshire only kept their match against Yorkshire alive into the fourth day because of some assistance from the weather, and having started the season with back to back innings defeats, and three shocking batting performances out of four innings, they must be considered heavy favourites for one of the relegation spots from division 1. Of the five remaining matches, Nottinghamshire are nearly done and dusted against Durham (since I wrote this Nottinghamshire have completed the job as expected, with nine wickets in hand), and it would also seem to be only a matter of time before Kent finish the job against Sussex (this match has also subsequently reached its predicted conclusion). A draw looks the most likely result in the Surrey versus Lancashire, although Surrey are not out of the woods yet. Hampshire and Middlesex also looks like being a draw, although again the Londoners are not quite safe yet. That leaves only…

DERBYSHIRE VERSUS NORTHAMPTONSHIRE

Overnight this also looked like a draw was the most likely result, with Derbyshire 128 runs to the good with 10 second winnings standing. However, some behind the scenes discussions obviously took place, since Northamptonshire spent the morning session of today feeding Derbyshire easy runs, handing Reece (168) and Godleman (156 not out) a new record opening stand for Derbyshire. A declaration at 351-1 left Northamptonshire two sessions to score 326 for victory. Whatever happens in these two session neither team will emerge from this match with much credit in my book. While Northamptonshire’s motivation was obvious, Derbyshire could easily have declined the offer, backing their batsmen to score off proper bowling. 

MUSIC

The long Easter weekend is when the Classic FM Hall of Fame is unveiled. It is assembled from listener votes. Each participant votes for their first, second and third favourite pieces of classical music, and the votes are all tallied up. The Hall of Fame comprises the top 300 pieces that emerge at the end of the process, and they are played counting down from 300 to 1 between 10AM and 10PM on each day of the weekend (it used when it first started to be 9AM to 9PM). This is the first occasion on which there has been a clash between the Hall of Fame and live cricket. I have resolved that clash by listening to the cricket when it has been on five live sports extra, and to the music at other times. The only exception to this was on Saturday afternoon, when it was time for…

MUSICAL KEYS

A shortage of available NAS West Norfolk Committee members meant that I was there for both sessions. The attendances were unsurprisingly low in both sessions. However, those who were able to make it had a good time. In the second session I renewed my acquaintanceship with Scratch 2, and next time I shall be moving on to another aspect of this program. Here are some pictures…

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Kirsten, one of the two people from Musical Keys who run these sessions, at a very impressive looking keyboard.

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I shall be adding some mathematics to the mix in two weeks time.

LOCAL ELECTIONS

Various places in the UK will be going to the polls on May 4th. Last time I mentioned this subject I said that I was between Labour and Green, and leaning towards Green. Since then, although I have yet to receive anything from any candidates a search of the King’s Lynn & West Norfolk borough council website turned up the following information about who was standing:

candidates

In view of the fact that there are three candidates in this list of four for whom I am absolutely unwilling to vote and that I regard failing to vote as unacceptable my vote will therefore go to Mr Collis, and I urge others who are voting in this election to cast their votes for Mr Collis as well.

Moving on from my own area, there also elections taking place much more extensively in Wales and Scotland. 

WALES

In Llanbadarn Fawr ward, Powys, the Labour Party candidate is none other than Mike Sivier of Vox Political, a fact which he announced in a post titled “Vote for Mike in the local elections!

– Vox Political’s Mike Sivier is standing as a Labour Party candidate for Powys County Council’s Llanbadarn Fawr ward – and there’s more to him than a nice smile [Image: Mike Sivier].

Today, Mike has put up another post about his candidacy under the title “Shadow cabinet minister is right – local elections are about CANDIDATES, not Corbyn“.

SCOTLAND

The big debate in Scotland at the moment is over whether or not there should be a second independence referendum (#IndyRef2) following the UK’s decision to withdraw from the EU, when Scotland was strongly pro-remain. It is not for me as a Sassenach to comment on whether or not Scottish independence is desirable since the only people who should be making decisions about the future of Scotland are the Scots, but I do believe that brexit is a sufficiently major change in circumstances as justify #IndyRef2, especially since one of the main claims of the no camp in 2014 was that an independent Scotland would not be able to join the EU. It would appear, if the article to which I link at the end of this section is anything to go on that the Tories seek to make the local elections in Scotland a sort of ‘pre-referendum’. Anyway, here courtesy of the website indyref2.scot, is a post that goes into detail on the issue, titled “Sending a message

Towards Indyref2…

PHOTOGRAPHS

I posted some photographs in the music section of this post, and I finish the post with some pictures mainly from outside…

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ENDNOTE – CRICKET REVISITED

During the time it took to put the above photos up both Middlesex & Hampshire and Surrey & Lancashire have shaken hands on the predicted draws. These means that only the ‘declaration bowling’ game between Derbyshire and Northamptonshire is still to be settled. 

Musical Keys

A personal account of yesterday’s Musical Keys at the scout hut on Beulah Street and a walk on either side of the session.

INTRODUCTION

Musical Keys sessions happened at the scout hut on Beulah Street yesterday. I was there both as NAS West Norfolk branch secretary and someone who enjoys the session. With it staying light later in the evening and yesterday being pretty benign for an early March day in England I got two good walks in on either side of my session.

GETTING THERE

I made a quick visit to King’s Lynn library before heading for the scout hut by way of the Broad Walk and the Sandringham Railway Path. I had sufficient spare time to take some photographs en route…

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This town centre cafe is the venue for an NAS West Norfolk coffee morning on Wednesday
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Here are some of the trees from which it takes its name, on the bank of the highly sculpted stretch of the Gaywood river that passes through The Walks.
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The library, fresh from recent repair works.
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The first of four flower pictures – all featuring crocuses.

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AT THE SCOUT HUT

I arrived with the youngsters session still in progress – here are some pictures I took before my session started.

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Before getting into details of what I did, I have a short subsection about…

A SPEAKER SYSTEM FROM Q BRANCH

This is best shown in a series of photographs…

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The speaker system in use
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Partially closed up – machine and bag of cables in the centre, the two speakers forming the sides of the case.
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And fully closed – a stout black plastic suitcase.

MY SESSION

I was on the computer, using Scratch 2. Once again I consider a series of photographs to do a better job than words…

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A modest but sufficient set up – I have eight notes on my chosen instrument (Cello) set to be played by pressing a, s, d, f, h, j, k, and l respectively, and various extras, including getting the cat avatar to move and draw, with the pen size increasing each time I pressed one particular key.

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THE JOURNEY HOME

Once the session finished, and the clearing up and locking up was done it was time for the walk back. I journeyed back by a different route, heading for Bawsey Drain, the Tuesday Market Place and King Street. Here are some photographs from this walk.

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Musical Keys

An illustrated account of yesterdays Musical Keys session at the Scout Hut, Beulah Street.

INTRODUCTION

Yesterday was a Musical Keys day for me and others associated with the NAS West Norfolk branch. Attendances were somewhat affected by the fact that an autism friendly event was also taking place at Norwich Castle. This post briefly covers the session I attended, from 4PM to 5PM (as usual there had been an earlier session for the younger ones).

GETTING THERE

I left my flat a little earlier than usual, opting for the Bawsey Drain route. I was carrying a guitar with me to donate to the group always assuming that it could be restored to usable condition (it was a long time since it had last been used). I picked up a few pictures along the way…

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THE SESSION ITSELF

John who runs the sessions confirmed that he could make the guitar usable again (it would need new strings but was still capable of generating good sound). Once the session started I found myself using a computer program called Scratch to generate notes. Each note is assigned a numerical value by the program, and you the operator then assign each of these numerical values to a button on the keyboard…

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My screen once I had assigned one octave worth of notes to various keys – this works on the ‘click and drag’ principle – the orange tabs at the top describe events, and the purple tabs describe sounds.
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The full list of numerical note values.

The default instrument is a piano, but there is a range of some 25 instruments available – I eventually settled on clarinet as my instrument of choice. There are then a whole range of other options available, such as programming the cat to move while you are playing notes and even it draw lines as it moves. Here are a few more pictures.

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I very much enjoyed this session, and I think this makes an excellent addition to real instruments. Although it was dark by the time I walked back, just before leaving I spotted an eight-legged friend…

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I got three images of this spider…

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A Grand Finale for the 65th King’s Lynn Festival

An account of the grand finale of the 65th King’s Lynn Festival, some splendid pictures from in and around King’s Lynn, a plethora of important links and some cool infographics.

INTRODUCTION

Hello and welcome to all who read this, old and new followers alike. As well as my title piece I have some excellent photos from in and around King’s Lynn, some very important links and a few infographics to share. I hope that some of you will be inspired to share this post in its turn.

A FINAL FLOURISH

Last night’s concert at the Corn Exchange, which brought the curtain down on the 65th King’s Lynn Festival was an unexpected pleasure in two ways. First of all, we had not (my mother and I) originally been going to attend it, but then at a previous concert a family friend had two tickets for this one that she could not use, so we ended up with them. The second sense in which it was an unexpected pleasure was that the star attraction of the evening was pianist Freddie Kempf and I am not the world’s greatest fan of piano music, so I had been a little concerned as to how the evening would go.

The stage pre-performance (obviously no pics once the evening was under  way!)
The stage pre-performance (obviously no pics once the evening was under way!)

I need not have worried – the Flanders Symphony Orchestra were quite magnificent, and at no point save in sections which were supposed to be solo did the piano (on which Mr Kempf delivered a spectacular performance) drown out the rest of the  orchestra.

All in all, this was an excellent way for a great festival to end. I have mentioned before in this blog that King’s Lynn as a town is good at public festivities, and it really showed with this festival.

A PICTORIAL INTERLUDE

Before moving on to the links section, here are some pictures from in and around King’s Lynn…

A huge black backed gull at close range.
A huge black backed gull at close range.

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A close up of the frontage of the new visitor's centre at King's Lynn bus station.
A close up of the frontage of the new visitor’s centre at King’s Lynn bus station.

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The new seating areas between the bus station shelter and the Lynn Museum
The new seating areas between the bus station shelter and the Lynn Museum

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Two boats moored at the jetty yesterday, this one, Blue Bird 2, which I had not seen before, and Kalyptos, a regular visitor.
Two boats moored at the jetty yesterday, this one, Blue Bird 2, which I had not seen before, and Kalyptos, a regular visitor.

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This year's blackberry harvest is going to be super massive if these bushes in Hardings Pits are anything to go on.
This year’s blackberry harvest is going to be super massive if these bushes in Hardings Pits are anything to go on.

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An albino duck
An albino duck

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One brave duckling spurned to wooden walkway down into the water!
One brave duckling spurned to wooden walkway down into the water!

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Some entertainment in central King's Lynn yesterday lunchtme.
Some entertainment in central King’s Lynn yesterday lunchtme.
"Of course the comfy chair is for me - I'm a cat"
“Of course the comfy chair is for me – I’m a cat”

LINKS

I am going to start with coverage of various petitions that are running at the moment.

PETITIONS

Within this subsection I am dividing things up yet further for reasons that I hope will become obvious.

TWO PETITIONS THAT RELATE TO WOMEN’S RIGHTS ISSUES

First in this little section, an update on the petition to get the Canadian authorities to deny “Roosh V” entry to their country, as we in Britain denied entry to Julien Blanc:

1)The current state of play on the petition itself.

2)A Canadian news piece relating to the above.

Second, the petition calling on Theresa May to establish a legal exclusionary zone around abortion clinics, again with two links:

1)The petition itself.

2)Simultaneously introducing what is to me a new blog, extremecrochet, and pointing you to an excellent piece, posted on that blog, that connects to the above petition.

NEWS ON THE GROUP B STREP PETITION

I am giving this a section to itself because as well as two links to share, I have some news of my own. Namely, that having responded to a call to write my MP I have received a response from Mr Bellingham indicating his willingness to support the Early Day Motion that relates to this petition. The links I have to share are as follows:

1)The petition itself

2)An article in yesterday’s Mirror that relates to this petition.

ONE FINAL PETITION

My last petition calls on David Cameron to remove Jeremy Hunt from his position on account of his offensive and out of touch comments about NHS workers.

POLITICS

First up in this section, a piece detailing some truly outrageous expense claims on the part of the Downright Dishonourable John Bercow. For the full details you will have to read the piece, but the single most outrageous claim was for £130 for a journey of 0.8 miles in each direction (i.e. 25 minutes walking time for both journeys combined given that Bercow is an able bodied man).

Next up, Vox Political’s latest post about the perfidies of the politician that site calls the Gentleman Ranker in honour of his previous military career.

Ending this section, a splendid piece from Tax Research UK.

SCIENCE

Cosmos Up have provided an excellent piece about the most earthlike exoplanet yet discovered:

1)Is there life on Kepler 452b…

2)A link to an infographic about potential homes of life discovered since 2009.

AUTISM

Last and in the chief place amongst my links I have two that relate to autism, both of which I got on to by way of twitter:

1)Details of a historic judgement from France.

2)This piece from autismclassroomblog.

INFOGRAPHICS

I have three infographics  and some more of my own photos with which to conclude the post…

A very revealing pie chart.
A very revealing pie chart.

Habitable Worlds Labour Movement

These last four pics are all of the King's Lynn Minster light show
These last four pics are all of the King’s Lynn Minster light show

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