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:

charlottesville

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:

Screenshot 2017-08-14 at 3.29.29 PM

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:
Screenshot 2017-08-14 at 3.39.40 PM

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”:

cormorants and boatCormorants8Cormorant headsCormorants6Cormorants4Cormorants3Cormorants2Cormorants1Cormorants and gull 5Cormorant4Cormorants11Cormorants 10Cormorants and gull3TerngullCormorant3Cormorant2

Cormorant
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!

Bird Pics on the #Inglorious12th

A post for the #Inglorious12th, featuring the right kind of bird shooting – that done with a camera.

INTRODUCTION

Today is August 12th, which is for well-heeled British hooligans the start of the grouse shooting season, known to them as “The Glorious 12th”. For folk like me, who view those who derive pleasure from taking pot shots at birds with utter contempt it is therefore the #Inglorious12th.

SHOOTING BIRDS THOMAS STYLE

I choose to mark today by posting pictures of birds shot the only acceptable way – with a camera. Most of these are from this morning, but I am also including some older pics.

Little Egret 1
The Little Egret that featured a couple of weeks back.
Magpie
A magpie on the path alongside the Great Ouse
wagtail
I was at the racecourse before my colleague arrived with a key, and this wagtail caught my eye while I was waiting.

small wadersmall wader2small wader3small wader4small wader5small wader6

CP1
The first of the new pictures – this and the final cormorant pic are in their correct positions, but some of the rest of the cormorant series are out of order.

Cormorant posing 1Cormorant posing 2Cormorant posing 3CormorantCP2CP3CP4CP5CP6two cormorantsCP and West Lynn churchFlying gullsRavenMoorhen in algaeJuvie moorhen

Jay1
I finish with this Jay – two live photographs and the relevant page from my bird book.
Jay2
The close-up shot.

Jay book page

 

 

Monday Madness 1: Science and Nature

A post largely devoted to nature, featuring links to Anna’s “Paradise on Earth” series of posts, a couple of infographics, a petition and some my own nature pics.

INTRODUCTION

This is the first of several posts I will be putting up today. I will start by bringing you up to date with Anna’s magnificent “Paradise on Earth” series which now runs to 12 posts, then I have a couple of twitter images to share with you, and at the end I will include some of my own photographs. 

PARADISE ON EARTH

I covered the first three posts in this series in The Fight To Save Trosa Nature, reblogged part 4 in full here, and then put up another post featuring parts 4 and 5. Since then Anna has continued to showcase the Tureholm Peninsula’s wildlife as follows:

  • Part 6 – continuing to feature birds. I include the Mistle thrush picture below as a sample:
  • Part 7 – another post about birds, including this crane:
  • Part 8 – focusses on slugs and snails, including the beauty below:
  • Part 9 – A more general pieces showing a wide range of local animals, including the moose pictured below:
  • Part 10 – focusses on the butterflies that live in the area, including the rare Apollo butterfly shown below:
  • Part 11 – A few more butterflies, including the one below:
  • Part 12 – focusses on water creatures, including the stickleback below:

INFOGRAPHIC 1: ICE-FREE ARCTIC?

This is by way of a warning of what our species is doing to this planet, and since it concerns the Arctic it follows on naturally from the stuff about the Tureholm Peninsula:

AI

INFOGRAPHIC 2: ON SPECIES

This one shows an illogicality in our classification of species by showing side by side three species of cat that share 95.7 of their DNA, and are therefore quite correctly considered members of the felidae and two species that share over 98% of their DNA but are classed as members of different genera. The reason the second pair of species are classed as more widely split than the first trio has nothing to do with logic and everything to do with religion (and Carolus Linnaeus, also known as Carl Von Linne, the pioneer of our system of classification admitted as much in the 18th century btw):

DNA

A PETITION REGARDING UK ZOOS

UK Zoos are still treating their animals badly, and there is now a petition on thepetitionsite calling on DEFRA to crack down on misery in UK Zoos. As one who cannot remmeber when I last visited a UK zoo (the last zoos I visited anywhere were those in Melbourne and Adelaide, both of which treat their animals well and give them space to move, in 2009-10) I urge you to sign this petition and help increase the pressure being applied.

zp

SOME OF MY OWN PHOTOGRAPHS

I finish this post with some of my own recently taken photographs:

Cormorant and Caspian Gullsposing cormorantCormorants2Cormorants and gullCormorant convocation 2

Grasshopper
This grasshopper being on the path frather than in the grass made it easier to spot and photograph.

Flying Herring Gull 2Flying Herring GullMoorhen2Pollinator 1Birds3Birds2Blackbird2

 

 

A Variety Post

A mixed bag of a post, featuring local politics, libraries, autism, science, nature and photography.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to this post in three parts. I am going to start by mentioning a local election that took place in my area today and in which I voted, then I will be mentioning an event that will be taking place at Gaywood Library (one of four such establishments in Norfolk that I visit at least semi-regularly) and I will finish up with some links to do with nature which will lead naturally to some of my photographs.

A FORCED BY-ELECTION

The election in which I voted today happened due to the laziness and arrogance of the incumbent councillor, who in spite of living just across the road from the Town Hall never attended meetings.

Four candidates were in the contest, in alphabetical order:

Rob Archer of the Green Party
Francis Bone of the Labour Party
Helen Russell-Johnson of the Liberal Democrats
Mike Taylor of the Conservative Party

In the ordinary course of events my inclination, especially given that the displaced councillor had been from the Labour Party would have been to vote for Mr Archer. However, the Liberal Democrat candidate happens to be my aunt. Therefore I voted for her.

I have started this post by covering this election for two reasons:

  1. I want to make it clear to the Liberal Democrats that I voted for my aunt IN SPITE of the fact that she was representing them not because of it.
  2. Also, just in  case Mr Archer happens to be reading this, I hope he will take it as both explanation and apology for not having voted for him on this occasion.

I conclude this section of the post with a picture of my Political Compass certificate (it is free and does not very long to answer the questions which are used to assign your score):

Political Compass Certificate

THE GAYWOOD LIBRARY EVENT

The event at Gaywood Library is a Business Evening at which I hope it will be possible to raise the subject of the Autism Hour, one of the National Autistic Society’s recent initiatives. I have already confirmed that I will be in attendance. Here are a couple of pictures to end this section:

Personalised SymbolPublic Libraries DisplayPL coinPL stamps

SOME NATURE PIECES

My nature links naturally divide into three segments, with a few photographs of my own forming a fourth. We will start with…

A NEW DINOSAUR FIND

This story courtesy of scienmag.com is about a dinosaur that has been named Albertavenator Curriei (“Currie’s Alberta Hunter”, named in honour of Canadian paleontologist Dr Philip J Currie). Below is a representation of this creature by Oliver Demuth:

IMAGE
Credit: Illustrated by Oliver Demuth. © Oliver Demuth

OPPOSITION TO TROPHY HUNTING

Stan Kroenke, current owner of Arsenal Football Club, has just launched a new TV channel devoted to blood sports. I have two links to share, and some words for Arsenal fans at the end:

  1. A Guardian piece titled “Trophy hunting is vile. Stan Kroenke’s TV channel must be banned” which gives full detail on this.
  2. A change.org petition aimed at the sponsors of Arsenal Football Club asking them to withdraw support and so help force Kroenke out, screenshot below:
    KroenkeOut

For ordinary Arsenal fans my suggestions are simple – boycott all home matches until Kroenke goes, and if you are a season ticket holder return your ticket and demand a full refund, making it clear that you will return if and only if Kroenke is no longer involved with the club.

MORE ON THE FIGHT TO PROTECT TROSA NATURE

This morning I reblogged Part 4 of Anna’s series of “Paradise on Earth” posts highlighting the wildlife that can be seen around Trosa and the Tureholm Peninsula. Since then she has added yet another post to that series, and I include links below:

  1. Part 4, concentrating on birds including the Osprey shown below.
  2. Part 5, also dedicated to birds. I have chosen as my sample image a Linnet.

Finally, to end this section, and the post as a whole we have some of…

SOME OF MY LOCAL NATURE THEMED PICTURES

Mother and childMoorhen3 CormorantsCormorantCormorants at waters edgeCormorants and gullsMoorhen in upper purfleet

Little Egret 1
I close this post by revisiting the Little Egret.

Kalla den änglamarken – Paradise on Earth part 4

The morning after I posted about the fight to save Trosa nature Anna is back with more pictures of protected birds from the Tureholm Peninsula who find themselves threatened by greedy road builders…

Annas Art - FärgaregårdsAnna

Här kommer bilder på ännu fler fridlysta sjöfåglar som bor på Tureholmshalvön, som tyvärr inte kan föra sin egen talan när stora markägare och kommunens politiker har bestämt sig för att bygga 670 nya hus där idag fåglar och andra skyddsvärda djur bor. När husen kommer upp måste de förmodligen leta nya boendeområden. De tänkta framtida Trosaborna i de tänkta nya husen på Tureholmshalvön, som kanske drömmer om naturnära boende kommer alltså kanske inte att ha särskilt mycket natur kvar att bo nära.

More pictures of protected sea birds in Tureholm peninsula. They can´t speak for themselves when landowners and politicians decides to exploit the landarea they live in. When the exploitations becomes reality the animals probably have to move somewhere else. The future citizens in the new houses maybe dream of living near nature. But when the houses are up there may not be a nature left to live…

View original post 158 more words

The Fight to Save Trosa Nature

Some links to posts about the fight to save Trosa nature and a few of my own pictures from today.

INTRODUCTION

It will be no news to regular followers of this blog that I have been supporting Anna in her fight to protect nature in her part of Sweden for some time. In this blog post I share links to some of her recent posts on this issue, and urge you to follow them up. At the end there are some photos of mine from today featuring creatures I saw while out walking this morning.

SETTING THE SCENE –

VICTOR, YANNO & DUNNO

The beautiful area of Sweden in which Trosa lies is threatened by a proposal to build a big new road which will bring large amounts of money to a few and destruction of priceless natural beauty as an inevitable consequence. This tale sets out the story of the road building plan through three characters, Victor, Yanno & Dunno. The feature graphic shows Yanno & Dunno as puppets being controlled by Victor:

ANNA’S REASONING

Anna laid out the case for her side in a post published on July 17 with the title “Därför vill vi spara naturen i Trosa – Why we want to save Trosa nature“. Below is the feature infographic from that post:

TROSA’S NATURE

Anna has produced three posts in quick succession showing some of the nature that is on show in her part of the world. We start with:

Kalla den Änglamarken –

Paradise on Earth part 1

As a sample of what you can look forward to seeing in this post I have selected the Sea Eagle picture:
As you might logically expect the next post is…

Kalla den änglamarken –

Paradise on Earth part 2

This time your sample picture is of a seal:

Finally, to bring you right up to date we have…

Kalla den änglamarken –

Paradise on Earth part 3

This third post about the wildlide of Trosa and the Tureholm Peninsula is devoted to birds. My bait to lure you in is a Heron…

SOME OF MY PICTURES FROM TODAY

I finish this piece with some pictures from earlier today, starting with…

A LITTLE EGRET SEEN IN THE RIVER NAR

The point where the River Nar joins the Great Ouse is about 10-15 minutes walk from the centre of King’s Lynn, and I regularly see interesting stuff there, but before today I had not seen a Little Egret there (as well as the two pictures I took of the bird I have a picture of the relevant page of my bird book):

Little Egret 1Little Egret 2Bird Book

My second set of pictures are…

A SNAIL, A DUCKLING AND A HOVERING INSECT

SnailDuckling

Hovering insect
The footpath above which this little beauty was hovering does not make a great background, bjut I hope you can see the delicate wings that keep that body airborne.

 

 

 

A Tale of Two Cricket Matches

An account of two recent cricket matches involving England and South Africa, first the England men’s humiliation at Trent Bridge, and then the nailbiter of a Women’s World Cup semi-final at Bristol.

INTRODUCTION

Both of the matches of my title were cricket matches between England and South Africa. The first was the test match between the men’s teams, and the second was the women’s world cup semi-final. A couple of notes about links in this piece:

  1. All cricket related links are to cricinfo, and…
  2. Some links are in red – these are to video footage.

IT WAS THE WORST OF TIMES

England had won the first test match of the series handily, with Joe Root scoring 190 in his first innings as England captain and Moeen Ali being player of the match for his first inning 87 and match haul of 10-112. Among England’s male players only Ian Botham with 114 not out and 13-106 v India in 1979 has topped Ali’s all-round haul in a single game (Enid Bakewell was the first player of either sex to combine a match aggregate of 100 runs with a haul of 10 or more wickets, hence the earlier caveat). 

Thus at Trent Bridge England should have been strong favourites. South Africa won the toss, batted first and made 335 in their first innings and England by bad batting handed South Africa a lead of 130, South Africa extended this to 473 with two days to play before sending England back in, messrs Elgar and Amla having demonstrated how to make runs on this pitch, each batting a long time. England’s second innings was quite simply shambolic, with batter after batter handing their wickets away. Four wickets down by lunch on the penultimate day it worse afterwards, with England being all out for 133 at approsimately 3PM. South Africa, having given themselves two days to dismiss England a second time had required less than two full sessions and were victors be 340 runs. 

ENGLAND’S MISTAKES

The first mistake England made was with the selection of the side. According to the powers that be Moeen Ali is happier as a second spinner than as either a sole spinner or as first spinner. However I find it hard to believe that even he could really consider himself no2 to Liam Dawson. Dawson is an ill thought out selection reminiscent of the dark days of the 1990s. For his county he averages in the low thirties with the bat and the high thirties with the ball, so even at that level he comes out as clearly not good enough in either department to warrant selection – the reverse of the true all-rounder. If a pitch warrants two spinners (and no Trent Bridge pitch in my lifetime ever has) the other spinner should be a genuine front-line option such as Dominic Bess (first class bowling average 19.83 per wicket – what are you waiting for selectors?). The other logical alternative would have been to bring in an extra batter (there are any number of possibilities) to strengthen this department. England’s batting in both innings smacked of panic. Other than Root whose 78 in the first innings was a gem and Cook who played well for a time in the second no England batter is entitled to be other than embarrassed by the way they played in this match. The scorecard, in all it’s gory detail, can be viewed here.

IT WAS THE BEST OF TIMES

On what should have been the final day of the men’s test match but for England’s spinelessness the women’s teams convened at Bristol for a world-cup semi-final. The final will be played at Lord’s and is already sold out. South Africa batted first and were restricted to 218-6 from their overs, Mignon Du Preez top scoring with 76 not out, and Laura Wolvaardt making 66. South Africa bowled better than they had batted, and the outcome remained in doubt right to the end. Anya Shrubsole who had earlier finished with 1-33 from her 10 overs settled things by hitting her first ball, the third-last possible ball of the match through the covers for four. Sarah Taylor’s 54 and a brilliant wicket-keeping performance highlighted by the spectacular stumping of Trisha Chetty off the bowling of Natalie Sciver earned her the player of the match award. Sciver incidentally is the pioneer of a shot that in honour of her first name and the f**tballing term ‘nutmeg’ commentator Charles Dagnall has dubbed the ‘Natmeg’, one example of which she played in this match. Video highlights of this amazing match can be seen here (runs for just under five minutes), while the scorecard can be viewed here.

THE ROLE OF EXTRAS

To set the scene for the rest of this section here are the extras (a cricket term for runs scored not off the bat) from both innings:

When South Africa batted: 

Extras (w 4) 4

When England batted

Extras (b 5, w 17, nb 3) 25

A note on the designations within extras: Byes (b) stands for runs scored when there is no contact made with the ball but either the batters are able to take runs, or the ball goes to the boundary unimpeded, legbyes (lb), of which there were none in this match, are runs scored when the ball hits the pad but not the bat. Wides (w) are deliveries that are too wide for the batter to be able to play, and no-balls are deliveries that are ruled illegal for some other infraction (bowler overstepping the crease, high full-toss etc). The 21 run difference between the two tallies shown above is of major significance given that England reached the target with just two balls to spare, and there is yet a further point.

WIDES AND NO-BALLS – WHAT APPEARS IN PRINT DOES NOT TELL THE FULL STORY OF HOW EXPENSIVE THEY ARE

England bowled four wides in the match, South Africa 17 and three no-balls. That is a 16-run difference, but the actual costs are likely be even more different because:

  • When a delivery is called wide, as well as incurring a one-run penalty an extra delivery must be bowled to replace it. Thus a wide costs the original penalty, plus possible extras (if it goes unimpeded to the boundary it costs 5, the original 1, plus four foir the boundary) plus any runs scored off the seventh delivery of the over, which the bowler had they been disciplined would not have had to bowl
  • When a delivery is called a no-ball, the batter can still score off it, the delivery immediately following it is designated a ‘free-hit’, meaning that the batter cannot be dismissed off it, and as with a wide an extra delivery must be bowled to replace it. Thus a no-ball actually costs the original penalty, any runs hit of that delivery, the lack of a wicket-taking opportunity on the next delivery and any runs of the seventh delivery of the over (which would otherwise not have needed to be bowled). 

Therefore the discrepancy between the sides in terms of wides and no-balls is probably much greater than shown on the score-card, and this in a very close match. Sarah Taylor certainly deserved her player of the match award, but the much tighter discipline shown by England’s bowlers than their South African counterparts was also crucial to the result.

PHOTOGRAPHS

After over 1,100 words those of you are still with me deserve some pictures, so here we are:

Bee1Bee2

Puppet theatre
This puppet theatre is in town for the Lynn Festival

Purfleet1Moorhen chick

Greyfriars
Greyfriars Tower
Library
King’s Lynn library

Squirrel

Red Mount Chapel
The Red Mount Chapel
P1030346
The unedited Red Mount chapel picture.
Guanock Gate
The Guanock Gate

Moorhen and algaeStationPollinator

CH1
The first of three pictures featuring the Custom House

CH2CH3Boat1Boat2Gulls

West Lynn Church
West Lynn Church
Bee3
Just as a bee pic was worthy start to this series of photos, another bee pic is a worthy finish to it.