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!

Marxism 2017: Climate Change

An account of the three meetings at Marxism 2017 that focussed exclusively on climate change.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to this latest post in my series about Marxism 2017. This post deals with three meetings from the event and also features some external links as well. This post features green body text because of the subject matter – headings still in red. This post features pictures in ’tiled mosaic’ form – to view them at full size left-click/ single finger push an image to open the gallery, and if you right-click/ two finger push you get a drop down menu that enables you to open a single image.

MEETING 1: FACING THE ANTHROPOCENE – JEFFREY HALL, SATURDAY – IAN ANGUS

The Jeffrey Hall is the second largest venue in the Institute of Education, with a seating capacity of 500. It was pleasingly full for Ian Angus’ talk about Facing the Anthropocene. This talk was accompanied by numerous slides. Here are the first few pictures:

From this start the speaker went on to define the anthropocene:

Before the Anthropocene the earth had seen five mass extinction events, and all evidence points to the fact that a sixth is upon us. Here are a few links to recent articles about this:

Now here are my remaining pictures from this meeting:

The website climateandcapitalism can be accessed here.

MEETING 2, SUNDA: A REDDER SHADE OF GREEN – MALET SUITE – IAN ANGUS

This was conducted in an informal style. Martin, chairing, asked Ian questions about his latest book (it is a good read btw) and Ian answered. After about half an hour questions were taken from the floor, and they were mainly excellent contributions. At the end of the meeting Ian signed copies of his book for those who were interested. Here are some photos:

Ian Angus and Martin EmpsonPostersPoster

Book
The book – the only one I purchased at Marxism 2017 (there were many others I looked at)

Martin Empson starts the meetingMartin asks Ian a questionMartin asking Ian a questionIan Angus speakingMartin Empson advertises the bookClimate Change poster

PART 3: BUILDING THE MOVEMENT AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE AFTER TRUMP WITHDRAWS FROM PARIS – SUZANNE JEFFERY

This meeting was in the session immediately after the second Ian Angus meeting, and before the closing rally. This was a really excellent meeting, with many people speaking from the floor about campaigns they were involved in, and the mood generally confident. Here are some photos:

Speaker and chair
Chair Jasmine and main speaker Suzanne before the meeting.
Jasmine introduces Suzanne
Jasmine opening the meeting.
Suzanne giving her talk
Suzanne giving her talk.

AFTERWORD

This post being about climate change and by extension nature I have decided to end with some links courtesy of Anna who has produced some excellent stuff about nature:

Marxism 2017: Two Meetings About Disability

Continuing my personal account of #Marxism2017 with two disability themed meetings.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to this continuation of my series about Marxism 2017. This post focusses specifically on the two meetings on disability, which took place during the second and fifth slots on the Saturday. 

DISABILITY AND RESISTANCE

This meeting was scheduled for room 3E, but when the main lift at Student Central broke down and resisted all efforts to get it working again it was rescheduled for the ground floor. As soon as it was known that the lift was busted the organisers of the festival made it clear that refunds would be available for those who thought they could no longer enjoy the event (there was only one ground floor location remotely suitable for meetings, and three meetings in each session were scheduled for rooms on the 3rd floor, which was inacessible to the physically disabled without the lift working.). Although the ersatz meeting venue was not ideal it was the least bad solution for this meeting.

This meeting was packed full of inspirational stories from various campaigns. As an autistic person I identify particularly strongly with struggles for disability rights. I am a member of group of whom (UK figures – feel free to give me others from elsewhere in the world if you know them) 74% are unemployed, and 85% are under-employed. 

Here are some pictures:

ad hoc meeting venuePosters1DPMThe PanelPanel2

Amy advises the panel
Amy, organiser of the festival, speaking to the panel before the meeting started.

Amy and the panelchair and panelchairChair and panel 2Denise at the micBanner1Banner2Banner3

HOW CAN DISABLED PEOPLE WIN LIBERATION – RODDY SLORACH

The lift appeared to working again during lunch, but then packed up again and could not be coaxed back to life again, so again we were in the ersatz venue. There was an additional problem this time in that the machines in the cafe outside which we were based were shutting down, creating a lot of background noise. Although 6 hours had elapsed since the end of the panel meeting covered above this meeting felt in many ways like a continuation of the other, with every contribution being inspiring. Although I did not speak myself I was pleased to note that three other autistic people did make contributions. I conclude this post with a few photos:

internal mural
With two meetings being held facing it I got a good look at this ‘internal mural’.

Platform1Chair and speakerchair and speakerSpeaker and chair 2Roddy speakingChair plugging Roddy's book

Marxism 2017 – Day 3: Outline

An outline of day 3 at Marxism 2017, setting the stage for two further posts.

INTRODUCTION

Wel come to this latest post in my series about Marxism 2017. The Saturday at Marxism is always the busiest day of the festival. For this reason I am doing three posts about the day, this one, one that covers the two disability themed meetings I attended and one which will also cover a meeting from Sunday devoted to Ian Angus’ two talks, “Facing the Anthropocene” and “A Redder Shade oif Green”. 

THE TIMETABLE

Here to show you the scale of the event is the timetable for thia day:

P1030214

IS A ROBOT AFTER YOUR JOB? MARTIN UPCHURCH – FRIENDS MEETING HOUSE

For the Saturday we were using venues at three locations, Student Central, The Institute of Education and Friends Meeting House. This meeting took place in the Hilda Clark room, which is on the first floor of Friends Meeting House. The answer to the question in the meeting title is “probably not”. As yet robots still require humans to watch them to ensure gthat they function as they are supposed to, and that is likely to remain the case for some time. Here are some photographs:

The Hilda Clark room (FMH)big screenFMH PRProductivity and microshipsPlatformProductivity did not grow with microchipBooksBar Chart 1Bar Chart 2Chair introduces meetingThe chairSpeakerIs a robot after your jobTechnology since 1900Robots, AI and singularitiesWorld Robot DensityChinese labour costs and robotsTuring;s two testsTentativbe conclusions2Clock

It was announced during this meeting that the main lift had failed in Student Central and gthat as yet the engineer had been unable to fix it. Therefore the panel meeting on disability was moved to a ground-floor location because the backup lifts only went up to the first and second floors (duh!). Barring a brief period at lunchtime this main lift did not work again during the rest of the event. 

DISABILITY AND RESISTANCE

I will be dealing with this meeting and the last one of the day in a separate post. For the moment here are a picture from the first and a couple of lunchtime pics:

Banner3
The woman in front of the banner is Paula Peters of Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC).
Picnic
The Norwich & East Anglia picnic. A small donation buys you a meal – the guide prices are £3 waged and £1 unwaged, and as someone who is employed part-time I split the difference with £2.
Canary
The canary is the symbol of Norwich City FC, and this specimen can be seen at a fair distance.

HOW THE MEDIA LOST ON JUNE 8TH – IAN TAYLOR (STUDENT CENTRAL)

The mainstream media were virtually unanimous in predicting (and in most cases making it obvious that they wanted) a Tory landslide in the June 8th General Election. The fact that the Tories ended up without a majority at all, and that Labour increased their presence by 30MPs was one in the eye for MSM. Newspapers are losing readers at a vast rate, and readers are increasingly not taking their papers on trust.  Since this meeting happened we have seen Theresa May begging for policy ideas (“here is a copy of our manifesto!”), and a Prime Ministers Questions where both leaders were absent, and Emily Thornberry starred for Labour while Damien Green for the Tories managed the less than challenging feat of doing a better job than Theresa would have done. Here are some pictures:

Media MeetingThe chair introduces the meetingIan Taylor starts his talkIan Taylor

FACING THE ANTHROPOCENE – IAN ANGUS – INSTITUTE OF EDUCATION

I am covering this meeting and Ian Angus’ other meeting which took place a day later in a separate post. For the moment here are a few of the pictures from this one:

Geological timescale updated
The first seven pictures in this section provide the facts that show us tgo be in the Anthropocene.

Ice age to HoloceneIce age to Holocene 2Global Carbon Cycle800,000 years of CO2Earth ssystem trends 29 of 12 indicators beyond bounds of Holocene variability

Marx quote
150 years on this remains an excellent summary of our responsibilities tro our planet – and one that has been neglected shamefully.

HOW CAN DISABLED PEOPLE WIN LIBERATION? – RODDY SLORACH – SC

My final meeting of the day was back at Student Central, and as with the earlier panel meeting had been relocated due to the faulty lift and the fact that the backup only went as far up as the second floor. As I will be covering this meeting in more detail in another post, suffice to say that it was an inspirational end to the day. Here to end this post is the chair advertising Roddy’s book:

Chair plugging Roddy's book

Petition: Don’t sell off NHS Professionals

An important petition about the NHS – please sign and share.

Don’t sell off NHS Professionals

This comes courtesy of the campaign group weownit.org – click the screenshot below to sign and share this very important petition:

Petition

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:

1107
Lot 1107 in James and Sons upcoming auction.
1107-a
1107-a – A Northern line train of 1956 stock.
1107-b
1107-b: The last two items in the album.
DSCN6727
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:

Labtrans

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):

359
Lot 359 – five images.

359-a359-b359-c359-d

1134
Various cigarette card lots, all in the 1100s

1133113211311149118911061191119011961193

DSCN6542
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).