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.

Därför vill vi spara naturen i Trosa – Why we want to save Trosa nature

Originally posted on Annas Art – FärgaregårdsAnna:
Så här funkar allemansrätten – how right of public access works En del på ja-till-förbifarts-sidan säger att exploateringen är bra eftersom det gör det möjligt för fler att bo nära naturen. Jag har svårt att få resonemanget att gå ihop av två orsaker. Om vi bebygger…

Anna’s latest offering about the campaign to save Trosa nature. Having visited Sweden myself it is particularly obvious to me that she is on the right side. My posts about Sweden can be found here: https://aspi.blog/?s=Sweden.
This is Anna’s piece, so to comment please visit the original.

Annas Art - FärgaregårdsAnna


Så här funkar allemansrätten – how right of public access works

En del på ja-till-förbifarts-sidan säger att exploateringen är bra eftersom det gör det möjligt för fler att bo nära naturen. Jag har svårt att få resonemanget att gå ihop av två orsaker.

Om vi bebygger naturen finns den inte längre kvar. Exploateringen innebär alltså inte framtida naturnära boende. Om vi bebygger natur som idag är tillgänglig för alla enligt allemansrätten minskar vi ju i själva verket tillgången för många att vistas naturnära.

Allemansrätten är en av de bästa rättigheterna vi har. Den öppnar för alla att uppleva naturen när som helst alla dagar om året. Både fattig och rik har samma tillgång till naturen. Ingen behöver äga egen mark för att få vistas där. För varje kvadratmeter vi tillåter till exploatering förlorar vi naturtillgänglighet för alla till förmån för några få.

Så länge naturen är orörd tillhör den alla…

View original post 260 more words

Autistic Pride Award: Laina’s 500th Post

My response to Laina’s magnificent 500th blog post “The Autistic Pride Award [500th Post]”.

INTRODUCTION

Laina over at thesilentwaveblog decided to do something special for her 500th blog post. The result was an absolutely splendid post, and this is my response to it. 

THE AUTISTIC PRIDE AWARD –
LAINA’S BRIEF

This section sets the scene for the remainder of the post. First here is Laina’s brief:

  1. Whoever wants to participate, participate.  I’m focusing primarily on Asperger’s/autistic people, of course, but anyone who supports autistic people and neurodiversity is welcome!
  2. Do link back to the blogger who gave you the idea 
  3. Do link back to this blog as the original creator.
  4. Describe a bit about yourself.  However much you feel comfortable saying.
  5. List your main “special interests” or areas of primary focus/niche specialties.
  6. If you’re on the spectrum yourself, describe why you’re proud to be Aspergian/autistic or what you like about being Aspergian/autistic.  
  7. If you’re not on the spectrum yourself, you can use this opportunity to describe a loved one in your life who is and what makes them awesome, or you can explain what autism means to you and why you think the world would be a better place if it were to be more embracing of autism.
  8. (Of course, you can answer more than one!  For example, someone who is autistic can also describe how much better the world would be if it was more open toward autism.)
  9. If you like, you can list other blogs or resources that are autism/neurodiversity-positive, to give them a shout-out, too.

The fact that I am writing this post demonstrates that I wish to participate (1). I was inspired the source article itself which deals with (2) and (3), and I take this opportunity to urge you not just to read Laina’s 500th post in full but also to explore her blog in more detail. Thus, the rest of this post will start with point (4) of this list.

ABOUT ME

This is my WordPress profile statement:

I am branch secretary of NAS West Norfolk and #actuallyautistic (diagnosed 10 years ago at the comparatively advanced age of 31). I am a keen photographer, so that most of my own posts contain photos. I am a keen cricket fan and often write about that subject. I also focus a lot on politics and on nature.

You can learn more about me by reading more posts on this blog, and the rest of this post. I will include photos that relate to some of my interests, and links to other blogs the relate to my interests.

SPECIAL INTERESTS

  • Photography – as many of the posts on this blog show. There are many photographic blogs that I could link to here, but I have chosen just one, Cindy Knoke’s, from which I choose to feature a post titled “Gorgeous Greece & Her Beautiful Islands“. Here is one of my fairly recent photographs:
    Castle
  • Public Transport – I am the creator of a London Transport themed website, www.londontu.be, I have blogged here about many journeys, including Inlandsbanan and The Jacobite, while the photograph above was taken through the window of a moving train. Here is a public transport related photo to end this segment:
    Farewell to the Jacobite
  • Nature and Natural History – these linked interests are lifelong. For a natural history blog I thoroughly recommend whyevolutionistrue, while for good stuff about nature I recommend Anna’s blogthis is one of her posts about nature. Here is a recent bee picture to end another segment:
    P1020327
  • Cricket – I am listening to commentary on the second T20 between England and South Africa as I write this.
  • Autism – kind of obvious given that I am both autistic and involved in an autism charity. Before moving on to autism related blogs I offer a link to the National Autistic Society website (it is a very useful resource). I have of course already linked to Laina’s blog at the very start of this post, and I also recommend strongly theunabashedautist, americanbadassadvocates and theinkedautist.  Having (including the opening link to Laina’s blog) given shout outs to four blogs by #actuallyautistic folk I finish with a link to Autism Mom.

WHAT I LIKE ABOUT BEING AUTISTIC

Many of my greatest strengths, such as my computer skills, my attention to detail, my skill at taking and editing photos are a direct product of my autism. Autism is part of who I am, and never in the ten and a half years since I was diagnosed have I wished that I was not autistic. I conclude this post with a photographic collage that I used in an auction alert email sent out yesterday:

1052 composite
I envisaged something like this when I started assembling this image – along the top we have the full lot followed by close-ups of both faces of the medal, while along the bottom we have photographs of the engraving around the rim.

Politics, Nature and Autism

A mix of politics, nature and autism.

INTRODUCTION

This is a collection of interesting things I have seen on the internet recently. They are grouped broadly in three categories, the second of which includes a few pictures I took today.

POLITICS

I start this section with an important open letter from Make Votes Matter. Below is a screenshot of the beginning of the letter. This is formatted as a link so that you can add your name to the open letter should you wish to:

Open Letter

My only link in this section, which forms a natural segue to the nature section, is to a thunderclap organised by Team4Nature and tagged #VoteForHopeVoteForChange. Below is a screenshot which also functions as a link:

voteforchange

NATURE

I am going to start this section with another thunderclap, before sharing a couple of recent posts from Anna that caught my attention and finally ending this section with some of my own photographs. 

THUNDERCLAP: 30 DAYS WILD

This one has been launched by The Wildlife Trusts and the screenshot below links to it:

30dayswild

ANNA’S POSTS

The first of the two recent posts from Anna that I am sharing is titled “Which Future Do You Wanna Give The Next Generation?“. This post contains both Swedish and English text, and is in particular focused on the campaign to Save Trosa Nature. Here is Anna’s picture from that post:

The second post from Anna is titled “Old Tjikko” and starts by introducing us to the world’s oldest tree (9,500 years old since you ask). It concludes with a marvellous tree infographic which is reproduced below:

Time now for some…

PHOTOGRAPHS

These were all taken today…

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Other than moving the tree pic to the top of the pile (see the end of the previous section for clarification) these are in the order in which they were taken (tree pic was no 6 originally).

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This one is a bit blurry because it was taken very quickly.

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AUTISM

I saw this article on www.independent.co.uk today and knew I would have to share it. It is titled “People with autism can hear more than most – which can be a strength and a challenge“, and the content lives up to the title, more of it being devoted to pointing up the strength than the challenge. I offer both a screenshotted quote and a picture by way of aperitif:

quote

adam-mandela-walden.jpg

I end this post with yet another reference to the rainbow coloured infinity symbol that Laina at thesilentwaveblog introduced me and many others to. The version below is an envisaged centrepiece for the front cover of the 2018 Calendar (see this post for more on my calendars) and features my name in white text incorporated into the symbol and the addresses of this blog and my London transport themed website in each loop:

Personalised symbol-page-0

 

Shouldn’t Every Day Be “Earth Day”?

A post for “Earth Day”, which argues that every day should be Earth Day. Read, enjoy and please share.

INTRODUCTION

Today is “Earth Day”, and it is all well and good to name it so, but the truth is that we should by now be capable of realising that every day should be considered to be Earth Day. This post is therefore dedicated to “Earth Day” but also to realising the inadequacy of “Earth Day”. There is a parallel here with the various “Autism Awareness” days, weeks and months (yes there is one of each) and their unfitness for purpose which I written about elsewhere. All of my own text in this post will be in green because it is about nature. Links where they appear will be in bold and underlined. 

INTRODUCTION TO “EARTH DAY” COURTESY OF LIVESCIENCE.COM

Four days ago I came across this excellent post about the development of “Earth Day” on livescience.com. It is simply titled “Earth Day: Facts & History“, and it is an excellent read. The screenshot below will serve as an aperitif:

EDLS.jpg

A MESSAGE FROM SWEDEN

Five days ago Anna put a post sharing a poster created by one of her friends under the title “Power listen to the voice of nature“. Anna’s message in that post is simple and compelling. Below is her friend’s poster which inspired it:

Poster by Margareta Arnedotter Jansson

A THUNDERCLAP

This one is for those of you who are on any of facebook, twitter and/ or tumblr. I have shared it before, and on its final day I do so once again. It is titled “Birds Join Bees this Earth Day“, and focuses on the damage pesticides are doing to pollinators. 

EDT.jpg

A GCSE IN NATURAL HISTORY

I consider this to be an excellent idea. Once again this is something that I have shared previously, and with eleven days to go until the deadline on this petition I do so again, considering it perfect subject matter for “Earth Day”. Please sign and share if you are UK citizens and have not already done so – let’s use today to get this past 10,000 signatures!

NHGCSE.jpg

THE NETHERLANDS STEAM AHEAD WITH TRAINS POWERED BY GREEN ENERGY

ALL trains in The Netherlands are now powered by wind generated (i.e renewable) electricity. For more and a video (also embedded below) please click here

http://mashable.com/videos/embed?video=fVb3VZiI&player=offsite&player=offsiteNote also that in strong contrast to every British public transport project I can remember this was completed not just in time but a whole year ahead of schedule.

CYCLISTS NOW HAVE THEIR OWN VERSION OF THE ‘BECK MAP’

Since he gained permission from his employers to unveil it to a wider public in 1931 Henry C Beck’s schematic diagram of the London Underground network, known colloquially as the “Beck Map” has taken the world by storm and become the template for public transport maps across the globe. Now, in it’s home city a Beck style map has been produced for the benefits of cyclists. There is a detailed article about this on indy100.com featuring this map, which is reproduced below for your benefit:

londoncyclemap-revised2017v1.4-011-0.jpg

EVERY DAY SHOULD BE EARTH DAY

We need to appreciate nature and the Earth every day of our lives. One day per year is most emphatically not enough. We also need to remember to very important things:

1. There is no “Planet B” at this moment – if we turn this planet into somewhere completely inhospitable to Homo sapiens we have nowhere else to go.

2. Following on from that first point we need to always bear in mind that we need Earth more than Earth needs us.

To finish this post, save for a few of my own photographs I turn again to Anna, and a piece of artwork I have shared before which she created based on comment that I made on one of her blog posts:

Nature Meme

starlings.jpg

967
These pictures of items that will be going under the hammer on the 22nd,, 23rd and 24th of May at James and Sons.

970

941
I travelled on this railway in my childhood, too many years ago to mention.

941-a941-b941-c941-d972972-a972-b972-c986986-a986-b986-c978

978-a
This picture, reminding us of where we and everything else on earth comes from seems an appropriate one to end the post.

A Couple of Important Nature Links

Links an important petition and an important thunderclap. A couple of other nature related links, a classic nature related meme and some of my own photographs.

INTRODUCTION

A couple of big things to do with nature came to my attention today and I have decided to share them with you. In addition to the two major links there will be some of my own thoughts, a nod in the direction of New Zealand and some appropriate photographs of my own. As you will have noticed by now, the text in this post is green, and that is because it is a post entirely dedicated to nature. Links in the text will in bold and underlined, while images relating to other posts will also be formatted as links.

THOUGHTS ON NATURE

My own interest in the natural world and concern for nature are both lifelong. I literally cannot remember a time when these attributes were not part of me. Although I grew up in London I had a common practically on my doorstep, lots of natural history books, and of course being in London meant I was within easy travelling distance of the museums at South Kensington. In my childhood the Geological and Natural History museums were two separate entities, though they have long since been amalgamated into one museum, the Natural History Museum. Therefore you can imagine my reaction when I saw something on twitter about…

A GCSE IN NATURAL HISTORY

A petition on the official site created for petitions addressed to the UK parliament to create a Natural History GCSE has been launched. This means that it is only open to those among my readers who are UK citizens to sign, which I regret, but you can still view this petition (there is a screenshot below to whet the appetite) even if you are not a UK citizens. UK citizens please sign and share.
NH GCSE

My next major link is to a…

THUNDERCLAP

To be part of a thunderclap you have to be on some form of social media (facebook, twitter or tumblr to be precise). This particular thunderclap is about the importance of pollinators and the fact that scientists have established that birds as well as bees are pesticide victims. If you are able to add your voice to this thunderclap please do so. Below is a screenshot for further clarification.

BJBthunderclap

Yes, this thunderclap is well ahead of target, as it should be, but just as the importance of pollinators cannot be overstated, so this thunderclap cannot ever be said to be over-supported. 

A COUPLE OF FURTHER LINKS

Miles King over at anewnatureblog has today produced a splendid piece titled “Time to rename Defra the Ministry of Agriculture and Fieldsports” in which he reveals the extent to which our government is failing in its duties as regards the environment. Below is a screenshot of the section of the post dealing with the downright dishonourable Andrea Leadsom by way of introduction.

ALfail

Now it is time for…

A NOD TO NEW ZEALAND

Jerry Coyne, author of the books “Why Evolution Is True” and “Faith Versus Fact”, and who also runs a blog named after the first of those books is currently in New Zealand, and it is from there that this wonderful picture (click on it to view it in its original econiche) comes:

It is nearly time for some of my own photos, taken yesterday and today, but for the penultimate section of the post I share once again…

ANNA’S NATURE MEME

This wonderful creation was formed around words that were originally submitted by me as a comment on one of her blog posts.
Nature Meme

PHOTOGRAPHS

birdmootcorvidscysbbirdmootDSCN5745DSCN5746DSCN5750DSCN5751DSCN5756DSCN5759DSCN5763DSCN5771Goose1ducklngs x 5Goose2gull on jettyHGSquirrelStarling in grassbirdmootcorvidscysbDSCN5745DSCN5746DSCN5750DSCN5751DSCN5756DSCN5759DSCN5762DSCN5763DSCN5771DSCN5772ducklngs x 5Goose1Goose2gull on jettySquirrelHGStarling in grass

Upcoming Local Elections

Politics and nature combine to form one YUGE blog post!

INTRODUCTION

In my part of the world there are local elections happening on May 4th, so I thought I would use some thoughts about them as the starting point for this blog. I will go on from that to sharing various interesting and important stuff, and of course there will be some of my own photographs.

LOCAL ELECTIONS

Although my polling card is safely in my possession I have yet to receive any communication from any of the candidates, and can therefore talk only in general terms. I will definitely be voting. Since I became of voting age more years ago than I care to reveal I have only once failed to vote in an election I was entitled to vote in, and that was in the first election for Norfolk Police Commissioner. I will not be voting for any right wing parties or individual candidates. After their massive betrayal of those who voted for them (myself one of them) in 2010 the Liberal Democrats have much ground to make up and at this moment the odds against me putting my cross in that particular box are of the “write your own ticket” variety. While it is possible that I will be impressed by someone standing as an Independent candidate it is not very likely. This leaves me looking at two options:

  1. Labour – if the candidate is of the right type and not someone who will use their entire campaign to bash their party’s  twice elected leader I may be induced to vote for them.
  2. Green – this party stands for many of the things that I  believe in, and I am not going to hold the entire party to account for a mistake made by one of its co-leaders (Jonathan Bartley endorsing “light it up blue”, which readers of this blog will realise is an absolute guarantee of an entry in my bad books). If they can find a candidate with the qualities shown by Sian Berry in her campaign for London Mayor and subsequently in her work as a Greater London Assembly member I will certainly by influenced in this direction.

I will probably be voting Green because I see the way forward as being in a red/green partnership, and I think the Green side of that partnership needs strengthening. Also, a Green vote has the merit of being a vote cast unequivocally in favour of Proportional Representation. 

After this start it is time for some…

POLITICAL SHARING

I start with a piece by Richard Murphy titled “Time For a New Political Party?”, in which he looks at a suggestion originally made by Richard Dawkins in a piece in the New Statesman. While I would say that the launch of a new political party should be delayed until FPTP is replaced with PR (under FPTP the Tories have a built-in advantage that would only be strengthened by the addition of a new party) I believe that Professor Murphy is pretty well on the money with his suggestions about this new party. Please click on the screenshot below to access this post, and if so inclined add your voice to those commenting on it:

TRUK

Next, from the Skwawkbox comes the most recent piece on the story I have dubbed Coynegate – the massive breaches of the Data Protection Act by right wing candidate for Unite general secretary Gerard Coyne. To read this story, titled “EXCLUSIVE: COYNE TELLS BBC HIS LABOUR DATA USE ‘CONCLUDED’. IT ISN’T.” please click on the image below:

coyne stopped amended

My next link is to the homepage of the We Own It Campaign’s website. To find out for yourself what they are all about click on the screenshot below:

WOI

Next, courtesy of DPAC comes a public service piece titled “Important information on how disabled people can enforce their right to travel on buses“. Although the title is on this occasion set up as a link, I also provide a screenshot below on which you can click to get to the original:

DPAC

The focus, including my photographs is about to shift to Nature (note to my many  fellow autistic bloggers although you do not feature in this post I have some of your finest stuff bookmarked for use in the very near future), and the turning point is a campaign against the large scale felling of trees in and around Sheffield. I have two links in connection with this. First, for the benefit of those of you who use social media, a Thunderclap, which you can boost by adding your own connections on facebook, twitter and tumblr. I link to it by way of the screenshot below:

ss

The second link on this subject is to the page that lists all the campaigns in and around Sheffield that are now grouped under the umbrella of Sheffield Tree Action Groups (STAG). I link by way of a screenshot once again:

Sheffield Tree Action Groups

The last piece of shared content for today before moving towards my photographs comes to you from Sweden, and has a section to itself:

ANNA INTRODUCES EMMELINA

Anna is a Swedish blogger who needs to no further introduction to readers of this blog. As for Emmelina, that will have to wait for the moment. Yesterday Anna put up a post about a very curious little creature she had photographed on her door, which she called “Who’s This?” I thought that the little creature was a stick insect, but the reveal when it came today was far more interesting. It turns out that the creature is actually a moth that resembles a stick insect. Here is a link to the piece in which Anna reveals the identity of the creature. Finally, revealing the Emmelina part of the title, here is Wikipedia on Emmelina Monodactyla.

PHOTOGRAPHS

To end the post here are some of my own photographs…

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The first bee I have caught on camera this year.

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Using a derelict shop front to explain the importance of King John to King’s Lynn’s history is sensible. My main quibble with the new statue of him being…
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That is bad quality work, not that it is of a bad quality human (though he was certainly that, in spades).

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The first ducklings of the year. I hope that some at least of them survive the marauding Herring Gulls (this is NOT a joke btw)

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I have bagged a number of peacock butterflies of late, but these light coloured ones fly both faster and for a greater percentage of their lives, so for the third time today this is a first of the year.