Midweek Mixture

Some stuff I have seen recently on the internet, a little teaser of a problem and some photographs from today’s ‘ecotherapy’ session.

INTRODUCTION

I spent most of this morning indulging in ‘ecotherapy’ (i.e. getting out and about in the open air – my thanks to The Gentleman for the term), which also provide me with photographs which will end this post. In between times I will share various pieces that have caught my eye recently. 

NATURE AND THE ENVIRONMENT

I start this section with a petition that has been set up on thepetitionsite calling for Michael Gove to be replaced as Defra minister (see graphic below, which also functions as a link):

GOVE is bad for the environment. Demand new Defra Minister!

It is pretty much impossible for any replacement to be worse than the Downright Dishonourable Mr Gove, although while this dreadful government remains in office the right person for the job will not be selected. In the hope that Jeremy Corbyn, or someone who can influence him might see this I say, as I did when naming my fantasy cabinet a while back that the right person for this role is Caroline Lucas.

SOLAR POWER IN AUSTRALIA

It makes perfect sense for Australia to be looking at solar power in a big way, just as here in Norfolk we should take advantage of our biggest renewable resource by building many more wind turbines. I am therefore delighted to share this story from the treehugger website titled “Australia will be home to world’s largest single-tower solar thermal power plant“, the feature graphic from which I produce below:

australia solar thermal tower

THE DEATH OF THE INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINE

This is the title of a piece in The Economist. After 120 years of dominating the scene the internal combustion engine’s days are numbered, and the end for this pollution generating monstrosity cannot come soon enough. I include their feature graphic below.

A PLAN TO REVIVE AN EXTINCT SPECIES

This one comes from thewildlifeplanet.com and the species that may be being brought back from extinction is the Caspian tiger. The plan involves using DNA from the Siberian tiger, a rare but surviving species that is closely related to the Caspian tiger. A potential living area for the revived species has been identified in Kazakhstan. The map below shows the areas reckoned to have been inhabited by the common ancestor of these tiger species when it was around 10,000 years ago.

ANNA’S CHURCH

I end this section of the post with a nod to Anna and the brief post she put up yesterdya about her continuing fight to protect nature under the title “I went to my church“, one picture from which I reproduce below.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

I am going to present these links as a bulleted list, amplifying some of them a little:

  • Our government has recently reneged on promised rail electrification programs in Wales and in northern England (yes, largely due to privatisation and consequent neglect our railways are so backward that not all of them have yet been electrified, some services still being run by diesel locomotives). Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK has put up a short post outlining how these electrifications could be funded.
  • The title of my next piece, from Buzzfeed, should be sufficient: “People Who Use Wheelchairs Are Being Forced To Crawl On To Trains And It’s 2017
  • The last piece in this section come from the skwawkbox. The first features a video from Double Down News which referring back to an incident from last year is utterly devastating for Virgin Trains, as it shows conclusively that Jeremy Corbyn was telling the truth when he described that train as ‘ram-packed’ and Virgin’s subseqnet denials, including one from the boss, Richard Branson, were lies. The most devastating footage comes about halfway through the video, which is embedded below, and shows the reserved seats filling (as one might expect) moments after Corbyn had walked past them. The skwawkbox piece is titled “DOUBLE DOWN VIDEO SCOOP PROVES WHAT WE TOLD YOU LAST YEAR: #TRAINGATE WAS FULL“.

ELECTORAL REFORM

Britain’s First Past the Post (FPTP) system of electing representatives has had its day. Those who support this system claim that it delivers stable majority governments, but it has failed to do this three times running (no majority in 2010, wafer-thin majority for Cameron in 2015, May running a minority government with the support of the vile DUP in 2017. I have three recent pieces dealing with this topic for your attention. 

  1. Setting the scene for the other two a post on theconversation.com titled “Wasted votes, hyper-marginals and disillusion: reform group issues damning report on election 2017
  2. The Electoral Reform Society’s introduction to their full report titled “June’s election was the third strike for Westminster’s voting system. It’s out” and…
  3. The full report itself, titled “The 2017 General Election: Volatile Voting, Random Results“.  

As well as the voting system needing reform, the results in Northern Ireland showed that it is time for the Labour Party to abandon its pact with the SDLP and field candidates of its own – the recent Stormont election successes of Gerry Carroll and Eamonn McCann have demonstrated that non-sectarian socialists standing as such can win in Northern Ireland.

A PROBLEM AND SOME PHOTOGRAPHS

I generally finish my posts by putting up some of my own photographs. Before getting to those I have a teaser for you:

coin tosses restricted

The above table shows two putative sets of coin toss records, each for one coin tossed thirty times. Which is more like to be genuine based on what you can see?

a) series one
b) series two

If you want to have a public stab at answering this feel free to use the comments, although I will say neither yea nor nay until I put my next post up, which will include an answer to this little teaser. 

Now for those photographs…

featureimageTortoiseshell3flying butterfly

Mother and child
The junior duck in this picture is just developing her adult feathers, but continues to be chaperoned by her mother.

Moorhen2Moorhen1White butterfly3white butterfly2PollinatorTortoiseshell2Tortoiseshell1white butterflyCH2CHMini waterfall

 

 

Cricket, Aeroplanes and Music

A brief account of the state of play in the current test match, an account of the fly by and two concerts tthat were part of the 65th King’s Lynn Festival, some cool links and some impressive and imortant infographics.

INTRODUCTION

As well as my subject matter as indicated above including photographs, I also have some links and infographics to share with you.

ENGLAND STRUGGLING AT LORDS

Yesterday was the third days play in the second test match between England and Australia at Lords. It was England’s least bad day of the match so far, but they were so far adrift going into it that they needed rather more than a decent day. Australia at 108-0 in their second innings lead by 362 and the obvious plan for them is to lash up as many runs as they can in the morning session and then leave England a mountain of Olympus Mons proportions to climb in the final five sessions of the game.

A FLY BY AT VERY CLOSE RANGE

My outside space was an ideal position from which to view the advertised fly by happening as part of the King’s Lynn festival. It was on the aeroplane’s third pass that I was finally able to get some pictures (six in total)…

All the publicity about this event referred to a spitfire, but apparently, according to some who have already seen my pictures on twitter it is actually a Dakota.
All the publicity about this event referred to a spitfire, but apparently, according to some who have already seen my pictures on twitter it is actually a Dakota.

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TWO CLASSICAL CONCERTS

Once the day’s action had finished in the cricket it was off to King’s Lynn Minster for the first of two concerts taking place yesterday evening. There was a blanket ban on photography at the event, so I have few pictures…

Some detail about the first concert.
Some detail about the first concert.
The one internal pic I got before being told about the no photography rule.
The one internal pic I got before being told about the no photography rule.

This concert was splendid. The Vivaldi and Manfredini pieces were particularly impressive, while the Vejvanovsky was a splendid introduction to a composer that few of us had previously heard of. The lead violinist, Bojan Cicic by name, proved to be a quite superb performer.

At the end of this concert we just had time to visit my aunt’s house before the start of the second concert, a violin and harpsichord duet playing works by Telemann (the most prolific of all composers), Buxtehude and J S Bach (who as young man walked 200 miles each way for the privelege of witnessing Buxtehude in action – no recordings in them thar days!).

This mini concert was every bit as good as the first one had been – no evening of two halves this time. I got some photographs of the Minster’s light show (one of several dotted around the town)…

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LINKS

My first two links both come courtesy of Vox Political:

1)The Lords earning their £400 per day.

2)Continuing to heap pressure on the government re death toll after fit for work tests.

My next three links concern a 38 Degrees petition on the subject of fracking:

1)The petition itself

2)The link to share on facebook

3)The link to share on twitter

My next link is by way of a shout out to my most recent follower on aspiblog, and takes to you to their site, luckyottershaven.

My last two links relate to electoral reform and segue nicely into the the infographics:

1)The original petition

2)The Thunderclap, to which you can still add your voice for about another eight hours.

INFOGRAPHICS

Voting Reform

My next infographic is a reminder of what things were like before trade unions existed:

BTU

The third and final infographic I am sharing in this post is about housing today and comes by way of London mayoral candidate Tessa Jowell…

HH

EPILOGUE

I hope that you have enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed creating it and that some of you will be inspired to share it!

Important Items to Share

INTRODUCTION

This post is going to be made up entirely of Links and Infographics (I have a lot of important and interesting stuff to share).

LINKS

TAX RESEARCH UK

Tax Research UK in spite of the uninspiring sounding name is often a source of good stuff, and today I provide links to two of their recent stories:

1)The need to eliminate competition from the NHS.

2)A piece about electoral reform, which connects to…

2a)This blog post from the Electoral Reform Society.

SCIENCY PIECES

My first piece in this section comes courtesy of Patheos, and just before highlighting the link I wish (as someone who is a very strong supporter of theirs) to criticise them for publishing under their banner a piece by Russell Shaw in which he has the nerve to claim the American Christians are being persecuted. The piece to which I include a link concerns the use in science classrooms in Louisiana of a book that has no place there.

My next three pieces are linked, both being concerned with countering environmental damage:

1) Faraday’s Candle on bees.

2) Oxfam on dumping coal into the dustbin of history.

3) An Avaaz petition about climate change.

SOME INFOGRAPHICS

A devastating comparison of the difference between actual inflation and rail fare inflation since 1994.
A devastating comparison of the difference between actual inflation and rail fare inflation since 1994.
This is our feature image.
This is our feature image.

DISABILITY, MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES AND AUTISM

This is my final set of links, starting with this piece from Jayne Linney. Huffington Post, a regular source of good stuff, provide this piece from Laura Roche. Although I am not an ebay user, and therefore not able to take direct action, I was of course thoroughly disgusted to come across this from Vox Political about disability hate products being sold via that site, and I urge those of you who do use ebay to complain loud and clear as VP suggest. This blogpost from Natalie Leal provides some shocking detail about deaths related to DWP sanctions. Finally, to end this section, a post from Autism Mom, which features Alan Turing.

CLOSING STATEMENT

I hope that you have all enjoyed this post, and that you have followed up some or all of the links I have shared. I encourage people to share any or all of this post.

Thunderclaps and Hashtags

Some important links, notably about getting Katie Hopkins to apologise to the autistic community and about electoral reforms and some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

I have given my post this title because a large part of it is given over to sharing links, including to thunderclaps.I also have some good pictures from Kings Lynn today.

#katiehopkinssaysorry2autism

The above is a hashtag now being used in our campaign to get Katie Hopkins to apologise to the autistic community for some very offensive comments. There are two links connected to this:

1) Petition, courtesy of change.org

2) Thunderclap, pooling social media reach for better effect.

If you decide to tweet about this campaign don’t forget the hashtag, and if you wish to retweet something someone else has posted about the campaign append a comment of your own and the hashtag (“quote tweet”)

ELECTORAL REFORM

One of the things the recent election demonstrated to everyone with eyes to see it was how badly flawed ‘first past the post’ is as a system. I have three links connected to this to share with you:

1) A blog post which makes the case superbly, from Dan Keeling.

2) A petition that I hope you will sign and/or share from change.org

3) Thunderclap (see previous section).

OTHER LINKS

First, a link and a picture relating to an anti-austerity demonstration

Demo

My final four links are all in their different ways responses to the election result:

1) A moving open letter to those who voted Conservative

2) A fact checker courtesy of Mike Sivier on Vox Political

3) A poem courtesy of julijuxtaposed.

4) Last and in the chief place, this from Caroline Lucas.

A PICTORIAL INTERLUDE

This picture can be seen at The Crown Inn, East Rudham
This picture can be seen at The Crown Inn, East Rudham

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A LOCAL DERBY MATCH

The first days play has just finished in the county championship match between neighbours Worcestershire and Warwickshire. Worcestershire would seem to be having the better of things, having bowled well, but one really needs to see both sides bat before attempting to form strong opinions.

MORE PICTURES

Can you spot the bee? Given it's size it did a fine job of hiding.
Can you spot the bee? Given it’s size it did a fine job of hiding.
Preparing for the ascent
Preparing for the ascent

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SHARING

I hope that you have enjoyed this post. I encourage you to share any or all of it. A final message for those who have made it to the end:

TY3