A Mixed Bag for Monday

Solutions to my last two maths problems, some sciencey pieces, a petition and some photographs.


This post includes solutions to the problems I posed on Saturday, and a few other things from various sources. 


Here is the question as a reminder:

Space station Dodecahedron

Here is the answer:

Dodecahedron answer

Here is a splendidly concise solution from David Vreken:

Vreken route


Here is the question:

Malfatti Mistake question

Here is the answer:

Malfatti Mistake answer

In the 19th century Malfatti conjectured that the way to maximise the area of a triangle you could fill with three circles was to fill in the three largest circles that touch specifically two of the three sides. Although he was not alive to be humiliated it turned out that he was not merely wrong, his proposed solution has been proved not to work for a single triangle. The solution that always works is first put in the largest single circle that touches all three sides that you can, then fill in the largest circle you can in the remaining space and then do so again. In an equilateral triangle the difference is small, but in a long thin isosceles triangle it is quite substantial. 

Here is Jeremy Galvagni’s published solution:

Galvagni outdoes Malfatti


This on the official site for petitions to the UK government, which means that you have be a UK citizen to sign it. Please click the screenshot below to sign and share it if so minded:

School Refusal


First a fascinating piece from the National Geographic titled “Can Today’s Whale Species Survive the age of Humans” which covers the past and present of the cetaceans and speculates about their future. 

David Quammen, a good writer and a useful scientist to know about if you are planning an A to Z post, has a new book out on the subject of evolution, and Jerry Coyne of whyevolutionistrue has provided a very detailed review of it.

Finally, a letter to the Guardian signed by 60 well known environmental campaigners declaring their unwillingness to debate with climate change deniers, and why they are unwilling to do so. Below is the opening to the letter (please click to visit the original) and a list of signatories:

Guardian letter



To finish here are some of my recent photographs:

Sea birdsFlying cormorantBlackbacked gull lands on the waterCormorant and rowing boatCormorant and sea birdsWingspanMoorhenCormorant




A Meme, A Puzzle and Some Bird Pictures

A meme about Evolution and Creationism, courtesy of @AtheistRepublic, a puzzle courtesy of Brilliant and some bird pictures of my own.


Just a brief post to keep me on your radar!


This was posted on twitter by AtheistRepublic, and I think it is very good indeed:



This little problem generated a surprising amount of controversy on brilliant – though it is not particularly difficult, and there were no real grounds for controversy:


I will reveal the solution tomorrow.


We had a bit of sun in King’s Lynn today, but in consequence of it being December it was already virtually level with the horizon by 3PM. However, it being as pleasant as a December day in Blighty can be I did get out a couple of times, and augmented my stock of bird pictures along the way:

Blackbird IIBlackbird IIIBlackbird IVBlackbird VMoorhen triangleMoorhenFemale BlackbirdFlying gullGull and westering sunRookGullsGulls IIFlying gull IIbirdsFlying birdFlying cormorantGulls and flying cormorantSmall birdGulls and cormorantCormorant with guard of gullsGathering of birdsCormorant



Science and Nature

Some of the best science and nature related pieces I have recently come across.


Having started the day with a science related squib I finish it with a full length post concerned with Science and Nature. As this is a post where all the text will be the same colour please not that links are in bold and underlined. Before proceeding here is a list of all of today’s previous posts:


I am building up for big finish by dealing with everything else first in a single section. I am going to start with…


The campaign group sumofus.org have produced a definitive report to the effect that we do not need bee killing pesticides to feed the world. For detailed information on where we are with the fight to save bees please click on the graphic below:



Yes another thunderclap for those of you who are on social media to support. Click on the screenshot below for more…



The Eden Project in Cornwall, of which I have very fond memories, has just added to its laurels by winning VisitEngland’s award for Inclusive Tourism. Thus I have two links, each accompanied by a screenshot to share:

  1. The disabledgo blog piece detailing this latest success for the Eden Project.
    Eden Project VisitEngland award
  2. The Eden Project’s own website.


I am indebted to WEIT for this. It is an app that is free to download. For more details please visit the WEIT article on this:


I found these on twitter by way of their creator, whose twitter name is Lord Cropes. Below is the particular meme which caught my attention:


This is just one of 129 memes of this type that he has created, and you can view all of them by way of the website pinkheretic.com. Here is one more to further whet your appetite:


I finish with some of my own photographs:

Moorhen + chicks
An adult moorhen and two chicks
Moorhen and chicks
Adult and two chicks close together
Moorhen chick
Close up of a chick



Feathered dinosaur tail in amber!

A spectacular find as detailed on Why Evolution is True. To comment please visit original.


Why Evolution Is True

In a market in Myanmar, the Chinese scientist Xing Lida, shown in the picture below, found a piece of amber about the size of a dried apricot, and it had an inclusion. The seller, thinking the inclusion was a piece of plant, raised the price, for biological items in amber dramatically increase its value. Still, Xing bought the piece at a relatively low price, for the seller didn’t realize that the inclusion was not a plant, but part of a theropod dinosaur! And so it was: part of the theropod’s tail, which was sprinkled with feathers. The specimen turned out to be from the mid-Cretaceous, about 99 million years old. It’s a remarkable piece:

161208121636-dinosaur-amber-2-exlarge-169 The specimen: a bit of theropod dinosaur tail with very clear feathers

161208123535-dinosaur-amber-5-exlarge-169 Ryan McKellar and Xing Lida (discoverer of the specimen) with some amber from the site. Photo from CNN.

That specimen tells us something about the nature and evolution…

View original post 1,035 more words

Links, Pictures and a Test Match

A mixed bag – a brief account of test match, some very important links, especially regarding disability rights, and some photographs.


The pictures and some brief comments on the Test Match that finished yesterday between England and Pakistan not withstanding, this is mainly a sharing post.


This is nominally a home series for Pakistan, being staged in the United Arab Emirates because Pakistan is still considered off-limits for security reasons. For four and a half of its allotted five days this match had all the makings of a high scoring bore draw, Shoaib Malik having scored 245 for Pakistan on pitch devoid of life and bounce, and Alastair Cook retaliating with a monumental 263 in 826 minutes for England who ended up leading by 75 on first innings. Then a combination of some horrendous misjudgments by the Pakistan batsmen and some good bowling, especially from leg spinner Adil Rashid (Yorkshire born and bred btw) left England with 99 to win, and they were within 25 of doing so when the light closed n sufficiently for the umpires to call a halt, it being at the same level it was when they had done so the previous evening. This is the second time in only just over two years that the current light rule has been horrendously shown up in a test match involving England – the other being at the Oval in 2013.


The links I have for you today come in three sections…


As some of you will be aware, Britain has recently achieved the unwelcome distinction of becoming the first country to be investigated by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. I have three links relating to this very important issue to share with you…

First, this wonderful piece from Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) which explains exactly why this investigation is happening.

Next comes this from disabilitynewsservice about the early stages of the investigative process.

Finally, comes the text of a question and where you can post it (as I have already done) to ensure that it gets asked at next Prime Minister’s Questions. The question we want to ensure that Mr Corbyn puts is:

The United Kingdom is currently being investigated by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities because of allegations of “grave and systematic” violations of disabled people’s human rights. Shamefully we are the First Country ever to face such an inquiry. The Inquiry itself is has been widely reported in the press and DWP have confirmed the inquiry was initiated by the campaign group Disabled People Against Cuts.

Will the Prime Minister now commit to the government publishing in full the findings of the committee when the report is sent to the government next year?

You can put the question on this link: http://www.labour.org.uk/your-PMQS


The bizarre situation at universities in Texas whereby one can carry a handgun concealed about one’s person with impunity but not a water pistol has provoked one very brave and principled professor to resign his position in protest. The full story has been covered by whyeveolutionistrue in this post. Here for you to view is the resignation letter itself:

Resignation Letter

My other international link comes courtesy of the wonderful Heather Hastie, whose blog I heartily recommend. This piece, under the heading “Winner of the Week” talks about the sadly endangered pangolin, taking a battering because of the vile superstition that its scales have medicinal qualities (I like to think that even if I was not allergic to woo this piece would have provoked the kind of reaction it did in me).


Vox Political have been pursuing the DWP over claimant deaths for a very long time, and it now looks as though that department have landed themselves in a whole heap of trouble, as explained in this post.

Finally, a link to a piece in the Guardian about Jeremy Hunt (he of rhyming slang fame) and his current target, junior doctors.


Today’s selection of photo’s also divides into two, starting with some of my usual pics from around King’s Lynn…

DSCN6617 DSCN6618 DSCN6619 DSCN6620 DSCN6621

My remaining pictures come from Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin, one of the books mentioned in this post which I reblogged from whyevolutionistrue.

DSCN6622 DSCN6623 DSCN6624 DSCN6625 DSCN6626

Railwayana and Evolution

An account of imaging at James and Sons with a focus on Railwayana, some links to pieces posted on whyevolutionistrue and a few general links.


The mesalliance of subjects indicated by my title is brought about by the fact that I only have time for a very quick blog post, and the two things I most want to share are pictures of some interestinfg railwayana that will be in our next auction and a number of superb pieces that whyevolutionistrue have produced recently.


I have had a particularly busy time imaging autcuion lots over the last few days, because the other person who regualrly does imaging was involved in a car accident (the car accident stats for Norfolk make grim reading because the lack of a proper public transport infrastructure and the prevalence of poverty mean that people start driving at the first available opportunity and are often using cars that are not really road worthy) is consequently off sick. Thankfully, albeit with a rejigging of work days for next week, we are on track for completing the catalogue by the end of Tuesday, which means that by the back end of next week printed copies should be available, and an online listing should be ready to view.

The two lots that especially caught my eye in and amongst the vast quanrtity of stuff I have been imaging were numbers 51 and 52, and I conclude this section with full photo galleries for both lots…

Lot 51 is this antique railway map
Lot 51 is this antique railway map
The remaining seven images including this one are of lot 52
The remaining seven images including this one are of lot 52

52a 52b 52c 52d 52e 52f


This blog, the title of which comes from a marvellous book by Jerry A Coyne has been in tremendous form just lately, with the pieces I am sahring merely the cream of a spectacular crop…


Just a few final links:

Summer Arrives


As well as my title piece I have a variety of links, some infographics and some photos of my own to share…


We are enjoying the best weather of the year so far – yesterday was an authentic shorts and t-shirt day and today looks like following suit. On Saturday, which was prevented from rivalling yesterday only by persistent strong winds, Leicestershire played a one-day match (50 overs per side) against New Zealand. When New Zealand were 153-5 it looked like being a decent contest, but then Grant Elliott and Luke Ronchi smashed extremely rapid centuries to boost to the total to a daunting 374-5. Leicestershire were never in the hunt, and in the end only just got the margin of defeat down below 200 runs.

Yesterday, Leicestershire were straight back in action, against Surrey in the county championship, and although the turn around was not so dramatic, they again let a good start get away from them, as Tom Curran swiped 60 from number 9 in the order for Surrey. Leciestershire regained some of the ground they had surrendered when, Surrey having finally been dismissed, their openers then saw things through to the close without mishap.


The first infographic (of a total of four) that I choose to share is this one on domestic violence:


Infographics two and three both concern the case of Stephanie Bottrill, just one of the idiotic delusional sociopath’s (IDS for short) many victims…

Stephanie Bottrill

Steohanie Bottrill 2

To end this little section a bit of humour concerning the Republicans…



My first link is to a story from the Newark Advertiser featuring yet another example of DWP cruelty.

Next comes an announcement of a victory – the preservation of London’s only floating bookstore.

My next link comes with a couple of pictures, and is brought to you courtesy of Cosmos Up and features the Hubble telescope.

Arches Cluster Hubble

My next link is to a blog I have only just come across which looks both interesting and important, by someone called Eve Thomas – the post that caught my attention being this one.

This story from the Humphrey Cushion blog shows Nadine Dorries in an even poorer light than usual.

From Avaaz comes this petition against TTIP, which I urge you all to sign and share.

That is all my general links, but I also have a couple that I have given their own subsection, which relate to…


The first of the two links in this section is a blog that I had not previously come across, mylifemyautism, run by Dr Marquis Grant who I came across on twitter.

From a new find to an old favourite, my final link is to this post from Autism Mom.


Just before ending this post with some pictures, I thank everyone who has read this post, hope you have all enjoyed it and that you will be encouraged to share it. The first two pictures relate to a Cosmos Up story concerning the possibility of microbial life on Mars, while the rest are mine, all taken yesterday…

Mars Methanogens

DSCN7052 DSCN7054 DSCN7055 DSCN7056 DSCN7057 DSCN7058 DSCN7059 DSCN7061 DSCN7062 DSCN7063 DSCN7065 DSCN7066 DSCN7067