Mainly Science

Links to a selection of interesting and/ or important pieces I have found in the last day or so and some of today’s photographs.

INTRODUCTION

I will be sharing various links I have found in the last day or so in this post. I also have some photographs from this afternoon.

THE GREAT BUS RIP OFF

This is my most recent find, courtesy of campaign group We Own It. They have a piece in The Mirror today which you can access here. Below is an infographic map showing the amount of money from British bus services that goes directly into the pockets of shareholders:

As a postscript to the above, the only reason the figure for East Anglia (my region) is so low is because being largely rural and hence fairly sparsely populated it does not have many bus services.

POLITICAL IDIOCY  – TORIES GO AFTER SCHOOLS WITH SOLAR PANELS

Instead of sensibly rewarding those who try do their bit by using solar panels to generate some of their energy this government is hitting some of them with extra bills. Private Schools (i.e. fee-paying schools, and the sort of school to which MPs, especially Tory MPs, send their children) will not feel the effects of this because in a spectacular misuse of the English language they are classed as “charities”. State schools (those that ordinary folk attend, as a few eons ago, I did) pay business rates which means that those state schools with solar panels will be paying a combined £1.8 million in extra rates for having them.

To charge anywhere more money because they have solar panels seems utterly boneheaded to me, but to charge schools, who should be setting positive examples to their students, for having solar panels takes the stupidity to level unanticipated even by Einstein when he said “only two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe”. 

To read the full article that inspired this section, courtesy of The Guardian, please click on the image below:

Business rate changes are a big setback for solar projects in state schools, critics say.

TWO STORIES OF STELLAR DEATH

The first of these stories is a commemoration of…

SUPERNOVA 1987-A

As the second part of its name suggests it is now 30 years since the explosion of this star was witnessed on Earth, and to commemorate that anniversary some new observations have been made of the stellar remnant by the Hubble Space Telescope. To read the story in full, which comes from ibtimes.com, please click on the image below:

Supernova 1987a

My second piece in this section comes from NASA’s official website and concerns…

THE DISCOVERY OF THE
UNIVERSE’S BRIGHTEST PULSARS

When a supernova collapses, if the remnant weighs more than 1.4 solar masses it continues to contract beyond the white dwarf stage to form a neutron star, which is stable between 1.4 and 3 solar masses (beyond 3 solar masses the crushing continues until all that is left is a black hole). A spinning neutron star is known as a pulsar. To read about the discovery of the new record holding pulsar please click on the image below.

NGC 5907 ULX is the brightest pulsar ever observed

DOWNLOAD A FREE POSTER
FROM THE NEW SCIENTIST

New Scientist are at the moment offering everyone who creates an account on their site (it is free, and very easy, to so) a free download of a You Are Here poster showing us our place in the Milky Way. If interested, click on the edited version of my poster below, which I have reduced for this specific purpose, while making sure I still have the original.

NS_MILKY_WAY_POSTER - Edited

ROCK SOLID EVIDENCE THAT WE ARE NOW LIVING IN THE ANTHROPOCENE

This is the first fruit of my creating an account for myself on New Scientist. The article, which I have linked to by way of the image below (I have also included the explanation of the image from the site) is about the 208 minerals that humans have created during their tenure on the planet (yes, the primary evidence on which the article is based is quite literally rock solid).

Simonkolleite found in a copper mine in Arizona

Mines are a good place to find minerals like this Simonkolleite – evidence of the impact humans are having on the planet

PHOTOGRAPHS

To finish this post here are some photographs I took while out walking this afternoon:

gate in old wallOld wallBlackbird4LBBBlackbird3Blackbird2Blackbird 1Red MountGuanock gateMinsterMoorhens

Two Small Auctions and Imaging for one Big Auction

An account of Wednesday and yesterday – with plenty of pictures. Also a link to a splendi piece on WEIT.

INTRODUCTION

Most of this post deals with events of Wednesday and yesterday.

WEDNESDAY – NORWICH

We had a small stamp sale at the Maids Head Hotel in Norwich, which necessitated a seriously early start. I was at the bus station at 6:00 as intended (the bus I was going to catch is scheduled to leave at 6:10, and I always like to be there early), but the bus was very late. I considered briefly catching the alternative X1, but was not willing to pay twice as much money for the quicker journey (£11 for the X1, run by First, £5.50 for a day-rider plus on the X8/ X29 Stagecoach route). Finally, over 20 minutes after it was due to leave the bus arrived to pick up passengers. It made good time once it was under way, apart from the inevitable crawl past Hellesdon Hospital, and I was at the venue by 8:15. There were no computer issues, and the sale ran very smoothly. Those items that sold went for good money, and overall the sale was as good as we could have expected.

THURSDAY – FAKENHAM

Thursday featured an early start, but not so much as the previous day, since we were holding a postal history sale at our own premises in Fakenham. This sale was more of a success than the one the day before – due to the presence of internet bidders, and a number of items made good money. Once it had finished I had time to do some imaging for the big auction on June 29th, at which some lots will be sold to raise money for the Royal British Legion’s Centre for Blast Injury Studies at Imperial College, London, and for which the catalogue is currently at the printers. There were some very large flags, one of them so huge that the only way I could image it was in the open air with two of my colleagues holding it up, one at each end. Here are the images…

342
One of the two images I took of the hypergiant flag
343
This was one of two giant flags
344
This was an ordinary size flag
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The other giant flag
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A supergiant flag – by spreading it out on the shop floor and standing a chair I was able to obtain an image of each hal;f of the flag and use my editing skills to bolt the two images together.
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One half of the supergiant flag
346-b
The other half of the supergiant flag
655
Lot 655 – a piece with local historical significance – and a gallery of seven images

655-a655-b655-c655-d655-e655-f

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This table needed careful handling and crafty psoitioning to get a usable image.

779780

To end this section, a challenge to my readers: from where did I get the descriptors (giant, supergiant and hypergiant) that I used for the outsize flags?

A LINK AND THE CURRENT TEST MATCH

Having already shared Richard Murphy’s piece on licences for company directors, when I then came across a gem of a piece on WEIT I felt that I could not justify a second such post within such a short space of time. Here therefore is a link to a piece about the Freedom for Religion Foundation going after NASA for giving a grant to a theological study.

England have recovered somewhat from a very poor start. Just before the close of day 1 of this third test against Sri Lanka Jonathan Bairstow reached his century, becoming only the second England wicketkeeper after Matt Prior to reach three test centuries in a calendar year and also only the second after Les Ames to reach two in the same test series.

I finish this piece with a few more photographs:

DSCN6462
Various model aeroplanes are currentrly on display at locations around King’s Lynn, and this picture and the next feature two of them

DSCN6589

DSCN6685
A bird enjoying the metal artwork that adorns the market square in Fakenham
DSCN6704
The image of the hypergiant flag that I decided not to use as the official one.