Links, Puzzles, Pictures

Links, puzzles and pictures. Public transport features, as does some general politics, and mathematics. The pictures are of course my own.

INTRODUCTION

I have many links to share with you, and wilkl be setting a puzzle. I will be putting up another of my tree posts immediately after this one, so my pictures feature stuff other than trees.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

This section comes in two parts, starting with…

NEWS FROM MY LONDON TRANSPORT WEBSITE

Just before lunchtime today I received the following email:

Dear Thomas.

I am writing regarding http://www.londontu.be 

My name is Andrew and I work for Nicola at Tour London. Nicola is a tour guide in London UK who takes individuals and groups to the most famous landmarks in London, as well as discovering hidden gems along the way! We were wondering if it were possible for us to appear on your “links” page in any way given that we share such a similar topic.

Alternatively would you be interested in content pieces? Nicola has a vast knowledge of London and would love to share it with your audience. 
Finally, If not content, do you have any other advertising opportunities?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind Regards,

Andrew | Marketing Executive
Tour London
Tourlondon.org.uk

 

Naturally, I was delighted to receive such a communication, and I have since put in some links, done a special post about this site and ‘pressed’ a couple of their pieces. Please visit londontu.be to read about this in more detail, and then explore tourlondon to see what they have to offer.

WE OWN IT – TRANSPORT

The campaign group weownit have created a resource with the catchy title Privatisation Fails. Below is a screenshot of the homepage for this resource:

pf

Of course, I followed up the bus and train links. Here is a paragraph from Privatisation Fails Buses:

Buses

30 years ago, our bus services were deregulated and privatised. This has been a disaster for our buses. Fares went up and routes that weren’t profitable were cut, meaning you now pay more for less.  In 2017, the Bus Service Users Bill was passed, which included a clause which bans local councils from creating their own public bus companies. 

On this page are the Big Five bus companies that grew out of deregulation and privatisation in the 1980s – together they control 70% of the bus travel industry in the UK. Many of these companies either own, or are owned by, rail companies as well.

Read more about bus services, and how and why we want to bring them into public ownership, here.

Next up comes Privatisation Fails Railways:

Railways

British Rail was broken up and privatised between 1994 and 1997, and since then rail services in the UK have been provided by private companies. There are 16 rail franchises in the UK, where the government gives train companies funding to run services for a certain period. 

Many of the companies that run our trains are European state-owned companies who reinvest millions of pounds a year in dividends from their British operations into their own transport systems. As you’ll see, these companies often own franchises within franchises. You might be surprised to learn who owns your morning commute! We’ve also listed three ‘ROSCOs’ or rolling stock companies, who lease trains to rail companies.

Read more about the privatisation of rail and what we can do about it here.

POLITICAL LINKS

Royal Mail workers have voted by a huge margin to take strike action. The official voting figures are:

Turnout 73.7%
Yes 89%
No 11%

This means that 65.593% of all those eligible to vote cast their vote in favour of strike action. I did this calculation myself, entirely in my head, but here for the record is how to get there…

Calling Turnout T and Yes votes Y and Overall Percent Yes as O we have O = TY/100. Putting the known figures into this we have O = (73.7 x 89)/100. To avoid decimals until absolutely necessary we change this to O = (737 x 89)/1000. To calculate 737 x 89 we can reduce to single figure calculations as follows:

737 x 89 = (700 x 89) + (30 x 89) + (7 x 89), and then splitting these up 700 x 89 = (700 x 80) + (700 x 9), 30 x 89 = (30 x 80) + (30 x 9) and 7 x 89 = (7 x 80) + (7 x 9). We now have a series of multiplications which can all be treated as single figure multiplications, with in some cases zeroes to be stuck on the end. Multiplying them out gives us 56,000 + 6,300 + 2,400 + 270 +560 + 63. Adding these together we get 65,593, and dividing by 1,000 requires a decimal point to go between the first and second five, giving us 65.593%. PS It took a lot longer writing this out than performing the calculations in my head!

I have two links for you about this vote:

A SKWAWKBOX QUADRUPLE BILL

The Skwawkbox, one of the best new media sites around, has had several particularly outstanding pieces recently:

PHOTOS 1 – ANIMALS

From Monday and yesterday:

Swan IV
Mute Swan (first four images) on the section of the Gaywood near Kettlewell lane.

Swan IIISwan IISwan IDucks and drakesMallard drakeMoorhen

Squirrel with Conker
This squirrel was sufficiently occupied by its shiny new conker for me to get this picture.

A TEASER

This puzzle comes courtesy of brilliant:

PNQ

PHOTOS 2: VIEWS

Minster Lumiere
Although all these pictures were taken in varying degrees of darkness none involved the use of the flash, which is an absolute last resort for me.

CH Lumiere VCH Lumiere IVCH Lumiere IIICH Lumiere IICH LumiereCustom House IICustom HouseNar meets Ouse, high tideWL Churchtownscape at dusk

 

 

Autism, Transport and Renationalisation

Some links, some pictures and solutuons to a few puzzles I had posed earlier.

INTRODUCTION

I have a number of interesting links to share, along with thoughts and photographs of my own and solutions to my last set of puzzles.

AUTISM RELATED LINKS

My first link in this section is to a post titled “Why Is It Necessary To Intervene With The Natural Course Of Being Autistic” published on THE BULLSHIT FAIRY. Here is the most important section of the piece:

Why is it necessary to intervene with the natural course of being Autistic?

“Early” implies that there is a need to “catch” things early, before it progresses.

Autism is not a disease. It is not progressive. It just IS.

It is disrespectful because it ignores our own timing. Autism is a developmental disability and respecting that is important, instead of applying a neurotypical timeline of neurotypical milestones to neurodivergent children.

And while some aspects of occupational therapy and life skills can be beneficial, if there is no respect for each child’s timing, and if it is done in a manner that is compliance based/reward based, and if this is called “Early Intervention”, then it is just another name for ABA”

My next link is to thge early stages of wbhat looks set to be an excellent series of posts. Blogging Astrid is writing a series of posts about autism under the banner #Write31Days. I have two links for you:

My next two links come from firebrightstarsoul and both concern education and autism:

  • Enough to break your heart” which deals with a school day which (due entirely to failings on the part of the school) went very badly wrong. I quote one paragraph, which comes near the end of the story:
    We were told we’d be given parent codes to log in to the school’s app so we could find her missing assignments and help her on the weekend until she’s caught up. She didn’t know where to even find this information on her laptop, and when she tried to tell the teacher she didn’t know what she was supposed to work on, the teacher smirked at her and dismissed her with the pithy remark, “I bet you do.”
  • The one-room school-house” which (unsurprisingly given the above) looks at the possibility of homeschooling. Here is a picture from this piece:

This section concludes with…

TWO SEGUE LINKS

My last two pieces in this section are at the intersect of autism and public transport. First, from the i newspaper comes a piece titled “Travelling as a disabled person: I have autism – it takes me days to recover from one Tube journey“, one of a series a pieces by members of campaigning group Transport for All being published there this week. Here is the image which heads the article:

Claire has autism and says: "The world is a very unpredictable and confusing place."
Claire has autism and says: “The world is a very unpredictable and confusing place.” (Image: Transport for All)

Finally, a petition on the official site for petitioning the UK Parliament, which means that it is only open to UK citizens, calling for a necessary change to the PIP rules. Below is a screenshot link:

PIPP

Please visit, sign and share.

LINKS RELATING TO RENATIONALISATION AND TRANSPORT

My first link in this section is to a piece on Vox Political titled “McDonnell States Labour Will Take Back Rail, Water, Energy and Royal Mail | Beastrabban\’s weblog” This excellent piece sets the stage for the rest of this section. Below is the single most important paragraph, by way of a tempter:

And if Labour does, as I fervently hope, renationalize those industries, I would very much like a form of workers’ control implemented in them. One reason why the Tories were able to privatize these industries was because, when Labour nationalized them after the Second World War, the party was too timid in the form nationalization took. The state took over the ownership of these industries, but otherwise left the existing management structures intact. This disappointed many trade unionists and socialists, who hoped that nationalization would mean that the people, who actually worked in these industries would also play a part in their management.

Since that piece was produced Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK has put up a post titled “The public want nationalisation because nationalisation makes sense” in response to a hand-wringing editorial in The Observer, which started from noting that a recent study had revealed the full extent of public support for renationalisation (water – 83% in favour, electricity and gas – 77% in favour andr railways – 76% in favour – leading the way) and went full-on Tory from there, regarding renationalisation as a bad thing and coming with ideas for how this ‘threat’ might be dealt with. Professor Murphy, like me, takes the opposite stand-point, and points out how flawed the Observer piece is. 

PHOTOGRAPHS 1

This set of photographs is of Lot 553 from the auction of Monday September 25th (see this post):

whole mapPastureLand under cultivationOrkney and Shetland islandsExplanatory NoteThe French connectionIrelandKLLondonVarsityIOW

SOLUTIONS TO PUZZLES

The first of three puzzles I set that I have not yet provided answers to was a question from Triva Hive:

In which country is Europe’s only desert located?

a)Italy
b)Greece
c)Poland
d)Spain

I am sufficiently well informed about Italy, Greece and Spain that I was fairly sure that none of them is the answer. Thus, having ruled out the impossibles I was left withe one answer that however improbable must be the true one – Poland. The screenshot below shows that my Sherlockian approach to the question bore fruit:

bledow

The second puzzle was Abbot Foxs “street scramble”:

Puzzle

Unscrambling this gives “Pilling Park Road”, and the map below shows the location of said street:
PPR

The third problem came from brilliant and featured a treasure hunt. Below is the answer:
33

PHOTOGRAPHS

Just before I publish this and head out for a spot of ecotherapy and to top up the photo collection here are some non-tree pics from yesterday:

Moorhen2

Fish
A rarity – a fish sufficiently close to the surface of the Gaywood River that I could take a picture of it that (just about) came out.

C&GCGCgulls and corvidsresting cormorantSwimming ternstag beetleCormorant and gullsbird gathering

 

Coming Up – A Trip to Cornwall

Letting people know that I will be visiting Cornwall in the near future, and a few other bits and bobs.

INTRODUCTION

My parents have recently moved to a place near Plymouth, and all they are currently out of the country travelling they will be back for a month or thereabouts from late October. I will be visiting their place in mid-November. I have asked for leave on the 9th and 10th of November so that I can go down on the 8th and come back on the 13th. 

THE JOURNEY

To get from King’s Lynn to Plymouth (nearest station to my parents’ new place) by public transport one needs to to travel from King’s Lynn to London King’s Cross, get a Hammersmith & City line train from King’s Cross to Paddington and then travel from Paddington to Plymouth (I already knew this). The journey takes in the region of six hours (I expected this to be the case but until I investigated did not know for certain). This why I requested leave for the two days concerned because the two days on which one travels are not going to be much use for anything else. 

THE TICKETS

I discovered via www.thetrainline.com that tickets were available for £57. Thus I have made the booking and picked up the tickets.

COLLECTING THE TICKETS

Having made the booking I was assigned a code I could use to collect the tickets:

KL-PLY

I decided that memorising an alphanumeric code of eight characters would be a bit of an ask even for me, so I called in at the library where I could screenshot the email containing the above, paste into paint and edit as appropriate before printing at a cost of 10p. 

Library (1)Librarylibrary

From there it was a short walk through the park to the station to pick up the tickets. 

KL - PLY ticket
Outbound ticket
PLY - KL ticket
The Homebound ticket

 

Receipt
The receipt.

The email giving me the code to collect my tickets also included itineraries for both journeys.

THE BRILLIANT.ORG 100-DAY
SUMMER CHALLENGE

I recently received (by email) my certificate for having attempted all 100 of the problems (almost 50,000 people attempted at least one of these problems, of whom 1,797 attempted the whole lot).

Brilliant certificate

Here for you to peruse if you like are all the problems:
Brilliant’s 100 Days – All 102 Problems

This version features one problem per page:
Brilliant’s 100 Days – One Problem Per Page

Before moving on to the photographs that will conclude this post I offer you…

A PUZZLE OF MY OWN CREATION

Archaeologist and adventurer Idaho Johnson is near to making the biggest find of her life, but to do so she needs to get past the “Door of Death”:

Door of Death

Can you fill in the missing fourth vertical panel of numbers and get Ms Johnson through the “Door of Death”? As a bonus question can you identify the real door that I have used to create the above image?

PHOTOGRAPHS

Purfleet meets OuseS&TBirdsWaves on OuseThe AllaThe Alla signZBBoatZB nameGullGateway

Hairim Scarim
This ‘story stone’ is in Loke Road Rec.

SquirrelSNDAll Saints

 

Autism, Disability, Mathematics, Religion, Politics

Various links as indicated by the title of this post, the solution to one problem and a new problem. All topped off with the some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

This post features links, puzzles and pictures. The title refers to the subjects officiallly covered within the post. 

A NEW AUTISM RESOURCE

The Neurodivergent Rebel has produced a post that could become a goldmine. Titled “Web Resources” she describes it as a growing list and ends the post with this:

This is a growing list. Please send suggestions to NeurodivergentRebel@gmail.com

If you can think of anything to help the Neurodivergent Rebel expand this list please use the quote out above, which if you click on it will open up an email message addressed to her which you can then complete.

DISABLED PEOPLE ON BUSES

I have two links in this section. Firstly to a piece from Transport For All about Transport for London’s rExcl: proof faithless council, not union, to blame for Birmingham bin strikeExcl: proof faithless council, not union, to blame for Birmingham bin strikeesponse to the Supreme Court’s ruling on wheelchair priority spaces on buses. This piece is titled “First steps from TfL in response to Supreme Court’s ruling over the Wheelchair priority space on buses” 

Secondly, from Buzzfeed, comes this piece with the self explanatory title “Disabled People Say They Are Still Being Denied Priority Spaces On Buses Despite A High Court Ruling”.

TWO FROM THE SKWAWKBOX

The Skwawkbox is a regular source of excellent material, and these two pieces are no exception:

  1. BHAM COUNCIL MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO SCAPEGOAT CLANCY TO RENEGE ON BIN DEAL – A follow up to the story that I reblogged from this site recently about a dispute in Birmingham.

  2. The second piece concerns the make up of the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee – the detail contained in the title “EXCL: PRO-CORBYN ASLEF, FBU TO TAKE NEC SEATS” means that at least for the present, and for the very first time, the NEC will have a pro-Corbyn majority. Here is an ASLEF related picture:
    Autism Acceptance Month

SWETA OJHA ON RELIGION

Sweta has produced an excellent poem titled “If Religion Schools You To War” and from it I quote the all-important final verse:

And if –
Religion still schools you to war
I, an atheist deserve an applaud.

MATHEMATICS

This section will include two links, the solution to one puzzle and a second puzzle. Both the links come from the Robert Loves Pi blog, and they are:

  1. A Zonohedron with 7802 Faces –  another of his remarkable constructions using Stella 4D: Polyhedron Navigator.

  2. A Four-Color Flag – exactly what the title suggests, and here is said flag:
    a four-color flag

PUZZLES

On Thursday in a post titled “Links, Pics and Puzzles” I included this puzzle:

Q

The solution is 96% + 96% of 4%. 96% of 4 is (4 x 96)/100 = 3.84. 96 + 3.84 = 99.84, os the answer is that if the death rate in surviving species had been the same as the overall extinction rate then 99.84% of all living things would have died in that event.

For my next puzzle I turn once again to Brilliant and offer up the following:

Marble Q

I will probably provide a solution on Wednesday.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Moorhen in algae

Nar Valley Park
Nar Valley Park – this development is now approaching completion.

gulls3

Town Hall
The next four pictures were taken on Thursday night – I had been acting as stand-in host on my aunt;s behalf, welcoming an airbnb guest to her house, and it was getting dark as I returned.

Lumiere 3Lumiere2lumiere1GullsGlaucous GullFlying cormorantmoorhens

Science and Nature (and other stuff)

Some recent internet finds and some of my own photographs.

INTRODUCTION

This post features links to some recent internet finds and some of my own photographs. 

SOME SCIENCE AND NATURE LINKS

I start with a piece from mongabay which argues that “The Sixth Great Extinction” is actually “The First Biotacide“. Below is a picture from this article:

Steller’s Sea Cow holds the the world record for rapidity of extinction. Illustration from “Extinct monsters,” London: Chapman & Hall, 1896. Photo via Wikimedia Commons, licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The second piece in this section comes from thewildlifeplanet and is titled “Italian Super-Volcano Approaches Eruption

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

I have five links to share in this section:

  1. vlogexpedition have a piece about the world’s longest railway journey – that along the Trans-Siberian railway.
    4 days on the Trans-Siberian Train
  2. My next piece comes from Vox Political, who got direct from the person whose story it is, Paula Peters. The title of the piece “Bus driver subjects disability activist to humiliating discrimination” gives you a good idea of the nature of the story. British law on this matter is unequivocal – the bus driver is legally obliged to give wheelchair users priority over mothers with buggies (this courtesy of a court ruling in January). Given the completeness of the information Paula provides, the bus company in question have only one option open to them both legally and morally – they must sack the offending driver and must make sure that all their drivers are aware of their responsibilities to disabled passengers.
  3. I am treating my last three pieces in this section together, as all are connected with London Underground, all come from indy100.com and all have been pressed on to my London transport themed website. They are respectively:
    This is Officially the best Tube line
    Quiz: Can you name the London Underground line by its colour?
    This gif exposes the lies the London Tube map is telling you

FAB FOUR FINAL LINKS

First in this section comes a link to RobertLovesPi’s Blog for this piece titled “A Twisted Expansion of the Truncated Octahedron“, which features a very cool graphic. 

The Skwawkbox have produced an excellent piece titled “ATTACKS ON PIDCOCK SHOW MORAL BANKRUPTCY OF RIGHT – IN OR OUT OF LABOUR” Laura Pidcock is the recently elected MP for Northwest Durham and she has been making waves for her unashamed hostility to Tories and her criticisms of the cosiness and clubbiness of the House of Commons.

I started this post with a couple of science and nature related links, and now as we approach my photographs we are finishing where we started with stuff about nature, first of all Cindy Knoke with a wonderful post about a castle that has been dedicated to raptors, titled “Castle Rapture“.

With the last word before my photographs is Anna, who has recently posted part 13 of her amazing Paradise on Earth series, this time focussing on some of the smaller creatures who live in and around Trosa.

PHOTOGRAPHS

I will start this set of photographs with some of the smaller creatures I have recently captured, before finishing with some general pictures. These pictures were all taken yesterday.

white butterfly, yellow flowersTB on dandelion 3TB on dandelion2TB on dandelionBeeButterfly in nettlesButterfly and dandelionWhite butterfly on nettleWBTB1TBButterflybutterfly on nettleleaflike butterflyFlying buitterfliesred boattwo boatsBoatBoatsFlying gullmagpie 2magpie headmagpiesadolescent mallardMoorhen and chickMinis2Minis1Moorhen

 

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

 

 

Marxism 2017

Setting the scene for a series of posts about Marxism 2017.

INTRODUCTION

In approximately two hours I will be off to catch a train to London for Marxism 2017, four days of political meetings. Given the location I will have regular wi-fi access and will blog regularly about the event.

MARXISM 2017

Most of the rest of this post will be taken up with pictures of my timetable, but before I put them up a note – I have ticked the meetings that I definitely intend to go to, and put question marks against those I am considering (if for example there are two in one slot that appeal and I have not yet made a final decision).

Front CoverInside FCCorbyn & New PoliticsRRRA World in TurmoilThursdayFridaySaturdaySundayInside back coverMarxism Map