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.

INTRODUCTION

Just a brief post to keep me on your radar!

EVOLUTION IN A MEME

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

Evolution

A PRIME PROBLEM FROM BRILLIANT

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:

SP

I will reveal the solution tomorrow.

BIRD PICTURES FROM KINGS LYNN

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

 

 

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

The Cosmic Skeptic Debunks Pascal’s Wager

Introducing the Cosmic Skeptic, who I came across by way of twitter.

INTRODUCTION

The debunking takes place in a seven minute video that was drawn to my attention by twitter, but there is also a cosmicskeptic website, which I recommend to your attention.

PASCAL’S WAGER DEBUNKED

A SECOND VIDEO FROM COSMIC SKEPTIC

Here is a second video from the Cosmic Skeptic (real name Alex O’Connor).

Marxism 4: Sunday

My account of the Sunday at Marxism 2016.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to my fourth post about Marxism 2016 (see here, here and here), focussing on Sunday. Like the previous post, this one will be formatted slightly differently from my usual Marxism posts, again because I wish to focus on two particular meetings.

GETTING THERE AND THE DAY’S PLAN

It being Sunday I was even more generous than usual in allowing for transport problems. In keeping with Sutcliffe’s Second Law of Travelling by Public Transport I therefore had my best journey of the week.

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A sculpture outside Euston station.

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A neoclassical folly, Euston Road

To help explain both my schedule for the day and the rest of this post here is the timetable for Sunday, with my choices marked…

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What I am going to do now is write briefly about meetings 1,2 and 5 before covering the two disability meetings in a bit more detail.

MEETINGS 1, 2 AND 5

My first meeting, Kate Hurford on White supremacy and the creation of “race” – where does racism come from? took place in Clarke Hall, which is on level three of the institute. The speaker was not well but still managed to deliver a very good introduction after which there was a lively debate.

For the second meeting I had chosen Shahrar Ali on How left is green politics? Although I am grateful that both he and Natalie Bennett were speaking at this event, and regret that a timetable clash prevented me from hearing Natalie speak I felt that there were important questions not dealt with, such as the roles of greens in office in various parts of the world (like the Aussie green party doing deals with the Liberal National Party, that country’s equivalent of the Tories). However, this caveat aside I enjoyed this meeting, and have no regrets about attending.

I will be covering meetings 3 and 4 in the next section. Meeting 5, for which I had chosen religion was an interesting meeting.

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Kate Hurford and the chair just before the start of their meeting

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Shahrar Ali and the chair of his meeting.
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Anna Gluckstein (right as you look) and the chair of her meeting on religion.

TWO MEETINGS ABOUT DISABILITY

Both of these two meetings, the first a panel meeting and the second the official launch of Roddy Slorach’s book “A Very Capitalist Condition” were excellent and in their different ways inspiring.

The first meeting started with a number of speakers talking about what they are doing, and about various campaigns before then being opened up for discussion.

Roddy’s meeting (we have previously shared a platform at a public meeting in Norwich) began with him introducing ideas that are contained within his book, which I have since read and enjoyed.

I suffered a double frustration because I had carefully planned contributions for both meetings (there are as yet no meetings at Marxism focussing specifically on autism, although this year the Silberman book was on display – if anyone involved in the organisation the event is reading this please take this as a hint) and did not get to make either although I indicated clearly on both occasions.

AN OUTLINE OF THE UNMADE CONTRIBUTIONS

I had planned two different but linked contributions, each tailored to the specific meeting in question. For the first meeting, which focussed exclusively on campaigns My contribution would have covered the following:

  • A full introduction mentioning my role at NAS West Norfolk and the fact that I am #actuallyautistic and giving details of this blog
  • A skate through some of NAS West Norfolk’s activities including a brief mention of the Positive Autism Awareness Conference and the upcoming launch of adult activities and the inaugural Autism Awareness Cup.
  • Finishing with an account of the campaign around the Fermoy unit and our role in it, emphasisng that the Fermoy remains open.

For Roddy’s meeting I would again have given a full introduction before going on to cover:

  • The envisaged but not yet fully realized sequence of: Awareness – Understanding – Acceptance.
  • Emphasised that autism is a condition not a disorder – it is not a malfunctiion, it is a different operating system .
  • Might have produced the line ‘nothing about us without us’
  • Planned to finish by emphasising that different is not a synonym for lesser.

I finish this section by re-emphasising that these were two excellent meetings.

THE LAST EVENING

I stayed fairly late after the end of the final meeting, and was delighted to make the acquaintance of several people involved in disability activism during this period.

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Faith Versus Fact paperback out soon

If you have not already got a copy of this book take this opportunity to rectify the omission. For more about it see my review here: https://aspiblog.wordpress.com/2015/12/30/faith-vs-fact-book-review/

Why Evolution Is True

The paperback edition of Faith Versus Fact will be available on May 17, and it will have a fancy gold band on the cover instead of the drabbish band (which was supposed to be shiny gold) that was on the hardcover. It’s about fifteen bucks in the U.S., and you can preorder it from AmazonAmazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk, Barnes & Noble, and, as always, the audio version is available from several of those places or from iTunes.

41gExnsZySL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_

Pre-orders are best for promoting the book, of course, but I’ll be chuffed whenever you buy it. And, as always, if you encounter me in person, I’ll be glad to sign it (or WEIT) for you.

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Australia 2-0 Up In ODI Series

A mention of yesterday;s ODI, leading to an account of a controversial dismissal and some stories about other controversial dismissals. Some good pictures. Finally, some interesting and important links.

INTRODUCTION

As well as my title piece I have some links and some photographs to share.

AUSTRALIAN VICTORY MARRED BY CONTROVERSIAL DISMISSAL

Let me start by saying straight that the dismissal in question had no effect on the outcome of the match – Australia were already in control by then and thoroughly deserved their victory. England one the toss, put Australia in, and Australia ran up 309 from the 49 overs that the match was reduced to.

OBSTRUCTING THE FIELD

Ben Stokes was given out to one cricket’s most obscure modes of dismissal: Obstructing the Field. He deflected with his hand a ball that would have hit his stumps and run him out.  I quote from my copy of The Laws of Cricket the paragraph explaining the relevant law:

1. Out Obstructing the field

Either batsman is out Obstructing the field  if he wilfully obstructs the or distracts the opposing side by word or action. It shall be regarded as obstruction if either batsman wilfully, and without the consent of the fielding side, strikes the ball with his bat or person, other than a hand not holding the bat, after the ball has touched a fielder.

The emphases in the body text of the above quote are mine – in the space of time that it took for  the incident to occur it is hard to see how Stokes could have wilfully obstructed the field – and also the hand that struck the ball was not holding the bat and is therefore specifically exempted by the above. Steven Smith, the Australian captain earned few friends by allowing the appeal and dismissal to stand, and even fewer by the arrogant, unthinking post-match interview in which he refused to even countenance the possibility that he might have been wrong.

Of course controversies are nothing new when it comes to clashes between crickets oldest international foes – the first great controversy over a dismissal in an England – Australia match was the one in 1882 that led to the creation of the Ashes, when W.G.Grace ran out Sammy Jones after the latter had left his crease to pat down a divot. Fred Spofforth was particularly incensed, and proceeded to vent his anger by running through the England second innings to win the match. The first post World War II Ashes match featured very controversial moment when Bradman, then on 28 and having looked very unconvincing, sent a ball shoulder-high to Jack Ikin at second slip, and was given not out after England initially thought they had no need to appeal (normally for a high and clear catch you don’t). England’s captain Walter Hammond gave Bradman a pithy summary of his thoughts, saying “A fine bloody way to start a series”. Bradman went on to 187 and Australia to an innings victory. Other more recent cases of controversy include the Dyson run out that was not given at Sydney in the 1982-83 series (when the batsman was so far out of his ground that he was not even in the frame when the wicket was broken), the Wayne Phillips dismissal at Edgbaston in 1985 that ended all hope of Australia saving that match (caught by Gower after he had chopped a ball on to Allan Lamb’s boot and it rebounded up and across to the skipper) and the Ponting dismissal at Trent Bridge in 2005 and that worthy’s subsequent verbal firework display.

PHOTOGRAPHIC INTERLUDE

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LINKS

I have quite a few links to share today, and they divide into three sections…

SCIENCE AND NATURE

Five pieces here:

  1. Cosmos Up have produced one of their quirky compilations, in this case “10 facts about Mars your probably didn’t know
  2. The remaining pieces in this section all come courtesy of whyevolutionistrue, starting with this light-hearted “Saturday Hili Dialogue
  3. Next, this piece about a very brave woman who saved a fox from bloodthirsty, law-breaking hunters.
  4. Next, Lawrence Krauss exposing the xenophobia inherent in religion.
  5. Finally, this one, in which a chimpanzee takes out a drone.

AUTISM RELATED

Again, five links here…

  1. A new find via twitter, and a site I wish to encourage is nextstepacademy (I acknowledge that they are not strictly autism related, but that is where the connection arose).
  2. A report provided by the National Autistic Society on Special Educational Needs.
  3. A very promising looking site called interactingwithautism
  4. From perfectltyfadeddelusions, a new blog that I thoroughly recommend, comes this reblog of a post by an autistic person.

Also on the sharing theme, and accompanied by a pic to make things clearer for you, CricketNews have for the second time in quite a brief period shared something from an autistic blogger.
CL shared

GENERAL POLITICS

A total of six links in this section:

  • I begin with a link to what is in actuality a report of a theft committed brazenly and in broad daylight by a Jobcentre security guard. Having read the post, from samedifference, I have already stated in their comments section the “security guard” who thought it was alright ro behave in this manner needs to be arrested and charged. If I was handling the case, I would run him down to the Police Station, and tell him that either he yields up the phone so that I can be returned to its owner or he goes to court and when he is convicted, as on such ironclad evidence he would have to be, a custodial sentence will be called for. PLEASE READ AND SHARE THE FULL POST
  • julijuxtaposed takes on Scam-eron’s leadership attributes in this post.
  • Next courtesy of the Mirror comes this about David Cameron coming under pressure to abolish the bedroom tax, even from his own side. This piece contains a poll asking readers whether the bedroom tax should be abolished, and when I voted the records showed 92% had got the answer right and only 8% had clicked the no button!
  • perfectlyfadeddelusions are back, with this piece about WRAG workshops being a waste of time.
  • dwpexamination have produced this piece about who are being labelled as extremists (Anti-fracking protesters as a group and Caroline Lucas by name were mentioned in this context).
  • Finally, in an effort to finish on high note, this piece from Tina Savage, already widely shared on social media, about why she chose to vote for Jeremy Corbyn.

A Heretical Idea to Help Aussie Mens Team

A heretical suggestion for the Australian Mens team selection for the fifth ashes test, some photographs, a section on the Labour Party leadership contest and a section on Carl Sagan.

INTRODUCTION

My title piece is about the current woes of the Australian Mens side, and I also have links (though not on this occasion a dedicated links section), infographics and photographs to share.

DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES

With the destiny of 2015 Mens Ashes safely settled I am going venture a very radical selection suggestion for them. At the Oval, on what is usually a flat pitch both sides would be well advised to ensure that they have five genuine bowling options available. Australia’s batting having failed in four straight innings they also need some depth there. Watson (although he is playing in a tour match at Northampton today) is out of favour, neither Marsh brother has been convincing and that is all Australia have in terms of batting variation available to them in their official squad. However, there is an Australian all-rounder in England at the moment who is in the form of their life: Ellyse Perry, fresh from playing a starring role in the Aussie Womens team victory in the test match.

I admit that this is a stretch, especially given that Perry’s stock in trade as a bowler is pace, and in the men’s game she would not be especially quick, but in the state that Aussie men are in at the moment the move could hardly make things worse – and maybe even if she proves unable to do much herself against the men the presence of someone with current winning experience will be a boost in and of itself.

Do I really believe that a woman could mix it with the men? Yes – there are plenty of aspects of cricket that are not all about brute strength and although, in spite of the premise of this piece, I would not particularly expect a female to be able to bowl at 150KPH I could see a specialist batter, a spinner or a wicketkeeper being able to mix it with the men.

A PHOTOGRAPHIC INTERLUDE

A few photos from in and around King’s Lynn…

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Earnest cleric to JBS Haldane "what have your studies told you about the creator?"  Haldane's response "That he is inordinately fond of beetles."
Earnest cleric to JBS Haldane “what have your studies told you about the creator?”
Haldane’s response “That he is inordinately fond of beetles.”

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Butterfly with closed wings.
Butterfly with closed wings.

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The first of two ponds separated by the width of a Road.
The first of two ponds separated by the width of a Road.
The other pond, with a particularly luxurious carpeting of lilies.
The other pond, with a particularly luxurious carpeting of lilies.

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BEES

A very important and well presented infographic from 38Degrees that I picked up by way of Mike Coulson on twitter:

38D

THE LABOUR PARTY LEADERSHIP CONTEST

I have a purely watching brief on this, since I am principled enough not to have taken advantage of the “register as a supprter for £3” trick. This infographic is revealing about the voting patterns of the three long serving MPs in the contest (Kendall has only been around long enough to have voted on two of the issues covered, and utterly unsurprisingly to anyone who knows anything about she is 0 for 2):

Lab Leadership

My second offering in this section is a headline about an open declaration of intent to sabotage. If this is telling the truth those two MPs (no surprise that they are Blue Labourites Umunna and Hunt – and I’ll bet that the dishonourable Danczuk is in cahoots with them) should be expelled from the party – this is TREACHERY:

Sabotage Plans

I end this section with link to a piece by Molly Scott Cato MEP (as an aside born in the same town – Stroud, Gloucestershire – as me although a little earlier) which talks about one potential consequence of a Corbyn victory – a red/green coalition.

CARL SAGAN

The late legendary Carl Sagan was a superb writer and populariser of science. I was motivated to produce this section when I stumbled on a thread on twitter that had developed from a Turin Shroud picture overlaid with a great summing up of the religious approach, and then a Sagan quote – which led to me to extract some Sagan books from my shelves and photograph them…

The infographic that started it all.
The infographic that started it all.
The Sagan quote
The Sagan quote
A montage of my Sagan books - I have given Pale Blue Dot extra prominence because although any book by Sagan is guaranteed to be an excellent read this one  is  particularly special.
A montage of my Sagan books – I have given Pale Blue Dot extra prominence because although any book by Sagan is guaranteed to be an excellent read this one is particularly special.