Marxism 2018 Day 2

An account of Day 2 at Marxism 2018 (now a week ago).

INTRODUCTION

There has been a hiatus in my coverage of Marxism 2018 because I had no opportunity to blog on Sunday, due to the tight meetings schedule and my subsequent journey home, was working on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and travelling virtually all day yesterday (getting from northwest Norfolk to southeast Cornwall by public transport takes a long time). I have plans for several more posts about Marxism 2018, a batch of posts about Cornwall, and at least one work-related post in the near future. 

FIRST MEETING: JAN NIELSEN ON THE POLITICS OF FOOD

This was a good though very disturbing start to the day. Some of the things that the speaker revealed about what is done to our food were quite shocking. There was an excellent discussion.

PostersDisplay BoardPlatformThe speaker and booksJan gives her talk

MEETING 2: WHY DOES CAPITALISM LOVE PLASTIC?

I will be covering this meeting in a later post along with several other environment related meetings. For the moment here is a photograph from the room:

Plastics meeting just before start

MEETING 3: MARXISM AND RELIGION

The thrust of this meeting was that we are always willing to work with people no matter what their religion, or indeed whether they have one or not. Most people at this event are not religious themselves but would always consider arguig against religion to be a waste of time.

The Religion MeetingSpeaker and chair, religion meetingPostersBooksMaxine giving her talk

DEMOLITIONS TO SOCIAL CLEANSING – THE CLASS WAR ON HOUSING

This meeting, excellently chaired by Moyra from the Justice for Grenfell campaign, began with a small disappointment. One of the scheduled speakers, Emma Dent Coad MP, was unable to get away from parliament to make her contribution and sent her apologies. The other two speakers were housing campaigner Eileen Short and London Assembly member and housing expert Sian Berry from the Green Party. I was particularly pleased to finally get to here Ms Berry (have a look at my coverage of the 2016 London Mayoral Election and my “Fantasy Cabinet” post for more about my opinions of Ms Berry).

She made an excellent speech, searing criticism of current housing policy and some good suggestions of her own. 

Eileen Short was also excellent, and there were some great stories in the discussion. 

Housing meeting - chairSian Berry and Eileen ShortMoyra opens the meetingMoyra introducing the meetingMoyra hands over to the first speaker...

Sian Berry
The first of a number of shots I got of Sian Berry in action.

Sian Berry speakingSian Berry speaking IISian Berry IISian Berry Close Up

Eileen Short speaking
Eileen Short

Eileen ShortThe scene as Eileen addresses the meetingA contribution from the floorSian Berry summing up ISian Berry summing up II

Outisde student central
Outside the building after the meeting.

Student Central Main Entrance

INJUSTICE AND THE BRITISH STATE

This meeting, which took place at The Venue (in it’s third incarnation, having started life as Manning Hall and then had a few years as Room 101), featured Sheila Coleman from the Hillsborough Campaign, Brian Richardson and Gareth Peirce. It was a superb ending to the day.

The Venue before the big meeting on injusticeThe Venue looking towards The Gallery BarThe Venue looking towards the front rightPostersBrian Richardson ready for his part in the meetingPosters IIChurch frontagePosters IIIChurch ViewBooksGareth, Sheila and BrianSpeakers and ChairSpeakers and chair II

Almost showtime.
Jill from South Yorkshire chairing the meeting.
Gareth Peirce speaking
Gareth Peirce spoke first
Sheila Speaking
Followed by Sheila Coleman
Brian Richardson speaking
Brian Richardson was third to speak.

Welcome to 2018

A little something to kick off 2018 on aspi.blog

INTRODUCTION

Happy new year everyone. This post will give you a few hints as to what you can look forward to in 2018 on aspi.blog.

ASPI.BLOG STYLE GUIDE

Headings will generally be in a cycle that runs red/green’purple, although this is subject to variation in certain circumstances.

Body text will always be in black unless I am writing about autism, in which case I will use #RedInstead

When sharing content from another site I will always link to the host site and the specific post and where possible will mention the author by name – such links will be a different colour from regular body text and will be both bold and underlined. 

It will be a very rare post that does not congtain photographs.

LIKELY SUBJECTS FOR 2018

  • Autism
  • Public Transport 
  • Nature
  • Science
  • Religion
  • Cricket
  • Books
  • Photography

I will also probably find other things to blog about in 2018.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Cormorant and otherslapwingsCormorantfive lapwingsChurch and cormorantlapwings and gulls IIMoorhenssmall birdlapwings, cormorant and otherslapwings and gull11 lapwingsCormorant, gulls, lapwings

A COUPLE OF CLOSING QUESTIONS

Please feel free to use the comments to answer the questions below?

  1. What are your blogging ideas for 2018?
  2. What do you think about mine?

 

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.

137138

139
A sculpture outside Euston station.

140141

142
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…

108

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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146
Kate Hurford and the chair just before the start of their meeting

147

148
Shahrar Ali and the chair of his meeting.
152
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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