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

 

 

A Beach Hut at Old Hunstanton

An account of the NAS West Norfolk day at the beach hut.

INTRODUCTION

I am taking a one-post break from my series about my holiday in Scotland to cover last Sunday’s NAS West Norfolk activities centred on the Mencap beach hut at Old Hunstanton which we had for the day.

GETTING THERE

Having checked on google maps to remind myself of the distance between Hunstanton and Old Hunstanton I decided to get the bus to Hunstanton and walk from there. Having a choice between Stagecoach and a local operator (Lynx) I naturally decided in favour of the local operator. This decision was rewarded with a fare that was less than I would have paid on Stagecoach:

P1010994

For a sunny Sunday in June the traffic was quite light, and the bus reached Hunstanton pretty much on schedule. I then set off on the walk to Old Hunstanton. I have stated before on this blog that the shortest route is not always the best on my reckoning, and this was another situation where my chief criterion was not shortness. For reasons that I will not insult the intelligence of my readers by elucidating my sole criterion for choosing my route was to stay as near the sea as possible.

blackbirdMap2Map1renewable energyFlying bird 2Flying bird 1renewable energy 2Lighthouse and ruined churchLighthouse and ruined church 2lighthouseP1020007ruined church 1Wolf sculptureSt Edmund and the WolfSt Edmunds doorwayAltarAltar stoneInfo Board - St Edmunds Hunstantonlighthouse2Lighthouse plaqueTowerTower plaqueCrowsnestSeaMap3Footpath marker

Old Hunstanton Beach
Old Hunstanton Beach. I initially failed to identify the correct beach hut, but after a few minutes scouting I was noticed by one of the others.

PRE-LUNCH – THE LIFEBOATS

Having got to know the beach hut some of us took the RNLI up on their kind offer of a tour as they explained about what they do, their boat and their hovercraft. This latter is one of only four in the whole country. The boat has to be towed into the water by tractor, and anyone familiar with north Norfolk beaches at low tide will therefore have little difficulty in understanding why the hovercraft which is an amphibious vehicle is sometimes necessary.

Propellers
I took these first few pictures before the initial tour – the building was open and no one attempted to stop people from looking.

PipingHovercraft frontsturdy ringsHovercraft jacketEnginesLifeboats LogoControls 2Controls 1RNLI Hovercraft1

beach friendly wheelchair
One of the bits of equipment the beach hut have – a wheelchair specially adapted for going to the beach (btw it did get used as we had someone who uses a wheelchair in our group).

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Net
Net at the beach hut

BH

The Beach Hut
The beach hut
Ancient Mariner1
Identifying a lunch spot.

lifeboats info2Lifeboats info 1Controls 3Controls 4Hovercraft2Boat ShedPretoursignsGuide and gear

Layer 1 - warmth
The first layer of a lifeboat person’s gear – this one is for warmth
Layer 2 - waterproofing
this wetsuit with built-in wellington boots goes on next to ensure that you don;t get absolutely soaked.

L2WHelmet modelling

The helmet and lifejacket complete the outfitting
The ensemble is completed with a helmet that has a ;protective visor and a lifejacket with a few extras.

Boat -sterntrailer frameBoatMotortractor-trailer coupling

tractor cab
The cab of the tractor – it has two steering wheels and multiple openings.

Boat unleashedboat being pulled by tractorCab openingsCab2

TS1
This tractor has particularly large wheels – that is me standing next to one of them.

TS2TS3HC2H-003

LUNCH

I went to the Ancient Mariner for lunch, and it was quite excellent. I also had an outside table, which meant opportunities for taking photos.

BeachKitesurfing

Cliff formation from Old Hunstanton Beach
Cliff face viewed from Old Hunstanton beach

LN

Ghostship
A pint of Adnams Ghostship – excellent for a sunny day in June

82Kitesurfing2Kitesurfing3Renewable Emergy4Renewable energy 5Kitesurfing5Renewable energy 6Renewable energy 7ALOHBLighthouse and cliffOHB2Flying gullShells OHBLadybirdP1020105P1020096

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These are a subject of some controversy – personally I find this view, which shows humans at long last attempting to take care of their planet to be a lovely one.

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