Trees In Transistion VII

The latest addition to my “Trees in Transistion” series.


Later on today I hope to have time to put up a few more posts, but for the moment just to keep things coming here is the latest installment in my “Trees in Transistion” series. 


The heading for this section is a nod to Richard Dawkins’ “The Ancestor’s Tale”. These pictures do feature some trees not previously featured, and to borrow from another famous writer I hope that “age doth not wither nor custom stale my infinite variety”…

Scotland – The Museum of All Shells

Continuing my account of my holiday in Scotland with a piece about shells.


Welcome to the latest installment in my series of posts about my holiday in Scotland. 


One of the things I identified early on about where we were located was the preponderance of shells of various kinds. I decided therefore to include a post dedicated to them. I took my title from a chapter in Richard Dawkins’ “Climbing Mount Improbable”.

Climbing Mount ImprobableMuseum of All Shells textMuseum of All Shells pic

As with all activities on this holiday I adhered strictly to the policy outlined in this infographic of my own creation:

Enjoy Nature Infographic


Here to conclude the post are the shell pictures:

Shell1Shell2Shell3Shell4Shell5P1000378Shells (scallop)Shell6Shell7399Shell9Shells (3+)Shell10Shell11Shells (3)Shell12Shell13Shell14Shells (many)Shells - 3Razor Clam and musselsMusselsClear WaterMussel and shell


Book Review: The Burning Man

A review of a book in a new find of mine, the Bryant & May series, with a few other bits.


Although the book review is the principal focus of this piece there are a few other bits that I will be sharing afterwards.


Those of you who follow my London transport themed website may recall that I posted a review of a book called Off The Rails which featured a team of oddballs collectively known as the Peculiar Crimes Unit (officially the Peculiar part of the title referred to the crimes being investigated as opposed to the investigators but one might think otherwise).

Since reading that book I have taken every opportunity to deepen my acquaintance with Arthur Bryant, John May and their team of oddballs, and The Burning Man is just one of a number of their adventures that I have recently read.

The story in this book features riots provoked in part by misbehaving bankers being used as a cover for a series of murders all of which involve the use of fire. The story has many twists and turns. There are also various subplots, principally the antagonism between the PCU and Superintendent Darren “Missing” Link.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, as I have every book I have encountered in this series, and heartily recommend it. It is in that spirit that the following is offered (and I hope will be accepted)…


To set the stage, here is a photograph of the paragraph on page 144 that gave rise to the quibble:


How many of you can guess without reading on where my quibble arises?

If you guessed that it was the sentence “He worked with some crazy people, borderline-autistic tech-heads who were likely to turn up at the front door, find no-one home and climb through a window.” score yourself 10 out of 10.

The phrase borderline-autistic is meaningless given that autism is a spectrum condition, and the usage of such a phrase is indicative of what Richard Dawkins terms “the tyranny of the discontinuous mind”. I also take umbrage at the notion of an autistic person responding to finding no one at home by climbing through a window. Finally, as an autistic person who is skilled in the use of computers I still object to the conflation of autism and tech-headedness – while the two traits can go together they do not always do so. Finally, I find the entire sentence lazily reinforces damaging stereotypes about autistic people. To finish this section, although in one sense every post on this blog has an automatic connection to autism, you can find more posts in which I specifically deal with autism here.

In spite of my quibble with a paragraph on page 144 I thoroughly recommend this book.


The new information office at King’s Lynn bus station is a treasure trove. My latest find focuses specifically on West Norfolk…


I make no comment as yet on this scheme, which is still at a preliminary stage, just reproducing it in full…


NAS West Norfolk are holding a Positive Autism Awareness Conference at the Duke’s Head Hotel on Friday 15th April. One feature of this conference will be a photographic display by yours truly. I have mentioned this in a number of previous posts.


Faith vs. Fact – Book Review

A review of Jerry Coyne’s Faith vs. Fact. This is an educated layperson’s view of the book.


One of the things I was fortunate enough to receive this Christmas was a copy of Jerry Coyne’s latest offering, Faith Versus Fact. One recent review came to the author’s attention and was featured in this post on the blog Why Evolution is True, which takes its title from a previous book by the same author. I hope that my review is received more favourably in that quarter!



This book was one of two that I had indicated a desire to receive, the other being Robert Harris’ Imperator (watch this space…) but the fact that I had been at least part expecting to get it did not lessen the delight when that expectation was realised.

As someone who read and enjoyed Why Evolution is True (I refuse to even attempt to compare the merits of this book and Richard Dawkins’ The Greatest Show on Earth – suffice to say that I heartily recommend both books to give you a thorough grounding in the evidence for evolution) I had some initial expectations – copious evidence well laid out prominent among them.

Suffice to say that Faith Vs. Fact is a quite superb read. I particularly recommend to your attention chapter five “Why Does it Matter?”, which deals with a variety of important situations in which placing faith above reason has disastrous consequences (this chapter is not for the squeamish – ti contains some strong meat).

I will conclude this piece by suggesting that reading Faith vs. Fact should have a prominent place on your “to do” list.


The Great Ouse at High Tide

Some stuff about the Great Ouse at high tide, some stuff about evolutionary biology, lots of pictures and links.


Having finally completed (after a couple of false starts – fortunately not a DQ offence in the blogosphere!) my post about the Metropolitan line I now have this offering which includes some links and a couple of quality infographics.


This morning the Great Ouse was at very high tide. Cormorant Platform was almost enitrely submerged. There was also a high tide yesterday morning, but not quite so high as this – I have pictures from both for comparison purposes.

The first three pics are from yesterday.
The first three pics are from yesterday.

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One of several pics from today that indicate just why the marshland around old Boal Quay is most definitely not suitable for building on!
One of several pics from today that indicate just why the marshland around old Boal Quay is most definitely not suitable for building on!
Not suitable for building on!

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In addition to these, my walk this morning provided some other splendid pictures. I saw a small rodent by the water near the bandstand, and a hare, a member of the lagamorph order of mammals later on in the walk. The lagamorphs and rodents form a cohort (intermediate between an order and a class in the system of classification) called Glires. For a fun and digestible account of these relationships and others among living things I recommend Richard Dawkins’s book “The Ancestors Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Life”.

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An excellent read.
An excellent read.

I also got a few more pictures of other things that I consider worth sharing…

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I have some petitions to share with you, but will start with the other links first:

First up, this from counterpunch titled “Return to Crisis – Things Keep Getting Worse

My next two links both come from the Corbyn campaign:

The wonderful kittysjones has this piece turning her guns on the Daily Mail for its (and Tory MuPpet Ian Liddell-Grainger’s) response to the news that UN Special Raporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Catalina Devandas Aguilar will be investigating the UK’s welfare reforms to see if they constitute human rights abuses. Ms Jones’ excoriation of the Daily Mail is an excellent read.

My next link is to a story of yet another outrage perpetrated by religious zealots, brought to my attention by newhumanist. This is the story of an Indian rationalist murdered in his own home.

Courtesy of pertinentproblems comes this account of why TTIP would be bad for Europe.

Cosmos Up, a regular source of good material, have this about New Horizons’ next target.


First up, courtesy of comes this one having a go at Virgin Trains over the amount by which they are increasing their fares.

My next two links are both concerned with women’s rights:

My remaining petitions all concern one man, the


First, Maggie Zolobajluk’s well merited victory celebration (kudos also to Mike Sivier of Vox Political whose FOI request started the whole process).

Second, this from thepetitionsite demanding IDS’s resignation.

Finally, this petition to parliament to assess the full impact of cuts to support & social care for disabled people.


A couple of classics to end this post:

Corbyn hitting the nail on the head.
Corbyn hitting the nail on the head.
A hilarious guide to the dark art of quote manipulatiion.
A hilarious guide to the dark art of quote manipulation.

A Sunny Morning in West Norfolk

An account, complete with a fine haul of photos, of a walk around King’s Lynn. This is followed by some important links and some interesting infographics. Please share widely.


Being up bright and early this morning and noting the sunny weather I headed off for a walk. The body of this post is devoted to sharing the best sights from that walk. After that I have some links and infographics to share. I hope you enjoy this post and will be encouraged to share it.


My first ports of call were…


These places looked very fine in the sun. The extensive restoration work on the chapel is now nearly complete.

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From there I headed to…


This is a far more significant waterway than that name may suggest, and was rewarded with a clutch of fine pictures in that section of the walk…

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Watching and waiting in the undergrowth...
Watching and waiting in the undergrowth…

I left Bawsey drain part way along it’s length to head towards the Great Ouse by means of a nice route that I know, but I am briefly going to diverge from strict geographical recounting for a subsection on…


The butterflies were out in force, but it is always difficult to photograph them due to their speed. Nevertheless, I did get some good pics to share…


This was the last butterfly  I got, while walking through Hardings Pits
This was the last butterfly I got, while walking through Hardings Pits
This was the first butterfly pic I got today.
This was the first butterfly pic I got today.
The only non-animal flyer I got today - a helicopter (Helico- = spiral, pteron = wing)
The only non-animal flyer I got today – a helicopter (Helico- = spiral, pteron = wing)
This one had its wings folded.
This one had its wings folded.


Just a few pics here, but it was a delight to see the river at very high tide…

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My next set of pictures are themed around a small but (to me) very significant little landmark which I have dubbed…


The very high tide meant that most of the structure was submerged, and the presence of boats and the river and West Lynn Church on the far bank also contributed to a great set of pictures…

A brilliant piece of photobombing by the flying gull!
A brilliant piece of photobombing by the flying gull!
Multiple species of bird coexisting peacefully.
Multiple species of bird coexisting peacefully.
The platform and a boat.
The platform and a boat.


The church contributing to the scene.
The church contributing to the scene.

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Two cormorants took wing in my direction.
Two cormorants took wing in my direction.

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Not all of the boats i saw on the river were there for leisure purposes – there was also a…


Four pics showing the boat and website details…

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From here all that was left was…


The pictures I took in these final few minutes are very varied…

One last boat pic.
One last boat pic.
The Custom House.
The Custom House.
Looking north from the Lower Purfleet.
Looking north from the Lower Purfleet.
An adult moorhen in the Upper Purfleet
An adult moorhen in the Upper Purfleet
The smallest baby moorhen I have ever seen.
The smallest baby moorhen I have ever seen.

We have reached the end of my walk, but I do hope some of you stay for the…


I have a shed load of important links to share, starting with some on…


My first link comes courtesy of Huffington Post and features Richard Dawkins giving Idaho huntress Sabrina Corgatelli the full treatment.

My next three links are part of a developing story involving airlines stopping the idiots from getting their “trophies” home…

  1. First to step up to the plate by refusing to carry such items were Delta.
  2. Who have already been joined by American Airlines and United.
  3. On a petition is taking off to get South African Airways to impose a like ban.

Although it was a universally revered lion whose demise sparked this activity they are not the only species targeted by noxious individuals, and my next link is to a take part petition on behalf of the elephant.

Finally in this subsection, from Mark Avery comes a story about hen harriers which was written in response to a piece in the Telegraph that was shockingly inaccurate even by the “standards” of that detestable rag.


Just a few links in this subsection. First up, a brilliant scheme from Norway to combat climate change (unlike the “I’m all right Jack” types who currently form the British government these people can see beyond their own immediate concerns). I am also classing as science these two connected links regarding London postcodes:

1)From londonist an interesting post about why London which has compass point themed postcodes beginning with E, SE,SW,W,NW and N has no S or NE postcodes.

2)The website of the author of the above piece, mapping modernity.

Finally in this section, a quirky piece about science facts, accompanied by a graphic. courtesy of viralands – there are 22 facts in total in this piece.

Scientific Facts


A few links in this section, which i shall present as a bulleted list:


I mentioned this yesterday, and the story has moved on since then. My source today is Socialist Worker with a piece giving great detail, including the fact that the museum which got planning permission on false pretences did not open yesterday as planned – let us hope that in it’s current incarnation as a musuem dedicated to Jack the Ripper it never does open its doors. here are the two links:

  1. The Socialist Worker article.
  2. The 38degrees petition


A final bulleted lists of links that did not belong anywhere above but which I wish to share:


A few infographics to round things off…

Earth Age End the Great Housing Giveaway IDS

There is a link to the story behind this earlier in the blog.
There is a link to the story behind this earlier in the blog.

Social Exclusion Map Stop benefit sanctions