Monday Miscellany

A mixed bag of an offering this Monday afternoon!

INTRODUCTION

This post will be every bit as varied as its title suggests, featuring a mix of politics, mathematics, music, nature and photography (and possibly more). 

SOME MATHS RELATED STUFF

I start with one of more recent followers, RobertLovesPi, and I have several pieces of his to share:

My next piece, courtesy of whyevolutionistrue is titled “The Coffer Illusion“, which concerns the picture below:

If the illusion defeats you, you can find out where the circles are by going to the original post. 

I finish this little section with a nod to the mathematical website Brilliant, which I am a regular visitor to (I am currently on a 64 day problem solving streak). As a sample here is a problem I solved today, rated at maximum difficulty by the site, pretty close to minimum by me:

Pythag

You can look at solutions to this problem on the website, and I will reveal the answer on this blog tomorrow. 

A FEW POLITICAL PIECES

There has been a lot of coverage from various people of events in Charlottesville. I choose to draw your attention to Richard Murphy’s excellent piece on Tax Research UK, titled “Charlottesville is a cradle of extremism: we should take note“. Below is a screenshot of the first few paragraphs:

charlottesville

My second link is to the petitionsite, regarding a young women in El Salvador who having been raped and then had a miscarriage has then been jailed for 30 years due to the Catholic church influence anti-abortion laws of that country. The screenshot below is formatted as a link to take you to this petition to sign and if possible share it:

Screenshot 2017-08-14 at 3.29.29 PM

I finish this section on a lighter note, courtesy of whyevolutionistrue. This little piece titled “Where is North Korea? Some Americans have no idea” reminds us how unacquainted USians are with that area known as the rest of the world! Here is a screenshot of the opening paragraph:
Screenshot 2017-08-14 at 3.39.40 PM

PHOTOGRAPHS

I usually end my blog posts with some of my own photographs, but this photograph section has an additional feature – as a nod to the principal subjects of many of the photos that follow I offer you a musica prelude – Ottorino Respighi’s “The Birds”:

cormorants and boatCormorants8Cormorant headsCormorants6Cormorants4Cormorants3Cormorants2Cormorants1Cormorants and gull 5Cormorant4Cormorants11Cormorants 10Cormorants and gull3TerngullCormorant3Cormorant2

Cormorant
I did not notice the white bird on the far side of the river until I was editing this one – I think from the shape and colour that is a Little Egret but the image is not clear enough to be sure.

Cormorants and swimming gullPollinator3Flybutterfly wingPollinator2white butterflyPollinator

Squirrel does Meerkat impression
This squirrel is clearly an impressionist – and his meerkat is very good!

Giving a Radio Interview

A post focussing on me giving a radio interview. Some mention of a roller-skating session and of the current test-match. And of course some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

The title part of this post refers to one of the things I did yesterday. I also have some pictures to share.

AN AUTISM CENTRED MORNING

Of course, as branch secretary of the National Autistic Society’s West Norfolk branch and an #actuallyautistic person there is a way in which autism is always at the heart of what I do. After three days carrying out my concatenation of roles at a James and Sons auction (operator of the system that enables us to take online bids, database administrator, query fielder, in-house ‘Gordianus’, occasional customer service person – see here for a full account) I had a day on which my only preset commitment was to supervise a roller-skating session at Lynnsport between 11 and 12. In the absence of direct confirmation of a time that would be convenient to speak to Ashleigh at KLFM 96.7 (our local radio station) about our upcoming 10th anniversary I decided that I would set off early for Lynnsport and see if I could speak to her on the way or as a fall-back arrange to call in on my way back.

Ashleigh was able to fit me in straight away, and the interview went well (she will be sending me both a recording and an online article that will accompany the actual broadcast), and I left for Lynnsport with my spirits high – I had helped myself, advertised our upcoming 10th anniversary event and due its connection with the foregoing also made mention of our gardening grant and the allotment on Ferry Lane + plans for a sensory garden in part of the plot. It is because of this gardening stuff that we gained the use of the magnificent garden where our 10th anniversary celebration will be held.

The roller-skating passed without incident and I was able to listen to some of the action from the third test-match (even assuming I had both the ability and the willingness to pay the Biased Bull****ting Conservatives £150 per year I would choose to follow cricket by listening to radio commentaries rather than watching on TV). Yesterday was truncated by rain, but England have had a good day today – first reaching 353 largely thanks to a magnificent innings from Stokes and now bagging a South African wicket before tea – debutant Toby Roland-Jones breaking through.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Pot
Being vertical sided these pots should not blow over in the wind (there were two of them).
BP1
The first of two shots showing James and Sons’ tray of Beatrix Potter coins

BP2

Victoria heads
I don;t know what the original purpose of this object was, but it has been a feature of James and Sons longer than I have!
Bee2
Wild marjoram is useful as a herb, as well playing a vital role as a plant that bees just love .

Bee1Bee3

Butterfly1
A huge butterfly

Butterfly2

Giant fly
A gargantuan fly.

FountainSquirrel

Public Libraries 150
My public libraries display.

A Tale of Two Cricket Matches

An account of two recent cricket matches involving England and South Africa, first the England men’s humiliation at Trent Bridge, and then the nailbiter of a Women’s World Cup semi-final at Bristol.

INTRODUCTION

Both of the matches of my title were cricket matches between England and South Africa. The first was the test match between the men’s teams, and the second was the women’s world cup semi-final. A couple of notes about links in this piece:

  1. All cricket related links are to cricinfo, and…
  2. Some links are in red – these are to video footage.

IT WAS THE WORST OF TIMES

England had won the first test match of the series handily, with Joe Root scoring 190 in his first innings as England captain and Moeen Ali being player of the match for his first inning 87 and match haul of 10-112. Among England’s male players only Ian Botham with 114 not out and 13-106 v India in 1979 has topped Ali’s all-round haul in a single game (Enid Bakewell was the first player of either sex to combine a match aggregate of 100 runs with a haul of 10 or more wickets, hence the earlier caveat). 

Thus at Trent Bridge England should have been strong favourites. South Africa won the toss, batted first and made 335 in their first innings and England by bad batting handed South Africa a lead of 130, South Africa extended this to 473 with two days to play before sending England back in, messrs Elgar and Amla having demonstrated how to make runs on this pitch, each batting a long time. England’s second innings was quite simply shambolic, with batter after batter handing their wickets away. Four wickets down by lunch on the penultimate day it worse afterwards, with England being all out for 133 at approsimately 3PM. South Africa, having given themselves two days to dismiss England a second time had required less than two full sessions and were victors be 340 runs. 

ENGLAND’S MISTAKES

The first mistake England made was with the selection of the side. According to the powers that be Moeen Ali is happier as a second spinner than as either a sole spinner or as first spinner. However I find it hard to believe that even he could really consider himself no2 to Liam Dawson. Dawson is an ill thought out selection reminiscent of the dark days of the 1990s. For his county he averages in the low thirties with the bat and the high thirties with the ball, so even at that level he comes out as clearly not good enough in either department to warrant selection – the reverse of the true all-rounder. If a pitch warrants two spinners (and no Trent Bridge pitch in my lifetime ever has) the other spinner should be a genuine front-line option such as Dominic Bess (first class bowling average 19.83 per wicket – what are you waiting for selectors?). The other logical alternative would have been to bring in an extra batter (there are any number of possibilities) to strengthen this department. England’s batting in both innings smacked of panic. Other than Root whose 78 in the first innings was a gem and Cook who played well for a time in the second no England batter is entitled to be other than embarrassed by the way they played in this match. The scorecard, in all it’s gory detail, can be viewed here.

IT WAS THE BEST OF TIMES

On what should have been the final day of the men’s test match but for England’s spinelessness the women’s teams convened at Bristol for a world-cup semi-final. The final will be played at Lord’s and is already sold out. South Africa batted first and were restricted to 218-6 from their overs, Mignon Du Preez top scoring with 76 not out, and Laura Wolvaardt making 66. South Africa bowled better than they had batted, and the outcome remained in doubt right to the end. Anya Shrubsole who had earlier finished with 1-33 from her 10 overs settled things by hitting her first ball, the third-last possible ball of the match through the covers for four. Sarah Taylor’s 54 and a brilliant wicket-keeping performance highlighted by the spectacular stumping of Trisha Chetty off the bowling of Natalie Sciver earned her the player of the match award. Sciver incidentally is the pioneer of a shot that in honour of her first name and the f**tballing term ‘nutmeg’ commentator Charles Dagnall has dubbed the ‘Natmeg’, one example of which she played in this match. Video highlights of this amazing match can be seen here (runs for just under five minutes), while the scorecard can be viewed here.

THE ROLE OF EXTRAS

To set the scene for the rest of this section here are the extras (a cricket term for runs scored not off the bat) from both innings:

When South Africa batted: 

Extras (w 4) 4

When England batted

Extras (b 5, w 17, nb 3) 25

A note on the designations within extras: Byes (b) stands for runs scored when there is no contact made with the ball but either the batters are able to take runs, or the ball goes to the boundary unimpeded, legbyes (lb), of which there were none in this match, are runs scored when the ball hits the pad but not the bat. Wides (w) are deliveries that are too wide for the batter to be able to play, and no-balls are deliveries that are ruled illegal for some other infraction (bowler overstepping the crease, high full-toss etc). The 21 run difference between the two tallies shown above is of major significance given that England reached the target with just two balls to spare, and there is yet a further point.

WIDES AND NO-BALLS – WHAT APPEARS IN PRINT DOES NOT TELL THE FULL STORY OF HOW EXPENSIVE THEY ARE

England bowled four wides in the match, South Africa 17 and three no-balls. That is a 16-run difference, but the actual costs are likely be even more different because:

  • When a delivery is called wide, as well as incurring a one-run penalty an extra delivery must be bowled to replace it. Thus a wide costs the original penalty, plus possible extras (if it goes unimpeded to the boundary it costs 5, the original 1, plus four foir the boundary) plus any runs scored off the seventh delivery of the over, which the bowler had they been disciplined would not have had to bowl
  • When a delivery is called a no-ball, the batter can still score off it, the delivery immediately following it is designated a ‘free-hit’, meaning that the batter cannot be dismissed off it, and as with a wide an extra delivery must be bowled to replace it. Thus a no-ball actually costs the original penalty, any runs hit of that delivery, the lack of a wicket-taking opportunity on the next delivery and any runs of the seventh delivery of the over (which would otherwise not have needed to be bowled). 

Therefore the discrepancy between the sides in terms of wides and no-balls is probably much greater than shown on the score-card, and this in a very close match. Sarah Taylor certainly deserved her player of the match award, but the much tighter discipline shown by England’s bowlers than their South African counterparts was also crucial to the result.

PHOTOGRAPHS

After over 1,100 words those of you are still with me deserve some pictures, so here we are:

Bee1Bee2

Puppet theatre
This puppet theatre is in town for the Lynn Festival

Purfleet1Moorhen chick

Greyfriars
Greyfriars Tower
Library
King’s Lynn library

Squirrel

Red Mount Chapel
The Red Mount Chapel
P1030346
The unedited Red Mount chapel picture.
Guanock Gate
The Guanock Gate

Moorhen and algaeStationPollinator

CH1
The first of three pictures featuring the Custom House

CH2CH3Boat1Boat2Gulls

West Lynn Church
West Lynn Church
Bee3
Just as a bee pic was worthy start to this series of photos, another bee pic is a worthy finish to it.

A Couple of Important Nature Links

Links an important petition and an important thunderclap. A couple of other nature related links, a classic nature related meme and some of my own photographs.

INTRODUCTION

A couple of big things to do with nature came to my attention today and I have decided to share them with you. In addition to the two major links there will be some of my own thoughts, a nod in the direction of New Zealand and some appropriate photographs of my own. As you will have noticed by now, the text in this post is green, and that is because it is a post entirely dedicated to nature. Links in the text will in bold and underlined, while images relating to other posts will also be formatted as links.

THOUGHTS ON NATURE

My own interest in the natural world and concern for nature are both lifelong. I literally cannot remember a time when these attributes were not part of me. Although I grew up in London I had a common practically on my doorstep, lots of natural history books, and of course being in London meant I was within easy travelling distance of the museums at South Kensington. In my childhood the Geological and Natural History museums were two separate entities, though they have long since been amalgamated into one museum, the Natural History Museum. Therefore you can imagine my reaction when I saw something on twitter about…

A GCSE IN NATURAL HISTORY

A petition on the official site created for petitions addressed to the UK parliament to create a Natural History GCSE has been launched. This means that it is only open to those among my readers who are UK citizens to sign, which I regret, but you can still view this petition (there is a screenshot below to whet the appetite) even if you are not a UK citizens. UK citizens please sign and share.
NH GCSE

My next major link is to a…

THUNDERCLAP

To be part of a thunderclap you have to be on some form of social media (facebook, twitter or tumblr to be precise). This particular thunderclap is about the importance of pollinators and the fact that scientists have established that birds as well as bees are pesticide victims. If you are able to add your voice to this thunderclap please do so. Below is a screenshot for further clarification.

BJBthunderclap

Yes, this thunderclap is well ahead of target, as it should be, but just as the importance of pollinators cannot be overstated, so this thunderclap cannot ever be said to be over-supported. 

A COUPLE OF FURTHER LINKS

Miles King over at anewnatureblog has today produced a splendid piece titled “Time to rename Defra the Ministry of Agriculture and Fieldsports” in which he reveals the extent to which our government is failing in its duties as regards the environment. Below is a screenshot of the section of the post dealing with the downright dishonourable Andrea Leadsom by way of introduction.

ALfail

Now it is time for…

A NOD TO NEW ZEALAND

Jerry Coyne, author of the books “Why Evolution Is True” and “Faith Versus Fact”, and who also runs a blog named after the first of those books is currently in New Zealand, and it is from there that this wonderful picture (click on it to view it in its original econiche) comes:

It is nearly time for some of my own photos, taken yesterday and today, but for the penultimate section of the post I share once again…

ANNA’S NATURE MEME

This wonderful creation was formed around words that were originally submitted by me as a comment on one of her blog posts.
Nature Meme

PHOTOGRAPHS

birdmootcorvidscysbbirdmootDSCN5745DSCN5746DSCN5750DSCN5751DSCN5756DSCN5759DSCN5763DSCN5771Goose1ducklngs x 5Goose2gull on jettyHGSquirrelStarling in grassbirdmootcorvidscysbDSCN5745DSCN5746DSCN5750DSCN5751DSCN5756DSCN5759DSCN5762DSCN5763DSCN5771DSCN5772ducklngs x 5Goose1Goose2gull on jettySquirrelHGStarling in grass

Too Much Information and Autism Acceptance

As Autism Acceptance/ Appreciation Month gets underway I share some of the best autism related pieces of the moment, some thoughts of my own and some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

I have a number of autism related links to share. Some of you will notice that the heading of this section of the blog is a different colour from usual. One of the links I shall be sharing gives more detail on this. For the moment suffice it to say that for the month of April save when it features in photographs the colour blue will not feature in this blog. As for the second half of this post’s title, I refer you to my last post, accessible by way of the graphic below:

AUA

TOO MUCH INFORMATION

Last year the National Autistic Society released a video entitled Too Much Information. This year they have produced a second, which has already had approximately a million views. As I cannot embed this particular video I link to it by way of the screenshot below and this link to the original.

TMI

SOME OTHER AUTISM RELATED LINKS

My first two links both come from a site I have recently come across called “A Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism“. 

  1. We start with a post titled “Autism Science to Watch Out For”, which you can visit by clicking the screenshot below.
    ASW
  2. My second selection from this site, titled “An Open Letter from an Autistic Child in Meltdown, Written by an Autistic Adult Who Still Melts Down From Time to Time”
    does precisely what it says on the tin. Again the link is by way of a screenshot:
    Meltdownletter

The Art of Autism site have put up a post titled “APRIL IS AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH – WE PREFER AUTISM ACCEPTANCE MONTH“, which can be viewed by clicking their lovely graphic below:
AutismRainbow

My next link comes from a recent follower of this blog, americanbadassadvocates, who this morning, having very generously reblogged my previous post, came up with this splendid offering titled “#NORMALAUTISTICHERE | SESAME STREET’S JULIA HUMANIZES AUTISTICS, AND SOME FOLKS HATE THAT“, which I link to by way of the image below.

This brings this section to a close because although I have a couple more links to share they are on the same theme and I have chosen to give them a section to themselves…

LOOKING AHEAD –
ACCEPTANCE TO APPRECIATION

Autism Acceptance Month is a better title than the old title for this month. Some however, and I fully sympathise with their reasoning, consider that even this is inadequate, and have introduced another title, Autism Appreciation Month. This appeals greatly to me, as an extension of the principle by which the title Autism Acceptance Month was arrived at. I have two superb posts to link to which between them make a good case for Autism Appreciation Month:

  1. Eclectic Autistic, whose post titled “Autism Appreciation” appeared not long after my own post of yesterday. Click on the screenshot below to read this excellent post in full:
    AutismAppreciation
  2. Finally, no post of this nature would be complete without something from thesilentwaveblog. This post, titled “#RedInstead ~ Autism Acceptance / Appreciation Month” both fills out the case for Autism Appreciation Month, and provides some detail as to why I am not using blue in the text sections of this blog during April, and why with blue ruled out I made red the first colour to appear. To read it in full please click on the picture below.

SOME FINAL WORDS

At some point in the near future I will be putting up a general sharing post, and a post about public transport specifically. Also, this afternoon I will be attending a Musical Keys session, and I will take plenty of photographs there for sharing – this session will definitely feature in a blog post as well. I have no doubt that I will also find plenty more excellent autism related posts to share. My final words before the photo section are these:

“DIFFERENT” AND “LESSER” ARE NOT SYNONYMS

and

ENJOY AUTISM ACCEPTANCE/ APPRECIATION MONTH!!

PHOTOGRAPHS

pb1
The first five pictures in this selection were taken on Sunday.

pb2pb3pb4pb5

squirrel1
These last two pictures were taken on Thursday.

squirrel2

 

 

 

A Walk and Some Links

A walk in and around King’s Lynn and a number of interesting and important links.

INTRODUCTION

I am making the walk the centrepiece of this post, with some links either side of it, starting with some general links, and then following the walk with some science and nature themed links.

SOME GENERAL LINKS

First up, Heather Hastie has produced this post titled “Betsy Devos Doesn’t Inspire Confidence in the Future of US Education”

From The Mighty comes this piece, titled “17 Things Not to Say to People on the Autism Spectrum” 

Steve Rotheram has put out a call for Jeremy Hunt to end the NHS crisis. The link is here.

Courtesy of Disability News Service, here is an article about how one of  Britain’s biggest bus companies is attempting to weasel out of a supreme court discrimination ruling.

THE WALK

Yesterday was bright and sunny, so I went out for a walk. The sun was shining on to the Lower Purfleet, revealing that the surface still had a thin covering of ice…

lower-purfleet

When posting about a walk in King’s Lynn I always like to showcase at least one of our historic buildings, and today I have this picture showing Hanse House and the Rathskeller with the towers of King’s Lynn Minster in the background:

hanse-house-and-rathskeller

There was nothing else of note until I reached the Nar outfall, where I have often observed cormorants. This time there were no cormorants, but there was a small wading bird which I had not seen before and which consultation of my bird book suggested was a Common Sandpiper…

small-wadersmall-wader4small-wader2small-wader3small-wader5small-wader6

I left the river by way of Hardings Pits, taking a couple of shots (one each way) at that moment.

river1
The view towards town
river2
The view away from town

Crossing the Nar on my towards the parkland I took a picture from the bridge…

nar-bank

Passing through the Vancouver Garden I spied a squirrel. It eluded my first attempt to photograph it, but…

squirrel

I then decided to make it a long walk and headed for Lynn Sport, to then go back into town by way of Bawsey Drain. Along the way I got a shot of the railway station as seen from Tennyson Road level crossing…

station

At Lynnsport I stopped to photograph a decorated signpost…

sign

The Bawsey Drain segment of the walk provided a number of pictures, including a raven and some moorhens…

moorhen2ravenmoorhensbawsey-drain

bawsey-drain-2
Unfortunately Bawsey Drain is used as a dumping ground by people who cannot be bothered to dispose of their rubbish properly.

miaow

While walking a,long John Kennedy Road I took this picture of the back of St Nicholas’ Chapel…

st-nicholas

Right at the end of the walk I spotted a pied wagtail..

long-tailed-tit-2long-tailed-tit

NATURE THEMED LINKS

The first link in this section is to a piece that appeared as part of WEIT’s Hili Dialogue series. The star of the series is a cat, the eponymous Hili, also known as the Princess of Poland. Hili has a staff of two, Andrej and Malgorzata and graciously permits a dog named Cyrus to share in this. The pieces always feature something about that particular date, and apparently yesterday was Penguin Awareness Day. While I do not object to a day being designated Penguin Awareness Day, surely we should be aware of them and the rest of the natural world every day. To read the piece in full, click on the graphic below which is extracted from it:

image002

This leads neatly on to two recent pieces from Anna, the first of which is titled “This can never be wrong”, the ‘this’  being taking care of our planet. The other piece from Anna that I am sharing here is about the Save Trosa Nature campaign.

Rationalising the Universe’s latest offering is about Newton’s Laws of Motion.

WEIT get another mention, for this piece about a new species of moth which has been named after Donald Trump.

I started the ‘general links’ section of this post with a piece by Heather Hastie. I now finish the piece with another piece, the title of which, “Huge Crack in Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica Grows” is sufficient introduction. I ‘pressed’ a link to this yesterday, but it is so important that I choose to share it again.

 

 

 

Hydrogen Powered Buses and Clean Air for London

Some environmental news and some pictures – enjoy.

INTRODUCTION

Having recently shared the latest of Anna’s posts about her campaign to prevent a big new road from being built through an area of outstanding natural beauty I thought a couple of stories showing a more sensible approach were appropriate (and I have some new pictures to share and was looking for something else to put in the post).

HYDROGEN BUSES AND A CLEAN AIR PLAN FOR LONDON

Hydrogen buses are already a feature of the streets of the city of Aberdeen, and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan intends them to be in service in the capital by 2020. Buses are less damagaing than cars anyway because they carry more people, but hydrogen buses have an extra plus point – zero emissions. To read an excellent article on this theme click the picture below:

hydrogen-powered-buses
A hydrogen powered bus.

Councillor and London Assembly member Caroline Russell has produced a very detailed plan for making London’s streets healthier, backed up with evidence of a successful scheme in Walthanstow. To read the whole document click on the infographic giving details of the Walthamstow success that appears below:

walthamstow

PICTURES

dscn7823dscn7824dscn7828dscn7825dscn7826dscn7827dscn7829dscn7832

dscn7833
A Brunel £2 received in change
dscn7835
Next to uncirculated coin.
dscn7837
The next four pictures show ice on the surface of the lower Purfleet (yes folks, here in the north of the world it is winter)

dscn7838dscn7839dscn7840dscn7841dscn7843dscn7844dscn7845dscn7850dscn7851dscn7854