Mainly Science

Links to a selection of interesting and/ or important pieces I have found in the last day or so and some of today’s photographs.


I will be sharing various links I have found in the last day or so in this post. I also have some photographs from this afternoon.


This is my most recent find, courtesy of campaign group We Own It. They have a piece in The Mirror today which you can access here. Below is an infographic map showing the amount of money from British bus services that goes directly into the pockets of shareholders:

As a postscript to the above, the only reason the figure for East Anglia (my region) is so low is because being largely rural and hence fairly sparsely populated it does not have many bus services.


Instead of sensibly rewarding those who try do their bit by using solar panels to generate some of their energy this government is hitting some of them with extra bills. Private Schools (i.e. fee-paying schools, and the sort of school to which MPs, especially Tory MPs, send their children) will not feel the effects of this because in a spectacular misuse of the English language they are classed as “charities”. State schools (those that ordinary folk attend, as a few eons ago, I did) pay business rates which means that those state schools with solar panels will be paying a combined £1.8 million in extra rates for having them.

To charge anywhere more money because they have solar panels seems utterly boneheaded to me, but to charge schools, who should be setting positive examples to their students, for having solar panels takes the stupidity to level unanticipated even by Einstein when he said “only two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe”. 

To read the full article that inspired this section, courtesy of The Guardian, please click on the image below:

Business rate changes are a big setback for solar projects in state schools, critics say.


The first of these stories is a commemoration of…


As the second part of its name suggests it is now 30 years since the explosion of this star was witnessed on Earth, and to commemorate that anniversary some new observations have been made of the stellar remnant by the Hubble Space Telescope. To read the story in full, which comes from, please click on the image below:

Supernova 1987a

My second piece in this section comes from NASA’s official website and concerns…


When a supernova collapses, if the remnant weighs more than 1.4 solar masses it continues to contract beyond the white dwarf stage to form a neutron star, which is stable between 1.4 and 3 solar masses (beyond 3 solar masses the crushing continues until all that is left is a black hole). A spinning neutron star is known as a pulsar. To read about the discovery of the new record holding pulsar please click on the image below.

NGC 5907 ULX is the brightest pulsar ever observed


New Scientist are at the moment offering everyone who creates an account on their site (it is free, and very easy, to so) a free download of a You Are Here poster showing us our place in the Milky Way. If interested, click on the edited version of my poster below, which I have reduced for this specific purpose, while making sure I still have the original.



This is the first fruit of my creating an account for myself on New Scientist. The article, which I have linked to by way of the image below (I have also included the explanation of the image from the site) is about the 208 minerals that humans have created during their tenure on the planet (yes, the primary evidence on which the article is based is quite literally rock solid).

Simonkolleite found in a copper mine in Arizona

Mines are a good place to find minerals like this Simonkolleite – evidence of the impact humans are having on the planet


To finish this post here are some photographs I took while out walking this afternoon:

gate in old wallOld wallBlackbird4LBBBlackbird3Blackbird2Blackbird 1Red MountGuanock gateMinsterMoorhens

Tory Mps Taken to Court by Electoral Commission Over Campaign Expenses

A contribution to the developing story of the Tory election expenses scandal. I provide three links to detailed accounts of the story so far and make a brief mention of an old case that relates to this subject.


This is a story that has been running for months. As well as the Electoral Commission’s involvement, nine different police forces are investigating various MPs. In this post I will provide links to three versions of the story (all tally closely, and all are from national newspapers) and then quote a case from the past which indicates how seriously this kind of thing has been viewed.


Here are the three links:

  • For the Guardian version click here. Note, that as often when dealing with a controversial story the Graun has switched off its comments section.
  • For the Independent version click here.
  • For the Mirror version click here.


This case is almost a century old (I read the details in Iain Wilton’s “C B Fry: An English Hero”, where it featured because Fry was involved in the subsequent by-election). The culprit was Frank Gray’s election agent, who played fast and loose with campaign finances. Gray was as shocked as anyone when he found out what had been going on, and held his hands up. The judge in this case while praising Gray for his honesty and co-operation still considered it necessary to debar Gray from seeking public office for a period of seven years.

I never like to put up posts without a picture, so here (with apologies to any such creatures who take offence at being associated however loosely with Tory MPs) is a snail from this morning…

Snail - edited

Railwayana and Evolution

An account of imaging at James and Sons with a focus on Railwayana, some links to pieces posted on whyevolutionistrue and a few general links.


The mesalliance of subjects indicated by my title is brought about by the fact that I only have time for a very quick blog post, and the two things I most want to share are pictures of some interestinfg railwayana that will be in our next auction and a number of superb pieces that whyevolutionistrue have produced recently.


I have had a particularly busy time imaging autcuion lots over the last few days, because the other person who regualrly does imaging was involved in a car accident (the car accident stats for Norfolk make grim reading because the lack of a proper public transport infrastructure and the prevalence of poverty mean that people start driving at the first available opportunity and are often using cars that are not really road worthy) is consequently off sick. Thankfully, albeit with a rejigging of work days for next week, we are on track for completing the catalogue by the end of Tuesday, which means that by the back end of next week printed copies should be available, and an online listing should be ready to view.

The two lots that especially caught my eye in and amongst the vast quanrtity of stuff I have been imaging were numbers 51 and 52, and I conclude this section with full photo galleries for both lots…

Lot 51 is this antique railway map
Lot 51 is this antique railway map
The remaining seven images including this one are of lot 52
The remaining seven images including this one are of lot 52

52a 52b 52c 52d 52e 52f


This blog, the title of which comes from a marvellous book by Jerry A Coyne has been in tremendous form just lately, with the pieces I am sahring merely the cream of a spectacular crop…


Just a few final links:

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.


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


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.


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.


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


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.


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


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.

Images, Queries and Other Stuff

An account of my day at James and Sons, some important links and some splendid infographics.


My title piece, complete with images, is about today at James and Sons, but I also have some important links and some quality inforgaphics to share…


I started today by imaging the last handful of lots that were not already done for the August auction, one of which was needed to resolve a query. I also made a start on the imaging for the September auction (30th, Fakenham Racecourse) and did a lot of work on the database.


There were as mentioned a very few of these, but they were items of interest…

28 29 200a 253 294 294a 294b 360 360a

This was the item that had a query on it - resolved to the customer's satisfaction.
This was the item that had a query on it – resolved to the customer’s satisfaction.


The September lots that were ready for imaging included some very fine items…

Lot 1 was a challenge to image, but between all the shots I took I think I have done it justice.
Lot 1 was a challenge to image, but between all the shots I took I think I have done it justice.

1a 1b

A close up of the support ring for the inkwell.
A close up of the support ring for the inkwell.


This will undoubtedly go for far more than I could afford - unfortunately.
This will undoubtedly go for far more than I could afford – unfortunately.

2a 2b 6

A hallmark shot just to confirm, that these are the real deal.
A hallmark shot just to confirm, that these are the real deal.


I have a cluster of important links to share starting with…


The Mirror, who are on good form at the moment, have given some excellent coverage to the petition to stop Amazon from selling his books. The petition itself can be seen here.


Another petition, which is just starting to gather serious momentum – almost 6,000 signatures at the time of writing. I covered this in detail in my last post, so I settle for this gentle reminder.


Two links in this little section aimed at the current boss of the DWP. This arises from the DWPs sanction success stories, of which there were two, and it has now been revealed that neither client (and the stories are told as if they were about real people) existed. The two pieces are:


Again two links for you, one about each half of the section title…


Two links and a segue in this section:


Confirmation this morning that the petition at the heart of this campaign will be delivered in all its 152,000+ signature glory. Here is a link to this important petition.


This piece on theatlantic is of great importance – it reveals how some vital autism related reserach was suppressed for a long period of time.

Finally, my segue – the URL for Dr Lisa Sulsenti’s platinum quality infographic that starts the next and final section of the post.


Living With Autism


This enclousre would OK (although oddly shaped) for a municipal swimming pool but... ORCAS NEED OCEANS!!
This enclousre would OK (although oddly shaped) for a municipal swimming pool but… ORCAS NEED OCEANS!!
This is a fabulous detailed accounting of all that is wrong with TTIP.
This is a fabulous detailed accounting of all that is wrong with TTIP.

A Hard Day’s Imaging


I have a few links to share with you, but most of the post will be taken up with the title piece.


The catalogue for the Great Centenary Charity Auction is now available in printed form. For more detail please consult the official post on, which can be viewed here. Just to whet the appetiite further here is a glimps of the cover…

GCCA Catalogue


Having knocked the Great Charity Centenary Auction on the head, today was almost entirely devoted to imaging for James and Sons own June auction. I imaged a wide variety of lots today, and reckoning that pictures speak louder than words, the rest of this section will be images of some the better lots…

This is lot 1 - starting as we would like to continue!
This is lot 1 – starting as we would like to continue!

1a 517 589 626 626a 630 630a 647 647a 647b 777 777a 786 786a 791


Just three links with this post, these two related stories from Patheos:

1) Yet another creationist (Ken Ham in this case) makes a fool of himself.

2) Miley Cyrus shows herself to be capable of being sensible.

Our final link is to a piece in The Mirror about the DWP’s continuing effort to avoid revealing just how many people have died as a result of welfare cuts.

I hope you have enjoyed this post and will be inspired to share it.

An Extraordinary Test Match

A personal account of the Lord’s test match, some infographics, links and photographs – enjoy.


I have a selection of infographics, photos and links to share, as well as my main piece.


England 30-4 in the first innings. After England recovered from this dismal start to reach 389 early on the second morning New Zealand spent the rest of day 2 compiling 303-2. By the end of day 3 England were two down in their second innings and still nearly a hundred runs in the red. Day four saw the big momentum swing, the creation of three individuals, Cook, Root and especially Stokes. The last named scored the fastest hundred ever in a Lord’s test match. This meant that England closed the day with an already substantial lead. By the time England were all out on the fifth morning (yesterday), New Zealand needed 345 for victory in 77 overs. Two wickets went down without a run, but the really decisive blow came later in the day and was struck by that man Stokes (the most obvious man of the match in test history) who cleaned up Kane Williamson and Brendon McCullum with successive deliveries. Thereafter, although the New Zealand lower order showed plenty of fight it always looked like an England win, and the eventual margin was 125 runs.

I do not withdraw my earlier criticisms of England’s selection policy, and I point out that it was not until deep into day four that the possibility of an England win showed up an anyone’s radar. Also as an aside New Zealand won the toss and chose to put England in, and even though they did take early wickets, as such a course of action requires, they still ended up beaten.

I hope that the second test match lives up to this one (a pity that there are only the two rather than a proper series – ICC please note that two tests DO NOT CONSTITUTE a proper series).This will require England not to adopt a “what we have we hold” approach.


I have a variety of infographics to share this time, starting with a couple from people in favour of keeping the hunting ban…

FHB Keep The Ban

I take a very strong line on disability rights both here and on aspitweets and my next infographic is in keeping with that.


Those of us fortunate enough not to have had to use a food bank may wonder what exactly they provide – check this scary infographic to find out…


My last two infographics both relate to a smear campaign being run by the Daily Mail against Labour leadership contender Andy Burnham (which has naturally influenced me in his favour!)




I shall start with an anniversary, courtesy of Faraday’s Candle. The birthday girl is astronaut Sally Ride.

Having started on a science theme, two more links, the first of which introduces the second. The twin themes are asteroid strikes and probability:

1) Intro piece

2) The whole shebang


I found the result of this referendum very exciting, and I was not the only one, as these two links, one from the Independent and one from Patheos make clear in their different ways:




My last links both refer to important social issues, one to our railways and one to the bedroom tax. First of all, I thank the Liverpool Echo for this article about the much loathed bedroom tax. Secondly, The Mirror provided this marvellous article about Network Rail.


Just before putting up my final few images I would urge you all to share this post or at least the parts of it that appeal to you. My thanks to all of my followers.

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These maps all come fron the front of Harry Sidebottom's "The Caspian Gates" which is a marvellous read and a book I would recommend to anyone.
These maps all come fron the front of Harry Sidebottom’s “The Caspian Gates” which is a marvellous read and a book I would recommend to anyone.

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I saw this picture on twitter and was very struck by it, so here it is.
I saw this picture on twitter and was very struck by it, so here it is.

Surrey Secure Spectacular Success

A brief account of Surrey’s successful run chase, two infographics, some interesting/ important links, some photos and a call for support for two very important petitions.


The layout of my last post having attracted positive comment, this post will be on similar lines.


Having already featured one jaw dropping display of stroke making, this amazing match which featured over 1,500 runs in the four days was settled by another. Surrey terminated the Leicestershire second innings on 480 leaving them 216 to get in 24 overs for victory. Back in they day such a chase would have been considered purely nominal and the openers would have settled for quietly polishing up their batting averages courtesy of an asterisk in the scorebook. One of the batsmen who opened this innings for Surrey did get his asterisk in the scorebook, but Stephen Davies achieved this in anything but quiet fashion – he finished with 117 not out as Surrey completed their first victory of the season with two and a half overs to spare.


King’s Lynn Library, one of three to be regularly patronised by your correspondent (Fakenham, where I work, and Norwich are the others) will be celebrating its 110th birthday this coming Monday. I have a picture of the advertising poster and of the building itself for you…


Two infographics for you, first this one, courtesy of Violetta Golding, on the gender balance of the House of Commons:


Our second infographic concerns Homophobia in sport:



First up, the Mirror on fox hunting.

A must-read post from julijuxtaposed.

Also, with the Human Rights Act under threat in this country, this is well worth a visit.

Finally for this section, a really quirky little piece about how the beak (bird) developed from the snout (dinosaur)


Some pictures taken today, going in here to break things up a bit (my next section after these pics is VERY IMPORTANT)…

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I have saved this item for the end of the post. A while back we won a victory over Julien Blanc, preventing him from being invited to this country. It now looks like  we will need to win this battle for a second time. The other matter is even more serious: Charlton Athletic Football Club are considering signing a man who took part in the gang rape of a fourteen year old girl. Although it comes close to making me physically sick that a football club could be thinking of offering a contract to such a person, the real problem is that football’s governing bodies have still not laid down rules about this. I have links to petitions relating to these issues, both of which I hope you will sign and share:

1) Julien Blanc

2) Football, with particular reference to Charlton Athletic.

I encourage you to share this post or anything within this post that takes your fancy and end with my usual message for those who have reached this point:


Stuff to Share

This post is going to be dominated by things to share (I have a lot of them).



Two important developments concerning this project:

1)Council reconsidering their decision to cut all its funding and

2)A chance for you to help them secure funding.


I will lead into this section with an excellent infographic courtesy of Vox Political...


Naturally,our next link is to a post that features the above picture.

Glynis Millward provides a post that full lives up to its title “Read it and Weep”

Press Gang UK offer an excellent post about Catherine Shuttleworth, ‘undecided voter’

Another UKIP candidate makes the news for the wrong reasons – threatening to put a bullet in one of his rivals on this occasion.


First of all, a link to a very important petition from

Secondly, an excellent piece from someone with very real chance of unseating Jeremy Hunt tomorrow, Dr Louise Irvine of the NHA.


Three links here, first of all to the petition that is at the heart of this campaign and then two more to articles that have been published in

1) The Mirror.



A couple of related posts here, first Faraday’s Candle on vulcanology and second, from a piece about possible volcanic activity on an exoplanet.



Having been very successful at the Custom House, there are now six different light shows available around King’s Lynn at night, and here in the form of four pictures is the official publicity…

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Coming up on the 16th and 17th of May is the Hanse Festival in King’s Lynn, and I will again let a picture (just the one this time) do most of the talking…



For my British followers don;t forget that tomorrow is the General Election – your chance to kick out the worst government of my lifetime. In King’s Lynn we also have Borough Council elections to vote in. In the nick of time (last day before polling) I picked up a delivery which enabled me to enhance my window display looking out on to the High Street…


I encourage everyone to continue the sharing process.

A King’s Lynn Walk

As usual, before getting to the main part of the blog I have some links to share…

First of all, a story in the Mirror about housing benefits profiteers (i.e. big landlords) accompanied by a link to list of 20 of West Norfolk’s worst offenders in this regard:


A shocking story from the Independent about a scientific peer reviewer who in the year 2015 said that women should get help with their research from men.

Shocking but not in the least surprising to anyone who knows anything about destructive Dave the debate ducker and his mate Gideon is this story about the effect of Tory cuts on the disabled from the New Statesman.

Now, some political dynamite from Vox Political in the form of story about how the Labour and Green party candidates were omitted from 480 ballot papers sent out to voters in Hull.

Katie Hopkins has been at it again, and is the subject of another petition on demanding an apology to the autistic community for her latest offensive remarks. Please sign and share.

My last story is of a good outcome to a horrible event. The people who attacked and almost killed Malala Yousafzai have been jailed for life, and here is the story courtesy of BBC News.


This afternoon I went out for a walk, which turned out be full of glorious spring sights. The first camera moment came within minutes of setting forth, as I was crossing over the upper Purfleet, in the form of this Moorhen…


The Great Ouse rarely fails to provide some decent opportunities for pictures, and here are some from today…

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Neither Hardngs Pits nor the Nar provided much of interest, but the parkland areas (the Walks and the Recreation Field) certainly did…

Opportunities to photograph the South gate with no traffic interfering are not common.
Opportunities to photograph the South gate with no traffic interfering are not common.

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The loco pulling a goods train.
The loco pulling a goods train.
Tree sculptures, at the Tennyson Road edge of the Recreation Field.
Tree sculptures, at the Tennyson Road edge of the Recreation Field.


A front-on view of the loco showing a couple of trucks as well.
A front-on view of the loco showing a couple of trucks as well.


Between Tennyson Road and Bawsey Drain there were a few small things of interest…

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Bawsey Drain provided two examples of a mother duck taking her little ones out on the water and some small birds of the beautiful but frustrating (because they are so hard to capture on camera) variety…

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I took the way home that leads via two ponds and a section of river to the Railway Station and thence home. This last stretch provided some further duckling pictures and as my final shot of the day a blackbird…

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One duckling that is already a fine swimmer.
One duckling that is already a fine swimmer.