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.


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. 


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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“.


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.


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



Monday Miscellany

A mixed bag of an offering this Monday afternoon!


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). 


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:


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


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:


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


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

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!

Monday Madness 1: Science and Nature

A post largely devoted to nature, featuring links to Anna’s “Paradise on Earth” series of posts, a couple of infographics, a petition and some my own nature pics.


This is the first of several posts I will be putting up today. I will start by bringing you up to date with Anna’s magnificent “Paradise on Earth” series which now runs to 12 posts, then I have a couple of twitter images to share with you, and at the end I will include some of my own photographs. 


I covered the first three posts in this series in The Fight To Save Trosa Nature, reblogged part 4 in full here, and then put up another post featuring parts 4 and 5. Since then Anna has continued to showcase the Tureholm Peninsula’s wildlife as follows:

  • Part 6 – continuing to feature birds. I include the Mistle thrush picture below as a sample:
  • Part 7 – another post about birds, including this crane:
  • Part 8 – focusses on slugs and snails, including the beauty below:
  • Part 9 – A more general pieces showing a wide range of local animals, including the moose pictured below:
  • Part 10 – focusses on the butterflies that live in the area, including the rare Apollo butterfly shown below:
  • Part 11 – A few more butterflies, including the one below:
  • Part 12 – focusses on water creatures, including the stickleback below:


This is by way of a warning of what our species is doing to this planet, and since it concerns the Arctic it follows on naturally from the stuff about the Tureholm Peninsula:



This one shows an illogicality in our classification of species by showing side by side three species of cat that share 95.7 of their DNA, and are therefore quite correctly considered members of the felidae and two species that share over 98% of their DNA but are classed as members of different genera. The reason the second pair of species are classed as more widely split than the first trio has nothing to do with logic and everything to do with religion (and Carolus Linnaeus, also known as Carl Von Linne, the pioneer of our system of classification admitted as much in the 18th century btw):



UK Zoos are still treating their animals badly, and there is now a petition on thepetitionsite calling on DEFRA to crack down on misery in UK Zoos. As one who cannot remmeber when I last visited a UK zoo (the last zoos I visited anywhere were those in Melbourne and Adelaide, both of which treat their animals well and give them space to move, in 2009-10) I urge you to sign this petition and help increase the pressure being applied.



I finish this post with some of my own recently taken photographs:

Cormorant and Caspian Gullsposing cormorantCormorants2Cormorants and gullCormorant convocation 2

This grasshopper being on the path frather than in the grass made it easier to spot and photograph.

Flying Herring Gull 2Flying Herring GullMoorhen2Pollinator 1Birds3Birds2Blackbird2



An NAS West Norfolk Coffee Morning

An account of a coffee morning organised by NAS West Norfolk, some photos and some important links. I draw your particular attention to the levitycropscience crowdfunding issue.


As well as my title piece I have some photos from the King’s Lynn area to share, some important links and a platinum quality infographic.


Having received more than one email from my friends at NAS (National Autistic Society) West Norfolk about this coffee morning I was hoping for a decent event. From my perspective the rest of the story involves three elements..


With the event due to start at 10AM I set off from my small town centre flat at 9:15AM and headed for the Scout Hut on Beaulah Street by way of Bawsey Drain and Lynn Sport. It was grey and uninspiring, but there was the odd photo worthy moment…


I don't all that often include pictures of ducks, but this was a particularly fine specimen and there was not much else to command attention at the time.
I don’t all that often include pictures of ducks, but this was a particularly fine specimen and there was not much else to command attention at the time.


I was pleasantly surprised by the number of people who had shown up – in total there were 14 of us present. One of the others, who I had not previously met, noticed the fact that i had a camera and had snapped off a few pictures, so I provided her with details of my blog, twitter account and email address, which she gratefully accepted, along with the explanation that all my best pictures are on the blog.

One of the two posters on the wall of the upstairs meeting room at the Scout Hut.
One of the two posters on the wall of the upstairs meeting room at the Scout Hut.

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Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, and I felt that this was a good start to what is intended to be a series of such mornings (and Karan, who organised the event, mentioned having people come to give talks in the future, which I also approve of).

The other wall poster - might be though of as 'zooming out' from the subject matter of the first.
The other wall poster – might be though of as ‘zooming out’ from the subject matter of the first.


For the walk back I completed the circle by going via KES (King Edward VII Academy) and the train station. The only picture worth sharing that I was able to get was on the way out, heading down the stairs.


I look forward to more events like this in the future!


Yesterday was a sunny day, and I got some fine photos, the best of which I now share…

My first four pictures related to classic local landmark, Greyfriars Tower, with two information boards...
My first four pictures related to classic local landmark, Greyfriars Tower, with two information boards…


This up-tower shot...
This up-tower shot…
...And this external shot, taken from next to the the projector that displays a light show on the walls of the tower.
…And this external shot, taken from next to the the projector that displays a light show on the walls of the tower.
The next five pictures are of a remarkably coloured butterfly that was just near the Greyfriars Tower, in the Peace Garden.
The next five pictures are of a remarkably coloured butterfly that was just near the Greyfriars Tower, in the Peace Garden.

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A westering sun reflected off the Great Ouse yesterday evening.
A westering sun reflected off the Great Ouse yesterday evening.


King's Lynn landmark no 1 - the Custom House
King’s Lynn landmark no 1 – the Custom House


With two local landmarks pictured above this an opportunity to draw your attention to Heritage Open Day, this coming Sunday, when no fewer than 57 places of interest in King’s Lynn will be open to the public, some for the only time of the year.


Cosmos Up address the question of why Pluto is no longer classed as a planet.

From secularism.org.uk comes this piece about a Norfolk council doing the right thing (yes ir does happen occasionally!)

Charlotte Hoather has produced a wonderful post, laden with lovely pictures, under the title “Charlotte’s Secret Garden“.


dwpexamination feature with this piece about the British government surveilling kids as young as three years old for signs of extremism (yep you read that right – three years old!)

Tax Research UK have produced this piece whose title says it all: “11,000 People Die In The UK Each Year Because George Osborne Is Obsessed With Closing The Deficit

From the Joseph Rowntree Foundation via The Guardian comes this piece about how budget changes will hit single parents hardest.

Currently running on thepetitionsite is among others this “call for a full scale investigation into years of abuse by the DWP“.

I have previously mentioned that the UK is currently being investigated by the UN for human rights abuses because of the way the Scameron government treats disabled people. Courtesy of samedifference I can now tell you that there are no fewer than 41 issues that prompted this and provide this link (already widely shared on twitter).

This piece from politicalsift takes on the arguments about Corbyn and electability.

From cultureandpolitics comes this reminder that “I was only obeying orders” is not a recognised defence these days.


While I have been producing this blog post I have received information about a crowd-funding campaign to support an autistic crop scientist, about which I shall be producing a full post sometime soon. For the moment, to prepare you, here is a link to levitycropscience.


This, from politicsbeginner comes this superb infographic about Kim Davis:



I hope you have all enjoyed this post. I end with a request: please share widely. Even if you choose not to share the whole post, please share at the minimum the stuff about levitycropscience.

The Croft-Yates Wedding

A personal account of the wedding party for Rob and Olivia Yates, with lots of quality pics. Also, some important links at the end.


I will start with a word of warning: this is going to be a very long post, as there is a lot to talk about and I have some fabulous pictures to share with you. Olivia Croft (now Yates) is a cousin of mine, which is why I was there.


Needing to arrive at Kegworth early enough for those who would be at the ceremony itself to travel on to Loughborough and arrive by 12 meant an early start. I was not at the ceremony and was assigned another task along with my nephew Zachary, which I have already written about in a previous post. After a schemozzle over room bookings, which worked out to my benefit since I ended up with a room to myself (they had messed up, so we got the extra room we needed at no further cost) it was time to deposit our bags in the rooms and make the short walk to the house where the party was taking place, next door to the Kegworth museum.


Arriving at the venue the first arresting sight was a 1950s vintage Morris…

The Morris in all its glory
The Morris in all its glory
A very old style AA badge - this close up shot was gained much later than the shot of the car.
A very old style AA badge – this close up shot was gained much later than the shot of the car.

This is the time, before going on to the party itself to introduce my feature image, a montage of some of the many pictures I took through the day…

FB Montage

There was a Pimm’s table for those whose tastes run in that direction, although I ignored that and was then delighted to located cask beer (four kegs, each different). I went for something called Blue Monkey Infinity and it was delicious. There was a barbecue lunch which was excellent. It is now time for a brief diversion to…


The fish pond was quite simply magnificent, with a stunning variety of fish and an excellent rock garden…

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At 4PM there was a Punch and Judy puppet show. I watched it all and got some good pictures. It seemed to appeal to its target audience, the children, but I was unimpressed to say the least…

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Early on in the day there was some live music outside in the sun, and helped to be the volume not being too ridiculously amped up it was actually quite pleasant from a distance…

DSCN9818 DSCN9825


The speeches took place in the same area as the Punch and Judy, and with the exception of the opening salvo from Andy, the bride’s stepfather, none were particularly impressive…

The groom, who was also MC for the speeches.
The groom, who was also MC for the speeches.

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Andy, giving the first speech.
Andy, giving the first speech.

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The bride's sister, flanked by Evie (blonde) and Libby (darker)
The bride’s sister, flanked by Evie (blonde) and Libby (darker)

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The groom's father making his speech.
The groom’s father making his speech.


The groom's brother at the mic.
The groom’s brother at the mic.


The bride making her speech.
The bride making her speech.

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Before going on to mention the supper and my own departure from the event here are some pictures taken at various times through the day that don’t fit neatly into a particular section…

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Each table in the marquee had floral displays on them, one of which featured this sunflower.
Each table in the marquee had floral displays on them, one of which featured this sunflower.

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A full floral display.
A full floral display.
My cousin Richard and his fiancee Ida - they will soon be off to her native Sweden.
My cousin Richard and his fiancee Ida – they will soon be off to her native Sweden.


Ida and Rachel, girlfriend of another of my cousins, Edward
Ida and Rachel, girlfriend of another of my cousins, Edward


Me and Richard
Me and Richard

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Serious rain in the early evening.
Serious rain in the early evening.


Supper was fish (or sausage in my case) and chips, and it was delicious (give what my uncle had apparently paid for the hire of the chip van for the evening so it jolly well ought to have been). While I was eating it in the shelter of the marquee, the evening’s entertainment were warming up, and that was sufficient to persuade me that as it was no longer suitable weather for being outside it was time to return, since there was no way I could cope with that kind of music at that volume and accompanied by strobe lighting at close quarters.

The cake, which I did not get to see being cut.
The cake, which I did not get to see being cut.
These last two pics are of the evening's entertainment making their preparations.
These last two pics are of the evening’s entertainment making their preparations.


I had a fabulous day, and by departing early was able to keep the good memories untarnished. This concludes the main part of this post, but I also have some…


My first set of links concerns…


Lots of stuff about this case…


I start this section by reminding readers of the change.org petition calling for a better gender balance in Parliament. Another reminder of a petition that I have been pushing for some time, Fiona Paddon’s via change.org calling for the NHS to provide tests for group B strep to prevent needless deaths of newborns. My next two are related, a call on BA to stop selling trips to seaworld and one from uk.whales calling on ABTA to enforce its own very tight guidelines. Still on the Cetacean theme, defenders.org have this plea on behalf of the Vaquita. Next and penultimate, another reminder, this time of the Sweets Way Campaign. Finally, I end this subsection by inviting all my readers to take part in a thunderclap on behalf of the Hen Harrier.


I have several very interesting science pieces for you:

  1. A light start courtesy of Faraday’s Candle, whose latest offering is this one.
  2. Cosmos Up have this on red arcs on one of Saturn’s moons, Tethys.
  3. From Niume comes this on “Methane the Destroyer
  4. Finally, accompanied by some graphics to whet your appetite comes this magnificent youtube video on the evidence for evolution.
    Cetaceans skull Whales


The first link to appear in this section comes courtesy of a new find for me, suburbanprincessteacher who has produced this wonderful piece about school dress codes entitled “Newsflash: Girls Are Not Distractions“. Tax Research UK, often a source of good material have produced this on human rights versus trade deals. My next piece comes from unisonactive and is their take on the Trade Union Bill. My final link is to a quite wonderful response by a paramedic to news that New York fast food workers have won a minimum wage of $15 per hour.


I hope that you have all enjoyed this post and will be encouraged to share it. A final message for all who have made it to the end…