Marxism 2018: Martin Empson on Climate Change

My first post about Marxism 2018 – which has kicked off in fine style.

INTRODUCTION

The Marxism Festival is always one of the highlights of the year for me, and it got underway today. My train to London ran a bit late, but I was still at the venue in good time to do everything that I needed to before the first meeting. 

Double map, Kings CrossSt Pancras ISt Pancras IISt Pancras IIIRoundel

CLIMATE CHANGE: WHAT DOES THE ANTHROPOCENE MEAN FOR REVOLUTIONARY STRATEGY

Just before I get on to covering this excellent meeting I wish to deal briefly with a related matter: Jeremy Corbyn has been getting stick in certain circles for choosing to use Prime Minister’s Questions this week to tackle Theresa May on the state of buses in Britain. He was right to take her to task on this topic, and she floundered hopelessly as she usually does, unable to answer the questions. Here are a couple of charts from nomisweb.co.uk that between them make quite clear the rightness of Corbyn on this issue, which I found by way of the twitter feed of somebody called David Ottewell

and with car journeys added to the chart:

That vast number of people using the car as their main mode of transport outside of London is a major problem in many ways, and is caused in large part by the scandalous state of bus services outside the capital. As a concrete example, King’s Lynn is the third largest town in Norfolk while Fakenham is a market town in the middle of Norfolk. The last bus out from King’s Lynn to Fakenham leaves Lynn at 5:40PM, while the last bus back from Fakenham to King’s Lynn leaves Fakenham at 5:30PM – and this is still a better bus service than most of Norfolk can count on.

The meeting began with an explanation of the term Anthropocene, and then covered some details about recent heat records:

Display IDisplay II

3E before Martin Empson meeting
The room in which my first meeting was taking place.

Book Display

Martin at the ready
Martin Empson preparing himself.

No To FrackingTimetable FCTimetable BCCover slide

Speaker and chair just before the start
Speaker Martin and chair Jasmine just before the start.

Fracking plus WindrushDump Trump

The chair introduces the meeting
Jasmine introduces Martin
Heatwave slide I
The first of six record temperatures set in a very short space of time to be shiown here.

Heatwave slide IIYerevan record

Quriyat min temp
This means that there was whole 24-hour period in which the temperature was never at any point less than 42.6 celsius in this location.

Pakistan 5o degrees

Colorado
A heat record set in the country with a climate change denier as president.
Heatwave slide - final
The final slide showing all the records.

After this the speaker went on to talk about the inadequacy of the provisions made at an important meeting in Paris, the demonstration that occurred in Paris at the same time as that meeting and to end with a message:

Climate Change meetingCC protest

Gas Platform
This is the largest floating object ever built by humans – an offshore gas platform owned by Shell.
System Change Not Climate Change
The ultimate message of this meeting.

There then followed an excellent discussion as people asked questions and made contributions, before Martin came back to tie everything together. This meeting was an excellent start to my Marxism 2018.

Camilla contributes from the floor
This young woman was to be the main speaker at the second meeting I attended, and her contribution from the floor in this one was excellent.
Martin summing up the meeting
Martin Emspon summing up.

LGBT+ Liberation

Lot 1047

A detailed look at lot 1047 from James and Sons’ April Auction.

INTRODUCTION

When I did my post about James and Sons’ April Auction I said that I would be devoting a whole post lot 1047, an album of railway postcards that fell to me, and here it is.

IMAGING LOT 1047

I had time for only one close up in addition to a sample shot of four images, so this is what I did:

1047

1047-a

LOT 1047 IN DETAIL

Here are is a detailed look through look lot 1047:

Front Cover1234567891011121314151617181920

Some Suggestions Re Public Transport

Some thoughts on public transport, prompted in part by Lord Adonis’ resignation statement.

INTRODUCTION

The timing of this post is due to the resignation statement of Lord Adonis, a man who I have very little in common with, but who hits the nail on the head with his resignation statement, which you can read in full, courtesy of The Guardianhere (an excerpt is reproduced below, courtesy of twitter):

adonisresig

EAST COAST FRANCHISE LOWLIGHTS

The first time the East Coast Franchise hit difficulties, it was being run by National Express. The then government took it into public ownership, albeit with the (stupid) rider that it be reprivatised as soon as it was back in the black. On reprivatisation it passed into the hands of Virgin Trains, run by a combination of tax exile Richard Branson and the Stagecoach Group (as a non-driver who lives in Norfolk I know them too well and like them too little for comfort). The East Coast Franchise is now back in trouble, and the current transport secretary, Chris ‘Failing’ Grayling, as well as being a strong contender in the ‘most incompetent minister ever’ contest is such a ‘private good, public bad’ zealot that rather than take the logical option of taking it back into public ownership is bailing it out at vast cost, thereby setting a horrendous precedent which will enable any other rail franchise that hits trouble to demand a bail out. 

RENATIONALISATION AS START POINT

Not only should the East Coast Franchise be renationalised now, with it being made clear that it will not be privatised again, the whole railway network needs to be renationalised. The Labour party have laid out how this can be achieved – namely by refusing to put each franchise up for tender as and when it expires. For further detail check out We Own It’s Railways page. However, this is only a beginning – both because railways are only one part of public transport – there are also buses, and because one needs to consider how the system should be run. As I was typing this, the following came through on twitter from We Own It:

we own it buses tweet

Bus and railway services need renationalising, and they need to be run jointly. As to how they should be run – well there are two groups of people who should be represented in the body that runs public transport services: those who use the services and those who provide the services. If services are to be publicly owned (and these should be), they need to be fully publicly accountable. 

SOME EXTRA RESOURCES

I have three final links to share which relate to this piece:

  • A second piece from the Guardian on the Adonis Resignation
  • Mike Sivier of Vox Political has offered his take here.
  • The Mirror has demonstrated yet another way in which privatisation is failing us, with fares going up by an average of 3.4% (when we already pay on average five times as much as our fellow Europeans for a service that is probably not even on fifth as good as most of them get – I have travelled extensively in Europe over the years and most countries provide far better services than are available here in Britain) – we have on average the oldest carriages since records began (that average is 21 years old, with the Caledonian Sleeper holding an unwanted record with 42 year old carriages).

PHOTOGRAPHS

Here is you reward for reaching the end of this piece:

TW30TW29TW28climbing squirrelrunning squirrelTW27TW26TW25TW23TW22TW21TW20TW19TW18TW17TW16TW15TW14Sun on the Great Ouse11 lapwingslapwings and gullMallard drakes and white duck

 

Puzzles and Pictures

A Boxing Day post composed of pictures and puzzles – enjoy!

INTRODUCTION

I have five puzzles to share (all via the mathematical website Brilliant – I am approaching a double century, my current solving streak now extending to 199 days) and photos that I have categorized in four groups. Therefore I will be interleaving puzzles and pictures.

PUZZLE 1: LOGIC

This is an easy one – Lestrade would probably solve it without amateur assistance!

jester

PHOTOGRAPHS 1 – CAIRINA MOSCHATA

In preparation for the Christmas Day festivities I went for a walk yesterday morning, and many of the photos you will see were taken during that walk – others were taken at other times of the day. I first came across these birds when they were in a group near Kettlewell Laneand since then I have seen a single specimen, in The Walks, on three separate occasions, most recently yesterday:

Mallard drake and Muscovy duckCairina moschataCm2Mjuscovy Duck and two mallard drakesCm3Cm and mallard drakesCm and mallard drakes 2Cm and mallard drakeCm and mallard drakes 3

PUZZLES 2: AN AREA CHALLENGE

This one should not be too difficult either:

area test

PHOTOGRAPHS 2: BUILDINGS

When everything is closed the opportunity is there to get unimpeded pictures of buildings that are usually busy.

Town Hall and Old Gaol HouseSt NicksLibraryLibrary frontGreyfriars tower

PUZZLE 3: EVEN AND ODD

This is one is tricky rather than difficult per se – and only 37% of solvers on Brilliant managed to crack it:

Odd and Even

PHOTOGRAPHS 3: LOCAL HISTORY

Recent renovations in the building that my aunt’s house is part of have revealed some very interesting little details, and I also got some interesting shots from the house of the person with whom we had Christmas lunch.

HCIV
The first 13 pictures are from Hampton Court (no superstitions and no truck with triskaidekaphobia here!)

HCVIHCIHCIIHCIIIHCVHCVIIHCVIIIHCIXHCXHCXIHCXIIHCXIII

beams 1
Two shots of the wooden beams at the house where we had Christmas lunch

Beams 2

Paintings
An artwork display at that same house that caught my eye…
train pic
…one picture in particular!

PUZZLE 4: A DIVISABILITY TEST

Not at all difficult, but very enjoyable to tackle:

divisability

PHOTOGRAPHS 4: WILDLIFE

We finish our photographs as we started, with a nod to nature:

MoorhenGull on crossMagpie 1Magpie 2Magpie 3Squirrel and birdSquirrel and bird 2Gathering of gullsFlying gullsFlying gulls 2GullsGulls and squirrelGullSquirrel 1Squirrel 2Squirrel 3blackbirdsblackbirds 3Blackbird

PUZZLE 5: THE INVESTMENT EXPERT

We end with a fairly tough problem to which I have added an even tougher subsidiary question.

Investment

My follow up, adapted from a question raised by someone named Anne on Brilliant is this: What is the minimum initial deposit required to ensure that Fred’s money grows at a sufficient rate for him to become a trillionaire if he lives for as long as Earth remains an inhabitable planet (the increasing size and temperature of the sun will cause this in 1 billion years, assuming that some stupid species has not already done so,

Homeward Bound

My account of the homeward journey from Fort Picklecombe.

INTRODUCTION

We have reached the penultimate post about my Cornish holiday – the last day. This post details the long journey home.

STARTING OFF

The length of time it took to get from Plymouth to Fort Picklecombe on the Thursday was playing on my mind, and I wanted to be sure that we were away before 9AM, since my train was due to depart Plymouth at 10:44, and I reckoned that a single ticket from Plymouth to London bought on the day (London-Lynn would still have been valid on the original ticket) woulkd probably cost more than my original ticket (in this assessment, to borrow from history, there was the proverbial “cubit of error my way that does not obscure the 99 cubits of error the other way” – actually said ticket would have been fractionally less. Nevertheless, I did get a few lasy pictures before leaving the fort:

Sun on waterthree boatsTwo boats

Heron
A first for me – the first time I have captured a heron on camera.

On the journey into Plymouth I managed to snap two pictures from the back of the camper van:

Water viewBridge, Plymouth

I had some time to kill at Plymouth station and did so by taking photographs…

Platform 7, Plymouth

Gull waiting for train
An avian passenger?

Posters 1Plymouth PosterPenzanceDevon PosterDevon Poster 2Departure Board

PLYMOUTH – LONDON

This train was a service called “The Cornish Riviera”, which starts in Penzance and snails up through Cornwall stopping pretty much everywhere and then makes up time by calling only at Exeter St Davids and Reading between Plymouth and London. Although I had an aisle seat on this journey, and no opportunity to move to the window seat I was not going to be denied at least some photos. I got a good few between Plymouth and Exeter and a handful thereafter…

Across the water from the trainAcross the Water from the train IIBridge from trainThe seaCliffsAcross the water from the train IIIHeadland from the trainTown across the water from trainBoats and buildings through the windowBoats and Buildings from train IIBoats and buildings from train IIIAcross the water from train IVBoat and housesboat and buildingsRed cliffsRed cliff and two big housesStately homeRed cliffs, buildings and treesRed cl.iffs and red houseWaterfront buildingsWaterside viewView through the bridgeAcross the riverLarge churchLarge church IILarge church IIITwo towersSpire through treesSpire II

Plat 1
Exeter St Davids (two images)

Exeter St DavidsMonument

Chalk Horse
This chalk horse, carved directly out of the hillside, is visible at distance at a time when the train is at full speed.

Chalk Horse II

Reading
Reading station
Royal Oak
Royal Oak – the Hammersmith & City line’s last station west of Paddington. The next station towards Hammersmith, Westbourne Park, used to offer an interchange with mainline railways but nowadays Ealing Braodway is the last mainline station before Paddington. Back in the old days there was a connection – the first locomotives to run over what was then The Metropolitan Railway were supplied by the Great Western, while this extension to Hammersmtih opened in 1864, only one year after the original.

LONDON TO KING’S LYNN

I crossed to the Hammersmith and City line platforms, nos 15 and 16 of the main station, and waited a long time for an eastbound train, then discovering that it was terminating at Edgware Road (very odd indeed for a train from Hammersmith), so I had to change again. I arrived at King’s Cross and was just in time to catch the 14:44 to King’s Lynn, which was not overfull (as the 15:44, the next service, certainly would have been). This means that I was at home and unpacking by 5PM. 

Paddington 1View from the Hammersmith & City line platformsPaddingtonH&C trainCablesTrainEdgware RoadEdgware Road from aboveEdgware Road Plats 1&2

Hammersmith & City line
This picture was the cause of minor quarrel – I was challenged by another passenger as to why I was taking pictures of his friend, and it took my a while to get the point across that I was not, and that it was this map which was my target. His friend’s hat did appear in the uncropped version, but no face was visible, and my only interest was the map. I was perhaps a little harsh as I was fully expecting to miss my intended connection at Kings Cross due to the delays on this leg of the journey.

Great Portland StreetEuston Square

Kings Cross clock
The platform from which the train to King’s Lynn was l.eaving was revealed with a mere eight minutes to spare, and if you going to Lynn you have to go to the front of the train (or else get out and dash along the platform at Cambridge).

Kings Cross arched roofTrains at Kings CrossKing's Cross just before departureJourney PlannerAeroplaneStansted ExpressStansted Express 2

Ely Cathedral
Ely Cathedral.

 

The Journey To Penzance

An account of the journey to Penzance, setting the scene for my next post, about Penzance itself.

INTRODUCTION

This is continuing my account of my visit to Cornwall. We have reached Saturday, which for me featured a trip to England’s westernmost commercial railway station (note England not Britain – Arisaig on the Glasgow-Mallaig line in Scotland is further west), Penzance. The closest station in time terms to my parent’s new home is St Germans, and that is where my train journey started.

ST GERMANS

St Germans is completely unstaffed, and therefore, since there is no one to maintain it, has no ticket machines either. Tickets are purchased from the conductor once you are on the train. You are only allowed to do this at unstaffed stations – boarding without a ticket at a station where you can purchase one renders you liable to a penalty fare of £20 (I heard another passenger who had done this escaping with a warning not to do it again).

I had a bit of time at St Germans (given that the next train to call at St Germans was two hours later this was indubitably the sensible position to be in. Here are some photographs from the station…

TimetablesRoute mapSGRUGSt Germans MapSt Germans waiting areaView from the footbridgeView from the footbridge 2Holiday accommodationsgrug@btinternet.comHelp Point, St GermansHoliday accommodation IISt GermansDisplay, waiting area, St Germans

GWR

www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk

The ticket issued by the onboard conductor is much bigger than a standard train ticket. 

Tickets

THE JOURNEY TO PENZANCE

Taking pictures through the windows of a moving train is not especially easy, although I did at least have a window seat for the entire journey, so was never shooting across people. After leaving St Germans the train called at Liskeard (change for the Looe branch line), Bodmin Parkway, Lostwithiel (although the name might suggets otherwise as far as I am aware no elves live here!), Par (trains to Newquay depart from here), St Austell, Truro (Falmouth services diverge here), Redruth, Camborne, Hayle, St Erth (branch line to St Ives from here) and Penzance. Here are the pictures from this journey…

View from the train, just beyond St GermansFrom the trainLiskeard through the windowLiskeard stationThrough the window IIThrough the window IIIWoodland with visitor centrebirds through the windowLostwithielLostwithiel StationDiscover LostwithielLostwithiel signNew build, LostwithielThrough the window IVParbranch line train, ParBodminBodmin IIBodmin IIIEng worksSt AustellSt Austell 2Discover the Tarka LineHouseTruro CathedralTruro Cathedral IIITruro Cathedral IVLeaving TruroTownscapeTruro (1)TruroRedruthWaiuting area, RedruthWaiting area, Redruth IICamborneCamborne IICamborne Townbench, CamborneCamborne platformHayleHayle platformPlatform InfoWHHTownscape IISt Erthapproaching PenzanceApproaching Penzance II

PENZANCE STATION

These pictures were taken both on arrival at Penzance, and towards the end of my time in Penzance.

GWR mapChanges to train times

Tiles, Penzance
This was my first effort at capturing this tile picture…
Tile Picture
…and this, later in the day, was my second and final effort.

Penzance Welcomes YouPenzance StationIncoming traintrain at Penzance stationPoppy displayThrough train to London PaddingtonPenzance Station, looking outWall picturesWay OutNational Rail MapPenzance Station 1Incoming

 

Science and Nature (and other stuff)

Some recent internet finds and some of my own photographs.

INTRODUCTION

This post features links to some recent internet finds and some of my own photographs. 

SOME SCIENCE AND NATURE LINKS

I start with a piece from mongabay which argues that “The Sixth Great Extinction” is actually “The First Biotacide“. Below is a picture from this article:

Steller’s Sea Cow holds the the world record for rapidity of extinction. Illustration from “Extinct monsters,” London: Chapman & Hall, 1896. Photo via Wikimedia Commons, licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The second piece in this section comes from thewildlifeplanet and is titled “Italian Super-Volcano Approaches Eruption

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

I have five links to share in this section:

  1. vlogexpedition have a piece about the world’s longest railway journey – that along the Trans-Siberian railway.
    4 days on the Trans-Siberian Train
  2. My next piece comes from Vox Political, who got direct from the person whose story it is, Paula Peters. The title of the piece “Bus driver subjects disability activist to humiliating discrimination” gives you a good idea of the nature of the story. British law on this matter is unequivocal – the bus driver is legally obliged to give wheelchair users priority over mothers with buggies (this courtesy of a court ruling in January). Given the completeness of the information Paula provides, the bus company in question have only one option open to them both legally and morally – they must sack the offending driver and must make sure that all their drivers are aware of their responsibilities to disabled passengers.
  3. I am treating my last three pieces in this section together, as all are connected with London Underground, all come from indy100.com and all have been pressed on to my London transport themed website. They are respectively:
    This is Officially the best Tube line
    Quiz: Can you name the London Underground line by its colour?
    This gif exposes the lies the London Tube map is telling you

FAB FOUR FINAL LINKS

First in this section comes a link to RobertLovesPi’s Blog for this piece titled “A Twisted Expansion of the Truncated Octahedron“, which features a very cool graphic. 

The Skwawkbox have produced an excellent piece titled “ATTACKS ON PIDCOCK SHOW MORAL BANKRUPTCY OF RIGHT – IN OR OUT OF LABOUR” Laura Pidcock is the recently elected MP for Northwest Durham and she has been making waves for her unashamed hostility to Tories and her criticisms of the cosiness and clubbiness of the House of Commons.

I started this post with a couple of science and nature related links, and now as we approach my photographs we are finishing where we started with stuff about nature, first of all Cindy Knoke with a wonderful post about a castle that has been dedicated to raptors, titled “Castle Rapture“.

With the last word before my photographs is Anna, who has recently posted part 13 of her amazing Paradise on Earth series, this time focussing on some of the smaller creatures who live in and around Trosa.

PHOTOGRAPHS

I will start this set of photographs with some of the smaller creatures I have recently captured, before finishing with some general pictures. These pictures were all taken yesterday.

white butterfly, yellow flowersTB on dandelion 3TB on dandelion2TB on dandelionBeeButterfly in nettlesButterfly and dandelionWhite butterfly on nettleWBTB1TBButterflybutterfly on nettleleaflike butterflyFlying buitterfliesred boattwo boatsBoatBoatsFlying gullmagpie 2magpie headmagpiesadolescent mallardMoorhen and chickMinis2Minis1Moorhen