A look at the Natural History Museum and possible alternatives to a straight to/from South Kensington, plus a related twitter thread. Note that the ideas around the museum are strictly for thinking about for the future.
To start a brief warning: the main attraction at the heart of this post is closed at the time of writing and even if things go according to Johnson’s ‘road map out of lockdown’ it will be some while before it reopens and before travelling for leisure is again safe. By all means note the things I write about here down for future reference but please do not attempt to put plans into practice just yet.
This post was inspired by a thread posted on twitter by the Natural History Museum earlier today, which I shall be saying more about later.
POSSIBLE ADDITIONS TO AN NHM VISIT
The Natural History Museum is served along with a number of other attractions by South Kensington Station (Circle, District and Piccadilly lines, subject of two station posts on my other site – here and here) and you can choose whether to use the underground passage that links the station to the museums or walk at surface level, where you will see some fine wrought ironwork.
Once you have enjoyed the museum, the logical next step is to visit Hyde Park, and there are stations all around that park that you could use as the station from which to begin your journey home. You could also head into London’s West End, where after Marble Arch you could choose Bond Street, Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus by walking along Regent Street, or go a little north to Baker Street, home to the Sherlock Holmes Museum and Madame Tussaud’s. Also you could extend your walk in a westerly direction, aiming for Notting Hill Gate. For those interested in a longer walk you could continue beyond Baker Street and take in Regent’s Park. Here are a few map pictures of various kinds to conclude this section:
THE TWITTER THREAD
The Natural History Museum today put out a superb 13 tweet thread about a very recent meteorite strike (a tiny meteorite which did no serious damage – it’s journey through the earth’s atmosphere lit up the skies on the night of February 28) and about that object’s journey, a story four billion years or so in the making and yet 13 tweets in the telling. A screenshot of the start of the thread is below, and you can read it in full by clicking here.
For more about these sorts of objects I recommend the book “Comet”, by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan:
A very brief usual sign off – I have been unable to get out today since I am waiting for someone to examine an issue with my drains – they should have been and gone by now…
Looking at a possible England line up for the test match that gets underway tomorrow and a radical solution to their current paucity of spin bowling options. Plus some photographs.
This is my preview post for the third test match of the India v England series which starts tomorrow morning UK time. I also take the time to salute another fine performance by England’s women and, prompted by a comment on twitter from The Cricket Men, to revisit one of my more radical solutions to England’s spinning problems.
ENGLAND XI FOR TOMORROW
Crawley has been declared fit to play, and it seems Burns and Pope are going to be given chances to score runs, though both must be running out of road. This virtually sets the top six as Sibley, Burns, Crawley, *Root, Stokes, Pope, and Foakes is also inked in as keeper, which leaves the bottom four to be decided. Some are making much of the fact that the pitch which previously had some grass on it has been shaved today, but for me, especially with the selectors having ruled out promotions for Parkinson or Virdi, I still see no reason to select Bess, and although I can understand why people want to see Archer I prefer to give Stone a chance in less unfavourable conditions after his fine efforts in the second test match. Thus, with Anderson a mandatory selection for a pink ball test and some justifiable concern over the lower order, I pick Woakes rather than Broad for the no8 slot, thus arriving at Sibley, Burns, Crawley, *Root, Stokes, Pope, +Foakes, Woakes, Stone, Leach, Anderson.
ENGLAND’S SPIN ISSUE
Overnight England’s women played an ODI in New Zealand, and won by eight wickets. They restricted the hosts to 178, Sophie Ecclestone with her left arm spin collecting 2-36 from a full allocation of ten overs. Tammy Beaumont (71) and Heather Knight (67 not out) then ensured that this wonderful bowling effort would not go to waste. Ecclestone now has 101 wickets in all forms of international cricket, at 25.90 a piece, and she is still only 21 years old. Other than Leach and Bess, the latter of whom is currently under a cloud the number of male English spinners who have played at least 10 first class matches (basic filter against freak happenings), are still active at that level and pay less than 30 a piece for their wickets totals precisely two: Matt Parkinson (62 wickets at 25) and Amar Virdi (91 wickets at 28). Thus, encouraged by some comments I have seen today (see intro), I am once again going to suggest that Ecclestone deserves to be given a chance to show what she can do playing alongside the men and should be part of England’s elite spin group going forward. For the Ashes tour at the end of the year she could be one of three specialist spinners to travel alongside Leach and Parkinson (unless Bess at his new base of Headingley has a splendid season I cannot see him as a member of that tour party, especially given how poorly English off spinners have generally fared in Oz – see here).
I responded on twitter, but there is a limit to how much detail one can go into there, so I am now putting up a blog post to provide a fuller explanation of my thoughts (I thank CricBlog for setting a tough but fun challenge and inspiring me to create a blog post – a combination of an English late autumn/ winter and lock down is not exactly ideal for providing inspiration!).
The 12 test playing nations are: Australia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, England, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Zimbabwe. Some of these nations have many current greats to choose from, others have very few players to merit consideration. I also wished as far as possible to pick players in appropriate places in the batting order and to have a properly balanced side.
THE SQUAD FROM 1-12
Dominic Sibley (England) – an opening batter who knows how to bat for a long time. He has impressed considerably since his selection for England, which was earned the old fashioned way by scoring shedloads for his county.
Babar Azam (Pakistan) – he often bats no3 in long form cricket, but he can also open, his class is unquestionable, and his attacking inclinations make him a suitable partner for the solid Sibley.
Kane Williamson (New Zealand) – one of the finest long form batters the game has ever seen, and certainly in the top handful of contemporary batters whatever the format.
Virat Kohli (India) – Another all time great.
Angelo Matthews (Sri Lanka) – Averages 45 with the bat and is also a potential sixth bowler with his medium pace. Sri Lanka are not especially strong at the moment, limiting one’s options in terms of selecting a team of this nature.
+Mushfiqur Rahim (Bangladesh) – A fine wicket keeper and worth his place as a middle order batter as well, the little Bangladeshi can be counted as one of two genuine all rounders in the XI.
*Jason Holder (West Indies) – lower middle order batter, quick bowler and captain. He has a test double century to his name and has also taken some major wicket hauls, including a six-for to start the first test series of the 2020 English season. Although the West Indies ended up losing that series I was overall impressed by Holder’s captaincy and had little hesitation over giving him that role in this team. As an aside, England owe the Windies big time for this summer and should have reciprocal tours of that part of the world high on their priority list.
Rashid Khan (Afghanistan) – an outstanding leg spinner and a useful lower order batter, he was the easiest selection of all for this squad, so far above his compatriots does he stand.
Mark Adair (Ireland) – pace bowler, useful lower order batter (he averages over 25 in first class cricket). He was impressive with the ball at Lord’s in 2019, his only test to date.
Kagiso Rabada (South Africa) – pace bowler. The quickest bowler in the squad, and the best of the three pace bowlers I have named.
Nathan Lyon (Australia) – the best current off spinner (only Murali among off spinners I have seen in action ranks as an unquestionably better bowler – sorry Swanny), and a suitable ‘spin twin’ for Rashid Khan.
Brendon Taylor (Zimbabwe) – Zimbabwe has few stand out names at present, but as a 12th man a wicket keeper who is also a good enough willow wielder to average 35 in test cricket is a pretty decent option.
THE TEAM ANALYSED
This team has a well matched opening pair, an outstanding no 3 and 4, a no 5 who has a very respectable record, an excellent keeper/batter, and Holder filling the all rounders slot at seven. The bowling line up, with Rabada taking the new ball alongside Holder or Adair, a third high class pacer and two outstanding and contrasting spinners in Rashid Khan and Nathan Lyon is also formidable. I would fully expect this team to give a good account of itself in any conditions. For more about my ideas on selection policies and team balance you can look at my ‘All Time XIs‘ series and/or at my ‘100 cricketers‘ series.
EXTENDING THE CHALLENGE
Please feel free to use the comments to indicate your own selections, sticking to the brief of one player per test playing nation. Those who fancy a really serious challenge are invited to pick a XII on similar lines to go up against mine (without thinking too hard I can identify nos 4, 5, 6 (or 4, 5, 7 or 4,6, 7) and 11 of such a combination and would be interested to see if these names feature).
I finish this post with some photographs (to view an image at full size please click on it):
An anniversary, some thoughts about autism, the London Mayoral elections and diplomatic immunity and a lot of photographs.
I have various things to mention besides the main subject of this post, and a few links to share. First up, in accordance with this blog’s “reverse tabloid” policy regarding such matters comes…
I recently suffered a problem with my email settings that caused two things:
I missed some of your posts because they were going to my spam folder.
A couple of commenters waited longer than they should for a response from me because due to the same issue I did not initially see the comments.
I have now resolved the issue, and all should be back to normal.
THE NARROW ESCAPE
Exactly one year ago, on October 8th 2018 I was so ill that I had to be given a half-size saline drip and a lot of further assistance to get from the flat I was then living in to an ambulance that took me to Queen Elizabeth Hospital. I will be visiting that hospital under my own steam today for a hearing appointment. I have written various postsabout the illness that nearly killed me and my subsequent gradual return to health and fitness.
There is a coffee morning taking place at King’s Lynn Library tomorrow between 11AM and 1PM. At this time of year various shops and businesses have an “autism hour” during which they make particular efforts to be more accessible to autistic people. Of course many of the changes they make could and should be made permanently anyway – are such things as ultra bright lights and loud “music” really necessary to attract allistic customers?
The London Mayoral election campaign is now in full swing. There has been much entirely unmerited excitement about the decision of Rory Stewart, who knows precisely nothing about London, to stand. If I lived in London my vote would unquestionably go to Sian Berry, once again the Green Party candidate, with a second preference for the incumbent Sadiq Khan (they use STV for the London Mayoral elections). Here is an article in inews inwhich Ms Berry takes aim at Mr Stewart with (IMO) deadly accuracy.
Jerry Coyne at whyevolutionistrue has put up a post about Anne Sacoolas’ abuse of “diplomatic immunity” after she killed Harry Dunn in a hit and run accident. She is very probably going to escape unpunished for killing someone because neither of the two countries has a leader who can even be hoped to do the right things. For those who use social media look up #JusticeForHarryDunn. My own view is that diplomatic immunity should be waived, she should be done for causing death by dangerous driving and hit with the maximum possible punishment for that offence (on the grounds that her attempted use of diplomatic immunity counts as the absolute reverse of co-operation).
First up, a warning to arachnophobes – there is a spider coming up. Now, my usual sign off…
Some thoughts on The Royal London Cup and England v Australia, and plenty of photographs.
Somerset are heading for a comfortable win over Hampshire in the final of the Royal London Cup – the only question being whether they will complete the job before I finish this post or not. Meanwhile at the Ageas bowl England are trying to beat Australia in a World Cup warm up match (the tournament proper begins on Thursday.
A CRICKETING WATERSHED
This final is a ‘last’ in two different ways. It is the last to take place at Lord’s, and it is the last domestic 50 over final to involve anything approaching full strength sides, because next year this tournament will be taking place at the same time as “The Hundred”, a new competition in which sides will contest matches of 100 balls per innings, and the best players will all be involved in that competition. Fortunately, although Somerset have been definitely the better side it has been a decent match. Hampshire were 180-8 at one point in their innings, but boosted that to 244-8 so that at least Somerset had some work to do. 56 from Northeast and 55 not out from Fuller (this latter contributg to the final fling mentioned above) were the top scores for Hampshire. Jamie Overton took 3-48, Josh Davey 2-28 from eight overs and remarkably Tom Abell, mainly a batter, had 2-19 from five. 69 from young wicketkeeper/batter Tom Banton at the top of the Somerset innings is the highest score of the day so far, Azhar Ali the other opener made 45, and James Hildreth is currently 45 not out, batting now in the company of youngster George Bartlett.
England are very much in the game against Australia, in spite of the fact that Australia were allowed to play a team of 12.
First, a new find for me – a couple of tiny little birds I spotted while out on a short walk earlier today and which (with help from Lynda Keen on twitter as well as my bird book) I have been able to identify as goldfinches:
The outcome of yesterday’s predictions, and accounts and predicitions from today’s Royal London Cup matches plus some other features.
Today we beign with a look back at such actions as there was in yesterdays two Royal London Cup matches, and then around the grounds at today’s matches, most of which are now at the half-way stage.
Just the two games:
Middlesex v Surrey – Middlesex 277 all out from 50 overs, Surrey 240 all out from 48 overs, Middlesex won by 37 runs. Surrey were always behind the rate in this one, although they retained hope until Ben Foakes (71, the highest individual score of the game) was out. For Middlesex Tom Helmand Nathan Sowter each took four wickets. I had called this one for Surrey.
Glamorgan v Kent – Glamorgan 68-2 from 15 overs, no result, rain The rain never did ease in this one, so ended as a no result. Kent would have been heavy favourites had the rain eased off enough to allow them a 10 over run chase of what would presumably have been around about 75-80. As it is, although my comments on this one allowed for the possibility of the weather triumphing I can hardly count it as a successful prediction, since I really called it in Kent’s favour.
Thus, for the first time in six match days I was wrong on more predictions than I was right on – 0/2 to be precise. However, my record remains 18/29.
A number of matches to call…
Hampshire v Gloucestershire – Hampshire 331-8 from 50 overs At 65-4 this was looking poor for Hampshire, but James Vince and Liam Dawsonrescued the home team with a stand 186, before Dawson was out for 73. Vince went on to a Hampshire List A record individual score of 190, being out with one ball remaining in the innings. Chris Liddle with 4-66 was the star of the Gloucestershire bowlers. Thanks to Vince’s innings I think Hampshire will win this one. The commentary team featured Emily Windsor, a 21 year old batter for Hampshire Women.
Warwickshire v Durham – Warwickshire 248-8 from 50 overs 62 from Tim Ambrose and 50 a piece from Sam Hain and Chris Woakes saved Warwickshire from complete disaster, but this is a modest score (only one lower total was defended in this competition last season, and only one so far this season). For Durham Ben Carse had 3-46, Matty Potts 2-46 and the two most economical bowlers, Liam Trevaskisand Ben Raine, each with 1-29 from seven overs did not get to bowl their full allocation! Nevertheless, I expect Durham to win this one with something to spare.
Yorkshire v Derbyshire – Yorkshire 308-2 in 40 overs, rain has intervened.
Huge scoring from Yorkshire, and with only two wickets lost they were heavy favourites for a 400plus score when the rain came. This will be reflected in the adjusted total that Derbyshire have to chase – the scoring rate required will certainly by a minimum of 8.25 an over, perhaps 8.50 or even 9.00 depending on how many overs are left for the Derbyshire innings (the D/L bases these things on resources, which include wickets and overs remaining, and with 20% of their overs and 80% of their wickets remaining Yorkshire had plenty of resources to have a real dart in the closing stages of their innings). Therefore, assuming that the rain eases sufficiently for a match to be completed I expect Yorkshire to win comfortably. All four Yorkshire players who batted had 50s: Tom Kohler-Cadmore 79 off 92, Adam Lyth78 off 60, David Willey 72 not out off 49 and Harry Brook59 not out off 40. The Derbyshire biolwing figures are best not talked about.
The other game, between Essex and Somerset at Colchester was scheduled to start at 1:00PM but delayed by rain until 3PM and is already reduced to 39 overs per side. It is too early to attempt to call this one, though Somerset have made a decent start.
LINKS AND PICTURES
Emboldened by the fact that a petition calling for him to be sacked had garnered 40,000 signatures Farmer’s Weekly put up a poll asking whether people thought the BBC should sack Chris Packham. At the moment 71% of the 78208 people who have voted are in the “no” camp along with me (this means that 55,579 voters do not think he should be sacked, comfortably exceeding the number of signatories to the petition). Click hereto view the article and vote if it is still open.
carrying out the subtractions in thte brackets above gives us (2 * 3^22)(2 * 3 ^23)(2 * 3^24). This becomes (2^3)(3^(22+23+24))= (2^3)(3^69). Thus m = 3 and n = 69, and 69 + 3 = 72.
As a supplement to this little problem, would you have an observation platform where the three bridge segments meet at the centre of the lake? This latter of course, unlike the mathematical question is purely a matter of opinion. I would go for a circular platform just below the level of the bridges, accessible by lifts and stairs.
Some technical tips prompted by a post on Yarnandpencil, a wide variety of shares from around the web, including a new facebook page and a petition, a solution to a teaser and some photographs.
I have various things to share with you, and some new pictures to post. I am going to start with…
BLOGGING HINTS: HOW TO REBLOG WITHOUT A REBLOG BUTTON
This section was prompted by a post put up by Tracy at Yarn and Pencilthis morning titled “More WP problems“, and has developed from a comment I posted there. One of the problems she raised there was the ‘disappearing reblog button’ that others have commented on.
The process for reblogging when there is no reblog button is:
Start a new post as though you were going to create something of your own.
Link to the site on which you found the piece you intend to share and of course to the piece itself (use the actual title of the piece for this).
Select a paragraph and/or an image from the original to serve as an ‘appetiser’ (making sure to differentiate the text from your own and/or to ensure that the image is clearly identified as the other person’s work)
If you are using a whole post just to link to one piece turn the comments of on your post – you want to people to visit the original and post any comments they might have there. This last point leads me on to…
A QUICK GUIDE TO TURNING OFF COMMENTS
If your window when creating a post looks like mine, then on the right as you look is a panel of tabs as follows:
Open the ‘More Options’ tab, as indicated by the red arrow above, and you will see…
…Down near the bottom are two check boxes and you want to uncheck the top one of the two where it says “Allow Comments”. Instead of two ticks, shown above, you want it to look like:
1.) Neurodiversity is a natural and valuable form of human diversity.
2.) The idea that there is one “normal” or “healthy” type of brain or mind, or one “right” style of neurocognitive functioning, is a culturally constructed fiction, no more valid (and no more conducive to a healthy society or to the overall well-being of humanity) than the idea that there is one “normal” or “right” ethnicity, gender, or culture.
3.) The social dynamics that manifest in regard to neurodiversity are similar to the social dynamics that manifest in regard to other forms of human diversity (e.g., diversity of ethnicity, gender, or culture). These dynamics include the dynamics of social power inequalities, and also the dynamics by which diversity, when embraced, acts as a source of creative potential.
Meet John. He’s a wizard at data analytics. His combination of mathematical ability and software development skill is highly unusual. His CV features two master’s degrees, both with honors. An obvious guy for a tech company to scoop up, right?
Until recently, no. Before John ran across a firm that had begun experimenting with alternative approaches to talent, he was unemployed for more than two years. Other companies he had talked with badly needed the skills he possessed. But he couldn’t make it through the hiring process.
In fact, my dear, dear friend, Autism, I love you.
And I am grateful for who you have made me. And that you are there for me when I need you.
Let’s start our journey again, and this time I promise, I’ll try my best to understand what you need from me. Take my hand and let’s tackle the world together.
But please do try and understand what I have to give. That I have limits.
And, dear kind, confusing, Autism, remember this: I love you.
No matter what. Always, forever and a day.
This next link is for those of you who use social media. Libby, who tweets as @LibbyAutism, has expanded her social media profile by creating a facebook page called Liberty – living with autism. Please visit and like the page if you can.
Finally, to end this section, a reminder about the petition on 38 Degreesto save the Respite Unit at Morley House. This petiton, screenshotted below, is now on just over 3,000 signatures, and I urge you all to help us increase that number:
SOLUTION TO SATURDAY’S TEASER
Here is the problem I set you on Saturday:
Here is the answer, followed by a published solution:
This is Stephen Mellor’s highly admired solution:
Well done those of you who have made it to this point! We end, as usual, with some recent photographs:
Inspired by Jennifer Lisi on twitter, who created the graphic at the heart of it, this post sets out aspi.blog’s stall, taking autism acceptance is starting point and looking ahead to autism appreciation.
This is a post about something magnificent I have just seen on twitter and wish to share with all of you. The text of this post is #RedInstead because it is specifically about autism.
AUTISM ACCEPTANCE MONTHS
To start with, below is a screenshot of the tweet, by Jennifer Lisi, that prompted this post:
Now we move on to some extra thoughts of my own:
Although I will on occasions, when I believe people are doing it for the right reasons share stuff about “autism awareness” I will not use the phrase on my account because…
We have been banging on about awareness for ages, and I do not believe there is a problem any more with people not knowing of the existence of autism and autistic spectrum conditions, though there are a raft of problems when it comes to understanding of such conditions.
For me Autism Acceptance as shown in the graphic above is what we should be considering as our basic start point, with the hope that acceptance of us for who and what we are will lead to…
Appreciation of our strengths and good qualities.
Thus the journey we look to trace out runs not awareness-understanding-acceptance but awareness-understanding-acceptance-appreciation.
I end this post with some photographs, in this case with a cormorant in the starring role:
Some stuff about the ODI at the MCG, a neurodiversity quote, a mathematical puzzle and some photographs
After the horrors of the Ashes test series it makes a change to write about a winning performance from an England cricket team in Australia. I also have a few other things to share of course, including more of my photos.
RECORDS GALORE AT THE MCG
The pitch at the MCG for the first of five One Day Internationals (50 overs per side) was a vast improvement of the strip they had produced for the test match, and the players produced a match worthy of the occasion. England won the toss and chose to field. England;s improvement in this form of the game since their horror show at the 2015 World Cup has been such that even before they started batting an Australia tally of 304 seemed inadequate.
England got away to a quick start, although Jonny Bairstow did a ‘Vince’ – looking very impressive for 20-odd and then giving it away. Alex Hales also fell cheaply, but Joe Root came out and played excellently, while Jason Roy produced the major innings that England needed from one of their top order. When his score reached 124 Roy had an England ODI record for the MCG, and that soon became an all-comers MCG record, to match Cook’s all-comers test record score for the MCG. When he went from 171 to 175 Roy establish a new England ODI individual scoring record. His dismissal for 180, with 200 just a possibility was a disappointment but by then the result was not in doubt, and even the loss of a couple more wickets in the dying overs served only to reduce the final margin. England won by five wickets with seven deliveries to spare, and it was a much more conclusive victory than those figures suggest because three of the wickets came with the outcome already settled courtesy of Roy. Joe Root also deserves credit for his support role to Roy’s pyrotechnics, a selfless display that saw him finish just short of his own hundred when the winning runs were scored. The Test squad has a lengthy shopping list of new players needed (two openers given Cook’s age, at least one new batsman for the middle order, a couple of genuine quicks and a serious spinner at minimum), but the ODI squad is in splendid fettle.
A CLASSIC NEURODIVERSITY COMMENT
This comes courtesy of twitter:
Those of you who have read Alison’s response to my nominating her for a Blogger Recognition Award will have noticed that she specifically mentioned enjoying the puzzles that sometimes feature here. Here courtesy of the mathematical website brilliantis another:
The colony of muscovy ducks that I first saw in late 2017 are still in residence along a section of the Gaywood River that is close to where it enters The Walks en route to becoming the Millfleet, in which guise it flows into the Great Ouse…