Super Sharing Saturday – Science and Nature

A science based post, with some work related pictures and a link to an online catalogue at the end.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the next post in this series of sharing posts. Our theme in this one is nature, and while most of the pieces I am linking to are about the present, we being with a journey back to…

385 MILLION YEARS AGO

This was when our ancestors first moved from the sea to the land. The usual reckoning is that the key development that led to this happening was to do with limbs, which would seem to be common sense. However, according to this piece on astrobio.net, there is an alternative view now being proposed that the key development was actually to do with vision not limbs. As is now my custom I am using an image to link to the full article:

Now we move back to the present, and we start with a distressing story about…

RHINO POACHING

As wild rhino numbers continue to decline the poachers whose activities are most directly responsible for this decline are becoming more brazen. This story concerns a Rhino in a zoo which was shot for its horn. The saddest aspect of this story is that the wealthy Chinese who buy most rhino horns do so based on alleged properties of the substance that are entirely fictional – this is the same stuff that our own finger nails are made of, and no one would pay big money for those. As usual, the link is in the accompanying image.

LEMURS GET HIGH(COURTESY OF WEIT AND SPY IN THE WILD)

WEIT provide an introduction to the video, which you can read by clicking here. The video itself is embedded below for your delectation:

NEUTRINOS

We end with a look, courtesy of rationalisingtheuniverse, at the neutrino. We have an image to serve as a link again:

standard_model_of_elementary_particles-svg

PHOTOGRAPHS

Here to finish are some of my photographs:

cataloguecover
The printed catalogue for the March auction is now ready. Clicking this image will take you to an online version
970
Appropriate for a science based post – a telescope (lot 970)

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954
Lot 954 – a silver calling card holder
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Commemorative coins and medallions are frequently to be found in our sales, commemorative soap bars less so!

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These last six images are of lots 977, 978 and 979 (obverse and then reverse of each of these pewter plates)

977-b978-a978-b979-a979-b

 

 

Super Sharing Saturday – Transport and the Environment

Some links relating to transport and the environment and some pictures.

 INTRODUCTION

As my first post of today indicated I have a lot of stuff to share, and I am breaking it into sections. In this post I deal with stuff that relates to transport and the environment (linked by the fact that how one handles the former can have huge effects on the latter). 

TRANSPORT

I start this subsection with two links from the…

CAMPAIGN FOR BETTER TRANSPORT 

The first of these links, to a piece titled “What is the chancellor’s plan for transport” provides some detail on what the recent spring budget offered in terms of transport. Please click on the Campaign for Better transport logo below to read this piece in full.

CBT

The second piece from the Campaign for Better Transport is titled “show the love to transport”, which gives some detail about both the actual and potential threat posed to Britain’s transport system by climate change. Please click on the image below, which shows those London Underground stations under threat from flooding to read the article full. 

Image of tube map with green hearts to show stations at risk of flooding

To finish off the section, a link to the TFL “report it to stop it”page about unwanted sexual behaviour on public transport, which I have already posted about on my London transport themed website.

THE ENVIRONMENT

Three pieces in this little section as well, starting one from Sian Berry titled “Mayors Guidance Won’t Stop Estate Demolitions”. To read this excellent piece in full please click the image below:

Sian Berry with residents at Central Hill Estate

Next comes a piece from livescience.com titled “Carbon Dioxide is Warming the Planet (Here’s How)” which includes a short video, as well as the excellent text and the image below which I am using as the link.

My final piece in this section comes from the Guardian on how climate change battles are increasingly being fought and won in court. To read it click on the image below…

Campaigners outside South Africa’s Pretoria high court during the country’s first climate change lawsuit

PHOTOGRAPHS

Here are some pictures to finish…

1251
This is lot 1251 in our March auction (27th, 28th and 29th).
975
Lot 975, same auction (two images)

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967
Lot 967, same auction
HH
Hanse House as viewed from the riverside.
HHplaque
The explanatory plaque.
Piedwagtail
A pied wagtail neatly framed by yellow painted lines.
Moon
The moon in an early evening sky (taken on Thursday).

 

Autism, Work and Links

The launch of a new facebook page with NAS West Norfolk connections, a bit about yesterday at work and some very interesting links.

INTRODUCTION

For the benefit of new readers it is worth reminding people that I am both NAS West Norfolk branch secretary and #actuallyautistic. Although the the National Autistic Society (NAS) has some paid staff at its London HQ branches are run by volunteers and branch money comes exclusively from fund-raising. This post therefore starts with some news from NAS West Norfolk that I consider worth sharing before continuing with a bit about yesterday at work which will include pictures and ending with some interesting links.

THE LAUNCH OF A NEW FACEBOOK PAGE

NAS West Norfolk’s Sports Co-ordinator, Grant Cotton, creator of the Autism Awareness Cup, has created a new facebook page to link all his activities. It can be viewed by clicking the image below:

YESTERDAY AT JAMES AND SONS

Yesterday was devoted to imaging as many of those lots for the March auction that were not yet images as possible (a catalogue for this auction, taking place on the 27th, 28th and 29th of March, can be viewed here). Most of the imaging I was doing yesterday was of coin lots. Here some pictures…

248-a
This is lot 248 – a seven image gallery for you to look at

248248-b248-c248-d248-e248-f

249
This is lot 249 – a four image gallery.

249-a249-b249-c

120
From here until lot 124 we are looking at hi-res scans. Although I produced my usual three-image galleries for these coins with on exception I am sharing only the main image.

119105

80
The exception – this New Zealand florin from 1934, where I choose to show the close-ups as well.

80-b80-a121122123

124
Lot 124 – the last of the scans
108
Lot 108 – the packaging indicated that three of these coins were special, so I did close ups as well as the main images

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108-c
The close ups

108-e108-d

107
Lot 107 – this time the packaging suggested that two of the coins deserved special attention, so they got it.

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107-c
The close ups.

107-e107-d

222
Lot 222
223
Lot 223. This horrible plastic tub did not have a lid, so I rehoused the lot in a nice wooden box with a fully functioning lid (I did a ‘meringue’ style test on it, turning it upside down with the coins inside, making sure that it was not too high above a flat, clear surface when I did so).
224
Lot 224.

LINKS

Most of these links are science related, so to clear the decks I shall start with the exception. This comes courtesy of Skwawkbox, and is a devastating indictment of Theresa May and her ‘sweetheart deal’ with Surrey County Council. I agree with the Skwawkbox assessment that this should be considered as resignation matter. As another blogger, Mike Sivier, put it when commenting on this same issue: “a turd by any other name would smell as faecal and this one sgtinks of big fat lie”. To read the Skwawbox piece click here.

SCIENCE 1: FROM LIVESCIENCE

Two very different pieces from the same source here. The first deals with small things (specifically spiders), the second with something very large (a nebula).

  1. Wolf spiders having threesomes (yes, you read that right). Female wolf spiders are noted for eating their mates after copulation, and it may be that if two males tackle the same female there is more chance of one of them not being cannibalised. For the full story please click on the image below:
  2. This piece is about the discovery of a huge new nebula and the attendant mystery of what its light source might be. For the full story click on the image below:

SCIENCE 2: WEIT (WITH AN ASSIST FROM YOU TUBE)

It is no great secret that I am a huge fan both of Jerry Coyne’s books (Why Evolution is True and Faith Versus Fact) and of the associated blog, whyevolutionistrueThus I am delighted to share with you the fact that a video series on  chapter one of Why Evolution Is True is now being created. Episodes 1-3 are available to watch (and highly recommended by this blogger!), and according to WEIT’s own piece about the series there are two more episodes to come (yay!). I have embedded the videos below (they run in sequence) – enjoy!

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.

INTRODUCTION

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.

THE GREAT BUS RIP OFF

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.

POLITICAL IDIOCY  – TORIES GO AFTER SCHOOLS WITH SOLAR PANELS

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.

TWO STORIES OF STELLAR DEATH

The first of these stories is a commemoration of…

SUPERNOVA 1987-A

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 ibtimes.com, please click on the image below:

Supernova 1987a

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

THE DISCOVERY OF THE
UNIVERSE’S BRIGHTEST PULSARS

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

DOWNLOAD A FREE POSTER
FROM THE NEW SCIENTIST

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.

NS_MILKY_WAY_POSTER - Edited

ROCK SOLID EVIDENCE THAT WE ARE NOW LIVING IN THE ANTHROPOCENE

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

PHOTOGRAPHS

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

gate in old wallOld wallBlackbird4LBBBlackbird3Blackbird2Blackbird 1Red MountGuanock gateMinsterMoorhens

Norfolk Pictures and Some Shares

Some local photographs from earlier today and some interesting links.

INTRODUCTION

I had expected to be blogging about the first ever NAS West Norfolk curry night at The Globe today, but the event had to be postponed due to the severe weather that affected King’s Lynn yesterday. In addition to the decision to postpone the curry night made because those who would have had to travel (as opposed to me strolling down the road) to get there did not feel safe doing so I have a couple of other little pieces of evidence to back my claim that the wind yesterday was the strongest I have experienced while living in King’s Lynn, which is a fairly windy town anyway. Firstly I had to retrieve one of the legs of my outside table from the roof of Artertons (this roof adjoins my balcony but is one storey lower, so to access it I have to descend to street level, ascend a fixed steel ladder to the Artertons roof, retrieve the item, descend the ladder and ascend the stairs to my own flat). For this to happen, the table top, which when the table is not in use I position covering the legs, had to be blown clear of the legs and then one of those legs had to be blown across the width of my outside space and down on to Artertons roof, and it has never happened before. Secondly, the 813th King’s Lynn Mart made what was in truth the only sensible decision they could have done, not to open yesterday evening on safety grounds, again a first in my time living in this part of the world. Therefore with a couple of links at the end as a bonus I am falling back on a staple of this blog, some local pictures taken today.

THE PICTURES

Weatherwise today has been the calm after yesterday’s storm, so after lunch I went out for a walk with only my trusty Nikon Coolpix P530 for company. Below are the highlights of this walk in picture form…

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Daffodils just emerging in The Walks
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Signs of life in what I call the “Trivial Pursuit Beds” in The Walks

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A cormorant showing its wingspan on the west bank of the Great Ouse
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Cormorant just in the western edge of the Great Ouse

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A view of the town from Harding’s Pits
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The Nar was so calm that these modern houses were clearly reflected in its water.
dscn3958
A tern (probably in origin an Arctic Tern.
dscn3959
A Moorhen

SOME LINKS

My first link is to a new petition on change.org calling on the UK government to treat hate crimes against autistic people as seriously as race hate crimes. Here is the body text of a suggested message provided by change.org:

I just signed the petition, “UK Parliament: Make autistic hate crime as punishable as racism.” I think this is important. Will you sign it too?

Here’s the link:

https://www.change.org/p/uk-parliament-make-autistic-hate-crime-as-punishable-as-racism?utm_medium=email&utm_source=notification&utm_campaign=petition_signer_receipt&share_context=signature_receipt&recruiter=181177831 

On a completely different note, courtesy of www.independent.co.uk here is a fascinating account of a new solar system in which no fewer than seven earth-like planets wouyld appear to be in the habitable zone around their star. Click on the picture below to read in full.

pia21425.jpg

Finally to end this post, a highly amusing video. Clearly based on the classic sketch “What did the Romans ever do for us?”, this is a sketch called “What did the European Court of Human Rights ever do for us?”

https://embed.theguardian.com/embed/video/culture/video/2016/apr/25/patrick-stewart-sketch-what-has-the-echr-ever-done-for-us-video

The Cosmic Skeptic Debunks Pascal’s Wager

Introducing the Cosmic Skeptic, who I came across by way of twitter.

INTRODUCTION

The debunking takes place in a seven minute video that was drawn to my attention by twitter, but there is also a cosmicskeptic website, which I recommend to your attention.

PASCAL’S WAGER DEBUNKED

A SECOND VIDEO FROM COSMIC SKEPTIC

Here is a second video from the Cosmic Skeptic (real name Alex O’Connor).