Science and Nature

Some of the best science and nature related pieces I have recently come across.

INTRODUCTION

Having started the day with a science related squib I finish it with a full length post concerned with Science and Nature. As this is a post where all the text will be the same colour please not that links are in bold and underlined. Before proceeding here is a list of all of today’s previous posts:

PART ONE: A VARIETY OF SHARES

I am building up for big finish by dealing with everything else first in a single section. I am going to start with…

A REPORT FROM SUMOFUS.ORG

The campaign group sumofus.org have produced a definitive report to the effect that we do not need bee killing pesticides to feed the world. For detailed information on where we are with the fight to save bees please click on the graphic below:

sumofus.jpg

THUNDERCLAP: #GARDENS4NATURE

Yes another thunderclap for those of you who are on social media to support. Click on the screenshot below for more…

Gardens4Nature

THE EDEN PROJECT

The Eden Project in Cornwall, of which I have very fond memories, has just added to its laurels by winning VisitEngland’s award for Inclusive Tourism. Thus I have two links, each accompanied by a screenshot to share:

  1. The disabledgo blog piece detailing this latest success for the Eden Project.
    Eden Project VisitEngland award
  2. The Eden Project’s own website.

A LEGAL WAY PAST PAYWALLS

I am indebted to WEIT for this. It is an app that is free to download. For more details please visit the WEIT article on this:

PART 2: SOME FANTASTIC EVOLUTION MEMES

I found these on twitter by way of their creator, whose twitter name is Lord Cropes. Below is the particular meme which caught my attention:

EvolutioninAction

This is just one of 129 memes of this type that he has created, and you can view all of them by way of the website pinkheretic.com. Here is one more to further whet your appetite:

PART THREE: PHOTOGRAPHS

I finish with some of my own photographs:

Moorhen + chicks
An adult moorhen and two chicks
Moorhen and chicks
Adult and two chicks close together
Moorhen chick
Close up of a chick

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A Couple of Important Nature Links

Links an important petition and an important thunderclap. A couple of other nature related links, a classic nature related meme and some of my own photographs.

INTRODUCTION

A couple of big things to do with nature came to my attention today and I have decided to share them with you. In addition to the two major links there will be some of my own thoughts, a nod in the direction of New Zealand and some appropriate photographs of my own. As you will have noticed by now, the text in this post is green, and that is because it is a post entirely dedicated to nature. Links in the text will in bold and underlined, while images relating to other posts will also be formatted as links.

THOUGHTS ON NATURE

My own interest in the natural world and concern for nature are both lifelong. I literally cannot remember a time when these attributes were not part of me. Although I grew up in London I had a common practically on my doorstep, lots of natural history books, and of course being in London meant I was within easy travelling distance of the museums at South Kensington. In my childhood the Geological and Natural History museums were two separate entities, though they have long since been amalgamated into one museum, the Natural History Museum. Therefore you can imagine my reaction when I saw something on twitter about…

A GCSE IN NATURAL HISTORY

A petition on the official site created for petitions addressed to the UK parliament to create a Natural History GCSE has been launched. This means that it is only open to those among my readers who are UK citizens to sign, which I regret, but you can still view this petition (there is a screenshot below to whet the appetite) even if you are not a UK citizens. UK citizens please sign and share.
NH GCSE

My next major link is to a…

THUNDERCLAP

To be part of a thunderclap you have to be on some form of social media (facebook, twitter or tumblr to be precise). This particular thunderclap is about the importance of pollinators and the fact that scientists have established that birds as well as bees are pesticide victims. If you are able to add your voice to this thunderclap please do so. Below is a screenshot for further clarification.

BJBthunderclap

Yes, this thunderclap is well ahead of target, as it should be, but just as the importance of pollinators cannot be overstated, so this thunderclap cannot ever be said to be over-supported. 

A COUPLE OF FURTHER LINKS

Miles King over at anewnatureblog has today produced a splendid piece titled “Time to rename Defra the Ministry of Agriculture and Fieldsports” in which he reveals the extent to which our government is failing in its duties as regards the environment. Below is a screenshot of the section of the post dealing with the downright dishonourable Andrea Leadsom by way of introduction.

ALfail

Now it is time for…

A NOD TO NEW ZEALAND

Jerry Coyne, author of the books “Why Evolution Is True” and “Faith Versus Fact”, and who also runs a blog named after the first of those books is currently in New Zealand, and it is from there that this wonderful picture (click on it to view it in its original econiche) comes:

It is nearly time for some of my own photos, taken yesterday and today, but for the penultimate section of the post I share once again…

ANNA’S NATURE MEME

This wonderful creation was formed around words that were originally submitted by me as a comment on one of her blog posts.
Nature Meme

PHOTOGRAPHS

birdmootcorvidscysbbirdmootDSCN5745DSCN5746DSCN5750DSCN5751DSCN5756DSCN5759DSCN5763DSCN5771Goose1ducklngs x 5Goose2gull on jettyHGSquirrelStarling in grassbirdmootcorvidscysbDSCN5745DSCN5746DSCN5750DSCN5751DSCN5756DSCN5759DSCN5762DSCN5763DSCN5771DSCN5772ducklngs x 5Goose1Goose2gull on jettySquirrelHGStarling in grass

1100

My 1,100th post on aspiblog – features some fun around the number 1,100, a number of links to autism related stuff and some photographs. Read, enjoy and please share!.

INTRODUCTION

Yes folks, this is my 1100th post on aspiblog. I will start with a section on the number 1100, provide a number of autism related links and include some of my own photographs. 

1100

1,100 = 2 * 2 * 5 * 5 *11.
An ammunition store that contained 20 complete pyramids of cannon-balls each with a base side length of 5 cannonballs would contain a total of 1100 cannonballs:
(1 + 4 +9 + 16 +25) = 55, 55 * 20 = 1,100.
These same cannon balls could also have been stacked in five tetrahedrons each with a base side length of 10.
(1 + 3 + 6 + 10 + 15 + 21 + 28 + 36 + 45 + 55)= 220, 220 * 5 = 1,100
However, it was standard to stack cannon balls in pyramids, and also a the single cannon ball on top of a stack 10 cannonballs high might be rather difficult to reach.
Another option on the pyramidal theme would be a single truncated pyramid with base side length 15 cannonballs, and the top layer of the pyramid having a side length of 64 (225 + 196 + 169 + 144 + 121 + 100 + 81 + 64 = 1,100.
As a teaser what is the minimum base size length needed to stack 1,100 cannonballs in a single truncated tetrahedron, and what if you restrict yourself by insisting that each layer must be a perfect triangle? 

AUTISM RELATED LINKS

This section is devoted to autism related stuff, so the text, including links which will be in bold and underlined, is all in #RedInstead. My first link comes from the blog aliensfromplanetautism under the title “What Autism Acceptance Means” Below is a screenshot of the start of the post:

AutAcc

Next comes a link to thesilentwaveblog, with a post called “Can we talk about autism awareness?“. The post is headed by a splendid graphic reproduced below.

My next offering is also courtesy of thesilentwaveblog, under the title ‘Taking the “pity” out of serendipity‘. It also features an excellent picture, reproduced below.

While my next choice is not specifically about autism it is produced by an autistic blogger, unabashedautist. Published under the title “Signals, Jerry. Signals.“, it features a graphic which I just had to share with you as I do below, not least because it has been declared illegal in Russia.

Now we turn back to thesilentwaveblog and a piece with the title “
Asperger’s / autism and self-acceptance (#IveLearnedToAccept)“. This post also features a splendid picture, reproduced below.

My next link, and the last before I move into a new subsection (still autism related), comes courtesy of BadassAmericanAdvocates guest writer Anonymously Autistic Anna. Titled “PLEASE READ AUTISTIC PERSPECTIVES THIS AUTISM AWARENESS / ACCEPTANCE MONTH“, it is truly a must read. I have included a screenshot of the opening paragraphs below.

apseakingnotapeaks

THE AUTISM AWARENESS CUP

Bookings are now open for the second running of the Autism Awareness Cup six-a-side football tournament, which takes place at Ingoldisthorpe Social Club on June 4th (and it is free btw). If you are able to come along please click on the graphic below to book:

PHOTOGRAPHS

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This is the front cover of the printed catalogue for James and Sons’ April auction, all three days of which are taking place at our shop on Norwich Street. If you click on the image you can view on online catalogue listing and sign up to bid via the-saleroom.com if you are so minded.

ANSWERS TO TEASER

The second part of the teaser was a trick question – there is no combination of consecutive triangle numbers that adds up to 1,100, therefore a perfect truncated tetrahedron is not possible. The first part of the answer is that you can make a truncated tetrahedron of 1084 cannon balls from a base with side length 18 up to side length 7, but there are then only 16 balls left for the next layer which is therefore incomplete. 

 

 

Upcoming Local Elections

Politics and nature combine to form one YUGE blog post!

INTRODUCTION

In my part of the world there are local elections happening on May 4th, so I thought I would use some thoughts about them as the starting point for this blog. I will go on from that to sharing various interesting and important stuff, and of course there will be some of my own photographs.

LOCAL ELECTIONS

Although my polling card is safely in my possession I have yet to receive any communication from any of the candidates, and can therefore talk only in general terms. I will definitely be voting. Since I became of voting age more years ago than I care to reveal I have only once failed to vote in an election I was entitled to vote in, and that was in the first election for Norfolk Police Commissioner. I will not be voting for any right wing parties or individual candidates. After their massive betrayal of those who voted for them (myself one of them) in 2010 the Liberal Democrats have much ground to make up and at this moment the odds against me putting my cross in that particular box are of the “write your own ticket” variety. While it is possible that I will be impressed by someone standing as an Independent candidate it is not very likely. This leaves me looking at two options:

  1. Labour – if the candidate is of the right type and not someone who will use their entire campaign to bash their party’s  twice elected leader I may be induced to vote for them.
  2. Green – this party stands for many of the things that I  believe in, and I am not going to hold the entire party to account for a mistake made by one of its co-leaders (Jonathan Bartley endorsing “light it up blue”, which readers of this blog will realise is an absolute guarantee of an entry in my bad books). If they can find a candidate with the qualities shown by Sian Berry in her campaign for London Mayor and subsequently in her work as a Greater London Assembly member I will certainly by influenced in this direction.

I will probably be voting Green because I see the way forward as being in a red/green partnership, and I think the Green side of that partnership needs strengthening. Also, a Green vote has the merit of being a vote cast unequivocally in favour of Proportional Representation. 

After this start it is time for some…

POLITICAL SHARING

I start with a piece by Richard Murphy titled “Time For a New Political Party?”, in which he looks at a suggestion originally made by Richard Dawkins in a piece in the New Statesman. While I would say that the launch of a new political party should be delayed until FPTP is replaced with PR (under FPTP the Tories have a built-in advantage that would only be strengthened by the addition of a new party) I believe that Professor Murphy is pretty well on the money with his suggestions about this new party. Please click on the screenshot below to access this post, and if so inclined add your voice to those commenting on it:

TRUK

Next, from the Skwawkbox comes the most recent piece on the story I have dubbed Coynegate – the massive breaches of the Data Protection Act by right wing candidate for Unite general secretary Gerard Coyne. To read this story, titled “EXCLUSIVE: COYNE TELLS BBC HIS LABOUR DATA USE ‘CONCLUDED’. IT ISN’T.” please click on the image below:

coyne stopped amended

My next link is to the homepage of the We Own It Campaign’s website. To find out for yourself what they are all about click on the screenshot below:

WOI

Next, courtesy of DPAC comes a public service piece titled “Important information on how disabled people can enforce their right to travel on buses“. Although the title is on this occasion set up as a link, I also provide a screenshot below on which you can click to get to the original:

DPAC

The focus, including my photographs is about to shift to Nature (note to my many  fellow autistic bloggers although you do not feature in this post I have some of your finest stuff bookmarked for use in the very near future), and the turning point is a campaign against the large scale felling of trees in and around Sheffield. I have two links in connection with this. First, for the benefit of those of you who use social media, a Thunderclap, which you can boost by adding your own connections on facebook, twitter and tumblr. I link to it by way of the screenshot below:

ss

The second link on this subject is to the page that lists all the campaigns in and around Sheffield that are now grouped under the umbrella of Sheffield Tree Action Groups (STAG). I link by way of a screenshot once again:

Sheffield Tree Action Groups

The last piece of shared content for today before moving towards my photographs comes to you from Sweden, and has a section to itself:

ANNA INTRODUCES EMMELINA

Anna is a Swedish blogger who needs to no further introduction to readers of this blog. As for Emmelina, that will have to wait for the moment. Yesterday Anna put up a post about a very curious little creature she had photographed on her door, which she called “Who’s This?” I thought that the little creature was a stick insect, but the reveal when it came today was far more interesting. It turns out that the creature is actually a moth that resembles a stick insect. Here is a link to the piece in which Anna reveals the identity of the creature. Finally, revealing the Emmelina part of the title, here is Wikipedia on Emmelina Monodactyla.

PHOTOGRAPHS

To end the post here are some of my own photographs…

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The first bee I have caught on camera this year.

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Using a derelict shop front to explain the importance of King John to King’s Lynn’s history is sensible. My main quibble with the new statue of him being…
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That is bad quality work, not that it is of a bad quality human (though he was certainly that, in spades).

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The first ducklings of the year. I hope that some at least of them survive the marauding Herring Gulls (this is NOT a joke btw)

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I have bagged a number of peacock butterflies of late, but these light coloured ones fly both faster and for a greater percentage of their lives, so for the third time today this is a first of the year.

 

 

 

Grab Bag

A variety of things that have come to my attention recently.

INTRODUCTION

This post is about a mixture of things from the last few days, hence the title.

CHAMPIONSHIPS AND CONTRIVANCES REVSITED

Some of you may remember that I put this post up on Thursday, with Somerset having secured an emphatic win in their game and Middlesex and Yorkshire going head to head in theirs. Sadly, when I checked what was going on on Friday afternoon, Lyth and Lees (the two opening batsmen, neither with any sort of status as bowlers) were purveying out-and-out filth for Yorkshire to help Middlesex set an agreed target. Yorkshire paid for accepting such an arrangement when their batting subsequently collapsed handing the title to Middlesex. Sadly, Somerset were innocent victims of this scam by Middlesex and Yorkshire, being robbed of would have been their first ever county championship not by good cricket but by dirty back room dealings.

BEES AND PARKS

This refers to two important issues that came up this weekend. Firstly, Greenpeace have exposed Bayer and Syngenta as having covered up evidence that their products were hugely damaging to bees. Greenpeace’s release can be viewed here, and here is a copy of their accompanying picture:

38-degrees-bees

The parks part of the title of this section refers to an effort by 38 Degrees to secure better protection for our parklands. Living in King’s Lynn at this time gives this a particular resonance for me, so:

Britain’s parks are at risk. There’s no legal responsibility to look after them and squeezed budgets mean our local green spaces – from playgrounds, to the park you relax in on your lunch break – don’t have the money they need. We could end up being forced to pay to use our parks – or lose them altogether. 

A group of MPs are looking into the crisis right now. They’re thinking of making protecting parks a legal requirement, and they’ll advise the government on what to do. A huge petition, signed by all of us, will prove how much we love our parks. It could convince the MPs to come up with a water-tight plan for protecting them. 

Can you sign the petition now and demand that looking after our parks is made a legal requirement by the government? It only takes 30 seconds to add your name:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/save-our-parks

Here are some pictures of my own, including a few from King’s Lynn’s own parkland areas:

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LABOUR LEADERSHIP ELECTION 

I will let these beautiful infographics culled from twitter do the talking for me on this one:

jcwiijcwiii

SOME AUTISM RELATED STUFF

As NAS West Norfolk Branch Secretary and as someone who is #ActuallyAutistic I am always glad to share really excellent autism related content, and I have two absolute gems for you:

Finally to end this section, as regular readers will know one of the activities I am involved in via NAS West Norfolk is Musical Keys, and this is an advert they have recently produced:

mk

THE FINISHING TOUCHES

One of my favourite blogs is that of singer Charlotte Hoather, who has just started at the Royal College of Music in London. Her post about her first week there can be viewed here.

To end this post I give you a series of pictures starring a snail…

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This is the original picture that I took.
snail-cropped
This is cropped but not otherwise edited.
snail-normal-edit
This is the snail after my normal editing routine.
snail-cb
This is a colour-boosted version.
snail-contrast-enhanced
This version has the contrast enhanced.
snail-the-works
Finally, this version has had the colour boosted and the contrast enhanced.

 

The West Norfolk Disability Forum

A brief account of a meeting of the West Norfolk Disability Forum and notice of a visit to Sweden.

INTRODUCTION

Most of this post is devoted to events that took place on Wednesday, but at the end of it I will have a small section looking ahead.

THE AGM OF THE WEST NORFOLK DISABILITTY FORUM

My invite to this event came from NAS West Norfolk Chair Karan, who was invited by councillor Squire. The meeting was to start at 2:30PM, but before then we were assembling at 1:00PM for a tour of Stories of Lynn in order to see what was right and what was wrong about it.

STORIES OF LYNN

I enjoyed seeing what this establishment had to offer, though I would have been under-impressed had I had to fork out the £5 admission fee because there si simply no way that what they have is worth that price. The main issues noted were that there is not enough seating in the building and that there is a lack of audio options for those who cannot read. Here are some of the pictures that I took at this stage of proceedings…

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The four big portraits tell you about themselves (all were born and raised in West Norfolk)

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The Pillory was abandoned as a method of punishment in this country about 200 years ago. A radical publisher named Daniel Isaac Eaton was one of the last to be subjected to this form of punishment – the populace delivered their own verdict by providing him with food and wine, and generally turning his spell in the pillory into something of a public triumph.

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Now that’s what I call a board game!
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The last room we saw is one where the exhbits will change periodically – this year is the 100th anniversary of RAF Marham, so at the moment that is the subject of the exhibits.
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Raf cap with cloth badge
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RAF hat with cloth badge
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The beret to which this metal badge is attached was impossible to image properly.

THE TOWN HALL

Next door to Stories of Lynn is the Town Hall, within which the meeting was to take place. We were meeting on the first floor and given my own attitude to lifts and the lack of available lift space I used the stairs. We were very early for the meeting, but refreshments had been set up in the largest of the upstairs rooms, just outside the room in which the meeting would be happening.

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The meeting room – visually spectacular, but as we to discover the accoustics were very poor.

During the pre-meeting wait the window panes within the main window that folk had marked to show when they had worked on it were shown to me. Yesterday I showed a single image that I had assembled to putting together all my indvividual images. Today, I present all the images plus a few others I took at the same time…

Town Hall Window Montage
Here is the composite image as a quick reminder…
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I assembled a large frame by connecting together these individual images, including one of the whole window, as the single panes were not quite enough to do the job….

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And filled the central space with an enlarged image of the whole window.

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THE MEETING

The meeting began with the election of a chair and deputy chair (the former a councillor, the latter not). As newbies and therefore not qualified to form an opinion Karan and I both declined to vote.

Once council representatives on the forum had been appointed it was the turn of non-council representatives.

Then various matters were raised, including shop signs restricting access, the state of facilities at both the bus and train stations etcetera.

Proceedings drew to a close after just over an hour.

LOOKING AHEAD

This section is necessary because I am going to Sweden for a fortnight, leaving on Friday. During that period posting will be restricted for obvious reasons. Finally, to finish this post here are some more pictures…

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Images and Other Stuff

Highlights from today at work, a mention of yesterday, a comment on the Melania Trump story and lots of pictures.

INTRODUCTION

This post is about today at work and a couple of other things.

TODAY AT WORK

Apart from the fact that it is so hot that for the first time in over three years as a James & Sons employee I went to work in shorts, the things I did at work covered three areas…

RESOLVING QUERIES RELATING TO THE JULY SALE

These numbered five, one of which was a repeat question therefore requiring no new work. Nos 2 and 3 which I will treat together featured a mishap over coin lots, which I was easily able to sort out, by producing and uploading the following images:

28
Lot 28 was an incorrect image, and he wanted to see both faces

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29
Lot 29 was incomplete rather than wrong – now resolved.

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Query no 4 related to a medal – someone wanted to see pictures of the rim, which are fiendishly difficult to produce, but I came up with these…

The final query was more involved, requiring detail as to whether the item was still in working order, and more info about its provenance. To help with this I produced these images:

The main bulk of my day’s work was…

IMAGING FOR THE AUGUST SALE

There were some interesting items today and a decent variety. I will start with the non-coin items…

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This box of matches may be sufficiently old that they are not so safe as ton be impossible to strike!

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The cloth and the two bowling balls fir snugly inside the carrying case

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388
There was so much stuff in this lot that I took two images and joined them together.

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Finishing the August images where the queries started, here a few more…

COIN LOTS

I am not going to share all the coin images I did today (even with a mere 18 lots done that would be 54 images) but here are a few of the best…

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Lot 132

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Lot 138

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Lot 140

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Lot 143

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Lot 145

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Lot 147

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Lot 148

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Lot 149

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USING OTHER PEOPLE’S STUFF

I recently posted about the Lynn News taking the entire text element of a report that had the byline of one of their journalists from my blog (see here for more details) and pointed out that while I was grateful to them for covering the event I would have been even happier had they acknowledged me. Now today Melania Trump’s speech has hit the news for the wrong reasons – as whyevolutionistrue (who I am happy to acknowledge as my source for the quotes that follow) among others have noted it is all but identical to an earlier speech by Michelle Obama. For WEIT’s whole post click here, meanwhile for comparison, here are the two speeches:

Here’s the text from Trump’s speech:

My parents impressed on me the value of that you work hard for what you want in life. That your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise. That you treat people with respect. Show the values and morals in in the daily life. That is the lesson that we continue to pass on to our son.

We need to pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow. [Cheering] Because we want our children in these nations to know that the only limit to your achievement is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.

And here’s Obama:

And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you’re going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don’t know them, and even if you don’t agree with them.

And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values, and pass them on to the next generation. Because we want our children — and all children in this nation — to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.

In this latter case, of course we can be absolutely sure that Michelle Obama would not be pleased to hear her words from the lips of Mrs Trump.

To sum up this section:

  1. If using stuff from someone else (and Melania Trump’s speechwriters must have been aware of the origins of the words in her speech even if she was not) make sure that you are using it in a way that the original author would condone.
  2. Even if you have carte blanche to use stuff from someone else for goodness sake acknowledge the fact that you are doing so.

 

SOME FINAL PHOTOS

These last few photos come from yesterday, some of them featuring a barbecue lunch in East Rudham, with my parents, my aunt and my nephew.

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Two boats moored on the pontoon jetty, South Quay (before setting off in the morning)

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The first of two shots of my newphew tending the barbie!

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Bees love the wild marjoram the grows just outside my parents house, and this was the best shot I managed to get of one.
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Heading for home that evening – a couple of shots of the newly restored building on Purfleet Street – I would have knocked it down and started over but this still a massive improvement on what was there.

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