Saturday Spectacular

Some stuff about Proptional Representation, some stuff about public transport, some stuff about “Save Trosa Nature” and some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

In this post I am going to be sharing stuff relating to three topics, and also displaying some of my own photographs. The weather here is so spectacular at present that not only am I creating this post while sitting outside, I am wearing a t-shirt. I shall move on to my first set of shares, which are themed around…

PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION

The First Past the Post (FPTP) method of deciding elections has had its day. It works reasonably well when two parties hoover up almost all the votes (though even then, as in 1951 when the Labour party got more votes than any party ever in any British General Election still ended up in opposition because of how those votes were distributed), but when the two biggest parties as is now the case in Britain command just 65% of the vote between them it is an epic fail, with barely more than a third of the votes cast being enough on occasions to hand one party a “majority”. I have two images, both found by way of twitter, and a link to share with you.

THE ARTICLE

The article to which I link is in the Guelph Mercury, and takes the form of a blistering opening letter to Canadian PM Justin Trudeau criticisng him for going back on his election commitment to electoral reform (Canada is one of only two democracies besides Britain which still uses FPTP – the other being the one that is so dysfunctional that Mr “Grab ’em by the pussy” was able to secure the top job).  To read this piece in full please click on the image below, which is taken from it:

Trudeau

The two images I am sharing point up the flaws of FPTP in two differing ways:

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If anyone wishes to bring up the 2o11 referendum on voting reform thinking to use that to make a point, I suggest you think again: the sole alternative that was on offer then was very nearly as flawed as FPTP – AV IS NOT PR.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

I have a number of items to share here, some bad, some good. I will start with my journey to work yesterday morning. At 8:43AM (cutting it close, but manageable if no further time is wasted), a bus pulled into bay C at King’s Lynn bus station bearing the legend Fakenham X29. After it had disgorged a handful of passengers the driver told us we had to wait, and then a manager told him he had to take the bus into the parking slots in the centre of the bus station as it was being replaced with a single decker. For the run between King’s Lynn and Fakenham this would be adequate, but at Fakenham this bus becomes the 9:35 to Norwich, and single-decker is guaranteed to mean standees on that section of the route as that bus is the first of the morning on which old folk travel free. The end result of this was that it was just after 8:50AM when the bus actually got underway. As you will be seeing later, there was an incident on my return journey of a different kind.

A London Underground Worker Has Been Sacked For Helping a Pregnant Colleague Who Was Being Assaulted – Courtesy of Evolve Politics – 

This story, headlined as above on EvolvePolitics and ‘pressed’ by me on to my London Transport themed website is shocking in many different ways. Firstly, even without the actual evidence, which is pretty damning of London Underground bosses, in the event of an incident between staff and passengers the default position should be to side with staff. Secondly, London Underground claims to have a ‘zero-tolerance’ attitude to attacks on its staff. Thirdly, I consider the arrogant refusal of London Underground bosses even to contemplate the possibility that they might be in error to be very disturbing. On my way home from work yesterday, before I saw this piece, I witnessed a piece of unpleasantness on the bus in which I was travelling. I will summarize this incident in bullet point form:

  • Due to weight of traffic, rather than attempt to pull into the stopping zone outside the train station the driver stopped just before the station to let people off.
  • Just after he had started moving again and went past the station a passenger who had wanted to get off at the station and had failed to notice the stop started having a go at the driver about him not stopping.
  • The passenger continued this for the rest of the journey to the bus station. 

To make matters worse, the drop-off point at the bus station is only about 200m from the train station anyway. While I have been known to write in uncompromising terms to the offices of public transport companies I never target the staff who are actually attempting to deliver the service. This incident I have referred to is trivial compared to the one at the heart of the EvolvePolitics piece, which I link to, by way of the image below.

Having just referred you to one excellent source of political stories I now turn to another for a rather pleasanter story…

Part of Britain’s Railways Was Just Taken Into Public Ownership – Brought to you by The Canary

Kerry-Anne Mendoza’s magnificent creation, The Canary, has come up trumps again, with this story about a tiny part of our rail infrastructure (titled as per the first part of this section heading) coming back into public ownership in 2018. Obviously, it is a very small step in the right direction – towards a fully publicly owned and publicly accountable transport system – but it is a step in that direction nonetheless. To read the story in full please click on the image below:

Part of Britain’s railways was just taken into public ownership

I will end the public transport part of this post with…

A Trip Down Memory Lane Courtesy of Time Out

This is a fantastic photo archive showing the history of public transport in London since 1863 (when the world’s first underground railway line, then called the Metropolitan Railway, commenced operations). It has already featured on my London transport themed website. To view these pictures in their full glory please click on the one below which I have selected to act as the link.

This picture is headed as follows in the piece: Metropolitan Railway Guard Eva Carver. Mrs Carver can be seen dressed in uniform holding a lamp and flag by a staircase at Hammersmith Underground station, Metropolitan and Great Western Railways.

SAVE TROSA NATURE

I have links here to a recent blog post on this subject and to a nature website with strong connections to the subject matter of this section, and also to end this section and segue into the photos that end this post with a link to a post on facebook. 

The Blog Post

I reblogged this post when I first saw it, and now I am sharing it again. As with many of Anna’s nature themed posts this one features the meme she created based on some words I posted as a comment, and it is that that I use as the link.

The Website

The website, linked to in the blog post above, is called artportalen is about the species you can find in Sweden. To take a look at this site for yourself click on the image below:

The Segue Link

The facebook post to which I am linking contains a picture of an Apollo butterfly, a species which I observed on an island in the outer reaches of the Stockholm Archipelago but never on the mainland. The area around Trosa apparently is home to this rare species. To view this post and the picture featured there please click on the photograph below, which is my own.

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PHOTOGRAPHS

Finally to end this post:

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These photos start and finish with butterflies.

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Protecting Nature

Some stuff about nature, with a sidelight on public transport. Links to several nature/ transport themed posts and many appropriately themed photos.

INTRODUCTION

This is the first of several posts I will be putting up today. Two of the links I shall be sharing are to posts that have already appeared on this site as reblogs, but which I consider so important, that I am going to link to them again. There is also among my links a piece relating to public transport for which I make no apology, as transport policy can have a big impact on nature, whether positively or negatively depending on the nature of the policy. As usual plenty of my own pictures will feature as well.

TAKING THE LOCAL AUTHORITY TO TASK

Two pieces in this section:

  1. Anna’s searching questions of her local authority as part of the ongoing campaign to save Trosa nature. For those who have not already seen the piece, please click on the magnificent infographic/ meme that Anna created based on a comment I made on one of her previous posts.
    Nature Meme
  2. A cabal of Tories seeking to force through the building of an expensive and environmentally damaging incinerator is all too familiar to a West Norfolk resident. This time the dodgy dealing is going on in Gloucestershire and again it is a Tory controlled County Council that seeks to force through the building of the incinerator. The Skwawkbox have picked up on the story, for which I am very grateful, and I urge everyone who reads this to visit this post by clicking on the image below.

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    Illustration of GCC’s planned Javelin Park incinerator

     

     

BADGER CULLS AND BIOSECURITY

This one appears on Chris Packham’s website, and consists of a brief introduction to a person by the name of Anna Dale, and then an essay by this same Anna Dale titled “Below-par biosecurity should mean no badger cull licence”. To read this detailed essay please click on the graphic below.

Badger

BUSES IN CRISIS

This comes to you courtesy of the Campaign for Better Transport. Contained within this worrying piece is a bit of good news – an infographic relating to the achievements of 2016. To read the full detail on the crisis with Britain’s buses please click on the shocking graph below.

Graph showing decreasing funding for buses since 2010
These figures do not speak so much as shout for themselves about Tory attitudes to public transport.

PHOTOGRAPHS 1: WORK

In this, the first of two sections of this post devoted to my photographs, I share some nature and transport related pictures from yesterday and Thursday at work. The first of these is of an item in the March auction, which I therefore use as a link to our online catalogue, while all the rest are from lots in our April auction.

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Part of lot 948 in our April auction
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Part of lot 950
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Part of lot 951
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Part of lot 953
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Part of lot 956
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Part if lot 961
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Part of lot 962
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Part of lot 963
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Part of lot 964
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This image and the next relate to lot 948

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GLTW
Likewise this image and the next relate to lot 934

VRR

PHOTOGRAPHS 2: LEISURE

To end the post here some photos from in and around King’s Lynn…

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Several other species besides Cormorants enjoying “Cormorant Platform”

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England Settle One Day International Series Against West Indies

INTRODUCTION

England, having won the opening match of the three match series on Friday could ensure a series victory by winning again yesterday. What follows is my account of how they did this. Cricinfo’s account can be viewed here.

WEST INDIES POOR WITH THE BAT

I missed most of the West Indies innings, but caught the closing overs. Some decent bowling from England and very ordinary batting from the West Indies at that stage meant that with a total of 250-260 (which on that pitch would have been respectable) having looked possible the West Indies ended up with a mere 225, which should not have been much of challenge for England…

A GLIMPSE OF THE 1990s

Sam Billings fell without a run on the board, but then Jason Roy and Joe Root settled in. At 87-1 with Roy having just reached his 50 England looked in full control. At that point Roy was out playing a bad shot, which seemed to trigger a time machine that transported as back to the 1990s. The England middle order simply disintegrated, that high water mark of 87-1 transmuting to 124-6, at which point the West Indies were looking like favourites.

Then, came a reminder that this was 2017 and not a revisit to the 1990s, as Chris Woakes demonstrated his continuing improvement, albeit with some assistance from the Wesr Indies fielders who dropped two absolute sitters. With the imperturbable Root in the anchor role, Woakes’ aggressive 68 not out saw England home with four wickets and an over and a half to spare (Root was 90 not out at the other end). 

Here is a photographic commemoration of the England middle order yesterday…

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For the uninitiated a score of 0 in cricket is referred to as a duck. And 1990s England really were as bad as all that.

SOME THOUGHTS ON THE
PLAYER OF THE MATCH AWARD

Predictably enough the Player of the Match award yesterday went to Root for his 90 not out. However, while this decision is understandable I consider it incorrect. Although Chris Woakes was wicketless from his eight overs they only went for 26 runs (a rate of just over three an over compared to West Indies overall 4.5), which in conjunction with his 68 not out when England had got themselves into a big hole, should have secured him the award.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Here are some of today’s photographs for you:

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The recent repaired section of King’s Lynn library
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The frontage of King’s Lynn library.
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Greyfriars tower.
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St Nicholas from Chapel Court
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Another view of St Nicholas
customhouse
The Custom House from King Street

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rmc
The Red Mount Chapel through the trees.

gulls

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Artwork commemorating the voyages of Captain George Vancouver, New Conduit Street

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.
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A tern (probably in origin an Arctic Tern.
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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

Monday Mixed Bag

A note on comments,some science related links, some photographs and links to the Autism Awareness Cup facebook page and a full catalogue for James and Sons’ next auction.

INTRODUCTION

This is a post of my own, although featuring material from elsewhere. The text other than links is all mine, and there are of course come of my own photographs. Before getting on to the main meat of the post I start with…

THE COMMENTS SECTION

If a post is all my own, or like this post has a framework created by me even if some of the stuff contained within it is not mine then the comments section is open and all comments will be accepted and responded to. If however I have either reblogged a wordpress post or used a ‘press this’ button to share a piece created elsewhere I will close the comments section for that post as it is my intention that people should read the original, and the original is the appropriate place for comments to be posted. Here are a couple of screenshots to help clarify…

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I did these screenshots while ‘pressing’ an excellent post from Heather Hastie. Here you can see two small boxes labelled “allow comments” and “allow pingbacks and trackbacks”, which are both checked (the default setting).
screenshot-2017-01-30-at-8-46-38-am
Now I have, as my final piece of editing unchecked the box that says “allow comments”. For those who have not already done so, Heather’s piece can be accessed by clicking this picture.

SCIENCE AND NATURE CORNER

Welcome to what is becoming a regular feature of this blog. Today the posts are in order of the historical period they deal with, so we start with one set 450 million years ago, which details a find of…

TRILOBITE EGGS

This piece was posted on the website sci-news.com and can be read in full by clicking the screenshot below:

screenshot-2017-01-30-at-11-20-18-am

Moving forwards a few hundred million years we find…

BUGS IN AMBER

This concerns a new order of insects who have been discovered trapped in Burmese amber. I offer you two versions – click the screenshot on the left as you look to get the sci-news.com version and the one on the right to get the whyevolutionistrue version.

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Finally for this edition of Science and Nature corner we come…

BACK TO THE PRESENT

With two videos from “Its Okay to be Smart”, the first of which details the discovery of a probable new species deep in the Amazon rainforest and the second of which asks “how many species are there?” (the answer is that no one has the foggiest).


PHOTOGRAPHS

Here are some of my photographs…

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AUTISM AWARENESS CUP 2017

Below is a list of the confirmed details about this tournament, and if you click on it, it will take you to a facebook page which you can like and share.

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JAMES AND SONS NEXT AUCTION

It will be a three-day auction, on the 20th, 21st and 22nd February (a Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday). The first two days will be at James and Sons premises in Fakenham, and the Wednesday will be at The Maid’s Head Hotel, Norwich. A full catalogue can be viewed by clicking on the image below:

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Lot 1040, a medallion rather than a coin.

Tackling the MP

Some stuff about putting pressure on MPs, some photographs and some general links.

INTRODUCTION

As well as the stuff relating to Sir Henry Bellingham, MP for Northwest Norfolk and therefore my local MP I have a few other links and of course a selection of photographs. Also before I move into the main body of the post I start with…

ERRATUM

In my last post but one I described one the birds I had photographed as a long-tailed tit, when it was actually a pied wagtail. I have as those following the link will note made the correction to the original post, but I am not going to settle for the blogging equivalent of a correction notice in 6pt type at the bottom of page 27!

TACKLING THE MP 1: AN UNSATISFACTORY RESPONSE

I recently contacted my MP as part of a campaign brought to my attention by Alex Runswick of Unlock Democracy. Here is Sir Henry’s utterly predictable and deeply unsatisfactory response to my message about Propotional Representation:

Thank you for contacting me about Proportional Representation (PR).

I am afraid that I do not agree with your views on PR, and fully support First Past the Post (FPTP). This tried and tested system ensures stability and clear governance,
preventing disproportionate influence by minority parties with minimal public support, who typically end up holding the balance of power in PR systems.

The British people were clear on this matter in 2011. While the Early Day Motion suggests that the referendum is not relevant, it is clear that the verdict was not only
against the Alternative Vote system, but in favour of FPTP. The system is clearly well established and understood by voters, and also provides a very clear link between
constituents and their representatives in Parliament.

More often than not, FPTP results in a Government with a working majority in Parliament, making decisive government possible. It allows the formation of a clear opposition
that can provide an alternative to, and a check on, the Government of the day. The Government therefore has no plans to change the voting system for elections to the
House of Commons.

I note that EDM 591 endorses the principle of votes that count equally. This is exactly what is happening through the Boundary Review, which will equalise the size of
constituencies. As it stands, some constituencies have twice as many electors as others, and this cannot be right.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Every Best Wish

Henry Bellingham

Sir Henry Bellingham MP for North West Norfolk
House of Commons
London
SW1A 0AA

The reference to the 2011 referendum is particularly annoying, since the system on offer as an alternative was very nearly as flawed as FPTP. Also in 2011 we had not had the farce of the 2015 General Election which saw a party in receiving the votes of 24% of the electorate enabled to form a so-called “majority government”. 

TACKLING THE MP 2: A BUS SERVICES BILL

The Better Transport Campaign are seeking to get people to contact their MPs to gain support for a strong Bus Services Bill. For more details of what this is all about and if applicable to contact your MP (as I have already done, though not in my case with any real hope let alone expectation of support) please click the screenshot below:

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 PHOTOGRAPHS

Today was a nice sunny afternoon…

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OTHER LINKS

Rationalising the Universe have put up an excellent post titled Quantum Numbers. To see the full post click on the diagram illustrating the shapes of electron orbitals that I have included below as a sample:

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Ficitional newsreader Jonathan Pie provides a pungent take on the Trump inauguration (be warned there is some seriously strong language):

Finally, to end on light note, here is a link to a Guardian quiz entitled “what is your travel identity?”. When I did it it told me based on my answers that I always followed trends and sought to be cool. Anyone familiar with either me or this blog will realise that this assessment is further off beam than a faulty Trident!