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:

fptpfailFPTPbad

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

GT2

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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Shares and Sharing

A (very brief) case study on inspiration, some autism related stuff and stuff about sharing, and some of my own photographs – read, enjoy and feel free to share so long as you do so in the right kind of way!

INTRODUCTION

I have a number of things to share today (although today’s blogging won’t quite be on the epic scale of Saturday’s), and with one significant exception for this post I am concentrating on autism related stuff.

A CASE STUDY ON INSPIRATION

One of the treats awaiting me in my inbox this morning was a post on estersblog about Greenwich. Seeing her pictures of Greenwich inspired to me to created a post on my London transport themed website about Greenwich. The picture below is one of Ester’s, and links to her post about Greenwich:

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As well as the picture that I am using as to link to the post I was inspired to create, I have a screenshot from that post below it:

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This is part of the image gallery I created for lot 1,001 in James and Sons’ April auction.
Greenwich
The screenshot

SHARING AND COMMENTING

I came across an excellent post about sharing and commenting on thesilentwaveblog. Please read this post in full by clicking on thesilentwave graphic below:

A NEW FIND – THE AUTISTIC ACADEMIC

I came across this blog yesterday. The post that caught my attention was titled “Ten Things Autistic Kids Pick Up Faster, Better, and With Less Trauma If They Aren’t Bullied Into Learning Them” and can be read in full by clicking the screenshot below. The PDF of the article to which this piece was responding can still be viewed, although the original article has been taken down (nb – once you have posted something anywhere on the net it is exceedingly hard to remove it, so best to think before you post so you have no need to worry aboiut trying to remove it!).

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ANOTHER NEW FIND –
THE UNABASHED AUTIST

As a sample of this blogger I offer you a piece title “This Is Your Solution – To Ruin The Bike?”, which can be accessed by clicking the Unabashed Autist graphic below:

PHOTOGRAPHS

Here are some photographs from yesterday to end this post:

station
We start with some public transport themed pictures (five in total)
displayboards
This display is not as prominent within the station building as it should be.
History
Close ups of each poster.

WWN

Bus Station
From the train station to the bus station (while this is not quite a true transport interchange, the distance is only about 200 metres)
Blackbird in branches
Some of these pictures were taken yesterday morning, the others yesterday afternoon after my mother had dropped me back in King’s Lynn (near the cemetery, which made the best walking route home obvious – note for those new to this site best in this context does not necessarily mean shortest).

flowerscrocusesBirdsSquirrelBlackbirdMoorhen

 

 

 

 

 

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.
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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:

1040
Lot 1040, a medallion rather than a coin.