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

A Wonderful Weekend of Sport

INTRODUCTION

As well as the sporting events that I shall be writing about I have some important links to share. Faced with more sport than I had time to follow I had to make choices, and with I settled on cricket and athletics (in the form of the European Team Championships). I will write about each in turn starting with…

A FINAL MATCH THRILLER

To set the scene for Saturday’s action, the series was level at 2-2, and records had been tumbling left, right and centre throughout. The actual result was pretty much a secondary consideration given the quality of the cricket that had been on show through the series.

NEW ZEALAND BATTING

Very early on in their innings New Zealand passed their all-time record aggregate for a five match ODI series, a feat that England had achieved in the previous match. For the first time in the series batsmen found it difficult to really get going, and it took some big hitting in the closing stages to get New Zealand to their eventual 283-9, the lowest first innings score of the series.

THE INTERVAL AND DUCKWORTH-LEWIS

During the interval between innings it rained, and it kept raining for some time (this is England after all). Eventually, by the time play was possible again there was time for England to bat for 26 overs, and the Duckworth-Lewis calculation (a very complicated formula that has produced the least unfair way for resolving rain affected ODIs yet devised) gave England a target of 192 off 26 overs.

ENGLAND’S CHASE

The England innings got off to a disastrous start, with three wickets falling in next to no time. The fourth and fifth wickets did not take a whole lot longer to fall, and at that stage England were looking down both barrels. Then Eoin Morgan and Jonathan Bairstow, the latter only playing because of an injury to Jos Buttler (scorer of the first and second quickest ODI centuries by an Englishman) shared a good partnership. When Morgan was out, England were still second favourites, but Adil Rashid joined his fellow Yorkshireman Bairstow for a partnership that gradually brought the asking rate back to manageable levels. Seventeen were needed off the last two overs when for the first of them the ball was given to a debutant who until his late call-up had been playing Devonshire League cricket. Bowling the penultimate over in these circumstances would be tough for anyone, and in the end the last over was not required, as a combination of fine strokes from Bairstow and Rashid and a loss of nerve by the bowler settled the issue.

A RAPID TURNAROUND

Just a few months ago England were having their all-time worst ever World Cup campaign, being hammered by all and sundry and being exposed as being sadly behind the times in their approach to one day cricket. To have come from that to even taking part in a series that is a jewel in the crown of international cricket (and ultimately winning it) is an extraordinary transformation. What brought this about? Well England were forced to recognise by the sheer awfulness of that World Cup campaign that they had to change. The new picks for this series were guys noted for 20-20 (ultra-short form) success. Also, however there has been an attitude change. In this series, England never went on to the defensive, there was never a period of seriously slow scoring. Even when those three early wickets went down on Saturday, there was no ‘consolidation’. In the second half of the summer England have another set of visitors from the antipodes to contend with, and it will be interesting to see what kind of account they can give of themselves in that situation.

EUROPEAN TEAM ATHLETICS

The European Team Athletics championship, which I watched on i-player, is decided on a points system. The top nine countries from last year, plus three promoted from the second group, do battle. Twelve points are accrued for winning an event, down to one for finishing. A disqualification in a track event, or a failure to record a valid distance/ height in a throwing or jumping event results in a zero.

In the end, after a some excellent results, and some very bad ones, Britain finished in fifth place, behind Russia (winning comfortably on home  soil), Germany, France and Poland.

Probably the person who overachieved the most for Britain was Rhianwedd Price who, on international debut, came third in the 1,500m.

LINKS

CAMPAIGN TO PROTECT THE FAIRY POSSUM

This tiny marsupial is on the critically endangered list, and the campaign to protect it by creating a preserved environment for it is being run by The Wilderness Society. I have two important links for you:

1)The article which gives full detail about what is happening.

2)A petition which I hope you will sign and share.

WAR ON WANT PETITION TO CANCEL GREEK DEBT

Just a single link, which I urge you to follow up.

AN ACCOUNT OF A TRIP TO THE NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM

This is an excellent piece detailing both the visit and what was seen, and the differing approaches taken by Autism Mom (the author of the piece), the Navigator and Autism Dad. I have already shared this piece with my twitter and I am delighted to include this link to dinos-photos-and-his-own-world.

CONCLUDING REMARK

I hope that you have all enjoyed this post, and that you will be encouraged to share it. For those of you who have stayed with this post right to the end I have a final message…

TY3

A Classic Game of Cricket

INTRODUCTION

As well as my title piece, which refers to yesterday’s fourth ODI between England and New Zealand I have some links to share and some photographs from today at work. I hope you enjoy it all and will be encouraged to share.

TRENT BRIDGE THRILLER

Although in the end this cannot be described as a close game, since England won by seven wickets with almost six overs to spare, the word thriller is nevertheless well merited – it was one of the best games of cricket I have ever been priveleged to see or hear.

A New Zealand total of 349 appeared to present England with a very serious challenge, especially given that the previous biggest successful run chase by an Engalnd team in one day international was 306 to beat Pakistan in Karachi. However, the new (this series) opening pair of Jason Roy and Alex Hales launched a blitzkrieg that yielded 97 off the first ten overs of the reply. After both openers were out in a short space of time Joe Root and Eoin Morgan then shared an all-comers record for a third wicket partnership in an ODI at Trent Bridge of 198 before Morgan holed out just after completing an extraordinary hundred. Then, with the game already well and truly in England’s grasp Ben Stokes came in and provided some late fireworks to put yet more gloss on an already sparkling victory.

This result leaves the series level at two matches all, and given the cricket both sides have produced and the spirit in which the series has been contested I for one would say that the appropriate result for the final match up at Durham would be a tie, as neither side deserves to lose this amazing series.

What makes this series all the more remarkable is of course that only a few months ago English ODI stocks were at all time low, following a performance in the world cup that can only described as atrocious (with all due disrespect to the abysmal 1996 ‘effort’ surely the worst ever world cup for an England team).

LINKS

Just the two links today…

1)A petition via change.org calling on the Chinese government to put a stop to the Yulin Dog Meat Festival.

2)notesfromthenorth provides a detailed analysis of Britain’s Social Security spending to counter right wing myths.

PHOTOGRAPHS

All of the pictures with which I end this post are of items going under the hammer on Wednesday. A full listing can be viewed at the-saleroom.com

Lot 95
Lot 95
Lot 321
Lot 321
Lot 341
Lot 341
Lot 345
Lot 345
Lot 363
Lot 363
Lot 364
Lot 364
The first of three images of lot 374
The first of three images of lot 374

374a 374b

The first of three images of lot 403
The first of three images of lot 403

403a 403b

The first of two images of lot 404
The first of two images of lot 404

404b

Lot 246
Lot 246
The first of six images of lot 391
The first of six images of lot 391

391a 391b 391c 391d 391e

Lot 397
Lot 397
Lot 400
Lot 400
Lot 607
Lot 607

An Extraordinary Test Match

A personal account of the Lord’s test match, some infographics, links and photographs – enjoy.

INTRODUCTION

I have a selection of infographics, photos and links to share, as well as my main piece.

AN EXTRAORDINARY TEST MATCH

England 30-4 in the first innings. After England recovered from this dismal start to reach 389 early on the second morning New Zealand spent the rest of day 2 compiling 303-2. By the end of day 3 England were two down in their second innings and still nearly a hundred runs in the red. Day four saw the big momentum swing, the creation of three individuals, Cook, Root and especially Stokes. The last named scored the fastest hundred ever in a Lord’s test match. This meant that England closed the day with an already substantial lead. By the time England were all out on the fifth morning (yesterday), New Zealand needed 345 for victory in 77 overs. Two wickets went down without a run, but the really decisive blow came later in the day and was struck by that man Stokes (the most obvious man of the match in test history) who cleaned up Kane Williamson and Brendon McCullum with successive deliveries. Thereafter, although the New Zealand lower order showed plenty of fight it always looked like an England win, and the eventual margin was 125 runs.

I do not withdraw my earlier criticisms of England’s selection policy, and I point out that it was not until deep into day four that the possibility of an England win showed up an anyone’s radar. Also as an aside New Zealand won the toss and chose to put England in, and even though they did take early wickets, as such a course of action requires, they still ended up beaten.

I hope that the second test match lives up to this one (a pity that there are only the two rather than a proper series – ICC please note that two tests DO NOT CONSTITUTE a proper series).This will require England not to adopt a “what we have we hold” approach.

INFOGRAPHICS

I have a variety of infographics to share this time, starting with a couple from people in favour of keeping the hunting ban…

FHB Keep The Ban

I take a very strong line on disability rights both here and on aspitweets and my next infographic is in keeping with that.

DHC

Those of us fortunate enough not to have had to use a food bank may wonder what exactly they provide – check this scary infographic to find out…

Foodbanks

My last two infographics both relate to a smear campaign being run by the Daily Mail against Labour leadership contender Andy Burnham (which has naturally influenced me in his favour!)

DMAB

ABXs

LINKS

I shall start with an anniversary, courtesy of Faraday’s Candle. The birthday girl is astronaut Sally Ride.

Having started on a science theme, two more links, the first of which introduces the second. The twin themes are asteroid strikes and probability:

1) Intro piece

2) The whole shebang

THE IRISH GAY MARRIAGE REFERENDUM

I found the result of this referendum very exciting, and I was not the only one, as these two links, one from the Independent and one from Patheos make clear in their different ways:

1)Indy

2)Patheos

TWO FINAL LINKS

My last links both refer to important social issues, one to our railways and one to the bedroom tax. First of all, I thank the Liverpool Echo for this article about the much loathed bedroom tax. Secondly, The Mirror provided this marvellous article about Network Rail.

PHOTOGRAPHS AND SHARING

Just before putting up my final few images I would urge you all to share this post or at least the parts of it that appeal to you. My thanks to all of my followers.

DSCN6263 DSCN6264

These maps all come fron the front of Harry Sidebottom's "The Caspian Gates" which is a marvellous read and a book I would recommend to anyone.
These maps all come fron the front of Harry Sidebottom’s “The Caspian Gates” which is a marvellous read and a book I would recommend to anyone.

DSCN6267 DSCN6268 DSCN6269 DSCN6270

I saw this picture on twitter and was very struck by it, so here it is.
I saw this picture on twitter and was very struck by it, so here it is.

England Staring Down Both Barrels

INTRODUCTION

As well as a personal account of yesterday’s cricket I have my usual selection of links, infographics and photos to share with you. Enjoy the ride…

ENGLAND STARING DOWN BOTH BARRELS

England bowled reasonably well yesterday, taking the least eight Kiwi wickets for 220, the fly in the ointment being that this was from a starting position of 303-2 and therefore still left them facing a first innings deficit of 134. This was compounded by the loss of debutant opening batsman Lyth and the no 3 Ballance in the reply. To give themselves a chance of escaping England need to still be batting by lunch time tomorrow (and probably a while after as well).

This England team, with Moeen Ali batting at no 8 and therefore being considered a front-line bowler, bore all the hallmarks a team selected with avoidance of defeat in mind, rather than going for victory, and the lack of bowling depth told in the New Zealand innings. Just to make one thing clear: Moeen Ali is a fine cricketer, it is just that he is not by any stretch of the imagination a front-line spinner (and his county, Worcestershire, have never used him as such).

Struggling like this against New Zealand does not bode well for the main meat of the summer, the visit of the oldest enemy.

INFOGRAPHIC

Just the one infographic today, concerned with the Irish referendum on gay marriage:

MR

LINKS

My first two links concern disability hate crimes, the main article having been shared widely on twitter (13 RTs and counting since I posted a link to it). The first of the two links is to the post on Vox Political that put me on to the story (although I must register a mild protest about VP’s current policy of putting out vast numbers of small posts – it seriously clogs the inbox) by way of acknowledging my source. Here then after that preamble are the key links:

1) Vox Political Intro

2) Guardian Article

The natural follow on from this is an article from Welfare Weekly about the scandalously high unemployment rate among disabled people.

My next two links both concern Autism. The first is a petition via 38 degrees which I urge everyone to sign and share. The second is a link to a post about a research project for which I have already signed up and I urge other autistic people to do likewise.

My last link is to a petition being run by change.org calling for 16 and 17 year-olds to be able vote in the EU referendum. Since I would extend all political votes to this age group I had no hesitation in signing and sharing, and I hope that others will follow my example.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Only a few pictures to share with you today (I take this opportunity to thank everyone who is still with me and urge you to share any or all of this post)…
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The Cricket World Cup (and Some Pictures from Kings Lynn)

The cricket world cup is well and truly under way. The night before last our time Ireland chased down a target of over 300 to beat the West Indies. Last night co-hosts New Zealand took on Scotland in Dunedin and a look at the scorecard would suggest a typical Dunedin cold, grey day with the ball nipping about all over the place. The truth was that after some excellent new ball bowling by Trent Boult and Tim Southee reduced Scotland to 12-4 the match was as good as over. Scotland rallied to reach 142. New Zealand then squandered seven wickets knocking off this very modest target (the dismissals were almost all down to bad batting rather than good bowling – but fortunately Geoffrey Boycott was not there to bear witness).

I have plenty of pictures to share with you, which I shall do in two tranches, starting with some from Sunday…

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The newly refurbished steps from the street to Boal Quay Car Park, done as part of the work of increasing the height of the flood defences.
The newly refurbished steps from the street to Boal Quay Car Park, done as part of the work of increasing the height of the flood defences.

Before sharing the pick of yesterday’s images, mention of my new work shoes, which after periods of wear indoors on Sunday and yesterday are going to get their first outing today (if this proves a mistake I can revert to the old work shoes that I still have for Thursday and Friday). The key day for when I have to be able to wear them without issue is a week tomorrow, when we have our next auction down at Fakenham Racecourse, and I will then be playing bridge in the evening without going home between the two events. At this moment I am not anticipating that there will be any problems because I have catered for all eventualities including buying a box of cushioned plasters in the event of a bad reaction from my heels. My mother spotted these shoes in Russell and Bromley while in London last week, for which I was very grateful as I had drawn a blank at Clarks. Now for some more images…

The flag fluttering from the Guilhall.
The flag fluttering from the Guilhall.

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One shot, three species - the smallest of which is only seen in this area at low tide when there is exposed mud.
One shot, three species – the smallest of which is only seen in this area at low tide when there is exposed mud.
They were there in great numbers - 28 in this shot post cropping.
They were there in great numbers – 28 in this shot post cropping.

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These birds are not regulars in Kings Lynn.
These birds are not regulars in Kings Lynn.

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