Another pair of Egyptian geese

Blogging as I just was about romantically linked birds, I recently transferred a posting about a couple of geese, which I did on Christmas Eve 2014, from the old blog to this blog, which was a big improvement because this posting featured thirty three photos of the happy couple, and viewing them is now a whole lot quicker and easier than it was.

Here is the photo number one of that clutch of thirty three …:

… and I really recommend you check out the other thirty two.

On Tuesday afternoon, at my end of Vauxhall Bridge, on the left as I approach it, I checked out the very same spot where I had photoed all these highly recommendable photos. Perhaps I thought I would meeting the original objects of my photography back in 2014, again. And rather to my surprise, I did encounter a couple of geese who looked very like the two I had originally photoed:

Sadly, I fear that “looked very like” is as far as it went. I had hoped I might have spied again the original couple, but this I now greatly doubt. There are now many of these geese in London and they breed fast.

I know this because I finally managed to identify what brand of bird these four birds all are. I googled “brown eyed goose”, and everything became clear. They are Egyptian geese. That’s a link to a Guardian piece about these geese. The Guardian loves them because the warmer weather we’ve been having lately has enabled them to flourish here. The Guardian loves warmer weather. Warmer weather, to the Guardian means that the world ought to have done to it permanently what the Coronavirus is only doing to it temporarily.

Ferrari sighting

While out-and-about on other business further in the middle of London even than my home is, I photoed this little Thing On Wheels:

This was in Bedford Street (as you can just about make out), which is just off the Strand. So far so ordinary. Some brand of “smart” car, presumably.

But when I got home, I looked more closely at this photo, and could just about make out … this:

I didn’t see this logo at the time. I merely noticed it in the original photo, of which the above is a crop-and-expand.

Unless I was mistaken, the Ferrari logo!. The Ferrari horse. Was this bod taking the piss? Had he stuck this Ferrari horse logo on his little red Dinky Toy for some sort of laugh?

This is the twenty first century, and questions like this can be quickly answered.

Apparently this was indeed a Ferrari Smart Car. (He’s not happy about this either.) Different Smart Car, Ferrari logo in the exact same spot. The cars must have come with this logo attached, and must accordingly be “real” Ferraris. Not real Ferraris, you understand. Real Ferraris can drive under articulated lorry trailers at 200 mph. What I saw and photoed was just a Dinky Toy car perpetrated by the Ferrari company in what must have been a quite prolonged fit of insanity, which I presume still continues. Talk about pissing all over your own brand.

Like I say, I like real Ferraris, which I suppose we must now call Ferrari Dumb Cars, driven by the spoilt children of the nouveau riche. The bloke in my photo looks more like an Extinction Rebel or some such thing. i.e. the sort of person who’d be totally opposed to real Ferraris. Which he may well be.

In the course of my googling, I discovered an entire internet subculture of photo-manipulators eager to take the piss out of this abominable little contraption.

Trees and other Things

I’ve not being doing much out-and-abouting lately. But yesterday the weather looked good and I managed a photo-expedition. My odyssey was a familiar one. I walked past the Channel 4 TV headquarters building to Victoria Street, checked out the progress of The Broadway. (That seems to e its name, by the way. It’s not One Broadwy or Ten Broadway, just The Broadway.) Then I walked down Victoria Street to Westminster Abbey and Parliament Square, and then across Westminster Bridge and along the South Bank, and then back across the River to Embankment Tube and home again.

But I knew there’d be new stuff to see, or maybe old stuff that I had seen many times before but not noticed. Stuff like … trees. Here are sixteen of the photos I photoed, involving trees:

Trees look as they do, especially when uninterrupted by leaves, not because trees naturally look like that, but because a not-that-small and very full-time army of tree barbers and tree surgeons (that being the word they prefer), caused them to be so. Every twist and turn of a branch is a decision made by someone wielding a chainsaw (this time click on “Gallery”) or commanding someone wielding a chainsaw. If trees ever do grow “naturally”, that too is a string of decisions that someone made and went on making. Every tree in London is a clutch of design decisions.

And as I say, no leaves. Which means that other things were to be seen also. The Broadway, the Wheel, the Crimea statue, stuff around Parliament Square (much of it smothered in scaffolding), the Wheel from closer up, Big Ben (smothered in scaffolding), the sign outside Foyles saying “FOYLES”, a big puddle, and so forth and so on. Lovely.

Steve Stewart-Williams on how looking at other animals helps us understand why the Nurture Only view can’t be right to explain human sexual differences

The Nurture Only view being, in this case, the claim that all the differences in behaviour and attitude – with regard to such things as casual sex, attaching importance to physical sexual allure, and so on – between human males and human females are all caused by societal pressure.

Says SS-W (on page 90 of The Ape That Understood The Universe):

Arguably, though, the most persuasive argument against the Nurture Only view is that sex differences in sexual inclinations and choosiness can be found in many individuals who have no gender norms, no socialization, and little in the way of culture: that rather sizeable group, so often overlooked by psychologists, known as other animals. The differences aren’t found in all other species, but they are found in many, including most birds, mammals, and reptiles. And when we find the differences in other animals, evolution is the only reasonable explanation. Why should humans be different? It’s logically possible, of course, that the differences are products of evolution in squirrels, turkeys, and frogs, but of learning and culture in Homo sapiens. But it hardly seems likely. In other species, the differences appear when the ceiling number of offspring for males is higher than that for females. Humans meet this condition, and our species presumably evolved from earlier species that displayed the normal sex differences. As such, what the Nurture Only theory asks us to believe is that, in our lineage and ours alone, natural selection eliminated the normal sex differences, despite the fact that the selection pressure that initially created them was still operative. Why would it do that? It’s particularly perplexing given that, when we look around the world, we still find the sex differences that selection supposedly eliminated. Thus, the Nurture Only theory asks us to believe not only that selection eliminated the differences for reasons unknown, but that learning and culture then coincidentally reproduced exactly the same differences in every culture on record. This is not a compelling thesis. Cultural forces clearly influence people’s willingness to engage in casual sex, and to some extent their desire to do so as well. But the idea that culture creates these sex differences out of nothing not only clashes with the available evidence, it clashes with everything we know about how evolution works.

This comes in the middle of the chapter entitled “The SeXX/XY Animal”. Right at the beginning of this chapter, just below the subheading “An Academic Culture War”, appears this academic wisecrack:

“Everyone knows that men and women are different … except social scientists.”

Which doesn’t mean that everyone who knows that men and women are different also knows exactly what those differences consist of. And don’t consist of.

The “Other creatures” category at this blog usually means other creatures besides cats and kittens. But for this posting “Other creatures” means other creatures besides the particular creatures that are humans.


“Natoor” because the word is “Nature”, but in French.

Ever since I did a post here mentioning the plan for a Disneyland London, Twitter has been regularly Twittering me a picture of this new Disneyland building in Paris:

“Stay at Les Vlllages Nature.”

I like the look from above of this Thing, and I especially like how it would appear that you can walk to the top on the outside, Snøhetta style. But it doesn’t look very Natoor.

Continuous Particulate Monitor

I love the internet.

I was in Oxford Street the other day, and photoed this gizmo, once the whole thing, and then a photo of the letters and numbers on the gizmo:

I love the internet because I could type those letters and numbers into it, and immediately learn that this is a pollution measuring device. To be more exact, this is a (see above) Continuous Particulate Monitor.

I tried reading this, but was unable to discern from it whether this process is applied to the emissions of a particular vehicle, or just to the air generally, in the general vicinity of the Continuous Particulate Monitor.

But the funny thing is, when I googled “bx 802”, I didn’t get any mention of any BX-802s, but lots of mentions of the BX-1020. Which I assume must be the more recent version of the BX-802.

Mind you, the internet did also suggest that BX 802 could be a chair.


I like photos that look like abstract art but which are really of something real.

To quote myself (underneath the August photo there, of London Bridge station seen from above):

I tend not to admire Modern Art. It takes itself far too seriously for my liking. But I love it when real stuff resembles Modern Art. Explain that to me, somebody?

Still working out the answer to that one.

So anyway, it would appear that these guys, agree with me. They call themselves AAA (they arrange the AAAs more aaartfully than this), which stands for Abstract Aerial Art.

Quote (from this):

Taken from a top-down perspective, every aerial photograph we take is of a real place on our planet. We like to compose our images as artworks rather than traditional photographs. Other than slight colour and contrast enhancements none of our images are manipulated in any way. As we always say, “the point is not to work out what it is, but to show how weird and wonderful the world can look from above”.

Actually, not quite my attitude. I like explanations, locations, etc. But, I still like these images.

Here are a dozen (I picked four, then nine, then twelve) that I especially liked:

Here’s the equipment the AAA guys use. Drones. Calling 6k. (The link at the top of this posting is to an earlier posting I did re another of 6k’s drone-photos.)

Tardigrades on the moon?

Definitely the best “other creature” in the news during the last few days:

It looks like a space monster in a movie, from the far off time before special effects became perfect and boring, and everything had to be made by hand.

But this is actually a real creature, much smaller than it looks, and now, maybe, getting a whole new start as a miniature moon monster:

Thousands of tardigrades – also known as “water bears” or “moss piglets” – were on board the Beresheet spacecraft when it crash landed on the moon in April.

The tiny creatures are incredibly hardy and can survive extremely low temperatures and harsh conditions– and The Arch Mission Foundation, which sent them into space, believes some may have survived.

Tardigrades are pudgy little animals no longer than one millimeter. They live in water or in the film of water on plants like lichen or moss, and can be found all over the world in some of the most extreme environments, from icy mountains and polar regions to the balmy equator and the depths of the sea.

The Arch Mission Foundation sounds scary, doesn’t it? Like something a Bond villain would preside over. An arch villain.

Surrey v Middlesex T20: Out of the sun in Bedser Upper

On July 23rd, Darren and I went to the Oval to watch Surrey lose to Middlesex. I photoed signs, and I photoed a drone, and that was about the half of it, if by that you mean about 0.5% of it.

As earlier noted, we got there with lots of time to spare and to spend taking in all the incidental sights and sounds of the Oval before the actual game got going. Which meant that when we reached our seats, the entire place (not just the place we were in) was nearly empty.

Darren had purchased seats for us in something called Bedser Upper, in honour of this Surrey legend. And the first thing we noticed when we reached our seats was how very cool it was, compared to how hot it might have been. We could see everything perfectly, yet we would be sheltered from the sun:

Remember, this was was the hottest day ever in London since the dawn of creation. 38 degrees centigrade, and a sure sign of Gaia’s Wrath To Come, to punish Sinful Man for burning too much petrol, gas, oil, etc., and for being too happy and comfortable and well off. Humanity used to be a bunch of slave labourers. Now it is a much vaster throng of, pretty much, sports fans with, compared to olden times, part-time jobs. And the sort of people who disapprove of that disapprove of it by talking about such things as how very hot it was, in London, on that day. And it was indeed very, very hot.

But, not quite so hot in Bedser Upper. Darren had chosen very well.

Later we realised that we were also sitting inside a giant loudspeaker, into which dementedly deafening pop music would be inserted for the duration of the game. Such is modern (very) limited overs cricket. But, we agreed that this was a price well worth paying, for the lack of extreme hotness.

I love the architecture of the Oval. (By which of course I mean the Kia Oval.) So much more interesting that some dreary built-all-at-once football stadium. The big sweep of that big new stand, with its big curved roof, on the left. The classical nobility of the ancient gasometer. The magnificently tall pavilion, on the right. And in the distance, occasional glimpses of the Big Things of central London. What a place.

And, just as divertingly, for me, before the game got started there were lots of interesting rituals being played out by a total of getting on for a hundred people. WIth other sports, a lot of this stuff is hidden away behind the scenes. But with cricket, if you get there early enough, you see it all. More about all that in further postings here about this wonderful night out, Real Soon Now.

Rich people look after exotic animals better than poor people do

Because they can.

Human Progress Dot Org:

Why are wolves increasing all around the world, lions decreasing and tigers now holding steady? Basically, because wolves are in rich countries, lions in poor countries and tigers in middle income countries. Prosperity is the solution not the problem.

Flagging up this piece by Matt Ridley.