Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Campaigners back Beard Baubles for Christmas

Posted in Uncategorized on December 13, 2014 by telescoper


Oh! You’re supposed to wear these in your beard….!

Originally posted on Kmflett's Blog:

  • Beard Liberation Front

    Press release

    10th December                                                                                                  07803 167266


    The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has backed the new Christmas trend for Beard Baubles.

    The Baubles, Christmas decorations which will hang in organic or hipster beards, are in aid of a men’s health charity.

    The BLF says that unlike the absurd false bearded Santas to be seen in High Streets at this time of year, the Beard Baubles demand a genuine beard and are seasonal fun.

    The campaigners caution however that the traditional practice of placing a sprig of mistletoe in the beard should not be ignored

    BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, Beard Baubles emphasise how important facial hair has become in modern society and Beard Baubles are a bit of Xmas fun in aid of an important health charity. We say, if it feels good, do it.


View original 33 more words

Head of School’s Christmas Message to MPS

Posted in Uncategorized on December 10, 2014 by telescoper

Since today is the occasion of Yuletide  prandial celebrations for both the Department of Mathematics and the Department of Physics & Astronomy, I wonder if I might crave the momentary indulgence of all staff within the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, of which said Departments are constituents, in order to discharge a by no means disagreeable obligation which has, over the years, become more or less established practice in the University as we approach the terminal period of the year — calendar, of course, not financial, nor indeed academic — in fact, not to put too fine a point on it, the interregnum between the First Teaching Block and the First Assessment Period — and submit to you, with all appropriate deference, for your consideration at a convenient juncture, a sincere and sanguine expectation — indeed confidence — indeed one might go so far as to say hope — that the aforementioned period may be, at the end of the day, when all relevant factors have been taken into consideration, susceptible to being deemed to be such as to merit a final verdict of having been by no means unsatisfactory in its overall outcome and, in the final analysis, to give grounds for being judged, on mature reflection, to have been conducive to generating a degree of gratification which will be seen in retrospect to have been significantly higher than the general average.

In other words, Happy Christmas!


P.S.  This message is adapated from the television series Yes, Professor Minister...


Not Yet Peak Beard: Race for Beard of the Year enters final fortnight

Posted in Uncategorized on December 8, 2014 by telescoper


Another plug for the Beard of the Year poll, with added photographs of the contenders!

Originally posted on Kmflett's Blog:

Beard Liberation Front

Press release 8th December

Contact keith Flett 07803 167266


Not Yet Peak Beard: Race for Beard of the Year enters final fortnight

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has said that the race for the coveted annual Beard of the Year title is set to get hairy with a fortnight left until the close of the poll on December 22nd.

The winner will be revealed on December 29th

England cricketer Moeen Ali and author Philip Ardagh along with cosmologist Peter Coles are among the favourites to take the title, but much often changes in the final period of the on-line poll.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, It was reported earlier this year that we had reached Peak Beard but the interest in the Beard of the Year poll suggests we are some way off yet.

The criteria for the Shortlist…

View original 85 more words


Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on December 5, 2014 by telescoper

I think it frets the saints in heaven to see
How many desolate creatures of the earth
Have learnt the simple dues of fellowship
And social comfort, in a hospital.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861), from Aurora Leigh (Book 3).

Farewell to Blackberry…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on November 24, 2014 by telescoper

I’m not really a great one for gadgets so I rarely post about technology. I just thought I’d do a quick post because the weekend saw the end of an era. I had been using a Blackberry smartphone for some time, the latest one being a Blackberry Curve, and even did a few posts on here using the WordPress App for Blackberry. I never found that particular bit of software very easy to use, however, so it was strictly for emergencies only (e.g. when stuck on a train). Other than that I got on pretty well with the old thing, except for the fact that there was no easy way to receive my work email from Sussex University on it. That has been a convenient excuse for me to ignore such communications while away from the internet, but recently it’s become clear that I need to be better connected to deal with pressing matters.

Anyway a few weeks ago I got a text message from Vodafone telling me I was due a free upgrade on my contract so I decided to bite the bullet, ditch the Blackberry and acquire an Android phone instead. I’m a bit allergic to those hideously overpriced Apple products, you see, which made an iPhone unthinkable.  On Saturday morning I paid a quick visit to the vodafone store in Cardiff and after a nice chat – mainly about Rugby (Wales were playing the All Blacks later that day) and the recent comet landing – I left with a new Sony Xperia Z2. I feel a bit sorry for turning my back on Blackberry; they really were innovators at one point, but they made some awful business decisions and have been left behind by the competition. Incidentally, the original company Research In Motion (RIM) was doing well enough 15 years ago to endow the PeRIMeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario, which was one of the reasons for my loyalty to date. The company is now called Blackberry Limited and has recently gone through major restructuring in its struggle for survival.

The Xperia Z2 is a nice phone, with a nice big display, generally very easy to find your way around, and with a lot more apps available than for Blackberry. I’ve got my Sussex email working and got Twitter, Facebook and WordPress installed; the latter is far better on Android than on Blackberry. The only thing I don’t like is the autocorrect/autocomplete, which is wretched, and which  I haven’t yet figured out how to switch off. The other thing is that it’s completely waterproof, but I haven’t taken it into the shower yet.

I feel quite modern for a change – my old Blackberry did make me feel like an old fogey sometimes – but since I’ve now signed up for another two years of contract before my next upgrade, there’s plenty of time for technology to overtake me again.



The New Mariner

Posted in Poetry, The Universe and Stuff, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on November 16, 2014 by telescoper

In the silence
that is his chosen medium
of communication and telling
others about it
in words. Is there no way
not to be the sport
of reason? For me now
there is only the God-space
into which I send out
my probes. I had looked forward
to old age as a time
of quietness, a time to draw
my horizons about me,
to watch memories ripening
in the sunlight of a walled garden.
But there is the void
over my head and the distance
within that the tireless signals
come from. An astronaut
on impossible journeys
to the far side of the self
I return with the messages
I cannot decipher, garrulous
about them, worrying the ear
of the passer-by, hot on his way
to the marriage of plain fact with plain fact.

by Ronald Stuart Thomas (1913-2000)



Posted in Uncategorized on November 7, 2014 by telescoper

Circumstances have forced me to take a break from blogging for a while. Normal services will be resumed as soon as possible but, for the time being, there will now follow a short intermission.


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