Archive for the Beards Category

Call for support for Carrick McClean school student barred from A-Levels due to having a beard

Posted in Beards on January 5, 2020 by telescoper

Mr Carrick Mcclean has been barred from his A-level* classes at St Columb’s College in Derry because of his facial hair. Please sign the petition to have him reinstated. I’m sure such blatant pogonophobic discrimination would not be tolerated in a United Ireland.

*for readers in the Republic, the A-level is the Protestant Leaving Certificate.

Kmflett's Blog

Beard Liberation Front

Press Release 4th January Contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

Call for support for Carrick McClean, school student barred from A-Levels due to having a beard

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has called for support for a Derry Sixth Form student Carrick McClean.

Mr McClean has been banned from sitting for his A Level at St Columbs in Derry because he has a beard.

The pogonophobic rules of the school do not allow students to have a beard

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, this is not the 1950s and we fully support Mr McClean. There is a petition that can be signed and we expect a change of mind by the school

View original post


Posted in Beards with tags , on December 30, 2019 by telescoper

I noticed that the BBC website has an item about has an item about Beard of the Year 2019. The piece contains the following:

I feel the second paragraph rather contradicts the first!

Anyway, congratulations to this year’s winner, Rylan Clark-Neal, who is actually famous.

So I’m told.

The Relativity of Beards

Posted in Beards, History, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , on December 4, 2019 by telescoper

In my first-year module on Mechanics and Special Relativity, I’ve just moved on to the part about Special Relativity and this afternoon I’m going to talk about the Lorentz-Fitzgerald contraction or, as it’s properly called here in Ireland, the Fitzgerald-Lorentz contraction.

The first thing to point out is that the physicists George Francis Fitzgerald and Hendrik Lorentz, though of different nationality (the former Irish, the latter Dutch), both had fine beards:

George Francis Fitzgerald (1851-1901)

Hendrik Lorentz (1853-1928)

One of the interesting things you find if you read about the history of physics just before Albert Einstein introduced his theory of special relativity in 1905 was how many people seemed to be on the verge of getting the idea around about the same time. Fitzgerald and Lorentz were two were almost there; Poincaré was another. It was like special relativity was `in the air’ at the time. It did, however, take a special genius like Einstein to crystallize all that thinking into a definite theory.

Special relativity is fun to teach, not least because it throws up interesting yet informative paradoxes (i.e. apparent logical contradictions) arising from  that you can use to start a discussion. They’re not actually paradoxes really logical contradictions, of course. They just challenge `common sense’ notions, which is a good thing to do to get people thinking.

Anyway, I thought I’d mention one of my favorite such paradoxes arising from a simple Gedankenerfahrung (thought experiment) here.

Imagine you are in a railway carriage moving along a track at constant speed relative to the track. The carriage is dark, but at the centre of the carriage is a flash bulb. At one end (say the front) of the carriage is a portrait of Lorentz and at the other (say the back) a portrait of Fitzgerald; the pictures are equidistant from the bulb and next to each portrait is a clock.The two clocks are synchronized in the rest frame of the carriage.

At a particular time the flash bulb goes off, illuminating both portraits and both clocks for an instant.

It is an essential postulate of special relativity that the speed of light is the same to observers in any inertial frame, so that an observer at rest in the centre of the carriage sees both portraits illuminated simultaneously as indicated by the adjacent clocks. This is because the symmetry of the situation means that light has to travel the same distance to each portrait and back.

Now suppose we view the action from the point of view of a different inertial observer, at rest by the trackside rather than on the train, who is positioned right next to the centre of the carriage as the flash goes off. The flight flash travels with the same speed in the second observer’s frame, but this observer sees* the back of the carriage moving towards the light signal and the front moving away. The result is therefore that this observer sees the two portraits light up at different times. In this case the portrait of Fitzgerald is lit up before the portrait of Lorentz.

Had the train been going in the opposite direction, Lorentz would have appeared before Fitzgerald. That just shows that whether its Lorentz-Fitzgerald contraction or Fitzgerald-Lorentz contraction is just a matter of your frame of reference…

But that’s not the paradoxical thing. The paradox is although the two portraits appear at different times to the trackside observer, the clocks still appear show the same time….


*You have to use your imagination a bit here, as the train has to be travelling at a decent fraction of the speed of light. It’s certainly not an Irish train.




Beard of Ireland 2019 poll opens

Posted in Beards, Politics on March 4, 2019 by telescoper

Well, much to my surprise I find I am on the ballot paper for Beard of Ireland 2019. I don’t suppose I’ll feature among the front-runners as I don’t think my beard has had much impact on the Irish landscape. At the moment, however, the current leader is a DUP politician…

Kmflett's Blog

Beard Liberation Front

Press release 3rd March

Contact Keith Flett 07803 167266


The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has said that competition for the Irish Beard of the Year title is expected to see hairs split as the voting for the annual award opens

The 2017 winner was politician Colum Eastwood who bearded broadcaster William Crawley for the annual Award.

In 2018 the DUP’s Lee Reynolds shaved writer Dominic O’Reilly for the honour with Colum Eastwood in a steady third place.

The 2019 winner will be announced to mark St Patrick Day on 17th March

The BLF says that while traditionally a land of predominantly clean-shaven cultures, Ireland has in recent times become something of a centre for stylish and trendy beards.

Contenders for the title in 2019 include a diverse range of the hirsute- actors, comedians, political activists, journalists…

View original post 121 more words

The Best Men Can Be Unshaven

Posted in Beards, Biographical, Television with tags , , on January 16, 2019 by telescoper

This advertisement by the Gillette company (purveyors of razors and other shaving products) has been causing a social media meltdown among the male snowflake fraternity:

It seems that the message conveyed in this short film – that men could do more to tackle bullying and harassment – is proving unpopular with certain men. I think it’s a reasonable inference that those men who feel the need to rant about this commercial actually think that they should be entitled by virtue of their gonads to engage in the kind of behaviour challenged therein and indeed threatened by any suggestion that they should not behave like prats. in my opinion the fact that there has been such a reaction demonstrates beyond any doubt how important the message is that toxic masculinity is a problem.

As a recent winner of Beard of the Year I feel it is important to point out that because I have a full beard, I never use Gillette (or any other shaving) products. My continuing not to use Gillette products should therefore not be interpreted as opposition to the message contained in this particular advertisement nor should my refusal to be upset by a commercial be interpreted as an endorsement of Gillette products. If, on the other hand, the Gillette company were to find it within their capacity to introduce a range of beard care products then, in return for receipt of an appropriately generous free supply of said products, I would be willing to advertise them on this site. Indeed, given the ever-increasing numbers of men preferring to be unshaven, it would seem to be a good idea from purely business grounds to diversify its range in order to cater for the hirsute market. I hope this clarifies the situation.

P.S. Another idea would be for Gillette to develop a range of toxic shaving products, specifically for those men who think toxic masculinity is just fine….

New Year Honour

Posted in Beards, Biographical, Cardiff with tags on December 29, 2018 by telescoper

The New Year Honours List for 2019 has been published and I find that once again I have been denied the opportunity to turn down an award.

I find more than adequate compensation, however, in the award of Beard of the Year 2018. I was presented with the Certificate in Tiny Rebel Cardiff by Beard Liberation Front organiser and spokesbeing Keith Flett (left; picture by Megan Davies)

The certificate mentions a joint award but I am yet to receive the joint.

Anyway here is the certificate in close up.

Although I saw I was doing well in the popular vote, I was surprised be a winner as I thought it would be given to someone with a higher public profile than me. Happily, for me anyway, the Electoral College decided in my favour.

We bumped into two members of the School of Physics & Astronomy at Cardiff University in Tiny Rebel (both of whom, I must say, appeared to be rather the worse for drink). A short discussion arose as to whether Beard of the Year could be submitted as evidence of ‘impact’ for the forthcoming Research Excellence Framework. I was working at Cardiff for about half the period covered by the award, you see. I’ll leave that as a matter for the relevant authorities to decide.

Scientists win People’s Vote for Beard of the Year for the first time

Posted in Beards, Biographical, Uncategorized on December 28, 2018 by telescoper

Well, I won Beard of the Year 2018 (jointly). Thanks to all who voted for me!

Kmflett's Blog

Beard Liberation Front

Media Release 27th December

Contact Keith Flett 07803 16726

Scientists win People’s Vote for Beard of the Year for first time

The Beard Liberation Front the informal network of beard wearers, has said that after a record vote for the Beard of the Year 2018 the Electoral College has determined that two scientists are the winners. TV doctor Xand Van Tulleken and cosmologist Peter Coles currently at Maynooth University in Ireland shared the Award.

The campaigners say that both the winners had an enthusiastic voting constituency and taking into account the public impact of their beards it was felt a shared title was appropriate this year.

Moreover the fact that both have a scientific background for the first time reflects the growing reach of beard wearing.

Manchester brewer Al Wall of leading craft brewery Cloudwater was runner up with last year’s winner Jeremy Corbyn third.

The 8…

View original post 244 more words