Archive for the Beards Category

Beard Wearers who stormed Capitol building condemned for bringing hirsute into disrepute

Posted in Beards, Politics with tags , , , on January 7, 2021 by telescoper

Here is an important perspective on yesterday’s shocking scenes in Washington DC. There’s no question that if Abraham Lincoln were alive today he’d be turning in his grave.

But seriously though, how come the Police presence was so thin that this rabble managed to get into the Capitol buuldings more-or-less unchallenged? Surely they knew what was going to happen?

Kmflett's Blog

Beard Liberation Front

7th January

Beard Wearers who stormed US Capitol building condemned for bringing hirsute into disrepute

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has condemned beard wearers who stormed the Capitol building in Washington on 6th January for bringing the hirsute into disrepute.

The campaigners, who promote positive images of the hirsute, say that while beard wearers were a minority amongst those trying to disrupt a legislative session confirming Joe Biden as the next President, they were a significant minority.

Two alt-right to fascist groups in particular appear to have been involved. The crazed conspiracy theorist group QAnon is not particularly associated with beards.

However the all-male Proud Boys are frequently to be seen with beards. Founder Gavin McInnes who was born in Hitchin but resides in the US is a noted beard wearer.

The BLF says that the Proud Boys have worked…

View original post 98 more words

Beard of the Year 2020 Final Vote!

Posted in Beards on December 23, 2020 by telescoper

Well, here we are. The final round of voting for Beard of the Year 2020. There are four of them: Tinker (Bill Bailey), Tailor (Michael Rosen), Soldier (Michael Sheen), and Telescoper (me).

I’m off to a cracking start and have already accumulated a massive 3.5% of the vote. According to some criteria I’m in last place, but in terms of alphabetical order I’m in second.

Should you wish to vote you can do so by following the link in the enclosed post or here:

https://twitter.com/kmflett/status/1341539167713583107

Polls close at Midnight on Christmas Eve (December 24th).

Kmflett's Blog

Beard Liberation Front

23rd December

Contact BLF Organiser Keith Flett 07803 167266

Beard of the Year Final vote open

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers has said the final vote for the Beard of the Year 2020 is open.

The final list consists of four names after two earlier voting rounds shaved the shortlist of eight names

Michael Sheen and Peter Coles won the first vote and went forward to the final on 23/24th December. Michael Rosen and Bill Bailey won the second vote

Beard of the Year will be announced on 28th December.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, we made some changes to the way the Beard of the Year vote runs for 2020. We’ve moved the vote to twitter where polls often have great engagement and instead of two polls which ran for many weeks we’re running a series of shorter more focused…

View original post 60 more words

Second ‘Beard-Off’ vote for Beard of the Year features Michael Rosen & Bill Bailey

Posted in Beards, Biographical on December 22, 2020 by telescoper

I assumed I had been eliminated from Beard of the Year 2020 as a result of finishing second to Michael Sheen in the first “Beard-Off” last week but it seems I hadn’t read the rules properly. The first two go through to the final vote! Anyway, here is the second “Beard-Off” to determine the other two who will go into the final round of voting.

Kmflett's Blog

Beard Liberation Front

19th December

Contact BLF Organiser Keith Flett 07803 167266

Second ‘Beard-Off’ vote for Beard of the Year 2020 features Michael Rosen & Bill Bailey

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers has said the second ‘Beard-Off’ vote for the Beard of the Year 2020 is open.

The final list consists of eight names after two earlier voting rounds shaved the longlist of twelve names

There are two ‘Beard-Off’ votes for Beard of the Year 2020 which open on 14th December and close on 22nd December. The winners of each vote will face each other for a final Beard of the Year vote on 23rd and 24th December.

Michael Sheen and Peter Coles won the first vote and go forward to the final on 23/24th December.

Beard of the Year will be announced on 28th December.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, we’ve made…

View original post 116 more words

Beard of the Year 2020: Last Chance to Vote for Me!

Posted in Beards, Biographical with tags , on December 17, 2020 by telescoper

Too busy with end of term things to do a proper post today, I’ve just realised that the first round vote for Beard of the Year 2020 closes tonight. I’m currently trailing in second place with Michael Sheen way ahead in the lead.

You never know, though, a late burst might make a difference!

You can vote here:

First ‘Beard-Off’ vote for Beard of the Year features Michael Sheen & Lenny Henry

Posted in Beards on December 14, 2020 by telescoper

So it’s time for Beard of the Year 2020. This year, perhaps owing to Brexit, the voting system is even more complicated and time-consuming than usual consisting of two preliminary “Beard Off” rounds before the two winners go chin-to-chin in the final.

I am in the first such, up against David Olusoga, Michael Sheen and Lenny Henry. I’ve made a strong start in the polls and am currently in last place. I should make it clear that even if I am quickly eliminated from the Beard-Off (as I expect to be) my Beard is definitely staying On.

For those of you interested, current beard status is as follows:

Oh and you have to vote on Twitter, but you can do so by via the link in the page below or here:

https://twitter.com/kmflett/status/1338279246104580096

Kmflett's Blog

Beard Liberation Front

14th December

Contact BLF Organiser Keith Flett 07803 167266

First ‘Beard-Off’ vote for Beard of the Year 2020 features Michael Sheen & Lenny Henry

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers has said the first ‘Beard-Off’ vote for the Beard of the Year 2020 is open.

The final list consists of eight names after two ‘trim-off’ votes shaved the longlist of twelve names

There are two ‘Beard-Off’ votes for Beard of the Year 2020 which open on 14th December and close on 22nd December. The winners of each vote will face each other for a final Beard of the Year vote on 23rd and 24th December.

Beard of the Year will be announced on 28th December.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, we’ve made some changes to the way the Beard of the Year vote runs for 2020. We’ve moved the vote to twitter…

View original post 97 more words

Lorentz-Fitzgerald or Fitzgerald-Lorentz?

Posted in Beards, History, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , on December 9, 2020 by telescoper

I’ve recently moved on to the part about Special Relativity in my module on Mechanics and 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 who were almost there; Poincaré was another. It was as if 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 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.

Bill Bailey, David Olusoga & Michael Rosen head Beard of the Year 2020 shortlist

Posted in Beards on November 29, 2020 by telescoper

It’s almost time for the voting to start for Beard of the Year 2020. By virtue of being voted Beard of Ireland way back in March I qualified for the shortlist of eight. This year’s field is very strong, but I reckon I’ll be a good contender for eight place.

Voting this time will be via Twitter, as the following post explains.

Kmflett's Blog

Beard Liberation Front

29th November

Contact BLF Organiser Keith Flett 07803 167266

Bill Bailey, David Olusoga & Michael Rosen head Beard of the Year 2020 shortlist

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers has announced the final shortlist for the Beard of the Year 2020.

The list consists of eight names after two ‘trim-off’ votes shaved the longlist of twelve names

There will now be two ‘Beard-Off’ votes for Beard of the Year 2020 which will open on 14th December and close on 22nd December. The winners of each vote will face each other for a final Beard of the Year vote on 23rd and 24th December.

Beard of the Year will be announced on 28th December.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, we’ve made some changes to the way the Beard of the Year vote runs for 2020. We’ve moved the vote to…

View original post 74 more words

Lá Saoire i mí Dheireadh Fómhair

Posted in Beards, Biographical, Covid-19, Maynooth, The Universe and Stuff with tags on October 26, 2020 by telescoper

Today being the last Monday of October, it’s a Bank Holiday here in Ireland so I’m having the day off (well, at least the morning: I have a telecon this afternoon). This week is Study Week too so there are no lectures or tutorials – real or virtual – until next Monday. Now that I have a broadband connection at home I’ll be working from here much more as the Level 5 restrictions require me to. It won’t be ideal because a lot of my work stuff is still in the office on campus, but at least I’ll be more comfortable than first time round, when I was in the flat.

Normally, most students go home for some or all of Study Week and return to campus the following week. This year I suppose most will stay where they are, although some might go home and stay there until the end of term since virtually all their teaching is online this term. They won’t even have to come back for the examinations after Christmas as these will be online too. It’s anyone’s guess whether we will have teaching on campus next Semester.

Coincidentally, the first campus closure started just before a Bank Holiday too. That was St Patrick’s Day. It seems like an eternity ago. The news of my award of the St Patrick’s Day Beard of Ireland would surely have made front pages across the Republic had it not been for the Covid-19 Pandemic. I think I’ll refrain from trimming my beard for the duration of the new restrictions like I did during the original lockdown.

Incidentally, the Irish word for beard is Féasóg. Also incidentally, I’ve signed up to have Irish language lessons this term; they start in November.

As I’ve mentioned before, this Bank Holiday (as others of its type in Ireland) has a sort of astronomical connection. In the Northern hemisphere, from an astronomical point of view, the solar year is defined by the two solstices (summer, around June 21st, and winter around December 21st) and the equinoxes (spring, around March 21st, and Autumn, around September 21st). These four events divide the year into four roughly equal parts each of about 13 week. If you divide each of these intervals in two you divide the year into eight pieces of six and a bit weeks each. The dates midway between the astronomical events mentioned above are (roughly) :

1st February: Imbolc (Candlemas)
1st May: Beltane (Mayday)
1st August: Lughnasadh (Lammas)
1st November: Samhain (All Saints Day)

The names I’ve added are taken from the Celtic/neo-Pagan (and Christian) terms for these cross-quarter days. These timings are rough because the dates of the equinoxes and solstices vary from year to year. Imbolc is often taken to be the 2nd of February (Groundhog Day) and Samhain is sometimes taken to be October 31st, Halloween.
Another name for the present Bank Holiday is Lá Saoire Oíche Shamhna (Halloween Holiday), although Halloween itself does not occur until next Saturday. Bank Holidays are always on Mondays here so they’re often a few days away from the dates above.

Black ’47

Posted in Beards, Film, History with tags , , , on October 14, 2020 by telescoper

The film Black ’47 was released in Ireland in 2018 (just after I moved here) but although it got good reviews I didn’t get around to seeing it in the cinema. Last Friday however it turned up on TV so I watched it and thought it was excellent.

The film tells the story of Martin Feeney (played by James Frecheville) who returns home to Ireland having deserted from the British Army, in 1847, only to find his native Connemara in the grip of the Great Famine. Witnessing the callous treatment of his people by landlords, their agents and the British authorities he sets out on a trail of violent retribution against the oppressors. In structure the film is very like that of a classic `revenge’ Western, though set in the Wild West of Ireland rather than America. It’s very well acted by a very fine cast and superbly photographed, grimly convincing in its depiction of the extreme deprivation of the time, with gripping action sequences. Among many other things, I was impressed by the realistic portrayal of the unreliability and inaccuracy of mid 19th Century firearms. The rifles in use by the British Army at that time were muzzle loaded, using paper cartridges, so their rate of fire was very low too.

There are some splendid beards too.

I’m sure there will be people to correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t think there were any feature films made about the Great Hunger, despite its importance in Irish history, before this one.

Here’s the official trailer for the movie. I think it’s well worth watching if you can get to see it, though somehow I doubt it will be on prime time television in the UK like it was here in Ireland…

World Beard Day

Posted in Beards with tags , , , on September 5, 2020 by telescoper

Today is the first Saturday in September which means that it is World Beard Day.

I quote from official guidance:

On World Beard Day, it is customary for the bearded members of a family to relax and partake in no jobs or chores. The beardless members of the family traditionally show their support by waiting on the bearded hand and foot. World Beard Day is all about promoting and elevating the global status of the the beard. Whilst many countries and cities practice World Beard Day customs specific to their own region, shaving on World Beard Day is universally considered to be highly disrespectful.

See here for a celebratory blog post by Beard Liberation Front Organiser, Keith Flett.