Archive for BIrmingham

LGBTQ+ STEMinar 2020 – The Conference Photograph!

Posted in Biographical, LGBT with tags , , , on February 17, 2020 by telescoper

Regular readers of this blog – both of them – will be aware that last month I attended the 2020 LGBTQ+ STEMinar at the University of Birmingham. This was fifth of these and the largest one of these do far, with around 250 participants. Anyway, I’ve just received delivery of the conference photo!

You’ll see me on the extreme left about half way up. Of course there are fewer than 250 in the photograph: not everyone wanted to be in it (for a variety of reasons).

Anyway, the next one of these will be in 2021 in Oxford where, I am told, there is also a university.

LGBTQ+ STEMinar 2020

Posted in LGBT, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , on January 10, 2020 by telescoper

Well I made it to Birmingham (after getting up at 3.30am!) and to the Leonard Deacon Lecture Theatre in the School of Medicine at the University thereof for this year’s LGBT+ STEMinar (the 5th of a series that started in 2016).

This is the largest one of these do far, with around 250 participants, and an impressive array of sponsors:

One of the great things about the LGBTSTEMeminar (apart from the feeling of being amongst ‘family’) is the opportunity to hear talks about fields other than your own, which I am enjoying very much.

Ooh. I forgot to mention that next year’s event will also be in the Midlands, at Oxford University.

Fox News Facts on Twitter

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , on January 12, 2015 by telescoper

The following clip comes from a broadcast on Fox News:

The fact that Steve Emerson’s statement was laughably exaggerated and based entirely on ignorance (in this case of the city of Birmingham) comes as no surprise. After all, this was Fox News – a channel whose drivel-mongering is often beyond parody. It did however provoke two things that were surprising, at least to me.

One was something that is a rare commodity these days: a full and unreserved apology:

apology

It’s better not to say stupid things in the first place, but credit to him at least for doing the right thing. I gather he has made a donation to a children’s hospital in Birmingham. So there’s that.

The other surprising thing was what happened on Twitter. Some genius had the idea of setting up a hashtag called #FoxNewsFacts. The consequences were hilarious, as hundreds of people contributed tweets lampooning Fox News for its ignorance of the United Kingdom and of Islam. You can find some of the funniest ones here.

I even contributed a few myself. This one proved a particular hit:

There was also this:

and this

But my favourite was this:

I thought it was wonderful how Twitter users responded in such an imaginative, light-heartedly humorous, and sometimes downright surreal, way to something which could instead have produced pure bile. Twitter isn’t always like that, but yesterday it was a delight on a dark and stormy evening and a welcome change of mood after the depressing events of the last week. And I’m glad to say #FoxNewsFacts is still trending…so it’s not too late to have a go yourself!

(Guest Post) De Profundis

Posted in Music with tags , , , , on September 12, 2013 by telescoper

Time for a guest post, methinks. Here is a review of a recent concert by the one and only Leonard Cohen. I wasn’t lucky enough to be there myself, but the pseudonymous Miss Lemon certainly was, and here are her reflections on the performance.

–0–

Merveilleux, superbe, meraviglioso, di sogno – I have run out of English superlatives to even try to begin to describe the masterclass that was Leonard Cohen’s Old Ideas concert (NG Arena 8 September 2013). It’s not often that you can put the words magical and Birmingham in the same sentence (spoken as a Brummie) but this was one such occasion.

My initial introduction to the venerable man was as a teenager in the mid-70s. Whilst my parents and I sat downstairs probably watching something like Family at War, upstairs my slightly older, and much more in touch with her poetic side, teenage sister would allow the, as I/we heard it then, drones of Leonard Cohen to seep through the ceiling, much to the familial annoyance below. However, sometime later intrigued as to quite what this dirge-like music was, whilst Sis was back at school (I was fortunate to have longer school holidays), I listened to the Songs of Leonard Cohen and was bewitched by the, as I now realise, legend that is Leonard.

I first saw Mr Cohen back in the early ‘80s – a memorable and unexpectedly good-humoured concert – but nothing could have prepared me for Sunday’s dreamlike experience. His voice even more distinctive than I remember it and now ‘aged into a worn leather bass’. An audience whose ages ranged from early 20s to late 70s filled the cavernous halls of the NG Arena in Birmingham.  A large number of men of a certain age, not all with balding pates and ponytails, were adorned with Cohen fedoras and the first vision on the stage was that of all of the band wearing fedoras so that immediate identification of the great man himself was made a little difficult, which brought a wry smile to the assembled throng in the forum.

His nine-piece band, among them a glorious violin virtuoso, proved more than suitable playmates. An appealing alchemy of Leonard at his self-deprecating best enchanting us with songs old and new, the beautiful and haunting version of Alexandra Leaving sung by Sharon Robinson – even after three hours, like a bird on the wire, hey why not ask for more?

The esteemed Mr Cohen – modest and most generous of spirit – age has not diminished his ability to pen glorious words and sublime songs and to send 10,000 people home with a smile which would last even longer than his concert, nor has it dimmed the twinkle in his eye. He was indeed ‘born with the gift of a golden voice’.

Sincerely

Miss Lemon