In ancient Greece, people consulted oracles to learn about the future. The best known resided at the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, where the blind priestess Pythia provided prophetic prediction for all in need of direction. Above its entrance, the temple had an inscription: Know thyself.
In fact, there appear to have been a total of 147 maxims chiselled into the marble – and they are well worth studying in detail if one wants to fine-tune one’s moral compass. The first three are the best-known: in addition to self-knowledge, they appeal to moderation, and the avoidance of overly strong beliefs or ideology (one might be tempted to call that humility).
It is no surprise that the Sam, as the classicist among the three veterans of the SmallDataForum, came up with our new name, blending the ancient Greek word describing foreknowing – prognosis (with gnosis = knowledge at its heart) with our cherished medium of podcasting. Lo and behold, in an act of neology-meets-etymology, the googlewhacking Podnosticators were born.
Continue reading “Meet the Podnosticators – the Oracle of Riogordo”
Always with fingers on the pulses of the most relevant breaking news stories, the not yet scurvy-plagued triumvirate of the SmallDataForum briefly contemplates the shortages of fruit and veg on Great British supermarket shelves.
And we decide that neither the Marie Antoinette-esque “let them eat turnips” intervention of political-turnip-made Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Therese-with-accents-aigu-et-grave Coffey – nor the seemingly permanently unflushable turds, former-now-shadow Prime Ministers Johnson and Truss, are topics worth any of our (or our listeners) attention.
Sam, of course, wouldn’t know much about those domestic five-a-day-struggles, given his jetting all over EUlandia (Catalonia, Amsterdam etc.), promoting his excellent, not-to-be-missed Using Data Smarter online course, building a “digital ecosystem” – and ZING, just like that, Sam won this episode’s jargon bingo.
How he finds the time to read Times columns is beyond me. But read he does, and so we find ourselves discussing David Aaronovitch’s piece Nobody wants what the Tories are selling (if only they were selling fruit & veg).
Continue reading “Of bots, turds and turnips”
It has been a tumultuous year, marked by upheaval and conflict. The people of our community have faced challenges and hardships that tested the very fabric of our society. The SmallDataForum chronicles the stories and struggles to survive in a harsh and unforgiving world.
And so, we put our microphones towards the tale of this tumultuous year. For many of us, this year has been one of great change and uncertainty. But as the old saying goes, “What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.”
As we look back on the events of the past year, we can take solace in the fact that we have survived, and that we are stronger for it. So let us now delve into the tale of the end of this tumultuous year and see what lessons we can learn from the challenges we have faced.
Ok, perhaps there are better ways to intro our year-end pod, than asking chatGPT to come up with something in the style of the Gisli Saga. Then again, that’s what it’s for, isn’t it…?
Continue reading “Reflections on 2022 – from Trussonomics to generative AI and goblin mode”
Given our combined decades of experience in the wider media business, it’s no surprise that this post-party conference edition of the SmallDataForum takes a close look at politicians’ media performances.
And boy is there a lot to look at.
Front and centre, of course, is the new Prime Minister and her serial car crash interviews. Neville asks serious questions about the buffering Trussbot’s media advisers. It shouldn’t come to anybody’s surprise that Jason Stein, her Director of Comms, was a media advisor to Prince Andrew until THAT Newsnight interview with now News Agent Emily Maitlis.
Despite this being fat bear week as Sam informs us, our focus is more on fat cats and those that feed and breed them. So we delve straight into the cesspit of Conservative party politics, where Sam detects a distinct whiff of the mid-Nineties, that case study of Tory self-destruction where things could only get better under fresh-faced New Labour leader, Tony Blair.
Continue reading “Movin’ on up, you’re movin’ on out”
Inflation! Energy crisis! Cost of living! Inequality! Strikes! A government out of its depth and out of touch. And that’s just 1978 …
The latest episode of the SmallDataForum podcast opens with Thomas comparing the not-so-good old days of the Winter of Discontent in Britain with the dry bleak hot summer of 2022. Ah, 1978: when Margaret Thatcher was not yet Prime Minister, and the average CEO of a UK FTSE 100 company earned 11 times that of the average full-time worker (Equality Trust report).
Fast forward to today when political weathervane Mary Elizabeth Truss, erstwhile anti-monarchist Liberal Democrat, committed Remainer and serial Maggie cosplayer, is given a 95% chance to be the new Prime Minister by 5 September. The median CEO / worker ratio is now well above 100 to 1.
While wistfully recalling the rubbish heaps triggered by a general strike in ‘78/’79, Neville cites a long list of present societal afflictions that the UK’s “zombie government” is unable to address, from inflation to climate change impact, energy bills to raw sewage dumped on beaches. Now, as then, there is plenty of anger and a strong sense that we’ve had it, that enough is enough.
Continue reading “What happens when enough really is enough?”