The Cambridge Geek

The Boring Talks

This is technically a podcast rather than a radio show, but it sneaked into iplayer so I'm counting it.

The Boring Talks is a collection of short lectures by different experts who attempt to entertain with an obscure topic each programme. The title is obviously designed to be a bit clickbaity, and it grabbed me, so well done on that score.

Unfortunately, after the first two shows, I found the title to be more accurate than perhaps they would have liked.

The first episode is an application of logical reasoning to the first book of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. Steve Cross attempts to use data in the book to determine the exact date on which the Earth is destroyed by the Vogon constructor fleet.

He does this by taking account of information such as the price of a pint, the currency in use and an oblique reference to an Arsenal match. It feels like I really should have enjoyed this, being both a sci-fi geek and a data nerd, but I found myself struggling to care about the analysis, which was rather facile and didn't add anything particularly novel to the text.

The second episode had a slightly greater potential, with Tracy King talking about the algorithms that drive pricing of online goods. These have occasionally gone a bit off the rails, leading to books costing millions of pounds, and flash crashes in stock markets which lead to stocks losing half their value for fractions of a second. Which is why it's a bit of a shame that once again it's not that thrilling. It's effectively news story level detail.

Not a series I'm going to listen to the rest of.

Not recommended.

Tagged: Radio Documentary Monologue Informative Anthology