Delingpole’s latest article http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100190697/hands-off-our-trough-says-wwfs-uk-boss/
led me to look at an organisation called the Finance Innovation Lab, a love child of the WWF out of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.
This organisation was one of the winners of the hilarious Observer/ NESTA 50 New Radicals Award earlier this year. (I’m all for opening charity shops and helping people with dementia, but clearly the word “radical” has changed its meaning since the Observer was founded two centuries ago. A new term will have to be found to describe the French Enlightenment, the Socialist International, and even the economic policy of the new French Government).
According to Delingpole, quoting Richard North, the Finance Innovation Lab is supported by DEFRA, i.e. you, the taxpayer. So I had a look at their website. Here’s what they say about themselves:
We aim to incubate and accelerate new forms of prosperity, for people and planet.
We believe we need to innovate across the whole financial system at once, for change to happen.
We do this in three ways;
1. We incubate new business models, innovation in mainstream and new forms of civil society
2. We accelerate the capacity of leaders to create change
3. We create the wider conditions for change by raising awareness, creating supportive communities and advocating for policy change.
.. and so on. And on and on.
There’s a forum page for interaction. Their last 20 articles have gathered a total of 2 comments, the latest one being in June. So much for the internet as a tool for dynamic interaction. And this is one of the country’s top radical innovators.
I had a quick look at the past twenty articles. There are reports on a conference in Brussels, a dinner/discussion in London, a workshop at the Cabinet Office, and a meeting with a fashion house in Paris; announcements of upcoming events in Singapore and Sweden, an invitation to a breakfast workshop in Rio, and a report on a pop up lab (?) and video game they’re developing.
I turned to NESTA who decided, in partnership with the Observer, that organising breakfast workshops (or should that be workfast breastshops?) in Rio is just about the most radical thing you can do in Britain today. They’ve got a lottery funded website. They say about themselves:
We are the UK’s foremost independent expert on how innovation can solve some of the country’s major economic and social challenges.
The headline item on their news page is last February’s “Britain’s New Radicals Awards”. Clearly innovation isn’t moving as fast as it did in, say, the eighteenth century.
Last night, they hosted a talk by one of their trustees, who is also a member of their Creative Economy Committee, Stephen Emmott, Microsoft Professor of Life, the Universe, and Everything. There’s a video of the talk embedded at http://www.nesta.org.uk/home1/assets/events/nature_and_necessity_of_a_scientific_revolution
Unfortunately technological innovation hasn’t penetrated NESTA. The sound quality is dreadful, Emmott’s reputation as the world’s worst public speaker remains intact, and the pause button and cursor on the video don’t work, so transcribing will be difficult.
Does anyone know a way of remedying this?
The subject of the talk is actually very interesting. It’s about whether the data revolution changes the nature of science. It’s entitled “Nature and Necessity of a Scientific Revolution” (or “Where’s the Effing Pause Button?”)
I shall not be blogging a critique of that talk. I agree with your conclusion.
Brian the Rhetor:
My judgement of Emmott as being the world’s worst public speaker is based on the video of a speech he gave in Holland which is linked at
No, it’s not in Dutch, but it might as well be. His “I-don’t-know-what-I’m-going-to say-but-hey-it-doesn’t-matter-because-you won’t-understand-me-anyway” approach is disarming, and the very opposite of the Nuremberg rally style. Which is nice.
I think it’s telling me that the page is no longer available – which is tragic! I shall ferret away: I need a good laugh. Look out for your friend (and his), Al Gore coming up soon at Rhetauracle. I’m very courteous.
Brian the Rhetor:
Apologies.The Emmott lecture can be found at
I look forward to Gore at Rhetauracle. Wasn’t there a Rhetor in the Greek Anthology? Are you perhaps related? Or am I thinking of Paul the Silentarius?
I’ve never taken to twitter. (Cheep trills for adolescents). But my lasting thanks go to Paul Matthews, who tweeted a link to here at the video link to Emmott’s talk, which resulted in a rush of visits.
Tyros should know that the place to go for everything you wanted to know about Emmott but were too overawed to ask is available at
Just write a tweet with the hashtag #stephenemmott and it will appear alongside mine in the scrolling stream of tweets under the Emmott video 🙂
NESTA’s sound recording technology seems to be roughly at late 1960s levels – which, coincidentally, was when the overpopulation scare was at its height. This audio seems to have been captured by someone in the audience with a mobile phone or similar device, which is why Prof. Emmott sounds far away and the audience’s coughs are loud and clear.
I find internet video difficult to transcribe from, on the whole, and normally I make a recording with Audacity (open-source sound editor), save it as an mp3 and open it in Windows Media Player, which I find much easier to work with.
For people with something urgent to communicate, they’re not doing it that skilfully, I fear. Maybe it’s understandable; I myself have a radical, innovative plan to transform the wealth and technology of the entire planet, and here it is! Listen carefully, it’s (cough, splutter, mumble)…
Many thanks Alex. I’ve downloaded Audacity, but it doesn’t recognise the file. I’ve transcribed the first part of his talk in the following post.
Thanks Geoff for the Emmott link. Oh – my – God! I will tackle it one day, when I’m feeling strong enough. Holding breath would be rash. A rhetor was simply someone who taught rhetoric.
BTW sorry for delay in replying: I’ve only now discovered the ‘notify me of follow-up comments’ check box. – and checked it.
Yes, I know what a rhetor is/was. As it happens, I’m much more interested in late classical literature than I am in climate change. A writer like Nonnos of Panopolis, who converted from Christianity back to paganism in the fifth century is an example to us all. And I’m aware of Greek poets of the Silver Age in the Byzantine Civil Service like Paul the Silentarius and Agathius the Scholastic. I thought there was one called “the Rhetor” (le Rheteur) but I may be wrong..
Well I was a little puzzled… Rhetors aren’t that obscure.
More interested in late classical literature than…? Isn’t it tiresome that so much attention has to be diverted to the AGW scam. I dare not even try to estimate what percentage of my time is devoted to seeking out and reading enough to guard against the relentless flow of lies.
I should like to know more about late classical literature. Could you furnish a reading list, if I asked you very politely?
Glad to. My interest is poetry and mythology. There’s lots of other things, like neoplatonic philosophy and the description of a steam engine by Hippo of Alexandria.
My knowledge comes largely from following up obscure references in Graves’ “Greek Myths”. The following are available in English in Loeb editions:
Nonnos of Panopolis: the Dionysiacs: bizarre celebration of Dionysios’s invasion of India, written after the author’s poetic version of St John’s “Revelations”, suggesting a religious conversion.
Athenaeus: the Deipnosophists: drunken late classical erudition, with reflections on such subjects as perfume, parody, poultry, prostitutes…
the Greek Anthology: collection of poems discovered in the 15th century, divided into Christian, erotic, homoerotic, funerary, descriptions of statues etc.
Philostratus:Imagines: – descriptions of long disappeared paintings
Lucian: Late Greek stand up comedy.
Apollodorus is essential for an understanding of Greek myth, and Frazer’s notes are invaluable. The first three books of Diodorus Siculus are also essential reading for mythology.
Homer’s poems preserve only a small fragment of the story of the Trojan wars. The rest was in the lost poems of the Epic Cycle, fragments of which are preserved in the Loeb edition of Hesiod and the Homerica.
Photios the 9th century Byzantine ambassador to Baghdad preserved a summary of these lost works made by Proclus. Photios’s “Bibliotheca” containing this and other weird works of mythology has ben published in French.
Late Latin authors like the three Vatican mythographers have also been translated into French, as have the Fables and Astronomy of Hyginus.
Some late Latin authors like Lactantius are available in Italian.
Hope that helps.
I think Lucian’s Alexandros pseudomantis the finest comment on the climate wars written to date.
From Lucian’s “Alexander, the False Prophet”:
These ambitious scoundrels were quite devoid of scruples, and they had now joined forces; it could not escape their penetration that human life is under the absolute dominion of two mighty principles, fear and hope, and that any one who can make these serve his ends may be sure of a rapid fortune…
They realized that, whether a man is most swayed by the one or by the other, what he must most depend upon and desire is a knowledge of futurity.
I constantly spent my half an hour to read this blog’s articles or reviews all the time along with a mug of coffee.
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