Quirky Australia

By | Friday December 24th, 2010

I was involved in an interview this past week where the discussion centred around the potential to be overwhelmed by the explosion of data we are experiencing in business and our everyday lives.  The journalists stated, “data is not information – it is meaningless unless you are able to analyse it”.  I agreed and added in the fact there was even a study in the UK where they concluded that the IQ of people who are overwhelmed by data actually decreased by up to 10%!   

So where does that leave us?  We know that we are going to be subjected to more and more data which is going to become more and more difficult to collect and analyse so are we creating our own IQ demise?  Luckily the answer to that is NO!  By planning and using technology available today we are able to keep ahead of this data deluge, and as long as we have processes in place to be able to accurately determine what information has value and what simply creates ‘noise’, we will maintain our lead over the intelligence buster!  

At Teradata we work with our clients to map out all the sources of data they have available to them, the value of that data now and in the future and create a roadmap to help them understand how they can turn this data into insightful information now and in the future.  We call this process building a logical data model
One of the things I wanted to do on the last blog of the year is start sharing some more quirky bits of information derived from what must have been the analysis of a great deal of historical data. Here are some of the more unusual facts about Australia. 
Did you know?

  • The Wombat deposits square poos on logs, rocks and even upright sticks that it uses to mark its territory.
  • Australia’s first police force was a band of 12 of the most well behaved Convicts.
  • In 1832, 300 female Convicts at the Cascade Female Factory mooned the Governor of Tasmania during a chapel service.  It was said that in a “rare moment of collusion with the Convict women, the ladies in the Governor’s party could not control their laughter.”

I’ve made the point in the past that context and detail are very important to turn data into information that can be used. Time and location are also both vital, this will be the topic of more blogs as we discuss the use of these in social media analysis but here is an important one – the research on unusual facts about Australia will probably help me with my citizenship exam.

The timing of my application has been delayed because now as I’m preparing to watch the 4th Test, I am cheering for England in the Ashes!  Surely I can’t apply for citizenship whilst engaging in such un-Australian behaviour! When you apply the context of the fact that I am Scottish, this is not a prediction you would have made, however on further detailed analysis I have a personal connection to one of the English cricket players. That’s about the only way you’ll ever get a Scotsman in Australia cheering for England – Mark has threatened to disown me!

Thanks for allowing my to share my thoughts – we at Teradata wish you and your family a very happy holiday season.  The Teradata ANZ offices will be closed over the Christmas break but we’ll have new thoughts for you the week of January 10, 2011! 


Alec Gardner


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