Wednesday, April 17, 2024

BIG team making big waves

Please indulge me while I help explain how in just 8 months our little startup has managed to make a BIG impact on the media scene.

With plenty of assistance from co-founder Laurie Weston, I constructed what I believed to be a heck of a business model that would allow us to introduce new levels of truth and accuracy in news reporting. Then the team at Innovative Digital Solutions helped build a beautiful, high-functioning site that includes an exceptional newsfeed and member-engagement platform.

Prohibiting advertising, special-interest funding, and political affiliation is an important element, but the key was finding the right contributors. We needed writers capable of aggregating and interpreting data at the highest level. They would need to present their findings logically and without spin.

My team is more proficient at these things than I dreamt possible. Below is a rundown of this special contingent with links to some of their best work. Every writer is a scientist except for the journalist/jock in the bottom-right corner of the adjacent image. Behind the scenes are our highly talented and reliable production editor Ernest Granson and keen Cal Poly journalism student Sofia Clark, who assists with editorial and marketing matters.

As you will see in the bios, our writers are not your typical journalists. They are accomplished scientists who aim not to shock, but to inform you regarding the most pressing issues.

Left to right, top row:

Lee Hunt – Author of the fantasy fiction Dynamicist Trilogy , renowned geophysicist, CSEG Distinguished Lecturer, rock climber, and ironman triathlete. Lee brings to the table expertise in data and writing in serving up BIG Scoops including “Examining the ethics of triage in a pandemic“, “Prisoner’s dilemma and vaccination “, “Predicting vaccination rates and outcomes for the Delta variant“, “Examining the effectiveness of restrictions and the path to COVID eradication“, “Understanding vaccine effectiveness and breakthrough“, “Taking a long-term view of the decision to vaccinate“, and “Bill C-36: hate, truth, and the return of the tribunal“.

Laurie Weston – Co-founder and scientific strategist for BIG Media with more than three decades of international experience as a geophysicist. She is a distinguished lecturer and president of Sound QI Solutions Ltd., a data analysis software and services company she founded in 2007, and a fantastic writer. Her data-driven, logic-laden pieces on critical matters include “Climate change and energy: context for the great debate“, “Putting global emissions in perspective“, “Funeral for a glacier“, “Where did the flu go – and do we miss it?, “COVID calculations – applying statistics to COVID-19 testing“, and “Assessing the relative lethality of COVID-19 – a Canadian case study“. Laurie has also written a beautifully insightful three-part series on science: “Science – there is method to the madness“, “Manipulating science – activism and advocacy“, “Science and morality – ethics and judgment“.

Brad Hayes – PhD in geology from the University of Alberta and president of Petrel Robertson Consulting Ltd., a geoscience consulting firm addressing technical and strategic issues around oil and gas development, water resource management, helium exploration, geothermal energy, and carbon sequestration. He is an adjunct professor in the University of Alberta Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. Brad is the consummate critical thinker who habitually takes into account various viewpoints while formulating rational commentary on the hot topics related to energy and the environment. He is regularly seen engaging in constructive debate and brings many of his best arguments to BIG Media readers in an assortment of astute articles, including “Sea level is rising; should we be worried?“, “Energy prices climb – no surprises here“, “Taking a critical look at the ‘Great Pacific Plastic Patch’“, “Global oil resources – how much is left and do we have enough?“, “Reaching agreement in a polarized world“, “What the International Energy Agency is actually telling us“, “It’s time to start setting realistic goals for energy transition“, and “Scientific and realistic views on climate policy – a lesson from Scott Tinker“.

Brian Russell – Co-founded HampsonRussell Software with Dan Hampson in 1987. HampsonRussell is now a subsidiary of CGG, where Brian is VP GeoSoftware. He is involved in the research of new AVO (amplitude versus offset), rock physics, inversion, and machine learning techniques. He gives presentations on seismic theory and software throughout the world. Brian has a PhD in geophysics and is an adjunct professor in the Department of Geoscience at the University of Calgary. He brought his mathematical prowess to BIG Media readers with these great reads: “The numbers game – conquering confusing card quizzes and investigating information theory” and “Bayes’ Theorem and the probability of having cancer“.

Left to right, bottom row:  

Oliver Kuhn – Geophysicist, and president & CEO of Quantec Geoscience Ltd., a geophysical survey company that specializes in the acquisition, inversion, and interpretation of electromagnetic data, primarily for the mining and geothermal sectors. He enjoys writing from a scientific perspective, with a goal of making the science behind things understandable to non-experts. Oliver’s skillful penmanship brings history to life in BIG stories such as “Examining the great Spokane Flood yields many lessons“, and “Returning to our WEIRD roots“.

Jesse Keith – Engineer with an economics and data science background whose expertise lies in project evaluation, planning, development, and improvement. His skillset is interdisciplinary and crosses boundaries between technical analysis, economics and data science. He enjoys digging into problems to find new ways of solving them. His brilliant three-part series on the state of renewable energy is a must-read: “Renewable energy – renewing hope or struggling to cope“, “Renewables Part 2: cost and economic viability“, and “Renewables Part 3 – assessing the technological capability of wind and solar“.

Skye Thompson – currently studying veterinary school in the U.K., Skye is someone who loves adventuring, jamming to music in her car, and learning about anything she can. In her spare time writing, Skye aims to offer strong analysis and unique perspective to current issues. She certainly did so in these reports on the biggest of topics: “COVID context – how concerned should we be about dying from this virus?“, “Face the facts – diving into the science of masks, and “Mask media – research is mixed but provides valuable lessons“.

Rob Driscoll – NOT a scientist but he makes up for any intellectual shortcomings by playing a lot of beach volleyball. He is an award-winning journalist who tends to be pretty good with logic, and will try to tickle your funny bone on occasion. A bit of an odd duck who writes of himself in third person, Driscoll is decent with numbers, having learned in university the value of applying pi-r-squared to determine which size of pizza offered the best bang for limited bucks. He sticks to opinion pieces such as “The hunt for the perpetrators behind the latest Facebook fiasco” and “The Top 5 Ways Mainstream Media Pull the Wool Over Our Eyes“, and humour columns including “Hey Doc – am I nuts?“, “BIG Media Labs announces game-changing invention” and “LOGIC: proprietary solution kills trolls dead“.


Rob Driscoll
Rob Driscoll
Rob Driscoll is co-founder and president of BIG Media Ltd. He is a writer and entrepreneur who is deeply committed to elevating the level of coverage of our society's most pressing matters as well as the level of respect in public discourse.

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