"Buildings originally designed for earthquake and emergency zones in Asia and Africa are now being erected in London playgrounds to shield schoolchildren from the noise of aircraft landing at Heathrow. ...
The superadobe design was an invention of the Iranian architect Nader Khalili, originally with a view to lunar settlements but first employed in a refugee crisis after the 1990-91 Gulf war, before answering the needs of west London's noise-afflicted schoolchildren. The buildings can withstand tremors with a magnitude of up to 5.7. Their domes are also immune to the damage occasionally wrought on local homes' tiled roofs by vortices from incoming jets.
The headteacher, Kathryn Harper-Quinn, estimates that when outside, teachers are rendered inaudible to pupils for 25 seconds in every 90. 'I've been very concerned about the effects of the noise on the children's learning,' she said.
In the huts, she added, 'you can still hear the planes but you can also hear your own voice'. She said that as outdoor learning was both valued by teachers and a statutory part of the curriculum, staff had developed strategies to deal with aircraft noise, including the use of whistles to alert children who could not hear when teachers were speaking.
She said it was also important that the adobe structures were a refuge for children outside lesson times. 'When kids are playing they are also developing their language skills, and in the playground again they're being interrupted.'"
(Gwyn Topham, 22 April 2013, The Guardian)
"The future that [Sebastian] Thrun believes in, that has excited him more than self-driving cars, or sci-fi-style gadgets, is education. Specifically, massive online education free to all. The music industry, publishing, transportation, retail - they've all experienced the great technological disruption. Now, says Thrun, it's education's turn.
'It's going to change. There is no doubt about it.' Specifically, Thrun believes, higher education is going to change. He has launched Udacity, an online university, and wants to provide mass high quality education for the world. For students in developing countries who can't get it any other way, or for students in the first world, who can but may choose not to. Pay thousands of pounds a year for your education? Or get it free online?"
(Carole Cadwalladr, Sunday 11 November 2012, The Guardian)
"Charity Invisible Children shone the spotlight on the alleged atrocities carried out by Ugandan guerilla group leader Joseph Kony this week. The charity posted an extraordinary film on Vimeo - but soon found itself under as much scrutiny as Kony. "
(Graham Hayday, 8 March 2012, The Guardian)
"If the story of the Three Little Pigs broke today, how would a modern newspaper cover it? That's the concept behind a new TV ad for The Guardian, the newspaper's first major TV spot for 25 years.
The spot launches a campaign to promote the paper's 'open journalism' approach – its name for the way in which it is attempting to involve its readership in not just commenting on stories, but contributing to and even determining its news agenda. 'Open is our operating system, a way of doing things that is based on a belief in the open exchange of information, ideas and opinions and its power to bring about change,' said Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief of Guardian and MediaGuardian publisher Guardian News & Media. 'The campaign is designed to bring that philosophy to life for new and existing readers.'
The launch ad examines the way in which the tale of the Three Little Pigs might be covered by The Guardian today, with all the different forms of content and different channels that implies. It also seeks to get over the way in which stories develop over time as new facts come to light and the effect of social media on switching the focus of coverage and debate.
An epic two-minute version (shown above) debuted on Channel 4 last night.
Comparisons will inevitably be made with 1986's classic Points of View by BMP (indeed the Guardian itself has said that the new ad is a 'nod' to the old one. They share an endline: The Whole Picture).
But while Points of View got over its message succintly and elegantly, Three Little Pigs is less focussed, less pithy. This can be seen as a reflection of the changing nature of media – newspapers are now less about relating THE story and more about acting as a platform for multiple strands around a topic to be explored by multiple participants, including the readers themselves, in real time. But it makes for a less memorable piece of advertising storytelling.
'The aim is to reach progressive audiences and show them why they should spend time with us,' according to Andrew Miller, chief executive of the Guardian's parent company Guardian Media Group. But you have to wonder whether such progressive types would not be aware of what the Guardian is doing anyway? The ad will probably make existing Guardian readers feel better about themselves, but will its slightly daunting complexity attract many new ones?"
(Patrick Burgoyne, 1 March 2012, Creative Review)
"BMP [Boase Massimi Pollitt] was the Guardian's advertising agency in the mid-80s, when it created one of the most famous British adverts of all time for the newspaper.
The 1986 commercial featured a skinhead who appeared to be wrestling a man's briefcase from his hands. But the camera then cuts and viewers see that he is in fact trying to rescue the man from falling bricks.
'We had some inspirational pitches over the last few weeks but BMP's work really stood out,' said Marc Sands, Guardian Newspapers marketing director.
'Their intuitive understanding of our brands and the demands placed upon them was impressive. We look forward to some fantastic work springing from a genuine partnership.'
BMP will create advertising for the Guardian Unlimited websites as well as for the Guardian newspaper."
(Claire Cozens, 21 December 2000)