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The beginning of life as we now know it ...

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 27 Aug 2011, 20:40

It wasn't Adam and Eve, it was Douglas and Stephen, as in Douglas Adams and Stephen Fry.

Fry's account of his love affair with technology through a BBC micro, then early Macs is a wonder.

 

The Fry Chronicles is read by the author on BBC Radio 4.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00vjl1f

 

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Ivan and the dogs

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 22 Oct 2010, 08:00

Ivan and the Dogs

Occasionally I am engaged by a radio play, this one had me parked up for the final 15 minutes. Yes, I can get it on iPlayer, but I enjoyed it on its first outing (I think).

Dickensian, gripping, magic, visual and dramatic.

If I had the means to buy the film rights I'd get them in the bag tonight. This is one for Warner Brothers (does that diminish it). I hope not.

Hatti Naylor's play directed by Paul Dodgson. A Peer Production for BBC. 14h30 Thursday 21st October 2010.

From the BBC iPlayer podcast blurb:

Based on the extraordinary true story of a boy adopted by a pack of wild dogs on the streets of Moscow.

Ivan Mishukov walked out of his drunken, arguing parents flat aged 4 and went to live on the streets of Moscow. There he was adopted by a pack of wild dogs and with them he spent two winters on the streets. When the play begins Ivan is now 11 and has never told anyone of his time with the dogs until one night his foster mother promises another dog if he will tell his story.

The story takes us though the backstreets of Moscow at a time when the idea of life itself was being devalued and where we meet glue-sniffing children who fight for their territory in underground sewers and drunks who will freeze to death in the winter. Amidst this human catastrophe Ivan learns that only his dogs can really be trusted and embarks on an extraordinary relationship of mutual need.

Credits: Ivan: Tom Glenister Cellist: Sarah Moody

Go listen while you can.

Simple, engaging, moving, relevant ...

and if you have children (an 11 year old boy at some stage helps) and have or have had aa dog, you'll love it.

Which probably explains why it caught my attention ... narrowcasting like a rifle at the man with a 12 year old son and a 2 year old nonsense of a fluffy white dog.

(If you are going to write, know your audience, for radio, this is a single person. Is this not the case with all stories? )

Is this not valid for any kind of communication?

 

 

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New Media marketing

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 2 Nov 2012, 19:01

The Bottom Line on Thursday night had guests Alex Cheetle, Jasmine Montgomery and Robin White. They were poked by Evan Davies and consequently shot out words as if from a submachine gun on the topics of new media (social networking largelly) in advertising and marketing and the role of optimism in business.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/i/v1rg1/

 

These are people who pitch for business all the time.

They aren't just at ease with the terminology, but are evangelists. Not being an Opera buff I can't immediately think which one, but these four leaping in and out of each other's conversation felt at time like a scene from an opera. It had might as well have been in German.

Having listened over twice and taken extensive notes certain phrases and ideas are coming through.

I liked being reminded of what 'stickiness' is - nothing more complex than 'loyalty' and 'engagement.'

I am always interested to tag a few more ideas onto my understanding of 'branding,' as I am convinced this will be the deciding factor for most people choosing a product or service. Which is why and how the likes of Google and Facebook continue to dominate, while familiar 'sexy' brands like Adobe may muscle into creative industries education in an even bigger way by offering e-portfolios.

Can we as students reach the stage where we can talk with such enthusiasm and as lucidly about 'e-learning,' and as its the current topic, about 'e-portoflios' in particular?

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Perceptions of time

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 4 May 2014, 12:25

Ian Peacock interviews:

Marcus de Sautoy
Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and Professor of Mathematics


Dr Marc Whitmann, University of Fribourg


David M. Eagleman, Ph.D.
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychology
Department of Neuroscience, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston,


Dr Peter Naish, Senior Lecturer, Psychology, OU

 

How do we percieve time? What makes it seem to pass quickly or slowly?

All here on the BBC iPlayer.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00p2cbz/Tempus_Fugit/

But not for long, just 'til the 6th October.

I liked the idea the 23 students volunteered to jump 300ft from a building into a net to test if they pericieved time passing more slowly when being scared out of the minds.

I like the idea that by working the brain hard you pack more in to time, that you should do things differently, even brushing you teeth with the other hand to make time matter.

I fancy a new country and a new language. France has its attractions.

 

 

 

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How to keep the relentless deluge of information at bay?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 2 Nov 2012, 14:46

'The challenge is not how to get at the news, but how to keep the relentless deluge of information at bay'.

BBC Radio 4. 11.55am 17 September 2010.

And the last thing we should be doing with this deluge of information (generated by ourselves and/or others) is to worry about how to store it.

The last thing on Noah's mind was, 'I need to build a dam to store all this rain'. He wanted to save humanity (and all animal kind) from the deluge, so he made a big boat.

We don't need more repositories and storage devices we need boats that can keep us afloat on this digital ocean, rather than being sunk by it.

From Our Own Correspondent. BBC Radio 4. 11.55.52 am

Annual Summit of 150 World Leaders. Special Gathering to look at the state of world poverty. $100b still needed.

Bridget Kendal reflects on where she was on 6th September of the year 2000.

She was at the UN where the UN Secretary opened the Millennium Summit of the United Nations, there were 100 Heads of State, three Crown Princes  and getting on for 50 Prime Ministers  ... all gathered  to consider the challenges of the year ahead.

'I can tell you where journalists like me were', she says, sounding like Joanna Lumely c 1977, 'burrowing through tapes and tangled wires, struggling to find out about speeches being made in the assembly above, at the time the largest gathering of head of states, computer connections not working, no wireless hand-held devices to help you out, it makes you feel quite hot and anxious just to think about it ...

A decade later', says Bridget Kendal, 'covering UN summits is less of a technological battle, the challenge is not how to get at the news, but how to keep the relentless deluge of information at bay.

If you are looking at ways to store 'the deluge of information' you or others are creating, if you horde every picture taken, every word written then you are trying to build a dam.

Like Noah, you need a boat.

An e-boat.

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4500 hits

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This is OU Land.

Does this mean anything?

There are 350,000 registered OU students.

How many appear here?

Less than 0.5%

How many are active here? Less than 0.005%

Why?

Isn't it obvious.

The platform is five years behind the commercial alternative. This platform should be a roller-coaster of inventive thinking and debate ... it should be ahead of the garbage that is 'social networking.'

If 'Education social networking' is ever going to exist this is the place for it to happen.

The OU is feeding hungry minds into the e-hungry sales profile of others.

 

 

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The use of narrative in e-learning

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 15 Oct 2012, 10:28

I fully buy into the idea of using narrative in teaching.

Without the pyrotechnics of e-technology some imagination from a well informed agent, perhaps assisted by a scriptwriter, could produce a script that is engaging, a journey from which a learner may deviate if something so intrigues them, a pattern with a beginning, middle and end that everyone can follow.

‘Teachers use narrative to teach children difficult concepts and to bring structure to the curriculum.’ Egan (1988)

REF

Bruner (1996.97) ‘Meaning Making’

  • spontaneous inclination to engage in a dialogue with material
  • to improve some form of organisation upon it
  • to make comparison with it

REF

McCloskey, D.N. (1990) Storytelling in economics

Bruner, J.S. (1996) ‘Frames of thinking: ways of making meaning.’ In Olson, D and Torrance, N (eds) Modes of thought. Explorations in culture and cognition, pp. 93-105.

It has been shown that experts in any field tend to embody knowledge in the form of narrative.

Schon, D (1983) The Reflective Practitioner: How professionals think in action.

‘Stories are the method by which people impose order and reason upon the world.’ Fisher. (1987) REF Fisher, W.R. (1987) Human communication as Narration: toward philosophy of reason, value and action.

‘By framing events in a story it permits individuals to interpret their environment, and importantly it provides a framework for making decisions about actions and their likely outcomes.’ Weller. (2009:45)

The framework is the logic of the narrative, the logic of the plot, the role-play of the protagonist (you the learner), the battle you have with antagonists (concepts you can’t grasp) supported by your allies (the community of learners, your tutor and institution) leading to a crisis (the ECA or exam), but resolved with a happy ending (one hopes).

Film-makers, naturally, but also documentary film-makers, bang on about the ‘narrative’ and the ‘story.’

This is how facts, whether naturally linear or not, need to be presented, if an audience, or a larger part of that audience, are to be suitably engaged by a topic.

Some months ago there was a news story concerning how much could be expressed in 40 seconds – BBC Radio 4, Today Programme. Any recollections?

Three experts were called and in turn tried to explain:

1) Bing Bang

2) String Theory

3) The Offside Rule in soccer

Bing Bang was pure narrative, like Genesis in the Bible, with a clear beginning, middle and end.

String Theory had a narrative in they way the theory came about, and just about got there.

The Offside Rule didn't even started well, then got hopelessly lost in ifs and buts and maybes. (I got lost at least. Coming to all three equally ignorant I only came away with full understanding of one, some understanding of the second, and barely a clue with the Offside Rule)

The use of scenarios:

  • as a device for determining functionality
  • as a means for engaging users in the stakeholder’s consultation

Having spent too considerable a part of my working life trying to write original screenplays and TV dramas I am versed in writing themes and strategies, storytelling in three acts, with turning points and a climax, antagonists and protagonists.

I use software like Final Draft and Power Structure.

These tools could as easily be used to compose and craft a piece of e-learning. Perhaps I’ll be given the opportunity to do so.

Narrative … is a useful means of imposing order and causality on an otherwise unstructured and unconnected set of events, but it also means that some detail is omitted in order to fit into the narrative, and other factors are only considered in the limited sense in which they can be accommodated with the narrative.’ Weller (2009:48)

Writing a narrative, for a novel or screenplay, is to some degree formulaic.

Is design of e-learning as straight-forward?

A decade ago it looked complex, five years ago with HTML code package in plug-ins and excellent ‘off-the-shelf’ software coming along the process appeared less out of reach.

Today I wonder if it is more matter-of-fact than some make out?

Addressing problems, devising a plan (a synopsis, then a treatment), threading it together … maybe its having it operate apart from the tutor or lecturer or teacher is what concerns you (teachers, lectures, profs). You are the ones who must learn to ‘let go of your baby,’ to have an actor or presenter deliver your lines. Once, and well. Or write in a team, as writers on a soap opera.

It works to follow the pattern rather than break it.

It strikes me that in e-learning design there may be only a few structures to cover most topics – really, there can only be so many ways to tell/teach/help someone understand a concept … or to do something, and remember the facts, the arguments and concepts … to be able to do it, repeatedly, build on this and even develop an idea independently to the next stage or level.

There is little meat on a popular documentary

There are micro-narratives and their are journeys, some more literal than others, for example, currently there’s a BBC documentary series, ‘The Normans’ and the third or so series of ‘Coast.’

From an educational point of view, what do audiences ‘learn’ from these programmes?

Can they typically recall anything at all, or do we/are we semi-conscious when watching TV, leaning back, not leaning forward, mentally as alert as someone smoking a joint. (Apocryphal or true?)

Try reading the script, try transcribing what is said and look at how far it goes.

Not very far at all.

Such programmes/series can be a catalyst to go to the website or buy the books, but otherwise the information is extremely thin, predictable and ‘safe.’)

If only links could be embedded into the programme so that as you view the programme relevant pages from the Internet wold automatically be called up.

Do you watch TV with a laptop?

Many do. Traders can manage several screens at a time, why not as mere mortals too?It becomes more engaging when you field of vision is nothing but screens, on topic. My preferred way of working is to have two screens, two computers, a mac and a PC, side by side. They do different things, they behave in different ways. I have a team of two, not one.

The medium may introduce a topic or theme, but there is little meat on the bone and we can be swayed by:

  • bias
  • the view of the author/presenter/channel
    • (commissioning editor)
  • negative or positive

(For any longer list of concerns take a course in media studies.)

And if its on a commercial channel there are interruptions for adverts, while even the BBC chase ratings.

Even seen a lecturer take a commercial break

How about the some rich e-learning sponsored by Lucoxade, Andrex or Persil?

This is how schools receive interactive cd-rom and online websites ‘for free.’

REFERENCE

Weller, M. (2007) Virtual Learning Environment. using, choosing and developing your VLE.

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Grayson Perry and Rose Tremain on Creativity

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 26 Oct 2011, 07:45

I meant to share this at the time of the broadcast a month of six weeks ago. Life and an OU TMA got in the way.

Please offer your thoughts and share

These are notes, things I picked out, some reflection on my take on all of this. Perhaps we are like minds? Perhaps not? I'm trying to make sense of it ... I'm not saying I've made sense of it here or in a hundred or more posting on a similar theme that I have made online over the last decade reading the likes of Stephen Pressfield, Norman Mailer and Ben Okri, even David Ogilvy) who amongst many creatives have chosen to share their wisdom with the wider world.

To be successful and creative is a rare thing, it isn't simply a result of luck or talent or endeavour ... a mind might be able to self-regulate and focus once it has found its medium and voice, but just as helpful are those around you who create parameters, who set deadlines, who chase you with a stick or reward you with a carrot.

In this BBC Radio 4 broadcast Grayson Perry explored the myths and misconceptions of creativity.

What does it take?

Like all things, hard work and single-mindedness.

From my point of view I see myself as a Catherine Wheel that has been lit and fallen of its stand - I spit and twist, sending out ideas all over the place. Not the best way forward.

The Myths and Misconceptions were:


  • The Eureka Moment (Spoke to Terry Pratchet)
  • Anyone can do it (Spoke to Rose Tremain)
  • Drugs are good for you. (But not for Satre)
  • A bid mad
  • Britain's got talent (Spoke to Hussein Shelian)
  • Creative Genius
  • Need to have suffered an early trauma (Ray Talis)


We are reminded the 'creativity' is a central part of the UK economy.

For 17 years I actively contributed to this. My wilderness years, the last eight, have resulted in very little output (if that means getting it out of the front door). I stack it. I'd prefer to see these ideas compost and die than give my ideas to the world.

It is essential that creativity has institutional underpinning.

How will this manifest itself with the cuts to arts funding now being proposed by the coalition government in the UK.

or is it necessary. Whilst education in the UK has its faults it nonetheless appears to favour and permit the individual so that talent can develop. This must be the state system, private schools are a sausage machine for exam results, they have to be given what parents are forking out.

'Creativity is mistakes.'

Says Grayson Perry, he has this carved into concrete across the mezzanine floor of his studio. You try, you fail, you try again. I would like to suppose I haven't tried hard enough to fix my failures (or what I perceive as failures). At time though I feel if I keep on trying I would eventually strip back a 90,000 novel to a few words.

Imaginative power is 'looking, looking, looking' to which Rose Tremain added, it is 'listening, listening, listening.'

I'm a looker, so I don't know how I've ended up writing.

You can never be fully relaxed on holiday.

I do, but sailing and skiing do occupy your head if you fall off cliffs and like to race dinghies. Moments of near-death are exhilarating, as those times the elements sweep you along.

I hate the computer as a writing tool, this facility to edit does me no favours. yet a writer Grayson interviews said the computer allowed him to write, that until then he had no way to start straight in with a few thoughts, some scenes (like episodes in a film), and assemble it all in a non-linear way.

I've worked so hard with programmes like Power Structure and Final Draft but somehow always tie myself in knots trying to add or remove a character or scene or changing the ending or beginning.

'Letting go at the end - that's as good as it will get.' Says Rose Tremain.

A year of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and my last session was driving me to 'finish something.' I can, but there needs to be someone with a stick harrying me along, a reward at the end would help, reassuring words along the way too ...

My notes here (a month or so after the broadcast) say something about 'investigating in a way that is new and aiding their creativity by giving them love and boundaries.'

I would run with a lover, with the intensity of an unfulfilled affair. Something to make the heart race. I once spent a day drawing a girl I lusted for ... she was happy to be naked for me. I compelled myself into a state of denial without able to control my arousal. It all went into the drawing, the excited, confident marks across the page.

What about the University of East Anglia Creative Writing Course?

I've locked at the details and would be applying for 2011. Don't have the money. Anyone want to sponsor me? In return for a percentage of the royalties that would of course come about a year or two later?

Pretty please?

Or the MA in Fine Art at Sussex University?

'A life's work without any expectation of reward.'

My wife caught this line and said that was me. She should know, she's not had much out of me these last eight years. The novels I promised to write were written, but are considerably short of an edit I would send out. I would need to shut myself away from everything for 12 weeks.

Do you have somewhere I could hide?

Exam conditions six to nine hours a day, seven days a week. Not any man made disturbance - nature I can tolerate, nature I love. A hermitage on Farnes island would do, a ski lodge up a mountain pre-Season. somewhere. An empty barn, drained swimming pool, decommissioned nuclear power station.

Impulsive ideas that I run with:


  • A chess set made out of branded bottles of water.
  • Every ski run in the Ski Resorts of Val d'Isere and Tignes reconstructed as transects showing their true length and fall.
  • A short film about watersprites living in a public swimming pool
  • Story ideas galore for TV series or film.
  • A 6ft canvass of Lewes Castle in the snow from a series of photographs that could have been taken 800 years ago.

'When you are creating something you are drawing on so many parts of the brain.'

This was in response to someone with an MRI scan who claims to have identified creativity. It doesn't work like that, indeed, the creative mind goes more slowly ... it takes it times over these connections. It thinks, how else could it ever deliver anything original?

So when yo relax, you let go, that is when you have your great ideas. I resolved the ending to a story I haven't touched for three years on a dog walk so long I found worried messages on the mobile phone I had left in the car. My mobile is rarely on.

'The distressful bread of the day to day.' Said Rose Tremain.

Did I get that right?

Grayson Perry talked about his Inner Shed.

I have my inner shed, what I need is a 'room of my own.' It's hard to be creative perched on the end of the marital bed in a tiny room that is stacked to the ceiling with possessions that call for occupancy of a house twice the size.

Fretting over the non-blog affordances of the OU Blogging environment I have moved to EduBlogs where you will find me under 'Mymindbursts.'

Should institutions such as the OU ditch their own platforms and assemble the best off the shelf offerings in one place? What this environment lacks is personalisation, as well as stats, friends, freedom to add apps and plug-ins and all the rest of it.

This is a De Dion Bouton in the age of the E-type Jag.

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Piper Alpha - Disaster on an oil and gas platform in the North Sea, July 1988

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Piper Alpha - Disaster on an oil and gas platform in the North Sea, July 1988

Background / What Happened


A series of explosions and an oil fed fire on the Piper Alpha oil and gas platform in the North Sea on 6th July 1988, 120 miles Northeast of Aberdeen, killed 167 men. (Wikipedia, 2010)

Also see the moving BBC Documentary of 1989 'Spiral into Disaster.

An avoidable gas leak, followed by an explosion, that compromised other safety measures led to further cataclysmic and fatal explosions, which were compounded by a sequence of failures in safety procedures that weren't suitably 'joined-up' or authorised at a junior level. The explosions and following fire led to the death of 167 men, the loss of one rig and the closure of two others.

Lessons learnt should have resulted in a permanent shift in health & safety procedures in the oil & gas industries; events in the Gulf of Mexico would suggest otherwise

Oil production stared in 1976 on Piper Alpha with about 250,000 barrels of oil per day produced, increasing to 300,000 barrels. In 1980 the rig was converted to gas recovery ... wherein lies one of the causes of the disaster. Poor repurposing where safety was compromised.

The Piper Alpha platform comprised four modules which were initially separated by firewalls with the most dangerous operations distant from the personnel areas. The firewalls were 'firewalls' only - they were not designed to withstand gas explosions. When the rig was converted to gas some dangerous operations ended up being placed close to one of the command 'module.'

Because the platform was completely destroyed in the explosion and fire of July 6, 1988 and so many died, the chain of events leading to the disaster can only be suggested. (Wikipedia, 2010).

It reads like the run up to the sinking of the Titanic, a series of minor errors of communication and procedures comprising more series failings meaning that a single event quickly results in a cascade of other, often cataclysmic failures.

The were two pumps, A & B. The pressure safety valve on Pump A was removed for routine maintenance and replaced with disc of metal (a blind flange) with instructions that this pump must not be switched on under any circumstances. The work on maintaining the pressure safety valve was not completed when the next shift came on at 6.00pm and poor communication (failure of communication of something so important as 'DO NOT operate Pump A' failed to get through to the duty custodian. This would have not been a problem, and perhaps this situation had arisen before, but because chance would have it that Pump B lost pressure the need to operate Pump A arose. Not finding any communication to say otherwise, indeed, confusingly finding a docket that said the Pump was due for shut down for some other maintenance reason shortly, it was assumed to be OK. Fatal. When pump B stopped suddenly the Manager had only a few minutes to bring Pump A back online, otherwise the power supply for the offshore construction work that these pumps supplied would be compromised. Not being aware that there was no safety valve on Pump A and that it had been replaced temporarily with a disc of round metal across the pipe, when it came online, overpressure caused this loosely fitted disc to give way. Although six gas alarms were triggered the gas ignited before anyone could act. Further compromises in the safety system facilitated further explosions resulting in the gas line melting which released 15-30 tonnes of gas every second into the fire ... which was soon being fed by oil from two separate rigs that shared a communal oil pipe. The accommodation module where most of the men who were killed were sheltering, collapsed into the North Sea

Main Causes


106 safety recommendations were made coming out of Cullen enquiry which suggests there were almost as many causes for the disaster.

Occidental had a superficial attitude to safety the enquiry states.

‘I wouldn’t put it above or below other disasters. There’s an awful sameness about these incidents. They are nearly always characterised by lack of forethought and lack of analysis and down to poor management. It’s not just due to one particular person not following a procedure or doing something wrong. You always come back to the fact that things are sloppy, and ill-organised and unsystematic right from the top of the company downwards.’
Dr Tony Barrell, Former Chief Exectuvie North Sea Safety

I see it as a domino cascade in which each domino is twice the size of the one before ... the first domino is nothing more than a piece of paper not getting into the hands of the person who mattered, with the last domino being the collapse of the accommodation module into the sea. The BBC docu-drama on the subject was titled ‘Spiral into Disaster.’ There was an interesting interview with the former Chief Executive of North Sea Safety.

There are many contributing factors.

There was or can be ... and there was in this case, ‘a conflict between production and safety.’ Dr Tony Barrell, Former Chief Exectuvie North Sea Safety

Occidental new from a report published the previous year that there was potential for a high pressure gas explosion of such magnitude that it would be unstoppable.

* Pressure valve Pump A removed, this procedure poorly communicate to those who mattered.
* A second docket had been approved to take Pump A out for two weeks for routine maintenance. Failure to link these two permits proved disastrous.
* Replaced with ill fitting/unsuitable metal disc.
* Change of shift further compromising the failure in communication.
* Failure to ensure the new shift manager understood the state of Pump A 'because he was busy.'
* Simply put, the ‘procedures collapsed.’
* Loss of pressure in Pump B. It repeatedly failed to start risking the drill in operation getting stuck and all kinds of financial compromises and problems this leading to the necessity of calling in Pump A – which would not have happened had the docket saying it MUST NOT be started been seen.
* The pressure of gas once pump A came on was so great that it leaked  passed the temporary metal plate.
* The safety valve that had been removed was sighted 15ft up and out of sight – otherwise someone may have noticed that this vital piece of equipment was missing.
* The first explosion
* Compromised by
* a) 1 of 2 parts of the automated fire fighting ‘deluge’ system on manual as for 12 hours of the day divers were in the water. (If activated the system would have possibly sucked them into the water drenching system). It was switched over regardless of where divers were working – on other rigs it would be isolated only where the divers were working, and only when they were in the water – not for longer, indiscriminate periods.
* b) proximity of a dangerous appliance to the command module (a failure in rig design when it was repurposed from oil to gas in 1980)
* c) modules not built to resist gas explosion, but only fire.
*  Two men attempted to reach the deluge system to activate it. They left the accommodation block risking their lives ... and were never seen again.
* oil was being fed from two nearby rigs into a communal pipe. Due to loss of pressure on Piper Alpha this oil was drawn INTO the fire, feeding the flames which instigated such a powerful explosion that is engulfed the accommodation block and killed two rescue workers in a craft at the rig's base.
* riggers on these other two platforms felt they had no authority to shut off the oil that was evidently feeding the flames that were nearly 100m high. This delay because they felt inhabited from acting without the OK from senior managers who were hard to contact (on land) ... sounds like junior officers being unable to take the initiative from their generals in the First World War!
* Flames and smoke were being blown across the heli-deck preventing any rescue from here.
* Whilst fortuitous that the Occidental fire fighting vessel Tharos was at Piper Alphas it had to compromise on the powerful water cannons a) which were started to fast, jammed and had to be restarted over a ten minute period and b) they could put into operation as being hit by this powerful shot of water would kill a person c) the bridging crane would take an hour to extend to the platform ... when the next huge explosion occurred release 3 tonnes of gas per second, the Tharos had to retreat.
Those from the accommodation block who survived had ignored what little safety training they had been given, made their way under the rig and eventually jumped the ten storeys into the North Sea – some survived this, not all.

Main Effects Short Term


* 167 men killed.
* 167 grieving families and funerals.
* A memorial statue in an Aberdeen Park.
* An enquiry.
* New safety procedures adopted.
* Responsibility for safety on the rigs taken from the Department of Energy and put into to the Department of Health & Safety.

The Cullen enquiry concluded that the initial condensate gas leak was the result of maintenance work being carried out simultaneously on a pump and related safety valve. The second phase of enquiry made 106 recommendations for changes to North Sea Safety procedures, all of which were accepted by the industry (though you wonder what BP have been doing the last decade)

Occidental sank the remains of the Piper Alpha rig a year after the disaster and sold its interests in North Sea oil & gas exploitation.

Main Effects Long Term

Health & Safety measures and standards improved ... across the industry?

Billions spent on redesigning and improving the North Sea platforms. And all offshore platforms?
Putting in seabed shut off valves.
Lifeboats brought under the accommodation blocks

‘So much has been learnt from it, at least future events will have been prevented.’ Dr Tony Barrell, Former Chief Exectuvie North Sea Safety (Until 2010)

There are typically 10 gas escapes of the type they initiated the disaster on Piper Alpha a year ... it’s taken 22 years for another disaster on the scale of Piper Alpha to occur again.

Creation a the Piper Alpha Package .. . yours for $595. Obviously a price BPs' training and/or heath & safety department haven't been willing to play.

Health & Safety

'Important to think the unthinkable.' Dr Tony Barrell, Former Chief Exectuvie North Sea Safety


Not inclined to spend a lot of money on things that are considered extremely unlikely ever to occur.

Local Impacts

Any oil on the North East coast? Not aware of any

(Though as a child enjoying these beaches in the 60s there were patches of oil washed ashore from time to time that killed birds and threatened the bird sanctuaries and grey seal of the Farnes Islands).

Minimal. The North Sea Oil & Gas continued to thrive as long as there was/is oil and gas to retrieve and a market for it.

A number of men from Aberdeen and Oban involved in the rescue attempts receiving the George Medal for bravery.

A play 'Lest we forget' recalling the events of the disaster being performed on the 20th anniversary.

Global Impacts

The oil industry has had to pump more into health and safety .... more than it and its shareholders would have liked?

BP has set $20bn aside to alleviated the impact on the Gulf Coast. How will other oil companies behave? How will the insurance industry respond?

Substantial sums will now be set aside to alleviate future potential environmental impacts.
Offshore oil exploration has had a set back.

Will this see more emphasis going into nuclear ?

Things that have changed as a result of that event


Not enough, evidently.

As above, in theory 106 changes in practice.

  • Better Health & Safety.
  • Fewer tragedies of this magnitude.
  • Shareholders don't get a dividend.
  • The BP CEO might find he's dipping into his £10.8m pension pot earlier than planned.

 

Permalink 3 comments (latest comment by Lucy Hollingworth, Saturday, 26 Jun 2010, 13:13)
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Design Museum

The Cognitive Interview

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 13 May 2010, 16:04

Pure serendipity but I have caught this documentary twice in the last couple of weeks on UK terrestrial TV.

So insightful on the way the human mind works. How such tiny nuances of sensory information can help us recollect genuine memories ... or to create false memories.

There is relevance here.

How does the mind gather and retain and use information ? And how can the trivial take on extraordinary importance. And importantly, what is the effect of online-learning that deprives us of some important memory-binding tools.

What do you think?

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Design Museum

Second time round

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 29 Aug 2011, 12:50

Frank Cotterell-Boyce the English playwright and author was featured on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs a few weeks ago. He remarked that as a boy he was held back in the final year at Primary School because he was too young. Far from being a negative experience he said that it empowered him - he had done it all before, of course he knew the topics.

I feel as if I should sign up for 'Innovations in E-learning' H807 next year, not just to get my head around the topic more fully (its a gargantuan topic on which you could never know enough) but because by then there will of course be new innovations to talk about.

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Design Museum

What use is Rogers when in explaining innovations

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 31 Jan 2013, 06:48

Rogers Criteria of assessment:

1) Relative advantage
2) Compatibility
3) Complexity
4) Trialability
5) Observability

DOKI & iTV (WAYL) were chased intuitively – if a client would back it, then it was ok. This chase continued with projects developed to support equally speculative broadcast / internet linked projects. From a business perspective this was encouraging clients to chase chimera.

We should have know better and offered value in money made or saving made ... networking for the NHS was developed within their far more cautious framework. The advantages had to be apparent and the transition compatible. Though apparently complex the technology & the players were in place to take the next step. It could be trialled at a limited number of outlets and observations shared with the team.

The relationship with Ragdoll was different again; all they wanted was a website. We tried to steer them towards something that would be a credible tool for selling product (their programmes & merchandise). We all got tantalised by the creative opportunities.

With FTKnowlege it was another leap in the dark, feeling their brand name could be instantly attached to a distance learning MBA programme and feeling their was a need to get in their first. The view being that not to do otherwise would see other Amazons and the like taking a huge market share.

REFERENCES

Kaye, R. and Hawkridge, D. (eds) (2003) Learning and Teaching for Business: Case Studies of Successful Innovation, London and Sterling, Kogan Page.

Rogers, E.M. (2003) Diffusion of Innovations (5th edn), New York, Simon and Schuster.

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