OpenLearn Live digs into the Secret Santa sack of online learning and research and finds the things you'd probably choose for yourself. This page will be updated across the day.
You'll have heard John Lennon's Imagine. But does listening to Lennon ponder what life would be like if there was a brotherhood of man actually make people behave differently?
Some researchers in Wurzburg wanted to find out, and so watched what happened when customers in a coffee shop were played "pro-social" songs like Imagine, and invited to pay a small surcharge for a fair-trade version of a product.
The effect of this brief exposure to prosocial songs was quite remarkable. The percentage of customers who opted for the more expensive fair trade coffee option doubled when they head prosocial songs! Only 18% of customers hearing the neutral playlist were willing to pay the extra 0.30 Euros – even though they had also seen the information board about the benefits of fair trade coffee – but 38% of the customers hearing prosocial songs opted for the fair trade option.
I'm typing this using a really terrible keyboard - partly my fault, and a decade of crumbs and fingers which still exert the pressure they learned to operate a manual typewriter with; partly because it's a keyboard so old it's surprising it doesn't have runes on it. But work going on in America may set us free from the need for a keypad at all... A monkey has been taught to type using thought. And that opens up a whole world of possibilities.
Yes. This is the part of OpenLearn that is prepared to commit to the "aah, Vienna" pun. This week, we're starting off each day with a story from Austria's capital, to celebrate our series on BBC Four on Thursday nights, Vienna: Empire, Dynasty and Dream.
First, to the turn of the 20th Century, and the Wiener Werkstätte community of artists.
This production community was rooted in the Vienna Secession, a group who - in 1899 - rejected the strictures of the Viennese art establishment and embraced the inspiration of William Morris and the Arts And Crafts movement. The Wiener Werkstätte was a logical next step - a group working together to bring art to the everyday object.
Founded in 1903, the three founders of the Werkstätte were Josef Hoffman, a young architect; the artist Koloman Moser and, crucially, Fritz Waerndorfer. Waerndorfer was a successful industrialist, so had both the capital to finance the project, but also the skills to make it (initially, at least) commercially viable.
Here, from the Rest Is Noise event, is Charlotte Ashby of Birkbeck's capsule history of the movement:
By the 1920s, the community started to fracture - attempts to franchise out around Europe failed; money started to dry up and the global Depression was enough to kill the idea.
The products, the works, though, live on - and many can be seen as part of the MAK collection.