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OpenLearn Live: 12th October 2015

Updated Monday 12th October 2015

Meet Eastern Europe's first black mayor, the CD that could destroy the universe - and then more free learning through the day.

OpenLearn Live makes the connections between the worlds we live in, and the worlds of learning and research. There's also a Twitter account.

On Friday, we completed a week of visits to Rutland, found out what former MPs do, discovered this year's Nobel Peace Prize winners and more

See the full collection of OpenLearn Live

Today's posts

On iPlayer now: The Drake Equation

For you to explore when you have a moment - another chance to see the special programme which meets Frank Drake and explores his equation which suggests the likelihood of intelligent life elsewhere (or more satirically, somewhere) in the universe. 

Watch The Drake Equation on iPlayer now

More about The Drake Equation

A foul time for FIFA

The top level of football is in disarray as FIFA continues to lurch from crisis to crisis. But why do we even need a governing body for something like football? Kath Woodward explains:

As global sport becomes more and more competitive and commercialized, the rewards of success place greater pressure on participants especially at elite levels, who are chasing perfection. Contradictions between discourses of fair play and the promotion of social inclusion and citizenship through sporting participation on the one hand and intense competition and the enormous pressure to succeed, especially at elite levels on the other underpin the blurring of boundaries between keeping to the rules and breaking them. In a climate of ever more scientific and technological advances on sports science, especially in the most affluent countries of the world, it is not always clear when interventions are against the rules. Running sports programmes from Silicon Valley may offer unfair advantages to the most prosperous nations may be unfair in that they are so inequitable.

Read: The Rules of the game

BBC Four, tonight, 9pm: The Great British Year - Spring

Is the onset of autumn getting you down? Why not leap onto BBC Four this evening for an burst of spring goodness, courtesy of The Great British Year?

Discover more about The Great British Year

Immerse yourself in Spring

The last CD you will play

There are some CDs you might never want to play again. Norwegian prog artists Gazpacho have released a CD which you might not be able to play again, as it could bring about the end of the known universe. Respectable news source The Quirker explains that a random noise generator they've stuck on as a last track on the Molok album, and the University of Sheffield's Adam Washington says that because the generator could contain enough bits of information to express the number of fundamental particles in the universe. And if it does that, the Quantum Zeno effect would kick in.

That would mean that, as the decay of all particles was being observed, the collapse of particles would freeze - in effect, the universe would get performance anxiety and grind to a halt. This would be terrible for reality, but even worse for the person who would then spend an eternity with a Gazpacho earworm stuck in their head.

The Quirker explains how the music could end the universe

The Quantum Zeno Effect explained

More physics from OpenLearn

FutureLearn this week

Just starting this week over on FutureLearn - a whole batch of free courses:

There are also two courses from the OU launching today - both of which you can also study on OpenLearn. If you'd like a week-driven, social experience, try the FutureLearn versions of Managing My Money and Start Writing Fiction; for an experience where you can set your own pace of study, try Managing My Money and Start Writing Fiction for free here on OpenLearn.

Black Europeans: Peter Bossman

It's Black History Month, and so this week we're putting a focus on black trailblazers from across Europe. First up, meet Peter Bossman. 

Peter Bossman Creative commons image Icon MORS under CC-BY licence under Creative-Commons license

Peter Bossman is mayor of the Slovene town of Piran. A small town on Slovenia's Adriatic Coast, Piran's choice of Bossman for mayor is noteworthy as he's not just the first black mayor of Piran, or of any place in Slovenia. He's Eastern Europe's first black mayor anywhere.

What's perhaps more astonishing is that there are fewer than 250 African immigrants who have made Slovenia their home. Bossman was born in Ghana; he travelled through Europe while young as his father had helped open Ghanian embassies across the continent. He took up a place studying medicine in Yugoslavia after a coup in Ghana sent him into exile.

He had intended to return to Africa after completing his medical studies in Europe but, as often happens, love intervened. Peter met and married Karmen Laković, the couple settling in Piran.

His election attracted both international attention, and international comparisons - he took City Hall in 2010, just two years after Obama had won the White House. But Peter was quick to downplay the comparisons, telling CNN

"I said that I'm flattered by the comparison, but I'm in no way Obama. I'm Peter Bossman, and I'm just running for mayor of a small town," he said.

Had he faced any racism during his rise to power? He didn't think so, reported the BBC:

"There are always small groups of people not accepting people who are different and in the first months after coming to Slovenia I felt that some people did not want to be with us," he said.

"But for the last 10 or 15 years, I experienced nothing like that any more. I have no problems at all and I think people no longer see the colour of my skin when they look at me," he added.

(In fact, he had received criticism during the campaign for what was described as his poor Slovene language skills.) 

Peter Bossman was re-elected for a second four year term in 2014. He intends to return to medicine when his time as mayor ends.

See our Black History Month collection


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