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OpenLearn Live: 7th July 2015

Updated Tuesday 7th July 2015

Opinion, free learning and insight from The Open University and beyond.

Today's Posts


That's it for today

It's been quite a sombre day, for understandable reasons. But we hope something we've chosen to highlight here has sparked your imagination. We'll be back tomorrow because we're quite enjoying the experiment. Follow us on Twitter if you can't spend the whole day refreshing the page in the hope we've added something.


Written London

Just a quick recommendation for a short article on the London of literature, which provides a timely reminder of the richness of the city. It's by Peter Watts from his Great Wen blog:

London books allow you to travel in time as well as space. McInnes’s Soho is the good one, the one we’ve all heard about from the 1950s, when it was still raw, neon-lit, jazz-fuelled and edgy rather than a shallow cluster of over-priced restaurants and drunken daytrippers wondering where all the loucheness has gone (it’s still there, just, in secret drinking clubs and members’ bars hidden behind nameless Georgian façades). And Thomson’s Camden is one on the verge of massive change, a working-class district of pubs and markets that is about to experience the first invasion by the middle-classes that will recondition the area beyond all recognition, setting off a chain reaction of gentrification around London’s inner suburbs from Notting Hill to Islington. For those of us who only know these places in their current incarnation, this stuff has an extraordinary archaeological value that their authors could never have intended, like the background of family photographs that show furniture and fittings everybody forgot about long ago because they never bothered to record them.

Read Know London


What is music without metadata? 

Writing on Medium, Craig Havighurst suggests that Apple's lack of care for metadata has cast music adrift from its historical context, with terrible results:

America is full of young and otherwise contemporary composers and instrumentalists, opera singers and conceptual producers who don’t do “songs” and who work with so many collaborators that it’s almost never clear who the “artist” is. There should be room to credit (and search by) composers, conductors, ensembles and soloists. Jazz recordings may have an “artist” as a leader, but the particular chemistry of the side musicians and the producer is seminal to the nature and sound of the session. Some of us would like to know about producers and engineers. Catalog hopping is much harder than it used to be. Just today I was enjoying an Avashai Cohen album and I wanted to know who the guitar player was and that’s difficult to find out on the open internet. It’s not even hinted at within the Spotify system. It’s ATA all the way.

Read Apple's Last Chance: Will Apple Music truly serve music, or be yet another exclusionary platform for pop?


Have the Millennium Goals missed the target?

The OU's Anna Childs says that while progress has been made, the UN's Millennium Goals have left the poorest no better off:

In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, the report finds the risk of a child dying before her or his fifth birthday is almost 15 times higher than the risk facing a child born in a high-income nation. Accounting for population growth and without a concerted effort for change, UNICEF warns that projections based on current trends in child mortality find that 68 million children under the age of five - a figure equivalent to just over the entire populace of France - will die of mainly preventable causes by 2030.

This and other forecasts in the report suggest that the figures demonstrating improvement against targets and goals have actually obscured a worsening trend among the poorest children in many countries, where the gaps between rich and poor are getting wider.


New discovery suggests a new front in the fight against Malaria

Scientists at Leciester University have identified a way the malaria parasite survives in the blood stream. It could lead to new treatments against the disease.


Tonight, BBC Two, 9pm: The Bank

Our BBC/OU co-production The Bank continues tonight with an episode centred on Lending. Here's a small taste:


How young are you when you start to get old?

Some new research from King's College London suggests that aging process might start for some people while they still think they're young:

A research team from King’s College London and Duke University in the United States has found that the process of ageing is already highly variable among people still in their twenties and thirties, and that those who age more rapidly already show signs of physical decline in their thirties.

In the study, published today in theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the researchers identify 18 biological measures that could be combined to determine whether people are ageing faster or slower than their peers.


Remembering 7/7

How do you design a memorial for a terrorist attack? That question was explored by an episode of our podcast Changing Approaches To Heritage.

The singular and the collective became a defining sort of phrase that carried us through consultation process. And the concept resulted in fifty-two cast stainless steel ingots, located in this particular special place in Hyde Park, each of these ingots representing a life lost. Now these stainless steel castings are arranged into four clusters, with the number of each life lost at each place forming the numbers of the clusters. And in turn blending those clusters together to form a collective composition of fifty-two elements. 

Listen to the full podcast: 7th July bombings memorial

And over on The Conversation, Charlotte Heath-Kelly writes about how the attack changed the way we mourn terror victims in the UK:

The transatlantic relationship between Britain and the US has meant that the UK does not just follow America to war – it also shares in the constitution of post-Cold War Western identity. Terrorism rocketed up the global agenda as the most prominent threat after 2001, so despite a long familiarity with political violence, Britain’s memorial culture changed to incorporate new identity dynamics.

Bad guys kill civilians and we are not bad guys – so memorials serve to mourn those innocent dead while also performing our civilised identity (as compared with the figure of the terrorist).

Read the piece 'How 7/7 changed the way we mourn terror victims' at The Conversation


The Met

Last night saw the last episode of The Met, our series going behind the scenes of modern policing in London.

7th July 2005

The 7th July Memorial in Hyde Park Creative commons image Icon Nick Cooper via CC-BY licence under Creative-Commons license The 7th July memorial in Hyde Park

Today is the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks in London that have become known as 7/7. 


Good Morning

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