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OpenLearn Live: 10th July 2015

Updated Friday 10th July 2015

Something to think about, as we dip into free learning, new thinking and interesting research from around OpenLearn and beyond.

Remember, if you've better things to do than gaze at this page hoping for updates, you can keep in touch with us on Twitter at OpenLearnLive.

Yesterday's OpenLearn Live included Sapphire And Steel, royalty, the budget and maths teaching

The next OpenLearn Live is 13th July 2015

Today's Posts

That's it for today - and, indeed, this first, experimental week of OpenLearn Live. Thanks for joining us, and we hope you've found something to interest you across the week. There's every chance we'll be back with another one of these on Monday.

Plankton eating plastic

For the first time, plankton has been filmed eating plastic waste. Which is simultaneously a triumph of science in capturing the footage, and a depressing vision of just what a mess we've made of the planet:

Read more about the film at New Scientist

Read polar plankton: indicators of climate change

Using Twitter as a data source

There's a brilliant piece by Wasim Ahmed on the LSE's Impact Blog where he offers social scientists keen to mine social networks for sentiment analysis a great list of tools they can use. He also observes that some popular networks are easier to explore than others:

By searching for relevant software, I have noticed that there are very few tools that can be used to obtain data from other social media platforms such as, Pinterest, Goolge+, Tumblr, Instagram, Flickr, Vine, LinkedIn, and Amazon among others. Regarding this, I would like to see more software for those in the social sciences to obtain data for a range of platforms and including a range of data i.e., web links, images, and video. At the Masters and PhD level there should be more emphasis on training for social science students in effectively using existing software that can be used to capture data analyse data from social media platforms. 

A cynic might wonder if there's very much sentiment at all to be mined over on Google+, but it'd be interesting to know if there are more tools for networks which are easy to mine, or for ones which are more worthwhile to explore.

Read Using Twitter as a data source: An overview of current social media research tools

Riot mapping and social media

Returning service: A short Wimbledon reading list

This weekend sees the finals of the Wimbledon tournament - and so good news whether you prefer tennis (where you'll have an exciting weekend) or Pointless, which will be back on Monday.

If you do like tennis, you might find some, more, or all of these interesting:

From The Conversation: Is Serena Williams the greatest of all time?

Is sibling rivalry a key part of sporting success?

Curt Rice on how Amelia Mauresmo smashed a glass wall by coaching Andy Murray

From The Conversation: Wimbledon by the numbers

From Warwick Business School: Why Wimbledon tennis balls have travelled 50,000 miles before their first service


Listen over lunch: Think

A quick round-up of some of the topics that were covered on KERA's Think programme this week - available to listen to online, if you're looking for something stimulating while you eat whatever it is you've brought for lunch today. And there's some more suggestions of things to read on similar topics.

Taylor Stevens on making it as a novelist

(Related free course: Start writing fiction)

The Buzz on bees

(Related activity: Help bees in your garden)

The legacy of Dadism

(Related: Duchamp)

Scandanavians have problems, too

(Related: Norway language and culture)

The five million pounds of rock nobody noticed disappearing

Half Dome, Yosemite Park Copyright free image Icon Copyright free: Public Domain Image Half Dome, before it became a little less than half

A massive chunk of Half Dome in the Yosemite Valley Park slid away sometime last week; it wasn't until some climbers went to tie a rope to the rockface that anyone noticed.

Half Dome is a granite extrusion, and, every so often, some of that granite just gives way:

Since then, the dominant process shaping the granite extrusions of Yosemite Valley has been exfoliation. This is exactly what it sounds like: thin flakes of rock sloughing away. “Rock will expand or contract as it heats and cools,” says [Greg] Stock, Yosemite’s chief geologist. That means it swells out when the sun is up, and shrinks in the shade or nighttime. But the heating is never even—because the sun hits different parts of the dome at different times. Or not at all. The inner layers of the Half Dome don’t get nearly as hot, so the expanding outer sections start to form inner cracks that run parallel with the dome’s face.

Read 2,500 Tons of Rock Fell Off Half Dome and Nobody Noticed at Wired

A ten-second guide to granite

The rock cycle

New free course: What is strategy?

We've just launched a new management course, What Is Strategy? If you're planning to lead an office putsch, plot a business in a new direction, or simply change the way you do things, this course could be for you:

As plan, a strategy can be a ploy; too, really just a specific ‘maneuver’ intended to outwit an opponent or competitor. The kid may use the fence as a ploy to draw a bully into his yard, where his Doberman pinscher awaits intruders. Likewise, a corporation may threaten to expand plant capacity to discourage a competitor from building a new plant. Here the real strategy (as plan, that is, the real intention) is the threat, not the expansion itself, and as such is a ploy.

Might be best to complete the course before your colleagues and competitors do.

Try What Is Strategy?

Good morning

Salt Lake City Creative commons image Icon Skyguy141 under CC-BY-SA licence under Creative-Commons license

Day five, which means we've gone longer than the working week for Utah state employees between 2008 and 2011. They were the lucky recipients of an experiment in four-day working. The original idea was to try and save money on fuel bills. Those savings didn't show up, as the drop in energy prices in the US hit the original assumptions, but workers did turn out to be more productive and happier while the experiment lasted.

Read Utah finds surprising benefits in four day workweek

Read Utah ends 4-day work week

The dream of a four day week isn't over yet, though - at least for our kids; there's still a lot of interest in whether a four day week could boost children's performances at school.

Read Possible impact of four day week on Colorado schools





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