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OpenLearn Live: 15th February 2016

Updated Monday, 15th February 2016

The city which created both "no bail, jail" and "Snap, Crackle and Pop" & reactions to the death of US Supreme Court Justice Scalia. Free learning from across the day.

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OpenLearn Live explores how free learning connects to your world. This page will be updated across the day.

On Friday, we completed a week of Welsh leaders, thought about love and explored the German landscape

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Today's posts

Playing hardball can backfire

Does taking a firm, even aggressive, line in negotiation yield results? Well... maybe not, according to some new research. The BPS Research Digest reports on an experiment designed to see if strong-armed arguments yield results. They do, but there's a sting in the tale:

Rachel Campagna and her colleagues began by asking participants they’d recruited through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk website to imagine they were considering taking on a freelance task, and that they had to use online messages with the prospective employer to reach a settlement on how much they’d be paid, up to a maximum of $50. The employer messages were scripted with either a neutral, positive or angry tone to them; for instance in the angry script, one of the messages that was given in response to any offer from the participants was “this is really getting on my nerves”. Enduring these angry messages led participants to become angry in response, and to feel less trusting towards the employer – no surprise, as the angry script gave little indication that the employer had the participants’ best interests at heart.

At the end of the negotiation, most of the 140 participants took the final offer of $25, regardless of the tone of the conversation. But then the participants received a second counter offer from a different employer – $25 for completing the same type of task for them. Now the emotional treatment mattered: of the participants who received angry messages, over half took the new offer, reneging on the first, whereas only 17 per cent of those in the other conditions did so. The reason for bailing on the first employer was trust – the less the participants said they trusted that employer, the more likely they were to switch.

Read the full report at the BPS Research Digest: Using psychological negotiating tricks can blowback on you

See more from OpenLearn on psychology 

After Antonin Scalia: A short reading list

The death this weekend of US High Court justice Antonin Scalia has left a spare seat on the bench that is (kind-of) in Obama's gift to fill. The Conversation's US edition has all you need to know:

Robert Schapiro suggests Scalia was more quotable than influential:

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, judicial conservativism generally meant adherence to precedent and reluctance to invalidate legislative acts. However, the conservative movement of the 1980s sought instead to undo prior liberal decisions and to limit the power of the national government by rigorously scrutinizing federal statutes.

Justice Scalia served as a perfect champion of these new conservative ideals. He embraced “originalism,” the idea that insists that the Constitution must be interpreted by reference to its meaning at the time of its adoption. This approach rejects the idea that new rights may emerge over time.

He also endorsed textualism, which interprets statutes by focusing solely on their language, rather than the legislature’s overall purpose in enacting them. By refusing to attend to the purpose of legislation, textualism imposes a substantial burden on the legislature to draft complex statutes with exacting precision.

These interpretive swords of originalism and textualism allowed Justice Scalia both to attack liberal precedents that had strayed from what he understood as the Constitution’s historic meaning and to limit the scope of governmental power.

Caren Morrison explains how Scalia's replacement will be selected:

If the traditional 4-step process fails, there is one additional possibility open to the president.

Article II of the Constitution also says that the president “shall have power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate” and that the appointment can last until the end of the Senate’s next session – in this case, until late 2017.

A recess appointment would mean that the president could simply fill Justice Scalia’s seat temporarily without any input from the Senate.

As it happens, the Senate is currently in recess until February 22. What happens next is anyone’s guess.

Gina Yannitell Reinhardt explains why politicking has overtaken decorum in the race to replace Scalia:

Ordinarily the president would choose a nominee and the Senate Judiciary Committee would review the candidate before sending the issue to the full Senate – currently Republian-controlled – which would either support or oppose the nomination. Once confirmed, the nominee would be expected to serve for life. The lifelong term was created to keep high court deliberations far from political influence, so the process of choosing a justice is a very political one indeed.

Scalia’s departure has robbed the court of its most vocal conservative justice. Filling his seat is not merely about finding someone worthy and capable; it’s about the likely tilt of the high court’s decisions. And President Obama’s opponents know that all too well.

FutureLearn this week

If our 800-or-so courses aren't enough for your learning desires, our colleagues over at FutureLearn have got a bunch of courses starting out this week. Here's what they have:

We know what you're thinking. Let's see if we can answer that question for you:


A week in South Carolina: Rock Hill

For the next couple of weeks, the eyes of the world will be fixed on South Carolina as the US Presidential Primaries arrive in the state. What better time than now to explore some of the stories from the state? We'll be focusing on five places in SC this week, and we're starting out in Rock Hill.

Rock Hill Post Office building Creative commons image Icon Jimmy Emerson, DVM under Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0 license Rock Hill Post Office and Courthouse

The city owes both its existence and its name to the Charlotte & South Carolina Railroad. When the company was laying its tracks in 1852, the original plan to build a station in Ebernezerville. Locals there, though, were delightfully Scrooge-like in their reaction, and made it clear they'd brook no such filthy, disruptive presence in their town. Instead, the station was stuck a couple of miles up the road by a landmark. That landmark was a rock hill, which the railroad engineers gave the imaginative name Rock Hill. Neabry landowners could see the value their neighbours in Ebernezerville missed, and embraced the coming of rail.

The place got a sense of a town in the same year when the US Post Office opened up; the building pictured above is the replacement for the original Post Office, built in 1931 and sharing space with the Courthouse. Reflecting the rapid growth of the city at this time, it's listed on the National Register of Historic buildings.

The city played a major role during the Civil Rights movement. The town's main Five & Dime store, McCrory's, had a racially segregated lunch counter. On February 12th, 1960, students from Friendship Junior College arrived at the counter hoping to buy lunch. They were refused service. They refused to leave. The sit-in that followed was the first in a year of protests.

On January 31st, 1961, ten students from the same college again refused to leave the cafe after being denied service. Police were called, and this time the police were called and made arrests. Nine of the ten refused to pay fines, and were sent to prison. The group became quickly known as the Friendship Nine; their mantra of "Jail no bail" was quickly adopted by other civil rights offenders across the nation.

The other face of Rock Hill was shown later in the year, when the city was the first stop for a Freedom Ride. These protests were aimed at the segregation in bus depots across the nation. Leaving the bus in Rock Hill, John Lewis and another man were set upon and beaten. The city, and at least one of the white attackers, have apologised for the events of that day.

Lewis went on to become a member of Congress; in the last few days he's been making headlines following his comments on Democratic candidate Bernie Sander's record during the Civil Rights era.

On a less controversial note from the city's history, it's arguable that Rock Hill's most famous sons don't really exist. Rock Hill was home to Vernon Grant, the man who created Snap, Crackle and Pop - the cartoon characters who for generations have guarded packets of Rice Krispies.

See our black history collection

See more from our 2016 Presidential Election collection

Watch the Kellogs CEO on the power of his brand mascots





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