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OpenLearn Live: 15th March 2015

Updated Tuesday, 15th March 2016

Celebrating the oldest Olympian. Then more free learning through the day - although we were offline for some of it.

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OpenLearn Live is the link between your world and the world of free learning.

Today, OpenLearn Live is spending some time in exile, as the main OpenLearn website is being updated.

Yesterday, we celebrated the life of Doreen Massey, marked Pi Day and caught up with new courses on FutureLearn.

See the complete collection of OpenLearn Live


Today's posts

Reboot your STEM career

Have you taken a career break - or perhaps feel you've made a wrong turn? Are you looking for a way back into working in science, technology, engineering or maths?

We might have something that could help...

Explore our Reboot Your STEM career tool

The risks of nuclear power

Writing at The Conversation, Timothy J Jorgensen explains why we might be thinking about the safety of nuclear material in a less-than useful way

With regard to radiation exposure, “safe” really means an “acceptable level of risk,” and not everyone agrees on what is acceptable. The Japanese government has set an annual effective dose limit to the public of 20 millisieverts (mSv) per year above background as its remediation goal for the Fukushima Prefecture – up from one mSv per year, which was the official limit for exposures to the public prior to the incident. Although accurate numbers are hard to come by, it’s been estimated that about 50 percent of the original evacuation zone remains restricted because its radiation levels still exceed 20 mSv per year, and for half of this restricted half (about 25 percent of the total evacuated area) annual dose levels still exceed 50 mSv per year.

To the Japanese people, this raising of the annual safety limit from one to 20 mSv appears like the government is backpedaling on its commitment to safety. They suspect it’s because the government knows it is not technically or financially feasible to deliver on any cleanup commitment to reduce the annual effective dose below 20 mSv, and that, of course, is true. This is the problem with moving regulatory dose limits after the fact to accommodate inconvenient circumstances; it breeds distrust.

These arbitrary-feeling radiation levels can seem very abstract to the general public. Rather than moving the dose limits around, the Japanese authorities would be better off to just explain what the actual cancer risks are at the various radiation doses and let people decide for themselves if they want to go back to their homes.

Read the full article at The Conversation

Can you mix green and traditional power sources to keep the lights on? Try our Power My Postcode challenge

World Social Work Day

15th March is World Social Work Day, a day that gives those in the profession (and students) an opportunity to express international solidarity and send consistent messages to governments, regional bodies and the community. In 2016 the theme is ‘Promoting the Dignity and Worth of Peoples’.

So, whether you're a student studying in the field or you're just interested in social work or health and social care, select from our fantastic range of free resources on the subject. You can:

Sport week: The oldest Olympian

This week, we're marking Sport Relief by celebrating some noteworthy sporting events. Yesterday, we explored the nineteenth century cricket matches between war veterans which pitched one-legged teams against one-armed teams.

Hiroshi Hoketsu Creative commons image Icon Karsten Thormaehlen under Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0 license

Today, we're celebrating the oldest Olympians. Currently, the record for oldest participant in a summer games is 72 years old. That record is held jointly by Oscar Swahn who won silver in a shooting event at the 1920 games, and the elaborately named Arthur von Pongracz de Szent-Miklós und Óvár, who represented Austria in the 1936 Games in Berlin. (Regular OpenLearn Live readers will remember we last looked at those Olympics in our short feature on the Hitler Oaks.)

That record could be about to fall, though. The oldest participant at the London 2012 games, Hiroshi Hoketsu, has entered to represent Japan in Rio this summer. If he successfully completes the trials in May, he'll be 74 when he takes to the equastrian stadium this year.

Here he is competing in 2010:

                                                                           Transcript

What motivates Hiroshi to continue when many people would be winding down? His personal philosophy, which is:

"I will stop riding horses when I can no longer find progress from myself and my horse."

What's more astonishing is that Hiroshi's success as an Olympic equastrian is a second career - he picked up his horse riding as a competitive endeavour in 2003, after he'd "retired" (his other career was running a pharmaceutical business.)

 

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