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OpenLearn Live: 18th January 2016

Updated Monday, 18th January 2016

Telling tales of rural Germany from the heart of Berlin. Then more free learning through the day.

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OpenLearn Live makes the links between the world of free learning and the worlds you live in. This page will be updated during the day.

On Friday, we rounded off a week of public domain debutantes, considered empathy in dogs and walked alongside Tim Peake.

See the complete collection of OpenLearn Live


Today's posts


Blue Monday

Today is Blue Monday, a now fixed point of the calendar when marketing people claim that it's the most miserable day of the year, and scientists tut and tell them not to be so silly.

Even if the claims for it being the most despondent day of the year are overbaked, it remains a grey day in a grim month. So why not try these two features from OpenLearn:

Journeys Through Wellbeing, which explores way to ensure your health (physical and mental) is as good as can be

Poetry Prescription, which will dispense a verse attuned to your mood


At war with the aliens

Queen's Belfast has just landed a large slice of European funding to explore how best to attack invasive species, and reduce their impact upon native flora and fauna:

Speaking about their next step in the battle against the invaders, Professor Jaimie Dick, from the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s University Belfast, said: “Invasive species are non-native animals and plants that are introduced into a natural environment where they are not normally found, with serious negative consequences for their new environment.

“New EU regulations came into force in January 2015 to address these species and their threat to biodiversity, the economy and human health. Since then, the EU has been considering risk assessments and scientific evidence – which includes Queen’s research – to draw up a list of ‘species of concern’, which will be published in the near future.

“Member states will be obliged to eradicate, or at the very least contain, each of the species on that list. But in order to do so, they will need to know the best ways to detect, control and eliminate each species. Queen’s world-leading research already plays a key role in informing guidance and best-practice in this area. This latest funding from the EPA will enable us to continue this work, in partnership with IT Sligo and INVAS Biosecurity, to develop evidence-based approaches to predict and prevent incursions by invasive species, and to eradicate those that are already causing havoc around Europe.”

Read at Queen's: Queen’s University in new European partnership to fight against invasive species

Read: The challenge of invasive species

Listen: The dangers of the harlequin ladybird


FutureLearn this week

A quick glance over at the glittering palace of delights that houses our sister site to see what new courses are starting there today:

Plus, there's two courses from The Open University - Smart Cities and Start Writing Fiction.

Remember, if you'd prefer, you can study Start Writing Fiction here on OpenLearn at your own pace.


A Berlin address: The Brothers Grimm

As a sideways tribute to David Bowie, this week we're using our start-up segment to pay tribute to others who spent time living and working in Berlin.

We're starting with the Brothers Grimm, Wilhelm and Jacob.

Brothers Grimm on 1000 Deutschmark note Copyright free  image Icon Copyright free: West German government The Brothers on a 1000DM note

The pair had great reason to be delighted upon their arrival in Berlin in 1840, for their 1830s had not been without incident. The pair had achieved a level of fame with their early work, but in 1837 had lost their university posts in Göttingen after becoming embroiled in protests against the Hanoverian constitution. Wilhelm and Jacob were two of the Göttingen Seven, university professors who refused to swear alleigance to the new king. They had hoped their stand would precipitate a revolt, but when the general public (not for the last time) failed to be inspired by the doings of academics, things fell apart. It did nothing for the University's reputation - having attracted a reputation for being a hotbed of protest, it stopped attracting students; the professors all lost their roles.

Nearly destitute, the brothers went into exile and started work on a German language dictionary in the hope of reversing their ill fortune; Berlin, and in particular, King Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia would be their saviour. He created a role for them as members of the Academy of Humanities. They relocated to the city, and made it their home. They worked to complete the dictionary; Jacob becoming interested in the history of Germanic legal traditions and Wilhelm focusing on Medieval literature.

Wilhelm died of an infection in Berlin in 1859; Jacob continued his work, but a broken man following the loss of his brother. He died, also in Berlin, in 1863.

Explore Berlin with the Ghosts of Berlin

 

 

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