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OpenLearn Live: 1st October 2015

Updated Thursday, 1st October 2015

The model who encourages coders - and then more free learning through the day.

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OpenLearn Live makes the links between the world you live in, and the worlds of learning and research. You can also follow us on Twitter.

Yesterday, we heard from the National Gallery about colour, found out why sheep are like avalanches and discovered why Croatia is adopting a welcoming attitude to refugees

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Today's posts

Tory Trades Unionists: an echo from the past

Today brings news that the Conservative Party are going to launch their own Trades Union movememnt:

Announcing the new organisation - which will operate within the Conservative Party but which workers will be able to join - Mr Halfon said he wanted the party to have a new relationship with the many trade union members who he claimed did not share their leaders' views.

"Trade unionism should be for the many, not the few," he told Parliament's The House magazine. "And at the moment, so much of it, you see it through... the prisms of a few militant leaders who I believe don't represent the thousands of ordinary trade union members."

Like many ideas in politics, the idea of supporting the Tories, but also being a Trades Unionist isn't exactly new. In fact, it predates the foundation of the Labour Party as an idea - and Tory Trades Unionists had a mixed time at 19th Century polls:

The defeat of Sir William  by a Tory trades unionist and co-operator gives a new and perplexing turn to a problem which, in the North at any rates, has done much to strain old relations between middle-class and labour Liberalism. Co-operators will be justified in claiming a triumph for their principles in the return even of one of the Tory candidates for Derby.

Read: Tory Trades Unionism, 19th Century style


Linked to our start-up segment theme of part-time, full heart this week (because, contrary to some appearances, this isn't just thrown together), today sees the start of a huge campaign uniting providers of part-time education celebrating the life-changing powers of part-time study. Find out more at #loveparttime.

BBC Radio 4, 4.30pm & 9.30pm today: BBC Inside Science

Today on the radio (and then on iPlayer Radio afterwards), there's a special edition of the BBC/OU science magazine BBC Inside Science. It's coming from Kew, and the focus is on preserving global biodiversity. Tune in at 4.30 to find out more, or...

Discover more about BBC Inside Science

Read: Biodiversity - what's in it for me?

Wallabies disrupted by light

Research just published has found that wallabies are being thrown into disarray by light pollution - in populations near people, babies are being born at the wrong time:

We found that wallabies in natural environments were exposed only to astronomical sources of light, including a clear lunar cycle. Conversely, such natural cues were not apparent in light polluted environments owing to an order of magnitude increase in nighttime light intensity. Wallabies from light polluted environments had significantly suppressed nighttime melatonin levels and a month long delay in the birth of their offspring. The resulting delay in the birth of their young results in a mismatch with optimal food resources to raise their young.

The wallabies aren't the only Australian natives whose existence is being threatened by artificial light. Greenback turtle hatchlings can even become trapped by light pollution.

Read 'Wallaby babies arrive late' at the Royal Society publishing blog

Not all light is bad - it's the International Year of Light

Part time, full heart: Karlie Kloss

This week, we're exploring the achievements of people who have combined doing one with really well with doing another thing really well, too. Yesterday, we met Terry Lovejoy, IT expert and comet-spotter.

Today, we're focusing on a supermodel who has a hinterland you might be unaware of - Karlie Kloss.

Karlie Kloss Creative commons image Icon Beyrouth under CC-BY under Creative-Commons license

You might be familiar with Karlie' work in the fashion industry - her September 2012 sweep of British Vogue, Japanese Vogue, Russian Harper's and Numero; a fashion line; work for every major clothing line from YSL to Nike.

It's possible you're less familiar with her passion for coding - which she came to in 2014, and quickly understood not just the importance of the coding, but also the importance of encouraging young coders:

Over the last year I started taking coding classes and realised how creative coding truly is. Code is going to continue to play a major role in defining our future. I think it’s crucial that young women learn to code as early as possible to ensure that we as young women have a voice and a stake in what the world looks like.

And this isn't just a nice thing that Karlie says in interviews. She's actually put her weight behind her words, and has established a Kode With Karlie scholarship, which is giving girls the opportunity to attend coding classes in New York and develop those skills.

A person who is most widely known for her beauty and connections, but whose lasting legacy might be her passion for computing inspiring generations of female coders? You wouldn't automatically see Karlie Kloss as having much in common with Ada Lovelace, but her part-time passion might forge that link.

Want to try some coding? Start here

Want to study computing part-time? See what the OU offers





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