OpenLearn Live is an experiment in a rolling free online learning blog. There's also a Twitter feed @OpenLearnLive.
- Virtual Arboretum: Manidoo-giizhikens
- BBC Radio 4, 4.30 & 9pm: Inside Science
- On iPlayer: Genius of the Ancient World
- Listen over lunch: The Thames
- New free course: Developing your skills as an HR professional
Do you work in human resources, or do you hope to? Why not brush up your skills with our hot-off-the-whatever-the-equivalent-of-a-press-is these days:
In this section you will look at three very closely related skills which will help you to manage your working life, and the balance between your working life and your social life or family responsibilities. These skills are: organising yourself, managing time and managing stress. Unfortunately, there is no universal prescription for any of these skills. However, you will consider what events make you stressed, the impact that different demands and pressures have on you, and different ways of dealing with them so that you can maximise your well-being. This means identifying the strategies that you can use not only to cope with stress, but also to prevent it and achieve a better balance between your working life and your social life or family responsibilities.
The news today that marine mammals are thriving in the Thames is a tribute to the years of dedicated river management invested in the river. BBC Radio 4's Open Country explored how the river was springing back into life in 2011. Today seems a good time to catch up with that programme.
Catch up with Bettany Hughes' journey round some thinkers of the ancient world - Socrates, Confucius and Buddha. The whole series is now up on iPlayer.
In this week's edition of the OU/BBC science magazine, why The Paleo Diet doesn't actually reflect a paleo diet; what CO2 is doing to the oceans; and grime. Not the music, unfortunately, but actual grime: does a dirty city lead to pollution?
Listen live on BBC Radio 4 this afternoon or evening
Every morning this week, we're starting off with a brief focus on a notable tree. Yesterday, with Marc Bolan's memorial sycamore, we featured a site of secular signifiance. Today, with Manidoo-giizhikens, it's a tree with more spiritual importance.
This tree is known variously as Manidoo-giizhikens, the Spirit Little Cedar Tree and (more controversially) as The Witch Tree, and can be found on the edge of Lake Superior in Minnesota. It's a Thuja occidentalis, part of the cypress family, and has clung to the side of the cliff for at least three centuries.
Its striking shape and location overlooking the lake led the local people, the Ojibwe, to ascribe special significance to the tree. Before attempting a crossing of the lake, the Ojibwe would hold a prayer ceremony under Manidoo-giizhikens, and tie offerings of ribbons and tobacco in the branches. This, it was hoped, would appease Mishipizheu, a fearsome underwater lynx, and guarantee safe passage while on the water.
The first Europeans to come across Manidoo-giizhikens - led by French explorer Pierre Gaultier de Varennes - respected and continued the tradition. More recent visitors, however, treated the tree less circumspectly and would carve the trunk, or chop off pieces to take away. In order to save the plant, a public subscription was raised to buy the land; now, should you wish to make your offering to Mishipizheu, you have to be accompanied by a member of the Ojibwe.