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OpenLearn Live: 28th July 2015

Updated Tuesday, 28th July 2015

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Yesterday's OpenLearn Live included MERS, Bugs Bunny at 75 and a new course

See all OpenLearn Live


Today's Posts


World Hepatitis Day

Today is World Hepatitis Day, putting the focus on the 400 million people around the world who are living with hepatitis B or C.

Here's a couple of related articles. First, some research on the experience of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people living with heptatitis C:

This exploratory qualitative study of people with newly acquired HCV used semi-structured interviews to explore participants' understandings and awareness of HCV, seroconversion, testing, diagnosis and treatment. We present a secondary thematic analysis of eight LGBT participants of the experience of injecting drugs, living with HCV and having a marginalised sexual or gender identity. Community was central to the participants' accounts. Drug use facilitated connection to a chosen community by suppressing sexual or gender desires allows them to fit in to the mainstream; enacting LGBT community norms of behaviour; and connection through shared drug use. Participants also described feeling afraid to come out about their drug use to LGBT peers because of the associated stigma of HCV. They described a similar stigma associated with HIV within the people who inject drugs (PWID) community. Thus, the combination of being LGBT/living with HIV (a gay disease) and injecting drugs/living with HCV (a junkie's disease) left them in a kind of no-man's-land. Health professionals working in drug and HCV care services need to develop capacity in providing culturally appropriate health-care for LGBT PWID.

And in a guest blog from the University of Glasgow, why is trying to find a cure for hepatitis C such a Herculean task?

Despite the great success achieved, there is a concern that some strains of the virus may prove refractory to these treatments; that the high price of the drugs might prove prohibitive to their widespread use (a course of Sofosbuvir may cost £35,000 in the UK), and that without a vaccine, HCV can never be eradicated.

 


New free online course: The body in antiquity

Another new course from OpenLearn - the one's a bit more advanced, but still fascinating. The body in antiquity explores the relationship between the ancient world and the human body. You'll also learn a thing or two about how that relationship is shaped in the 21st Century, too.

Heracles Slaying the Lion of Nemea - a Roman copy of  Lysippus' original Creative commons image Icon Yair Haklai under CC-BY-SA licence under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 license Heracles slaying the lion of Nemea

In its essence, this concept denotes the way bodies interact with the world around them. It holds that all the everyday things that we do – and take for granted – and all the ways that we think about these things are actually determined by the structures and beliefs of the society in which we live. However ‘normal’ or ‘natural’ they may feel to us, in fact these are but learned processes. Through this view, human experience becomes ‘embodied’. But why does this matter? Surely it stands to reason that in, say, the history of food, someone is eating it, and in the history of dress someone is wearing it. Well, it’s not quite as simple as that. How we interpret the shreds of evidence from the ancient past that have come down to us depends very much on what framework we use to interpret them. When looking at artefacts in archaeology, for example, a key question here would be: “Are we interested in the object itself, or is it more important what was done with it?”. 

Try The Body In Antiquity


Listen over lunch: Neuroscience and free will

A spot of philosophy and brain science for you to sample alongside your sandwich-or-maybe-baked lunch today, with the most recent episode of Philosophy Talk:

You can discover more episodes of Philosophy Talk at their website

Try our choose-your-own-adventure Philosophy game

Watch our short animation on free will

Explore octopus consciousness


New free online course: Italian food and drink

Planning a visit to Italy soon, but worried about being able to eat? You've got three options - you could restrict yourself to the sorts of places where the menus are all photos, and rely on pointing; you could fill your suitcase with Digestive biscuits and Pepparamis and hope that it doesn't set off an alert when you go through security. Or... you could try our new free course:

It's a guide to Italian food and drink  - some language, and a bit of culture to help you navigate round the rules:

In many bars and cafés, particularly in train stations, airports or more upmarket bars in cities, you go to the cash desk (la cassa) first and say what you want. You pay and are given a receipt (uno scontrino), which you then give to the person serving, repeating your order. In fact there is often a sign (un cartello) telling you to go the cash desk first, pay the cashier (il cassiere / la cassiera) and get a till receipt. The sign might say something like Si prega di fare lo scontrino alla cassa (‘Please obtain a receipt [first] from the till’) or simply Si prega di pagare alla cassa (‘Please pay [first] at the till’).

It is also worth remembering that in most cafés in Italian towns there are two sets of prices, both of which, by law, should be clearly displayed: the price you pay standing at the counter (al banco) and the price you pay sitting down at a table (al tavolo). In smaller towns or rural areas, there is usually only one set of prices and you can sit either inside or outside without paying extra.In many bars and cafés, particularly in train stations, airports or more upmarket bars in cities, you go to the cash desk (la cassa) first and say what you want. You pay and are given a receipt (uno scontrino), which you then give to the person serving, repeating your order. In fact there is often a sign (un cartello) telling you to go the cash desk first, pay the cashier (il cassiere / la cassiera) and get a till receipt. The sign might say something like Si prega di fare lo scontrino alla cassa (‘Please obtain a receipt [first] from the till’) or simply Si prega di pagare alla cassa (‘Please pay [first] at the till’). It is also worth remembering that in most cafés in Italian towns there are two sets of prices, both of which, by law, should be clearly displayed: the price you pay standing at the counter (al banco) and the price you pay sitting down at a table (al tavolo). In smaller towns or rural areas, there is usually only one set of prices and you can sit either inside or outside without paying extra.

When in Rome, you'll be able to do as the Romans. 

Try our free online course Italian food and drink


Parks & Recreation Week: The Smallest Park

Good morning. This week, we're celebrating the return of Parks & Recreation to UK TV by dedicating our start-up segment to some notable parks. Yesterday, we started with Birkenhead Park, model for Central Park in New York.

Today, we answer the question: 'what is the smallest park in the world?'

According to record keepers, it's this place, Mill Ends Park in Portland, Oregon:

Mill Ends Park Creative commons image Icon atul666 under CC-BY-SA licence under Creative-Commons license

At 452 square inches, it's undeniably small. It was never intended to be a park, though - there was going to be a lamppost there, but the hole was dug in 1948, and the lamppost never appeared. Like a reverse Narnia. Oregon Journal writer Dick Fagan started to spin a piece of whimsy out of the hole, creating a backstory involving leprechauns and thawrted wishes. He named the hole Mill Ends Park, after his newspaper column. The small hole was eventually adopted as an official city park in 1976.

Unquestionably, then, the smallest park in the world.

Or maybe not. As the supporters of this park - Princes Park in Burntwood - have a counter claim:

Princes Park, Burntwood Creative commons image Icon Geoff Pick under CC-BY-SA licence under Creative-Commons license

They will agree that the English park is bigger - at "a few feet wide" it's a sprawling wilderness compared with its Portland rival. But, say its supporters, it's a proper park. Princes, they argue, was actually dedicated as a park from the get go - it celebrated the marriage of Albert, Prince of Wales, and Princess Alexandra of Denmark in 1863. (Not much of a celebration, you might think). It boasts a bench, and - in what was seen as clinching argument, Princes Park was enclosed by a fence.

The response of the Portland park was to erect a tiny fence around Mill Ends.

The clashing civic pride is mostly good-natured; Michael Fabricant, who has Princes Park as a tiny portion of his constituency, has even raised the question with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office:

“While I have the highest regard for the Pacific Northwest of the United States, the claim by Mill Ends Park to be smaller than Princes Park is an outrage,” he said.

“I shall be in Washington later this year and, if necessary, this matter may need to be raised with the White House. The honour of Burntwood must be defended at all costs, especially from former colonial upstarts.”

The story doesn't quite end here, though. A third park, Taylor Square Park in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has launched a counter-counter-claim for the honour of smallest park.

The good news for fans of all these parks, though, is that they're at least unlikely to be sold for housing.

Read: Burntwood in international dispute at the Birmingham Mail

Could you solve a weightier international dispute? Play Saving Setrus

 

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