Skip to content
  • Video
  • 5 mins

OpenLearn Live: 4th December 2015

Updated Friday, 4th December 2015

How do you celebrate Ramadan in space? How do teams decide to take big risks? Then more free learning through the day.

This page was published over five years ago. Please be aware that due to the passage of time, the information provided on this page may be out of date or otherwise inaccurate, and any views or opinions expressed may no longer be relevant. Some technical elements such as audio-visual and interactive media may no longer work. For more detail, see our Archive and Deletion Policy

OpenLearn Live brings together your world with the world of free learning. We'll update this page during the day, and you can also follow us on Twitter.

Yesterday, we put backpacks on bees, listened to Jack Kerouac and explored the science of starvation

See the complete collection of OpenLearn Live

Today's posts

Small Business Saturday

It's Small Business Saturday tomorrow - check out how the OUBS is supporting the day, and try our fun small business quiz.

Podcast: Questions of leadership

A few days ago, Larry Hirschhorn delivered the 2015 Richard Norman Lecture at Templeton College on the subject "Passion or Procrastination: How Emotionally Intelligent Leaders and thier Teams Take Big Bet Decisions - or Don't". The lecture has been published online, and is interesting from both a psychology and business perspective.

See more from OpenLearn on leadership

BBC One, Sunday: The Hunt

Are we already at the end of the week? It seems like moments since we were last reminding you that there's a double hit coming up. This week, you're able to catch up with life and death on The Plains at 4.50pm; then, a brand new episode at 9pm: Race Against Time, which takes us to the coastline.

Here's just a taste of what to expect: an octopus that will pursue its prey across the beach.

Find out more about The Hunt - and order your free poster

Friends as therapists

Can friends provide the support you need when you're in a bad place? Up to a point, says Jonathan Leach:

What is said in the consulting room is classed as private and confidential and so may encourage discussion of topics that it would be too embarrassing to mention to friends. The therapist will have a structured approach to their interaction with their client which is based on psychological theories, training and supervised practice. Friends interact with each other in an intuitive manner and are unlikely to apply a structured and theory-based approach to their relationships. When a friend is experiencing mental distress people tend to rely on their own experiences and understanding to provide help, some of which may work better than others.

Read the full article: Can your friend be your therapist?

First people in space: Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor

As Tim Peake prepares to become the second Briton in space, we've been telling the tales this week of other space travellers who are - so far - the sole representative of their nations to have gone into orbit. In case you've missed any, so far this week we've featured:

We're rounding off the week with Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, the first Malaysian in space.

Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor Copyright free  image Icon Copyright free: NASA

Muszaphar, by trade, is an orthopedic surgeon - although he also works part-time as a model in what is something of a portmanteau career you'd not quite buy in a Hollywood movie.

His journey to space was part of Malaysia's Angkasawan program (literally "astronaut programme"). The country's technology minister, Jamaluddin Jarjis, described this as an opportunity to inspire the nation with the power of science and technology:

It is not merely a project to send a Malaysian into space. After 50 years of independence, we need a new shift and a new advantage to be more successful as a nation.

We want to awe and inspire, and spur Malaysians to attain greater success by embracing science and technology.

A place on a Russian spacecraft was secured as part of a deal selling a number of warplanes to Malaysia, and Muszaphar joined the crew of Soyuz TMA-11 on the 10th of October, 2007, heading for the International Space Station.

During his eleven days on board, Muszaphar conducted a number of experiments, including one on protein structures in space and one taste-testing the effects of space travel on Malaysian food.

His time on board was significan for another reason - although eight Muslims had previously ventured into space, Muszaphar was the first follower of Islam to be in space during Ramadan. This prompted the Islamic Fatwa Council to produce A Guideline of Performing Ibadah at the International Space Station. Amongst the questions it sought to answer were "if you're in space, how do you know what time to pray?" (at the point where you would have been praying at the place from which you left the planet) and, perhaps more grimly, "what happens if a follower of Islam dies in space?" (ideally, the deceased should be brought to Earth for a normal funeral, but if that's not possible, a simple space funeral is acceptable.)

This brings us to the end of our week; but there are others we could have featured. Including, for a few more days, Helen Sharman - the first Briton to have made that amazing trip.

See more from OpenLearn on space exploration





Related content (tags)

Copyright information

For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.

Have a question?