Skip to content

OpenLearn Live: 7th November 2016

Updated Monday 7th November 2016

The President whose inaugural address killed him and Theresa May visits India. Free learning across the day.

OpenLearn Live chooses just some of the very best in learning and research from around the internet. This page will be updated during the day.

On Friday, we completed a week of supernatural activity that wasn't, took banking beyond the binary and investigated a sanitary protection crisis in China

See the full collection of OpenLearn Live


Today's posts


Theresa May in India

The Prime Minister is in India, hoping to find a nation keen to trade with the UK beyond Brexit:

The Prime Minister will take examples of the best of British business to India on 6 to 8 November in her first bilateral visit outside Europe since taking office.

This will also be the Prime Minister’s first trade mission, with a business delegation drawn from regions across the UK accompanying her to India. The Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox, and the Trade Minister Greg Hands will join the visit.

The Prime Minister will deliver on her ambitious vision for Britain after Brexit, forging a new global role for the UK beyond the continent of Europe. She will also deliver on her pledge for an economy that works for all, by introducing new and emerging enterprises, as well as more established players, to the key Indian market.  A number of commercial deals are expected to be signed during the visit, creating and securing jobs at home and demonstrating market confidence in the strength of the British economy.

Read the full news release at gov.uk: UK and India: Prime Minister’s trade mission and bilateral visit

It might not be so easy a trip, though, as Nikita Sud warns:

There has been some expectation in India that if migration from the EU declines, highly skilled migrants from India will find it easier to enter the UK. This is largely wishful thinking in a scenario where no one quite knows how migration will shape up in post-Brexit Britain.

But in terms of investment in Britain, Indian companies have expressed concern that the UK may leave the single market. One of the big attractions of investing in the UK is that the country is a launchpad to other EU countries.

As the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, said on his visit to the UK in November 2015: “As far as India is concerned, if there is an entry point for us to the EU, that is the UK.” Now that the entry point might be restricted, or even closed, Indian-owned companies in the UK will have to rethink their business models. Jaguar Land Rover, for example, has said that it will “realign its thinking” on UK investment, as has steel company Tata.

Read the full article: Will India prove fertile ground for post-Brexit trade?


School chemicals

There's been a number of small explosions at schools around the UK recently - nothing to be worried about; they've been controlled and overseen by experts:

A bomb disposal squad has carried out a controlled explosion of chemicals at a school.

Police were called to Turton School, Bolton, after it was discovered a potentially unstable substance was not being stored correctly.

Explosive Ordnance Disposal officers were called and safely carried out the explosion on the school grounds, on Chapeltown Road in the Bromley Cross area of the town, on Tuesday afternoon.

It comes after a reminder was sent to schools by the Department of Education over how certain chemicals should be stored.

Read at the Manchester Evening News: Bomb squad carry out controlled explosion of chemical at school

So what's the story? The OU's Nick Power explains the science behind the story:

So why is it that something that’s been ubiquitously used for almost the best part of a century in every chemistry laboratory in schools and universities the world over now causing such a fuss?

Well, problems may arise due to the mishandling, inappropriate storage and poor documentation and management for the requirement that DNPH is kept wet at all times. The issue of concern for DNPH is that the molecule has an inherent level of structural instability that puts it in the explosives risk category, indeed its storage is governed by the Explosives Regulations, the same regulations that are in place to cover fireworks, civil use explosives (demolition), and even the fertiliser, ammonium nitrate.

Read the full article: Brady's rogue reagent


Bad Presidents: William Henry Harrison

This week, as America elects a president that polls suggest won't be very popular whoever it is, we're going to mark the worst choices the US electorate have ever made. Wikipedia has collated eighteen surveys of the best president ever, and aggregated those together for a best of the best. We're turning that list upside down, and every day we'll be featuring one of the less celebrated men.

Today, then, it's the fifth-worst President of all time, William Henry Harrison.

The death of William Henry Harrison Copyright free image Icon Copyright free: Library Of Congress The death of Harrison

To be fair to Harrison, he was only president for 41 days, and so didn't have much time to make his mark. There were no great victories in the first 100 days, because he didn't run to 100 days. So you'd hardly expect him to do well on a list of high achievers in the White House.

It was actually his inauguration that killed him - he spoke outdoors, in cold weather, for two hours. He didn't wear a hat or coat, and the chill he picked up developed into pneumonia. And the pneumonia killed him, despite the best treatment medics could come up with. And, possibly, some worse treatments that featured live snakes.

Harrison represented the Whig Party, and his victory in the 1840 election should have started a period of Whiggery establishing itself in the US. His party had also ensured its control of Congress.

His death, though, scuppered that. This was the first time the US had to cope with the death of a President in office, and nobody quite knew what to do. Into the gap strode Vice President John Tyler, who arranged for himself to take the oath of office and - first as acting, then as full - President, Tyler set about scuppering any and all Whig reforms. Tyler had been a Democrat before running with Harrison, and once in the White House alienated Whig and Democrat alike. (In our list of best presidents, Tyler scrapes into the Top Ten.)

But what of Harrison? He probably deserves better than his remembrance through pub quiz trivia. Before running for President, he had been a noted soldier. His rise through politics had been slow, and featured long periods of setback and frustration - he'd come out of retirement to run in the 1836 election, and again out for what would be his final campaign.

Maybe the highlight of his political career came while US Ambassador to Colombia. Even after he'd technically been replaced in the role following a change of power in Washington, Harrison used the time waiting for the new Ambassador to arrive to get the Colombians to drop a five per cent levy they'd been planning for American imports.

William Henry Harrison - best remembered for the endings, perhaps. But his biggest impact on Presidential politics was uncoveirng the mess about what happens when a President dies in office. That wouldn't formally be settled until 1965, and the 25th Amendment.

OpenLearn watches the 2016 campaign

More on the 19th century

 

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

Have a question?