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12 More Classes We Wish Our Colleges Had Offered

[Here's the original 12 Classes We Wish Our Colleges Had Offered post, in case you missed it the first time around.]

1. Sex and the City, Oregon State. This class was so popular in 2006 that the original limit of 200 students per class had to be upped to 500. The professor used the HBO series to discuss sex and gender issues in society

2. Brewing Science and Society (New Mexico State University). Sounds like a blast, but as our commenter said, this upper 300-level chemical engineering class is not a cakewalk (or a pub crawl, if you will). It was still on the course list as of Fall 2008.

3. Media Studies: Jim Morrison and the Doors (Plymouth State). It's only offered the fall semester of odd years, so if you're dying to take this class, you'd better think about enrolling at Plymouth State soon. "Participants utilize a cultural studies framework to analyze films, television programs, musical offerings and print and online materials in relation to their historical contexts, ideological contents, symptomatic characteristics, and overall contributions to our modern-day understanding of media processes and effects." Way to make a fun class sound boring! I suppose they have to weed people out somehow.

tom4. Adult Swim (Kent State). Professor Ron Russo has been teaching about Adult Swim's animation block on the Cartoon Network since 2004. He even wrote the first textbook on the subject "“ Adult Swim and Comedy. Each class consists of about 30 students and has the full support of the Adult Swim show creators "“ some, such as Tom Goes to the Mayor's Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, have even teleconferenced with the class to answer questions.

5. Forbidden Knowledge (Wheaton College). This one sounds particularly flossy to me. But I'll let the course description speak for itself: "Throughout recorded human history, the acquisition of new knowledge through scientific discovery or technological invention has confronted human societies with ethical dilemmas. Students in this class will encounter these quandaries of the human condition by studying religious, literary, philosophical and scientific texts. The texts selected for this course explore the changing attitudes at various moments in history toward the need to forbid or control knowledge."

6. Marksmanship (University of Texas at El Paso). Not only can you learn how to shoot a .22 caliber rifle in this "advanced skill" class, you can repeat the class for credit.

7. Cowboys, Samurai, and Rebels in Film and Fiction (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). Yep, a whole semester of watching Kurosawa films and getting college credit for it. Well, the actual description is, "Cross-cultural definitions of heroism, individualism and authority in film and fiction, with emphasis upon tales or images that have been translated across cultures."

zombies.jpg8. Zombies! The Living Dead in Literature, Film and Culture (University of Alabama). Are you kidding me!? I'd kill to take this class. It examines the parallels between Americans (living ones) and zombies, such as consuming goods not necessarily needed. The class also gets to go on a pretty awesome field trip "“ a zombie walk.

9. Hitchcock and His Influence (UCLA). Another one I would probably switch schools to sign up for. In the first seven weeks of the course, students watch and analyze Hitch's films; the last three weeks focus on screening Hitchcock-influenced films.

10. Honors Introduction to LEGO Robotics (Towson University). Remember LEGO Mindstorms? Basically they're Lego blocks with programmable parts including motors, sensors, gears, axles and beams. At Towson, you can play with them for credit. The childhood toys are used to each the basics of mechanics and electronics.

11. Shops and Shopping (Yale). Sweet. Hopefully it includes field trips, although that's not mentioned in the course description. Instead of bargain-hunting, this class claims to teach development of buildings specifically meant for shopping, evolution of packaging, the role of advertising and the suburbanization of shopping.

12. Pornography: Writing of Prostitutes (Wesleyan University). If you're caught looking at porn on a computer at the school library at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., just tell the librarian that you're doing homework. The course description says, "Our examination [of pornography] accordingly includes the implication of pornography in so-called perverse practices such as voyeurism, bestiality, sadism, and masochism, and considers the inflections of the dominant white-heterosexual tradition by alternative sexualities and genders, as well as by race, class, age, mental and physical competence. We also attempt to identify the factors, intrinsic and extrinsic, which align the pornographic impulse with revolutionary or conservative political practices. But our primary focus is on pornography as radical representations of sexuality whose themes are violation, degradation, and exposure." The class involves a project as part of the final "“ students have submitted performance art pieces, photography, videos and fiction writing.

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5 Subtle Cues That Can Tell You About Your Date's Financial Personality
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Being financially compatible with your partner is important, especially as a relationship grows. Fortunately, there are ways you can learn about your partner’s financial personality in a relationship’s early stages without seeing their bank statement or sitting them down for “the money talk.”

Are they a spender or a saver? Are they cautious with money? These habits can be learned through basic observations or casual questions that don’t feel intrusive. Here are some subtle things that can tell you about your date’s financial personality.

1. HOW THEY ANSWER BASIC MONEY QUESTIONS.

Casual conversations about finance-related topics can be very revealing. Does your date know if their employer matches their 401(k) plan contributions? Do you find their answers to any financial questions a bit vague—even the straightforward ones like “What are the rewards like on your credit card?” This could mean that your partner is a little fuzzy on some of the details of their financial situation.

As your connection grows, money talks are only natural. If your date expresses uncertainty about their monthly budget, it may be an indicator that they are still working on the best way to manage their finances or don’t keep close tabs on their spending habits.

2. WHAT THEY’RE WATCHING AND READING.

If you notice your partner is always watching business news channels, thumbing through newspapers, or checking share prices on their phone, they are clearly keeping abreast of what’s going on in the financial world. Ideally, this would lead to a well-informed financial personality that gives way to smart investments and overall monetary responsibility.

If you see that your date has an interest in national and global finances, ask them questions about what they’ve learned. The answers will tell you what type of financial mindset to expect from you partner moving forward. You might also learn something new about the world of finance and business!

3. WHERE THEY GET THEIR FOOD.

You may be able to learn a lot about someone’s financial personality just by asking what they usually do for dinner. If your date dines out a lot, it could be an indication that they are willing to spend money on experiences. On the other hand, if they’re eating most of their meals at home or prepping meals for the entire week to cut their food budget, they might be more of a saver.

4. WHETHER THEY’RE VOICING MONEY CONCERNS.

Money is a source of stress for most people, so it’s important to observe if financial anxiety plays a prominent role in your date’s day-to-day life. There are a number of common financial worries we all share—rising insurance rates, unexpected car repairs, rent increases—but there are also more specific and individualized concerns. Listen to how your date talks about money and pick up on whether their stress is grounded in worries we all have or if they have a more specific reason for concern.

In both instances, it’s important to be supportive and helpful where you can. If your partner is feeling nervous about money, they’ll likely be much more cautious about what they’re spending, which can be a good thing. But it can also stop them from making necessary purchases or looking into investments that might actually benefit them in the future. As a partner, you can help out by minimizing their expenses for things like nights out and gifts in favor of less expensive outings or homemade gifts to leave more of their budget available for necessities.

5. HOW THEY HANDLE THE BILL.

Does your date actually look at how much they’re spending before handing their credit card to the waiter or bartender at the end of the night? It’s a subtle sign, but someone who looks over a bill is likely much more observant about what they spend than someone who just blindly hands cards or cash over once they get the tab.

Knowing what you spend every month—even on smaller purchases like drinks or dinner—is key when you’re staying on a budget. It’s that awareness that allows people to adjust their monthly budget and calculate what their new balance will be once the waiter hands over the check. Someone who knows exactly what they’re spending on the small purchases is probably keeping a close eye on the bigger picture as well.

REMEMBER THERE’S NO SUBSTITUTE FOR TALKING.

While these subtle cues can be helpful signposts when you’re trying to get an idea of your date’s financial personality, none are perfect indicators that will be accurate every time. Our financial personalities are rarely cut and dry—most of us probably display some behaviors that would paint us as savers while also showing habits that exclaim “spender!” By relying too heavily on any one indicator, we might not get an accurate impression of our date.

Instead, as you get to know a new partner, the best way to learn about their financial personality is by having a straightforward and honest talk with them. You’ll learn more by listening and asking questions than you ever could by observing small behaviors.

Whatever your financial personality is, it pays to keep an eye on your credit score. Discover offers a Free Credit Scorecard, and checking it won't impact your score. It's totally free, even if you aren't a Discover customer. Check yours in seconds. Terms apply. Visit Discover to learn more.

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Animals
Where Do Birds Get Their Songs?
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Birds display some of the most impressive vocal abilities in the animal kingdom. They can be heard across great distances, mimic human speech, and even sing using distinct dialects and syntax. The most complex songs take some practice to learn, but as TED-Ed explains, the urge to sing is woven into songbirds' DNA.

Like humans, baby birds learn to communicate from their parents. Adult zebra finches will even speak in the equivalent of "baby talk" when teaching chicks their songs. After hearing the same expressions repeated so many times and trying them out firsthand, the offspring are able to use the same songs as adults.

But nurture isn't the only factor driving this behavior. Even when they grow up without any parents teaching them how to vocalize, birds will start singing on their own. These innate songs are less refined than the ones that are taught, but when they're passed down through multiple generations and shaped over time, they start to sound similar to the learned songs sung by other members of their species.

This suggests that the drive to sing as well as the specific structures of the songs themselves have been ingrained in the animals' genetic code by evolution. You can watch the full story from TED-Ed below, then head over here for a sample of the diverse songs produced by birds.

[h/t TED-Ed]

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