Original image

12 More Classes We Wish Our Colleges Had Offered

Original image

[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.

Original image
25 Benefits of Adopting a Rescue Dog
Original image

According to the ASPCA, 3.3 million dogs enter shelters each year in the United States. Although that number has gone down since 2011 (from 3.9 million) there are still millions of dogs waiting in shelters for a forever home. October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month; here are 25 benefits of adopting a shelter dog.

Original image
How Urban Legends Like 'The Licked Hand' Are Born
Original image

If you compare the scary stories you heard as a kid with those of your friends—even those who grew up across the country from you—you’ll probably hear some familiar tales. Maybe you tried to summon Bloody Mary by chanting her name in front of the mirror three times in a dark bathroom. Maybe you learned never to wonder what’s under a woman’s neck ribbon. Maybe you heard the one about the girl who feels her dog lick her hand in the middle of the night, only to wake up to find him hanging dead from the shower nozzle, the words “humans can lick too” written on the wall in the dog’s blood.

These ubiquitous, spooky folk tales exist everywhere, and a lot of them take surprisingly similar forms. How does a single story like the one often called “Humans Can Lick Too” or "The Licked Hand" make its way into every slumber party in America? Thrillist recently investigated the question with a few experts, finding that most of these stories have very deep roots.

In the case of The Licked Hand, its origins go back more than a century. In the 1990s, Snopes found that a similar motif dates back to an Englishman’s diary entry from 1871. In it, the diary keeper, Dearman Birchall, retold a story he heard at a party of a man whose wife woke him up in the middle of the night, urging him to go investigate what sounded like burglars in their home. He told his wife that it was only the dog, reaching out his hand. He felt the dog lick his hand … but in the morning, all his valuables were gone: He had clearly been robbed.

A similar theme shows up in the short story “The Diary of Mr. Poynter,” published in 1919 by M.R. James. In it, a character dozes off in an armchair, and thinks that he is petting his dog. It turns out, it’s some kind of hairy human figure that he flees from. The story seems to have evolved from there into its presently popular form, picking up steam in the 1960s. As with any folk tale, its exact form changes depending on the teller: sometimes the main character is an old lady, other times it’s a young girl.

You’ll probably hear these stories in the context of happening to a “friend of a friend,” making you more likely to believe the tale. It practically happened to someone you know! Kind of! The setting, too, is probably somewhere nearby. It might be in your neighborhood, or down by the local railroad tracks.

Thrillist spoke to Dr. Joseph Stubbersfield, a researcher in the UK who studies urban legends, who says the kind of stories that spread widely contain both social information and emotional resonance. Meaning they contain a message—you never know who’s lurking in your house—and are evocative.

If something is super scary or gross, you want to share it. Stories tend to warn against something: A study of English-language urban legends circulating online found that most warned listeners about the hazards of life (poisonous plants, dangerous animals, dangerous humans) rather than any kind of opportunities. We like to warn each other of the dangers that could be lurking around every corner, which makes sense considering our proven propensity to focus on and learn from negative information. And yes, that means telling each other to watch out for who’s licking our hands in the middle of the night.

Just something to keep in mind as you eagerly await Jezebel’s annual scary story contest.

[h/t Thrillist]


More from mental floss studios