CLOSE
YouTube / The Royal Institution
YouTube / The Royal Institution

Lunchtime Lecture: How to Rebuild the World

YouTube / The Royal Institution
YouTube / The Royal Institution

Science fiction is filled with global apocalypse scenarios—pandemics, nuclear wars, asteroids, nuclear disasters, you name it. But if this kind of thing actually happened in the real world, and you were one of that tiny band of survivors, how would you actually live in the long term? What would be the plan, after you had looted everything you could? In this 85-minute lecture-slash-science-demonstration (great for an extended lunch break!), author/astrobiologist Lewis Dartnell walks us through the finer points of rebuilding the world.

Dartnell says early on: "Let's just imagine that this has happened, that the worst case scenario has occurred. There's been some kind of global catastrophe, a doomsday event, the collapse of civilization. And you've woken up in this post-apocalyptic world...what do you do now?" Long story short: you'd better know some basic science. Dartnell walks us through a bunch of realms (chemistry is a big one), and sets many things on fire (intentionally) throughout this talk.

If you've got a solid understanding of agriculture, smelting, explosives, fiber-spinning, water disinfection, first aid, and fire-making, you probably don't need this video. Everybody else? Enjoy:

Dartnell's lecture is based on his book The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch. While I haven't read it yet, I just bought my copy and have been enjoying videos made by Dartnell for the book (most of which are included in the talk above).

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Pop Culture
5 Classes You Can Take With Celebrities
iStock
iStock

Traditional wisdom says that in order to become the best, you should learn from the best. Whether you’re trying to perfect your tennis serve, write a play, or launch your own fashion empire, here are helpful classes, tutorials, and learning programs offered by some of the most famous names in the business.

1. SPEND A WEEKEND COOKING WITH CELEBRITY CHEFS.

Chef Dan Barber
Chef and restaurateur Dan Barber
Rob Kim/Getty Images

At the New York Culinary Experience, aspiring chefs can spend an entire weekend stirring, sautéing, and seasoning their way to culinary greatness alongside some of the food industry’s most famous figures. Hosted by New York Magazine and the International Culinary Center, the event offers participants the chance to take classes with star chefs, participate in Q&A sessions with key food industry players, and hobnob with other gourmands.

Last year's event featured hands-on tutorials by Blue Hill at Stone Barn’s Dan Barber, Nobu executive chef Ricky Estrellado, and chocolatier Jacques Torres. Dates for this year’s New York Culinary Experience haven’t been announced yet, nor have guest chefs or ticket prices. That said, sharing a kitchen with figures like Barber, Estrellado, and Torres doesn’t come cheap: Last year’s attendees paid $1695, a fee that included four classes, meals, and private closing receptions on both days.

2. TAKE A FASHION DESIGN CLASS WITH DIANE VON FURSTENBERG, AN ARCHITECTURE COURSE WITH FRANK GEHRY, A DRAMATIC WRITING CLASS WITH DAVID MAMET, AND MORE.

Fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg
Fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg
John Lamparski/Getty Images

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention MasterClass, the digital education platform that connects internet students of all skill levels and interests with celebrity “teachers” like comedian Steve Martin, Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer, or country star Reba McEntire. The virtual “classes” cost $90 and include streaming videos and reading materials.

All videos are pre-recorded, but participants can seek feedback from their classmates in an online forum or in comment threads. Occasionally, they're given the chance to receive direct critiques from their famous teachers (although it's unclear how often it happens). To bridge any communication gaps, instructors hold "Office Hours," in which they post online answers to select student questions.

Not interested in writing jokes, composing award-winning movie scores, or singing about souped-up Chevys and broken hearts? Brand-new MasterClass course offerings are currently in the works, including a fashion course taught by designer Diane von Furstenberg; a dramatic writing class by David Mamet; a photography course by Annie Leibovitz; and an architecture/design course taught by Frank Gehry.

3. LEARN TO CREATE COMICS WITH FORMER MARVEL EDITOR/WRITER DANNY FINGEROTH.

American comic book writer and editor Danny Fingeroth
Marvel Comics writer/editor Danny Fingeroth and Stan Lee.
Mat Szwajkos/Getty Images

For years, Danny Fingeroth worked at Marvel Comics as the group editor of the company's Spider-Man book line, and wrote issues of The Deadly Foes of Spider-Man, Avengers, and other comics. He has also written books about comics and graphic novels, including an upcoming biography of Stan Lee. Amid his busy schedule, Fingeroth takes time to teach aspiring comics writers.

In addition to lecturing at universities and museums, he offers online writing classes for up to six students, and provides one-on-one tutorials via email or phone. Fingeroth’s next online class begins on November 5, and the registration deadline is October 15. It’s six weeks long and costs $450. As for individual classes, they’re available upon request, and prices are determined on an hourly or per-project basis.

4. IMPROVE YOUR SERVE WITH ANDRE AGASSI.

Tennis Player Andre Agassi
Tennis Player Andre Agassi
Ed Mulholland/Getty Images

Tennis player Andre Agassi retired in 2006, following a 21-year career that saw him win eight Grand Slam tournaments and a 1996 Olympic gold medal. Today, the athlete runs an education nonprofit, the Andre Agassi Foundation, and he recently took time to do his own teaching, teaming up with learning platform Udemy.com to share his secrets to a successful match.

The online course costs $10, marked down from its original $100, and includes one hour of on-demand video lectures. Agassi walks viewers through his signature moves (including his famous return of serve), shares his go-to drills, and explains his mental strategies for staying focused and in control on the court. The course is recommended for advanced-beginner and intermediate tennis players, but anyone with a computer or mobile device with internet connection can technically follow along.

5. PERFECT YOUR VOCAL, DANCE, AND AUDITIONING SKILLS WITH AWARD-WINNING BROADWAY STARS.

The cast of the Broadway musical "Hamilton" performing onstage.
The cast of Hamilton performing at the Grammys.
Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Dreaming of making it big on Broadway? Before seeing your name in lights, you’ll need to fine-tune your dance moves, perfect your auditioning skills, and train your voice to hit all the right high notes. That’s where the Broadway Artists Alliance comes in: Located in New York City’s Theater District, the performance arts training center hosts master classes for advanced students, taught by Broadway performers, casting directors, and Tony Award winners or nominees.

Classes are often themed and range in technique from monologue performance to scene study and song interpretation. Upcoming classes include a half-day session with Hamilton actor Thayne Jasperson and an Anastasia-themed full-day class for young actors taught by Christy Altomare, star of the same-titled Broadway musical.

To enroll in a master class at the Broadway Artists Alliance, you’ll need to apply online and submit a headshot and resume. Half-day classes typically cost $175, and full-day classes (which are typically recommended for students 21 and younger) cost $250.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
YouTube // TED
arrow
technology
What Happens When You Reply to Email Scams
YouTube // TED
YouTube // TED

Comedian James Veitch took it upon himself to do something I think we all consider sometimes: He started responding to email scammers, stringing them along.

When scammers emailed him with shady business propositions—offers of gold, or bizarre inheritances—Veitch replied, expressing interest, or in some cases critiquing the specifics of the business idea. And, predictably, things got weird.

In this hilarious TED Talk, Veitch walks us through the experience, showing just two email exchanges from his three years of correspondence. Enjoy:

For a complete transcript, check out Veitch's TED Talks page.

This is apparently just part of a much larger project called The Fundamental Interconnectedness of Everyone with an Internet Connection, which Veitch began performing in 2014. He later wrote up the experience in a book called Dot Con.

With that, I leave you with Veitch's instant-classic signoff: "Bonsoir my golden nuggets; bonsoir."

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios