The 10 Coolest Online Courses You Can Sign Up For in April 2019

iStock.com/imaginima
iStock.com/imaginima

If you consider yourself a lifelong learner, online courses are an easy and affordable way to hone your skills, challenge your brain, and maybe even discover a new interest or hobby. You can find e-courses on everything from interior design to graphic design, and many of these classes are free on websites like Udemy, Coursera, and edX. (But if you want a certificate to prove you completed the program, there is typically a fee attached.)

Ready to dive into some lesson plans? We’ve selected 10 of the coolest classes you can take right now from the comfort of your own home.

1. Dog CPR and First Aid

Many non-medical professionals are now CPR-certified, but did you know that similar first aid techniques can be used on dogs in emergency scenarios? This course covers CPR and the Heimlich maneuver for canines, as well as explaining how to read a dog’s vital signs. One of the lessons also addresses emergency prevention, including topics such as car safety, toxic foods and plants, and disaster preparedness. Whether you have a fur baby of your own or just want to be ready to rescue an animal in need, this is the course for you.

Sign up on Udemy for $14. A certificate of completion is included in the price.

2. Neuroplasticity: How To Rewire Your Brain

Old habits die hard, but it’s still possible to make meaningful, lasting change in your life. Taught by psychologist and Brain Academy founder Gregory Caremans, the course is ideal for anyone who wants to form healthier habits, minimize painful memories, or stop procrastinating (indeed, there’s a whole chapter dedicated to this last topic). No prior knowledge is necessary, but be prepared to give your brain a full workout. The class includes lots of exercises that will help you reshape your brain in the most literal sense.

Sign up on Udemy for $14. A certificate of completion is included in the price.

3. The Science of Well-Being

After you’re done rewiring your brain, you can teach it how to be happier with this class from Yale University. Psychology professor Laurie Santos starts off by refuting common misconceptions about the things we think will make us happy, despite scientific evidence to the contrary. Fortunately, these biases of the brain can be overcome, and a large chunk of the class is dedicated to strategies that can be used to achieve a greater sense of well-being.

If Santos's class leaves you wanting more, you can also sign up for The Science of Happiness, a free class from the University of California, Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center. It's available on edX for free (with an option of buying a $49 certificate upon completion).

Sign up for Santos's course on Coursera for free. The optional certificate costs $49.

4. The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact On Pop Culture

If you’re still mourning the loss of legendary comic book creator Stan Lee, you may enjoy this course from SmithsonianX, which features some of the superhero-themed knowledge that Lee imparted during his time on this Earth. You’ll also hear from another comic book maven, Michael Uslan, who served as executive producer of The Dark Knight series and The Lego Movie. After six weeks, you’ll be able to explain how the birth of the first-ever superhero in 1938 launched a global phenomenon that continues to inform art, pop culture, and even ethics.

Sign up on edX for free. The optional certificate costs $50.

5. Greatest Unsolved Mysteries of the Universe

What caused the Big Bang? What is our universe made of? Is there life in outer space? Two astronomers from the Australian National University set out to address some of the lingering questions in modern astrophysics. You may walk away from this course with more questions than answers, but you’ll have a more informed take on life’s greatest mysteries, as well as a better understanding of why exactly they’re so tough to crack.

Sign up on edX for free. The optional certificate costs $50.

6. The Kennedy Half Century

Calling all history and presidential trivia buffs: This course from the University of Virginia provides a comprehensive understanding of the legacy that John F. Kennedy left behind. It covers J.F.K.’s rise to power, presidency, and assassination, and explains how these momentous events have had a long-lasting impact on the public, media, and presidents who came after him.

Sign up on Coursera for free. The optional certificate costs $49.

7. The Science of Beer

If Alton Brown was to teach a class on beer, it would probably look similar to this offering from Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands. You’ll learn how your beloved brew of choice is made and what exactly makes it taste so delicious. Fair warning, though: You’ll also learn about some of the unsavory health effects of imbibing too much beer. There’s a business angle, too—instructors provide an overview of how beer ends up in the supply chain and how marketers try to influence consumer behavior.

Sign up on edX for free. The optional certificate costs $49.

8. The Music of the Beatles

With 13 studio albums to their name, The Beatles released enough material to dissect, analyze, and enjoy for decades to come. This class from the University of Rochester charts the band’s evolution as musicians, from their early experiences in Liverpool and Hamburg to their psychedelic phase to the release of Abbey Road, the last album they recorded. (Although, as you’ll likely learn in this course, Let It Be was the last album they actually released).

Sign up on Coursera for free. The optional certificate costs $49.

9. Aquaponic Gardening: Growing Fish and Vegetables Together

Healthy, sustainable food doesn’t always come cheap, so why not raise your dinner in your own backyard? Author and aquaponic gardening expert Sylvia Bernstein will guide you through the basics of raising fish like tilapia, bluegill, and catfish in captivity. In turn, the waste from those fish can be used to nurture an entire fruit or vegetable garden. Sylvia and her husband, Alan, will demonstrate the eco-friendly techniques you’ll need to know to yield a bountiful feast.

Sign up on Udemy for $25. A certificate of completion is included in the price.

10. Passive Income: Top 10 Legit Ways to Make Money Online

Everyone wants to know how to make more money with less effort. Entrepreneur and IT professional Victor Gorinov's Udemy class is designed to help you figure out how to do that. He’ll introduce you to the basic concepts involved in earning passive income, tackling options like affiliate marketing, domain trading, investing in stocks and real estate, monetizing your YouTube account, and selling your photos and videos to stock image websites.

Sign up on Udemy for $12. A certificate of completion is included in the price.

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Missing the Days of Clippy? There’s an App That Will Bring Him Back

The Science Elf, YouTube
The Science Elf, YouTube

Some Microsoft Office users might still brace for the appearance of a certain nosy, wide-eyed paper clip whenever they type Dear at the top of a fresh Word document. After all, Clippy was the anthropomorphic pet we never asked for, yet tolerated through several formative years of computer technology.

Though Clippy—short for Clippit—may have been on the receiving end of an industry-wide eye roll in the late 1990s, it’s hard to ignore how much he seems like an early, distant ancestor to applications like Alexa and Siri, upon whom society has developed a pretty significant reliance. Whether you think about the injustice against Clippy every day or you’re just a normal person who likes any excuse to indulge in ‘90s nostalgia, we have news for you: You can rescue him from the void and host him on your very own Mac desktop.

According to Lifehacker, the app was created by a developer named Devran “Cosmo” Uenal, who debuted the program on Github earlier this month. This rather chilled-out Clippy won’t burst into your Word document and offer unsolicited advice on how to write letters, but he’ll still entertain you with animated performances if you right-click on him and choose “Animate!”

As you can see in Uenal’s Twitter video, he might don a pair of oversized headphones and mime a music jam sessions, or he might transform into a googly-eyed, heavy-eyebrowed checkmark.

To download the paperclip pal for yourself, scroll down to the “First start” section on the Github page and click “Download Clippy for macOS,” which should trigger an automatic download. Click on that installation file, and then follow the rest of the directions in the “First start” section to open Clippy on your desktop. From there, the fun is endless.

And, if you’re hungry for more history about the world’s most hated virtual assistant, you can read more about his tragic life here.

[h/t Lifehacker]

The World's Spiciest Chip Is Sold Only One to a Customer

Paqui
Paqui

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to get pepper-sprayed directly in your mouth, Paqui Chips has something you can’t afford to miss. Following the success of their Carolina Reaper Madness One Chip Challenges back in 2016 and 2017, Food & Wine reports that the company has re-released the sadistic snack. Continuing their part-marketing gimmick, part-public safety effort, the Reaper chip won’t be sold in bags. You just get one chip.

That’s because Paqui dusts its chips with the Carolina Reaper Pepper, considered the world’s hottest, and most (attempted) consumers of the chip report being unable to finish even one. To drive home the point of how hot this chip is—it’s really, extremely, punishingly hot—the chip is sold in a tiny coffin-shaped box

Peppers like the Carolina Reaper are loaded with capsaicin, a compound that triggers messages of heat and pain and fiery consumption; your body can respond by vomiting or having shortness of breath. While eating the chip is not the same as consuming the bare, whole pepper, it’s still going to be a very uncomfortable experience. For a profanity-filled example, you can check out this video:

The chip will be sold only on Paqui’s website for $6.99 per chip or $59.90 for a 10-pack. The company also encourages pepper aficionados to upload photos or video of their attempts to finish the chip. If it becomes too much, try eating yogurt, honey, or milk to dampen the effects.

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