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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If They Were Muggles

12 Strange-But-Real Ice Cream Flavors

ipekata/iStock via Getty Images
ipekata/iStock via Getty Images

I scream, you scream, we all scream for … horse flesh ice cream? Okay, so maybe “we all" don’t. But some people do. A lot of people, in fact. Lobster, foie gras, and ghost pepper, too. Next time you’re craving an ice-cold cone, why not step out of your vanilla/chocolate comfort zone to try one of these 12 strange-but-real ice cream flavors.

1. Horse Flesh

There are two dozen attractions within Tokyo’s indoor amusement park, Namja Town, but it would be easy to spend all of your time there pondering the many out-there flavors at Ice Cream City, where Raw Horse Flesh, Cow Tongue, Salt, Yakisoba, Octopus, and Squid are among the flavors that have tickled (or strangled) visitors' taste buds.

2. Pickled Mango

As one of the country’s most decorated ice cream makers, Jeni Britton Bauer—proprietor of Ohio-based Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams—is constantly pushing the boundaries of unique treats, as evidenced by her lineup of limited edition flavors, including last summer's Pickled Mango (a cream cheese-based ice cream with a slightly spicy mango sauce made of white balsamic vinegar, white pepper, allspice, and clove) and this year's Goat Cheese With Red Cherries.

3. Corn on the Cob

Since opening Max & Mina’s in Queens, New York in 1998, brothers/owners Bruce and Mark Becker have created more than 5000 one-of-a-kind ice cream flavors, many of them adapted from their grandfather’s original recipes. Daily flavor experiments mean that the menu is ever-changing, but Corn on the Cob (a summer favorite), Horseradish, Garlic, Pizza, Lox, and Jalapeño have all made the lineup.

4. Foie Gras

New York City's OddFellows takes the "odd" in its name seriously, and has become synonymous with experimental flavors. Since opening their doors in 2013, they've concocted more than 300 different kinds of the cold stuff—including a Foie Gras varietal.

5. Pear and Blue Cheese

“Salty-sweet” is the preferred palette at Portland, Oregon-based Salt & Straw, where sugar and spice blend together nicely with flavors like Strawberry Honey Balsamic Strawberry With Cracked Pepper and Pear With Blue Cheese, a well-balanced mix of sweet Oregon Trail Bartlett Pears mixed with crumbles of Rogue Creamery's award-winning Crater Lake Blue Cheese. Yum?

6. Ghost Pepper

“Traditional” isn’t the word you’d choose to describe any of the 100 ice cream varieties at The Ice Cream Store in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. They don’t have vanilla, they have African Vanilla or Madagascar Vanilla Bean. But things only get wilder from there, and the shop’s proprietors clearly have a penchant for the spicy stuff. In addition to their Devil's Breath Carolina Reaper Pepper Ice Cream—a bright red vanilla ice cream mixed with cinnamon and a Carolina Reaper pepper mash—there's also the classic Ghost Pepper Ice Cream, which was featured in a Ripley's Believe It or Not book in 2016. Just be warned: you'll have to sign a waiver if you plan to order either flavor.

7. Bourbon and Corn Flake

You never know exactly which flavors will appear as part of the daily-changing lineup at San Francisco’s Humphry Slocombe, but they always make room for the signature Secret Breakfast. Made with bourbon and Corn Flakes, you’d better get there early if you want to try it; it sells out quickly and on a daily basis.

8. Fig and Fresh Brown Turkey

The sweet-toothed scientists at New York City’s Il Laboratorio del Gelato have never met a flavor they didn’t like—or want to turn into an ice cream. How else would one explain the popularity of their Fig & Fresh Brown Turkey gelato, a popular selection among the hundreds flavors they have created thus far. (Beet and Cucumber are just two of their other fascinating flavors.)

9. Lobster

Don’t let the “chocolate” in the title fool you: Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium in Bar Harbor, Maine makes the most of The Pine Tree State’s most famous delicacy with its signature Lobster Ice Cream, a butter ice cream-based treat with fresh (again buttered) lobster folded into each bite.

10. Creole Tomato

The philosophy at New Orleans’ Creole Creamery is simple: “Eat ice cream. Be happy.” What’s not as easy is choosing from among their dozens of rotating ice creams, sorbets, sherbets and ices. But only the most daring of diners might want to swap out a sweet indulgence for something that sounds more like a salad, as it the case with the Creole Tomato.

11. Eskimo Ice Cream

If you happen to find yourself in an ice cream shop in Juneau, remember this: Eskimo ice cream—also known as Akutag—is not the same thing as an Eskimo Pie, that chocolate-covered ice cream bar you’ll find in just about any grocery store. Though the statewide delicacy has usually got enough fresh berries mixed in to satisfy one’s sweet tooth, its base is actually animal fat (reindeer, caribou, possibly even whale).

12. Cheetos

Big Gay Ice Cream started out as an experimental ice cream truck and morphed into one of New York City’s most swoon-worthy ice cream shops, where the toppings make for an inimitable indulgence. One of their most unique culinary inventions? A Cheetos-inspired cone, where vanilla and cheese ice cream is dipped in Cheetos dust.

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