[Edited: Make sure to read the full terms and agreements, and like most online course sites, do not expect this to act as a replacement for a real-life class unless any specific course you sign up for states it offers transferrable credits. Make sure you know most online-courses will not be recognized as a replacement for any part of any curriculum by credited educational institutions.]
Through Academic Earth, you can take courses in all of the fields below:
- Computer Science
- Social Sciences
- Art & Design
- Test Preparation
- Berklee College of Music
- Carnegie Mellon
- Case Western Reserve
- Dalarna University
- Dartmouth College
- George Washington University
- Gresham College
- IIT Delhi
- IIT Kanpur
- IIT Kharagpur
- IIT Madras
- Lund University
- Mises Institute
- New School
- Notre Dame
- The City University of New York
- UC Berkeley
- UC Irvine
- University of California San Francisco
- University of Chicago
- University of Houston
- University of London
- University of New South Wales
- University of North Carolina
- University of Western Sydney
- Wesleyan University
- Art & Art History
- Classics & Classical World
- Political Science, International Relations, and Law
- Urban Studies
- Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence
- Engineering [Mechanical, Civil, and Electrical]
- Environment & Natural Resources
- Psychology & Cognitive Sciences
- Public Health
- BusinessEnjoy the over-abundance of free educational resources, and never stop exploring and expanding! And if anyone knows of any other great self-education resources, let me know!
Wow! This is actually really great, and most of these classes seem to have sets of videotaped lectures for the classes!
now that is something
How I Afford Travel
Badass trips on a not-so-badass budget.
Many travel blogs are written by people who’ve sold all their possessions and have taken a huge plunge into the world of long-term travel. This can sound expensive at first, but when you consider that you don’t have rent or a car payment in this lifestyle (or much room to carry any possessions), it can actually be very cheap to live this way, provided you can work a little along the way, or do some kind of virtual freelancing or contract work.
I’m not one of those people.
I do have rent to pay, and a car payment, and bills, and the trappings of a fairly typical middle class young urban professional life. I have a cat. I work in a cubicle. I like some amount of routine, and sleeping in my own bed. I have a ladder to climb, that I want to climb.
I also don’t have a ton of free income to spend on travel.
Despite all this, in the past 2 years I’ve managed to visit 9 cities in 4 countries (Colombia, Jordan, Egypt, Spain) and very soon I’ll be off to visit 7 more cities in 3 countries (Italy, Croatia, and Spain again — I love Spain), a 17 day trip; a few weeks after I return, I’m off again on a small trip to Mexico for a wedding. When I’m done, that’s 16 cities, 7 countries, in just 2 years. Not much for the permanent nomad, but a lot for someone who’s expected to be at work by 9am every weekday.
When people find out how much I travel, some imagine I must have a lot of spare income or be a trust fund baby. I keep encountering this perception — especially among Americans — that travel is this huge undertaking that is incredibly expensive. Well, it sure can be, if you choose to make it that way. But if you step outside this perception, and do some research, you’ll find that it really doesn’t have to be that way. Travel can be affordable, if you plan for it and prioritize it in your life.
Here’s how I do it:
1. Flights. By far, this can be the single most expensive purchase of your trip. A coach round trip ticket from the US to Europe usually runs anywhere from $700-1200 on average, depending on the season. The trick is: don’t buy your ticket with actual money. Buy it with fake money called points or miles. A few years ago, I strategically opened 2 different credit cards (one an AmEx, one a British Airways Visa) with unusually crazy high enrollment bonuses. Within just a few months’ time I went from 0 miles to 50,000 AmEx points (redeemable for airline miles on at least a 1:1 basis) and 100,000 British Airways miles. Keep in mind, BA is part of the OneWorld alliance, so I can book with other airlines using these miles. In just a few months’ time, with 2 credit cards (that didn’t hurt my credit, by the way) I earned enough miles to take 3 international round trip flights — without ever stepping on an airplane. I got the AmEx points simply for opening the card, and I earned the BA miles after spending $2500 in 3 months, which wasn’t that hard for me because I strategically put ALL my expenses on the card for 3 months.
The trick is knowing which cards to open. These cards usually aren’t well advertised, so you’ll have to do your research. A few good resources to get you started:
Unconventional Guides: Frequent Flyer Master by Chris Guillebeau. This is actually the first resource I used to learn more about travel hacking. If you’re a total newb, as I was, this is the best introduction to the world of frequent flyer miles that exists. But it’s not overly simplistic; there are a ton of insider tricks and tools in here that I haven’t even taken advantage of yet. This guide is the reason I earned 150,000 miles without stepping foot on an airplane.
FrugalTravelGuy.com This is a great blog for those interested in staying up to date on the latest frequent flyer news and credit card offers.
FlyerTalk.com This is a forum for the serious hardcore travel hackers — the credit card “churners” who sometimes earn up to 1 million miles a year doing this. FlyerTalk can be intimidating at first if you’re new to all this, so I’d recommend starting from the top and working your way down.
2. Rooms. Very rarely do I stay in what most Americans think of as a “hotel” when I travel abroad. Many travel hackers and frequent business travelers are loyal to a certain brand of hotel, especially those with their own reward points systems, which earn them free stays (and yes, there are credit cards for this too). These can be a great value and I do participate in a few programs like Hilton HHonors for stateside bookings. For my international trips, however, I prefer everyday price flexibility, so I book a variety of inexpensive, off the beaten path accommodation types — and none of them involve splitting a room with strangers, camping (not counting the bedouin camp I stayed with in Petra, which I did for the experience and not the savings), or couchsurfing. A lot of people associate budget travel with roughing it, but it is possible to be comfortable. In fact, by avoiding the beaten path, I usually have a less expensive, equally as comfortable, and more interesting cultural experience.
Most of my international trips have involved staying at a combination of private rooms at hostels, small independently owned hotels, bed & breakfasts, and private apartments.
Hostelworld.com This room search and booking site will expand your idea of what a hostel can be. Often you’ll find that smaller, inexpensive and independent hotels will list rooms on Hostelworld even if they have a website and brand themselves as a hotel or bed & breakfast. You can search for rooms nearly anywhere in the world, filter by room type (most hostels have private bedrooms, some with private bathrooms and some with shared bathrooms), location (there’s a handy map view), price and more. It’s also low risk - you just pay a small 10% down payment when you book and the rest when you check in. I’ve stayed in some very nice hostels for a fraction of the cost of an equal quality hotel and it’s one of the first places I look when I start planning a trip.
Booking.com This is a rising star in the online travel booking world for hotels. Based in Amsterdam, they are one of my top sources for rooms in Europe (though they offer rooms in several other parts of the world too). Booking.com’s strength is their breadth of rooms available; you can find a variety of low-cost, tiny, independently owned hotels that will be difficult or impossible to find elsewhere. They even offer free cancellation on many rooms. Their pricing also cannot be beat — sometimes I even find rooms that are less expensive than hostels!
Airbnb.com I am a huge fan of this service. A major disruptor to the online travel booking industry, Airbnb offers you the ability to reserve a room in a private apartment directly through someone who lives and is local to the place you’re going. You can book entire apartments or just spare bedrooms, allowing you the choice between having a cozy place all to yourself or staying with — and getting to know— a local, something that may not have happened otherwise (and my most memorable trips have been those in which I connected with locals while I was there). A few other perks can involve more amenities than a budget hostel or hotel may offer, such as the ability to wash your own laundry or cook your own food if you need to (it is an apartment, after all). I travel for 2 weeks at a time when possible (more on that later), and I pack only a carry-on. After a week like that, a washing machine is an unexpectedly welcome blessing. You’ll also get to feel more like a local, even if you never meet your host. You’re staying in a neighborhood, not a commercial, touristy zone. There’s a lot to be said for that. Finally, I love their website. Not only very easy to use and socially integrated, the design is beautiful. I love flipping through the home slideshow of gorgeous apartments on offer. It’s interior design porn at its most authentic — these are real peoples’ homes!
3. Timing and trip length. I would be remiss to say that the above 2 factors are the only methods I use to travel to so many places affordably. The fact is, I can say I fit in 16 cities and 7 countries in 2 years because of how many of those cities and countries I manage to pack into a single trip. In 2011, I did only a 1-week trip to Colombia. In 2012, I did a 17-day trip to Jordan, Egypt, and Spain. This year, I’ll do another 17-day trip (that’s essentially 12 vacation days) to Italy, Croatia, and Spain. Considering all the places within those countries I travel to in each trip, I typically pack up and move on every 2-3 days. That’s not a lot of time in each place! Just enough to visit the major sites, take in the atmosphere, and decide if I’m intrigued enough to return someday to make a longer trip of it.
This pace is not for everyone, but it works for me. I’m restless, and like squeezing every drop out of my precious vacation days. Plus, nothing’s worse than booking 5 days in a place you’ve never been, only to arrive and find out you’re bored after 1 day and it’s too late to make any changes. I intend to see the world, and I have to do it in 2 weeks per year. So, I compromise. It can be a little tiring, but I don’t take these trips necessarily to relax — I take them to recharge in other ways. Travel is my passion and I crave new cultural experiences. My worldview has expanded a little more each time I set foot on US soil again; this is creative fuel to the fire of everything I do, from painting to marketing strategy. That’s why I’m determined to prioritize it, even with a limited budget. For those who’ve also been bitten by the travel bug, you get it. The rest of the world will go on thinking that we’re rich, and I suppose that’s fine.
At the Hotel Oriental Rivoli in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt. Somewhat fancy, resort-style digs. About $60/night.
i find my cosmic insignificance reassuring
the stars don’t fucking care who i am or what i do
i owe the universe nothing
i exist on my own terms
#when existentialism becomes comforting rather than horrifying
Super Happy Funtime Burlesque CD & DVD giveaway
Soooooooo many of you have come to my shows over the past year, and I love getting to meet all of you and perform for you. But a lot of you haven’t been able to come, due to location or time or money or whatever. So I’m gonna do the next best thing. We have some very high quality CDs and DVDs of our most recent show, performed at Bell’s in Kalamazoo and recorded professionally. These are really nice, and more or less give you the show you missed out on.
I’ll give away a CD to someone, and a DVD to another person. Both come with a set of handmade pasties! Rules:
- You must be 18 (due to the nsfw content)
- You must reblog this
- Following Super Happy Funtime’s tumblr gets you a second entry
- Contest period is through November 15th, 2013
It’s still best to see it in person. (We’ll be in Dubuque, Eau Claire, Kzoo, Des Moines, Sioux Falls, Fargo, Indianapolis, and Chicago this coming month! Locations here.) But getting recordings is the next best thing.
This show contains: a magical girl sci fi power ranger spoof, vagina sparks, puppet sex, drug induced hallucinations, a cow, an elephant, a lobster, a shark, two fish, more lesbianism than you can shake a stick at, jizzin’ Jesus, and I think this recording has the JFK assassination skit. And that’s not even all of it.
In short, we are terrible naked people and we hope you like our show.
THE BEST COOKIE RECIPES :D
can I eat all of them at once please
reblogging for future reference omfg
Follow for more food porn!
- Dr. Martens 1460 in Green (c/o Dr. Martens)
- everything else: dept store and UO sale racks
Hey, you know what’s cool? Realizing something that matters to you.
For me what this means is partnering with Sub Pop and Dr. Martens for a lady-hosted lady-run CMJ party. For you, what this means is a Dr. Martens giveaway in anticipation of said party.
As usual, all you need to do is reblog this post. The winner will be selected at random on Monday October 14, and all countries are eligible. We have your back, and wanted to make sure that EVERYONE (CMJ-festival-attending or not) has a chance to win. Oh, and did we mention we’ll be giving away ANOTHER pair at the party?
Kindly anticipate drinks, hugs, vinyl, dancing, boots, and all your wildest dreams coming true… save the date for Wednesday, October 16. Details to be announced. Follow Broadist (twitter / facebook), Sub Pop (twitter / facebook), and Dr. Martens (twitter / facebook) for more details.
Every good story needs a villain, whether it’s a physical or a metaphorical villain.
If you really want your villain to stick out, give him or her a good name. It should be something that strikes a chord with the reader, something that fits with the story. It can be mundane or it can be unique, but it should still fit.
A lot of villains will have an alias, but be careful when using these. There are two main types of aliases:
- Epithet: These aliases aren’t actual names and can be tricky to master. “The Dark Lord” is really overdone and stuff like “The Annihilator” is just…lame. Then there’s also nicknames like “scarface” that have a specific story behind them. If you give your villain a name like this, there should be a reason for it.
- A Name: Some villains have a fake name or two. They can use it in their daily life to get around without notice or they can be known as the villain under this name. Voldemort reigns under that name and not his legal name, Tom Riddle. But he also had a reason for choosing Voldemort (it was an anagram of his real name).The name should match the setting and time. If your villain was born in America during the early nineteenth century, his or her name should be relevant to that time and place.If you want the name to have a meaning that matches the character, do some research. Using this method is a bit harder because if you want the name to have a specific meaning, it still has to match the setting, time, and possibly the background of the character. However, in worlds other than our own, you can play around with this as much as you want.If you want your villain’s name to sound like the character’s personality or appearance, try naming your characters with alliterations before you settle on a name. For example: Sly Severus, evil Elvira, ripped Rocky, etc. You can also make the name sound similar to a certain aspect of the character, such as Hannibal Lecter, or you can use a pun within the name.But then you also have the mundane and common names that end up being memorable such as Annie Wilkes and Michael Myers.
If your villain is an actual character, he or she will have had a childhood (if the character is not a child). Your character’s upbringing it vital. While your readers do not have to know everything, it helps the writer to know as much as possible about his or her characters to write them accurately and in character.
The background of your villain may establish fears or reluctant behavior. It could even be the source of anger or revenge.
Your villain can’t be a stock character. It’s boring and it’s lazy writing. Your character needs vices, virtues, quirks, and morals. The villains need a personality too.
Think of your villain’s background to establish personality and use your villain’s personality to establish how he or she carries out evil deeds. If your villain is violent, he or she may torture other characters. If your villain is charming and persuading, he or she may use the psychological approach to strike fear or hatred.
All villains will be corrupt in the eyes of the opposing force. To understand what makes a great villain, you must understand that morality is the key to your villain.
Establish the Morality: If your story takes place in another world, another culture, the past, or the future, the morality will be different from what it is in your culture. Either research the culture you’re writing about if it is a real culture or make a morality scale if you’re writing about a fictional culture.
Moral Developments: There are three levels of moral development and six stages within those. The idea behind this theory of moral development is that morality continuously changes throughout life. The same should be true for your characters, especially your villain. You should know all about your villain’s morality and how they got there. When filling out character questionnaires that involve moral questions, think more about why your villain would give that answer than the answer itself.
Level One, Preconventional:
- Stage One: The first stage is obedience and punishment. Those in this stage obey rules to avoid punishment. This stage is most common in children, but may occur in adults as well.
- Stage Two: The second stage is individualism and exchange. Those in this stage base moral decisions on whether they get something out of it or not. Individual needs are considered above all.
Level Two, Conventional:
- Stage Three: The third stage is interpersonal relationships. Those in this stage fill expectations for how they are supposed to act. The “goody-two-shoes” personality is common in this stage and moral decisions are based on how those choices will affect relationships and social expectations.
- Stage Four: The fourth stage is maintaining social order. Those in this stage consider society as a whole while making moral decisions. Decisions are based on what follows the law and respects authority.
Level Three, Postconventional:
- Stage Five: The fifth stage is social contract and individual rights. Those in this stage recognize differing opinions and values and base morality on the majority of what society agrees on.
- Stage Six: The last stage is universal principles. Those in this stage base decisions on their own morals and ethics even if it goes against the law.
The Nine Alignments: If you know anything about D&D, you probably know about the nine alignments. Or if you known about the alignment meme, then you know about the nine alignments.
The Lawful: Lawful characters are honorable to their values whether those values are ethical or not. They believe everything has a set of rules and that those rules should be followed no matter what. Lawful characters put the needs of the group in front of the needs of an individual. However, these characters may be small minded and stubborn to change. For example, Hank Hill from King of the Hill is a lawful character because he greatly respects authority, the law, the government, and a hardworking person. Another character, Lucky, who is from the same show is also a lawful character because he has a set of personal values and morals that he follows, but they differ greatly from Hank Hill’s morals and values.
- The Lawful Good, “The Crusader”: The lawful good character is essentially a saint. These characters act how one is expected to. Serving justice is a main priority of these characters, but so is helping those in need and following a set of morals or values. Castiel from Supernatural would be considered this type of character when he makes his first few appearances. Other characters include: Batman, Indiana Jones, and Captain America. More Information
- The Lawful Neutral, “The Judge”: This character strongly believes in the law, honorable values, and a personal set of morals. These characters are disciplined and strictly adhere to the law to maintain order. The moral consciousness of these characters is neutral in regards to what the law or tradition calls for. For example, someone may feel as though same-sex marriage is wrong due to their religion, but he or she may also agree that religion should have no say in government affairs and will therefore be in favor of same-sex marriage as a legal bonding. More Information
- The Lawful Evil, “Dominator”: These characters follow their own set of morals, values, and ethics no matter what the law is. They work around the law and find loopholes, even when taking instructions from authority. These characters are selfish and do not care for the rights or freedoms of others. Rules are important to these characters, but the consequences of harmful laws are not as long as they do not affect the character. These characters are often tyrants and rulers. More InformationThe Chaotic: Chaotic characters have freedom and flexibility, but reckless. The “rebellious teenager” is a typical chaotic character, as they stand up against authority and prefer personal freedom. However, these characters may also be egotistical and irresponsible. They are more likely to make mistakes because they think too fast and disregard others. These characters do not believe in coincidence and they believe the law is meant to be broken.
- The Chaotic Good, “Rebel”: These characters listen to their gut and their conscience. These characters are good in nature and do not let others influence their actions. While these characters do what is right and good for social improvement, they disregard the law, the rules, and societal expectations. More Information
- The Chaotic Neutral, “Free Spirit”: This character is similar to the chaotic good, but is more about the individual than the group. These characters are promoters of freedom and work with those who happen to share the same values and motives. While these characters are most often disorganized, they may have a main goal in mind. More Information.
- The Chaotic Evil, “Destroyer”: These characters are selfish and will do anything to get what they want. They are often violent, unpredictable, and have no regard for the lives or freedoms of others. These characters are considered the quintessence of evil. More Information.The Neutral: Neutral characters are a balance between lawful and chaotic. This is the yin and yang of morality. Neutral characters believe the forces of good and evil must work together.
- The Neutral Good, “Benefactor”: These characters are kind, generous, and do all they can to benefit the world. These characters have no favor for or against laws, rules, guidelines, or tradition. More Information
- The Neutral, “Undecided”: These characters do whatever seems good and right. These characters are either the balance between all or the absence of all. More Information
- The Neutral Evil, “Malefactor”: These characters do not intend to harm, do not follow rules if it is not beneficial to them, and do whatever they can get away with. These characters think of themselves more than the group. Sawyer from Lost is an example. More Information
Final Notes: Moral development is not strictly social. There are several factors that influence a person’s morality and psychopaths are aware of morals and the difference between right and wrong, they just don’t care.
Your villain needs a motive. You can’t just have some angry dude who wants to take over the world with no explanation.
Here are some basic motives:
- The Needs of the Many Outweigh the Needs of the Few: Some villains have the motive of serving the greater good or serving what they believe is the greater good. These villains work toward a major goal for a group of people rather than an individual.
- Every Villain is a Hero: Some villains are the heroes. In A Song of Ice and Fire, many of the POV characters view themselves as heroes although other characters view them as villains. These villains are more neutral in terms of morality and often fail to see the harm they do. The motive behind these characters is for personal or group needs and morals.
- Everyone is a Hero in their Own Way: These villains like to image of being a hero, but are underlying villains. They parade around as heroes and great people and many believe that they are. Only few know their true nature. Therefore, these characters have the motive of being a hero, but do not care how reckless they are. The version of Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight Rises is this type of villain even though he is dead. A few people knew that he was a villain while the majority of Gotham City viewed him as a martyr.
Off Screen Time:
If your villain only shows up when convenient for the plot and is never heard of again, you might have a problem. What are they doing between appearances? Do they have other enemies or duties to take care of?
If your villain spends all his or her time plotting against your protagonist, your villain will probably have a large advantage when it comes to defeating the protagonist.
Words and Phrases:
- Wearing all black all the time (unless you have a good reason).
- A visible scar for no reason at all.
- So super sexy that no one can resist his or her evil ways.
- Always looks good no matter what.
- Laughing maniacally
- Let Me Tell You About My Plan: Sometimes this is done well, but most of the time it’s not. When your protagonist is in the grasp of the villain, the villain shouldn’t go on about his or her evil plan in great depth. A quick mention is all you need. The Joker does this really well because it just works with him. He doesn’t have any premise he just improvises and he’s good at it.
- Speeches: I think we’re all sick of villains who gather their minions and then give a massive speech. Again, sometimes this is done well if there is a purpose behind the speech, but other times it’s used as an info dump.
- More Things to Avoid (2)
The most important question you must answer is why this character is a villain. You must answer why this character opposes the protagonist and why this character does what he or she does.
Refer to the points above about morality, personality, motive, and background to map out why your villain became a villain.
But you also have to answer why your villain is a villain to the protagonist. Your villain, if deliberately chasing the protagonist, needs a reason. There needs to be a great need and motive.
You must also answer how this character became a villain. Was it gradual? Sudden? Was there one final event that pushed this character into become a villain?
Put a hint of doubt in your reader, make them sympathize with the villain. Give them good qualities that are admirable to make your readers and other characters question what they once thought. Put both your characters and your reader in a state of crisis by showing that your villain has humanity.
Make your villain as complex as your protagonist. Make your villain change. Challenge your villain just as you do the other characters. There are no excuses for flat, static, and stereotypical villains.