Anthony Bourdain Is the Subject of a New Class at Louisiana's Nicholls State University

Larry French/Getty Images for DC Central Kitchen
Larry French/Getty Images for DC Central Kitchen

From journalism and television to the travel and restaurant industries, Anthony Bourdain influenced numerous fields throughout his career. His own work was also heavily influenced by the art, films, and literature he loved—and he wasn't afraid to make that clear in his shows. Next year, Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana is hosting an entire class dedicated to the media that shaped the chef/writer/television personality, USA Today reports.

Nicholls State professor Todd Kennedy was inspired to design the course following Bourdain's death in June. Like many fans, he was affected by the loss, and started reflecting on how successful Bourdain had been in seamlessly blending literature, film, travel, and food into his documentaries. He pitched a class called "Anthony Bourdain and His Influencers" for the spring 2019 semester, which was quickly approved by the college.

"Almost every episode of Bourdain's shows directly reference and/or pay homage to a major work of literature or film as he develops his own visual and narrative argument about culture, politics, food, art, and the intersections therein," the class description reads. "This course will pair Bourdain's work with the writings and films that influenced him, connecting ways of understanding the world around us through the lens of a transformative writer and public figure."

Based on an image Kennedy shared on Twitter, the course materials will includes movies such as Apocalypse Now (1979) and Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972) and books like Legends of the Fall by Jim Harrison and The Quiet American by Graham Greene. The class is a film studies course, but it also satisfies some English credits.

Enrollment for the class opens sometime this month, and it will only be open to current students at Nicholls State. A condensed version of the class will also be made available online to students outside southern Louisiana.

[h/t USA Today]

The Mental Floss Store Is Back!

Mental Floss Store
Mental Floss Store

You've been asking about it for months, and today we can finally confirm that the Mental Floss Store is back up and running! Simply head here to find dozens of T-shirts with all sorts of unique designs to choose from, whether you’re in the market for a pi pun, a risqué grammar joke, or something only your fellow bookworms will appreciate. You can even use your new Mental Floss shirt to teach your friends all about scurvy.

Mental Floss Store

If you’re just in the mood to express your love of all things Mental Floss, you can also get our darling little logo on phone cases, tote bags, mugs, baby bibs, and more.

Mental Floss Store

Head on over to the Mental Floss Store to see our entire collection. And if you use the code FLOSSERS at checkout by end of day Sunday, you'll get 20 percent off your order. 

Sign Up Today: Get exclusive deals, product news, reviews, and more with the Mental Floss Smart Shopping newsletter!

America's Top 25 Colleges and Universities for 2021

Harvard University's Memorial Hall.
Harvard University's Memorial Hall.

Deciding what makes a certain college more desirable than another is highly subjective. Some prospective students might think a championship-winning football team and a massive student body are major selling points, while others prize a small, tightly knit community above all else.

To try to come as close as possible to identifying objectively great colleges and universities around the country, WalletHub analyzed a whopping 30 factors in seven categories, from student selectivity and cost to campus experience and career outcomes. These encompass basic metrics—admissions rate and average class size, for example—as well as more specific considerations, like study abroad programs, on-campus employment opportunities, and the median salaries of recent graduates.

Of all 1008 schools included in the study, the Ivy League ones continue to reign supreme. Harvard University ranked first, with a score of 78.6 across all 30 metrics, edging out Yale by just .03 points. Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, Dartmouth, and Brown also made the top 25. With low acceptance rates and high graduation rates—not to mention huge endowments—these stately old institutions are rather difficult to compete with, but they’re definitely not the only esteemed places to get a four-year education.

As a testament to the continuing success of the tech industry, three technology institutes made WalletHub’s list: Massachusetts in third place, California in fifth, and Georgia in 11th. Those three schools ranked in the top five for return on educational investment, meaning that graduates make high starting salaries compared to how much their education actually cost.

Geographically, New England (and the East coast in general) is home to a majority of the top schools, though five from California alone did chart, too: Stanford University; University of California, Berkeley; Pomona College; and Claremont McKenna College, in addition to the aforementioned California Institute of Technology.

Check out the top 25 below, and see where your alma mater ranks on WalletHub’s full list here.

  1. Harvard University // 78.6
  1. Yale University // 78.57
  1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology // 78.44
  1. Princeton University // 78.41
  1. California Institute of Technology // 77.65
  1. Stanford University // 77.12
  1. Rice University // 76.96
  1. Northwestern University // 75.4
  1. Duke University // 75.18
  1. University of Pennsylvania // 74.95
  1. Georgia Institute of Technology // 74.92
  1. Vanderbilt University // 74.66
  1. University of California, Berkeley // 74.54
  1. Columbia University // 74.51
  1. Johns Hopkins University // 74.37
  1. University of Chicago // 73.59
  1. Dartmouth College // 73.43
  1. Williams College // 73.19
  1. Brown University // 73.17
  1. Carnegie Mellon University // 73.11
  1. Washington and Lee University // 73.08
  1. Swarthmore College // 73.08
  1. Pomona College // 72.92
  1. Claremont McKenna College // 72.84
  1. Amherst College // 72.83