9 Enlightening Courses You Can Take Online in March 2019

iStock.com/damircudic
iStock.com/damircudic

These days, you can learn just about anything online, whether it's through YouTube videos, independent research, or Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs). Websites like Coursera, edX, and Udemy offer a wealth of classes that will teach you everything you didn't have the chance to learn in school, whether it's practical kitchen skills, esoteric historical information, or off-beat science. There’s no shortage of unique courses to dive into, and many of them are free—or at least much cheaper than their offline equivalents. Here are some of the most intriguing ones you can take in March 2019.

1. Bake Artisan Sourdough Bread Like a Professional

Baking your own bread is trendier than ever, but that doesn't mean it's easy. From making a sourdough starter from scratch to mixing, shaping, and baking loaves, this course will teach you how to make bread the Old World way. Instructor Teresa L. Greenway will walk you through the process of making your own crispy, chewy bread at home through four hours of video, 28 articles, and 33 downloadable resources you can review at your own pace. Along the way, you'll learn about the basics of fermentation, gluten formation, hydration, and more, including a crash course in the long history of bread-making. While this is one of the pricier online class options, its price tag pales in comparison to what you'd pay for in-person classes somewhere like King Arthur Flour's baking school. (And if you find the class doesn't quite rise to the occasion, Udemy has a 30-day money-back guarantee.)

Sign up on Udemy for $100.

2. The Truth About Cats and Dogs

If you've ever wondered why dogs love to dig or cats love cardboard boxes, this class offered by the University of Edinburgh is for you. The nine-hour course promises to give you scientific insights into these two species’s behavior, exploring how dogs and cats see the world, how they communicate, and how you can improve their lives. Though it's designed to be completed in five weeks, the flexible deadlines can fit whatever your personal schedule allows.

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

3. Star Trek: Inspiring Culture and Technology

Since it first premiered as an NBC television series in 1966, Star Trek has spawned multiple television series, films, comic books, and novels, becoming a juggernaut of nerd culture like no other. It has had such a big impact on American society, in fact, that you can take a course dedicated to its influence, from fandom phenomena to how it shaped the television we watch today. It's offered by SmithsonianX, the Smithsonian Institution's free course program.

Sign up on edX for free. The optional certificate, which includes bonus course content, costs $40.

4. Plagues, Witches, and War: The Worlds of Historical Fiction

Perfect for fans of historical tales like The Favourite (2018), this online class taught by University of Virginia English professor Bruce Holsinger details the rise of historical fiction from the 18th century to today. You'll discuss what exactly makes a work of historical fiction, read classics of the form by writers like James Fenimore Cooper and Charles Dickens, and hear from a modern author.

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

5. The Science of Happiness

Since it first launched in 2014, this class from the University of California, Berkley's Greater Good Science Center has consistently been one of the most popular MOOCs out there. It provides scientific insight into what it takes to live a fruitful life, all backed by psychological research. Previous participants have reported feeling a boost in positive feelings for months after taking the eight-week class.

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

6. Osteoarchaeology: The Truth in Our Bones

You can learn a surprising amount of information about a person just from studying their bones. This course offered by Universiteit Leiden in The Netherlands examines everything we can learn just from looking at skeletal remains, from information about that person's health and diet to where they migrated and the kind of activities they performed when they were alive.

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

7. Mix World-Class Cocktails: Secrets of a Champion Mixologist

If you've always wanted to be able to get behind a bar and whip up incredibly creative cocktails, award-winning mixologist Paul Martin's course is for you. You'll get 2.5 hours of video instruction plus 16 downloadable resources to help make you the best bartender you can be, whether you're a complete newbie or an established professional. "You will learn key mixing techniques, how to produce the finest examples of the great classic cocktails, the secrets and methods for producing the most popular contemporary cocktails perfectly, and finally how to produce some show-stopping cocktail garnishes to give your cocktails that 'rock-star' presentation," Martin promises. By the end of the course, you'll have mastered 16 different classic cocktail preparations, including the perfect martini, a "sublime" cosmopolitan, and more. The course is expensive for an online class, but it's much cheaper than your standard in-person bartending school.

Sign up on Udemy for $200.

8. Pixel Art for Video Games

Video games have come a long way since the 16-bit era, but there is a unique beauty to pixel art that still makes it appealing today. This course taught by game artist Marco Vale will teach you how to make your own, professional-level pixel art. You'll learn how to draw and animate characters from different perspectives, bringing your bite-sized imaginations to life.

Sign up on Udemy for $70.

9. History of Rock Music I: From the Early Blues to the 1960s

For all those folks that love to rock and roll all night, this introductory course takes you through some of the highlights of rock music history. Taught by Vasilis Kallis, an associate professor of music theory at the University of Nicosia in Cyprus, the class looks at rock 'n' roll through theory, composition, and cultural history. Not only will you learn about some of the genre’s most prominent artists and styles, but you will also explore the cultural and economic factors that contributed to the impact these artists had on society at large.

Sign up on Udemy for $60.

13 Father's Day Gifts for Geeky Dads

Amazon/Otterbox/Toynk
Amazon/Otterbox/Toynk

When in doubt, you play the hits. Watches, flasks, and ties are all tried-and-true Father’s Day gifts—useful items bought en masse every June as the paternal holiday draws near. Here’s a list of goodies that put a geeky spin on those can’t-fail gifts. We’re talking Zelda flasks, wizard-shaped party mugs, and a timepiece inspired by BBC’s greatest sci-fi series, Doctor Who. Light the “dad” signal ‘cause it’s about to get nerdy!

1. Lord of the Rings Geeki Tikis (Set of Three); $76

'Lord of The Rings' themed tiki cups.
Toynk

If your dad’s equally crazy about outdoor shindigs and Tolkien’s Middle-earth, help him throw his own Lothlórien luau with these Tiki-style ceramic mugs shaped like icons from the Lord of the Rings saga. Gollum and Frodo’s drinkware doppelgängers each hold 14 ounces of liquid, while Gandalf the Grey’s holds 18—but a wizard never brags, right? Star Wars editions are also available.

Buy it: Toynk

2. Space Invaders Cufflinks; $9

'Space Invaders' cufflinks on Amazon
Fifty 50/Amazon

Arcade games come and arcade games go, but Space Invaders has withstood the test of time. Now Pops can bring those pixelated aliens to the boardroom—and look darn stylish doing it.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Legend of Zelda Flask; $18

A 'Legend of Zelda' flask
Toynk

Saving princesses is thirsty work. Shaped like an NES cartridge, this Zelda-themed flask boasts an 8-ounce holding capacity and comes with a reusable straw. Plus, it makes a fun little display item for gamer dads with man caves.

Buy it: Toynk

4. AT-AT Family Vacation Bag Tag; $12

An At-At baggage tag
ShopDisney

Widely considered one of the greatest movie sequels ever made, The Empire Strikes Back throws a powerful new threat at Luke Skywalker and the Rebellion: the AT-AT a.k.a. Imperial Walkers. Now your dad can mark his luggage with a personalized tag bearing the war machine’s likeness.

Buy it: ShopDisney

5. Flash Skinny Tie; $17

A skinny Flash-themed tie
Uyoung/Amazon

We’ll let you know if the Justice League starts selling new memberships, but here’s the next best thing. Available in a rainbow of super-heroic colors, this skinny necktie bears the Flash’s lightning bolt logo. Race on over to Amazon and pick one up today.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Captain America Shield Apron; $20

A Captain America themed apron
Toynk

Why let DC fans have all the fun? Daddy-o can channel his inner Steve Rogers when he flips burgers at your family’s Fourth of July BBQ. Measuring 31.5 inches long by 27.5 inches wide, this apron’s guaranteed to keep the cookout Hydra-free.

Buy it: Toynk

7. Doctor Who Vortex Manipulator LCD Leather Wristwatch; $35

A Doctor Who-themed watch
Toynk

At once classy and geeky, this digital timepiece lovingly recreates one of Doctor Who’s signature props. Unlike some of the gadgets worn on the long-running sci-fi series, it won’t require any fancy chronoplasm fuel.

Buy it: Toynk

8. Wonder Woman 3-Piece Grill Set; $21

Wonder Woman three-piece gill set
Toynk

At one point in her decades-long comic book career, this Amazon Princess found herself working at a fast food restaurant called Taco Whiz. Now grill cooks can pay tribute to the heroine with these high-quality, stainless steel utensils. The set’s comprised of wide-tipped tongs, a BBQ fork, and a spatula, with the latter boasting Wonder Woman’s insignia.

Buy it: Toynk

9. Harry Potter Toon Tumbler; $10

Glassware that's Harry Potter themed
Entertainment Earth

You can never have too many pint glasses—and this Father’s Day, dad can knock one back for the boy who lived. This piece of Potter glassware from PopFun has whimsy to spare. Now who’s up for some butterbeer?

Buy it: EntertainmentEarth

10. House Stark Men’s Wallet; $16

A Game of Thrones themed watch
Toynk

Winter’s no longer coming, but the Stark family's propensity for bold fashion choices can never die. Manufactured with both inside and outside pockets, this direwolf-inspired wallet is the perfect place to store your cards, cash, and ID.

Buy it: Toynk

11. Mr. Incredible “Incredible Dad” Mug, $15

An Incredibles themed mug
ShopDisney

Cue the brass music. Grabbing some coffee with a Pixar superhero sounds like an awesome—or dare we say, incredible?—way for your dad to start his day. Mom can join in the fun, too: Disney also sells a Mrs. Incredible version of the mug.

Buy it: ShopDisney

12. Star Wars phone cases from Otterbox; $46-$56

Star Wars phone cases from OtterBox.
Otterbox

If your dad’s looking for a phone case to show off his love of all things Star Wars, head to Otterbox. Whether he’s into the Dark Side with Darth Vader and Kylo Ren, the droids, Chewbacca, or Boba Fett, you’ll be able to find a phone case to fit his preference. The designs are available for both Samsung and Apple products, and you can check them all out here.

Buy it: Otterbox

13. 3D Puzzles; $50

3D Harry Potter puzzle from Amazon.
Wrebbit 3D

Help dad recreate some of his favorite fictional locations with these 3D puzzles from Wrebbit 3D. The real standouts are the 850-piece model of Hogwarts's Great Hall and the 910-piece version of Winterfell from Game of Thrones. If dad's tastes are more in line with public broadcasting, you could also pick him up an 890-piece Downton Abbey puzzle to bring a little upper-crust elegance to the homestead.

Buy it: Hogwarts (Amazon), Winterfell (Amazon), Downton Abbey (Amazon)

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How to Brew Your Own Fluorescent Beer at Home

The Odin
The Odin

If you're one of the many people who made their own sourdough starter in quarantine, you already know yeast is a living thing. That means its biological makeup can be tweaked using genetic engineering. As Gizmodo reports, that's exactly what a former NASA biologist has done to create his new fluorescent yeast kits.

A few years ago, Josiah Zayner left his job as a synthetic biologist for NASA to found The Odin, a company that lets anyone experiment with genetic science at home. His recently launched yeast kit accomplishes this in an eye-catching way. Thanks to a fluorescent protein from jellyfish, yeast that's been genetically modified with the kit glows green under a black or blue light.

Despite looking like a prop from a sci-fi film, the yeast is still yeast. That means it can be used in home-brewing projects if you want to take the science experiment a step further. According to Eater, yeast made with the kit ferments and fluoresces when added to honey and water. If you brew a batch of beer with the right amount of yeast, the final product will emit an otherworldly glow when viewed under a blacklight. The kit hasn't been FDA approved, but the company states the materials are nontoxic and nonallergenic, and beer made with it will still taste like beer.

You can purchase a fluorescent yeast kit from The Odin's online shop for $169. If you're looking for more ways to experiment with genetic technology at home, the company also sells kits that let you play with frog and bacteria DNA.

[h/t Gizmodo]