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Predicting the unpredictable: understanding the weather

It’s very British to talk about the weather. So it’s fitting that a British university – the University of Reading – offers a 3-week course called Come Rain or Shine: Understanding The Weather. Taking this course will have the effect of turning comments like ‘Looks like rain tomorrow’ into more technical and perhaps even accurate predictions. Cows lying down might mean it’s going to rain, but for the curious who want to know why it’s going to rain, this course is perfect.

There IS such a thing as a free lunch

Have you ever imagined yourself cast away on an island or lost in the jungle for weeks on end? How would you survive? What would you eat, seeing as shrink-wrapped supermarket produce would be in short supply? You'd have to forage and eat what you found.

Our unpredictable planet: natural disasters

Sometimes the Earth bites. Some would say ‘sometimes the Earth bites back,’ with climate change and rising incidents of flooding in mind. But most natural disasters are not man-made. There’s very little we can do at the moment about earthquakes and volcanoes, for example. And hurricanes and typhoons were around long before we started filling the atmosphere with CO2. So studying natural disasters and preparing for them shouldn’t be undertaken with a sense of guilt about self-inflicted damage. It should be done with a simple sense of self-preservation.

Chemistry of Beer

For some reason this course is incredibly popular. The University of Oklahoma is offering a free class on brewing chemistry with a credit option. You can earn college credit by studying and perhaps even sampling the popular hoppy beverage.

Physics in your life

Why exactly did the apocryphal apple fall on Isaac Newton’s head? That’s what Newton wondered, and set out to discover why.