DSC Magazine, August 28 2022

Getting more interesting by degrees, and more!

By Degrees

Getting More Interesting By Degrees

As people start heading back to school, let’s take a look at some of the more unusual — but super intriguing — classes out there.

If you’re questioning the path your life has taken, there’s a whole bunch of deeply fascinating subjects you can study to help you take it in a more interesting direction. For example…

Bagpiping (Carnegie Mellon University)
Carnegie Mellon is the only place in the world where you can study bagpiping at this level, which — provided your main goal is to bagpipe — can’t be McIgnored. While the career prospects it awakes are largely bagpipe-based, if that’s what you’re after, this is how to do it. It’s a great opportunity, don’t blow it! (Also don’t blow the bagpipes, they’re incredibly irritating.)

Nautical Archaeology (Texas A&M University)
Finally, the answer to “What if Indiana Jones was a pirate?” Leave unearthing dusty old ruins to regular archaeologists and live the dream investigating the secrets of the Bimini Road (a spectacular underwater rock formation in the Bahamas) or the Yonaguni Monument (a fascinating submerged formation south of Japan). While they’re scrabbling about in the dirt, you’ll be on a boat in a wetsuit and fedora, removing your aviator shades to reveal a pair of diving goggles. Legend.

Foresight (University of Houston)
Predicting market trends, industry shifts and societal changes is just about the most valuable skill anyone can have — help firms devise future-proof strategies, or just get in early and become a zillionaire. However, things could get complicated if you thought you were failing — being right would ironically mean you were great at foresight, so you’d pass, which would mean you were wrong, so you’d fail. As you predicted! Instant pass! Fail!

Astrobiology (Florida Tech)
Have you seen the news? Or like, been outside? We’ve done a number on this world, and need out. Who’s going to figure out how to grow crops on the Moon, or how living long-term on other planets might affect our bodies? You are — now get us the hell out of here!


Pop Quiz!

The University of Bologna in Italy, founded in 1088, is the world’s oldest university in continuous operation. But what did it teach when it first opened?

A: Law
B: Medicine
C: Art
D: Luncheon meat preparation



Does Licking a Cut Make It Heal Faster?

The short answer is yes: A 2008 study discovered that a protein in saliva called histatin accelerates the healing process. As far back as 1938, in fact, a study claimed that, “It is well known that the addition of saliva to blood will accelerate its coagulation.” The longer answer is more complicated, however. While our actual saliva is useful for treating wounds, it contains bacteria that can wreak havoc if introduced under the wrong circumstances — say, when your immune system is already down. A 2002 report recounts how doctors were forced to amputate the thumb of a diabetic man who fell victim to necrotizing fasciitis (a rare flesh-eating disease) after licking a small wound. So just wash that cut with soap and water, okay?

Oh FAQ: Do I Actually Need To Use Shaving Cream?

1. “Shaving cream is essential to a good, clean shave,” says esthetician and skincare expert Gregory Dylan. “It provides slip for the razor and helps to minimize razor burn, while also helping to soften beard hairs for a smoother shave.”


2. Think of it like lube — essentially, shave cream (or butter, or gel!) acts as a slippery barrier between the razor and your skin, meaning less friction, and so less damage to your handsome face. You like your face, right? Be nice to your face!

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Quiz Answer


The historic university began as a place for people around Europe to study ius gentium — essentially international law, based on the ancient Roman legal system (so we’re guessing toga parties were probably a thing).