If there were a university course for freelancers

Actually, there are elements of the freelance life in existing courses: I’ve been booked to talk to students about writing for a living. But The Freelancer website’s Danielle Corcione has written a funny, incisive and rather smart prospectus for a proper course. It begins with a module on Self-Care for Emotionally Unstable Writers before it goes into practical issues of money.

Have a read. By the end, you’d sign up for this course if she ever really ran it.

The coffee pot that only works in windy weather

Seriously. Coffee when it’s windy. Not because it’s cold outside and the coffee is warming. Instead because it’s windy outside and it’s the power from a turbine that’s warming the coffee. Researchers at Lancaster University have developed the Windy Brew, a kettle which can only boil when there is exactly enough energy from a nearby wind turbine.

Read more about how and in particular why.

Make your kids be more interesting

Sorry, this is not how to do that, it’s why you should – and how in this day of everyone studying for exams yet not learning anything, being interesting gets you through doors. In this case, The Atlantic magazine specifically means through the doors at Harvard, but the principle works everywhere:

“We could fill our class twice over with valedictorians,” Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust told an audience at the Aspen Ideas Festival, sponsored by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic, on Monday. That means admissions officers rely on intangibles like interesting essays or particularly unusual recommendations to decide who comprises the 5.9 percent of applicants who get in.

Faust’s top tip for raising a Harvard man or woman: “Make your children interesting!”

For parents and students alike, that’s both good news and bad news. The bad news is that of course it’s much easier to say that than to actually make it happen, though Faust recommended encouraging children to follow their passions as a way to develop an interesting personality. It’s much easier to complete a checklist, however daunting, than to actually be interesting.

How to Get Into Harvard – David A Graham, The Atlantic (30 June 2014)

There’s not a great deal more to the full article but I found it an encouraging read.