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Splash! Chicago

Splash Splash Spring 2017
Course Catalog


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A1605: Music and Statepower
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Dan Ehrlich

What is the relationship between music and politics? How can music be used to bridge political differences or express dissent? We will investigate several examples including the US counterculture movement, South African apartheid, and Eastern-European revolutions.


Prerequisites
A passion for listening to music.

A1621: Intro to Game Theory
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Dimitry Karavaikin

This will be a basic introduction to game theory, where we will be covering what game theory means, a little background to how it was invented and how to solve common/simple games, potentially involving math if time allows.

We will also do a class experiment involving which will involve playing a "game" against your classmates.


Prerequisites
None!

A1617: How to Succeed with Bosses and Bureaucrats
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Bill Geraci

(This is a class which you’ll use likely daily for the rest of your life!) We all live in hierarchical structures: Work, family, school…. What patterns should you watch for and which tactics should you take to help your point win the day? Come learn some of the tactics used by bad bosses…and some history, too!


Prerequisites
None

A1611: Culture and Meaning: Intro to Cultural Anthropology
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Scott Jung

This course will be an introduction to the field of cultural anthropology. This course will interest anyone who wants to learn about other cultures or different ways of life. We will discuss a brief history of the discipline, what 'culture' means, how and why anthropologists have changed their theories over time, and how to think like cultural anthropologists. Throughout the course, we will also use several real case studies to challenge the way you perceive or think about the world. I hope to see you in class!

A1622: Pop Music meets Pop Psychology
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Bill Geraci

Do you know an entire sub-genre of popular music from our past was based on a now-discredited pop psychology? Come learn about this music and it’s time. See how this happened and then speculate whether this kind of thing might be in today’s music.


Prerequisites
None

A1660: Public Health and Inequality
Difficulty: **

Public health is not just a concern of doctors; it is a great social justice issue that requires the attention of a diverse range of professions and disciplines. Inequalities in the health world often arise from -- and perpetuate -- existing inequalities in our society. Learn more about the meaning of public health, and how it relates to justice and inequality more broadly!

A1608: Hacking Video Games in LUA
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Royce Yang

"Hacking Video Games in LUA" will introduce students to the components of a video game script, in the programming language: LUA. This course will use League of Legends for demonstration of logic (although there will not be actual gameplay) and is designed to teach students to read and understand the logic of a basic LUA script.


Prerequisites
Recommended: Basic computer science knowledge.

A1620: The History of Computing and the Computational Worldview
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Roberto Rabines

A discussion of the history of computers, investigating the changing cultural contexts within which they emerged and how their emergence correspondingly altered those same cultural contexts. From Descartes and Charles Babbage to IBM and Cloud Computing we will trace the socio-historical and economic context as well as the consequences of computing technology.

A1612: Conspiracy Theory, Critical Theory
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Scott Jung

Is everything controlled by a secret society? Are people spying on everything we say and do? Are scientists fooling us about the toxicity of chemicals or the reality of global warming? These questions and more hit upon some of the most widespread conspiracy theories people believe in. In this course, we will ask: what makes a conspiracy theory a "conspiracy theory" and how can we come to terms with conspiracy theories that have historically become fact (e.g. government surveillance, smoking causes cancer)? To figure out possible answers, this course will introduce and apply critical theory with an anthropological bent: psychoanalysis, Marxism, and poststructuralism just to name a few. If you are interested in talking about conspiracy theories and/or learning critical theory, this is the course for you! I look forward to having you in class.

A1623: To Infinity and Beyond
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Christopher Stith

What did Buzz Lightyear mean when he said this? Can you actually go beyond infinity? In this course, we will be exploring the concept of infinity, and what it might mean to go beyond it.


Prerequisites
Knowing or having heard of functions is helpful but not required.

A1618: How Computers Actually Work
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Bill Geraci

How *do* computers actually work? What’s the structure? When you have problems, where do you start looking? Come learn the Seven Levels of Computers, diagnostic insights and The Usual Things To Do when you run in to problems. How does a computer guy see problems with computers?


Prerequisites
None

A1604: Understanding Gender Fluidity and Trans Identity
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Lauren Daurizio

In this class, we will learn about
-Gender and what is it
-What elements can make up a gender
-What people mean when they said gender is fluid or on a spectrum
-What agender, nonbinary, and transgender means
-Why understanding gender is important for everyday life

A1609: Quantum Mechanical Mysteries
Difficulty: **

The first half of this 2 hour class will be dedicated to going through the material one is likely to see during a college quantum mechanics class, providing the big ideas along with a taste of the expected course work. This will set the stage for the later half of the course where we will cover the current status of fundamental physics by introducing topics such as quantum field theory and string theory.


Prerequisites
Taking a physics or chemistry course may help but is not required.

A1613: Are you there God? It's me, Descartes.
Difficulty: ***
Teachers: Soulet Ali

How do you know that anything actually exists? Does God exist? Do you exist? This course is a brief study of Descartes’ "Meditations on First Philosophy", rationalism and how to prove the existence of things through rigorous philosophical analysis. A discussion of the Meditations will take place after. Arguments against or for Descartes are all highly encouraged!

A1619: How To Hear Politicians and Political Speech
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Bill Geraci

Pre Trump what are the patterns and buzzwords of modern political speech? What should you listen for? And how can you know what to ignore? Learn how to discard the junk and get toward the meat....


Prerequisites
None

A1659: Vexillology: The World of Flags
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Cy Abbott

This course will breifly explore the history, symbolism, and design features of national, subnational, and organizational flags from around the world. Students will be introduced to some of the unique terms and designs found within vexillology (the scientific study of flags) with the help of many specific visual examples of existing flags. After discussion of fundamentals of flag usage & symbolism and comparison of design rules in flags, students will have the opportunity to create their own imaginary flag that incorporates a few of the basic patterns we explore together.


Prerequisites
-Secondary school level of familiarity with geography -Willingness to use basic arts and crafts to craft a unique flag

A1661: Understanding Conflict
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Yonatan Litwin

Terrorism has been the hot button issue that has come to define the post-9/11 era. But beyond the headlines, what do scholars know about things like terrorism and other forms of civil conflict? This course is devoted to giving a broad understanding of studying civil conflict and the current literature.


Prerequisites
None

A1614: Empathy and Its Opposite
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Scott Jung

What is empathy? Can we ever really know another person? What is the opposite of empathy? What are the strengths and limitations to empathy as a way of relating to others? This course will tackle these questions by relying on anthropological, psychoanalytic and philosophical approaches. If you are interested in emotion, culture, philosophy and/or ethics, you will enjoy this class.

A1625: Improv games
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Tim Black

In improv comedy, actors make up a play as they go along. In this class, you'll be up on stage, playing fun and bizarre games that will make you funnier.

A1662: Codifying Sound
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Alexandra Kapadia

Words, especially English words, are rarely spelled exactly as they sound. And across a single language, there is massive variation in the way individuals pronounce the same word. If you find spelling systems frustrating, limiting, and arbitrary, come learn how to notate speech the way it really sounds.

A1624: Fractals
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Tim Black

This class is about geometric shapes that are simple to describe but are infinitely complex. We'll describe a snowflake that can sit on your finger but whose border is infinitely long. We'll draw a shape that simultaneously appears one-dimensional, like a line, and two-dimensional, like a triangle, but is really something in between. And more.

A1626: What are the Chances of That?
Difficulty: **
Teachers: James Zhou

Have you ever wondered:
What are the chances of winning the lottery? Rolling two sixes? Drawing an ace? Picking a perfect bracket? Having the same birthday as somebody else?

In this class, you will discover how to find the chances of various events, both everyday and one-in-a-million.


Prerequisites
Some arithmetic (multiplying fractions).

A1607: Reading as Writer
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Kelsey Schmitt

In this class, we will read and discuss a short story and use it as a model for understanding fiction writing. Our story will be Kevin Wilson's "Blowing Up on the Spot," and we will discuss topics such as structure, characterization, setting, and narrative voice. We will conclude with writing exercises of our own.

A1606: Fear & The Brain
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Kelsey Schmitt

What is the neurological basis of fear? This course will address what happens when you're faced with a terrifying situation. We will discuss the physical responses to trauma and their neurological bases, going over topics like changes in memory and the fight or flight response.


Thought, Culture, and Society

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C1664: International Diplomacy
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Brian Steiner

Want to get a taste of international diplomacy and intrigue in a crisis? In International Diplomacy, you will learn the basics of international relations and U.S. strategy before being given roles in a mock U.S. National Security Council meeting. There, you'll be thrown into a surprise crisis and have to debate and agree on a solution before time runs out. The class will give you a better understanding of what goes on when the world faces a crisis and how you should react.

C1666: The History and How-To of Sushi and Sushi Rice
Difficulty: *
Teachers: Brian Tsuru

This course will examine the roots and history of sushi in Japanese culture, and the various ways that sushi is constructed and presented today. A portion of this class will also be dedicated to hands-on experience preparing and rolling sushi.

C1667: Indo-European Linguistic Paleontology
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Saieesh Rao

Have you ever noticed that words in Spanish and French often sound a lot like words in English? “Intelligence” in English is “intelligencia” in Spanish, and “actor” in English is “acteur” in French! At first, you may not think much of the similarity, but these words sound the same because English, Spanish, and French all have roots in the same parent language – Latin. In fact, the connections run deeper than that – with a keen eye, it’s possible to show that even different languages like Latin, Greek, Russian, Sanskrit, and even Persian and Hittite all have a common parent too, called “Proto-Indo-European,” that was spoken by early humans over 8000 years ago.

So much can be done with just a few tricks and a little logic! In this class, we’ll use just common everyday words – no artifacts, field experiments, or archaeology – to reconstruct the Proto-Indo-European vocabulary, prove language relatedness, and glean insight into ancient religion, attitudes, and the history of ideas themselves. By the end of the course, students will develop an appreciation for the unique history embodied in the words we use every day.


Prerequisites
Interest in history, mythology, and having your mind blown!


Science

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S1610: The Anthropocene: Humans on the Scene
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Matthew Schumm

In the past 10,000 years since humans settled down and became farmers and builders, we’ve fundamentally altered or removed many plants and animals’ natural habitats. We’ve changed and created new different kinds of living things, from shaping the course of evolution in species ranging from moths to sea urchins, to creating an elaborate variety of domesticated plants and animals for our use, to designing new life forms through genetic modification and gene editing technologies. And we’ve created new ecosystems–from cities like ours to mats of plastic debris floating in the Pacific Ocean–in which some hardy animals, plants, and bacteria, like rats and pigeons, have thrived. Ecologists and geologists studying life on Earth and how human society has affected it call this new era of Earth history the “Anthropocene.” In this class, we’ll learn all about the Anthropocene and how research in ecology and conservation biology can help us understand what we are doing to our natural environment and how to protect important biodiversity and resources.


Science

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S1665: The Microbiome and You
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Miles R

We are constantly bombarded with commercials advertising probiotics- just eat yogurt, and all your problems will be solved. Whose idea was this? Why should we be inviting bacteria into our lives? Shouldn't we be trying to kill all of them?
This short course aims to explore the relationship between humans and bacteria, especially exploring claims of health improvement, from the mundane to fantastical.


Prerequisites
High School level Biology, and an interest in bacteria.


Miscellaneous

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X1663: How to Never go Broke: Intro to Financial Literacy
Difficulty: **
Teachers: Joshua McDonald

Do you want to learn how to always stay one step ahead in your finances or how to get a lot for a little? If so, this 50 min course is for you. You'll learn basic finance skills and tips and tricks to ensure you always have some cash to spare. Most importantly, you'll learn how to start looking at every purchase as an investment and every dollar gained as earnings off that investment.


Prerequisites
None