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In the Moment - - Letters -

Women of in­ven­tion

Ma­chines, medicines, air­craft, cen­tral heat­ing... women have in­vented things in a stag­ger­ing va­ri­ety of elds, of­ten work­ing in ob­scu­rity. In our mini se­ries, we’re shin­ing a spot­light on a fe­male in­ven­tor who changed the world.

Mar­garet E. Knight might have been born 180 years ago but her con­tri­bu­tion to the mod­ern age has never been more rel­e­vant. In 1868 the Maine fac­tory worker in­vented a ma­chine to mass-make pa­per bags, which up un­til then were more like gi­ant at en­velopes. Knight’s ma­chine pro­duced the at-bot­tomed pa­per bags which we’re more fa­mil­iar with nowa­days.

Her in­ven­tion changed the face of the pack­ag­ing in­dus­try and her orig­i­nal de­signs are still in use to­day. With the planet in plas­tic cri­sis and many su­per­mar­kets look­ing to phase out plas­tic bags by the end of the year, we’re so glad that Mar­garet’s in­ge­nu­ity is mak­ing a come­back.

Smile school

Classes, ex­ams, re­vi­sion... school may not bring back the most serene of mem­o­ries. But Yale Univer­sity is prov­ing the stereo­type wrong with their class, The Psy­chol­ogy

And the Good Life (known as ‘Hap­pi­ness Class’ on cam­pus). It has be­come the most pop­u­lar class ever in their 317 year his­tory, with a quar­ter of all un­der­grad­u­ates en­rolling to at­tend.

The class in­cludes prac­ti­cal ad­vice on liv­ing a happy life, from choos­ing a mean­ing­ful ca­reer to nd­ing sat­is­fy­ing pur­suits. And you don’t have to get into Yale to at­tend – it’s now avail­able for free on­line as part of ‘The Science of Well­be­ing’ sem­i­nar se­ries.

Swot up at www.cours­era.org

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