by Brandy D. Anderson
Latin, science, strange facts, and even more bizarre answers – you’ll find them all in the four Youtube channels listed below! Youtube is one of the most visited spots on the entire internet, and there’s no shortage of educational and entertaining channels hosted there. If you’re looking for intelligent questions asked and answered with a healthy dose of humour, I’ve got the top four picks:
About: “An element of truth – Science and engineering videos. Contact:veritasium -(at)- gmail .(dot). com”
The Latin name (“veritas” = “truth”) tells you you’re in a Smarty Pants zone right from the initial get-go. Veritasium has been going strong since 2010 and it just keeps getting more fun throughout the years. The trailer for the channel begins with this teaser: “Sometimes the simplest questions have the most amazing answers… like is there a speed limit for the universe? Where does the sun get that energy from? Where do they get the matter to make the tree? What is a candle flame really made of?” While these questions sound simplistic and, really just kind of silly, they are in actuality much deeper mysteries than they initially appear.
In fact, famous philosopher Rene Descartes devoted a substantial portion of his Meditations On First Philosophy around a candle, wax, and its make-up. You’ll find a particularly interesting question posed by Veritasium in the video “Would You Take This Bet?” The host approaches people on the street with this offer: he’ll give them each $10 if they correctly guess a coin toss, but if they lose they must give him $10. No one takes the bet so he sweetens the pot: if they win, he’ll give them $20, and if they lose they still only need to pay him $10. Still nobody agrees. He postulates the reason for this reluctance is because “we feel losses more than we feel gains”, also known as “Loss Aversion”. He then goes on to tie this question and thought experiment to science and philosophy, and this is how this channel works. Veritasium takes a seemingly innocuous question and reveals its hidden depth.
About: “Our World is Amazing. Questions? Ideas? Tweet me: http://www.twitter.com/tweetsauce”
“Hey, Let’s Take A Moment To Recognize The Heroes Who Count” is one of the latest videos where creator and host Michael Stevens chronicles people who count – a lot – sometimes for days, and record it for prosperity, either in hopes of hitting world records or as a gimmick to raise money for charity. There’s another video titled “When Will We Run Out Of Names?” He begins by telling us “There are 106 people named Harry Potter, 1,007 named James Bond, and eight people named Justin Bieber. There just aren’t enough names to go around”.
Stevens then asks how long it will be before a famous person shares your same name and “then your legacy changes forever to just being not the person they think of when hearing your name”. He goes on to link this to the idea that “every reasonably memorable pronounceable band name or brand name be taken. Will authors have no choice but to just start reusing book titles?” The host correlates this all with scientific study, anchoring it to the Proteus Effect. Vsauce is full of other thought-provoking videos like “The Science of Awkwardness”, “Did The Past Really Happen” and “Would Headlights Work At Light Speed?”
About: “Interesting facts about life presented in a quick 5-10 minute video – produced by Danger Dolan. NEW VIDEOS EVERY WEEK. For my gaming livestream where I typically play retro console games like NES, Gameboy, Atari, PSX, etc, visit http://www.twitch.tv/dangerdolan (and click FOLLOW to be notified for when I go live). For the written version of scripts + exclusive content, visit dangerdolan.tv”
Danger Dolan is a quirky Aussie with a pleasing voice who covers a crazy variety of bizarre and insane facts. A recent video covers “26 Creepiest Science Experiments You’ve Never Heard Of: From force feeding LSD to successful mind control experiments, we count 26 scientific experiments that will horrify you”. One of the craziest involves a teacher who pulled a mind experiment on his students: “The Third Wave: History Teacher Ron Jones decided to experiment on his class by convincing the children they were superior to the other students in order to study fascism. The students quickly adopted Nazi-like behaviours as well as increased academic skills. However, Jones quickly saw the experiment was going too far and stopped it on its fifth day. And to think they were just one period away from invading the kindergarten class and appropriating all of their juice boxes.”
Some more Danger Dolan video topics: “30 Disturbing Things Found on Google Maps”, “15 Weirdest Schools In the World”, “15 Most Dangerous Kids’ Toys Ever”, “15 Biggest Traitors Throughout History”, and “50 Dumbest Laws From American States”. One of the most entertaining videos is “15 Most Awkward Interviews Ever: From drunken on-air tomfoolery to aggressive political debates, we count 15 of the most uncomfortable celebrity interviews of all time”. Here’s a little teaser: Tom Cruise shouts at Matt Lauer.
About: “Joined Aug 12, 2010.”
The video catalog for this channel is full of diverse topics, like a five minute video which tells you why “Las Vegas Isn’t Las Vegas”. “Vegas, baby, it’s Paradise” begins C.G.P.G. before he goes on to explain how the images we all associate with Viva Las Vegas are not, in fact, situated in Vegas proper. While we see footage of the glittering Vegas Strip the host tells us Vegas isn’t Paradise strictly metaphorically speaking because “this literally isn’t the city of Las Vegas. Look at a map and you’ll see the name Paradise and check the weather and you’ll see the same thing”.
The video then shows a map revealing the connecting Las Vegas and Paradise borders: “Paradise contains nearly everything people associate with Las Vegas including the sign”. He compares this common misconception with the similar mistake people often make when referring to London, England (the sprawling metropolis versus the much smaller City of London within the burrough). Grey continues by connecting this misnomer of Las Vegas versus Paradise to the additional difference being that Vegas is a city whilst Paradise is an Unincorporated Place, and he kindly explains the difference between the two. Additional history as to how and why the highly populated Paradise remains Unincorporated despite its rapid growth is also given in a humorous, easy-to-follow manner. That’s what you’ll get here, quick facts given in a pleasing and entertaining fashion.