Tuesday, January 01, 2013

2012 In Video: Part 1: Education

I've mentioned a few times now that I had an extended, involuntary leave from employment during 2012. While a fair amount of that time was wasted on video games, I did make a lot of positive use of the days. During those five months, I discovered many fantastic Channels on Youtube that I have since subscribed to and watched religiously with every new post.

A lot of this was a domino effect, with one Channel referring to the work of another, which lead me to another, and another, and so on. But I think it all started when I discovered the Vlog Brothers duo of Hank and John Green. From there I got to know many of their friends, and watch as they met and made new friends over the last six months.

The greatest joy in all this is that most of the videos are hugely educational, while being fun, funny and fantastically entertaining. I now remember many of the facts I learned years ago, but didn't retain, while also learning housands of new pieces of trivia. I can intelligently discuss quantum mechanics, the workings of the universe and the importance of the Higgs Boson.

So here, at the end of 2012, are some of my favourite Youtube Channels I discovered this year. I hope you try at least a handful of them, and enjoy and learn from them as much as I have.

The Vlog Brothers
Brothers Hank and John Green have done some fantastic videos as part of this series, including their lists of 50 Geeky Jokes and the 5 Worst Typos of History. Well worth subscribing too and enjoying. I've spent hours and hours picking through their back catalogue of videos and laughing all the way. If you're into Harry Potter, then check out Accio Deathly Hollows, or I Don't Have A Favourite Pony, if My Little Pony is your thing (and honestly, even if it isn't, it's just a hilarious song!)

Crash Course
Also from Hank and John Green, this crash course in various subjects has been a wonderful reintroduction to me on the subjects of Biology, Ecology, Literature and World History. Enlightening, fun and funny, and extremely educational, unless you're the Mongols, or a sponge (In-joke. Watch to understand).

Hank Green (again!) keeps you up to date with the world of science, from the great minds of science to some fun experiments to the most recent breaking news, SciShow gives it all to you in bite-sized chunks, perfect for snacktime viewing!

The Spangler Effect
Speaking of science, Steve Spanglers goal is to make science fun, and he certainly achieves this here! Equal parts science teacher and clown, Steve has videos on dry ice, eggs, magic and much, much more! I'vedone some of his experiments with the kids I work with, and they're a huge success every time!SCIENCE! made (more) fun. Great stuff.

Veritasium is not a religious channel, as I thought at first, but is all about the "Element of Truth. Eh? See what he did there? "Veritas is truth, and by adding-ium, it sounds like an element. And also a religious bookstore back home in Cork. More importantly, however, Derek, the guy who runs the channel is from just up the road, in North Vancouver! While this Channel is full of wondrous videos clearing up some common misconceptions and illustrating the beauty of a falling slinky, it's also the Channel that introduced me to the incredible Friendship Globe, which I visited and filmed my own video at!

Smarter Every Day
Destin is most popular for his hi-speed stuff, which are spectacular! Some recent videos show how cats can land on their feet from starting falling upside-down! Slo-mo cat twisting FTW!

Minute Physics
With beautiful time-lapse animations,Henry explains physics in a manner that even I can grasp! He recently did an animation for a piece narrated by the rock-star of science, Neil deGrasse Tyson!

Vi Hart
Vi's specialty is math, and she presents complex mathematical concepts in fashion that I can kinda, almost, maybe grasp. But she also makes hexaflexagons, offering hours of mathematical amusement for the kids I work with!

The Brady Haran Set:
Deep Sky Videos
Nottingham Science
Periodic Videos
Sixty Symbols
All of these are from Brady Haran, an Australian living in Nottingham, associated with Nottingham University. Most of the videos feature staff from the university. They're fun, informative and easy to watch. My two favourites are Numberphile and Sixty Symbols, which I've watched everything from, but Periodic Videos has Proferssor Poliakoff, who is always fantastic to watch. He is the quintessential professor!The Nottingham Science channel is kind of a "Behind The Scenes" channel for all the others, and is usually less science-y and more laugh-out-loud funny, often showing off outtakes or interesting extras. Brady and Destin from Smarter Every Day recent recorded a bunch of experiments on Destin's high-speed camera, and we'll get to see the results in 2013!

CGP Grey
PBS Idea
VSauce, VSauce2, VSauce3
These are more general knowledge channels, rather than the science of my earlier recommendations, with a huge range of topics covered. Like, HUGE! For example, the Mike from The Idea Channel covered topics related to Adventure Time, copyright and what Santa and wrestling have in common in some of their recent videos! Also, because I know a lot of my friends are role-players, let me plug his Can DnD Make You a Confident and Successful Person? right now.

Ze Frank
No list of YouTube channels could be complete without mentioning Ze. While he doesn't do the same science-y, educational videos of the rest of the list here, he is, in a way, the granddaddy of them all. Or at the very least, the Grunkle. This is the man who pretty much popularized the concept of a video blog, and inspired many others, not least Hank and John Green. His videos are sometimes random and chaotic, but often funny and profound, and I have a few that I watch regularly when I feel like I need to center myself, or remind myself how special I can be as a person. His mission to bring a little love and happiness to the world has been, and continues to be a resounding success. He's even given a TED Talk or two in his time, which are well worth checking out also.

There are tonnes more out there to enjoy, but these are the ones that caught my attention. I'm looking forward to all the new things I learn through them in 2013 and beyond!

Enjoy, and remember, DFTBA!

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