It is a broadly recognised fact that the internet is awash with silly videos. Some good silly, some dumb-silly, some how-the-eff-did-we-ever-find-this-amusing-in-2009 silly. There's nothing wrong with silly internet videos; indeed, anything that can lighten the mood in an environment known for the snarky, offensive or outright idiotic content of its comment sections is welcomed in my book – and hey, Ari and I admit to having watched a fair few cat videos in our time-, but it's always refreshing to stumble upon a Youtube channel where the content is based around entertaiment and information. Whenever I find myself in this awesome realm of the internet, I click the subscribe button pretty much instantly, because so much of our online content is not informative or thought-provoking, doesn't challenge us intellectually, and may even be detrimental to our the way our memory functions
Now, I'm not trying to be a party pooper here, and I don't believe that all online video should teach us something and be oh-so-serious, but I am interested in more people utilising the internet to engage their own brains, instead of choosing to wile away every free moment in that rather silly part of YouTube.
The Ideas Channel creates exactly the kind of videos I'm talking about; it's entertaining, funny, culturally relevant, fast-paced and informative. Each video presents a completely different idea from the last and is then proposed to the viewer, and at the end of each video, interesting comments are read from those who commented previously, giving viewers a reason to share their opinions and ideas too. There have been videos on everything from the ethics of AI development, pondering our love of zombies, and whether or not animal crossing promotes the Otaku lifestyle. While not strictly factual, the ideal channel forces us to think and to question, which is pretty important after watching all those kitty videos.
If the name is not explanatory, SciShow is a YouTube channel that explains and answers the big questions. Black holes, dark matter, whether we're all going to augment ourselves with flashy gadgets one day, and why the hell everyone was so obsessed with flappy bird (as in, the scientific reasoning. Ehem, yes...)
The Art Assignment is a new channel supported by PBS, intended to create interactive art projects for the viewers to undertake themselves. In their own words, the Art Assignment plans to 'take you around the U.S. to meet working artists and solicit assignments from them that we can all complete.'
Game Theorists is basically what it sounds like. A channel that features videos discussing various theories and trivia about video games, from retro platformers to modern FPS games, these videos will have you wondering why you never thought of that before... Particularly chilling is the video suggesting that Portal's companion cubes contain the remains of actual people.
Mental Floss describes itself as 'a weekly series where knowledge junkies get their fix of trivia-tastic information!', and that pretty much nails it. If you're the type who collects and hordes random and obscure factoids in the corner of your brain and delight in interjecting with those factoids whenever you can (and we're totally not judging you for this. Sometimes there are lulls in the conversation!) Mental Floss may just be for you.
Okay, this one has George Takei in it...What? That's not enough incentive for you to click the link? Really?
Admittedly the author of this article is a huge Nerdfighter, but whether you are or not – and it's probably only a matter of time, honestly-, the Vlogbrothers channel is worth checking out. In addition to their usual twice weekly vlogs where brothers John and Hank Green discuss whatever the hell they feel like, which can sometimes include Fitness For Nerds or having 17 rants, the made-of-awesome creators of this incredibly popular channel also discuss some really important and thought-provoking stuff: