Wasting your time never used to be this informative. Before YouTube, most people procrastinated in front of the TV, playing Tetris or even worse – reading a book.
Humour aside, the force behind YouTube’s potential as an educational tool is astounding. SciShow is another fine resource for the young and old that turns boring textbook descriptions into fascinating, fun videos.
Science In The News
Thanks to the bleeding-edge nature of the Internet, our thirst for up to date knowledge must be satisfied at all times. SciShow embraces this with weekly round-ups of the most interesting developments, frequently demystifying the big science news so often misrepresented by more mainstream sources.
Stories include groundbreaking discoveries like how pufferfish are able to puff (above) to the discovery of the most complete, mummified bison ever found (below).
Explaining Weird Stuff
You’ve probably already noticed by now but SciShow has a knack for stumbling upon and explaining some of the most absurd topics, like a trypophobia or a fear of holes (below). It might sound absurd on the surface, but only the last few years of viral online imagery have validated this phobia.
Another frequently quoted science factoid involves the human brain, and how we seemingly neglect to use 90% of our brain. This concept was taken a step further in sci-fi shows like Stargate SG-1, which pondered the potential of our brains when operating at maximum capacity (the result: a mess).
Answering some of science’s often neglected questions is a specialty. Most people know about the relationship between asparagus and urine, but most people don’t know how fascinating the science of asparagusic acid and the journey scientists have taken to get here.
Quick Answers To Common Questions
Some of the most common scientific queries are the most basic, and that’s because their very understanding employs a basic level of understanding. Most of us know why leaves turn in autumn, but that doesn’t answer the question as to why they really change colour at a scientific question.
You’ve probably been told never to put metal in the microwave, but that’s not strictly true in all cases. Some food manufacturers use metal in their packaging to take advantage of the oven’s potentially explosive properties – and here’s how it works.
If you can crack your knuckles, you probably have a friend who tells you not to. Maybe you are that friend! Despite the proliferation of this long-held belief, there’s little scientific evidence to suggest it’s detrimental (or for that matter harmless) to joint health.
Some of SciShow’s finest work covers the more important scientific questions, like sewage infrastructure, camouflage and the science behind wildfires (below). This particular video takes the time to go into the scientific impact of wildfires, including both positives and negatives.
That in itself is a hallmark of the channel, approaching subjects with a healthy degree of skepticism from all angles. This includes looking at both the logistics, immediate impacts and long-term implications of performance enhancing drugs.
I also admire SciShow’s ability to contextualise topics that have a certain stigma attached. Frequently hallucinations are seen as a bad thing only experienced by people on drugs or the mentally ill, but the science is very much real and most of us will experience them in our lifetimes.
SciShow on YouTube
SciShow also host quizzes and talk shows, explore some of the most important scientific minds in recorded history and explain many more topics than I was able to include here. The channel is updated regularly, with multiple new videos aired every week.
Don’t forget to check out ASAPScience, Veritasium and It’s Okay To Be Smart for more YouTube science goodness.
Do you have any favourite YouTube channels that have taught you a thing or two?