She Blinded Me with Science (and LOLs)!

January 19, 2012

This post was authored by Will Goodman, managing editor of CBSNews.com's The Feed, for a YouTube Trends series exploring viral video phenomena.

One of the most amazing things about the rise of YouTube videos and Internet culture is that there is no limitation to the kind of material that can go viral. Once upon time the domain for what would spread on a large-scale level was largely limited to the land of LOLs, FAILs, cats, babies and a few other Internet-popular subjects that tended towards the least-common denominator (no offense meant to cats or babies).

But no more! Now viral videos can broaden your mind and educate while also entertaining you. Let’s put the focus on learning today, particularly on the subject of science, and kick things off with one of the most recent entries to hit The Feed, though also the closest to the aforementioned topics of old (in this case, something of a FAIL).



Was there chemistry involved? Yes. Did you learn a lot from it? Maybe not, but there is definitely a lesson in here on avoiding putting liquid nitrogen in a closed container unless you’re looking to cause some damage (most likely to yourself). But fear not, because that was just a recent example to engage you and now we turn our focus towards actually educating and expanding your mind, which is exactly what our next video does in the most amazing of ways.

This one will get your mind turning and your feet tapping. Watch Bobby McFerrin, whom you might remember from the hit song "Don't Worry, Be Happy", demonstrate the power of the pentatonic scale.



Now did you learn something this time? Yes you did, though you probably barely realized it while it was happening. (One of the best possible ways to learn, in this blogger’s humble opinion.) And that is exactly the lesson that a Biola University math teacher, Matthew Weathers, incorporates extremely well into his creative class presentation in our next video. Educators, take note!



It’s always a thrill to catch moments like these on video. But there are now quite a few people on YouTube who regularly create informative and entertaining videos. Take one of my favorites, C.G.P. Grey, who puts out videos on a variety of subjects from currency to geography to mathematics and more. It’s still early in the year and some folks are still shopping for their 2012 calendars, so let’s take a quick look at one of his more recent entries explaining just how the modern calendar we use came to be as a quick example of his work.



So there you have it. You can get your laugh and learn on just about any day of the week with the help of YouTube. Now I like to try and come full circle whenever possible, which is why it’s so amazing that I can finish with a clip showing stuff exploding… but for science! No, for real this time. The video below is a fun compilation put out by The Periodic Table of Videos, a video series between the University of Nottingham's School of Chemistry and video journalist Brady Haran that really teaches you chemical reactions. Isn’t science just the coolest?



Boom! I hope you’ve all learned something today.

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