Trending This Week: Robot Dogs and Life on Mars

February 13, 2015

Here's a look at some of the most buzzed about videos of the week.

For more on what's trending on YouTube, check out our playlist (this week, Valentine's Day themed!) and follow us on Twitter.

Introducing Spot

This week, Boston Dynamics introduced us to Spot, a 160 lbs robot that walks, runs and reacts distinctly like a canine, but with the look and feel of a Terminator. Boston Dynamics (a robotics company acquired by Google in 2013) has been sharing its progress towards perfecting the technology behind artificially intelligent - and highly menacing! - creatures for years (their channel has amassed ~83.9m+ views since 2008), but this latest preview was met with particular fervor (4.8m+ views and counting) due to its controversial depiction of what some are calling robotic animal "cruelty." You are highly encouraged to watch the video and decide for yourself. (FYI - PETA's statement: "PETA deals with actual animal abuse every day, so we won't lose sleep over this incident.. But while it's far better to kick a four-legged robot than a real dog, most reasonable people find even the idea of such violence inappropriate, as the comments show." - via CNN)

If I Die on Mars

In this video, The Guardian offers an intimate look at three individuals from around the world - a young UK student, a doctor from Mozambique, and an Iraqi-American athlete - who are all vying to be among the first four people to travel to and inhabit Mars, with no promise of return. The video, The Guardian's most popular of the year so far, is the latest installment in their line of short docs, a format the channel has been experimenting with for several months, supplemental to their snippet-sized (2-3 minute) news videos. (For more, check out Drone Wars and Guantanamo Diary.)

Guys Read Each Other's Texts to Their Girlfriends

Have you ever wondered what your bros are texting their girlfriends everyday? Neither had we, until we saw this simple, yet clever video from the Millennial paper of record, Elite Daily. The video, which has already risen to become the channel's third most watched video (~1.2m views), takes a page from the "First Kiss" handbook and pairs bros off the street with their best buddies, asking them to swap phones (rather than spit) and read aloud each other's most personal, lovey-dovey missives to the ones they love. What results is awkward, cute, and perfectly timed for Valentine's Day <3 :)

Sergei Polunin, "Take Me to Church" by Hozier, Directed by David LaChapelle

A little more than a year ago, Hozier's breakout debut "Take Me to Church" hit YouTube and became one of the most buzzed about songs and music videos of the year (107m+ views and counting). On Monday, "bad boy" ballet dancer Sergei Polunin and famously daring photographer David LaChapelle offered a mesmerizing interpretation of the song that quickly rose the charts (3.65m+ views), a variation performed by Polunin flitting beautifully through an empty barn alone. In this video, LaChapelle, perhaps best known for his subversive and stylish celebrity portraits, foregoes his usual flashiness and instead focuses tightly in on an emotionally (and physically) bare Polunin, who tells the story of his personal struggles and pressures as one of the world's premier dancers through every leap, spin, and fall.

--Christine Huang