I’m pretty sure our kids enjoy the shows, I certainly do. I also realised that there’s some overlap between the SciShow channels, and the PBS Eons channel in that SciShow’s one main host, Hank Green, also seems to be hosting some PBS Eons shows. In addition, Blake de Pastino both hosts PBS Eons, and writes content for SciShow.
This probably doesn’t mean all that much to you if you’re not familiar with the shows, but it was a bit like finding that two flavours of ice cream that you generally enjoy separately, taste pretty good when combined. Or something like that.
If you enjoy good quality science shows, then definitely take a look at these shows.
Sacha Baron Cohen recently spoke about how social media services have become the “greatest propaganda machine in history”.
Much of the media’s focus, when reporting on his remarks, was on his attack on Facebook. While he certainly targeted Facebook, he also spoke about how Google, YouTube, and Twitter shape online discourse, and how they help spread lies, bigotry, and attacks on fact-based discussions.
Think about it. Facebook, YouTube and Google, Twitter and others—they reach billions of people. The algorithms these platforms depend on deliberately amplify the type of content that keeps users engaged—stories that appeal to our baser instincts and that trigger outrage and fear. It’s why YouTube recommended videos by the conspiracist Alex Jones billions of times. It’s why fake news outperforms real news, because studies show that lies spread faster than truth. And it’s no surprise that the greatest propaganda machine in history has spread the oldest conspiracy theory in history—the lie that Jews are somehow dangerous. As one headline put it, “Just Think What Goebbels Could Have Done with Facebook.”
As much as we embrace free expression, we find it difficult to draw a line when liars and bigots abuse their right to free expression because doing that feels like hypocrisy.
Free expression isn’t unlimited, though. And pushing back against channels that help propagate misinformation, abuse, and false statements that impact substantial segments of the population is becoming more important.
At the very least, it’s worth watching Cohen’s talk, or reading his remarks:
We should also think carefully about how much trust we place in services that profit from the social chaos we see around us.
One of my new favourite YouTube channels is the GoPro channel. It’s an awesome channel for vicarious adventures, and some great music I wasn’t aware of. One of my favourite videos is this promo of the GoPro HERO6:
I noticed a curious sequence of events this morning. I responded to a tweet about Donald Trump’s latest tweet where he referred to his “great and unmatched wisdom” using the Twitter app on my Android phone –
I then turned to our Android TV box where we were watching YouTube videos in the YouTube app, and I saw a recommendation for this Late Late Show video about Trump’s tweets:
That’s some pretty snappy algorithmic matching there, Google! 🤔
I became a Neil deGrasse Tyson fan when I watched the series “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” which I loved. deGrasse Tyson has a really interesting YouTube channel called “StarTalk Radio” which I just subscribed to and which you may also want to watch if you are into astrophysics. Here is his introduction:
Small confession: as much as I was paying attention to what he was saying, I couldn’t help but notice his laptop bag in the background. I just kept thinking: “Hey, I have the same laptop bag!”.
Back to what I was writing about, you can also follow deGrasse Tyson on Twitter and Facebook:
Despite such a widespread (and somewhat overboard) expression of grief for one of the world’s last dictators and very possibly the cause of North Korea’s current economic state, one YouTube commentator wasn’t terribly satisfied with the show: