Like many of you out there, I used to pass the incubation periods for my experiments by scouring YouTube for videos, both of the educational and entertaining variety. While the bulk of this was admittedly cat and animal videos and human misfortunes (that normally did not result in debilitating injuries or death, mind you), I did prefer the channels that were a combination of educational and entertaining, which is a philosophy I adopted as a teacher and mentor. So today, I'd like to share some of my favorite channels that might help you de-stress from a hard day at work, and also probably teach you something! You can click the headers to go to their main channel as well as check out the example videos.
Started a few years back by an accomplished lawyer, this channel spans the spectrum from the serious to the absurd, covering everything from frivolous lawsuits, political scenarios, and whether legal dramas portrayed the process accurately. A better understanding of the legal system could help us as scientists navigate the science policy landscape more effectively. Hosted by Devin Stone, the friendly and honestly quite photogenic legal expert walks the layperson through the legal terms and rulings to explain all topics. Here is an example of a breakdown of the Elizabeth Holmes conviction in the wake of the Theranos scandal.
A former NASA engineer who contributed to the Mars rover expeditions, Mark Rober is a fun-loving tinkerer who has made everything from gigantic Nerf guns to his world-famous glitter bombs to make the lives of porch pirates miserable or at least a bit more exciting. While his projects don't always involve the world of the biological (he's a mechanical engineer after all), the process he employs to design, test, and execute his projects is similar to what we as bioscience researchers do to test our hypotheses, and a proper scientific method is something we can all aspire to. Here's a fun example of the marriage of insane engineering with the natural world around us.
I happened upon this channel purely by accident, but the distinct animation style and David Attenborough-adjacent narration is very engaging as they cover all topics, ranging from what happens if we nuke the moon, to a graphic representation of what happened when the asteroid killed the dinosaurs. I think this channel might be catering to a much younger crowd to engage kids in STEM topics, but adults (like me!) can be captivated too. Here's an animated overview of how the immune system works!
This channel also covers a wide swath of topics, as they have videos on history and economics, among other fields, in addition to their videos on environmental and general science. I will have to say that many of these videos are of the obscure variety, but despite the name of the channel, I can confirm that the vast majority of these are more than half interesting. Here's one on why friends smell like each other (although I guess I'd have to sniff my friend next time I see him just to be sure).
Many of us, especially when we were still in graduate school on that piddling stipend, cannot afford expansive mansions, so we have to make do with the cramped spaces we often have to share with multiple roommates to get by. This kind of living can be pleasant if we can utilize our available space more efficiently to create a sense of openness and warmth while advocating for sustainability. The Never Too Small channel highlights the human ability to innovate and adapt to their surroundings through remodeling existing spaces for optimizing comfort and efficiency. Alas, the vast majority of these spaces are in Asia, Europe, Australia, and sometimes in South America, although there are other channels out there that show how New Yorkers have revamped their small studio apartments in the Big Apple. Here is an example of a tenant from Singapore making the most out of his 47 square meters of floor space, which I might take some note of as I can barely store all my LEGO sets in a space nearly twice as large!
The TED Series: TED, TEDx Talks, and TED-Ed
The TED organization is a nonprofit that hosts seminars in all types of topics from education, business, STEM, and creative thought leaders across the world. One example of a TED Talk was posted in our blog about the circadian rhythm, and a cursory glance as the main channel's video playlist shows these experts talking not just about their field, but giving advice on how to better one's own self and well-being. The TED-Ed channel recently posted a fun video on how we can cause a virus to go extinct, which is appropriate given that this stupid coronavirus doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon.
Happy browsing, but don't forget to check your timer every now and then!