Tag Archives: videos

Youtube now adds facts below conspiracy theory videos

Well, well, well — if it isn’t the government trying to silence the truth! That was, at least in the way your truly intended it, sarcasm; but that’s also the way conspiracy theorists will likely interpret this move.

Example of Youtube’s new feature in action. Note the snippet below the video.

The internet has a truthfulness problem, and misinformation is spreading faster than ever. In this brave new post-truth world, separating fact from fiction is becoming increasingly difficult, and the conspiracy theorists (whether manipulative or just ill-informed) are becoming better and better at hiding the truth and replacing it with their own version.

Conspiracy theories have presumably been around since the dawn of man, and they’re still constantly lurking in the shadows or our day to day lives. Who hasn’t heard of alien abductions, mysterious brainwashing experiments, or more recently, vaccines causing autism? We see them in the movies, we read about it in the press, and of course, we hear about them on social media.

Social media has proven the perfect platform to spread conspiracy theories, and Youtube is probably the king. It’s not that Youtube is necessarily doing something wrong, but it’s all about the very nature of the platform. Videos can be much more convincing than a written article or a photo, and it’s much easier to convey the narrative you want to in a video. Also, Youtube recommends related videos, so it’s easy to go on a conspiracy-theory binge from video to video. The website is even kind enough to recommend other videos based on your past preference — what’s not to like? It’s the best place to start going down the conspiracy rabbit hole. But Youtube, it seems, has had enough of it.

Youtube has recently started adding fact-confirming text below videos about climate change. A Wikipedia snippet simply reads “multiple lines of scientific evidence show that the climate system is warming.” It’s quite funny to hear videos going on and on about how global warming is a fraud, only to see the Wikipedia snippet bluntly refuting everything below the video. YouTube is also using Encyclopedia Britannica as a source for facts.

The company has been quite secretive about what sources it uses and what conspiracy theories it tries to address, but Wikipedia themselves have written about this. Here are some of them, but be warned — some of them are quite weird.

 

 

Youtube have also invested $25 million in grants to news organizations that wish to expand video operations and combat fake news and conspiracy theories, in line with their parent company’s approach (Google has also started a digital news initiative to promote quality journalism and tackle fake news).

The feature is not available in all countries, and Youtube hasn’t announced where it is available. They did say, however, that an algorithm is deciding on what videos — videos are not manually tagged. The video uploaders have not been notified by this change and if their videos are targeted by this. Of course, this new feature has left uploaders of conspiracy videos fuming. YouTuber Tony Heller, who also uploads climate change denial videos, described the policy on Twitter as YouTube “putting propaganda at the bottom of all climate videos.” However, the move was praised by scientists, with climate scientist Michael Mann likening it to the warning label on a pack of cigarettes: “Warning — this video may or may not be promoting actual facts about climate change.”

Will this be a wrench in the wheels of conspiracy theories, or will it simply be ignored and business will continue as usual? It will be interesting to see. For now, only time will tell.

Dinosaur videos — visualizing the terrifying lizards

We know a lot about dinosaurs, but it’s like no matter what we do, it’s the images from the old Jurassic Park that come to mind. Even though science has advanced, even though we know that many of those images were almost certainly wrong, if you ask most people how a dinosaur looked like and acted — they’ll probably come up with something like in Jurassic Park. So let’s break those preconceived ideas, let’s brush up our dinosaur science, and let’s watch some dinosaur videos!

How T-Rex ran

https://vimeo.com/2933267

Paleontologist John Hutchinson uses computer simulations and the study of living animals with similarities to the Tyrannosaurus Rex, to see how and how fast the creature might have run. It’s a difficult task since muscles don’t preserve through fossilization so he has to rely mostly on bones. However, the sheer amount of information he was able to deduct is impressive — we now have a pretty good idea about how the beast ran, over 60 million years ago.

So, was it anything like Jurassic Park? You’ll have to watch the video to find out (at the moment, not available for embed).

Near perfectly preserved dinosaur fossil found

It’s not every day that you find a fossil so incredibly well preserved — it looks like a statue of a dinosaur more than anything. Still, 110 million-year-old type of plant-eating armored dinosaur was more like a tank than a statue. It couldn’t be more different from a T-Rex, and yet it looks just as impressive.

David Attenborough and the biggest dinosaur ever — enhanced reality, 360 degrees

It would be a shame to make videos related to animals and not include David Attenborough. But to miss out on this video masterpiece would outright be a crime. I’ll let David Attenborough do the talking, just to be sure to check the video’s 360 feature — you can look around and explore the world.

How we know what dinosaurs looked like

I know it’s hard, but let’s step back from the animated awesomeness above and look at a bit of science. How do we know what dinosaurs looked like? I mean, looking at a skeleton can only tell you so much, and why do we find the skeleton in the first place? This is just a short, basic discussion. Nothing too detailed. We’ll get to that in a moment.

Building a dinosaur from a chicken

Renowned paleontologist Jack Horner has dedicated most of his prestigious career to reconstructing dinosaurs. In this TED talk, you’ll get a lot of insight into the mind of a paleontologist. You’ll see what he looks after, what he wants to accomplish, how he does it, and perhaps most importantly — why he loves dinosaurs so much.

Visiting a museum

If your curiosity hasn’t been spurred so far, then you might just not like dinosaurs, which is unacceptable completely fine. But let’s face it, if you’ve made it this far and at least had a look at the dinosaur videos, you’re probably quite into it. What I hope this video will do is incite you even more, and convince you to go out and visit a museum! Sure, some museums are nicer than others and not all have cool dinosaur fossils, but at the very least, most natural history museums have some sort of fossils — and many of them have dinosaurs. If you look at this relatively small, campus museum from the University of Birmingham, there’s so much to see and learn it’s amazing. Besides, you’ll get a completely different feel for the scale and physical characteristics of dinosaurs if they’re sitting in front of you.

Dinosaur documentaries

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuet3t9geXo

If you want all that sweet dinosaur info without ever leaving the house, don’t worry. The internet is full of documentaries you can watch at your own convenience. I’m sharing just one of the many, so you can get a feel for what you can expect.

An important mention — not all documentaries have the same quality, and some are downright questionable. It’s hard to tell how reliable a documentary is, especially if you don’t have any experience, so try looking at solid tells. For instance, check if there are real scientists involved, check if it’s based on peer review science. Have a quick Google search and check the background of the people involved. At the very least, you’ll open up a new avenue to learn new things.

What killed the dinosaurs?

After an impressive run, after tens of millions of years of dominating the Earth, the time of the dinosaurs came to an abrupt end at the massive extinction event that marked the end of the Mesozoic. So what killed the dinosaurs? You might be tempted to say “Oh I know this one, it’s the asteroid!” Well, that’s definitely a key puzzle piece, but the science is more complicated than you’d be tempted to think. Watch the video to see just what we know about the dinosaurs’ extinction.

But hey, the dinosaurs’ history didn’t really end there!

How dinosaurs evolved into birds

You might hear people say that dinosaurs are the ancestors of birds — and that’s only half true. Birds actually are dinosaurs. Some dinosaurs shrank, grew feathers, and took to the skies. But I don’t want to spoil too much, this video tells the full story.

BONUS!!!

Apparently, there are some people who believe dinosaurs weren’t real. The internet is teeming with conspiracy videos, you know the likes — the crowd that doesn’t believe in evolution, that says the Earth is flat, and so on. I’m not even gonna dignify them by sharing one of their videos. What I will do is share a video of a paleontologist getting really mad at watching one of those videos, and more importantly, debunking it bit by bit. Well played, kind sir. Well played!

Video: watch how a beautiful forest changes during a year

Filmmaker Samuel Orr took 40,000 still images from his front window in a forest cabin to show how nature changes day by day over the course of a year. It’s a stunning and soothing result.


The Guardian wrote that the filmmaker was working on a few documentaries of the nature in Indiana, US. He then moved to a remote cabin in the middle of the forest, writing:

“I had two neighbors, both out of sight and several hundred yards away, and it felt like a kind of wilderness retreat (although there was a lightly traveled country road that passed by below the house). I’d often look out the window and see turkeys, deer, flying squirrels, vultures, possums, huge orb weaving spiders, and a dizzying array of songbirds and woodpeckers. I was able to film many of these subjects for the documentary series, including some that nested on or near the house.”

He set up his Nikon coolpix 5400 camera on a tripod, “instructing” it to take a picture every 10 seconds for 16 months. Accompanied by original music by Johnny Ripper, the video also features animal sounds. As you watch this video, you’ll hear “the songs and calls of hundreds of migratory songbirds, spring peepers and tree frogs, cicadas, turkeys, coyotes, elk and wolves (native elk and wolves were wiped out in Indiana decades earlier, so these sounds harken back to an earlier time).”