AwkSci Playlist 21.02.2015

It's the weekend (at least traditionally), so it's time to take it easy. Make a tea/coffee/water/beverage of your choosing and settle in.

This week's playlist is a smattering of selections ranging from news updates from around the world, including Ukraine, to a scientific feature partially narrated by yours truly, and includes short and sweet videos that will (hopefully) make you smile. I end each playlist with a song, this week is Alvvays with "Archie, Marry Me". I aim to keep each playlist to ten videos and under 50 minutes; this week the playlist clocks in at a 48:30.

1. VICE News: "Raids and Arrests at Morocco's Migrant Camps: VICE News Capsule, February 19"
You'll see in the coming weeks that I often refer to VICE News. That's because I feel that it balances coverage of world events in English much better than major news networks and has a pleasing aesthetic. This news capsule talks about migrants in Morocco, civilian casualties in Afghanistan, Italy's deployment of troops to cover major spaces in the country, and news about HIV research

2. Rainforest Action Network: "AMAZING! Orangutan asks girl for help in sign language"
Watch the video, then come back here. This video is nearly entirely scripted, so the orangutan isn't *actually* signing for help - some debate whether it is a highly trained orangutan or entirely digital, I haven't been able to find RAN commenting. This video isn't about primate sign language. It's about the use of conflict palm oil in major food products across the world. The production of palm oil is destructive on several levels. Not only does it deprive several species of a home, including the charismatic orangutan, it starts with deforestation of tropical biodiversity hotspots and can lead to child labour and international destructive environmental forces. There are alternatives to conflict palm oil, including certified sustainable palm oil sources, and other oils. This video is meant to make you think about your purchases in a way you may not have thought of.

3. mental_floss: "Misconceptions from the Internet - mental_floss on YouTube (Ep. 15)"
Simply put, mental_floss is a magazine devoted to facts, and have had several YouTube shows for about a year now. This episode is a lot like reading - you will feel slightly embarrassed that you thought something you read in a chainmail or on Facebook on or Tumblr was true.

4. Edward Menchaca/Wageningen University Research Greenhouse: "Plants benefit from endophyte action: enhancement of predator activity. German subtitles"
The female narration you hear? That's me. Edward is a friend and was in dire need of a native English speaker for this video and asked for my services. I agreed. Another friend, Marjolein Kruidhof (and Edward's partner) is overseeing the project, so this was a no-brainer. And while my research interests aren't in biological control, it was an interesting concept and now I know a lot about greenhouse tomatoes and endophytes. You can too!

5. jch40: "I'm Ok!! Homemade Minion Costume"
No words are required.

6. vlogbrothers: "Understanding Boko Haram"
I've been following the vlogbrothers for a few years now. Speaking is John Green, author, Crash Course presenter, and one half of the vlogbrothers. His brother Hank Green has his finger in many YouTube pies as well, including several Crash Course series and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (my favourite!). I recommend all of their stuff. All of it. This video in particular is about Boko Haram and what is going on in Nigeria at the moment by looking at the history of Nigeria.

7. timtimfed: "Time Trap (Short Film)"
A funny sci-fi short film and... I can't say anything else without giving it away. I enjoyed it, I hope you do too. Written and directed by Michael Shanks.

8. VICE News: "Trying to Flee Debaltseve: Russian Roulette (Dispatch 90)"
Russian Roulette is the title of the ongoing series and coverage coming out of Ukraine, Crimea, and Russia and the complicated situation unfolding there. The impact of civil conflict is hardest on civilians, and this is no different.

9. BuzzFeedVideo: "Foodies Kill Their Food For The First Time"
The title is a bit of an SEO fishing expedition, as these are just normal folks and not foodies, and it's not an original concept - take the meat eaters out to kill their own meat and see if they can do it. What I find most interesting about this video is the range of reactions from the BuzzFeed staff. Could I select a chicken, kill it, and then eat it? Probably not. But I don't have to, that's what stores are for, and THAT detachment is part of the problem of the industrialized world's consumption of meat. It's food for thought.

10. Gloomy Nights: "Alvvays - Archie, Marry Me"
Gloomy Nights is one of THE prettiest song channels I've found. Matching the beautiful landscape with the minimalist widget in the center, it's gorgeous. And I really like this song (hint: They're Canadian).

So that was it! The first playlist. What worked? What didn't? I'm really interested in your feedback. Should I increase/decrease commentary, increase/decrease video selection/runtime... etc. Now, finish your beverage of choice and get out and enjoy your weekend!

Update: Today is International Mother Language Day, commemorating the protests by students in Bengladesh in 1952 who wanted to study in their mother tongue, Bengali. I've added this video that explains and celebrates it to the end of the playlist, already breaking my own rule re: 10 videos/less than 50 mins, but hey ^^


  1. What I quickly realized when contemplating the "kill your own food" thing is that if I had to hunt in order to feed myself, I'd probably die of incompetence.

    Have you ever tried to catch a chicken? Motherfuckers can run real fast on those tiny legs. I have no idea whether I'd be capable of killing an animal to eat, because I'd be utterly incapable of getting close enough to do so.

    (Kim, I'm sorry for making such a stupid comment on your blog. But not sorry enough to not hit "publish.")


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