Video Essays #2 | Why are scientific video essays so rare?

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When I first became interested in video essays I noticed there were very few science-based video essays on YouTube, especially from academics or scientists. I wanted to figure out why. I started with two underlying questions: Do other academic fields use video essays? And can video essays can be used appropriately in science?

For me, the answer to both questions was yes. Continue reading

Video Essays #1 | What are Video Essays, and who makes them?

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Over the last few years, a new genre of video has gathered momentum on YouTube; the analytic video essay. Today’s question is; what characterises a video essay?

The phrase “video essay” has two main meanings; the concept currently used by YouTubers (and the internet in general), and the original meaning used in filmmaking communities. For filmmakers, a video essay is a compilation of clips from a film which demonstrates a point about that film. In this definition, the video takes priority- many video essays make their point solely through the chosen clips.

However,  other communities use the phrase differently. Reddit’s dedicated subreddit /r/videoessays describes them as:

“a written essay that is read aloud over video accompaniment which seeks to analyze some media text (tv, film, music, art, speech, etc)”.

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The History of “Fake News”

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Right now, conversations about fake news are everywhere. Between debates about Facebook’s role in creating and promoting fake news, websites promising to fix or block fake providers, and the Trump administration shouting”fake news” at every opportunity possible, there’s a cloud of confusion around the idea.

But what actually is fake news? One thing is for sure- fake news was not born in 2016. It is not a sudden intrusion into the media world, and to treat it as such masks its history and context.

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No Man’s Sky – 2016 epitomised?

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Just like the rest of the internet, I’m going to talk about No Man’s Sky...

More specifically, about the 1.1 update announced today.

1.1, known as the Foundation update, will add two new modes (Creative and Survival) to the main game, and will begin the Base Building feature, while adding features to existing mechanics like farming. Foundation also promises to improve multiple parts of the resource management side of the game, by making resources easier to store, automate and use. The patch list is one of the longest I’ve ever seen.
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Review | Fun Science – Charlie McDonnell

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I’ve recently finished Fun Science by Charlie McDonnell, and after reading it I’m surprisingly impressed both by the book itself and its potential value for science communication.

Firstly, some context. Charlie McDonnell is a filmmaker/musician/ vlogger/presenter… and now author. Last month he released Fun Science (the book), inspired by his 2011 YouTube series of the same name. Fun Science (the show) has also returned,and covers topics included in the book. (A playlist of all of the YouTube episodes is below).


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Science Communication on YouTube, Part #2

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This post follow part 1, where I looked at the type of videos and channels appearing on YouTube searches for science communication. 

While there’s a lot of science content on YouTube, and relatively strong content communicating science, there isn’t much about science communication itself. There are videos for non-scientists about science, but not about scicomm. A Crash Course or RiskBites equivalent for science communication doesn’t exist.

The obvious question is; should that content exist? To me, the answer can only be yes.
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Signals and Noise

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The sheer amount of publications, information sources, and people that I follow has become too much to read, and too much to mean anything. Continual anxiety means I’m struggling to focus on anything useful, like uni work or project planning. But trying to escape or get ideas by reading non-uni media isn’t helping at all.

Between my Twitter feed, Medium recommendations and Pocket list, there’s almost 1000 items of “do this to be happy”, “do this to be better”,”here’s how everyone else is succeeding”, and “you need to care about this”.
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