Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

A Non-Viral Video You Should Watch Anyway

YouTube viewers like clips about cats, and music videos featuring Pitbull.

But even though the world’s biggest video site is on a mission to upgrade its content to include more “premium” stuff, there’s plenty of it on the site right now. It’s just that you have to know where to look for it, and a lot of it is only going to appeal to a relatively small group of people.

Here, for example, is a full-length biography of physics genius Richard Feynman. Given that it doesn’t appear to be uploaded by the BBC, which made the show, I’m not quite sure if it’s supposed to be there. On the other hand, it appears to have been up on the site for a full year, and has attracted thousands of views, so presumably the Beeb could have had it yanked if it wanted to. (YouTube, by the way, used to have a 10-minute limit on uploads, in part to prevent people from playing entire movies on the site. But it dropped that requirement a while ago.)

No big takeaway here, other than these two things:

  • If you’re at all interested in modern science, and have an hour and a half to spare, this should be on your list.
  • There’s lots of other stuff like this buried in the 48 hours of video per minute that users upload to the site. You just need someone to point you to it. In this case, that would be the excellent Maria Popova.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work