Veritasium

Day 54. 140 pages, 65,324 words.

I saw an interesting blog post and series of videos the other day, about the videos made by this guy.

There are a lot of cool videos there.

See, this is what I’m saying, specifically about the originally-cited blog post about anti-vaxxers now.

Don’t condescend to people and expect them to change. And don’t shout abuse and insults at them, and ridicule them, and expect them to listen to you. If you think the scientific method is so fantastic, use the scientific method. Be a fucking grown-up, if ‘they’ look like they’re refusing.

Sure, there are plenty of people who will still refuse. That’s their problem. Don’t make yourself into the douchebag because of them.

Yeah, this guy is a little smug, and it is a bit of a dick move to edit up videos to show people giving dumb answers to questions, but I think he’s got the right idea and he has positive intentions. Plus, it’s sort of a time-honoured formula. It’s just all about what you do with it.

Example.

The street-interviews he gives seem to be pretty cool and illustrate a good point. My first guess in the “Can You Solve This?” video, obviously, was “multiply by two”. Then it was “any three numbers”. Then I amended to “any three numbers that increase”. I thought his laughter here was just delight, not mockery.

And (in case you’re watching these) the “Earth around the sun in how long?”-question is one of those ones where it’s easy to blurt an answer without thinking, like the old “What does a cow drink?” “Milk,” trick question. The point in both cases is a good one and I don’t think there’s any shame in being a bit of a duffer about it. It’s just defensiveness and wounded pride that reacts to say “this guy’s being a jerk!”.

And the little mythbuster-y spiel about how you’re lighter in the morning than at night, that was cool. I figured it was something of a myth, exacerbated by the fact that you normally go to the toilet in the morning or whatever, but the small variance he noted empirically was cool. And yes, I’m (pointlessly) proud to point out, I nailed the explanation – you sweat and drool out some of it, you breathe out more, and I would have said you’re also shedding bits and pieces of hair and skin as well, while your body’s busily turning your dinner into fresh stuff, so that’d account for some too. I had not taken into account the fact that breathing in (among other things) oxygen and breathing out (among other things) carbon dioxide means you’re shedding carbon when you breathe, accounting for a few grams.

See? That’s super-cool.

And yes, there will be a lot of people who resist learning cool new stuff like this, especially when they have some sort of vested interest in not accepting it. But this is really something and I think the more people who just sat down and thought about it, the more we’d see signs of progress. Wouldn’t we?

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