In this week’s all-video buffet, we’re looking back over 2016’s highlights and depths, theorizing over the limits of human space travel, even in the best case, watching a crazy chemistry experiment, and exploring some interesting facts about every country in the world.
Welcome to Lifehacker’s Monday Brain Buffet, a series where we round up interesting, informative, and thought-provoking podcasts, interviews, articles, and other media that will teach you something new, inspire you, and hopefully start your week off on the right foot.
Interesting Facts About Every Country in the World
Now, more than ever, it’s important to learn a little bit more about the world around us that’s beyond our front door. This pair of YouTube videos from Wendover Productions contains some interesting facts about every country on the planet. Part one is above, part two is right here, and you’ll learn all about things like how China is one massive time zone from end to end, and how Chile has a government-sponsored UFO research program. If you’re a lover of amusing and interesting facts about the world, you’ll love these two videos. [via Wendover Productions (YouTube), thanks Kottke!]
What Are the Limits of Human Travel?
What are the limits of humanity? What’s the farthest distance we could ever possibly hope to travel, even in the most superbly sci-fi, fantastical future? Kurzgesagt’s latest video explains in beautiful detail, and while it may come off a little lonely and seem a little like a downer, it just reinforces what an amazingly beautiful time in the history and life of the Universe in which we live. The short answer, of course, is our local group of galaxies, but the longer answer is well worth the eight minute video watch.
Before you jump to conclusions, it has nothing to do with emergent technologies and speculation on the possible advancement of human society (because let’s be honest, we have to manage to become an interstellar-capable, type III civilization first and not grind ourselves back into the dust from which we sprang first), it has more to do with the physical nature of the universe, and our understanding of how it was created and how it continues to expand instead. [via Kurzgesagt (YouTube)]
Every Human Ever
Every Human Ever is a short video that examines many of the feelings and thoughts that all of us have at some point or another, but rarely communicate to one another, either because it’s inappropriate because of our social norms, or because we just don’t want to appear vulnerable, or because sometimes the truth in our heads just isn’t something other people expect to hear. The description puts it well:
What do we all have in common? Every Human Ever is an exploration of humanity’s lowest common denominator…that which lies beneath our surface level expressions and habitual personality traits…and brings us all together as one, big…I don’t know.
It’s a thoughtful watch (albeit fun and funny,) but it does make you think about how often you’ve rationalized some grand explanation to yourself for something as simple as “I’m telling you all of this because I want you to like me” or “I just want to be appreciated.” [via The Kloons (YouTube), thanks Swissmiss!]
What Happens When You Dump 30 Pounds of Dry Ice Into a Swimming Pool?
The one and only CrazyRussianHacker is known for his experiments—some of them useful and some of them not at all, but all of them interesting and fun to watch—and this one is….well nothing we could recommend you actually do, and nothing that would actually accomplish anything for you, but damn it’s fun to watch. Hit play and just watch the magic happen—it’s simple chemistry in motion, just on a grand scale. [via CrazyRussianHacker (YouTube)]
Google’s Year in Search: 2016
Because this is the last Brain Buffet of the year, it seems fitting to go out on Google’s own Year in Search roundup, a full look back at everything that happened this year, all of the achievements, all of the people we lost, and all of the things that give us some hope for the future. One thing is for sure though, from start to finish, 2016 was a tumultuous year, to say the least, and it’s not ending with any less drama than it started with—and that’s probably also an understatement.
If there’s ever a video that’s near guaranteed to make you choke up, Google’s end of year roundups. Have a great week, and a Happy New Year! [via Google (YouTube)]
If you have thought-provoking stories, interesting podcasts, eye-opening videos, or anything else you think would be perfect for Brain Buffet, share it with us! Email me, leave it as a comment below, or send it over any way you know how.
Title illustration by Nick Criscuolo.