Embassies are basically "mini countries abroad," according to this explainer video from Wendover Productions. I learned that diplomats in embassies are:
exempt from taxes in their host country
allowed free movement around their host country
can carry diplomatic bags that cannot be seized or searched
are granted diplomated immunity
treated by the host country the same way in their private residences as they are in the embassy
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In the 1600s the Dutch East India company offered people the chance to share in the profits of international trade by funding ship voyages. By accident, it created the first stock market. In four-and-a-half minutes, this TED-Ed video explains the function of stock markets. Read the rest
You've probably played with one of those toy cars that you drag back to wind up and then let go to let it zoom across the floor. In this video, Jared Owen uses 3D animation to clearly show how the mechanism works. This guy deserves a lot more subscribers than he has. Check out some of his other cool explainer videos:
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A servo motor has a rotating shaft that can be controlled to rotate to a specified angle. They'e used in a lot of industrial applications, and also in hobby electronics to control robots and remote control models. This video does a good job of explaining how servos work. It also goes into using Arduino to drive multiple servos.
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Why would the discovery of extraterrestrial life be horrible for life on earth? Read the rest
Although Net Neutrality – or its repeal if certain somebodies get their way – is an issue that affects everyone, not everyone is clued in to what it actually means. Enter Burger King's faux "social experiment" that explains Net Neutrality with a currency everyone understands: the Whopper sandwich. Want a Whopper for the regular price of $4.99? Fine but you'll have to get a "slow-access Whopper pass" and wait in the slow lane for up to 20 minutes. But no worries, if you're in a hurry you can still have it in a few minutes – it'll just cost you $26. This is the best explainer video I've seen in a long time. Read the rest
This excellent video (from the early 50s or late 40s, I'm going to guess) shows how a mechanical watch keeps time. It reminds me of the video that shows how a car's differential gear works.
Here's a modern animated version:
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The always-excellent maker of animated explainer videos, Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell just released a new video that explains what black holes are, explains what information is, and then goes into the way that black holes are the cause of something called "The Information Paradox." The takeaway: we all might be stretched on a flat screen, just imagining that we are in three dimensions. Read the rest
Why can a mouse survive a fall from a skyscraper, but not a dog or an elephant? This episode of Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell explores size differences in animals, and how it affects their anatomies and physiologies. Read the rest
Bill Wurtz is the guy who made a fantastically entertaining video history of Japan last year. In this video, he's taken on the slightly more ambitious task of presenting the history of the universe, beginning before the formation of matter and quickly focusing on a rapid fire lesson in world history. A+ work! Read the rest
When a new Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell explainer video comes out, I stop what I'm doing and watch it. The latest one, about the European Union, asks, "Should we double down or give up and go our separate ways?"
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This video will probably not make everybody happy. Probably for completely opposite reasons. Some people want less political and economic integration, some want more of it. Some want to stop immigration, others want better integration instead. Some want an EU army, others want to disband Nato. And most will have a collection of different opinions about all of that. It’s the same for our team, we don’t all share the same vision for Europe and the world.
We tried our best to present different sides and view points, while being fair and as neutral as possible. But obviously we can’t go into too much detail in a video that is only 7 minutes long. We also clearly marked where we are stating our opinion. The sources we used are in the video description.
The last year has taught us that we have to try our best to get everybody back to the table again and stop screaming at each other. We all could have done a better job at this in the past, Kurzgesagt too. Everybody comes from a different place and has different ideas of where the world should go and how to tackle our problems. And as long as we are trying to base our opinions on facts then that is completely fine.
There are many admirable things about this 1937 video that explains how a car's differential works, but my favorite thing is the way they use a very simple model, and add complexity in stages. All explainer videos should be so clear! Read the rest
I love Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell explainer videos. They are beautiful and well-produced. In this episode, they explain the future of fusion energy. Read the rest