We’re all inclined to over-indulge at Christmas time, writes Catherine Chambers, Senior Producer at The Open University. Find some balance and feed your brain with the top 10 2015 YouTube downloads from the OULearn channel.
With over 2 and a half million views and over 18,000 shares since its release in 2011, the Bard and his influence on the English language tops the charts.
The collapse of a suspension bridge over the Ohio River in 1967 comes in at number two – but its nigh on 1.5 million views might have something to with the fact that the collapse is linked to sightings of the Mothman creature, which inspired the film the Mothman Prophecies.
History of English in Ten Minutes (combined)
From Anglo-Saxons and the Age of the Dictionary to Internet and Global English, this combined version of the comedy animations is a rip-roaring journey through the history of the English Language, voiced by Clive Anderson.
At number four, simple explanations of complex economic theories such as Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand and Keynes’ Paradox of Thrift proved a hit on YouTube – with a bit of help from David Mitchell as narrator.
The first of the 60 Second Adventures series has picked up over 12,000 likes and over 1 million views since its release in 2011. Thought experiments and paradoxes on time travel, quantum mechanics and Artificial Intelligence are condensed into 60 seconds from The Grandfather Paradox (on which ‘Back to the Future’ is based) to ‘Schrodinger’s Cat’ and The Chinese Room.
In sixth place, an episode on the history of beer may have pulled in a few of the hundred or so thousand viewers of this series about microbes, why some are good, some bad and what they have done for mankind.
Structural Realism (from ‘International Relations’ series)
Simplifying complex theories is an art form – but Professor John Mearsheimer from the University of Chicago does just that as he explains how states behave in international politics, using the example of the US in the West.
What do we mean by the steepness of a path on a hillside? Describing a steep path that goes up and down a slope as a way of understanding gradient vectors has proven popular enough for this to climb to number 8 in the top ten.
The History of the Hour Record (from The Science Behind the Bike series)
Chris Boardman and Graeme Obree reflect on the ultimate test of an individual’s test or stamina in cycling, in which there is no second place – you win or you lose. Bradley Wiggins broke the record again in June 2015.
The Invisible Hand (from 60 Second Adventures in Economics)
In tenth place, the first episode in ‘60 Second Adventures in Economics’ relays Adam Smith’s ‘hand’s off’ approach theory favouring a free market economy.
Photo by tonynetone