Food Is Weird: Understanding Agriculture in the Developing World

In which John Green flies in a helicopter with Bill Gates in Ethiopia, investigates a new form of cursing, and discusses agricultural reform—specifically, how the UN’s World Food Program is trying to improve maize yields in Ethiopia. If you can break the vicious cycle of low incomes leading to low harvests, agricultural productivity per hectacre can increase dramatically, as we’ve seen in China and Brazil. It seems boring, I know, but this is a big reason hundreds of millions of people have emerged from poverty in the past 30 years. So hopefully it will happen in Ethiopia! But, as usual, the truth resists simplicity.


The Nerdfighter Online Video Workshop


There are three important ingredients to a good video…the writing, the performance, and the editing. Now, of course, lots of videos have those things blend together…sometimes I write while I film and sometimes while I edit (deciding to put stuff on screen or cut things (cutting is a huge part of writing) or even to go back and shoot something new.)

But while I once upon a time showed you a video of me editing…I’ve never shared anything about my writing process or my shooting process. So I’m gonna open the book as part of a larger project. Let’s call it the Nerdfighter Online Video Workshop.

It comes in three parts:

Check out the prompts (and guide) on my WattPad, here. Write scripts and share them on WattPad using the appropriate tags. Whether or not you are writing in the workshop, feel free to thoughtfully and conscientiously critique submissions (which you can find by searching for the appropriate tags) using WattPad comments.


  1. A long boring video of me writing a script
  2. A bunch of Vlogbrothers and SciShow scripts
  3. The prompts at WattPad
  4. Other People’s scripts

Check out the scripts (particularly the unpublished Vlogbrothers and SciShow scripts) and film (and ideally edit) your performance. Of course we understand that your software and hardware aren’t necessarily going to be top notch. Phone videos encouraged! Upload your video and name it “NOVW PERFORMANCE VIDEO *USERNAME*” with your username in place of *USERNAME*.

Whether or not you are making a video for the workshop feel free to search YouTube for “NOVW PERFORMANCE VIDEO” and thoughtfully and conscientiously critique performances. 


  1. A video of me unedited…so you can see that vloggers don’t just rattle off their scripts perfectly the first time.
  2. Various Vlogbrothers and SciShow scripts
  3. Other People’s Performances

Download this unedited Vlogbrothers video (there are lots of ways to download YouTube videos, this one works well for me), edit it however you want…do literally whatever you want to it, and then upload it with the title “EDITEDCOMMENTSVIDEO *USERNAME*” where *USERNAME* is your username. 

Whether or not you are uploading an edited video, feel free to search for videos in the editing workshop and thoughtfully and conscientiously critique them.


  1. A video of me editing a video for an hour
  2. An un-edited Vlogbrothers video
  3. Other peoples edits

Yes, I will be looking at this stuff…though probably not for a while because I’m going to be traveling a bit over the next week or two (or three). I’m very excited to see what comes of this. Please be helpful and thoughtful and encouraging to each other. I hope this is interesting and useful to you (and also to me.)

Also, tag all related content novw here on Tumblr or on YouTube or Twitter or wherever.



Naming Babies: Thoughts from Rural Ethiopia

In which John Green visits rural health care centers in Ethiopia with Bill Gates and Gates Foundation CEO Sue Desmond-Hellman and learns about how Ethiopians are working to improve health outcomes with minimal resources. 

The Gates Foundation:

The Last 10K Project, which works to improve health care in rural Ethiopia:


We were watching crash course and doing notes along with the video.. and this was the last question. I was so happy! :) (submitted by diagon-alli)

We were watching crash course and doing notes along with the video.. and this was the last question. I was so happy! :) (submitted by )



Check out these new products, just in time for back-to-school!

We’ve got two new posters, featuring inspirational quotes from John and Hank to decorate your walls and keep you motivated throughout the year, both designed by Risa Rodil.

PLUS, most other posters are 20% off! We want all of your wall space. ALL OF IT! And most of your ceiling.

There’s also a new spiral notebook featuring the nerdfighter crest that you can use to take notes.

TWO different pen sets, both with black ink, that will remind you daily to do your best and not forget to be awesome.

And a four-pack of folders to keep you organized!

This sale goes for TWO WEEKS ONLY (ends September 1st), so make sure to get your back to school shopping done while there’s still time!



I love this lyric and I feel like it illustrates a lot of the stuff I do. Now I illustrate it. I couldn’t help doing this, it demanded to be made. 


I love this lyric and I feel like it illustrates a lot of the stuff I do. Now I illustrate it. I couldn’t help doing this, it demanded to be made. 


The Bizarre State of Copyright

In which Hank discusses what intellectual property is, and how copyright is increasingly being policed by dumb robots that don’t have very much to do with the law, but have everything to do with it just being REALLY COMPLICATED and there being terrifyingly massive amounts of media to regulate.


Happy Dance Because Sherlock is Back And I Just Learned How To Post Gifs!



Happy dance because Sherlock is back and I just learned how to post gifs!


Video Transcriptions and Translations


Hey all. 

As you may know, YouTube gives channels the capability of uploading caption tracks to their videos, and these tracks are invaluable to all kinds of people. Captions allow deaf and hard of hearing YouTube users the ability to enjoy videos to the fullest extent; captions clarify words or phrases that might be difficult to understand when spoken aloud; captions enable users to find phrases or quotes via searches, and so on.

An impressive amount of vlogbrothers-related videos have already been transcribed, and I’m in the process of uploading those transcriptions as captions to the videos themselves. But there is a lot of work yet to be done.

If you’d like to help transcribe videos, go to the Nerdfighteria Wiki, find videos that have not yet been transcribed, pick one, and transcribe it! Instructions and formatting tips are available on the wiki, so poke around a bit!

If you’re feeling particularly awesome, you can focus on one of the following channels/categories, all of which need special help since they do not have scripts:

Similarly, if you are multilingual, we could use your talents in helping to translate videos for our educational channels.

See below for a full list of channels that are available for translation:

Crash Course

Crash Course is currently a special beta tester for Youtube’s new Captions/Translations feature. If you go to any Crash Course video and click on the “Transcript” button below the video, then open up the drop down language menu, you can select “add subtitles/cc”, a captions editor page will open, and you’ll easily be able to translate the video. When you’re finished, you can submit your work and it will be reviewed. If it’s accepted, you’ll be notified via YouTube, and the captions will go live on the video! See the screenshots below for an idea of how it works.






Instructions regarding the translation process for these channels are available on each individual site.

Thanks in advance for all the work, time, and effort that you all put into these captions & translations! It’s greatly appreciated.

If you have any questions (that can’t be answered by a perusal of the wiki/, feel free to email me.



If you’d like to translate Crash Course videos, see above for instructions on how to submit them directly through youtube!