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:


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.


EBOLA! (…meningitis)

In which John is diagnosed with ebola by the Internet but turns out to be suffering from viral meningitis. How should we imagine novel diseases and how should we combat them? And why do we only focus on diseases that we fear will affect “us”? How does the way we imagine “us” shape the way we respond to disease outbreaks? Questions like that are examined while meningitis headaches are lamented.


Who Owns a Monkey’s Selfie? And a Song About Meningitis!

Due to brain fog, I didn’t explain any of the copyright stuff particularly well, but (in summation) a photographer is suing the Wikimedia Foundation (the people who create Wikipedia) for acting as if a photograph is in the public domain when he believes it is not. The only way to determine who is correct is to have a judge decide…that’s how copyright law works, which is really weird. 

I mean, the question also becomes, if I drop my camera and it takes a really great shot…do I own that picture or not, just because the force of gravity took it. 

Also, I’m curious whether the work of a non-human owned by a human (like a dog) would pass to that human. Just like something created by a piece of computer software would be owned by the person who owns the software. It doesn’t change this case because no one owns that monkey. 

ANYHOW! Feel better John, and let’s hope Calvin Harris doesn’t sue us :-)


Towering Mountains of Ignorance

This was a somewhat challenging topic to take on in four minutes, so here’s a little more explanation. 

I’m not saying that we don’t know things…we know lots of things. But particularly when it comes to social and cultural and economic stuff, we really don’t. It’s so hard to run experiments on the real world, that we tend to do the studies and then no one changes their mind and everyone explains the data in a different way. 

But you can run the “Harry Potter” experiment again with different inputs because “Harry Potter” can only happen once. 

Of course, there are people who are much better at guessing than other people because they know much more about the situations. People who understand, at least, what is and is not possible (which is an excellent place to start if you’re trying to, say, create an independent Palestinian state.) 

Same goes for running a business…you will never take the most successful course, because there are infinite courses and only one maximum one. But some people are very good at finding good courses because they understand their customers and their markets and their employees and have fairly accurate constructions of reality as it relates to their business. 

But the idea that it is the responsibility of every person to have an opinion on everything that matters…and then cling to that opinion as an important part of their identity, sucks. I don’t like it. 

I would rather we discuss these things in terms of values, which is really where our opinions tend to arise from anyhow. So when asked “how do we create more jobs in America” we don’t really try to answer that question. We try to answer the question “How do we create more jobs in America while promoting our own personal values?” 

For things like “How do you end a war” or “How do you feed hungry people” or “How do you eliminate poverty?” I’m going to admit straight up that I don’t know…and defer to the experts because they know a heck of a lot more than me. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. So, yay, I DON’T KNOW!!!


Ambiguous Victories and Real Progress: Behind the Beautiful Forevers

In which John continues the Nerdfighter Book Club’s discussion of Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers. Are there unambiguous victories? How should we approach our understanding of and relationship with charities domestic and international? I look forward to reading all of your thoughts in comments when I get back.



So I got a little confused about who owed what punishments and then we went a little overboard and with the help of a team of Nerdfighting researchers rooted out the cause and effect of EVERY SINGLE PUNISHMENT ON VLOGBROTHERS SINCE JANUARY OF 2007!

Here’s a playlist of all of those videos.

The thing I realized while doing this is that we have been doing this for a very….very….very long time. Holy monkey butts…a long time.



"People alone are beautiful, but nothing is more precious than the beauty that happens when people come together."

I’ve always loved John and Hank Green’s “Thoughts from Places” videos, and nothing prompted a video of my own quite like a trip to the Windy City. The adventures of three University of Michigan students in beautiful Chicago, Illinois.

Feel free to like and/or reblog! :)

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Music by Incompetech!


Exciting Announcements and Mosquito-Borne Illnesses 

In which John discusses his forthcoming trip with Bill Gates (yes, that Bill Gates), his health anxiety, the worldwide threat of mosquito-borne illnesses, health anxiety, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, the tyranny of Hollywood in re haircut frequency, and the arrival of pre-roll advertising on the vlogbrothers channel.