Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tsunami Slams American Samoa

An earthquake that registered over 8.0 on the Richter scale (some report 8.3) struck in the Pacific ocean between Samoa and American Samoa earlier today, setting off a massive tsunami, which sent residents fleeing for their lives. Villages have been flattened, and dozens have been killed.

Videos are being uploaded to YouTube, documenting the destruction in the immediate aftermath of the storm.

Here's a playlist showing some of the clips that have come in so far:

Monday, September 28, 2009

The DNC wants you to make the case for health reform through YouTube

This weekend, Organizing for America and the DNC launched the "Health Reform Video Challenge," which asks Americans to state their case for passing health care reform in 2009 through a 30-second YouTube video. All or part of the winner's video may be used in a television ad associated with the DNC's health reform campaign.

On the main contest page, OFA offers a few suggestions for citizens who don't know what to make a video about. They include creating an endorsement of Obama's plan, sharing a personal story about health care struggles, and calling out opponents of reform.

Videos must be submitted here by October 18.

Friday, September 25, 2009

State Department and Matt Damon team up to fight global hunger

This afternoon, at the closing session of the Clinton Global Initiative, Secretary Clinton introduced the U.S. government's new global food security initiative. In conjunction with her announcement, the U.S. State Department and actor Matt Damon have released this video to raise awareness about global hunger among children:

Unrest in Honduras

Reports straight from Tegucigalpa, Honduras have been coming into YouTube this week - as the country wavers in the face of unrest.

Former Honduran President Zeyala, who was exiled from Honduras after a military coup, returned to the country in secret earlier this week and has taken refuge inside the Brazilian embassy. Upheaval ensued as Zeyala's supporters began to protest and the current government put virtually the entire country on lock-down.
One American traveling with a group through South America, posted several vlogs relaying his experience in Honduras over the past few days. In the first one, shot on Monday when the unrest began, he is in the airport giving a first hand account of being escorted out after his group's flight was cancelled.

In this one, he updates family and friends back home after having been stuck in a hotel in Honduras for several days due to a city-wide curfew.

This footage shows Zelaya supporters trying to block of the area around the Brazilian embassy where the former President is hiding out:

This video from earlier in the week shows what it's been like in Tegucigalpa, as protesters have clashed with the police. The videographer also interviews Honduras residents (in Spanish, without subtitles).

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Kids taught to praise Obama at school

This one's gonna get some traction... someone captured a group of school kids being taught songs to honor President Obama. Respecting your country's leader is one thing... but the lyrics, "Mm, Mm, Mm, Barack Hussien Obama" are just... weird.

More from the G-20 protests

More videos coming in. We've created a playlist here:

Turmoil at G-20: Protesters and police clashing in Pittsburgh

Videos are starting to come in from the streets of Pittsburgh where the G-20 summit is being held this week. Police have reportedly clashed with protesters today, who tried to approach the convention center where the world leaders were meeting without permission.

Here's some footage just uploaded by eyewitnesses:

G20 police standoff

Pittsburgh G20 - Police use LRAD

Police threaten protesters at g20

G20 Video - Ethiopians Dispersed by Police

Community service is "Most Popular" on YouTube...when Chris Brown is doing it

Never has a community service video raced to the top of YouTube's "Most Popular" list faster than this video of Chris Brown, serving his 180-day court-ordered community service for beating ex-girlfriend Rihanna:

The video, which has close to 300,000 views, depicts Brown
clearing weeds at police horse stables in Virginia. At about :56, he appears to be heckled by a man wearing a "Break the Cycle, Stop Teen Violence" t-shirt.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Woman declares "debtor's revolt" on Bank of America; they respond by reducing her credit rate

Ann Minch, a Bank of America customer in California, wasn't happy when BOA upped her interest rate from 13 to 30 percent. So of course, she went to YouTube and declared a debtor's revolt. After over 250,000 views, the bank changed her rate back (no word on whether the video influenced their decision).

Learn more from CBS News, and check out her passionate video here:

Amazing footage of dust storm in Broken Hill, Australia

Watch this incredible video of a massive dust storm that took place in Broken Hill, Australia. A woman inside her house is filming the storm as the daytime sky turns completely pitch black.

Apparently, Broken Hill is known for its dust storms. Check out this unbelievable footage from 2008.

George Clooney asks you to be a citizen ambassador to the U.N.

If you had the chance to address the entire United Nations General Assembly, what advice would you give world leaders on how to make a better, safer world? That's the question that George Clooney and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon are asking you in the U.N.'s latest video initiative on YouTube. If they chose your three-minute video response as a winner, you'll become a "citizen ambassador" to the U.N., and travel there to meet with the Secretary-General on U.N. Day on October 23rd.

The deadline for submissions is October 10th. Learn more from Mr. Clooney in this video:

MacArthur "genius" award winners announced on YouTube

The 2009 recipients of the MacArthur "genius" grants were awarded yesterday to 24 "creative" American citizens living in the United States. All of the grant winners will receive $500,000 to use however they like. Several made short videos about their life's work, which you can view on the MacArthur Foundation's YouTube channel.

Check out this video from Mark Bradford, a mixed media artist living in Los Angeles.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

NYTimes: Iranian government ignoring dissent on YouTube

Fascinating piece in the New York Times by Robert Mackey about how Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the current Iranian government are not only ignoring voices of dissent being expressed via YouTube, but denying that such opposition even exists.

Mackey writes:
"In a speech on Sunday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei insisted that last Friday’s annual Quds Day (Quds is the Persian word for Jerusalem) was simply “a day of clear shouts against the deadly cancer of Zionism.” He did not mention or try to account for the fact that dozens of videos posted on YouTube by Iranians — like the one embedded above (see below), showing large crowds of green-clad protesters refusing to chant slogans against Israel and the United States, or the one below, showing protesters clashing with members of the Basij militia — seemed to completely contradict his account of the day.

Since it is unlikely that Ayatollah Khamenei is actually unaware of the protests, or of what seems to be clear video evidence of them online, his remarks on Sunday may be a sign that the men who control Iran are struggling to adapt to a new media environment in which the state has lost its near-monopoly on information about events inside the country."
Read the full article here. And watch the video Mackey refers to above:

Join World Leaders on the Road to Copenhagen

In December, world leaders will meet in Copenhagen to discuss a global agreement on climate change as part of the United Nations’ Climate Change Convention (often referred to as COP15). The goal of the meeting is to reduce global warming emissions and ultimately chart a course that avoids the most severe impacts of climate change.

The road to Copenhagen begins now, as heads of state flock to the United Nations in hopes of laying the groundwork for COP15. That's why today, with the Danish government, we're launching the YouTube COP15 channel, where you can you can raise your thoughts and questions on climate change through an initiative called "Raise Your Voice."

We know that you've never been afraid to make your opinions heard on this important issue, from uploading footage of road trips to halt climate change in India to creating humorous educational videos about global warming:

Now here's your chance to submit your most pressing questions about climate change to world leaders through YouTube. All approved entries will be broadcast on screens around COP15 in December and rated by viewers of the channel. The top-rated entries will be put in front of a panel of experts at an interactive debate that will be globally aired by YouTube/CNN International. Two winners will also receive a trip to Copenhagen to be present at the debate.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Extending the Olive Branch on YouTube

Today, in honor of the International Day of Peace, a UN-recognized global day of nonviolence and ceasefire, we're turning up the volume on this important issue by featuring peace-related film, music, and activism on the site.

In the Screening Room, we're running "The Day After Peace," an award-winning documentary that shows how Peace Day was created. See the trailer here, then head over to www.youtube.com/screeningroom to see the full-length feature:

YouTube users have also been making peace a priority by creating videos that inspire others to make the world a better place. You can take a spin through the entries to the "My Take on Peace" contest, which features content from celebs like Jude Law, Lenny Kravitz and Alanis Morissette, hear the moving story of the Bah twins whose experience as refugees has fueled their quest for non-violence, or find out "how to create peace" from user wickydkewl, a disciple of the "Free Hugs" movement:

How are you creating peace in your community? Submit your video here for the chance to win an HD camera, or leave your thoughts in the comments below.

If Only Every Homework Assignment Had Prizes Like This...

As a new school year unfolds, here's an assignment for America's students from the U.S. Department of Education and YouTube: in two minutes or less, make a video showing the nation and the world how education will help you achieve their dreams, and upload it to the submission platform on the Department of Education's YouTube channel.

The good news is that there are no failing grades and the top three submissions, as voted by the YouTube community, will each be issued a $1,000 prize by the DOE. Learn more about the "I Am What I Learn" video contest from Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education:

The contest is open to U.S. middle, high school, college and post-grad students, ages 13 and up, and the deadline to submit is October 20. For complete rules and FAQs, please visit www.ed.gov/iamwhatilearn.

Battleground Virginia: Your questions for Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell

One of the most watched electoral contests in the country this fall is the Virginia gubernatorial race. After electing two straight nationally-recognized Democratic governors (Mark Warner, who went on to represent VA in the U.S. Senate, and Tim Kaine, who's become the national Chairman of the DNC), most polls have shown Republican Bob McDonnell holding a slight lead over Democratic nominee Creigh Deeds. And just like in the Democratic primary election, we're partnering with the Politico and WJLA to bring your questions to the candidates in two TV interviews.

Both McDonnell and Deeds have been running strong campaigns on YouTube - and their uploads should only increase in these final weeks leading up to the election on November 3rd.

Upload your video questions by midnight on Thursday, October 1st and vote on your favorites - the top-ranked questions will be posed to the candidates in these live interviews.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

CAUGHT: Fox News producer rallying 9/12 protesters

Heidi Noonan, an associated producer for Fox News, was caught on tape hyping up a group of conservative 9/12 protesters at a rally the network was covering. According to Gawker, Fox News' Griff Jenkins was broadcasting live on air and was describing the scene as "absolutely grassroots." But you can see Noonan in the green sweater, egging on the protesters and raising her arms to signal to the crowd to be louder.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Deeds' "Macaca Moment"?

The Virginia Gubernatorial is one of the hottest races in the country right now, and with E-Day fast approaching, all eyes are on Democratic nominee Creigh Deeds and Republican Bob McDonnell. That's why any mistake at this point can be a costly one (just ask former VA Senate candidate George Allen).

Sensing this, the Republicans have just released a YouTube video which depicts an obviously uncomfortable Deeds waffling over whether he will raise taxes, after last night's debate:

The video, posted yesterday, already has close to 20,000 views. We'll be standing by to see if the numbers jump, and how the Deeds campaign responds.

Cuban YouTube Acitivist freed from jail

Juan Carlos González Marcos, the Cuban man known as "Panfilo" who became a YouTube sensation when he was jailed for a videotaped rant against his government, has been freed from jail. As we reported last week, Panfilo's "Jama" video - in which he complains that the Cuban government isn't taking care of its hungry - has become an international sensation, spurning mash-ups and petitions to free the man from jail and repeal his 2-year sentence.

Reuters reported this morning that Panfilo has been freed and instead sentenced to 3 weeks in a mental health institution.

"It's a corrective decision very unusual for a government known for its rigidity," Elizardo Sanchez, spokesman for the independent Cuban Commission on Human Rights, told Reuters. "He said it was likely the result of "international public opinion."

Here's the video that started it all:

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Matt Damon endorses Mike Bloomberg on YouTube

A pretty original endorsement video...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"I wouldn't dignify you by peeing on your leg", congressman tells constituent

What has the public dialogue come to, seriously? Representative Pete Stark (D-CA) gets into a discussion with one of his constituents, and Stark ends up telling his constituent he wouldn't dignify him by peeing on his leg. Scroll to the 1:40 mark or so.

Found this from our friends over at Tech President.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Climate Activists Scale Niagara Falls to Protest Tar Sands Oil

This morning, six members of the Rainforest Action Network scaled up to the observation deck of Niagara Falls and dropped a 70-foot banner to protest the use of tar sands oil. See the banner unfurling for yourself, here:

The dropping of the banner was timed to coincide with a meeting between President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, which will take place tomorrow. According to the Rainforest Action Network, Canada provides more than 19% of U.S. oil, and over half of this is made from tar sands. RAN also asserts that the production of tar sands oil emits three times as much greenhouse gas as regular oil.

The activists were arrested, but in true social media fashion, they've been tweeting from jail about their experience.

CBS producers play guerilla journalist

Nice exclusive piece of video from CBS News, in which producers Jill Jackson and Nancy Cordes stalk Rep. Joe Wilson in what looks like the belly of Capitol Hill's subway line, about the resolution House members are attempting to pass against him.

Democracy Video Challenge winners on the Today Show, v2 launches today

Today is the International Day of Democracy, and what better way to celebrate than to announce the second round of the Democracy Video Challenge, a partnership between YouTube, the State Department, and several public and private partners who want you to fill in the blank, "Democracy is..."

Last year, over 900 videos were submitted from over 95 countries, and the six winners are currently in the United States, touring film studios, the United Nations, and the State Department as a part of their 2-week all-expenses-paid trip to the U.S. This morning, they appeared on the Today Show with Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy, Judith McHale:

This year's Democracy Video Challenge starts today, and you can learn more on the State Department YouTube channel. If you're a filmmaker, a democracy advocate, or just anyone who has an idea about what Democracy means, head over to the State Department channel and get to work completing the phrase, “Democracy is…” Just like last year, six regional winners will be selected by the online voting public, and they'll receive an all-expense paid trip to the United States that includes screenings of their videos in New York, Hollywood and Washington, meetings with film directors, public officials and democracy advocates from nongovernmental organizations, and time on film and TV sets.

Learn more on the Democracy Video Challenge YouTube channel, or on the State Department's website.

Denmark Tourism Agency takes down, "help me find my baby's father" video

The clip that has caused a global debate over the integrity of a viral video campaign by the tourism agency of Denmark was taken down yesterday. In the clip, posted originally by VisitDenmark, a Danish mother holds her baby and asks that the real father - a man she slept with 18 months ago and never heard from again - come forward.

Though the clip was intended to show the exciting nature of travel in Denmark through the anecdote the woman tells of her meeting with the mysterious tourist, many Danish citizens didn't like the portrayal of their country. Visit Denmark originally said this was the most successful ad campaign in their history, but under public pressure, the firm removed the film today.

"The aim was to create a positive awareness of Denmark and to jump-start conversations about Denmark," said Dorthe Kiilerich, CEO of VisitDenmark. "As we don't wish to keep causing people distress, VisitDenmark has chosen to remove the film from YouTube."

A few copies still remain...

Monday, September 14, 2009

President Clinton asks YouTube to submit pressing questions for world leaders

In anticipation of the fifth annual Clinton Global Initiative, a meeting that brings heads of state, Fortune 500 CEOs, non-profit leaders and Nobel Laureates together to discuss the world's most pressing problems, President Clinton wants you to submit your questions for these distinguished guests by posting a video response to this video:

Your video could be asked during one of the panels, which this year include leaders like President Obama, Kofi Annan, Diane Sawyer, Queen Rania, and Nicholas Kristof.

The inevitable Kanye West/President Obama mash-up

After last night's VMA awards, in which rapper Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift's acceptance speech to stump for his pal Beyonce, it was only a matter of time before someone put Kanye in the role of Rep. Joe Wilson, whose similar outburst during President Obama's health care address drew both criticism and fundraising $$ last week.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Looking back on 9/11 in remembrance and service

Today, in honor of 9/11, many Americans are using YouTube to share their stories and forge connections with fellow citizens. Some, like this user, are hoping to create community by uploading their experiences from the day, and encouraging fellow YouTube users to do the same. Others are speaking out in remembrance of loved ones they lost eight years ago:

At the same time, other citizens are choosing to commemorate 9/11 through service. Today marks the first official "9-11 Day of Service," a nationally-recognized event that aims to capture the sense of unity and compassion among Americans that followed September 11, 2001. Learn more about the initiative here:

Tens of thousands of volunteers are expected to turn out to paint and refurbish homes, run food drives, improve schools, reclaim neighborhoods, and support and honor veterans and first responders as part of the Day of Service. To learn more about the effort, click here or to find a service event near you, please visit www.allforgood.org.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Newark mayor uses YouTube to find shooter of 4-year old girl

Last week, Newark Mayor Cory Booker released a YouTube video asking the public to help him find the shooter who fired shots across a neighborhood park and injured a 4-year-old girl in the crossfire.

Within a day of releasing the video, the shooter turned himself in due to public pressure. In his most recent YouTube video, Mayor Booker talks about the role social media played in making the arrest:

Reaching Their Goals, One Shot at a Time

If you can't wait for June 2010 to see your favorite soccer players in action, this week you can get your fill of awesome bicycle kicks and amazing penalty shots as the Homeless World Cup takes place in Milan.

The Homeless World Cup is an annual international soccer tournament that allows teams of homeless individuals from around the world to take to the field and represent their respective countries. Over 30,000 citizens from 60 countries have participated in the event -- and 70% of these participants have changed their lives due to the experience by kicking drugs/alcohol, finding employment, or getting off the streets. See some of the faces that are participating in this year's World Cup here:

In addition, you can catch behind-the-scenes action from the HWC on YouTube, including player vlogs, like this one from Team Philippines, and footage of team warm-up sessions. And if you want to see how these players stack up against Beckham and other pro footballers, here's a clip from the Italy v. Ghana game, which took place earlier this week:

For more, check out the Homeless World Cup YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/homelessworldcup.

Health Care Speech up on YouTube, courtesy CSPAN

Here it is, in its entirety:

And the GOP response from Rep. Boustany:

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Republican assemblyman caught bragging about affairs on tape

Michael Duvall, a conservative Republican assemblyman from California and "family values" advocate, is learning the hard way. Unfortunately for him, he was caught sharing explicit details of his (adulterous) sexual conquests on a hot mic while in a legislative hearing. Want to know what he said? Watch for yourself:

How Do We Build Better Schools? Ask the Students

Okay, YouTube -- it's time to trade in those water balloons for some #2 pencils. A new school year is upon us!

Thankfully, an organization called Architecture for Humanity (AFH) is trying to make the idea of heading back to school a bit more palatable. Earlier this year, they launched a competition for architects to design a "classroom of the future" and address the challenges schools face in trying to provide smart, safe and sustainable learning spaces.

A large number of entrants used YouTube to convey student input on their designs. This mashup shows how youth from schools around the world were involved in the planning process. Students also learned how to use various building tools through a YouTube series sponsored by AFH. In this video, students are taught to do modeling using Google Sketchup:

Architecture for Humanity had over 1,000 teams from 65 countries participate in the challenge and today they announced the winner, who will receive up to $50,000 to build or upgrade a classroom. Here's a video about the winning design from the Teton Valley Community School:

Interesting features of the Teton Valley project include a building that is heated and cooled geo-thermally, a greenhouse, and an outdoor area for each grade level.

What features do you think are essential to the classroom of the future? Leave your ideas in the comments below.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Al Franken - comedian, politician, artist, cartographer?

If there was any question that Senator Al Franken is a man of many talents, watch this video of him at the Minnesota State Fair, drawing an amazingly accurate map of the 50 states from memory.

Cuban "YouTube Rebel" sentenced to 2 years in prison

A Cuban man who interrupted a TV interview on the streets of Havana to tell people that he was hungry has been sentenced to two years in prison. Juan Carlos González Marcos, known also as "Panfilo", saw his TV rant reach over 400,000 people on YouTube since April. It has become a rallying cry for Cubans trying to shed light on the deteriorating situation in their country.

"What we need here is a little bit of jama [Cuban Spanish slang for food]!" González shouts on camera, according to this report by the Miami Herald. "We're under fire here! Go ahead and tape me! Jama!"

Several prominent Cubans have signed a petition located at www.jamaylibertad.com, advocating for Panfilo's release. On the site, you can see one of the many mash-ups that the interview has inspired on YouTube:

Friday, September 4, 2009

Representative Baron Hill (D-IN) FAIL

When asked by a townhall attendee why filming wasn't allowed, Democratic Representative Baron Hill of Indiana replies, "The reason why I don't allow filming is because usually the films that are done end up on YouTube in a compromising position."


More here.

Rapping YouTube doctor raising H1N1 awareness

Nice piece in the New York Daily News about one of the finalists in Flu PSA contest with the HHS, to raise awareness for H1N1 flu virus prevention.

"I try to just find a clever way to present the topic to make it interesting," Dr. Clark says in the Daily News interview. "The beauty of rap is it allows you to relate a lot of information in a short time."

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Bob Saget and Jack Black Love Breasts, Not Cancer

America's once cleanest, now dirtiest dad, Bob Saget, is telling men to encourage the women in their lives to get mammograms. Of course, he's doing it in the lewdest way possible:

If you didn't laugh at that one, this video of Jack Black giving himself a mammogram (yea, you heard right) is sure to get you rolling:

These videos are part of a series from SocialVibe to benefit the Noreen Fraser Foundation. The goal is to get men involved in fighting breast cancer...looks like they're onto something.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Kremlin Comes to YouTube

Here's the opening video from President Dmitry Medvedev on the Kremlin's new YouTube channel.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Family uses YouTube to catch burglar at their home... again!?

What good is a home surveillance video system if it only has an audience of one? A family in the Grant Park neighborhood posted their surveillance system footage of a burglary to YouTube on Sunday afternoon and, 10,000 views later, they've got an arrest warrant for the alleged perpetrator. What's remarkable is, this is the second time they've used YouTube to catch a burgler at their home (here's the first time). By now, they're pros - they even leave the phone number for the Atlanta police office in the video description. Perhaps they should put a YouTube sticker in every window of their home to ward off future bad guys.

“It’s social networking for vigilante justice,” said the homeowner Alyssa Kopp, in an interview with the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. “My husband simply put it up out of convenience. We couldn’t believe the response."