Friday, October 30, 2009

Lengthy Congressional bills...a frightening prospect?

From the Sunlight Foundation, a spooky send-up on Congressional bills, just in time for Halloween:

Supermodels strip to combat global warming

Last weekend, on the International Day of Climate Action, nonprofit helped organize over 5000 events where activists made their voices heard on climate change. 350 put together this really nice mash-up of these worldwide events:

A group of supermodels were so impressed with the video footage of the day's events, that they felt compelled to make a video of their own, which is quickly becoming a viral hit (shocker!):

For much more excellent footage from the global climate action events, please visit

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Kiwi cop sensation: "You must always blow on the pie"

This clip from one week ago is getting some pretty funny traction down under: a New Zealand police officer pulls over a young criminal whose excuse is that he's hungry and heading to the gas station for a piece of pie. The cop's bizarre response, "always blow on the pie", was intended as a mock "safety warning" to prevent the young man from burning his tongue, but he doesn't seem to get the joke:

The clip has spawned a series of mash-ups on YouTube and has made the officer something of a local celebrity. Here's a rap re-mix, and after that a South Park mash-up. For more on the chuckle the Kiwi's are having over this clip, search "always blow on pie" on YouTube, or read this bit from

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Madonna for Malawi

Madonna has issued an impassioned plea to the YouTube community to donate to her foundation, Raising Malawi, which will use the funds to create an all-girls boarding school in Malawi:

Madonna is committed to matching up to $100,000. This video could benefit from a call-to-action overlay to drive donations (a perk of the YouTube Nonprofit Program) but you can still contribute at

Laid-off French worker pens rock anthem in retaliation

With thousands of industrial jobs cut, the recession has hit France in a big way. In retaliation, French workers have protested, marched, gone on strike....and written viral rock anthems?

Christian di Mitri, laid off from his steel plant in Lorraine, France in March, penned this ditty to cope with his rage (warning for non-French speakers: there are no subtitles but the graphic imagery helps di Mitri get his message across):

The video has over 18,000 views and climbing...

Honey, Can We Shrink the Impacts of Climate Change?

This morning, hundreds of miniature tents were placed in key locations across Europe. The tents are part of a huge activist art installation created by German artist Hermann Josef Hack, to model what developing countries will look like if we don't face the impacts of climate change now. Here's video of how Londoners interacted with the exhibit on Millennium Bridge:

The installation is timed to coincide with the European Union Heads of State and Government Summit this week.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pieces of Bay Bridge snap, commuters capture scene on camera

Three pieces of infrastructure snapped on the Bay Bridge this evening, causing an emergency closure of the highly trafficked through-way between Oakland and San Francisco. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the pieces that snapped were two sturdy steel rods and a cross beam that had been installed during an emergency repair job to the bridge over Labor Day.

The closure of the bridge in the middle of rush hour caused massive traffic delays, and several commuters -- trapped in their cars for hours trying to get home -- captured the scene on camera.

Here's a playlist:

Fake meteor crater fools some YouTube viewers in Latvia

On the surface it looks pretty compelling - a Latvian citizen journalists comes upon a recently created meteor crater, still smouldering from impact. You don't have to speak Lettish (Latvia's national language) to catch the excitement of this "discovery" by the mystery cameraman:

But not so fast... authorities are saying this is a hoax. As the BBC reports, the hold crater is "too tidy" to have been created by an actual meteorite impact, and there were no eyewitnesses of the event. Learn more from Russia Today:

DNC Health Care Contest Picks Its Top 20

Earlier this fall, the Organizing for America and the Democratic National Committee asked citizens to create 30 second ads supporting health care reform for the chance to have their video aired on television.

Many submitted videos through YouTube. Now, they've picked their 20 finalists, and are asking you to vote to select the winner.

You can cast your vote at Citizen votes and the opinion of their judges, including, Seth McFarlane and Tim Kaine, will decide the ultimate winner.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Debtor's Revolt Part Deux Inspires Less Enthusiasm

Ann Minch, who became famous for launching a "Debtor's Revolt" on Bank of America when they upped her interest rate, is at it again. This time her target is Chase:

The YouTube community, which seemed to support Ann in her first video, appears to be more wary of her this time around. Perhaps it's because the last two minutes of this video are devoted to selling "Debtor's Revolt" t-shirts?

Today, Animals Take Center Stage on the Homepage

Earlier this month, through the YouTube Video Volunteers program, we asked you to create an amazing video on behalf of your favorite animal welfare organization and submit it for the chance to be featured on our homepage.

Over 100 users submitted videos about their animal org of choice. User mordeth13 talked about the plight of stray dogs in Taiwan, while partner ZackScott discussed how FoundAnimals is helping animals in the United States:

On Saturday, you voted on which videos you liked the best, and today the top three are featured on the homepage alongside a video for the Humane Society from actor Ben Stein. If you'd like to view all of the videos that were submitted, you can visit the Video Volunteers channel and click "Gallery."

Didn't have a chance to make a video for this month's round? Don't worry. We'll be kicking off our next installment of Video Volunteers on November 1, focusing on hunger in America.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Hollywood Honors Top "Come Clean 4 Congo" Video

Tonight at the Hollywood Film Festival's Human Rights Symposium, Matt Smith will accept his award for submitting the winning video to YouTube's Video for Change program, "Come Clean 4 Congo," in partnership with the Enough Project. Back in May, we asked you to make videos demonstrating the connection between the "conflict minerals" used in cell phones and the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Matt's winning video, voted #1 by the YouTube community, used spoken word to take a far-away, complex issue and make it understandable and compelling:

To say things aren't going well in the Congo would be an understatement. It is the deadliest conflict since World War II, and militias continue to use rape as a weapon of terror. The UN reports that in the first half of 2009, more than 5,000 women have been raped in the South Kivu province of the Congo. Al Jazeera News reports on the conflict from a clinic in the Congo, where many of the victims are being treated:

The Enough Project saw the connection between the minerals that are mined in the Congo and used in our cell phones, and wanted to use that connection to bring this issue home to people living in the U.S. Thanks too to all the YouTube users who made videos to raise awareness of this issue. If you'd like to learn more about what you can do to help, go to the Enough Project's website.

And if you're in the LA area and want to register to attend the Human Rights Symposium, sign up here.

One day only! You decide which animal welfare orgs to feature on the YouTube homepage

This month's round of Video Volunteers invited users to submit videos on behalf of their favorite animal welfare organization for the chance to be featured on the YouTube homepage as part of a special spotlight collection.

We received over 100 excellent submissions from YouTube pet lovers about animal shelters, national wild-life protection agencies, and no-kill organizations. Our celeb curator Ben Stein and partner the Humane Society have picked their top 10. Now it's up to you to decide which three videos deserve to be recognized on the YouTube homepage, alongside Stein's.

Voting starts at 12:01 AM today (10/24) and lasts for only 24 hours, so get your votes in now at!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Billionaires for Wealthcare pulls public option stunt (and they've got great voices)

A group calling themselves "Billionaires for Wealthcare" pulled this stunt at a recent speech by a pollster from the industry group AHIP (America's Health Insurance Plans); their coordinated singing outburst criticizes AHIP for not supporting the public option.

Activists Flood Streets to Support Hate Crime Legislation, Remember Those Lost

Yesterday, the Senate passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act which expands the definition of a hate crime to include gender, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill is now headed to President Obama's desk for his signature -- Obama has already pledged to sign the measure.

In the past week, dozens of videos of marches across the country in support of the bill, and in support of Matthew Shepard, who died ten years ago, have flooded YouTube. Here's footage from this week's annual Boystown, Chicago march to remember Shepard:

A behind-the-scenes look at the National Equality March, which took place in Washington, D.C:

A rally in Queens for Jack Price, a gay man who was recently brutally attacked for his sexual orientation:

Want to reduce your environmental impact? Share your experiences with the Huffington Post

Last Sunday, the Huffington Post launched "No Impact Week", asking people to follow a detailed program over the course of a week designed to reduce their ecological impact. Each day of the week, participants have been asked to commit to one goal, such as reducing trash or commuting to work without adding carbon to the environment. The inspiration for the program was "No Impact Man", an activist in New York who committed to living for one year in which his daily lifestyle made no impact whatsover on the environment.

Throughout the week, participants have been asked to share YouTube videos explaining what is motivating them to meet these goals. To collect and display these video submissions, the Huffington Post is using a syndicated version of our upload platform that allows users to upload videos to YouTube straight from the Huffington Post's website. Here are a few examples of videos that have come in so far.

Tomorrow, which has been declared an International Day of Climate Action, there will a reported 4000+ environment rallies being held all over the world -- and the Huffington Post is asking for your videos documenting the events and capturing the action from the scene.

Visit their page to learn more and submit your videos.

Chamber of Commerce Says "No" to Yes Men Site

Earlier this week, we blogged about the Yes Men's prank on the Chamber of Commerce. In accordance with the prank, the Yes Men also set up a fake website at

The Chamber of Commerce has issued a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notice against this site, citing that the site constitutes copyright infringement. The Chamber is asking that the site be taken down immediately.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is defending the Yes Men's right to keep the site up.

"Parody is a well-established right, protected under copyright law and the First Amendment," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman. "Hopefully, the Chamber will reconsider its position and realize that such strong-arm tactics are inappropriate and counter-productive."

LAPD iWatch PSA raises some eyebrows

A new PSA promoting the LAPD's iWatch citizen surveillance program is raising some eyebrows online, for what some people are calling a Big Brother tone. The video has 29,000 views on YouTube and a one-star rating on the LAPD's YouTube channel.

iWatch focuses on terrorism tips, and suggests citizens don't fret over whether they could be right - "let the officers decide." Reports say there were 1500 reports sent in through iWatch late last summer.

One YouTube user, Will Johnston, did a mash-up of the piece with his translations of the text overlayed on the video:

What do you think - is this PSA a good public message or over the top?

Celebrating free expression 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall

(cross-posted to the YouTube Blog)

In 1989, the fall of the Berlin Wall became a striking symbol for free expression far beyond the borders of Germany. Just 20 years later, Iranian citizens used online tools like YouTube and Twitter to share firsthand accounts of the brutal government crackdown waged against protesters disputing the country's election results. Many Iranians risked their lives to document the violence, despite the government's attempts to expel journalists and stifle any voices of dissent.

The democratizing power of the Internet has enabled individuals to share their stories with a global audience in ways never before possible, and given a voice to those who wouldn't otherwise be heard.

To commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, we're launching a YouTube channel — — to highlight and celebrate free expression around the world, and we want to hear from you.

This channel is designed to feature your stories and reflections on free expression. Tell us about how you or someone you know has taken a stand for free expression. Perhaps you've protested against something you didn't agree with, taken action when someone else's free speech was being suppressed or been inspired by someone who has stood up for the right to speak out. Make a short video sharing your experience, upload it to YouTube, and add it as a reply to this one:

We'll be featuring the best submissions on the Google Free Expression channel, so be sure to check back in the weeks to come. We look forward to hearing from you.

Annette Kroeber-Riel, European Policy Counsel, recently watched "Getting past the 'Barbed Wireless'"

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bus driver caught on camera...driving while playing sudoku?

Another video has been posted to YouTube showing a public transportation operator caught doing something they shouldn't be doing while driving. In this case, a Vancouver bus driver is documented on camera playing Sudoku on the job.

Will the Real Chamber of Commerce Please Stand Up?

This week, prankster group the Yes Men, caused quite a stir on Capitol Hill by staging a fake Chamber of Commerce press conference at the National Press Club. The stunt included an activist posing as a spokesman for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce who announced that the business lobby would no longer oppose the Kerry/Boxer Senate climate change bill. Fake reporters were also planted to make sure the right questions were asked. Here's video of the prank taking place:

Some are saying that this prank compromised journalist credibility; other activists are saying that it was an effective way to raise the volume on the issue of climate change. And still more found the whole thing quite hilarious.

How many echoes does it take to make a Big Bang?

No idea? NASA's Dr. John Mather who won the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics for measuring the echoes of the Big Bang and understanding how it happened, has answers. This is part of a new YouTube Q&A series called: "Ask a Nobel Laureate" hosted on the Nobel Prize YouTube channel.

Submit your question for Dr. Mather by attaching it as a video response to his call-out. How was the universe created? What does space smell like? Is there life on other planets?

Questions are due by October 30th, and should be less than 30 seconds. A selection of questions will be answered via video and posted to the Nobel channel.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Thanks YouTube! 140,000 Children Have Lunch Because of You

Last Friday, on World Food Day, we asked you, the online billion, to turn your YouTube views into action to feed the billion hungry people in the world.

You blew us away with your response, collectively donating enough money to the United Nations World Food Program through this video to give school lunch to close to 140,000 children. And your donations are still coming in.

Some of you donated $1, others donated $50. Some even created video responses encouraging others to give. The WFP is so thrilled with your efforts that their Executive Director Josette Sheeran recorded this special thank you message to the YouTube community:

Added Pierre Guillaume Wieleznyski, WFP's Head of Online Communications, "It is heartening to see the YouTube community step up and help. We often forget about the billion people who to bed hungry. If every web user does a little, we can achieve a lot." YouTube user angelinthesky26 echoed this sentiment, commenting "we can all make a difference in our own simple way."

So, thank you YouTube, for making a difference. We're incredibly inspired by you.

Only three days left to get your "pet" nonprofit on the YouTube homepage

This month, as part of our YouTube Video Volunteers program, we're asking all of you pet-lovers to make a video on behalf of your favorite animal welfare organization, so grab your cameras and submit your video by midnight PST on Thursday, 10/22. Our celeb curator for the month, actor and animal advocate Ben Stein, will select his ten favorites and on 10/24, the YouTube community will vote for the top three. Those videos will go on the homepage (alongside Stein's) on 10/26.

Please make sure to read the complete rules before submitting your video. Here are a few examples that have caught our eye thus far:

Partner wickydkewl made a trip to his local ASPCA in Rhode Island to make the case for shelter dogs:

Eight year old Ariana talks about adopting a cat from the Irvine Animal Shelter:

User alchemiserate created this PSA about the dwindling populations of Asian elephants:

Brazilian gang shoots down police helicopter during drug fight

Caught on tape and acquired by the AP:

A Better LA fights youth violence

One of the interesting organizations we encountered at the Alliance of Youth Movements summit was A Better LA - an organization that fights gang violence in Los Angeles. Pete Carroll, USC's head football coach, is their founder - I'd seen him on CNN talking about how to stop youth violence around the same time as the Chicago gang death that made news on YouTube 2 weeks ago. A Better LA trains young people to teach each other how to engage in lives outside of gangs; they have a great YouTube channel that summarizes their work in Los Angeles:

Here's Coach Carroll on ESPN talking about the organizations work and why it's important.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Youth activism summit collects impressive group of digital dissidents

Last week I attended the Alliance of Youth Movements summit in Mexico City - which brought together a great collection of young people who've been using various online tools to help promote human rights and social change in their countries. People who used twitter to fuel a revolution in Moldova; a young man who used Facebook to organize mass protests against the FARC in Columbia; and groups who've used YouTube to shed light on child soldiers in Uganda or document the election protests in Iran earlier this year.

The conference was a product of a fledgling nonprofit organization of the same name (AYM for short) which seeks to connect young activists around the world and help them learn from each other., whose co-founder Jason Liebman also started AYM a year and a half ago, organized the summit, and the State Department was heavily involved as well - Secretary Clinton even chimed in with a YouTube message to the activists assembled there:

YouTube and Google were sponsors of the event and we participated in a few panels - one on "viral video" brought together a great collection of experts (Levi Felix of, Liebman of Howcast, Kelly Niknejad of Tehran Bureau, and Ari Wallach, the creator of The Great Schlep) who all had great advice about how to use video to create change, and just generally how to get your content discovered in today's over-saturated online environment. Here's a clip of the panel; you can find more on the AYM hub.

AYM also just named a new executive director, David Nassar of Blue State Digital, to lead the organization moving forward. There aren't many organizations out there with the purpose and mission of AYM who have the ears of the same collection of tech companies that AYM does... we're looking forward to working with David and team as they use the network they've created to further our understanding of how platforms like YouTube can be used for social change.

In case you missed it... Conan gives $50K to Mayor Booker's non-profit

We missed this one late last week, but worth a look... we told you about the YouTube feud between Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Conan O'Brien on the Tonight Show... and now, like all good online feuds, a face-to-face meeting settled the score on live television. And Conan handed a Newark nonprofit that Booker founded in 2003 called Newark Now a $50,000 check to make up for the disparaging remarks he'd made about the city.

"It was one joke, but man was it expensive," Conan quipped on the show.

Health care videos fly across the aisle

New videos from the Republicans and Democrats this past week show that health care is still very much the top priority for both parties.

The Office of Republican Whip, Eric Cantor, released this video, which mashes up testimonials from Republican doctors who oppose Obama's plan:

And the Democrats are firing back. Senator Merkley (D-OR) posted this video to his YouTube channel recently, which likens fixing health care reform to solving a Rubik's cube. Both, he says, are solvable:

Friday, October 16, 2009

Incredible Video: Baby stroller rolls onto train tracks

The ultimate example of the raw power of eyewitness footage, this unbelievable video shows a stroller, complete with baby inside, roll onto the train tracks just seconds before a train passes by.

Miraculously, the baby survived with just a bump on his head.

United Nations picks its YouTube "Citizen Ambassadors"

Last month, the United Nations and U.N. Ambassador George Clooney asked citizens to post videos detailing what they would say to the United Nations General Assembly if they were given the chance to do so. The U.N. received over 475 videos to become a "citizen ambassador" to the UN.

The five winners (from Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the United States) have been chosen and will travel to U.N. Headquarters in New York to meet with Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon on U.N. Day, October 23rd. This video announces the winners, and also gives a very cool look at the intensive approach the U.N. took to narrow down the entries:

To view the winning videos, you can scroll through this playlist:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Limbaugh a Racist? What's the real story?

Two of the most popular videos in the News & Politics category this week speak to the heated debate of late around Conservative talk show radio host, Rush Limbaugh.

Brave New Films (known for its videos attacking the right-wing, including the campaign-season hit: "John McCain's YouTube problem just became a nightmare") recently released this video, called Rush Limbaugh Is a Racist:

And popular conservative vlogger, HowTheWorldWorks, posted this video in response - claiming that Robert Greenwald, the man behind Brave New Films is a liar attempting to defame Limbaugh through unsubstantiated mis-quotes.

So - now that you've heard two sides of the story -- what do you think?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Watch Alliance of Youth Movements Summit live here


Sarah Silverman's new idea: Sell the Vatican. Feed the hungry

Comedian Sarah Silverman has a new idea that has the YouTube community divided -- sell the Vatican to feed the hungry. See her rationale here:

If you take a look at the comments, the video, released in anticipation of World Food Day this Friday, is definitely stirring up a lot of controversy. Can we expect a video response from the Pope on his YouTube channel?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Gotcha politics hits Wisconsin

First-term Sheboygen, Wisconsin mayor Bob Ryan is learning the perils of barroom chit-chat between guys when you're in a position of public office... This clip just surfaced of the Mayor making some disparaging remarks about his wife's sister; and here is his apology on WLUK-TV in Wisconsin, which is almost as awkard. Ryan calls the incident, a "conversation between men in an establishment".

Citizentube in Mexico City: the Alliance of Youth Movements

Today I'm headed to the 2nd annual, Alliance of Youth Movements conference in Mexico City. Launched last year in New York by the U.S. State Department and Howcast (YouTube and Google are among the sponsors), AYM's mission is to "positively empowers leaders to affect nonviolent change in the world by creating and promoting use of technological tools to advance freedom, human rights, democracy, and development around the world."

Basically, it's a tech conference for social movements.

In the year since the first AYM conference, there's not doubt that the election protests in Iran have been the highest-profile case of young people using technology to advance freedom and human rights - thousands of YouTube videos uploaded from the streets of Tehran became the only window into the violence after the foreign press was kicked out by the Iranian government. But there are hundreds of other cases in which young people have been using technology to fight for their rights, and the conference in Mexico City will serve to highlight these examples and allow activists to learn lessons from one another directly. No doubt the use of technology to combat Mexican drug cartels will be at the top of mind for many of the local participants in the conference.

I'll blog from the conference but you can also stay on top of things by watching the AYM YouTube channel, here.

And check out this overview of the conference, produced by Howcast:

See the Trailer for Al Gore's (Proposed) Next Film

In preparation for World Food Day, which is approaching on October 16, global nonprofit Action Against Hunger launched a clever YouTube campaign asking for Al Gore to focus his next documentary on global hunger and malnutrition. They've even gone so far as to create a trailer for the proposed film:

To see more from the campaign or make a donation to the cause, please click here.

New company, Factual, brings accountability to data

We're excited to see the launch of a new company today called Factual, whose mission is to "make data more accountable". Factual provides open access to better structured data (think of structured data as the kind of data you find in tables) by compiling exhaustive data sets on topics ranging from endocrinologists to American Idol finalists - and making that data open/sharable/mashable. Publishers, developers, or your average everyday "data enthusiast" can create their own tables, mash their data with others, and create bigger and more accurate spreadsheets of information that are embeddable across the web.

Check out their site, which launched a beta versions this morning at They even made a few tables for Members of Congress and the Senate, which of course include their YouTube channels:

U.S. Senate:

U.S. House:

The political applications of Factual are easy to imagine: government spending and campaign contributions are the quickest to come to mind. Last year, when we were preparing to launch Video Your Vote - the voting accountability project we did with PBS on election day, it took us forever to collect all the laws from every state regarding video camera usage at polling places. A team of researchers at Harvard's Citizen Media Law project spent a day helping us compile and interpret the laws from every Secretary of State's office. With Factual, that job would have been a lot easier - we could have dropped each site's URL into, and all the data would have been extracted and structured instantaneously, ready for edits and interpretation from a broader community.

Find out more about Factual here:

Monday, October 12, 2009

The YouTube Nonprofit Program Just Got Cooler

Recently, we added two new product features to the YouTube Nonprofit Program -- the option for nonprofit partners to choose custom thumbnails for videos and the ability to link to external websites through video annotations. Here's a video walk-through of these new features:

If you're a member of the YouTube Nonprofit Program already, you're good to go. And if you're a 501(c)3 in the U.S. or registered charity in the U.K., you can apply to the program now at

"Flashes" of creativity on NJ candidate's YouTube channel

On his YouTube channel and in the Huffington Post's new Tech section, avid political vlogger James Kotecki highlights NJ gubernatorial hopeful Chris Christie's creative approach to campaign ads - namely, taking himself out of them and inserting a wacky spokesperson named "Flash Silverstein." Here's Kotecki's humorous take:

To see Flash in the flesh, check out these videos:

I have to agree with Kotecki...however silly the videos may seem, it's refreshing to see campaigns taking a lighter, more YouTube-friendly approach to web video.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Reactions to Obama Winning the Nobel Peace Prize

Earlier today, the Nobel Prize committee awarded U.S. President Barack Obama the 2009 Nobel Prize for Peace. If you missed the announcement, you can watch it here on the Nobel Prize YouTube channel, and President Obama posted his response and acceptance of the award on the White House YouTube channel.

The surprising choice has stirred up mixed reactions around the world, and many with strong opinions have uploaded their reactions to YouTube.

Here's a playlist with some videos that have come in today, including this one from former Nobel Peace prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei.

Space Crash on the Moon!!! Okay, but the video's not that great

From NASA's YouTube channel:

Obama awarded Nobel Peace Prize; watch the announcement now on YouTube

In what came as a surprise to many, early this morning, President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." If you missed the live announcement, you can view it here on YouTube:

For announcements of all the Nobel Prizes from this week and special interviews with the winners, please see the Nobel Prize YouTube channel.

A billion for a billion

Today we announced that YouTube serves over 1 billion video views per day. Sort of difficult to wrap your head around that number... how many of those views do you contribute each day?

Our friends at the UN World Food Program offered at least one comparison: there are now, for the first time in history, over 1 billion hungry people in the world. That's one in every seven people on the planet. Think about that - one in every seven people in the entire world don't have enough food to eat.

Makes you wonder if you could use that time spent watching videos to do something about it.

The World Food Program launched an online campaign called, "A billion for a billion", designed to help you do just that. They're working to activate the estimated one billion Internet users to help the one billion people who live in hunger. Here's their video, and you can find out more at their website, which tracks hunger statistics and shows you how you can help.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fight breaks out on SF Muni; bystander journalism captures it all

Just another day on the San Francisco Muni? This provactive piece of bystander journalism makes great use of YouTube annotations to fill in the gaps in the footage and provide context to the story. The clip also documents the Muni official's apparent negligence in doing anything about the fight at all:

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Voice of the Voiceless

During the 70's and 80's several Latin American countries endured tumultuous political movements - military-run governments in these states clamped down on freedom of speech and held a very tight grip over the media. As often happens in these situations, great musicians tried to address these situations with their art. In the case of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and other countries, Mercedes Sosa, "La Negra," played an important role as the "voice of the voiceless." To the dismay of her many fans, Sosa died last Sunday. To mourn the loss of a beautiful voice and the creator of the Free Song movement, the YouTube community has been watching and sharing some of her greatest songs.

Mercedes Sosa was a great artist who used her amazing voice to represent and fight for the people living during those hard times.

-- Posted by Ricardo Blanco, YouTube Communcations Latin America, lately watched "¡Gracias a la Vida! Mercedes Sosa in Israel"

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Iranian officials experience "gotcha" politics on YouTube

We noticed this video rising today on YouTube and asked an Iranian colleague here at YouTube just what was going on. Apparently, the two men in the video are the president and vice president of a bloodbank in Yazd, Iran, and they're trying to promote blood donations by giving blood themselves. Only problem is, they were faking it. When the videographer was brave enough to pull back the gauze on their arms, he revealed the needle wasn't breaking the skin.

In the video description and the comments, there's a debate going on over the incident. Some state that the head of the blood bank was replaced because of the video. Others claim that he was ready to donate blood, but the reporter asked him to let them shoot the video before the blood donation instruments would be ready, and he accepted - only to fall into the trap. Our colleague says it's hard to confirm which is true, due to the unreliability of Iranian state TV.

Levi Johnston and the lowest calorie nut

Levi Johnston, father to former VP candidate Sarah Palin's grandchild, has found himself a new gig. Selling pistachios. Watch for yourself.

In bellwether election, Deeds and McDonnell answer your questions

Answering questions submitted on Google Moderator and YouTube, Virginia gubernatorial candidates Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell signaled that their contest is being influenced by the national political mood.

“Frankly, a lot of what’s going on in Washington has made it very tough,” said Deeds, the Democratic candidate. “We had a very tough August because people were just uncomfortable with the spending; they were uncomfortable with a lot of what was going on, a lot of the noise that was coming out of Washington, D.C.”

With a month to go, both candidates will campaign hard for the State's top spot - and to prove that their party is looking good moving into next year's midterm elections. Learn more from the Politico, who hosted these debates alongside WJLA - a full video of the interviews is up now on YouTube:

Tonight! Deeds and McDonnell answer your questions

Tonight is the second in our series of Virginia gubernatorial election TV interviews that we've partnered on with the Politico and WJLA. Republican Bob McDonnell and Democrat Creigh Deeds will take your video and text questions at 7 pm EST (the interviews were pre-taped), in a discussion with WJLA's Leon Harris and the Politico's John Harris.

Why should anyone outside of Virginia care about tonight? Listen to the Politico's top reporters explain the significance of Virginia's off-year, bellwether gubernatorial race:

For those of you not in Virginia, we'll feature the archived version of these interviews as soon as they're up.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Brazilian Supreme Court launches YouTube channel

Yesterday, the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court launched its official channel on YouTube, making it the first supreme court in the world to take advantage of YouTube to leverage its own transparency and use online videos to provide better information to the people. The Brazilian Supreme Court has a long tradition of openness and has been live broadcasting its sessions for more then a decade now. The channel contains highlights of the Supreme Court sessions, educational content produced by their own TV channel, and records of historical passages of the Brazilian Judiciary Branch.

The National Council of Justice, the highest administrative authority of the Brazilian Judiciary Branch, took the opportunity to launch an official YouTube channel as well. The channel offers a lot of useful information to citizens, especially on their fundamental rights and how to protect them. The two channels together represent a unique source of relevant legal information translated into everyday language.

We hope that these launches will encourage other public institutions around the world to follow suit, and that in Brazil and Latin America, these channels will foster openness and transparency, improve communications with the population, and stimulate regular citizens to participate in public debates.

Posted by Ivo Correa, Google Public Policy, Brazil

Follow the Announcement of Nobel Prizes in Real-Time on YouTube

This week, Nobel Prizes will be awarded in a variety of categories, and for the first time, you can follow the proceedings live on YouTube. Starting today and ending on October 12, YouTube users can tune into the Nobel Prize YouTube channel for live-streamed announcements of each Prize. This marks the first time that a European event will be live-streamed via YouTube.

Missed this morning's announcement of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine? You can view it here:

The Nobel Prize in Physics will be awarded tomorrow. To view a complete schedule of when other prizes will be announced on YouTube, please click here.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Booker fights back - Conan O'Brien banned from Jersey

Conan O'Brien responds to Mayor Booker on Tonight Show

Conan O'Brien has responded in the new feud he has with Newark Mayor Cory Booker (read back story on Booker's YouTube video aimed at Conan, here). Not only does he ratchet up his slights of Newark ("...all sewers lead to Newark," Conan quips) but he also invites the Mayor to appear on the Tonight Show so they can settle the feud man-to-man:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Explore Anne Frank's Virtual Museum Through YouTube

You probably learned about Anne Frank through the pages of an old textbook -- children now have a more robust alternative.

The Anne Frank House just launched their YouTube channel, which serves as a veritable virtual museum of historical pieces, including the only existing film images of Anne Frank:

Other must-see videos include this interview with Otto Frank and this clip of Nelson Mandela talking about how Anne Frank inspired his work. The Anne Frank House is also building a virtual museum in homage to Anne, which you can tour through this video.

Padang Earthquake: The Aftermath

Yesterday's massive earthquake in Padang, a city on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, has already claimed at least 1100 lives - and the number keeps rising. Measuring a 7.6 on the Richter scale, the earthquake destroyed an estimated 500 buildings - including many homes, schools, and hospitals in Padang.

Here are some videos that have come in to YouTube, documenting the aftermath.

Wanted: Puppy and Kitty Videos for Good

Like many of you, actor Ben Stein cares deeply about animals (especially his dog Puppy Wuppy). That's why, with World Animal Day right around the corner, Ben is calling on you (and your pet, if you like) to make a video on behalf of your favorite animal welfare organization, as part of YouTube's Video Volunteers program.

The top three videos will appear on the YouTube homepage, next to Ben's video about the Humane Society, as part of a special spotlight on animal welfare at the end of the month. Here's Ben with more details:

This is just the beginning: each month, we'll feature a different relevant issue on the Video Volunteers channel with a new guest curator, and you could have the opportunity to showcase your work (and favorite org) to a huge audience.

For this month, you have until October 22 at midnight PT to submit your video to, so grab your camera and use it to make a difference! Then make sure to vote on October 24 for the videos you'd most like to see featured on the homepage.

Conan O'Brien vs. Cory Booker: A YouTube feud?

Mayor Cory Booker has been using YouTube more effectively than almost any big-city mayor in the country (though Mayor Bloomberg may have something to say about that). He posts weekly clips talking about what he's up to in Newark, New Jersey, a city he claims is "on the rise." He also does Q and A sessions with citizens, and films most of his public appearances.

But his biggest YouTube hit to date came out of a spat he's begun with Tonight Show Host Conan O'Brien, who made a quip that the best Newark healthcare plan, "would consist of a bus ticket out of Newark." Booker hopped on this jab with a rather humorous 1-minute rebuttal on his YouTube channel, taking issue with O'Brien's comment and using the opportunity to highlight why Newark is improving drastically under his administration. Oh, and he also issues a "ban" on Conan from ever using the Newark Airport

Smart move. Getting ahead of O'Brien with a timely and funny response shows the Mayor knows how to laugh, but also has the guts to defend his city on a national stage.