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An entire generation has been raised on Facebook statuses, animated GIFs and the YouTube comments section. This new media influence has seeped into just about every aspect of modern life, including the films we watch, the books we read and the games we play.

PBS Ideas explores this phenomenon by taking a closer look at some of the cultural, technological and scientific impacts the Internet has had on our lives – from how we argue, to our values and beliefs.

Five Common Logical Fallacies

Just about every website (including this one) invites user comments – so is it any wonder the Internet is awash with heated debate? Despite the steadfast resolve of your average Keyboard Warrior, many have developed poor habits when it comes to arguments, known as fallacies.

We’ve all heard terms like these banded around the comments sections – but just why is a “straw man” beside the point? What makes an “ad-hominem” attack different to a valid counter-argument? The video above is your Internet field guide for poor arguments, and will hopefully stop you falling into similarly illogical traps.

The Link Between Horror Movies & Cable News

Have you ever wondered why the horror genre is so popular, when its sole raison d’être is to make people feel uncomfortable? This could stem from the fact that the genre itself is very social – rarely do people watch horror films alone, with the bricks-and-mortar cinema itself being further evidence of this.

The unsettling concept of sharing horrific imagery with others has manifested itself in other aspects on our society. One such medium where this is especially true is so-called “cable” news – CNN, FOX, Sky et al.

Global Warming – Our Greatest Scientific Achievement?

Global warming itself is far from humanity’s proudest achievement, and the discovery of such a huge problem was a little more complicated than plotting temperatures on a graph and looking for a pattern.

The concept of “climate” is made up of a huge number of variables: weather patterns, temperature changes, humidity, pressure and wind. Analysing more than 100 years worth of observable data might just have been humanity’s most important research project – though more action is still needed.

Hyperbole & The Internet

The Internet is literally the most hyperbole-filled medium you could hope to encounter. Ever. Everything is either “the most amazing” or “the best ever”, despite these terms being subjective and primarily used to isolate stand-out examples from the pack.

While much of the reasoning is down to baiting readers into clicking over social channels, there’s a chance for personal reflection here too – we are often guilty of sensationalising the things we’re most passionate about.

Unboxing Videos – WHY?!

There are a lot of weird and unexplainable YouTube phenomena, but unboxing videos probably take the gold medal. These videos comprise solely of (usually rather excitable) individuals buying a new item and filming themselves playing with it for the first time.

If you too don’t quite understand why people enjoying watching videos of other people unpacking their latest purchases, this video should help.

YouTube As An Educator

While mathematical problems can be solved in the classroom, many of life’s real world problems don’t come with a teacher to guide you through them. Knowledge isn’t always quite so academic, and YouTube has taken on the role of classroom and educator for many problems.

The only issue is down to the quality of education – but many would argue YouTube is in fact making us smarter. At MakeUseOf, we don’t disagree with that. Whether it’s your DIY skills that are lacking Learn Basic DIY Skills Online With YouTube Learn Basic DIY Skills Online With YouTube While DIY falls in and out of fashion depending on the state of the economy, individual styles, and the availability of professionals and materials, there will always be someone, somewhere keen to learn basic DIY... Read More , you have poor art skills Learn To Draw Anything Thanks To YouTube [Stuff to Watch] Learn To Draw Anything Thanks To YouTube [Stuff to Watch] Whether you're having trouble drawing facial features like eyes or haven't got a clue how to tackle a 3D perspective, it's YouTube to the rescue! Read More or you simply want to learn the guitar Learn The Basics Of Any Instrument With YouTube [Stuff to Watch] Learn The Basics Of Any Instrument With YouTube [Stuff to Watch] YouTube can teach you to do just about anything, and that includes playing an instrument. Today we'll focus on piano, guitar, bass guitar and drums. Read More , YouTube is probably the best learning resource around today.

Watch PBS Ideas Chanel

Just like It’s Okay To Be Smart, another PBS YouTube series, Why Does Rain Smell? It's Okay To Be Smart Answers This & More [Stuff to Watch] Why Does Rain Smell? It's Okay To Be Smart Answers This & More [Stuff to Watch] Channels that actually focus on education are more important than they have ever been. Here's one to check out. Read More  the PBS Idea channel is packed with insightful videos that explore the technological world around us, and how it all relates on a cultural, and in many ways human level.

What has YouTube taught you?

  1. Rob
    November 11, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    I used to love Idea Channel. The most recent videos sadly should start with "Here's an opinion," rather than "Here's an idea." Just another channel that has lost its way.

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