Things I Like (TIL) #15: My Favorite YouTube Channels
What is this? I’ve liked many things throughout the years. While some have fallen out of my attention, others remain firmly cemented in my memories and feelings. So, I’ve decided to start a mini-series where each week (hopefully), I pick something random that I like or have liked and discuss it, why I like it, and its impact on me. These things can be varied, and range from more trivial matters such as my favourite animal, to books, games, and movies I’ve liked, to topics that have shaped who I am as a person. The posts, accordingly, will vary in length. See my rating system here.
Today, I’d like to go through a short list of 12 of my most favorite channels on YouTube. I generally like videos that delve deeper into scientific or nerdy topics, though there are a few other channels I follow as well. Here they are, roughly in ascending order of liking.
A tongue-in-cheek channel that treats real-world wildlife as classes of mobs in a video game, comparing them against each other how a gamer would discuss the metagame. Not very rigorous scientifically, but makes for a good laugh every so often.
Comedy videos from two professional violinists about classical music and being a classical musician. The flagbearer of classical music comedy on social media nowadays.
CreepyNinja is an STG (shooting game) player who specializes in Touhou games and specifically Touhou fangames. He is the premier channel on YouTube for all gameplay of fanmade Touhou shooting games, and is an incredibly skilled player as well.
Company Man is a channel focusing on corporations. Each video focuses on exploring a single company, while the specific analysis differs. Several recurring themes are:
- Why a company is hated
- Why a company is successful
- Why a company is bigger than you know
- How a company pivoted its business
- Why a company went into decline
- How a company fell down but managed to rise again
and so on. The analyses are not rigorous, but rather constructed such that laymen are able to understand his reasoning.
Xiao Gaojie’s Magic Ingredients
I despise cooking, yet this cooking channel is still here. Focus is on northern Chinese food, but other cuisines regularly make appearances as well. A soft-spoken voice, videos with clear instructions, and absolutely zero unnecessary fluff make this my favorite cooking channel by far. I’m also pretty sure of the several recipes I’ve tried from this channel, none have ever failed.
Ilmango is one of only two Minecraft YouTubers I still actively follow. He is part of the SciCraft group, a group of players that dive deep into the technical aspects of Minecraft. The group is constantly at the frontier, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in the little sandbox game. It’s an amazing experience for programmer/mathematician/gamer types.
Etho is the other Minecraft YouTuber I still watch. His single-player Minecraft series is the longest running in the world at more than 550 episodes, and following along with it has been an incredible journey. Etho also maintains his stance on not taking donations or having aPatreon, instead emphasizing well-made and high quality videos.
3Blue1Brown is an educational channel focusing on mathematics. It is run by Grant Sanderson, a math educator. What I love about this channel is the focus on understanding mathematics, instead of the rote memorization and taking of results for granted that often occurs in school.
The videos use a custom animation engine called Manim and look gorgeous. The Linear Algebra series has saved me on more than one occasion during my college career.
Kurzgesagt is a channel focusing on science, particularly through a lens of optimistic nihilism (as described in their channel blurb). Videos are smoothly animated with stylish bird avatars, each disussing topics as varied as the heat death of the universe, climate change, and gratitude. One of the best casual science channels on YouTube.
An accordionist from China who uploads covers of popular music. Apparently he doesn’t notate his arrangements, he just keeps them in his head and performs live. An extremely virtuosic and crazy good player.
Meng Xiaojie Jae’s Official Channel
Jae Meng is the first woman doctorate of the Chinese dizi. On her channel she uploads her covers of popular music, usually but not always from Asian pop culture.
One of the many reasons why I love flutes and why I want to learn dizi someday.
The nerdiest channel on YouTube. Takes mundane topics that you would never spare a thought for usually and performs deep dives on them. Examples include:
- Why old toasters are better than modern ones
- What was the difference between DVD-R and DVD+R?
- Why do light switches click?
Basically: all of the questions you had as a curious child, finally answered.