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In this special episode of Thought Café Today - filmed on the set of Crash Course in Montana - Jon talks with Hank Green about the success of the Crash Course YouTube channel, and what led to its creation. Hank also talks the most rewarding aspects of working on the channel, and gives us an insight into his favourite radioactive chemical element. Don't miss it!

Get your Crash Course Chemistry Periodic Table of Elements poster here:

#TCToday | #crashcourse






Jonathon Corbiere

Created by:
Thought Café

Music Composition by:
Allan Levy

Edited by:
Julia Nadeau

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student_ipad_school_29 by Brad Flinkinger

Yes We Can by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

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John: Hey everyone, this is John, we're here in Missoula at the psychology set, and I am with one of my favorite people in the world, Hank Green.

Hank: Hey!


John: So, first of all, we're in this beautiful set.

I want to know your most favorite moment

Hank: Oh God.

John: ever in Crash Course.

Hank: Like every day I get messages from people on Twitter that are like, you helped me pass biology, you saved my butt in chemistry. Those are the great moments like that stick out. And teachers telling me that like it's useful to their classrooms and that it makes their lives easier and teachers don't have easy jobs. It's just great to be in here and be communicating thing that, like- sometimes I'm learning about too, because like, I obviously like, I started out with chemistry, which I knew a lot about, and biology, which I knew a pretty good amount about, and now psychology, which I really knew nothing about going into this.

So learning a lot myself, and then knowing that like, in the end, we're creating something that's like of a quality that just doesn't... exist anywhere else, especially when we're talking about something that's available for free for people.

Like I don't know why we're capable of doing that, and like it hasn't been possible before, I'm sure it has a lot to do with the internet and about like the democratization of tools available to people, of the tools that you guys use to display your talents.

The fact that we make stuff that I think is just like extremely good and that we can make it available for free.

The reason Crash Course continues existing is because people want it to- you gotta respect that and you gotta make the best possible thing you can, because it's just average people's money that we're working with.

John: Sure. It's like the greater good.

Hank: Yeah.

John: I know a bit of the background- I mean, we've been working for a long time now together on this stuff and everyone at the studio.

You and John kind of had this idea about Crash Course a long time ago, correct?

Hank: We got into sort of teaching because we had to make a video or 2 videos or 3 videos or 5 videos every week. And when you have to make a lot of videos you're like, wellwhatamigoinnadoaboutthat- (slurred) I'll make it about red blood cells or the French Revolution! And just trying new things has always been a lot of what Vlogbrothers is about, and those videos were so hard, but so rewarding, and like the response to them was like completely different than the response to a normal Vlogbrothers video. Because the thing that you're getting isn't just entertainment. And then when YouTube came to us and was like, "If we gave you a bunch of money. What would you do with it?"

It was clear that because educational content was so much more difficult. That's something that we- we weren't doing not because we didn't want to, but because we didn't have a way of funding it. And so YouTube was like, here's a bunch of money. And we were like, Okay, CrashCourse is definitely a thing.

John: And then we tried to take most of it.

Hank: Well, a fair portion. You're a big line item on our budget.

John: Yeah, absolutely.

We were talking about, you know, potentially getting some, you know, phone skins going on in the future at the store, and one of the thing was about what your favorite element is, and what people's favorite element is. So, from the Crash Course periodic table poster, what is Hank Green's favorite element?

Hank: Oh God. That's harder than my favorite element, because that's easy for me. I like carbon, it's just so awesome. Might as well- like, carbon is just so amazing, it does so many cool things. Its abilities are- are awesome.

Can I- can I look? (craning to see the periodic table)

John: Yeah, absolutely. We'll let you cheat this time.

Hank: Cause, you know, there's over 100 elements, and like, seeing what you guys did was pretty cool. I think I like astatine. Astatine is like a super terrible, dangerous, evil, thing, and you just made it pure black because no one knows what color astatine is, cause you can't get enough astatine together in one place without annihilating a city.

Like if you had a chunk of astatine, it wouldn't be like a nuclear explosion, it would be like a nuclear bomb that went off constantly for like 100 years.

But I like that astatine is just like this terrifying, glowing

John: Like darkness.

Hank: like darkness with little laser eyes. I'm gonna go with astatine.

John: Awesome. Always learning something when you're with Hank Green. It's a pleasure to be with you and to be catching up and stuff.

Hank: Yeah.

John: I'm John, this is Hank, and that's it for Thought Cafe today.