YouTube has become ... amazing. It's light years beyond just video clips of cats. A solid YouTube channel can be as important as a resume (or a website), and I've found myself watching it as often as Netflix or cable TV. I'm constantly impressed by YouTube's creativity, and how ordinary people have developed massive followings just by posting short, simply-edited videos on topics mainstream media would never give the time of day. Sure, the fan-blogs are fascinating, but I what I really enjoy are the growing number of channels that take mundane subjects (such as struggling retail stores like Sears) and give them the treatment of a good documentary. (Search YouTube for a channel called "Retail Archeology.") I've mentioned a few of these in this blog over the years, with one of my favorites being "Jaka Parker" and his hidden-camera videos showing daily life in North Korea. Another new favorite is "Star Trek Continues," a crowd-funded fan-fiction channel that's continued the original Star Trek series with different actors and dead-on production values. Forget Jenna Marbles & Miranda Sings, I enjoy falling asleep to Mr. Nightmare & Creepy Pasta. Chuckling ... I'm sometimes tempted to start a YouTube channel of of my own, but when I think about things that I like to film, I'm probably better off on XTube.
The town is completely isolated from the world; there are no roads connecting it to the rest of Alaska. The only way in/out is is by combi plane, or a once-a-year ferry that brings big supplies like cars, lumber, and Tauntauns (during the brief summer window when the ocean's ice thaws). Barrow relies on Alaskan Airways to supply food, dry goods, and antidepressants - making everything purchased within the city hideously expensive. (In May 2017 for example, milk was $16 a gallon.) Of course, the cost of living is offset by an average household income of 80k a year, but still you've got to wonder ... unless you're on the lam, why chose to live there? I mean, the place looks as desolate as the moon, the houses resemble FEMA trailers, and the only bar in town doesn't serve alcohol. (Seriously. Due to the long nights and dangerous cold, the town is dry.) Can you imagine what Barrow's TINDER selection must be like? When someone local describes himself as a "bear," he's totally not kidding.
That being said, I reeeeeeeally want to visit Barrow - and it's all because of YouTube. I want to see the place where the White Walkers live, and I want to catch a Pokemon on the beach of the Arctic Ocean. I also want to experience how our modern world allows a place like Barrow to exist in the first place, then jump on a plane and return to civilization. YouTube has shown me glimpses of some of the planet's most amazing places ... and I've been making a list. Barrow is on that list. So is Jaka Parker's Pyongyang, after the regime falls. So is Area 51, though I suspect that Barrow might be a little more accessible.
No matter what crazy suggestions YouTube has, I'm sure it will keep me busy until next week's Game of Thrones. In the meantime, I'll enjoy my regular assortment of topics which include North Korea, Creepypasta, Star Trek fan fiction, quantum computing, Trump rallies, documentaries/biographies, and of course the Holy Grail: the approaching disclosure of extraterrestrial life. On that last subject, I don't often recommend ET videos, but I just watched this one today - and it's really good:
I'd like to watch Nerd Soup's analysis of that!