Break

Hi! So I’m going on a social media hiatus for a while starting today. (There will still be a new vlogbrothers video from me every Tuesday and a new episode of our podcast Dear Hank and John each week.) 

There are a lot of reasons for the break, but it boils down to this: For both professional and personal reasons, I want and need to write a book, and so I want to direct all my energy toward the story.

I’ve also had a difficult few months in terms of dealing with my mental illness, which is a chronic (but treatable!) part of my life, and I’m hopeful that taking a step back from online life will help me regain some equilibrium. 

How long will this last? I don’t know. Rosianna will keep things updated around here on the crash course/art assignment/public health/AFC Wimbledon/etc. fronts. If she’s posting, you’ll know because she’ll put RHR in tags.

I made a post earlier today with lots of updates on various endeavors, so if you’re curious about any of our ongoing projects you can find and/or follow them here.

Thanks for everything. DFTBA.

The point of cursive writing

I was thinking about that Hank said in his last video that cursive writing is useless

I taught a couple of beginner English class to refugees and asylum seekers, who can write Arabic but not our alphabet. So they have the ability to do precise letters and fine motor skills but aren’t familiar with our letters. 

So I teach them how to make a letter. And they copy the letter and it looks the same, but they write it differently. For example, they start writing the ‘V’ on the right and go left. Or for an ‘e’ they make a ‘c’ and then put a line in. And while that’s fine and gets you to your goal, you’re never going to be able to write fast*. Cursive writing forces you to write the letters in a practical way because you *have* to write from left to right, and in as smooth a move as possible. It forces you to write the individual letters with a kind of logical ‘flow’ from one letter to the other. 

So I think cursive writing is beneficial in learning to write, even if you don’t write cursive ever again. 

*of course, writing fast isn’t an essential skill, you’ll manage perfectly fine if each letter takes a second. But it is practical to be able to quickly note something down, in my opinion. 

youtube

In which John discusses the Syrian refugee crisis and the growing number of refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, and Eritrea crossing the sea with the help of smugglers to seek refuge in European Union nations.

Also discussed: The difference between migrants and refugees, the rights of refugees as established by international law, the globalization of all regional crises, and how the death of 3-year-old Alan Kurdi galvanized the world.

PLACES TO GIVE:

The UNHCR.

Save the Children fundraiser created by author Patrick Ness.

(Click through for sources.)

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Made a new poster based off of yet another motivational quote by @edwardspoonhands for DFTBA’s graduation sale ;-) The poster is 20% off until May 13th and will be signed by Hank! The second poster, an old one from last year featuring words from the same video, is also on sale for 20% off.

Get yours here:

1. Make your world better poster (signed)

2. Our actions build our world poster 

Updates on Everything

Hi. The Paper Towns movie comes out July 24th, which will consume most of my life for the next 60 or so days. Info about events in Europe, Brazil, and the U.S. will come soon. But before I fully descend into Paper Towns, I wanted to share updates on everything else:

Crash Course

Right now, you can watch new episodes about astronomy, human anatomy, U.S. Government, and copyright every week. Our Economics series will debut this month. 

New courses we’re beginning to develop include personal finance, computer science, and statistics. I won’t be hosting for the rest of 2015 but hope to be able to host another series of literature videos next year.

By September, lesson plans and other curricular materials will start rolling out, first for history and then for the sciences. This is all made possible by the nearly 6,000 people who support Crash Course through Patreon, so THANK YOU. If you have ideas for future Crash Course series, let us know.

Dear Hank and John

Is our new podcast, in which we answer listener questions, offer dubious advice, and share news from Mars (a hunk of rock orbiting the Sun) and AFC Wimbledon (the world’s most important football club). It will debut very soon. Possibly tomorrow.

The Art Assignment

a co-production with PBS Digital, continues to be tremendously fulfilling to work on. If you’re into making stuff and/or interested in contemporary art, check it out. I am particularly fond of Sarah’s recent video celebrating the work of Andy Warhol

My new novel

progresses slowly, if at all.

The Foundation to Decrease Worldsuck

is nerdfighteria’s charity, which takes in money raised before and during the annual Project for Awesome and then disperses that money to charities chosen by the community. Most of last year’s >$1,000,000 has been paid out; so far this year, we’ve raised around $50,000 thanks to people watching ads on vlogbrothers videos.

Sponsored educational projects

The half of vlogbrothers ad revenue that doesn’t go to the foundation goes to sponsor educational projects, including PhysicsGirl, The Financial Diet, and Kelly Kend’s forthcoming web series on sexual assault and harrassment in online spaces. If you know of an educational project that could benefit from our support, let Valerie know!

Mental Floss

There are now three weekly shows at mental floss, including the longrunning List Show, which recently won a Webby Award. Despite the upcoming travel, I’ll still be hosting regularly over there.

Vidcon

the online video conference run by Hank (and to a tiny extent me), begins on the same day the Paper Towns movie opens. Some tickets are still available, but they’re not increasing the size over last year, so it will probably sell out soon.

Health Care Triage

Speaking of things I take credit for but don’t help out with much, the web series Health Care Triage, about health and health care economics, just won a prestigious award from the U.S. National Institute of Health.

My Recent Oral Surgery

remains somewhat unresolved, but the pain has improved a lot. Chronic pain is a monster that defies all description, and I’m immensely relieved to be feeling better. The Save the Children fundraiser we started after my oral surgery has now raised over $15,000; I’ll match that and whatever else is donated between now and July 1st, so make your dollar count for two!

So that’s what’s going on and hopefully some cool stuff to follow over the next couple months as I disappear a bit down the Paper Towns rabbithole. Sorry for the wall of text!

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In light of Hank’s birthday, I’m making a compilation of some of my favorite posters I’ve made out of his quotes (so far). Take some time to absorb the messages in each one and you’ll realize why I’ve always enjoyed illustrating his words over the years :D

Keep spreading awesome, Hank, and happy happy birthday!