A Field Guide to Animal-Friends Videos on YouTube

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This microsite is like a crystal ball for the 6th-grade girl in all of us.



If there is one area where the Internet is a clear improvement over the media ecology it disrupted, it is in the production and dissemination of animal videos. When I was a kid, you had to watch Bob Sagat tell dumb jokes in order to see some funny animal videos. Now, any old person with a dog, cat, goat, horse, dolphin, or pig can post their antics for all to see -- and some to remix.

For example, in response to the goats surfing video, Grist editor and Atlantic Tech contributor Philip Bump linked me to his Animal Matrix today. The Animal Matrix shows a dozen different animals engaged with each other in YouTube videos. It's like a crystal ball for the 6th-grade girl in all of us: O, Animal Matrix, please show me a video of a dolphin together with a horse? And the Matrix is like, "SURE!" O, Animal Matrix, can I see a wolf cub playing with a grizzly bear cub? And the Matrix is like, "SURE!" O, Animal Matrix, I need to see a monkey sitting on a cow! And, of course, the Matrix is like, "SURE!"

This is the best Friday afternoon office fodder. Feel free to post it on your locker.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer calls Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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