Viral Math and Conceptual Labor

Dec 15, 2022

Presenting the first Conceptual Labor video! Will there be more? Who knows!

It’s a response to a conversation between two YouTube titans, Hank Green and Vi Hart. It started because Hank Green recognized a deeper pattern of online-disagreement in the (fairly pointless) arguments that were flying around over a “math problem” that goes viral on a fairly regular basis.

Here’s Hank’s take.

If you’re already familiar with the Theory, you’ll probably spot the parallels. He says some stuff about expertise that parallels what the Theory says. And the whole video generally explores the foundational ideas of Tenets 1 and 2. I saw this right after it came out and thought, yes, I should make a video that enthusiastically supports Hank’s claim that thinking about this will change your view of humanity.

Then Vi Hart, one of my favorite explainer-of-things of all time, made a much more thorough response video. And for much of it, Vi was doing a really engaging version of Conceptual Labor Analysis on the “math” problem. It’s great. You should watch it:

Video is very much not my natural medium, but this was too much to resist. I sprung into action and… took a month to make a response video. I hope they both still remember this whole conversation. In any case, I hope you enjoy.

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