Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Let them in on the Joke!

Just returned from the awesome Skeptic's Toolbox in Eugene, OR.  This skeptic conference is very different from most, in that the attendees are not allowed to just sit and listen to lectures.  They are assigned a "academic" paper to read in groups, research the topic with their fellow attendees (generally a group of 5-8 people) and then on the last day of the conference (Sunday) present their findings. 

On one of the days before breaking for dinner we tried to show a video that I had just uploaded 15 minutes prior.  The video is only one minute long and has Jim Underdown, Ray Hyman and Scott Nopp discussing Jim wrestling a bear.  That is all the group was told.  We didn't get the computer hooked up right and ended up trying to show it with a microphone held to the computer.  Lets just say that the audio was  bad and most people missed out on the joke.

The next morning I was thinking through the previous days events and suddenly realized that there is a world of people out there that can not get the joke, when it is presented as a video only. 

I'm going to ask you to watch this video without sound or captions.  So turn them off now.  (the video is only a minute long)


See what I'm saying?  This video makes no sense except that Jim is fairly animated, and Scott and Ray think something is funny. 

Now what can be done to allow others into the joke?

That's right, captions.  New to the Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia project is Brad McDowell from Iowa.  Brad wanted to help out with the project but wasn't sure where to start.  I don't give assignments, as I want people to work on things they enjoy.  So after a bit of discussion, Brad decided he wanted to caption videos into English. 

And so he has.

Watch the video again, this time with the subtitles only on.  Make sure not to have audio on.

Now you can get it, by watching the faces and reading the text you can get the joke.  Okay, it isn't the best piece of comedy that exists on YouTube, but it does show off their personalities and how even the great skeptic Jim Underdown got scammed by the owner of this bear. 

Now watch the video one more time (I promise this is the last time).  Turn on captions and audio. 

The purpose of this blog isn't to tell you the story of Jim wrestling a bear (though it is a fun story) but to appeal to people to please get involved in the Wikipedia project.  Once these videos are captioned, not only does it allow someone who can't hear to be able to enjoy, but it makes it a lot easier for other people to caption into all kinds of languages.  Once that is done the video can be cited on Wikipedia in that language. 

I'm always desperate for editors, photographers and video people. I need content created, found, uploaded and so on in order to "prove" citations that we want to make.  I've asked you to look through your photos and videos, get them uploaded and correctly tagged so we can find them.  They aren't doing anyone any good sitting on your hard drive (besides, if something happens to that hard drive/memory card/DVD then a small piece of our history is gone, thanks a lot!)  It does not have to be high quality and professionally edited, just get the darn thing uploaded!

I've discovered that captioning videos is actually fun.  I'm watching videos in detail that I would normally have just glanced at.  It is really not that difficult to do once you get through a couple videos.

From what I understand, in order for the video to be captioned we have to have the owner of the video upload the captions.  We could "host" the video on a place like Amara (this is the company we are using to caption) but I'm not comfortable allowing this to happen, at least until I know more. 

I have over 200 videos (most concern skepticism in some way) waiting to be captioned.  I have other friends that would be willing to upload captions when they are ready (Kitty Mervine springs to mind).  And I'm sure lots of video owners would be willing to do so if asked.  BTW please share your passwords and permissions (with a close friend and/or family member) so that everyone else is not held hostage with the inability to move forward if needed. 

So if you have some history laying around someplace that you think should be brought to our attention, or want to help out and need training and what to caption first, please contact me at susangerbic@yahoo.com.


About uploading images to the Internet.  Please consider uploading to WikiMedia Commons.  I believe Kitty Mervine was the photographer in the case of the below photograph.  This is my son, Stirling and we were on a JREF cruise "Chasing el Chupacabra" in Mexico.  Kitty had purchased this dried out skate and was telling everyone it was a chupacabra.  The picture was uploaded years ago to WikiMedia and just a week or so ago, Kitty got a message from one of her friends "Hey, isn't that Stirling?"  Sure enough Cracked Magazine used this image for an article on the chupacabra.  When the image is clicked on, you are taken to WikiMedia where the JREF is mentioned. (there are over 1,400 comments, so someone is reading this article) Pretty cool!

1 comment:

  1. The real part of the joke is the way you set up the clip, many of those in attendance thought that there was going to be a bear in the video - not just talking about a bear.

    Scott Nopp