Viral videos of the week: men’s ‘real beauty’, an experiment in space, and an oddball cat

21 Apr 2013

Still from 'Wringing out water on the ISS - for science!' by the Canadian Space Agency on YouTube

We take a look at some of the most-viewed and most-shared videos on the web. This week features an experiment performed by astronaut Chris Hadfield, Harrison Ford’s refusal to talk about Star Wars, a New Zealand MP’s thoughts on gay marriage, a mischievous orchestra, a strange kitty, and how men really see themselves.

More than 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, 500 years of video watched on Facebook every day, and more than 700 YouTube videos shared on Twitter each minute, ensuring there is always video trending on the web.

With so much video available for viewing, we take a look at some of the viral videos that have caught our eye this week.

Wringing out water on the ISS – for science!

Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield has now begun his last month commanding the International Space Station – the first Canadian to do so – and we’ll surely miss his entertaining updates from space. As well as tweeting images of countries all over the world shot from on high (with plenty of shout-outs for Ireland along the way), Hadfield has donned the green for St Patrick’s Day, showed us how to cook in space, opened a can of mixed nuts in zero gravity, and let us know how astronauts catch some Zs.

In this video, Hadfield obliges two 10th grade students from Nova Scotia, who wanted to know what it would be like to wring out a washcloth in the gravity-free environs of the ISS. Kendra Lemke and Meredith Faulkner won a national science contest held by the CSA to see their hypothesis (that water would not drip but remain on the washcloth) tested by the ISS commander, and the experiment couldn’t have gone better.


Uploaded: 16 April 2013

Harrison Ford won’t answer Star Wars questions

When Harrison Ford appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live, the host gave the audience the opportunity to ask the man who played Han Solo a few questions – only the star wasn’t going to answer any questions about the upcoming Star Wars films. This proved quite awkward with an audience full of die-hard fans of the sci-fi franchise, and the tension only became worse when a familiar face arrived.


Uploaded: 18 April 2013

Dove ‘real beauty’ sketches – for men

Dove has caught the internet’s attention with its latest ‘real beauty’ campaign, which involves an ad supposedly proving that women are their own worst beauty critics. The original video, which has clocked up close to 9m views on YouTube, shows a ‘social experiment’ with an FBI-trained forensic artist drawing women as they describe themselves and again as they are described by complete strangers. The ad has its proponents and its detractors – and, as is the way of the internet, it also has its parodies.


Uploaded: 17 April 2013

Orchestra hidden camera prank

RTÉ’s Republic of Telly and comedian Fred Cooke appear on our list once again, this time working together to surprise, delight (and perhaps even annoy) unsuspecting people around Dublin City. Featuring the music of Psycho, Star Wars, Rocky and Countdown as you’ve never heard it before.


Uploaded: 15 April 2013

Maurice Williamson: ‘Rainbow across my electorate’

This week, New Zealand’s parliament debated an amendment to its 1955 Marriage Act that would legalise same-sex marriage. This video of Pakuranga MP Maurice Williamson’s speech to his fellow MPs proved popular on social media, probably because the politician’s debate style is almost like stand-up comedy. His humorous yet moving speech even prompted Stephen Fry to tweet, “I want to hug this man until he squeals.” The bill was passed later that day and celebrated instantly with a touching sing-song in New Zealand’s parliament.


Uploaded: 17 April 2013

The cat and the vacuum cleaner

In my experience, cats and other domestic animals are more wary of vacuum cleaners than teenagers with dirty bedrooms – but not this wacky cat.


Uploaded: 17 April 2013

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Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.