Viral videos of the week: Star Wars, doppelgangers and SpaceX-plosions

17 Apr 2015

A screenshot of Chewbacca and Han Solo from the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer

This week in viral videos: the world freaks out on the release of the latest Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer, an Irish girl discovers her doppelganger and SpaceX’s rocket explodes again.

About 100 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.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Official Teaser #2

Garnering more than 17m views in one day (at the time of writing) is probably the least surprising outcome of the release of the second teaser trailer for Stars Wars: The Force Awakens – definitely the stand-out performer in this week’s list of viral videos.

It appears to have everything to make every Star Wars fanboy and fangirl watch it at least 200 times, frame-by-frame, at least until it comes out in December this year.

Darth Vader mask? Check. X-Wing fighters? Check. R2D2? Check. The Millennium Falcon? Chewbacca and Han Solo coming back? Double and triple check.

In a moment of understatement, one YouTube commentator said of its release: “I’m going to go ahead and just let myself get excited about this.”

Uploaded: 16 April 2015

Niamh – Meeting my doppelgänger

An Irish contribution this week reaches the wider world audience thanks to an almost scary experiment conducted by three friends – Harry, Terence and Niamh – to see if they could find their exact double, or doppelgänger, somewhere in the world using the power of social media, as part of a project called Twin Strangers.

Well, after two weeks, Niamh came across her own…less than an hour down the road from her.

Named Karen, the two met in what ended up looking like a scene from the TV series Sliders as if they slipped into an alternate dimension, but thankfully, the two didn’t explode.

Uploaded: 14 April 2015

Senator Pat Robert’s Frozen with embarrassment as phone goes off in hearing

We’ve all been there. Despite being told numerous times, many people still forget to turn off their phones during important meetings, or any meetings for that matter.

So spare a thought for US Senator Pat Roberts who, during a finance committee meeting, forgot to leave his off.

So what was his ring tone? Perhaps the standard Nokia tone circa 2003? Or maybe the American national anthem? In fact, it’s probably one of the most well known sing-a-long songs in many years, that being, Let It Go, sung by Elsa in the ridiculously popular Disney film, Frozen.

“Just let it go,” said Roberts to the speaker. Nice save.

Uploaded: 16 April 2015

Dennis Quaid is an angry, angry man

There’s a video that’s doing the rounds right now of Dennis Quaid having an actor’s freakout that is so expletive-ridden that we can’t possibly show it here.

Thankfully, however, TV host Jimmy Kimmel has bleeped out the many, many swear words to also highlight the rumour that his show had set up the video as part of a prank on the actor.

Well, it turns out this wasn’t the case, but just to make fun of the actor even more, they decided to immortalise his rant, through the medium of animation. Enjoy.

Uploaded: 15 April 2015


Elon Musk and his SpaceX commercial space adventure returned once again as part of its CRS-6 mission to try to land it Falcon9 rocket engine on to its floating platform in the Atlantic Ocean.

Much like the last time, however, the ability to achieve something that takes an outrageous amount of skill, physics knowledge and, of course, rocket science, was not successful but they appear to be on the right track.

In the meantime, watch the Falcon9 rocket almost land, before falling over very slowly and landing with a big explosion. Oh, so close.

Uploaded: 15 April 2015

Rare sperm whale encounter with ROV

There’s something oddly appealing about hearing scientists stepping away from the cold, hard facts of gathering data to just let their hair down and become really giddy.

In this case, the team of marine researchers from EVNautilus, with the help of their Hercules remote operated vehicle (ROV) managed to capture an incredibly rare moment on camera of a sperm whale circling the ROV while getting up close and personal.

Some amazing highlights include when the operators use the ROV’s whiteboard to wave to the sperm whale while saying in a robot voice, “We come in peace” and one researcher commenting, “It looks fake”.

All of this was recorded live for viewers online at the time and, if this journalist does say so himself, quoting the researchers, “Oh wow!”

Uploaded: 14 April 2015

Semisonic – Closing Time (Target cover)

The department store Target has pulled its operations from Canada – with all of its 133 stores in the country to be closed by the middle of next month. But just before one of its stores was due to close in British Columbia, Canada, a bunch of employees came together to record a song for its last day, appropriately being Closing Time, by Semisonic.

The six employees (including the director) rolled around the shop floor in what they describe as a one-take shot that was done with no talent and “lots of improvisation thrown in”!

Semisonic’s drummer, Jacob Slichter, actually commented on the video saying it was a really good rendition: “[It’s] really powerful; that slow walk through the empty store and the sounds of things being loaded in the background. I really hope these guys find jobs.”

Uploaded: 14 April 2015

Never Had a Friend Like Him (A Robin Williams tribute)

Following the death of Robin Williams last year, the world of comedy has had a rather large hole to fill in many people’s hearts.

Well, at least one comedian is managing to replicate the man behind films including Aladdin, Jumanji and Good Morning Vietnam and that person is Jamie Costa.

It helps that there is even a passing similarity between the two, not just in terms of doing an incredible impression of Robin Williams, but he also somewhat looks like him.

Uploaded: 13 April 2015

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Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic