The Civil War, Part I: Crash Course US History #20

In which John Green ACTUALLY teaches about the Civil War. In part one of our two part look at the US Civil War, John looks into the causes of the war, and the motivations of the individuals who went to war. The overarching causes and the individual motivations were not always the same, you see. John also looks into why the North won, and whether that outcome was inevitable. The North’s industrial and population advantages are examined, as are the problems of the Confederacy, including its need to build a nation at the same time it was fighting a war. As usual, John doesn’t get much into the actual battle by battle breakdown. He does talk a little about the overarching strategy that won the war, and Grant’s plan to just overwhelm the South with numbers. Grant took a lot of losses in the latter days of the war, but in the end, it did lead to the surrender of the South. If you want to learn more about the Civil War, we recommend these books:
Battle Cry of Freedom by James McPherson
The Civil War by Shelby Foote
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Calorimetry: Crash Course Chemistry #19

Today’s episode dives into the HOW of enthalpy. How we calculate it, and how we determine it experimentally…even if our determinations here at Crash Course Chemistry are somewhat shoddy.


Table of Contents
Hess’ Law 2:30
Calorimeter 3:12
Calorimetry 3:07
Specific Heat Capacity 5:08
Calorimetry Sources of Error 10:21


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Battles of the Civil War: Crash Course US History #19

Disclaimer: This is very different than the usual Crash Course US History episode.

In which John Green lists a whole lot of the battles of the US Civil War in seven and a half minutes. We get a lot of requests for military history, so we offer a list of battle names, with some commentary about outcomes, and lots of really interesting pictures. This is a but of a departure for Crash Course as we leave behind the world of thoughtful analysis and just list some facts. Don’t worry though. We’ve already got our brains turned back on for next week.

Enthalpy: Crash Course Chemistry #18

Energy is like the bestest best friend ever and yet, most of the time we take it for granted. Hank feels bad for our friend and wants us to learn more about it so that we can understand what it’s trying to tell us – like that any bond between two atoms contains energy. How much energy? That’s not the simplest question to answer, but today Hank will answer it (kinda), by teaching us about a nifty little thing called enthalpy.

If you are paying attention to this episode you’ll learn what the state function is, and how it varies from a path-dependent function; why enthalpy change is different from heat; that bonds are energy and to form and break them they release and absorb heat to and from their environment. You’ll get the quickest introduction to calorimetry ever (more on that in upcoming episodes) and learn the power of Hess’s Law and how to use Germain Hess’s concept of the standard enthalpy of formation to calculate exactly how much heat is produced by any chemical reaction.

So much to learn! Let’s get started!


Table of Contents
State Function 1:50
Path-Dependent Function 1:15
Enthalpy 2:58
Bonds are Energy 5:10
Colorimetry 5:36
Hess’ Law 6:19
Standard Enthalpy of Formation 7:24


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The Election of 1860 & the Road to Disunion: Crash Course US History #18

In which John Green teaches you about the election of 1860. As you may remember from last week, things were not great at this time in US history. The tensions between the North and South were rising, ultimately due to the single issue of slavery. The North wanted to abolish slavery, and the South wanted to continue on with it. It seemed like a war was inevitable, and it turns out that it was. But first the nation had to get through this election. You’ll learn how the bloodshed in Kansas, and the truly awful Kansas-Nebraska Act led directly to the decrease in popularity of Stephen Douglas, the splitting of the Democratic party, and the unlikely victory of a relatively inexperienced politician from Illinois, Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln’s election would lead directly to the secession of several southern states, and thus to the Civil War. John will teach you about all this, plus Dred Scott, Roger Taney, and John Brown.

Energy & Chemistry: Crash Course Chemistry #17

Grumpy Professor Hank admits to being wrong about how everything is chemicals. But he now wants you to listen as he blows your mind with a new sweeping statement: everything (yes, really everything this time) is energy. What?!
This week, Hank takes us on a quick tour of how thermodynamics is applied in chemistry using his toy trebuchet as an example, because he is a proud nerd.


Table of Contents
Everything Is Energy 0:00
Forms of Energy 1:07
Potential Energy 2:11
Chemical Energy 1:55
Energy Is Constant & Law of Thermodynamics 2:49
System & Surroundings 5:03
Energy Transfer 4:57
Work 3:25
Heat 4:05
Trebuchets 0:48


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War & Expansion: Crash Course US History #17

In which John Green teaches you about the Mexican-American War in the late 1840s, and the expansion of the United States into the western end of North America. In this episode of Crash Course, US territory finally reaches from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific Ocean. After Oregon was secured from the UK and the southwest was ceded by Mexico, that is. Famous Americans abound in this episode, including James K Polk (Young Hickory, Napoleon of the Stump), Martin Van Buren, Zachary Taylor, and Winfield Scott. You’ll also learn about the California Gold Rush of 1848, and California’s admission as a state, which necessitated the Compromise of 1850. Once more slavery is a crucial issue. Something is going to have to be done about slavery, I think. Maybe it will come to a head next week.

Passing Gases: Effusion, Diffusion and the Velocity of a Gas – Crash Course Chemistry #16

We have learned over the past few weeks that gases have real-life constraints on how they move here in the non-ideal world. As with most things in chemistry (and also in life) how a gas moves is more complex than it at first appears. In this episode, Hank describes what it means when we talk about the velocity of a gas – to understand gas velocity, we have to know what factors effect it, and how. Hank also teaches you about effusion, diffusion and concentration gradients, before showing off a cool experiment that physically demonstrates the things you have just learned. Sound exciting enough for you? Let’s get started.

*Special Thanks to Matt Young at the University of Montana (Geosciences Department, Environmental Biogeochemistry Lab) who helped with the chemical demonstrations.*

Table of Contents
Net Velocity vs. Average Velocity 1:17
Effusion 4:47
Graham’s Law 5:52
Diffusion 7:22
Concentration Gradients 7:08
Precipitation Reaction with Gases 8:21


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Crash Course Outtakes

In which John Green teaches you that things don’t always go as planned on the Crash Course set. Here we have outtakes from our Crash Course in Literature and some of the early US History episodes. Warning: there is some censored profanity in this video. It’s pretty mild, you can probably handle it.

Partial Pressures & Vapor Pressure: Crash Course Chemistry #15

This week we continue to spend quality time with gases, more deeply investigating some principles regarding pressure – including John Dalton’s Law of Partial Pressures, vapor pressure – and demonstrating the method for collecting gas over water.

Table of Contents
Theory of the Atom 1:48
Adding up the Pressures 2:34
Mixing Vinegar & Baking Soda 7:15
Collecting Gas Over Water 8:54


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