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Improbable Research Collections

Cameron Parkins, June 25th, 2008

Improbable Research, a collective of scientists who are less Enrico Fermi than they are Eric Idle, recently launched Improbable TV, a series of weekly episodes on eclectic topics (ranging from a guide to folding a drawing of a flea to become “a working replica of James Watts’ steam engine” to an invention designed to prevent bank robberies) that are injected with just enough humor and quirkiness to appeal to PHDs and well-intentioned amateurs alike.

All the episodes are released under a CC BY-NC-ND license allowing for the videos to be posted wherever as long as it is in a noncommercial setting. Improbable takes care of putting the videos on YouTube but encourages the public to put the videos where the see fit otherwise. This, according to Improbable, carries specific advantages to potential re-posters:

1. These three-minute videos introduce people to topics that seem bizarre or unlikely. Some of those people, having become suddenly curious, will be keen to see YOUR seriously good introduction to any subject that’s even vaguely related.

2. People who enjoy finding the unexpected (including, now and then, unexpected re-appearances of a few favorite characters) just might keep coming back to your site to see the next episodes of Improbable Research.

You can read more about their licensing choice here, including the ability to modify episodes through “a special (and simple) arrangement” if Improbable are contacted directly (via NewTeeVee).

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