Thanksgiving Torrents


This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for peer-to-peer file sharing, and to celebrate, I’ve made another batch of my videos available as Torrents, including the Thanksgiving Dinner series I made last year (torrent|YouTube). If it’s not Thanksgiving where you are, maybe it is snowing and you’d like to revisit last year’s series on folding paper snowflakes, also space-time! You can find all the new torrents on my Torrents page.

This year I have been reminded repeatedly, in multiple ways, how important free peer-to-peer file sharing is. Yesterday my website went down without explanation because the hosting service I am paying for had technical difficulties, but the torrents of my videos still worked. YouTube changes the conditions surrounding their hosting service on a whim, for both those using it for free and those paying for it with ads, but torrents have no unique host or platform that can control how you see them. YouTube can decide to suddenly start showing advertisements before my videos, without notification (this happened earlier this year), but when you download one of my torrents I know you will get exactly my video and nothing else. No signing up for other services. No “featured video” thumbnails promising to teach you how to get girls’ numbers. No extra compression, degradation of quality, unexplained age restrictions, bogus copyright claims, “This video is not available right now,” etc. Just my video, on your computer, the way it was meant to be seen.

In a world where anyone reading this is probably already paying for internet access, paying for hardware, and probably also paying for other hardware that gets that internet access to your hardware, it concerns me how prevalent the idea is that it is good and right for people to accept an internet full of advertisements and alternate agendas in exchange for services as basic as hosting or transferring information.

I do not accept that.

I bought a computer and pay a monthly cable bill. I should not need to use an ad-covered site to communicate with my friends.

I bought a computer and pay a monthly cable bill. I should not need to use an ad-covered site to let people see content that I myself create and own.

And I don’t! So, thank you BitTorrent. Thank you for letting people who like my stuff download my stuff from each other using things they’ve already paid for. Also, thank you RSS for letting people get my posts without having to expose themselves to my frighteningly-yellow website and its faulty hosting.


And now, a note on the Thanksgiving videos, since I get a lot of questions about them.

I did not, in fact, eat any of the math food I created for the videos. Filming the series took over a week, and items went in and out of the fridge, sat out for hours, etc. The potatoes mostly dried out, and so did the bread spheres, so they were easy to deal with. The gelatinous cranberry cylinder got moldy pretty quickly. Throughout the series I replaced blackberries, covered up mold spots with mint leaves, etc.

The turkduckenen-duckenen was the saddest part. I had little expectation that I would be able to pull off a seven-bird binary-stuffed extravaganza, but I managed to debone and assemble all the birds and after sitting in the oven for ten hours it came out perfectly cooked and smelling delicious. Unfortunately filming the creation of it involved many hours of setting up shots and deboning on the counter under warm lights, and leaving uncooked poultry sitting out for hours is a great way to get sick, so I had to trash the whole thing. Still, I think helping teach hundreds of thousands of people about binary tree traversal is a more worthy end to a bird’s life than being eaten.