Zack's No-Bull YouTube List

February 25, 2024

IMO YouTube is one of the world's wonders. No other platform ingests and serves as many gigabytes of user-generated content as Google's Big Boi of video. While it hosts its fair share of crap, YouTube houses many wonderfully pure sources of information and inspiration. This post attempts to highlight such amazements of education and enlightenment.

Robert Sapolsky's Bio 150 Lectures

Dr. Robert Sapolsky is a professor of neurobiology, neuroscience, and neurosurgery at Stanford University. He has spent the last 30 summers living with a group of baboons in east Africa. His education and experience combined with his amazing gift of lecturing makes for an absolutely riveting watch. In this series of lectures from his Human Behavioral Biology course, Dr. Sapolsky presents a view of human behavior with an eye on chemical interactions, evolution, and prior experiences. His topics range from genetics to endocrinology, chaotic systems, fractal structures, aggression, language, schizophrenia, etc. I have learned so much from these, not the least of which is a feeling of peace and understanding for those who we would otherwise label as "crazy".

Michael Sandel's Lectures

Titled "What's the right thing to do?", philosopher Michael Sandel walks Harvard students through the nuance of moral dilemmas, the origins of society and government, and law. He's an engaging speaker and is not afraid to lean into the experiences of his students to keep the lectures moving.

Along with this Justice course, Dr Sandel has many other lectures with different audiences on different topics, but all related in exploring the intersection of society and morality.

Anything Feynman

Does Richard Feynman need introduction? A math and physics wizard since an early age, he was tapped to participate in the Manhattan Project as well as the two Space Shuttle disaster investigations. His superpower is clarity of vision, cutting through layers of decoration and BS to find the simple truth.

He's also known to play bongos at interesting times.

Ben Eater's Breadboard Computer Series

I've been a big fan of computers since an early age, but I never really knew how they worked at a deep level until I watched all 40+ videos where he builds a computer on a breadboard out of basic components, starting with an oscillator (timer) circuit.


Burkard Polster is a German mathemetician who teaches at a university in Australia. His videos are relatable, free from fluff, and always very interesting. His playful style, and step-by-step approach to the concepts he presents makes for time well spent.

Nick on the Rocks

Nick Zentner is a professor of Geology at Central Washington University. He has a gift of an infectious enthusiasm about how our world has come to be. He has a lot of 5-minute segments on YouTube that were run on PBS.

He also has a lot of lectures that he's given to his community at an auditorium at his university. I think they're more fascinating than the 5-minute spots, and it showcases Nick's ability to hold an audience for 90 minutes talking about rocks.

Jomez Pro

I never was interested in disc golf until I came across some Jomez videos on YouTube. I think they're a great example of what a motivated group of people with skills and experience in video production can produce, totally innovating what it means to cover professional sporting events. The commentary is great, the quallity is great, the graphics and music are great. It's just great entertainment with no BS, enabled by modern consumer electronics.

They've expanded beyond event coverage, and have produced "practice rounds" with touring pros, and even interesting skills competitions in the off-season.

Adam Neely

Adam Neely is a touring jazz musician and produces videos on music theory, business, and history. His video essays are always well researched and presented, and free from spin or fluff. Here's a great example from a couple years back:


I look forward to Jon Lai's video essays, which mostly center on the computer chip manufacturing industry, but sometimes wander into topics of Asian culture and history. I've learned so much from these videos through the years.

Canned Fish Files

Matthew Carlson appears to work in the video production industry, but clearly his first love is sardines. He's built a pretty successul channel around reviewing tinned fish, and it just goes to show the subject matter takes a back seat to personality and presentation. Have a look at his comparison of common sardine brands you'd find in your local supermarket:


Hainbach makes music using old analog test equipment and esoteric synthesizers. His unique take on music and music-making and how he presents topics on it are pure in their information and appreciation for the field. His experiments in music concrete using magnetic tape running over various knives and sandpapers are artistic and inspiring.

Here he shows how a magnetic card audio recorder can be used as a musical instrument:

He also has uploaded several live performances. Here he is on his balcony, with an upstairs neighbor providing live visuals:

Kevin Powell

A gifted frontend developer and CSS guru, Kevin Powell produces some of the most useful videos for people who build things for the web.


A nonprofit radio station in Seattle, KEXP does a great job of bringing musicians into their studio to broadcast music performances. They're a worthy pair to NPR's Tiny Desk concerts.

Practical Engineering

This channel focuses on exploring public infrastructure, how it works, compromises, etc. Grady has an infectious curiousity that makes topics like sewage systems really fascinating.

Soft White Underbelly

On this channel, a wide range of people, often those living on the fringes of society are interviewed by Mark Leita. One of my favorite things to listen to while doing chores around the house.

Technology Connections

Irreverent and snarky explorations of technology items we likely take for granted.


One of YouTube's greatest success stories with 16 million subscribers, Veritasium presents interesting science topics for non-scientists. His top-quality production combined with the access that being a wildly successful information source gives him the ability to deliver very interesting and informative content.