A 7-year-old taught himself to play the bagpipes. Here's what 4 other people learned from YouTube.

YouTube is more than just cat videos and makeup tutorials. Way more.

Meet the 2015 javelin world champion, Julius Yego.

Image via EMEASports/YouTube.


His win in Beijing isn't just incredible for the regular reason (you know ... being the world's greatest javelin thrower). The amazing part is that Yego made it this far without a coach (if we don't count Coach YouTube). That's right — this world champion taught himself how to throw javelin from watching YouTube videos.

What's super cool is that his story is far from unique. Here's a list of some seriously talented folks who owe what they know to Professor YouTube.

(Turns out YouTube is for way more than just watching cute cat and bunny videos. I so need to re-evaluate my online video consumption.)

This adorable and talented 7-year-old who secretly taught himself bagpipes so he could surprise his dad.

Photo from USA Today/YouTube.

First-grader Luke Stewart wants to be just like his dad. So when he saw his dad playing the bagpipes, he did what any normal 7-year-old would do: watch YouTube for a year and become this amazing player. You have to see this kid in action.

A teenage pole vault champion.

This isn't her, but we can pretend. Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images for IAAF.

High schooler Reannah Martin got interested in pole vault through her brother's participation in the sport. With no coach available at her school to help, she watched video after video of champion vaulters. During her first competition, she placed first in her region. Impressive.

A woman who learned embroidery from YouTube and now makes clothing for Drake.

REAL TALK with bellelunavie.com @angel_jhang check out the Interviews 🍄
A photo posted by MARIE SOPHIE LOCKHART (@goodfornothingembroidery) on

Marie Sophie Lockhart of Good for Nothing Embroidery once embroidered a tattoo of Drake and posted it on Instagram. He saw it, reposted it ... and was impressed so much by her work that he asked if she would do work for him. Now she makes clothing for a celebrity musician. Since then, she's also partnered with luxury brands. NBD.

This unemployed Brit who used his sudden chunk of free time to become a weapons-trafficking expert through YouTube videos.

Image via The Guardian/YouTube.

When Eliot Higgins became unemployed, he found himself watching a lot of leaked videos from Syria. He soon put the pieces together about arms trafficking in the area and started keeping a blog under the alias Brown Moses. His content proved to be so valuable that reporters and human rights activists used the blog as a go-to resource. Learn more about his journey on The Guardian.

A MasterChef UK winner!

2015 MasterChef UK winner Simon Wood never took a cooking class in his life! He told MailOnline that got his skills from observing cooks — at restaurants, on shows, and on YouTube. He then would practice his culinary masterpieces for his kids. Lucky.

These YouTube-taught masters show the power of sharing knowledge.

YouTube has millions of videos and contains a WEALTH of information that anyone with an Internet connection can access and learn from. It isn't just a tool for fame and mindless chatter. It's clear that the site has become a way for humans to share information with one another — for free.

These success stories don't just show how great YouTube is. They also show how valuable access to broadband Internet can be.

This summer, President Obama committed to expanding high-speed Internet access in low-income areas to fill the “digital divide." Because everyone should have the chance to become the next great athlete/cook/musician/expert if they want — regardless of how much they make or where they live. Now go spread the word and learn something.

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Photo by Gregory Hayes on Unsplash

"Can I buy you a drink?" is a loaded question.

It could be an innocent request from someone who's interested in having a cordial conversation. Other time, saying "yes" means you may have to fend off someone who feels entitled to spend the rest of the night with you.

In the worst-case scenario, someone is trying to take advantage of you or has a roofie in their pocket.

Feminist blogger Jennifer Dziura found a fool-proof way to stay safe while understanding someone's intentions: ask for a non-alcoholic beverage or food. If they're sincerely interested in spending some time getting to know you, they won't mind buying something booze-free.

RELATED: States are starting to require mental health classes for all students. It's about dang time.

But if it's their intention to lower your defenses, they'll throw a mild tantrum after you refuse the booze. Her thoughts on the "Can I buy you a drink?" conundrum made their way to Tumblr.

via AshleysCo / Tumblr


via AshleysCo / Tumblr

The posts caught the attention of a bartender who knows there are lot of men out there whose sole intention is to get somone drunk to take advantage.

"Most of the time, when someone you don't know is buying you a drink, they're NOT doing it out of a sense of cordiality," the bartender wrote. "They're buying you a drink for the sole purpose of making you let your guard down."

So they shared a few tips on how to be safe and social when someone asks to buy you a drink.

From the other side of the bar, I see this crap all the time. Seriously. I work at a high-density bar, and let me tell you, I have anywhere from 10-20 guys every night come up and tell me to, "serve her a stronger drink, I'm trying to get lucky tonight, know what I mean?" usually accompanied with a wink and a gesture at a girl who, in my experience, is going to go from mildly buzzed to definitively hammered if I keep serving her. Now, I like to think I'm a responsible bartender, so I usually tell guys like that to piss off, and, if I can, try to tell the girl's more sober friends that they need to keep an eye on her.
But everyone- just so you know, most of the time, when someone you don't know is buying you a drink, they're NOT doing it out of a sense of cordiality, they're buying you a drink for the sole purpose of making you let your guard down.

Tips for getting drinks-

1. ALWAYS GO TO THE BAR TO GET YOUR OWN DRINK, DO NOT LET STRANGERS CARRY YOUR DRINKS. This is an opportune time for dropping something into your cocktail, and you're none the wiser.

2.IF YOU ORDER SOMETHING NON-ALCOHOLIC, I promise you, the bartender doesn't give two shits that you're not drinking cocktails with your friends, and often, totally understands that you don't want to let your guard down around strangers. Usually, you can just tell the bartender that you'd like something light, and that's a big clue to us that you're uncomfortable with whomever you're standing next to. Again, we see this all the time.

3. If you're in a position to where you feel uncomfortable not ordering alcohol:
Here's a list of light liquors, and mixers that won't get you drunk, and will still look like an actual cocktail:

X-rated + sprite = easy to drink, sweet, and 12% alcoholic content. Not strong at all, usually runs $6-$8, depending on your state.
Amaretto + sour= sweet, not strong, 26%.
Peach Schnapps+ ginger ale= tastes like mellow butterscotch, 24%.
Melon liquor (Midori, in most bars) + soda water = not overly sweet, 21%
Coffee liquor (Kahlua) +soda = not super sweet, 20%.
Hope this helps someone out!

RELATED: Permit denied for 'straight pride' parade in California

If you do accept a drink from someone at a bar and you want to talk, there's no need to feel obligated to spend the rest of the night with them.

Jaqueline Whitmore, founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach, says to be polite you only have to "Engage in some friendly chit-chat, but you are not obligated to do more than that."

If someone asks to buy you a drink and you don't want it, Whitmore has a great tip. "Say thank you, but you are trying to cut back, have to drive or you don't accept drinks from strangers," Whitmore says.

What if they've already sent the drink over? "Give the drink to the bartender and tell him or her to enjoy it," Whitmore says.

Have fun. Stay safe, and make sure to bring a great wing-man or wing-woman with you.

Well Being

There are reasonable arguments to be had on all sides of America's debates about guns.

Then there are NRA lobbyists.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, Florida National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer spoke to state economists last week to explain why a proposed assault weapons ban would devastate gun manufacturers in the state. The proposed amendment, which is being led by the aunt of a student killed in the Parkland school shooting, would ban the future sale of assault rifles in Florida and mandate that current owners either register their guns with the state or give them up.

The back and forth between those proposing and opposing the amendment appears to be a pretty typical gun legislation debate. Only this time, the NRA lobbyist pulled out one of the most bizarre arguments I've seen yet.

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Democracy


Rep. Peter King (R-NY) is a name you should remember. If you don't follow politics closely, remember his name because he's the first Republican in Congress to openly join the call for a renewed federal ban on assault weapons.

If you're a Democrat or a diehard progressive partisan, remember his name because it's proof that as a nation we can put principles before party and walk across the political aisle to get things done.

If you're a Republican, remember his name as evidence that real leadership in politics sometimes means risking your reputation to do what is right even when most of your colleagues disagree or lack the political courage to go first.

But let's allow Rep. King to explain himself in his own words:

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Democracy
via PixaBay

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang has brought a lot of attention to the idea of implementing a universal basic income on America. His "freedom dividend" would pay every American $1,000 a month to spend as they choose.

In addition to helping Americans deal with a future in which the labor market will be upended by automation, this basic income could allow Americans to rethink what we see as work and nurture what Yang calls a "human-centered" economy.

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