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Potatoes are native to the Americas.
In fact, there are over 3000 varieties in the South American Andes alone.
Now in the 1600s and 1700s, European explorers took potatoes back to Europe where they were
cultivated and they quickly became a dietary staple, especially in Ireland.
There the farmers found that on their small plots of land, potatoes gave larger and more
reliable yields than grains.
And pretty soon the average Irish peasant was eating between eight and 14 pounds of
potatoes per day, from which they derived about 80 percent of their daily caloric intake.
These nutritious potatoes helped reduce infant mortality and led to a population explosion
in Ireland.
The population actually doubled from four million to eight million between 1780 and
1840.
So potatoes supported a whole new group of people in a way that was never before possible.
But then in 1845 a fungus spread across Europe destroying almost the entire Irish potato
crop.
And the fungus was particularly devastating because there was really only one variety
of potato in Ireland, the Irish lumper, and it had limited genetic diversity.
And so within five years one million Irish people had died and a further one and a half
million had fled the country.
Now YouTube is a little bit like a potato in that in the 10 years since its inception
it has made possible a new way of life for thousands of people including myself.
And for that I am incredibly grateful.
YouTube and you who have watched my videos have made it possible for me to pursue my
passion, making science films.
But if there is a lesson we should learn from the Irish potato famine it is that depending
on only one source for your livelihood puts you in an incredibly precarious position.
And starting today there is a new potato, or new video sharing platform called Vessel
on which I will also be launching my videos in addition to YouTube.
Now Vessel will charge a three dollar monthly subscription fee in order to get exclusive,
early access to videos before they are posted on YouTube.
But if you sign up in the next three days you will get free membership for a year and
no credit card is required.
So if you want to check it out, click the link in the description.
Now if you don’t want to sign up to Vessel, that is completely fine, too.
I will continue posting my videos as usual here on YouTube.
The idea with Vessel is to generate more revenue for creators by offering this exclusive early
access.
It is a bit like how movies are launched first in cinemas and then on DVD and finally on
TV.
Now will this work?
I have no idea.
But you know my feeling about risk.
And, in this case, I think it is worth taking a chance.
So if you want to take that chance with me, then click the link in the description or
head over to Vessel.com/science.
Now Minute Physics and Minute Earth will also be launching first on Vessel and we all decided
to use a joint link, Vessel.com/science.
So when you sign up via that link, you will be supporting all of us, Veritasium, Minute
Physics and Minute Earth.
You know, I think that having more diversity and competition in online video is a good
thing.
It will lead to more stability for creators, more resources that I am going to use to make
bigger and better videos and, ultimately, more tubers for YouTubers.
That was not washed.
Unwashed potato.
Nutritious.