Tom Scott

Wind turbines have emergency exits, but they might not be for the reason you think. • Thanks to Octopus Energy: https://octopus.energy/octopus-fan-club/ (This video isn’t sponsored, but obviously they did let me go up their wind turbine.) Drone camera: Tom Francone Edited by Michelle Martin (@mrsmmartin) Thanks very much to all the team at Octopus Energy
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GPT-3: not quite up to the task. Yet. • ElectroBOOM: https://youtube.com/electroboom • Answer in Progress: https://youtube.com/answerinprogress • hbomberguy: https://youtube.com/hbomberguy • MrBeast: https://youtube.com/mrbeast6000 Includes text generated by OpenAI’s GPT-3 at my request: https://openai.com • OpenAI had no control or sign-off on this video, although I agreed to abide by their ethical guidelines and social media policy.
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Grey? Blue? Purple? It can look different, depending on the context. Let’s talk about color perception, color temperature, and the history of laundry. Atmospheric opacity image from ESA/Hubble (F. Granato): https://www.eso.org/public/images/atm_opacity/ – image licensed under CC by 4.0 – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ The optical illusion is original, but based on the work of David Novick: https://twitter.com/novickprof/status/1139342022551191553 More
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http://tomscott.com – http://twitter.com/tomscott – A guide for the newly empowered, courtesy of the Superhero Help Academic Foundation Trust, Education Division. Sure, you could jump a few places and fight crime: or you could take over the world. Thanks to YouTube Space London, who offered me time on their science lab set — and thanks to
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I didn’t even realise that “low explosives” were a thing; let’s talk about deflagration, detonation, and how high explosives can actually be safer. • Thanks to Steve from Live Action FX: http://liveactionfx.com/ Filmed safely: https://www.tomscott.com/safe/ Camera: Simon Temple http://templefreelance.co.uk Edited by Michelle Martin: https://twitter.com/mrsmmartin I’m at https://tomscott.com on Twitter at https://twitter.com/tomscott on Facebook at https://facebook.com/tomscott
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Shakespeare sounds a certain way. Why? And why could it only work in English? • Written with Gretchen McCulloch of Lingthusiasm! Her podcast has an episode about how translators approach texts: https://lingthusiasm.com/post/632086691477323776/lingthusiasm-episode-49-how-translators-approach Gretchen’s book BECAUSE INTERNET, all about the evolution of internet language, is available: 🇺🇸 US: https://amzn.to/30tLpjT 🇨🇦 CA: https://amzn.to/2JsTYWH 🇬🇧 UK: https://amzn.to/31K8eRD (Those
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On the south-east coast of England sits Covehithe: a little Suffolk village going back at least a thousand years. By the end of the century, it’ll likely have fallen into the sea. Here’s why no-one’s planning to save it. Filmed safely: https://www.tomscott.com/safe/ SOURCES: Shoreline Management Plans: https://www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/environment/coastal-management/shoreline-management-plans/ http://www.suffolksmp2.org.uk/actionplan/docs/2.%20Kessingland%20to%20Covehithe.pdf https://web.archive.org/web/20140221104223/http://www.suffolksmp2.org.uk/publicdocuments/finalsmp/Section%204_Policy%20Development%20Zones/PDZ2v9.pdf Article: https://web.archive.org/web/20160913051551/http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/environment/covehithe_landowner_raises_fears_over_coastal_defence_proposals_1_1111983 I’m at https://tomscott.com on
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Explosions on film are made to look good: fireballs and flame. In reality, though, they’re a bit disappointing. Here’s how Hollywood does it. • Produced with an experienced, professional pyrotechnician. Do not attempt. Thanks to Steve from Live Action FX: http://liveactionfx.com/ Filmed safely: https://www.tomscott.com/safe/ Camera: Simon Temple http://templefreelance.co.uk Edited by Michelle Martin: https://twitter.com/mrsmmartin I’m at
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In the 1830s, two French brothers, François and Joseph Blanc, pulled off the first telecoms scam in history. The optical telegraph, a line of semaphore towers stretching from hilltop to hilltop, was for government use only: but something as simple as the law wasn’t going to get in their way. Thanks to Victoria Harrison for
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4 minutes remaining. Then 15 seconds. Then 5 hours. Why can’t computers just tell you how long something’s going to take? • MORE BASICS: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL96C35uN7xGLLeET0dOWaKHkAlPsrkcha Written with Sean Elliott https://twitter.com/SeanMElliott/ • Graphics by William Marler https://wmad.co.uk I’m at https://tomscott.com on Twitter at https://twitter.com/tomscott on Facebook at https://facebook.com/tomscott and on Instagram as tomscottgo
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Near the town of Herning in Denmark sits Elia, a giant metal dome sculpture by Ingvar Cronhammar that occasionally spouts flame. I reckon it’s the world’s most frustrating piece of art, and here’s why. Elia’s site: http://elia.dk I’m at http://tomscott.com on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tomscott on Facebook at http://facebook.com/tomscott and on Snapchat and Instagram as tomscottgo
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“Non-brewed condiment” is what they call it: it’s chemically very similar to proper vinegar, a mixture of ethanoic acid, colourings and flavourings, but it’s put together by just combining simple chemicals rather than brewing. Hardly anyone knows, and those that do know don’t generally care; so here’s my question. Does it matter? Thanks to Matt
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Olds Engineering, a traditional workshop and foundry, sits in Maryborough, Australia. It’s not the sort of place you’d expect to find a new industrial invention in the 21st century: and yet the Olds Elevator, patented by Peter Olds, is just that. More about Olds Engineering: https://www.olds.com.au/ and the Olds Elevator: https://www.oldselevator.com/ Edited by Michelle Martin
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http://tomscott.com – http://twitter.com/tomscott WITH THANKS TO: Colin Furze – http://youtube.com/colinfurze – for letting me try his Magneto shoes, and Matt Gray – http://mattg.co.uk – on camera! “Fail-safe” doesn’t mean “we have a backup”, it means “if this fails, nobody gets hurt”. So I went to see the master of inventions that aren’t failsafe, Colin Furze,
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On the river Rhine in Switzerland, there are reaction ferries: boats with no engine, no paddles, no onboard motive power at all. Here’s how they work — and a question about what other simple ideas are out there. I’m at http://tomscott.com on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tomscott on Facebook at http://facebook.com/tomscott and on Snapchat and Instagram as
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Many people sent me this story: it covers my favourite topics of power grids and temporal anomalies. But when the mainstream press have already covered it, how could I add something more? The answer: by adding another pet topic, Unnecessary British Patriotism. And a teasmade. Press release: https://www.entsoe.eu/news-events/announcements/announcements-archive/Pages/News/2018-03-06-press-release-continuing-frequency-deviation-in-the-continental-european-power-system.aspx Teasmade: http://amzn.to/2oYrvxb [aff. link] Update, April 8th
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The Berkeley Pit, in Butte, Montana, was once the richest hill on Earth: the Anaconda Copper Mine. Now: it’s not all that rich, and it’s not much of a hill. Instead, it’s a toxic pit filled with sulfuric acid. Thanks to the Montana Resources team: https://www.montanaresources.com/ REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING: “10,000 miles of tunnels”: https://mtstandard.com/news/local/new-map-plots-butte-underground/article_f1de51e2-948f-5634-9aa0-87ad730d9cfd.html
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http://tomscott.com – @tomscott – There are lots of interesting features in other languages, some of which English would really benefit from having. I’m going to talk about four of them: time-independence, clusivity, absolute direction, and evidentiality. Also, I’ve learned from last week: no irritating piano music this time! UNESCO list of endangered languages: http://www.unesco.org/culture/languages-atlas/
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Tim Berners-Lee envisioned a “universal information system”. What went wrong? • MORE BASICS: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL96C35uN7xGLLeET0dOWaKHkAlPsrkcha Written with Sean Elliott https://twitter.com/SeanMElliott/ • Camera by Tomek • Graphics by William Marler https://wmad.co.uk I’m at https://tomscott.com on Twitter at https://twitter.com/tomscott on Facebook at https://facebook.com/tomscott and on Instagram as tomscottgo
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Britain has some of the strongest product placement rules in the world – and it means YouTube vloggers have to declare their advertising before you click on the video. Why? And what did it mean for our version of The Price is Right? Thank you to Rob (http://twitter.com/readwriteerase) for stepping in as camera operator at
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http://tomscott.com – http://twitter.com/tomscott – In a fjord near Stavanger, in southern Norway, is Preikestolen: Pulpit Rock. It’s known as one of the world’s scariest tourist attractions, for good reason — but despite the millions that visit it, it’s pretty safe. At least, for current human values of safe. Let’s talk about risk, immortality, and what
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Dinorwig Power Station, otherwise known as Electric Mountain, is a pumped-storage hydro station in Llanberis, Wales. And yes: it’s Britain’s largest battery. Here’s how it works, and why some of the things you think you know about TV pickups might not be so true any more. Thanks to all the Engie team! More about them:
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If you’re in Canada, you need good winter boots. But how do you know whether they’re actually safe, or whether you’ll fall over the first time you step on ice? This is WinterLab, part of the Challenging Environment Assessment Laboratories at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, where they’re testing winter shoes with science. More about the
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http://tomscott.com – http://twitter.com/tomscott – There’s a strange avenue of trees in Richmond Park, ten miles from St Paul’s Cathedral; and an odd, wedge-shaped skyscraper in the city. At the New London Model, at the NLA Galleries at the Building Centre, I explain both of these. London is going vertical: but there are quite a few
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Ipley Cross, in the middle of the New Forest, is one of the most dangerous road junctions in Britain. Why? • Thanks to Bez, whoever you are: their definitive article on this junction is here: https://singletrackworld.com/2018/01/collision-course-why-this-type-of-road-junction-will-keep-killing-cyclists/ Edited by Michelle Martin https://twitter.com/mrsmmartin Graphics by Mat Hill https://mat-hill.com ADDITIONAL SOURCES: Injured cyclist prompts fresh calls to tackle
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As far as I can find, no-one has actually made a International Standard Cup of Tea – ISO 3103 or BS 6008 – for the internet before. Lots of people have talked about it, but that’s easy. Making one? That requires precision… and some specialist equipment. You can buy a professional tea tasting set from
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http://tomscott.com – http://twitter.com/tomscott – The Falkirk Wheel sits between Edinburgh and Glasgow, in the southern parts of Scotland, and it’s the world’s only rotating boat lift. There’s some very clever design going on here — and some physics that goes all the way back to Ancient Greece.
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In the south-east of Estonia, there’s 800m of road where you can drive through Russia without a visa. We drove it. BONUS PARK BENCH: We Got Pulled Over By The Estonian Military: https://youtu.be/KCR2kHrr4oA This video has a correction: Further research revealed that the camera tower Matt spots is, almost certainly, just a regular cell tower.
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If you’re sitting on a boat in Lake Constance, are you in three countries at once? Or just in one? Does it even matter? Because strangely, it turns out there are parts of the world where no-one really minds when international borders are not just ignored, but are completely undefined. SOURCES: Smith, B. (2001). Fiat
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The mysterious YouTube algorithm. It’s confused people for years, and will continue to do so. So why isn’t YouTube more transparent? It used to be that they wouldn’t tell anyone how it works – but now, it’s that they can’t. Let’s talk about deep learning algorithms, neural networks, and search engine optimisation. CREDITS: Thanks to
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http://tomscott.com – http://twitter.com/tomscott – In a disused quarry at Harpur Hill, near Buxton, there’s a bright blue lagoon. It looks like a perfect place to cool off in summer. And it is, if you enjoy skin irritation and fungal infections. But the strange thing is: I arrived expecting to find it black, not blue… Why
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