Tom Scott

I tried to write a more honest VPN commercial. The sponsor wasn’t happy about it. • Get ██ days of ███ VPN free at ██████.com/honest The ASA ruling I referenced: https://www.asa.org.uk/rulings/tefincom-sa-a19-547668.html 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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The Lorenbahn, the Lüttmoorsiel-Nordstrandischmoor island railway, is famous for the tiny, private trains that take residents to and from the mainland. But that’s not why it was built: and it’s got a more useful purpose as well. Thanks to everyone from Landesbetrieb für Küstenschutz, Nationalpark und Meeresschutz Schleswig-Holstein, and to the islanders, for all your
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In Brienz/Brinzauls, a small village in the east of Switzerland, there’s a village slipping into a valley and a road that’s surprisingly dangerous. Thanks to everyone I interviewed: pull down the description for links and more details! CCTV footage from Geopraevent, used with permission: https://www.geopraevent.ch/ More details on the Brienz radar: https://www.geopraevent.ch/project/rockfall-radar-brienz/ CSD Engineers: https://www.csd.ch/en
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The Brünnlisau shooting range in Switzerland has its targets on the other side of a major road. And it’s safe. Here’s how and why. Thanks to everyone at the Schiessanlage Brünnlisau! Camera: Alicja Pahl Producer: Sebastian Capeda at Viven https://viven.ch Editor: 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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http://tomscott.com – @tomscott – A message from the Interstellar Safety Council. What if the rest of the universe wasn’t built on “survival of the fittest”? The post and discussion that inspired this: http://bogleech.tumblr.com/post/56211923819/its-funny-how-science-fiction-universes-so-often
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On a little canal off the Elbe river in Germany, sits the McBoat: the world’s only paddle-through McDonalds. It seemed like the sort of thing I should investigate. Camera operator: Richard Bielau Producer: Maximilian Thesseling of Klein Aber https://kleinaber.de/ 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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An elevator that can go smoothly from horizontal to vertical isn’t possible… right? Turns out that the conventional wisdom is wrong, and the Schmid Peoplemover has been doing that for many years. Camera: Moritz Janisch Producer: Marcel Fenchel https://www.fenchel-janisch.com/ Engineering consultant: Calum Douglas Animation: Pete McPartlan I’m at https://tomscott.com on Twitter at https://twitter.com/tomscott on Facebook
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One comma can make a lot of difference. Language is ambiguous — but in some very specific ways. Here’s how. Written with GRETCHEN MCCULLOCH: http://gretchenmcculloch.com – http://twitter.com/GretchenAMcC [Update: her book BECAUSE INTERNET is out July 2019! https://gretchenmcculloch.com/book/ ] More from Gretchen at ALL THINGS LINGUISTIC: http://allthingslinguistic.com – http://twitter.com/AllThingsLing BONUS LINK: Garden Path Sentence Shirts: http://allthingslinguistic.com/post/118396390957/garden-path-sentence-shirts-a-story
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The Nürburgring Nordschleife is the longest permanent racetrack in the world: 21km of unforgiving blind corners and hills, nicknamed “the Green Hell”. Oh, and some days, it’s also just a public toll road with no speed limit. More about the Ring: https://www.nuerburgring.de/en.html About “Touristenfahrten”, Tourist Drives: https://nuerburgring.de/driving/touristdrives Driver: Andy Gülden Camera: Moritz Janisch Producer: Marcel
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Over the Manchester Ship Canal, you’ll find the Hulmes Ferry, the Thelwall Ferry, and the Warburton Toll Bridge. They’re all strange in their own way, all under the control of one company, and all dating back to old laws and legal documents from a hundred years ago. I was in the area, so I stopped
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NERC’s Space Geodesy Facility, hidden away in the English countryside, fires lasers at satellites. Because it turns out that knowing a satellite’s position exactly is really, really difficult. More about the Facility: http://sgf.rgo.ac.uk/ Thanks to Jay Dickieson for the suggestion! I’m at https://tomscott.com on Twitter at https://twitter.com/tomscott on Facebook at https://facebook.com/tomscott and on Instagram as
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The flight between Papa Westray and Westray takes 80-90 seconds and covers about 2km. Why does it exist? And what’s it like? On a rainy day in the Orkney Islands, I went to find out. Thanks to Sam from Wendover Productions! https://www.youtube.com/wendoverproductions I’m at https://tomscott.com on Twitter at https://twitter.com/tomscott on Facebook at https://facebook.com/tomscott and on
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The Orkney Islands, off the northern tip of Scotland, have so much electricity that it’s actually a problem. Here’s why: and here’s what they’re doing about it. • This video has a correction: Hornsdale Power Reserve didn’t catch fire! It was the newer Victorian Big Battery, near Geelong. Complete blunder on my part, apologies to
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Ness of Brodgar, in Orkney, is one of the most important archaeological sites in western Europe. This week, it was covered by old, worn-out tires. Here’s why. ■ Thanks to the Ness team! More about them, volunteering, and donating: https://www.nessofbrodgar.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
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On the German coast of the Baltic Sea, there’s a tourist attraction that I think is very strange: the “Tauchgondel”, a room that sinks under the waves and lets you go diving… without getting wet. More about the Tauchgondel: https://www.tauchgondel.de/ Filmed safely: https://www.tomscott.com/safe/ Camera operator: Richard Bielau Production team: Klein Aber https://kleinaber.de/ Thanks to Letizia
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It’s been all over the British news today: developer Paul Price found a bug in photo-crap-maker Moonpig’s site, one that might have exposed three million users’ personal information. Paul’s got a great technical post about it at https://www.darkport.co.uk/blog/moonpig-vulnerability/ — but there’s no decent non-techie explanation except for the one-paragraph summaries in newspapers. It was a
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“Hello!” “Thank you!” “You’re welcome!” These are all phatic expressions, and people can argue about them. Pull down the description for the references! MORE LANGUAGE FILES: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL96C35uN7xGLDEnHuhD7CTZES3KXFnwm0 Written with Gretchen McCulloch and Molly Ruhl. Gretchen’s new book, BECAUSE INTERNET, is available now: 🇺🇸 US: https://amzn.to/30tLpjT 🇨🇦 CA: https://amzn.to/2JsTYWH 🇬🇧 UK: https://amzn.to/31K8eRD (Those are affiliate links
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Gricean Maxims are a vital part of how we understand each other: a set of… well, maybe “rules” is a bit strong. They’re guidelines that we follow without realising it. And it’s the reason that “asbestos-free cereal” sounds suspicious. Written with Molly Ruhl and Gretchen McCulloch. Gretchen’s podcast Lingthusiasm is at http://lingthusiasm.com/ Gretchen’s book BECAUSE
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In Ocado’s grocery warehouses, thousands of mechanical boxes move on the Hive. Are they all individual robots? Or is this one giant hive mind? • Thanks to Ocado: https://www.ocadogroup.com/technology/technology-pioneers (this video is not sponsored, and they had no editorial control). Reference: Strandwitz P. (2018). Neurotransmitter modulation by the gut microbiota. Brain research, 1693(Pt B), 128–133.
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Barra Airport, in Na h-Eileanan Siar in the west of Scotland, is unique: it’s the only commercial airport where the runway’s made of sand, and tide covers it up twice a day. Here’s how it works. Thanks to all the team at Barra Airport: https://www.hial.co.uk/barra-airport I chartered with Hebridean Air Services from Oban: https://www.hebrideanair.co.uk/ Scheduled
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Gruinard Island, in the north-west of Scotland, was where Britain tested its biological weapons. That story’s been told many times: but I found something in the archives that I don’t think anyone’s ever noticed before. Thanks to the boat crew and voice artists! Location fixer: Vikki McCraw at Locations 365 http://www.locations365.co.uk/ SOURCES from the National
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Near Bodø in Norway, there’s the strongest tidal current in the world: Saltstraumen Maelstrom, a constantly-changing rush of whirlpools, boils and vortices. It might not be quite the whirlpools of myth and legend, but it’s still an impressive sight to see. I’m at http://tomscott.com on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tomscott on Facebook at http://facebook.com/tomscott and on Snapchat
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Decades before NASA’s Apollo program, the British Interplanetary Society wanted to go to the moon: in a spacesuit that looked like a suit of armour. Thanks to all the team at the National Space Centre: https://spacecentre.co.uk/ And to the British Interplanetary Society for their archive images: https://www.bis-space.com/ Drone filming by special permission of the National
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I found an article that said “The microwave was invented to heat hamsters humanely in 1950s experiments.” And I thought, no it wasn’t. …was it? Pull down the description for thorough references and credits. Thanks to James Lovelock for his time! His latest book is Novacene: https://amzn.to/3hmKsWz [that is, of course, an Amazon affiliate link]
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Some languages have longer words than others — but that’s not just a simple choice. There’s a lot of different ways to mix up morphemes, even if they all mean the same thing in the end. Written with GRETCHEN MCCULLOCH: http://gretchenmcculloch.com – http://twitter.com/GretchenAMcC [Update: her book BECAUSE INTERNET is out July 2019! https://gretchenmcculloch.com/book/ ] More
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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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