Tom Scott

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
0 Comments
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
0 Comments
Gibbs Farm, in New Zealand, is an enormous private sculpture collection. Its most famous piece is Horizons, by Neil Dawson – and it looks like a cartoon tissue somehow painted onto the landscape. To see it in person, though, will take a bit of effort. Gibbs Farm: http://www.gibbsfarm.org.nz/ I’m at http://tomscott.com on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tomscott
0 Comments
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
0 Comments
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
0 Comments
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
0 Comments
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
0 Comments
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
0 Comments
In Crawfordsville, Indiana, there’s a rotary jail: an invention that, with hindsight, should probably never have been built. But it was, here and in other towns across the United States. It might have sounded like a good idea on paper, but in practice, it had a few unfortunate problems… including occasional accidental amputations. More about
0 Comments
“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
0 Comments
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
0 Comments
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
0 Comments
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
0 Comments
I can show a brighter pink. I can show a more saturated pink. But I can’t show you this pink. Not quite. More about Stuart Semple and his pigments: https://www.culturehustle.com/ [that’s his store, we overloaded Stuart’s personal web site, http://www.stuartsemple.com, within a few minutes…!] (I reached out to Anish Kapoor’s studio twice for comment; I
0 Comments
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:
0 Comments
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
0 Comments
http://tomscott.com – http://twitter.com/tomscott – In north-west Germany sits Bielefeld, a city complete with castle, cathedral and citizens. Just one catch: according to something that’s half urban legend, half in-joke, it doesn’t exist. Let’s talk about belief and Bielefeld.
0 Comments
The Jelling Stones, thousand-year-old Viking runestones, sit in the town of Jelling in Denmark. They tell the tale of Harald Bluetooth: one of the first kings of Denmark. Here’s why his name is on your phone. 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 Sources
0 Comments
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
0 Comments
About once a year, on the Oosterscheldekering barrier in the south of the Netherlands, there is NK Tegenwindfietsen: a bicycle race cycling into a headwind. This year it was 120km/h: this is why it’s so difficult, and also why it’s so brilliant. I’m at https://tomscott.com on Twitter at https://twitter.com/tomscott on Facebook at https://facebook.com/tomscott and on
0 Comments
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
0 Comments
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
0 Comments
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
0 Comments
Inside the beautiful Alnwick Garden, behind a locked gate, there’s the Poison Garden: it contains only poisonous plants. Trevor Jones, head gardener, was kind enough to give a guided tour! For more information about visiting the Castle, Garden, and poison garden: https://alnwickgarden.com/ (And yes, it’s pronounced “Annick”.) Edited by Michelle Martin, @mrsmmartin I’m at http://tomscott.com
0 Comments
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
0 Comments
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
0 Comments
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
0 Comments
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
0 Comments
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
0 Comments
In Gävle, Sweden, every year they build Gävlebocken, an enormous traditional Swedish Christmas straw goat. And every year, someone tries to burn it down. Here’s to holiday traditions. THANKS TO: Axel Wickman, @axelwickm on Twitter, for the post-burning photos of the goat from this morning! I’m at http://tomscott.com on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tomscott on Facebook at
0 Comments
There’s a reason that a lot of planets in American science fiction look the same: they’re all filmed in the same places. But why those particular locations? It’s about money, about union rules, and about the thirty-mile zone — or as it’s otherwise known, the TMZ. Wikipedia on Vasquez Rocks: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_productions_using_the_Vasquez_Rocks_as_a_filming_location Camera: Matt Gray http://www.mattg.co.uk/
0 Comments
Herman Sörgel wanted to create the largest civil engineering project the world has ever seen: a colossal dam across the Strait of Gibraltar, lowering the Mediterranean sea. There were, of course, a few problems with this. VFX by David ‘Hoolopee’ Post (http://youtube.com/hoolopee) Camera by Paul Curry (@cr3) I’m at http://tomscott.com on Facebook at http://facebook.com/tomscott on
0 Comments
This is a collaboration with the Royal Institution! Go check out their video here: https://youtu.be/sScrtGdKmho — Perpetual motion machines are badly named. And impossible. But that hasn’t stopped a lot of people trying to build them. Sure, you could try and argue physics: but there’s a more common-sense reason why free energy’s not coming any
0 Comments
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
0 Comments
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
0 Comments
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
0 Comments