Tom Scott

The Chauvet cave, in the south of France, is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world, filled with art that’s tens of millennia old. No-one’s allowed in, for very good reasons: but just a few kilometres away, there’s a near-exact copy. Is that enough? Camera: Simon Gillouin Editor: Dave Stevenson http://davestevenson.co.uk Producer:
0 Comments
“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
0 Comments
Funchal Airport, on the island of Madeira, was too short for modern commercial airliners: but there was nowhere to extend to. The solution is one of the greatest civil engineering projects of our time. Producer: Aitken Pearson https://firecrestindependent.com Assistant Producer: Elsa Gouveia Camera: Elton Cantoni Editor: Dave Stevenson http://davestevenson.co.uk The 1990 photo of the airport
0 Comments
The Monte Toboggans, in Funchal on the island of Madeira, are wicker sofas: a bit like the gondolas of Venice, only you’re going downhill in regular traffic. More about them: https://www.carreirosdomonte.com/ Producer: Aitken Pearson https://firecrestindependent.com Assistant Producer: Elsa Gouveia Camera: Elton Cantoni Editor: Dave Stevenson http://davestevenson.co.uk I’m at https://tomscott.com on Twitter at https://twitter.com/tomscott on Facebook
0 Comments
“Daly’s Bridge”, in Cork, Ireland, is better known as the Shakey Bridge. Because it shakes. But what happens when a bridge like that has to be repaired and refurbished? • Thanks to Cllr McCarthy: his site is http://corkheritage.ie/ ! Edited by Dave Stevenson http://davestevenson.co.uk A thorough study of how the Bridge shakes: http://publish.ucc.ie/boolean/pdf/2015/00/32-ODonnell-2015-00-en.pdf [PDF] I
0 Comments
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.
0 Comments
Did I need to get a radio controlled clock and travel to Anthorn to film this video? Absolutely not. But for a few minutes, that clock was really, really accurate. • Thanks to the team at NPL! More about NPL Time: https://www.npl.co.uk/time-frequency/time-scales 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 – Thanks to Ashley Shepherd for the drone footage – see the full video on his channel here: http://youtu.be/nhtL2dBrmlI This is the Duga-3 array, inside the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. It’s an incredible piece of Soviet engineering, capable of sending radar pulses so powerful they could see over the horizon. Which, when you
0 Comments
Deepstore doesn’t let many people film in their massive facilities. So when the team at Laura Ashley invited me down into the mine to look at their archives, I jumped at the chance. Thanks to Deepstore https://www.deepstore.com/ and Laura Ashley https://www.lauraashley.com/ ! Camera by Ryan Priestnall https://ryanpriestnall.com Edited by Michelle Martin https://twitter.com/mrsmmartin I’m at https://tomscott.com
0 Comments
Rochester, in the south-east of England, was a city for nearly 800 years. And then, in 1998, an administrative error took that city status away, likely forever. Here’s the story. Research and script assistance from Jess Jewell REFERENCES: BBC article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/england/1991827.stm Kent Online article: https://www.kentonline.co.uk/medway/news/labour-lost-city-status-deliberately-say-tories-191729/ Minutes of the meeting: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/minute_1197_policy_and_resources Additional research links: https://city-of-rochester.org.uk/features/rochester-city-status Local
0 Comments
The Hill House, in Helensburgh, Scotland was decades ahead of its time… but that means it’s also experimental. And damp. ■ More about the Hill House and how to visit: https://www.nts.org.uk/visit/places/the-hill-house Edited by Michelle Martin: https://twitter.com/mrsmmartin Camera by Ben Fitzhugh 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
Hutton’s Unconformity, at Siccar Point, is about an hour east of Edinburgh, in Scotland, and I’ve wanted to set my own two feet on it for years. And from it, I’ve got a bigger question: is there anything we’ve missed? The story of the Hutton Unconformity: https://www.geolsoc.org.uk/GeositesSiccarPoint Hutton’s Unconformity Hutton’s Unconformity – Siccar Point I’m
0 Comments
The International Cocoa Quarantine Centre, at the University of Reading, has an important job: stop pests and viruses from hitching a ride, as researchers try to breed better and hardier varieties of cocoa. Here’s how they do it. ■ https://research.reading.ac.uk/cocoa/international-cocoa-quarantine-centre-reading/ Articles mentioned: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/nov/21/cocoa-crisis-world-chocolate-stash-melting-away https://people.com/food/world-chocolate-shortage-mars/ More reading and sources: https://www.newyorker.com/tech/annals-of-technology/preventing-a-future-without-chocolate https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23631571-800-cocoa-quarantine-one-tropical-tent-near-london/ Edited by Michelle Martin: https://twitter.com/mrsmmartin
0 Comments
Predicting the future is a fool’s errand, but I tried it: talking about phones, lifelogging, and social changes. And on top of that: what do I think’s coming in 2032? 2012 photo credits: Andy Davidson, IMG_1790, https://www.flickr.com/photos/andy_d/7906847522/ Andy Davidson, IMG_1791, https://www.flickr.com/photos/andy_d/7906848920/ both licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ The Brief History of the Dead
0 Comments
Mannequins are generally bought, used once for a project, and then thrown away to landfill. Except here, at Mannakin in Lincolnshire. Thanks to Roz and the team at Mannakin: https://mannakin.com My first thought was “don’t those mannequins rot, just sitting out there in the weather?” And then I realised: no, not really, they’re fibreglass. That’s
0 Comments
In Calipatria, California, the town is below sea level — but their flag pole isn’t. But what does “sea level” mean? Is it just theory, or is there more behind it? 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
0 Comments
In the URL of each YouTube video is the 11-character video ID, unique for each video. Can they ever run out? Just how many videos can YouTube handle? To work it out, we need to talk about counting systems, and about something called Base 64. Want to know how the single camera shot was done?
0 Comments
Electrical Network Frequency analysis, ENF analysis, matches background hum against power grid logs. I talked to one of the researchers who works on it, and also set them a challenge. Thanks to @Answer in Progress, @Hannah Witton and @Steve Mould! 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
The Thames Barrier is a wonder of engineering. If it fails, then London floods. Here’s how the engineers there make sure it doesn’t fail. More about the Thames Barrier: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-thames-barrier Producer/Director: Cambria Bailey-Jones Editor: Michelle Martin Camera Operator: Jamie MacLeod Drone Director: Alex Glynn Drone Team: Ian Hunter, Tim Hubbard Runner: Rebecca Johnson Colourist: Jamie
0 Comments
At $8.3 million dollars for around 40 milligrams, the British Guiana 1c magenta is the world’s most expensive object by weight: it’s a postage stamp from 1856, the only one of its kind. More about the stamp and Stanley Gibbons: https://www.stanleygibbons.com/collecting-stamps/one-cent-magenta I’m at https://tomscott.com on Twitter at https://twitter.com/tomscott on Facebook at https://facebook.com/tomscott and on Instagram
0 Comments
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
0 Comments
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