Tom Scott

http://tomscott.com – @tomscott – As complaints about Apple’s new Maps continue to pile in, team leader Jackson Seepage explains why it isn’t quite working as planned. Music based on “Resignation” by Kevin MacLeod released under Creative Commons CC by 3.0 • http://incompetech.com iPhone 5 mockup by Zach Vega released under Creative Commons CC by-sa 3.0
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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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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:
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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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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
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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
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“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
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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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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
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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
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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
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The first part of “How To Be Popular On The Internet*” is all about an old saying: if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. And if you do succeed… well, you’re still going to need to do that. My site’s still online: http://www.preparingforemergencies.co.uk/ The government’s site is in the internet archive: https://web.archive.org/web/20040804033956/http://www.preparingforemergencies.gov.uk:80/ Post
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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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
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Next to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is the Buitenschot Land Art Park, a giant set of ridges and furrows cut into the landscape. Yes, it’s art: but it also stops some local residents from being exposed to jet noise. More about the park: https://www.schiphol.nl/en/schiphol-as-a-neighbour/page/landscape-design-plan-to-combat-noise-nuisance/ I’m at https://tomscott.com on Twitter at https://twitter.com/tomscott on Facebook at https://facebook.com/tomscott and
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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
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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
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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
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Switzerland has a reputation for being… not paranoid, exactly, but certainly careful with their own safety. Zurich exemplifies this: not just with its fallout shelters, but with an entire backup water system. Just in case the world ends. SOURCE (in German): https://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/dib/de/index/wasserversorgung/brunnen/Notwasserbrunnen.html I’m at http://tomscott.com on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tomscott on Facebook at http://facebook.com/tomscott and on
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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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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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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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