Tom Scott

Tom Scott
  • 4 minutes
  • 391 episodes

Hi, I'm Tom Scott. These are some of the things I've made and done. They'll probably come back to haunt me in a few years' time.

(Want to get in touch about anything? Use the "contact me" link below, not YouTube messages!)

The Flip Flap Railroad and Marshmallow Bearings: Citation Needed 7x04

In the second of two shows with guest Matt Parker, we're covering some hair-raising history, and also imagining some little ears flapping in the breeze. BONUS MATERIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Edu1K_c4fus FULL PLAYLIST: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL96C35uN7xGIo2odDuuPeYtb7BtQ1kBhp WEB SITE and MORE AUDIO EPISODES: http://techdif.co.uk Featuring: Matt Gray: http://mattg.co.uk - @unnamedculprit Gary Brannan: @garybrannan and Chris Joel, who doesn't do this social media nonsense 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

1 day ago

How Zero-G Planes Work

The European Space Agency offered me a seat on their zero-g plane: it's an Airbus A310 that flies parabolic maneuvers, pulling up into the sky and then arcing back down, giving its passengers about 20 seconds of weightlessness (or "microgravity") at a time. Here's how it works. Some people would have filmed their script on the ground, and just messed about while floating. I decided to go for something a bit more challenging. ** If you're a masters or PhD student from an ESA member state, and zero-g sounds like your thing, have a look at the Fly Your Thesis program: http://www.esa.int/Education/Fly_Your_Thesis -- the 2017-18 submissions are closed, but that just gives you time to start planning for next year... ** FAQs: Why isn't Neil floating around the cabin in zero-g?: Sometimes, his feet are under a safety strap, so he doesn't drift away. Sometimes, he's holding on with one hand, and he's just that good at zero-g maneuvers. Why's my face so red?: During the 1.8g phase, my heart has to work extra hard to pump blood up to my head -- when I switch to 0g, it takes a few seconds for it to slow pumping, so my blood pressure spikes. What stabilised camera did I use?: You're looking at footage from a GoPro Fusion, stabilised in post using Adobe After Effects and the telemetry from the plane's sensors. What did it feel like?: There'll be a behind-the-scenes video on the Matt and Tom channel on Saturday, hopefully! ** Camera: Melanie Cowan Thank you to everyone at ESA and Novespace who helped make this happen! 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

4 days ago

Turra Coo and Four-Legged Juggling: Citation Needed 7x03

Matt Parker joins the team this week, in which there's talk of the great cream seams and a surprisingly in-depth discussion of how quadrupeds might juggle. BONUS MATERIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k27hqCKhD_c FULL PLAYLIST: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL96C35uN7xGIo2odDuuPeYtb7BtQ1kBhp WEB SITE and MORE AUDIO EPISODES: http://techdif.co.uk Featuring: Matt Parker: http://youtube.com/standupmaths - @standupmaths Gary Brannan: @garybrannan and Chris Joel, who doesn't do this social media nonsense 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

1 week ago

Batman's Village of Fools: Gotham, England

There's a link from a 13th century legend, to a 16th century insult book, to a 19th century writer, to a 20th century comic book hero. And it starts in a small village near Nottingham, in the time of Robin Hood. Here's why Batman comes from Gotham City. (I am reliably assured that the modern-people of Gotham are not, in fact, fools.) Many versions of the Merry Tales were printed: the earliest reference I can find a reference to is 1540 here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/legacies/myths_legends/england/nottingham/article_1.shtml Furnivall (1870), "The fyrst boke of the introduction of knowledge made by Andrew Borde, of physycke doctor. A compendyous regyment; or, A dyetary of helth made in Mountpyllier", is available here: https://archive.org/details/fyrstbokeofintro00boorrich The Bill Finger phone-book story is found in multiple places, but I'm quoting Steranko's "History of Comics" p44 (admittedly as referenced in Wikipedia, I didn't have time to track down the original). 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

1 week ago

The Sark Football Team and Hovercraft Enthusiasm: Citation Needed 7x02

This week, Gary's on home turf, Matt's hoping to float on air, and we all set a new record for longest time to get to the actual subject of the article. BONUS MATERIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUY0VGVV0N4 FULL PLAYLIST: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL96C35uN7xGIo2odDuuPeYtb7BtQ1kBhp WEB SITE and MORE AUDIO EPISODES: http://techdif.co.uk Are you part of the Sark Football Team? Get in touch: https://www.tomscott.com/contact/ Featuring: Matt Gray: http://mattg.co.uk - @unnamedculprit Gary Brannan: @garybrannan and Chris Joel, who doesn't do this social media nonsense 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

2 weeks ago

Why Hold Music Sounds Worse Now

It's not your imagination; hold music on phones really did sound better in the old days. Here's why, as we talk about old telephone exchanges and audio compression. Thanks to the Milton Keynes Museum, and their Connected Earth gallery: http://www.mkmuseum.org.uk/ - they're also on Twitter as @mkmuseum, and on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mkmuseum/ 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

2 weeks ago

Charles Blondin and the Stolen Point: Citation Needed 7x01

Back in front of a live studio audience! We start off Season 7 with a tale of bravery, courage, and omelettes. BONUS MATERIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMBno-jp_wY FULL PLAYLIST: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL96C35uN7xGIo2odDuuPeYtb7BtQ1kBhp WEB SITE and MORE AUDIO EPISODES: http://techdif.co.uk Featuring: Matt Gray: http://mattg.co.uk - @unnamedculprit Gary Brannan: @garybrannan and Chris Joel, who doesn't do this social media nonsense 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

3 weeks ago

The German Town That's Literally Breaking Apart

The town of Staufen, in the south-west of Germany, has a problem: a drilling operation in 2007 that went very wrong. Half a metre of movement might not sound like much, but in this town, that's enough for the buildings to crack and fall apart. Thanks to Constantijn Crijnen for both suggesting the video and being the local expert! His channel's here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJhgIOJjB2xFJiwqVD3J6qQ And here's an in-depth academic paper explaining why and how it all happened, in far more detail than would work in a YouTube video: https://doi.org/10.1186/s40517-017-0067-y 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

3 weeks ago

Is It Dangerous To Talk To A Camera While Driving?

I'm visiting the University of Iowa's National Advanced Driving Simulator, to answer a question: how unsafe is it for me to vlog while driving? Is vlogging while driving dangerous? The team at the simulator are the experts to ask. More about the National Advanced Driving Simulator: https://www.nads-sc.uiowa.edu/sim_nads1.php or on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DrivingSim Camera operator: Jasmine Putney Edited: Michelle Martin (@mrsmmartin) 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

1 month ago

The Lava Lamps That Help Keep The Internet Secure

At the headquarters of Cloudflare, in San Francisco, there's a wall of lava lamps: the Entropy Wall. They're used to generate random numbers and keep a good bit of the internet secure: here's how. Thanks to the team at Cloudflare - this is not a sponsored video, they just had interesting lava lamps! There's a technical rundown of the system on their blog here: https://blog.cloudflare.com/lavarand-in-production-the-nitty-gritty-technical-details Edited by Michelle Martin, @mrsmmartin 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

1 month ago

The Story of Salvation Mountain

Near Slab City, California, a man painted a hill. It was outsider art: Leonard Knight had no training and no great masters to imitate. But somehow, he created something that resonates with the world. This is the story of Salvation Mountain. Thanks to Ron and to all the team at the mountain; you can find out more about them here: http://salvationmountain.org/ The photo of Leonard Knight is by Joe Bielawa, licensed under Creative Commons by 2.0, and available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/joebielawa/3952358056 Edited by Michelle Martin, @mrsmmartin 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

1 month ago

What Is Sea Level, Anyway?

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

1 month ago

Why California's Musical Road Sounds Terrible

In Lancaster, California, there's a musical road. When you drive over it, it plays the William Tell Overture. Unfortunately, it's out of tune. Here's why. Thanks to David Simmons-Duffin, who figured this out about nine years ago: http://davidsd.org/2008/12/honda-needs-a-tune-up/ -- he seems to be the first to have figured out not just that it's wrong, but exactly what happened! 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

1 month ago

I'm Looking For Guest Videos, and Other Plans For 2018

Pull the description down for links! Send your guest video ideas in here! https://www.tomscott.com/guest/ Are you involved with something that might make a good story? Get in touch here: https://www.tomscott.com/contact/ Subscribe to Matt and Tom: https://www.youtube.com/mattandtom/ Previous guest videos: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL96C35uN7xGIIU-rdtWNC3LnDsam8NQii I'm at https://tomscott.com on Twitter at https://twitter.com/tomscott on Facebook at https://facebook.com/tomscott and on Snapchat and Instagram as tomscottgo

2 months ago

The Reaction Ferries of Basel: What Have We Missed?

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 tomscottgo

2 months ago

The Centuries-Old Debt That's Still Paying Interest

In the archives of Yale University, there's a 367-year-old bond from the water authority of Lekdijk Bovendams, in the Netherlands. And it's still paying interest. Thanks to: Prof. Geert Rouwenhorst for his time and explanation All the team at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Michelle Martin (@mrsmmartin) for editing the interview and Leendert van Egmond for telling me about the bond! 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

2 months ago

Rotary Jails and Accidental Amputations

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 the Rotary Jail Museum: http://www.rotaryjailmuseum.org/ Edited by Michelle Martin, @mrsmmartin 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

2 months ago

How Computers Compress Text: Huffman Coding and Huffman Trees

Computers store text (or, at least, English text) as eight bits per character. There are plenty of more efficient ways that could work: so why don't we use them? And how can we fit more text into less space? Let's talk about Huffman coding, Huffman trees, and Will Smith. Thanks to the Cambridge Centre for Computing History: http://www.computinghistory.org.uk/ Thanks to Chris Hanel at Support Class for the graphics: http://supportclass.net Filmed by Tomek: https://youtube.com/tomek And thanks to my proofreading team! 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

3 months ago

A Nuclear Waste Dump You Can Walk On: Weldon Spring, Missouri

In Weldon Spring, Missouri, there is a strange, grey, windblasted seven-storey pile of rocks. It's the Weldon Spring Site: a nuclear and toxic waste dump on the site of an old uranium processing factory. And you can walk on it: it's technically a tourist attraction. That was going to be the whole of my video... and then I did some more research. Filmed by Matt Gray - http://mattg.co.uk - @unnamedculprit 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

3 months ago

The US Government's $983 Freeze-Dried Urine

The National Institute of Standards and Technology, NIST, sells Standard Reference Materials, or SRMs for short. They're analysed, quantified, and certified substances: everything from metals, to elements, to food items... to, yes, freeze-dried urine. More about NIST and SRMs: https://www.nist.gov/srm Edited by Michelle Martin, @mrsmmartin 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

3 months ago