Why Progress Bars Don’t Move Smoothly ▓▓▓░░░░░░

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

I asked an AI for video ideas, and they were actually good

I didn’t expect this to work so well. • Includes text generated by OpenAI’s GPT-3 at my request: https://openai.com • Art by Chris Quay: https://www.chrisquay.com/ • Got an idea for a video? https://www.tomscott.com/contact/ Filmed safely: https://www.tomscott.com/safe/ OpenAI had no control or sign-off on this video, although I agreed to abide by their ethical guidelines and […]

YouTubers have to declare ads. Why doesn’t anyone else?

Around the world, there are regulations for “influencers”. Those regulations make sure that if someone is paid to endorse a product, they have to declare that payment to the people watching. But why does no-one on TV, or film, or anywhere else have to do that? 👥👥 CREDITS 👥👥 Written and performed by TOM SCOTT […]

Hill Hill Hill Hill, debunked, debunked

Torpenhow Hill, in the Lake District in the north-west of England, is the only place in the world whose name has the same word four different times. That’s the story, anyway. The truth is a bit more complex. Filmed safely: https://www.tomscott.com/safe/ REFERENCES: The Debunking of Torpenhow Hill: http://digitalcommons.butler.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=4733&context=wordways Etymology from the Oxford English Dictionary https://oed.com […]

The Radioactive Beach In New York

Check out BrainCraft! https://www.youtube.com/braincraft – start with the Growth Mindset https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gxv_FHrRYQw or lucid dreaming https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5qUr0enMGE • Deep in Brooklyn there’s a beach you definitely wouldn’t swim at, unless you’re an archaeologist. Dead Horse Bay served as an unofficial dump for decades, and now as the sand is washed away the boroughs’ history is slowly being […]

Trying To Create an AI Tom Scott (on a $100 budget)

Check out Jordan’s channel! https://youtube.com/jordanharrod – or start with her video on AI diagnosis of coughing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqXcLF8vVH4 or how deepfakes have fingerprints: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lnEst2nojA • And, please don’t try this at home. SOURCES: TEXT: Generated by Jordan Harrod using GPT-3 OpenAI, https://openai.com/blog/better-language-models/ AUDIO: https://resemble.ai VIDEO: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1908.05932.pdf https://arxiv.org/pdf/1712.05884.pdf https://arxiv.org/pdf/2006.07634.pdf https://arxiv.org/pdf/2008.11363.pdf https://arxiv.org/pdf/1811.08180.pdf https://www.vice.com/en/contributor/samantha-cole https://arxiv.org/pdf/1511.06434.pdf https://arxiv.org/pdf/2011.09055.pdf

Australia’s Bushfire-Hunting Satellites

Check out Atomic Frontier! https://youtube.com/atomicfrontieronline – start with the video on a country-sized telescope https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZVcWJ0pFTc or the world’s deepest scuba dive https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s65T7ZHZp14 • Turns out that trying to precisely detect fire from space is more difficult than “point a camera at it”.

Trying To Fail A Drug Test On Purpose

Check out Trace’s channel! https://www.youtube.com/tracedominguez – start with brain-computer interfaces https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPJDA9t3_m8 or going to space https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jndESKr4SpI • There’s an urban legend that poppy seeds can make you fail a drug test. Is it true? And if so: why? I ate a few bagels, and set out to flunk an opioid test. 👇👇👇 SOURCES and REFERENCES […]

How Weird Is My Audience? I Polled 15,408 People To Find Out

I asked my audience six questions: some sensible, some ridiculous. I compared their results to the public. And the results were… interesting. • Graphics by William Marler: https://wmad.co.uk and his Lungs Podcast: https://lungspodcast.co.uk Audio mix by Graham Haerther Owl photo credit: Amol Mende via Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/brown-and-white-owl-close-up-photography-2683982/ Distracted Boyfriend photo credit: Antonio Guillem via Shutterstock, used […]

The Greatest Title Sequence I’ve Ever Seen

Or: “Tom’s Cockup Trip”. This is a story about a television title sequence, and about me, as a child, watching it. It’s also a warning about how YouTube won’t last forever, and it’s the reason I’m climbing one particular hill in the Lake District. Merry Christmas, Denis Norden. DoP: Simon Handley from Skylark Aerial Photography […]

The Never-Used Road Where The BBC Crash Cars

There are lots of disused and never-used roads and bridges in the world. But the Road to Nowhere in Yate, in south-west England, does still sometimes have traffic driving on it. And crashing on it. History reference: https://www.gazetteseries.co.uk/news/14440281.mp-luke-hall-reveals-plan-to-finally-finish-incomplete-road-to-nowhere-in-yate-30-years-after-work-first-started/ Filmed safely: https://www.tomscott.com/safe/ I’m at https://tomscott.com on Twitter at https://twitter.com/tomscott on Facebook at https://facebook.com/tomscott and on Instagram […]

How Many Languages Are There?

The answer is, of course, a bit more complicated than you might think. • Written with Molly Ruhl and Gretchen McCulloch. Gretchen’s podcast has an episode all about this: https://lingthusiasm.com/post/154520059101/lingthusiasm-episode-1-speaking-a-single-language 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 are affiliate […]

Why The Web Is Such A Mess

Tim Berners-Lee envisioned a “universal information system”. What went wrong? • MORE BASICS: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL96C35uN7xGLLeET0dOWaKHkAlPsrkcha Written with Sean Elliott https://twitter.com/SeanMElliott/ • Camera by Tomek • 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

I Almost Learned To Fly A Jetpack

Gravity Industries make jetpacks. They’re not practical. They’re not meant for mass use. But they are a lot of fun. They asked if I wanted to try flying one. Thanks to https://gravity.co/ – this is not sponsored but, obviously, they did give me a flight in a jetpack. Gravity’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkHr2Z0JWH8KGmQNDp4QXLw Pilot Sam landing […]

Five Things You Can’t Do On British Television

Pull down this description for information on all the shows I mention, plus all my references, and some advice if you’re looking to subtitle your videos! 🔤🔤 SUBTITLES 🔤🔤 15% of my viewers watch with subtitles! They’re helpful for folks without headphones, or in loud environments, or who can’t hear well, or who just like […]

The Pumps That Must Run Forever, Or Part Of Germany Floods

The Ruhr Valley, in north-west Germany, is an industrial coal-mining area. And because of that kilometre-deep mining, parts of it have sunk, the drainage patterns have changed: and now, if the pumps of Emschergenossenschaft ever stop, quite a few towns and cities will end up flooded. Filmed safely in September 2020: https://www.tomscott.com/safe/ REFERENCES: https://www.derwesten.de/region/rhein-und-ruhr/wenn-die-pumpen-stillstaenden-id12358775.html https://fxreflects.blogspot.com/2008/12/ruhr-valley-secrets-richard-serras.html […]

My Unlicensed Hovercraft Bar Is Technically Legal

If you want to sell alcohol in England, you need a license. But the Licensing Act 2003 has some unusual exceptions. • Thanks to Marc and the team from the Axceler-8 Hovercraft Centre: http://hovercraftcentre.co.uk/ • Behind the scenes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQXqkBiqRCI Licensing Act 2003: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/17/contents Filmed safely: https://www.tomscott.com/safe/ Camera: Matt Gray https://mattg.co.uk Logistics and original idea: Jonty […]

It’s pronounced GIF.

Is there a “right” way to pronounce it? And why is it so complicated? • Written with Molly Ruhl and Gretchen McCulloch. Gretchen’s podcast has an episode all about this: https://lingthusiasm.com/post/180153994181/lingthusiasm-episode-26-why-do-c-and-g-come-in 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 are […]

The Theme Park Inside An Old Nuclear Power Plant

Wunderland Kalkar, near the German-Dutch border, is a family amusement park… inside a nuclear power plant that was never turned on. Thanks to all the team at the park! Their web site is at https://www.wunderlandkalkar.eu/en The video from Zwentendorf: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUVZbBBHrI4 Edited by Michelle Martin (@mrsmmartin) Filmed safely: https://www.tomscott.com/safe/ I’m at https://tomscott.com on Twitter at https://twitter.com/tomscott […]

We Built A Lie-Detector Skeleton From 1927

Happy October. Thanks to Daniel, Tom, and Chloe, their channels are below! • Get CuriosityStream + Nebula and my Original for just $2.99/month here: https://curiositystream.com/tomscott Thanks to Charles Yarnold who built the Crime-Solving Skeleton: he’s a creative technologist who can build all sorts of odd things! https://charlesyarnold.co.uk/ Thanks to the three folks who faced the […]

How Binary Search Makes Computers Much, Much Faster

Featuring binary versus linear search, and non-clustered indexes. Uh, indices. However you want to say it. • MORE BASICS: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL96C35uN7xGLLeET0dOWaKHkAlPsrkcha Written with Sean Elliott https://twitter.com/SeanMElliott/ • Camera by Tomek • 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

The Tiny Monorails That Once Carried James Bond

The Roadmachines Mono-Rail may have been the only truly useful, fit-for-purpose monorail in the world. Of the hundreds that were built, most were never meant for passengers. But they did carry a couple of famous people in their time, including a certain secret agent… Thank you to the staff and volunteers at the Amberley Museum […]

Would You Swim In Power Plant Wastewater?

Normally, the answer would be no. But in these very limited circumstances, at Iceland’s Blue Lagoon, you can swim in geothermal power plant wastewater, and it’s even healthy: although the marketing material doesn’t usually mention it. Here’s a story about geothermal energy, cheap heat, and how to keep some ducks warm. Sources: https://www.c40.org/case_studies/the-worlds-largest-geothermal-heating-system-saves-up-to-4m-tons-co2-annually https://www.verkis.com/projects/utilities/water-supply-systems/nr/982 https://nea.is/geothermal/direct-utilization/heat-pumps/ […]

1,204,986 Votes Decided: What Is The Best Thing?

Sometimes, you regret asking a question. • Win your Ultimate Tech Bundle by entering Fasthosts’ Techie Test here: https://www.fasthosts.co.uk/tomscott Thanks to Graham Haerther for the main audio mix, and for recovering the terrible sound in my echo-filled flat! (For the folks asking: I’m not planning to release the ranked list — partly because “ranked list […]

DISCONNECTED: The Champion of Champions Grand Final

The three players who’ve already won come back to the tower for one final battle. One of them will leave the Champion of Champions: and two will be Disconnected. AD: White Light provided the SmartStage studio facilities and crew! You can find out more about their technology here: https://tinyurl.com/y7dxo2gz And disguise connected up all the […]

Swimming Between Two Continents, Debunked

Silfra, in Þingvellir National Park in Iceland, is where the Eurasian and North American continental plates are dividing. It’s a crack in the earth where you can snorkel or dive between the continents. Well, sort of. As ever, it’s a bit more complicated than that. Þingvellir geology: https://www.thingvellir.is/en/history-nature/nature/geologic-history/ https://notendur.hi.is/oi/geology_of_thingvellir.htm Þingvellir history: https://www.thingvellir.is/en/history-nature/history/ An interoduction to […]

DISCONNECTED with Vanessa from Braincraft, Kati Morton and Jarvis Johnson

Vanessa, Kati and Jarvis are the final three players on the broadcast tower, playing a quiz where if you bluff well enough, you don’t even need to know the answers. AD: White Light provided the SmartStage studio facilities and crew! You can find out more about their technology here: https://tinyurl.com/y7dxo2gz And disguise connected up all […]

Which Is “Bouba”, and Which Is “Kiki”?

Sooner or later, I was going to get around to this: it’s one of the most famous experiments in linguistics. • Written with Molly Ruhl and Gretchen McCulloch. Gretchen’s podcast has an episode all about this: https://lingthusiasm.com/post/175127434871/lingthusiasm-episode-21-what-words-sound-spiky Gretchen’s book BECAUSE INTERNET, all about the evolution of internet language, is available: 🇺🇸 US: https://amzn.to/30tLpjT 🇨🇦 CA: […]

DISCONNECTED with Alec of Technology Connections, Sally Le Page, and Arun from mrwhosetheboss

Alec, Sally and Arun join me at the top of the virtual tower for a game where it doesn’t matter if you’re wrong… as long as no-one calls you on it. AD: White Light provided the SmartStage studio facilities and crew! You can find out more about their technology here: https://tinyurl.com/y7dxo2gz And disguise connected up […]

DISCONNECTED with Jaiden Animations, Ellen Rose and Hank Green

I invited Jaiden, Ellen and Hank to play a trivia quiz! The sort of quiz where you can get away with wrong answers… if nobody spots them. And since they couldn’t be there in person, I’ve got a massive virtual set. Too many wrong answers, and our players will be Disconnected. AD: White Light provided […]

The Part Of Britain That Rises And Falls Twice A Day

Cornwall rises and falls by a few centimetres, twice a day. I didn’t believe that when I read it. In this video: “ocean tide loading”: why, how, and does it actually matter? Thanks to Prof. Peter Clarke, who is a professor of geodesy, not geodisy. Apologies for the typo! https://www.staff.ncl.ac.uk/peter.clarke/ References: Francis and Mazzega (1990), […]

Why You Should Turn On Two Factor Authentication

The short answer is: “because it’ll make things more secure”. The long answer involves Ronald Reagan. • MORE BASICS: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL96C35uN7xGLLeET0dOWaKHkAlPsrkcha Written with Sean Elliott https://twitter.com/SeanMElliott/ • Camera by Tomek • Graphics by William Marler https://wmad.co.uk Filmed at the Centre for Computing History, Cambridge: http://www.computinghistory.org.uk/ Their current fundraiser: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/computermuseum Image of Dr Corbató courtesy MIT CSAIL, […]

For 21 Years, No-One In Britain Knew How Long An Inch Was

In 1834, Parliament burned down, and the Standards of Measurement were melted or destroyed. So when there’s no agreed-upon standard for length: how do you fix it? Also: how you can still publicly check the length of your sandwich. Filmed safely: https://www.tomscott.com/safe/ There’s a correction to this video: the fraction on screen at 00:49 should […]

The Village That The Luftwaffe Bombed By Mistake

Linby is a small village in Nottinghamshire, England. It wouldn’t have much strategic value… unless some commander didn’t read their map properly. Here’s a local legend, with a few questions about it. Edited by Michelle Martin https://twitter.com/mrsmmartin Thanks to historian Maureen Newton, to this transcription of the HO 203 National Archives database: http://www.warstateandsociety.com/Bombing-Britain – and […]

A Million Dollars vs A Billion Dollars, Visualized: A Road Trip

There are lots of ways to compare a million to a billion, but most of them use volume. And I think that’s a mistake, because volume just isn’t something the human brain is great at. So instead, here’s the difference between a million and a billion, in a more one-dimensional way: distance. REFERENCES: Humphrey Yang’s […]

Why You Can Spot Bad Green Screen

Green screen looks terrible sometimes. Here’s why. • Get a 30-day free trial of CuriosityStream, including access to Nebula and my original series, here: https://curiositystream.com/tomscott Animated by William Marler: https://wmad.co.uk Sound mix by Graham Haerther: https://haerther.net 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

I Asked 64,182 People About “Jingle Bells, Batman Smells”. Here’s What I Found Out.

Thanks to Jack from Jacksfilms on piano: https://youtube.com/jacksfilms • And thanks to everyone who answered! Sources and a data download are in the description. History sources: https://www.cracked.com/blog/the-secret-true-history-jingle-bells-batman-smells/ https://www.cbr.com/jingle-bells-batman-smells-secret-origin/ Data spreadsheet link: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1bVUdszCBsWn5ez9FPFCioirdyNeZu3ctvNYShExpTQo Audio mix by Graham Haerther: https://haerther.net 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

The World’s First Internet Bench

In the Abbey Gardens of Bury St Edmunds, in a quiet corner of a park, sits the World’s First Internet Bench. Well, sort of. It’s been nearly twenty years, and it’s arguable whether it ever did the job in the first place… Edited by Michelle Martin, https://twitter.com/mrsmmartin SOURCES: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/1475654.stm https://www.theregister.com/2001/08/10/vandals_and_phreakers_plague_msn/ Archive images courtesy Andrew Parsons […]

How England’s Oldest Road Was Nearly Lost Forever

The Icknield Way, in south-east England, is a road and footpath that’s been part of the landscape for millennia. But if parts of it hadn’t been legally marked down, then those parts would have become private land, gone forever. Who has the right to walk where? The Ramblers’ Don’t Lose Your Way project: https://www.ramblers.org.uk/dontloseyourway/ “Stories […]

The Worst Typo I Ever Made

When ‘undo’ won’t do. • Sponsored by Dashlane, the password manager. Get a 30-day free trial at https://www.dashlane.com/tomscott • 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 Audio mix by Graham Haerther https://haerther.net/ 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

Ə: The Most Common Vowel in English

“Schwa” is the most common vowel in English. Every English speaker uses it, all the time, but most people have never heard of it. • Written with Molly Ruhl and Gretchen McCulloch. Gretchen’s podcast Lingthusiasm is at http://lingthusiasm.com/ Gretchen’s book BECAUSE INTERNET, all about the evolution of internet language, is available: 🇺🇸 US: https://amzn.to/30tLpjT 🇨🇦 […]