Tom Scott

Latest articles

What Color Is My Hoodie?

Grey? Blue? Purple? It can look different, depending on the context. Let's talk about color perception, color temperature, and the history of laundry. Atmospheric opacity image from ESA/Hubble (F. Granato): https://www.eso.org/public/images/atm_opacity/ - image licensed under CC by 4.0 - https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ The optical...

It's like a spaceship for sharks.

"Life support system" were the three key words that convinced me to do a video about an aquarium. Because yes: behind the scenes at The Deep, an aquarium in Hull, there's a life support system, and it deserves that name. Thanks to all the team at The Deep! More about them: https://www.thedeep.co.uk/ or on their channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/thedeephull...

The Difference Between High Explosives and Low Explosives

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...

Why Shakespeare Could Never Have Been French

Shakespeare sounds a certain way. Why? And why could it only work in English? • Written with Gretchen McCulloch of Lingthusiasm! Her podcast has an episode about how translators approach texts: https://lingthusiasm.com/post/632086691477323776/lingthusiasm-episode-49-how-translators-approach Gretchen's book BECAUSE INTERNET, all about the evolution...

Why No-One Will Save Covehithe, The Village That Will Soon Crumble Into The Sea

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/...

Why Real Explosions Don't Look Like Movie Explosions

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...

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 ...

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...

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 https://www.tomscott.com/ Script assistant...

Why 18th-Century Firefighters Let Some Buildings Burn

In the 18th century, firefighters weren't always meant to fight fires. If your building didn't have a fire mark, they might just let it burn. The reason: fire insurance, and fire insurance companies. [CORRECTION: the plaques on the wall at 1:10 are parish boundary markers, not fire marks! The facts and words in the video are true, but those markers...

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