Hail Cannons and Operation Popeye: Citation Needed 8×04

From Tom Scott. No, a hail cannon isn’t for if you just want to accelerate a lot of hail really quickly. This week: pseudoscience and real science! BONUS MATERIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgerCSpxSWo 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…

Why Computers Can’t Count Sometimes

From Tom Scott. Sometimes, numbers on sites like YouTube and Twitter jump up and down; subscriber counts lag, like-counts bounce all over the place. Why is it so hard for computers to count? To answer that, we need to talk about threading, eventual consistency, and caching. Thanks to my proofreading team, and to Tomek on…

Juan Pujol Garcia and Thirtynineitude: Citation Needed 8×03

From Tom Scott. Our traditional Wartime Badass Episode this week, albeit a wartime badass whose weapon included expense reports. BONUS MATERIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFFoDDhl9DA 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 More from us: http://techdif.co.uk

Britain’s Largest Battery Is Actually A Lake

From Tom Scott. 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!…

The Norwegian Butter Crisis and the Ark of Taste: Citation Needed 8×02

From Tom Scott. This time, we’re taking on smør-panik, food politics, and – for the second week running – brandy. BONUS MATERIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqOWh0lzKOQ 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 More from us:…

Why Do London’s Manholes Keep Exploding?

From Tom Scott. Every month or so, somewhere in London, a manhole explodes. It’s so common that it doesn’t make the news unless it’s spectacular or someone gets injured. Here’s why, complete with gratuitous pyrotechnics. Filmed by Perspective Pictures Pyrotechnics by Paul at Darkstar Pyrotechnics News articles: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/11169183/Explosion-in-city-street.html https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/pavement-explodes-yards-from-pedestrians-and-cars-in-old-street-a3568676.html https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/819198/london-manhole-cover-explodes-old-street I’m at http://tomscott.com on Twitter…

The Battle of Fishguard and “Brandy”: Citation Needed 8×01

From Tom Scott. The final season begins! With a traditional tale of a military mistake and a wheel that spins and lands on France. BONUS MATERIAL: https://youtu.be/407IeeVA3C0 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…

᚛ᚈᚑᚋ ᚄᚉᚑᚈᚈ᚜ and ᚛ᚑᚌᚐᚋ᚜

From Tom Scott. Ogham is an old Irish script made by carving notches into stones. It fell out of use more than a millennium ago – but it’s an interesting exception to a linguistics and computer-science rule that I’d never even realised existed. Let’s talk about the Ogham Space Mark. Thanks to all the team…

If Educational Videos Were Filmed Like Music Videos

From Tom Scott. There’s a reason music videos look strange. I could just talk about framerate, cuts and continuity… or I could get an actual music video director. And a leaf blower. Directed by: Sammy Paul https://twitter.com/icoepr Produced by: Cambria Bailey-Jones https://twitter.com/cambriabailey Guy Larsen https://twitter.com/itsguido Director of Photography: Ciaran O’Brien https://twitter.com/ciaranobrien Featuring: dodie https://youtube.com/doddleoddle Dancers:…

How The First Ever Telecoms Scam Worked

From Tom Scott. In the 1830s, two French brothers, François and Joseph Blanc, pulled off the first telecoms scam in history. The optical telegraph, a line of semaphore towers stretching from hilltop to hilltop, was for government use only: but something as simple as the law wasn’t going to get in their way. Thanks to…

The Collapsible Crash Test Robot Car

From Tom Scott. The Global Vehicle Target is the new standard for testing autonomous driving and crash test systems. To cameras and radar, it looks like a car: but if you hit it, it’ll fly apart. So if your emergency braking doesn’t quite work… well, this is what happens. Thanks to everyone at Thatcham Research!…