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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...
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/...
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...
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/wat...
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...
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://ww...
Citation Needed : Season 7
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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 Rouwenhors...
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...
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...
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...
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,...
Inside The Giant American Freezer Filled With Polar Ice
Welcome to the US National Ice Core Laboratory in Denver, Colorado, where there's a giant freezer filled with 20km of ice cores from Greenland and the Antarctic. Here's why. Thanks to everyone...
What Counts as a Mountain?
I'm at the top of Mount Evans, more than 14000 feet - 4.3km - above sea level. This is definitely a mountain: but why doesn't the smaller summit next to it also count? Let's talk about prominence....
FizzBuzz: One Simple Interview Question
There are a lot of opinions on how to hire coders, and most of them are terrible. The opinions, that is, not the coders. But a basic filter test to make sure someone can do what they say they...
Connectome Scanning: Looking at the Brain's Wiring
There's an MRI scanner in Cardiff that can look at how the brain's wired up: your connectome. It's nowhere close to science fiction singularity brain-uploading, but it might well be part of...
I Can't Show You How Pink This Pink Is
I can show a brighter pink. I can show a more saturated pink. But I can't show you this pink. Not quite. More about Stuart Semple and his pigments: https://www.culturehustle.com/ [that's his...
Why Old Screens Make A ᴴᶦᵍʰ ᴾᶦᵗᶜʰᵉᵈ Noise
Last week I made a video surrounded by old-school CRT monitors and televisions - cathode ray tubes. And I completely forgot to remove the high pitched whine they produce. Here's why: why they...
Benjamin Rush and Inventing the Bucket: Citation Needed 6x06
In the season finale: Gary gets nauseous, Matt gets accused of being a minor royal, and Chris pulls a face. This time, we're back at the founding of America, talking about a man who helped,...
Why The Government Shouldn't Break WhatsApp
Encryption backdoors - breaking WhatsApp and iMessage's security to let the government stop Bad Things - sounds like a reasonable idea. Here's why it isn't. A transcript of this video's available...
Acoustic Kitty and Bat Bombs: Citation Needed 6x05
"That is horrific," says Matt at one point during this episode. He's not wrong. We delve into unconventional Cold War tactics, and some surprising - and doomed - members of the animal kingdom....
An Elevator That Actually Goes Sideways
I've filmed a paternoster lift; I've filmed the strange Genoa elevator that sort-of goes sideways. So when I got an email from Thyssenkrupp, an elevator company, saying "come and see our Multi...
Julie D'Aubigny and Dueling Scars: Citation Needed 6x04
In this episode: four men from England, talking about a woman from France. Nothing can possibly go wrong. BONUS MATERIAL: https://youtu.be/KNq4PdbnDtg FULL PLAYLIST: https://www.youtube.com/playli...
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