High-frequency traders have a few tactics on stock exchanges: but simply put, they gather price information faster than anyone else, sometimes even faster than the markets themselves, and use that to make a tiny profit many, many, many times. There are all sorts of solutions: but it turns out there’s a simpler one that involves
The Multi Axis Trainer, or MAT, is an icon of space exploration and astronaut training. But other than spinning round kids at Space Camp: what’s it actually used for? Thanks to Moriah and all the team at Space Camp! You can find out more about their programs for kids and for adults at https://www.spacecamp.com/ Edited
This week, TV star Noel Edmonds endorsed the “EMP Pad”. He said it could help with cancer — and the company behind that claim denied it right away. Here’s why. (Pull down the description for a full bibliography!) I’m at http://tomscott.com on Instagram and Snapchat as tomscottgo on Facebook at http://facebook.com/tomscott on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tomscott
(EDIT: Of all the things not to fact-check! It’s UTC, not UCT. Which is short for Coordinated Universal Time, because reasons. Well, that’s embarrassing.) http://tomscott.com – http://twitter.com/tomscott – There’s a leap second tonight! And while there’s not the Y2K-scale of disaster being predicted for it, there are probably going to be a few problems. Here’s
http://tomscott.com – http://twitter.com/tomscott – In Spijkenisse, in the Netherlands, are a set of small bridges that most of Europe should recognise instantly: because they’re the fictional ones from their banknotes, made real as a wonderful piece of public art and infrastructure.
http://tomscott.com – http://twitter.com/tomscott – It should never have happened. Defending against cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks is Web Security 101. And yet, today, there was a self-retweeting tweet that hit a heck of a lot of people – anyone using Tweetdeck, Twitter’s “professional” client. How did it work? Time to break down the code. (Remember the
http://tomscott.com – http://twitter.com/tomscott – Back in the Caledonian orogeny, 400 million years ago, two bits of the Earth’s crust began to collide. The result, a long time later, was the Central Pangaean Mountains: and now, you can find their remnants all over the globe.
If you’re sitting on a boat in Lake Constance, are you in three countries at once? Or just in one? Does it even matter? Because strangely, it turns out there are parts of the world where no-one really minds when international borders are not just ignored, but are completely undefined. SOURCES: Smith, B. (2001). Fiat
Technically, the Inchindown oil tanks in Invergordon, Scotland, have the world’s longest reverberation, but that makes a much worse title. We tested them with a loud noise and some very sensitive microphones. Matt’s musical experiments: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzMVJkTjKNc Behind the scenes on the Matt and Tom channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4qplnaPjbk Thanks to Allan, Alan and Preston for all their
As far as I can find, no-one has actually made a International Standard Cup of Tea – ISO 3103 or BS 6008 – for the internet before. Lots of people have talked about it, but that’s easy. Making one? That requires precision… and some specialist equipment. You can buy a professional tea tasting set from
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
http://tomscott.com – http://twitter.com/tomscott – A guide for the newly empowered, courtesy of the Superhero Help Academic Foundation Trust, Education Division. Sure, you could jump a few places and fight crime: or you could take over the world. Thanks to YouTube Space London, who offered me time on their science lab set — and thanks to
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 store, we overloaded Stuart’s personal web site, http://www.stuartsemple.com, within a few minutes…!] (I reached out to Anish Kapoor’s studio twice for comment; I
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 at the British
http://tomscott.com/ – @tomscott – Twitter was set up to support 140 characters. And in the English alphabet, that’s easy to understand: a character is a letter, number, space or punctuation mark. People more or less agree with computers there. And if it was twenty years ago, that’s exactly how the system would work. That far,
Britain has some of the strongest product placement rules in the world – and it means YouTube vloggers have to declare their advertising before you click on the video. Why? And what did it mean for our version of The Price is Right? Thank you to Rob (http://twitter.com/readwriteerase) for stepping in as camera operator at
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/thisisguido Director of Photography: Ciaran O’Brien https://twitter.com/ciaranobrien Featuring: dodie https://youtube.com/doddleoddle Dancers: Deepraj Singh Annie
Many people sent me this story: it covers my favourite topics of power grids and temporal anomalies. But when the mainstream press have already covered it, how could I add something more? The answer: by adding another pet topic, Unnecessary British Patriotism. And a teasmade. Press release: https://www.entsoe.eu/news-events/announcements/announcements-archive/Pages/News/2018-03-06-press-release-continuing-frequency-deviation-in-the-continental-european-power-system.aspx Teasmade: http://amzn.to/2oYrvxb [aff. link] Update, April 8th
http://tomscott.com – @tomscott – It’s not that Hawaiian has a completely different word for Christmas — it’s just that Kalikimaka is the closest that Hawaiian can possibly get to the word Christmas. Videos linked: Mele Kalikimaka by Bing Crosby: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEvGKUXW0iI Skwerl: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vt4Dfa4fOEY
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 can: that seems reasonable, and FizzBuzz is one of the more common tests. Even now, interviewers
Inuktitut syllabics are brilliant. A writing system that’s not an alphabet, but something really clever: an abugida, one designed from scratch for a language very unlike anything European. [Pull down the description!] Context and history: https://www.noslangues-ourlanguages.gc.ca/collaborateurs-contributors/articles/inuk-eng.html Aboriginal syllabic scripts I’m here because of Chris Hadfield’s Generator Arctic – go check out everyone else who was
http://tomscott.com – @tomscott – Buffer exploits are one of the basic bugs of computer science. They’re responsible for glitches in games, for all sorts of viruses and exploits, and any number of technical disasters. Here’s the basics of how they work, and a non-technical breakdown of Heartbleed, this week’s rather startling attack.
http://tomscott.com – @tomscott – Remember the “dumbest dot-com”, AllAdvantage? They paid you to surf the web, at least for a while. And one day, they announced that they were incredibly popular in rich Beverly Hills, California. The reason connects them to the US Postal Service… and Jason Priestley.
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 Victoria Harrison for