kottke.org posts about Tom Scott

No Cars Allowed in This Swiss Town (Except Tiny Electric Ones)

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 14, 2023

Tom Scott visits the small Swiss ski town of Zermatt, where petrol cars have never been allowed. In the 1980s, the town skipped right from horse-drawn carriages to locally-built electric vehicles, which are made pretty much by hand and are expensive — but they are also easy to maintain and repair and can last for 30-50 years. Because space is at a premium, the town tightly controls who can own a vehicle and most of allowed vehicles are delivery vans, public transportation, or other vehicles with a communal use.

Can You Turn the Bay of Fundy’s High Tides into Clean Energy?

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 15, 2022

Canada’s Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world, with a difference between low and high tides reaching more than 50 feet in some areas. That’s a lot of water in motion:

In a single tidal cycle of just over 12 hours, about 110 billion tons of water flows in and out of the Bay of Fundy. That sounds like a lot. To get a handle on just how much it is, it is equivalent to the combined total 24 hr flow of all the rivers of the world!

With that much flowing water, you should be able to generate a massive amount of hydroelectric power. But as Tom Scott explains in this succinct video, the problem is that there’s almost too much energy to harness — the tide is so strong that it just destroys turbines.

See also Bay of Fundy Extreme Tides Time Lapse.

The Giant Archive Hidden Under the British Countryside

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 30, 2022

This is very cool: Tom Scott (who you may remember from The Giant Chainmail Box That Stops a House From Dissolving) visits an underground storage facility operated in a working salt mine by a company called Deepstore.

DeepStore was set up in the 1990s because we’ve got the perfect atmosphere down here to store items. The salt creates a naturally occurring dry atmosphere. And of course with the racking, nothing actually comes into contact with the salt. Because this is relatively a shallow mine — we’re around 150 metres, 400-500 feet — and because of the salt bed, it has created this natural ambient temperature of 14-15° along with a relative humidity of 53-55%, which anybody in the archive and storage world knows, naturally occurring, that is absolutely fantastic.

I would love to see more video of just riding through the tunnels in that cavernous place…gonna have to poke around on YouTube to see what I can uncover.

Update: Some more mine storage video here and here. (thx, @four_sides & @zakmahshie)