Wow, we didn’t know that!
We’re not the type of people who claim to know absolutely everything. Actually, it would be embarrassing to admit the last time we won a pub quiz. Regardless, we do love filling our minds with knowledge! That’s why we adore watching all the wonderfully mind-filling videos of incredible educational YouTubers.
One such YouTuber who’s been able to amaze us with every single video is Tom Scott! In his Things You Might Not Know and Amazing Places series, he’s had the uncanny ability to teach us things we don’t know. Because there’s a possibility you might share our cluelessness of the world, we’ve dedicated this article to the seven times Tom has blown our minds with his knowledge!
The vinegar in our fish and chips is fake?
What’s more quintessentially British than a classic fish and chips with a splash of vinegar? The answer is fish and chips with a splash of non-brewed condiment. Yes, we were absolutely stunned when Tom informed us that what we thought was vinegar on our chips is actually an artificial substitute containing ethanoic acid, flavourings and caramel colouring. Tasty…
How do chip shops from around the country get away with it? Tom says that “most people don’t know that this isn’t vinegar” and that Trading Standards have better things to do than to go into every chip shop in the country. Knowing this secret, can you still enjoy your usual at your local fish and chips shop or will you be demanding real vinegar?
America’s very own Stonehenge
How do you build something to last the test of time? During the height of the Cold War in 1980, a group of anonymous American millionaires found inspiration in our Stonehenge and built the Georgia Guidestones. Constructed over 5,000 years ago, the design of the original Stonehenge has proved to be indestructible: it’s survived the extinction of not only the civilisation who built it, but also all memory and record of said people.
Intended to survive the inevitable nuclear holocaust, the American replica is an impressive monolith and shares more than just its appearance with Stonehenge. Like the original, the 17 tonne granite stones are aligned in a way as to act as an astronomical calendar, showing post-apocalyptic survivors the astronomical prowess of the civilisation that came before them. Also aimed at this audience are 10 rules for a future post-apocalyptic society inscribed on the stones in eight languages, with the hope of at least one of the languages surviving the apocalypse to give the best chance of the message surviving.
This kind of reminds us of the Rosetta Stone, does it not?
What’s actually written on the Rosetta Stone?
Everybody knows the huge significance of the Rosetta Stone, which was discovered during Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign in 1799. Written upon it is the same text translated into three ancient languages: Demotic, Ancient Greek and Hieroglyph. Since Ancient Greek is a language that was never forgotten, with this stone Egyptian Hieroglyphs could be deciphered for the first time in the modern age! That is all very interesting, but Tom wonders, “What’s actually on the stone? What’s written here?”
Are you hoping it reveals mysteries of ancient Egyptian life or, perhaps, a description of how the pyramids were built? Well, unfortunately, it informs us of none of that. Rather, it’s just Ancient Egyptian tax paperwork, giving a record of tax exemptions to a certain royal cult.
How to make an International Standard cup of tea!
Milk goes in after the tea, right? Despite this debate having the power to unite a huge collective against the milk-before heretics, according to the official recipe for the International Standard cup of tea, the milk can be added either before or after. In addition to this revelation, there are other procedures on the official International Standard cup of tea recipe you never knew existed! For example, were you aware the optimum tea to water ratio is two grams of tea for every 100mL of boiling water? (Don’t worry if that sounds too exact, for you have ±2% of accuracy to play around with!) In addition, take extra care to make sure the boiling water is poured 4.6mm from the brim!
If this is all too much, Tom wants to remind us that this doesn’t discredit our way of making tea, for it’s only a guide to an infinitely reproducible cup of tea. Tom jokingly tells us to even make our tea “days in advance and warm it up again the microwave!” (Actually, don’t do that. Please, don’t.)
What do your phone and the Vikings have in common?
When you hear the word “Bluetooth”, what pops in your head? Is it high tech wireless earphones, meaning you can wave goodbye to untangling wires? Do you think of futuristic smart wearables, talking on the phone (legally) while driving or even tracking your flock of sheep using Bluetooth beacons? Whatever you think, the word always triggers the grandeur of high technology… Or does it?
You’ll be surprised to find that the word “Bluetooth” originated over a thousand years ago from the Viking era! Harold Bluetooth was a Danish king who united Denmark and Norway, promoting communication between the two peoples. A millennium later, Jim Kardach from Intel was looking for a name for a short-range radio technology that would unite computers and mobile phones. Working alongside a Swedish person who recounted the story of the Viking king, it was decided the technology that would unite our technological devices would carry on Harold Bluetooth’s legacy into the new millennium.
Crosswalks don’t always make you safer
Ever since the third Doctor, Jon Pertwee educated children on the correct way to cross the road in his memorable SPLINK informational film. We’ve been indoctrinated in the road crossing safety superpowers that are given to us by zebra crossings. These safe spaces on the road wrap us in a sense of impunity, for they grant us the legal right of passage over cars while crossing the road. However, Tom informs us that these marked crossings may actually be more dangerous than the jaywalkers they were designed to abolish in the first place.
His video tells us that these crossings give the person crossing the road an illusion of safety, resulting in over confident pedestrians crossing without even looking. Shared spaces, like Exhibition Road in London, have proved to be far safer, because everyone becomes more cautious and more conscious of each other’s location. What’s the lesson to be learnt? Don’t recreate The Beatles’ album artwork at Abby Road because it’s dangerous!
Platform 9 ¾ is actually Platform 8 ¾
Now THIS shocked us! Everyone knows where Platform 9 ¾ from Harry Potter is, right? In-between the platforms 9 and 10 at King’s Cross Station is the magical portal into the Wizarding World that we’ve seen so many times in the cinema. (And also in our friend’s Instagram posts depicting a half disappeared trolley.)
Tom regretfully tells us it’s all a lie! When writing the books, J.K. Rowling accidentally confused Euston Station for King’s Cross and thus the location doesn’t actually exist. The real platforms at King’s Cross are actually very modern looking, and for the films they filmed in-between the much older and grander looking platforms of 3 and 4. The half-disappeared trolley of thousands of Instagram posts are also a lie, lying between platforms 8 and 9. (So everyone should really be tagging Platform 8 ¾ as the location.)
There is good news, however, for the platform numberings are soon to be changed, so the half-disappeared trolly will soon officially be between platforms 9 and 10!
So there you have it…
The seven times Tom Scott blew our minds! Even if your brain is still in one piece, we do hope it’s at least a little more filled and that you’re in the mood for discovering even more about this world.
Keen to discover more with Tom Scott? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered:
- Tom Scott Teases an App
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- Five More of the Best: ACTUAL Prank Videos 2019
- Yearly Round-Up: 2018
- Weekly Round-Up: 15 – 21 October 2018