The One-Lane Bridge Shared By Cars And Trains

From Tom Scott. Near Hindon, on the South Island of New Zealand, there’s one of only two remaining one-lane road-rail bridges in the country. No barriers, no lights, no sirens: if you’re driving across this, you need to make sure to listen out for the train horn. Thanks to all the Dunedin Railways team! You…

What Counts As The Steepest Street In The World?

From Tom Scott. Baldwin Street in Dunedin, New Zealand, has the Guinness World Record for “steepest paved road over a continuous distance of more than ten metres”. Which is enough to bring in quite a few tourists. What’s the history? And what counts as “steepest street”? Thanks to Mayor Dave Cull and to Gary Blackman.…

The Circle Visible From Space

From Tom Scott. Mount Taranaki, on the North Island of New Zealand, is a large-scale circle that’s visible from space: a stratovolcano with six miles of forest around it. But that didn’t happen naturally. Oh, and there’s a good chance that, in the next fifty years or so, it might explode. GOOD VIDEOS ON NATURAL…

The First 3D Color X-Rays

From Tom Scott. At the University of Canterbury, in Christchurch, New Zealand, the team at Mars Bioimaging are using detector equipment originally developed for the Large Hadron Collider, and putting it to a very different use: medical imaging that allows 3D, false-color images inside the human body. Thanks to the Mars Bioimaging team: https://www.marsbioimaging.com/ Edited…

The Brain-Eating Amoebas of Kerosene Creek

From Tom Scott. Kerosene Creek is a natural hot spring near Rotorua, on the North Island of New Zealand. And there have been official warnings for years: don’t put your head under water. It turns out that “brain-eating amoebas”, naegleria fowleri, are a real, if rare, thing. Thank you to Associate Professor Siouxsie Wiles! Here…

The Hundred-Tonne Robots That Help Keep New Zealand Running

From Tom Scott. The Ports of Auckland are automating their straddle carriers, which might not seem like much: until you phrase it as “hundred-tonne autonomous robots guided by nanosecond-precision tracking”. More about the Ports of Auckland: http://www.poal.co.nz/ Edited by Michelle Martin (@mrsmmartin) I’m at http://tomscott.com on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tomscott on Facebook at http://facebook.com/tomscott and on…

Blindfold Balancing in the Spinning Space Chair

From Tom Scott. The Multi-Axes Rotation and Tilt Device (MART) is used for spatial orientation experiments: it’s a chair balanced on a metaphorical knife-edge, powered by precise and fast motors. And my job was to not fall over. More about the Ashton Graybiel Spatial Orientation Laboratory: https://www.brandeis.edu/graybiel/ More about the MART: https://www.brandeis.edu/graybiel/facilities/mart.html More about Vivek’s…

The Library of Rare Colors

From Tom Scott. The Forbes Pigment Collection at the Harvard Art Museums is a collection of pigments, binders, and other art materials for researchers to use as standards: so they can tell originals from restorations from forgeries. It’s not open to the public, because it’s a working research library — and because some of the…

The Last Play-For-Cash Fascination Parlor

From Tom Scott. On Nantasket Beach in the seaside town of Hull, Massachusetts, sits the last play-for-cash Fascination Parlor in the world. It’s a century-old arcade game, made of relays that click and buzz. There are a few other parlors left in the world: but this is the only one where you’re playing for actual…