Japanese train barks and snorts to protect deer from harm

January 18, 2018 by  
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Researchers from the Railway Technical Research Institute in Japan have equipped a train with a speaker that plays the sounds of dogs barking and deer snorting to protect deer from harm. A three-second deer snort is played first to catch the attention of any nearby deer, followed by 20 seconds of dog barking to scare the animals away. So far, the late-night tests of the anti-deer device have proven successful, resulting in a reduction in deer sightings by half. If further evidence supports the practice, it may be adopted more broadly, though the deer-dog combo noise would likely not be blasted in residential areas. Deer fatalities by train have proven to be a challenge because the animals are attracted to train tracks. To meet their iron dietary needs, deer lick the tracks to pick up iron filings that have formed through friction between the train wheels and the tracks. The transport ministry of Japan reports that in 2016, there were 613 cases of trains hitting deer and other wild animals, a record high number, with each collision resulting in delays of 30 minutes or more. Related: Utah plans $5 million wildlife bridge over deadly I-80 highway There have been several attempts to make railroads less attractive spots for deer, including spraying lion feces along the tracks. This plan was abandoned after rain washed away the animal waste products almost immediately. Another more successful plan involved the use of ultrasonic waves, projected when a train is coming to deter animals , then dropped when the coast is clear to regulate the use of the train tracks. Trials of this technology resulted in a notable decrease in deer deaths. For this, railway employee Yuki Hikita was awarded Japan’s Good Design Award in December 2017. Via BBC Images via Depositphotos (1)

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Japanese train barks and snorts to protect deer from harm

Norway shoots for 100% electric short-haul flights by 2040

January 18, 2018 by  
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More than 50 percent of new car sales in Norway were electric vehicles in December, according to Electrek . Now the country aims to take the electric revolution to the skies. Norwegian airports public operator Avinor wants all their short-haul flights to be electric in just over 20 years. CEO Dag Falk-Petersen told Agence France Presse (AFP) they’re hoping “to be the first in the world” to switch over to electric air transportation . Every short-haul airliner should be electric by 2040 in Norway, Avinor said this week. Falk-Petersen told AFP, “We think that all flights lasting up to 1.5 hours can be flown by aircraft that are entirely electric.” He said that would include all domestic flights and trips to nearby Scandinavian capitals. Related: Eviation Aircraft unveils all-electric plane with 600-mile range 2.4 percent of Norway’s greenhouse gas emissions come from domestic air transportation – and when international routes are taken into account the figure is over double that. Falk-Petersen told the AFP, “When we will have reached our goal, air travel will no longer be a problem for the climate , it will be a solution.” There are other benefits to electric flight besides lowered carbon emissions – such as reduced operating costs. Falk-Petersen also said electric flight would halve noise levels at least. Avinor will explore intermediary technologies, like hybrid fuel-electric options or biofuels , before making the switch to all-electric. The company recently teamed up with the Norwegian Air Sports Federation to purchase the first electric aircraft in Norway from Pipistrel . The Alpha Electro G2 is a two-seater aircraft with a range of 130 kilometers, or just over 80 miles. Falk-Petersen said in Avinor’s press release on the purchase that lower operating costs could have an impact on ticket prices as well. AFP reported Avinor also aims to start a tender offer to trial a commercial route with a 19-seat electric plane beginning in 2025. Via Agence France Presse and Electrek Images via Avinor ( 1 , 2 )

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Norway shoots for 100% electric short-haul flights by 2040

Former Angry Bird marketing guru proposes 80-mile underwater tunnel to link two cities

January 18, 2018 by  
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Peter Vesterbacka, the former marketing chief for the smash hit mobile game Angry Birds, has embraced a new challenge: the construction of an 80-mile-long tunnel between Helsinki , Finland and Tallinn , Estonia. This tunnel would facilitate a high-speed rail connection between the capital of Finland, an artificial island in the Baltic Sea that Vesterbacka plans on building, and the capital of Estonia. “Digging is just a few billion [euros],” Vesterbacka told Buzzfeed News . “Let’s say $15 billion and then it’s done. It’s pretty big.” Big is perhaps an understatement, not only in the resources required and procedural obstacles but in the potential economic impact of linking these two historic cities into one metropolitan area. Vesterbacka was inspired to revisit the old idea of connecting Helsinki and Tallinn, first proposed in 1871 as a bridge built with the assistance of massive balloons , during a May 2016 conference in Tallinn. “When Finns and Estonians get together, they typically start talking about the need to cooperate more,” he said . “It happened again and then I thought that OK, I will finally build it. Let’s walk the walk.” Vesterbacka then stood up, walked to Marina Kaljurand, then-minister of foreign affairs for Estonia, and told her that he and his friends now planned to build a tunnel . “I looked at him quite skeptically, as an enthusiastic and very naive Finn. But when he introduced his background, he started to sound more believable,” Kaljurand told BuzzFeed News . Related: Finland’s longest bridge will be a beautiful pedestrian and cyclist superhighway Admittedly, Vesterbacka had not entirely thought his plan through. For example, he later learned that the world’s largest traffic tunnel, the 35.5-mile-long Gotthard tunnel in the Swiss Alps, took two decades to finish and only recently opened in 2016. Nonetheless, Vesterbacka remains confident. “Building a tunnel is different than building a game, but not that different,” he said . “It’s about making things happen, bringing the right people together.” To this end, Vesterbacka has enlisted the services of two engineering firms with tunnel-building experience. Seventy percent of the project’s funding would come from undisclosed Chinese sources while the rest would be sourced from bank-run public pension funds. Even as the process of securing permits, funding, and a solid plan are daunting, Vesterbacka sees his initiative as a patriotic endeavor. “It is important for Europe as well. France, Germany, and the UK are totally incapable of doing anything. It is very important for the Nordic countries to step up and show the leadership,” he said . Via BuzzFeed News Images via Depositphotos (1)

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Former Angry Bird marketing guru proposes 80-mile underwater tunnel to link two cities

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