It’s extremely cold out, or at least it is here in Wisconsin.
And we’re due for some mixed precipitation this week, which is a big headache for drivers.
Rain comes down and then temperatures drop and we’ve got very slick roads.
Many communities put down road salt to make the roads safer, but too much salt is bad for the environment.
There are alternatives, like mixing beet juice with the salt brine, but they often have eco-consequences of their own.
Scientists at Washington State University may have found a better way to take the ice off the roads: a solution extracted from grape skins.
The study found the grape solution was more effective at removing ice, while also leaving less of an effect on nearby bodies of water.
And the solution did less damage to road surfaces, which is a big deal given that we spend about $5 billion a year on repairs to roads that have been snowed on and salted.
The research team says their system doesn’t just work on grapes, either.
It can use a wide range of local agricultural waste, depending on what’s grown in an area.
Of course, if they needed to drive off to get more raw material, they wouldn’t have to worry about icy roads.
There’s no musical instrument quite like the theremin; that’s the instrument where you wave your hand above the device and it makes spooky, sci-fi sounds.
A YouTube channel called Cubitsocks has turned the spookiness of the theremin up so high that it’s kind of horrifying. The body of their theremin… is a creepy baby doll head.
With glowing eyes and a very unsettling smile.
That said, they do get a pretty great theremin sound of it.
Sustaining roads with grape and agricultural waste (Washington State University)
Playing the Baby Head THEREMIN (Cubitsocks on YouTube)
Photo by jnet via Flickr/Creative Commons