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Marleen Bos // Courtesy Schiphol Group
Marleen Bos // Courtesy Schiphol Group

Simple Landscaping Tricks Can Make Airports Quieter

Marleen Bos // Courtesy Schiphol Group
Marleen Bos // Courtesy Schiphol Group

Airports are, understandably, noisy places. At 80 feet away, a jet taking off is loud enough to rupture ear drums. The noise from plane traffic at busy airports is a regular complaint among residents who live along flight paths, and can affect people’s health and home values. New generations of planes are getting quieter, but airports still have to find ways of dampening their roars and appeasing neighbors. For Schipol international airport just outside of Amsterdam—one of the busiest in Europe—the solution was a park.

Buitenschot Land Art Park is an 80-acre field that’s specially designed to cut down ambient noise around the airport. Designed by the artist Paul de Kort and H+N+S Landscape Architects, it’s a maze of ridges and troughs inspired by the work of 18th-century German physicist and musician Ernst Chladni. His study of acoustics through the motion of sand on vibrating plates is the foundation of the science of sound. 

Image Credit:Marleen Bos // Courtesy Schiphol Group

Previously, research into the noise around Amsterdam’s airports revealed that noise levels decreased every fall, when the fields around the area had been plowed. The low-frequency noise that comes from planes has long wavelengths, so it can’t be stopped by just one sound barrier. The spread-out furrows of a plowed field, by contrast, were able to absorb some of the sound waves because they exist over long stretches of land. 

A diagram of how the ridges dampen ground noise. Image Credit: Schiphol Group

Sharply carved, 10-foot-high ridges crisscross the park in straight lines, with bike paths and miniature parks set up in the 36-foot valley between them. Because the ridges are spaced about the same as the wavelength of the airport noise, they dampen the sound. The ridges reduce noise by two to three decibels, a seemingly modest decrease, but one that’s a significant step toward the airport’s goal of cutting noise by 10 decibels in the area. 

[h/t: Smithsonian via Gizmodo]

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Animals
Meet Piper: The Border Collie Making a Michigan Airport Safer for Travelers
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Birds may look harmless on solid ground, but in the sky they pose a big threat to any aircraft crossing their path. The Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City, Michigan, uses a low-tech approach to the problem: a border collie named Piper.

Great Big Story profiled Piper and his handler, airport operations supervisor Brian Edwards, in a recent video. Piper’s job as the airport’s wildlife control canine is chasing away large birds that could strike incoming and outgoing planes, potentially causing anything from dents to engine failure. In Michigan, this usually means large waterfowl like ducks and geese, but it can also include crows, gulls, and snowy owls.

After he’s deployed from a moving car, Piper heads for the birds, scattering them away from the tarmac and teaching them to associate the area with predators. Piper is just doing what most border collies would do in the presence of a flock of birds, only in this case he gets to wear stylish protective goggles while following his instincts.

You can watch the full story below.

[h/t Great Big Story]

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travel
How to Win a Year of Free Flights From JetBlue
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JetBlue has an enticing offer for anyone resolving to travel more in 2018: Customers who book a non-refundable flight before December 15 will be automatically entered to win the airline's All You Can Jet Pass, Thrillist reports. That means a full year of free unlimited flights to 100 destinations in the U.S. and beyond.

If you already have, or are planning to, purchase a flight in the first half of December, no further steps are required: You're automatically in the running to receive one of the three available passes. And if you have no upcoming flights to book but a bad case of wanderlust, you’re also invited to enter. To do so, just mail a letter with your full printed name, address, phone numbers, and email address to: All You Can Jet Sweepstakes, Centra 360, 1400 Old Country Road, Suite 417, Westbury, NY 11590.

The randomly selected winner can start flying for free as soon as February 1, 2018.

All You Can Jet Pass flyers won’t be able to book multiple flights departing from the same city on the same day, and change and cancellation fees will still apply. Other than that, they can travel without limitations. Travelers get a complimentary plus-one for each flight they book, and they’re free to change their travel companion from trip to trip. There are zero blackout dates, so even on the busiest travel days of the year, winners can fly without paying a cent.

The free year of travel ends January 31, 2019. If they’re smart with their time, it’s possible for winners to visit every one of JetBlue's 100 destinations, including Jamaica, Los Angeles, and the Dominican Republic, by the time their pass expires. The only thing they'll need to worry about is finding the energy for all that travel.

[h/t Thrillist]

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