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This Tool Lets You Search the Internet by Font

Before you read the first word of a webpage, you may have already made a judgment based on its font. A classic font like Helvetica conveys professionalism, whereas an article written in Papyrus or Comic Sans doesn't help boost its credibility. To get a closer look at how fonts are being used on the Internet, users can search FontReach for data on the top million websites. 

To use the tool, simply type the name of a font into the search bar and FontReach will generate data based on its popularity. For instance, Times Roman can be found on 95 of the top one million websites, and Times New Roman is featured in 37,963. Clicking on a font will show you the top websites that use it (Arial, the number one font, is used by Google, Facebook, and Twitter).

Instead of searching by individual fonts, you can also view their top fonts list for the ultimate ranking. Arial beats out the number two Verdana more than twice over with appearances on 616,190 of the top million sites. The list includes all of the usual suspects, as well as plenty of names you may not recognize, like Lobster, Slick, and Font Awesome.

FontReach was developed by Jesse Chase and Jason Chen. They got the idea while deciding on a new typeface for their website Digital Ocean; they wanted something that was versatile without being too overexposed. Because there wasn't a tool that allowed them to search hard data on web fonts, they went ahead and created their own.

Besides being a valuable tool for web designers, the site can also be used as a source of endless entertainment for the font nerds among us. 

[h/t: Fast Company]

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Design
Forget Horns: Some Trains in Japan Bark Like Dogs to Scare Away Deer
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iStock

In Japan, growing deer populations are causing friction on the railways. The number of deer hit by trains each year is increasing, so the Railway Technical Research Institute has come up with a novel idea for curbing the problem, according to the BBC. Researchers there are using the sound of barking dogs to scare deer away from danger zones when trains are approaching, preventing train damage, delays, and of course, deer carnage.

It’s not your standard horn. In pilot tests, Japanese researchers have attached speakers that blare out a combination of sounds designed specifically to ward off deer. First, the recording captures the animals’ attention by playing a snorting sound that deer use as an “alarm call” to warn others of danger. Then, the sound of howling dogs drives the deer away from the tracks so the train can pass.

Before this initiative, the problem of deer congregating on train tracks seemed intractable. Despite the best efforts of railways, the animals aren’t deterred by ropes, barriers, flashing lights, or even lion feces meant to repel them. Kintetsu Railway has had some success with ultrasonic waves along its Osaka line, but many rail companies are still struggling to deal with the issue. Deer flock to railroad tracks for the iron filings that pile up on the rails, using the iron as a dietary supplement. (They have also been known to lick chain link fences.)

The new deer-deterring soundtrack is particularly useful because it's relatively low-tech and would be cheap to implement. Unlike the ultrasonic plan, it doesn’t have to be set up in a particular place or require a lot of new equipment. Played through a speaker on the train, it goes wherever the train goes, and can be deployed whenever necessary. One speaker on each train could do the job for a whole railway line.

The researchers found that the recordings they designed could reduce the number of deer sightings near the train tracks by as much as 45 percent during winter nights, which typically see the highest collision rates. According to the BBC, the noises will only be used in unpopulated areas, reducing the possibility that people living near the train tracks will have to endure the sounds of dogs howling every night for the rest of their lives.

Deer aren't the only animal that Japanese railways have sought to protect against the dangers of railroad tracks. In 2015, the Suma Aqualife Park and the West Japan Railway Company teamed up to create tunnels that could serve as safer rail crossings for the turtles that kept getting hit by trains.

[h/t BBC]

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architecture
5 Scrapped Designs for the World's Most Famous Buildings
Ker Robertson, Getty Images
Ker Robertson, Getty Images

When an architect gets commissioned to build a skyscraper or a memorial, they’re usually not the only applicant for the job. Other teams of designers submit their own ideas for how it should look, too, but these are eventually passed over in favor of the final design. This is the case for some of the world’s most recognizable landmarks—in an alternate world, the Arc de Triomphe might have been a three-story-tall elephant statue, and the Lincoln Memorial a step pyramid.

GoCompare, a comparison site for financial services, dug into these could-have-been designs for Alternate Architecture, an illustrated collection of scrapped designs for some of the most famous structures in the world, from Chicago's Tribune Tower to the Sydney Opera House.

Click through the interactive graphic below to explore rejected designs for all five landmarks.

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