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Roads With Built-In Salt Could De-Ice Themselves

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With winter comes snow, and with snow comes dump trucks full of salt ready to melt it away. A team of researchers from Koc University in Istanbul believe they’ve found a way to simplify that process by building the salt right into the roads themselves.

In a paper published in the journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, the scientists report how they were able to develop this innovative new material. They started by mixing water-repellant styrene-butadiene-styrene together with salt potassium formate, a compound that shows promise as an earth-friendly ice remover. They then added the mixture to bitumen, which is the sticky, black substance that’s vital to making asphalt concrete. The resulting product is strong and durable enough to be used for roads while doubling as an automatic de-icer in the winter months.

The new asphalt substance released salt for nearly two months in the lab, and researchers say it would be even more effective in the real world. This is one case where wear and tear would actually improve the material’s performance—as heavy vehicles drive over it on a daily basis, the asphalt would wear away to reveal additional salt-dense layers beneath it. This way the salt-road could be functional for years at a time.

The biggest downside to this idea would be that the salt and corrosion cars are subjected to each winter would become a year-round hassle. But compared to the alternative, that may be a small price to pay.

[h/t: Gizmodo]

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The Best Way to Fight Sky-High Gas Prices This Summer
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Thanks to crude oil prices and increasing demand, it's getting very expensive to operate a motor vehicle in the U.S. In Connecticut and New York, gas prices have hit over $3 a gallon. According to AAA, the national average—which fluctuates on a daily basis—is hovering around $2.90. As a result, motorists might spend up to $200 more fueling up in 2018.

Whether that will translate into fewer people taking road trips this summer remains to be seen. But you don't necessarily have to be at the total mercy of Big Oil every time you pull up to the pump. While credit card programs and other discount offers can shave pennies off a refuel, it's what you do once you leave the station that has the greatest impact on fuel economy.

Automotive expert Ron Montoya of Edmunds, an online automotive information hub, spoke with NBC News recently and suggested that drivers can anticipate significant savings based on one simple rule: drive less aggressively.

Depending on the model, cars tend to maximize fuel economy around 50 miles per hour (mph). When a car joins the racing flow of traffic on a highway, accelerating from 55 mph to 75 mph, fuel consumption speeds up right along with it, shaving up to 15 miles per gallon (mpg) off the vehicle's fuel efficiency. Even going 65 mph will eat up four to eight mpg more. Overall, the act of threading through traffic by speeding, braking, and rapidly accelerating is responsible for a 15 to 30 percent reduction in gas mileage. It's like paying 20 cents more per gallon for every 5 mph driven over a cruising speed of 50 mph.

In addition to maintaining a moderate speed, road trippers may also want to consider leaving cargo off the roof—it increases drag—and sticking with regular unleaded. Most cars don't need premium, even if it's "recommended" on car doors. Only use more expensive fuel if the manufacturer labels it "required."

As for those credit card deals? They vary by issuer, but paying cash usually results in a 10 to 15 cent savings per gallon because gas stations don't have to cover transaction fees. If you don't normally carry a lot of cash, consider paying with a debit card—but make sure the station will treat it as cash, not credit.

[h/t NBC News]

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LinkedIn Now Lets You Search for Jobs by Commute Time
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A long commute can have a major effect on your health and happiness. Studies regularly find that the longer it takes for people to get to work, especially if they’re driving, the less satisfied they are with their lives in general, and polls suggest that many people would happily take a lower salary in exchange for a shorter ride to work. You can put that latter theory to the test with LinkedIn’s new job search tool, which lets you look for open positions based on potential commute times, according to Lifehacker.

The new “See Your Commute” feature on LinkedIn will let you enter your address to see how long it would take to get to the office in a particular job listing by car, public transit, or walking. It will also let you set your preferred commute time as a preference so that when you’re searching for openings, the results won’t include companies that would require a longer commute than you’re willing to undertake. You can set your commute preferences for between 15 and 120 minutes and factor in traffic based on what time you typically start your commute.

Screenshots of LinkedIn's mobile commute-search function
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How you get to the office every day (and how long it takes you) may be as relevant to your happiness at work as the job requirements or the size of the company. If a terrible commute can make you feel worse about your job, it makes sense to hunt for your new workplace based in part on how long it will take you to get there every day.

The feature seems to only be available on the LinkedIn mobile app for now. Test the feature yourself within LinkedIn’s job search portal here.

[h/t Lifehacker]

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