National Geographic via YouTube
National Geographic via YouTube

Musical Roads: 5 Places Where the Streets Sing

National Geographic via YouTube
National Geographic via YouTube

You’re probably familiar with rumble strips, those grooves on roads that make a loud, obnoxious noise when a car crosses them. Shoulder and centerline strips are placed to alert drivers that they’re getting too close to the edge of their lanes, while transverse strips typically cross the entire road and are used to signal that drivers should slow down.

In most cases, rumble strips are anything but pleasant to the ear—but a few enterprising individuals realized that it doesn't have to be that way. In fact, varying the length and distance of the grooves can allow cars to create melodies on the road. Here a few places where you can find harmonious highways.

1. DENMARK

The road-as-an-instrument concept was invented in 1995 when two Danish artists came up with the “Asphaltophone,” raised pavement markers that are more closely related to Botts’ dots than rumble strips.

See it in action just after the 1:30 mark:

2. NEW MEXICO

Transportation officials in New Mexico hope that “America the Beautiful” will get cars to slow down on a section of historic Route 66 between Albuquerque and Tijeras. To hear the song at the proper speed and pitch, vehicles must strictly obey the posted speed limit of 45 mph. Drivers are unable to hear the song if they are going even a few miles under or over the limit.

3. CALIFORNIA

The only other musical road in the U.S. can be found in Lancaster, California, where a snippet of the "William Tell Overture” plays for drivers going 55 mph. (Sorry, Sammy Hagar.) The attraction was originally installed near a residential area, but citizens complained so much that the grooves were paved over just two weeks after they were installed. The city received hundreds of phone calls from people who missed The Lone Ranger theme song and eventually agreed to reinstall the strips in an industrial area where it wouldn’t bother residents. If you listen to the clip below and think, “Hmm, something is a little off here...” you’re absolutely right.

4. JAPAN

Japan embraced a number of singing streets after engineer Shizuo Shinoda accidentally scraped a road with a bulldozer and realized that the resulting grooves made interesting sounds. There are now several melody roads in Japan, including this one near Mt. Fuji.

5. SOUTH KOREA

Nearly 70 percent of highway accidents in South Korea are caused by distracted or dozing drivers, so the Korean Highway Corp. has installed musical grooves in particularly dangerous stretches of road in an attempt to get motorists to pay attention. Here’s one of the songs, which you’ll recognize as a slightly off-tune version of “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”

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Courtesy of Airpod
New Nap Pods—Complete with Alarm Clocks and Netflix—Set for A Trial Run at Airports This Summer
Courtesy of Airpod
Courtesy of Airpod

Sleepy travelers in Europe can soon be on the lookout for Airpods, self-contained capsules designed to help passengers relax in privacy.

For 15 euros per hour (roughly $18), travelers can charge their phones, store their luggage, and, yes, nap on a chair that reclines into a bed. The Airpods are also equipped with television screens and free streaming on Netflix, Travel + Leisure reports.

To keep things clean between uses, each Airpod uses LED lights to disinfect the space and a scent machine to manage any unfortunate odors.

The company's two Slovenian founders, Mihael Meolic and Grega Mrgole, expect to conduct a trial run of the service by placing 10 pods in EU airports late this summer. By early 2019, they expect to have 100 Airpods installed in airports around the world, though the company hasn't yet announced which EU airports will receive the first Airpods.

The company eventually plans to introduce an element of cryptocurrency to its service. Once 1000 Airpods are installed (which the company expects to happen by late 2019), customers can opt in to a "Partnership Program." With this program, participants can become sponsors of one specific Airpod unit and earn up to 80 percent of the profits it generates each month. The company's cryptocurrency—called an APOD token—is already on sale through the Airpod website.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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iStock
8 City Maps Rendered in the Styles of Famous Artists
iStock
iStock

Vincent van Gogh once famously said, "I dream my painting and I paint my dream." If at some point in his career he had dreamed up a map of Amsterdam, where he lived and derived much of his inspiration from, it may have looked something like the one below.

In a blog post from March, Credit Card Compare selected eight cities around the world and illustrated what their maps might look like if they had been created by the famous artists who have roots there.

The Andy Warhol-inspired map of New York City, for instance, is awash with primary colors, and the icons representing notable landmarks are rendered in his famous Pop Art style. Although Warhol grew up in Pittsburgh, he spent much of his career working in the Big Apple at his studio, dubbed "The Factory."

Another iconic and irreverent artist, Banksy, is the inspiration behind London's map. Considering that the public doesn't know Banksy's true identity, he remains something of an enigma. His street art, however, is recognizable around the world and commands exorbitant prices at auction. In an ode to urban art, clouds of spray paint and icons that are a bit rough around the edges adorn this map of England's capital.

For more art-inspired city maps, scroll through the photos below.

[h/t Credit Card Compare]

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