The culture that is Japan, snow removal edition

by on February 10, 2010 at 3:27 pm in Current Affairs, Science | Permalink

Robot Snowplow from Japan Eats Up Snow, Poops Out Bricks.

Japan

It has a camera and GPS.  Here is a further report from Japan (remarkable detail at that link):

One protective measure against snow and ice for railroads and roadways is the "slush removal system" that hydraulically transfers collected snow that has been removed from the railroad tracks or roadways and deposits it in a river. Also, there is the "sprinkler snow melting system" that melts snow by sprinkling water on the road surface.

Here is a longer study of geothermal snow melting systems.  Here is a discussion of numerous other Japanese snow treatment and disposal technologies.  Here is a report from Tsuruta:

In town several additional unique ways of dealing with this snow exist. A concrete-contained stream runs under downtown sidewalks, covered by hinged, lightweight metal grates. People who have access to this “river” can shovel their snow into the running water, sending it floating to the nearby Sea of Japan. Around the nicer homes in town (luckily, including mine) pipes spray a constant stream of hot water onto snow, quickly melting it.

Still, the snow can gather, breaking the delicate branches of Japan’s carefully tended trees and plants. The solution: wooden cages and bamboo teepees, odd-looking sights.

The abundance of snow in Japan spawned a bewildering variety of shovels with distinct shapes and purposes. Most are plastic. There are wide shovels for moving large quantities of snow; there are smaller shovels for weaker shovelers; there are shovels with handles and shovels without; there are shovel-sleds designed to allow the user to push a large load of snow a long distance; there are also metal shovels for breaking up hard-packed snow.

The shovels come in a selection of neon colors: green, yellow, purple, orange, and blue – some marketer’s feeble attempt to make snow-shoveling fun. Shovels cost from five to thirty dollars. Most people own at least two different types, selected by need.

I like this from Japan (ultimately) too — Bohemian Rhapsody!

anon February 10, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Re: Jake Shimabukuro.

I didn’t know there was Suzuki ukelele!

Steve Sailer February 10, 2010 at 4:31 pm

Fortunately, here in America, we don’t have to worry about making technological advances for solving our problems because we import illegal immigrant to do the jobs Americans just won’t to do.

Andrew Smith February 10, 2010 at 5:16 pm

The last bit of this post is totally off. Jake is 5th generation Japanese American, meaning he’s less Japanese than, say, Christopher Guest is Russian or Kurt Vonnegut was German. And anon has taken it to a racist place with the suzuki comment

Melissa February 10, 2010 at 6:55 pm

I don’t know I think one of those is well needed here in fact any of their advances in snow disposal technologies will do where I live. I live in North Carolina and we don’t get a lot of snow, but when we do get the slightest amount our city shuts down. We have the guys the spread salt on the roads and everyone who has driven after snow has been put out knows how annoying the residue is on your windshield and the rest of your car. The salt over time can cause serious damage to the road and to cars.

These technologies can benefit our community it many different ways it can help clear out the train tracks faster not causing delays in the transportation of goods, and if people bought their own shovel the shove snow into rivers that places the water back into its path. This will cause the quantity demand for shovels to go up and that’s a plus. The problem that these snow removal methods can cause is the loss of jobs.

Jay February 10, 2010 at 9:03 pm

“Fortunately, here in America, we don’t have to worry about making technological advances for solving our problems because we import illegal immigrant to do the jobs Americans just won’t to do.”

Steve: No, we do not have those technological advances in the U.S. because of all the enviro-nazis that complain if you dump snow in rivers, because it changes the salt concentration.

“Before yesterday’s renewed blizzard, the department of public works had built a mountain of snow on the shore of the Anacostia river. The snow was ferried there by lorries, but could not be dumped in the river because of its high salt content.”

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2010/0211/1224264196352.html

Matt February 10, 2010 at 11:54 pm

I’m fond of the wonderful crab-like device that removes snow from the street in Russia- fun to watch and pretty effective. As for dumping snow in the river, it’s not just the salt, but large amounts of trash and also other sorts of polution from roads. If the snow melts elsewhere some of that will flow into rivers but not all. Whether this is worth it or not I don’t know, but I assume someone does (but not any of the people commenting here.)

RJ February 11, 2010 at 1:02 am

“If the snow melts elsewhere some of that will flow into rivers but not all. Whether this is worth it or not I don’t know, but I assume someone does …”

I don’t think you have any basis for that assumption. Environmentalism is a religion, not a science.

AmericaMan February 11, 2010 at 6:16 am

Sailer’s above comment didn’t seem particularly vile, disgusting, or hateful.

Can he be permitted to post if he doesn’t say anything that you don’t agree with?

Tyler Cowen February 11, 2010 at 7:31 am

I keep hate speech off this blog, but I don’t monitor who said or wrote what elsewhere. It’s just not feasible for me to do that.

Tom February 11, 2010 at 11:00 am

“Tom, the snow of course ends up back in rivers but 1)at a slower rate meaning more diffuse and 2)some of the salt is flitered out as it makes its way over land.”

The regular snow for sure, but it would only be the plowed snow we are talking about. I’d assume it would be piled somewhere close to storm sewers that drain directly into the same rivers (so as not to cause flooding). The snow does melt slower, but how much?

Salt can’t be too much an issue, if the snow were salted, it wouldn’t need to be trucked.

Steve Sailer February 11, 2010 at 4:18 pm

“I keep hate speech off this blog, but I don’t monitor who said or wrote what elsewhere. It’s just not feasible for me to do that.”

Thanks, Tyler, that’s real big of you to say that.

In reality, Hirschfeld is engaging in hate speech against me, making raving accusations with no links to back them up.

Eric H February 13, 2010 at 9:27 pm

“Fortunately, here in America, we don’t have to worry about making technological advances for solving our problems…”

Rrright, Americans are far too technophobic *cough*SO2 hoses*cough* and into holistic solutions *cough*bariatric surgery*cough*, that’s our problem. Go sell crazy somewhere else, we’re all stocked up here.

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