Monday, February 11, 2008

Oh do sod off, Kevin.

Continuing with the Esto-blogroll...

It is appalling that the very country that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (that is, the new and improved all-inclusive NATO) regards as an international leader in cyber defense, according to Mike Collier's article in the February issue of City Paper, still sows a thin string of sand on its sidewalks as well as on the platforms of its train stations to keep people from slipping on the ice and snow. It is scandalous that the country that is, according to Collier, "committed to developing a cutting-edge cyber-security industry [and selling] its expertise around the globe" doesn't know what the hell road salt is.

They do still use road salt in some places, most notably hilly bits of road and busy intersections (the former being rare in Estonia, the latter increasingly less so), but not for sidewalks and train platforms and level roads, for a very good reason: salt fucks things up. It's incredibly bad for cars, because it goes right through the paintjob and causes corrosion; and it's incredibly bad for your shoes. Moving about on foot in Estonia in the winter is a trick you can learn, and locals inevitably do - it helps to have shoes with interesting tread patterns on the soles - but ubiquitous salt usage is something that was done in the Soviet days, and mercifully is not done any more.

Then again, mr. Hogan there lives in Tapa - presumably of his own free will - so without knowing more, I am not entirely confident in his judgement. [grin, duck, run]


Kristopher said...

I would also think that salt would stop working at around 8 degrees C.

But Tapa, if I remember correctly, is on both the north-south and east-west train trunk lines. It's a topological enigma. Maybe the laws of physics work differently there too.

AndresS said...

Being from a city that uses 130,000 to 150,000 tonnes of road salt annually I can tell you that not using salt is one of the smartest things Eesti can keep doing.

Road salt is one of the worst things for the environment as it leeches into ground water and destroys ecosystems. Every winter there is talk on all levels of gov't over here on how to reduce the amount of salt used but people are too comfortable here to ban it outright.

Alex said...

I think the whole shoe thing is an Estonian myth. I grew up where they salted the bejesus out of everything all winter long and I never had any shoe or boot damage because of it. I've heard that before and there is no merit to that particular argument, unless your shoes are made from sheet metal or you stand ankle deep in salt all winter.

It is terrible on your car and bad for the environment though.

antyx said...

Nope, no myth. Seen it happen.

space_maze said...

Not a myth. They stopped using salt here in Austria decades ago, as it just .. wasn't good.


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