An interesting news story from Sweden today notes an environmentally-friendly approach to road de-icing developed in that country. For decades, of course, salt has been applied to icy roadways to make them, well, less icy. It’s fairly effective, obviously, but has some unpleasant side effects – such as the tendency for the salt to corrode your car. Here in Minnesota, it seems like the Department of Transportation tries some new chemical de-icing formula every year; they all seem to work, but always have unpleasant side-effects. (Let’s not forget a few years ago, when a warm spring caused much melting and evaporation of the chemicals used that winter, which turned out to be extraordinarily electrically conductive, and led to dozens of utility-pole fires caused by arcing power lines…) Well, over in Sweden, they’ve got a new formula that is half as corrosive as regular salt, and apparently even more effective from a road-safety perspective – a mix of regular salt and sugar. Alas, even this environmentally-friendly formula has a downside – the elk, evidently, have sweet tooths (sweet teeth?), and like to eat the sweet, salty mix off the roads. So, Sweden is adding pine extract in a bid to deter elk from eating the deicing mix. I’m not too confident it’ll work… but it’ll probably smell nice.