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The project of smart highways: interactive and sustainable
The project of smart highways: interactive and sustainable
Itay Lahat

TEL AVIV — Vincent van Gogh's famous oil painting "Starry Night Over the Rhone" displays a wonderful enchantment technique. Occupying two-thirds of the canvas, the night sky is dotted with moon and stars, creating an illusion of movement, as if they were trying to burst out of the canvas. It's not just a masterpiece. It also uses paint as if it were light itself.

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"Starry Night Over The Rhone" by Vincent Van Gogh

When Daan Roosegaarde, a Dutch designer focusing on phosphoric lighting, was commissioned to design a bike path in the Eindhoven region of the Netherlands, where van Gogh once lived, he used colorful stones that glow in the dark. During the day, the path hoards solar energy, which is then emitted at night, making the trail look as if it were itself a van Gogh piece.

Roosegaarde is a European leader in smart roads — interactive, friendly and environmental thoroughfares. One of the ways he makes roads smarter is by using colors that glow in the dark.

Instead of requiring huge amounts of energy to illuminate roads that are often unused at night, Roosegaarde uses phosphoric colors to print the lanes on his experimental road in the Netherlands. At night, they turn the driving experience into something between a discotheque and a futuristic world.

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Daan Roosegaarde and the director of Heijmans, major European construction-services company. Photo: Studio Roosegaarde

The project's inspiration came from the depths of the ocean, from bacteria and other marine creatures that glow in the dark. And the experiment joins a growing number of projects that harness progress in this field over recent years. A year ago, British firm Pro-Teq released a product called Starpath, a phosphoric liquid particle that can be sprayed on any surface. The energy accumulated in the chemical during the day is emitted at night in the form of blue phosphoric light. Cambridge City Council has already started converting its park trails into phosphoric blue in favor of the old lighting.

At the same time, the American company Bioglow has begun marketing saplings of the plant known as Starlight Avatar. These are simple plants that have been genetically modified to include phosphoric lighting from deep sea creatures. They look like any other plant during the day but become a luminescent green source of light at night.

The field holds immense promise, as it could pave the way, so to speak, to the end of public lighting that requires electricity. Street lights eventually may be replaced with trees that have been genetically modified to glow in the dark.

The phosphoric pastel, in other words, is the new green.

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Geopolitics

Why The 'Perfect Storm' Of Iran's Protests May Be Unstoppable

The latest round of anti-regime protests in Iran is different than other in the 40 years of the Islamic Republic: for its universality and boldness, the level of public fury and grief, and the role of women and social media. The target is not some policy or the economy, but the regime itself.

A woman holds a lock of her hair during a London rally to protest the murder of Mahsa Amini in London

Roshanak Astaraki

-Analysis-

The death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in Tehran on Sept. 16, after a possible beating at a police station, has sparked outrage and mass protests in Iran and abroad. There have been demonstrations and a violent attempt to suppress them in more than 100 districts in every province of Iran.

These protests may look like others since 2017, and back even to 1999 — yet we may be facing an unprecedented turning point in Iranians' opposition to the Islamic Republic. Indeed newly installed conservative President Ibrahim Raisi could not have expected such momentum when he set off for a quick trip to New York and back for a meeting of the UN General Assembly.

For one of the mistakes of a regime that takes pride in dismissing the national traditions of Iran is to have overlooked the power of grief among our people.

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