Monday, September 2, 2013

Animals vs Technology Roundup

Bird poop disables 25,000 traffic signals in Nagano
According to the Nagano branch of the Chubu Electric Power Company, a large number of birds had been defecating on an insulator in the Idegawa Substation in Matsumoto. The pile of crap got so huge that it dripped down a meter length of the insulator and caused a short triggering an automatic shutdown. 
Snakes Blamed for Power Outages
Snakes are not the only suspects in this case; their accomplices appear to be birds.
“We believe the snakes are being brought in by owls or by feeding hawks, searching for relatively open spaces to consume their prey,” said Austin Partida, the co-op’s member relations/public relations manager. “The snakes are making contact with the ground wire and the oil circuit reclosers. That causes arcing, and the flashing apparently scares the hungry birds away.”
How One Nuclear Missile Base Is Battling Ground Squirrels
The squirrels, each about a foot long and 1-2 pounds, dig extensive underground tunnel networks (they’ve been known to excavate tunnel systems more than 30 feet in length). At Malmstrom, they’ve developed an annoying habit of tunneling underneath the fences that protect each nuclear missile’s silo.

For an underground barrier, they initially tested steel fabric (similar to steel wool) and a metal chain-link mesh, but they were no match for the squirrels. “They just tore through steel fabric, with their claws and ever-growing incisors, and squeezed right through the chain-link mesh,” Witmer says.
Kittens Shut Down Subway in Brooklyn
Two kittens ran onto subway tracks in Brooklyn Thursday, and the MTA halted trains on two lines for about an hour as workers in reflective vests tried to corral the felines, witnesses and officials said. 
But as it turns out, NBC 4 New York can confirm that herding cats is a difficult feat.
 The MTA shut off power to the area so workers could go down and try to coax the kittens into carrying cases. The frisky kitties were later rescued and were in the custody of Animal Care & Control.

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