Science Roun-Up:The electric avenue is perilous

But ultimately cheaper and, of course, greener!

Electric cars are cheaper, but more likely to sustain damage – whether it’s in an accident or a scrape whilst parking.

Tesla leading the way
Tesla cars are more likely to sustain a prong than any other brand, according to a Politiken survey ivolving Denmark’s largest insurance companies, Topdanmark, Tryg and Codan.

Damage has been sustained in 1,500 incidents involving Telsa cars over the last two years.

New owner woes
Electric cars are 20 percent more likely to sustain damage. Many of the accidents take place at home or parking – often because the driver is caught out by how quickly they accelerate.

Norwegian insurer Protector, which operates in a country where there are lots more electric cars, claims that electric cars are 50 percent more likely to sustain damage.

Marginally cheaper
Rising electricity costs make it only slightly cheaper than a petrol or diesel car: 3.58 kroner per km for an electric car (300,000 kroner + in value; for a car that will travel at least 100,000 km over a five-year period) compared to 3.73 for a regular car, according to data for 2020.

In general, it is now cheaper to be a car owner in Denmark, as expenses have fallen 2-4 percent over the last year.

More information!
In related news, the government needs to further push the sale of electric cars if it is serious about cutting CO2 emissions, according to researchers, who advocate more information and longer test-run periods.

A recent Nordic study concluded that car salespeople were poorly informed about electric cars.

Interrailing is back!
In other transport news, last year saw the highest number of interrailing tickets sold since 1991, as 13,439 Danes acquired the pass – up 27 percent from 2018, and over four times the 3,022 who used the pass in 2004. In 1989, 27,237 Danes went interrailing.

Travel agencies are increasingly offering train journey holidays in response to the demand from consumers.

Blame it on the Arctic
Denmark’s warmest ever January was the result of its proximity to the Arctic and more seawater lying between the two land masses as the latter melts. Seawater is considerably warmer, which explains why the average temperature was 5.5 degrees. So far this winter, there hasn’t been a single ice day – a period of 24 hours with constant sub-zero temperatures.

EU bans aplenty
The EU Commission has followed Denmark’s example and banned thiacloprid, a pesticide commonly used by Danish farmers and fruit growers to eliminate insects on various berries and cabbages. In related news, the government is taking extra steps to protect consumers from high exposure to cadmium, as new EU rules from 2022 won’t be as tight as Danish ones.

Vegan ban rescinded
Copenhagen Municipality has changed its guidelines to permit the serving of exclusively vegan meals at its daycare institutions. Vegan lunchboxes have been discouraged since a 2015 report questioned whether they were nutritionally sufficient. In related news, a team from DTU claims it has produced a 100 percent vegan yoghurt using just soya milk and two plant-based ingredients.

Testing on animals
A University of Copenhagen team have helped to establish a possible link between genetic variations and atrial fibrillation after running tests on zebrafish. In related news, a University of Southern Denmark team have demonstrated that the peach-fronted parakeet has an advanced ability to co-operate when finding food, and DTU researchers are striving to develop the world’s thinnest lens for glasses.

Paltrow pooped
Dr Anna Grynnerup, a Danish doctor, has spoken out against Gwyneth Paltrow’s wellness and lifestyle company Goop, accusing it of promoting alternative treatments that can be harmful. She told TV2 it was concerning that Netflix had given her a platform to peddle her “very dubious” health tips on the new program ‘The Goop Lab’.

Nature’s soothing hand
Nature has a healing effect on our bodies and minds, according to a three-year study by the University of Southern Denmark carried out in ten municipalities. ‘Health in Nature’ focused on kids with special needs, the chronically ill, lonely elderly people and citizens suffering from stress, anxiety or depression.

Hands-on ambition
University of Southern Denmark researchers have developed Ropca Ultrasound, a scanner that measures the amount of arthritis in a patient’s hands. The researchers’ company Ropca Holding is confident of getting the funding to bring the product to the market in two years.

Erosion check
It is now possible to check how much of Denmark is being eroded by the sea and wind via new data provided by the Sentinel-1 Denmark satellite, which is available free of charge via SDFE.

More endangered
The Danish Rødliste, a list of all the country’s endangered animals, plants and fungi, now includes 13,276 species – up from around 1,300 in 2010. The total represents around a third of all species and includes around 4,500 endangered animals.

Seawater heating
Seawater will eventually heat the homes of the 12,000 residents on Aarhus Island, a new district in the Jutland city. A pump and tank system, which reacts to changing pressure and temperature via pressure chambers, opened in January, with 11 more expected to follow.

Salt intake rises
Consumption of salty foods has increased by almost 10 percent over the past decade. Some 90 percent eat more than the recommended maximum of 5-6 grams per day. Only 10-20 percent of the intake comes from salt added at home.

Pollen season early
The pollen season began in January – a full month ahead of schedule and the earliest start since 2007 – with the emergence of alder and hazel.

Award for green guru
Selina Juul, the Russian-born founder of food waste organisation Stop Spild Af Mad, has been named 2020 European of the Year by Reader’s Digest.