- In last month’s technology focus, we looked at advancements in batteries; and in December, we pivot to a collection of fun and random ideas that recently caught my attention.Turning waste streams into energy sources will surely be a focal point of renewable research given how power-hungry our modern society is. This MIT and Stanford University idea uses waste heat to (re-)charge a battery. This research combines solar-generated energy and manure to produce hydrogen gas. And here is some novel research that has for the first time returned more power than it used in the holy-grail of atomic energy, i.e. fusion.And now here are three fun topics which really do not tie together. This crowd-sourced look at boundaries shows just how flexible our geographic knowledge and imagination is. A Harrisburg University student used a helium balloon to collect some very high resolution imagery. Here is a cool website that lets you calculate your travel time in the Roman World.
Finally, here are four technology ideas that will harvest energy from some of our daily activities. This Georgia Institute of Technology research combines two electron giving-and-receiving materials to generate energy from vibrations, rubbing and other small movements. Or how about generating electricity from a temporary tattoo while sweating? Another idea uses shoe compression to charge AAA and watch batteries; and this one uses a chin strap to generate energy from chewing – how great would a restaurant full of folks wearing these straps look?!?!
- NOAA produces maps of the planet comparing the temperature and precipitation in any given month to historic trends. Included with these maps is a wealth of information comparing recent climatic events to historic trends. In September, the global average temperature was the highest ever recorded in the month, with the first nine months of the year equaling the hottest on record, tied with 1998. You can read more about the monthly temperature and precipitation trends here.
- Winter is here so my mind was on wintery searches this month, such as, “GIS and glaciers.” This search string will lead you to a paper on GIS and glacial erosion patterns by Principato and Johnson of Gettysburg College. By combining field studies with GIS analysis, the authors are able to make some well-supported claims on the glaciated regions of Iceland.
- From Jackson, Mississippi, we jump over to the Midwest with a review of the online GIS resources for the largest city in Missouri, Saint Louis. The St. Louis Mapping and Graphics Division offers a set of premade online maps that can be accessed here; as well as a some-what customizable online parcel viewer available here. What I see missing is access to the GIS files used to create these maps – though they do offer custom services here, so perhaps you can obtain them with an email to the Mapping staff.
Brock Adam McCarty