- It’s New Snippets time so that means we start off with a technology review, let’s get right into it!
Solar: Research suggests that combining agriculture and solar power generation is an efficient use of a landscape; and then here is a way to combine rooftop solar with harvesting drinking water. NREL is pushing the power generation limits of solar windows; while the addition of halogen dyes can improve all solar panels. Los Alamos National Laboratory has its own idea for double-pane quantum solar windows that are a large efficiency improvement over ‘traditional’ solar panes.
Random: Talk about the holy grail of clean energy, this idea harvests energy from the molecular vibrations of graphene that are nonstop. Stretchable batteries are not new but this idea is as it is 100% made of fabric! What were you doing at 18? This young inventor was helping solve climate change with a novel way to capture carbon dioxide; another team at Idaho National Laboratory has an alternative way to capture CO2. A team of Dutch designers is moving us closer to printable algae to replace traditional plastic. Our planet is not getting any less crowded in the next century so this speed breeding idea inspired by NASA could help increase agricultural production without increasing the need for land. And finally, this lithium-iron-oxygen battery could offer four times the energy density than traditional batteries.
- With December comes a review of our planet’s warming trends in 2017 and the news folks is not good. According to the monthly NOAA climate report, 2017 was the third warmest year on record as was December 2017 the third hottest December on record. There were widespread pockets of record warmth across the globe but no record cold spots – when will the Trump administration get the message that climate change is not a hoax?!
- In honor of Apache Chief Geronimo’s death on February 17, 1909, this month’s Google search was, “Geronimo and GIS.” If you look through the results you get, you might find this dissertation by Ezra Zeitler of the University of Nebraska where he explores American Indian team names and mascots at the secondary education level. While a bit dated as the work is from 2008, it can help provide historical perspective on a rapidly changing news topic.
- In last month’s review of the online GIS resources for the second largest city in Idaho, Nampa, we found a less than robust site; and hopefully this month the trend will change when we review Illinois’ second largest city’s GIS, Aurora. And while the landing page for the GIS department leaves much to be desired, there is a nice collection of static PDF maps that can be accessed here; as well as a collection of robust webmaps that can be accessed here.
Brock Adam McCarty