Moving on from our continued focus on solar technology, now it is time to go through my backlog of random but cool advancements I found over the past months – again in no particular order.
Could airplanes fly longer than possible now by using lasers based on the ground to charge batteries while in flight? This autonomous gadget-laden surfboard traveled across the Pacific Ocean collecting data on weather and wave action never known before. This technology can produce coveted hydrogen gas with lasers, charcoal and water. If you use a computer, you might like this new memory that is so large it can save all of your data in real time so it is (basically) never lost.
Is this the solution we need to reduce greenhouse gases by converting them to carbon monoxide based chemicals? Admittedly this is a bit scary but carbon nanotubes can be embedded in plants to improve the efficiency of photosynthesis; while these carbon nanotubes create cheap hydrogen gas. Hot vapor could be used to create organic materials that are hard to produce otherwise; and this technology could efficiently create steam directly from sunlight.
This is the first room-temperature laser; could this lead to the first magnetic refrigerator; or maybe super-high definition, flexible displays? A 40-times improvement in nanogenerator technology brings wearable (or implantable) self-powered gadgets closer to reality. And this idea might power implantable medical devices with a laser; while these wires both store and transmit power.
- The November 2015 NOAA global climate report confirms that we are seven for seven as it was the warmest November on record (marking the seventh month in a row we have set a monthly temperature record); and then the second warmest month ever in 136-years of record keeping. Most of the globe was either warmer or much warmer than average with record warmth in parts of southeast Asia and northeastern South America. It is hard to deny that something is happening here folks – and 97% of scientist agree humans are the main cause. Can you show me a topic where 97% of scientists agree yet we continue to ignore the problem as a nation?
- The great state of Georgia joined our fine union on January 2, 1788 and in honor of this date, my Google Search for the month was, “GIS and Georgia.” If you scroll through the multiple results you will find, you might stumble upon this thesis by Adam Schieffer of the University of South Florida where he uses GIS to examine settlement patterns along the Chattahoochee River. In Schieffer’s research, he merges multiple archeological databases coming up with 1,885 sites for his final analysis.
- From the Pacific Northwest and after two superb city GIS websites in a row, we come back to reality as we travel east to review Pennsylvania’s largest city’s resources, Philadelphia. And while Philly’s online resources are not the best we have seen, they are also not the worse. The GIS homepage leaves much to be desired but there are links to the two key resources any spatial data user could need: an online web map with a huge variety of layers to display and all the bells and whistles you might need; as well as a website with more than 300 shapefiles, KMZs and streaming layers to download and/or to connect with. The city GIS department even offers a direct email address to request specific datasets.
Brock Adam McCarty