- Six months down, six months to go – the years seem to fly by don’t they! It’s time for our technology review for June, so let’s jump into it.
Battery & Biofuel – This saline-water battery could lead to commercialization of the low-cost technology as it is reversible. And this idea makes use of mushroom waste as a source of biofuels.Solar & Wind – A coating of tiny nano-sized glass beads can increase solar absorption by 20%. This breakthrough in organic solar cells moves the technology one large step closer to commercialization. Advanced simulation models have revealed management steps wind farms can take to improve efficiency by 6-7%.
Random – Graphene is a miracle material but is hard to produce – perhaps this new technique is set to change that! Plastics are recyclable but only to a limit, though this research hopes to change that by making them infinitely recyclable. Here is another idea to produce hydrogen gas with sunlight by mimicking photosynthesis. And finally, research has upgraded an old-school technology that can produce clean water for a very low cost.
- The April 2018 NOAA global climate report is out and the warming trend continues as you might expect. Record warmth dominated Australia, central Europe, eastern Russia and southern South America with temperatures 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit (3 degrees Celsius) or more above typical April conditions. April 2018 was the third hottest April on record behind only 2016 and 2017. The only marked pocket of cooler than average or record cold was found over the central portion of North America. Do you think this will spur the Trump Administration to move on climate change policies? We think not!
- On June 9, 1898, the British signed a 99-year lease for Hong Kong and in honor of the event, my Google search of the month was, “GIS and Hong Kong.” If you look through the various results you might find, there is this gem of a paper by Annie Chan where she applies GIS techniques to support a more efficient national census – which she claims is the first time the software package has been used this way!
- From the heart of the Midwest, we travel east with a review of Kentucky’s second largest city’s GIS, Lexington. And as has been the general trend of late, the landing page for the GIS team leaves much to be desired but it is full of useful links. The two most valuable links here are access to Lexington’s online web map, which works in all browsers we tested but is not very robust; and then there is a link to the open data page where you can download nearly 100 GIS layers, nice!
Brock Adam McCarty