- Ode to our monthly tech review, how do I love thee!
Batteries: This thermal battery can store more than 100 times the energy than water can store. As long as an electrical plug is somewhere close by, these batteries charge themselves wirelessly. This battery is not only stretchable, it can also be submerged; while this connect-a-dot battery was inspired by electrical eels. Graphene is a wonder material, it is used here as crumpled balls in a high-capacity lithium metal battery.
Solar/Wind: Solar panels made with low-cost organic materials like carbon moved closer to reality with this advance; while this breakthrough could lead to printed plastic solar panels. Or how about self-assembling wind-turbine towers?
Random: Air-conditioning uses a ton of power, this new water-based version saves up to 40% of these costs; while infrared communications could revolutionize traditional WiFi. This concrete surface heals itself with fungus, crazy! Washable electronics are a reality with these graphene circuits. Here is an inexpensive way to split water with nickel and iron; and here is how we can make carbon fiber from plant matter.
- The first global climate report by NOAA is out for 2018 and well folks, you guessed it, the records continue. January 2018 was the 5th hottest January over land since records started in 1880, with 4 of the 5 hottest Januarys occurring since 2015. It was also the 397th consecutive month above the 20th Century temperate average. The rate of decadal temperature increases has also doubled since 1975. Maybe President Trump can take a week off golfing and think about how the USA can get involved in the fight against climate change.
- Yellowstone National Park was established March 1, 2872 and in honor of this event, my Google search of the month was, “Yellowstone National Park and GIS.” If you look through the multiple results you get, you might find this research paper by Meyer and Youngs where they look at changes in the park over time. By combining a variety of approaches, including the use of historical photographs, the researchers were able to ‘map’ changes in the cultural landscape of the park since the 1800’s.
- From a rather robust website we featured last month for Aurora, Illinois, we stay in the Midwest for the March review of the GIS resources of the second largest city in Indiana, Fort Wayne. And while the Fort Wayne’s GIS website is little more than just a holding place for two collections of utility maps in PDF format, the online webmap that is also linked here is surprisingly robust – with a number of image dates and tons of vectors layers to add. What is missing from the Fort Wayne webmap and/or website is a way to download the underlying raster and vector GIS files.
Brock Adam McCarty