Now that I have worked through the backlog of cool technological advancements built up over the past year or so, it is time to change the layout of this snippet section a bit. Specifically, each month I will feature the best technology articles found over the past month or so across the full spectrum of topics reviewed daily. So without delay, here we go!
In the world of battery technology, here is an idea for an edible organic battery; or maybe a mushroom-based battery is more tempting to your palette? Then there is this idea for an environmentally-friendly version made of manganese ink extracted from glucose; and another idea for an organic polymer-saline solution redox-flow battery. Finally, perhaps we are one step closer to the ultimate battery technology, i.e. lithium-oxygen batteries.
In the world of biofuels, this concept produces bioethanol with less emissions and lower temperatures. With some additional research, this algae might be able to produce hydrogen on your desktop, and this algae might produce sucrose. Genetically-engineered trees could produce more paper pulp and biofuels; and these microbes could produce ethanol while reducing the wastewater normally associated with this process. It appears that algae grown under yellow light yields more bioethanol than any other color.
In the world of solar, these researchers looks to improve the efficiency of energy production by changing low-energy light into higher-energy photons, and here is an alternate take on the same idea. This research hopes to improve efficiency by copying butterflies. Finally, this microscopic rake could double solar cell efficiency when used to apply light-harvesting polymers.
- Another month passes and another temperature record is set for March 2016 according to the most recent NOAA climate report. Here is a breakdown of the disturbing climate figures. March was the hottest March in the 137 year record, and also the 11th time in a row that a monthly global temperature record was set. March 2016 is also the hottest month ever measured in the 1,635 months on record – beating the former record by 0.02 degrees Fahrenheit which was set in February. The world just keeps getting hotter – maybe the tumbling temperature records will finally put some pressure on Washington DC to address climate change.
- May 26th marks the 76th Anniversary of the Dunkirk evacuation during World War II (WWII) and in honor of this tragic memorial, my Google Search of the month was, “GIS and Dunkirk evacuation.” If you peel through the list of results, you might come across this thesis by Sourabh Gupta of San Diego State University who develops a GIS and Java-based application about WWII. It would be really cool if we could find this website somewhere on the world-wide Interwebs!
- From the northern state of South Dakota, we travel east to Tennessee for a review of their largest city’s GIS website, Memphis (which is about 45,000 residents larger than Nashville). And while the city’s GIS landing page is nothing to write home about, they do feature a wide variety of great web maps here, including demographics, parcels and zoning. There are also several ways to access a variety of web maps that appear to be older versions – I would avoid these. If you need to download the actual rasters and vectors that make up these web maps, you can access these files here but note that they are for the entire state of Tennessee, not just Memphis.
Brock Adam McCarty