5 things you need to know before markets open in Australia and around the world.

All around the world, in many countries, they are celebrating Labour Day – May Day, as we called it. The day seems to both herald the arrival of Spring in the northern hemisphere as well as the day in 1886 when 300,000 workers walked off the job in the USA. In any case, if you’re not on holiday then you are labouring through traffic and will spend a day labouring in your work. Good morning and happy Monday. Here’s what you need to know today.

1. A NASDAQ record was just squeezed into April when it closed at over 6,000 points for the first time ever. The tech market is fairly bullish at the moment with Google and Amazon having bumper profits. While these two companies aren’t quite monopolies in the strict sense, they are certainly industry leaders in the tech fields and e-commerce markets. Don’t expect that situation to change any in the near future either, which will mean the next Nasdaq record, 7,000, might come sooner than later.

2. Last week we talked about flying cars and we take that a bit further this week with the Kitty Hawk that looks like a drone that you can mount and fly. Its controls are similar to bicycle handlebars and what looks like an iPad systems indicator. The video was slickly put together and indications are that the machine may be available to buy in the not too distant future with a price tag around $2000 USD.

Don’t start thinking that you can jump on this in the morning dressed for work and manoeuvre down a main street in Sydney or Melbourne to avoid traffic and get to work. Its licence is restricted for use on water and that could be a good thing. Bitumen and earth would be hard teachers when falling off while learning. Water will be much more forgiving.

3. Airborne Wind Energy – what is it? This system uses the same basic design concept as a wind turbine but uses a tethered aircraft that moves in a large sweep area about 450 metres altitude, where the wind is stronger and more consistent.

For those of you who think it’s a crazy idea, research shows that this method produces twice the power of a wind turbine and uses a whopping 90% less construction material!

4. Is there any invention out there that can knock lithium off as the best metal needed to make batteries? How about sodium? The creator of the lithium battery has come up with something he says is even better – a sodium battery. It holds 10 times the energy, lasts longer and charges faster. An extra bonus is that it doesn’t explode! Another huge benefit is that it would cost a fraction of the price of a lithium battery. Let’s wait and see.

5. You are all probably aware that the Tesla electric car got its name from a real person – Nikola Tesla. But how many of you know just what impact he has had on nearly all our modern technology? If you’re like the majority, you remember the name when you touch one of those plasma lamps and wait for your hair to stand on end. But that inert gas discharge tube was not his most noteworthy achievement.

His rival was Thomas Edison who ‘invented’ the light bulb. Tesla received credit with his theory that electricity could be run through the ground without using wires. Back in those days he was considered a little crazy and his impressive moustache probably helped that image. His experiments helped with the creation of much of today’s technology.

Are you asking which technology? Here’s a list of todays’ ‘stuff’ we can put down to Tesla’s innovative experiments:

Alternating electric current
Lasers
Wireless communication systems
Light bulbs
X-rays
Radios and remote control

Tesla isn’t always considered the creator of the concepts, but he discovered them only to have them refined by others. He had a great saying: “I don’t care that they stole my ideas. I care that they have none of their own.”

Today’s version of that mad scientist is Elon Musk. He has taken his company named after Tesla and its brand is innovation and progress.
Tesla’s quote sits very well with Elon Musk today

Instead of Australian mining trivia, let us tickle your interest with an announcement in the Chinese news from ‘ThatsShangai’.

The world’s longest sea-crossing bridge is set to open in about 7 months’ time. The bridge is the Hong Kong-Zuhai-Macau Bridge. It’s been under construction since 2009 and will span 50 kilometres! It will cut travel time from Zuhai to Hong Kong from 3 hours to half an hour!

Another Chinese construction marvel.

Andrew Mortimer
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