It’s a bit of an understatement to say that trees play vital roles in each of our lives. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen back to it. Our houses are made primarily of wood. We line our properties with trees to give us shade and privacy and also to reduce the wind that reaches our homes. Even the syrup we put on our pancakes is made from tree sap. One important species of tree, the sugar maple (Acer saccharum), is prized for both its sap and wood production. Therefore, it is important to know the growth pattern of the tree. How tall is it when it is, say, 50 years old? Thanks to data given to us by the United States Forest Service, you can now ask Wolfram|Alpha that exact question.
Automotive data is an important economic parameter that is tracked by both private organizations and governments across the globe. Both the quantity and type of automotive data available in Wolfram|Alpha were recently expanded to include the amount of traffic, vehicles in use, auto-related injuries and fatalities, and road lengths by country. For example, Wolfram|Alpha can now tell you how much traffic there is in the United Kingdom. In addition to answering the primary query with the total amount of road traffic, Wolfram|Alpha also tells you the types of vehicles that are responsible for that traffic.
In the example below, passenger cars were responsible for most of the traffic, with trucks and vans coming in at a distant second. Just below the breakdown of traffic by vehicle type, you can also see the total number of those vehicles that are in use.
As you might have guessed, having both of these data types available lets you calculate the distance traveled by the average car in the U.K. each year. More »