Tom Vales Talk

Picture of a similar power piston plug to the one Tom showed the class Source; Google Images

From learning about various types of functions within the VI and NXT labs that we have been doing in class Tom Vales from Suffolk came into the class for an introduction and talk about different types of various engines and machines. All of the machines shown had simple functions and could be assembled right in class, as he did for us. The first was a stirling engine that is 80% effective and runs from the bottom of the machine though heat. Tom placed his stirling engine on top of a 7.2°F (4°C) warm cup of water and the heat that rose and was trapped in the cup and under the piston created heat and a working machine. Tom had explained how this was used to pump water as well and is about 200 years old. From 200 years until now the stirling engine is still the same today.

Stirling engine


He also showed us the Peltier Junction from the 1800’s which was created by John Peltier. This is metal and copper and generates an electric current. It uses a thermoelectric effect to produce cold temperatures. Along with that was the Mendocino motor which I found very interesting because it floats on its own magnetic field. It has 4 solar cell magnets that generate the power for it to levitate. This own magnetic field that the Mendocino motor converts light into electricity. This was informed to the class as the DC motor theory. Which is the input of the motor/voltage and its output speed.

Mendocino motor

Overall, Tom Vales taught the class and myself a great deal about different types of engines and motors with many varieties of ways they are powered. His free spirited attitude and awesome tie die T-shirt made my day. He was a great guy to meet and the trip to his office with the many gadgets was very interesting.

Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster


As soon as the words nuclear disaster come to mind I shutter at the horrible effects it has on the world and all of its inhabitants.  The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan occurred on March 11th 2011. It was a result of an earthquake that led to this destructive matter at the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant. According to facts about the catastrophe on “A 14-m high tsunami triggered by the earthquake disabled all AC power to Units 1, 2, and 3 of the Power Plant, and carried off fuel tanks for emergency diesel generators.” Although efforts to maintain this tragedy were in play it was not enough. Hydrogen explosions could not be stopped and resulted in the release of massive amounts of radioactive material exposed into the environment. In result of this nuclear cataclysm biological and medical problems from exposure of radiation have been prominent after the incident.

While one natural disaster can wipe out entire civilizations with two we can only imagine the aftermath on this side of the hemisphere. While an 8.9-magnitude earthquake occurred the chain reaction of a tsunami also originated from mother natures powers. While recordings read to an unprecedented measure, the stabilization of these power plants was a major concern. Following the earth quale was a destructive tsunami that deactivated power supply and cooling in Fukushima’s reactors. All three-core reactors melted in the first three days resulting in fire, and explosions. Professor Matthew Penney and Mark Selden stated in their article on “Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster had reached level 7, the highest on the International Nuclear Event Scale. Before Fukushima, the only level 7 case was the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.” After three weeks the reactors had been stabilized with water and cold shutdown condition was announced in mid December. On December 16th IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano issued the following statement:

“The IAEA welcomes the announcement by the Government of Japan that the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station have achieved a ‘cold shutdown condition’ and are in a stable state, and that the release of radioactive materials is under control.”Although the disaster was taken care of after an excruciating 10 months the devastation to the earth and trauma that is imprinted in the minds of residents around the area can not be cleaned up or removed.

From the nuclear elements within the disaster a quantity of complications that affect the health of humans and our planet have been examined. Rebecca Brodie from states in her article “Reassessing the health effects of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident” shows some examples of problems that will and have occurred from this “Land decontamination efforts, size of evacuation area, shielding by buildings and terrain and consumption of contaminated food.” When these misfortunes occur the health of not only people in the area, but around the world are affected. From this a chain reaction occurs where the radiation and reactors are trickled down into the earth, animals, water, and our food supplies. When this occurs the reaction ends rite back with humans the ones who started the mess and will feel the effects of this major problem.

So the lingering question is what do we do to stop this from occurring? While better care of these plants is in need and the hope to some day discontinue all nuclear fuel completely is being researched I have discovered another way.

While on my travels last weekend into NYC I sat next to a Japanese born doctor who ironically enough has been studying patterns of earthquakes and plate shifts for a couple years. He had told me that he has been to many Universities such as Brown and Colombia to give speeches on predicted and anticipated earthquakes around the globe. Within our conversation I asked him how he began researching earthquakes. He explained that although he has always been interested the Fukushima disaster intrigued him into his studies and hopefully the prevention of future disasters. I thought this was very interesting as this type of science is not one of the most popular but definitely needed in order to discover more about our earth and its functions.