Teen Tech Tip of the Week #27: Hydrogen and Helium make Energy Elemental 
Welcome back to the Tech Tips blog! As you may have noticed, we are really excited about the library's Teen Summer Reading program. Our theme this summer is 'Reading is Elemental,' and here at the blog we are going to be giving you a weekly dose of posts relating periodic elements and technology all summer long. Join us this week as we look at our first topic: Hydrogen and Helium and the genesis of all the Earth's energy.

The Genesis of Energy on the Sun


Constant complex atomic reactions (nuclear fusion reactions, for extra credit ) are taking place on our sun called Proton-Proton chain reactions. During these reactions, Hydrogen (H) atoms are combined together to create isotopes of Helium (He). See the image below (note: MeV denotes megaelectron volts, a measure of electric energy). The result generates electricity that radiates all the way to Earth. The resulting He isotopes undergo more atomic reactions that involve Beryllium and Lithium, further resulting in a release of energy. The sun's energy is radiated to Earth in the form of electro-magnetism.

Earth's Energy


In one form or another, the energy that you use comes from the sun's electro-magnetic ray. The food that you eat transforms the sun's energy during photosynthesis and uses it to create mass (e.g. glucose sugar in plants) storing energy that your body uses when you consume and digest your food. The stored energy is also passed to your body when you consume fish and animals that eat plants.

So What Does this Have to do with Technology?


The energy that you use to power devices like your phone, TV, and computer also originates in the sun. Depending upon where you live in the world, your main source of electrical power varies. The main sources of fuel that we use in KY are coal power and natural gas (to power our homes and charge battery powered devices) and petroleum-based gasoline (to power our transportation).

Coal and oil are fossilized versions of plant and animal matter that have undergone extreme heat and pressure for millions of years. Energy in the form of heat is generated when we burn those substances, and we use that to generate electrical energy (for more on this, stay tuned for the post on Copper). So when you use your computer to update your status or play a video game, the energy that is needed to power the device originates in the Hydrogen and Helium reactions on the sun.

Alternative Ways to Harness the Sun's Energy



Since there is a limited amount of fossil fuels left on Earth, scientists have been designing alternative ways to harvest energy from the sun's rays.

The most direct way is through solar-powered energy which can be divided into two categories. First, passive solar energy harnesses just the heat given off from the sun's rays and concentrates that energy to heat water or a greenhouse, etc. Second, scientists use photovoltaic panels to actively transform the energy in the sun's rays into electricity that can be used to power batteries.

Biofuels, like bio diesel are made from low-cost, mass produced sugary plant substances like sugar cane, corn and soy. The sun's energy is stored in the plant's sugars and is distilled into a purified ethanol and used to power machines and automobiles.

Onyx Photovoltaic Estimation is a cool, free app that uses your phone's screen to estimate the amount of power that a photovoltaic panel would generate at any location.

There is a diverse world of alternative energy that is constantly changing due to technological improvements. Here's a cool app to keep you up to date from Renewable Energy World:

(Montage of alternative sources of energy: wind, hydropower, and photovoltaic cells)

Here's an extra credit question for your Teen Summer Reading activity point: how are wind-powered and geothermal electricity also forms of the Sun's energy?

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Maggot Moon: a Book Review  
Here's a great title for a chilling, dazzling, and perfect first teen read for the summer of 2013. If you enjoyed The Book Thief or dystopian teen lit, then you'll love Maggot Moon.



Meet Standish Treadwell. He has two different colored eyes. He canít read well. He canít write well. He isnít considered to be very bright. But after his parents were taken from him, Standish starts seeing things in a whole new way. With help from his friend Hector, his world begins to brighten. Although it may not be much, Standish finds hope in his grandfather and the Moon Man for the future. In hopes of discovering whatís being hidden by the Motherland, Standish and Hector venture to the other side of wall. What they find will blow you away.

An absolutely stunning read. I defy anyone to read this and finish with dry eyes.

If you read Maggot Moon let us know what you think. Hate it? Love it? Ambivalent? Weirded out? I would love to hear a teenís point of view of this book.

-Heather Lee, Children's Librarian, St Matthews Branch


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Announcing Teen Summer Reading 2013: Reading is Elemental 


From June 1st through August 10th, 2013, teens grade 6 through 12 can participate in the library's summer reading program.

All participants who complete the program will receive the following:

  • Free Messenger Bag
  • Free passes to the KY Science Center, Locust Grove, Rauch Planetarium, Lousville Bats Baseball game, Squire Boone Caverns
  • Free class at Hwang's Martial Arts
  • Free Frosty from Wendy's
  • Free Lemon Ice from Fazoli's
  • Free passes to select UofL sporting events

All completed participants will be entered into our grand prize drawing for a chance to win:

  • $100 gift card to Barnes & Noble Book Store
  • Netbook Computer
  • UofL Football Tickets

To complete the summer reading program, teens need to fill out and return the summer reading form after reading 6 books,eBooks, magazines, or graphic novels and completing 1 activity (such as attending a library program or commenting on our Teen Blog). Forms may be picked up and dropped off at any LFPL location during our normal operating hours. Click here to find a branch near you.

For a full list of teen programs, click here .

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AnimeCon 9 


The AnimeCon 9 schedule of events has been posted. It is going to be an awesome day!

All Day:
Sumo Wrestling
Tranquility Room
Digital Scavenger Hunt

Morning Sessions:
Manga Jewelry Making
Dueling Network
Japanese Fish Printing
Haiku Writing Workshop
Haiku Showdown!
Bento Box Iron Chef Challenge
Ninja Hand Game
Making Comics


Afternoon Sessions:
Yu-Gi-Oh Tournament
Japanimation Draw Something
Ramen Noodle Eating Contest
Just Dance
Getting in Shape
Calligraphy
Arming of the Samurai
Cosplay Contest & Group Picture

AnimeCon 9, August 3rd, 2012
9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Click here to register

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Survivor Night 


Survivor Night, LFPL's free after-hours teen event, returns to the Main Library, Friday, July 13th. Click here to register, or call 574-1724 for more info.


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