Category: Science

Civil Geeks: Learning to Live with Vog

My latest “Civil Geeks” column features a new website designed to help Hawaii residents cope with life downwind of an active volcano. The website — along with a booklet of frequently asked questions, a brochure and poster about protecting yourself during vog episodes — came together following a 2015 study by Horwell, which looked at how...

Geek Beat: Conservation and Cultivation

The latest Geek Beat segment is inspired by the World Conservation Congress, held in Hawaii and the U.S. for the first time in more than 60 years. In addition to the IUCN event, we talk about a new app out of the University of Hawaii called Landscape M.D., and a...

Civil Geeks: Virtues of Venomous Creatures

I got to interview one of my favorite scientists for my latest “Civil Geeks” column. Christie Wilcox is a beloved and respective science blogger and communicator who recently published her first book. “Venomous: How Earth’s Deadliest Creatures Mastered Biochemistry“: “The book gave me the chance to share the awesomeness of...

Civil Geeks: Exoplanetpalooza

Astronomers in Hawaii play a critical role in the search for planets orbiting stars beyond our own solar system. My latest “Civil Geeks” column explores a recent sky survey that identified over 100 new exoplanets. Although the existence of alien life will be hard to prove, it’s becoming increasingly probable....

Kona Science Cafe Serves Up Martian Medicine

With human space exploration ambitions now focused on Mars, scientists are tackling the myriad challenges that will face astronauts making the 200 million mile (or so) journey. Tomorrow, a doctor will explore how medical care and health emergencies might be handled for travelers to the Red Planet. Dr. Peter Sim...

Boosting Big Island Access to Astronomy

The ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo is one of my favorite places to visit when I’m visiting my favorite town on Earth. Aimed at kids and students as much as tourists, it beautifully illustrates the connection between traditional Hawaiian practices and cutting edge science. But with the Big Island spread...

Photo by Herb Neufeld

Shipping Vessels Join Tsunami Detection Network

In a unique public-private partnership, commercial ocean-crossing ships will play a practical and affordable role in detecting and tracking potentially destructive tsunami headed toward Hawaii. The School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa has outfitted ten ships operated by shipping giants Matson and Maersk...

Science Writer Sam Kean Speaks Friday

One of the nation’s leading contemporary science writers will be the featured guest at a book talk hosted by Hawaii Pacific University on Friday. Sam Kean is perhaps best known for his 2010 bestselling novel The Disappearing Spoon, which led readers on an insightful and entertaining tour of the periodic table of the...

Astronomers to Explore ‘Extreme Solar Systems’

As solar systems go, the one we live in is pretty boring. In the “Hitchhiker’s Guide” by the great Douglas Adams, our neighborhood was described as being “far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the galaxy.” (Our planet was deemed “mostly harmless.”) But planets...

Keck Observatory Marks 25 Years of World-Class Astronomy

On Tuesday, the elder of the twin telescopes of the W.M. Keck Observatory will celebrate the 25th anniversary of its “first light” operations perched atop Mauna Kea on Hawaii Island. The milestone comes as the planned construction of the world’s largest optical telescope, the Thirty Meter Telescope, was delayed once again....

Kona Meetup to Explore Science Outreach in Pictures

Good science is important, but it’s notoriously hard to explain. Even though scientists may be doing groundbreaking research, they sometimes struggle to capture the attention — let alone the comprehension — of the average person. One effective strategy, then, is to skip a thousand words, and go with a picture instead....

Student Opportunities in STEM Showcased at KCC

Students at Kapiolani Community College will be presented with a veritable feast of opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math on Thursday at the school’s 6th annual STEM Expo. Nearly two dozen exhibitors will be participating, including from both the public and private sector as well as from across the...

Hawaii Researchers First to Raise Yellow Tang in Captivity

The Oceanic Institute announced last week that it was the first facility in the world to successfully breed and raise yellow tang. And the news about this little fish is a big deal for both the environment, as well as the aquarium trade. The distinctive, brilliantly colored yellow tang (Zebrasoma flavescens) is one...

First Hawaii Space Launch Fails [Updated]

The first attempted orbital launch from Hawaii failed this evening. The U.S. Air Force-led Operationally Responsive Space mission, ORS-4, launched the islands’ first space-bound rocket from the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands on Kauai shortly before 6 p.m. The SuperStrypi rocket was an experimental launch vehicle...

Thursday Talk to Explore Long Lost Volcano

The island of O‘ahu has two majestic mountain ranges, Ko‘olau and Wai‘anae. And for nearly as long as island geology has been taught in schools, the conventional wisdom was that O‘ahu was formed by two volcanoes. But last year, scientists announced that they’d discovered a third, long-lost volcano off the westernmost...

Teachers Invited to Pick OPIHI for Science Education

Teachers Invited to Pick OPIHI for Science Education

Secondary school students have a unique opportunity to explore Hawaii’s shorelines as both an educational opportunity as well as a way to contribute to real scientific research. But these field trip opportunities begin with teachers signing up for the OPIHI program. OPIHI stands for Our Project in Hawaii’s Intertidal, referencing the...

SOEST to Showcase Earth Sciences This Weekend

Kids and families will get to explore Pacific rim earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, deep sea creatures and Mars rocks at the SOEST Open House this weekend. The School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology hosts an open house every other year, its 2013 event drawing over 7,600 people. “Students and families...

Honolulu Science Cafe Goes Very, Very Deep

One of the world’s leading deep sea researchers will be the featured speaker at this month’s Honolulu Science Cafe. Jeffrey Drazen, a professor of oceanography at the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), will speak on Tuesday about his research into the biology of the Mariana Trench, the deepest place on...

Science Cafe Serves Up Sea Food for Thought

After taking a brief summer vacation, Honolulu Science Cafe returns next Tuesday with a focus on oceans. The featured speaker for the casual Kaimuki dinner series is Professor Margaret McManus, who has taught at the University of Hawaii since 2003. She will be speaking on the topic of “Understanding the...

Next Nerd Nite Mixes Streams, Spectrometry

The eclectic mix of topics and presenters continues with Nerd Nite Honolulu, reconvening on Tuesday with talk of bees, poop, and analytical chemistry. As always, the conversation will be facilitated by live music and alcohol. Honolulu is one of more than 90 cities with Nerd Nite events, which revolve around...