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Friday, July 20, 2018


Day 79 of the Lower Puna Eruption, and here is a video clip from Big Island Video News.


  • Hawaii at 186.3 (#51) has more than twice (2.2) the cost of living index as Mississippi (#1) with 84. 
  • Just about exactly half as high?  New Mexico (#17) and Nebraska (#18).
  • New York at #48 only has an index of 133.9.
  • Housing is where we are off the charts, with an index of 295.8.  Mississippi?  68.5.
So why do people live here?
  • We might have the best weather on Planet Earth, if you don't live in the southern half of the Big Island.
  • While Alaska is the worst for crime, Hawaii is only #31.
  • We are the only state that grows coffee.
  • According to Thrillist, Hawaii is the #1 state (thank you Summer Nakaishi, who has lived in Chicago most of her life):
    • If in the Miss America contest, we would be Miss Congeniality.
    • Best beaches:  Dr. Beach has selected a Hawaii beach at the top 14 times in the past 25 years.
    • Proud of ethnic diversity.
    • For third year in a row, America's Heath Rankings named Hawaii as the healthiest state.
    • Out of 150 major cities, Honolulu had the most healthy environment.
    • Newlyweds rank Hawaii at #1.
    • Always in the top ten on happiness, according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.
    • Best for older Americans.
    • Ah, we are also best at:
      • terrible traffic
      • Spam
      • homelessness
But I like Hawaii because almost everything I do is FREEEEE!  
  • Free whiffs of pikake and plumeria, assortment of colorful flowers, picking tamarind and guava to eat, view, and rainbows
  • This past Sunday I went to the FREE Ukelele Festival.  There is no better such concert in the whole world.
  • Tomorrow and Sunday, the 41st Prince Lot Hula Festival.  Once at Moanalua Gardens, the FREEE show is now at Iolani Place next to downtown Honolulu.  There is no competition, just fun.  Twelve halau hula will be showcased on Saturday beginning at 9:30AM.  And this will be preceded at 8:30 by the famous Kamehameha Alumni Glee Club.  There will be poi pounding, lauhala weaving kapa, ipu meke, feather lei and ukelele making and more.  Food will feature Hawaiian plates and shave ice.  Tours through Iolani Place will be FREEE.  This all continues from 10AM to 3:05PM on Sunday with Hawaii Aloha.  Bring your own chair.  
  • Prince Lot, incidentally later reigned as King Kamehameha V.  Click here for the full schedule.
    • He  became king only after he called for a constitutional convention.
    • During his reign from 1863-72 Hawaii became international, for there were visits from Mark Twain, the Duke of Edinburgh and interaction with Germany, from where came Henri Berger, who organized the Royal Hawaiian Band.
We also have the most beautiful and free rainbows, daily:

Where else do you have Diamond Head?  I will perhaps tomorrow further develop how the Blue Revolution is progressing, but my office at the University of Hawaii is currently being used for a year by Hiro from Nihon University, the second Blue Revolution professor, and we first went to J-Shop to buy wagyu/sashimi bentos, where they were passing out freshly grilled pieces of Japanese wagyu beef and, also, maguro sashimi.  Free wagyu and sashimi this weekend, too, at J-Shop.  Go.  We then went on to Magic Island for lunch under the shade of a coconut tree with a view of Diamond Head:


Thursday, July 19, 2018


Day 78 of the Lower Puna Eruption and tourists continue to want to board those lava tour boats:

Shun Naganuma, a visitor from Japan who booked the tour with his girlfriend, said he thought about asking for a refund. “But we are excited, so we go as scheduled,” he said, adding that his expectation of the tour was 50 percent exciting and 50 percent scary.

How much does it cost?  $225 or $250 per person.

About that Yellowstone Super Volcano showing signs of waking up?  Here is what Snopes said:

Fissure Opens Up Near Yellowstone, Causing Park Closures and Irresponsible Headlines

I guess that must be me, too.  

Here is what the Jackson Hole News and Guide reported on July 10:

“Yesterday, Exum guides noticed cracks in the rocks,” Teton park spokeswoman Denise Germann said. “They communicated that to rangers this morning, and when they went to investigate they realized it had actually gotten bigger and expanded.”
The crack is about 100 feet long, she said, and runs horizontally along a rock wall that’s at least 100 feet tall.
Leading to:
For online sites looking for easy ad revenue, the topic of the Yellowstone super eruptions has been a gold mine — albeit it a factually challenged one. Any mention of Yellowstone can and will be turned into viral claims of the coming apocalypse. 
The Daily Mail, for example, in their reporting of a 100-foot horizontal crack in a rock ran with a headline sure to remind viewers of the fact that Yellowstone is a supervolcano: “Rock fissure sparks URGENT closure at Grand Teton National Park, just 60 miles from Yellowstone supervolcano.”

The park closure was “urgent” because park rangers did not want climbers to be crushed by falling rocks, not because they feared an imminent volcano super-eruption. As we have reported previously, the likelihood of a large scale, globally disruptive super-eruption’s occurring at Yellowstone Park in our lifetimes is exceedingly low, and that event would be presaged by warning signs that the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and other entities are constantly monitoring.

And further:

Yellowstone’s magma chamber, most geologists agree, currently does not contain the volume of magma needed for such a large-scale eruption, and the process of replenishing that chamber occurs on slow timescales. The USGS consider the risk of a caldera-forming apocalypse at Yellowstone in the next couple of thousand years to be “exceedingly low.”

However, here is The Express:

EXCLUSIVE: Supervolcano eruption risks are 'EXTREMELY CATASTROPHIC' warns expert

Checking more closely, this was November of last year.  Both the Daily Mail and The Express emanate from the UK.

Yet, Yellowstone is one of only half a dozen super volcanoes.  Remember that the eruption of Toba 74,000 years ago almost extinguished the early line of Homo sapiens.  But this, too, is rather controversial.


A deadly supervolcano lies under Yellowstone — and an eruption would emit dangerous gases and spread ash for 500 miles

This from Business Insider last October, which is an American publication.  Only nine years old, BI has been generally accepted by the financial sector.  However, from Wikipedia:

The website has, however, faced criticism for its pronounced liberal bias, as well as clickbait-style headlines.[27][28][29] In 2013, The New Yorker criticized the website for prioritizing publishing speed over accuracy.[30] In 2018, the website received criticism from some media outlets after deleting a controversial column about Scarlett Johansson.[31][32]

The bottom line is that you should feel safe visiting Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding regions.  The most recent eruption was 70,000 years ago, and the recurrence interval is around 700,000 years.


Wednesday, July 18, 2018


Day 77 of the Lower Puna Eruption and another 5+ earthquake at the summit.  Here is an assortment of the latest news.  Is there any solution to this continuing agony?  Well, NASA believes a $3.5 billion effort can prevent a serious potential eruption at Yellowstone National Park.

Sure, this is shamefully hyperbolic, but on a related geological matter, a large crack actually opened a few days ago, closing Grand Teton National Park.  This site is close to that feared Yellowstone super volcano which now and then hiccups to worry scientists.

British newspapers have a way of exaggerating reality, but, regarding Yellowstone:

The massive eruption could be a staggering 6,000 times as powerful as the one from Washington’s Mount St Helens in 1980 which killed 57 people and deposited ash in 11 different states and five Canadian provinces.
If the volcano explodes, a climate shift would ensue as the volcano would spew massive amounts of sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere, which can form a sulphur aerosol that reflects and absorbs sunlight.
I'll probe into this latest inflated fear tomorrow.

Totally changing subjects, people find multiple birth siblings cute and fascinating.  How often do they occur?
  • One in 90 births is twins.
  • Square that number, and get one in 8100 births being triplets.
  • One in 729,000 births results in quadruplets.
  • Quintuplets?  One in 60 million births.
  • There are several sextuplets, with the Gosselins featured in Jon &Kate Plus 8 (right, sextuplets + twins).
  • In the U.S. there are two octuplets, in 1998 to the Chukwu family in Texas (seven survived) and the Suleman Octoplets, 2009, in California.  The life of Nadya Suleman would fill an encyclopedia.  Note the notation of 14 children.  She previously had six others, and there is no identifiable father.
  • There have been births of nine, and pregnancies up to 15, but none survived.
It can get complicated, but here is a simple differentiation:
  • Fraternal
  • Identical
  • Combination
  • Today, fertility treatment is responsible for 36% of twins and 78% of triplets, quadruplets and quintuplets.
Further, regarding quintuplets:
  • Average gestation is 29 weeks, so all these births will be premature with an average weight less than three pounds.
  • Mother will gain around 50 pounds, and almost surely by cesarean delivery.
  • The Dione Quintuplets (right), Canada, 1934 were the first surviving set of identical quintuplets.  They financially survived by being displayed as a tourist attraction.
  • Fischer Quintuplets, South Dakota, 1963, were the first U.S. fivesome.
  • Baseball player Melvin Mora became a dad of quintuplets in 2001.
  • The mascots of the 2008 Beijing Olympics were quintuplets.
  • Five seat strollers are available, but  are expensive at $1000.
  • Older, larger and taller women are more apt to have multiple births.
  • Less likely in the Orient.
  • Parents will change 35,000 diapers before child is potty-trained.
  • Full term is 40 weeks.
Just background for a film I recently saw, Three Identical Strangers.  I went to this documentary mostly because Rotten Tomatoes gave it 95%/86% ratings.  If you plan on seeing this film and don't want to know the whole story, this review tells most of the whole story without giving everything away.  I will, so scroll down to the end of this posting for my second film Skyscraper.

On 12 July 1961 triplets were born to an unmarried Jewish girl who gave them up to Manhattan's Louise Wise Adoption Agency.  The movie is all joy and wonderment when these triplets,  at the age of 19, adopted by different parents who did not know there were two others, coincidentally find each other.  That would have made for a typical Hollywood film if that's were it ended.

But there was a dark underside.  They were provided to three families at three economic levels, each with an older sister, previously adopted.  You get where this is headed?  Yes, a scientific study sponsored by what became the Jewish Board, which today has 3,000 employees with a $200 million budget.  Eminent New York City psychiatrist Viola Bernard (left) persuaded the Louis Wise organization to send multiple birth children to separate homes without telling anyone, and regularly study the outcome.  

Her motivation was to show that identical twins would better forge an individual identity without the influence of the other.  Nearly 60 years ago, this sort of interest was not entirely immoral.  However, she passed away early in the effort, and New York University psychiatrist Peter Neubauer was hired to replace her.  The study ended two decades later in 1980, accumulating 10,000 pages of information, and a decision was made not to publish because of possible negative public opinion.  Note that this termination coincided with the triplets discovering each other.

Neubauer found The Wizard of Oz disturbing.  Said he, child viewers became deeply troubled by the seductive mix of realism and fantasy.  This was the film from which came the top movie song of all time, Over the Rainbow.

The entire Neubauer file was sent to Yale University and sealed until 2066.  Not certain how many twins and triplets were studied, but at the age of 35, twins Else Schein and Paula Bernstein, who were unknowingly in this experiment, began to write a memoir, and published Identical Strangers in 2007.

The film was made by British director Timothy Wardle, partly because previous American attempts faced intense pressure from guess who.  CNN partly financed the production, and will air it later this year.  The Jewish Board did not participate in the film.  More information will almost surely come to light.  For now, the bottom line is that it appears nature overwhelms nurture.

I also saw Skyscraper with Dwayne Johnson and Pearl, a super-skyscraper 3500 feet tall in Hong Kong.  The Burj Khalifa in Dubai at a mere 2717 feet is currently the highest building. A so-so 49% Rotten Tomatoes reviewers rating, but 79% of the audience liked it.  I did, for after all, The Rock is from Hawaii, and my high school.

Before the films I had lunch at Goma Tei, located close to Kahala Theater.  Good al dente ramen with Kagawa broth:

There is a Tomatometer 100 documentary to open this week:  McQueen.  Also, Mama Mia.  Here We Go Again, with the same cast (Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, etc.), which received 94%/88% ratings.  Oh, and Cher somehow shows up, plus Andy Garcia, so she could sing Fernando to him.  All of the ABBA hits, of course, are also back.


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

TRUMP: whoops, meant to say WOULDN'T

Day 76 of the Lower Puna Eruption, and here is an article confirming that 23 people were injured by that lava bomb off Kapoho.  The good news is that no one has yet died since re-activity began on May 3.   No recent reports, but Guatemala's Volcan Fuego death toll has probably risen above 100.


“In a key sentence in my remarks I said the word ‘would’ instead of ‘wouldn’t.’ The sentence should have been I don’t see any reason why I wouldn’t or why it wouldn’t be Russia. So just to repeat it, I said the word would instead of wouldn’t,” Trump told reporters.

He also said he maintained great relations with European allies, helped strengthened NATO and had a fabulous meeting with Vladimir Putin.  On the evidence of media reportage, you got to be concerned about the state of Trump's mind.  He appears to be tormented that his presidential victory could be reversed if Mueller prevails.  In any case, it's becoming clear that the following could well, one or all, be true:
  • Putin has something so terrible involving Trump that he has no option but to be a puppet.
  • Putin despised Hillary Clinton and directed his military to somehow screw up the 2016 U.S. election process to hurt her.  There was no collusion as such, although no doubt Putin's agents met with Trump backers to exchange information.
  • Trump want's to improve American relations with Russia, China and North Korea.
  • Robert Mueller's investigation cannot now be derailed by Trump.  The upcoming report will be juicy enough for the Congress to consider impeachment.  The timing will be crucial.
So what will next happen?  Trump felt compelled to rescue his intelligence operatives from under the bus and said his administration will fight off any future Russian interference.  The Congress will mostly entertain thoughts and the White House will not take effective action because if Russia does have any influence in 2018, it will be to help Republicans.