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Tuesday, April 24, 2018


Hawaii has always been associated with the color blue.  The song, the ocean...  Fifty years ago, when you flew into Honolulu at night, you gazed at a Blue Hawaii.  This is because street lights then were mostly from mercury-vapor lights.

Then, came those sodium-vapor bulbs, which were more cost effective, but imparted an orange color.  We became Orange Honolulu.

But, a $46.5 million project will change 53,500 street lights all to Light Emitting Diodes (LED).  City officials say they will save $5 million annually just in electricity costs. Plus, these LEDs seem to last forever.

However, there is trouble brewing.  The Sierra Club has argued the selected LEDs are too blue.  This color is said to be detrimental to human health and bird safety.  The City argues that the the cooler color at 4000K (I'll later explain) are cheaper to operate, and, only 10% of the lights will be of this type on busier arterial streets.  The rest of the lights will be at 3000K, imparting a warmer glow.  The lens will only shine down and should not affect migrating birds nor astronomy requirements.

In any case, Honolulu is just among a swarm of cities shifting to LEDs.  Much of this activity began a decade ago.  Seattle has changed color, and so soon will Atlanta.

Back in history, here he is again, but Benjamin Franklin, who was the postmaster of Philadelphia, was the inventor of street lights in 1757.  He used candles.  Natural gas lighting arrived in Britain in 1792, with electric lights in Cleveland/Wabash in 1880.  Why is Broadway nicknamed the Great White Way?  Electric street lights.

From the beginning of electricity, General Electric and Westinghouse fought it out.  Should AC or DC be the national form of this power system?  Edison, who, with J.P. Morgan, founded the predecessor of General Electric, got Nikola Tesla to develop the alternating current (AC) form.  Edison did not like it and let Tesla go, for direct current (DC) seemed safer.  George Westinghouse embraced AC, and ultimately prevailed.  Read about their colorful and deadly rivalry.

Eventually, standard incandescent lamps were used.  In 1948 the mercury vapor bulb was made available, and it was brighter and cheaper to operate.  However, people complained that this light made them look like zombies.

Around 1970, the high pressure sodium vapor light began to replace mercury for economic reasons.  It was initially disliked because of the orange glow.  But Blue Honolulu became Orange Honolulu.

Then, for a while the metal halide lamp looked promising.  Recently, the induction lamp looked hopeful, for the light was close to incandescent, life was long (100,000 hours) and cost reasonable.  Compact fluorescent lamps (CFL), the kind we all now use at home, also made inroads, and the color was an acceptable soft white.

However, light emitting diodes seem now be taking over, for maintenance is low, lifetime high and investment cost rapidly dropping.  Here is a comparison, showing how much the price can vary:

Some additional info for your files:

What about you?  Which bulb should you use today.  You've of course discarded the incandescent option by now, and these will disappear in 2020 anyway.

If you have a nicely working CFL, keep it.  If you need a new bulb, LEDs now are the logical choice.  CFLs are good for 8,000 hours, while LEDs should last you for more than 25,000 hours.  Those hours listed left and right here can be contested.

So just as you now think you can comfortably use LEDs forever, comes OLEDs, or organic light-emitting diodes.  The color is closer to sunlight, and there is no piercing brightness factor.  For now, OLEDs are light panels, with diffuse lighting in sheets.  They are thus for those seeking the latest fashionable option.  Cost?  Don't ask, however, the price has dropped by a factor of ten since 2011.  But, get this, for an equivalent 25 watt incandescent bulb which costs almost nothing these days, the OLED will set you back $300.  Something to keep in mind as you design your new home or office.  You don't want to be stuck with simple ole LEDs.

Aha, but what about television sets?  Should you get OLED or LED?  Well, the jury is still out, but most reviews seem to lean in the OLED direction.  Surely, that's just got to be a clue to the future of lighting.

But just when you thought OLED, owned by LG of Korea, with partner Sony of Japan, was the final answer, here came QLED of Samsung, with the Q having to do with Quantum Dot.

Not unlike golf clubs, sure the technology is improving, but certainly getting people to buy something new must be at play.  Just another marketing conspiracy?  Such is the nature of progress.  Note also that the field of consumer electronics is now being dominated by South Korea.


Monday, April 23, 2018


My two films this weekend were, again, as different as you can get.

                                  Rotten Tomatoes     Mojo   Pat
                            Reviewers  Audiences

Rampage                  50               82            2        B

You Were...Here      86               70            ?         C

Rampage was standard Rock, adventurousness with humor and a lot biceps.  The computer graphics were outstanding.  Those Rotten Tomatoes scores pretty much explain it all:  reviewers were not impressed, while viewing audiences liked the film.  The giant albino gorilla looked real.  The gorilla, George, who was raised as an infant by Dwayne Johnson (who went to McKinley High School, my alma mater--he's our most famous alumnus, with Senators Tammy Duckworth and Daniel Inouye as #2 and #3), was a giant because of a genetic engineering development called CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats), which is the key  scientific breakthrough that will change the nature of us.

There were boring moments, especially at the beginning, but, the final quarter was non-stop excitement.  In essence, three  genetically morphed monsters make their way to Chicago, George being one of them, where the Rock and a Phd geneticist from Stanford, who would be the love interest if there is a sequel, attempt to stop them.  Director Brad Peyton has indicated so, especially if the international box office revenues materialize.  There are five versions of the video game.   The movie was an adaptation of an arcade game, and you can now play it free online.

You Were Never Really Here is a well-made potential cult classic, according to Rotten Tomatoes reviewers, which won a Best Actor award for Joaquin Phoenix and Best Screenplay honor for director Lynn Ramsey at the 70th Cannes Film Festival.  Unfortunately, the whole production mostly lost me, and I can't figure out why they used that long title.  I could not quite understand what was happening, for Joaquin with beard is hard to understand.  Why it did not register on Box Office Mojo is  a mystery, unless Honolulu was one of the very few early release sites.

Here are some comments from those who do this for a living:
  • YWNRH lands like a blow to the sternum (Adam Graham, Detroit News)
  • This is an amazing movie that's not for everyone (Jay Stone,
  • Nearly noir-ish, a man who saves kidnapped young girls becomes more involved than usual in his latest case. (Kevin Williams)
Only after I read the Wikipedia summary of the film did I get a sense of what happened.  What I got out of the movie:  ball peen hammer, elliptical, jelly beans, nostalgic popular music laced with Jonny Greenwood sounds, and a puzzle with missing pieces.

I might mention that Joaquin Phoenix had siblings named River (who died of a drug overdose), Rain, Summer and Jodean, most who became actors.  When young he renamed himself Leaf.  He and River are the only two brothers who got nominated for Oscars.  He was superb in Walk the Line,(Rotten Tomatoes 83/90) his version of Johnny Cash, gaining a Best Actor nomination for the Oscar.  Phoenix sings so well that people can't tell the difference.  Here, again, I Walk the Line.  I have CDs of both and I can't.  Incidentally, that was also the voice of Reese Witherspoon as June Carter Cash.  Terrific, and she won the Oscar for Best Actress for the role.

Joaquin, or Leaf, has now and then taken leave from entertainment, once for alcoholism, and has been associated with a wide variety of charities, including peace, meals for Africa and animal rights.  His next film will be as Jesus in Mary Magdalene with Rooney Mara, his current girlfriend.

Opening next weekend, Disobedience rated 94/93 by Rotten Tomatoes.  Also, the latest Avengers, scoring 99% from the potential audience.  I don't review comic-book films.


Sunday, April 22, 2018

MY SATURDAY MORNING WALK: Blue Flowers and Shanghai Soup Dumplings

I have ten days left for this daily blog.  So why am I bothering to just report on my Saturday morning walk?  Over the past decade, I have taken pride in covering the totality of what occurs for Humanity on Planet Earth.  The articles featuring simple pleasures balance my efforts at seeking universal peace, establishing contact with extraterrestrial life and promoting the Blue Revolution.  Walk of Life by Dire Straits is also one of my favorites.  Click on it and imagine that this was a third of century ago at the Wembley.   They are a British band from London.

I use my Saturday morning walk into downtown Honolulu usually to have lunch, so that I can hike uphill back to 15 Craigside to maintain an optimal weight.  The future of our society is not as important as my personal health. 

My 32 years in my previous Craigside life averaged 5 to 7 hours of sleep.  When I moved into 15 Craigside, this period increased to 6-8 hours.  After my bout with flu earlier this year, I now am in the 7-9 hour range because I have more and more agreed with medical science that adequate sleep is as important as exercise and diet.

I never plan on a coordinated photo shoot during these Saturday treks.  Yesterday, however, blue flowers kept appearing.  While Jacarandas are more violet or purple, the tree growing adjacent to 15 Craigside had a bloom and looked/smelled wonderful:

Then a short distance from Zippy's:

Closer to Chinatown:

Speaking of blue, my Blue-bar pigeon showed the way up River Street:

Chinatown Cultural Plaza, where there is a pigeon home and loads of activity outside of Fook Lam:

I bought my usual cheap beer in the plaza.  Inside, Fook Lam was packed:

I sometimes order something new to go with my Shanghai Soup Dumplings.  This time it was Fish Dumplings:

Hennessey is the third best cognac under $60:

The best Cognacs under $60
  • 1) Remy Martin Mature Cask Finish.
  • 2) De Luze VSOP Fine Champagne.
  • 3) Hennessy Fine de Cognac.

Ah, the happiness of a Saturday walk into Chinatown Honolulu for Shanghai Soup Dumplings enhanced with Hennessey.


Saturday, April 21, 2018


On 27 February 2010 I received an e-mail from The Huffington Post.  One of the editors asked me to please write an article as soon as possible and report on the tsunami coming to Hawaii from the Chile earthquake.  They knew, of course, that I lived in Honolulu.  There was a problem, for I was in Amsterdam, which they did not know.

Turns out that my hotel room TV accessed CNN, which had two cameras covering the incoming disaster, one watching Hilo Bay and the other, Waikiki.  If I were back home, I certainly would not have driven to the coastline to report for HuffPo, anyway.  So I began my reportage with:

I’m on an around the world odyssey, which you can follow through my HuffPost postings. Well, my most exciting day is happening right in front of me watching the 8.8 Chile earthquake cataclysm on CNN from the Hotel Pulitzer in Amsterdam. Thus, from half a world away, I’m missing what I’ve long imagined: a graphic view of a major tsunami decimating Honolulu from my penthouse.

Click on Hawaii Tsunami? to read the entire article.

Back in Amsterdam, I had just come back from a walk around town and stopped by a smart shop.  For those not in the know, coffee shops are where you can smoke marijuana and smart shops provide magic mushrooms and truffles.  Actually, they're all illegal in the Netherlands, but there is little actual enforcement.  Magic mushrooms, though, have generally not been available for a decade or so, but magic truffles are tolerated.

Okay, anyway, here I was, with an article I was composing for HuffPo and a small container of magic truffles.  These are blackish, crumbly morsels the weight of three raisinets (those chocolate covered raisins).  An important must is to take it on an empty stomach.  Well, I no doubt ruined the effect by tossing them into a glass of  Cabernet Sauvignon, so, in the process of creating my most popular posting ever, I don't think there was any psychedelic influence.  However, the following year I did it the correct way and it turned out to be frighteningly colorful, and evocative of Salvador Dali.
In any case, here is the rather simple Planet Earth and Humanity posting I had on 27 February 2010, which drew 3,356 visitors, a total that was not exceeded until this year, when one day it zoomed up past 25,000...and the subject matter had to do with Star Wars.

Well, Hawaii dodged a bullet. We survived the tsunami from Chile. You can click on Hawaii Tsunami Information for the latest.

I'll keep the latest information at the top. The tsunami reached a height of about 6 feet in French Polynesia.

As of 12:20PM, there was a recession of 3 feet and a rise of 3 feet around Hilo. Thus, it's official, a reasonably significant tsunami affected Hawaii.

Thank heavens, the 35-foot Hilo monster of 1960 (the photo to the right) did not materialize this time. At this point, nothing official from a largely abandoned (one person was shown walking to the shore) Waikiki Beach, although there are three surfers awaiting something. Not too smart. The reef off Ala Moana Beach did show for a while, exhibiting some receding waters.


Well, we now all know that an earthquake, measured with a Moment Magnitude of 8.8, struck just off the coast near Concepcion, Chile at 06:34 GMT (03:34 Chile and 20:34 Hawaii). A tsunami warning has been issued, and Hilo is expected to be affected at 11:19 Saturday morning. It was almost half a century ago (22May60) that the largest earthquake on record (9.5) hit Chile, causing 61 deaths in Hilo.  (To the left is a typical photo in Chile.)

Honolulu arrival time is 11:25 AM. Sirens were delayed to blare at 6AM. CNN has featured the state and I have been watching for hours. Anyway, one report seems frightening:

The Pacific tsunami warning centre said the quake had generated a wave that could cause destruction along nearby shores "and could also be a threat to more distant coasts". It issued a tsunami warning for Chile, Peru and Hawaii, while Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica and Antarctica are also on alert.

"Chile probably got the brunt force of the tsunami already. So probably the worst has already happened in Chile," said Victor Sardina, geophysicist at the centre. "The tsunami was pretty big too. We reported some places around 8ft. And it's quite possible it would be higher in other areas."

The centre warned that waves up to 4.8 metres high could hit the coasts of the Hawaiian islands, with the first reaching Hawaii at 9pm GMT. "Urgent action should be taken to protect lives and property," the centre said in a bulletin. "All shores are at risk no matter which direction they face."  (The photo to the right is Hilo after the 1960 tsunami.)
The recent Haiti quake was a 7.0 (there were 160,000 deaths) so how much more powerful was the Chile earthquake today? At one time, the Richter Scale was used, so the shaking amplitude in Chile was about 60 times worse. Today, however, the Moment Magnitude Scale is used, and the resultant quake was about 600 times more powerful in the amount of energy released.  

Okay, that was my most popular posting for almost nine years.  For informational purposes (from my article on 31May2015 on SAN ANDREAS):

How do you compare the relative energies of two earthquakes?  Many references make the mistake of citing amplitudes.  But amplitudes are not the story.  If you want to compare the impact of a 9.6 magnitude with a 7.8 magnitude, you need to get to the strength, or energy content, of the quakes.  Empirically, the relationship between magnitude and energy is logarithmic, so you need to do the following:

     Subtract 7.8 from 9.6        = 1.8
     Multiply by 1.5                 = 2.7
     Take 10 to the 2.7 power  = 501

Thus, the 9.6 magnitude earthquake of the film is 501 times stronger than the 7.8 magnitude of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.

To summarize:
  • Subtract the smaller earthquake from the larger.
  • Multiply this difference by 1.5.
  • Place this number into the exponent of base 10.

Note that this 2010 Chile earthquake is called by various different names.  It was the 7th largest in recorded history.

The largest earthquake experienced by Planet Earth, ever?  No records, of course, but I found it interesting that there were no pre-historic earthquakes even close to the Valdivia 9.5.  For example, in 1201 or 1202, an earthquake in Egypt/Syria killed 1.1 million (mostly from famine/disease), but only was estimated to be of 7.6 moment magnitude.  That total is greater than the 825,000 deaths of the 1556 Shaanxi earthquake, which is listed as the most devastating.

While natural disasters in Japan have been the most costly, China is where the most deaths occur from natural disasters:

  • Flood (China, July 1931):  one to four million (China has the worse four floods)
  • Famine (China1958 to 1961):  15 to 43 million (I was in high school and don't remember this)
  • Astronomical fall (1490 Ching-yang event):  10,000 (meteor shower)
  • Avalanche (Peru, 1970):  20,000 (following an earthquake)
  • Heat wave (Europe, 2003):  70,000 (I was in Europe that summer, and it was, indeed, hot--for farmers in Ireland were told to apply sun tan lotion to cow udders--but was not aware so many people died)
  • Cyclone (Pakistan, 1970):  more than half a million
  • Tsunami (Greece, 365AD, from Crete earthquake):  400,000 (the 26December2004 Sumatra earthquake and tsunami is #2 with 280,000 deaths)
  • Volcanic eruption (Indonesia, 1815):  more than 71,000
Well, anyway, natural disasters draw the most visitors to Planet Earth and Humanity, so, even though this blog site unbecomes a daily at the end of this month, I will continue to report on natural disasters affecting Hawaii.