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Monday, August 21, 2017

THE ECLIPSE OF THE CENTURY

For background, click on HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A TOTAL ECLIPSE?  I had breakfast this morning watching CNN:


Watching the reaction of eclipse viewers from Oregon to South Carolina, I was able to re-live my experience 26 years ago.  I could identify with the 15 F temperature drop, the almost night (it was like 2AM in Anchorage on the longest day of the year--not quite really dark) and amazing sense of being involved in a once-in-a-lifetime experience...although this time #2 through the magic of television.

Until today, only a very small percentage of Americans had ever seen a total eclipse.  By the end of the day, this percentage was still tiny, for only very few less than prominent cities were in the 70-mile band width.  That white spot  on the Moon below was just a reflection.



This was a learning experience:
  • Totality does not occur at the same time for everyone.  This is because the Moon moves to the east in its orbit at 3400 km/hr, while the Earth rotates to the same direction at 1670 km/hr, so the lunar shadow shifts east at 3400 - 1670 = 1730 km/hr at the equator.  Both are moving in the same direction, but the Moon's goes faster, meaning that this shadow travels at 1,100 miles/hour at the equator and up to 5,000 MPH near the poles.  Across the USA, it moves from 1479 (South Carolina) MPH to 2203 (Oregon) MPH, and took 91 minutes at an average of 1651 MPH to cover 2496 miles across the country.
  • In 1973 the Concorde 001 tracked a total eclipse, and watched totality for 74 minutes, while those on the ground had around 7 minutes, which was still quite a bit longer than the 2-2.5 minutes over the U.S. today.
  • If you were there, you had to remember to take off your eclipse glasses at totality to view the corona.  2 to 2.5 minutes later, the Sun will began to again appear, so glasses need to be put back on.  Hopefully, no one used plain sun glasses to watch the event.
  • Amazingly enough this USA Total Solar Eclipse came out Red, White and Blue.

Unfortunately, it was raining in Nebraska just before the event.  Providentially, the sun shone through at totality.  The USA was mostly lucky today.


Everyone who lived in the U.S., including Hawaii and Alaska, had an opportunity to watch a partial eclipse.  But if you overcame travel, traffic gridlock, and clouds, you can only bask in the glory of being one of the very few who ever lived to actually witness a total solar eclipse.



But perhaps only 2 million actually succeeded this time, or maybe up to 10 million.  Exact details will be announced later.  At the larger figure, that still will be only a bit more than 1% of the world population.  At least billions will have seen something because of television.

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Wow, Hurricane Kenneth is now up to 125 MPH:



However, he is continuing to move mostly north, and will dissipate before getting close to Hawaii.

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Sunday, August 20, 2017

The BUS: Kailua and Lanikai


As I had not walked around Lanikai and Kailua for a quarter century, I took The Bus to look around  those neighborhoods located on the other side of the Koolaus.  I should note that the X for Lanikai should have been placed at the top of the second "i".  Also, I live at the left side of this map, just below that number 61, which is Pali Highway.  No one, absolute no one, knows that Pali Highway is Highway  Route 61.  

CNN reported that:

1.  Lanikai Beach, Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii.
2.  Kaanapali Beach, Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii
3.  Siesta Key Public Beach, Siesta Key, Florida
4.  Hanalei Beach, Hanalei, Kauai, Hawaii
5.  Waianapanapa State Park, Hana, Maui, Hawaii
6.  Wailea Beach, Wailea, Maui, Hawaii
7.  Huntington Beach State Park, Beaufort, South Carolina.
8.  Maniniowali Beach (Kua Bay), Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii
9.  Saint Pete Beach, Saint Pete Beach, Florida
10.  Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii


Hey, Hawaii has seven of the best ten beaches in the USA, but note that Waikiki did not even make this list.  Why Lanikai Beach is #1 is only because of the beauty.  It is barely half a mile long and has no parking lot, restrooms, showers or lifeguards.  It's so popular that parking violation fines recently increased from $35 to $200.  The two islands you see above are Moku Nui and Moku Iki.  For the daring, you can spearfish for tiger sharks off the former, although this photo to the left is from my university of researchers just studying one of them.

The area surrounding the beach is Lanikai, a part of Kailua, where homes have a median real estate value of more than $1.5 million, higher than 99.3% of U.S. neighborhoods.  A residence recently sold for $13.8 million, the costliest yet this year in the state.  (Photo from Virtually Hawaii.)

Waikiki is 16 miles away.  It took me three buses to get from where I live to Lanikai:  #4 to #56 to #70.  Watch out for #70, as only those with military IDs can enter Kaneohe Marine Base.

Kailua is a census-designated place with 40,000 people.  However, there were 50,000 in 1992.  Interestingly enough, the population on the island of Oahu, too, dropped by more than 6,000 last year.

The problem with Kailua, according to the residents, is that there are too many tourists, especially from Japan.  Frankly, I did not see anything close to what is supposedly "good" for Waikiki.  For one, it's hard to get to the Windward side.  A regular taxi will cost around $100, with tip.  But there are uberX ($30-49) and uberXL ($54-71).  The Bus?  Free for me.  I guess still only $2.50 for others.  The #56 bus takes you directly to and from Waikiki through downtown Honolulu,

After walking around and considering a variety of options, I went Mexican, something I hadn't had for a along time.  Mexico Lindo surprised me.  Not much to look at, but the food and service were terrific.


I ordered two tacos with refried beans and Spanish rice, plus a plate of raw Jalapeños and a giant Passion Fruit Margarita.  It doesn't look like much above because the glass was in the back of the table.  Amazingly enough, as excellent as it was, I couldn't quite finish this drink.  I started with a bite of tacos and a whole jalapeño (there were eight pieces) slice.  It was a bit much, so the next stage had me cutting each slice into four pieces.  Still much too hot, so eight pieces.  Not enough, so for the fourth slice I cut it into six segments.  Just right.  I took home four slices of Jalapeño and some tortilla chips, with the remaining extra hot and mild salsa.  My best Mexican meal since Mexico.  Cost? $30 with tip.  I now tip generously.

Kailua Beach:


I dropped off on Pali Highway to walk home, and noticed this temple at the Tenricultural (Did they forgot to insert the "al"?) Center:


I've never seen so many tamarinds on one tree...and there are three of them.  I love tamarinds.  The fruit tastes like natural see moi, or Wikipedia lists this as cracked seed.

Walking up to where I live, I noticed for the first time a sign of this place, and I've been here now for more than three years:


On 29April2018 this daily blog site will be ten years old.  As of today there have been 3546 postings.  For the record, SIMPLE SOLUTIONS FOR PLANET EARTH AND HUMANITY could attract by the end of the day 93,000 visitors this past month.   If you divide by 31, there then would be 3,000 visitors/day during this period.  At the beginning of this year, the average was around 300/day.  Why a sudden factor of ten amplification in the tenth year of postings is just another mystery of life I can't explain.

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There are two ocean storms brewing, but neither is expected to do much damage, if any at all.  In the East Pacific, Kenneth will become a Category 2 hurricane, but eventually move into colder waters and dissipate before bothering Hawaii:



Here are various computer models, though, showing a wide range of paths and strengths:



Hato in the West Pacific will become a typhoon, moving between Taiwan and the Philippines, and seems headed for the general Guangzhou (formerly known as Canton--and Chinese food from Guangzhou is still referred to as Cantonese cuisine) direction:



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Saturday, August 19, 2017

HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE?

I have.  When I first met my wife Pearl in 1962 we were already looking forward to at least 29 more years together, for she knew that on her birthdate in 1991, July 11, there would be a total solar eclipse right over her favorite mountain, Mauna Kea.  To the right is the only souvenir remaining from that experience.

We stayed at the King Kamehameha Hotel in Kailua-Kona.  However, the general region seemed a bit cloudy, which was somewhat worrisome.  I brought  a bottle of Dom Perignon, given to me by Joyce Patrick, who was working in first class when I had just returned on United Airlines from Japan just prior to the Big Island flight.  I  had dinner with David and Joyce last month.

So anyway, back to 1991, we went to the home of a friend who ran the energy program for the State of Alaska, and also lived on the Big Island.  He had invited JoAnn Yukimura (left) and her husband John.  I had known JoAnn since she was a high school student and I was a process engineer at the Kilauea Sugar Company on Kauai.  I had just graduated from Stanford, and she was on her way there next.

Well, it was cloudy up on the hills above Kona, so we decided to drive up the mountain.  Hardly perfect, but openings occurred through the clouds, so we did see totality.  It was eerie and coolish, both in temperature and experience.  I heard that for those who attempted to see this rare happening, only 5% actually did, for it was raining and very cloudy over the state that day. 

Incidentally, if you had clicked on JoAnn Yukimura above, you would have read about the mass transit system Panos Prevedouros and I planned for her island when she was Mayor way back 27 years ago.  He is now anti-rail.  If only the City and County of Honolulu adopted this idea I later recommended, we would have finished that debacle by now, and would have been well on our way to becoming THE world headquarters for...you name it.  Read my Huffington Post article about this solution.  Maybe it's not too late for a 2025 World's Fair.

Where was I?  Oh, yes, total solar eclipse, which is a rare natural phenomenon.  Very few currently living in the USA have seen one.  Why?  The previous totality across the country occurred on 8June1918.  You need to be more than a hundred years old, and lived in this tiny band from 44 to 70 miles wide along the path, similar to the upcoming one.  Further, to quote from Wikipedia:

This eclipse will be the first total solar eclipse visible from the United States since the solar eclipse of July 11, 1991[12] (which was seen only from part of Hawaii).[13]

Thus, Monday, 21August2017, will be a big day for a continuous, but limited path--only 70 miles wide--from Oregon to South Carolina.  See that shade to the above left?  The moon shadow does NOT show where totality will occur.  In reality, only that tiny black dot represents the total eclipse.


I was tempted, but won't go into the actual science of eclipses to explain why.  Instead, I will just use umbra (which is that dark band of totality, where the penumbra is where you can only see a partial eclipse) and share bits of interesting and worthy info understandable to a fifth grader:
  • An eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth and blocks the Sun from Earth.
  • If the Moon were in a circular orbit, and a bit closer to us, in the same orbital plane, there would be a total solar eclipse every month.
  • However, the Moon's orbit is tilted relative to our planet and elliptical.
  • Hawaii will be in this penumbra, so will see a partial eclipse lasting one hour 35 minutes:
    • begins at 5:50 AM
    • max at 6:35 AM
    • ends at 7:25 AM
  • This 2017 total eclipse will:
    • begin on the Oregon Coast as a partial eclipse at 9:06 PM (PDT)
    • end along the South Carolina coast at 4:06 PM (EDT)
  • The next total eclipse trail across the U.S. will occur on 8April2024 (right)
  • Carbondale, Illinois calls itself the Eclipse Crossroads of America, as it will be in totality for both the 2017 and 2024 eclipses.  Amtrak will run a special train, the Eclipse Express, from Chicago to Carbondale, that day.
  • You must use special eclipse glasses.  Click on this NASA site.  They also show you how to make a pinhole in a pinch.  Here is a second way.
Have you ever wondered how magical it is to have a total eclipse?  How did our Sun, Moon and Earth position themselves such that this perfect syzygy occurred?  The Sun is 400 times the diameter of the Moon, and by pure coincidence (although some would argue for divine intervention) is also 400 times the distance away from Earth, relative to the Moon's distance.  We are the ONLY PLANET IN OUR SOLAR SYSTEM that experiences a total eclipse.  This photo of the 1991 total eclipse was taken by Fred Espenak.

However, the moon is moving further away from us by 4 centimeters every year.  Thus, someday there will only be annular eclipses, as to the right.  The next eclipse of this type will occur over the U.S. (only western portion) on 14October2023.
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That Eastern Pacific anomaly I mentioned yesterday got a name today, Kenneth.  However, all signs show him soon becoming a hurricane, but in time weakening, causing no danger to Hawaii:


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Friday, August 18, 2017

HOW TO REDUCE DEMENTIA AND DIABETES

This past week has been notable, especially for residents of the tables I join for dinner at 15 Craigside.  Two articles appeared in the local paper, one reporting on a study that the moderate consumption of alcohol reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, and another that even heavy drinking reduces dementia,

Many of us have high blood sugar.  There is a myth that ethanol breaks down into sugar, so don't drink.  But the misunderstanding is that ethanol is produced from the fermentation of sugar, which is not reversible.  This Danish research project, monitoring 76,484 humans for five years. suggested that, compared with those who abstain, consuming alcohol three or four days a week was associated with a reduced risk of developing diabetes--27% for men and 32% for women.  Additionally:  
  • Seven glasses of wine/week lowered the risk of diabetes by 25%-35%.
  • However, the lowest risk of diabetes was observed at 14 drinks/week for men and 9 drinks/week for women!
  • For men, one to six glasses/week of beer lowered the risk by 21%, but there was no impact on females.  Didn't see the equivalent "lowest risk" volume, which should be around double that range if logic prevails.
  • However, gin and other spirits could well increase getting diabetes by 83%, but only for females.  Well, at least it stipulates women, for some reason, but, again, logic can only lead to this same projection for males.
Regarding dementia, 1000 middle class white men and women were contacted every four years for three decades by the University of California in San Diego.  They found that those who drank moderate to heavy amounts of alcohol five to seven days/week were twice as likely to be more healthy than non-drinkers.  Those who had up to three drinks on most days were twice as likely to reach 85 without developing dementia.  LET ME REPEAT THIS:  THOSE WHO HAD UP TO THREE DRINKS ON MOST DAYS WERE TWICE AS LIKELY TO REACH 85 WITHOUT DEVELOPING DEMENTIA.

What is "good" heavy drinking, anyway?  For men over 65, four drinks/day.  Three/day for older females.  Read the details in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

It has long been known that ethanol, particularly red wine, was good for your heart.  For these two just-mentioned studies, red wine was not specifically identified, and beer was added.  Now, in any case, alcohol is also good for your head.

Hate to ruin what you might have thought was healthy...but tea is not proven to shield you from dementia.  This bit of surprising news comes from a National University of Singapore study of 900 Chinese people 55 and above.  However, a Harvard report of another (?) National University of Singapore study, this over five years, following 957 adults of average 65 years, showed that tea drinkers had a 50% lower risk of dementia!!!  

Contradictory, but my analysis is that both are pointing to the same study, and the confusion came in the interpretations.  This was one of those complicated cases where one publication looked at the silver lining, while the other looked for flaws.  It happens all the time.  

Well, does tea prevent Alzheimer's or not?  Tea has caffeine, and caffeine is more and more indicated as the active agent in the delay of dementia.  So, tea-drinking must be healthful!  I haven't seen anything, anyway, that indicates tea is bad for your health.

What about coffee?  Three cups of coffee/day cut the risk of Alzheimer's by more than 25%.  Also works against Parkinson's.  Now, this announcement comes from the European Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee.  It does worry me a bit that this "non-profit" is funded by Illycaffe, Jacobs Douwe Egberts, Lavazza, Nestle, Paulig and Tchibo.   What are they?  Only the six largest coffee companies on the continent. 

Further, from a Finnish medical school:  coffee drinking of 3-5 cups per day at midlife was associated with a decreased risk of dementia/AD by about 65% at late-life.  But from Old Dominion University from the USA,:  coffee can reduce the levels of beta amyloid, a destructive protein commonly found in the brains of people with Alzheimer's, by as much as 50%.  So there is reason to believe that the "coffee is good for you" story is not purely connivance by a European coffee cartel.

Case in point, Alzheimer's.net, an American organization, reports that caffeine:
  • Blocks inflammation in the brain, delaying the onset of Alzheimer's.
  • Is an adenosine receptor antagonist, which is good.
  • Boosts brain function and memory.
  • Protects against Type 2 diabetes...which can lead to Alzheimer's.  Did you know that 70% of people who suffer from type 2 diabetes go on to develop Alzheimer's disease?
Let me also add that:
  • 25% of older people have diabetes and 50% in addition are pre-diabetic.
  • While 30 million Americans have diabetes, 84 million more have pre-diabetes.
  • Are you concerned about a future Alzheimer's crisis?
  • Five years ago it was determined that diabetes costs the nation $245 billion/year.  Must be higher today, and the long term implications are frightening.
Back to caffeine, you now have a judgement call to make about de-caffeinated coffee.  But caffeine can affect sleep.  So what is more important, sleep or diabetes/dementia? Yes, I need to let you know that a lack of sleep can spur Alzheimer's.   Decisions. Decisions.

Wait a minute now.  Tea leaves have more caffeine than coffee beans.  Why shouldn't tea be as good, if not better, as coffee, for combatting dementia?  For one, the brewing process for coffee is more efficient in extracting caffeine.  For some reason, most of the caffeine from tea leaves is drawn out in the first ten seconds.  Thus, steeping does not help much.  The recommendation is just to use more tea leaves.

From the Mayo Clinic:
Coffee drinksSize in oz. (mL)Caffeine (mg)
Brewed8 (237)95-165
Brewed, decaf8 (237)2-5
Espresso1 (30)47-64
Espresso, decaf1 (30)0
Instant8 (237)63
Instant, decaf8 (237)2
Latte or mocha          8 (237)63-126
TeasSize in oz. (mL)Caffeine (mg)
Brewed black8 (237)25-48
Brewed black, decaf8 (237)2-5
Brewed green8 (237)25-29
Ready-to-drink, bottled8 (237)5-40
SodasSize in oz. (mL)Caffeine (mg)
Citrus (most brands)8 (237)0
Cola8 (237)24-46
Root beer (most brands)8 (237)0
Energy drinksSize in oz. (mL)Caffeine (mg)
Energy drink                  8 (237)27-164
Energy shot1 (30)40-100
I can't seem to find any publication saying ENERGY DRINKS PREVENT DEMENTIA.  Most sites tend to criticize these drinks as too high in sugar and are health risks.  Here is a more complete table:


Product                     Size                     Caffeine  Content

Red Bull              8.4 oz (250 ml)                 80 mg
AMP                  16 oz (473 ml)                  142 mg
Monster             16 oz (473 ml)                 160 mg
Rockstar            16 oz (473 ml)                 160 mg
NOS                  16 oz (473 ml)                 160 mg
Full Throttle       16 oz (473 ml)                 160 mg
5-Hour Energy    1.93 oz (57 ml)               200 mg

Note that 5-H E has 200 mg only with 1.93 oz.  You've absolutely got to read my posting about 5-Hour Energy:

So, yes, 5-HE does keep you up, but the inability to sleep was not only inconvenient, it was frightening.  I felt like I had some kind of bad psychological experience, not far unlike from magic truffles.  I certainly won't be taking anything like 5-Hour Energy again in my life

But why bother with energy drinks, for they are expensive, and I'm not sure if you can find one low in sugar/substitutes.  What about caffeine pills?  They are both drug and food additive, and can be found as Vivarin, Cafcit, NoDoz, Jet-Alert etc.  The recommendation is 200-400 mg/day.  Caffeine pills are taken for an energy boost.  However, they can cause hypertension, insomnia, cardiac arrhythmia, liver/kidney disease, anxiety and ulcers, among a host of terrible things.

Definitely, too, watch out for overdosing.  One teaspoon of pure caffeine powder equals more than 25 cups of coffee, so don't buy this form, which should be the cheapest.  I didn't do much of a search, but the best I could find was $18.60/100,000 mg from Blackburn Distributions.  Supposedly, the FDA is cracking down on this supplement.  It is tempting, though, to carefully monitor this powder into what you drink, making sure you don't exceed 400 mg/daily, for it is a hassle, if not also expensive, to drink several cups of coffee/day.

90 caplets of 200 mg Jet-Alert are sold by Walmart for $3.43, which, per pill, costs just about the same as that powder version in the previous paragraph.  Only came on the market in 2009.  The old standard, NoDoz, is also 200 mg/caplet, and 60 of them costs $7.47.  Don't know why, but only 16 caplets of Vivarin at 200 mg costs $3.23.  Why are the prices so different?  They're basically the same product.  Check with your doctor.  I haven't ever purchased any of these, and don't plan to either.  Had a college roommate who survived deadlines on NoDoz, and is still alive and well today.  No signs of dementia.

Quite a bit of information for a posting that I tried to keep simple and short.  I was not aware that caffeine was so effective against dementia!  The bottom line is that my lifestyle involving four alcoholic drinks and a couple cups of coffee daily to fight off Alzheimer's and diabetes seems reasonable, now that I've found a better solution for my hypertension.  There are some downsides, of course, sleep being my next white rat experiment, but that is my choice.  You determine what you want to do.  Have a great weekend.

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There is a tropical depression in the East Pacific that will become a hurricane and head for Hawaii.  All signs show a slight turn north and weakening before getting to close to the state:


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