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Saturday, December 31, 2016

WILL THIS BLOG CONTINUE TOMORROW?

Mostly ruminating, but on this final day of the year, I typically wonder if I'll continue this blog site after today.  But something good happened last month, for I got my highest viewership ever:  1700/day.
Graph of Blogger page views
Pageviews today
54
Pageviews yesterday
521
Pageviews last month
51,002
Pageviews all time history
1,166,155
Followers
I think it had something to do with the presidential election, but, why?  Pings have dropped off this month, but are still double what they were in the past.   All told, I have averaged 367 visitors/day to this site. 
Typically, half the daily visitors are first-timers.  For you, I provided a guideline in October, so you can click on that link to learn details about SIMPLE SOLUTIONS FOR PLANET EARTH AND HUMANITY.  As my final posting for 2016, I end the year with a few highlights since the beginning of this blog, way back in April of 2008.

It was eight years and eight months ago that my very first blog focused on the two books I had then recently published,  SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Planet Earth and SS for Humanity.  The first book represented a crystallization of my professional life.  Then, I thought, what about a book on topics of interest to me for which I was not a world authority.

Thus, what began as a site for renewable energy and a clean environment has expanded into anything I wished to pontificate on when I sat at my computer.   Try doing this for 3172 days in a row.  The justification of my wide-ranging topical spectrum had to do with the Humanities book featuring chapters on religion, travel, education and other miscellaneous subjects.

Well, I might have skipped a few days during my travels through China, for there has been bad blood between the country and Google from the beginning of tech time.  Actually, there are 40 countries controlling Google content, with China the most egregiously.  The gray areas to the left allow full-Google.

In China, there was a nine-day period in 2010 when I got blocked out.  I once actually once found a way to work through a Russian server, and got strange and provocative comments that worried me.  At the Westin on the Bund in Shanghai, I made friends with the concierge, who arranged to have someone come to my room to bypass the government system.

Combined with the horrible air pollution and expensive visa, I now bypass China in my travels.  I reported on my escape from Shanghai to Zurich to summarize my itinerary, then added a second entry on the Shanghai Expo that same day.

These various journeys have particularly interested people.  For some reason my trip to Qatar intrigued many.  As I earlier said, I can't quite grasp why so many show up on occasion.

I have taken more than a ten around the world trips, all via air, and for the future there remains a plan for a global cruise.    However, the 2018 departure will now be delayed until 2020.

Stage 2 of the process to select a possible shipmate will involve one week on the Pride of America visiting the Hawaiian Islands, something I tested out earlier this month.  If Norwegian Cruise Line calls me with a $1200 bargain for a solo room, I'll probably go again.  That's only $171/day for all the food you can eat, wide-ranging entertainment, a room with a changing view and travel to all the major Hawaiian islands.

What have also attracted readers are animals, the larger and weirder the better.  Can the Whale Shark Replace Cattle captures the imagination, while irritating PETA-types.  It's possible that I get more negative comments on this issue than anything else.  First, a whale shark is not a whale, but a shark.  Yes, shark fin is now largely illegal, and it is terrible that humans kill 100 million sharks/year while they eat "only" about one American/year (perhaps 5-15 worldwide).  Cows, yes, cows, kill 22 of us in just the USA every year.  Mosquitos?  655,00/year worldwide.

The matter of sin is frowned on in this blog site.  Every so often I sneak something in, but, if no one directly complains to Google, there are no repercussions.  At least I've survived for more than eight years.  Thus, I needed to very carefully present The Magic of Truffles.  I share with you my Dali-esque response and that image to the right is reminiscent of what I faced.

My one best day on any around the world trip was probably Vienna in October of last year when I:
  • Enjoyed a five course truffles lunch at Quadri on St. Mark's Square.  To the right a white truffles dessert.  Those are shaved pieces of truffles on top.
  • First met my Blue Bar Pigeon, that for a year now has been following me around the world.
  • Then a hundreds yards away, got the final seat available for the San Marcos Chamber Orchestra performance of Vivaldi's Four Seasons, in the small theater where he composed this piece.
My postings on food probably stimulate the most feedback I get.  Another particularly memorable lunch (I tend to feast at midday when I travel, for some cities are not safe at night) I had was at Pierre Gagnaire at the top of the Lotte Hotel in Seoul, for the person who served me sort of looked like my late wife.  The food was exceptional French, and the view was fabulous.

At the other end of the cuisine scale, a simple bento I generally have next to "Pearl's" statue at Jindaiji near Tokyo, has become an annual tradition.  The story of how I found this art piece is both sad and, yet, remarkable, for two deaths occurred.  My series on PEARL'S ASHES, with Chapter 1 appearing on Wednesday, January 4, will re-live some global memories.

Natural disasters seem to draw people to this blog site.  For a long while, the most visitors I had in one day (3356) was on 27 February 2010, when an 8.8 moment magnitude earthquake struck Chile.  The Huffington Post contacted me by e-mail, asking if I could report on the tsunami coming to Hawaii.  I responded, OK...but I was in Amsterdam, and never told them that.  Turns out that my hotel room television allowed me to constantly view two cameras from CNN pointed at Hilo Bay and Waikiki.  A few friends of mine back home had to drive up to the hills just in case the worst happened.

So this blog site has survived from a time three months before petroleum leaped to $147/barrel, when Barack Obama was contesting the democratic primary against Hillary Clinton--oil is now about one-third that price--to Hillary's second loss, this time to Donald Trump.  220 Google domains have visited this site, which means I have 26 to go, for the last time I counted, there were 246 "countries" in the Google Domain.


Not sure what a pageview is, but the number at the top of this page shows more than a million.  The question I keep asking myself is:  When will I retire this blogsite?  As I reached my highest viewership last month, there will be a posting tomorrow.  I guess I'll continue until I can't.  (Painting by Alex Stone.)

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Friday, December 30, 2016

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO....Part 1: The 60's

I enjoy creating postings of music.  Baroque?  Check out my Pachelbel.  Two years ago, his Canon in D made #10 in my all-time list of favorites.   #1?  Wakare No Isochidori, the only song written by a local Hawaii person to then become a hit in Japan.  I once collected Japanese music from post World War II.  I've given everything away.  My next time I go through this exercise I will add something from the disco years, for those were memorable days when I travelled throughout Asia in the 80's.


Today, I look at the decade of the '60's, and, particularly, what happened to those who performed the #1 hit of the year.   This was a huge transition period for me, as I graduated from Stanford, got married, spent some time in the U.S. Army, and went on to live in Baton Rouge.  I used Billboard and almost can't believe that some of these songs were deemed the best:

  • 1960:  Percy Faith, Theme from A Summer Place:  Percy Faith died forty years ago.  He had other popular recordings, including Delicado (1952) and The Song from Moulin Rouge (1952, vocal by Felicia Saunders).   Summer Place won Record of the Year in the 1961 Grammy awards, and the movie with Troy Donahue and Sandra Dee got decent scores from Rotten Tomatoes (83/71).
  • 1964:  The Beatles, I Want to Hold Your Hand.  George Harrison passed away 15 years ago and it has been almost 36 years since John Lennon's assassination.  Paul McCartney is a "Sir", and his Yesterday has been recorded by 2.200 artists.  He and Ringo performed together at the Grammy Awards this year.
  • 1965:  Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, Wooly Bully (the long Vietnam version).  Never reached #1 in any week, but was #1 for the year.  WB was here and there banned because the presentation was  hard to understand.  If you listen closely, the song is about his cat.  A whole host of films has used this song.  Their Lil' Red Riding Hood did well the following year.  Frontman Sam is Mexican-American, and he still makes concert appearances. 
  • 1966:  S/Sgt Barry Sadler, Ballad of the Green Berets.  Sadler was born three months after me, but passed away 27 years ago.  He was a Green Beret serving in Vietnam when he was seriously injured.  While recuperating, he co-wrote the song with Robin Moore, who published the book, The Green Berets.  The movie with John Wayne featured this song.  The lyrics were written in honor of Green Beret James Gabriel, Jr., the first native Hawaiian to die in Vietnam.  The tune itself is borrowed from an Irish folk song, The Butcher Boy.  Sadler went on to live a troublesome life, for he shot and killed a songwriter named Lee Emerson Bellamy, for which he spent only 30 days in a county workhouse.  He moved to Guatemala City in the mi-80's, and the details are mixed, but in 1988 he either shot himself or was assassinated.
  • 1967:  Lulu, To Sir with Love.  Lulu Kennedy-Cairns is a Scottish singer and actress who was in the film of the same name with Sidney Poitier.  They say the ending with Lulu singing was rather mawkish, but it'll bring tears to your eyes.    Go ahead...click on that song. Two years later she won the Eurovision Song Contest, performing Boom Bang-a-Bang.  Lulu appeared this year in the film Absolutely Fabulous.
  • 1968:  The Beatles, Hey Jude.  The song is Billboard's 10th biggest of all time, with Rolling Stone ranking it #8 on the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.  Appropriately enough, #1 was Bob Dylan's Like a Rolling Stone, even though it never made it to #1 at any time the year Wooly Bully was at the top.  Dylan won a Nobel Prize this year, too.  Hey Jude was originally written by Paul McCartney as Hey Jules to comfort John Lennon's son Julian (right), for his parent's were divorcing because of Yoko Ono.  The song was the Beatles' longest-playing single (just over 6 minutes) as #1 and also spent the longest time at the top of any of their singles.  If you listen really closely at the 2:58 mark, the phrase "-ucking hell" is uttered, and to this day it is debatable if  this came from Lennon or McCartney.  Here is the 45 version lasting 6 minutes 27 seconds.  The backing was provided by a 36-piece orchestra.
Not sure when Part 2 will come, but do I go to the 50's or 70's?  The problem with the 50's is that almost everyone is dead.

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Thursday, December 29, 2016

TRUMP ON SCIENCE

The title pretty much says it all.  I've been subscribing to Scientific American for a long time now, and their November issue (which means the magazine was published before November 8) deplored Donald Trump's attitude on science. Read the details in Science in the Elections.  

In a second article, Donald Trump's Campaign for Science Illiteracy, they include some of his tweets:
  • This very expensive GLOBAL WARMING bullshit has got to stop. Our planet is freezing, record low temps, and our GW scientists are stuck in ice [SOURCE]
  • Fracking poses ZERO health risks. In fact, it increases our national security by making us energy independent. [SOURCE]
  • Remember, new “environment friendly” lightbulbs can cause cancer. Be careful—the idiots who came up with this stuff don't care. [SOURCE]
By the way, he might have a point regarding lightbulbs, this from the UK:




But the cancer connection?  Maybe, too, although natural health sites are known to sometimes exacerbate the truth.  SNOPES has a rational analysis of CFL bulbs, which are judged safe.  Incidentally, if you've never tuned into the responses to Trump's tweets, try it here by clicking on the above links to [SOURCE], for the responses rate as high humor.

There were many more.  Scientific American had the temperance to only express alarm.

Remember Barack Obama?  He tried to work with Congress on global warming.  The Republicans controlling both houses prevented any progress, so he had to revert to edicts from the Environmental Protection Agency.  For all he did, here is how various countries throughout the world thought of Obama's efforts:

That red tweet above meshes nicely with similar quotes from the most important person in the U.S. Congress regarding climate change, Senator James Inhofe, who said:

God says global warming is a hoax.

While 97% of climate experts agree humans are causing global warming, Inhofe, who happens to be chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, actually published a book entitled:


I wonder what the world will think of the USA and President Donald Trump in a few months.  Worse, I already feel sorry for Planet Earth and Humanity.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

PEARL'S ASHES: Introduction

For years now I have been hinting that I would begin serializing my next book.  I have several in various stages of production, and chose to unveil PEARL’S ASHES as my first virtual book, mainly because there are so many photos, and it would have cost a lot more than $100/copy if released in the traditional manner.  Unless anything monumental occurs compelling me to postpone a chapter, I will every Wednesday for the next couple of months feature my special gift to you.  For formality purpose, this is a photo taken last year at the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute at the University of Hawaii.
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The first book with which I was associated, Energy Self-Sufficiency for the State of Hawaii, was a 1978 product of my students in a course called Technology and Society at the University of Hawaii.  I was able to secure National Science Foundation funding to publish this manual for clean energy.  It was picked up by the Hawaii Department of Education for use at the senior level for local high schools.  There were 70 students in my class, and ten of them were selected to make public presentations on Maui, the Big Island and Kauai.  On the negative side, we were actually sued by cartoonist Sidney Harris for using his cartoons without permission.  I apologized, sent him a $100 bill, and never heard from him again.  That was nearly half a century ago.

My next book in 1979 was in conjunction with Waqidi Falicoff of the Architecture Department and George Koide of Hilo College.  Entitled Solar and Wind Handbook for Hawaii, the publication of course also applied to any location worldwide.  I think this effort also was funded by the National Science Foundation.

#3 was Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion with Andrew Trenka in 1996.  Actually, the OTEC staff at the Pacific International Center for High Technology Research Center wrote most of the details.  Andy and I edited the final version.  I noticed that a brand new copy is on sale for $282.40.  What a bargain!  I was asked by UNESCO of the United Nations to produce this publication for developing nations, and followed up seven years later by presenting the Anton Brunn Memorial Lecture on this topic in Paris.

From 2007-2010 I published a trilogy:  SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Planet Earth, SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Humanity, and in tribute to Pearl, SIMPLE SOLUTION Essays, the latter a compilation of some of my Huffington Post articles.





PEARL'S ASHES


Patrick K. Takahashi

⧪⧪⧪⧪⧪⧪⧪⧪⧪⧪⧪⧪⧪⧪⧪⧪⧪⧪⧪⧪⧪⧪⧪⧪⧪⧪⧪⧪⧪⧪⧪⧪⧪⧪⧪⧪⧪

INTRODUCTION

On 8 August 2009, I wrote:

Today in Hilo her family celebrates Pearl's life and tomorrow we will drive to Mauna Kea to scatter her ashes. I Googled "scattering of ashes," and it appears that the entire remains do not (morally) need to be spread at one site.

I thus woke up this morning with a plan for my next year. I will keep half of Pearls' ashes in the bronze urn and have already apportioned the remainder into small packets covered with Ziploc bags. I have a choice of 25 locations and, when each is accomplished, I will write the place and date, taking a photo of each scene.

I will carefully lay each at one of three settings:

1. Pearl’s favorite spots (Mauna Kea, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, her fireball flower pot, the first yellow tree that is planted for the Pearl Foundation, into Waikiki waters at House Without a Key while Honolulu City Lights is being played just after sunset, etc.)

2. Attractions she wanted to visit but never did (Machu Pichu, African safari, Taj Mahal, etc.)

3. A few future settings she would have loved.

I will then write a book on this effort. This one will feature color photos. No one will want to buy it, of course, but I can always give them away to donors of the Pearl Foundation.

Well, so back to the real today, here is the urn, minus some of Pearl's Ashes scattered throughout the world.


The photo to the left was taken just around the time we met in 1962, and the one in red is of her in 2009, the year she passed away.

The 25 locations I had planned increased by a factor of two by the time my mission ended.  Over the next series of chapters I will chronologically share my experiences with photos:
  • The three sites she most wanted to visit, but didn't, mostly because I don't particularly like India, high elevations and Africa (still don't):
    • How do I get permission from the government to have a ceremony at the Taj Majal?
    • Will it be difficult to bring the ashes to Machu Picchu?
    • Where exactly on Mount Kilimanjaro do I perform the scattering?
  • Do I link Pearl's Gold Trees to her ashes?
At around the same time I thought about her ashes I was also thinking about a project to plant the gold tree Pearl so admired somewhere significant.  My early trips actually combined looking for the origins of this tree with the ash scattering.  Turned out she first became attached to this tree as Pearl Yukie Nakamichi growing up in Hilo, for her sister-in-law, Gwen, who then worked at Nani Mau Gardens in their home town, first identified the Gold Tree as the Tabebuia donnell-smithii, a particularly large one can be found next to Hilo High School, where she went.

Later, mostly with the assistance of Garrick Iwamuro, manager of all the golf courses for the City and County of Honolulu, we were able to gain approval from the City Council to plant these trees at the Ala Wai and Makalena Golf Courses.  These saplings spent the first couple of years at their nursery on the slope of Diamond Head, and we had an official visit with county officials, Garrick to the left.  Then on 5 January 2015 we had an official ceremony at the Ala Wai Golf Course:


In Gratitude...Not Grief, these trees were planted in her memory.  But as this book is all about Pearl's Ashes, henceforth, all following chapters will focus on that subject.  Beginning with Chapter One, I will provide a new issue every Wednesday until the book is completed.

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FIRST CHAPTER:  Wednesday, January 4, 2017.

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