Saturday, February 26, 2011

Back from the Heart Walk

We did the American Heart Association's 2011 Heart Walk here in Hilo, with a friend from my job.  Saw plenty of folks we know, like our friend D.C. from B97 emcee-ing, my friend Nalani pushing her twins, my boss and his wife pushing their twins - seriously, I feel so unaccomplished in life, lacking twins to push!  Anyway, it was a pretty fun time.

Friday, February 25, 2011


My little cookie-cutter plantation cottage has 9-foot ceilings - and little closets no more than about three feet square.  A single high rod to hang things on would be unreachable for my wife, so I removed 3 low left-right shelves and a high left-right clothes-hanging rod, then installed low and high front-back clothes rods on the left, for shirts and jackets and such, and a medium-height front-back rod on the right for long dresses (and my kanzu), a front-back shelf over the rod on the right side, and a high left-right shelf for rarely-needed things. Fear my closet-fu. :)


Hilo's newspaper, the Tribune-Herald, ran a front-page piece about the latest census data today — but failed to note that along with the population of this island growing 25% in the last decade, ethnic diversity also increased, with 31% of residents claiming multiple ethnic groups (about 10% more than 10 years ago). 

Looks like we're likely to hold onto our "most ethnically diverse county in the US" title!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Blue Sunset

When the view at "sunset" is of the inside of a cloud of freezing fog, and there's fresh snow on the ground, astronomers make sad faces.

The forecast for tomorrow is much, much worse. I'm hoping it will be a night where I don't sit around wondering whether to open, don't go from HP to the summit and back more than once, etc. :)

Friday, February 18, 2011

A belated check-in.

We went to the Kress and saw "The Tourist" while Robbie, Kate and Dr. Crowe saw "Tron" and Don and Carol Weir saw "Harry Potter."  Mauna Kea peeps in da hizzouse!

Journey Through the Universe

This week was "Journey Through the Universe" week in Hilo, which is the coolest week of science outreach in K-12 schools you'll find just about anywhere. 40+ different people from the sciences visited 270 different classes throughout the area, and there were also some family science events for the public.

We had people from the University, a bunch of the Mauna Kea Observatories, the Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station, 'Imiloa Astronomy Center, and even two different parts of NASA! One of the busiest presenters not only works for NASA, but is the science advisor for Battle Star Galactica on TV.

I got to go to schools for the first time, and had a lot of fun talking to nine different classes of K-3 kids at six schools in town about my job, telescopes, computers, space, and... everything else. Like why space programs used chimps instead of giraffes or elephants.  The bigger kids got to talk to people who know more than me. :)

Although Hilo has a lot of astronomy people, "Journey" isn't just about astronomy - it's about exposing kids to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) in general, by having people whose jobs involve those things visit classrooms and talk about the cool things you can do with STEM.

There are actually 9 other areas across the country that have "Journey" every year - if your schools don't have it yet, you can find out all about it at:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tour time

I finally got to show Viv my workplace.

And my previous workplace.

And a couple other similar places.

It'll take at least two more trips, though, to get her into the other eight observatories. :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Directed Acyclic Graphs - is there an app for that?

I want a lightweight task/project-management app for my iPhone and/or Mac that can handle a lot of different small projects, with a mix of sequential and parallel tasks and dependencies (DAGs). OmniFocus appears to at least get close - any other recommendations?

Happy thought

I have at least never been told, "You got the wrong TV, silly head!" Probably because I know to leave the choice of model up to someone with all X chromosomes.

Monday, February 7, 2011

RIP Prof. Walter R. Steiger

 From the February 7, 2011 Hawaii Tribune-Herald:

A local astronomy pioneer was killed Sunday afternoon when he failed to stop at a busy Hilo intersection, slamming his mo-ped into a sport utility vehicle, police said. Walter R. Steiger, 87, of Hilo died at the corner of Kukuau and Komohana streets.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


Psyched to be operating the telescope for the first commissioning night of the Subaru Coronagraphic Extreme Adaptive Optics system. The control room is packed, and I even got asked to explain my work as a telescope operator to the Director of the Research Promotion Bureau in Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT).

Why I'm leaving Twitter.

I've stuck it out and continued participating on Twitter while Elon Musk has run it into the ground, made it progressively more inhospit...