February 24-25, 2009 

Air TemperaturesThe following maximum temperatures were recorded across the state of Hawaii Tuesday afternoon: 

Lihue, Kauai – 73
Honolulu, Oahu – 77
Kaneohe, Oahu – 75
Kahului, Maui – 76

Hilo, Hawaii – 73
Kailua-kona – 78

Air Temperatures ranged between these warmest and coolest spots near sea level, and on the highest mountains…at 6 p.m. Tuesday evening:

– 76F
Molokai airport
– 68

Haleakala Crater    – 45  (near 10,000 feet on Maui)
Mauna Kea summit – 28  (near 14,000 feet on the Big Island)

Precipitation TotalsThe following numbers represent the largest precipitation totals (inches) during the last 24 hours on each of the major islands, as of
Tuesday afternoon:

0.71 Mount Waialeale, Kauai

0.21 Oahu Forest NWR, Oahu
0.01 Molokai
0.00 Lanai
0.00 Kahoolawe
0.01 West Wailuaiki, Maui
0.05 Glenwood, Big Island

Weather Chart – Here’s the latest (automatically updated) weather map showing a strong 1042 millibar high pressure system located far to the north-northwest of the islands. This high pressure system will cause strengthening winds into Thursday.

Satellite and Radar Images: To view the cloud conditions we have here in Hawaii, please use the following satellite links, starting off with the Infrared Satellite Image of the islands to see all the clouds around the state during the day and night. This next image is one that gives close images of the islands only during the daytime hours, and is referred to as a Close-up visible image. This next image shows a larger view of the Pacific…giving perspective to the wider ranging cloud patterns in the Pacific Ocean. Finally, here’s a looping IR satellite image, making viewable the clouds around the islands 24 hours a day. To help you keep track of where any showers may be around the islands, here’s the latest animated radar image

Hawaii’s Mountains – Here’s a link to the live webcam on the summit of near 14,000 foot Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii. The tallest peak on the island of Maui is the Haleakala Crater, which is near 10,000 feet in elevation. These two webcams are available during the daylight hours here in the islands…and when there’s a big moon rising just after sunset for an hour or two! Plus, during the nights and early mornings you will be able to see stars, and the sunrise too…depending upon weather conditions.


 Aloha Paragraphs


  Beautiful sunset on the Kona coast
Photo Credit: flickr.com

The trade winds will be strengthening Wednesday…remaining active through the rest of this week into early next week.
Looking at the latest weather map, we find a very strong 1042 millibar high pressure system in the area north-northwest of Hawaii…which will cause strengthening trade winds soon. These stronger winds will come in our direction from the northeast…which will keep somewhat cooler than normal weather in place. Once these blustery winds begin blowing, they will stick around through at least the next week.

The overlying atmosphere remains dry and stable, which will limit precipitation…to light amounts along the windward sides of the islands. There is quite a lot of high and middle level clouds out to the southwest and west of the island chain Tuesday evening. These are being carried our way on the jet stream level winds aloft. Here’s a looping satellite image of those cold brighter clouds at high altitudes of our atmosphere. At lower levels of the air mass, down where the trade winds blow, we’ll see just a few incoming showers, but nothing much for the time being. 

~~~  The main thing Tuesday evening is the overcast clouds that are around, which kept sunshine to a bare minimum in most areas during the day. These clouds are up high, so that they don’t drop rain. There will be a few of the lower level clouds, being carried in our direction on the strengthening trade winds however. I got home late from my doctor’s appointment, which went fine by the way, but it pushed me back….so I’m late in getting this update out. Today was just one of those days, when I just couldn’t keep to my regular schedule. It’s chilly up here in Kula already, even with the high overcast clouds. The air temperature at around 7pm was 56F degrees already. It’s definitely warmer down near sea level, but even there, none of the observing stations got out of the 70’s during the day.

~~~ I need to go downstairs, down from my weather tower now, and get some dinner in me. It’s been a long day, and I will getting up early again on Wednesday morning. So, I’m going to sign off now, and go heat up the delicious vegetable soup that I made the other day. Pull out some tasty crackers, and put on some nice Brie cheese to eat with the soup. I hope you have a great Tuesday night, and that you will join me again Wednesday, as I’ll have your next new weather narrative from paradise waiting for you then. Aloha for now…Glenn.

Interesting: The Internet is no doubt changing modern society.
It has profoundly altered how we gather information, consume news, carry out war, and create and foster social bonds. But is it altering our brains? A growing number of scientists think so, and studies are providing data to show it. What remains to be seen is whether the changes are good or bad, and whether the brain is, as one neuroscientist believes, undergoing unprecedented evolution.

Texting and instant messaging, social networking sites and the Internet in general can certainly be said to distract people from other tasks. But what researchers are worrying more about are the plastic brains of teens and young adults who are now growing up with all this, the "digital natives" as they’re being called.

"My fear is that these technologies are infantilizing the brain into the state of small children who are attracted by buzzing noises and bright lights, who have a small attention span and who live for the moment," said Baroness Greenfield, an Oxford University neuroscientist and director of the Royal Institution, in The Daily Mail today.

"I often wonder whether real conversation in real time may eventually give way to these sanitized and easier screen dialogues, in much the same way as killing, skinning and butchering an animal to eat has been replaced by the convenience of packages of meat on the supermarket shelf." Odd analogy, but one worth pondering.

Interesting2:  Most fish have eyes on the sides of their heads, but a scientist now has confirmed a new and elusive species of carnivorous frogfish with eyes that face forward, like ours. The creature also has a fleshy chin and cheeks, adding to its strange appearance. The bizarre new species, Histiophryne psychedelica, made a brief splash a year ago when sport divers about 30 feet offshore of Ambon Island, Indonesia, photographed a shallow-water fish not seen before in 20 years of diving there.

Ichthyologist Ted Pietsch of the University of Washington’s Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture received pictures of the fish and guessed it belonged to the Histiophryne genus. Now he has confirmed this using genetic and morphological data, and fully described the freaky fish as a new species. "It is just an absolutely fantastic example of what natural selection can produce," Pietsch told LiveScience.

"And it’s a fantastic organism in its own right, and that is certainly enough to make it important." Pietsch’s description of the animal, partly supported by the National Science Foundation, is detailed in the journal Copeia. The fish is quite a sight: its extremely gelatinous skin is very fleshy, thick and loose; and the skin is covered with white stripes radiating from the eyes and continuing back to the body. This pigmentation could help the fish blend in among colorful, venomous corals on the sea floor in the area.

"The Psychedelic Frogfish probably joins the long list of dishonest and harmless animals that have evolved to mimic the beauty of venomous animals," said Leo Smith, assistant curator of fishes at The Field Museum in Chicago. "Pietsch and colleagues nailed this when they suggested that it looked just like the venomous corals found in its environment."

Interesting3:  New Zealander Nadya Vessey, who lost her legs in a childhood illness, now swims like a mermaid – thanks to Oscar-winning movie special effects wizards Weta Workshop, according to news reports on Wednesday. The workshop, which won Oscars for their effects on The Lord of the Rings trilogy, made a mermaid wetsuit for her, complete with fishtail, which she tested in a Wellington pool.

Weta costume-maker Lee Williams said in an interview with Televison New Zealand that she wanted Vessey to be "beautiful and sexy" in the suit, which contains plastic moulds and has hand-painted fish-like scales. After seeing her swim with it, she said, "It was absolutely amazing. It’s beautiful to watch Vessey swim and to see that dream come true and to be a part of that. I feel quite blessed."

A thrilled Vessey said the idea stuck with her after telling a small boy who asked what had happened to her legs that she was a mermaid. "A prosthetic is a prosthetic, and your body has to be comfortable with it and you have to mentally make it part of yourself," she said.

Oscar-winning Weta Workshop director Richard Taylor said he agreed to Vessey’s request because it was a challenge. He said the tail had to be not only functional, but it was important it looked realistic. "What became apparent was that she actually physically wanted to look like a mermaid," he said.

Interesting4:  Cairo Egyptian archeologists discovered a 4,000-year-old statue as they carried out routine cleaning work at one of the Giza pyramids on Tuesday. The 149-centimetre-long statue was found buried just 40 centimeters below the surface of the sand in the northern part of the King Men-Kau-Re’s pyramid (2551-2523 BC).

The statue is of an unidentified person wearing a medium-length wig, sitting on a chair with his right arm stretched on his knee and holding an unidentified object in his fist, Zahi Hawas, secretary general of the Egyptian Higher Council for Antiquities, said.

Hawas explained that it is difficult to recognize the dynasty to which the statue belongs because it has no inscriptions on it. However, Hawas said that from the way the statue was structured, it is most likely that it belongs to the fourth dynasty (2649-2513 BC.)

Interesting5:  We all complain about commercials, and many people invest in technology to eliminate them.
But a surprising new study in the Journal of Consumer Research shows that, contrary to popular belief, commercials improve television viewing in many cases. "Although consumers have difficulty predicting this, their enjoyment of television shows tends to gradually diminish during the viewing experience.

That is, viewers adapt to the show, making every minute slightly less enjoyable than the previous one," write authors Leif D. Nelson (University of California, San Diego), Tom Meyvis, and Jeff Galak (both New York University). The researchers conducted six studies where participants watched and evaluated either continuous or disrupted versions of programs.

In the first study, participants watched an episode of the sitcom "Taxi." Although the participants disliked the commercials, those who watched the show with commercials liked it better than those who watched it without. A second study found that people enjoyed a short animated clip more when it was interrupted by a commercial than when it played continuously.

A third study found that participants who watched an interrupted version of a nature documentary not only enjoyed the documentary more, but were also willing to donate more to a nature charity after viewing. The researchers also found that non-commercial interruptions had the same positive effect as commercials, reinforcing their hypothesis that when disrupted, people do not adapt to the programs and as a result, enjoy them more.

And, finally, commercial interruptions made a video clip more enjoyable for younger consumers than older consumers. "Very fast-paced and complex shows, such as "24," probably do not benefit from commercial interruptions since viewers are unlikely to adapt to these shows. However, we do find that commercial interruptions, although universally shunned, do make a wide variety of shows more enjoyable, including sitcoms, animations, documentaries, and music videos," the authors conclude.

Interesting6:  Researchers have identified the gene that ultimately controls the production of tooth enamel, a significant advance that could some day lead to the repair of damaged enamel, a new concept in cavity prevention, and restoration or even the production of replacement teeth. The gene, called Ctip2, is a "transcription factor" that was already known to have several functions – in immune response, and the development of skin and the nervous system. Scientists can now add tooth development to that list.

The findings were just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "It’s not unusual for a gene to have multiple functions, but before this we didn’t know what regulated the production of tooth enamel," said Chrissa Kioussi, an assistant professor in the College of Pharmacy at Oregon State University. "This is the first transcription factor ever found to control the formation and maturation of ameloblasts, which are the cells that secrete enamel."

The researchers used a laboratory mouse model in this study in which this gene has been "knocked out" and its protein is missing. Such mice lack basic biological systems and cannot live after birth, but allow scientists to study what is there, and what’s missing. In this case, the mice had rudimentary teeth ready to erupt, but they lacked a proper enamel coating, and never would have been functional. "Enamel is one of the hardest coatings found in nature, it evolved to give carnivores the tough and long-lasting teeth they needed to survive," Kioussi said.

Interesting7:  Our ability to conserve and protect wildlife is at risk because we are unable to accurately gauge how our environment is changing over time, says new research in Conservation Letters. The study shows that people may not realize species are declining all around them, or that their local environment may have changed dramatically since their parents’ and grandparents’ days, and even in their own lifetime.

This could be bad news for conservation projects, because if people do not perceive there to be any degradation of the world around them, they may be less willing to engage in activities to conserve and protect the environment. The new study provides the first evidence of so-called ‘shifting baseline syndrome’ – a conservation theory which says that people’s perception of the environment is determined by what they see now, with their own eyes, and does not take into account what things were like in the past.

Interesting8:  Jagged mountains the size of the Alps have been found entombed in Antarctica’s ice, giving new clues about the vast ice sheet that will raise world sea levels if even a fraction of it melts, scientists said on Tuesday. Using radar and gravity sensors, the experts made the first detailed maps of the Gamburtsev subglacial mountains, originally detected by Russian scientists 50 years ago at the heart of the East Antarctic ice sheet.

"The surprising thing was that not only is this mountain range the size of the Alps, but it looks quite similar to the (European) Alps, with high peaks and valleys," said Fausto Ferraccioli, a geophysicist at the British Antarctic Survey who took part in the research.

He told Reuters that the mountains would probably have been ground down almost flat if the ice sheet had formed slowly. But the presence of jagged peaks might mean the ice formed quickly, burying a landscape under up to 2.5 miles of ice.

Ferraccioli said the maps were "the first page of a new book" of understanding how ice sheets behave, which in turn could help predict how the ice will react to global warming. Antarctica, bigger than the United States, has been swathed in ice for about 35 million years, and contains enough of it to raise world sea levels by about 187 feet if it ever all melted.

So even a fractional melt would affect coasts around the globe. "Unless we have a basic understanding of how ice sheets work, any sort of predictive model won’t match reality," Ferraccioli said. The U.N. panel on climate change says that greenhouse gases, mainly emitted by burning fossil fuels, will bring more heat waves, floods and droughts, and raise sea levels.

The team of experts from Australia, Britain, Canada, China, Germany, Japan and the United States also found water below the ice, using survey aircraft that flew 75,000 miles. "The temperatures at our camps hovered around minus 22 Fahrenheit, but beneath us at the bottom of the ice sheet we saw liquid water in the valleys," Robin Bell, of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, said in a statement. Many sub-glacial lakes have been found in Antarctica in recent years.

Interesting9:  Chinese dairy products, flour, meat and other foods remain dangerously tainted with illegal additives despite a crackdown, the country’s health ministry said on Tuesday. Vice Minister of Health, Chen Xiaohong, told a video conference for officials some food and liquor makers continued to use banned additives, and high-tech lawbreakers were "challenging the oversight and administration capacities of law enforcement agencies", the Xinhua news agency reported.

"Some food businesses still lack a grasp of the harmfulness and severity of illegal additives," Chen said. "Their commitment to correcting this is not high." China’s problems with tainted foods and medicines came under international spotlight from 2007 through a string of scares over toxins in exports. Public worries came to a head last year, when the Sanlu Group and other dairy companies were found to be using raw milk adulterated with the industrial chemical, melamine.

At last 6 children in China died from drinking melamine-tainted infant formula, and nearly 300,000 fell ill. The government has investigated and dealt with 1,274 cases of illegal and reckless use of food additives since late 2008, Xinhua also reported. Seven people suspected of related crimes have been handed to police, and four of them have been formally arrested, the report said. Chen, the health official, said the crackdown so far was not enough and some firms had not mended their ways. "The illegal use of additives over a long time in some sectors has still not been effectively halted," he said.