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Archive for June, 2009

Maui Shaking

Home.  After dinner.  Sweetie and I are discussing what to watch this evening.  I’m thinking an episode of Star Trek or Dollhouse.  He is thinking his Netflix movie – Stanley Kubrick’s 1956 film “The Killing.”  Sweetie sits at his desk in front of his computer.  I am beside him in the reclining chair with my eyes closed because my eyes are tired.

When…..

“What was that?”  I ask, opening my eyes.  I expect to find his foot on the chair tapping at me.

“What?”

“Didn’t you feel that?  Did you kick the chair?”

“A truck just went by,” said my Sweetie.

Uh. OK.  A truck.  “It felt like an earthquake.”  But Sweetie says truck, so whatever.

BUT – as I go to close out my computer tonight, I take one last nerdy glance at the USGS site and….

“HEY!”

There it is – magnitude 3.4 earthquake in the Maui Region, Hawai’i.

I tell Sweetie: “I felt it!” 

He challenges me: “What time?”

I have to go to an online converter to convert UTC (coordinated universal time) to Hawai’i-Aleutian Standard time.  Skeptical much? 

“6:39 a.m. UTC equals 8:39 p.m. in Maui.  About the time you and I were sitting and talking about what to watch.  Yes?”

“Hey,” says my Sweetie – “You felt it!”

There ya go. 

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqcenter/recenteqsww/Maps/10/205_20.php

By the way, we watched “The Killing.”  Very good film, that.

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The Island of Lana’i

I am heading off for a new adventure tomorrow.

Sweetie has to work over on the island of Lana’i and I am tagging along.  I’ve never been over to this little island.  There is a harbor and resort area on the water.  There is Lana’i City a few miles up the hill.  I think they have streets from First to about 13th Street.  Maybe 6 streets running across.  And…..I think that is it.  There is not much there, probably no Internet at the place we are staying.  I only have a little bit of work to do this week.  Sweetie will be working.  So what shall I do with my time?  I think the Internet break will be great for me.  I’ll be reading a lot.  Maybe get some writing done.  There may possibly be a trip to the beach in my near future.  Hmmmm…

I’ll have more to report in a few days.

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Burn Sugar Burn

Ahhhh…..the sweet scent of ……..burning sugar cane?

Yuck. 

It’s that time of the year again.  The cane fields are burning and the acrid scent and smoke are in the air.  This is what it looked like yesterday:

It is a fact of life on Maui that the sugar cane fields that fill the valley and surround our small towns will be burned for harvest.  There are places on the planet where sugar cane is harvested “green” and burned off site.  Not here.  You can write as many letters to the editor as you want to complain about this practice but the sugar cane has been around a lot longer than most of the residents of Maui, so the burning will continue. 

Why burn sugar cane to harvest it?  The Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Company states:

Burning the dried cane leaves (“cane trash”) boosts the quality and quantity of the sugar we recover and reduces the costs of harvesting, hauling and milling the cane.

The company says it is exploring green harvesting alternatives but the technology is not up to snuff yet: 

Cane is burned practically everywhere it is grown. There is some green harvesting in a few other areas, notably in parts of Australia. But it is done under conditions that are entirely different from ours — among other things, they use different varieties of cane developed specifically for their geographic area, soil types and climatic conditions. Such varieties are grown for only one year, which makes them much easier to harvest than Hawaii’s dense, two-year-old cane. We have researched their operations and are conducting in-the-field tests to see how we might adapt their cane varieties and harvesting practices to fit Hawaii.

So, they burn.  And my nose twitches.  And people complain.  It doesn’t affect me too badly, so I’m not one to argue with the practice.  But I wonder what the tourists flying into the airport think when they look out the window and see the smoke?

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