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Let’s Talk Food: Southeast Asian cuisine

With the Delta Variant around the world, many of us are unable to travel yet. Our plans to Southeast Asia have been canceled in October as many countries have shut down. It is disappointing but we can “travel” through food and stay at home. In Vietnam, their chili-garlic sauce adds subtle heat and yet deep flavors over rice and noodle dishes.

Volcano Watch: How does HVO determine which regions are most threatened by lava flows?

Most residents of Hawaii Island live on one of four potentially active volcanoes and probably have wondered about the threat of lava flows at one time or another. Interestingly, determining future threats relies on knowledge of the past. The long-term likelihood of an area being invaded by lava in the future, is estimated in two different ways based on the history of lava flow activity.

Tropical Gardening: Mood enhancing drugs nothing new

Coca, opium, marijuana and hundreds of other plants used to alter our perceived reality are nothing new to earlier cultures and civilizations. We often think of mood altering drugs with trepidation but they have been part of the human condition for thousands of years. Marijuana, opium poppies and coca leaf have been used as were certain mushrooms and even the sap of the angel trumpet tree. As in the case of the angel trumpet, it can be also very poisonous so only the shamans of South and Central America might be trusted with its use. Many of the substances derived from these plants are now illegal in some countries due to the possibility of dangerous misuse. In the case of angel trumpet sap, it can easily kill you if ingested. Others are so much a part of our culture that we hardly give them second thought. These include coffee, tea and chocolate.

Volcano Watch: Mapping Kilauea’s Gas Emissions

Large quantities of volcanic gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and hydrogen sulfide (H2S), are released into the atmosphere during volcanic eruptions. But even between eruptions, smaller amounts of the same gases continue to escape and can provide important clues about the current state of the volcano and the underlying magma. But to measure them, you first must identify where gas is coming from.

Tropical Gardening: Edible landscapes to reduce food bills

Looking for a way to save on food bills? Then plant vegetables. For many backyard vegetable gardeners on the mainland, spring means the beginning of their gardening efforts. However, this is Hawaii so we can plant our vegetables anytime depending upon the microclimate. There are many vegetable gardening activities for the entire year.

Let’s Talk Food: Another new breed of apple

“From a discarded apple in a rose garden, grew a seedling, which grew into an extraordinary new apple variety.” Geoff Plunkett discovered Koru as a seedling in 1998 near Nelson, New Zealand. Family believed the seedling grew from an apple his wife’s mother threw into the garden.

Volcano Watch: Eruption? Intrusion? What’s the difference?

We know that when a volcano erupts, molten red rock makes it to the surface, while during an intrusion it doesn’t. The difference between the two processes, if we depend on seismicity (earth shaking) or deformation (changes in ground surface) instrumentation, is not obvious. The events during the start of either are identical. But we can’t be certain that an intrusion will lead to an eruption.

Tropical Gardening: Composting and mulching to build healthy soils

When weather conditions are dry, it is a good time to explore ways to conserve water. Organic material is essential to good soil. Well decomposed organic matter helps increase water and nutrient holding capacity of the soil. Undecomposed material like leaves and clippings used as surface mulch can help conserve moisture and keep weeds under control. Nematodes, those little microscopic worms that feed on your roots, will do less damage in a high organic soil. Organic matter may also increase the minor element and microbiological activity of your soil.

US faith groups unite to help Afghanistan refugees after war

America’s major religions and denominations, often divided on other big issues, have united behind the effort to help receive an influx of refugees from Afghanistan following the end of the United States’ longest war and one of the largest airlifts in history.

Volcano Watch: New Kilauea summit intrusion draws comparison to past activity

Late Monday afternoon, earthquake activity picked up at Kilauea’s summit. At about 1:30 a.m. HST on Tuesday, that activity intensified, and it became clear that seismicity and increasing deformation were indicating a new intrusion of magma. The seismicity extended southward from Halema‘uma‘u crater, to an area south of Kilauea caldera.

Building soil from scratch

The young soils of our island vary from ash deposits, a‘a lava and pahoehoe lava. There are a few exceptions where volcanic materials have had the time to decompose like the Kohala mountain region, but it is hard to find soils as they are defined on older continents of the world. Most folks here have to start from scratch.

Let’s Talk Food: Grilled eggplant

My son Neil sent me a link to NHK World Gatten Japan. It is an informative show about different subjects, often about things you would never think about, and this series was about eggplants. The Japanese have been eating eggplant for 1,000 years but it is thought that the first eggplant came from India and cultivated there and in China for more than 1,500 years.

Volcano Watch: ‘Aila‘au — the largest subaerial Kilauea lava flow

The 2018 lower East Rift Zone and 35-year-long Pu‘u ‘O‘o eruptions of Kilauea had large impacts on the Puna District. Many residents were deeply affected by devastating lava flows, earthquakes, gas emissions, and other volcanic hazards. However, it is important to note that these eruptions are dwarfed compared to some past Kilauea eruptions including the largest identified subaerial flow — ‘Aila‘au.

Tropical Gardening: Paradise is not always perfect

Relatively speaking, we live in one of the safest places on the planet. Our temperatures change very little from season to season. Local folks and visitors alike often feel that our islands have few dangers except for volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and hurricanes. These are rare. Excessive exposure to the sun can be dangerous and people die every year by being careless at the beach or hiking in the mountains.