Study: Having just 4 drinks a week changes your brain

Many people have a cocktail before dinner or a drink to help them wind down at the end of the day. No big deal, right? According to a new observational study, that alcohol consumption might be changing your brain. Anya Topiwala, PhD, of the University of Oxford in England, and her study co-authors linked moderate drinking — about four standard drinks a week in the United States — to higher brain iron levels in multiple basal ganglia regions.

Volcano Watch: Mauna Loa: The sleeping giant

Covering over half of the Island of Hawaii, Mauna Loa is sometimes referred to as a “sleeping giant” because it hasn’t erupted in 38 years after erupting nearly every 7 years in the early 20th century. However, Mauna Loa occasionally stirs in its slumber and reminds us that it will someday awake and erupt again.

Tropical Gardening: Sidewalks, paths add interest to gardens

Warm days have caused our gardens to flourish but this can mean too much of a good thing. Did you ever feel like giving up on your lawn and paving the whole thing? Of course you have, but let’s face it, it is not practical. Your neighbors would probably tar and feather you. Not only that, but you would not be really happy even if they didn’t. Your yard would look like a desert and feel like one too. Besides, the idea is to plant more trees, shrubs and turf to improve our environments.

Let’s Talk Food: Julia Child’s birthday

Monday, Aug. 15, is Julia Child’s 110th birthday. She is credited with the distinction of bringing the love of French cooking to America. Her husband Paul’s work took them to Paris, where Julia enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu cooking school at the age of 37. In 1952, she worked with various chefs and established a cooking school in Paris with Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck. In 1961, her cookbook, ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ was published. This has become the bible for French cooking.

Tropical Gardening: Create rock and water elements to cool garden enjoyment

Let’s admit it, the world is getting hotter and this affects our island gardens. Hawaiian landscapes certainly have enough lava rock but may be lacking in water elements like streams, ponds, lakes and ocean frontage. In many other parts of the world, rock and water elements are used in the landscape to create a natural feeling and add interest to the design. Balinese gardens usually include not only naturalistic forms, but often, sculptured elements as well. In Japan the stone water basins that stand outside the teahouses are an example of rock and water used on a small scale. In almost any garden, the gentle sound and sight of water running over cool stones is refreshing.

Let’s Talk Food: Tricks of the trade

Having the kitchen as my “playground” for over 50 years, I have developed some tricks of the trade, and unfortunately, some from mistakes which resulted in having to throw the end dish away!

Volcano Watch: Hualalai’s Wahapele eruption: cone-building, explosive phreatic activity and lava flows

Hualalai erupts much less often than its neighbors, with centuries rather than years or decades separating eruptions. The most recent documented activity was an earthquake swarm in 1929, which likely corresponded to an intrusion of magma into the volcano. Its most recent eruption occurred in 1800–01, and the erupted lava flows from 1800–01 underlie almost the entire Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole. Future eruptions from Hualalai may pose a direct threat to Kailua-Kona and the surrounding communities.

Tropical Gardening: Hawaiian paradise almost perfect

Our islands have few dangers except for rare volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and hurricanes. Excessive exposure to the sun can be dangerous and people drown every year by being careless at the beach or hiking in the mountains. Although there are few poisonous native plants, some common exotic landscape plants are toxic such as oleander, crotons and angel trumpets. Some people can experience skin reactions like exposure to poison ivy from cashew and mango trees.

Tropical Gardening: Don’t miss Hilo’s Orchid Show and Sale July 29-31

If you want to try growing orchids and rub elbows with the experts, be sure to check out the Hilo Orchid Show and Sale this coming Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 29-31. According to Richard Kelley, this year’s theme is Orchid Ohana. The show is returning to the Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium after 2 years of a COVID pandemic induced break. Show chairperson and president Karl Mendonca points out that there will 10 of Hawaii’s top orchid hybridizers/nurseries with a huge variety of plants on display and available for sale. The show will present demonstrations to help beginners on the care of different types so their new purchases will thrive for many years. There is a nominal entrance fee and keiki get in for free.

US rabbi reviving Jewish roots in her family’s Italian town

From a rustic, tiny synagogue she fashioned from her family’s ancestral home in this mountain village, an American rabbi is keeping a promise made to her Italian-born father: reconnect people in this southern region of Calabria to their Jewish roots, links nearly severed five centuries ago when the Inquisition forced Jews to convert to Christianity.

Volcano Watch: What is a volcano?

What makes a volcano a volcano? This was the topic of a “Volcano Watch” article about 20 years ago. Recent questions from visitors suggest this remains a topic of great interest and deserves revisiting.

Tropical Gardening: Rapid ohia death now found throughout Hawaii Island forests

Adrive through almost any Ohia forest now is very sad if you observe how many trees are dying or dead. Rapid ohia death, or ROD, has been spreading in the forests of East Hawaii for several years. Now it is showing up in West Hawaii as well. To see the effects of ROD, take a drive up Kaloko Mauka, South Kona or over the Saddle and you will see defoliation and die back on trees young and old.

Baby stars, dancing galaxies: NASA shows new cosmic views

GREENBELT, Md. — A sparkling landscape of baby stars. A foamy blue and orange view of a dying star. Five galaxies in a cosmic dance. The splendors of the universe glowed in a new batch of images released Tuesday from NASA’s powerful new telescope.

Volcano Watch: Picturing a volcano’s plume

The volcanic gas plume at the summit of Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is often the most visible indication of the ongoing eruptive activity during the daylight hours. On some days, it can also be quite easy to smell the gas plume, if the winds blow it toward accessible areas.

Tropical Gardening: Canoe plants vital to the first Hawaiians and us as well

When the first Polynesians arrived in the Hawaiian Islands, there were very few plants that were of use as edibles. Initially they probably lived on what could be taken from the sea like limu, fish, vana, opihi, squid, octopus and sea slugs just to mention a few. Of course many birds flourished on the land. They and their eggs were fair game as well. Luckily the first people brought with them a great variety of plants like coconut, turmeric, sugar cane, bamboo, kalo, mountain apple, breadfruit and scores of banana varieties. They also brought pigs, chickens, dogs and rats. The animals had a great impact on the ecosystem, since no land mammals except the Hawaiian Hoary bat existed before the First People.