Month
June 2011

Mauna Kea telescopes help find most distant quasar

An international team of astronomers announced today the discovery of the most distant known supermassive black hole, seen as a luminous quasar caused by gas falling into the black hole. The discovery came to light using data from an ongoing infrared sky survey being conducted at the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) and critical follow-up confirmation observations with the Gemini North telescope, both on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. The results are presented in the June 30, 2011 issue of the Journal Nature. The light from the quasar started its journey toward us when the universe was only 6% of its present age, a mere 770 million years after the Big Bang, at a ‘redshift’ of about 7.1. “This gives astronomers a headache,” says lead author Daniel Mortlock, from Imperial College London. “It’s difficult to understand how a black hole a billion times more massive than the Sun can have grown so early in the history of the universe. It’s like rolling a snowball down the hill and suddenly you find that it’s 20 feet across!” [...]

Island author announces iPad health ed app

The Human Body Detectives, a series of action-packed fiction stories developed by a Big Island naturopathic doctor, expands with Battle With The Bugs, its corresponding educational and entertaining iPad app. Kids ages 6 to 10 will love this series of award winning educational adventure stories which follow two “Human Body Detectives”, Merrin and Pearl, who magically enter different systems in the body to solve a health mystery and learn a bit of nutrition along the way. The series is now available in story-book (versus audio), ebooks, and now iPad and iPhone apps. The plot surrounds main characters Merrin and Pearl’s little cousin Max, who is sick, threatening everyone’s Mexican holiday. This time the detective girls find themselves inside Max’s body, witnessing firsthand the immune system in action. [...]

Big Island geothermal feedback sought

Hawaii Electric Light Company is seeking information to determine the best way to pursue geothermal power development on Hawaii Island. In a request for information (RFI) issued today, the utility is seeking input from stakeholders including potential geothermal developers and interested landowners on next steps that take into account the renewable energy goals and clean energy policy of Hawaii within the state’s unique community, cultural, historical, and environmental context. “Geothermal power is already a proven source of firm renewable power that can play an even larger role in Hawaii’s clean energy future,” said Jay Ignacio, president of Hawaii Electric Light Company. [...]

‘Local Ventures’ series moves to KFVE

More Local Ventures, Hawaii’s hit business show, moves to prime time on KFVE, Sundays every week at 6:30pm beginning June 26, 2011. More Local Ventures profiles local businesses and entrepreneurs who are transforming Hawaii in extraordinary ways. “Like many local companies we support and encourage green & sustainable efforts,” states Edgy Lee, the Executive Producer of More Local Ventures. “Because we’re in media, to us this means supporting local businesses of all kinds so the concept of this series is really about featuring people who are preserving the beauty of our local lifestyle and folks who are pressing the envelope and finding innovative solutions in this changing economy.” [...]

Allstar Weekend to perform June 25

Music group Allstar Weekend’s “Next Big Thing” is happening in Hawaii. The Polynesian Cultural Center is kicking off the summer season with the group’s Hawaii debut performance on Saturday, June 25, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the 2,675-seat Pacific Theater. Best known for their appearances on the Disney Radio’s “Next Big Thing” contest, and popular new songs like “A Different Side Of Me” and “Come Down With Love,” the group’s newest single, “Not Your Birthday,” is currently being highlighted in the feature film Prom. Their debut album, “Suddenly Yours” peaked at number 62 on the Billboard 200 album chart. “We’re very excited that Allstar Weekend has accepted our invitation to headline the Polynesian Cultural Center’s summer concert,” said Raymond Magalei, marketing director for the center. [...]

Hawaii couple launches pop culture podcast

The Hawaii-based husband and wife duo behind one of the world’s most successful blogs and podcasts devoted to the TV show “LOST” has launched a new daily pop culture show. Ryan and Jen Ozawa, hosts of “The Transmission,” launched “Popspotting” on May 23, exactly one year after “LOST” left the airwaves. But instead of devoting over an hour of conversation a week to a single show, “Popspotting” serves up a bite-sized chat every weekday, and covers movies, television, music, books, and much more. “Popspotting” also adds guests into the mix, with regular trivia challenges and special interviews planned. [...]

Hawaii withdraws from Solar Decathlon

Despite months of planning, public outreach, and fundraising for an international competition in Washington D.C., “Team Hawaii” from the University of Hawaii has withdrawn from the event. The UH Solar Decathlon team Executive Committee, which includes participating students and members from Honolulu Community College and UH Mānoa, decided that the timing and financial challenges were too large to risk further investment without the guaranteed delivery of the house at this year’s competition. [...]

Report: Defense department powers 18 percent of Hawaii economy

Up to 18 percent of Hawaii’s economy can be linked to spending by the U.S. Department of Defense, according to a new study from the RAND Corporation. “It’s common knowledge that defense activity in Hawaii plays a significant role in Hawaii’s economy, but the size of that role has not been previously studied and quantified,” said James Hosek, lead author of the study and a senior economist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. Defense department spending in Hawaii averaged $6.5 billion per year during fiscal years 2007-2009. Of that, $4.1 billion was for personnel and $2.4 billion for the purchase of goods and services in Hawaii. [...]