May 18th, 1980

Living with an eruption of our local volcano through much of last year often brought to mind previous memories. The 2019 Kilauea eruption was the second eruption of my life, the first being the 1980 eruptions of Mt. St. Helens.

The eruption of Mt. St. Helens taken on the morning of May 18th, 1980, photo credit USGS
The eruption of Mt. St. Helens taken on the morning of May 18th, 1980, photo credit USGS

St. Helens was just another of the pretty mountains that dotted the horizon through much of my childhood. I could see it from my bedroom window, at least in the winter when the leaves were off the trees.

When the mountian started rumbling in the early months of 1980 everyone wondered if it will erupt. No one expected it to do what it did.

We did not hear the eruption, somehow the sound skipped over those nearer the volcano. It was the television news that first alerted us.

Seeing the reporting I ran out of the house and down the street a little bit to where I could see past the maple trees. There was nothing to be seen of that pretty mountain, just a dark line in the sky rising from where the mountain stood. West of the line it was a cloudy NW sky, east of the line is was just black.

After the eruption we could no longer see the mountain on the horizon, with 1,500ft gone from the top it no longer stood above the ridgelines.

Lāhainā Noon

Lāhainā Noon is that moment when the Sun is directly overhead. At the moment of Lāhainā Noon shadows disappear.

As the islands lie south of the Tropic of Cancer there is a day when the Sun will pass directly overhead as the summer solstice approaches, generally in late May. There is a second noon as the Sun’s position moves south again in July.

The term Lāhainā Noon is unique to the islands, being adopted by the Bishop Museum in the 1990’s to describe this event. The Hawaiian term lā hainā translates roughly as cruel Sun.

The exact date and time varies significantly across the islands and from year to year. The table below shows the time of Lāhainā Noon for various cities in 2019.

Lahiana Noon for May 2019
CityLong.Lat.DateTimeElevation
Naalehu 155°35’W19°03’NMay1512:19HST89.9
Hilo 155°05’W19°42’NMay1812:17HST89.9
Kona 155°59’W19°39’NMay1812:20HST89.9
Waimea 155°40’W20°01’NMay2012:19HST89.9
Hawi 155°50’W20°14’NMay2112:20HST90.0
Hana 156°00’W20°46’NMay2312:21HST89.9
Kihei 156°27’W20°45’NMay2312:23HST89.9
Kahalui 156°28’W20°53’NMay2412:23HST89.9
Lahaina 156°40’W20°53’NMay2412:23HST89.9
Lanai City156°55’W20°50’NMay2412:24HST89.9
Kaunakakai157°01’W21°05’NMay2512:25HST89.9
Honolulu 157°49’W21°18’NMay2612:28HST89.9
Kaneohe 157°48’W21°25’NMay2712:28HST89.9
Waialua 158°08’W21°34’NMay2812:30HST89.9
Lihue 159°22’W21°58’NMay3112:35HST90.0
Data from US Naval Observatory Data Services

Building a Wall

The project that has consumed my weekends for several months is complete. The wall is finished. I poured the last bags of concrete this weekend, I stacked the last rocks into place.

Retaining Wall
Fitted local stone makes up a small retaining wall,

It is done!

Thus I have spent many a weekend digging, more digging, hauling soil and rock, then pouring concrete. I found that about ten bags of concrete was a good work session, about as much as I could do in one go. It is also as much as I wanted to load in the vehicle, 600 pounds a heavy while safe load for the Explorer.

Other work sessions were simply fitting rocks. Selecting likely rocks, spinning them about and finding reasonable fits, tossing aside those that did not fit. With a single layer added to ten or twenty feet of wall I could then spend the next work session pouring concrete and cementing that layer of fitted stone into place. Rinse and repeat.

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Preparing for the Storm

There will be protests, that much is clear. Beyond that certainty there is no certainty. When? How big? How long? We just do not know, it is likely no one does.

A mamane tree in the fog atop Mauna Kea
A mamane tree in the fog atop Mauna Kea

As we prepare for the restart of construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope, those of us whose lives revolve around the mauna can only guess and prepare best we can.

While there is news of plans at the state and county level to deal with the protests, there is little information on the details in those plans. Both sides are keeping their cards close. We are given to understand that the county will be the lead agency it is clear that there will be state support.

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Arguing with a Flerf pt. 2

So I pressed the conversation longer than I really should have. But I did discover a number of motivations behind the obstinate adherence to an easily disproved view of the world. It took more conversation, but his motivations did become clearer.

Total Solar Eclipse 2017
The 2017 total solar eclipse as photographed from central Oregon

To no surprise part of the reason is religion. When he began to quote bible verses in support of his claims of a “immovable” Earth one can begin to see where he is starting from.

Our flat, enclosed, immovable earth is absolute proof of a creator. God is real. We don’t have to believe in Him anymore. We can know it to be true.
Flat earth absolutely destroys the atheist/humanist worldview. Just like that.

Adam Asing in a Facebook Comment

If one begins with the belief that the Earth is flat, it is easy to reinforce that idea in this modern internet age. A thriving community of flerfs form one of the clearest examples of an echo chamber to be found on the net, a cult really. Circulating photos and YouTube videos reinforce the worldview, ridicule the “globe heads”, cement a community together in a belief of “true knowledge”.

Continue reading “Arguing with a Flerf pt. 2”