Practicing life on Mars, on a Hawaiian volcano

Photo: Ross Lockwood, via Twitter.

Photo: Ross Lockwood, via Twitter.

A team of researchers has been living in a simulated Mars habitat on a Hawaiian volcano for the past four months, practicing what it would be like to live on Mars. They're "returning to earth" today.

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Earth's largest volcano, Mauna Loa on Hawaii's Big Island, awakens from slumber

Mauna_Loa_Volcano

After a peaceful nap three decades long, Mauna Loa seems to be stirring. "While there are no signs of impending eruption, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory has recorded an increased level of seismic activity on the flanks and summit of Mauna Loa over the past 13 months," reports Big Island Now. "Four distinct earthquake swarms — clusters of earthquakes occurring closely in time and location — have occurred since March 2013."

Mauna Loa is "one of five volcanoes that form the Island of Hawaii in the U.S. state of Hawaiʻi in the Pacific Ocean, [and] the largest subaerial volcano in both mass and volume, historically considered the largest volcano on Earth."

From a Wired Science blog post by Erik Klemetti, assistant professor of Geosciences at Denison University.

As of right now, there is little evidence of deformation or increasing carbon dioxide or sulfur dioxide emissions from Mauna Loa — all key signs that an eruption might be about to start at a shield volcano like Mauna Loa. HVO also notes that the earthquake activity is much less intense now that it was in the years just prior to the 1984 activity. Remember, lava flows from Mauna Loa are definitely a hazard for people living between the volcano and Hilo and Hawaii has been preparing for the volcano’s awakening. Nothing is going on right now, but you can get quite a view from the webcams set up at the Mokuʻāweoweo summit area.

Check out the USGS report, and don't miss out on those webcams.

[photo: USGS; HT: @elakdawalla]

"Live Panorama of Mokuʻāweoweo Caldera from the Northwest Rim. 2014-06-18 09:40:30 (HST)." USGS.


"Live Panorama of Mokuʻāweoweo Caldera from the Northwest Rim. 2014-06-18 09:40:30 (HST)." USGS.

Edward Snowden hosted a cryptoparty and ran a Tor exit node

Before Edward Snowden went on the run and effected the first-ever leak of documents from the NSA, he threw a cryptoparty in Hawai'i, coordinating with Runa Sandvik from the Tor Project and Asher Wolf from the Cryptoparty movement to plan an event where everyday people were taught to use crypto. He gave a lecture for his neighbors on Truecrypt, and told people that he ran at least two Tor exist nodes to help people keep their anonymous traffic moving (Boing Boing also runs a Tor exit node). Apparently, his girlfriend videoed the event -- I'd love to see it!

Snowden used the Cincinnatus name to organize the event, which he announced on the Crypto Party wiki, and through the Hi Capacity hacker collective, which hosted the gathering. Hi Capacity is a small hacker club that holds workshops on everything from the basics of soldering to using a 3D printer.

“I’ll start with a casual agenda, but slot in additional speakers as desired,” write Cincinnatus in the announcement. “If you’ve got something important to add to someone’s talk, please share it (politely). When we’re out of speakers, we’ll do ad-hoc tutorials on anything we can.”

When the day came, Sandvik found her own way to the venue: an art space on Oahu in the back of a furniture store called Fishcake. It was filled to its tiny capacity with a mostly male audience of about 20 attendees. Snowden spotted her when she walked in and introduced himself and his then-girlfriend, Lindsay Mills, who was filming the event. “He was just very nice, and he came to the door and introduced himself and talked about how the event was going to run,” Sandvik says.

They chatted for a bit. Sandvik asked Snowden where he worked, and after hemming and hawing, he finally said he worked for Dell. He didn’t let on that his work for Dell was under an NSA contract, but Sandvik could tell he was hiding something. “I got the sense that he didn’t like me prying too much, and he was happy to say Dell and move on,” she says.

Sandvik began by giving her usual Tor presentation, then Snowden stood in front of the white board and gave a 30- to 40-minute introduction to TrueCrypt, an open-source full disk encryption tool. He walked through the steps to encrypt a hard drive or a USB stick. “Then we did an impromptu joint presentation on how to set up and run a Tor relay,” Sandvik says. “He was definitely a really, really smart guy. There was nothing about Tor that he didn’t already know.”

Snowden’s First Move Against the NSA Was a Party in Hawaii [Kevin Poulsen/Wired]

(Image: a downsized thumbnail of a photo by Bart Gellman/Getty)

Unreal Hawaii, an outdoor adventure photo blog

I've been work-cationing in Hawaii for the past week, meeting lots of interesting people and experiencing so many amazing places around the islands. One of the interesting people I've met here is David Chatsuthiphan, a photographer who runs Unreal Hawaii, a great blog about outdoor adventure and outdoor lifestyle in Hawaii. Check out this dazzling photo-essay he shot about one of many hikes you can take here on Oahu, at a spot where rocky cliffs meet the sea and form interesting sea arches and swirling blue pools.

"Oahu Rock Bridge and Sea Cliffs" [unrealhawaii.com]

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Maui, 10,000 feet above the sea (photo)

My, but Boing Boing readers are a talented lot. Shared in the Boing Boing Flickr pool today, this stunning photograph by Carlos26 of mountains in Hawaii, some 10K ft. above sea level. Notice the clouds *below*.

Dolphin teleportation symposium: now with more Eisenhowers!


Presidential descendant and professional dolphin teleporter Laura Magdalene Eisenhower joins Joan Ocean in hosting a $1550 Hawai'ian symposium on dolphin teleportation, time travel, and the "transformative paradigm for 2012." Also: Ms Eisenhower's an AVATAR who was invited to a SECRET COLONY ON MARS.

Dolphins and Teleportation (Thanks, Mrneutron!)

Update: Ackpht, in the comments:

There was a descendant of Dwight
whose speed was much faster than light
she went out to play
with the dolphins one day
and returned on the previous night.

Big month for slack-key guitar lovers

I love Hawaiian slack key guitar because it's such a beautiful melding of musical traditions. Songs about a favorite horse who falls into a lava tube, or much more universal experiences of wistfulness, sound amazing in this style. Here's a slow sample from legend Led Kaapana:

August is one of the best months for aficionados of the form, with the Aloha Festival in San Francisco and the annual Hawaii Slack Key Guitar Festival in Honolulu. I posted a couple of examples from this month's events below.

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