NASA's new flying saucer-shaped LDSD Mars lander tech completes second test flight

NASA's Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator hangs from a launch tower at U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii. 
NASA/Bill Ingalls
The saucer-shaped craft that may help NASA do more on Mars splashed down Monday in the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of the Hawaiian island of Kaua'i.

Video escape: Lantern-floating ceremony to honor the dead, Honolulu, Hawaii

A beautiful way to honor loved ones who have died.
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Practicing life on Mars, on a Hawaiian volcano

A team of researchers have been living in a simulated Mars habitat on a Hawaiian volcano for the past 4 months, to better understand what it would be like to live on Mars.

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

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. Read the rest

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.

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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" []

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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*. Read the rest
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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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