Bytemarks Cafe – Episode 14 – Nov. 5, 2008

This week, after the headlines, we’re joined in the studio by Ted Abe, who tells us about the upcoming Sony Expo. Then, we talk with Dr. Christine Sorensen from the UH College of Education and Mark Hines of the Mid-Pacific Institute about the transformation of the traditional classroom. You can learn more about the transformation of education in Hawaii at the Future Schools site.

News stories for the week…

  • 11,000 feet above sea level, climate scientists from the University of Colorado and the University of New Mexico studying the water cycle have successfully deployed a precision water isotope analyzer at a remote monitoring station near the top of Mauna Loa.
  • The Navy successfully intercepted one of two ballistic missiles this past weekend in the latest test of the nation’s missile defense system. The target missles were launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands on Kauai, and two Navy ships — the Aegis destroyer U.S.S. Paul Hamilton and the U.S.S. Hopper — took aim and fired their own missiles to intercept it.
  • Honolulu Community College and the Pacific Center for Advanced Technology Training or PCATT, accept a $327 million technology grant in the form of new software that will help students in Hawaii receive the latest training and gain a competitive edge in business.
  • The National Institutes of Health has awarded $1.31 million to help 6th, 7th and 8th graders in Hawai‘i and the Pacific Region learn about scientific research and possible careers in science. The funding is for the Pacific Education and Research for Leadership in Science (PEARLS) project, headed by Dr. Kelley Withy of the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

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Bytemarks Cafe – Episode 13 – Oct. 29, 2008

This week, after the headlines, we’re joined in the studio by mobile technology guru Todd Ogasawara of to talk about the new Google-powered mobile phone called the G-1. Then, we talk to Joel Matsunaga from Hawaii BioEnergy about converting crops to fuel.

But first the headlines…

  • Deep inside Diamond Head Crater, in a World War I bunker, is the home of the State’s emergency operations center. This facility is in need of a major face lift and the state wants to build a new $70 million emergency operations center on Diamond Head Road.
  • Molokai High School ushered in a new era of state-of-the-art science instruction yesterday, with the blessing of a mobile science lab.  The mobile lab will allow students at both Molokai High School and Molokai Intermediate School to have access to equipment, after a recent splitting of the once unified campus left the high school without laboratory access. The new mobile lab will allow a full range of chemistry, physics, and biology experiments to be performed in the high school’s current classroom, without requiring students to walk to and from the middle school campus.
  • Bill Spencer, CEO of Hawaii Oceanic Technologies, spent last week at the Dow Jones Alternative Energiy Innovation conference talking about Oceansphere, a huge aluminum and Kevlar sphere, measuring 162 feet in diameter. This new innovation could pave the way for a new generation of fish farms.
  • One of Hawaii’s newest charter schools is trying to make the most of the many resources now available online for virtual classrooms, from lesson plans to rewards for student performance.  Hawaii Technology Academy in Waipahu advocates “blended” instruction, or a hybrid model that includes face-to-face classroom instruction, activities and study time away from campus, and distance learning via videoconferences, online courses, e-mail and telephone.

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Bytemarks Cafe – Episode 12 – Oct. 22, 2008

This week Lorelle VanFossen will join us in the studio to tell us about her work with Word Press and a couple of upcoming events. And later, we’ll talk to Hunter Downs and Erin Nishimura from local tech company Archinoetics. We’ll talk about brain painting, brain to computer interfaces, and Project Niu.

The headlines:

  • Honeybee populations around the world have seen troubling decreases around the world, with scientists studying what they’re calling Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD. Now, a Hawaii company says its using nanotechnology to fight CCD, developing a protective hive coating that blocks potentially harmful particles from getting in, but still allows air to flow through.
  • Keeping kids safe online is a hot topic once again, with new laws at the federal level taking different approaches to protecting children on the Internet. Last week, President Bush signed the KIDS Act of 2008 — KIDS being an acronym for “Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators.” Among other things, the KIDS Act requires convicted sex offenders provide their email and instant messaging addresses as part of their registration with the National Sex Offender Registry.
  • North Hawaii Community Hospital (NHCH), a private community hospital in Waimea on the Big Island of Hawaii, has partnered with Phoenix Health Systems, a national healthcare information technology management, and consulting company, to provide IT related management and infrastructure services.
  • Hawaii will be one of ten states included in the Real World Design Challenge, a new annual competition for high school students organized by the U.S. Department of Energy.  The Design Challenge is described as one way to ensure America’s economic competitiveness and national security, inspiring today’s students to become tomorrow’s engineers. The theme for the first challenge is “Aviation and Fuel Consumption,” and will require students to redesign an existing aircraft to improve its fuel efficiency without drastically reducing its performance.

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Bytemarks Cafe – Episode 11 – Oct. 15, 2008

This week, Eugene Villaluz will join us in the studio to tell us about HMAUS Mactoberfest and later, we’ll talk to Shari Tamashiro, Cybrarian from Kapiolani Community College about Digital Storytelling, the Hawaii Nisei Story and Hawaii Memories.

It’s day 8 (don’t ask me why I say day 5 on the recording) of Celebration 2008 so if you enjoy Bytemarks Cafe and want to support tech reporting in Hawaii, please do consider making a donation online or by calling (808) 941-3689. Be sure to mention Bytemarks Cafe!

  • Mauna Kea will soon be the center of attention for NASA scientists when they test a robot designed for lunar prospecting. From  November 1st  through the 13th, the Big Island volcano will stand in for the moon so that the robot — called Scarab — can simulate a lunar mission to extract water, hydrogen, oxygen and other compounds that could potentially be mined for use by future lunar explorers.
  • Speaking of Mauna Kea, spectacular new photos of the planet Uranus taken from the Keck II Observatory were unveiled Monday at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences. Since Uranus takes 84 years to orbit the sun, suffice it to say space observation has evolved considerably since the last time astronomers got a good look at the icy blue planet.
  • With fluctuating oil prices and a challenging economy, both public and private sector organizations are turning to alternative work environments such as telecommuting, flex time, work at home and four-day workweeks to ease the pain to their bottom lines and their employees’ wallets. That includes the Hawaii state government, which is piloting a four-day work week. Information Technology, or IT, is key to making it work.

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Bytemarks Cafe – Episode 10 – Oct. 8, 2008

This week, we speak with Anderson Le of the Hawaii International Film Festival about “Metal Samurai.” Then, we’re joined in the studio by Lisa Gibson and Mike Hamnett to discuss the state of the tech industry in Hawaii, as profiled in a comprehensive report just released by the Hawaii Science and Technology Council.

It’s pledge week at Hawaii Public Radio, so if you enjoy Bytemarks Cafe and want to support tech reporting in Hawaii, please do consider making a donation online or by calling (808) 941-3689. Be sure to mention Bytemarks Cafe!

  • The Senate last month passed SB 1492 which would require the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to issue an annual report on the availability of broadband access across the U.S., instead of the current law, which requires the FCC to issue a report “regularly.”
  • Hawaii’s emerging life-sciences industry received its first comprehensive check-up in a report released last week by the Hawaii Science & Technology Institute. The institute surveyed 10 tech-based sectors in the life sciences arena, finding them anchored in agriculture as well as in traditional drug discovery.
  • Aqua Engineers, a Kauai company located in Kalaheo, has been awarded a $229-million contract to take over the government-owned sewer systems on U.S. Army bases on Oahu and run them for the next 50 years. 
  • A five-person startup here in Honolulu is looking to harness natural wind power to generate electricity — but not in the way you might expect. Humdinger Wind Energy is the brainchild of Shawn Frayne, who envisioned a new way to get power from wind after studying the famous collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in 1940.

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Bytemarks Cafe – Episode 9 – Oct. 1, 2008

This week, after the news, we’re joined in the studio by Mark Hakoda, who tells us about a special event called “Pecha Kucha 3.0.” Then, we talk with Larry Wiss and Scott Belford about eWaste. Old computers and electronic gear are piling up. What do you do with all this junk?

  • Representatives from Hoana Medical, a local biomedical company, will be presenting findings from a study of nurses who have worked with their “LifeBed” at a Nashville conference later this month.
  • U.S. Coast Guard and Hawaii state officials have just launched “Anuenue,” a new inter-island digital microwave network. The network will support the day-to-day and emergency data transport needs of federal and state government agencies and improves emergency communications capabilities in Hawaii.
  • Research conducted here in Hawaii almost 10 years ago is proving to be timeless. Heterocyclic aromatic amines (HAAs), a group of chemicals formed during high-temperature cooking of meat and fish, are potent mutagens and are suspected to play a role in colorectal cancer.
  • Space Exploration Technologies, a US space company founded by an Internet multi-millionaire, has become the first private venture to successfully blast a rocket into Earth’s orbit. Falcon 1, a liquid fuel rocket built by SpaceX, took off from Kwajalein Atoll on Sunday and entered orbit carrying a dummy payload.
  • Apple opened its third Hawaii store in Honolulu this past weekend, building its largest local retail location yet in the heart of Waikiki. The store, in the Royal Hawaiian Center on Kalakaua Avenue, is situated between Apple’s Ala Moana and Kahala Mall locations.

We close with our song pick of the week, Trash 80 and a song called “Say Goodbye.”

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Bytemarks Cafe – Episode 8 – Sept. 24, 2008

Bytemarks Cafe - 9/24/08This week after the news, we speak with Laurie Gerber, Board member of the Association for Machine Translation in the Americas, who tells us about an upcoming Machine Translation conference. Then, we’re joined in the studio by Rob Farrow to discuss social networks, online identity, OpenID, and This week’s song pick is inspired by “Code Monkey” by Jonathan Coulton.

In the News…

  • A team of astronomers has identified the least luminous galaxy known, but found it is surprisingly massive. Using the Keck Observatories up on Mauna Kea, Marla Geha, an assistant professor of astronomy at Yale University along with her colleague Josh Simon at the California Institute of Technology, has observed about half of the two dozen dwarf satellite galaxies that orbit the Milky Way.
  • At the University of Hawaii, chemists traded their lab coats for surf shorts, breaking out of the lab to test their theories on the waves. UH chemistry professor Robert Liu and his colleagues found that local surf spots provided ideal conditions to study photochemical reactions, and by building a special boogie board with a test-tube mounted in it, they were able to use the sun’s rays to make variants of vitamin A.
  • Dana Slaymaker of Resource Mapping Hawaii developed a camera system that can map thousands of acres by airplane with images so detailed that tree leaves can be identified. The development of this technology is expected to revolutionize conservation work in Hawaii and around the world.
  • Increasing demand and a changing climate have led to the collapse of several once-rich fisheries around the world, and many are still in danger. Regional overfishing can lead to extinctions of native fish species, and in the long term, huge shortfalls in the food supply for millions. Around the world, policymakers, environmentalists, and fishermen have been searching for a solution. And a university of Hawaii economist — along with colleagues at the University of California at Santa Barbara — say one controversial solution may have merit.

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Bytemarks Cafe – Episode 7 – Sept. 17, 2008

Bytemarks Cafe - Sept. 17, 2008This week in the studio, we speak with Sid Savara who’s helping to organize “Startup In A Weekend.” Then, we discuss online health care with Fred Fortin, Senior Vice President who oversees strategic policy development, legal affairs, privacy and security at Hawaii Medical Service Association, Ido Schoenberg, Chief Executive Officer of American Well, and Nate McLemore, Senior Director of Microsoft’s Health Solutions Group, talks about Microsoft Health Vault.

In the News…

  • At an IEEE meeting last week at the Hilton Waikaloa on the Big Island of Hawaii, the Very High Throughput study group put the final touches to a proposal calling for the creation of a task group to carry forward the work of crafting a new Giga Bit wireless LAN standard.
  • A University of Hawaii physics professor has suggested that aliens could be sending signals by tweaking the brightness of stars. Professor John G. Learned proposed in the latest issue of New Scientist that “a sufficiently advanced civilization” may use “Cepheid variable” stars as beacons to transmit information throughout the galaxy and beyond.
  • The Hawaii State Department of Agriculture was recognized as one of the winners in the second annual RFID Excellence in Business Awards. TechInsights and RFID Revolution announced the winners at a formal ceremony on the opening day of the RFID World 2008 event at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas last week. The awards recognize companies and innovators whose products or implementations demonstrate the benefits of RFID or radio frequency identification technology.
  • An Air Force crew has performed the first known after-dark landing in Antarctica using night vision goggles. The mission was part of Operation Deep Freeze, which is commanded by the U.S. Pacific Command’s “Joint Task Force Support Forces Antarctica” and headquartered at Hickam AFB. The massive plane landed in complete darkness, guided only by reflective cones seen through night-vision goggles, proving that the C-17 can access McMurdo Station, Antarctica during times of the year previously only flown for emergencies.

We close with our song pick of the week, the multi-talented Fred Fortin and his cover of a jazz classic “Coming Home Baby.”

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Bytemarks Cafe – Episode 6 – Sept. 10, 2008

Bytemarks Cafe #6

This week in the studio, we speak with Roz Savage, who is on her way to becoming the first woman to row, solo, across the Pacific Ocean. Then, Tiffany Tanaka of WeSellThings4U talks about building a business buying and selling on eBay for a living. She started with friends and family and grew the business to include individuals and corporations looking to sell goods on eBay.

In the News…

  • Sorghum could be biofuel crop of the future: Sorghum – a genus of grasses, some raised for grain – could be part of the answer to fuel self-sufficiency for Hawaii. It is one of the crops that Hawaii BioEnergy will be exploring
  • State tech tax credits increase 43 percent: The economy in Hawaii and across the country is slowing, with prices rising and visitor numbers falling. But Hawaii’s technology industry is showing encouraging signs of growth. According to a state report release last week, local high tech companies received over $300 million from investors last year, while the total amount of tax breaks they claimed hit $100 million in 2006.
  • Hoku unit inks supply deal with Chinese company: Hawaii-based Hoku Scientific Inc. said late Thursday one of its units has signed a 10-year contract worth up to $455 million to supply polysilicon to a Chinese company. Hoku Materials Inc., which makes and sells polysilicon for the solar market, inked the deal with Solargiga Energy Holdings Ltd.
  • IfA Maui to Hold Open House September 12: On Maui, the University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy is celebrating it’s first birthday. The IFA will be holding an open house this Friday at the Maikalani Advanced Technology Research Center in Pukalani. The family-friendly event will include laboratory tours, demonstrations, stargazing through telescopes and talks about the latest astronomical discoveries from atop Haleakala and in astronomy research on Maui.

Our song pick of the week, courtesy the Podsafe Music Network, is “Bei eBay” by Ricky Ganz Allein.

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Bytemarks Cafe – Episode 5 – Sept. 3, 2008

This week, we speak with Joel Paschal and Dr. Marcus Eriksen, who voyaged across the Pacific to Hawaii aboard the “JUNK raft. Then we discuss podcasting with Roxanne Darling and Todd Cochrane and talk to them about the upcoming PodCampHawaii.

  • Honolulu Declaration Offers Ways to Curb Ocean Acidification: As the oceans absorb increasing amounts of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, they are becoming increasingly acid, weakening the world’s coral reefs. Scientists aim to combat ocean acidification via limits on fossil fuel emissions, reduction of stress on reefs, and creation of marine protected areas.
  • Magmatically Triggered Slow Earthquake Discovered At Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii: Slow earthquakes are a special type of earthquake where fault rupture occurs too slowly (over periods of days to months) to produce any felt shaking. Slow earthquakes of magnitude 5.5-5.7 have been previously found to periodically occur on the flanks of Kilauea.
  • Hawaii’s Conversion of Coal Plant to Biomass Marks a New Trend: A coal-fired power plant in Pepeekeo, Hawaii, that formerly provided electricity to a sugar mill is now being converted into a 24-megawatt (MW) biomass power plant. MMA Renewable Ventures is financing the conversion and will operate the new plant, which will be called the Hū Honua Bioenergy Facility.

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