Friday, November 26, 2010

That’s the Way the Wind Blows

We were accustomed on the mainland to the prevailing wind coming from the West, and tailwinds making the travel from say Denver to New York generally much faster than the return trip.  When we moved to the east side of the Big Island I assumed that we would be on the leeward (“away from the wind”) side of the island.  But no, in the middle of the Pacific the prevailing winds turn out to be from the east, putting us on the windward side after all.
It so happens that solar radiation warms the air over the equator, causing it to rise. The rising air then proceeds south and north toward the poles. From approximately 20° to 30° North and South latitude, the air sinks. Then, the air flows along the surface of the earth back toward the equator.  This phenomenon creates several effects well known to pilots of ocean sailing vessels.

The Doldrums
Sailors noticed the stillness of the rising (and not blowing) air near the equator and gave the region the name "doldrums." The doldrums, usually located between 5° north and 5° south of the equator, are also known as the Intertropical Convergence Zone or ITCZ for short. The trade winds converge in the region of the ITCZ, producing convectional storms that produce some of the world's heaviest precipitation regions.

The Horse Latitudes
Between about 30° to 35° north and 30° to 35° south of the equator lays the region known as the horse latitudes or the subtropical high. This region of subsiding dry air and high pressure results in weak winds. Tradition states that sailors gave the region of the subtropical high the name "horse latitudes" because ships relying on wind power stalled; fearful of running out of food and water, sailors threw their horses and cattle overboard to save on provisions.
The Trade Winds
In the central North Pacific, the trade winds represent the outflow of air from a great region of high pressure, known as the North Pacific High, typically located well north and east of the Hawaiian Islands. The North Pacific High is a semi-permanent, subtropical area of high pressure in the North Pacific Ocean. It is strongest in the Northern Hemispheric summer and is displaced towards the equator during the winter.  

Blowing from the subtropical highs (or horse latitudes) toward the low pressure of the ITCZ are the trade winds. Named from their ability to quickly propel trading ships across the ocean, the trade winds between about 30° latitude and the equator are steady and blow about 11 to 13 miles per hour. In the Northern Hemisphere, the trade winds blow from the northeast and are known as the Northeast Trade Winds; in the Southern Hemisphere, the winds blow from the southeast and are called the Southeast Trade Winds.  http:/
Hilo Hawaii is located roughly at 19.7 degrees north of the equator (see my earlier blog Changes in Latitudes).  As described above the trade winds at this latitude blow westward from the northeast thus putting the east side of the Big Island facing the prevailing wind known as the Northeast Trade Wind.  Whereas, in the mid-latitudes where most of the United States mainland is located the “westerlies” blow eastward. In fact in both the northern (30N to 60N) and southern (30S to 60S) latitudes, the prevailing winds are from the west. wikipedia

Confusion resolved!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

It is Illegal to be an Ugly Governor in Hawaii

Yes that’s true.  It is against the “Aloha Law” for a Hawaiian governor to act ugly or mean spirited in carrying out their duties.  You may find the actually law at the end of this entry, but it all has to do with the meaning and spirit of Aloha.
Many Hawaiian words have multiple meanings and perhaps none more so than aloha.  Aloha is the most popular Hawaiian word known and spoken around the world.  It is also among the most sacred and powerful of all Hawaiian words. Speaking it over time is said to have the power to transform one's attitude, heal one's negative emotions, and to help protect and guide one's lifetime journey.

Hawai'i is also the only American state to have two official languages, Hawaiian and English. However, a third unofficial language is also widely spoken, Pidgin which is a slang combining words from many aspects of island life and culture. Instant Hawaii 

Pidgin was used as a way to communicate amongst the various nationalities that were in Hawaii to work the fields, containing enough English language references to generally communicate with their supervisors who primarily spoke English.
We recently adopted a kitten and wanted to give it a Hawaiian name.  We settled on Pili Aloha which was suggested be a friend and which we understood to mean “esteemed companion,” which it does.  However, it could also mean any combination of the following:

To cling, stick, adhere, touch, join, adjoin, cleave to, associate with, be with, be close or adjacent; clinging, sticking; close relationship, relative; thing belonging to, connection. Pili maikaʻi, fitting nicely, compact. Hoa pili, intimate friend. Koʻu pili, my partner.

Aloha, love, affection, compassion, mercy, sympathy, pity, kindness, sentiment, grace, charity; greeting, salutation, regards; sweetheart, lover, loved one; beloved, loving, kind, compassionate, charitable, lovable; to love, be fond of; to show kindness, mercy, pity, charity, affection; to venerate; to remember with affection; to greet, hail. Greetings! Hello! Good-by! Farewell! Alas!
And if that does not impress you with the beauty of the Hawaiian language, how about the name of the state fish?  It is humuhumunukunuku'āpua'a.  
Rivaled perhaps only by the longest place name in America (in Massachusetts) which my brother for some reason can pronounce flawlessly:


From the state Charter:

§ 5-7.5 "Aloha Spirit".(a) "Aloha Spirit" is the coordination of mind and heart within each person. It brings each person to the self.  Each person must think and emote good feelings to others.  In the contemplation and presence of the life force, "Aloha", the following unuhi laulā loamay be used:

           "Akahai", meaning kindness to be expressed with tenderness; 
           "Lōkahi", meaning unity, to be expressed with harmony; 
           "ʻOluʻolu" meaning agreeable, to be expressed with pleasantness;
           "Haʻahaʻa", meaning humility, to be expressed with modesty;
           "Ahonui", meaning patience, to be expressed with perseverance.

These are traits of character that express the charm, warmth and sincerity of Hawaii's people. It was the working philosophy of native Hawaiians and was presented as a gift to the people of Hawaiʻi. ''Aloha'' is more than a word of greeting or farewell or a salutation. ''Aloha'' means mutual regard and affection and extends warmth in caring with no obligation in return. "Aloha" is the essence of relationships in which each person is important to every other person for collective existence. ''Aloha'' means to hear what is not said, to see what cannot be seen and to know the unknowable.

(b) In exercising their power on behalf of the people and in fulfillment of their responsibilities, obligations and service to the people, the legislature, governor, lieutenant governor, executive officers of each department, the chief justice, associate justices, and judges of the appellate, circuit, and district courts may contemplate and reside with the life force and give consideration to the "Aloha Spirit". [L 1986, c 202, § 1]