Monday, September 15, 2014

Sci-Fi Convention in Paradise

Hawaiicon brought science fiction lovers to the Kohala Coast on Hawaii Island this past weekend.   Unlike conventions we have attended in the past with long lines, unhelpful volunteers, and stuffy conference centers; HawaiiCon was in a spectacular location at the Hapuna Beach Hotel with everyone we saw laughing and talking excitedly.  Adding to the fun was that many attendees dressed as science fiction characters, super heroes, anime characters, and more.  Nearby were stunning views of the ocean with plenty of places to sit and enjoy the ocean breeze.  

HawaiiCon at the Hapuna Beach Hotel
The convention was organized by local residents, GB Hajim a movie writer, director and producer,  Jacqueline Seaquist , Artistic Director and Program Coordinator of the Performing Arts Learning Center at Hilo High School, David Steiner, owner of Hawaii White Mountain LLC coffee company, and Jessica Hall,  a broker with Hawaii Life Real Estate.  They created “the world’s first sci-fi, science, and fantasy tropical vacation convention”.
Busy Front Desk at HawaiiCon
The convention founders partially funded the event by having a very successful Kickstarter campaign last year.   They received almost double the amount of money they requested from 199 science fiction fans from around the world.
Cosplay at HawaiiCon
The three day event featured panels of scientists, sci-fi writers, actors, and artists , workshops, autograph sessions, costume contests, and evening galas.   Visiting actors from Star Trek, Stargate Atlantis, Battlestar Galactic, Babylon 5, Game of Thrones, costume designers, graphic novelists, cartoonists, astronomers, writers and producers gave workshops, sat on panel, signed autographs, and tweeted about the fun and sun on Hawaii Island.  The conference combined astronomers from Hawaii Island’s international telescopes into the program with comics, cosplay, and gaming.

We are excited about events like HawaiiCon because they draw people to Hawaii Island who may never otherwise visit.  Once here, they get to experience the uniqueness and beauty of Hawaii Island and all that it has to offer.

We look are already looking forward to the next HawaiiCon science fiction convention from September 10 to 13, 2015.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Designing a Healthy Home

East facing window for best morning light
Since moving to Hawaii Island we have moved three times to experience different communities and climates on the island.  Having lived in many types of houses and condo rentals,  we often think about home design changes that would make our life easier and more healthy. Some things we have installed ourselves, but others require major changes to a house design. Here are some home design ideas that we wish were standard:

  1. Situated to maximize the amount of early morning light that floods into the bedrooms;
  2. No granite or other sources of uranium in the house - granite in counter tops, floors and molding have uranium that decays to radon. Other non-radon producing surfaces like marble, stainless steel or tile are healthier;
  3. Designed for robots to constantly clean, with no steps up and down through the house and all the plugs required so the robots have power and unobstructed movement;
  4. Maximized for air flow through the house so mold and mildew cannot flourish and humidity is lowered so tropical bugs will stay away;
  5. Automated humidity control to maintain moisture and keep it at the ideal level for health and to minimize molds;
  6. Easy access to AC air filters and smoke detectors so they can be frequently changed;
  7. Built in security cameras for discreet monitoring of the outside perimeter;
  8. Back up lighting installed for safety in the event of power outages;
  9. Built in water purification with easy access to change the filters;
  10. Backup power systems for electric and an easy switch between primary electric power and backup power.
  11. Non toxic walls, paint, and furniture without heavy metals, chemicals, and bromine;
  12. Single story construction with no steps or landings to reduce the chances for falls;
  13. If multi-storied, then the staircase is designed for installation of an elevator chair or other means to get people up and down if it is needed.
  14. Showers with built in seats for comfort and safety;
  15. Sound proofing to minimize noise in the house – there are many negative health effects of not sleeping well because of noise;
  16. Automatic window shades to open windows and window shades easily and control the amount of light from hard to reach windows;
  17. L ED lights, low energy appliances, and other electrical devices that minimize electricity usage;
  18. Storage area designated for survival supplies and water storage;
  19. Non-toxic plantings around the home - ornamental plants are often selected because they are easy to take care of but are often highly toxic;
  20. Easy access outside the house without stairs, barriers, or long distances to get to the car or street.
It seems like modern houses are focused on a “prestige presentation”; it would be wonderful to have homes designed with healthy features instead.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Healthy Sunlight in Hawaii

Measuring Light in Hawaii
After reading studies about the health benefits of sunlight and reports that world-wide pollution is blocking sunlight in the northern hemisphere, we wondered how bright the sun is in Hawaii?  

To find out we ordered a digital light meter (Dr Meter) to see how much light we are getting inside our home and on our walks.  Is the sunlight as bright as it seems?

Researchers at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine found that exposure to light was correlated to BMI (Body Mass Index).  The key was to bask in light of at least 500 Lux (a unit of light measurement) and the best time for the exposure was early in the day. Every hour the light exposure was delayed, BMI rose by 1.28 points.  

With new our light meter we measured the Lux during our early morning walk at 6:20 in the morning.   The sun was just on the horizon so were surprised to see the readings ranging from 800 to 3000 Lux.  Later in the morning, sitting on our couch next to the open windows, the readings ranged from 500 to 600 Lux.  At noon, on a cloudless day with the sunlight directly overhead, we measured over 140,000 Lux.  In Kona, even on a morning with moderate Vog (Volcanic smog), the reading was still 70,000 Lux.
Measuring Lux at sunset in Hawaii
At 5:30PM, with the sun low in the sky and cloud cover, the light was still over 3000 Lux on the beach.  

3250 Lux on the beach at 5:30PM
We were expecting higher light levels than on the mainland since Hawaii is the only state south of the Tropic of Cancer.  But the extremely high noon Lux measurements confirms Hawaii is giving us an incredible amount of healthy sunlight. 

As the days get shorter and we head into winter, we are curious to see how much the light levels will change in Hawaii.