How did the world’s largest solar telescope rise on the summit of Maui’s Haleakala volcano, while another major telescope was derailed by protests an island away? I explored the politics and culture behind Hawaii’s telescope debate in this feature story for Science magazine. Read the full story here.
Posts by Ilima Loomis
“Satellite Observations Could Help Forecast an Eruption’s End”
Developing a method to predict when a volcano will erupt has long remained out of reach. Less studied, but also important for public safety, is forecasting when eruptions will end, a feat that has proven equally elusive. Now researchers are using satellite data to test a 1981 theory that lava flow–forming eruptions follow a predictable […]
Update on TMT
After months of testimony, a former state judge has recommended that Hawaii officials provide a key permit needed to start construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) atop Mauna Kea. It’s a step back on track for the project, which has drawn fierce opposition from Native Hawaiians and was placed in limbo in late 2015 as a result of a decision […]
Science-based first aid for jellyfish stings
Pack tweezers and vinegar in your beach bag — and, no, don’t pee on it, say scientists. Read my story for Hakai magazine here.
An invisible role for women in fisheries
Nearly half of all fisheries workers worldwide are thought to be women, yet much of their work—and their catch—goes undocumented and unnoticed. That is the finding of a group of researchers who are studying the role of women in fisheries across five countries. In Mexico, Peru, Senegal, South Africa, and Vietnam, women do much of […]
Growth of aquaculture in Mexico
To see the future of aquaculture in Mexico, set aside that crystal ball and gaze into a bowl of ceviche. From shrimp to tilapia to catfish to trout, it’s not the export market but a homegrown hunger for seafood driving much of aquaculture’s growth in Mexico. With a population of 122 million people devouring an […]
Using math to find ET
Searching for aliens may sound like science fiction. Yet for many scientists, it has become serious business. Here we meet three who are using math in their quest to find other living beings in our universe. One is calculating the likelihood of finding life on other planets. Another is trying to figure out where best […]
If we could talk to the aliens …
Ever been to a party and wondered why no one was talking to you? That’s kind of how SETI scientists feel — but on a cosmic level. For more than half a century, astronomers have been listening to space. They use powerful radio telescopes, hoping to pick up signals from civilizations in distant space. They […]
FLSA salary rules
Hawaii companies are scrambling to comply with a federal rule that doubles the minimum pay for salaried employees to $47,476 a year. It takes effect Dec. 1, and many companies still don’t know how they will cope. An estimated 57,000 salaried workers statewide are affected because they are currently making less than the new minimum. […]
My article “Change Agents” was named one of Hawaii Business magazine’s top-10 stories of 2016. Read the complete list here.
Solving a solar mystery
Sunbeams — what a drag. That’s the conclusion of physicists trying to solve a longstanding mystery: why the sun’s surface rotates more slowly than its inner core. The team argues that energy radiating outward from the sun pushes back slightly as it is expelled, providing just enough resistance to put on the brakes. The hypothesis […]
Two years after shutdown, California oyster farm remains a community hot-button
Conventional wisdom has it that oysters are one of the most environmentally friendly animal proteins. Not only do bivalve shellfish require no nutrients or marine ingredients to be added to the water, as filter feeders they actually clean the water column, removing pollutants and impurities to reduce turbidity. So when one of California’s oldest oyster […]