Friday, March 20, 2015

Haruki Ohigan Rain

Dark skies and heavy rain accompanied the Ohigan cleaning of the Haruki cemetery. Although the weather was inclement at best, only a single student was absent. Although I noted that due to the wet conditions and the presence of rebar and pipe in the cemetery only experienced machete handlers ought to participate, the students all joined in with great enthusiasm.

The class began with Japanese-Chuukese student Miki Fritz explaining Ohigan.

I again cautioned the class to be careful in the wet and dark conditions.

Herpelyn and Esmirelda in the rain, the flash lighting individual raindrops

Miki explains Ohigan as Bryan, Stephanie, Patty and Beverly listen

Attendance in the rain was taken photographically. Patty, Beverly, and John Yilbuw.

Miki handles a presentation in difficult circumstances

Darlene, Kohsak, Simon, and Lerina Nena

Simon shelters from the rain with Lerina, Lilina at work

Herpelyn, Esmirelda, Lina Lawrence, Petery Peter

Bryan Mwarike, Miki Fritz, Bryan Wichep lurking in the background

Alexander Kenrad

Jamie, Darlene Charley, Kohsak, Simon, Lerina in the sparkling rain

Elizabeth Augustine working in the foreground, Marvin Bartolome exhibiting the spirit of Tuesday's lecture on the shift in material culture and opting to be comfortable in the rain.

Lerina style raking

Darlene Charley

The stick is a grass lifting pole for dealing with polystachion grass

Lilina cleans up around the orchids, Herpelyn and Alex on rakes

Rain falling like snow



Marvin trims tree branches after I dissuaded Miki from using a overhead two-hand samurai technique. Knife training is slated for next August in the fall section of the course

Heavy rain falls around Patty. 

Lina with the iuiu - Alpinia Carolinense

Elizabeth Augustine

Elizabeth Augustine

Work or get cold, Simon joins in the effort

One to clean, one to hold the umbrella. Interesting.

Beverly Billy

Like a ghost amid the fog and rain

Stephnie working in a dark corner of the garden

Esmirelda undaunted by the kohlo (Hibiscus tiliaceus)

The class insisted on a group photo - happy, wet class. 

Notice the absence of rain in this image: as soon as the cemetery was cleaned up, the rain stopped, the heavy dark clouds broke up. Dark forces dispersed. The very next day the sun would break out full force.

Well cleaned!

Ixora casei

Phenomenal! Hasn't been this clean since spring 2014

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Vegetative morphology

To cover angiosperm morphology I took the ethnobotany class into the field, beginning class at the Eugenia uniflora (Surinam cherry). The cherries are in, so started from there. The leaf arrangement is opposite and the leaves are faintly pinnate. I then headed east to have a look at the Premna obtusifolia variant locally known as oahr, a variant for which there was some hope of resurrecting Premna serratifolia name. I also used the Spathoglottis plicata to show linear venation.

The day was sunny and hot, I headed down to the Pterocarpus indicus trees along the main entrance road.

 I then moved the class onto the uneven terrain north of the entrance road.

Footing was uneven, with the grass hiding the lumpy, bumpy terrain. The terrain appears smooth, but when your foot lands you are thrown in an unexpected direction. Hence Herpelyn and Petery work to regain their balance in the right background. Elizabeth and Simon Augustine on the left in the background appear to either be on more level ground or are more adept at navigating the devilish topography.

A cordate leaf, believed to be Ipomoea carnea subspecies fistulosa (Martius ex Choisy) D. F. Austin, Convolvulaceae . The leaves are on a branch on the ground from a small tree that was cut down. The branches never die, new shoots appear from the downed branches. Identification is tentative.

Ipomoea carnea subsp. fistulosa inflorescence (flower, blossom). The plant is known, appropriately enough, as bush morning glory. Also known as shrub morning glory, the plant is known to be poisonous and is attributed to disease in goats which have eaten the leaves. One of the toxic compounds is possibly chemically related to succinylcholine. This is NOT a plant to add to the leaf tasting list. The plant is an introduced invasive, but not aggressively invasive.

Sebastian, Alexander, John, Beverly, Miki, and Darlene observe the plants. 

A very cordate and definitely non-toxic Hibiscus tiliaceus leaf.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Capturing the population mean with paper airplane distances

I put the population mean distance from the building on the board, 600 centimeters. Then I told the students to make a paper airplane and throw the plane from the second floor porch.

Victoria makes final adjustments in her plane

I did not tell them how to fold their plane nor what kind of plane to make. I told them only that I was measuring the distance of flight from the building (not the flight length, just the perpendicular distance).

Ugine prepares to launch her plane

The student's view of the measuring process is obstructed by the glare off of the top of my head.

A statistics instructor who is out standing in his field, but not outstanding in his field.

Distances being called perpendicular to the building

In all three sections the 95% confidence interval for the sample mean distance included the population mean as for that section. Details are in a Google Docs spreadsheet

I always point out that I will manage to do this only 95% of the time. The reality is that the bet is far riskier: wind is a real factor. The prevailing wind is a headwind. I try to shift this activity to a sunny windless day. I was fortunate that Monday was sunny and windless. Too much headwind and the planes fly back under the porch and generate the negative distances seen in the spreadsheet. In fact, I suspect that the planes which curve back and generate negative distances help in the capture of the population mean. This is a system with an inherently high coefficient of variation, making capture of the population mean all that more likely. That said, my being able to "predict the future" makes for a nice example in statistics.