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Showing posts from April, 2009

Lunch options

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Our students truly lack options on places to eat lunch on rainy days here on Pohnpei. The lack of an actual student union building, a dedicated facility for the students, and a paucity of sheltered places in which to dine, has our students gathering to eat in any corner they can find. Few stretches of sidewalk are under cover, despite rain fall in Palikir running upwards of 510 centimeters per annum.

One does have to fend off the begging dogs, but our students maintain their sense of humor and composure in the face of the odd conditions under which they often dine.

Ethnobotany class observes sakau ceremony

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The SC/SS Ethnobotany class was hosted by Senator Dahker "Nahnihd" Daniel at his nahs in Pehleng, Kitti.

The students observed the traditional preparation and the ceremonial serving of the first five cups. Tyson, Dexter, Christopher, and Redeemer observe the pounding of the sakau.

Women sit along the sides of the nahs. Roxcindlina, Tesiann, Tracy, Krystal, Aleen, and Melojane.

The ceremony included the four pwoaikoar leaves of the wild taro.

The stone is a rare "singing stone" that produces different notes from different places and resonates after each strike like a bell.

The menindei for the ceremony was the highly respected expert on Kitti traditions, Soumaka.

Our host, Nahnihd, is called to the ngarangar.

Index of refraction for glass using image depth

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Marlinda and Welianter attempt to measure the image depth while Elsieleen looks on.

Below, Charles is working on the apparent depth of a penny. My own preference is to use a flat sheet of paper with printing on it.

To the right of Charles' stack are pieces of tinted window louver. These are too dark to be useful.

This particular laboratory exercise depends on a supply of old window louvers. The complication is that the louvers are usually coated with a coralline layer that is all but impossible to remove. Put away the ammonia based cleaner - those are useless. I was able to restore very old panes to near new transparency using a sulfuric acid based toilet bowl cleaning compound. Use gloves and goggles! The louver above had only the right hand side cleaned.

Cloud watching

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A cumulus build north of Kolonia experiences mid-level sheer on the ninth of April.

A rebalance of the sky over the College of Micronesia-FSM Learning Resource Center yields a striking image of the cloud structure on the sixteenth of April. Cumulis humilis is under an extended deck of mid-level clouds associated with rain cells. April is the season when the intertropical trough passes northwards over the FSM.

Running: no trash talk required

A colleague was talking trash to another colleague about an upcoming sporting event. Depending the season my colleagues talk trash about basketball, baseball, or football. The kind of fellows who also engage in fantasy football, who say things like "We are going to beat you on Sunday." I sometimes ask, "We who? You are not on the team." The players are not even from (pick the team and its city of your choice). The players are all hired guns, ringers, outsiders. There is no particular loyalty to a particular city.

Last week I asked a colleague who lives for "his teams" whether he was going to join Saturday's 5k walk/run. "I would beat you so bad! You would be eating my dust," was the first thing he said. That caught me off guard. I wasn't even thinking of who might beat who, I was just inviting a friend to join in the fun.

Although my colleagues would never understand, runners do not talk trash. On the contrary, runners more often sandbag. …

Women in Sports 5k run

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Ran the Women in Sports 5k run this morning, joggling to a 26:43 finishing time. No pictures of the photographer - not until the next generation is faster.

The middle ahead of the elder, they would swap positions by the end of the 5k.

Passing the tire shop along Namiki-Dori

The middle one crossing the finish line. Meanwhile, well back down the route, the youngest and a friend brought up the family tail. The youngest was along principally for the after-run breakfast at the Joy Hotel.

This run featured the first time that I recall an "official" spectator that cheered the runners. The spectator even had a sign she held up. Very inspiring, and a first for this runner.

Floral pigments as litmus solutions

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In physical science laboratory 132, the students gather flowers to test as potential litmus solutions. Once a floral pigment is found to be effective - changes to different colors when an acid or base is added, then the floral litmus solution is used to test household products to determine if they are acidic, basic, or neutral.

The flower petals are boiled in water. Hibiscus tiliaceus and a dark red coleus often prove to be most effective in detecting acids and bases.

Nicole studies a color chart. The student's tables include a description of the color. Color descriptions are based not on a scientific color scheme, but rather a more common set of colors - those found in a box of Crayola crayons. The students also have reference to the X11 colors they learned about in laboratory 11.

Divine Grace and Chersea also study a color chart.

Yasko tests the household "unknowns".

Benskin and Nicole.

Easter Pineapples

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Spring break is cleaning season. The least favored task: weeding in the pineapple patch.

Flannel: not just for cold weather. Our pineapples are not the same as the one's seen in stores abroad. These plants produce a small, almost round fruit that is very sweet. The pineapple does not even taste "pineapply." The downside is that these pineapples have ferociously sharp recurved thorns, tiny little thorns, that break off just under the skin. Vicious little thorns.

Despite the flannel shirt, pineapple thorn damage to my forearm.

Shrue and friend.

New outfits for Easter Sunday! The eldest has entered a teen phase in which one does not smile for photographs taken by parents. The world is about teen angst, misery, and the general oppression of parental units.

Kosrae Congregational Good Friday service

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In the evening of Good Friday, the Kosrae Women's Christian Association presents a special program of song, prayer, and bible passages. The evening starts off in the light.

The front of the altar is not only draped in black, but the holy place is sealed off from the congregation.

Alice, Sepe, and Notwe prepare for the program to come.

Emliana reads a passage from the bible in Kosraean. The windows are covered with dark blue fabric.

At the hour of the reckoning, the darkness falls, literally. All lights go out, not a candle is lit. The women sit in the dark, alternating reciting passages from the cross interspersed sorrowful songs. Their voices crack with a deep and visceral sadness that casts a pall over those in the church. In the dark some of the women are heard softly crying. The emotional impact on one sitting and listening in the dark is unexpectedly powerful, moving, and evokes a sense of both fear and intense loss.

As the program draws to a close, candles are lit and the women m…

Define plain white dress

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The church wear of the deaconesses and pastor's wives of the protestant churches here in Micronesia are traditionally a plain white dress. When the Protestant missionaries introduced Christianity in the 1850s, they brought with them the asceticism of the Boston Congregational churches of their time. Simple churches painted white, often lacking in both internal and external adornment. Clothing was to be simple, black and white, nothing too colorful or too bold.

Kenye, above,wears a plain cotton dress with the traditional long sleeves. To this day the deaconesses and wives of pastor's dress in white each and every Sunday. The complication is that the other women of the church get to wear the brightest and "shiniest" new floral fabrics, colorful dresses that say, "I have a new dress!" This year a new fabric appeared on the island, a plain white fabric with silvery-white sequins.

The sequins diffract light and thus sparkle in the colors of the rainbow in the sun.…

Rain storm run

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Two hundred minutes is my present seven day target for my running. Last week some sleepy evenings knocked my seven day total under 200. By this evening I had whittled the deficit down to 71 minutes. The day had been windy with heavy rain storms moving through Palikir - the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone was sitting directly over Pohnpei. A tropical trough.

Decks of tropical cloud cover extending from sea level to the top of the troposphere made the day dark. By 17:10 the day was already turning into night, although the sun would remain above the unseen horizon for the next ninety minutes.

As I headed down Dolihner hill toward Blue Nile I could see a gathering darkness to the east. I slipped around the Pohnpei campus gym, through the parking lot, and swung right down the hill toward 4TY. Cars filled with Mand-bound Pingalapese in Wednesday evening church service clothes were backed up at the stop sign in front of the new JG store.

At Ace Commercial I could see the ridge lines of U. Or I …

Social media as a way to share opportunities

Standing on the sidewalk between rain showers, I was engaged in a discussion on ways to attract candidates to apply for positions at the college. Those of us who live here know that the college is a very special place to work, and our students are truly unique. Yet connecting with those whom the college might most like to connect with when advertising an opening is difficult at best. Among the many constituencies the college would like to reach are former employees who might be interested in returning to the college and Micronesians in the diaspora abroad who might want to come home to work. Social media might be one way to get the word out on job openings, especially into this two particular constituencies.

While social media has not yet proven to be the "killer" academic support application I had thought it might be, I have discovered that it is a powerful way to find and connect with alumni -both former students and former faculty and staff. This makes social media a serio…

Dress styles of Kosrae

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The female clothing culture of Kosrae is centered on the dresses women wear. These dresses have evolved and changed over time. This is their Pacific island culture, a proud tradition that is truly unique in Micronesia. The Kosraean women marching in the College of Micronesia-FSM culture day 2009 parade were not just wearing any church dress during the cultural march, they were wearing dresses and hair styles from the past as well as the present. The following two images were captured by Harvey Segal in Utwe, Kosrae, in 1965. Leone Nena wears a style of dress common in 1965.

Julia Nena wears another dress with a hair style more common to that era.

Forty-four years later Pua and Cantina below echo the styles of their forebearers.

In this second shot, Kenye exhibits the style of dress once worn by a Deaconess or Nipasta. Note that the fabric is a cotton and required pressing, today many elderesses wear synthetic fabrics, and modern dresses lack the pleating and lace seen below.

Note the pre…