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Showing posts from November, 2012

Clidemia hirta

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SC/SS 115 Ethnobotany took on the "dark curse" - riahpen roht. Every time I take the class into the forest to pull Clidemia hirta, the skies go dark and rain sheets down from the sky. This year was no exception with Tropical Storm 26W Bopha expanding to the south of Pohnpei. Right on schedule the sky darkened in the forest, and then skies opened up. Last week I told the class that this would happen today. When one asked me, "How...?" I simply answered, "Magic." What else would you expect from a plant called "the dark curse"?
 Rose Ann dressed for success - in the swamp mud, humid heat, and rain This was a new find on the knoll off to the left en route to the main Clidemia hirta patches. 
JB Palik pulls Clidemia hirta

Wading into a thicket of Clidemia hirta. This was also a new area, to the south of the oahs.
Arnald at work
Ezerin pulls and inspects the Clidemia hirta. He knows plants and knows them well. He noted that he is confident that he has…

White Ribbon Day

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The White Ribbon campaign participants mustered at Spanish Wall at 9:00 in the morning. I arrived a little late at 9:30 A.M due to my having participated in the Green Steps run that morning at 7:00 A.M. Green Steps had been from PICS track to Spanish Wall and back, about three kilometers. I ran an easy joggle knowing what lay ahead in the afternoon.

Although White Ribbon day was Sunday 25 November, Pohnpei chose to observe on Saturday as that is logistically easier than a Sunday.



The core transport vehicles were two buses from the college. Ensuring that money was released to fuel the buses prior to the event proved to be challenging. Ultimately the day was a resounding success, had planning work started a tad earlier things might not had to be sorted out in two in the morning emails.



Opening directives were given by Geof, Lululeen, and Baron. The campaigners split into two groups. One took a bus down through Kitti, one down through Madolehnihmw. On the way they picked up additional pa…

Math curriculum support workshop number four

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On Friday 16 November the fourth in a series of work shops intended to provide support to the instructors at Madolehnihmw High School was held from 4:00 to 6:15 P.M. I left the college at about 3:09 and arrived at 3:50 at MHS. I managed to avoid the holes in the road, but hit a lip that crosses the road on a bridge in Pehleng that slipped my mind.

I started with an apology for having not showed up for the 26 October meeting. I had set email reminders, but a power outage had taken down the college server during the time frame in which the reminder was set to be sent. For future reference, I noted that my email signature line includes my cell number.

The session opened with a question on box plots. As box plots were included in statistics for the first time this term, I launched into an explanation of box plots without probing further to understanding the context in which the question arose.


After showing how to obtain the five numbers that comprise a box plot and drawing the box plot, …

Material Culture

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For her presentation on material culture, Rose Ann presented a ngarangar. Once filled with sakau, the ngarangar is known as a kohwa. The one Rose Ann brought in was unusual in that the surface had been carved into a relief pattern, and the shape was also unusual.


At sakau a single ngarangar is passed around, the family is united around the cup. A ngarangar is only used for sakau and can last for decades. The cup is often passed down, thus there is a symbolic uniting of the family across generations as a son shares a cup with his family, a cup that may have been used by his father and his grandfather before him.



Reliann brandishes the mensukusuk she made for pounding cooked bananas.



This highly unusual coconut basket weaves the frond tips back to the outside where they were braided to form an external band around the palm bowl.



The result was a seamless palm frond bowl.





Jacky, from Mortlocks, presented a saipe, a Mortlockese church fan.



Ezerin brought in three Yapese baskets, called wa…

Reflection and refraction

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This term I did the refraction demonstrations on Wednesday, including the placing of a one dollar coin on top of a towel and under a beaker filled with water. The top of the beaker was covered with a ceramic floor tile. I then asked the class to come up and determine what coin was under the bottom of the beaker.

Due to total internal reflection at the bottom, and refraction at the sides of the beaker, the coin is invisible.

Then I put the coin in an empty frisbee on the table. From the other end of the table the students could not see the penny. Then I added water until the frisbee was full. The penny could now be seen.

I wrapped up Wednesday using the laser and running it through a semi-circular dish of water. I did also try to shoot the laser through a plastic tube filled with water - not very successfully. Then I tried to get the laser to run inside the water cascading out of a hole in a 5 gallon water jug. Other than making the floor wet, I accomplished little. I need something m…