Nonfiction

Politics in Hawai`i: A Brief History

Most visitors to Hawaii know little about its history. They may be aware that Hawai`i enjoys the distinction of having the only royal palace in the United States, but few understand how that royal palace came to be. The political history of Hawai`i often goes undiscussed on the U.S. Mainland and elsewhere, but impacts visitors all the same.

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`Olelo Hawai`i: How to Pronounce the Hawaiian Language

Though it is considered a “dead” language, the original Hawaiian language is still common in Hawai`i – visitors might see it used for street names, on public signs, or even as translated text in numerous documents. Nobody speaks Hawaiian as their first language any longer, but it is making a comeback after being all but wiped out in the last two hundred years. Understanding how to pronounce the language can help the visitor to Hawai`i have a more “authentic” experience.

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Playing With Sharks

In August of 1992, I was in the Bahamas for a scientific expedition, upon which I was serving as one of about twenty-five volunteers. We were with the organization Earthwatch, assisting graduate students researching the nature of adolescent lemon sharks on the tiny island of Bimini, on the far western end of the Grand Bahama Bank. Our job was to be pretty simple: the graduate students, working under University of Miami biologists, were studying the lemon sharks in an effort to understand how they managed to locate their home range. They lived in mangroves, which were essentially salt water swamps full of strange trees which grew above the water line. The trees shot roots down through the water to anchor in the sludgy sediment two or three feet below. The effect was a tree on stilts. Spindly roots came up just out of the water line, where they came together to form the trunk of the tree. Broad branches with tiny green leaves created a shady canopy, keeping the heat and insects in. Birds and mangrove crabs dwelled in these swamps, but so did adolescent lemon sharks.

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