"No GPS or weather reports—just a sailboat, the wild open ocean, and the constellations. Think you could find your way across the South Pacific?
James Campbell rides along with a master navigator in the Caroline Islands, where they’ve been sailing this way for thousands of years." [more inside]
passed away last week at 78 years old. He was a Master Navigator
from the tiny island of Satawal
. In the seventies, he traveled to Hawaii to help the Polynesian Voyaging Society
revive the wayfinder
's art, navigating by the sun, moon, stars, animals, waves and clouds. In 1976, he steered the Hokule'a, a traditional sailing canoe,
from Hawaii to Tahiti without even so much as a compass. He began teaching a new generation of navigators and helped launch
a revival of Polynesian culture. To honor him, the Polynesian Voyaging Society is raising money
to assist the people of Satawal, while also preparing for a world wide voyage on the Hokule'a, to use their ancient wisdom to help imagine a new relationship to the planet
How much life could you find in one cubic foot?
With a 12-inch green metal-framed cube, photographer David Liittschwager (of the Endangered Species Project)
surveyed biodiversity in land, water, tropical and temperate environments around the globe for National Geographic. At each locale he set down the cube and started watching, counting, and photographing with the help of his assistant and many biologists. The goal: to represent the creatures that lived in or moved through that space. The team then sorted through their habitat cubes and tallied every inhabitant, down to a size of about a millimeter
. [more inside]
Trader Vic's was closed in Beverly Hills
at the end of last month. Apparently also in Osaka, Japan. But fear not, fellow Tiki freaks
and cool cats
, there are plenty of other places
to get yourself a good Mai Tai
, grab some far-out Polynesian accessories
, and take a history refresher
to impress your friends and neighbors.
A cyclone has essentially flattened
the tiny Pacific island nation of Niue. Although only one of the island's 1200 inhabitants has died, the infrastructure is so battered that the government may simply call it quits,
ceding control to New Zealand. Although suffering from sharp population declines over the years, Niue had been one of the most technologically advanced microstates, being the first country to install free Wi-Fi
accessible to all of its residents and visitors. And they control the top-level domain .nu
- or do they? The recent natural disaster may highlight the fact that the story of the .nu domain is one of economic and legal exploitation.
And if Niue folds, can you run a website from a domain attributed to a deleted country?
A fascinating sidebar to this fascinating story. (Via /.
The Polynesians were, undoubtedly, the greatest navigators of the ancient world. Using outrigger canoes, they were able to colonize lands spread as far apart as Madagascar and Easter Island and as far south as New Zealand. But where did they originally come from? Jared Diamond
demonstrates how, by using linguistic and archaeological evidence, it's possible to reconstruct their journey from China and Taiwan to the Philippines, from there on to Borneo, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Guinea and out to the Pacific one way and Madagascar in the other. As an exercise, try comparing the numbers 1 to 10 in all Polynesian and Indonesian languages
, to see how the language gradually changed as they hopped from island to island.
Takuu, an atoll community in Papua New Guinea, threatened by rising sea levels
I don't know what to make of it, but I've heard similarly dire fates predicted for minor islands of Oceania, if present trends continue into the next 50 years.