“Things are only real after one has learned to agree on their realness. What took place this evening, for instance, cannot possibly be real to you, because no one could agree with you about it. ‘Do you mean that you didn’t see what happened?’. Of course I did. But I don’t count. I am the one who’s lying to you, remember?”
Carlos Castaneda

Tales of Power

Stuart Kauffman on the Hegemony of Mechanistic Thinking: Must There be Laws of Nature?

n

this comes on the heels of Daniel’s Shmachtenberger’s talk about Emergence:

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Volcano National Park – Sculpture Garden

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The sculpture garden formed when lava flowed over trees. The trees, it seems had enough life in them to support the lava as it flowed around them, formed tubes and lava and then burn the encased trees … resulting in these sculptures … imprints of trees made of lava. It is hard to capture in pictures, but in most of the scultpures are tubes which are the spaces the trees inhabited.

We the walked towards the large crater where vog (fumes coming out of the volcano = volcano fog) is continuously erupting. We went there despite signs that indicated visitors are not allowed there because of the vog (my uncle is inspired by “do not” signs and can’t help tasting the forbidden fruits):

This picture, though not much to look at it, is a rare view … the layers, starting from the road, volcanic field before crater, crater wall on the far side, a mountain rising after it and finally in the distance (this picture is from an area south of Mauna Loa) is the barely visible Mauna Kea.

 

From here my uncle continued for a walk around another neighboring crater. I was tired and decided to walk back to the car.

I got lost in the lava fields (mentioned in the beginning of this post) and knew then that this would be the last day of travels with my uncle. The next day I felt back to Kauai where another journey had begun (it is a story from a parallel universe so doesn’t really belong here) … where I found rest, relaxation and nourishment in preparation for my long journey (6 flights) home.

 

 

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Mauna Loa

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Today we drove up to Mauna Loa – the sprawling mountain across from Mauna Kea. Its an impressive drive up … a long wavy road that crosses through vast rough textured lava fields … it did not feel as steep as the road up to Mauna Kea … its impressive feature was its length and the contrast between the smooth the texture of the road surface next to the rough texture of the surrounding landscape. It is also a narrow, one lane road … with side-niches for stopping to allow oncoming traffic to pass. The twisty(right to left), wavy (up and down) narrow road creates plenty of potentially hazardous blind spots and demands attention driving up.

You can see Mauna Kea across the valley:

Mauna Loa is a rough landscape … lunar … lifeless … vast:

It also has some observatories … but apparently these are more military-ish … so closed off to the public.

 

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Around the Big Island

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Ancestors

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Two (more) beaches

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We seem to have found a rhythm of one day intense and one day soft. Today was soft … two beaches. We were able to get close by car to the first … and went swimming in it:

A short hike through a lava field brought us to the second where we were greeted by bright greens and white sands (apparently the sand on this beach is from corals)

… and went swimming in it too … then I went to check out the next two bays (David went earlier) and found this phenomenal site … trees that have grown on the volcanic surface close to the beach … first feature (which I’ve seen a lot of) is superficial root systems that simply can’t go deep … so much that there is a tree species (I saw a lot on Kauai) that has roots reaching from above ground into the ground … but then, when close to the ocean, the sandy soil gets washed out from beneath them leaving them to collapse.

and the hike back brought us to the “classic” Hawaiian scene

We then stopped by the car rental agency to change cars to a 4×4 … because the car we had did not do a good job of carrying us down Mauna Kea … and there are still more up&down-hill adventures ahead. We changed from the very-large car in front (Dodge) to the huge one in back (Nissan):

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Mauna Kea

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Maune Kea is one of the two volcanoes on the Big Island, the one with all the observatories on top of it.

We passed through the clouds on the way up. This was the view down from the visitors center at ~9000 feet where we stopped to acclimatize.


After anotherr few steep miles we were at the top driving between the large telescope structures.


​we decided to walk down to lake waiau 

And setting aside any preconceptions about sacredness we found ourselves in a sacred place


And gifted with an abundance of beauty and connection we started our way back to the car

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Kiholo Bay Lagoon

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After the long day in Volcano National Park we went for a different kind of day … a less-traveled spot … about a mile walk from the coastal highway brought us to a beach (with another rich and shameless deserted villa) that brough us to a picturesque lagoon where, together with the local turtles, we went swimming:

not many pictures … this time we were more IN it 🙂

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Volcano National Park

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We took a long drive down to Volcano National Park where we started with a hike in Iki (=small) crater. Later in the visitor center I learned that we were walking on what was a lake of lava less then 100 years ago. I’m not sure the images can begin to capture the contrasts of the place. To my eyes so much of the landscape looked dark, yet the landscape is covered with fine-silica which reflect a bright shining light which dominates the pictures. It took a bit of post-processing to get the pictures to resonate with what I felt I saw.

The hike starts with a rain-forest-ish walk around and then down into the crater.

then the crater’s lunar surface appears

followed by a short walk into a lave-tube cave 

and then another drive took us down to the shoreline where vast black lava fields meet the pounding waves of the ocean … a collission of static and dynamic forces resulting in … life! in the distance you can see steam rising from where hot lava is currently flowing into the ocean.

It was fascinating to learn from the visitor center video that the Hawaiian island were (and are still being) formed by the same volcano. The under-water structure that is the Hawaiian islands is drifting east (away from the USA) ~10cm a year. The volcano is like the head of a 3D printer that is printing islands that are then drifting east … creating (ongoing!) the chain of islands.

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Hapuna Beach – Big Island

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A short flight brought us over to the Big Island. From the plane landing it became apparent that this is a very different island. First the powerful, raw, rough & rugged black lava that dominates. Then the large and full private jet parking lot at the airport!

We are staying at what is the most luxurious hotel I’ve ever been too (didn’t imagine I would ever spend time in one) on Hapuna Beach.

We took a beach walk to the neighboring Mauna Kea resort … and on the way passed a few deserted-looking (though actively maintained) villas of the rich and shameless (the jets at the airport are probably part of the kit when you build one of these villas):

… and arrived at the neighboring resort:

and on the way back …

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Waterfalls and Waimea Canyon Revisited

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Yesterday we started out with a surprising waterfall … small but alive and vital … and with the added playfulness of the people who were jumping into its pond and climbing out around it.

I found a quiet spot just before the waterfall to dip my feet in a gentle flow

 

Then we revisited another look-out (park and snap) waterfall this time with better light

 

On our way to drive up to the Waimea canyon road we stopped in the harbor once again … saw some kids learning to sail and another cruise ship (that today I saw out at sea again).

 

 

Stopped in a few lookouts with, again, poor lighthing / visibility down in the canyon) … still immense views:

Then we were surprised by this stream of green-ish looking water flowing the red-ish clay

We made it all the way to the end of the road again … and again found ourselves in a cloud that blocked ocean and cliff views

On the way down we a sunset found us on a coast, still on the west coast, which felt like a homeless neighborhood:

… and then what felt like a long drive home in the dark … felt tired throughout the day so today I took the day off to relax and prepare for our departure tomorrow to the Big Island.

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Around Kauai: Waterfalls, Beaches & Sunset

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After a first waterfall (poor light, no good pictures) we caught up with a group finishing a kayaking trip:

then a waterfall with decent light (not limited access … trails were closed)

then a beach … with end-of-the-day light

and we got back to the resort just in time for a sunset … mostly from the world-class golf course that sits between the resort and the ocean … which, according to the security guard who kindly asked us to leave, is not used much … so not making enough money … so the owners don’t allow people to just walk around … but we are welcome to rent a golf-cart and then freely roam the area … arrrrgh!

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Barking Sands Beach

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On the way we passed the harbor and saw a cruise-ship in it for the day … these things are HUGE …

And then drove all the way around the island to the last beach, just before the cliffs on the other side of the Na Pali Coast. A beautiful 12 mile stretch of beaches. I went into the ocean again … fantastic water. I also felt, beacause of the very active waves the powerful combination of forces … under-currents pulling at my legs to carry me into the ocean, while the surface water carries me back towards the beach.

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Na Pali Coast (and trail)

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The Na Pali coast is, I’ve been told, one of the highlights, if not THE highlight of Kauai. I am not a fan of hiking so I cannot enthusiastically get behind that … many years ago when I visited  New Zealand and arrived at such a famous coast + trail I chose to skydive over it … and THAT was a good way to see it!

Kauai island is small and there is a road that goes almost all the way around it … almost because the Napali coast is a 17 mile stretch of cliffs and so the road reaches both end of the cliffs but cannot go fully around.

It is a demanding trail. We did the first 2 mile stretch and then started another two mile stretch that leads to a waterfall, but turned back half way into the trail … so a 6 mile round trip.

There are two vantage points, a quarter of a mile and then a half mile in.

Then … a long walk that winds up and down (so climbing and descending in both directions)

Eventually we started to converge down towards a beach that marks the end of the first 2 mile stretch

… and there we were … large and powerful waves … not safe for swimming in … when we flew in the helicopter over this area the pilot told us that during the summer months the water here is like a lake … flat and peaceful … and it is possible to kayak the length of the coast.

In the second stretch in the direction of the waterfall  .. there were impressive bamboo clusters that stood out from the already dense green vegetation.

Then we stopped at another coast with a pier … and had a tatse of a local Hawaiian day ending … with many people converging on the coast to take in a sunset:

… those surfers are 8 year old girls

 

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Google now listening in ALWAYS

n

First this as context:

“Today some Google Home owners reported hearing something extra when they asked for a summary of the day ahead from the smart speaker: an advertisement for the opening of Beauty and the Beast … The ad was delivered using the regular Google Assistant voice, so it blended in seamlessly with the other My Day information (weather, calendar appointments, etc.) … When contacted by The Verge for more information, Google denied that the audio snippet was actually an ad … “

then this:

“Online advertising and privacy has always been at war. Listening in on your conversations because you placed an always-on microphone in your home is just the next obvious hill to capture. Google has already normalized reading your emails for context-aware advertisement. Listening to your dinner conversations is just a natural jump.”

 

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Beaches and a Lighthouse

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Today’s weather forecast changed our plans, the hike has been delayed … and we did some more beach-hopping. First was a beach not far from our resort … in this one I stayed by myself a bit and went for a dip … the water was warm, clear, shallow (static) and waves with power (dynamic):

Then Secret Beach … which was striking, colorful and powerful and spacious:

From there to the Kilauea lighthouse:

… and another beach (I’m not really keeping track of names of places!) … this one with what looked like some prime green real-estate … a local complained to us that the real-estate owners were cutting down trees neat the beach to open up their view from the nearbye hills to the open sea!

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Kauai Helicopter Tour

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I’ll let the images do the talking:

and another beach … with a volleyball competition

a harbor

and a sunset (on the west side of the island)

 

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Queen’s Bath

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Today we took it easier … checked out a few local beaches and did a bit of scouting in preparation for tomorrow’s hike.

Had a look around the resort we are staying at … dominated by a golf course (that is woven between numerous resorts) … it is new to me … so at the same time both very impressive (so much green) and so not-of-my-world … its strange to me to see holes torn into the ground for play!

We checked out a few nearby beaches

The main event of the day was Queen’s Bath … which starts with a trail owned by the roots of the trees that line it:

then the sound of water flowing kicks in and we came across this waterfall which feeds into a pool (which supposedly is the queen’s)

which continues to flow down towards the ocean ..

soon the trees start to give way to a view of the ocean

… and then everything opens up

to this

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Waimea Canyon – Cliff Trail – Waipoo Falls

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First hike in Kauai in Waimea Canyon 🙂 we started by driving 3/4 around the island clockwise and stopped at a view vantage points to get an overview of the area we would be hiking:

The top of the waterfall in the top-left hand corner was our destination (which means that we would not really see the waterfall itself) … and hiking began 🙂

There are beautiful free-grazing chickens all over the island!

There was an almost constant sound of helicopters buzzing through the valley (we will be in an open-door one on Friday).

Near the end of the trail there was a T junction … one led to the edge of the waterfall:

The other led to a pond and smaller waterfall:

And then we started back … first by foot

and then by car enjoying the beautiful colors of a setting sun:

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Longwood Gardens

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I am near Philadelphia for 3 days, visiting with my sister on my way to ~3 weeks in Hawaii.

On the morning of my first day here I was greeted with a surprise snow-storm-ish … which later become a sunny day. My sister and I hung out together, did some light shopping and a movie.

Today, with freezing temperatures outside, we visited Longwood Gardens. It was too cold and windy to enjoy the vast open gardens so we settled for the impressive conservatorium with a warm and inviting climate and an abundance of colors with a seasonal orchid presentation:

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