POSTED: Monday, April 06, 2009

Memorial's biodiesel boats to launch

The USS Arizona Memorial is getting new biodiesel ferries.

Naval Station Pearl Harbor and the National Park Service will officially launch the first of the five boats at a ceremony tomorrow.

The memorial's visitors center uses ferries to transport people from the visitors center to the memorial itself. Navy sailors pilot the ships. A Federal Transit Administration grant and state of Hawaii matching funds paid for the vessels. They use biodiesel, which is a renewable fuel derived from natural sources like soybean oil. Sometimes biofuels are mixed with petroleum-based diesel fuel to create a blend.

The Navy says the ships also use a process called diesel oxidation, which reduces harmful emissions.


Report details sanctuary's troubles

Managers of the national marine monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands say the environment in the area is in good condition overall.

But they say the population of the endangered Hawaiian monk seal — a species that lives both in the monument and in the main Hawaiian Islands — is rapidly declining.

Climate change, coral bleaching and disease also threaten native habitats.

Marine debris is another problem because it injures and kills fish, birds and marine mammals.

The conclusions are included in a report about the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument issued Thursday by the Office of the National Marine Sanctuaries.

It is the first such report since President George W. Bush created the monument in 2006.


Museum to hold yearly science fest

Climate change will be the theme of the fifth annual Mad About Science Festival from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday on the Bishop Museum's Great Lawn.

Visitors will be able to walk a carbon-footprint trail and learn what they can do to lower their carbon footprint, and a Mythbusters Station will dispel myths about climate change, among many activity booths and hands-on activities.

“;Backhouse”; tours of the museum's natural science collections and climate-change programs also will be provided.

The event is free for museum members. Discounted rates of $3 are offered for kamaaina and military. Regular rates apply for other visitors: $15.95 for adults; $12.95 for youths 4 to 12 and seniors 65 and older; and free for children 3 and younger.

Admission includes access to all of the museum's exhibit halls and galleries, including the “;Animation”; exhibit.

Mad About Science is sponsored partly by Safeway and Hagadone Printing Co., with additional funding from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Innovation & Improvement and National Science Foundation.