Brief asides


POSTED: Monday, July 20, 2009


Think gas prices are high now ...

The average price of gasoline in Hawaii has dropped for the first time in 17 weeks, to $3.24 for a gallon of regular unleaded. But don't sigh in relief. Engineer-turned-journalist Christopher Steiner has authored a book called “;$20 Per Gallon,”; a price which he thinks gasoline will reach far into the future. According to Publishers Weekly, Steiner predicts these consequences: at $8, air travel will essentially vanish; at $14, Wal-Mart will become empty “;ghost boxes;”; and at $16, sushi will become an extravagance that only the extremely wealthy can afford.



Can you spare a job, brother?

Hawaii's unemployment rate remains its highest in decades, but at least June's figure of 7.4 percent was no higher than the month before. By contrast, unemployment is rising in many regions nationally, and tops 10 percent in 15 states and the District of Columbia. In Michigan, more than 15 percent of workers are out of a job, the highest rate in the nation and the worst for any state since 1984. Hawaii workers had their worst dry spell in 1977, when the unemployment rate hit 7.7 percent.



Restored moon footage a sight to behold

No, youngsters, the late Michael Jackson was not the first man to moon walk. That distinction went to astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first human on the moon, back in July 20, 1969.

Now NASA finally has the clear video to prove it, thanks to a $230,000 refurbishing project. NASA had inadvertently erased its original lunar-landing footage in a mad flurry of videotape reuse; four grainy copies from around the world were found and used as base material for this remastered effort.

The results: In one batch of digitally restored footage, Armstrong's spacesuit face visor, which originally was fuzzy, now can be clearly seen—along with a reflection on it. Stellar stuff.