Brief asides


POSTED: Friday, September 25, 2009


Sometimes an incentive helps

It's like the Wild West: An actual “;Reward”; poster going up in town to track down some bad guys who wreaked millions of dollars worth of damage at the Hawaiian Cement plant on Maui.

The company is offering $5,000 for information “;that results in the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the vandalism and fire which occurred on its Puunene, Maui, property on September 6, 2009.”; The company has also hired a private eye to help ferret out the evil-doers. Is it time yet to call in Duane “;Dog”; Chapman?


Investing in the next generation

Even as it struggles in today's tough economy, Hoku Scientific Inc. is trying to pay it forward. The Hawaii-based polysilicon firm has donated $130,000 for a Microloan Fund, to which students can apply to start their own businesses. The loans range from $500 to $5,000, with up to $20,000 available each semester.

Hoku itself got some welcome news recently: Construction on its new production plant in Idaho is getting ready to resume after financing slowed, threatening the project.


A ray of hope in the fight against HIV/AIDS

Almost 30 years after it was first recognized and identified, HIV/AIDS continues to elude a cure, let alone a vaccine. AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) is now a pandemic that, according to 2007 figures, has afflicted more than 33 million people worldwide, killing more than 2 million.

Finally, some welcome news: Scientists say a new AIDS vaccine, the first ever declared to protect a significant one-in-three people in a large trial, is showing benefits. It is a qualified success, and researchers are quick to say more study is needed. But after almost three decades with very little headway, the vaccine called RV 144 certainly is a ray of hope.