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The Conversation: Thursday, May 19th, 2016


Defective Airbag Lawsuit; 3D Printing Solving Maintenance Challenges; Hawai‘i Energy Campaign; Sustainable Building Design

State of HI Lawsuit Against Takata & Honda: Stephen Levins

Steve Levins

Credit Picasa Web Album

The State of Hawaii has filed a lawsuit against two airbag manufacturers, Takata and Honda that reads: “for making, supplying, and using airbags they knew to be unsafe. Hawai’i is the first state to file a lawsuit against these companies for their roles in causing millions of cars to be sold with airbags that could explode, posing grave, sometimes fatal, and dangers to the cars’ occupants.” End quote. The issue centers on the chemical propellant that deploys the airbag, and on these companies’ choice of one they allegedly knew to be unsafe. Stephen Levins is the Executive Director of the Office of Consumer Protection, Dept of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, which initiated the legal action, and he’s on the phone with us now.

Intro Music: 11-4 Clave by Rhythm Summit

Outro Music: Sherry by Loose Tooth

3D Printing and the UH 2.2m Telescope: Luke McKay

Luke McKay

Credit Luke McKay
Luke McKay stans next to his 3D printer, with a demonstration model on the printer bed.

Telescopes are very delicate instruments. At Maunakea the University of Hawaii’s 2.2m research and teaching telescope requires very specific maintenance and upgrades to the different parts on a regular basis. Luke McKay is just the engineer to help. He’s been using a 3D printer to help make immediate parts on demand, to unique specifications that could otherwise take the scope out of operations if everyone had to wait until the parts were shipped from the mainland, if they were even available. He’s on the line to share his expertise with this new technology and how it is revolutionizing the development of even better astronomical instruments.

Intro Music: Mojo Hand by Brian Fallon

Outro Music: Breakdown (Instrumental) by Handsome                                                                                                       Boy Modeling School

Hawaii Energy Campaign to Save Energy: Keith Block

Keith Block

Credit Hawaii Energy

Chances are that most of us, in our homes or in our businesses, are wasting energy. We certainly don’t want to be, but we’re probably not certain just how we’re doing, or where the problem areas are. Energy conservation is a career specialty for Keith Block, Business Program Manager for Hawai’i Energy, which runs a program under the direction of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission aimed at helping all of us reduce fossil fuel dependency and energy costs.

Intro Music: Synesthésie by Malajube

Outro Music: Only To Be by Six60

Living Building Challenge/Sustainable Design: Dean Sakamoto

Dean Sakamoto

Credit Mariko Reed
The Juliet Rice Wichman Botanical Research Center at the National Tropical Botanical Garden, Kalaheo, Kauai, Hawaii, 2008. Designed by Dean Sakamoto


With the ever increasing demand for more housing, and other building projects throughout the islands, the ability of Hawaii to support further development highlights the challenges of more sustainable architectural design. A new documentary film “Ever the Land” (screening at the Doris Duke Theatre, May 21, 22, & 24) follows the building of a unique community center serving the Maori people of New Zealand, and their quest to bring the cultural principles of environmental stewardship to their project. Dean Sakamoto, a local architect and educator, is on the line to tell us more about how sustainable architectural design can combine environmental goals and community needs. 

Intro Music: Architecture by Manor

Outro Music: Home (Aotearoa) by Awa

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