The Conversation: Monday, February 27th, 2017
Can Hawaii Afford its Public Pensions? Exoplanet Discovery; Mosquito Birth Control
The search for a new Chancellor for UH Manoa recently came up dry. For the foreseeable future, system president David Lassner will continue to do both jobs. That has Representative Kaniela Ing wondering why UH needs two separate positions and why it would be better to save over $400,000 in salary expense by permanently consolidating them.
Intro Music: Feeling OK by Best Coast
Outro Music: Irreplaceable by Beyoncé
There are very few native birds left in Hawaii; their populations have fallen prey to any number of threats to their survival. Today, about two dozen species of Hawai‘i’s remaining native birds are threatened or on the brink of extinction. One of the worst threats comes from mosquitoes, as carriers of avian malaria and avian pox. Mosquitoes are notoriously hard to eradicate, and pesticide-based methods can cause as many problems as they solve. Cynthia King is an entomologist with the Department of Land and Natural Resources Department of Forestry and Wildlife who’s at work on a much safer approach, the “Incompatible Insect Technique,” and she’s in our studio to tell us about it.
Intro Music: Morse by Nightmares on Wax
Outro Music: Windward by Barefoot Truth
Washington has rarely been an easy town. Now with Republican control, a visit by a Democrat to make the case for a faraway island state got tougher. For Hawaii Governor Ige, making the trip to the winter meeting of the National Association of Governors was a matter of practicality. Civil Beat reporter Kirstin Downey is on the line from Washington with a reality check.
Intro Music: Lost The Summer by The Jayhawks
Outro Music: Ladies Don't Play Guitar by Tennis
Recently revised expectations of returns on investments in the state’s pension fund substantially widened the gap to fully fund the liabilities. In short, the Employee Retirement System is now short at least some 3 billion dollars. Hawaii is not the only state set up for an unsustainable future according to Steven Greenhut. He is the author of “Plunder! How Public Employee Unions Are Raiding Treasuries, Controlling Our Lives and Bankrupting the Nation.”
Outro Music: Privacy (Instrumental) by Quasimoto
We will never stop dreaming of life on other planets, but we have been discouraged by what science has been telling us for years: that the conditions that allow for life on Earth are rarely, if ever, found anywhere in the universe. But last week NASA announced that seven extra-solar planets, or exoplanets, theoretically capable of supporting life have been discovered a mere 40 light-years away. This is the first time multiple Earth-sized planets have been found orbiting the same star. Christoph Baranec is a faculty member with the University of Hawaii's Institute for Astronomy with a focus on exoplanets.
Intro Music: WingTai Drums by Yussef Kamaal
Outro Music: Honor and Harmony by G. Love and Special Sauce