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UH professors test cyclone resistance

Two University of Hawaii professors are using a pneumatic cannon and other apparatus to test materials used in building exterior walls for their resistance to hurricanes.

Structural engineering professors Ian Robertson and H. Ronald Riggs have built a facility inside the Hawaii State Civil Defense headquarters in Diamond Head to conduct the tests.

The cannon can fire 9-foot-long wooden studs at up to 80 mph, and another device can apply internal and external pressure to wall systems, simulating hurricane forces.

One of the first uses of the facility is to evaluate windows and materials used in so-called safe rooms, where occupants can take shelter during hurricanes.

Future building codes might require such rooms.


Conference to feature talk by Kennedy

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy will highlight this year’s 9th Circuit Judicial Conference on Maui.

The conference began yesterday but does not get rolling until today, with various forums and meetings at the Hyatt Regency in Lahaina.

The chief judge of California’s Northern District, Vaughn Walker, will host a breakfast meeting tomorrow. He issued a controversial ruling on Aug. 4 overturning California’s Proposition 8, which had blocked gay marriages in that state.

The conference highlight is likely to be on Thursday, when Kennedy is scheduled to deliver the keynote address.

Kennedy is thought to be the likely deciding vote if the Supreme Court reviews Walker’s ruling in the future.

Kilauea lava flowing away from homes

Lava from Kilauea Volcano that threatened homes in Kalapana last month appears to be draining away from the subdivision and toward the ocean through underground tubes, according to the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Lava forced the evacuation of a Kalapana couple last month and covered portions of Highways 130 and 137. No homes were threatened yesterday in the Kalapana Gardens subdivision.

Pokemon fans duke it out on Big Island

KAILUA-KONA » The Pokemon World Championships, held here yesterday, drew hundreds of players from around the world for competition in both its trading card and video game versions.

The game originally gained popularity after its creation in 1996.

Since then it sold more than 200 million video games, spurred a TV show and produced more than 14 billion trading cards.

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