Page 251. " Up in the Kohala Mountains, dingos was howlin', Cowardyyy-yy-y Zachryyy-yy-y. "
Kohala Mountains as seen from Mauna Kea
Public DomainKohala Mountains as seen from Mauna Kea - Credit: United States Geological Survey

Of the five volcanoes which make up The Big Island (see bookmark p.272 below) Kohala is the oldest. This extinct volcano is estimated to be around 1 million years old and to have last erupted 120,000 years ago. Because of its geographical isolation it has evolved its own ecosystem, and at one stage even recorded a reversal in its magnetic polarity.

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Page 263. " The Prescient answered, Fusion Engines. "
The biggest of all fusion reactors? The Sun.
Public DomainThe biggest of all fusion reactors? The Sun. - Credit: NASA Goddard Laboratory for Atmospheres

Fusion power is created when two atomic nuclei fuse together, causing the release of huge amounts of energy. This kind of power has yet to be harnessed, largely due to a lack of scientific understanding and an inability to contain the reaction within safe parameters. No commercially available nuclear engine is expected before 2050, however, its potential as a source of renewable energy is regarded to be enormous. Cars would be able to travel at twice their current maximum speeds and some experts believe that fusion power could provide the earth's energy needs for millions of years. Deuterium, the main fuel in the reaction, is abundant within the ocean and unlike some renewable resources (e.g. solar power and wind power) would provide an uninterrupted source of energy.

 

Page 270. " A no-named black dog what nuisanced Elepaio Valley started trottin'round after her what she named Pythah'ras or something' tricksy, "
Here Pythagoras (570-495 BC) is depicted as a Medieval scholar in the Nuremberg Chronicle
Public DomainHere Pythagoras (570-495 BC) is depicted as a Medieval scholar in the Nuremberg Chronicle - Credit: Nuremberg Chronicle

After the Greek philosopher Pythagoras about whom very little is known that isn't speculative. We are not even sure if Pythagoras' theorem can with any accuracy be attributed to him. He set up a religious sect in southern Italy and was the first of the Greeks to dub himself a philosopher. He believed that everything is related to mathematics and that numbers are the reality of which everything is made.

Page 272. " One mornin' an idea rooted in his mind what said the Old'uns may o'stashed presh gear up on Mauna Kea for safekeepin'. "
The five shield volcanoes which make up the island of Hawaii.
Public DomainThe five shield volcanoes which make up the island of Hawaii. - Credit: Hawaii Volcano Observatory, USGS

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Mauna Kea is an inactive volcano 4,207 metres above sea level.  Measured from its base on the Pacific floor it is 9,100 metres tall and is in this sense even taller than Mount Everest. It is one of five volcanoes (see image right) that make up the island of Hawaii. Mauna Kea means 'white moutain' in Hawaiian, as the summit is often covered with snow in the winter. You might be able to taste something of Zachry's journey by following the tour below.