Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Wanderers 2006.8.8

photo by Rick Grote

Allen G. Taylor is presenting Navigating by the Stars: How the Polynesians traveled to Hawai'i, an informal talk he's rehearsing for presentation aboard a cruise ship in the near future.

Simulating cruise ship behavior (per Allen's suggestion), I rudely interrupted to raise the topic of beverages. I now have some wine at my elbow and have returned to my corner, quiet for now.

Before Allen showed up, Rick and I were going to show slides of Rick's bicycle trip, and my Game of Life "cartoon". However, synching was a problem (only half my screen visible) so when Allen showed up, I stopped trying to work it. Maybe later.

Allen is positing Polynesians starting in the New Guinea area, radiating toward Tahiti, then settling Hawai'i in like the last 1K years. Perhaps a lost vessel followed the light and ash of an active volcano, once close enough to see them?

Hawai'i is still under construction: new islands expected, as the volcanic chain progresses.

Stars (their rising and setting positions), wave angle and frequency, cloud formations, bird sightings, all fed into the Polynesians' executive level decision-making process. The Etak System used a 3rd island to help point the way between origin and destination islands.

Related paper: Daiber, A. J. (1986). Significance of constellations in Carolinian navigation. Journal of the Polynesian Society, 95(3), 317-378. (PDF version).

Related memo: Urner, K. (2006). Some relevant ethnomathematics. Math-teach @ Math Forum.

polynesians on steroids
(photo by k. urner)