kFunk from beyond the sun

smiles and adventure

soft sculpture inspiration

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ps. phyllis – i think Riftia Pachyptila would totally inspire you.  seems very you. totally ripe for a beinart soft sculpture original.


Written by kiana96734

October 22, 2016 at 6:40 am

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Lā umikumaha – day 14

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This cruise feels ridiculously long. This type of science is hard. I mean cruises are hard in general – but this cruise definitely takes the cake. I am so incredibly impressed by the team of women I am working with who have managed to solve, jimmy rig and thrwart every barrel the king kong of this cruise has decided to throw our way. I wouldnʻt want to be out here with anyone else! But it is getting ridiculous and it is starting to wear on us. Especially Jessie – she is a complete rock star badass – basically acting as chief sci for our team – mobing and running the pressure van and the experiements herself and delegating out tasks for us to help her with. I wish I could mind meld her so I could help her more, relieve some of that burden to share amongst friends/mentors/colleages/cheerleaders and take away the stress that is a result of constant mishaps, unexpected situations and dissapointment. She gets 11 stars in my book (out of 10) – working with her makes me feel excited for the future of science and all her future students who will have the priviledge to work with such a strong amazing scientist and woman.

But – we are all slowing down. Our brains are functioning at suboptimal levels – because we are sleep deprived and constantly putting out fires. As such, the easy things on land – become so much harder at sea (ie. math – chemistry math especially). #boatbrain. I am of the opinion that one should do most of the thinking on land so that while on boat you can just DO (go, go, go) – and reserve the limited brain power you have to help solve problems. Think on land – do at sea. Thats my motto. Its like measure twice cut once – same idea. But that is not how this cruise has been –too much thinking has been required on this cruise. Hopefully it hasnʻt adversely affected the science in any way, but it has taken significantly more time that we would have liked to allot to it – greatly cutting into our sleeping time. We have a tight schedule to get everything done, and we will be cutting it close to the wire. Fortunately we have a great team and we are making the most of it, and doing some really cool and unique science on the high sea.

I’m particularly bummed because the night shift sucks. And i’m on the night shift. I volunteered for it. But i hadn’t realized that since we are not running 24 hour ops on this boat – it is basically me, awake, by myself. All the night shift guys keep to themselves (i think they chose that shift so they don’t have to interact with many people to do their jobs) – so my social interaction in the late night early morning is basically a hi to Kevin and then back to the van for sampling and prepping in my organizational ninja way for the mornings activities.

Its only been 5 days on site, 14 days on the boat and it already feels like its been a year. Cruise mode definitely creates some sort of weird time space distortion.


Written by kiana96734

October 22, 2016 at 6:37 am

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Dive 4839

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My dive
in a sphere to the deep dark ocean
a lovely picnic
at the bottom of the sea
2500m in depth
Basaltic obsidian lines the seafloor
Sparkling like diamonds
Contrasted between dull and polished
Raw and uncut
Cracked an crumbled
Like shattered glass
Not quite mended
But melted together
Littered with orange alvin weights
In unintentional iron seeding experiments
Insignificant in the grand scheme.
Ominous fish shadows
Cast in majestically graceful fish movements
eel fish that brings to mind Meheanu
Shrimp pedal on by
Like the wicked witch in a Kansas tornado.
Lobsters that squat
Devilish opportunistic crabs
Worms that cluster by the hundreds
Luscious red plumage billowing
In shimmering glistening water
A striking contrast to the grays, whites and blacks
Noho ka koʻe ma luna o ka pohaku
Nui ka koʻe!
Aʻole hiki ke piliwi!
Nui ka ʻopae ula!
Nui ka ʻamaʻama!
Nui ka iʻa!
Everything is giant
Unimaginable scales
Alien giagantism in the deep
Charasmatic macrofauna
Dependent upon the charasmatic microfauna
But i –
Alas –
More taken by the beauty of the rocks
Than the magestry of the worms
Staring out the porthole
Eating a PB & honey
at the bottom of the sea.

Written by kiana96734

October 22, 2016 at 6:33 am

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The battle against entropy:

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Once the science begins… its like an explosion of crazy goes off, and you are running around everywhere like a chicken without a head. I feel like I am in a constant battle with entropy. You do everything you can to organize and be prepared and then it all explodes to s&#%. It’s like there are little menehune on this vessels just messing with us. I’ve been hearing all this strange interferance on the ship and i’m pretty positive that the worms are trying to communicate with us. Maybe the worms and the menehune are in cahoots.

Written by kiana96734

October 20, 2016 at 2:57 am

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Science has begun

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The science has started. Sleep has diminished. Shifts have established and the crazy has commenced.   So far we’ve had 3 dives

Day 10: Dive 1 (#4836): BIO DIVE – Jessie and Julianna went down in the sub. They collected tubeworms, 2 major samplers (hot fluid samples) and a couple sulfide structures. About half the worms collected jettisoned from their tubes in a last ditch suicide adventure during surfacing and a high pressure pump failed in the van, causing a rather unfortunate worm slaughter to occur in the cold room. Sorry worms. It was my first time ever seeing these worms (the tiny tiny one being about as long as my arm and as skinny as a water hose) and my first response to them – GROSS. ALIENS. GOAULD!!! AHHH! But seeing as there were a bunch of worms left over and irresponsive – i managed to manhandle a couple of them to really get to know them and their anatomy. Sounds dirty, but ….. well it actually looked pretty dirty, and i got dirty covered in worm blood while doing it. Sulfides went straight into the freezer and some was kept anoxic for the Girguis. Since one pump failed – we were not able to start an entire experiment (boo face) but we were able to put the worms into a mantinence vessel and provide them with some spa like treatments so they can reacclimate and overcome the tramatic experience they just had – except for the flow rate in the pump dropped and half of the worms died. Again. Sorry worms. But there was still enough for an experiment so yay. PUMPS – 13 : SCIENCE -1. Lots of cups got shrunk. Time points every 4 hours. I’m pulling the night shift. Things are wonky in the van – so no bed until things are close to stabilizing.

Day 11: Dive 2 (#4837): GEOCHEM DIVE. No rocks. 6 tubeworms into the maintanence vessel. The day dissapeared. Quirky videos were made between sampling points. The sea has gotten rough. I dreamt of tubeworms.

Day 12: Dive 3 (#4838): GEOCHEM DIVE. No worms. a couple sulfides. Samples got collected before the geochem guys got to them. Spent the whole day designing and prepping a sulfur disproportiation experiment. It took much longer to prep than it did to do, so of course the timing was epically bad and coincided with the sub on surface and dinner. But still a far cry from the crazy of my anaerobic glove bag experiments. Also i hate the blue pyramid glove bag – $200 for arms that dont even reach my elbow… i’m not even sure what to do with that. The sea has gotten rougher. Only one worm survived the maintenance so we set up an experiment with that one. But “one worm a day keeps the PhD on its way.” – Dr. Amy cheering up Jessie.

Tomorrow i dive.

Written by kiana96734

October 20, 2016 at 2:47 am

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HAZZAH! Jessie is a bad ass rock star

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I think we have fixed/jimmy rigged everything and thousands of tubes have been prepped.

Cross your fingers.

Science is beginning.


Written by kiana96734

October 16, 2016 at 4:27 pm

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There are certain moments in life when time seems to stop and the world around you stills and you take the time to pause and breathe in the equisit beauty of the landscape around you. Last night as I looked starboard watching the sun slowly descend below the far reach of the horizon illuminating the sky in a post-show cast of brilliant colors that slowly faded across the color wheel to deep blue, and gazed over to the portside watching as the Hoku mahina rose large and yellow in the sky revealing the bright path along water to her doorsteps…. it was one such moment.   And it felt an appropriate time for a story.

The story starts where all good storys do – at the very beginning.

when space turned around, the world heated.
when space turned over, the sky reversed.
when the sun stood standing in shadows to cause light to make bright the moon
and the pleades are small eyes in the night
from the source in the slime, the world formed
from the source in the dark, darkness formed
from the source in the night, night formed
from the depth of darkness, darkness so deep
darkness of day
darkness of night
of night alone, did night give birth
born was kumulipo in the night, a male
born was poele in the night, a female.
-kumulipo Johnson translation

Now, this story is not a tale of kumulipo and poele. But it is about a man and a woman. It is a love story as all good stories are…

In the vacuum of night, under the cover of darkness, in the absence of time, void of shape but ripe with energy – a man and a woman became one. From their union – her belly did fill – but their joining caused a big bang to ripple through space and time, separating the young lovers forever. She became air and rose to create the heavens and he became rock and fell towards the center of the world. So were they separated by phase, in a fashion that neither could penetrate the other. They were destined to be distinct, never to touch, never to mix. Each was overcome with unbearable grief.

His grief bubbled and boiled within him, melting his core to rich incredibly heated liquid. His anger at his loss and his grief turned volcanic and explosive – he churned and erupted, he pushed and he pulled, his grief convected through great cycles. Even as he tried to catapult his inner self up to the skies he quickly turned back to rock and fell down, drawn to the center of the world.

She fell into depression with a cool sadness that ripped through the empty landscape. She blew out her grief in wisps and wallows escalating from a light breeze to a tornado. And all the while her belly ripened. Until one day, she could no longer blow away her sadness and her tears burst forward, falling slowly at first – sizzling on the way down – then faster and faster, until they became raging rivers. And in the darkness of her sadness, in the sky alone, from the depths of her womb, did she give birth to the earthly waters. As much as this brought joy to her life, for the first time in many millennia, it further separated her from her deepest love and kept that ache in her heart very much alive.

The ocean was her favorite of daughters. When she was scared she would evaporate to join her mother in the clouds. When she was defiant and rebellious she would precipitate from the sky in a stunning exit and mix back in with her sisters. When she was excited she would pull her mother into the water with her – though it wasn’t a place her mother liked very much and quickly escaped from her grasp. The ocean could feel the deep rooted grief of her mother in the way that her mother pushed and pulled in the morning and night , her strength driven by the light of the moon. And she grieved for her mothers pain and deeply desired to take that pain away and reunite her with her long lost lover. So she set forth on a long journey.

Upon her leave from the sky, her mother kissed her – filling within her the breath of the sky to sustain her journey and take as an offering to her father to bring him forward. And she descended through the many layers visiting all her sisters along the way. It got cold. And incredibly dark. She was surrounded by family – yet felt so utterly incomprehensibly alone. She journeyed for years, downward, and downward, deeper and deeper, down into the depths of darkness, darkness so deep. Until she felt it. A subtle heat and a very light tug and the feel of something solid at the tips of her toes. She brought her face down upon the crust and listened. She could feel the heat of the churning and bubbling, feel the magnetic force pulling her towards her father – yet could not push her way through solid as liquid to join him.

She set down one of the two bundles containing the gift of breath from her mother on the seafloor and she called out to him. She chanted. She told him of her story, of her birth, of her life, of her journey and of her mother. His response was subtle but immediate. He breathed and cracked. He grabbed at her and pulled her forward through the tiny porespaces in the rock until she was completely incased in rock.  And he kept pulling and pulling her deeper and deeper towards him. Though she craddeled her mothers bundle with care to present to her father, as she descended pieces of her gift were striped away by the rocks until eventually, nothing was left. As she descended she also felt her father filling her with the gift of heat and fortifying her with the gift of metals. She felt like she was growing and transitioning, compressed and reformed – evolving into something new, a member of something both hydro and thermal. But the heat was too much for her liquid body to take. Just as she was about to glance upon the face of her father she began to rise. She rose quickly through the rock, full of heat from her father, stealing little gifts here and there to carry to her mother.

As she broke free of the crust, she was refreshed by the cool temperatures of the bottom water but found that all the gifts from her father began to fall away from her. As she moved around, the metals precipitated out and mixed with parts of herself – forming intricate and elaborate structures deep at the bottom of the seafloor. No mater what she tried as high as she was able to swim, she could not hold onto the metal and heat from her father as it would sink down to the bottom.

So she sat on the seafloor for a long time puzzling, looking at the weird tall and yet intricately beautiful structures her passage had created. The walls of the structures were porous – enabling her to easily pass through, and they were decoratively ornate with lines of gold and black embossed in white trim – not a bad place to live. The energy of her father was palpable and heat irradiated from these structures like hot spots – it was like a window into his realm, a place in which there was a direct channel of communication to him. As she sat there pondering, she remembered the bundle she had left behind and went to retrieve it. If she could not take her mothers breath directly down to father, perhaps she could leave it here, on his window sill.

She carefully unwrapped the bundle and poured out its contents over the structures. Instantaneously the colors of the rocks changed and the atmosphere exploded. The energy field felt alive and charged – almost like it was contented for the first time in many millennia. For the first time in many many many moons, air and rock met and mixed and joined together as one. From that second union – in the depths of darkness, did they give birth to slime.




The ocean continued to cylce down through the rock and up and down and up. She made the journey every 70,000-150,000 years. Each time bringing the gifts from her mother to spread upon the flourishing communities. Eventually she convinced her mother to join her in the ocean – an act that caused the life in the rocks to walk forward and swim up and grow bigger and eventually leave the protection of the ocean entirely – and while her mother could not her self journey through the crust she could sit by the window to the core and converse and merge and join with her lover.

Written by kiana96734

October 16, 2016 at 4:23 pm

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Everythings gone to s#&^%…

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Saturday morning…

As Chris Diperna would say – the pressure van is a total C F. It is just one thing after another. And if we tested it and it worked and we moved on to the next thing… then indubitably the first thing would breaks or fail in the processes. While there is a bit of redundancy in our equipment – when we need to go to the back up, its a completely different situtation and we need to resolve the problem all over again. It is seriously depressing.

It is never easy… if it was, the Girguis lab most likely wouldn’t do it.

We all had to pause late last night in the mess and ask ourselves – are we massochists? Do we secretly draw pleasure from dealing with such ridiculous piece of equipment? Slaving away, constantly thinking “how do we fix it?”

I could list to you all the faults and errors and problems that we’ve had… but it would be long an tedious and (though comedic – at least it will be when we look back on this many years) a testiment to the ridiculousness of our sitution (but also a testiment to our perserverance, dedication and hardwork)..

I will leave you with an analogy of how hard what we are trying to do is…

Imagine you are moving to a new home in a new city that you have never before seen that is in the middle of NOWHERE. Heres the catch – not only do you need to pack all your stuff (furniature, clothes, knicknacks and doodads), but you also have to pack and re-install all your plumbing and electrical. Now imagine – you were given only 24 hours to move out of your old house, pack everything up, and put it in a storage container – that you don’t have access to for 3 months. Over those three months you can order things you think you might need given your past home/plumbing/electrical experience, so you do the best you can. You show up at your new home… and you have only 10 days to move in an settle – to set up and be fully up plumbed and powered. You are isolated in the middle of nowhere – no stores, no nothing – you have yourself, your ingenuity and what you have brought with you. You roll with it… you have to recut tubing and wire (cause you didn’t know the lengths), oh no the fuse blew, that one expensive piece got clogged but you have a back up – but oh shit that corroded during storage- your oven is dented so the door doesn’t close, the light switches are turning on the gas which are setting off danger alarm warnings… and on and on…. and so it goes

… and thats what its like going to sea with the pressure van.

And this is all before the science can even begin.

We reach our site tomorrow night

Worms up the evening after.

Down to the wire.


Written by kiana96734

October 16, 2016 at 4:20 pm

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coming atcha from the relatively calm international waters down by Mexico.  It is finally WARM!! it is MAGICAL!! now instead of putting on layers to go outside, its shorts weather!! We gotta put on the sweaters to go back inside!

The van is in its final stages of prep and the final tests and swap outs of broken check valves and back pressure valves and clearing of the lines.  Since its so hot outside and we have yet to turn the refer unit on – the van is basically a hot box slowly simmering us 4 ladies at a nice 86 F. We pumped the hip hop jams and turned it into the hottest club around —- WORM DANCE. sillies.

At midnight we turned the van on. Shits getting real.

Abiotic controls have begin.

worms in 4 days.

Written by kiana96734

October 14, 2016 at 4:36 pm

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Science showdown… aliens vs. robots

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This is cruise is both incredibly awesome and also ridiculously weird. There are many reasons why this cruise seems weird. Aside from the long transit , there is a clear gender distinction between the geochemists and the biologist which has seemed to create an atmosphere infused with subtle (or in some cases – not so subtle) competition and condescension rather than the fresh breath of collaboration and camaraderie. The whole situation is interesting and has had us thinking about bio vs. chem. But biology and chemistry – at least in terms of studying them – are not at odds with each other, but rather they complement each other very nicely.

The geochemists are deploying fancy sensors at the bottom of the ocean to measure the pH, hydrogen and sulfide gas concentration in hydrothermal fluid. That is incredibly cool and very important to help us understand how that fluid was created deep in the crust of the earth, where it is from and how it circulates. From a biological perspective, understanding the fluid composition helps us to better understand the amount of food and energy that is available for critters, and what the conditions are of their home – it helps us to answer questions like why are tubeworms living HERE vs. somewhere else, or why this piece of rock rather than that piece of rock 10 ft away.   In situ (done at the site) pH measurements have never been done before! Having the opportunity to take biological samples where the geochemists have worked up the whole panel of chemistry, makes interpreting our data much easier and our conclusions much more relevant.

The biologists are interested in how tubeworms grow. The EPR is home to giant tubeworms called Riftia. When Riftia was initially discovered like 40 years ago, they completely baffled scientists because they have no mouth, no gut and no anus. How was it possible for a worm to get that big without eating?!?  It turns out that these worms are basically just big sacks of bacteria. The worms live in symbiosis with bacteria. The bacterial symbionts basically utilize geothermal energy (in the form of sulfide) and breath oxygen to power their cellular factories to fix carbon dioxide into biomass (more cells) – think plants, this is basically the same things the plants do except that plants get their energy from light (ie. photosynthesis) rather than chemicals (ie. chemosynthesis). The host animal basically internally dissolves the bacteria as food to supply them with energy and carbon to make more of themselves. Basically these symbionts are like a little super productive internal garden that the worms can farm. On this cruise we are specifically interested in – How do important growing conditions (ie. what types of food is available, how much oxygen is available, etc…) influence the symbionts rates of growth (or rather carbon fixation)? And how exactly do these symbionts turn carbon dioxide into sugars (What specific machinery and parts are they using to do this? and what is the order of operations? do they use different tools under different conditions?) The work we are doing gets really technical and detailed at the molecular level- believe me it is cool – but I’m not going to get into it now. Riftia are interesting and exciting organisms and they provide an ideal model system for understanding different mechanisms for fixing carbon and how life can adapt to dynamic environments (with heavy fluctuations in energy).

To understand it all we need to really understand the biology in the context of the geochemistry.  GEO and BIO is all important. Lets hold hands everyone and collaborate.

Written by kiana96734

October 14, 2016 at 4:31 pm

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