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November 26, 2014

Gasline Secrets as Parnell Exits


Alaskans know about airplanes and flying. No other state’s residents fly as much as we do. So we know every plane really ought to have two wings. Same with birds. There are no halibut-style birds, with two wings on one side of their bodies. I find government works best with matching wings, one on the left, one on the right. For the last few years, we’ve been trying to fly the Spirit of Alaska with two right wings. As a result, our captain, co-pilot and the rest of the crew never really got us off the ground. They didn’t kill…

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Bird of the Week – Crested Auklet

Crested Auklets, St. Paul Island, Pribilof Islands

WC has neglected the Alaska alcids, the “flying footballs” of Alaska waters. Alaska doesn’t have penguins – whatever they may think in the Lower 48 – but we come close with these diving seabirds. We’ll start with a species that always makes WC smile, Crested Auklets. The crest is a sexual characteristic in both genders; both males and females prefer a mate with a big crest. Let the innuendo begin. Camera geek stuff: f14, 1/60 ISO1000 For more bird photos, please visit Frozen Feather Images.

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Begich and Parnell Concede


Mark Begich has officially called to congratulate Dan Sullivan on winning the senate race. I’m thinking maybe a constitutional challenge is in order now that Ohio has three senators. Alaskans didn’t used to fall for the carpetbagger who moved here just for a senate seat. But the times they are a-changing. The following statement was released by Begich, after calling Sullivan today. “Alaska is a place unmatched by any other, and the opportunity to represent Alaskans and all of Alaska’s communities in the U.S. Senate has been a tremendous honor for which I am eternally grateful. Alaska deserves a bright…

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The Weekend Off – News You Missed


Alaska Desmogblog – Keystone XL Scandal: Obama Attorney’s Law Firm Represents TransCanada’s Pipeline in Alaska A DeSmogBlog investigation reveals that Robert Bauer, former White House Counsel and President Barack Obama’s personal attorney, works at the corporate law firm Perkins Coie LLP, which does legal work for TransCanada’s South Central LNG Project, formerly known as Alaska Gas Pipeline Project. – Airplane Warning After Alaska Volcano Erupts, Spewing Ash The National Weather Service on Saturday warned airplanes to avoid airspace near an erupting Alaska volcano as it spewed ash 30,000 feet above sea level. Winds were blowing ash from Pavlof Volcano to…

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Bird of the Week – Red-faced Cormorant

Red-faced Cormorant, St. Paul Island, Pribilof Islands

Alaska is the only place in North America where you can find the Red-faced Cormorant. Cormorants dive for fish, and nest on cliffs and ledges like the bluffs of St. Paul Island. The body appears black, but actually has a greenish-purplish cast, best seen on cloudy days. Camera geek stuff: f4, 1/8000 ISO100 For more bird photos, please visit Frozen Feather Images.  

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AP Calls Senate Race for Sullivan, but…


The Associated Press last night called the Alaska Senate race for Republican Dan Sullivan. So, is it over? Well, not quite yet. There are still more than 20,000 votes to count, and overseas ballots still have almost a week to arrive. There are votes yet to come in from villages in which Mark Begich expects a high level of support. The campaign released the following statement even as Begich is back in D.C. for his probable but not definite lame duck months. A statement by a campaign structure that has seen their candidate win several elections by the slimmest of margins…

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Morning, Baby! Look… Penguins Everywhere.


It’s only Wednesday, and there is much to be done. Time to turn up the gas and start accomplishing! And because we’re all about implementing the latest in scientific research to improve the bottom line (click for evidence), we present to you something which will help. Imagine if you will, lying on a beach full of baby penguins…

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John Oliver on The Salmon Cannon – ‘We Can Do Great Things’


John Oliver on his always excellent HBO show, Last Week Tonight discovered a thing called ‘the salmon cannon.’ For those not in the salmon transportation industry it’s a “series of tubes” if you will, created by Whooshh (yes, whooshh) that allows salmon to be propelled over or around a dam. The system is currently being used in the Northwest where communities are trying to repopulate the blocked rivers that once held plentiful salmon runs. John Oliver creates his own and decides to shoot salmon across the TV world with some amazing cameos by actors, TV News broadcasters and one famous animated Dad. Mmmmm, salmon.

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Bird of the Week – White-winged Crossbill

White-winged Crossbill Male, Nabesna Road

White-winged Crossbills are evergreen cone specialists. You can see that the bill does indeed cross at the tips, allowing the bird to lever open spruce and tamarack cone bracts to get to the seeds. The male is a lot flashier. White-winged Crossbills aren’t always easy to find. They follow the cone crop. When spruce and tamarack cone production is low, the birds will move elsewhere. This is a boreal species; further south, even in Southeast Alaska, the Red Crossbill is more common. Camera geek stuff: f5.6, 1/8000, ISO2500 For more bird photos, please visit Frozen Feather Images.

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Alaska… You Crazy! Election Recap


On election night, one state in the nation voted to legalize marijuana, raise the minimum wage, and add an extra level of environmental protection for sensitive ecosystems facing development. It’s largest city also voted to overturn an anti-labor ordinance which was the brain child of a Mayor (running as a Republican for Lt. Governor) who appears to be about to go down in flames to a non-partisan gubernatorial ticket. That’s like a cool, edgy progressive place to live, right? What if I told you that this very same state has elected by a comfortable margin, a majority in the legislature…

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