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August 26, 2016

  • AKLandscapeWeekendReview

    The Weekend Off – News You Missed

    Alaska The Guardian – ‘Next year or the year after, the Arctic will be free of ice’ Scientist Peter Wadhams believes the summer ice cover at the north pole is about to disappear, triggering even more rapid global warming KUOW – Threatened By Rising Seas, Alaska Village Decides To Relocate Rising sea levels have eroded an Inupiat Eskimo village for decades. Now, residents of Shishmaref, Alaska, have officially voted to relocate. – The Arctic Circle may be more than 400 miles north, but Seward has become an Arctic port In this picturesque Alaska port town more than 400 miles south…

  • ZachDRoberts-Cross

    Looking for the Tree of Knowledge in Homer

    Originally published in I’m spending a few typical August days with my parents in Homer. There’s lots of catching up to do with old classmates or the random co-worker from my teenage job at the Sourdough Bakery. Lots of fishing and addressing what we refer to as Pop’s “halibut insecurity” when the freezer levels dip below a certain amount. I’m writing this column while mom, a retired primary teacher, is volunteering at the local elementary school to organize backpacks for children who don’t have what they need to start school next week. Pop and I have been discussing what…

  • Red-breasted Merganser Male, North Fork Chena River

    Bird of the Week – Red-breasted Merganser

    All three species of North American mergansers breed in Alaska, although one rarely makes it past the Panhandle. We’ve looked at the Common Merganser already. Now we’ll have a look at the other two. The Red-breasted Merganser is the most northerly breeding of the mergansers, found all the way to the North Slope. It’s also the bird with the second-snappiest hair-do (feather-do?), trailing only next week’s species. This is a diving duck, foraging as deep at 15-20 feet underwater for fish, especially smolts. Red-breasted Mergansers don’t breed until they are two years old, and breed late in the season, with…

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    Reacting to the ‘Syrian Boy’

    During her daily CNN show Kate Bolduan started to cry while discussing the video of the small Syrian boy. The video is going viral on facebook even after the footage of the 5 year old boy – Omran Daqneesh had already hit the news cycle. Bouldan wasn’t trying to make the story about her – she was just responding as I am right now as I write this. I’m not sure how we’re supposed to respond to this as journalists, as commentators or just as human beings. Walter Cronkite in an interview with Terry Gross spoke of the moment that he told America that President…

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    19th Amendment Solutions

    It’s not a secret that every few years I’m asked who the Democrats should run against Republican Rep. Paul Seaton of Homer. Every time I tell them they’d be better off spending their money against one of the Republican Future Felons from the Mat-Su. Mr. Seaton is a respected fisherman and responsible legislator, one held in high regard by his community. The nastiest races in our fair state are often the Republican-on-Republican primaries. Outside interests pay to flood our boxes with scary flyers promising gloom and doom if we elect their unchosen. Oh, the horrors! According to them, Homer’s Seaton…


Yellow Wagtail, Chevak, Alaska

Bird of the Week – Yellow Wagtail

Aug 6, 2016

In the Western Hemisphere, the Yellow Wagtail’s range is restricted to Western Alaska and the North Slope east to the MacKenzie River in Canada. Science – specifically, the American Ornithological Union – has recently determined that the North American population is a separate species from the more widespread Asian population. The decision to create two species where there was one is called a “split.” Alaska’s bird is formally the Eastern Yellow Wagtail. And there are a bewildering number of subspecies.   Alaska’s birds probably winter in southern China and Taiwan, perhaps as far south as New Guinea.  Like a lot…


The Conventions Meet Around The Lens Podcast

Aug 4, 2016

Hey everyone, check out our super spectacular mega special episode, episode 35, feature the most panelists we’ve ever featured. All panelists were at either both of one of the conventions and will be answering questions and talking about their expriences. Panelists include Seth Herald, Monica Jorge, Brett Carlsen, Gabriella Demczuk, Aaron Cynic, Tash Sorensen, Tyler LaRiviere and Jeffrey Basinger. With host David J. Murphy and co-host Zach D. Roberts. Our picks this week included a story about the Turkey Coup, the crime podcast Sword and Scale, the reality of Spain’s housing crisis, unlimited cloud storage, the program Plotograph Pro, pictures of Bill…


Lizz Winstead and Lady Parts Justice Take Cleveland

Aug 4, 2016

[originally posted on] On one side of the Public Square in Cleveland is the screaming masses of Wesboro Baptist Church wannabees holding signs of hate and yelling into a megaphone. On the other was the Lady Parts Justice League, a pro-choice activist group that makes funny videos (think the Daily Show, but with a purpose). This time though they weren’t being funny. It was an odd scene to say the least – Sharron Paul, a tall African American woman and a member of the Lady Parts Justice League was telling a story of another woman’s abortion above the volume…

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Daughter of Murdered Honduran Activist Speaks Out

Aug 3, 2016

Three months ago, Laura was about to get on a plane. Her mother hugged her one last time and said, “If something happens to me, don’t be scared.” The next day Laura’s mother was murdered by men with guns. [originally published in] Honduras has the highest murder rate in the world – but Laura’s mom’s shooting wasn’t random. She wasn’t connected to narcos or coyotes or any of the other vaguely racist assumptions that the media connects to all deaths in Central America. Laura’s mom was the environmental activist, Berta Cáceres. She won the Goldman Environmental Prize and she…


National Park Service Hosting Catch a Parkie-Pine 5K Fun Run and Centennial Birthday Party in August

Aug 1, 2016

National Park Service Hosting Catch a Parkie-Pine 5K Fun Run and Centennial Birthday Party in August FAIRBANKS, AK: The National Park Service (NPS) is hosting a family-friendly “Catch a Parkie-Pine”5K fun run on Saturday, August 27 at 10:00 am as part of the celebration of this year’s NPS Centennial. Participants of all ages are invited to run, walk, or jog their way along the trails of the Tanana Lakes Recreation Area (off South Cushman Street), and earn a prize by capturing a flag from a runner dressed as a “parkie-pine”. You don’t have to be in the fun run to…

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Seeing a Temporary Fix In Hillary

Aug 1, 2016

The best summers of my childhood were spent on the west side of Cook Inlet at my family’s fish site. It’s quite possible they were my favorite of my entire life. We would do a food shop for 10 weeks, pack boxes of books and batteries, rain gear and bug dope, work gloves and the La Choy double decker cans for special exotic meals when we weren’t eating what we caught. At one point my little sister asked if we could just have one day without razor clams at a meal. What? My parents figured out we were on day…

Osprey, Chena Lakes Flood Control, North Pole

Bird of the Week – Osprey

Jul 30, 2016

Osprey are comparative newcomers to Interior Alaska. Note those talons, among the longest among all birds. The Osprey feeds almost exclusively on fish – another name for them is Fishhawk – and however slippery a fish might be, it’s unlikely to escape those talons. Osprey need about 100-115 days to raise their kids:  Three days from completion of the nest to lay the eggs; about 37 days to incubate the eggs to hatching; 50-55 days to fledge and 10-15 days to be ready to migrate. Longer if they have to build the nest from scratch.  If you are going to eat…


Are you suffering from political nostalgia?

Jul 26, 2016

Are you suffering from political nostalgia? Was your dipnetting or berry picking interrupted this week by the Republican Convention? Do you long for the days where the inexperienced candidate with narcissistic qualities and a private email problem was wrapped into one person — Sarah Palin? Does it seem strange to you that David Duke, a white nationalist, Holocaust-denying, former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan thinks the time is perfect for him to run for U.S. Senate instead of secretly folding white hoods and watching episodes of Archie Bunker in an actual bunker? Are you still saying “All Lives…

Eurasian Bullfinch Female, Fairbanks, 1996

Bird of the Week – Eurasian Bullfinch

Jul 23, 2016

There are some birds that are vagrants, birds that turn up in Alaska but have no business – or anyone to breed with – in the area. Maybe the migration instructions in their brains got wired wrong; maybe they are pioneers trying to expand the range. We’ll be looking at some vagrants intermittently the next few months. This isn’t a very good photo, but it is unique in one way: it’s the one of the first bird photos WC took. In 1996, an Eurasian Bullfinch female turned up at a feeder on Rosie Creek Road, outside of Fairbanks, in the dark…


Photos: The Mudflats at the RNC

Jul 16, 2016