My Twitter Feed

September 2, 2014

  • InsideClimateClimateModels

    Zoomed-In Climate Models Help Alaska Communities Plan for Uncertain Future

      Special thanks to InsideClimateNews.org for letting us post this excerpt by Amy Nordrum Hunters in the Alaskan village of Wainwright, a community of about 550 Inupiat Eskimos at the lip of the Chukchi Sea, have long harvested bowhead whales from the ocean. Each spring, crews of 15-25 hunters set out in umiaqs—boats made from seal skins and caribou sinew. The hunters usually launch from Point Belcher, where the ice cracks open to expose the water in slivers called “leads.” Then the whalers follow these narrow channels to the sea. They may land whales as long as 55 feet, but a young…

  • NewsYouMissed8-31

    The Weekend Off – News You Missed

      Alaska ADN.com – Archaeologists rush to save ancient Yup’ik treasures threatened by melting permafrost QUINHAGAK — On the eroding Bering Sea coast of far Western Alaska, archaeologists from around the world are unearthing remnants of an ancient Yup’ik village frozen in place for hundreds of years. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner - Court agrees to review Alaska Roadless Rule case ANCHORAGE, Alaska – A full federal appeals court will review the decision allowing Alaska’s Tongass National Forest to be exempt from federal restrictions on road-building and timber harvests in “roadless” areas.” NY Times - Shell Submits a Plan for New Exploration of Alaskan…

  • images-9

    What Could Go Wrong? This.

    There’s a game most of us play. It’s called “What Could Go Wrong?!” You know, like I’m going to hand my nine year old an automatic weapon – “What Could Go Wrong?!” Or, why not go bare-headed and drive a motorcycle really fast? “What Could Go Wrong?!” Then there is the always present, Why don’t we build a giant mine at the headwaters of the largest sockeye salmon fishing run in the entire world? “What Could Go Wrong?” Many Alaskans have asked this question over the last decade regarding the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay. When the state government…

  • david-koch-and-charles-g.-007_0

    Big Brother Feels Bad. Really.

    Remember 1984? The book, not the year. You probably read it in high school. It’s a dystopian novel, published in 1949, that takes place in a world of perpetual manufactured war, state sponsored torture, omnipresent and intrusive government surveillance, and propaganda posing as news, all controlled by an elite and privileged “Inner Party” bent on squashing independent thinking and dissent in order to keep itself in power. The whole shebang is controlled by a powerful, merciless entity called “Big Brother,” who may or may not be just one person. No really, it’s just a novel. The hero of the story,…

  • Trumpeter Swan, Creamer's Refuge, Spring 12011

    Bird of the Week – Trumpeter Swan

    Alaska’s biggest bird by weight, the Trumpeter Swan: At 23 pounds, with a wing span of nearly seven feet, this is one Big Bird. Their distinctive bugling call is one of WC’s favorite sounds of Spring. The species was nearly extirpated in the Eastern half of the U.S. by the feather trade, but has made a steady recovery. While there are certainly still Alaska waterfowl WC could post, it’s time for a break from the pond and lake crowd. We’ll change bird families next week. For more bird photos, please visit Frozen Feather Images.

Headlines

IceBucket

Ice Madness: Don’t Just Donate, Brag About It

Aug 26, 2014

Dennis Miller, before he turned into a raving right wing lunatic used to have a TV show where he’d start a segment by saying “I don’t want to get off on a rant here but…” He’d then proceed to go on a rant for the next several minutes. So, let me start this by saying… I don’t want to get off on a rant here but, what the hell is wrong with people? I don’t mean everyone, I just mean people that share this meme. The people that are sharing this meme are understandably tired of the ice bucket challenge taking up…

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Sir Patrick vs. Palin – Ice Bucket Challenge

Aug 25, 2014

I’ve refrained from commenting on the “Ice Bucket Challenge” until now. But I present these two, juxtaposed for your consideration. First, Sir Patrick Stewart. And now, Sarah Palin. Hers is, seemingly, inspired by his. If the class and elegance of the first were, let’s say, replaced with yammering, ghastly acting, and Doctor Pepper. And the end part which goes horribly and hilariously wrong. You may want to turn the sound down for the last few seconds, or at least watch out of the proximity of delicate stemware.

Photos-DayAtFair1

Photos: A Day At the Fair [The New York State Fair]

Aug 25, 2014

I’d rather be covering the Alaska State Fair which is this week, but I’m stuck in Upstate New York. So, here are some photos from the New York State Fair. It was Governor’s Day at the fair, and unlike in Alaska where that might mean free hamburgers and salmon, in New York it means protests and Dinosaur BBQ.

I can haz Pulitzer!

We Demand Stupid

Aug 25, 2014

No one ever lost money underestimating the intelligence of the American public. —H.L. Mencken Poor Ezra Klein. When the confines of the Washington Post could no longer contain his massive intellect, his new Vox venture had grand aspirations of cerebral, substantive policy coverage (because what MSNBC regular doesn’t brag of being a “wonk” or a “geek?”). It took breathtakingly little time since its launch for Vox to realize that this isn’t what generates web traffic and social media shares. I know this because there were three separate Vox stories about the MTV Video Music Awards in my Facebook feed this…

WeekendOff8-24

The Weekend Off – News You Missed

Aug 25, 2014

Alaska Fairbanks News Miner - Unlike statewide, Fairbanks voters favored “yes” votes on Measure 1 FAIRBANKS — A majority of Alaska’s voters decided to keep the oil tax system passed by the Legislature in 2013, but on Tuesday, Fairbanks favored throwing it out by a wide margin. ADN.com - Extreme weather events pose risks to Alaskans’ health, study finds Wacky weather may be hazardous to people’s health, at least in far-flung areas of Alaska, according to researchers who have been conducting a multiyear study in eight communities around the state.  Juneau Empire - ‘Suspicious’ lightsaber draws police [ed. note: make sure to read this…

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The Silver Lining on Prop 1

Aug 24, 2014

Congratulations, Alaska! Thirty-one percent of registered voters decided for 100 percent of us what is “best for Alaska” in an election this week. Last week I knew we were in trouble when employees of oil companies were bussed to the early polls. Buses with gift baskets and snacks. Must be nice. The election worker balked when I asked for a Republican ballot. I smiled. I voted. Voting early on Tuesday, I drove into town and kept seeing signs made of bed sheets on the overpasses. One in particular got to me. It was the eight gold stars with “Vote Yes”…

Tundra Swan in Flight, Peat Ponds, Fairbanks, Alaska

Bird of the Week – Tundra Swan

Aug 23, 2014

While a little smaller than it’s Trumpeter Swan cousin, the Tundra Swan is a big bird, weighing in at just under 14 pounds. They are truly lovely in flight. The “ski jump” shape to the bill, as opposed to the Trumpeter’s wedge-shape, as well as the yellow patch at the corner of the eye, distinguish Tundras from Trumpeters. The size difference is difficult to judge unless you have both species, side by side, in the field. For more bird photos, please visit Frozen Feather Images.

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Primary Post Mortem

Aug 20, 2014

Alaska’s primary election night is over, but the election itself is not quite done. About 14,000 absentee ballots remain to be counted, and the final results will not be known for days. That said, it will be a tough hill to climb for the passage of Ballot Measure 1, which would reinstate the ACES oil tax system put in place by former Governor Sarah Palin and a bipartisan coalition in the Alaska legislature. Sean Parnell, former ConocoPhillips lawyer and lobbyist, and Palin’s former Lt. Governor dismantled ACES with Senate Bill 21 which would give billions from Alaska’s treasury to the…

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Election Central Live Blog

Aug 19, 2014

9:15pm Ok, Mudflatters… I’m martinied (is that a word) up, and here at Election Central. There’s a decent crowd and the first returns are coming in. I’ll report on the Republican Senate race and Prop 1, and anything else that is a surprise. Right now, the first numbers have come up on the big board: Sullivan – 39% Miller – 33% Treadwell – 23% Prop 1 Yes 50.01 No 49.9 Miller has a better showing than people expected. But, he did that last time. A 6 point margin can be made up in the remaining precincts. Prop 1 is an…

Watercannons

CNN: Why Not Use Water Cannons on Ferguson Protestors?

Aug 19, 2014

As we drift into another night of likely arrests and police violence against protestors and journalists in Ferguson, MO a CNN anchor has given us this ethical and historical quandary. Rosemary Church: “Talk to us about what police are saying to you. Why they are using this strategy? Why the use of tear gas, stun grenades? Why not perhaps use water cannons?” Watch the video below, but really watch the fantastic understated reaction from her co-host Errol Barnett. For those of you that aren’t history buffs here’s a reminder of why this might be a bit awkward. And maybe we need to have…