As Amazon burns, Trump wants to log world’s largest intact temperate rainforest in Alaska

Illegitimate, popular-vote-losing president Donald J. Trump, just yesterday:

“I’m an environmentalist. A lot of people don’t understand that. I think I know more about the environment than most people.” Read the rest

U.S. intercepts Russian bombers and fighter jets off Alaska coast

Russian nuclear capable long-range bombers flew within 200 miles of Alaska's coast

Library loans taxidermy animals for science, education, and Harry Potter parties

In Anchorage, Alaska anyone with a public library card can visit the Alaska Resources Library and Information Services library and check out a taxidermy ring-necked pheasant, black rockfish, or hundreds of other mounted animals, skulls, and furs. From Smithsonian:

While the majority of users are local teachers, who incorporate the pieces into their lectures and lesson plans, and biologists and researchers using items for studying, non-educators are also known to check out pieces too.

“We have a snowy owl that has been used on several occasions as a decoration for a Harry Potter-themed party,” Rozen says. And filmmakers reportedly used a number of items during the making of the 2013 movie The Frozen Ground to design the basement lair where the film’s villain would keep hostages captive. Just like with library books, ARLIS expects that lendees take good care of any items checked out.

Interestingly, ARLIS’s existence is largely known by word of mouth, both for patrons and locals who want to donate a piece of realia to the collection. The vast majority came from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game with a lesser amount from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, however the library does also take donations from the public.

“Earlier today someone called me and offered us a raven that he found in the wild that had been killed,” she says. “Ravens are frequently requested, even by English students doing presentations on Edgar Allan Poe.

"This Library in Anchorage Lends Out Taxidermic Specimens" by Jennifer Nalewicki (Smithsonian)

Learn more in my post from 2015: "Library where you can check out dead animals" Read the rest

An end-run around Citizens United: passing state laws that ban rewarding campaign donors with political favors

Ray Metcalfe ("two term Alaska state legislator, Alaska’s 2016 Democratic Party Nominee for U.S. Senate, and whistle-blower whose actions resulted in the indictment of U.S. Senator Ted Stevens") has published model legislation that builds on the 9-0 Supreme Court decision in the corruption case of Virginia Governor McDonnell, a precedent Metcalfe interprets to mean that "While Citizens United guaranteed corporations the right to exercise political speech through political spending, Citizens United did not guarantee corporations the right to receive political favors in return.." Read the rest

What do reverse cyborgs want? A review of David Marusek's Glassing the Orgachine

In First Contact, Book 1 of David Marusek’s (previously) science fiction series Upon This Rock, an alien being crash lands in a remote corner of Alaska, not far from a family-cult of preppers for the end times, and the alien exploits the beliefs of the family patriarch by posing as an angel sent to earth to initiate the final conflict. Rooted deeply in contemporary Alaskan landscape and culture, the novel is funny and painful, part satire and part serious exploration of a particularly unfortunate instance of first contact. The novel ends on a cliffhanger, leaving many questions unanswered. Read the rest

This 64-year-old describes why he chose to live house-free in Alaska

Joe Ford is a self-described "64-year-old navy veteran of the Vietnam era and houseless in the tundra." He wrote for The Guardian about what its like to live in Alaska without a permanent house. It sounds tough, but he loves it. I recently watched a good movie with my family called Leave No Trace, and the dad in the movie reminds me a bit of Mr. Ford.

All in all, though, I prefer a campfire-roasted porcupine that I killed and butchered (recently, one who had smacked my dog with his tail, embedding 15 quills in the mutt’s snout), slathered with highbush cranberry ketchup, foraged chickweed salad with mushrooms on the side, a hot cup of stinging nettle tea to wash it down and a handful of wild blueberries for dessert.

Bugs, sticks, sand and assorted forest floor debris sometimes makes it into my vittles but, as the family I encountered in my travels through Canada some years back said when I pointed out that their kid was eating dirt: “It’s clean dirt.” And the bugs are protein! Anyway, I get to devour the feast creekside watching fish sex. No, it’s not the latest Netflix series, it’s actual salmon spawning in the water 10ft from my tent.

My living room floor gets a fresh gold carpet when fall colors take over and the tree branches go bare. Daylight starts fading fast closing in on the autumnal equinox and stays in decline till winter solstice, bottoming out at around five and a half hours here.

Read the rest

Ten years after Juneau ditched water fluoridation, kids racked up an average of $300/each in extra dental bills

It's been ten years since the people of Juneau, Alaska succumbed to conspiracy theories and voted to ruin their kids' teeth by removing fluoride from the drinking water, and it shows. Read the rest

Moose unwittingly plays ding dong ditch with his butt

A moose accidentally rang a doorbell with his behind while bumbling around the outside of an Anchorage, Alaska home.

On Thursday, Kyle Stultz and his partner Allie Johnstone heard the doorbell ring at 1:30 AM. They thought it was a prankster until they saw the security cam footage. That's when they learned it was a moose whose backside had hilariously set off the bell. The video is everything.

KTVA reports:

After checking on their dogs and looking out the door to find nothing, Stultz assumed some neighborhood kids were playing a prank.

"We were thinking kids coming through playing ding dong ditch or maybe a neighbor coming through. We had no idea," Stultz said.

So they checked their security system and were surprised to see a moose caboose.

"We had this nice moose behind waiting for us right here," Stultz said. "And he decided to back up right into it and that’s how he got our doorbell."

(Jezebel) Read the rest

Alaska wins election stickers race

For all of you in the U.S., no doubt your feeds are filling up with your friends showing off their "I Voted" stickers (and if they're not, uh, better get some new friends). But are their stickers as cool as the ones from Alaska?

Artist Pat Race of Juneau was hired to design these little "I Voted" beauties for the State of Alaska Division of Elections. Race's pro-voting animals not only appeared on the Land of the Midnight Sun's stickers but also on their Official Election Pamphlets.

At least one Alaskan is trying to collect all eight designs:

Prints of the designs are available directly from the artist. Prices start at $10.

image via Kyle Miller Read the rest

Alaska Congressman Don Young (202-225-5765) promised action on Net Neutrality, hasn't delivered

Josh from Fight for the Future writes, "Big news out of Alaska this morning: Local entrepreneur Jennie Stewart of CustomMousePad.com has gone public with news that Congressman Don Young promised he would sign the Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution discharge petition to help restore net neutrality when the two of them met on Capitol Hill back in June. But now, a month later, he still hasn’t followed through and signed the CRA. His office has gone completely silent, so we need net neutrality supporters to call Rep. Young's DC office (202-225-5765) and ask him to keep his promise by signing the CRA before the August congressional recess." Read the rest

Making hard candy on a restored Victorian machine

This video was far more interesting than I thought it was going to be. It's not only the story of the restoration of a cool barn find, a circa 1890 candy-making machine, but it details how Greg Cohen of Lofty Pursuits in Tallahassee, Florida used it to make strawberry "drops" (hard candies). Cohen is a real candy-making nerd and he shares how he spent 70 to 80 hours restoring this antique machine for the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Museum in Skagway, Alaska:

To this day there aren’t many good roads into it, if any. Imagine how hard it would have been to get this device up there to be used for candy? And how much money there must have been in the 1890s... to warrant someone bringing it up so that miners could have a little bit of happiness in their pocket, some nice candies to eat, I guess, when they mine? It was a good bit of luxury that they could take with them, that they didn’t have to worry about spoiling. Because they lived a really rough life as they mined up there.

And while it probably was worth bringing to Skagway for business reasons, it probably wasn’t worth bringing it back, so it got stashed in a barn and it’s been sitting there for the last hundred and something years, slowly rusting away forgotten.

And now I’ve been given an opportunity to give it a little bit of new life making candy again.

(The Kid Should See This, The Awesomer) Read the rest

Alaska plane crash: All 11 on board rescued by U.S. Coast Guard

In absolute crap weather conditions, two U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crews were dispatched to Jumbo Mountain, 39 miles west of Ketchikan, Alaska on Prince of Wales Island: a charter plane with 11 passengers was reported to have crashed. After making the flight to the purported crash site, battling wind rain and poor visibility all the way, the Coast Guard arrived at the crash site and reported in: all 11 souls on board, while battered from a rough landing on the side of a mountain, were very much alive.

From The BBC:

Commander Michael Kahle, of the Coast Guard in Juneau, Alaska, congratulated the aircrew of the MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters who conducted the rescue.

"Cases like these exemplify the versatility of our aircrews and how capable they are to expertly perform rescues from the ocean or even mountainsides," he said in a statement.

Coast Guard spokesman Charly Hengen told local media that the rescue pilots had only about a quarter mile of visibility due to fog during the mission.

The pilot at the stick at the time of the accident was 72-year old Mike Hodgins, flying for a charter company called Taquan Air. The NTSB is investigating the accident, but in the meantime, damn: a plane crash on the side of a damn mountain where the plane comes out largely intact and all of the passengers survived? It might come out that the incident occurred due to pilot error but, in the meantime, I want a grizzled vet like Hodgins flying all of the planes, all of the time. Read the rest

Ajit Pai made Elizabeth Pierce his "broadband advisor," and now she's been arrested for a $250,000,000 fraud

Trump FCC Chairman Ajit Pai made Elizabeth Pierce -- ex-CEO of Alaska fiber networking company Quijntillion -- one of his "broadband advisors" and now she's in jail on charges of having run a $250,000,000 fraud. Read the rest

Small town Uber driver quits, launches a one-driver rival

Suzanne Ashe was the only Uber driver in Haines, Alaska, and the app wouldn't let her stay logged in and available because the rides came so infrequently. Read the rest

Everything you ever wanted to know about America’s northernmost town

The YouTube channel Wendover Productions took a trip to Barrow, Alaska to learn all about America’s northernmost town, where it snows during the summer and everyday items are incredibly expensive because it takes so much work to ship them in (a DiGiorno frozen pizza can cost $17; a pack of toilet paper can cost $20). The town is home to just over 4,000 people, the majority of whom are members of the indigenous Iñupia tribe. Since the area has been the cultural center of the Iñupia for thousands of years, Barrow (known officially as Utqiaġvik) is one of the oldest permanently inhabited settlements in North America. Read the rest

Photos of a family that's lived in near isolation in the Alaska wilderness for 18 years

Photographer Ed Gold went deep into the Alaskan wilderness to meet the Atchley family, who have lived there in near-isolation for 18 years. The family of four buys groceries once a year, and live off the land by hunting black bears, wolves, rabbits, ducks and beavers.

The family keep their own time to suit their needs, putting the clock as much as three hours forward or back depending on the light.

They generally eat breakfast at 16:30, spending the short winter daylight hours busy with carpentry, cleaning and repairs. After supper at about 22:00, they fill the rest of their day with talking, guitar playing and writing, going to bed around 04:00.

If they feel short of money, 52-year-old David will sell tanned hides, build log cabins or take work in the local gold mine, about 100 miles away.

However, by living off the land and using solar power, they manage to survive on just $12,000 (£9,600) a year.

Romey Atchely is also an author. From her bio page:

For fourteen of her past nineteen years in Alaska, Romey Atchley has lived with her husband, David, and two sons in the Nowitna National Wildlife Refuge. They are the only people living in this remote natural wilderness area. Their cabin is over two hundred miles from the nearest road—beyond access to schools, doctors, and grocery stores. Romey and her family live among the wild animals where they hunt, fish, garden, tan hides, and home school their children. Through her writings, drawings, and photographs, she brings her wilderness experiences to life for others to share.

Read the rest

GMUNK on how he shot his amazing infrared images of Alaska

GMUNK has done a lot of cool video work, but he says his trip to Alaska to shoot infrared stills was one of his most inspiring projects of all. Below are a couple of examples. Read the rest

More posts