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
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
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.
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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
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
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:
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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.
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
A moody, beautiful vignette honoring the landscape around Sitka, Alaska. Read the rest
At the Alaska Resources Library and Information Services, anyone can check out skulls, taxidermy mounts, pelts, and other bits and pieces of dead animals for free. Librarian Celia Rozen says that the most popular items are bear and wolf furs used in Boy Scout rituals and also snowy owl mounts requested by Harry Potter party planners. As you might expect, educators appreciate the opportunity to make their lessons more, er, tangible.
“It gets them excited about being in biology class,” South Anchorage High School science teacher Chris Backstrum told the Alaska Dispatch News. “It starts the year off on a good foot."
"Need a wolf fur? A puffin pelt? All you need is a library card and a visit to the ARLIS library" (ADN)
"Something Preserved" (Great Big Story)
(photos by Marc Lester/ADN) Read the rest
Zoanthid corals are a favorite with aquarium hobbyists -- beautiful and easy to grow (easy being a relative term -- coral's always a pain in the ass). Read the rest
Alaska Woman is giving Florida Man a run for his money.
“There's no easy way to say goodbye to a friend, especially when they've supported you through your darkest times.” Read the rest
This video is so beautiful. Crank the resolution way up to 4K and enjoy.
Bars in Alaska have installed free pregnancy tests in their women's bathrooms in an effort to curb drinking among pregnant women. The tests are subsidized by the state of Alaska as part of a campaign to reduce fetal alcohol syndrome, which is more prevalent in Alaska than in any other state. Read the rest
Pat sez, "Alaska Robotics News is a political satire series covering the Alaska legislative session. We've had good luck at engaging law makers and have had several notable guests on the show. U.S. Senator Mark Begich recently joined us to talk about NSA dragnet surveillance and precognitive policing.
We have a small group of writers contributing the the show and enjoy a lot of support from our community. This segment was a good opportunity to get outside our local issues and poke at the boiling frog of government surveillance." Read the rest
This is the town of Kivalina, Alaska. Last fall, when the ocean water that almost surrounds the town started turning a gooey orange, people (understandably) got a bit freaked out.
After ruling out the scarier options—i.e.,chemical pollution and toxic algae—scientists eventually pinned the orange tide on the presence of a plant fungus. And they turned up some good news: The fungus wasn't dangerous to people or ocean life.
Now, months later, researchers have identified what, exactly, the fungus is and where it was coming from. There's a fascinating detective story here, because, as Jennifer Frazer points out on Scientific American's Artful Amoeba blog, it's rather surprising that there was a fungal epidemic big enough to turn a whole port orange and nobody noticed it on the plants.
[But] Perhaps someone did.
Last October, David Wartinbee, a professor of aquatic biology at Kenai Peninsula College in Alaska’s south-central Kenai Peninsula, emailed me to say he’d seen something strange, and wondered if it might be the same thing that hit Kivalina. Though his neck of the woods is over 600 miles southeast from Kivalina as the snow goose flies, it’s not inconceivable they could be one in the same in a place so far north.
In early September, Wartinbee traveled 70 miles west to a place called the Twin Lakes by float plane (reputedly the SUV of Alaska). He saw an orange film on the water, and the spruce needles on nearby trees were clearly poxed with something.
You can read the rest of this story (and see Wartinbee's photos!) at The Artful Amoeba. Read the rest