The Uniquely Alaskan
Alaska already offers plenty of challenges to livestock farming, but this winter may be even more challenging. Drought has severely impacted the state’s limited hay growing areas, and hay quality and quantity may be low with higher than usual prices.
Speaking of drought, this has been a particularly nasty year for wild fires. One fire in particular, the Tetlin Junction Fire, burned so hot that it spawned a massive fire tornado. Check out the footage here.
In other timber related news, Senator Lisa Murkowski recently stepped in to help resolve a citation written to a Wrangell daycare service for picnicking without a license. The woman was cited for “making money on activities at the park“ when she took her kids to a nearby picnic area in the Tongass National Forest for a spontaneous sunny day lunch adventure.
Meanwhile, Mitt Romney visited Murkowski’s hometown of Ketchikan to do a little trout fishing (in the middle of Silver season no less). The former Presidential nominee was chided in local press for bringing along his very own Scottish bodyguard.
Juneau is prepping for winter with the installation of “avalanche cams“. Special web cams are being trained on Thane Road, an area with moderate traffic that can be the site of very sudden and dangerous avalanches.
As the days get shorter and colder, winter returns to the Far North. It’s a time of year that brings out a special sort of “sport”, that of aurora “chasing”. The “season” should get off to a strong start this weekend, as forecasters are predicting a “solar flip” or shift in the suns magnetic field, which should produce a lot of northern light activity for those with skies clear and dark enough to see them.
Alaska Science and Society
In other Alaska science news, a recent study shows that Alaskan wood frogs have a special physiology that allows them to survive in the Fairbanks winters at such extreme below-zero temperatures. These frogs are unique in that they produce a mixture of sugar, urine, and a mysterious chemical X that allows them to lower the freezing point of their organs, thus protecting them from harm. The most unique part of this study is that this particular species of amphibian is widespread across the United States, but only in their far northern reaches do they possess this adaptation.
Fire hasn’t been the only disaster to strike Alaska this summer. Early in the year a major flood hit Galena, forcing a massive evacuation of the town. Now residents are worried that with winter approaching, they may not have homes to return to.
Melting ice isn’t just affecting rural communities, it’s changing the entire Arctic landscape according to a new comprehensive study recently released by the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The University also unveiled it’s newest building on Thursday. The new life sciences building was dedicated as the Margaret Murie Building, in honor of the great Fairbanks conservationist. Murie and her husband were pioneers behind the movement to establish ANWR and founded the Wilderness Society. She was also the first female graduate of the university.
In one last bit of Fairbanks news, long time Fairbanks Daily News Miner columnist and contributor Dermot Cole announced yesterday that he was leaving his position with the paper (which he’s held for over 20 years) to become the Fairbanks corespondent for the Alaska Dispatch.
If you weren’t already aware, a farcical poll published by Business Insider says we’re the most underrated state with a fairly drunk and ugly population. That’s all healthily arguable. But worst food? Does America hate fish now? We at Alaska Commons find this hard to believe in light of other polls that place two Alaskan town at the top of the list for Best Restaurant Cities.
Around the World
In broader news, it’s been a rough week. North Carolina is working hard to alienate its student voters, a Kansas abortion doctor prepares for bankruptcy after the state stripped her of her license to practice, and on top of it all, Double Stuffed Oreos are an advertising lie.
But if Australian scientists have their way, you’ll at least be able to soak those sorrows away with a hangover free beer pretty soon. In the meantime, at least your day wasn’t interrupted by a flying phallus, check the video below for a prank that really took some balls…
The Uniquely Alaskan