Most important blog event of the year 2008 seems to have been sometime between 28 August and 29 August, I guess. [where is Nowhere, Alaska ]
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Finally, ADN had background on Todd Palin’s family, Yup’ik ties give Palins unique Alaska connection NATIVE: Grandmother on Todd’s side calls the governor a ‘special gal.’ By TOM KIZZIA firstname.lastname@example.org Published: October 19th, 2008 11:20 PM. Anthropologically or historically, this background information is important because it reflects a lot of Alaskan history and because Todd’s wife is running for Vice-President. Unfortunately, a lot of Sarah Palin’s supporters and Palin herself have used Todd’s grandmother as a qualification for political office. The argument Palin has used is that she automatically has the best interests of Alaska Native/American Indian, rural Alaska, and tribal issues because of her husband’s family. Grandmothers are important in the 2008 election, whether Sen. Obama’s or Gov. Palin’s in-laws. But actions rather than inheritance are clearer guides to integrity, in my opinion. Assuming that inheritance determines behavior is called “biological determinism” and is well demonstrated as false as any other racist assumption.
After last Friday, there is no point in trying to correct what others in the country say about our native people in the Yukon Kuskokwim Nushagak region. Occasionally in the past I did try to inform news writers about how to improve their stories (professional journalists really ought to know how to look up answers). Even in Alaska, most people don’t know rural Alaska (because most people live in Anchorage).
I don’t know Todd Palin or his family. I read he was born in Dillingham along the Nushagak River of Bristol Bay; one of his great(?)grandparents is of Yup’ik heritage. Todd’s grandmother grew up in a traditional Yup’ik Eskimo house in Bristol Bay and accompanied Sarah in her race for governor as she sought support from … http://www.ajc.com/news/content/news/stories/2008/08/29/CAMPAIGN_PALIN_odds.html]
As a child, he moved to Wasilla, where he met Sarah first during high school.
I just ran across this news story about the Yup’ik people in Eek, along the Kuskokwim River of Kuskokwim Bay. It is well written and gives a valid characterization of how Eskimo and Gussack (non-Eskimo, from the Russian), that is, Alaska Native and non-Alaska Native people, live in remote Alaska today.
Remote Alaskan village hangs onto heritage
by Mark Constantine | The Saginaw News
Sunday August 31, 2008, 9:00 AM
EEK, Alaska — The sun hangs low in the sky in mid-July, just above the distant horizon, bathing the gently waving tundra grass in the soft, warm glow of early evening.
But it’s midnight and nightfall, or what the nearly 300 residents of the tiny village of Eek, Alaska, on the Eek River in the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta call night, remains an hour away. […]
- Eek Alaska http://www.commerce.state.ak.us/dca/commdb/CIS.cfm?Comm_Boro_Name=Eek
- Bristol Bay Native Association. Inc. is a Tribal Consortium, made up of 31 Tribes and is organized as a non-profit corporation to provide a variety of educational, social, economic and related services to the Native people of Bristol Bay region of Alaska. http://www.bbna.com/
- The Bristol BayTimes newspaper (pdf)
For good writing and perspectives on national politics and the effects on Alaska and Alaska Natives stop by Writing Raven http://alaskareal.blogspot.com/
I have a listing of various teacher blogs from those teaching and learning in the rural Alaska, Tundra Teachers- http://cerebraloddjobs.edublogs.org/2007/11/10/tundra-teachers/ Some post more regularly than others. Most bloggers are new to teaching and Alaska, but the ones written by long-time Alaskans and Alaska Native teachers are particularly interesting.
from Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society
“Science in the News” is produced daily by Sigma Xi as a service for its members and the public. It highlights science and technology news stories appearing in the mainstream media. The accompanying Web links provide access to the full text of the articles on the Web sites of the individual media outlets from which they are taken. For more about the service, visit American Scientist Online.
If you experience any problems with the URLs (page not found, page expired, etc.), we suggest you proceed to the Science in the News section of American Scientist Online, which mirrors the daily e-mail update.
June 30, 2008
Arctic Could See First Ice-Free Summer This Year
from ABC News
The distinct possibility that the North Pole could be free of sea ice — for the first time in recorded history — may become a cold reality this summer.
The Arctic’s thick, resilient multiyear sea ice (frozen sea surface), which usually accumulates and lasts through the annual melting season, has started to give way to thinner, vulnerable first-year ice.
Satellite data gathered by the … National Snow and Ice Data Center showed that young sea ice, which is no more than about 60 inches deep and much more susceptible to melting away, now makes up only 72 percent of the Arctic ice sheet. Using that estimate, scientists at the center see a 50 percent chance that ice at the highest point in the Arctic will melt by the summer’s end.
see previous Where is… Bethel ice pack
- Where is… transport hub of the world « Grassroots Science
- How low can it go? Arctic meltdown « Grassroots Science
- Animated Arctic ice retreat for 2007: watch the melt rushing by « Grassroots Science
- Arctic ice pack difficult to “heal” massive Beaufort fractures « Grassroots Science
Sea of Trash
from the New York Times Magazine
Off Gore Point, where tide rips collide, the rolling swells rear up and steepen into whitecaps. Quiet with concentration, Chris Pallister decelerates from 15 knots to 8, strains to peer through a windshield blurry with spray, tightens his grip on the wheel and, like a skier negotiating moguls, coaxes his home-built boat … through the chaos of waves.
… A 55-year-old lawyer with a … private law practice in Anchorage, Pallister spends most of his time directing a nonprofit group called the Gulf of Alaska Keeper, or GoAK (pronounced GO-ay-kay).
… In practice, the group has, since Pallister and a few like-minded buddies founded it in 2005, done little else besides clean trash from beaches. All along Alaska’s outer coast, Chris Pallister will tell you, there are shores strewn with marine debris, as man-made flotsam and jetsam is officially known. Most of that debris is plastic, and much of it crosses the Gulf of Alaska or even the Pacific Ocean to arrive there.
see previous Where is… duckie invasion
Arctic Volcanoes Found Active at Unprecedented Depths
from National Geographic News
Buried under thick ice and frigid water, volcanic explosions are shaking the Arctic Ocean floor at depths previously thought impossible, according to a new study.
Using robot-operated submarines, researchers have found deposits of glassy rock—evidence of eruptions—scattered over more than 5 square miles of the seabed.
Explosive volcanic eruptions were not thought to be possible at depths below the critical pressure for steam formation, or 2 miles. The deposits, however, were found at seafloor depths greater than 2.5 miles.
The Unorganized Borough can’t wait for others to prepare for us. Why? Track the entries at The Voices of New Orleans, http://www.chinmusicpress.com/books/doyouknow/voices/ especially for the terms FEMA and Army Corps (and for Newtok, Alaska). The archive list of titles is News Archive – http://www.chinmusicpress.com/books/doyouknow/voices/news/ (Unfortunately there is no search function other than your browser’s for titles.)
“While the United States government is immune for legal liability for the defalcations alleged herein, it is not free, nor should it be, from posterity’s judgment concerning its failure to accomplish what was its task,” the judge wrote. “This story — 50 years in the making — is heart-wrenching. Millions of dollars were squandered in building a levee system with respect to these outfall canals which was known to be inadequate by the corps’s own calculations.”
Though the ruling spotlighted many missteps by the corps over the years, it made little of other possible factors, including culpability of former local officials overseeing levees and drainage, and particularly their rejection of the corps’s original plan for floodgates on the drainage canals that so devastated the city. [emphasis added]
Hartford: Safe in ivory tower, prof declares NOLA dead Source: Hartford Courant July 06, 2007 Source: Hartford Courant Here’s another one of those supposed deep thinkers who just wants to lay it on the line. New Orleans as we know it is dead, he says. As dead as the Yukon-Kuskokwim delta. Harumph. Look at my Ph.d. framed nicely on my wall:
“I think he’s saying two main points–
1) sustainable living is living within one’s environmental means. The environment is in constant flux and the cultural response (what people do) ought also be flexible, to adapt. The Yukon-Kuskokwim Rivers delta is a living biocultural system, for example.
2) ethically and morally, wouldn’t barricading NOLA against environmental change in the delta be the same as barricading change in the YK delta? and therefore the billions of dollars required for either delta to rebuild the way it was, bad infrastructure and all, (rather than working with the change) come equally from everyone else?
Now, if the efforts were directed towards living *with* a delta system, the costs over the next 100 years would be considerably less and the resilient cultures even stronger. This isn’t “writing off” the deltas and their people; it’s preserving them.
NOLA is equally entitled to re-build bad design as YK. In fact, the Army Corps would love to fix our delta the same way they fixed yours over the decades. If we “re-build” one delta, then ethically “re-build” the other. We’ll go first.
Posted by: mpb | July 7, 2007 11:45 AM
Thanks for your response. Perhaps you should have written the article. Your points are cogent and I don’t disagree for the most part.
But the professor claims that the people of the Yukon delta aren’t playing the race card when they emphatically are (check out the NYT article linked in the post above this one). The professor is at best ill-informed on the subject. His desire to strip away race and greed and other “secondary” issues in our understanding of the broken levees is horribly misguided. We need to understand all the elements of the problem, not just global warming, because, again, the floods of NOLA could have been prevented.
Rebuilding bad design, as you say, is not a great option. But the Dutch don’t have bad design. Why do we have to?
Posted by: Bruce | July 7, 2007 10:18 PM”
One remote Alaska village fights to stay alive — and stay put
Jill Burke | Feb 22, 2011 http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/one-remote-alaska-village-fights-stay-alive-and-stay-put
Koyukuk has been unable to secure upgrades to its inadequate sewer system. How did a village along one of Alaska’s Interior river systems suddenly find itself keeping company, at least on paper, with a handful of sea-battered coastal communities imminently at risk of falling into the ocean? Koyukuk Mayor Jason Malemute isn’t sure. But he’s determined to get the place he’s called home nearly all his life off the list of Alaska villages that must be relocated to survive….
[oo] For those not getting the E-mail or hearing our best radio news–
I am inviting all Alaskans to become involved in the state budget process by participating in a web survey.
Voices Across Alaska: State Budget Priorities is an opportunity for all Alaskans to provide your opinion on how the state’s projected budget surplus should be saved and invested. Surveys will be accepted through 5 p.m. on December 3, 2007.
The survey is limited to a few choices about where to stash the surplus. Click here to take the brief survey.
But a lot of people initially saw the invitation as I did– asking for input on the budget itself. There are some really good ideas from commenters at APRN.org. Governor seeks statewide feedback on how to spend new oil revenue There are so many things unfunded in rural Alaska that any “surplus” should play catch-up. [e.g., scientific support for the Unorganized Borough; comprehensive assessment of environmental change and community impacts; access to affordable health care; decent elder support such as elder-run senior centers and assisted living housing; Governor’s public involvement coordinator; etc.] APRN comments will be open for 45 days so add yours there. Maybe the Governor’s office will read those, too.
Spike in Disease Doesn’t Always Mean an Epidemic Despite Fears Over Rising Numbers, An Increase in Incidence May Be Good By Roy Richard Grinker Special to The Washington Post Tuesday, October 30, 2007; HE04
50 years on: The Keeling Curve legacy By Helen Briggs Science reporter, BBC News Mauna Loa Curve (BBC) It is a scientific icon, which belongs, some claim, alongside E=mc2 and the double helix. Its name – the Keeling Curve – may be scarcely known outside scientific circles, but the jagged upward slope showing rising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere has become one of the most famous graphs in science, and a potent symbol of our times.
Clogged by plastic bags, Africa begins banning them Several African countries have taken bold new measures to tackle the region’s severe waste-management problems. By Sarah Simpson | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor from the November 30, 2007 edition
Bags are a local hazard, too. Officials give tips on dealing with dead birds
A tale of pigs, people, and a shared germ By Stephen Smith Globe Staff / November 12, 2007 The past couple of decades have yielded repeated – and lethal – reminders of how animals can make people sick. Think apes and AIDS, mosquitoes and West Nile virus [pigs, ducks, people and influenza]. The latest example: pigs and MRSA, the bacterium that in recent weeks has infected schoolchildren and caused custodians to scour emptied classrooms, dousing any trace of the germ.
Children’s books to help fight bird flu, Posted Wed Nov 7, 2007, ABC.net.au
Australia’s quarantine watchdog has turned to children’s books to help stop the spread of bird flu into the country. The Australian Quarantine Inspection Service has commissioned two Torres Strait women to write and illustrate a book called My Sick Pelican. The book will be circulated through Torres Strait schools to help children identify sick birds.
Site Search Tags: solid+waste, trash, schoolchildren, Gov+Palin, Australia, preparedness, pandemic, statistics, deadline, FAQ, Britain, Alaska, APRN.org, BBC, epidemiology, pigs, MRSA, disease+ecology, carbon
Gov. Sarah Palin is forming an administrative group to address issues in largely Native, rural parts of the state.
Many Alaska Natives say Palin has ignored them and failed to protect their ancient traditions during her tenure, even though her husband is part Alaska Native. The Republican vice presidential candidate is away on the campaign trail but made the announcement Thursday in a prerecorded speech played before thousands of people attending a yearly convention of Alaska Natives in Anchorage. Palin says the new rural subcabinet group will work with representatives of rural communities to tackle issues like public safety, education and health care. The group will include existing Cabinet members and two Alaska Native commissioners.
“As I envision it, the subcabinet will work closely with representatives of rural communities, tribes, corporations, nonprofits and other entities to discuss issues of concern and to design acceptable solutions,” said Palin, … “I know that to the current energy situation, some folks feel forced to leave their homes and their heritage and are making the move to more urban centers where the cost of living is less expensive and the odds of finding a decent job is better,” Palin said.
Palin tells AFN she’s forming rural subcabinet [see her earlier promise noted below]
The news tonight (CBS KTVA) announced Rhonda McBride’s resignation as rural advisor, effective the end of the month. In her statement to Alaska Native groups, McBride said she resigned to allow more Alaska Natives in the Governor’s cabinet. I will try to find the actual statement. Sounds a bit odd to me. Rhonda was certainly qualified to speak about rural Alaska issues, but one person does not a cabinet position make.
…”In all honesty, I have never felt authentic in my role,” McBride wrote in her e-mail, a copy of which was obtained by the AP.
McBride, who covered rural issues as a reporter before becoming rural adviser last year, said she would return to journalism to help bring attention to Native issues.
She said her last day would be Oct. 23.
Writing Raven — Another Palin personnel problem— has the full text of Rhonda’s message, which is far more important than what the news stories have highlighted. The reference to DCRA is key, I feel. [What is the import of rural Alaska to the people of Alaska as executed by elected officials (the “chief executive officer” is the Governor)? As indicated by the “rural advisor” substitute for a sub-cabinet (or cabinet position) and now resignation and the other cabinet shuffles that Writing Raven notes, we still aren’t at the table with the grown-ups. mpb]
Rhonda McBride will be able to do far more for rural Alaska by her return to journalism than by staying in the Palin administration, which is a discouraging thing to say.
Gov. Sarah Palin during her state of the state address last January 2007 suggested she would establish a sub-cabinet on rural issues. Today she announced at her address to the Alaska Federation of Natives convention that Rhonda McBride is to be her new rural advisor.
McBride is a KTUU-TV journalist and former news director at KYUK-TV in Bethel. She had a regional noon newscast that was very welcome (until the state decided not to fund rural news). A biography is here, http://tinyurl.com/ypvmfb although it has some typos (“Prior to moving to Alaska in 1998 [sic]“)
I hope the Governor doesn’t change the name of the advisor, as she indicated today. “Advisor” at least implies that views and information from rural Alaska will get to the Governor’s ear. In many other institutions, a “rural public relations officer” would only get the Governor’s chosen word to rural us’ns. I also hope “rural” will include the Unorganized Borough tundra roots science and community-based research department.
If you tried to E-mail the Governor, after December try E-mailing Rhonda. I hope she gets office assistance. Rural Alaska is about 2/3 of the state, in area, e.g., Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, (and Nebraska?).
Rhonda’s contact info is
Rural Advisor (907)269-7450
Office of the Governor rhonda.mcbride AT alaska.gov
EXE-EXECUTIVE OFFICE ANCH Atwood Bldg, 550 W 7th Ave
Anchorage, AK 99501
Please note that Rhonda McBride is Governor Palin’s advisor. She is NOT the Republican nominee contact person. All that information is now handled by someone at the McCain-Palin campaign.
Also note that the Governor’s rural advisor, like so many other state offices, does NOT have a toll-free number to call. It costs 5 (five) times more to call Anchorage or Juneau than it does to call Washington, DC.
Site Search Tags: Sarah+Palin, Alaska, KYUK, rural, tundra+roots, Bethel, revised, AFN, rural, campaign
An exciting headline but bizarre happening. There is a devastating bird flu epidemic in Canada, of H7N3 one of the varieties which has struck the US in the past several years, among other places. However, USDA APHIS confused their response. Add this to the confused response (early 2006) and preparations we’ve had in Alaska and it makes one queasy.
The current highly pathogenic flu is specific to birds, primarily domestic birds. It can be lethal to domestic birds or otherwise make them too sick for market.
This form of the virus does have the potential to evolve or mutate into a form infectious to humans. This is a low probability. See the ProMed article below for more details.
U.S. border agents seize hunters’ birds amid Canada’s bird flu scare
9 hours ago
ST. PAUL, Minn. – U.S. Customs officials in Minnesota and North Dakota seized more than 4,100 birds from hunters re-entering the United States from Canada following an outbreak of avian flu at a commercial chicken farm near Regina….
On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service banned all imports of poultry and unprocessed bird products and customs agents were told the ban included hunter-killed birds…. The confiscated birds were sent to landfills. Birds also were confiscated at border crossings in Montana and at Canadian airports.
Agriculture Department officials rescinded the order on hunter-killed birds late Saturday night after reviewing their protocols….
“Biologically, it makes no sense whatsoever,” said Michael Chamberlain, a professor at Louisiana State University. “They were saying you can’t transport a hunter-killed bird across the border, when millions of birds are migrating across the border already?”
While the Saskatchewan avian influenza is not the H5N1 virus that has caused worldwide alarm, USDA officials said the H7N3 virus is a considerable threat to commercial poultry farms. […]
ProMed The outbreak of H7N3 in Canada—
Date: 27 Sep 2007 Source: Canadian Food Inspection Agency [edited] http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/corpaffr/newcom/2007/20070927e.shtml
Avian influenza detected in Saskatchewan
Highly pathogenic H7N3 avian influenza has been detected in a commercial poultry operation in Saskatchewan, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced today [27 Sep 2007]. This virus is not the same as the strain circulating in Asia, Africa and Europe, which has been associated with human illness. H7N3 is not normally associated with serious human illness….
Once all birds have been removed, the CFIA will oversee the cleaning and disinfection of the barns, vehicles, equipment and tools to eliminate any infectious material that may remain.
To limit any potential virus spread, the CFIA will apply restrictions on the movement of poultry and poultry products within three kilometres [1.86 miles] of the infected premises. As an additional safeguard, any poultry operations within ten kilometres [6.2 miles] of the infected premises will be closely and regularly monitored for signs of illness….
The CFIA’s actions are consistent with internationally recognized animal health guidelines and the CFIA’s established avian influenza response protocols.
It may be difficult to identify the source of the virus, but the possibility of exposure to wild waterfowl — which are the natural hosts for the virus — cannot be discounted. Poultry owners are urged to take an active role in protecting their flocks by keeping them away from wild birds and areas frequented by wild birds….
 Date: 29 Sep 2007 From: Dr. Emily Jenkins and Dr. Catherine Soos [The following post is in reference to ProMED-mail post 20070928.3210 – Mod.TG]
The current outbreak in Saskatchewan poultry has been linked to a highly pathogenic strain of H7N3 avian influenza ( http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/corpaffr/newcom/2007/20070927e.shtml).
The H7N3 strain of avian influenza is a potential zoonosis with low risk of transmission, causing mild conjunctivitis in 2 heavily exposed people in the 2004 outbreak of highly pathogenic H7N3 in the Fraser Valley, British Columbia, Canada. The concern, of course, is that people co-infected with avian and human influenza viruses could serve as mixing vessels for viral recombination and subsequent development of human adapted, virulent strains of influenza.
Wild birds are frequently implicated in outbreaks of avian influenza in poultry, often with little or no supporting evidence (Please reference ProMED-mail post 20051124.3409).
Highly pathogenic strains are not commonly carried in migratory waterfowl; indeed the recent highly pathogenic H5N1 outbreak in Eurasia is an anomaly in that wild birds may be acting as carriers and victims of a highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza. Wild birds are the natural hosts of low pathogenicity strains, which can mutate into high pathogenicity strains in intensively managed poultry. As such, enhanced biosecurity to prevent bidirectional spillover between wild and domestic birds is well warranted, but speculation about the source of the virus in this outbreak is premature pending epidemiological and molecular characterization.
Investigation into the source of the virus will be facilitated by recent surveillance for avian influenza in 1000 wild ducks in southern Saskatchewan in August 2007, which occurred as a part of Canada’s Interagency Wild Bird Influenza Survey, in collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture to enhance surveillance in the Central Flyway. Results from 2007 are pending.
In 2006, no H5 or H7 strains were detected in samples from 56 ducks (primarily northern pintails) in southern Saskatchewan, although there were 6 positives for non H5/H7, low pathogenicity influenza A viruses (based on PCR). Canada-wide, no H7 subtypes or highly pathogenic strains were detected in 4268 samples from wild ducks in 2005, nor in over 12,000 samples from wild birds in Canada in 2006: http://wildlife1.usask.ca/en/aiv/index.php
At the moment, there appears to be no scientific justification for increased concern over the avian influenza status of hunter-killed wild birds in Saskatchewan, including export to the USA. Resident and non-resident hunting of wild waterfowl is a major activity in Saskatchewan at this time of year. As usual, hunters should observe common sense food safety and handling precautions: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/influenza/fs-hwb-fr-mos_e.html
ProMED-mail is a program of the International Society for Infectious Diseases. Read the previous reports here.
[is there a side to a bowl?]
-Bicyclemark is an independent journalist producing a bi-weekly podcast on under reported news and global concerns. He tends to cover issues he feels the mainstream media is not handling properly, where quality of life hangs in the balance.
His podcast/ blog/ vblog reporting is at
Take a listen/read/view.
For the next few months I will be frequently touching upon the topic of the Arctic and the race to exploit its resources, re-claim property rights, and the ongoing accelerating process of global warming effecting the region (and in turn, the world).
While mainstream media has dedicated the occasional article on this topic, they focus mostly on the horserace or “competition” between Russia, Canada, US, and Denmark (no mentions of Norway lately). Some tacit attention is given to the political conflict and the use of “submarines” by Russia to plant an underground flag or something to that effect.
What lacks is the real details that effect people’s lives. The information regarding exactly what these nations are doing and plan to do in the name of political power, economics, and what some call progress. They leave out the communities that live in and around the arctic, how they are being effected by all these activities. Rising sea level, melting of the ice caps, increased ship traffic.. these things all come with a price. And then take that to a global level, because the arctic is such an important place for everyone that exists on this planet.. and our collective future.
Hooray and Thank you, Yukon College!!!
See previous post, Where is… transport hub of the world
Coveting the Arctic – Collected news items
(Circumpolar Musings, 8 August 2007) — Having trouble keeping up with the complexities of the recent Arctic sovereignty and territorial claim activities? Circumpolar Musings brings you a collection of some news items from the past weeks on the subject.