News Archive

June 26, 2014
Alaska’s landscape has an unusual feature that allows us to enjoy cheap bananas in the Interior and other things that make life possible in the subarctic. The Nenana River, born on the south side of the Alaska Range, makes a u-turn and flows north through the mountains. With it comes a wide, low corridor that has favored construction of both the Alaska Railroad and the Parks Highway. “Ordinarily...
June 19, 2014
A glaciologist once wrote that the number of glaciers in Alaska “is estimated at (greater than) 100,000.” That fuzzy number, perhaps written in passive voice for a reason, might be correct. But it depends upon how you count. Another glaciologist saw an example of the confusion when he visited Yakutat Glacier. Yakutat, near the Alaska town of the same name, is a withering glacier that calves into...
June 12, 2014
Slicing through the top quarter of the Alaska map, the Arctic Circle marks the boundary of perpetual light. North of the line, the sun won’t set on summer solstice. But somehow the breezy, treeless tundra of Barrow has a more arctic feel than Fort Yukon, also poleward of the line but home to dense spruce forests and Alaska’s all-time high temperature of 100 degrees. A more “ecologically sound”...
June 5, 2014
This spring, John Yarie learned of the death of the oldest living things he knew. Since 1988, the silviculture professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks had measured and fertilized a stand of giant spruce trees on a hillside south of Fairbanks. A few weeks ago, forest technicians visited the site and found that one dozen trees had been cut down, possibly by “wood poachers.” “I’m just really...
May 29, 2014
Jessica Cherry spends her favorite moments looking at Alaska from above. As a new recruit for a class of astronaut candidates, she may someday view the world from miles higher.   Cherry, 37, is a pilot and professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ International Arctic Research Center and Institute of Northern Engineering. She flies small aircraft all over the state for fun and research....
May 22, 2014
It’s late May, 118 miles from the Arctic Circle. Time for a walk to work.   The season has changed since February, the last time I wrote about walking through the North Campus of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The North Campus consists of more than 1,000 acres that begins a few steps south of my door and ends at the university’s multistory research buildings. The spruce-dominated forest,...
June 20, 2014
Earthquakes are nothing new to Alaskans, but few people understand the significance of strategic earthquake planning. On Tuesday, June 17, 2014, Governor Parnell signed a bill to extend the term of the Alaska Seismic Hazard Safety Commission until June 30, 2020.  Michael West, the Alaska State Seismologist and director of the Alaska Earthquake Center director, part of the University of Alaska...
June 12, 2014
Slicing through the top quarter of the Alaska map, the Arctic Circle marks the boundary of perpetual light. North of the line, the sun won’t set on summer solstice.But somehow the breezy, treeless tundra of Barrow has a more arctic feel than Fort Yukon, also poleward of the line but home to dense spruce forests and Alaska’s all-time high temperature of 100 degrees.A more “ecologically sound”...
June 5, 2014
This spring, John Yarie learned of the death of the oldest living things he knew. Since 1988, the silviculture professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks had measured and fertilized a stand of giant spruce trees on a hillside south of Fairbanks. A few weeks ago, forest technicians visited the site and found that one dozen trees had been cut down, possibly by “wood poachers.” “I’m just really...
June 3, 2014
The University of Alaska Fairbanks has licensed several patents for the use of the Pinbone Wizard, a fish bone removal machine, to a Juneau-based company.   “It’s a pretty cool machine,” said Mike Bell, owner and president of Freeman-Bell, the Juneau machine shop that bought the license. “Whoever developed this is awesome.”   The Pinbone Wizard is the brainchild of Larry Kozycki and Greg Shipman...