Kodiak Daily Mirror - Daily newspaper of Kodiak, Alaska
  
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Alaska Science Forum: A supertanker voyage through the Northwest Passage
Forty-six years ago, a ship long as the Empire State Building sailed with intention toward obstacles that captains usually avoid. The icebreaking tanker SS Manhattan was an oil company’s attempt to see if it might be profitable to move new Alaska oil to the East Coast by plowing through the ice-clogged Northwest Passage. Begging his way aboard was Merritt Helfferich, then 31 and a do-all guy at the Geophysical Ins...
Sep 11, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 46 46 recommendations | email to a friend
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Alaska Science Forum: Fifty years of far-north biology
While waiting for the talking to begin in darkened auditoriums, I sometimes scan the room, counting heads. “I’ve interviewed him, and her, and him. And her.” At last week’s dedication of the Institute of Arctic Biology’s lovely new building on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus, I saw more than a dozen people who have appeared in this space since fall 1994 (when I took over this column from Carla Helfferich...
Sep 04, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 46 46 recommendations | email to a friend
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Alaska Science Forum: A continent of ice on the wane
Despite taking up as much space as Australia, the blue-white puzzle of ice floating on the Arctic Ocean is an abstraction to the billions who have never seen it. But continued shrinkage of sea ice is changing life for many living things. A few Alaska scientists added their observations to a recent journal article on the subject. Since 1999, the loss of northern sea ice equal to the size of Greenland is a “stunning...
Aug 28, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 47 47 recommendations | email to a friend
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Alaska Science Forum: Rain graces the Alaska landscape
In warm Alaska summers like this, in which Fairbanks has set a record for most 80-degree Fahrenheit days and Anchorage has exceeded 70 with similar frequency, rainfall has been a phenomenon many people have not missed. But even though we are a species that scurries when water falls from the sky, rain is more essential to our survival than pleasant, dry breezes. Rain is, after all, the free distribution of a substa...
Aug 14, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 76 76 recommendations | email to a friend
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Alaska Science Forum: An aurora detector in Petersburg
On cold winter nights long ago, Harvey Gilliland of Petersburg sometimes woke to the buzz of an alarm mounted on the wall of his kitchen. He kicked off the blanket, got dressed, pulled on his rubber boots, and strolled three city blocks to the building in which he worked. After Gilliland, an electronics technician, twisted a few knobs to restore normal power to an underwater communications cable, the buzzer stoppe...
Aug 07, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 73 73 recommendations | email to a friend
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Alaska Science Forum: Northwest passage traverses, winter and summer
A few months ago, I wrote about adventurer/permafrost scientist Kenji Yoshikawa’s attempt to drive a snowmachine 3,500 miles from Prudhoe Bay to the Atlantic Ocean. He planned to stop along the way to visit students in 13 villages. Near their schools, he wanted to drill holes in the ground and see how cold it is. In late April, after 43 days of travel, he and Ulli Neumann quietly executed that endeavor. From Deadh...
Jul 31, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 68 68 recommendations | email to a friend
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Alaska Science Forum: Taking to the sky to better sniff the air
On a cool spring morning in the mountains of southwest Washington, 12-year old Cathy Cahill helped her dad plant scientific instruments around the base of trembling Mount St. Helens. A few days later, the volcano blew up, smothering two of his four ash collectors. When he gathered the surviving equipment, Cathy’s father found a downwind sampler overflowing with ash laced with chlorine. Tom Cahill of the University...
Jul 24, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 48 48 recommendations | email to a friend
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Alaska Science Forum: Tiny, ancient life discovered in Southeast
In a world crawling with insects, those billions of tiny bodies fall into just 30 major descriptive groups, known as orders. That’s why Derek Sikes, curator of insects at the University of Alaska Museum of the North, was disappointed with a graduate student when she failed to identify a creature that was wandering her plots on Prince of Wales Island. “Every entomologist should be able to ID every insect to its ord...
Jul 17, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 46 46 recommendations | email to a friend
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Alaska Science Forum: Even with lag, Alaska passing peak warm
You may not have noticed it as you were scooping fish out of the Copper River or riding your bike through the tawny light of 10 p.m., but Alaska just made a left turn toward winter. Much of the state will soon reach the average yearly date when the air won’t get any warmer. In Fairbanks, on July 19 the average daily temperature based on about a century of records drops from 63 to 62. Anchorage, because the ocean i...
Jul 10, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 47 47 recommendations | email to a friend
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Alaska Science Forum: Tiny barbarians at the gate
Mosquitoes and black flies, now stirring after a long winter, have probably helped assure that most of Alaska remains unpopulated, says an expert on those creatures. “I’ve spent a lot of time in the far north — in Canada, Siberia, and Alaska,” said Peter Adler, a professor of entomology at Clemson University. “You can go down rivers for a month or two at a time and see no humans. Why is that? What’s keeping them o...
Jul 03, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 62 62 recommendations | email to a friend
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