Kodiak Daily Mirror - Daily newspaper of Kodiak, Alaska
  
 
Alaska Science Forum: Where are the Alaska bats right now?
Eileen Weatherby of Fairbanks once contacted me to inform that her cat carried in a surprise one September morning. Instead of the usual vole, her cat had captured a bat. “I was startled because I thought bats in the Interior were pretty rare,” she wrote in an email message. Eileen is right. Alaska bats are creatures at the far, frigid edge of their existence, but they do live in Alaska, in places with trees, perh...
Oct 16, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 51 51 recommendations | email to a friend
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Alaska Science Forum: Wildfire hits close to home for scientist
While pounding nails on a roof extension for his shed this summer, Scott Rupp heard a roar that almost scared him off the roof. Three planes with bellies full of fire retardant swooped low, then banked over the mountain behind his home. “I looked up and saw this big smoke cloud,” said the part-time farmer and leader of an organization devoted to studying climate change. “That was my first sense that this was somet...
Oct 09, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 54 54 recommendations | email to a friend
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Alaska Science Forum: 90-mile aqueduct still etched in Interior hills
Like a bright yellow contour line painted above the Steese Highway, the Davidson Ditch now reveals itself by the flagging autumn birches and poplars that clog its path. The 90-mile system of canal, pipeline and tunnel becomes harder to see with each passing day, but the engineering triumph once helped prevent Fairbanks from ghosting out. The 1920s-era aqueduct provided the water needed to float dredges the size of...
Oct 02, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 63 63 recommendations | email to a friend
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Winds and ice stop Northwest Passage journey
Beavers and jet skis surprised four adventurers on their recent attempt to row through the Northwest Passage. Vancouver, British Columbia residents Kevin Vallely, Paul Gleeson, Frank Wolf and Denis Barnett are now back home after the team stopped short of its goal of gliding through the northern waterway on muscle power. After ever-changing winds stalled their 25-foot rowing pod enough to put them weeks behind sch...
Sep 25, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 64 64 recommendations | email to a friend
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Alaska Science Forum: Billions of bodies on the move
CREAMER’S FIELD, FAIRBANKS — “As this bird takes off, think about how they have to fly thousands and thousands of miles,” Tricia Blake said to 21 first-graders sitting on wooden benches surrounded by birch and balsam poplar trees. The biologist and educator then placed a ruby-crowned kinglet in the flat palm of a six-year old boy. The thumb-size songbird was probably born in northern Alaska this spring. During the...
Sep 18, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 67 67 recommendations | email to a friend
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Amazing Nature: Lantern Fish use Lights to Communicate in deep ocean
I was driving to work one morning last week before dawn. As the rain poured onto my windshield, the other cars appeared only as lights in the drenched darkness. It suddenly occurred to me that while the drivers of the cars could not see or hear each other, they were communicating with light signals: White headlights told me where the other cars were and whether they were moving towards me. Red lights told me if so...
Sep 13, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 76 76 recommendations | email to a friend
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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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