Kodiak Daily Mirror - Daily newspaper of Kodiak, Alaska
  
Science
 
The scoop about mastodons: Researchers were wrong
A long, long time ago, a hairy elephant stomped the northland, wrecking trees and shrubs as it fed of twigs, leaves and bark. These mastodons left a few scattered teeth and bones in Alaska and the Yukon, reminders of an animal that lived as far south as Honduras. A recent look at those far-north mastodons shows the creatures vanished from the Arctic thousands of years before earlier than researchers had thought. A...
Dec 17, 2014 | 1 1 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend
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Alaska Science Forum: Alaska blackfish in a world of its own
Imagine a shallow lake north of Hughes, in the cold heart of Alaska. In frigid, sluggish water, dim blue light penetrates two feet of ice. The ice has a quarter-size hole, maintained by a stream of methane bubbles. Every few minutes, a brutish little fish swims up, sips air, and peels back to the dank. The Alaska blackfish is an evolutionary loner that fins through lakes and tundra ponds across much of the state. ...
Dec 10, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend
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Villager's remains lead to 1918 flu breakthrough
The revival of the virus responsible for the 1918 Spanish flu, the killer of millions of people, was the end of a long journey for Johan Hultin. Hultin, 90, twice retrieved samples of the virus from the lungs of flu victims preserved by permafrost in an Alaska village. Molecular pathologists used those samples to reconstruct the virus and discover that it jumped from birds to humans. Hultin visited the village of ...
Nov 26, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend
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Alaska Science Forum: Northern lab cranked out the quirky and creative
"Rectal Temperature of the Working Sled Dog." "Cleaning and Sterilization of Bunny Boots." "Comparative Sweat Rates of Eskimos and Caucasians Under Controlled Conditions." These are some of the studies completed by scientists who worked for the Arctic Aeromedical Laboratory from the late 1940s to the 1960s. Developed during the Cold War to "solve the severe environmental problems of men living and working in the A...
Nov 19, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend
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Twenty weeks through the heart of Alaska
It is a very remarkable fact that a region under a civilized government for more than a century should remain so completely unknown as the vast territory drained by the Copper, Tanana and Koyukuk Rivers. So wrote Henry Allen in a government report on his muscle-powered journey from the mouth of the Copper River to the mouth of the Yukon, from where he returned by steamship to the civilized 48. Pushing on when Nati...
Nov 12, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend
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A green way to deal with carbon dioxide
Last week, I wrote about a thought experiment proposed by Fairbanks scientist Jim Beget. He suggests raining down crystals of a compound that captures carbon dioxide onto a frigid plateau in Antarctica. There, the greenhouse gas might remain locked for 100,000 years. Beget will present his idea at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union this December in San Francisco. Alarming levels of carbon dioxide i...
Nov 05, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend
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Alaska Science Forum: A cool idea for locking up carbon dioxide
Jim Beget spends much of his time digging for clues from long ago, like when a volcanic island might have collapsed into the sea, sending giant waves to distant shores. He will soon engage in debate on a contemporary question: before carbon dioxide makes the world unlivable, what can we do about it? In December, the UAF geologist/volcanologist will tack a poster in a San Francisco meeting hall amid the crashing su...
Oct 29, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend
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Northern Alaska joins the cryosphere
It's mid-October, 118 miles from the Arctic Circle. Time for a walk to work. Since I last wrote about my 3-mile commute through the raindrops of August, the 1,100 acres of boreal forest between my house and the university has undergone the most drastic change of the year. Ankle-deep snow covers the North Campus and most of Interior Alaska. Steps on the forest floor, which sinks like a frozen piecrust, are silent. ...
Oct 22, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend
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Alaska Science Forum: Fire on the mountain near the Yukon River
A smoking mountain near the Yukon River not far from Eagle is, after further study, still a puzzle. People first noticed acrid smoke in September 2012. The mountain has been steaming ever since, even through the coldest days of winter. Scientists thought a likely cause for the smoldering mountaintop was an oily rock deposit that somehow caught fire. Linda Stromquist, a geologist for the National Park Service, has ...
Oct 15, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend
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The mammoth mystery of St. Paul Island
One foggy day on St. Paul Island, a woolly mammoth stepped onto a trapdoor of greenery. It plunged thirty feet to the floor of a cave. There was no exit. A few thousand years later, a scientist who descended by ladder found the mammoth's tooth amid the bones of other mammoths, polar bears, caribou, reindeer and arctic foxes. Radiocarbon dating showed the mammoth died about 6,500 years ago. Here was proof that mamm...
Oct 08, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend
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