Saturday, October 19, 2019

The long journey of the sandhill crane

There isn't much more I can say about this post from a friend on facebook. Just very interesting particularly in light of the attention we pay to sandhill cranes in Alaska.

Here's the whole post including the "here's more."
Sandhill Crane Tracking Project from Siberia
A Sandhill Crane from Chukotka, Russian Siberia finally come to its wintering ground at New Mexico, USA. This crane was captured by our Russian colleagues, Diana Solovyeva, and deployed our WT-300 GPS-Mobile Transmitter. It crossed Bering Sea Strait to Alaska. and also, it used several stopover sites at Alaska, Canada and Central America. Finally, it may found its wintering ground in new Mexico. Last year, other two cranes stayed in Texas, but this crane select little bit other site for its long wintering site. And also, this crane shows the trans-continental migration route between Eurasia and America.

Springtime in Alaska, cranes and cows

Sunday, October 6, 2019

The mountain in the front yard

Phillip Elliott‎ photo
The mountain in the front yard changes daily. In fact, it changes hourly and sometimes even faster.
It changes with daylight and darkness. It changes with light from the passing moon. It changes with precipitation, rain and snow. It changes with the season, dark green in summer, some reds and yellows in the fall and it wears a shroud of white in the winter.
It changes with the angle of the sunlight and the moonlight as all the interstellar bodies in our galaxy move in their orbits. At times it turns a dark red in a sunset, at others, purple and pink. Sometimes in bright sunlight the focus sharpens, at others it loses that sharpness in the filter of mist or fog or low-hanging clouds. At times it even disappears into the smoke from a nearby wildfire.
As a friend of mine does with Denali, I wake each morning, pour my chocolate and then check to see if the mountain is out. It’s out more than Denali as I can attest because Denali is the mountain in my front yard that I watch in winter.
Denali dwarfs this mountain which stands at at a little higher than 6,000 feet, but its proximity makes it look bigger. Only about two miles away it rises almost from the bank just across a river in a valley prone to glacial winds and dust.
Today it changed in a new way and took on a new look. On one of the lower ridges a large black line of a scar now runs down hill through the snow. It was cut by a rock slide some of the neighbors actually heard. So now we have to wait for more snow to cover the wound in the mountain and make it pure once more, ready for what changes are yet to come.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Greta explains it all

This is something I've never done before, taking someone else's post on facbook, however I think this is important. I am not trying to steal anything or to gain anything for myself, my only purpose here is to spread her words farther and, too, let her defend herself against the inevitable opposition. I was influenced by the movement the surviving Parkland students began and was heartened to see Greta Thunberg was influenced by them as well. There will never be written a better account of her journey from her solitary protest in Sweden to her call for a worldwide strike and facing the powers of the world at the United Nations. I sincerely hope she wins the Nobel Peace Prize. (I have not touched a word in her story. All the words are hers.)

Recently I’ve seen many rumors circulating about me and enormous amounts of hate. This is no surprise to me. I know that since most people are not aware of the full meaning of the climate crisis (which is understandable since it has never been treated as a crisis) a school strike for the climate would seem very strange to people in general.
So let me make some things clear about my school strike.
In may 2018 I was one of the winners in a writing competition about the environment held by Svenska Dagbladet, a Swedish newspaper. I got my article published and some people contacted me, among others was Bo Thorén from Fossil Free Dalsland. He had some kind of group with people, especially youth, who wanted to do something about the climate crisis.
I had a few phone meetings with other activists. The purpose was to come up with ideas of new projects that would bring attention to the climate crisis. Bo had a few ideas of things we could do. Everything from marches to a loose idea of some kind of a school strike (that school children would do something on the schoolyards or in the classrooms). That idea was inspired by the Parkland Students, who had refused to go to school after the school shootings.
I liked the idea of a school strike. So I developed that idea and tried to get the other young people to join me, but no one was really interested. They thought that a Swedish version of the Zero Hour march was going to have a bigger impact. So I went on planning the school strike all by myself and after that I didn’t participate in any more meetings.
When I told my parents about my plans they weren’t very fond of it. They did not support the idea of school striking and they said that if I were to do this I would have to do it completely by myself and with no support from them.
On the 20 of august I sat down outside the Swedish Parliament. I handed out fliers with a long list of facts about the climate crisis and explanations on why I was striking. The first thing I did was to post on Twitter and Instagram what I was doing and it soon went viral. Then journalists and newspapers started to come. A Swedish entrepreneur and business man active in the climate movement, Ingmar Rentzhog, was among the first to arrive. He spoke with me and took pictures that he posted on Facebook. That was the first time I had ever met or spoken with him. I had not communicated or encountered with him ever before.
Many people love to spread rumors saying that I have people ”behind me” or that I’m being ”paid” or ”used” to do what I’m doing. But there is no one ”behind” me except for myself. My parents were as far from climate activists as possible before I made them aware of the situation.
I am not part of any organization. I sometimes support and cooperate with several NGOs that work with the climate and environment. But I am absolutely independent and I only represent myself. And I do what I do completely for free, I have not received any money or any promise of future payments in any form at all. And nor has anyone linked to me or my family done so.
And of course it will stay this way. I have not met one single climate activist who is fighting for the climate for money. That idea is completely absurd.
Furthermore I only travel with permission from my school and my parents pay for tickets and accommodations.
My family has written a book together about our family and how me and my sister Beata have influenced my parents way of thinking and seeing the world, especially when it comes to the climate. And about our diagnoses.
That book was due to be released in May. But since there was a major disagreement with the book company, we ended up changing to a new publisher and so the book was released in august instead.
Before the book was released my parents made it clear that their possible profits from the book ”Scener ur hjärtat” will be going to 8 different charities working with environment, children with diagnoses and animal rights.
And yes, I write my own speeches. But since I know that what I say is going to reach many, many people I often ask for input. I also have a few scientists that I frequently ask for help on how to express certain complicated matters. I want everything to be absolutely correct so that I don’t spread incorrect facts, or things that can be misunderstood.
Some people mock me for my diagnosis. But Asperger is not a disease, it’s a gift. People also say that since I have Asperger I couldn’t possibly have put myself in this position. But that’s exactly why I did this. Because if I would have been ”normal” and social I would have organized myself in an organisation, or started an organisation by myself. But since I am not that good at socializing I did this instead. I was so frustrated that nothing was being done about the climate crisis and I felt like I had to do something, anything. And sometimes NOT doing things - like just sitting down outside the parliament - speaks much louder than doing things. Just like a whisper sometimes is louder than shouting.
Also there is one complaint that I ”sound and write like an adult”. And to that I can only say; don’t you think that a 16-year old can speak for herself? There’s also some people who say that I oversimplify things. For example when I say that "the climate crisis is a black and white issue”, ”we need to stop the emissions of greenhouse gases” and ”I want you to panic”. But that I only say because it’s true. Yes, the climate crisis is the most complex issue that we have ever faced and it’s going to take everything from our part to ”stop it”. But the solution is black and white; we need to stop the emissions of greenhouse gases.
Because either we limit the warming to 1,5 degrees C over pre industrial levels, or we don’t. Either we reach a tipping point where we start a chain reaction with events way beyond human control, or we don’t. Either we go on as a civilization, or we don’t. There are no gray areas when it comes to survival.
And when I say that I want you to panic I mean that we need to treat the crisis as a crisis. When your house is on fire you don’t sit down and talk about how nice you can rebuild it once you put out the fire. If your house is on fire you run outside and make sure that everyone is out while you call the fire department. That requires some level of panic.
There is one other argument that I can’t do anything about. And that is the fact that I’m ”just a child and we shouldn’t be listening to children.” But that is easily fixed - just start to listen to the rock solid science instead. Because if everyone listened to the scientists and the facts that I constantly refer to - then no one would have to listen to me or any of the other hundreds of thousands of school children on strike for the climate across the world. Then we could all go back to school.
I am just a messenger, and yet I get all this hate. I am not saying anything new, I am just saying what scientists have repeatedly said for decades. And I agree with you, I’m too young to do this. We children shouldn’t have to do this. But since almost no one is doing anything, and our very future is at risk, we feel like we have to continue.

And if you have any other concern or doubt about me, then you can listen to my TED talk (…/greta_thunberg_the_disarming_…/up-next ), in which I talk about how my interest for the climate and environment began. 
And thank you everyone for you kind support! It brings me hope.
Ps I was briefly a youth advisor for the board of the non profit foundation “We don’t have time”. It turns out they used my name as part of another branch of their organisation that is a start up business. They have admitted clearly that they did so without the knowledge of me or my family. I no longer have any connection to “We don’t have time”. Nor has anyone in my family. They have deeply apologised and I have accepted their apology.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Bucket lists

     A conversation on TV tonight opened an insight into the personal bucket list.
     As TV writers do, they seem to believe every old guy in the world has a bucket list of things he wants to do before he dies. I've never had one. I had some idealistic goals as a younger man, but to a certain extent I achieved them all. Then one mention in the conversation I was watching triggered a thought about a bucket list … and a realization.
     One of the men wanted a cabin in Montana. That was the only thing he could think of for a bucket list.
    It only took a moment to absorb that and I realized in this fictional story something like that would be on my bucket list.
    That was when I realized if I didn't have it and didn't live there almost half the year, the cabin at the East Pole would be at the top of my own bucket list. If I didn't have that it would be the one thing in the world I would want to do, and that goes back to the time I was 8 and in the third grade.
     Mission accomplished.
   PHOTO GALLERY: At the East Pole

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Impressions from a fire zone

This is Camp Caswell the way I prefer to remember it.
I went to the East Pole Saturday Sept. 7, to bring back a couple of things and take some measurements for some improvements I want to make here to take out when I go for the winter.
     The driving part of the trip is mostly along the Parks Highway, the main ground link between Anchorage and Fairbanks, and also the site of a huge wildfire that burned over 3,288 acres and is still smoldering in places. The fire destroyed 52 primary residences, three commercial properties and 84 outbuildings, but so far no reported injuries or deaths.
     On the road north coming out of Willow the first indications of fire are the rows of blackened spruce trunks lining the roadway on both sides,. only these were from a a previous fire a couple of years ago. It took a moment to realize it.
     After another 10 miles the first indications of this fire became painfully obvious. At almost every driveway or public building signs thanked the fire crews over and over again. It was heart warming. It hit me we don't have many public figures to cheer these days and seeing the outpouring of gratitude for the effort put out by the firefighters was monumental.
     Soon enough I started to pass blackened spruce trees still standing but obviously burned, lining the roadside.
   Then came the yards with houses still standing but brush and trees cleared around them, taken by the men and women of the fire crews so there was no fuel for the fire as it progressed toward the buildings. This was the south end of the fire which burned after the massive mobilizations of people and equipment to fight the flames. The bulk of the damage  occurred toward the north end around Mile 91 and several miles south of there. In that area the fire burned more freely and destroyed more buildings before the crews arrived in any number.
     I passed several houses untouched by the fire in the center of the wide, cleared areas made by firefighters that saved them from the flames.
    As I craned to look into each yard I managed to wander from side to side in my lane. That's when I learned something else. The sound of tires rolling over those safety rumble strips at the road edges blend perfectly with the more ethereal of Pink Floyd instrumentals and it took a moment to realize some of the sound wasn't coming from the stereo. I think Roger Waters' 70th birthday was yesterday or today; should I let him know about this discovery of a complementary sound the group could use?
      Symbols that demonstrated the tremendous amount of work that went on were everywhere. Of course there were the cleared yards, but also piles of spruce trunks cut for fire lines or whatever other reason lined the road for miles — tons. Here's a heartening image, very selfish and personal I admit. Almost all the downed trees were spruce and among those still standing white birch trunks stood out among the blackened spruce as if untouched by the fire. I noticed there were not nearly as many birch in the piles of cut trees as well. Why heartening? The majority of the forest around the East Pole is old growth birch, apparently more fire resistant than their softer-wooded cousins. Maybe that will save me if a fire eventually starts up in my country which is about 30 miles from the northernmost limit of the McKinley fire.
     Farther north I came through the area hardest hit. Yards that had held homes looked like landfills, the possessions of a lifetime reduced to blackened trash by the fire.
     Excavators worked in several yards clearing what the fire left behind and groups of firefighters remained looking for what I assumed were hot spots and directing water streams from fire hoses.
     For perhaps five miles, the speed limit had been reduced to a double-fine-enforced 45 mph and signs all over the place warned travelers about fire equipment in the road.
     Particularly sad was the property where the Camp Caswell  establishment had stood. That's it in its former grandeur in the photo above, long a landmark aside that part of the road, the space it had filled now looks like a combination of a bomb crater and an auto salvage yard, the charred skeletons of several vehicles decorating the bleak landscape.
     In one clearing stood the yellowish wood framing skeleton of a someone's new cabin going up already. On the news later I heard a 68-year-old man talking about hearing explosions from his cabin letting him know everything was gone. He wondered aloud about rebuilding from scratch again in his life and wondering if his aging body can do it. As a man approaching 77 years, I wondered if I would have the strength and will to do that. I thought of a couple boxes of ammunition in my own cabin and for a moment wondered what that would sound like going up. Something you don't often think of when you see the people fighting those fires in buildings, knowing just about every dwelling in that area holds a gun or two and that means live rounds to explode while they worked.
     Flaggers protected the entry from a side road where a sign warned drivers "Fire equipment crossing" and then the speed limit rose to 55 then 65 and those of us on the road passed out of the fire zone, humbled somewhat by what we'd seen and the dirge-like tones of one of those Pink Floyd instrumentals with the haunting sounds of their lingering guitar licks creating an atmosphere of mourning for what was lost there. Then, too, there was that one ray of human resilience rising from the skeletal framework of that one new dwelling rising.

I couldn't stop to take pictures. This link will take you to a gallery of photos of the fire area from the Anchorage Daily News.
Complete McKinley fire roundup

Memorable quotations

"You can do anything as long as you don't scare the horses." — a mother's favorite saying recalled by a friend

A poem is an egg with a horse inside” — anonymous fourth grader

“My children will likely turn my picture to the wall but what the hell, you only get old once." — Joe May

“Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.” — Ernest Hemingway

When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth. Kurt Vonnegut

“If you wrote something for which someone sent you a cheque, if you cashed the cheque and it didn't bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented.”Stephen King

The thing about ignorance is, you don't have to remain ignorant. — me again"

"It was like the aftermath of an orgasm with the wrong partner." – David Lagercrants “The Girl in the Spider’s Web.”

Why worry about dying, you aren't going to live to regret it.

Never debate with someone who gets ink by the barrel" — George Hayes, former Alaska Attorney General who died recently

My dear Mr. Frost: two roads never diverge in a yellow wood. Three roads meet there. — @Shakespeare on Twitter

Normal is how somebody else thinks you should act.

"The mark of a great shiphandler is never getting into situations that require great shiphandling," Adm. Ernest King, USN

Me: Does the restaurant have cute waitresses?

My friend Gail: All waitresses are cute when you're hungry.

I'm not a writer, but sometimes I push around words to see what happens. – Scott Berry

I realized today how many of my stories start out "years ago." What's next? Once upon a time?"

“The rivers of Alaska are strewn with the bones of men who made but one mistake” - Fred McGarry, a Nushagak Trapper

Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stared at walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing. – Meg Chittenden

A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity. – Franz Kafka

We are all immortal until the one day we are not. – me again

If the muse is late, start without her – Peter S. Beagle

Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain Actually you could do the same thing with the word "really" as in "really cold."

If you are looking for an experience that will temper your vanity, this is it. There's no one to impress when you're alone on the trap line. – Michael Carey quoting his father's journal

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. – Benjamin Franklin

It’s nervous work. The state you need to write in is the state that others are paying large sums of money to get rid of. – Shirley Hazzard

So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence -- Bertrand Russell

You know that I always just wanted to have a small ship to take stuff from a place that had a lot of that stuff to a place that did not have a lot of that stuff and so prosper.—Jackie Faber, “The Wake of the Lorelei Lee”

If you attack the arguer instead of the argument, you lose both

If an insurance company won’t pay for damages caused by an “act of God,” shouldn’t it then have to prove the existence of God? – I said that

I used to think getting old was about vanity—but actually it’s about losing people you love. Getting wrinkles is trivial. – Eugene O’Neill

German General to Swiss General: “You have only 500,000 men in your army; what would you do if I invaded with 1 million men?”

Swiss General: “Well, I suppose every one of my soldiers would need to fire twice.”

Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.—Gloria Steinem

Exceed your bandwidth—sign on the wall of the maintenance shop at the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center

One thing I do know, if you keep at it, you usually wind up getting something done.—Patricia Monaghan

Do you want to know what kind of person makes the best reporter? I’ll tell you. A borderline sociopath. Someone smart, inquisitive, stubborn, disorganized, chaotic, and in a perpetual state of simmering rage at the failings of the world.—Brett Arends

It is a very simple mind that only knows how to spell a word one way.—Andrew Jackson

3:30 is too late or too early to do anything—Rene Descartes

Everything is okay when it’s 50-below as long as everything is okay. – an Alaskan in Tom Walker’s “The Seventymile Kid”

You can have your own opinion but you can’t have your own science.—commenter arguing on a story about polar bears and global warming

He looks at three ex wives as a good start—TV police drama

Talkeetna: A friendly little drinking town with a climbing problem.—a handmade bumper sticker

“You’re either into the wall or into the show”—Marco Andretti on giving it all to qualify last at the 2011 Indy 500

Makeup is not for the faint of heart—the makeup guerrilla

“I’m going to relax in a very adult manner.”—Danica Patrick after sweating it out and qualifying half an hour before Andretti

“Asking Congress to come back is like asking a mugger to come back because he forgot your wallet.”—a roundtable participant on Fox of all places

As Republicans go further back in the conception process to define when life actually begins, I am beginning to think the eventual definition will be life begins in the beer I was drinking when I met her.—me again

Hunting is a “critical element for the long-term conservation of wood bison.”—a state department of Fish and Game official explaining why the state would not go along with a federal plan to reintroduce wood bison in Alaska because the agreement did not specifically allow hunting

Each day do something that won’t compute – anon

I can’t belive I still have to protest this shit – a sign carriend by an elderly woman at an Occupy demonstration

Life should be a little nuts or else it’s just a bunch of Thursdays strung together—Kevin Costner as Beau Burroughs in “Rumor has it”

You’re just a wanker whipping up fear —Irish President Michael D. Higgins to a tea party radio announcer

Being president doesn’t change who you are; it reveals who you are—Michelle Obama

Things sports announcers say

He's not doing things he can't do."

"… there's a fearlessment about him …"

"He's got to have the lead if he's going to win this race."

"Kansas has always had the ability to score with the basketball."

"NFL to put computer chips in balls." Oh, that's gotta hurt.

"Now that you're in the finals you have to run the race that's going to get you on the podium."

"It's very important for both sides that they stay on their feet."

This is why you get to hate sportscasters. Kansas beats Texas for the first time since 1938. So the pundits open their segment with the question "let's talk about what went wrong." Wrong? Kansas WON a football game! That's what went RIGHT!

"I brought out the thermostat to show you how cold it is here." Points to a thermometer reading zero in Minneapolis.

"It's tough to win on the road when you turn the ball over." Oh, really? Like you can do all right if you turn the ball over playing at home?

Cliches so imbedded in sportscasters' minds they can't help themselves: "Minnesota fell from the ranks of the undefeated today." What ranks? They were the only undefeated team left.

A good one: A 5'10" player went up and caught a pass off a defensive back over six feet tall. The quote? "He's got some hops."

Best homonym of the day so far: "It's all tied. Alabama 34, Kentucky 3." Oh, Tide.

"Steve Hooker commentates on his Olympic pole vault gold medal." When "comments" just won't do.

"He's certainly capable of the top ten, maybe even higher than that."

"Atlanta is capable of doing what they're doing."

"Biyombo, one of seven kids from the Republic of Congo." In the NBA? In America? In his whole country?

"You can't come out and be aggressive but you can't come out and be unaggressive."

"They're gonna be in every game they play!"

"First you have to get two strikes on the hitter before you get the strikeout."

"The game ended in the final seconds." You have to wonder when the others ended or are they still going on?

How is a team down by one touchdown before the half "totally demoralized?"

"If they score runs they will win."

"I think the matchup is what it is"

After a play a Houston defender was on his knees, his head on the ground and his hand underneath him appeared to clutch a very sensitive part of the male anatomy. He rolled onto his back and quickly removed his hand. (Remember the old Cosby routine "you cannot touch certain parts of your body?") Finally they helped the guy to the sideline and then the replay was shown. In it the guy clearly took a hard knee between his thighs. As this was being shown, one of the announcers says, "It looks like he hurt his shoulder." The other agrees and then they both talk about how serious a shoulder injury can be. Were we watching the same game?

"Somebody is going to be the quarterback or we're going to see a new quarterback."

"If you're gonna play running back in the SEC you're gonna take hits."

"That was a playmaker making a play."

Best headlines ever

Owners of a Noah's Ark replica file a lawsuit over rain damage

In Southcentral Alaska earthquake, damage originated in the ground, engineers say

Alabama governor candidate caught in lesbian sprem donation scandal

Sister hits moose on way to visit sister who hit moose.

Man loses his testicles after attempting to smoke weed through a SCUBA tank

Church Mutual Insurance won't cover Church's flood damage because it's 'an act of God'

Homicide victims rarely talk to police

Meerkat Expert Attacked Monkey Handler Over Love Affair With Llama Keeper

GOP congressman opposes gun control because gay marriage leads to bestiality

Owner of killer bear chokes to death on sex toy

Support for legalizing pot hits all-time high

Give me all your money or my penguin will explode

How zombie worms have sex in whale bones

Crocodile steals zoo worker's lawn mower

Woman shot by oven while trying to cook waffles

Nude beach blowjob jet ski fight leads to wife's death

Woman stabs husband with squirrel for not buying beer Christmas Eve