Alaska's King

This site is for the exploration and discussion of a Constitutional Monarchy, as well as important Alaska news and information. Feel free to post your comments.

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Location: Alaska, United States

Welcome from the King of Alaska.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Our Investment in a Creative Economy

We are initiating the first steps of a creative economy, and on this day, we welcome Lady Elaina. She has created beautiful stained glass and textile works of art, and now is working on 2 gardens on our lands.

We are working on developing a creative economy. We believe that this will provide the best ability for competition and opportunities for our people. The market for a creative economy is global, and will be made up of small as well as large challengers. This will also provide opportunities to add value to the raw materials that we have previously shipped off to other countries and states, where the value that we could have realized was lost.

I extend this invitation and challenge to creative people, and welcome your thoughts, ideas, and input.

Respected Anchorage doctor dies at medical conference

Ironic, or coincidental? A well-respected doctor and member of the Alaska State Medical Board died suddenly while at a medical conference in the Lower 48.

According to the medical board, Dr. John Troxel (plastic surgery) died Wednesday night while at a conference with his wife, Dr. Sarah Troxel. It appears he died of some kind of aneurism.

Alaska weather creates ideal conditions for mosquitoes

If you're visiting Alaska for the first time, you may think that we have a lot of bugs. And you would be right. If you've lived here for only a few years, you may be thinking that there are a lot more mosquitoes, gnats, wasps, and other bugs this year compared to previous years. Again, you would be correct.

But the fact is, there really is not an unusual number of flying, biting bugs this year. It's just that we got used to having it good.

The past few years were unusually dry and hot, and the snow cover, which mosquitoes use to survive the winter, was not sufficient to protect them. Because the summers were dry, there were fewer places for them to breed.

This past winter, we had a more normal snow cover, and that was followed by a wetter, cooler spring.

Among the upsides, the salmon, trout, and other fish, as well as some birds, will be fatter and larger than in those previous years. So get some bug dope, a head net, some fishing gear, and a license (of course), and make the best of it.

The other good news is that, so far, Alaska has not had any cases of West Nile Virus, Malaria, or Yellow Fever, all increasingly common mosquito-borne diseases. Also, we haven't had any scorpions, ticks, or snakes for a very long time.

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Research on fossils may offer clues on when tsunami will hit

Geologists studying fossils in Alaska and Oregon have discovered what they believe is a signal that occurred a few years before major coastal earthquakes in the past.

Seismologists have known for some time that really big quakes with the potential to create a killer tsunami hit the Pacific Northwest coast every 500 years on average. But the interval in between can vary from just a few centuries to 1,000 years. The last one struck the area in 1700, so it is not out of the question that another could hit in the near future.

On the other hand, there could be hundreds of tsunami-free years before the next one rolls in.

So what's a city planner to do? Ask the bugs, says a team led by geologists Jere Lipps of the University of California-Berkeley and Andrea Hawkes of Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia.

The team studied microscopic fossils known as foraminifera that lived in coastal marshes in Alaska and Oregon. They found that a few years before several large earthquakes in the past, freshwater foraminifera died out and saltwater species suddenly appeared. This happened because the coast dropped slightly in elevation, allowing salt water to infiltrate the marshes at high tide, Lipps said.

Two to five years later, a major earthquake struck. Four of the five quakes the team studied from the past 3,000 years, including the 1964 Alaska earthquake, were followed by a tsunami, the group reports in the current issue of GSA Bulletin produced by the Geological Society of America.

The earthquakes were located in subduction zones where an oceanic tectonic plate is being forced beneath another plate. Sometimes the two plates stick together and quakes occur when they suddenly become unstuck and slip. The elevation drop the team discovered may have happened because plates stuck and the upper plate was bent down as the ocean plate tried to push under it, Lipps said.

"It's a very interesting idea that there would be these land level changes that would precede the earthquake," said Brian Atwater, a U.S. Geological Survey geologist based at Seattle's University of Washington. But Atwater would like to see evidence in more locations to corroborate the finding.

Lipps' team is working to find that evidence in mangrove swamps in Mexico and marshes in New Zealand, and Lipps also hopes to go to southeast Asia where the devastating tsunami struck in December. The hope is that by placing instruments that measure small changes in the dip of the crust known as tiltmeters in subduction zones, scientists might be able to issue a warning a few years in advance that a major earthquake and tsunami is likely.

And there may be reason to believe the Pacific Northwest is due for another wallop like the magnitude 9 that struck the region in 1700 and sent a tsunami racing across the Pacific all the way to Japan where it damaged coastal villages.

A group led by Harvey Kelsey at Humboldt State University studied the record of past tsunamis in lake sediments in Oregon. They found that over the last 4,600 years, tsunamis have tended to come in clusters of three or four every 1,000 years with quiet stretches of around 1,000 years in between. The work also appears in the current GSA Bulletin.

Prior to the 1700 tsunami, there was a period of about 700 years with no giant waves. So that event could have been the start of a new cluster of tsunamis, raising the likelihood of another big wave in the near future.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Navy to Test Shape Shifting Catamaran in Alaska

The U.S. Navy hopes to test a shape-shifting new catamaran, capable of zipping through stormy seas and landing on hostile beaches by putting it to work ferrying commuters from the Mat-Su Borough to Anchorage, Alaska. "It's a ferry version of the Transformers (toys) that you grew up with," said Rear Admiral Jay Cohen, who manages the Navy and Marines' science and technology program and requested this week's Anchorage meetings.

Click image to enlarge

To meet the Navy's needs, the vessel has to be able to dock almost anywhere. It has to be able handle high winds, high tides and thick ice, which Cohen says is the reason it's being tested in Alaska. The design -- initially created by Lockheed Martin -- includes hardened hulls for busting through ice.

"As far as we know, it's the only twin-hulled ice-breaker in the world," said Lew Madden, who graduated from then-Anchorage High School in 1962 and now works for Lockheed Martin as Alaska Ship Systems program manager.

Madden is one of the inventors of the ship's patented concept, which operates in three distinct modes, Madden said. For speed, it rides high above the water like a catamaran. In rough water, the hulls drop down, and it glides along as if resting on a pair of submarines. For shallow-water landings, the center section drops down, with its ramp to the beach like a barge.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Aleutians rocked by series of big quakes

One jolt after another -- the western Aleutians were hit by a series of earthquakes overnight.

The countless quakes started short after midnight. The biggest one, with a preliminary magnitude of 6.9, struck at 9:10 a.m. Tuesday. There were reports of items falling off shelves in Adak, about 175 miles from the epicenter.

That was followed by a 5.1 quake, which hit about 9:48 a.m., centered about 40 miles southeast of Amchitka Island.

The series of quakes occurred where the Pacific and North American plates collide. Most were in the range of 4.5 and 5.7.

Eagle crashes into living room of a Ketchikan home

KETCHIKAN, Alaska -- A bald eagle crashed through a window of a Ketchikan home and landed in the living room, scattering broken glass, feathers and a salmon carcass across the floor.

Artists Rendition of Eagle with Salmon

Homeowner Jean Stack heard the crash and initially wondered if someone had thrown a dead fish through the window.

"I stopped in my tracks and thought, 'Oh my gosh," she said.

But then she heard her neighbor, Kurt Haskin, yelling. He saw the whole thing from his deck.

Haskin had been drinking coffee and watching eagles from his deck shortly before 6 a.m. Monday. He said one eagle was on his roof, and three more were in a nearby tree. Another pair occupied a tree across an alley.

"They were fighting, thrashing around; there were leaves and limbs (shaking)," Haskin said. "This was all within 50 feet of me, and I was thinking this was pretty cool."

Then one eagle swooped out of the nearby tree, up past Haskin's head, around the eagle on the roof and back behind the tree, said Haskin.

"I didn't notice it was packing a fish when it swooped over me," he said.

The eagle re-emerged and bore down on Stack's bay window, which is about 15 feet off the ground.

"It just grenaded that window," Haskin said. "The window didn't even slow it down."

But the jolt apparently shook the fish and some feathers free. A moment later, the eagle popped out the hole where the window had been.

"It was only about four or five seconds, then it must have gathered its wits and flew back out of there," Haskin said.

Stack was awake in bed when the eagle hit.

"I heard this tremendous noise," Stack said. "I thought, 'What in the world was that?' It was so loud, and I didn't know where it was."

When she reached the living room she found glass from one end of the room to the other. "There was this huge fish carcass right where my dog usually slept," she said. "It didn't have a head. It was at least two feet long - just the back bone and the tail."

There were feathers about eight feet into the room, she said.

When Haskin began calling and asking whether she was OK, Stack went outside and got the story.

"I said, 'There was an eagle in your living room,'" Haskin said. "I just couldn't believe it."

Stack said she was shocked, but soon recovered. The fish carcass went into the garbage, and a new window was on the way for replacement, she said.

Boyd Porter, a biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's Wildlife Conservation Division, was surprised by the incident.

"We have a lot of window strikes by hawks and other birds, but it is unusual for larger birds such as eagles," he said.

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