Wild Turkey Flock, Florida 2008

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone


The Wild Turkey, as opposed to its inbred, domesticated cousin, is a handsome, canny bird. No one would call them beautiful, but they are impressive. If your Thanksgiving involves a turkey, keep its wild relative in mind as a favor to WC. And enjoy your holiday. Readers who want something more substantive are invited to…

Benghazi! and the Dead Horse Theory


WC doesn’t want to belittle the late U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, Foreign Service Information Officer Sean Smith, and the CIA contractors and former Navy SEALS Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, all of whom were killed during the tragic events that occurred in Benghazi. The Republicans who have attempted to create a scandal out of the tragedy, however,…

Govrnor Bill Walker and Lt. Governor Bryan Mallott

WC’s Wishlist for Governor Walker


Governor Walker’s transition team came up with a list of ideas for the Governor-elect over the weekend. Notably, the transition team conference didn’t include any conservationists, and very few folks from southwest Alaska. They missed some stuff. Important stuff. So WC has some suggestions for the new Chief Executive. They’re broken into categories: Easy and…

U.S. Patent No. 6932368, granted Sep. 9, 2005

And They Grind Very Slowly Indeed: Ultramercial


From the outset, Ultramercial’s patent claim was a stupid idea. It tried to enforce a patent for the idea that before you could watch on-line video, you had to watch a commercial. Some you may be thinking, “Wait  minute. Isn’t that like, television?” And you’d be right. It’s a textbook case of an unoriginal, completely obvious…

Ursula K. Le Guin

WC’s Heroes: Ursula K. Le Guin


WC is extremely pleased to report that one of his personal heroes and favorite authors, the inestimable Ursula K. Le Guin, won the National Book Award for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. It’s her second National Book Award; in 1973 she won for one of her early books, The Farthest Shore, the third book in her…

Income Inquality Worsens, via Steven Rattner, NY Times

Getting Geeky: Income Inequality Worsens


It’s been a while since WC got down and wallowed in the warm, geeky mud of economics. So even though WC can see readers nodding off already, let’s look at some numbers and charts. Warning: this post is depressing, too. First, the Federal Reserve released a report showing that, unless you are in the richest…

The U.S. Supreme Court, Mark 2014

Watching the SCOTUS Scuttle Us


Of the many injuries that the John Roberts Court has brought on American law and the U.S. Constitution, King v. Burwell may well be the worst.  The Roberts Court appears to have abandoned any pretext of standards, of precedent, neutrality or apoliticality. They have performed a patent, political act and granted certiorari in a case that meets none of…

Demon Weed for Sale in Alaska

One Toke Over the Line, Sweet Jesus


One toke over the line sweet Jesus One toke over the line Sittin’ downtown in a railway station One toke over the line – Brewer & Shipley, “One Toke Over the Line,” 1970 So Brewer and Shipley were right?1 Alaska has legalized marijuana. Dope got more votes, 142.552, than any statewide candidate, more than Captain Zero,…

Sample Pages from Field Guide to Alaska Butterflies

96,704. And Still Counting


WC wrote earlier about the sad and sudden death of his friend, Ken Philip. Since WC wrote that obituary, there have been some developments. First, it turns out Ken had the last laugh. A couple of years ago, WC was at Ken’s house and asked Ken if he had a will and had made arrangements…

A Judas goat leading lambs to the slaughter, via WikiCommons

Judas Goats and Election 2014


WC’s rule of thumb for elections is that if multi-billionaires back a candidate, that candidate isn’t likely to represent WC’s interests in Congress. No, that candidate is more likely to be a Judas Goat, leading the poor dumb voters to the economic slaughterhouse. Judas goats have fallen out of fashion, but are still used in…

Randall Munroe's Live-Sketched Report on Philae's Landing - Final Panel

The Live-Sketched Philae Landing


The wholly remarkable Randall Munroe, creator of XKCD, created his own “live-streamed” version of Philae’s landing on Comet 67P. There are 146 sketches, some silly, some very funny and some quite moving. Munroe keeps setting new benchmarks for what can be done in a web comic. Spolier ahead: Congratulations to the European Space Agency’s on…

On the Beach - Shell's Noble Discoverer

Shell Game: More Poor Planning (Updated)


Shell Oil Company has demonstrated yet more bad planning. Come on now, you can’t be surprised. This is the company that brought us the Keystone Cops drilling attempt in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas in 2012, with vessels run aground, failed containment tests, innumerable marine safety violations and countless broken tow lines. It’s only funny…