Marvin Minsky, 2008

R.I.P. Marvin Minsky, 1927-2016


Marvin Minsky is one of the four or five scientists who invented the computer as we know it today. A polymath, a genius and an inspiring teacher, he had a role in most aspects of computer programming, and especially artificial intelligence. Every time you use Apple’s Siri or the similar programs on other smartphones, you…

Western Screen Owl male, singing for a lady

WC Has a House Guest


Mrs. WC may be known to some of you as “the Owl Lady.” Or at least the most recent Owl Lady, the latest in a string who have shown owls to school kids across the Fairbanks North Star Borough. She’s out of the educational owl business now; there are no longer mice thawing in WC’s…

Miracles and Wonders: New Horizons and Pluto


The Earth is a mind-boggling 93 million miles from the sun. It takes sunlight, on average, some 8 minutes 20 seconds to reach us. Pluto, the recently demoted planetoid, is more than 39 times further away, and its take sunlight 5.5 hours to get there. The inverse square law says that the amount of light…

A Few Words for the Republican Caucus


The Second Session of the Alaska Legislature has begun. The Legislature seems steadfastly resolved to do absolutely nothing meaningful about the state’s fiscal crisis, instead addressing sideshow issues. If the pre-filed bills are any indication, the Legislature is going to devote the session to pandering, pointless laws that will only lead to losing litigation and…

Ursula K. Le Guin

The Thugs at Malheur: An Update


The Portland Oregonian ran an article Sunday by Les Zaitz that, candidly, was nothing more than uncritical parroting of the Bundy Brothers’ shifting claims, demands and posturings. One of WC’s favorite authors, Ursula Le Guin, called the newspaper out in a letter to the editor: Federal land: The Oregonian’s A1 headline on Sunday, Jan. 17, “Effort to…

Glen Frey, onstage at Wembley Empire Pool in London on April 26, 1977. Photo by Gijsbert Hanekroot

R.I.P. Glenn Frey, 1948-2016


This is a hard one to write. Glenn Fry, co-founder of The Eagles, author and co-author of dozens of hits songs, excellent singer and sometime television actor, died Monday at age 67. In the 1970s, when The Eagles were at the top of the charts, it was fashionable in some circles to condemn them as…

Tomàs Rodriguez (iPhone photo), January 17, 2016

Concert Reviews: Tomàs Rodriguez


Sunday afternoon WC was treated to a house concert featuring the gifted and talented Tomàs Rodriguez, a high school classmate of Mrs. WC who has made himself one of the finest guitarists WC has ever heard. The two sets Tomàs played for us were a world tour of the signature rhythms of guitar music. Some…