Call WC Eeyore

WC’s Eeyore to Wohlforth’s Tigger


Alaska Dispatch News columnist Charles Wohlforth wrote a nice, thoughtful opinion piece for the paper recently, headlined “Alaska’s economy hasn’t hit bottom yet. But you can see it from here.” Well, maybe, but only at the bottom of a very deep, very dark hole. WC is Eeyore to Wohlforth’s perhaps overly optimistic Tigger. The problem…

Gopher, San Diego, California

Will WC’s Readers Gopher This?


Someone has to be at the base of the food chain. In Idaho, the Idaho Pocket Gopher joins several species of ground squirrels in that role: food for someone else. If you like watching hawks, falcons and eagles, or coyotes and badgers, you have to admire their prey. In Idaho, the primary gopher species is…

Tongass National Forest

Trump and the Tongass Roadless Rule


The history of the Tongass Roadless Rule is a twisted, complex subject that makes explaining quantum physics easy in comparison. But the primary legal principle that emerged from 18 years (!) lof litigation is pretty good news as the Trumpster attempts to eviscerate environmental safeguards. At least it’s good news if you care about the environment.…

The Trumpster Plays Quitsies


Are marbles still a thing? The game of marbles? WC was a pretty good marbles player in grade school. In junior high, it was no longer cool, but in elementary school WC collected a lot of other kids’ marbles. Maybe it was being left-handed. WC’s reputation got so high that kids would only play either…

COURTESY PHOTO: PR NEWSWIRE

Equifax Screw Ups: Let Me Count the Ways


WC’s apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning, but the count of Equifax’s multiple, awful screw ups are reaching the level of Abomination. Here’s a partial list: (1) Five months ago, Equifax, whose business is holding securely every single bit of information necessary to permit identity theft and fraud, got hacked. It didn’t tell anyone. Nor has…

The Ugly American, lost in the weeds

The Ugly American


The phrase “The Ugly American” may have originated with Constantino Arias’ photo of the same name, showing a 1950s Batista-era tourist in Havana, Cuba. But the term is best known for the 1958 fictionalized political science novel by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer which graphically describes the failures of the U.S. diplomatic corps in Southeast Asia. In 1967…

R.I.P. Penny Chenery: Let the Big Horse Run


Penny Chenery followed in the footsteps of figures like Lucille Markey of Calumet Farm; Elizabeth Arden Graham of Maine Chance Farm; and Allaire C. duPont, owner of the champion gelding Kelso, all members of the limited circle of thoroughbred racing’s well-known women. But Chenery was lucky enough to own Secretariat, arguably the greatest race horse…

Just focus on the ripe cherries; pay no attention to any others

Fallacies: Cherry Picking


If you judged fresh cherries only by he ones sold in supermarkets, you’d conclude that all cherries are ripe, good-looking and healthy. But the cherries sold in supermarkets aren’t a representative sample; they represent the very best, not a random sample of all cherries growing on the trees. It’s an example of selection bias, an…

Silver City, looking southeast; note mine spoil at upper right

Road Trip: Silver City, Idaho


The Owhyee Mountains in southwestern Idaho and eastern Oregon aren’t the product of a single geologic event, or even the same series of events. In the case of the parts of the Owhyees around Silver City, Idaho, it’s more of a damaged geologic layer cake: Cretaceous granodiorite, which penetrates Paleozoic sedimentary rock, all overlain with…

Humans, Hurricanes and Climate Change


WC is not a climatologist. You already knew that. But WC has read pretty widely in anthropogenic climate change. And it seems pretty clear that humankind is making tropical cyclones – hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons – worse, in at least four different ways. More Heat for a Heat Engine. Cyclones are heat engines. The mechanism…

Finca Lerida Coffee Farm, Panama

The Looming Coffee Crisis


WC wants his fellow coffee junkies to understand just how serious this is: coffee, the single best reason for getting out of bed in the morning, is at grave risk from climate change. Coffee, especially arabica coffee, is fussy about where it will grow and what climatic conditions it will tolerate. The other species, robusta, is a…

Elena James' Fiddle, showing a little wear on the bow after "Orange Blossom Special"

Hot Club Comes to Boise


Among WC’s very favorite live bands would be Hot Club of Cowtown. WC saw them live for the first time as a part of Mountain Stage’s first show in Fairbanks back in 2012. They blew the crowd away. At the time, WC called them “the offspring of Django Reinhard and The Texas Playboys.” They were…