On June 2, members of the D.C. National Guard stand on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during ongoing protests against police brutality and the death of George Floyd. (Win Mcnamee/Getty Images)

Notes on Win Mcnamee’s Photo


WC had never heard of photographer Win Mcnamee before this photo appeared in the Washington Post. His capture of the Washington, D.C. national guard members standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial is among the most forceful images to come out of the protests against police brutality following the murder of George Floyd. The photo…

Cold Bay and King Cove, Alaska Peninsula (via Apple Maps)

Another BUCIP: King Cove’s Road


BUCIPs, long-time readers may recall, are Big, Ugly. Complicated, Intractable Problems (bew-kip). It’s been a long time since WC has written about a BUCIP. Partly that’s because they are so damned discouraging. But there have been developments in the King Cove BUCIP. First some background. The Alaska Peninsula extends west-southwest from the Alaska mainland hundreds…

Brown Capuchin Monkey, Peru

Watching the Monkey Smash Its Toy


When WC was a young pup, his family took a vacation from Fairbanks, visiting Stockton, California, our old hometown, to visit the relatives. WC’s older cousins, Gary and Bob, were employed that summer as caretakers at the modest zoo Stockton offered at the time. WC tagged along one early evening. One of the attractions was…

An Open Letter to Lisa Murkowski


June 7, 2020 Senator Lisa Murkowski 522 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510 Dear Senator Murkowski: Thank you for your comments on General James Mattis’s rebuke of President Trump. You’re quoted in the New York Times as saying, “I thought General Mattis’s words were true and honest and necessary and overdue.” Given the strength of…

Little Salmon River Valley at Pollock, Idaho

Geology Is Messy: The Little Salmon River


The Little Salmon River – and it really is little in comparison to Idaho’s Salmon River – run mostly north from New Meadows to Riggins, at the confluence of the Little Salmon and the Salmon, about 45 river miles. It follows a fault that marks part of the suture created when the Seven Devils Terrane…

American White Pelican, Thousand Springs WMA, Idaho

Tax the Rat Farms


Terry Pratchett’s fictional tyrant of the city of Ankh-Morpork, Havelock Veterinari, was asked how to control the City’s burgeoning rat problem. The City had a bounty on rat tails, and for a while it seemed to be helping. The number of rats declined, and so did requests for bounties. But then the rat population seemed…

Alaska Attorney General Kevin Clarkson, left, is seen at a press conference Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019, in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)

Alaska AG Kevin Clarkson Finds Time to Interfere


Alaska’s Attorney General Kevin Clarkson has some grave challenges before him. Rural justice in Alaska is a disaster. Alaska has the highest rate of sexual assaults on women in the nation. The rates of child abuse in Alaska are a national embarrassment. The state’s fiscal woes have Alaska scrambling to keep the wheels from coming…

Donald Trump in the Cabinet Room at the White House, Washington, U.S., November 22, 2019. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

Trump Keeps Losing


When Trump goes into one of these Twitter frenzies, touting conspiracy theories (Scarborough, China), lying about nonsense (Obamagate) and retweeting videos where the speaker says, “The only good Democrat is a dead Democrat,” when he does this it’s imperative you look to see what’s really going on, because those tweets are mostly distractions. Well, the…

The Donald Acting Out (David Becker/Getty Images)

A Trump Lexicon, Seventh Edition


Our president uses language in unusual ways, a mix of babble, Orwell’s NewSpeak and nonsense. His recent bad weeks have once again spawned a stream of new and unusual terms. Newer terms and phrases are towards the top. It’s tempting to wait and see what new phrases appear as the pandemic proceeds, but WC will…

Black-crowned Night Heron headed to the rookery; Snake River Canyon, Idaho

Watching Commuter Traffic


WC was off the grid the last few days, which explains the absence of a blog post yesterday. It wasn’t exactly a hardship post: Banbury Hot Springs, which has a very nice RV camping area and private hot spring-fed, jacuzzi-jetted hot tubs, which are very thing for a geezer’s sore muscles after schlepping a camera…

The Electromagnetic Spectrum explained

The Stupid Is Strong: COVID-19 and 5G


The United States has no monopoly on stupid. There have been dozens of cell phone tower arson events in the UK and mainland Europe. Why are Europeans burning cell phone towers? Because the arsonists think the cell phone towers are spreading COVID-19. So the nut jobs are burning cell phone towers to prevent the spread of…

Pickup Truck, Rural Idaho, 2019

Understanding WC’s Pessimism


Several readers have accused WC of being a pessimist recently. Subject to the observations in this post, which WC will get to in a moment, the accusation is untrue. Rather, WC is a realist. Any realist is at least mildly pessimistic, as a side effect of just how dismal reality can sometimes be. Here’s a…

Laurie and John DeWitt, Hell's Canyon, Idaho, September 2016

R.I.P. Laurie DeWitt, 1952-2020


WC lost his sister-in-law, his brother’s wife, Laurie DeWitt, yesterday. She was a sweet, smart, wonderful woman and the world is a poorer and darker with her gone. She fought a six year battle with lung cancer that had spread throughout her entire body before it was even discovered. Throughout that struggle, she showed unimaginable…

November 2002 Quake Fault Trace Crossing Richardson Highway

Now This Was an Earthquake


On November 3, 2002, just a little after noon, WC was upstairs at his home in Fairbanks, working on his email. Mrs. WC was downstairs doing chores. The whole house gave a very strong, sudden and sharp jerk. There was a pause. And then continuously, for two minutes and 18 seconds, the house thrashed around…