January 2009

Mount Redoubt: Friday's News Darling

Perhaps heralding a slow news day, news outlets across the country have lept on the news that Mount Redoubt might be about to blow.  Any minute now! Mount Redoubt's volcano erupted with very little notice in 1989, causing most air traffic to be re-routed, and a fine layer of ash to be deposited all across Cook Inlet.  (I say "most" air traffic because a KLM jet ignored or didn't receive warning in time, and flew right through the ash plume over Talkeetna.  Although the pilot was able to bring the jet's engines back online and everyone arrived safely at the airport, it was a pretty scary experience.  The Anchorage Daily News has a vivid account of the near-crash experience in <a href="http://www.adn.com/news/alaska/story/672551.html">today's article on Redoubt</a>.) Volcanic activity is fairly common in the Aleutians, and in unpopulated areas across the world.   Mount Redoubt captures the national attention because it's fairly close to an urban population.  I remember when Redoubt blew in 1989, we could see the ash plume from Anchorage (although just barely). A fine dusting of ash fell over everything, and we were warned to change the air filters in our cars, and to w

Anchorage recycling is in the dumps

As of yesterday, January 5th, glass can no longer be recycled in the city of Anchorage. According to the Anchorage Daily News recycling blog, "[...]the glass drop-off containers at the Anchorage Recycling Center off Dowling Road (Smurfit-Stone Recycling), the Anchorage Regional Landfill and at Brown Jug Warehouse on Old Seward will be removed." Recycling has become less profitable across the country, as costs for transportation have soared in line with gas prices. However, Anchorage is one of the first cities to stop recycling a category as big as "glass." Although glass recycling is said to be "on hiatus" in Anchorage, there is no word yet on when it will resume. This spells trouble for recycling overall in Anchorage, because glass has traditionally been one of the easiest, cleanest, and most profitable items to recycle. Unlike plastics, paper, and cardboard, all of which require a lot of processing, glass simply needs to be melted in order to be recycled. Glass is one of the few products which requires less energy to recycle than it does to make from scratch.

Sensationalist Grizzly TV Show Appalls Everyone

The Discovery Channel recently aired an episode of a new show called "Bear Feeding Frenzy." The show purports to give viewers an inside, hidden camera look at grizzly bears in the wild. Former soap opera star Chris Douglas sits inside a bear proof plexiglass box while a grizzly bear approaches, mangles a mannequin tied to the outside of the box, and drags it away into the woods for further chomping. The catch? It was filmed entirely at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Portage, inside an eighteen acre fenced enclosure. "Bear Feeding Frenzy" opens with a sensational shot of claws ripping through a red tinged background.