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Pat Race,Alaska Robotics

AKRN - Lame Tricks

Editor's note: This is the third in a series of six Alaska Robotics News multimedia commentaries leading up to the 2014 general election. Look online for new videos each Monday and Thursday.Unless you've been hiding in a cave on the moon, you probably caught the Sullivan campaign's advertisement featuring X-Games silver medalist Cory Davis. Davis calls out Sen. Mark Begich for his lame riding skills and inability to fly through the air in slow motion on a quarter-ton sled.I think it's one of the more annoying political ads this year. Davis seems likable, friendly even, and the spot itself has admirable production quality. There's just no substance.At first I thought the commercial might be a more nuanced criticism of Begich, I didn't know the Colville River Road project and thought Dan Sullivan might be implying some more condemnable act. For example, if Begich had taken credit here for a project he didn't work on, that would be a lame trick. But that doesn't appear to be the case.A quick breeze through news archives reveals several articles providing evidence that Begich has been involved in the Colville River project for years and was a big part of making it happen by repeatedly pushing back against the feds.I'm not saying this is a reason to vote for Begich, but I do think we should all be demanding a little more from Sullivan before we hand him the keys to the sled. He's campaigning on hyperbole and sound bites and that shouldn't cut it.I would like to vote for more than a construct built in thirty second increments.Contributors' note: We're working on three more of these segments before the election and we're interested in what you'd like us cover. Drop a comment here or you can always email us at hotnewztips4u@alaskarobotics.com.Created by Pat Race, Lou Logan, Aaron Suring, Jamie Karnik and many others, Alaska Robotics News is a political satire series focused on Alaska. The series was initially funded through Kickstarter and some cash donated in an unmarked brown paper bag. Alaska Robotics is group in Juneau publishing short films, comics and many other creative works. Follow their projects online at AlaskaRobotics.com or in person at their gallery at 220 Front Street.The views expressed here are the writer's own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email commentary(at)alaskadispatch.com.
Tara Young
The Tanana 4-H group spoke at the First Alaskan Institute Elders and Youth Conference for the second year in a row. The group talked about drinking and violence in Alaska villages, then challenged the kids at the conference to lead active lives and stop the cycle of abuse. Ashley Nicholia, 17, and Violet Erhart, 12, were among seven girls in the Tanana 4-H group to talk. Cynthia Erickson, the chaperone and group founder, was there to give support and encourage the audience to accept the challenges the group presented to them.Read more: Tanana 4-H girls tell of dysfunction -- and hope for better wayWatch this video on Vimeo or YouTube, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more great videos. Contact Tara Young at tara(at)alaskadispatch.com.
Alaska Dispatch News

Plaintiffs challenging Alaska's same-sex marriage legally wed

Stephanie Pearson, and Courtney Lamb wed in Anchorage on Monday, October 20, 2014. The couple was one of five same-sex couples that sued the state for the right to marry in Alaska.Read more: Plaintiffs challenging Alaska's same-sex marriage legally wed
Alaska Dispatch News

COOLEST SOUND EVER! - [Living in Alaska 43]

YouTube filmmaker Cory “Mr. Safety” Williams, aka DudeLikeHELLA, discovers the bizarre sounds skipping rocks on frozen lakes can create (the rock skipping starts at 3:41)According to Cottage Life, "Ice vibrates up and down, similar to a drumhead or cymbal vibrating after being struck. Different ice produces different sounds: A high-pitched noise when your rock hits the lake likely means you have “clear” ice. This is the glassy, see-through ice that’s formed under cold, still, non-snowy conditions. “Snow” ice -- the opaque ice that forms after snow falls on the surface of the lake, becomes saturated with water and then freezes -- produces a lower-frequency sound, because fine grains in the ice absorb some of the noise."Williams moved to Alaska last August and, along with his girlfriend, has been documenting his adventures. Watch more of DudeLikeHELLAs escapades in Alaska on his YouTube channel. He previously had Internet acclaim through his other YouTube channel SMPFilms, where you can see skits and stunts, including shock collars and mean cats.
Pat Race,Alaska Robotics

AKRN - Victory Chili

Editor's note: This is the second in a series of six Alaska Robotics News multimedia commentaries leading up to the 2014 general election. Look online for new videos each Monday and Thursday.I opened my email and there it was, “Stop by for a bowl of homemade Victory Chili!”With the general election so far away and polling still tight, I knew it was too early to celebrate victory. This must be something else. An ancient source of power upon which Alaskan Republicans have long dined? A dish imbued with the very essence of victory?I had to know. I had to drink from this spicy fountain of bean juice.Victory is a bloody word, derived from battle and conquest. The roots of victory tie deeply to warfare, and it's hard to argue that elections are not battles. Reputations are dismembered and soldiers fall for their leaders.I suppose political battles are always fought this way, with noise and bombast. With reality distortion fields and rivers of cash corrupting the entire process. All for an audience that is barely awake or too busy to pay attention.It seems like there must be a better way, but the system is alive and provides its own strange incentives.There's a film I like very much called "Princess Mononoke." It's an ambiguous story with very little room for good and evil. The protagonist, an exiled prince, views his own purpose in the story's conflict as seeing with eyes unclouded by hate. I think that's an important role in any conflict.As the general election looms, it's tempting to pick a team and fire all guns in the opposite direction, but why? Look across the battlefield and you'll see people you know and love. Political ideologies aren't battle lines, and we can respectfully disagree if we abandon our own frustration.I think I'm writing all this because of the chili. I feel slightly euphoric, probably an increase in endorphins brought on by magic beans.Or maybe Victory Chili doesn't have any magical properties at all. Maybe Victory Chili isn't even about destruction of our enemies or which campaign has the bigger pile of cheddar. Maybe Victory Chili is something more powerful, maybe Victory Chili is just taking a moment to break bread, and wind, with your neighbors.Created by Pat Race, Lou Logan, Aaron Suring, Jamie Karnik and many others, Alaska Robotics News is a political satire series focused on Alaska. The series was initially funded through Kickstarter and some cash donated in an unmarked brown paper bag. Alaska Robotics is a group in Juneau publishing short films, comics and many other creative works. Follow their projects online at AlaskaRobotics.com or in person at their gallery at 220 Front Street.The views expressed here are the writer's own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email commentary(at)alaskadispatch.com.
Marc Lester

DB3 produces drinks, drops and candies infused with marijuana’s active ingredient. Company co-founder Patrick Devlin talks about his product and his goals to expand, and gives a tour of his facility near downtown Seattle.What would legalized marijuana look like in the Last Frontier? Alaskans are in the midst of the debate surrounding Ballot Measure 2, the initiative seeking to legalize, tax and regulate recreational marijuana. In late September, Alaska Dispatch News headed to Washington state to see how the fledgling industry is taking shape and how legalized marijuana is affecting the state’s economic and cultural landscape.See how legalized marijuana has played out in Wenatchee, Washington, in this video.Read more: Seattle cannabis edibles company hopes to bring product line to AlaskaWatch this video on YouTube or Vimeo, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more great videos. Contact Marc Lester at mlester(at)alaskadispatch.com.
Alaska Dispatch News

NASA | Mapping Alaska's Forests

NASA and the U.S. Forest Service have partnered to survey the Tanana Valley State Forest of Interior Alaska.The airborne investigation looks at fire-burned areas in the forest to enable scientists to see patterns of fire recovery and develop a benchmark for future changes to the region.
Alaska Dispatch News

Making the Most Out of Your Bear Canister

Alaskans tend to need a lot of gear for enjoying all the outdoors opportunities the state offers. While a bear canister might not be the most exciting piece of outdoor equipment, it is a handy way to protect your food, makes a great camp chair and is mandatory for food storage in a number of the state's national parks, including Denali, Glacier Bay and Gates of the Arctic.In this video, Sierra Trading Post shares some tips for using your bear canister -- including a suggestion that turns it from a simple container into a low-tech bear alarm.
Pat Race,Alaska Robotics

AKRN - The Deciding Vote

Editor's note: This is the first in a series of six Alaska Robotics News multimedia commentaries leading up to the 2014 general election. Look online for new videos each Monday and Thursday.I'm trying to have a conversation at Juneau's Alaskan Bar during a crowded open mic night. I'm making the right shapes but it's impossible to tell if the words are coming out of my mouth. It's just loud.The lead singer is perched on a wobbly stool with his face smushed up against the microphone. He's sweating like a beast and demanding attention through sheer force of amplification. The chorus is cliche but the words are 10 feet tall and impossible to avoid.He sings like he's running for U.S. Senate.I don't know why the messages become so simple and contrived in political races. It's as if we voters demand that all complex thought be boiled down to a sludge before serving. We invite the clanging and banging of the campaigns, the chest thumping candidates who make it a contest of who can do the most flips on a snowmachine rather than who can craft the best policy.Obamacare. Jobs. The Koch Brothers. These aren't thoughts, they're holes cut in a painted sheet of plywood for lazy politicians to stick their heads through. It's time we ask for more.Discourse is the exchange of thoughts and ideas through conversation. It's a concept that belongs in a science fiction novel. Fantastic creatures who can link minds and transfer knowledge through sound waves. Our aspiring leaders need to embrace this power and show us they can use it responsibly.I'm looking forward to more conversation and more debates as the election draws closer. I hope our candidates will work to distinguish themselves by thinking and communicating in meaningful ways. I want to see them as real people, I want to see them acknowledge and face complicated issues as if they were trying to solve a problem instead of sell a solution.It's closing time. The lights are up and the band is loading instruments into a dented van. This probably wasn't the best place to try to have a conversation, people don't come here for conversation.Created by Pat Race, Lou Logan, Aaron Suring, Jamie Karnik and many others, Alaska Robotics News is a political satire series focused on Alaska. The series was initially funded through Kickstarter and some cash donated in an unmarked brown paper bag. Alaska Robotics is a group in Juneau publishing short films, comics and many other creative works. Follow their projects online at AlaskaRobotics.com or in person at their gallery at 220 Front Street.The views expressed here are the writer's own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email commentary(at)alaskadispatch.com.
Marc Lester
Growers and retailers in the vicinity of Wenatchee, Washington, have been busy. Washington state this year began issuing permits for marijuana businesses. In this video, take a look at two large grow operations and hear from a store owner, lawmakers and citizens about how life has changed since Initiative 502 passed two years ago, legalizing recreational marijuana in Washington.What would legalized marijuana look like in the Last Frontier? Alaskans are in the midst of the debate surrounding Ballot Measure 2, the initiative seeking to legalize, tax and regulate recreational marijuana. In late September, Alaska Dispatch News headed to Washington state to see how the fledgling industry is taking shape and how legalized marijuana is affecting the state’s economic and cultural landscape.For much more on the newest agricultural industry in central Washington, find this story by reporter Laurel Andrews.Watch this video on YouTube or Vimeo, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more great videos. Contact Marc Lester at mlester(at)alaskadispatch.com.
Alaska Dispatch News

The Slotterhouse Five

Andrew McLean is considered one of the country’s finest ski mountaineers, a term he prefers to "extreme skier" because he climbs up mountains and then skis down them. He lives in Utah and skis the Wasatch mountains daily, but one of his favorite places is Alaska’s Wrangell and St. Elias ranges."The cool thing about skiing in the Wrangells is that you just get everything," says McLean. "You’ve got some of the highest peaks in North America. It’s got huge ski descents. You’ve got glaciers, steeps, powder, flats, just about everything you could look for." McLean calls his video Skiing Solidarity Peak. He has skied the Wrangell and St. Elias ranges a half-dozen times "and on one of those trips, I skied a region so stacked with massive slot-like couloirs we named it 'The Slotterhouse,'" McLean told Powder Magazine in its October issue.   
Marc Lester

Alaska DJs remember Marvell Johnson

For more than 35 years, Saturday nights on Anchorage's KSKA 91.1 belonged to Marvell Johnson. The longtime radio disc jockey and foster parent hosted "Flight Soul to Soul," a funk, soul, hip-hop and R&B music show with a devoted following of listeners -- especially among inmates at Anchorage jails, who frequently communicated with loved ones on the outside through song requests and dedications. On Oct. 7, Johnson was shot and killed at his Anchorage home, and his 16-year-old foster son Peter John Henry has been charged as an adult with murder. On Saturday, some of the Anchorage DJs Johnson mentored over the years hosted "Soul to Soul" one last time, in his memory. Slow jams, dedications and tears followed.

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