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Alaska Newsreader: White Pass and Yukon Railway herbicide dispute, Anchorage's Fourth of July rank, Russian glaciers

Herbicide spraying plan for White Pass and Yukon Railway arouses opposition: A proposal by the White Pass and Yukon Railway to spray weed-killing chemicals on the railroad’s tracks has prompted a backlash from Yukon environmental groups, reports the CBC. The railroad, which runs from Skagway in Southeast Alaska, to Whitehorse, Yukon’s territorial capital, doesn’t connect to other rail networks, but is a popular tourist route. Among other things, Yukon environmental groups are upset that word of the plans only became public when they were mentioned at a council meeting in Skagway. The much larger Alaska Railroad has its own controversial history over the use -- and permitting process -- of herbicides to keep tracks free from weeds.

How do you survive a bear attack? Let's ask a bear: It can be tough to know exactly how to comport oneself in bear country. Should you run or stay still? Do dogs offer a layer of protection or to they make an encounter worse? Fortunately, McSweeney’s has cut through all the speculation and gone straight to the source, with its most recent (and not necessarily appropriate for everyone) short imagined monologue: “A bear explains how to survive a bear attack.”

Anchorage among the worst places to celebrate Independence Day, concludes report: Fourth of July in Anchorage pretty well sucks for people, or so concludes WalletHub.com which examines economic and social metrics to rate almost everything in the country these days. On Tuesday it put Anchorage near worst on its list of "2014 Best & Worst Cities for 4th of July Celebrations." One hundred cities made the countdown and only Durham, North Carolina, scored worse than Alaska's urban core. Anchorage, according to WalletHub, costs too much and lacks for fun. The hotels are expensive. The beer and wine is among the costliest in the country. Arts, entertainment and recreation establishments are sadly lacking. And there aren't many swimming pools. The city did, however, get a pretty good score for temperature with 75 considered the ideal and most cities far too hot. And Anchorage was number one for "acres of parkland per capita," making it arguably the absolutely perfect place to spend the Fourth of July if you are a bear or a moose. Hello, Yogi bear! C'mon up Bullwinkle!

In Russia, melting sea ice means glaciers aren't shrinking -- at least for now: Even while the Arctic warms at a rate faster than anywhere else in the world, some glaciers are getting bigger. That’s especially true in a few places in Russia, where researchers found a correlation between melting sea ice and the surprising absence of glacier melt, reports Environmental Research Web. The study, published in Environmental Research Letters, found that an increase in melting sea ice meant an increase in precipitation -- in the form of snow -- which helped preserve the glaciers. At first glance, that might seem like a neat example of a self-regulating system, but one of the researchers warned against too much optimism: “Once this region is warm enough, liquid rainfall might dominate precipitation, which can further accelerate glacier snowmelt, instead of moderating ablation when in its solid form.”

Measuring carbon coming from North Slope streams: How much of the carbon released in the atmosphere from the Arctic comes from fresh water? Somewhere between 20 and 40 percent scientists believe. But research at the Toolik Field Station aims to pin that number down more precisely, according to a report from water issues site Circle of Blue. The research focuses on the peculiarly Arctic phenomenon of beaded streams, which drop from pool to pool -- features that can, depending on condition sequester some carbon, at least for awhile.



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