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Americans should not take threats from North Korea seriously

After Sony was hacked (presumably by North Korea) because of its comedy that was about to be released about assassinating Kim Jong Un (their “Great Leader”), movie theaters were apparently threatened and many chose not to show the movie. Consequently Sony canceled its release.

Sony says — commendably, in my view — that it remains committed to releasing the movie but it needs distributors who aren’t cowed by North Korean (or other) threats.

Did theater chains accurately gauge the spirit of Americans that we would stay away in droves from theaters that were showing “The Interview,” even avoiding other movies being shown in the same complex?...

Alaska Dispatch News

After recently reading an Alaska Dispatch News headline with a preposterous claim, “ Manager says increasingly expensive Susitna dam could help salmon ,” (Dec. 18) I must protest with due respect. As a freshwater ecologist who has worked on salmon rivers for 40 years, I want to make it clear: Without question, a dam the size of Susitna-Watana will kill the Susitna as a salmon river...

Jack Stanford, Ph.D.

It was difficult to read the Dec. 22 Alaska Dispatch News commentary by Etta Kuzakin and not wonder how much a human life is worth to petty bureaucrats safely tucked away in their Washington, D.C., offices -- and so beholden to special interests.

Kuzakin, president of King Cove’s Agdaagux Tribe, worries Interior Secretary Sally Jewell’s refusal to allow a short road linking King Cove, her tiny Aleut fishing village far out on the storm-raked Alaska Peninsula, and the nearby all-weather runway at Cold Bay someday will cost a life. She has reason to fret...

Paul Jenkins

It's that time of year again. Top 10 lists for everything. Trust me. For some of them, I can't figure out how they came up with a top one, much less 10. I was going to piggyback on this cliche and give you my top 10 Alaska stories for 2014, but then I got a grip on myself.

You're welcome. I decided instead to look ahead at what will be a giant war in Alaska in the upcoming year. I figured maybe we needed to start rallying the troops to battle...

Shannyn Moore

Following a press conference at the enormous fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, an unusual sound was heard in a room of reporters: Applause. Writers and videographers representing news agencies from around the world clapped at the conclusion of a presentation by four scientists involved with the NASA mission to Mars, now in its second year. After a year of cautious data checking, there was big news. John Grotzinger, head of the Mars Science Laboratory mission, announced that methane the Curiosity rover detected on Mars "can both be consistent with the former or current presence of life." Clicking fingers on keyboards filled the conference room as Grotzinger spoke in a sure, soothing tone....

Ned Rozell
Run-of-the-river energy key

I agree with Hal Post (“Tidal power could be like moon mission,” Letters, Dec. 23) on all counts, except for his chosen source of power. I’d say using run-of-the-river hydroelectricity machines would be much better. They’re accessible to inland people, are relatively cheap and provide a lot of power. Tidal power is unfortunately expensive and tends to create eyesores which could affect our tourism industry.

There are already a lot of small towns in Alaska using run-of-the-river to provide a lot of their energy, and there are dozens more projects being planned. I’d say that if we want to save Alaska, run-of-the-river is the way to do it.

— Alex Jungreis Anchorage...

Alaska Dispatch News
Roundabouts are efficient

It is with some amusement I continue to monitor the dialogue regarding “roundabouts.” I have driven extensively in Europe where this method of traffic control is very common. One can tour hundreds of miles through the countryside and never see a stoplight. The system works very well, and eliminating the stop and go lends to a greater degree of efficiency. The Europeans drive as we do on the right side of the road. I have also experienced roundabouts in Australia. They are very common there, for all the same reasons. I dealt with driving on the right side of the car, on the left side of the road for hundreds of miles and countless roundabouts. It is not rocket science...

Alaska Dispatch News

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed ... And Joseph also went up to Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem ... to be taxed with Mary, his espoused wife, being great with child. -- Luke, Chapter 2

The context of the Christmas story is in the original Roman World System, in which resources flow to the core and power and control flow to the provinces. A version of this system operates in the United States today.

Of the many Roman provinces -- Gaul, Hispania, Macedonia and others that circled the Mediterranean Sea and into Europe -- Judea was the most problematic for Rome...

Alan Boraas

From the moment the Wright brothers successfully launched their 21-foot Flyer at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in 1903, aviation advocates began promoting the airplane as a weapon.

The 10 years before World War I were a decade of experimentation and innovation. It took the war to make the airplane a lethal force.

The Europeans were the leaders -- they were performing combat flying before the United States entered the war in April 1917. But a few Americans intoxicated with flight did not wait to discover whether Uncle Sam would join the conflict. In the days after the shooting began in the summer of 1914, they were off to fly for France in the Lafayette Escadrille...

Michael Carey

The Christmas holiday is mostly over, and with it the persistent refrain of “Jingle Bells,” the overeating of irresistible cookies and treats, the patience of department-store Santa Clauses and the orgy we call Christmas shopping. The usual complaints about the “commercialization” of Christmas have again fallen on the closed ears of the American consumer, especially those with children, for whom this holiday seems especially designed. Christmas is a secular celebration, like it or not; it’s a cultural and commercial icon that a great many Americans would have trouble relating somehow to the birth of the baby Jesus...

Steve Haycox