Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Entries Tagged as 'Alaska'

A Rule Made to be Broken

April 24th, 2013 · No Comments

Over on the ol’ microblog, I probably link to a half-dozen intriguing tales per day, most of which I forget about a few moments after posting. But every so often, one of the stories I toss into the flotsam sticks with me for days, even weeks, to the point that I need to sit down […]

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Born to Greatness

December 19th, 2012 · 6 Comments

Alice Strick, the current world record holder in the Canadian-style one-foot high kick, is part of an athletic dynasty: her mother and cousin were also champions at the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics. While Strick’s feat in the clip above may seem effortless, I can assure you that it required near-superhuman athleticism. I know this because I […]

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Mary, Queen of Business

October 9th, 2012 · No Comments

Mary Antisarlook, popularly known as Sinrock Mary, was at one point the wealthiest woman in Alaska. She made her fortune by controlling a herd of approximately 1,500 reindeer, which she inherited after her second husband’s death in 1900. Mary was able to keep the herd together despite numerous legal challenges to her ownership, including those […]

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Only the Lonely

December 20th, 2011 · 2 Comments

While in Pittsburgh last week, I had a chance to catch up with an old friend who’s now an archaeology professor. He just returned to the Lower 48 after four years in Alaska, where he spent much of his time digging up the artifacts left behind by ancient inhabitants of the Aleutian Islands. On our […]

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The Original Social Networks

September 1st, 2011 · 3 Comments

For those of us born after the invention of pencilin—presumably anyone and everyone who has ever checked into Microkhan’s universe—it’s difficult to fathom the esteem in which fraternal organizations were once regarded. Thumb through any society page from the first half of the 20th century and you’ll doubtless encounter one article after another about the […]

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The Maya Moore of Fish Cutting

August 9th, 2011 · No Comments

I’m rarely impressed by the talent portions of beauty pageants. Yes, I realize that baton twirling went out with leaded gasoline, but the mediocre singing and dancing that are now commonplace in such contests have done nothing to convince me that budding artists eschew the pageant circuit. But just when I’m nearly secure in my […]

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A Company Town’s Sudden Death

June 14th, 2010 · 1 Comment

While researching the economic feasibility of a Bering Strait tunnel, we came across this recent dispatch from the Edmonton Journal. In addition to alerting us to the manner in which the residents of Little Diomede were used as Cold War pawns, the article made us aware of the callow manner in which the Russian coal […]

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Where Smirnoff Gets Its Due

April 7th, 2010 · 8 Comments

From the northernmost portion of Canada comes a salient lesson on mankind’s bottomless thirst for booze—a thirst that we’ll go to ridiculous lengths to slake: The announcement of an alcohol task force comes on the heels of a string of bootlegging busts across the territory. At a news conference Wednesday, RCMP Sgt. Jimmy Akavak said […]

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The Comfort of Statistics

March 10th, 2010 · 1 Comment

For those suffering from a grave case of ursinophobia, we provide the following snippet from Bear Facts, an informational brochure produced by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game: Many bears live in Alaska and many people enjoy the outdoors, but surprisingly few people even see bears. Only a tiny percentage of those few are […]

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Pining for Convenience

March 5th, 2010 · No Comments

Living as we do in the heart of Atlah, we often take for granted the notion of easy access to groceries. Whenever we find ourselves lacking a can of beans or coffee filters, no big whoop—that situation can be rectified in a manner of minutes, simply by strapping on our sneakers and walking down to […]

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Lord of the Snow

February 16th, 2010 · No Comments

Big doings up in the Yukon yesterday, as Austrian dog-sledding superstar Hans Gatt captured his fourth Yukon Quest title. If you’ve ever been curious about the strategies employed by professional mushers during their competitive odysseys, we highly recommend the invaluable “Check Point” blog, which is sort of the ESPN.com of dog sledding. We especially enjoyed […]

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The Agony of Victory

February 11th, 2010 · 8 Comments

Despite our longtime enthusiasm for ski jumping, we just can’t seem to drum up much interest in this edition of the Winter Olympics. Perhaps that’s because we currently find ourselves smitten with an entirely different set of cold-weather games—those which comprise the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics, held annually in Fairbanks, Alaska. Most are simple tests of […]

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Still Waiting for Our Mini-Chopper

November 13th, 2009 · 3 Comments

It just seemed cruel to cap the week with Ms. O’Donnell’s execrable work, so we’re gonna give you a retro-futuristic treat: a World War II-era view of the rise of personal aircraft. The pamphlet’s title really says it all: Will There Be a Plane in Every Garage? The answer, as you might surmise, is a […]

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The Steakification of Blitzen

October 26th, 2009 · 5 Comments

The rapid warming of the Arctic may delight those keen on easier shipping, but it’s been nothing but terrible news for reindeer and their human overseers. On the Yamal Peninsula, the indigenous Nenet people are watching in horror as their precous herds break legs upon the gravel now popping up from the melted permafrost. And […]

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Renewal to the North

October 6th, 2009 · 4 Comments

Aware of our fascination with the current wave of Bhutanese refugees alighting in the U.S., our favorite correspondent from the Nushagak Bay area alerted us to this great A/V feature from the Anchorage Daily News. Apparently a small group of the Lhotshampas have landed in the Land of the Midnight Sun, after a gobsmacking 17 […]

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“More Imperfect Than Impermeable”

June 29th, 2009 · 2 Comments

We’re fond of gently mocking those who seek to make teetotaling a legal requirement. The Eighteenth Amendment, after all, is widely regarded as a notable (even noble) failure, and we certainly can’t imagine life without the more-than-occasional bomber of Ballantine. But does that mean all attempts at enforcing prohibition are doomed to have zero positive […]

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Victory on Rat Island

June 15th, 2009 · 1 Comment

We’ll admit, we were deeply skeptical of plans to rid Alaska’s Rat Island of its marauding rodents. But the airdropped brodifacoum actually seems to have done the trick. Execs at Club Med are surely licking their chops.

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First Contact: The Dena’ina

May 13th, 2009 · No Comments

Perhaps our favorite passage in all of American literature can be found on the last page of The Great Gatsby. No, not that celebrated last line about boats fighting the current. Rather it’s the snippet located a few paragraphs before the end, in which Nick Carraway waxes rhapsodic about Dutch explorers: And as the moon […]

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Paint the Far Corners

May 8th, 2009 · 1 Comment

In the process of prepping a special series on first contacts (which will launch next week), Microkhan recently became acquainted with the work of John Webber, an English painter best known for accompanying Captain James Cook to Hawaii. Fortunately for us, Webber did not share Cook’s bummer of fate, and went on to create some […]

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Redoubt in (Almost) Realtime

May 4th, 2009 · No Comments

Alaska’s Mount Redoubt, a 10,197-foot-high volcano located a little over 100 miles from Anchorage, is burbling anew. Witness the ashy stir via the Alaska Volcano Observatory’s three Mount Redoubt webcams; Microkhan’s favorite snaps regular pics from the volcano’s northern flank, though the angle from a nearby seismic station is mighty intriguing, too.

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Bombs and Otters

April 17th, 2009 · 3 Comments

There’s such a wealth of fascinating tidbits in this National Nuclear Security Administration archive, it’s hard to know where to begin. Many of the goodies, such as this mind-blowing clip from Operation Castle, will already be familiar to students of atomic-testing history. But others are of a much rarer nature, and some were declassified just […]

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Old Believers in Alaska

March 6th, 2009 · No Comments

About a year ago, I started following the tragic case of an Alaskan charter flight that crashed near Kodiak, killing six. What caught my attention was the fact that the starcrossed passengers were said to be members of an “Old Believer” community near the remote hamlet of Homer. The victims were flying back home to […]

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Escape from Rat Island

March 3rd, 2009 · 3 Comments

Yesterday’s post about southeastern Bangladesh’s rodent invasion got me searching for recent example of rat-eradication campaigns. The hunt led me to Rat Island, Alaska, one of the remotest Aleutian Islands, where rats were introduced via shipwreck in the late 1700s. They’re since destroyed the vast majority of the island’s seabirds, and their pace of destruction […]

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