Alaska

Photo of the Day

Soapy Smith

“I Consider Bunco Steering More Honorable than

The Life led by the Average Politician.”

Soapy Smith – Bunko Man of the Old West

Jefferson Randolph “Soapy” Smith II (1860-1898) – The most famous bunko man in the Old West, Smith was a con artist and gangster who had a major hand in the organised criminal affairs and operations of Denver and Creede, Colorado, as well as Skagway, Alaska.

Soapy was one of the most well-known and amoral criminal masterminds of 19th century America. An accomplished con artist from the age of 19, he eventually rose to command a gang network of criminal activity through a combination of wit, charm, and weapons is so respected that even today people gather for a?wake in his honour?on the anniversary of his death.

Pimps, to card sharks, shell game artists, ?simple picket pockets, and Scoundrels have unfortunately always been more than abundant. But, in history, they could often get away with their lies, cheating, tricks, and cons for much longer than they can today, as they moved from place to place, repeating the same old tricks before another new audience.

Without the media technology of today, these thieves and swindlers simply took the same con game to a new place where they weren’t known and repeated it again and again.

Sometimes, they changed their names, but often weren’t even required to, as back in the days of the Old West, most people didn’t ask questions of a newcomer’s past.

In Denver, he ran several saloons, gambling halls, cigar stores, and auction houses that specialised in cheating their clientele. In Denver, Soapy began to make a name for himself across the country as a bad man. Denver is also where he entered the arena of political fixing, where, for favours, he could sway the outcome of city, county, and state elections.

He used the same methods of operation when he settled in the towns of Creede and Skagway, opening businesses with the primary goal of gently robbing his customers while making a name for himself. He died in spectacular fashion in the shootout on Juneau Wharf in Skagway.

Read more »

Photo of the Day

A 1921 expedition left Ada Blackjack (center) stranded for two years in the Arctic.

Ada Blackjack

Ada Blackjack was an unlikely hero – an unskilled 23-year-old Inuit woman with no knowledge of the world outside Nome, Alaska. Divorced, impoverished, and despondent, she had one focus in her life – to care for her sickly young son. In September 1921, in search of money and a husband, she signed on as seamstress for a top-secret expedition into the unknown Arctic.

It was controversial explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson who sent four young men and Ada Blackjack into the far North to desolate, uninhabited Wrangel Island. Only two of the men had set foot in the Arctic before. They took with them six months’ worth of supplies on Stefansson’s theory that this would be enough to sustain them for a year while they lived off the land itself. But as winter set in, they were struck by hardship and tragedy. As months went by and they began to starve, they were forced to ration their few remaining provisions. When three of the men made a desperate attempt to seek help, Ada was left to care for the fourth, who was too sick to travel.

Ada Blackjack Johnson was born in Solomon, Alaska. Early in her life Blackjack relocated to Nome, Alaska. She married and gave birth to three children but only one survived past infancy. The death of her husband by drowning left her destitute, and she temporarily placed her son in an orphanage. Soon after, in 1921, she joined an expedition across the Chukchi Sea to Russia?s Wrangel Island led by Canadian Allan Crawford but financed, planned and encouraged by Vilhjalmur Stefansson.

Read more »

Photo of the Day

Spruce Tree Snapped Off by the Wave - Seven Miles from its Source. Stump of living spruce tree broken off by the giant wave at Harbor Point, mouth of Lituya Bay. Brim of hat is 12 inches in diameter. This tree is located about seven miles (11.3 kilometers) from where the wave originated. Photo by D.J. Miller, United States Geological Survey.

Spruce Tree Snapped Off by the Wave – Seven Miles from its Source. Stump of living spruce tree broken off by the giant wave at Harbor Point, mouth of Lituya Bay. Brim of hat is 12 inches in diameter. This tree is located about seven miles (11.3 kilometers) from where the wave originated. Photo by D.J. Miller, United States Geological Survey.

World’s Tallest Tsunami

The Empire State Building is 448 metres high (1,470 ft), if you include the antenna spire. Now, imagine a wave that goes up to the 1,720ft (520 metres) and simply destroys all the trees high up in Lituya Bay, a fjord located on the coast of Alaska

Ketchikan, Alaska – Alaska is a land of geological superlatives: Big Mountains, vast spaces, huge earthquakes. So it would stand to reason that an event that happened 58 years is also the largest of its kind ever recorded.

The biggest tsunami in present times struck at Lituya Bay, Alaska on July 9, 1958. This was so big that it is known scientifically as a Mega Tsunami.

The wave was brought on by an enormous 8.3. Some say 8.8. And others say a 9.0 magnitude earthquake that hit the Fairweather Fault and caused a massive earth landslide.

The region had suffered earthquakes previously as it lies on a fault line; however, this was the most dramatic. The tremors were even felt by people in Seattle, Washington.

The earthquake that may have been as powerful as the one that helped destroy?San Francisco in 1906. About 40 million cubic yards of rock ? some of it falling from a height of 3,000 feet ? plunged down the face of Lituya Glacier into Gilbert Inlet at the northern end of the bay.

Sudden water displacement created a wave that shot seaward from the land, and that was certainly a factor in what followed. But similar occurrences in Norway, where fjords are plentiful, never produced a wave remotely close to the size of this one.

The Lituya?Bay mega tsunami was a freak?tsunami (said to be the biggest wave ever)?in Lituya?Bay a large fjord in Alaska.?The reason that this?tsunami is so different to others?is the fact that it ran from the land out to the ocean and was a lot taller?than a regular tsunami.

Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Photograph by Freekee on Wikimedia Commons This historic and impressive piece of machinery is the rotary snowplow, and it?s used for clearing train tracks after a heavy snowfall. The large, circular set of blades on its front are rotated by an engine that?s held within its frame. But although it contains an engine, the snowplow isn't a self-propelled vehicle. This means that one or more trains must follow behind to push it along the tracks as it cuts a path in the snow.

Photograph by Freekee on Wikimedia Commons
This historic and impressive piece of machinery is the rotary snowplow, and it?s used for clearing train tracks after a heavy snowfall. The large, circular set of blades on its front are rotated by an engine that?s held within its frame. But although it contains an engine, the snowplow isn’t a self-propelled vehicle. This means that one or more trains must follow behind to push it along the tracks as it cuts a path in the snow.

Snowblower Train, Skagway, Alaska

Read more »

Now this is real proper dirty politics

There has been much written about dirty politics, but the reality is that it is all pretty mundane in actual fact.

Most PR practitioners do far worse.

If you want to look at real dirty politics then look at this story from the US.

Alaska Sen. Mark Begich finally pulled down a controversial attack ad against Republican challenger Dan Sullivan on Tuesday night, but he?s still in hot water over the episode, threatening to undo some of the momentum the Democrat had generated over the past few months.

The Begich campaign?ad?featured a retired Anchorage detective standing in front of an apartment building, discussing the murder of two seniors and the sexual assault of their granddaughter ? crimes allegedly committed by someone who received a shorter sentence than he should have for a previous offense when Sullivan was the state?s attorney general. ?? Read more »

GoPro + Quadcopter + Alaskan ice caves

I’m really starting to want one of these rigs.

Tagged:

Imagine the shortest possible takeoff and landing. Was it like this?

This is looking like a good option for Auckland too

A cat has been mayor of Alaskan town for 15 years – option for Aucklanders too?

imageprocessor

Mayor Stubbs has been at the helm of the small town of Talkeetna, Alaska for 15 years – an impressive feat for any elected official, but even more so considering Stubbs is a cat.

The part-manx is popular among residents, who voted him into office in a write-in election a decade and a half ago when he was a kitten, after rejecting the human candidates on the ballot.

“Lo and behold, Stubbs the cat won the write-in that year,”?one resident told NBC affiliate WBBH. “And he’s been our mayor ever since.”? Read more »

Tagged:

Stranded Orca saved by fishermen

It isn’t often you see a stranded Orca…though the left-wing keep hoping and praying.

In late September three commercial shrimp fishermen near Ketchikan, Alaska came to the aid of a killer whale stranded on a shallow, rocky inlet. A video posted on YouTube last week shows the men calmly petting a large female orca and pouring water over its body, waiting for the rising tide to help them return it to the water.

Jason Vonick told?ABC news?that he and his partners,?Nick Segal and John Oakes,?were preparing for the start of their fishing season when they saw several killer whales hunting seals near a rocky inlet. When one of the orcas got stuck on some rocks, the men anchored their fishing vessel and ventured closer in a smaller, 15-foot boat to see if they could help, but the orca’s mass and low tide was working against them. ? Read more »

Photo of the Day

B29:

 

She’s known as “The Lady Of The Lake” and this is on Eilson AFB, about 20 miles South of Fairbanks. She broke down at the base in the 50’s I believe, was scrapped for parts, used for training, and eventually towed to a shallow gravel pit pond to be used for water extraction training. The water eventually filled up around her. I dove on the aircraft around 2000 and can tell you that she’s mostly gutted and that you can make it as far back as the bomb bay but the radio room is inaccessible. The crawlway tunnel that ran between the cockpit and the radio room is still there but obviously too small for someone in dive gear. Oh, and there are leeches in that lake. ?—?Squeazle

PDF Fact Sheet – US Air Force

×