Arctic Climate Change and Extinction

I can barely understand the abstract:

The Arctic Ocean is undergoing rapid climatic changes including higher ocean temperatures, reduced sea ice, glacier and Greenland Ice Sheet melting, greater marine productivity, and altered carbon cycling. Until recently, the relationship between climate and Arctic biological systems was poorly known, but this has changed substantially as advances in paleoclimatology, micropaleontology, vertebrate paleontology, and molecular genetics show that Arctic ecosystem history reflects global and regional climatic changes over all timescales and climate states…. Climate-driven biological impacts included large changes in species diversity, primary productivity, species’ geographic range shifts into and out of the Arctic, community restructuring, and possible hybridization, but evidence is not sufficient to determine whether or when major episodes of extinction occurred.

Mosquitos

The state bird of Alaska, profiled in the Alaska Dispatch News: there are about 17.5 trillion of them. Read the whole article to find the answer to the question: Is the biomass of mosquitoes on the North Slope larger than that of all caribou? The accompanying picture is pretty accurate, too.

Nightmare Climber

We went to the AK Zoo for Father’s Day. Can you guess what this charming fellow is?

Porcupine Climbing

That’s right. It’s a climbing porcupine. Did you know they could climb? And with those teeth, do you think there’s anything in your house they can’t go through? Sleep soundly!

I posted about a dozen of my favorite pictures over on my Flickr page. Don’t miss Yoga Bear. (That’s yogA, not yogI.)

Newsboys at Fusion 2013

We saw the Newsboys last night. They were performing at the “Fusion 2013” event at the Anchorage Baptist Temple (the only church I’ve ever seen with a disco ball). Here’s a shot from the show.

Newsboys 2013

Judging from the number of people holding up phones (and iPads!) to record whole songs, you should be able to piece together the entire concert experience if you surf YouTube for a while.

Most of the songs last night were from the God’s Not Dead tour. I didn’t keep a set list, but I remember “The King is Coming,” “Your Love Never Fails” and (duh) “God’s Not Dead.” If they played “Forever Reign” or “I Am Second” I don’t remember them.

They also played a few songs from their forthcoming album Restart. They were fine songs but I don’t know them yet, much less remember their names, except for “Live With Abandon,” which is not infrequently on the radio.

I was surprised that they didn’t do much from their Born Again album. I think(?) they played “Born Again” and “Miracles,” but not much else. I was hoping for “Way Beyond Myself” and/or “Impossible,” and wouldn’t have complained if they’d played “One Shot.”

But I couldn’t be disappointed because they also threw in two of my very favorite pre-Michael Tait Newsboys songs: “Something Beautiful” from Go and “He Reigns” from Adoration. (The latter a worship song so wonderful it was included in the recent United Methodist Worship and Song quasi-hymnal.) In a nod to Tait’s history (and the crowd’s wishes) the set also included DC Talk’s “Jesus Freak.”

It was a great show. The venue was a huge church, which is to say, a very intimate stadium. I can’t remember ever being as close to the stage at a concert. The band was excellent, and made an effort to connect with the audience. They didn’t just read “Anchorage” off a sticky note on their guitar, so to speak, but talked about hunting moose and how Jesus would have been able to get some great disciples with so many fishermen to choose from.

Michael Tait was great, not only as the lead vocalist, but — especially — as a showman. The emcee had instructed everyone to stay in their pews because of the fire code, but after the band came out, Tait told them to come down front where he could get down among them and high-five them and make eye contact and hold out his microphone for them and generally connect with the audience as he sang.

This was my third Newsboys concert. Margo and I saw them in 1995 at the Oregon State Fairgrounds. They were the headline act in a bill that opened with Tony Vincent, followed by Audio Adrenaline. (If they toured with Audio Adrenaline today, it would be 2/3 of a DC Talk reunion.) That would have been the Going Public tour, I guess.

I saw the Newsboys again a year later on their Take Me to Your Leader tour. They had broken (for a Christian act) with “Breakfast,” and were at the Rose Garden in Portland, with a huge stage show. Theoretically, I was a chaperone for my church’s youth group. But after 1996, I didn’t have the chance to see them again until last night. I’m glad I did.

“This was not a boating accident!”

…well, actually, it was a boating accident, according to the Anchorage Daily News:

Two women are dead after their canoe capsized on Eagle River on Wednesday afternoon, police and fire officials said.

They had PFDs and other people were with them and still they died. Authorities are investigating.

Earlier this summer, I was trying to learn how to canoe in order to go for a float trip down the Gulkana. But I lost my enthusiasm for the project about the 117th time the canoe tipped me into Campbell Creek.

It’s not that it wasn’t fun. Even I, in my state of complete naivety, could tell it had the potential to be very fun. But not so fun I couldn’t walk away from it.

Twilight in Alaska

Here’s what’s so weird about living in Alaska. It’s late, and I’m tired, and I look out the window and the sun hasn’t even set yet!

Twilight in Alaska

“Beater with a Heater”

It costs a lot to ship a car to Alaska, so we sold the older of our two cars when we moved here.

And now we’re trying to find a replacement. My price range is “beater with heater,” so if you know something in that ballpark, let me know.

I’m mainly using Craigslist, of course, doing a lot of searching for “AWD” and “Subaru” there. Most of the attractive cars vanish in a few hours, but I keep seeing one that’s pretty tempting, in a danger-will-robinson sort of way: a 1991 Subaru XT-6.

I asked a friend and he sent me a whole raft of cautionary emails like this one. But it wasn’t all warnings. There was an article in Car and Driver, which calls the XT-6 a winter beater:

“The XT6 is undoubtedly the best Subaru ever built,” we gushed in a July 1988 test. Well, it certainly was the most complicated, offering height-adjustable air springs, electrohydraulic “Cybrid” power steering, and a choice of two all-wheel-drive systems.

We went over and looked at this one, and it’s still tempting. The owner bought it a couple of years ago and has poured a lot of effort into rehabilitating it. But it’s a 20-year old small-production small car. Do I want a car, or a hobby? Hmmm.