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September 2013

Articles

Top of the World

Top of the World

I’m lying in a wind-battered tent at 26,000 feet, taking a slow drain from an oxygen bottle—hoping a fresh supply of Os will be enough to breathe some life back to my tired legs, back, and shoulders. For the past five and a half hours we’ve been on the move—climbing and scratching our way up the Lhotse Face, across the Yellow Band, and over the Geneva Spur to a football field sized notch under the mountain’s final pyramid. While the body is resting, my mind continues to race; I know this break is short lived. In a few short hours I’ll be charging back into the tempest to attempt a goal years in the making: to reach the summit of the highest mountain in the world.

Elephant-Load Trucks

Elephant-Load Trucks

Elephants likely aren’t the first thing that comes to mind when talking about mining in Interior Alaska, but they are an apt metaphor for the equipment used at Fort Knox gold mine.

The Alaska OCS and State Fiscal Policy

Sometimes state officials and other proponents argue that oil tax reform is needed to keep the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) operational “until” oil from Shell Oil Company’s Chukchi Sea or other Alaska Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) projects come online in the 2020s.

Alaska Native Leadership

The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act that created twelve regional Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs) and encouraged numerous tribal corporations was the beginning of a journey of socioeconomic independence that is still underway today. It is quite remarkable and heartening to see the success of these Alaska corporations given the relatively short amount of time they have been in existence and the struggles they have endured. Some have benefitted from the Small Business Administration’s 8a Business Development Program (no bid government contracting).

The Joy of School

The kids went back to school in August. I looked forward to the blessed event beginning in early June, a couple of weeks after school let out for the summer. Finally, I am back on schedule and, with one kid in junior high and one kid in high school, I can just imagine the fun they are going to have and all the wonderful things they are going to learn.

The Continuing Evolution of Arctic Policy

The Continuing Evolution of Arctic Policy

More than three decades ago—before the Arctic became a much talked about, much analyzed, and much sought after region on this planet—Eben Hopson, an Iñupiat leader from Alaska’s North Slope, observed: “The United States has no Arctic policy, as such.”

Seashares

Seashares

For more than twenty years now, an obscure federal program has been generating extraordinary wealth for Western Alaska, a remote and sparsely populated region not known for economic prosperity.

Alaska Native Aviators

Alaska Native Aviators

With nearly 250 state-owned airports and countless private airstrips in the state, most of them providing access to villages far from any road system, it only makes sense that Alaska Natives—many of whom grow up with more exposure to airplanes than other popular modes of transportation—would make up a portion of the aviation industry that reflects this consistent exposure. However, education opportunities for people in the Bush are few and far between.

How Terrestrial Broadband is Forever Changing Telecommunications in the Arctic

How Terrestrial Broadband is Forever Changing Telecommunications in the Arctic

On Thanksgiving Day in 1982, GCI carried its first long distance call. This was just the start of the thirty-year journey to bring advanced telecommunication services to all of Alaska—both urban and rural. And this journey continues as the technology environment—in Alaska and around the world—rapidly changes.

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