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Favorite Links Roundup Week of November 18, 2016

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Drama in the Alaskan Republican Party

The State Central Committee of the Alaska Republican Party will consider a resolution at its Dec. 1o meeting to withdraw support from Reps. Gabrielle LeDoux, Paul Seaton and Louise Stutes for their violation of Article 9, Section f(5) of the party’s rules.

That section discusses the party’s possible actions to sanction incumbents who do things that are detrimental to Alaska Republicans or to Republican values and goals.

The Nov. 8 General Election saw 21 Republicans elected to the House, enough to hold onto a fragile majority. But when those three bolted to become part of a Democratic caucus, Alaska Republican Party Chairman Tuckerman Babcock issued a swift rebuke, inviting them to leave the Republican Party altogether.

In a note to party officers today, Babcock wrote regarding the “defection of three Republican State House members from their colleagues. The three defectors crossed over and put the Democrats in charge of the State House, for the first time in about 25 years. This despite the fact that Alaskans voted to elect 21 Republicans to the State House. Three of our Republican State House members abandoned their team, abandoned their party and abandoned their responsibility to serve.” The item has been placed on the agenda for review and determination.

Babcock now considers the Musk Oxen to be defacto Democrats. Sanctions may well include finding Republicans to challenge them in the 2018 election. [Read the full story here]


Kotzebue brothers make first app for all 20 Alaska Native languages

Alaska Native languages have faced a growing technological challenge: meshing alphabets with all the new tools for communicating, like texting or Facebook. But as of Wednesday night, there’s now an app for that.

For the first time ever, you can find all the characters for the 20 recognized Alaska Native languages in one place: a keyboard, downloaded right onto your iPhone. An app called Chert pulls in all the characters you need to spell out words in Yupik, Iñupiaq, Tlingit and more.

Chert was designed by two brothers from Kotzebue, Reid and Grant Magdanz.

“This app is kind of a small step, (but) it’s also something of a symbolically important one, because it is saying to the world not only can these languages be modern, but they are modern,” Magdanz said. “I mean, you can type them on your phone, you can text them, you can send a Snapchat. What’s more modern than that?” [Full Story]

‘Largest’ Shale Oil Reserve Discovered in Texas

Oil explorers in the U.S. state of Texas say they’ve discovered the largest deposit of shale oil in a region known as the Permian Basin.

The so-called Wolfcamp formation, explorers believe, could hold up to 20 billion barrels of oil, worth up to $900 billion. The find could be three times bigger than the state of North Dakota’s Bakken rock formation, the largest find of unconventional oil ever discovered.

“The fact that this is the largest assessment of continuous oil we have ever done just goes to show that, even in areas that have produced billions of barrels of oil, there is still the potential to find billions more,” said Walter Guidroz, coordinator for the U.S. Geological Survey’s energy resources program, in a statement. [Full Source]

Judge upholds Walker’s veto halving Permanent Fund dividends

In a lawsuit, Sen. Bill Wielechowski sought to reverse Gov. Walker’s veto of $666 million. He argued in court that the constitutional amendment establishing the Permanent Fund also allowed the legislature to dedicate money that governors can’t veto.

But Anchorage Superior Court Judge William Morse said there’s no record that lawmakers wanted to eliminate gubernatorial power to veto parts of the budget. In an exchange with Wielechowski, Morse said that if they wanted to make such a big change, they would have said something about it.

Walker’s veto cut the dividend from $2,052 per Alaskan to $1,022.

Walker said the decision was painful, yet necessary to preserve dividends into the future, and to help close the state’s budget gap.

Opponents said the state should cut the gap in other ways – such as raising oil and gas taxes or cutting more state spending – before considering a PFD cut.

Assistant Attorney General Margaret Paton-Walsh defended Walker’s position. She said that other than money set aside for the Permanent Fund itself, the legislature appropriates all state spending each year, including the Permanent Fund dividends. And the governor can veto any of that money.

After about an hour and a half of oral arguments, Morse immediately gave his verdict from the bench: the state won, and the plaintiffs lost.

“I applaud both sides for very fine briefing, very fine and helpful oral argument, and I wish all of you the best of luck in front of the Supreme Court,” Morse said. [Full story]

The New Little Ice Age Has Started

Since 1990, the Sun has been in the declining phase of the quasi-bicentennial variation in total solar irradiance (TSI). The decrease in the portion of TSI absorbed by the Earth since 1990 has remained uncompensated by the Earth's long-wave radiation into space at the previous high level because of the thermal inertia of the world's oceans. As a result, the Earth has, and will continue to have, a negative average annual energy balance and a long-term adverse thermal condition.

The quasi-centennial epoch of the new Little Ice Age has started at the end 2015 after the maximum phase of solar cycle 24. The start of a solar grand minimum is anticipated in solar cycle 27 ± 1 in 2043 ± 11 and the beginning of phase of deep cooling in the new Little Ice Age in 2060 ± 11. The gradual weakening of the Gulf Stream leads to stronger cooling in the zone of its action in western Europe and the eastern parts of the United States and Canada. Quasi-bicentennial cyclic variations of TSI together with successive very important influences of the causal feedback effects are the main fundamental causes of corresponding alternations in climate variation from warming to the Little Ice Age. [The Study]
When I went to college one of the big surprises (after CHS' Al Gore Climate Change Indoctrination) was the realization that the 'science on climate change is not settled'. I took a course on "climate change" and there I was thinking that the science was settled but the professor went through all the facts and information and it was very educational. That was one of the triggers that made me start question everything I know and am taught. [Flash back]

The Surprising Way Seabird Poop Helps Keep the Arctic Cool

There's no end to the unexpected ways nature is interconnected, but this is definitely one of the more humorous examples.

According to new research in Nature Communications, once ammonia in seabird waste gets released into the atmosphere, it interacts with water and sulfuric acid particles to create the basic building blocks for low-lying clouds, which reflect sunlight and help keep Arctic waters cool.

The researchers first made the connection between seabirds and ammonia in another paper earlier this year, when they found "strong evidence" that ammonia bursts in the Arctic were tied to the tens of millions of seabirds that head north during the summer. [Complete Story]


The unsolved mystery behind the Man in the Iron mask

There have been many stories regarding the Man in the Iron Mask. A French political prisoner imprisoned at Pignerol in northwestern Italy in about 1681, he died at the age of forty-five in the Bastille in Paris in 1698 and was buried in the cemetery of Saint Paul under the name of Marchioly.

His real identity was kept secret, causing many to speculate about who he really was. The controversial French Enlightenment author Voltaire, who himself was imprisoned for his writings, wrote that the prisoner was the brother of King Louis XIV.

Alexander Dumas, famous for his novel, The Three Musketeers, also touched on this theory in his book, Dix Ans plus tard ou le Vicomte de Bragelonne, or The Man in the Iron Mask. This idea has been carried into movies and television shows as well. [Read the complete story]

A Campaign promise already Complete 




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