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Favorite Link (News) Friday Week of December 23, 2016

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AK State Troopers say cuts may force them out of urban areas

By Ellen Lockyer, Alaska Public Media
On Dec. 21, the city of Anchorage finalized a three-year contract with the small city of Whittier to provide police officers for Girdwood. The ski resort town is Anchorage’s southernmost suburb and, until recently, was policed by Alaska State Troopers. Girdwood was left without law enforcement when the Trooper post there closed this summer, so a Girdwood public safety committee hammered out the cop-sharing scheme with Whittier, paid for by Girdwood taxpayers.

“To my knowledge, this relationship has not existed anywhere else in Alaska, that I know of,” Girdwood Board Chair Sam Daniel said. “But in these times of fiscal restraint, it may end up being a trend, especially if Troopers keep having their budget cut.”


If the governor’s budget passes, it will mean the Troopers’ division has absorbed $10 million in budget cuts over three years.

Cockrell said the end result is a reduction in Trooper manpower.

“We’ve lost 32 Trooper positions in two years,” Cockrell said. “No time in the history of the Alaska State Troopers have we lost that many positions in that short a time.”

Can someone tell me why, whenever there are budget cuts, the Police and Fire Departments are the first to be cut? Frankly, these are the most critical services in any community. I just don't get it.
Alaska leads the nation in sexual assault and domestic violence per capita. Cockrell said his division has to balance reductions in manpower with an escalation in the amount of calls it gets. [Full Source]

There you go. And as history shows whenever economies down-trend, crime increases. If anything police and fire services are the most critical in a down economy. If they aren't, people start taking justice into their own hands...


An accelerating river of molten iron has been discovered under Alaska and Siberia

A fast-flowing river of molten iron has been found surging under Alaska and Siberia, some 3,000 km (1,864 miles) below the surface - and it appears to be speeding up.

This colossal jet stream, which is estimated to be about 420 km wide (260 miles) and nearly as hot as the surface of the Sun, has tripled in speed in less than two decades, and is now headed towards Europe.

"This jet of liquid iron is moving at about 50 kilometres per year," Finlay told at BBC News.

"That might not sound like a lot to you on Earth's surface, but you have to remember this a very dense liquid metal and it takes a huge amount of energy to move this thing around, and that's probably the fastest motion we have anywhere within the solid Earth."

At this stage, it's not clear why the jet stream is accelerating, but the researchers suspect it's a natural part of Earth's inner cycle that's been going on for billions of years. [Full Story]


Halibut catch for Southeast Alaska could drop for 2017

By Joe Viechnicki, KFSK-Petersburg
Managers of halibut in the Pacific will be setting catch limits in January and could be considering a small decrease for commercial and guided sport fishing fleets in Southeast Alaska.

The International Pacific Halibut Commission held its interim meeting at the end of November and scientists presented the latest information on catches and stock estimates for the valuable bottom fish. The IPHC oversees commercial, sport and subsistence halibut catches in the U.S. and Canada from California to Alaska.

Stewart explained that this year IPHC staff changed the way they calculate the abundance of the fish and where those fish are located based on those surveys.

“And that’s improved our estimates but it has changed our perception of just exactly how the biomass is distributed around the stock,” he said. “And in part it’s led to our understanding that there’s a bit more biomass in the central part of the stock then we previously estimated and a bit less on the eastern side of the stock. But then superimposed on top of that are also some differences in what we’ve seen in the survey the last few years and this year in particular.”

Another option would continue the same level of fishing pressure that fleets have enjoyed in recent years.
That alternative would translate to catch increases for the upcoming year for the central Gulf and western parts of Alaska but a decrease for Southeast Alaska and British Columbia. [Full Article]


NFL ratings dip forces TV networks to repay advertisers

The NFL’s television ratings decline this season is beginning to make a dent in the bottom line for major networks. Broadcasters like CBS and NBC saw sharp increases in audience deficiency units (ADUs), or “makegoods,” which are payments they must make to advertisers when ads do not receive the promised volume of impressions.

In other words, fewer people watching football means fewer eyeballs to see ads, and the networks that broadcast NFL games are paying the price.

In the month of November, NBC’s NFL ad revenue sunk 17% compared to last year, according to new data from the Standard Media Index. CBS saw a decline of 26% (earlier this month, AdWeek points out, CBS chairman Les Moonves boasted at a UBS event that “there have been no makegoods” on any of the network’s NFL broadcasts this season). Fox saw a 34% decline in its NFL ad revenue.

There is no public consensus over exactly why football has steadily lost viewers this season. The league’s official stance early on was that the election cycle was distracting from football, but six weeks after the election, ratings have continued to fall. [Source]
Ratings are going down because there is a boycott of the NFL by middle-America. This will continue to happen and watchers will switch to sports that haven't converged into politics like Hockey or Lacrosse (my two favorites).


Using lots of social media accounts linked to anxiety

Posted by Allison Hydzik-Pittsburgh

The analysis, published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, shows that people who report using seven to 11 social media platforms had more than three times the risk of depression and anxiety than their peers who use zero to two platforms, even after adjusting for the total time spent on social media overall.

That's insane! I didn't even know that many social media accounts exist (perhaps i'm just getting old).
“This association is strong enough that clinicians could consider asking their patients with depression and anxiety about multiple platform use and counseling them that this use may be related to their symptoms,” says lead author and physician Brian A. Primack, director of the University of Pittsburgh Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health and assistant vice chancellor for health and society in Schools of the Health Sciences.

The questionnaires asked about the 11 most popular social media platforms at the time: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest, Vine, and LinkedIn.

Participants who used seven to 11 platforms had 3.1 times the odds of reporting higher levels of depressive symptoms than their counterparts who used zero to two platforms. Those who used the most platforms had 3.3 times the odds of high levels of anxiety symptoms than their peers who used the least number of platforms.... [Complete Article]


For First Time In 130 Years, More Young Adults Live With Parents Than With Partners

For the first time in more than 130 years, Americans ages 18-34 are more likely to live with their parents than in any other living situation, according to a new analysis by the Pew Research Center.

In that age group, 32.1 percent of people live in their parents' house, while 31.6 live with a spouse or partner in their own homes and 14 percent live alone, as single parents or in a home with roommates or renters. The rest live with another family member, a nonfamily member or in group-living situations such as a college dorm or prison.

But the overall trend is the same for every demographic group — living with parents is increasingly common.

(Young Americans are still less likely to live with their parents than their southern European friends. In Macedonia, more than 70 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds reportedly live at home, Pew says.)

For many millennials, Pew's conclusions might seem both unsurprising and easy to explain: The Great Recession happened, of course! [Read the Rest]

Video of the Week (Robin Williams on Broadway)



Historical Anecdote:

Judge Ooka Tadasuke determines a both very fair and very unusual compensation for the theft of pleasant smells


Ōoka Tadasuke (1677-1752) was a famous Japanese samurai who also served as a magistrate of Tokyo during the Tokugawa shogunate.

Ōoka was highly respected as an incorruptible judge and for his unusual ways in making legal decisions. He never refused to hear a complaint, even if it seemed strange or unreasonable.

People sometimes came to his court with the most unusual cases, but Ōoka always agreed to listen. One of the most unusual cases that Ōoka had heard and solved was known as "The Case of the Stolen Smell". In this case, a paranoid shopkeeper accused a poor student of literally stealing the smell of his cooking.

It all began when a poor student rented a room over a tempura shop - a shop where fried food could be bought. The student was a most likeable young man, but the shopkeeper was a miser who suspected everyone of trying to get the better of him. One day he heard the student talking with one of his friends.

"It is sad to be so poor that one can only afford to eat plain rice," the friend complained.

"Oh," said the student, "I have found a very satisfactory answer to the problem. I eat my rice each day while the shopkeeper downstairs fries his fish. The smell comes up, and my humble rice seems to have much more flavor. It is really the smell, you know, that makes things taste so good."

The shopkeeper was furious. To think that someone was enjoying the smell of his fish for nothing! "Thief!" he shouted, "I demand that you pay me for the smells you have stolen."

"A smell is a smell," the young man replied. "Anyone can smell what he wants to. I will pay you nothing!"
Scarlet with rage, the shopkeeper rushed to Ōoka's court and charged the student with theft.

Of course, everyone laughed at him, for how could anyone steal a smell? Ōoka would surely send the man about his business. But to everyone's astonishment, the judge agreed to hear the case.

"Every man is entitled to his hour in court," he explained. "If this man feels strongly enough about his smell to make a complaint, it is only right that I, as city magistrate, should hear the case." He frowned at the amused spectators.

Gravely, Ōoka sat on the dais and heard the evidence. Then he delivered his verdict.

"The student is obviously guilty," he said severely. "Taking another person's property is theft, and I cannot see that a smell is different from any other property."

The shopkeeper was delighted, but the student was horrified. He was very poor, and he owed the shopkeeper for three month's smelling. He would surely be thrown into prison.
"How much money have you?" Ōoka asked him.

"Only five mon [silver coins], Honorable Honor," the boy replied. "I need that to pay my rent, or I will be thrown out into the street."

"Let me see the money," said the judge.

The young man held out his hand. Ōoka nodded and told him to drop the coins from one hand to the other.
The judge listened to the pleasant clink of the money and said to the shopkeeper, "You have now been paid. If you have any other complaints in the future, please bring them to the court. It is our wish that all injustices be punished and all virtue rewarded."

"But most Honorable Honor," the shopkeeper protested, "I did not get the money! The thief dropped it from one hand to the other. See! I have nothing." He held up his empty hands to show the judge.
Ōoka stared at him gravely. "It is the court's judgement that the punishment should fit the crime. I have decided that the price of the smell of food shall be the sound of money. Justice has prevailed as usual in my court."
Source: Rochat, Philippe: Origins of Possession: Owning and Sharing in Development (2014) p. 37f Edmond, I.G.: Ōoka the Wise - Tales of Old Japan (1961) p.7ff


Read More: Favorite Link Friday Week of Dec. 16, 2016

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