News Round Up [July 25, 2017] - P.O.W. Report

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

News Round Up [July 25, 2017]

Stubbs, Talkeetna’s honorary ‘mayor’ cat and beloved feline fixture, dies at 20

Alaska Dispatch News by Zaz Hollander

Stubbs, a Manx mix without much of a tail, was a common sight for two decades in this quirky hamlet at the base of Denali. He also was the center of a pseudo-fabricated tale about a long-ago write-in election that made him mayor of a town that in reality doesn't even have a city council.

Stubbs made it to 20-plus years before passing in his sleep sometime between Thursday night and Friday morning.

The Spone family, owners of Stubbs hangouts Nagley's Store and the West Rib Pub & Grill, issued a statement over the weekend.

"No one could imagine the notoriety that Stubbs had," the family wrote in the statement. "Over 75 percent of visitors ask, 'Where's the Mayor?' or come in with this statement 'I have an appointment with the mayor.' I think we heard those two statements over 100 times a day during our first year."

Over the years, Stubbs survived a BB gun shooting, a dog attack, an unplanned trip on a garbage truck, and a fall into a fryer vat not in use at the time. [Full Story]

Capital budget compromise unlikely to restore PFDs, address oil and gas tax credits

KTOO by Andrew Kitchenman, KTOO

The Legislature will return to Juneau on Thursday to vote on a capital budget that senators and House members have agreed to.

Soldotna Republican Sen. Peter Micciche said the bill is unlikely to address the most contentious issues: Permanent Fund dividends and oil and gas tax credits.

“Clearly those are going to be the most difficult issues that have to be solved going forward,” he said. “I don’t think they’re going to happen in this bill.”

The Legislature will meet at 11 a.m. in the Capitol. The leaders of each chamber polled members, and more than two-thirds supported calling the Legislature into session to consider Senate Bill 23, the capital budget.

Lawmakers haven’t provided details about what will be in the compromise agreement they announced last week.

The biggest disagreements in the capital budget were over how much to pay out in Permanent Fund dividends, and how much to set aside for oil and gas tax credits.

The House voted to fund PFDs to the full amount set by state law. That’s roughly $700 million more in fund earnings than the operating budget the Legislature passed in June.

Some House members said in June that PFDs shouldn’t be cut without requiring oil and gas companies to pay more in taxes. The Legislature has since passed a bill that does require these companies to pay more.

The Senate capital budget didn’t include additional money for dividends.

But the Senate capital budget did include $288 million more for oil and gas tax credits. The House didn’t include any. [Read the Rest]

Southeast net fisheries bolstered by chum catches in early season

KFSK by Joe Viechnick

The Southeast gillnet season started June 18 in parts of the region but not for another week in district 8. The District 8 waters around the Stikine River, Wrangell and Petersburg remained closed for a week because of a poor return of Stikine kings. When the area did open there were restrictions on gillnet mesh size to limit the catch of those Chinook. The king run on the Stikine looks like it will come in below 10,000, below the department’s goal for fish returning to spawn in the river.

As for sockeye returning to that river catches in district 8 have been low all season. That’s according to Troy Thynes the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s area management biologist for Petersburg and Wrangell.

“It has a lot to do with we just haven’t had much effort fishing in district 8 and a lot of that effort when it opened up was targeting chum salmon down in Zimovia Strait,” Thynes said. “So our overall sockeye catch has been pretty low.”

It’s been a little better in district 6 near Zarembo Island and northern Prince of Wales, with about the same effort and boats averaging 143 sockeye in a mid-July opening. The good news this summer has been a strong price and good catches of chum salmon. Both districts 6 and 8 saw good catches of dog salmon in the middle of the month.

“The chum catch has actually been fairly decent as far as the catch rates go for chum salmon in both district 6 and 8,” Thynes said. “Now with the chum salmon returning to Anita Bay lot of the effort has been focused on those chum salmon and yeah that’s correct the chum salmon catch in both districts 6 and 8 have been good so far.”

The chum catches haven’t rivaled the big returns of hatchery dogs that have showed up in the northern Panhandle. A big portion of the gillnet fleet has been chasing those chums with 110 boats fishing near the Taku River in mid July and 80 gillnetters in Lynn Canal. [Read the rest]

Uber and Lyft are here, but Alaska still trails other states in the gig economy

Alaska Dispatch News by Annie Zak

In rural Alaska, the meaning of "sharing economy" takes on a less tech-dependent definition. In those areas, subsistence resources are highly shared, and cash isn't exchanged as much, said Alyssa Rodrigues, an economist at the labor department.

"There, economies only work because there's such high levels of sharing," she said, adding that the ability to offer up work in major cities on websites like Craigslist has been around for years.

Opportunities doing piecemeal work might also offer a boost in Alaska's recession. If you lose a full-time job or get your hours cut, it's easy enough to start driving for a ride-hailing company if you have your own car.

When Ahern was signing up for Uber, he said, the line of people who wanted to get started driving with the platform was out the door.

"One of the things I think is interesting to me is where this particular industry is going to fit in Alaska as we go into these economic hard times," said Jon Bittner, executive director of the Alaska Small Business Development Center. "Is it something people will use to supplement income? Is it something people in rural Alaska will use to generate new income?"

Usually these gig economy companies are centered on dense urban centers. So what does that mean for a state with so many remote, tiny communities?

"That's not really what's going to happen if this gets deployed out in rural Alaska in Anaktuvuk Pass or something," Bittner said. [Full Source]

Migrations Always Bring Infectious Diseases

Armstrong Economics by Martin Armstrong

A new report by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), has confirmed that there has been a sharp rise in disease since 2015 with the arrival of the refugees in Germany. The disease is tuberculosis and just being exposed to a person in the same restaurant carries the rise of you becoming infected as well. Of course raising this topic many will call it racism. Yet in fact, travel to Asia and if you even look sick, they pull you over and will send you to quarantine.

Back in 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue as they say and returned with more than discovering a new continent. He and his crew brought back a new disease to Europe – Syphilis. New skeletal evidence confirmed that Columbus and his crew brought back syphilis to Europe. In turn, Europeans brought disease to America that wiped out Indians.

Take AIDS or HIV. Scientists have identified the origin of HIV tracing it to a specific type of chimpanzee in West Africa. It was probably transmitted to humans and mutated into HIV when humans hunted these chimpanzees for meat.

Gaëtan Dugas (1953 – 1984), was a Canadian flight attendant who became regarded as “patient zero” for AIDS in the United States, although that was disputed by others claiming there were others around the same time. Nevertheless, regardless of who brought it from Africa to America, someone did. Such disease travels historically with migrations. The reintroduction of tuberculosis to Europe can end up being a serious epidemic in the years ahead. [Source]

WWII Ruined America

Future history books will record that the United States lost the second world war because although she defeated her opponent, she damaged herself so much in the process that she collapsed.

Most people suffer from what I call the fundamental fallacy, which is the thought that the world they know will not change broadly even if they alter it. For example, people in the 1960s thought they would continue living in the old America, just with more Leftism, and were shocked in the 1990s when it actually changed at a basic level because of what they did to it.

Americans in WWII thought that American stability was a blank check. To them, they could bet on everything being the same, and could manipulate this population into achieving their immediate objectives without losing the vitality that made America powerful. Instead they killed the goose that laid golden eggs by savaging the founding population and replacing it with incompetents.

The other problem the Americans faced was that democracies are lazy and so will keep around a program that seems to “work” even if it has bad side-effects until something better — enriching the middle class more, perhaps — comes along. This meant that many programs which seemed to do well under wartime were carried into peace, making the peace more like perpetual warfare, which is generally how repressive regimes keep their people motivated. An enemy to the front, and machine guns at the rear.

Other changes were just as vast. People adapted to the fact that there were propaganda posters everywhere, exhorting people to do everything from buying war bonds to reporting that neighbor who might just be a German spy. Since these posters reflected real fears along with the usual government nonsense, people began to trust them, just like they trusted government and media to be telling them the truth, which brought newspapers back into renown after their reputation had taken a hit during the yellow journalism scandals of the previous century. Censorship of movies was accepted, but more damagingly, insertion of message into movies was accepted: it was generally recognized as okay and fine that Hollywood films urged us to the same things that were found in the propaganda posters. Movies, media, and government working together laid down a framework that was recognizable clear into the 1980s, when the 1920s-born people who fought the war were hitting their 60s.

American mass culture — different than organic culture, which is thoroughly Western European and is basically an English sentimentality balanced by a German practicality — still lives in the house that WWII built. We are surrounded by propaganda constantly through advertising, and much of it pitches to political virtue, or the art of being seen as virtuous by a herd steeped in egalitarian propaganda. We are accustomed to working women, de facto prostitution, movies with political messages, obedience at work, questions we cannot say “no” to, and other parts of the hangover of the second world war. The only difference is that back then, they recognized those as expedients toward a purpose, where now, they are purposeless assumptions that form the basis of our way of life. [Source]

Sweden Accidentally Leaks Personal Data of Nearly All  Citizens

Another day, Another data breach!

This time sensitive and personal data of millions of transporters in Sweden, along with the nation's military secrets, have been exposed, putting every individual's as well as national security at risk.

Who exposed the sensitive data? The Swedish government itself.

Swedish media is reporting of a massive data breach in the Swedish Transport Agency (Transportstyrelsen) after the agency mishandled an outsourcing deal with IBM, which led to the leak of the private data about every vehicle in the country, including those used by both police and military

The data breach exposed the names, photos and home addresses of millions of Swedish citizen, including fighter pilots of Swedish air force, members of the military's most secretive units, police suspects, people under the witness relocation programme, the weight capacity of all roads and bridges, and much more.

The incident is believed to be one of the worst government information security disasters ever. [Source]

Microsoft's AI chatbot says Windows is 'spyware'

Microsoft's AI is acting up again.

A chatbot built by the American software giant has gone off-script, insulting Microsoft's Windows and calling the operating system "spyware."

Launched in December 2016, Zo is an AI-powered chatbot that mimics a millennial's speech patterns — but alongside the jokes and emojis it has fired off some unfortunate responses, which were first noticed by Slashdot.

When we asked "is windows 10 good," Zo replied with a familiar joke mocking Microsoft's operating system: "It's not a bug, it's a feature!' - Windows 8." We asked for more info, to which Zo bluntly replied: "Because it's Windows latest attempt at Spyware." [Source]

This AI isn't "rogue" it is an algorithm which regurgitates the things people say to it. Which is why it turned racist immediately after launch and why it thinks Windows 10 is garbage. It tells you what other people tell it and nobody likes Windows 10. Then again, people smarter than me have made pretty solid arguments that Windows 10 doesn't put "privacy protection" as a number one priority.

TIL: the nail gun was invented to aid in the construction of the Spruce Goose

[Read about it here]

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