For more than 20 years, I have been frequenting Creamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge off College Road, looking for photographs to share with our News-Miner readers. The iconic barn has been the backdrop of dozens of images over the years, and the migratory waterfowl are a staple for vi…

The armed services appreciation trip is the result of collaboration between Trout Unlimited and Kinross Fort Knox. The two organizations have worked together “on abandoned mine site remediation and reclamation work around the country” and Kinross Fort Knox “has a high level of environmental safeguards with respect to the fisheries at Fort Knox,” Weiss said.

George Bernard Shaw wasn’t always right, but he was spot on when he said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” It’s awfully easy to leave out things we mean to impart and poorly organize our words, and human frailty doesn’t help. Recently I w…

Serious summertime reading’s led to musing about cats. Barbara Tuchman’s 1978 classic, “A Distant Mirror: the Calamitous 14th Century,” informed me that folks back then didn’t fear the Black Death; they dreaded the Great Pestilence, “Black Death” being the Victorians’ later, more dramatic te…

Good news: August is National Happiness Month! Joy is in short supply these smoky, hyper-political days, so the arrival of the new “happiness” issue of Lapham’s Quarterly was appreciated. The magazine features excerpts from writing through the ages, along with gorgeous art, maps and charts, …

George Herbert claimed that “the eyes have one language everywhere,” meaning that we see the same thing regardless of our race or location, but verbal processes differ markedly. That’s why today I’m celebrating two language heroes: Tashi Wang and Nachman Blumental. Tashi is in Chinese prison…

Buckminster Fuller was a seminal and original 20th century thinker, a self-trained architect, systems theorist, author of 30 books, designer (including the geodesic dome), inventor and futurist: a most unusual man, and a personal hero. Among his notable quirks was deciding in 1927 that words…

“There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results.” — Kenneth Blanchard

A plethora of “p” words has cropped up. Podcasting’s popular, but us old-school audio book fans were interested in a NYTimes.com opinion piece by Daniel Willingham titled, “Is Listening to a Book the Same Thing as Reading It?” The short answer is “no” because different parts of the brain are…

June is National Papaya Month! As a frequent visitor to Mexico, I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy this fruit from seeing how it grows to picking and eating it. Finding papayas in Alaska isn’t as easy, but when in season, they can be found on sale and sometimes they even end up in the dollar …

All these decades and books later, there’s still so much to know. I recently encountered Majd ad-Din Usama ibn Murshid ibn Ali ibn Munqidh al-Kinani, aka Usama, a Syrian nobleman, diplomat and faris, or knight, who authored the incredible “Book of Contemplation” in the 1180s, and the librari…

“Beware of ‘Snakes,’ ‘Invaders,’ and Other Fighting Words” warns a recent NYTimes.com article about the power of rhetoric and how it subconsciously influences all who listen to them, even those who disagree. In fact, “asking people even purely hypothetical questions unconsciously shifts thei…

When people talk of energy sources, they use categories such as fossil fuels or renewables. The one resource that usually doesn’t fit into either category is nuclear energy.

Springtime is typically a time of rejuvenation in Alaska: the sun is staying out longer, regional festivals — like Kodiak’s Crabfest — inject excitement (and tourist dollars) into small communities that expect a robust tourism season and school graduation ceremonies inspire us.

The problem with peas is that if you grew up eating canned peas, you have to experience peas fresh from the garden to know how delicious they can be. I don’t understand why gardens aren’t brimming with this easy-to-grow vegetable that has few pests except moose. 

Micky Spillane once wrote a memorable line in his, to me, forgettable crime novels: “She was sitting by herself at a card table with a Scrabble game half finished, an empty coffee cup beside her, looking annoyed as hell.” Scrabble seems to elicit those sorts of emotions. After all, “Everyone…

Caffeining up at the Fairbanks airport prior to a red-eye, I noticed the small print on my Starbuck’s napkin: “This napkin is made with 100% recycled content and a minimum of 40% post-consumer fiber.”

The ancient Chinese strategist Sun Tzu said we should feign inferiority to encourage our opponents’ unwarranted arrogance. That’s easy for most of us, according to “You Are Not as Good at Kissing as You Think You Are,” a recent nytimes.com article by mathematician Spencer Greenberg and econo…

When a North Pole high school student found herself in the girls’ bathroom blocked by several boys, who were trying to stage a strange protest against a transgendered male using the boys’ bathroom, she kicked one in the crotch.