Tag Archives: Alaska

Hawaii Leads US States in Well-Being for Record Sixth Time

  • Hawaii has highest well-being scores in three of five well-being elements
  • Alaska among top two well-being states for third straight year
  • West Virginia is lowest well-being state for eighth straight year

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Hawaii residents had the highest well-being in the nation in 2016, with the state reaching the top spot for the sixth time since Gallup and Healthways began tracking well-being in 2008. Alaska finished in the top two for the third consecutive year, while Colorado finished in the top 10 for the ninth straight year and joins Hawaii as the only two states to earn this distinction.

States With 10 Highest Well-Being Scores, 2016
State Well-Being Index Score
Hawaii 65.2
Alaska 64.0
South Dakota 63.7
Maine 63.6
Colorado 63.5
Vermont 63.5
Arizona 63.4
Montana 63.2
Minnesota 63.2
Texas 63.1
GALLUP-HEALTHWAYS WELL-BEING INDEX

Continue reading Hawaii Leads US States in Well-Being for Record Sixth Time

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There were only 3 ZIP codes in America without any Ashley Madison accounts — here they are

One of the reasons why the Ashley Madison hack has swept through the US’ imagination to such a profound degree is how all-encompassing it seemed. The hack clawed its way into communities all across the country — well, not quite every community.

Gawker’s Gabrielle Bluestone has uncovered that there are precisely three ZIP codes across the country that have no record of Ashley Madison users. That’s ZIP codes, not area codes. And what do they have in common? They’re partially lacking two things: the internet and a large number of people.

Gawker’s discovery highlights a pretty dark truth. These three ZIP codes are probably the only ones in the US that don’t house spouses looking to cheat — at least not by using Ashley Madison.

Here they are:

Nikolai, Alaska (99691) — Population: 94 (2010 Census)

Most of the residents of Nikolai are indigenous Alaskans, according to Gawker, and the town can dip to 60 below zero in the winter.

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Perryville, Alaska (99648) — Population: 113 (2010 Census)

When Gawker asked a local why no one in her town was on Ashley Madison, she replied that there was maybe only 10 households in the entire town that had internet. This town is also predominantly indigenous Alaskan.

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Polvadera, New Mexico (87828) — Population: 269 (2010 Census)

An employee at the county clerk’s office told Gawker that there probably was no one on Ashley Madison because you can’t get reception in that area, which is about 4 square miles of rural peace.

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And there you have it. Those are the last vestiges of the US left untouched by Ashley Madison — though of course there is the possibility that there are other bastions of innocence that have fake accounts registered to them.

Even so, the ubiquity of Ashley Madison is striking.

Secret FBI project trained Alaskans in preparation for Soviet invasion

Codenames: Washtub was known inside the government by several other codenames, including Corpuscle, Stigmatic and Catboat, according to an official Air Force history of the OSI, which called it one of OSI's 'most extensive and long-running Cold War projects.' The FBI had its own code word for the project: STAGE

Declassified documents reveal that in the 1950s the FBI trained Alaskan residents to become agents behind enemy lines if the Soviets invaded. No women, Eskimo, Indians or Aleuts were included, with native peoples considered unreliable.

The recently declassified FBI and Air Force documents show that in the early stage of the Cold War the US government feared that the Soviet Union was planning an intervention and occupation of Alaska.

The US military believed that the Soviet invasion would be airborne, with bombing preceding dropping of paratroopers to Alaska’s major inhabited localities, namely Anchorage, Fairbanks, Nome and Seward.

Close: A map shows the jarring proximity of Russia to Alaska, the closest point of which is just 2.3 miles from country to country via the islands of Little and Big Diomede

To cope with the eventuality that there was no way to rebuff the invasion, in 1951 FBI director J. Edgar Hoover initiated a highly classified project, code-named “Washtub,” organizing a human intelligence network, recruiting and training citizens across Alaska to provide the American military with intelligence in case of war with Moscow.

Under the plan, “stay-behind agents” would hide in so-called survival caches – bunkers loaded with food, warm clothes, message-coding material and radios – and report on enemy movements.

Washtub: This undated handout image obtained by The Associated Press shows an Air Force chart showing the organization, by function and lines of authority, of the Washtub project

The covert network consisted of fishermen, bush pilots, trappers and people of other professions. But there were restrictions – no one from the indigenous population was included.

“Eskimo, Indian and Aleut groups in the Territory should be avoided in view of their propensities to drink to excess and their fundamental indifference to constituted governments and political philosophies. It is pointed out that their prime concern is with survival and their allegiance would easily shift to any power in control,” insisted the founders of the program.

Feared the Russians: Hoover teamed up on the highly classified project, code-named Washtub, with the newly created Air Force Office of Special Investigations, headed by Hoover protege and former FBI official Joseph F. Carroll

After being secretly screened by the FBI for disloyalty – at least some recruits were fingerprinted – the recruited citizens were offered up to $3,000 a year fees (equivalent to $30,000 in today’s money) which was supposed to double “after an invasion has commenced.”

However, it is not said in the records how much was actually paid to the recruits.

All participants underwent a range of specialized training such as the parachutes, “guerilla techniques and close fighting,” scouting, patrolling, methods of interview and interrogation, “Arctic survival,” and, also coding and decoding messages.

 

The latter did not always go well, as learning these techniques was “an almost impossible task for backwoodsmen to master in 15 hours of training,” one document said.

“Agents should be trained singly and their identities withheld from each other,” the declassified document reads.

The plan suggested organizing “cells” comprised of a principal, a group of agents the principal recruited, and sub-agents recruited by agents “who are not aware of the identity of the principal.”

A typical candidate to become a principal, OSI suggested, would be “a professional photographer in Anchorage” having only one arm and “it if felt that he would not benefit the enemy in any labor battalion.”“Reasonably intelligent, and particularly crafty,” he would also have amateur radio operator skills and be “licensed as a hunting or fishing guide, and [be] well versed in the art of survival.”

“Women will not be used in any operation contemplated by the proposed plan,” the document reads, giving no further explanations.

Being a recruit for the program was acknowledged as a potentially dangerous mission, since the Soviet military doctrine called for the destruction of local resistance in occupied lands.

To make up for the possible casualties, a reserve pool of agents was to be kept outside Alaska and brought in to the region by air.

The program was active from 1951 till 1959 and within that time the OSI trained 89 stay-behind agents, Deborah Kidwell, official historian of the body, wrote in the group’s magazine last year, AP reported. The survival caches served peacetime purposes for many years after the program was shut down.

An Inuit man prepares his canoe on Nunivak Island, Alaska

Initiated by the FBI, the program was later led by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI), becoming OSI’s “most extensive and long-running Cold War projects.” The FBI dubbed the project “STAGE”.

The reason why the FBI opted not to lead the project was that agency’s director, Hoover, worried that in case of an invasion of Alaska the FBI would be “left holding the bag.”

“If a crisis arose we would be in the midst of another ‘Pearl Harbor’ and get part of the blame,” Hoover wrote in the margin of a memo from his aide in September 1951, finally ordering: “Get out at once.”

Parallel to the agent program, the US also worked on training a group of civilian operatives in Alaska whose task would be to organize the evacuation of downed military air crews.

20 Photos of Alaska That Prove Not All of Winter Is Terrible

MorningfogThe 49th state of America is a place of incomparable beauty and wonder.

?size=lIt’s not just a snowy, frozen outback, like most people assume — it’s a place where bald eagles soar the skies and grizzly bears roam the countryside.

TrailIt’s a wild and expansive state that plays host to wild lupine flowers to birch trees. Alaska isn’t just a landscape caked in white snow, it’s a rainbow of colors as vibrant as the Northern Lights themselves.

Moose
Alaska’s stunning beauty is best experienced in person, but when you can’t get to the real thing you can always see it through the lens of a good camera.
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Luckily there are plenty of talented photographers out there who have captured the alluring essence of the great state and are sharing it with the world.
Waterfall

These photos capture the gorgeous splendor that is America’s Last Frontier.

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Glacier

Sparrow

Turnagainarm

Frozenwaterfall

Range

Snow-on-trees

Birch

Bear

Sanders

Starry

Denali

Barrison

Unbelievable Pictures Of The Dangerous Life Of Fishermen On Alaska’s Bering Sea

Corey_Arnold_FWBS 10

In 2002 photographer Corey Arnold left behind a poor economy in San Francisco and headed up to Alaska to try his luck at his longtime passion of fishing.

Arnold, who had worked summers during college on a salmon boat in Alaska, signed onto the f/v Rollo, a crabbing boat that fishes in the dangerous Bering Sea.

While working long, strenuous hours on the Rollo, Arnold often stole away with the captain’s permission to grab his camera and photograph the crew and the ship. Arnold eventually put together “Fish Work: Bering Sea,” a documentation of his seven adventurous and dicey crab seasons aboard the Rollo.

Arnold shared a selection of the photos with us here, and you can check out the rest in the book or on his website.

There are two annual crabbing seasons in the Bering Sea, King crab and Opilio crab. During each one- to two-month season, Arnold went on numerous trips crabbing. He went on one or two trips during King season, and three to five during Opilio season.

There are two annual crabbing seasons in the Bering Sea, King crab and Opilio crab. During each one- to two-month season, Arnold went on numerous trips crabbing. He went on one or two trips during King season, and three to five during Opilio season.

The 107-foot long f/v Rollo is equipped to handle tumultuous seas. Average seas in the Bering Sea have around 10- to 20-feet waves, but Arnold has witnessed massive 50-foot waves and the Rollo's captain, Eric Nyhammer, has witnessed 80-foot waves. Arnold rarely saw his captain get nervous, but when he does, the crew knows it's time to worry.

The 107-foot long f/v Rollo is equipped to handle tumultuous seas. Average seas in the Bering Sea have around 10- to 20-feet waves, but Arnold has witnessed massive 50-foot waves and the Rollo’s captain, Eric Nyhammer, has witnessed 80-foot waves.

Arnold rarely saw his captain get nervous, but when he does, the crew knows it’s time to worry.

Arnold was never comfortable with the "constant barrage of storms." "It’s nauseating, and you can’t sleep because you can’t hold yourself in your bunk without constantly getting rolled back and forth by the waves," Arnold said.

“It’s nauseating, and you can’t sleep because you can’t hold yourself in your bunk without constantly getting rolled back and forth by the waves,” Arnold said.

Before heading up to Alaska, the ship loads up with 3 months worth of food. Even so, it's hardly necessary. The ship's cook is constantly steaming fresh crab legs and seafood caught during the day. The hard labor of fishing requires a diet heavy in fat, protein, and omega-3s. Here, a sea lion gets a bite of the grub.

Before heading up to Alaska, the ship loads up with 3 months worth of food.

Once in the fishing area, they fish until the boat is filled with crabs. On a good trip, it could take 3 days to fill the boat. A bad one could take 8 or 9 days.

Once in the fishing area, they fish until the boat is filled with crabs. On a good trip, it could take 3 days to fill the boat. A bad one could take 8 or 9 days.

There’s no way to know exactly where crabs are, so there's a lot of trial and error. “You never know what’s going to come up in the pot,” Arnold. “It could be stuffed or it could be empty. You can go for days pulling up empty pots.”

“You never know what’s going to come up in the pot,” Arnold. “It could be stuffed or it could be empty. You can go for days pulling up empty pots.”

The massive crab pots weigh approximately 800 pounds when empty. A crabbing expedition involves dropping pots in strategic areas and then periodically picking them up. If the pot is full, the crew empties the crabs and then lowers the pot in the same place. If it is empty, the crew loads it onto the deck of the boat so it can be placed somewhere else.

The massive crab pots weigh approximately 800 pounds when empty.

After a full crab pot is pulled up, the crew loads it on the deck with the help of a crane. Then they sort through the crabs at the crab-sorting table. Anything that isn't a legal-size crab (crabs must grow to a certain size before they can be caught) gets thrown back.

After a full crab pot is pulled up, the crew loads it on the deck with the help of a crane. Then they sort through the crabs at the crab-sorting table. Anything that isn’t a legal-size crab (crabs must grow to a certain size before they can be caught) gets thrown back.

Arnold likens commercial fishing to gambling. "You never know if you are going to hit the jackpot. If you land on a big school of crab, you can make a lot of money. I liked the idea of making a lot of money working long hours over a short period of time, rather than spreading those hours out over the year."

“You never know if you are going to hit the jackpot. If you land on a big school of crab, you can make a lot of money. I liked the idea of making a lot of money working long hours over a short period of time, rather than spreading those hours out over the year.”

"There are a lot of near misses even on the safest of crab boats," Arnold says. One time, a crane was lifting a crab pot onto the Rollo's deck when it went over the crab sorting table, where Arnold and other crew members were sorting. As the pot went over, the cable on the crane snapped. The 800-pound pot fell on top of the table, just missing Arnold and his crew members. Here, we see the crane in happier times, as a crew member hits a pinata.

“There are a lot of near misses even on the safest of crab boats,”

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