The numbers of hunters in the U.S. have been declining.
Ian Urbina reports on state efforts to encourage young people to take it up (including hunters education, apprenticeship programs, lower minimum age requirements, agency sponsored hunting trips for women, children under 15, and the disabled, hunting classes for single mothers, youth hunting weekends): To Revive Hunting, States Turn to the Classroom (New York Times, March 8).
In March the Arctic ice cap reaches its greatest annual extent. And this year's March ice cover only a little smaller than it's been it the past.
But look at this: red indicates one-year old seasonal ice.
Mason Inman reports on data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center showing that perennial or multi-year ice has dropped by half since the 80s and early 90s: Shrinking Arctic Sea Ice Thinner, More Vulnerable (National Geographic News, March 18, 2008)
That's important because the seasonal ice is thinner and melts faster. The ice cap is smallest in September and last September it was as small as we've ever seen it. We still don't know what will happen this summer, but the ice cap is starting the season with a big strike against it.
Of course Alaska's King Island had a long history before it entered the written record. During the Ice Age, when the land bridge connected Asia and America, the island's cliffs must have risen dramatically from the surrounding plain. Maybe it had a magical significance for the people who lived near it or passed it. Later the sea rose around it, cutting it off from the mainland. Later still, it became a platform from which people could harvest seals, walrus, polar bear, fish, and birds. The people who lived on it, or who traded or raided with it, certainly had an oral history and tradition.
But the written record begins in July 1732.
This Google map of the Bering Straits shows the key places in the story. On the left is Cape Dezhnev on the Russian mainland. The white line is the current U.S.-Russia boundary. There are two islands in the upper part of the picture astride the international boundary. Big Diomede is on the Russian side, Little Diomede is on the U.S. side. The point of mainland on the U.S. side is the end of the Seward Peninsula, culminating in Cape Prince of Wales. South of this Cape is a small island - King Island. To the southeast of King Island, just off the southern shore of Seward Peninsula is another small island - Sledge Island.
US Coast Guard Admiral Brooks may have exaggerated somewhat in his comparison of the Bering Strait and the Strait of Malacca, but he does expect a lot more traffic through the Bering Straits in the next 10 to 20 years: U.S. needs to prepare for Arctic traffic surge (Tom Kizzia, Anchorage Daily News, Feb 14).
That's the tip of Russia's Chukchi Peninsula on the left, and the tip of Alaska's Seward Peninsula on the right. The shortest distance across is about 55 miles. The big island on the Russian side of the international boundary is Big Diomede, and the U.S. island next to it is Little Diomede. You can't see Fairway Rock, a small island to the southeast of the Diomedes. King Island is under the Seward Peninsula south of the straits.
There are parts of Texas where they like NAFTA. Consequently, despite poll results showing that a plurality of likely Texas Democratic voters disapprove of NAFTA, Clinton and Obama have toned down there rhetoric: Nafta Bashing Ends at Texas Line (Amy Chozick and Nick Timiraos, Wall Street Journal, March 3):
After weeks of hammering the North American Free Trade Agreement on campaign stops in Ohio, the Democratic presidential candidates are singing a different tune in Texas.
Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have had to adjust their messages as they have shuffled between hard-hit Ohio and robust Texas, where Nafta is largely seen as an economic boost to the state's border communities.
Saturday, Sen. Clinton dedicated her stops in Fort Worth and Dallas to talk of national security. Friday, she focused a speech in Waco on veteran's rights, because Texas has a large military population. Sen. Obama is keeping his Texas message squarely set on uniting the country. He omitted mention of Nafta at a rally here Friday night that attracted 8,000 people....