Big Lake, Alaska and The Susitna Valley News, Weather, Events, And More

Welcome to The Big Lake Times
Tuesday, October 17 2017 @ 07:32 PM AKDT

View Printable Version

NSA's 'Quantum' program reportedly lets the agency access 100,000 offline computers

Tech"Three days before President Barack Obama will allegedly announce major changes to the NSA's surveillance programs, The New York Times has a story addressing one particularly controversial practice: intercepting laptops purchased online to insert bugs that can phone home — or even give remote access — to the US government. According to the Times, not only does that practice take place, but the bugs are now installed in nearly 100,000 computers around the world as part of a program code-named Quantum. However, the publication's government sources say they aren't being used inside the United States, but rather to spy on allleged Chinese and Russian military hacker groups, Mexican drug cartels, European "trade institutions," and alleged terrorists. Since the devices have their own radios, they can allegedly tap into computers that aren't connected to the internet."
View Printable Version

Wasilla man in custody after holding troopers at bay with slingshot, pellet gun

Police BlotterWASILLA -- A 42-year-old man fired a slingshot at Alaska State Troopers responding to a report of gunshot victims near Wasilla but eventually came out of his house without incident early Tuesday morning, troopers said.

Troopers responded to a report just after 10 p.m. of multiple gunshots and victims down at an address on North Tanana Drive, off Bogard Road. The caller did not provide identification, troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said.

It was later determined that no one was injured and the only person in the house was Jose A. Pacheco, troopers said. The incident resolved peacefully after several hours of standoff and negotiation, they said.
View Printable Version

Making millions out of mud?

Alaska Business"Is Cordova's Lauren Padawer on her way to becoming the next self-made multimillion dollar American tycoon? Tune in to ABC's "Shark Tank" on Friday to find out.

Padawer started her Alaska Glacial Mud Co., selling all-natural facial masks, soaps and other skin care products, in 2007 with the help of an Alaska Federation of Natives Marketplace Grant. She traveled to Los Angles this past September to face five of six Sharks: billionaire Mark Cuban, outspoken owner of the 2011 NBA championship Dallas Mavericks; real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran; "Queen of QVC" Lori Greiner; technology innovator Robert Herjavec; fashion and branding expert Daymond John; and venture capitalist Kevin O'Leary.
View Printable Version

Ohio town terrorized by Chickens.

Weird NewsFAIRBORN, Ohio (WDTN) - Arby Presley added a new chore to her list recently. Feeding the chickens.

The only problem is she isn't in a barn yard, but a front yard.

"This is supposed to be the city limits, it's the outer limits," says neighbor Elizabeth Long.

For decades Presley and her neighbors have watched chickens hunt and peck their way up and down Montgomery Avenue in Fairborn.

But recently they say the chickens aren't just crossing the road, they're crossing the line.

"It's gotten so out of control because there's so many of them," Presley says.
View Printable Version

Plan and Prepare for Any Disaster

Community Living in Alaska has some unique challenges. Preparing for a disaster is something any individual or family anywhere must consider. Here are some tips from the Matanuska-Susitna Borough website (link at end of article).

Assemble emergency kits. (See Basic Emergency Supplies.)
Keep copies of important documents (passport, driver license, social security card, marriage license, will, deeds, financial statements, etc.) in an offsite location such as a safety deposit box.
To facilitate insurance recovery, include an inventory of your valuables with serial number list of tools and equipment and photographs or video of other valuables.
Use a USB jump drive to store these files. Make duplicate jump drives and keep one at home, and one in a safety deposit box or other off-site safe location.
Learn how and when to shut off your utilities. (See Utilities.)
Discuss all possible exit routes from each room, building and neighborhood. Ensure that your family has at least two exits from each.
Reunification location n: choose two places, one outside your home and another outside your neighborhood, like a church, community center, store parking lot, or other open area to meet at if you are separated.
Conduct emergency drills and practice “DROP, COVER and HOLD” for earthquakes at least once every six months.
Always keep your car’s gas tank at least 3/4 full.
Take classes on first aid, CPR and disaster preparedness. (See Training & Volunteer Opportunities).
Practice your plan once a year. Pick a weekend with nice weather to set up in your yard and use your disaster kit. This allows you to see how well it works and add to it before a real emergency.
View Printable Version

Net neutrality is half-dead: Court strikes down FCC’s anti-blocking rules

Tech"The Federal Communication Commission's net neutrality rules were partially struck down today by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which said the Commission did not properly justify its anti-discrimination and anti-blocking rules.

Those rules in the Open Internet Order, adopted in 2010, forbid ISPs from blocking services or charging content providers for access to the network. Verizon challenged the entire order and got a big victory in today's ruling. While it could still be appealed to the Supreme Court, the order today would allow pay-for-prioritization deals that could let Verizon or other ISPs charge companies like Netflix for a faster path to consumers.

The court left part of the Open Internet Order intact, however, saying that the FCC still has "general authority" to regulate how broadband providers treat traffic."
View Printable Version

Shark Species Thought to Be Extinct Found in Fish Market

Nature"After his 1902 trip to Yemen, scholar and naturalist Wilhelm Hein returned with a variety of plants and animals, which he donated to the Vienna Museum. One of these specimens, a shark, sat unnoticed for more than 80 years. In 1985 it was identified as the first (and only known) specimen of Carcharhinus leiodon, the smoothtooth blacktip shark. Because no others had ever been found by scientists, Alec Moore, regional vice chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Shark Specialist Group’s Indian Ocean group, says that “some suspected it might be extinct or not a valid species.”

In 2008, during a Shark Conservation Society research expedition to Kuwait’s sharq fish market (the name is a coincidence, it means east in Arabic), Moore says that “amongst the many species of whaler shark was one which looked very similar, but different, to a couple of other species.” Later analysis revealed that although this specimen was more than 3,000 kilometers from where Hein caught his, this was a smoothtooth blacktip, the first new individual seen by scientists in over a century."
View Printable Version

Alaska officials warn drivers of caribou crossing Glenn Highway

Nature"After two vehicle accidents last week involving caribou within about five miles of each other along the Glenn Highway leading to the Interior Alaska community of Glennallen, Alaska State Troopers and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game are warning that about 10,000 caribou are wintering near a 30-mile stretch of road there and advising travelers to exercise caution."

ADF&G photo Why do the Caribou cross the road?
View Printable Version

Man Cited for Feeding Moose

Police Blotter On 1-12-14, Alaska Wildlife Troopers, Palmer Post, cited Paul Cocker age 47 of Wasilla, for hand feeding carrots to a moose. Cocker was issued a $310 bailable citation with an optional court appearance in the Palmer District Court.
View Printable Version

Runaway Tortoise Found 30 Miles From Home- 6 months later

Pets and AnimalsCan a tortoise actually “run” away?

Whatever the velocity, a 100 pound tortoise lumbered 30 miles before he was found and taken in by a foster family. It took the reptile six months to cover the distance.

Earlier this month the animal was reunited with his Arizona owners, according to the Associated Press.

When taking care of the tortoise, which was renamed “Eddie,” became too much, the foster family decided to place an advertisement in the Copa Monitor, a local publication, in hopes of finding his owner, the AP reported.
“Eddie has quite the personality!” the advertisement said. “He was found as a stray and appeared to be very well taken care of, yet no one came forward to claim him. He is about 15 years old and will live another 70+ years, so a family who is committed to him for life is very, very important.”
View Printable Version

Man credits chihuahua, machete in repelling home invader

Pets and Animals"LAPORTE | A 62-year old LaPorte man wielded a machete to fend off the blows of a home invader early Monday.

However, it might have been his chihuahua named Charlie who kept him from being further harmed by repeatedly biting the suspect.

"If it wasn't for him he would have succeeded in doing whatever he wanted to do, because I was down," said the victim, Roman Dickt, who lives in the 1400 block of West 18th Street."
View Printable Version

I Spent Two Hours Talking With the NSA’s Bigwigs. Here’s What Has Them Mad

Tech"My expectations were low when I asked the National Security Agency to cooperate with my story on the impact of Edward Snowden’s leaks on the tech industry. During the 1990s, I had been working on a book, Crypto, which dove deep into cryptography policy, and it took me years — years! — to get an interview with an employee crucial to my narrative. I couldn’t quote him, but he provided invaluable background on the Clipper Chip, an ill-fated NSA encryption runaround that purported to strike a balance between protecting personal privacy and maintaining national security.

Oh, and I was not permitted to interview my Crypto source at the agency’s headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland. I was crushed; I had grown obsessed with the vaunted triple fence surrounding the restricted area and had climactic hopes that I’d get inside. Instead, the meet occurred just outside the headquarters’ heavily guarded perimeter, at the National Cryptologic Museum. (I did buy a cool NSA umbrella in the gift shop.)

This time around, the NSA’s initial comeback was discouraging. The public relations person suggested that perhaps some unidentified officials could provide written responses to a few questions I submitted. A bit later, an agency rep indicated there was the possibility of a phone conversation. But then, rather suddenly, I was asked if I would be interested in an actual visit to meet with a few key officials. And could I do it… later that week?"
View Printable Version

MATANUSKA-SUSITNA BOROUGH PUBLIC NOTICE

Public NoticesThe Matanuska-Susitna Borough (MSB), Land & Resource Management Division, has received an application from Mahay's Riverboat Service for a 5-year temporary land use permit to use borough-owned land located north of Talkeetna, AK, along the Susitna River within Section 26, T27N, R05W, S.M., Alaska. The permit would allow for applicant to provide short nature hikes in association with riverboat tours. The site has a temporary picnic shelter, toilet facility, replicas of a trapper's cabin, cache and native shelter, primitive trails and a dock. Applicant is currently using the site under a 5-year land use permit for similar river tour activities.
Supporting material is available for public inspection during normal business hours on the 2nd floor of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough building in the Land Management Division at 350 E Dahlia Avenue, Palmer, Alaska. Public comment is invited on this request. If you have any comments please mail or deliver them to the borough offices at the address indicated above, no later than January 19, 2014. If you have questions about this request: call Bruce Paulsen at 861-7867 between 8:00-5:00 or you can send an e-mail to: LMB@matsugov.us (PLEASE REFER TO MSB006879 WHEN SUBMITTING COMMENTS).
View Printable Version

Curiosity rover spotted by Mars orbiter

Science"A high-resolution camera mounted on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has collected imagery showing the Curiosity rover's trek across Gale Crater toward a three-mile-high mountain.

Scientists often use the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, or HiRISE, camera to study the red planet's evolving geology, detecting intermittent water percolating to the Martian surface, mapping the planet's craters, mountains and canyons, and surveying landing sites for future missions.

HiRISE has also periodically imaged spacecraft already on Mars, including Curiosity, the Spirit and Opportunity rovers and the Phoenix lander after it arrived in 2008. "
View Printable Version

Your Pet Dog Could Recognize Your Face From An Image

Pets and Animals"A dog might be a little better at recognizing its owner’s face from an image than previously thought, according to a study published in the journal Animal Cognition.

Researchers tracked the eye movements of canines to investigate whether man’s best friend was able to recognize a familiar face from an image. The team wanted to determine if dogs were able to see faces in images and whether they naturally look at familiar and strange faces differently.

The study involved a total of 23 pet dogs and eight kennel dogs, which were trained to lie still during the image presentation and to perform the task independently.

“Dogs seemed to experience the task rewarding, because they were very eager to participate,” Professor Outi Vainio, leader of the study from the University of Helsinki, said in a statement."