Monthly Archives: March 2014

The Good Friday Earthquake

64 Quake Map

It was 50 years ago today, at 5:36pm AST, when the megathrust earthquake hit southern Alaska. The ground shook for over 4 minutes, causing tsunamis that wiped out coastal villages before the shaking stopped. The magnitude 9.2 quake remains the largest to be recorded in North America. In the five decades since, no earthquake has matched the power of the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake.

Kodiak, AK after Good Friday Quake
Kodiak after the 1964 Alaska Quake. Note the green Willys Wagon!

139 lives were lost (tsunami 124, earthquake 15), which, considering the magnitude of the quake, is amazingly low. The maximum tsunami wave height recorded was 67 meters (220 feet) at Shoup Bay in the Valdez Inlet. The community of Valdez was wiped out. Kodiak, Seward, Portage, Anchorage, Chitina, Glenallen, Hope, Homer, Moose Pass, among others, all saw severe damage.

4th Ave Anchorage B&W
4Th Avenue, Anchorage after the ’64 Quake

In the day following the earthquake, there were 11 major aftershocks that reached a magnitude of 6.2 or higher. There were thousands of aftershocks in the three weeks after the main shock, and it was a year later when the aftershocks were no longer noticed.

Seward Hwy 64 Quake
The Seward Highway, March 28, 1964

Color graphic courtesy of Live Science, photos courtesy of the University of Alaska Archives.

Breaking News:

Zombie Apocalypse

A new scientific study has been published, rating the preparedness of each state and the nation’s capital to survive a Zombie Apocalypse.

Alaska came in first, which should come as no surprise. Weather did not enter the study, now that Alaska is sharing the Polar Express with the northern Lower 48.
New Jersey was dead last, with Mississippi and Washington DC just ahead on the food chain.

Alaska’s Zombie Survival Profile:


In a state where residents run from bears and moose, they will not be scared of slow-moving corpses. Alaska is packed with military personnel and veterans, and they’re only a fraction of the well-armed Alaskans prepared to shoot zombies from a moving snowmobile.


Breaking News Update:
27 March 2014

Here is the scorecard for each state and their rankings in Zombie Survival. The scientific report was done by Estately.


20 Copies?

“One taxpayer decided to write off the entire cost of his $50,000, multi-year globetrotting extravaganza, which included trips to Italy, France and Greece. And it worked, all because he wrote a book about his travels.

His tax preparer Jerry Lewin, managing director of accounting firm CBIZ MHM, said that because the book was actually published — even if it was by an obscure, low-budget publishing house — and because he made a small profit from it — only 20 books were sold — it counted as a business expense.”

From Yahoo! Finance

La Carrera Panamericana


This 1956 VW Bug, is said to have ran La Carrera Panamerican in 1996. It is now for sale in Mansfield, OH for $5600.

The original Carrera Panamericana, introduced when the Pan-American Highway in Mexico was completed in 1950, was a border-to-border, open road race, that ran between 1950 and 1954. It was considered at the time, to be the most dangerous race of any kind in the world. The first winner of the race was Hershel McGriff who drove an Oldsmobile 88. The car cost McGriff $1900, and the race prize was $17,000.
The race was revived in 1988, allowing 100 cars to line up in Southern Mexico to race the 2000 miles north. La Carrera Panamericana lasts a week, with both experienced and novice racers running on public highways at top speeds, with the Mexican Highway Patrol clearing the roads ahead.

A video of a VW Beetle racing in Mexico in 1996. There’s a great moment at about 1:20 where the Bug is passed by an old Studebaker

The 27th Annual Pan-Am Race will run October 17-23, 2014.

The End of the Bear

the end of the Bear
The old USRC Bear just before she sank, with the tug “Irving Birch” in background.

The ship, that the U.S.C.G. calls “probably the most famous ship in the history of the Coast Guard”, sank on this day in 1963. The United States Revenue Cutter “Bear” served in Alaska waters for decades and had been the oldest US Navy ship to serve outside of the continental U.S. during WWII, had been lying derelict in various Nova Scotia harbors. In 1962, The Bear was purchased to become a floating restaurant in Philadelphia.

The Bear was being towed by a tug to Philadelphia in 1963, when a gale struck and the tow line was severed. The Bear’s mast collapsed, piercing the hull, and the great ship sank on March 19, 1963. Eighty-nine years after she was originally launched.

Today’s Observation


People pushing shopping carts while on their cell phone are just as annoying as those driving while talking on their phones.

Happy Pi Day