Talk:Alaska

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Former good article nominee Alaska was a Geography and places good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
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Alaska a pennisula[edit]

Was the tail of alaska an island pennisula whom detached itself from the south of mexico once? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.255.25.193 (talk) 16:03, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

Well, for starters I don't know what an "island pennunsula" is or what you mean by the "tail" of Alaska, but in any event I am fairly certain that the answer is no. Beeblebrox (talk) 22:04, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
Are there two questions? (1) Do you mean 'pennisula' before 'islands'? (2) Are you joking about Mexico? Mexico is a long, long distance away. Charles Edwin Shipp (talk) 22:51, 3 June 2013 (UTC)
Speaking of islands and peninsulas (because I was looking to see if all the islands in the *tail* were considered US territory or of some of them were claimed by Russia), for being considered a geography article, there's no actual map of the state of Alaska in it. There's it attached to Canada in the box, and plonked in the lower 48 for size comparison purposes, and a climate zones thing, but no plain old political map of the state. I'm thinking there ought to be one somewhere in the article. ScarletRibbons (talk) 10:30, 18 May 2014 (UTC)
Census map.
Unfortunately the only one on commons is the one you see here. These are not the actual political divisions of Alaska, rather this shows how the census divides it up for their own purposes. So, unless we can find an actual map of the real political divisions of Alaska or someone with the appropriate skills would care to make one I think we will have to do without for now. Beeblebrox (talk) 17:18, 18 May 2014 (UTC)
I stand corrected.

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I had trouble believing we really didn't have something better, so I dug a little deeper and found an actual animation of the evolution of the current boroughs. I think this would be a nice addition to the article, anyone else have an opinion? Beeblebrox (talk) 17:28, 18 May 2014 (UTC)

I was going to respond earlier, glad I waited. USGS wall maps, and possibly other well-known wall maps such as the Kroll map, show only organized boroughs, without specifically denoting the remainder as the Unorganized Borough. Having read or glanced at an uncountable number of sources over the years which speak of local government in Alaska with some authority, it becomes obvious that the Unorganized Borough is defined more than anything else by how ill-defined it is.
I've long worried that Wikipedians artificially give significance to the Unorganized Borough (because it's mentioned in the constitution?) and treat census areas like they're totally made up out of thin air. I'll leave the bigger history lesson for later; just two more things. First, the second map is incorrect. Look at Article 10, Section 3 of the Constitution. All you'll find is the establishment of the concept of organized and unorganized boroughs. The legal framework necessary for communities to actually incorporate as boroughs was left to the legislature, which didn't pass such legislation until 1961. In other words, the Unorganized Borough didn't actually exist until it was created by this legislation. As far as anyone knew in 1959, this was just a phrase in the constitution and the legislature could very well have established multiple unorganized boroughs, but hadn't taken any action by the end of that year. Just as an aside, a consulting group led by a San Francisco-based real estate developer lobbied Governor Egan and the legislature that year to establish a county system for Alaska, but it didn't exactly gain much traction.
The final point is directed mainly towards Beeb. Did you say in a recent discussion that you once worked for the Census Bureau? Can you (or anyone else) offer any information on what kind of full-time presence they maintain in Alaska? AFAIK, the majority of the day-to-day dirty work which lays the foundation for the decennial census is done by state Department of Labor demographers. RadioKAOS / Talk to me, Billy / Transmissions 10:23, 20 May 2014 (UTC)
My impression is that there is not much of a permanent presence. I know folks from the Bureau come up and do preliminary work, mapping and so forth, a year or two ahead of time then they hire an army of locals from each area to do the "enumeration" as it is called. That's what I did. Part of the idea there is that by using locals they get a better response. I remember a gentlemen out on Diamond Ridge who answered the door with a gun in his hand, intending to tell the evil representative of the federal government where to stick it. When it turned out I was just a local trying to make a buck he invited me into his home and we filled out his form together. Then again, one of my co-workers had rocks thrown at him over by Ohlson Mountain, so it doesn't always work.... Beeblebrox (talk) 14:52, 20 May 2014 (UTC)
I agree that this article could use a better map of some sort. Although Alaska is a tricky place in terms of political divisions, we should at least have a map that shows where the major cities and settlements are, such as Juneau, Anchorage, Fairbanks, etc. We do not necessarily need a map defining boroughs or counties or other divisions. It simply should help readers with the location of major places in Alaska. Also consider things like Alaska's many national parks to include in such a map. The Census map is a fair one, if a tad bare, but it would solve the issue. Scarlettail (talk) 19:32, 20 May 2014 (UTC)
Here's the shorter version of the history lesson. The map which accompanied the 1950 Census was perhaps the first attempt to delineate Alaska's political geography in greater detail than the four divisions established in 1909, which determined court jurisdiction and legislative apportionment for the territory. In that map, in addition to the four divisions, the territory was broken up by recording districts. Yes, our coverage of recording districts is limited to the present-day system administered by DNR, ignoring a history going back to the days of mining-camp law. Anyway, having this data enabled the creation of the constitutional convention and early legislative districts, which for the most part formed the early boundaries of organized boroughs and census areas. Likewise, many CDPs began life as voting precincts. The maps and legal descriptions which verify this do exist, even if they aren't online.
Another aside about early statehood history: the apportionment scheme in the Constitution placed both sides of the Knik Arm Bridge within Anchorage. Egan's redistricting proclamation of December 1961 shifted the "Goose Bay precinct" (centered around what became "John F. Kennedy City", but that's probably TMI for this discussion) from Anchorage to the "Palmer (et al) district". Not long thereafter, the legislature mandated the incorporation of eight boroughs, using the new legislative boundaries as the basis for the boroughs' boundaries.
Finally, regarding the first map, I presume it to be based on the 2000 Census. Southeast has gone through several boundary changes since then, making it outdated. Speaking of which, now that we have maps (speaking of ADOL working with the Census Bureau) of the Petersburg Borough and that the remainder (Kake, Port Alexander and surrounding area) is aligned with POWI, there probably are dozens of articles/lists and a handful of categories in need of updating. Anyway, I've long complained that the new Census FactFinder appears to have been designed to slow down people who gained proficiency in getting what they wanted out of the old one. The map tool is especially horrific. Is it still possible to obtain updated maps of this sort from somewhere without having to scan them from book sources? RadioKAOS / Talk to me, Billy / Transmissions 01:14, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
Scarlettail, that's what I meant - a map showing Alaska's cities/towns, counties/boroughs would be OK, too, but at least the places where the population congregates in the largest state would be nice. Been on a island geography kick lately and the detailed political maps on articles such as the Canary Islands, Madeira, Cape Verde - though of course they're small archipelagos - and even Greenland are very good. The .gif is pretty cool and would indeed make a splendid inclusion, as would the census map, even though neither has quite all the information on them - better than nothing! ScarletRibbons (talk) 08:29, 3 June 2014 (UTC)

Oh yeah, one more thing about the accuracy of that animated gif. Port Alexander was detached from the City and Borough of Sitka in 1973. The actual area involved was so small, it's hard to say whether you can show it distinctly. RadioKAOS / Talk to me, Billy / Transmissions 21:17, 3 July 2014 (UTC)

Official language[edit]

Today, October 23, with the Governor's signing of the relevant bill, the state now has 21 official languages. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 66.223.168.166 (talk) 07:28, 24 October 2014 (UTC)

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure that English is the official language of Alaska ([1] [2]). --Philpill691 (talk) 01:16, 3 November 2013 (UTC)

A recent bill has changed the status of languages in Alaska. 20 Alaska Native languages are now 'symbolically official'.[1] This should be mentioned either under Official languages in the infobox or under Demographics > Languages. Or indeed both! Elban91 (talk) 18:28, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

This bill has now passed the Alaskan Senate (21 April 2014) giving Alaska 20 official languages. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sjonnisvartur (talkcontribs) 08:56, 25 April 2014 (UTC)

Some references: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/04/21/305688602/alaska-oks-bill-making-native-languages-official http://www.ktoo.org/2014/04/21/alaska-native-languages-bill-passes-15-hour-sit

The official languages of Alaska are English, Inupiaq, Siberian Yupik, Central Alaskan Yup'ik, Alutiiq, Unanga, Dena'ina, Deg Xinag, Holikachuk, Koyukon, Upper Kuskokwim, Gwich'in, Tanana, Upper Tanana, Tanacross, Hän, Ahtna, Eyak, Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian

--Freeelf (talk) 07:46, 15 May 2014 (UTC)

See section below for more information on this issue. As of May 15, the bill is still awaiting consideration by the governor, just the same as on April 21 when those stories were filed. My cheap smartphone browser wouldn't give me the full text of the bill, but there should be an effective date towards the bottom. The effective date is when it actually becomes law, and should be either a fixed date or X number of days (even zero) following consideration by the governor (and it would take a veto on his part to stop it from becoming law). If you haven't familiarized yourself with WP:CRYSTAL, it may be necessary to wait at least until it has actually reached the governor's desk to see what he does with it. Sam Kito III did not become a member of the House when Parnell's announcement of his appointment became a news story, as Wikipedians attempted to portray it. Rather, he became a member when he took the oath of office on the House floor. The same reasoning applies here. RadioKAOS / Talk to me, Billy / Transmissions 06:57, 16 May 2014 (UTC)

Official language update[edit]

This [3] makes it clear enough that English is in fact the official language of Alaska, and that unless the governor is clueless enough to veto this bill there will be many, many official languages in the near future. I don't think we need to update the article until this is signed into law, but it seems inevitable. Beeblebrox (talk) 20:14, 21 April 2014 (UTC)


I request that "Official Languages" change from "none" to "Inupiaq, Siberian Yupik, Central Alaskan Yup'ik, Alutiiq, Unangax, Dena'ina, Deg Xinag, Holikachuk, Koyukon, Upper Kuskokwim, Gwich'in, Tanana, Upper Tanana, Tanacross, Hän, Ahtna, Eyak, Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian."

A bill recently passed the legislature which makes these Alaska Native languages official state languages.

[2]

Aandaxhltin (talk) 06:29, 30 April 2014 (UTC)

Red information icon with gradient background.svg Not done for now: The link you provided shows the current status as "AWAIT TRANSMIT GOV" AFAIK this means that they are not yet official, as they have not yet been ratified by the governor. Presumably there will be a much clearer reference if/when they are ratified. - Arjayay (talk) 08:00, 30 April 2014 (UTC)

First off, WP:NOTNEWS leads me to believe that we shouldn't be giving this a high priority, regardless of reader sentiment. Secondly, a bill can become law with or without the governor's signature. He must veto it in order to stop it from becoming law, which is then subject to being overridden by the legislature. But wait, there's more. The bill will also contain an effective date, which can either be immediately or a fixed date in the future. This is very important, as there's been lots of "if it's been announced by a RS, treat it like it's a done deal, WP:CRYSTAL be damned" come across my watchlist in recent times. RadioKAOS / Talk to me, Billy / Transmissions 14:41, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
This is pretty much exactly what I was getting at in the previous section, which I have now merged with this one. This is almost certainly going to happen, but it hasn't yet. There's no rush, we can wait till it is an actual law. Beeblebrox (talk) 21:01, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
Aaaaaaaaaaand....... now it is the law.[4]. I'm sure it is just a coincidence that the governor waited for the Alaska Federation of Natives conference a week and a half before the election to go ahead and sign it. Beeblebrox (talk) 15:49, 25 October 2014 (UTC)

Oil Reserves chart[edit]

I have a problem with that chart/caption that says "Alaska oil reserves peaked in 1978 and have declined 60% thereafter." It is geologically impossible that the oil in place in Alaska increased by several billion barrels in two years in the late 70's...'known' or 'suspected' reserves might increase with a new discovery, but the oil that is there didn't actually change. Looks like the chart was user-made, so I think it should either be re-made (if somebody finds the source data) or taken out entirely, leaving just the 'production' graph. Thoughts? Anneagain (talk) 23:49, 16 May 2014 (UTC)

I think this might just be a matter of how the caption is phrased rather than a factual error. I have invited the user who created the image to comment here. Beeblebrox (talk) 17:39, 18 May 2014 (UTC)
The chart refers to proven reserves, and that should be stated in the caption. Proven reserves (P1) means, "Quantity of energy sources estimated with reasonable certainty, from the analysis of geologic and engineering data, to be recoverable from well established or known reservoirs with the existing equipment and under the existing operating conditions." The EIA reports proven reserves, and only booked the already discovered reserves on the ANS after the Alaska Pipeline was completed and it became an "existing operating condition". The oil companies also estimate probable reserves (P2) and possible reserves (P3) but keep them to themselves because of SEC rules. The oil company geologists' estimate of probable reserves (P2) is the most meaningful, but outsiders don't often see it for US oil fields. RockyMtnGuy (talk) 17:57, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
I also updated the text to point out that Alaska is now down to being the 4th largest oil producing state. Oil fields don't last forever, and the ANS fields are well past their best-before dates. And since someone said Prudhoe Bay was the biggest oil field in North America, I changed it to biggest conventional oil field in North America because there is a lot more unconventional oil than conventional oil. The Athabasca oil sands are much, much bigger, being about the size of England, and are the second largest unconventional oil field in the world after Venezuela's Orinoco Belt. North Dakota's Bakken Formation may also be bigger than Prudhoe Bay - who knows? I don't, we'll see. RockyMtnGuy (talk) 16:44, 22 May 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 12 July 2014[edit]

Fix broken link under External Links - U.S. Government - Alaska State Facts The updated link to the USDA Alaska State Fact Sheet is: http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/state-fact-sheets/state-data.aspx?StateFIPS=02&StateName=Alaska#.U8Flk7H-ItU

Parker ts (talk) 16:54, 12 July 2014 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done. Thanks for finding the link. —Mr. Granger (talk · contribs) 03:52, 14 July 2014 (UTC)