The Big Five-Oh


Breaking ground on the Rasmuson Library

Earlier this month was supposed to see a big party at the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Rasmuson Library. The building turned 50 years old. But the pandemic squashed that bash. This edition of Northern Soundings we hear from former director Paul McCarthy who discusses his long career at the Rasmuson. First, we begin with a conversation via Skype with current director Karen Jensen.

And bibliophiles won’t want to miss Chris Lott’s exploration of the many ways the love of books can veer off in unexpected directions on Katexic Clippings.


Music by Jukedeck

Pandemic Politics 2


My conversation with Alexander Hirsch, political scientist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Nate Bauer, Director of the University of Alaska Press continues. Coming off of South Korea’s elections last month many pundits saw the landslide results for the ruling government as an endorsement of its policies towards the pandemic. What, I wondered, would the United State’s response to COVID-19 bode for Republicans in November?

A Model Pandemic


COVID-19 has prompted dramatic changes around the world. Beyond the isolation and economic shock there is a growing awareness of some of the science behind pandemics, including modeling. Almost daily we hear about the need for more data to fine-tune predictions and response. But what do epidemiologists mean by a model. To answer that, I turned to KUAC’s “Math-Guy” John Gimbel, mathematics professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Deconstructing the Self


Back in February, before travel restrictions and social distancing was set in place, Jeff Kitzes was in Fairbanks. Jeff is a psychotherapist from California and frequently leads Zen retreats in town through the Cold Mountain Zen Center. Jeff is also a certified Zen Master, whose Buddhist name is Bon Soeng. He heads up the Empty Gate Zen Center in Berkeley. 

While he was in Fairbanks this last time he was invited to talk with University of Alaska Fairbanks students, faculty and staff at a new room called The Well, intended as a quiet and inviting spot where students and others can sooth and replenish their spirits through meditation or other contemplative practices.

Also, on the show: One of the rituals for some die-hard baseball fans it to head to Florida’s baseball camps to take in spring training. That option was called on account of COVID-19. Author and reviewer Frank Soos sympathizes and he’s in with some recommendations to ease the pain.

The Great American Novel

The Boys of Summer

The Summer Game

The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop

The Art of Fielding

The Cactus League

And Chris Lott is in with some eastern religious phrases that have taken root in English, on Katexic Clippings.


Music by JukeDeck