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Mark Johnson may hold the world record for largest geographic range in which someone has practiced tai chi. Johnson has done tai chi at McMurdo Station in Antarctica all the way north to Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago near the North Pole. He travels to these remote locations as a physical oceanographer for the University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences.

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JIM RIVER — On this cobble bar north of the Arctic Circle, it is a fine day. The sky is a sheet of blue, a breeze wraps us with clean air, a sandpiper mom shrieks over her hatchlings. They are gray-blue puffballs, extra cute and almost invisible amid the stones. In short, this is a perfect morning for the human creature, with its narrow range of comfort regarding temperature and insects. Along my hike on the path of the trans-Alaska pipeline this summer, these moments are the exception. But they always seem to happen, at least once a day.

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“Nix fadstälnaw r”idi chyai” means “Let’s explore somewhere new” in Fosk, a language constructed by students in a linguistics course at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. During the spring 2017 semester, 25 students built Fosk from scratch while enrolled in Robin Shoaps’ innovative course, Klingon, Elvish and Dothraki: The Art and Science of Language Creation. The students chose what their language would sound like and how it would be written. They developed a vocabulary of more than 1,000 words.

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Chris Sannito’s dog Sammy is really happy that his owner has developed a tasty pet treat made out of pollock skins. Informal taste tests by Sammy and other Kodiak canines indicate the treats — although not fishy smelling to humans — have plenty of that deep-sea essence dogs love so much.

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