What's up with that?

The Empire ponders Juneau's puzzles, unravels its mysteries and contemplates its conundrums.

Posted: Thursday, June 06, 2002

Q: It seems like I remember reading not too long ago that because of the amount of credit card fraud, businesses were supposed to no longer print receipts that gave your entire credit card number and expiration date on them. Instead, they were supposed to update their equipment so that your credit card number is blocked (XXXX XXXX XXXX 0001).

Lately, I have been to gas stations and the post office and they are still printing the old style of receipts. Is this not a law, do businesses have more time to make the switch in machines, or have businesses failed to change?

A: We checked with the office of Alaska's attorney general, the Federal Reserve Bank and Bank of America. No one in these offices knew of any state or federal law requiring such a receipt. Bank of America said the format used in printing the credit card receipt is up to each individual merchant. They added they're seeing a gradual change by merchants to the use of updated software that will print a redacted (more secure) receipt.

Q: What's up with the sirens that have been installed on Channel Drive?

A: David Stone at Alaska Electric Light and Power said warning sirens have been in place on the east side of Egan near Channel Drive for quite some time. These sirens will sound in the event of a problem with the Salmon Creek Dam. During a recent test, it was determined the existing sirens were not loud enough so 12 additional ones were installed to provide adequate warning to the area west of Egan.

Q: What is the significance, meaning, history, etc. of the Juneau Empire logo - the two Native figures on the building and also in the paper?

A: The Juneau Empire building, dedicated in March 1987, was designed to not only house state-of-the-art production facilities, but also to be the permanent home of an extensive collection of original Alaska art. Artist Nathan Jackson, a Chilkoot Tlingit born in Tenakee and raised in Haines and Juneau, designed and carved the 16-foot-tall sculpture you're inquiring about. Made of red cedar, silicon bronze and nickel silver, it depicts two human figures facing each other holding rolled newspapers. Between them is a globe. The figures and the sculpture have to do with the definition of a newspaper's ability to communicate. Jackson carved the cedar faces of the figures, which he says were inspired by cousins of his. Fabricating the metal on the sculpture and working with Jackson was Larry Sommers, of Gold Creek Metals of Ketchikan and Haines.

Q: I like to watch hummingbirds sipping nectar from feeders and from flowers during the spring and summer. But with the cold spring we had, the flowers (and feeders) weren't available to them until later than normal. What do hummingbirds eat when they're here, but their normal food is not?

A: "They can subsist off of insects," said Bob Armstrong of Juneau, author of "Alaska's Birds: A Guide to Selected Species." "They'll pick up aphids off the underside of leaves, and spiders and any other insects they can get. You'll often see them working the bark of trees" for insects. They also subsist off of willow catkins and blueberry blossoms, and Armstrong has studied the birds' role in pollinating blueberries around Juneau.

Contrary to what many people may think, hummingbirds regularly eat insects, whether flowers are blooming or not. Armstrong said they provide protein for the birds, while nectar provides the sugars they need to survive.

Armstrong said that hummingbirds - like spring - were delayed in arriving to Juneau this year.

"They were about a month later at my house than the previous year," he said.

The Empire ran an Inside feature on hummingbirds last June titled "Kiss of the Hummingbird.

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