Apparently, FedEx is using some sort of new math where the word “second” is equivalent to three.
Here’s what Apple’s email said when our order was shipped:
Order Date: MAY 31, 2007 *Shipment Information* Shipment Date: JUN 01, 2007 Delivers by: JUN 05, 2007
If you look at the FedEx tracking image you can see that the package was received on the first (day zero), and was in Fairbanks on the fourth (day number one because Saturday and Sunday don’t count). Then it sat around on the day it was supposed to be delivered (the second day), and it’s out for delivery today.
Check out the FedEx tracking image above. We paid extra for two-day shipping, but I guess two actually means four when shipping to Alaska. The funny part is that the package went from China to Anchorage (less than a two hours by air from Fairbanks), but instead of being delivered on the 21st, it went all the way to Indianapolis, and then back (!) to Anchorage for delivery in Fairbanks today. Cost: three days and an additional 7,528 miles traveled.
I remember when I moved to California being surprised that leaves and grass clippings were "cleared" using what we called leaf blowers. If you happen to live in an enlightened area where people still clean up their leaves with a rake or a mulching lawnmower, a leaf blower is a two cycle engine that blows a high volume of air out a wand that the operator uses to move leaves around. They're incredibly noisy (50 feet away they're about 100 times louder than World Heath Organization recommendations for outdoor sound levels), and cause an unbelievable amount of air pollution (up to seventeen times the amount a modern automobile produces).1
Recently, I had the same surprise on campus when Facilities Services at UAF started equipping their sidewalk cleaners with the same devices, except now they're using them to blow snow. I don't have the data to perform an economic analysis of this decision, but I guarantee that when you add in the externalities of noise and air pollution, engine maintenance, the damage done to cars when they blow gravel into them, and the impact of burning fossil fuels on the global climate, a shovel starts looking pretty cheap.
They also don't do a very good job because they can't remove snow that's been packed down at all. Check out all the footprints in the image. I can't help but wonder, once again, if some problems are better solved with less modern technology.
1These figures come from a variety of sources, referenced on this site. It's a biased site, but I trust the cited sources.
A week ago I posted some data from the Statistical Abstract of the United States. On today's local newscast there was a story about cancer rates in Alaska and one of the people interviewed mentioned that cancer is the leading cause of death in Alaska. In the U.S. heart disease kills 26% more people than cancer. But the numbers for Alaska are quite different than the national averages.
Here's the same table I showed last week, except from 2001, and including Alaska, and Alaska's rank for some causes:
|[Cause]||[National Rate]||[Alaska Rate]||[Alaska Rank]|
|(lower numbers are better)|
|Motor Vehicle Accidents||15.4||16.3|
The values are deaths per 100,000 residents, so they've already got population size factored in. The Alaska rankings are interpreted such that a low number means Alaska has much lower rates for that cause relative to the rest of the United states. Alaska ranks number one (lowest deaths per capita) overall, and for the individual causes of heart disease, cerebrovascular diseases, and diabetes. And we've got the third lowest death rate due to cancer and lower repiratory diseases. Alaska ranks pretty low (high death rates) for accidental death and suicide, however. The extreme environment and very long winter probably contribute to both of these higher death rates.
So more Alaskas do die from cancer than anything else, but relative to the rest of the United States, we have remarkably low death rates. Perhaps there is something to all the open spaces and the clean air and water that keeps the average Alaskan healthy?