Stories are posted on the APRN news page. You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via email, podcast and RSS. Follow us on Facebook at alaskapublic.org and on Twitter @aprnListen nowFairbanks International Airport evacuated after bomb threatTim Ellis, KUAC – FairbanksThe FBI and Fairbanks International Airport police are investigating two bomb threats called-in to the airport Wednesday night. The terminal was evacuated for a little more than an hour, but no bomb was found and no one was injured. Two Alaska Airlines flights were delayed.Legislature on track to pass lowest number of bills in state history this sessionAndrew Kitchenman, KTOO – JuneauAlaska’s Legislature is on track to pass fewer bills than in any other session in the state’s history. And it’s not clear whether lawmakers will be able to agree on a plan to fix the state’s budget for the future.Legislation would require deeds to feature disclosure of property contaminationRashah McChesney, Alaska’s Energy Desk – JuneauFrom leaking pipelines and polluted aquifers, to broken septic tanks and abandoned military equipment, there are more than 2,200 open cases of contaminated sites in Alaska. A new bill that is making its way through the state House, would require full disclosure of contamination on the deed of a property before it can be sold.One man dead in fatal Pilot Station shootingAnna Rose MacArthur, KYUK – BethelA fatal shooting in Pilot Station was reported to State Troopers Thursday morning. 27-year-old Dennis Alick was killed and a suspect has been identified.Anchorage air traffic controller wins award for Bering Sea saveCasey Grove, Alaska Public Media – AnchorageAn air traffic controller in Anchorage has been honored for helping a pilot land his disabled jet on a remote Bering Sea island.Alaska Airlines expanding statewide infrastructureDan Bross, KUAC – FairbanksAlaska Airlines is expanding and updating infrastructure in the state. Alaska Airlines regional vice president Marilyn Romano outlined plans for the Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday.Ambler Road access project scoping period extendedDan Bross, KUAC – FairbanksThere’s more time to provide input on what should be considered in an environmental impact statement for the proposed Ambler Road project. The Bureau of Land Management has extended the EIS scoping period for the over 200-mile state proposed mining access route in the southern Brooks Range.New recommendations made for protecting Alexander Archipelago Wolf populationElizabeth Jenkins, Alaska’s Energy Desk – JuneauThe Alexander Archipelago Wolf didn’t go on the endangered species list in 2016, after it was petitioned by six conservation groups. But the feds and the state are looking at ways to stabilize the wolf population on Prince of Wales Island. In a joint-effort, new recommendations were released this month.Ask a Climatologist: River breakup is all about spring tempsAnnie Feidt, Alaska’s Energy Desk – AnchorageThe National Weather Service issued its annual river breakup forecast this week. The forecast calls for a relatively mild breakup arriving about on schedule across Alaska. But what factors determine the timing and severity how it plays out? We put that question to climatologist Brian Brettschneider.YKHC dedicates hospital expansion project to late Toksook Bay ElderAnna Rose MacArthur, KYUK – BethelThe late Paul John of Toksook Bay is remembered as one of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta’s most respected leaders. Last week, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation honored his legacy and his decades of service as a board member by dedicating its new hospital expansion to the late elder. More than 100 people wrote on a piece of drywall.
Stay on target Another CES has just passed us by and so we we have another chance to look at trends in consumer electronics. And while this isn’t precisely a new trend, people sure do seem totally onboard with talking to their technology. Loads of products advertise themselves by hyping up their integration with digital assistants like Alexa and Google Home. We all just can’t wait to live in our connected, smart home, Internet of Things future.But at what cost! These connected devices are owned by tech giants like Google and Amazon that have proven time and time again they won’t let our privacy get in the way of their profits. Jeff Bezos can’t even keep his sexts secrets, do you really want his devices constantly listening you just to make changing the blinds or using a mirror a little easier?Fortunately, there’s now a way to enjoy the benefits of voice assistants without making yourself vulnerable to corporate whims. Project Alias is a tech “parasite” for pacifying your smart speakers.The brainchild of designer Bjørn Karmann, Project Alias is a little mushroom-looking thing you plop on top of a product like an Alexa. That resemblance to fungus is intentional as the device was inspired by parasitic fungi that hijack hosts for their own ends. But instead of a Last of Us situation where the parasite causes a zombie outbreak, this parasite makes smart assistant much more secure.Basically, Project Alias produces a white noise that prevents the speaker from constantly, passively listening to you. Project Alias then uses its own microphone and Raspberry Pi brain to listen for your voice and control the assistant whenever you choose to activate it. Once you’re done, it’s back to the white noise. You might as well be silent as far as the assistant knows. Project Alias even responds to custom names and learns your voice over time to help make sure you never accidentally let your devices listen in when you don’t want them to.Making smart assistants less invasive in this era of rampant surveillance technology is a public good, frankly. And thankfully Karmann seems to feel the same way as you can freely download the 3D printing building instructions and GitHub code for Project Alias to theoretically make one yourself. That way, you can also make sure this new smart assistant isn’t just stopping one device from snooping on you so it can then snoop on you instead. Next can we make something that kicks Amazon out of Queens?For more on messing with voice assistants check out these whisper hacks for Alexa and Siri and learn how an ultrasound firewall can protect your devices from audio attacks. Geek Pick: Abode iota Is an All-In-One Security KitGeek Pick: Geeni Spot Smart Wi-Fi Plug Is a Superb Socket