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Alaska is a U.S. state in the northwest corner of the North American continent. It featured in the news more than usual during the 2008 political season because of Republican Presidential candidate John McCain’s selection of Alaska’s Governor, Sarah Palin, as his running mate.

The United States purchased the territory from Russia in 1867, and it became a U.S. state in 1959. Alaska is one of two states, the other being Hawaii, which does not border any other U.S. state. The only country it borders is Canada.

Anchorage is Alaska’s largest city; the other two sizable towns are Fairbanks and the capitol, Juneau. The bulk of Alaska’s economy is based on oil and gas. Seafood, tourism, and the military are also important to the state’s economy.

Alaska has varied geography, resulting in a wide range of climates. The far north of the state lies north of the Arctic Circle, while the interior gets very cold in winter but quite warm in summer, and temperatures in the Anchorage area are somewhat more temperate and less extreme.

About Jon Sobel

Jon Sobel is an Executive Editor of Blogcritics as well as lead editor of the Culture & Society section. As a writer he contributes most often to Culture, where he reviews NYC theater; he also covers interesting music releases. He writes the blog Park Odyssey, for which he is visiting and blogging every park in New York City—over a thousand of them. Through Oren Hope Marketing and Copywriting you can hire him to write or edit whatever marketing or journalistic materials your heart desires. By night he's a working musician: lead singer, songwriter, and bass player for Whisperado, a member of other bands as well, and a sideman.