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Alaska is the only state in the USA whose name can be typed on a single row of letters on a keyboard (cf PERU).

The Nenana Ice Classic is an Alaskan sweepstake that has been running since 1917.

It started when bored railway engineers erected a wooden tripod on the frozen Tanana River and placed bets on the exact moment in spring when it would fall through the ice.

It has taken place every year since and now attracts entrants from around the world, which has boosted the jackpot from an original $800 to around $300,000.

A paper in the journal Science in 2001 was devoted to demonstrating that the records of the Nenana Ice Classic are a valid measure of global warming.

In 2007, ticket sales added up to a $303,272 jackpot, which was shared among 22 winners who had predicted that the ice would break up at 3:47pm, Alaskan standard time, on April 28.

Alaska was purchased by the USA from Russia in 1867 for $7,200,000.

This was almost twice the cost of making the film North to Alaska in 1960.

Until 1995 it was illegal to keep an elephant in Alaska. In that year, however, they changed the law regarding exotic pets specifically to allow an ex-circus elephant to stay there.

Under the Alaskan penal code 'wanton waste of a moose' is a class-A misdemeanour, equal in seriousness to drunken driving.

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