I am curious about Alaska and Alaskans because I am curious about how our environment shapes us. This is a harsh environment that spawns a people who are extremely hardy. Because the winters are long and lonely, traditionally they prize their time together, value good story telling, and are generally gregarious, friendly, and fun. Other than the First Americans, the scant population here was built mostly by rakes, runaways, fortune-seekers and adventurers; in other words, rugged individualists. But stereotypes just don't work up here. In spite of their gun-toting, moose-skinning, conservative reputation, Alaskans are notably varied, tolerant, and progressive.