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Sunday, December 23, 2012
Volume 5, No. 52
SANDY HOOK REFLECTIONS
Hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea. Well, like probably a lot of you, I find that the holiday season this year is some compromised by the shootings at Sandy Hook.
Like many of you, I have seen this before. I’ve never gotten used to it. I keep waiting for society to do the responsible thing. Weapons control doesn’t work. If a human being is angry enough to engage in an orgy of slaughter, they’ll find a way. Sandy Hook’s been going on since the Stone Age.
We need to pay more attention to one another. Until we make that a priority, the slaughter of the most vulnerable will continue. It’s not the healthy who kill. It’s the people our way of life ignores or breaks who do that.
How does a society institutionalize compassion and that kind of caring? How does the constituency legislate it?
For me, I’m thinking about the birth of another very special child. I’m reflecting some on the man he grew up to be and how much he cared about kids.
I’m thinking it’s not that hard to protect our kids. I’m hoping it’s no longer an issue of that being important enough.
If it’s not, those kids from Sandy Hook on back died for nothing.
They deserve better than that and we’re going to do a lot better than that. At least among Shannon’s twinkling lights.
IN OTHER NEWS
Time Magazine has named its Person of the Year. Their choice might be controversial but I don’t imagine there will be much public debate on the runner up or the list of candidates. Yep, for more on this one, please go here.
What are the cleanest cities on the planet right now? The answers just might surprise you.
WORLD NEWS SHORTS
Afghanistan: Soviet-era Landmine Kills 9 Girls
Africa – Congo’s Never-Ending War,
International: Life Expectancy Rises Around World, Study Finds; ‘Peak Farmland’ Is Here, Experts Predict, As Crop Yields Rise And Population Growth Slows; By 2017, the world will be burning enough coal for another U.S. and Russia
North Korea: A Rare Look Inside the Hermit Kingdom
The Philippines: Philippine Lawmakers Pass Reproductive Health Bill
South Africa: South Africa Since Mandela
CLIMATE CHANGE SHORTS
The Canadian Space Agency’s Colonel Chris Hadfield last week became the first of his nationality to command the International Space Station. He’s up there with an American astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut for what is projected to be a five month stay. For more on this one, please go here.
Why are prices higher in Canada than in the States: The answers just might surprise you.
We applaud President Obama for nominating US Senator John Kerry (D, Massachusetts) for secretary of state. We agree with his reasons for doing so and hope this is an indication that good judgment is returning once again to the Oval Office.
Portland, Oregon’s five ecodistricts have moved from private sector funding to public as the City assumes fiscal responsibilities for them. This is consistent with the city’s green evolution and a strong indication of how solidly it is supported by the citizenry at large.
As a result of a federal investigation, Shelby County, in Tennessee, is dramatically overhauling its treatment of juvenile offenders. Apparently too many kids have been killing themselves while incarcerated there and while that seems to have been acceptable to authorities on the lower tiers of government, it was not deemed appropriate by national agencies also responsible for protecting particularly the young.
The National Rifemans Association’s solution to the period public school massacre of American children has to be about as brilliant a piece of brainwork as bunkering up in anticipation of the end of the world simply because too many people never bothered to learn how to read a Mayan calendar. This whole idea that the only way to deal with a bad person with a gun is to face them off with a good person with a gun is also a throwback to one of the most romantic and mischaracterized periods of American history and another indication to me that while a society at large might evolve, not every member of it does.
Now that it looks like the sale of assault rifles might be banned in some jurisdictions, there is, of course, a run on the flipping things. It’s also a good indication of what prohibition of anything as a national policy tends to do in America. It popularizes it; creates an increased demand for it; and fosters enterprise among that segment of the population not afraid to break the law to get what they want. I can’t help thinking that if the government tried doing that with things that are actually good for us, we might be a healthier nation for it.
SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, NATURE AND EXPLORATION
Yet another life-sustaining planet has been discovered orbiting a star relatively close to our own. Yep, for more on this one, please go here.
his past year was a bunker one for archaeologists professional and amateur both. To see what new discoveries were unearthed in 2012, yep, please go here.
It was also a great year for finding other planets in other solar systems which might support life. For these highlights, go here.
THE GREEN AGENDA
Kids are apparently a lot tougher than many of us previously thought. They can and do heal from extremely traumatic events, providing all other preconditions are in place. Yes, for more, please go here.
With more and more families living with several generations under one roof, we thought it might be helpful to offer this article on how to better understand 21st Century Teen Speak.
New statistics are in on the changing face of America. For a fascinating look at a nation truly in socio-cultural revolution, please go here.
In another article on living better with less, check out Erin McCoy’s “How I Survived Breaking Up With My Car”
ON THE CANCER FRONTRESOURCES AND RELATED LINKS: Cancer: What You Need to Know American Cancer Society Canadian Cancer Society
BEST OF THIS WEEK’S NET MEDIA
If you love photos from earth, this site offers some classics from as far back as the 1960s. Some of these make fantastic wallpaper.
Komo 4 News (ABC)
King 5 News (NBC)
ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL
The arachnidophiles among you are going to love this. I am sooo NOT a spider person but I’ve got to admire the intelligence of this little dude in Peru. Its creativity is downright scary and one more argument for the sentience of all creatures, great and small.
And then there was the Golden Eagle who decided she wanted to raise a human child. She heard the best of the species were to be found in Montreal. She went there and tried to swipe one from a city park. It was caught on a video we predict will go viral because it is claimed to be fake. Check it out here and get back to us about what you think. If we get enough answers, we’ll run them in the New Year edition. Here’s the link. And thanks to Jessica and Benoit, from Quebec City for this gem. Some of you have a sense of humour bordering on the flipping bizarre.
And at the other end of the world and some down under, the daycare center in Australia which needed to close down because of an infestation of pythons.
SHORTSLiving With Wildlife BBC’s wildlife finder National Geographic Daily News – Animals
YOU GUYS THINK I MAKE THIS STUFF UP
And then there was the dock which came loose from its moorings during the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan in March of 2011. It embarked on a long voyage across the Pacific Ocean and very recently came ashore of a remote stretch of WashingtonState’s Olympic Peninsula, where it is being checked for radiation and invasive species while local authorities figure out what to do with it.
From Northstar’s house to yours, here are several links that I have used for years and have shared with family and friends. May you and yours know the best the Season has to offer. MS(R)M
INFLATION CALCULATOR is something I use when people start talking about how inexpensive things were in the past. It introduces the cost of living and prevailing wage indices for a more realistic look at how much things really “cost.” Here’s the link again: http://www.percentagecalculator.net
KING 5 LIVE is Seattle’s NBC affiliate website. In a geographic area the size of the American states of Delaware and Rhode Island, they provide streaming newscasts and other outstanding videos. They are the best source for a non-resident to learn about Seattle and the greater Puget Sound and are in the same league professionally as the ABC affiliate in New York I use for a window on the Big Apple. Here’s the link again: http://www.king5.com/live-stream
MERRIAM WEBSTER ONLINE is the best pocket reference site I’ve ever found. It also has a very engaging word game and puzzle section and an excellent crossword. I visit this site daily and spend about a half hour with it doing mental calisthenics. Here’s the link again: http://www.merriam-webster.com
SAYIT is a talking pronunciation international dictionary. In this day and age of Skyping and other multimedia communication, it’s just as important for us to know how to speak as to spell. I’ve found it’s also fun to be able to greet some of my international friends in their own language. Here’s the link again: http://www.howjsay.com
SIMON is a “Simon Says” memory game in which the player presses four colored panels in a sequence prompted by the game. It’s also a little addictive but the up side of that is that it can quickly become extremely energy intensive. And yes, it’s another way to exercise the brain. Here’s the link again: http://neave.com/simon
TANK HUNTER is a shooter game that takes place on a radar screen, with sound effects. It’s a good hand-eye coordination exercise and challenging because the targets fire back. And the game learns from those who play it so it’s not a matter of learning a few tricks and zooming through all the levels. Here’s the link again: http://www.javagameplay.com/tankHunterb.html
A FINAL WORLD
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