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Pacem, Libertatem, Justitiam
August 11, 2019 Volume 11 Number 50
Entirely Reader-Supported Please Go Here. Thank You.
INSIDE: A Report Card For Presidents; Siberia Is Burning; From Our Mailbox: A Public/Private Partnership To Reduce Gun Violence; Our Polarized Positions; Climate Change; Community, Home & Lifestyle; Earth; Ecology; Health; Good News, Not So Good News; News From Our Sources; Rusty’s Infamous Uncle Seamus; Our World and Beyond; Space; Technology; Funzone: Best of the Net; Travel; Masha & the Bear, All Creatures Great & Small; Strange But True; About Us
A REPORT CARD FOR PRESIDENTS
By Rusty Miller, editor
Hi again, from the shores of the Salish Sea: Our hearts go out to all those impacted by the gun smoke and urban carnage that seems to characterize America on an almost daily basis now. You’ve all by now heard from voices far more eloquent than ours. So with all due respect, this week, I’d like to share with you an idea that might have international applications.
I’d like to see America’s chief executive receive an annual performance evaluation and an annual physical that would include testing for illnesses of the brain and mind.
I’d like to see a report card put together by the Judiciary and the Congress, just like the ones many Americans ~ including me ~ had growing up. Each year, on January 1, they would be distributed to Congress, who would then grade the president. He would need to keep a certain score to remain in office and one allowing him to seek re-election.
I’m not an administration expert but my sense is that it would not take a rocket scientist to make this one fly. And not just over the land of the free and the home of the brave, but perhaps even where you live.
Thanks for the ear, gang, and have a great week.
Northstar editor Merritt Scott “Rusty” Miller is a journalist, author, editor and photographer living in Seattle, Washington. For comments, please go here
SIBERIA IS BURNING
By Olya Bereza, Associate Editor
Unfortunately not good news for environment from Siberia, Russia, where burnt forests area could be compared to Greece. That is very informative article and pictures here “The World’s Largest Forest Has Been on Fire for Months” Initial inaction of authorities who hoped that like before the fire will die off itself led to drastic results. Expecting a good rain to help is not really a proactive position especially if the rain is not forecast. The delay caused hundred of people to sicken with smoke which has, at this writing, extended to the Urals. Authorities described it as “Siberia is burning”. https://www.bbc.com/news/amp/blogs-trending-49196949 That has taken the social media by storm and is another example of how artists and writers can use the Net to such powerful effect.
Also the Prime Minister Medvedev appealed to the Prosecutor General, the Investigative Committee and the Ministry of Internal Affairs with a request to verify the version of the deliberate arson of forests in Siberia in order to conceal illegal methods of logging.
Active phase of fighting with fire started only in the beginning of August. The forces of the Ministry of Emergency Situations and military are used. The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation creates an aviation group to assist in extinguishing forest fires as areas are difficult to reach.
Usually firemen first seek to contain the fire by stopping its front from spreading, while others work to surround it and work toward the front. Despite the adventure of aircraft firefighting, it is often not feasible and for a variety of reasons but primarily logistic.firemen on the ground extinguish the front of the fire and not the entire fire itself so the flame will go further, and besides, at the same time, ground firemen i.e. soldiers and emergency responders cut off this front.
Estimates on social media of what it would take to extinguish the fire by air included 30,000 flights of the aircraft IL-76 , which carries 42 tons of water over a range of 1,000 – 2,000 km/621 – 1,243 miles, in comparison to the more the modern amphibious aircraft Be-200 which carries 12 tons.
To collect water and refuel, you need the appropriate airports so the aircraft will not need to fly long distances. Seldom are these airports conveniently located in the wilderness. Drought can also dry up sources even if they could be accessed by air.
Secondly, the topography of the rivers and lakes is such that it is difficult to find a platform where the amphibian could land on the water. Collecting water by aircraft directly from a river requires two kilometers in a straight line.
The largest straight section of the river here is slightly more than half a kilometer. Only helicopters could help. In the Krasnoyarsk Territory they have 10 IL-76 aircraft and 10 helicopters of the Military Transport Aviation of the Russian Aerospace Forces according to the source
We live on one planet so obviously heavy fires affect not only Russia “Smoke From Siberian Forest Fires Reached U.S., Canada” That esteemed gesture of Donald Trump to call Putin and offer help. I’m sure in situation like that international support is very welcome.
Alaska and Siberian fires shown from the space in this Guardian video Unprecedented Wildfires Burn In The Arctic During Heatwave where it is said that Arctic fires exacerbate global warming.
Military and civil operators in 38 countries have operated the IL-76 in large numbers so offering help could be a nice gesture of good will showing understanding that Blue Planet is our shared dormitory, even if we all used to think about our own separate private rooms (countries). Global calls as climate change shows how outdated is that attitude.
Northstar columnist and associate editor Olya Bereza was born in the former Soviet Union and now lives in Ukraine. Fluent in Russian, Ukrainian, and English, she is a degreed psychologist with a background in international marketing and personnel management. For comments, please go here.
FROM OUR MAILBOX
A PUBLIC/PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP TO REDUCE GUN VIOLENCE
A short letter to the San Francisco Chronicle proposed a brilliant solution to our national plague of gun violence. The writer proposed that we nation-wide mandate liability insurance for all gun owners, as we now do for automobiles, Both are capable of human injury, death and property damage,
All that is needed is for our Congress to mandate liability insurance for all gun owners. The private enterprise insurance companies might like this mandate (lucrative for them) and such policies could be priced according to the potential damage these weapons can cause.
Anybody who owns a military-style rifle, an instrument capable, as we have recently seen, of murdering hordes of people in less than one minute, would have to buy a very expensive policy, unlike a handgun owner who can only kill one person at a time. How many assault weapon owners who are law abiding would want to assume this expense? We give them a choice.
In addition, an insurer could increase the premium for anyone who used a gun in committing a crime, a convicted spousal abuser, or someone mentally unstable, as identified by family or coworkers. If we cannot get a Congress with enough decency to enact a real gun control law, we could at least make it so expensive that it might be out of reach of anyone but criminal cartels (who need to be pursued another way). Insurance can do what our feckless lawmakers cannot do, and this method does not run afoul of the 2nd amendment, an outdated law that should be cashiered by our legislators if they had the guts. Personal lethal armories are not the same as “a well-regulated militia.”
Our lawmakers do not seem to be able to defy the National Rifle Association, even though we now know from the Mueller Report that this organization has received Russian financing. Putin is delighted to have Americans killing each other with such ease, something not possible in his own authoritarian state. There, only the State can kill peaceful demonstrators, not armed White Nationalists.
Some sensible bipartisan legislation has already been passed by the House of Representatives. These bills have been passed on to the Senate, where Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell refuses to bring these bills up for a vote! Mr. McConnell has earned his new nickname of “Moscow Mitch.”
I cannot imagine why Congress (both House, Senate) and the President would oppose such a capitalistic solution that could be immediately enacted as mandating insurance coverage for all gun owners. Nobody is taking their weapon away. Nobody is weighing in on the comparative dangerousness of weapons. We would only demand the same sort of responsibility of lethal weapon owners as we do for automobile drivers.
If we need to wait for legislation requiring military-automatic weapons to be surrendered to the authorities (nobody needs one for hunting or self-defense), it will take decades. If we try buying back such weapons as Australia and New Zealand have done, it will again take decades. But if we levy insurance on such weapons, the number of owners will rapidly decline. This can work as a pocketbook issue.
The non-system we have now faces another problem that nobody seems to be recognizing. Who pays for the hospitalization, property damage, and funerals of gun-violence victims now? Can you imagine being shot, taken to a hospital, and then being billed for the care? Our current non-system depends on Internet money-raising, iffy at best.
If we leave this to the Insurance industry to sort out, we give them a chance to redeem themselves for their unsatisfactory public service in healthcare. People in the midst of chemotherapy for Cancer often have to fight Insurance Companies to pay for drugs that they need. People injured in highway accidents are sometimes faced by unexpected draconian bills if they need helicopter transport or are taken to an “out of network” hospital in an emergency. Not acceptable.
Hospitals, Insurance Companies, and those injured by uninsured drivers, along with the hundreds of victims of automatic rifle slaughters, could instead benefit from government-mandated insurance coverage that nobody is getting now. Agree? Send this column around.
Laina Farhat-Holzman is a historian, lecturer, and author of God’s Law or Man’s Law. You may contact her at Lfarhat102@aol.com or www.globalthink.net.
OUR POLARIZED POSITIONS
There’s a current tsunami of debate on several fronts. Among these are gun violence, right/ left politics, economic inequality, race relations, immigration, religion and gender issues. I’m sure I’ve left a few issues out. What they seem to have in common is that they’ve become polarized. Issues should be discussed, debated and eventually resolved. Instead we have finger pointing, name calling and demonizing. The trend seems to boil down to “my side is completely right; the other side completely wrong.” It’s a feel good position, but it solves nothing.
The reality is that every position has some truth and some falsehood. Some positions have only a grain of truth, such as “our immigration policy is broken.” However, you can have a grain of truth like this mixed with a basket of total nonsense. Even the positions we agree with are a mix of truth and untruth. Once we really recognize this, we can actually start talking to other people as people rather than caricatures, either mindless puppets or devils.
At a very deep level we are all responsible for the truth and falsehood in the world. We are connected, and each action we take ripples out and touches others, who in turn touch people we will never meet.
As intelligent, responsible people we have a duty to weigh every issue and position and decide for ourselves the degree of truth and falsehood therein, likely the most serious activity we can undertake.
Meade Fischer is a widely-published travel writer, ocean-class kayaker, Northern California community activist and friend of 45 years. He can be contacted at http://www.meadefischer.com
Buckle Up: Climate Change Is Already Contributing To Bumpier Trans-Atlantic Flights, Study Finds
Smithsonian Scientists Are Using Ginkgo Leaves To Study Climate Change—They Need Your Help
IPCC: Urgent Action Needed To Tackle Hunger Alongside Climate Crisis
Changing Climate Imperils Global Food And Water Supplies, New U.N. Study Finds
Mapping The Strain On Our Water
UN Report Warns Global Heating Threatens Farming As We Know It
Agriculture, Land Misuse Also Driving Climate Change, U.N. Report Warns
Which News Outlets Committed To #Coveringclimatenow
Will Anything Survive Climate Change?
UK Economy Shrinks For The First Time Since 2012
Denied Asylum, Migrants In Europe Live In Limbo
ICE Agents Arrest 680 People Across Mississippi In Massive Raid
Siberia Arms Store Fire Triggers Huge Explosions
The Stories That Shaped Toni Morrison
The TV Show That Took China By Storm
The Government Taste Testers Who Reshaped America’s Diet
The Crazy Superstitions And Real-Life Science Of The Northern Lights
Rare Video Shows Glacial Outburst On Mount Rainier
Here’s How The Hottest Month In Recorded History Unfolded Around The World
An Ancient World Hidden Under A Sewer
6.0 Magnitude Earthquake In Taiwan Caught On Night Camera
Forests Are Essential For Food Security
A Big Earthquake In The US Pacific Northwest?
Do These Icebergs Produce The Worlds Purest Water?
Stinky Seaweed Chokes American Coast Due To Hotter Oceans And Deforestation
Are Tiny Houses Really Better For The Environment? (Yes)
San Francisco Airport Banning Sale Of Single-Use Plastic Water Bottles
11 Best Foods For Your Immune System
11 Summer Health Hazards & How To Beat Them
7 Surprising Health Benefits Of Gratitude
Feeling The Heat? Here’s When Fans Can Help—And When They Don’t—According To Science
Pro Gamers Say Guns, Not Games, Are To Blame For Shootings
VIDEO: Three New Wolf Pups Sighted In Northeast California
When Arizona Catches Fire, Prisoners Step Up
Smokey Bear: From Cute To Buff, And In Between
President Bill Clinton: Reinstate The Assault Weapons Ban Now
Medicare Will Cover Pioneering Cancer Treatment Nationwide
These Insects Are Helping Singapore Save The Planet
San Francisco Is Getting A Monument To Maya Angelou
NOT SO GOOD NEWS
A Trump Construction Crew Has Relied On Immigrants Without Legal Status
The Dangers Of Linking Gun Violence And Mental Illness
It Will Take New Zealand 50 Million Years To Recover Its Lost Bird Biodiversity
Maps: A Quarter Of Humanity Faces Looming Water Crises
Politicians Keep Blaming Mass Shootings On Mental Health Issues. Doctors Say They’re Wrong
Toxic Pesticides Are Driving Insect ‘Apocalypse’ In The U.S., Study Warns
Where Are The Salmon And The Orcas?
NEWS FROM OUR SOURCES: Australian Broadcasting Corporation; British Broadcasting Corporation; Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; Moscow Times; Reuters; Sightline Daily; The Smithsonian Magazine; TIME magazine; US News & World Report
According to Rusty’s Infamous Uncle Seamus, there are lots of things to do with a dead horse besides beating it. Robert E. Lee and Roy Rogers had theirs stuffed.
OUR WORLD AND BEYOND
Our world is richer because she walked among us. Toni Morrison, Seminal Author Who Stirringly Chronicled The Black American Experience, Dies At 88
No child on this planet deserves this. This Is What It’s Like For El Paso Students Returning To School After Losing A Classmate In A Shooting
I am not a fan of these little dudes but they are a splendid example of how something so small can have such a resonant impact. How Mosquitoes Helped Shape The Course Of Human History
SCIENCE IN GENERAL
Mesoamerican Sculptures Reveal Early Knowledge Of Magnetism
How Do Monarch Butterflies Know When It’s Time To Migrate?
Something Enormous Just Smashed Into Jupiter
Watch The Apollo 11 Anniversary Show That Was Projected Onto The Washington Monument
VIDEO: This Robot Is Tougher Than You, Stronger Than You, And Shaped Like A Cockroach
Russia Is Floating A Nuclear Power Plant Across The Arctic
These Guys Built A Flying Saucer That Actually Flies Pretty Well
The Patents Behind Seven Classic Back-To-School Supplies
Electric Scooters, Unicycles, Hoverboards … Why Can’t Singaporeans Just Walk?
New Cars ‘Can Be Broken Into In 10 Seconds
BEST OF THE NET
An Airport Fell Silent As A Vietnam Airman’s Remains Finally Came Home. The Pilot Was His Son.
Baby Learning How To Gorilla | First Year On Earth | BBC Earth
Where The Last Pristine Skies In America Are
Thailand: Hidden Temple Emerges From Drought-Hit Landscape
The Most Tranquil Library In The World?
DAILY 10 QUESTION TRIVIA QUIZ: This one is from Daily Email Trivia and delivered to me in mine. There is also an opportunity, the site, to take more quizzes on a wide range of subjects and to engage interactively and competitively.
A superpower no longer, a resource hungry and repressive America faces a Latin American armada rampaging its west coast and a strong, silent and powerful Canada manning the North Wall. The fires of rebellion burn in the Pacific Northwest and it is into this crucible and forge that the cybernetic patrol boat Testament and her crew of three men and three women are thrust. Individuals of duty and conscience both, when they join the other side, all Hell breaks loose. A rollicking adventure for anyone who loves the sea, a good yarn and characters who spring to life even as Testament herself leaps the waves. For a $4.00 Kindle Book adventure you will remember for a lifetime, please go here.
This is one of several delightful short books for the young of all ages. The author, Holley Dovetail, is ~ in fact ~ our own associate editor, Olya Bereza. Tap the cover for more information or go here.
These guys are always adorable. 14 Fun Facts About Giant Pandas
I have a feeling there’s an object lesson for us in this. Fossils Reveal Why Coyotes Outlived Saber-Toothed Cats
This should have a cuteness warning label on it. Orangutan Jungle School: Discover A School Like No Other
Arctic Fox Cubs Emerge From The Den | First Year On Earth | BBC Earth
Stare At Gulls To Protect Your Snacks, Study Says
The Reason Sharks Attack Humans
STRANGE BUT TRUE
Mark Twain’s Quest To Bring Affordable Watches To The Masses
Woman Sent To Hospital After Posing With Octopus On Face
This Bread Was Made Using 4,500-Year-Old Egyptian Yeast
ABOUT US: The Northstar Journal ~ now approaching its twelfth year ~ is an international general interest online weekly which, while flying no flag itself, reaches readers in 22 countries, where it is also shared with family, friends and associates. The Northstar Journal is on FaceBook and Nextdoor.com. It is entirely reader supported. To contribute, please go here. If you would like to sponsor an edition or participate in some other way, please contact us at email@example.com Thank you and thanks for stopping by. Have a good week. Rusty and Olya