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Volume 5, No. 23

Sunday, June 10, 2012


Merritt Scott Miller, Editor

Dennis William Steussy, Associate Editor

Dick’s Drive-In, Seattle, Washington, where a grad can bring their cap and gown and get a free hamburger. Photo by Merritt Scott Miller

Hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea.  This month across the world, college students receive their diplomas and prepare to embrace life as responsible, wage-earning, socio-politically conscious human adults.  Some even get free hamburgers by wearing the caps and gowns to one of Seattle’s premier hamburger havens.

That’s how it’s been for centuries now.  Despite being bent nearly double with student loans, facing one of the toughest job markets for new grads in over fifty years and many forced to return to or remain in the nest because it’s the only way to avoid homelessness, the world’s graduates are nonetheless rolling into the mainstream of their respective communities.

They face a dramatically different world than their parents or grandparents did.  The Cyber Age is swift, relentless, ruthless and totally dispassionate.  If you cannot keep up with an accelerating technological evolution, you are left behind or to the mercies of those who know how to use the Internet and charge accordingly for it, and whose scruples and ethics range the moral spectrum.

These are the young adults whose older brothers and sisters have served several tours inAfghanistanand are now dying of suicide at a greater rate than they were killed over there.  These are the young adults whose parents bought into the New American Dream a bit too passionately and lost billions as a population to flim-flam artists who, in another age, would have been selling snake oil from the back of carnival wagons or religion from beneath a circus tent.

They are tough, these kids, and many of them prematurely cynical and born with hair-trigger bullshit detectors.  They are also envelope pushers, master social networkers and texters whose fingers are a blur on the keyboard.  They don’t buy into the idea that any problems are perpetual or insoluble and they rightfully deride whiners, quitters, doomsday prophets or people who insist on being bestselling authors of their own misery.

What I like about the Class of 2012 is that while their elders bemoan life on this planet and say it cannot get better, these kids don’t hear them because they’re too busy making it so.  If the future of the world does, indeed, rest in their hands as well as our own, I personally can sleep a bit better at night.

Congratulations, Graduates.  You rock.


Death by suicide has overtaken combat as the leading killer of deployed American troops.  For a grim look at what these wars are really costing America, please go here.

As a bus-sized chunk of pier which made the 5,000 mile Trans-Pacific voyage from Japanto the North American West Coast, it had a few passengers.  Scientists are really curious to see what impact these ecological visitors will have on their new environment.  The Associated Press reports.

The sun-powered aircraft Solar Impulse last week landed in Rabat, Morocco after making the first transcontinental flight in history for this type of plane.  For the video on this one, please go here

As climate change and global economics continue to transform the building industry, what are the hottest housing markets on the planet now?  The answers might surprise you.


We reported in May that according to NASA, there are 4,700 “space rocks” which could pose the same threat to the planet as the Texas-size asteroid featured in the American sci-fi classic Armageddon.  Not surprisingly, a United Nations study has concluded that the nations of the world need to get together to design a system to monitor these chunks of the universe and to deal with those could led to the extinction of most of life on earth

We reported last year that in response to the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said they were switch to renewable energy, mostly solar and wind, and were closing all 17 of the nation’s nuclear reactors.  They’ve already shut down eight of them and using natural gas instead.  For more on this one, please go here.


The bad news is that the Toronto City Council revoked the five cents tax on retail plastic bags.  The good news is that they banned plastic bags altogether.

Being from the west, Quebechas always been a source of fascination to me, especially since I’m linguistically impaired.  I like Quebecers so I’m delighted that one of their favorite foods and mine is catching on in the States.

What is really going on with the student revolt in Quebecprovince?  Ian Mackenzie takes a good hard look for YES magazine.


We reported last month that was looking for Canada’s best pet.  We are pleased to announce the winners of that contest.  Yuppers, please go here.


The media refers to him as “a living relic”.  However, to several generations of villagers in a remote Afghan district, Briton Geoffrey D. Langlands, 94, is as much the soul of their nation as they are.  For a profile of a most remarkable individual, please go here.

A former Japanese prime minister is among the latest world leaders to call for a moratorium on energy produced by nuclear fission.

Urban farming just got another big boost in Seattle.  Look where local residents are building a 30,000 square foot/120 person community garden.

Good Examples Extra:

We join Britons and members of the former Commonwealth the world over in thanking the Japanese Coast Guard for rescuing Sarah Outen.  She was rowing across the Pacific Ocean on her way around the world when her boat capsized in a storm.


With the increasing international privatization of the space industry, it would certainly appear that we are witnessing the dawn of a New Colonialism.  One Dutch startup company plans to establish a settlement on Mars by 2023.

Could it have been the vision of a Belgian entrepreneur and information specialist back in 1934 which actually gave birth to the Internet?  A panel of experts at the World Science Festival in New York discuss.

Well, it turns out that Albert Einstein was right after all.  Neutrinos do not travel faster than the speed of light.  A team of physicists last year clocked one that appear to break that speed record.  But when they submitted their experiment for independent verification, the results could not be duplicated.  OPERA, the team involved, traced the problem to their cyclotron’s measuring system.


The well-known fact that junk food can kill you, particularly if you have heart problems, doesn’t seem to work as much of a deterrent for some people.  Perhaps knowing how to modify a pizza or a cheeseburger or one of the “other food groups” into something actually good for you might be a better approach.

In our ongoing quest to keep you guys and guyettes on the Health Hit Parade, here’s another well-known fact many of us choose to ignore.  Thirty to 60 minutes of exercise daily can dramatically increase both the length and the quality of your life.  It’s never too late to start doing that, as I am learning personally, and there are a host of ways from calisthenics to exercises you can do at your workstation to low-gravity yoga.  So if you’re really interested in staying with us, please go here for more information.

Short Takes:

The Best And Worst Jobs For Your Health

Summer Sun Safety: Strange Places We Get Sunburns

Happiness: AARP Survey Reveals Key Factors In Well-Being

Center For Disease Control Disease FAQs Index
Tips and Tools For Staying Young
Weight Watchers:  Calculate Your Body Mass Index


Some 30,000 professional cancer fighters convened recently to discuss the progress of the war on this deadly disease.  If you’re looking for good news from This Front, please go here.

A new study strongly suggests that ginseng could dramatically reduce cancer- related fatigue.

Cancer:  What You Need to Know
American Cancer Society
Canadian Cancer Society


Could the European Union be the next “German Empire”?  George Soros discusses.


Amazing dog lifeguard rescues pup

‘Under The Namibian Sky’ Time-Lapse: 250 Hours Of Dazzling Night Exposures

Highlights from the Solar Impulse flight from Madrid, Spain to Rabat, Morocco

Sydney Trapp, 6, Plays Violin For Michelle Obama During Surprise Visit


Animal Tracks is’s Critter Stuff.  They feature stories of every facet of the creature kingdom from the domestic to the primordial.  This is a great stress buster for me and a profound pick-me-up if I’m having a “poor me” day.

Daily Crossword:  This one from Universal has two levels.  It is extremely easy to use and it has some features like music and clues that we thought were pretty cool.

Foundation For A Better Life produces 15 – 90 second inspirational videos equaling ~ if not surpassing ~ the video vignettes produced by Hallmark, Folgers Coffee and Campbell Soup.  Three I’d recommend right off the top are Concert, The Class Room and Spirit of America.

National Geographic Kids Page:  If you enjoy learning about the places, people and things which make life on this planet such a unique experience?

National Geographic Video Page is the diversion the doctor ordered If you’re looking for a video experience that will definitely take you out of wherever you are and you don’t mind your reality coming at you in relatively short bursts (about long enough to keep a fussing child occupied).

Tank Hunter – This puts you behind the controls of a tank on a vast battlefield in which everything from small tanks to big ones to invisible ones is shooting at you.  Definitely the best game play of its type I have personally encountered.

Word Games:  Merriam Webster has a totally creative menu, including a daily vocabulary quiz where you can see how you rank with people your age, younger and older.


Apparently zebra fish are not the smartest of the Creator’s seagoing life forms.  They can apparently be fooled by a robotic imitation five times their size and a lot noisier.  Yep, go here for this one.

Out here in the West, we’re accustomed to dealing with the wildlife whose turf we share.  But somehow, we never associated intrusive bears with Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Watch Maine osprey chicks on this video cam.

Living With Wildlife
BBC’s wildlife finder
National Geographic Daily News – Animals


Many people, including me, talk to their plants.  Many people, including me, believe their plants talk back.  Now, there’s a scientist who has written a book suggesting that plants are a lot more aware than sane people seem to think they are.  Scientific American reports.

Well, that’s about it for this week.  As a final word, The Northstar Journal is one hundred percent supported by readers like you.  If you enjoyed this edition and would like to contribute ~ however modestly ~ to the next, please go here and with our thanks.

Take care, stay well and God Bless.


Wrath of the Testament, an exciting seagoing saga of war and rebellion, is now available for $3.99 at

The Northstar Journal is a subsidiary of Northstar Communications, which also includes Northstar Media Services, The Northstar Gallery and Wrath of the Testament.  For more information, email us at


About minstrel312

MERRITT SCOTT MILLER Bio Wrath of the Testament Author and Northstar Journal editor Merritt Scott (Rusty) Miller is a former newspaper reporter who has published extensively in the Pacific Northwest and several times nationally. A U.S. Navy veteran of the Vietnam War, he began his career in the alternative media of the mid-Seventies. His own Sacramento-based monthly ~ Rapline ~ drew praise from Sacramento BEE metro columnist Herb Michelson in a column published that that newspaper; and from Berkeley Film Quarterly editor and author of the bestsellers Ecotopia and Ecotopia Emerging, Ernest Callenbach. A Northern California native with roots in British Columbia, Mr. Miller has written for several Northwest community newspapers, United Press International, the daily Portland Oregonian and for such Seattle publications as the Post-Intelligencer, The Seattle Press and the University Herald. As an investigative reporter for the McMinnville, Oregon News-Register ~ and in conjunction with CBS News in New York, Washington, DC and Flagstaff, Arizona ~ Mr. Miller localized a story of alleged Contra gun-running by an international air freight company headquartered in that Willamette Valley community. During the 1987 Angel Complex Fire in southern Oregon, Mr. Miller worked as the lead dispatcher for the U.S. Forest Service and covered the disaster for National Public Radio and as a special writer for the Portland, Oregonian. His 1988 series on child abuse for a rural weekly earned him praise from the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association. In his career as a journalist, Mr. Miller has interviewed a Nobel peace laureate; an internationally renowned abstract artist; a popular folksinger and various Pacific Northwest elected officials, include a state treasurer and governor. An accomplished travel book writer, Mr. Miller has penned demographic and feature copy for the “Best Choices” series on Eastern Washington, British Columbia, Virginia, South Carolina and Atlanta. As either a contract or staff publicist, he has served a host of clients including the Olympia Music Festival, Umpqua Valley Community Hospital, the City of Canyonville, the Tiller Ranger District, The English School, the Yamhill County Board of Commissioners, Yamhill County Assessor Kim Worrell and Workers of Oregon Development. His freelance publications include: United Press International, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Portland Oregonian, Forest World, American Trucking, Trucks, Oregon Adventures, Oregon Education, Old Oregon, The Entertainer, the Seattle Press, the San Juan Island Sounder, Northwest Passage, Northwest Connection, Seattle Source, Seattle Forum, the University of Colorado’s Writers Forum, Clouds, The long Beach Literary Journal and the Pacific Media Group. He has worked since the age of 13 and has been a hop harvester, professional musician, civil servant, forester, convenience market clerk, lumber mill worker, temporary word processor, technical writer and editor. He has also led a social services research and development team and has six years of radio and telephone communications experience. His interests include astronomy, aviation, camping, Canada, communications, conversation, cooking, dancing, economic development, education, environmentalism, exploration, film/DVDs, fine dining, government, green technology, health. History, human rights, International community, Internet media, law, literature, marine engineering & design, medicine, music, nature, networking, outdoors, pets, photography, romance, science, sexuality, technology, travel, water, wildlife His honors and awards include: Letter of Appreciation - Amnesty International; US Senator Patti Murray Letter of Appreciation for The Northstar Journal Blog; Editors Choice, International Library of Poetry; Congressman Edward Murray Letter of Appreciation; Congressman Frank Chopp Letter of Appreciation; Hersch Best Read on the Net Award for The Northstar Journal; President Bill Clinton Letter of Appreciation; Workers Of Oregon Development Certificate of Appreciation; City of Canyonville Police Department Certificate of Appreciation; City of Canyonville Mayor’s Office Certificate of Appreciation; California Supreme Court Justice Rose Bird Letter of Appreciation; Northwest Magazine Editorial Board Letter of Appreciation for Rain; Editorial Award, Society of Professional Journalists; Sacramento Bee Metro Column; Honor Roll: California State University Long Beach; Deans List: Long Beach City; Mr. Miller currently resides in Seattle, Washington, where he continues to edit and publish The Northstar Journal. He is working on two novels concurrently and a sequel to Wrath of the Testament.
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