Now in its sixth year serving discriminating readers in Australia, North America, Scandinavia, the United Kingdom and Western Europe

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Volume 5, No. 29

Editor:  Merritt Scott (Rusty) Miller

Associate Editor:  Dennis W. Steussy

Seattle, Washington


Hi again, from the shores of the Salish Sea.  Well, according to this article, In Afghanistan, U.S. Packs War Gear for the Movers, America truly intends to end its involvement in Afghanistan.

As I learned from my own experience with it, war is a logistically complex enterprise.  In its enthusiasm to do something the former Soviet Union and several others nations could not, the Americans collected a staggering tonnage of materiel.

All of it is now being repacked and sent ~ on the installment plan apparently ~ back to the States for warehousing and, we assume, redistribution.  That’s the nice thing about hardware and software.  It can usually be recycled.

The same, however, cannot be said for all of the people who use that equipment and particularly those who employ it day in and day out on operations which often kill, maim and psychologically disintegrate them.

As I had hoped after the end of the Vietnam War, so I pray now this nation has the sense not only to mind its own business and stay out of the domestic affairs of other nations, but that it will turn its attention to its own problems here at home.

If we must blow up stuff, let’s do it to improve the national infrastructure.  Roads, bridges and other vital structures in this country are deteriorating because there hasn’t been enough money to repair, maintain or replace them.   Yet there has been more than enough money to engage in two wars that were essentially no-win operations.  Or to put it bluntly, that America lost.

And if our youth must express their patriotism by joining the armed forces, let them serve closer to home, protecting American shores and winning the hearts and minds of their own people by humanitarian acts here and abroad.

I’m reasonably certain that leading by good example will do more for international peace than constantly showing belligerents how willing we are to sacrifice American lives on the killing fields.

Let’s build a stronger America and let other nations ~ if they choose ~ admire and emulate us for that, instead.


What is now being called in America, “the 2012 Drought,” has made half the counties in the nation disaster areas.  That number has reached 1584 in 32 states.

Well, it looks like another profound global warning denier has reversed his position.  A University of California scientist now contents that “humans are almost entirely the cause.”

In an earlier edition, we criticized the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for spending tax dollars persecuting whistle-blowersHere’s another side of that story I found extremely interesting.

Pace of Hiring in US Rose in July, but Jobless Rate Ticked Up
National Wildlife Federation report cites coal risks
Number of US farmers markets surges


We reported earlier this year about students in Quebec province turning out en masse to protest new tuition charges which are placing a college education beyond the reach of many of them.  They’re back again and it looks like a long campaign for the government.

Vancouver just chose a new city manager to further its green growth agenda.  And it looks like Brian Jackson just might pack the gear.

That city, like most others in North America, is fighting a housing shortage and they’re considering yet another innovation solution to the problem.  It’s called “thin streets” and for more, yep, go here.


Bill Nye, the “science guy” on America’s National Public Radio and Public Broadcast (television) Service, speaks out on climate change and criticizes the media for not covering it realistically.  For the video interview, please go here.

In Seattle, thanks to a group dedicated to making a difference between sunrises, every day in Seattle is “Earth Day.”  This is an episode of NPR’s ongoing series on what “average Americans” are doing to improve their communities so you might want to bookmark this one.

Several of you, I know, have relatives and friends in the town of BainbridgeIsland, Washington.  Next time you visit, check out City Hall.  It is now solar powered.

AAA tries roadside assistance for electric-vehicles
Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd Founder, Vows To Continue Work While On The Run
Max Sidorov, Man Behind Bullied Bus Monitor Fund, Launches ‘7 Million Acts of Kindness Campaign


The one-ton Mars Rover Curiosity is expected to land on a very big mountain on the Red Planet at 10:30 p.m., Pacific Standard Time, today, Sunday, August 5, 2012.  Its mission, essentially, is to see if this part of Mars could or ever did support microbial life.  See also:  Mars Facts: 5 Things About Red Planet You Might Not KnowMars Rover Curiosity Mission: ‘A Personal Investment,’ Says NASA Engineer

That expression “once in a blue moon” has special significance this month because on August 31, there will be one.  To learn more about this astronomical rarity, please go here.

A former Russian physics student who dropped out of college to make millions investing in Internet businesses has established a new science prize that will make its recipients instantly wealth.  To see the first nine winners of the Fundamental Physics Prize, yep, go here.

This Week in Science History: on Photos, Moon Drive, Moon Burial

Moon Flags Left By Apollo Missions Still Standing, NASA PHOTOS Show
John Mather, Nobel Prize Winner In Physics, Looks Back In Time (VIDEO)
Studying Evolution With an Eye on the Future


Given how really toasty it’s been this summer, we thought it might be a good idea to share with you five dishes that will help beat the heat.

Friends in the Big Apple tell me that one of the best reasons to visit New York City is for the food.  Now, after watching this video by former New York Times food critic Mimi Sheraton, I’ll probably make the pilgrimage to this culinary Mecca, if for no other reason than if there is no deep dish pizza in Heaven, I’m going to Hell for lunch.

Some of us take prescription drugs to feel better.  Others of us eat our way into a good mood and here are foods that will help do exactly that.

Lose Weight to Lower Your Risk of Dementia
Want to Graduate? First, Create a Company
Climate Change Effects: Things Global Warming Just Might Ruin For Your Kids
Anti-Aging Tips for Men
Healthy Foods That Aren’t On Your Plate — But Should Be
Foods For Cramps: 10 Natural Ways To Fight Period Cramps


This column is dedicated to Shannon Patricia Goddard Mills, who died of cervical cancer in 2001, at the age of 38.

As most of us with any experience at all know from fighting this killer, attitude is all.  And the mayor of one town in Washington State certainly exemplifies the spirit it takes to win the battle with cancer.

Winning in the battle for cancer is also about not giving up.  A young woman in the United Kingdom doesn’t seem to know the meaning of the word “quit.”  And in the process of beating back her own cancer, she has raised thousands of pounds for the cancer campaign war chest.  Lyndsey Roughton, you rock, girl.

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


If you think that the cyber age, with its truncating of the language for texting, Instant Messaging, chatroom communications and volume emailing has obviated the need to use the language well, you might possibly want to read why many employers will not hire someone who uses or abuses the native tongue.  To sound off on this yourself, email me at  Rusty



Earth as you’ve never seen it before

We are again indebted to the SeaDoc Society for these videos and stills of marine life in the northern San Juan Islands of Washington State. 

And here’s a wildlife rescue story that might just cause death from cuteness.


Animal Tracks is’s Critter Stuff.  They feature stories of every facet of the creature kingdom from the domestic to the primordial. 

National Geographic Kids Page is a great way to spend time with the young people in your life.

National Geographic Video Page is the essence of both the Society and the magazine, in shorter video features.

Foundation For A Better Life’s short video vignettes rival the best of Hallmark, Folgers and Campbell Soup.  Three I’d recommend right off the top are Concert, The Class Room and Spirit of America.

Games and Stuff

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.

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.


Well, I know we’ve all been waiting for this one.  The results of Portland, Oregon’s 2012 Ecoroof Bird Monitoring assessment report are now in.  It looks like our feathered flyer friends prefer ecoroofs (those with plants on them) 20 to 1 over roofs devoid of foliage.  For more on this exciting development in avian research, go here.  We did and totally enjoyed it.

We’ve been following the restoration of the Elwah River at the northern end of Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula as two dams were removed and other habitat restoration measures engaged.  We are, therefore, delighted to share with you photos and a video of what that river looks like from surface to sea bottom.

When you’re trying to protect your blueberry crop from birds and a scarecrow doesn’t do it for you?  You might try using falcon pest control.

Lancelot Encore Puppies Put Pet Cloning In Spotlight
Darted Washington duck released back into wild
Living With Wildlife
BBC’s wildlife finder
National Geographic Daily News – Animals


American president Abraham Lincoln’s memory has recently been resurrected within the context of vampire slaying.  It is also a matter of record that he led the nation during its bloodiest internal conflict.  Read the seven words he penned to save a life.

Meet Stanley, the interactive player piano which takes requests.

  Well, that’s it for this week.  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.



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