AN EVENT OF EPIC PROPORTIONS

THE NORTHSTAR JOURNAL

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

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Volume 5, No. 30

Editor:  Merritt Scott (Rusty) Miller

Associate Editor:  Dennis W. Steussy

Seattle, Washington

Email:  minstrel312@aol.com

Hi again, from the shores of the Salish Sea.  Well, for much of the world as we know it, a dream of at least eight decades was fulfilled last Monday when the rover Curiosity landed on a very tall mountain in a huge crater on Mars

It was an achievement epic proportion and profound humanistic resonance.  It symbolizes the passion for superlatives that has characterized our species literally since the dawn of humankind, at times even eclipsing an equally morbid tendency to sink to the depths of bestiality so dramatically characterized by the cyclic genocides which have also orchestrated human evolution.

It is a manifestation of same drive brought us out of the Dark Ages, through an Industrial Revolution, into the Cybernetic Century and to the point where we have the potential to adapt to cyclic climatic changes to which we have undeniably contributed and which have caused the extinction of thousands of species which preceded us on this planet.

Critics of the aerospace program have demanded to know why we are investing so much in the quest for the truth of the universe when there is so much about our own planet we do not know.  Why, they ask, are we concerned about Mars when most of Earth’s surface has not been fully explored?  What business do we have seeking other worlds to conquer when we have not even resolved our own lethal contradictions?

Russell Anderson League, Jr., a mechanical engineer on the team which designed the capsule which launched the first monkey into space and who left the industry after his warnings about the defective O rings in the Challenger were ignored, believed that our species was destined to span the galaxy with its compassion.

“And by then,” he once told me, “perhaps we will be worthy of the love we so desperately long for in return.”

IN OTHER NEWS

One of the cruelest things that can happen to someone who goes into the hospital is to have an operation which they do not only not need but which puts their life at risk.  We found this story absolutely shocking.

Which nations have the highest and lowest unemployment rates?  The answers just might surprise you.

New Zealand has been the shooting location of a number of films about lost worlds or planets far beyond our own solar system.  It justified its reputation in that regard again earlier this month when a volcano erupted in one of its national parks earlier this month.

SHORTS – GENERAL
Chevron refinery explosion reminds us that fossil fuels are killers
Air Pollution Linked With Stillbirth Risk
 
SHORTS – CLIMATE CHANGE – GLOBAL WARMING
Climate Change Study Ties Recent Heat Waves To Global Warming
Alaskan Arctic villages hit hard by climate change
Extreme Heat Is Covering More of the Earth, a Study Says
Hottest Month On Record: July 2012 Breaks 1936 Record For Lower 48 States
South Africa Snowfall Stuns Johannesburg (PHOTOS)
 

OH CANADA

Well, the bad news is that Canada’s dramatic recovery from the 2008 Recession faltered this past month with the loss of some 30,400 jobs.  The good news is that this was due to just one province.

Well, America’s Newsweek magazine managed to deliver a nice slap in the face to Canada when in its listing of the best places to eat in North America, it did not mention one establishment north of its own ethnocentric border.  To see how Canadians from Halifax to Victoria reacted to this bit of geo-political chauvinism, please go here.

If you’re interested in buying a condo in Toronto, now might be a real good time.  Developers are pushing a variety of perks such as foosball and billiard tables and other things designed to appeal to the “alpha” personality.

GOOD EXAMPLES

American secretary of state and former first lady Hillary Clinton has long been one of our favorite people and one of the reasons why is that for all her talent and ability, she does not take herself nearly as seriously as she takes her responsibilities.  She knows how to be human and have fun.  And she loves to dance.

Teaching kids to appreciate the environment generally makes them more conscious of it as adults.  We totally loved how a group of them are learning that out of the classroom in the American state of Georgia.

Sharing is a behavior most of us learned when we were real small.  Shareable Magazine recently sponsored a contest asking its readers to send in stories of people doing that in some impressive ways.  Here are the winners.

SHORTS
Agent Orange Vietnam Cleanup Started By U.S.
What a big bunch of garbage: but Roosevelt Landfill turns it into power
Apple Store Kidnapping Thwarted
 

SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, NATURE AND EXPLORATION

We found it real interesting to note that the world’s first website is still on the Net.  See also:  Most Popular Websites of 2012

Here’s an outstanding photo of our planet captured by a European Space Agency satellite.  It’s fantastic and also makes great computer wallpaper.

Well, here’s something that could happen to any of us unless we take certain precautions.  Someone hacked into technology writer Max Honan’s Google account and literally turned his world upside down.  See also:  How To Back Up Your Photos Right Now

SHORTS
Watch Video NASAs Curiosity lands on Mars
Curiosity Rover PHOTO Shows Mysterious Mountain Inside Giant Gale Crater
New Human Species? Fossil Find ‘Clearly Distinct’ From Other Early Humans
Quasicrystals Arrived On Earth In Meteorites, Scientists Find
 

HEALTH AND LIFESTYLE

I have, in my life, been called many things.  Probably one of the nicer of these is “an insufferable bloody optimist.”  I usually go to bed happy and wake up that way.  It’s nice to discover that I’m not quite alone in that regard as I thought.  So good mood people of the world, unite and rejoice.

Those of us who love cheese are also very probably at considerably less risk for Type 2 diabetes than those of us who do not.

Despite the fact that Northstar’s Nutrition NAZI does not approve, some of us here still think that a hamburger is one of the tastiest things on the planet.  However, in light of a recent report on the actual cost of this culinary “delight,” we are seriously reconsidering how many of them are actually good for us and the planet both.

SHORTS
Increase Libido – Low Testosterone, Erectile Dysfunction, and Sexual Desire
Looking back to see ahead: One woman’s quest to bring back Native American food
Foods For Abs: 13 Foods For A Flat Tummy
 

ON THE CANCER FRONT

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

Well, here’s something we certainly didn’t expect to learn.  There’s a rodent which might possibly help humans reach the century mark cancer free.

There’s a new therapy which shows real promise in treating brain cancer.  It involves injecting a virus into the infected organ which acts like a homing device for chemotherapy.

RESOURCES AND RELATED LINKS:
Cancer:  What You Need to Know
American Cancer Society
Canadian Cancer Society
 

NORTHSTAR FORUM

James Holmes’ massacre of movie-goers at a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colorado recently has raised the question of whether we’re not creating villains whose homicidal behavior offers some individuals more gratification, satisfaction and existential meaning than the struggle for happiness in hard times.  New York Times Op-Ed columnist Ross Douthat discusses.  To sound off on this yourself, email me at minstrel312@aol.comRusty

FUNZONE

WEEK’S BEST VIDEOS, SLIDESHOWS AND OTHER MEDIA

Check out this dog that does something I would never in the world consider.  He swims with dolphins.

Check out this incredible waterfall at Yosemite National Park.

World Cat Day: Pancake Snuggles Between His Protectors

Mars Panorama: Curiosity Rover Sends Back 1st 360-Degree Color View

PERENNIALS

Animal Tracks is msnbc.com’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.

ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL, LIVING AND PREHISTORIC

Earlier this month, one of our local orca pod moms had a baby and it is a real cuter.

If you’ve ever wondered how a gecko’s feet work in helping it defy gravity, check this out.

When few hear the expression “feathered friends,” most of us think of birds, right?  Well, once upon a time on this planet, that term applied to another life form entirely.

SHORTS
Sperm Whales Sleep While ‘Drifting’ Vertically, Scientists Say (VIDEO)
Rabbits ravage seabird populations on Destruction Island
Live! Great Blue Heron Nest at Cornell Lab of Ornithology
 
RELATED LINKS:
Living With Wildlife
BBC’s wildlife finder
National Geographic Daily News – Animals
 

YOU GUYS THINK I MAKE THIS STUFF UP

First, we didn’t know there was something called Shark Week.  (shudder)  Second, we didn’t know there was an international automobile manufacturer who got together with marine photographers to put a modified Volkswagen in the water as a moving “cage” from which o take pictures of these huge Devonians.

 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 amazon.com.

 

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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