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
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)
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.
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
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 NowSHORTS 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.
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
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 email@example.com. Rusty
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.
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
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.