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

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Volume 5, No. 38

Merritt Scott (Rusty) Miller – Editor

 Seattle, Washington


Hi again, from the shores of the Salish Sea.  Well, it’s been a mixed bag this week.  We join the nation in mourning the passing of New York Times publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger, the hand at the helm of that prestigious daily newspaper during some of the most tumultuous times of two centuries. 

And it’s not just their daily newspaper that makes us enthusiastic about New Yorkers.  It’s how they stand up to be counted when bigotry rears its ugly head as it has with a new wave of anti-Muslim hatred sweeping the world.  It doesn’t take a Christian to do what they did but Jesus would certainly be proud of these folks.

We’d also like to acknowledge the efforts of one of our dearest and most respected friends in her effort to end bashing and hate speech in the chatroom she created several years ago.  She understands the purpose these rooms serve and the humanity involved.

Sometimes the battle against bigotry can seem like a losing one, as two of us on this staff with well over a half century between us doing it can readily attest.  But without people like CaroleAnn and others we’re privileged to know, Sand Creek and Kristallnacht would have bled the humanity out of this species a very long time ago.

We’d also like to go on record as being totally disgusted with the media’s rabid dogging of Great Britain’s newest royal, Kate Middleton.  This is not journalism.  It is voyeurism elevated to an art form.  I wonder how both those who practice it and those who pay for it would feel if they were on the receiving end of even one day of it.

And finally, a reminder that tonight is the second full moon in September.  Treat yourselves to a bit of lunar watching then.  We’ve found it amazingly relaxing and a reassuring reminder of both eternity and the transcendental richness of the human experience.


Despite great strides made in emissions control in the last decade, the air over some parts of Europe is toxic enough to take from eight months to two years off a human life.  Globally, the greatest polluter is the China, with the United States and India ranking second and third respectively.  For more on this, please go here.

We’ve long contended that if people made millions polluting the planet, there is money to be made in providing cleaner energy alternatives.  This solar collector manufacturer in Portland, Oregon is a prime example.

The Mars Rover’s mission continues to turn up some amazing things about the Red Planet.  Its latest discovery confirms that apparently, albeit long ago, the surface actually did hold flowing water.

Map of the Day: Where Americans Use the Most Oil
Ocean Acidification Threatens Island Nations’ Food Security
Arctic Sea Ice Coverage ‘At Lowest Level For A Million Years’, Says Researcher


Our congratulations to Prime Minister Harper on his International Statesman award.  We found his observations on the appropriate role of a global diplomat consistent with what has become a Canadian national trait; the ability to call someone the son of a dog and make them think they’ve been complimented on their pedigree.  Stephen has mastered the quadruple entente.

Canadians down through the years have developed a passion for ethnic foods and for eating healthier, according to the president and CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers.  John Scott made this observation in conjunction with Grocery Innovations Canada, a two-day trade show which opens  on Monday at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

A recent survey by The Centre for the Study of Living Standards indicates that most Canadians are either very satisfied with their quality of life or extremely so.  In which cities are they the happiest?  The answers just might surprise you.

Canada Income Inequality: Governments Effective In Softening Wage Gap, Study Shows
When Is Canadian Thanksgiving in 2012
Canada Condo Market: Apartments Booming, Especially In Big Cities, Census Find


One of our mantras at Northstar is that kids are our greatest natural resources.  We go to war on child abuse with the ferocity of a she lion and we’re the first to praise any individual, organization or government which protects kids.  Therefore, we were delighted to learn that the American government is clamping down on the unauthorized gathering of information about and from children on the Internet.

Myanmar (aka Burma) continues its march toward democracy.  For the latest in this ongoing story, please go here.

I’ve never personally felt that punishing someone by harsh incarceration does anything except produce a more effective criminal.  While I believe that some people should never be returned to society for the threat they pose, I suspect that the majority can be rehabilitated if the opportunity is provided.  I also believe they can be of use to the rest of us by what they do inside those walls and this story about how convicts are raising endangered species behind the walls, as it were, seems to bear this contention out.

Unlikely Warriors Emerge Against a Myanmar Mine
After Decades in Institutions, a Bumpy Journey to a New Life
Seth Goldstein, High School Cross Country Runner, Stops Mid-Race To Save Rival


Forty years after America passed its Clean Water Act, pollution continues to clog that nation’s water courses.  Antiquated industrial plumbing is one of the main sources.  For more on this one, please go here.

We ask them to give their lives, if necessary, in defense of their nation.  And yet when they need us, we’re too busy to demand the steps that are necessary to take care of them.  As a result, the suicide rate continues to rise among American’s veterans and the Department of Veterans Affairs is responsible.  If your stomach can handle it, for more, please go here.

When an individual of power and authority abuses his position, he victimizes those who work for him in about the basest way possible.  The United States Army has traditionally been very skeptical of charges brought against a high ranking member of its branch.  Therefore, it is of some significance that they are charging the former commander of the 82nd Airborne with forcible sodomy, wrongful sexual conduct and other violations of military law.


With 2012 being the hottest year on record, it is nice to be reminded of a time (last year) when winters really looked and felt like the coldest season of the four of them. This photo was taken after a heavy snowfall outside of Hastings, Minnesota. Our thanks to Josef Mestenhauser. If you’d like to compliment him yourself on some outstanding lens work, he can be reached at mailto:



The diversity and proximity of extraterrestrial life may be much greater and much closer than scientists have heretofore believed.  For more on this one, please go here.

The United States Air Force has developed a mysterious robotic “space plane” which is about to launch its third mission.  Perhaps the most closely guarded secret since Area 51, this one is causing more than a little anxiety among certain members of the international community and we’re just a bit curious ourselves.

A new and startling discovery near Canada’s Arctic Circle strongly suggests that the frozen north may, long ago, have been a primordial swamp.  And that redwood trees are far older than scientists have believed.

Mars Rock: Curiosity Rover To Examine Pyramid-Shaped Boulder, NASA Says
Vesta Covered In Hydrogen, NASA’s ‘Dawn’ Asteroid Probe Reveals
Ice-Free Arctic: What Can We Expect?
Australians Surge in Quest for New Class of Computer


Ever since Ernest Callenbach and British economist E. F. Schumacher gave birth to the “small is beautiful” movement in the mid-Sixties, the more enlightened among our species have been learning how much they can actually live without, including the size of their personal domiciles.  Within that context, we totally enjoyed this article entitled Could you live in 150 square feet? Cities try out micro-housing.

We can think of fewer disabilities which compromise the quality of life more than being blind.  We’ve had personal experience living with that one, albeit briefly, thank God.  Therefore, when we’re able to report on a major breakthrough in sight restoration, we’re also inclined to unplant our butt from the chair and do the happy dance.  Check out, then, Telescopic Eye Implant Beats Macular Degeneration



It has been said “we are what we eat” and this is most true currently.  Careful shoppers look at ingredients of products purchased to keep unhealthy substances from being slipped in.  Often, we do not know the rough interactions one substance has upon another over time.  We must think ‘purity’ in our eating habit choices.

Regarding things in these products, many of us must be careful to ferret out substances like Aspartame, Mono-Sodium Glutamate (MSG), and possibly even High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).  Some of these things may be extremely non-beneficial to a person’s overall health, especially when there are current diseases and maladies already extant in their bodies.

I have been telling people for years that Aspartame is a neuro‑receptor blocker due to the size of its molecule.  Once in our body, this substance turns to wood alcohol, formaldehyde, and a carcinogen.  Check out these links.

MSG is not necessarily bad to eat, coming usually to us in the snack packages.  However, a person could develop an intolerance to it and that is a good reason to limit its intake, similar to developing a wheat or gluten intolerance.  I know someone who gets a flaming migraine if there is even the slightest hint of MSG in food eaten.

I suppose the jury is still out on HFCS.  However, since a byproduct of its processing contains Mercury, it is on the to-be-avoided list in my household.  No one wants to be a mad hatter from mercury poisoning.

Green Leafies: We need to get as much of these in our diet as possible.  Both a Naturopathic and an Ayur-vedic doctor have told me to get live enzymes daily, the liveliest the better.  These enzymes come in any of the green vegetables from Brussel Sprouts to Romaine lettuce – forget Iceberg for its non-nutritional value.

  • Carbohydrates: These are where the biggest possibility for damage to our diet come to play.  A baked potato is fine, especially when eating the skin with all those great minerals.  It is the things we put on it, mainly the sour cream.  Please use real butter over margarine to reduce any easily spread of cancer cells.  We must buy healthier snacks like rice cakes and such.
  • Meat Portions: Here we need to limit all meat portions to one about the size of a cigarette pack.  Also, these same doctors recommend poultry and fish, in favor of avoiding red meats, i.e. beef, goat, lamb, pig, and etcetera.
  • Sugars: I won’t repeat things said about limiting our intake of this simple carb.  Some people actually feel very blasé when they eat it, having abstained from it for so long.  Even I am learning to throttle it way back in my diet.  There are sugars in a lot of processed foods.  So take all these to mind when considering daily sugar intake totals.

I suppose the best advice I can give our readers is the maxim of “Everything in Moderation” goes a long way to assist our diet sensibilities and eating habits.

Van Byington is a naturopathic health counselor and nutritionist who lives in Tacoma, Washington.  To contact him directly, email him at

Top Anti-Aging Foods to Boost Longevity
Children’s Heart Disease No Longer A Death Sentence
Posture Exercises: 10 Ways To Improve Your Health During Working Hours
Afternoon Energy: 13 Ways To Get Over Your Mid-Day Slump
Healthy Kitchen Staples To Keep Around The House
How to Boost Metabolism with Morning Workouts – Burn Calories While You Sleep


When this couple lost their child to cancer, they decided to make their two year old son’s death matter to millions of other children so afflicted.  If you’re looking for inspiration, it doesn’t get much better than this, as Seattle KING 5’s Jean Enersen reports.

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


Should We Stop Encouraging Home Ownership?  For a thoroughly engrossing discussion of this one, please go here.



Hubble XDF: ‘Extreme Deep Field’ Is Farthest View Ever Into Universe (PHOTO)

Check out this video of a courageous Corgi puppy and its battle with a “dastardly door stop.


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 online heart of the magazine itself and its offerings are stellar.

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


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 photos used in Seattle Scenes, unless otherwise noted, were taken by the editor.  For a visual tour of the Northstar Gallery, please go here. 


  1. Is Seattle the rainiest city in America?  No.  At 38 inches annually, it ranks 44th behind, among others, Houston and New Orleans.  For the soggiest places in the Continental Unites States and a great description of Seattle’s weather, please go here.
  2. How large is Seattle?  Seattle is in King County, Washington, which is about as big as the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined.  Seattle itself is 142.5 square miles/369 sq. km, of which 58.82% is land and 41.18% is water.
  3. How many people live in Seattle608,660. King County’s population is 1,969,722.  Population density varies from 50,978 people per square mile (PPSM) to 190 PPSM.
King 5 News
Seattle City Cams
Map of Seattle
Seattle Times


The American state of Connecticut is one of the last places in the entire world we’d expect to see mountain lions.  But guess what?  Yep, for more on this one, go here.

Why should a wild animal lower on the food chain than its predators be grateful for the natural order of things?  The answers just might surprise you.

Animals laugh, apparently, but is it because they have a sense of humor?  Decide for yourself, then, eh?

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


If I told you about a Pekinese with a heart of gold who adopted and nursed a tiny kitten, would you believe me?  I wouldn’t.  So yep, check it out here.

  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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