Now in its sixth year serving discriminating readers in Australia, Europe, North America, Scandinavia, the United Kingdom
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Volume 5, No. 43
SEVEN BLIND MEN AND THE ELEPHANT
Hi again, from the shores of the Salish Sea. Well, the next several weeks are going to be real interesting. Halloween falls on a full moon this year and since more and more evidence points to lunar cycles influencing not only tides but human behavior, I’m really looking forward to that one. Especially during an election year in America. Sigh.
And despite the fact that The Northstar Journal avoids ~ to the greatest extent possible ~ discussing politics, I’m going to break with that tradition briefly to make a couple of points.
I am reminded of the Indian parable of the seven blind men describing an elephant. Each had a bit of the truth, based on the part of the beast he touched. And when those descriptions were taken in total, a pretty clear picture emerged of what the pachyderm actually looked like.
That’s why I think it’s absolutely imperative to listen to both sides with the intent of taking the best of all. My dear wife, GRHS, also reminded me that there’s generally at least three sides to every story; his, hers and the truth.
At a time when our species is dealing with everything from climate change to a troubled global economy, I don’t think we can afford to emphasize the differences. Seems to me we need, instead, to be focused on our essential humanity; on those dreams, fears, joys and sorrows that bind us together and remind us that regardless of race, creed, color, etc., we are in fact, all members of the Family of Humankind.
In the final analysis, I don’t think authorship is nearly as important as what works best for the most. No single philosophy or way of doing things has all the answers. But like those seven blind men describing the elephant, I think that we, collectively as a species, do have those answers.
IN OTHER NEWS
There are 25 primate species on the verge of extinction in Africa and Asia and not because of climate change. We ~ the human species ~ are killing them by hunting them to death and destroying where they live. If that doesn’t produce a global guilt complex and motivate us to do something about it, we deserve the consequences. And trust me, there will be some.
Where is the best place in the world to raise children abroad? The answer might surprise you. It didn’t surprise me. Smiling.
CLIMATE CHANGE SHORTS
In a post on pastebin.com, the hacker group Anonymous last week named the individual they claim is responsible for tormenting BC teen Amanda Todd into committing suicide. Kody Maxson, 30, of New Westminster, arrested earlier this month on unrelated charges of sexual assault and sexual interference with a minor, claims he is innocent, that he was a friend of Ms. Todd, and that the actual perpetrator is a man from New York. For more on this, please go here.
I am sooo tempted to say “Only in Canada and only in the West.” Why? Check out this Atlantic Cities story headlined Vancouver Covers Its Sidewalks With Giant Pillows
An Air Canada jetliner’s passengers and crew got to do something that will probably be made into an Oscar winning film. On a flight to Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, they helped rescue a solo yachtsman whose vessel had been adrift at sea for about a week. Now just how cool is that, eh?
One of the people we admire most in this world is U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. She’s one of the most responsible public servants in the history of this republic. When the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was attacked and the ambassador to Libya killed, she took personal responsibility for it. While we certainly regret the incident itself, we admire Hillary’s response to the criticism leveled at the Obama administration for it. “I take responsibility. I’m in charge of the State Department’s 60,000 people all over the world(‘s) 275 posts.” Finest kind, ma’am. Finest kind.
In a landmark decision involving same gender marriage, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York has declared the U.S. Marriage Law, which prohibits gay marriages, unconstitutional. For more on this one, please go here.
A Somali teenager whose family lost their own farm violently in his homeland is again showing not just a green thumb but a total green body. He’s back in small agriculture and his example is inspiring all of us in the Greater Puget Sound.
In what certainly must be one of the longest running dog and pony shows in the history of American athletics, cyclist Lance Armstrong has stepped down as the CEO of the cancer-fighting charity he started several years ago, with Nike, which will continue to support it. This is all happening in the wake of a comprehensive report released by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency last week detailing allegations of widespread performance-enhancing drug use by Armstrong and his teams when he won the Tour de France seven consecutive times from 1999 to 2005.
In what has to bring profound resonance to the term “loose flipping cannon,” a California businessman chartered a boat and dumped 100 tons of iron filings in the Pacific Ocean off the Canadian Coast. What was he thinking? To find out, yep, for more, go here.
It’s been said that a nation’s humanity can also be judged by how it treats its enemies. Shane Bauer, one of three hikers held in an Iranian prison on charges of espionage, contrasts conditions there with a solitary confinement cell in an American maximum security prison. Warning; this one is not good to read if you’re already having a bad day.
FROM YOU GUYS
We’d like to express our profound gratitude to those of you who emailed, Instant Messaged and texted us regarding our tribute to former Northstar Journal Canadian editor Shannon Goddard. Paul, Maxine, Dennis and the others of you, thanks. Short Stuff is up in Heaven charming the sox off lusty angels now but she sends her regards. Rusty
SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, NATURE AND EXPLORATION
Wind power is not only here to stay in the American Northwest, last week, it generated more power than hydro. Earlier this month, it generated more energy than hydro.
Twenty years ago, scientists found what they thought were blood and bone cells in a fossil of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. This isn’t supposed to be possible and for two decades, most of the scientific community believed it was not. Guess what?
Here’s one that fits right into the Halloween season. Check out Top 10 Mysteries of the First Humans | Human Origins | Ardi, Hobbits & Neander
Editor’s Note: Mars Rover Curiosity has been busier than the Energizer Battery bunny so to keep up with the little dude, we’re creating this special shorts section. Go, Curiosity.
HEALTH AND LIFESTYLE
Well, I just know this one’s going to generate a lot of mail. New evidence strongly suggests that the mood swings associated with pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) may, in fact, be more myth than reality. Yep, for more on this one, please go here.
Now that winter’s coming on, check out these tips for driving in the rain. We’d kind of appreciate it if none of you died in monsoon-related car accidents.
Here’s one that is both a tribute to the ongoing evolution of medical science and one of the most heartwarming human interest stories we’ve read in some while. It’s about a 15-year-old girl, born deaf, who can now hear the sound of laughter, music and her parents’ voices.
ON THE CANCER FRONT
Long term use of multivitamins may, in fact, reduce the risk of cancer in men, so concludes a new American study. Yep, for more on this one, please go here.
Can coffee prevent cancer? Yep, looks like.
A national documentary scheduled to be shown next year points out that prostate cancer affects not only the adult male of our species but boys as well. For more on this one, please go here.RESOURCES AND RELATED LINKS: Cancer: What You Need to Know American Cancer Society Canadian Cancer Society
THIS WEEK’S BEST VIDEOS, SLIDESHOWS AND OTHER MEDIA
The term “diva” was originally used to denote a stellar female opera singer. It has since grown to incorporate any memorable performer. Certainly among the most unforgettable in America, if not the world, is Barbara Streisand. For a YouTube clip of her Return to Brooklyn Concert and links to others, yep, please go here.
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 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.
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 photos used in Seattle Scenes, unless otherwise noted, were taken by the editor. For a visual tour of the Northstar Gallery, please go here.
Transportation like the above is very popular in Seattle. But are we really ready for a bicycle made of cardboard?
If you’ve ever wondered what the weather is really like in Washington State or if you live here and want to know what to expect in 2013, now is the time to order the American Meteorological Society’s Washington Weather Calendar. Produced by the student chapter of the AMS and Seattle’s NBC affiliate, KING 5 News, it contains 40 spectacular photos submitted by KING 5 viewers. It costs $14.95 and one dollar goes to the kids. To order, call 866–857-3956. To see three of the photos included, please go here.
The Pacific Science Center celebrates its 50th birthday on Monday, October 22. It began life as the U.S. Science Pavilion at the 1962 World’s Fair and has since becoming an institution unto itself, educating adults and children, natives and residents alike. For more information on the festivities, visit their website at http://www.pacificsciencecenter.org/News/pacific-science-center-turns-50.
- 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.
- 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.
- How many people live in Seattle? 608,660. King County’s population is 1,969,722. Population density varies from 50,978 people per square mile (PPSM) to 190 PPSM.
OUR FAVORITE SEATTLE LINKS
ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL
The lead to this Associated Press story pretty well says it all. Lots of mothers wake in the middle of the night to feed their babies, but not many get up to give a bottle to an infant elephant.
Here’s one that certainly validates feline curiosity. Stray Cat Discovers Secret 2,000-Year-Old Tomb
SHORTSLiving With Wildlife BBC’s wildlife finder National Geographic Daily News – Animals
YOU GUYS THINK I MAKE THIS STUFF UP
And then there was the world’s biggest hamburger. This one is a vegan’s total nightmare and it keeps a few cows up late at night too.
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.