Proudly serving North America and the International Community since 2007

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Volume 5, No. 44

Merritt Scott (Rusty) Miller – Editor

 Seattle, Washington


Hi again, from the shores of the Salish Sea.  Well, like much of the world right now and particularly those on the American Atlantic Coast, we’re keeping a close watch on Hurricane Sandy.

Since this storm looks to be the literal mother of all weather events in recent history and as many of you who are reading this now are in the path of what the American National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is calling “Frankenstorm,” we feel it imperative to supply several links which should help in tracking this hurricane and in preparing you to survive it.

We’ve bookmarked the National Hurricane Center.  The NHC has an interactive map and advisories tracking the location, intensity and speed of “Sandy.”  For a shortcut to the advisories themselves, go here.

For an extremely accessible list of storm preparation tips, please go here.

For the most comprehensive print media treatment of this entire phenomenon, go here.

This is not going to be an easy disaster to survive and the rebuilding will be long, expensive and heartbreaking.  There are no platitudes to cover it and few words to make it any easier to endure.

But for whatever scant comfort it may bring, our prayers are with each and every one of you.  Millions around the world care and you are not alone. 

Good luck and Godspeed.


For a bit of perspective on Hurricane Sandy, check out this story headlined The Worst Natural Disasters in Recent History.

In a further vindication of the integrity of organized athletics, cyclist Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life after the International Cycling Union (UCI) upheld the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s (USADA) sanctions.

In terms of gender equality, what countries are the best and the worst for women?  It’s not America, which ranks 22nd on this list.  To see where your nation does, please go here.


U.S. Presidential Debate: World Reactions

Thirty-somethings most worried about future, survey finds |

Which countries are predicted to be the richest in 2050?


Global Ice Volume: Glacier Measurements Shed Light On Sea Level Rise Predictions

Antarctic Ozone Hole Is The Second Smallest It’s Been In 20 Years


As the nation’s economy continues to improve, more Canadians are again dining out.  So here’s a list of the Maple Leaf’s best restaurants.  See if yours made it.

In what bears some chilling resemblance to the American Boy Scouts’ recent sexual abuse scandals, the former deputy commander of a Victoria-based military cadet corps has been convicted of four counts of this particularly heinous crime.  As horrific as this is, in both cases it was going on for a long time.  But at least nw, it’s being revealed and prosecuted.  And we assume both organisations have corrected for course.

What languages are Canadians speaking these days?  The results just might surprise you.


Christine Lagarde, IMF Chief: Canada Should Be Economic Model For The World


Doctors in Canada’s Ontario province have declared war on obesity.  For more on this one, please go here.

The Dutch are getting ready to test geothermal heated bicycle lanes and we found that both cool (pardon the pun) and a little ironic, as did the author of this story.  While many Americans are still mulling over whether they want to pedal at all, Europeans are trying to figure out the best way to do it and stay warm in the winter.

In order to preserve North American forests, American television and film actor Woody Harrelson is throwing his support behind a Canadian plant which manufactures paper and paper products from agricultural waste like wheat straw.  Yep, for more on this one, please go here.


Stupidity is no respecter of many things, including political party.  Check out this American Senate candidate who contends that pregnancy from rape is “something God intended.”

A woman in Minnesota was billed for two doctors visits when she asked more questions during one appointment than her physician apparently thought was appropriate.  The kicker on this one was that she wasn’t told this at the time and didn’t find out about it until she got the bill.  And what was it that the Hippocratic oath says about “First do not harm”?  We’d be real curious to see what the Minnesota Medical Association has to say about this particular caregiver.  We suspect not a lot very complimentary.

In what is probably a well-intentioned attempt to keep the national budget within reason, Fisheries and Oceans Canada is considering significant staffing cuts to the ranks of the workers who protect fish habitat on the Pacific Coast.  This is NOT one of your better ideas, guys.


Astronomers have discovered something about the way our galaxy has evolved that has taken the scientific community by storm.  Yep, for more on this one, please go here.

Science fiction and fact have once again joined.  Scientists have created a real life tractor beam.

Here’s an interesting spin on a bicycle built for two because it’s actually made for one adult and two children.  Some 300,000 of these have already been sold in Japan.  Yep, for more, please go here.


New Air Force Missile Turns Out Lights With Raytheon Microwave Tech

Pumice ‘Raft’ Floating Off New Zealand Coast Created By Undersea Volcano Eruption


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.

Mars Methane: Curiosity Rover To Search For Hints That Gas Came From Organisms


Annual physical examinations do not contribute to longevity, according to the American Council on Science and Health.  This conclusion is based on a Danish study of some 186,000 people in 16 separate clinical trials.  Yep, for more, go here.

Check out 23 nutritious drinks for every situation.

Here are 13 of Today show health expert Joy Bauer’s healthiest foods to snack on and odds are, you’re already eating at least one of them.

It has long been contended that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Here are seven reasons why that’s true.


9 Simple Steps to Better Health Without Going to the Gym

5 Flu Vaccine Myths Dispelled

Brain Exercises: How To Stimulate Your Brain And Senses

David R. Hamilton, Ph.D.: Why Friends May Be Your Ticket to Living to 100

Driving with the Common Cold is As Dangerous as Driving Drunk – RealAge

There Are Two Ways To Purposely Block Out Memories, Study Suggests


Check out these six myths about breast cancer prevention.

In the United Kingdom (and elsewhere), the number of women facing breast cancer is expected to triple by 2040.  To see what Britain’s National Health Service is doing to prepare for this, please go here.

We reported last week that coffee may prevent cancer.  Now it looks like decaff may be just as effective as caffeinated in preventing prostate cancer.


Obesity Cancer Risk Could Reverse Gains From Less Smoking

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


As we said in last week’s edition, we feel now is a time in our history when it is absolutely imperative that we listen to one another and work together to build a better world.  We are therefore pleased to present Seven Keys To A Stronger Community.



As Big As Our Universe Is, It May Not Be The Only One: Video & Slideshow

She’s not much taller than a bottle of nail polish and may, in fact, make the records books.  Her name is Suni.  She’s a three-month old terrier born in Poland and her cuteness is taking the world by storm.  For more and a video, please go here.


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. 

Where I live, in Seattle’s Wedgwood neighborhood, folks don’t wait for Christmas to put up lights. Happy Halloween.

Well, one of Seattle’s most iconic landmarks, the Space Needle with its dome of gold, is getting a makeover.  Within the next six months, it’s going to be sporting a tribute to evergreen trees.

The streets of Seattle will soon be a little safer thanks to several tiny drone helicopters the Seattle Police Department intends to deploy.  The SPD is one of the first American cities to be given a federal grant to purchases these high tech dragonflies.  KOMO 4’s Rick Lane reports.


  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


Well, here on the shores of the SalishSea, aka the Puget Sound, we’re celebrating an annual event.  Residents of our three orca pods, J, K and L, have returned in time to feed on the spawning salmon runs.  Welcome home, guys.  Nice to have you back.

We’ve known for a long time that Monarch butterflies migrate incredible distances.  Scientists have now discovered that on the other side of the Pond (Atlantic Ocean), so do Painted Ladies.  Yep, for more on this one and a beautiful slide show, please go here.

Spawning salmon in a stream in the Cascade foothills east of Seattle, Washington are getting a major break, thanks to the State Transportation Department.  For more and an excellent video, please go here.

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


Are we really ready for this one?  Check out the world’s thinnest house.  It’s three feet/.9 meters wide and it’s actually been constructed between two much larger buildings in Warsaw, Poland.  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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