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Sunday, January 13, 2013
Volume 6, No. 3
SOS: AUSTRALIA IS BURNING,
Hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea, as I peek out of the cave to see if the world is still there. Yep, it’s been that cold here this past week. We’re eating a lot more, dressing in layers, and sleeping a lot longer to conserve energy. You want to see how our ancestors survived the Ice Age? Come to Seattle when the temperature drops below freezing. And bring lots of batteries for your camera. And blankets. Lots and lots of blankets.
As Arctic as it is here, though, it’s still better than what Australia’s been going through with all those wildfires “down under.” And now they’ve got this insane red storm coming in. With all due respect to our cousins in the Land of Auz, it has been totally flipping insane down there.
We also thought it interesting that the New York Times is dismantling its environmental desk. We’ve read several versions of this story and we’ve looked at this climate change media leader’s reasons for doing so. We’re still convinced it is not one of their better moves and that as other media actually increase coverage in this area, the New York Times will correct for course.
And we see that New York State is getting even closer to enacting what some experts are contending will be the toughest gun control legislation in the nation. It’s still going to be real interesting to see whether this actually reduces violence of this kind or whether it will create a very large black market for weapons of considerable destruction in the first place.
Interesting week, this week, eh?
IN OTHER NEWS
In which nations is freedom valued the most? The answers just might surprise you.
We noted with some interest this story headlined Israeli Women Soldiers Have ‘Right Stuff’ For Border Watch. One of the most dynamic individuals I ever met and came to know was a Sabra ~ an Israeli Jew ~ who was fighting for her country when I was still making out in the back seat of a Chevrolet Impala during my American Graffiti days. She was as courageous as any man I served with in Vietnam and I am convinced that it is because of Sarah Golden and her sisters that Israeli is alive today.
What are the biggest threats to the global economy? An international committee reports.
WORLD NEWS SHORTS
Australia: Wildfires Destroy Homes, Force Evacuation Of National Parks (VIDEO), Australia Wildfires Fear Eases As Temperatures Cool (PHOTOS), Tim And Tammy Holmes, Australian Grandparents, Save Five Children From Brushfire, Australia Drivers Unable to Pump Gas in Heatwave, Australia PM Gillard visits fire-hit Tasmania
China: Chinese Newspaper, Southern Weekend, Challenges Censors, Chinese Mining Company Builds Factory And Factory Town In Peruvian Andes – VIDEO, A Desert Cold and Wet Multiplies the Misery of Syrian Refugees, Beijing Air Pollution Off the Charts
India: Judge Bans Reporting on Trial of 5 Men in Gang Rape Case, India Gang-Rape Accused To Plead Not Guilt, Dead Rape Victim’s Father Speaks Out – VIDEO, In Rape’s Aftermath, India Debates Violence Against Women
International: Some Companies Seek to Wean Employees From Their Smartphones
Russia: Russian Lawmakers Move to Purge Foreign Influences
US: 2012 Hottest Year On Record For Lower 48 States, NOAA Confirms, School Systems in Eleven States Get ‘Failing’ Grade, Immigration Enforcement Comprised Largest Chunk of Federal Law Enforcement Budget, Hurricane Sandy Aid Bill: $9.7 Billion Package Signed By Obama, Nashville Takes Its Turn in the Spotlight, Crops Threatened as USDA Declares Wheat Belt Disaster
CLIMATE CHANGE SHORTS
It looks like the new plastic $20.00 bills are not everyone’s “cuppa”. Some vending machines won’t accept them and have to be re-tooled. This seems like a “pain of change” issue to us and yep, pun intended. Most Canadians still think this is a good idea.
Some new changes to Canadian employment insurance took place on January 6, 2013. For more on this one, please go here.
I totally love Chinese food and still fondly remember this one place on Robson Street in Vancouver which served a “to die for” egg foo yung burger. Here are a lists of the best Chinese restaurants in Canada.
America’s chief executive addressed a vigil for those slain at Sandy Hook Elementary and, in no uncertain terms, said that killings like this must and will stop. We agree. For more, please go here.
A registered nurse dying of cancer is making her last days mean something to ontological caregivers. There is only one individual we know who came anywhere near this close to doing something this noble and this heroic and she too was dying of cancer. For more on this one, please go here.
Here is something we thought was totally cool. Check out this 20-Something’s Web Site for Women Over 40
It looks like the Devil decided to reveal one of his own in a real dramatic way. The fact that British media person and BBC host Jimmy Savile’s decades of child sex abuse is finally coming to light gives you a good idea of the kind of neighbors you can expect to enjoy in the Hot Place.
It looks like as many as 26 rape cases in New York City will undergo judicial review after the Medical Examiner’s Office discovered DNA evidence was very likely lost, mishandled or compromised. For more on this one, please go here.
We note that even as America considers following one state’s example with really tough gun control laws, there’s been a dramatic upsurge in the purchase of weapons of considerable destruction and ammunition for same.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
The 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas looks like a science funhouse designed by someone with an IQ of eight million and four. What contemporary inventors have used their talents to create will absolutely flipping amaze you.
Technological evolution and the potential threat is poses for human quality of life is again emerging as a national legislative issue as more lawmakers examine the implications of tracking and recording the lives of every individual who owns a Smartphone or a similarly ubiquitous device. For more on this one, please go here.
Thanks to that same technological evolution, albeit in another aspect, could significantly reduce traffic fatalities in the decades to come. Computers have a longer attention span than even the people who design them and they don’t have a lot of robot buddies to chat or text with on cell phones. So giving them some of the more basic driving functions makes sense and is, in fact, happening. Yep, for more, go here.
DISCOVERY AND EXPLORATION
One of the really cool things about space exploration and projects in space is that they seem to be limited only by the human imagination, which apparently has none. Check out this plan to snare a big space rock and put it in orbit around the moon. Then do not spoil the moment by asking yourself why we would want to spend $2.6 billion to do that.
That ambitious Dutch company which is planning on turning Mars into a tourist destination by 2022 is already letting prospective extra-planetary visitors what they’re going to need for the trip and it’s not all about carry-on luggage. Yep, for more, please go here.
Well, this is reassuring. There’s an asteroid about the size of three American football fields (300 yards/274 meters) which apparently is going to pass very close to earth twice by 2036 but is not expected to hit us. Perhaps because two of my all time favourite films are Meteor and Armaggeddon, something about this Apophis asteroid and the reassurances I’m reading are not making me feel good about this. Where are Bruce Willis and the gang? I need them NOW.
THE GREEN AGENDA
Here are the best and the worst diets, as ranked by the health experts at US News and World Reports.
British journalist and talk show host Piers Morgan has been a favorite of ours since he was a judge on Great Britain Has Talent. Therefore, we found this gun control exchange between him and Alex Jones very interesting.
If you want to be a contestant on the Mars Colony Reality TV Show, apparently applications are now available.
If you’re planning a vacation this year but haven’t yet decided on a destination, here’s a list of 46 good ones to choose from.
BEST OF SHORTS
ON THE CANCER FRONT
The PAP smear used to detect cervical cancer may very well prove useful in detecting other forms of this disease. For more on this one, please go here.
Here’s a story about how environmental contamination, particularly of drinking water, is causing cancer by the hundreds of thousands in China and could be killing hundreds in America the same way. (And people wonder why I drink rain water?)
RESOURCES AND RELATED LINKS:
BEST OF THIS WEEK’S NET MEDIA
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.
It’s been sunny but unseasonably cold in Seattle. For more details and the latest forecast, please go here.
Thanks to a levy the voters passed last year, Seattle public libraries are now open on Sundays. For the hours of the branch in your neighborhood, yep, please go here.
Komo 4 News (ABC)
King 5 News (NBC)
ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL
This definitely had to be one of the critter cliffhangers of the week. A dozen orcas were trapped in waters off northern Quebec and all of Canada was galvanizing for a rescue. Shifting ice managed to free these creatures and they’ve since departed for presumably warmer climes.
A river otter has returned to San Francisco Bay and environmentalists are interpreting this as a positive sign that Californians here are literally cleaning up their act.
Well, here’s one straight out of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It’s also a tribute to the dedication of Japanese marine biologists and the team which caught this “first of a kind” footage of the elusive giant squid deep in the cold dark depths of the North Pacific Ocean.
YOU GUYS THINK I MAKE THIS STUFF UP
And then there was the wildlife photographer who just might be considering another career field after spending an hour with a polar bear who, in a previous life, was hounded to death by the paparazzi.
A FINAL WORLD
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. Rusty