Proudly serving North America and the International Community since 2007

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Volume 6, No. 3

Published by

Northstar Media Services

Merritt Scott (Rusty) Miller – Editor

 Seattle, Washington




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 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.


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 BrushfireAustralia 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 – VIDEOA Desert Cold and Wet Multiplies the Misery of Syrian RefugeesBeijing Air Pollution Off the Charts

France:  French Troops Help Mali Halt an Islamist Advance

India:  Judge Bans Reporting on Trial of 5 Men in Gang Rape CaseIndia Gang-Rape Accused To Plead Not GuiltDead Rape Victim’s Father Speaks Out – VIDEOIn Rape’s Aftermath, India Debates Violence Against Women

International:  Some Companies Seek to Wean Employees From Their Smartphones

Iran:  Tehran Pollution Crisis 2012: Thousands Dead In Iran’s Capital

Japan:  Japan’s Cleanup After a Nuclear Accident Is Woefully InadequateJapan Approves $116 Billion in Emergency Economic Stimulus

Middle East:  IsraelPlans to Build Syrian Border FenceP.L.O.’s Abbas Meets Hamas’s Meshal in Cairo

Russia:  Russian Lawmakers Move to Purge Foreign Influences

US:  2012 Hottest Year On Record For Lower 48 States, NOAA ConfirmsSchool Systems in Eleven States Get ‘Failing’ GradeImmigration Enforcement Comprised Largest Chunk of Federal Law Enforcement BudgetHurricane Sandy Aid Bill: $9.7 Billion Package Signed By ObamaNashville Takes Its Turn in the SpotlightCrops Threatened as USDA Declares Wheat Belt Disaster

Vietnam:  Activists Convicted in Vietnam Crackdown on Dissent


Global Sea Level Rise By 2100 Could Top 3 Feet, New Study Suggests

Lynne Peeples: Afternoon Tracks: Warming Woes And Climate Clues

Extreme Weather Grows in Frequency and Intensity Around World

Federal Advisory Committee Draft Climate Assessment Report Release


23 journalists killed in Syria

Syria President’s Defiant Words Dash Hopes for a Quick Peace


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.


Snowstorms Pummel Newfoundland, Saskatchewan

Housing Starts Canada: Pace Slows In December 2012, Says CMHC

RRSP Deadline: Canadians Anxious Over Retirement Savings, Says Bank Of Montréal

Oilsands Pollution: Government Study Provides Conclusive Proof Development Damaging Alberta Lakes


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


New York City Hospitals to Tie Doctors’ Performance Pay to Quality Measures –

Walk, Borrow, Read, Return And Repeat

6 Eco-Innovators To Inspire You This Year


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.


High Hay Prices Encourage More Thefts From Farms

Environmental Groups Have Sued the U.S. Government Over Its Failure to Protect Sea Turtles


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.


Check Out These 15 Countries Where Robots Are Taking Over The Workforce

Standard Kilogram Has Put On Weight, X-Ray Study Reveals

Scientists Make Progress in Tailor-Made Organs


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.


Myanmar Spitfire Recovery: Water-Filled Crate Believed To Contain WWII-Era Plane

Black Sea Fortress Yields Buried Treasure Said To Be 2,000 Years Old

Roman Shipwreck Off Greek Island Antikythera May Actually Hold Two Ships

Shipwreck ‘Tablets’ From Roman Vessel May Have Been Ancient Eye Medicine, Rese

ISS Tour: Life Aboard International Space Station Explained By NASA Astronaut

Largest Spiral Galaxy Is Five Times Bigger Than Milky Way, NGC 6872 Study Suggests

‘Zombie’ Planet Fomalhaut B Has Weird Orbit, Hubble Space Telescope Reveals

Vela Pulsar Video Shows Neutron Star Glowing Like ‘Phantom Of The Opera’ Mask


West Virginia Pipeline Explosion: Safety Hearing Scheduled After Sissonville’s Gas Line Rupture

Arctic Drilling to Be Reviewed in Light of Accidents

The Greenest Office Building In The World Is About To Open In Seattle


Now that an extra virulent flu season upon us, the very least we should know is what’s NOT true about this particular affliction.  Here are Flu Myths: 7 Common Beliefs, Busted

The US Food and Drug Administration is calling for lower dosages of sleep aids for women.

Here are the best and the worst diets, as ranked by the health experts at US News and World Reports.


Astronauts Taller After Time Orbiting In Microgravity Environment, NASA Says

Pain From Exercise: 10 Everyday Exercises That Can Hurt You

Use Your Brain to Prevent Dementia


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.


Down-Home American Food, Korean Style

Online Dating Tips: 10 Ways To Online Date In The New Year

Do People Actually Shop on Phones? The Answer Is Decidedly Yes –


The 30 Best Places to Work in 2012

70 More Best Places to Work

The Best Medical Schools In The World


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?)


Cancer:  What You Need to Know

American Cancer Society

Canadian Cancer Society


Baby Crashes Dad’s Concert (VIDEO)

Animal Photos Of The Week: African Lion Cubs, Elephants, Meerkats And More Pic

Spoon-billed Sandpiper: Hatch – YouTube

A Living Mars: PHOTOS Show How Red Planet Might Look With Water

National Geographic Photo Contest 2012 Winners Announced (PHOTOS)

Tebow, English Bulldog Puppy, Learns To Walk (VIDEO)

Where Cats Run Free









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.

The water in our bird bath is five inches deep and was frozen solid this morning before dawn.  Temperatures in the low to mid-twenties have been with Seattle since the New Year.

The water in our bird bath is five inches deep and was frozen solid this morning before dawn. Temperatures in the low to mid-twenties have been with Seattle since the New Year.


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.

THE TODAY FILE:  “Your guide to the latest news from Seattle and around the Northwest”


Seattle Weather

Map of Seattle

Seattle City Cams

More Seattle Facts & Figures

Komo 4 News (ABC)

King 5 News (NBC)

Seattle Times


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.


Oldest Fossils Ever Found Date Back 3.49 Billion Years, Australia Research Show

Long-Beaked Echidna Specimen Suggests Egg-Laying Mammal Isn’t Extinct In Australia

The Unexpected Altruism of Bonobos

Western Scrub Jays Appear to Mourn Dead Comrades

Meet The Quokka, The Happiest Animal In The World

Crow Intelligence Study Suggests The Birds Have ‘Theory Of Mind’


Living With Wildlife

BBC’s wildlife finder

National Geographic Daily News – Animals


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


Bust with glassesThe 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


Wrath of the Testament, an exciting seagoing saga of war and rebellion, is now available as a kindle book, for $3.99 at 

For a preview, go here



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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