Proudly serving North America and the International Community since 2007

Sunday, January 27, 2013
Volume 6, No. 5
Published by
Northstar Media Services
Merritt Scott (Rusty) Miller – Editor
 Seattle, Washington


Hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea.  Well, the rain is back, thank whoever is responsible for that.  Given Seattle’s reputation, I know it must sound strange to read that.  And yep, it probably does beg an explanation.

Seattle’s situated between two mountain ranges.  Going from west to east, there’s the Pacific Ocean, and then the Olympic Peninsula, with its high peaks, then the Puget Sound/Salish Sea, which is the Pacific Ocean coming in from further north.  Then there’s Seattle, with a big fresh water lake to its east, then the start of the Cascade Mountains.

What happens here sometimes is that the weather clamps a lid over us.  It’s called an inversion layer.  It keeps the colder air and moisture closer to the ground, while any air warmed by the sun escapes above that level.  The moisture in that fog traps all the emissions associated with this city.  The nearest I can come to it in my own experience is Los Angeles smog but at considerably lower temperatures.  This fog you see has ice in it.

It’s not something we live with gracefully, even though we don’t complain about it much.  It’s one of the reasons we’re as green as we are; why we’ve invested so much in things like solar, wind and other sources which produce without poisoning.

It wasn’t always like this here.  For several thousand years, as near as it’s been figured so far, the bluest skies you’ve ever seen really were in Seattle.  There’s still a reason it can’t get too smoky here.  And the latest wave of immigrants are learning that now.

It’s nice to see the rain again.


Who are the world’s heaviest Internet users?  The answer just might surprise you.

Well, apparently one way to predict how high the world’s tides might rise during this apparent period of climate change is to study how high it has risen during a previous era like this.  I live on high ground, otherwise, I would not have found this particular study at all reassuring.

Well, North Korea has decided to rattle its saber by essentially saying it’s going to develop the capability to nuke the United States.  With all due respect to the North Korean people, that’s not one of the brightest ideas your esteemed leaders have ever had, guys.  It is about 6,893 miles from Pyongyang to Washington, DC.   It is 506 miles to Beijing; 798 to Tokyo; 3,398 to Moscow; 4,946 to Berlin; 5,400 to London; and 5,271 miles to Sydney, Australia.  Trust me, nobody’s going to be real thrilled with that prospect.  So good luck with that one, Kim Jong Un, et al.


Africa:  Jihadists’ Surge in North Africa Reveals Grim Side of Arab SpringNorth Africa Is a New Test, In Chaos in North Africa, a Grim Side of Arab SpringTrapped Between Africa and Saudi ArabiaMorocco To Change Law That Allowed Rapists To Avoid Punishment By Marrying Their Victims

China:  In China, Widening Discontent Among the Communist Party FaithfulChina Criticizes Clinton’s Remarks About Dispute With Japan Over IslandsChinese Leader Takes Conciliatory Tone in Meeting With Japanese PoliticianAs Graduates Rise in China, Office Jobs Fail to Keep Up

Egypt:  Brotherhood Struggles to Translate Power Into Policy in Egypt

France:  The French Way of War 

Germany:  Europe’s Odd Couple, France and Germany, 50 Years LaterIn Davos, Merkel Presses Leaders to Keep Focus on Economy

India:  For Rape Victims in India, Police Are Often Part of the ProblemIndia Warns Kashmiris to Prepare for Nuclear WarIndia Gang Rape Trial Begins In New Delhi 

Iran:  Iran Resorts to Hangings in Public to Cut Crime

Israel:  An Election in Israel Unusual for What Isn’t Being Discussed

Japan:  Fukushima Fish With 2,500 Times The Radiation Limit Found Two Years After Nuclear Disaster

Mali:  Africa Must Take The Lead In Mali, France SaysFrench Airstrikes Push Back Islamists in Central Mali,  Mali Islamist Rebels Expelled From Town Of DouentzaU.S. Begins Airlift of French Unit to Fight Militants in MaliMali Army, Riding U.S. Hopes, Is Proving No Match for Militants

North Korea:  North Korea Issues Blunt New Threat to U.SNorth Korea Warns South Not to Help Enforce New Sanctions

Russia:  Moscow Is Sending Planes to Lebanon for 100 Russians Leaving Syria

United Kingdom:  Cameron to Deliver Delayed Europe Speech on Wednesday, UK EU Referendum: David Cameron Promises In-Out Vote In 2015Can Britain Forge Looser Ties to Europe Without Losing Influence?,    

United Nations:  United Nations Security Council Condemns North Korea Rocket LaunchU.N. Launches Drone Investigation Into Legality Of U.S. Program,  U.N. Agency Warns of Rising Unemployment

United States:  U.S. and 3 European Countries Warn of Threats to Westerners in LibyaSalt Lake City Air Pollution Prompts Petition From Utah Doctors


Pentagon Set to Lift Ban on Women in Combat Roles

Ban Lifted on Women in Combat Roles – Video

Military Chiefs’ Personal Encounters Influenced Lifting Women’s Combat Ban

Canada Women Officers Have Commanded American Combat Troops in Afghanistan


UN Climate Change Action Is A Major Goal For Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon In

U.S. Winter Weather 2013: Evolution Of The Arctic Outbreak

How President Obama Can Turn Climate Speech Into Action


Syria Jets Bomb Rebel Areas Near Damascus

Growth of the Zaatari Refugee Camp – Interactive Feature


This came from one of my neighbors, via our local neighborhood association.  It’s a real simple and practical way to turn your vehicle alarm into a burglar and person emergency alarm.  Our thanks to Brianna McDonald/


Tell your spouse, your children, your neighbors, your parents, your doctor’s office, the check-out girl at the market …everyone you run across.  Put your car keys beside your bed at night.  If you hear a noise outside your home or someone trying to get in your house, just press the panic button for your car.  The alarm will be set off, and the horn will continue to sound until either you turn it off or the car battery dies.  My Mom has suggested to my Dad that he carry his car keys with him in case he falls outside and she doesn’t hear him. He can activate the car alarm and then she’ll know there’s a problem.


Apparently Canada’s not doing enough to protect its polar bear population and an international environmental group is not real happy about that.

In a nation already known for its pedestrian friendly cities, here’s a list of Canada’s most walkable.

Unseasonably cold temperatures have gripped all of North America and in Canada, temperatures have plunged to minus 40C and below.  That’s also, for some anomaly in the two temperature measurements, 40 below zero Fahrenheit.  When it gets that cold, even the polar bears start layering.


Walmart Canada vs. Target Canada: Retailers To Fight It Out

Toyota Lexus Plant In Cambridge, Ontario Gets $34 Million From Ottawa And Ontario

Toshiba Nuclear Reactor For Oil Sands To Be Operational By 2020: Reports


If there’s any doubt in your mind that women cannot handle combat, you really should check this out.

This to me is another dramatic reminder that compassionate behavior is not a province of one species alone on this planet.

We’re glad to see that John Kerry, in anticipation of assuming the role of America’s Secretary of State, is divesting himself of financial holdings which might at some point be considered a conflict of interest, particularly given the strong environmental stance he’s taken.


Air Canada, Porter Only 4-Star North American Airlines In SkyTrax Ranking

Co-Discoverer of Evolution At Last Given Credit

Cornell NYC Tech Will Foster Commerce Amid Education

Watering The Oregon Desert

Compressed air power for new Peugeot Citroen: in pictures

92-Year-Old Ed Hendrickson of Maine Wants to Ski More Than 46 Days This Year


Sex abuse charges have been filed against Catholic clergy in Los Angeles.  Last week, Germany made headlines in this regard.  Ireland has been rocked by it and certainly the Western Hemisphere.  I cannot help wondering if it is a good thing that all of this is finally coming to light or a bad thing that it has been kept in darkness for so long.

Here’s why I think too much reliance on navigation satellites and not enough on road maps is not always such a good thing.

Gay marriage may be gaining more and more acceptance among Americans at large.  But it’s still facing a tough time in the military.


Editor’s Note:  “Uncle Seamus” is actually based on several dead relatives from whom I learned a great deal.  Rusty

Uncle Seamus had a big family on a small farm that raised as many rocks as potatoes.  So he was always looking for ways ~ however modest and sometimes questionably legal ~ to improve the fortunes of his immediate clan.

He happened to overhear his wife Molly and her sister Fionna talking about the Protestant minister’s wife in the village, who was a bit of a snob even before she married Reverend Easterbrook, whose third cousin was fifth in line for the Lordship of Essex.

“I don’t mind the pretense so much,” Fionna shrugged.  “But when she carries on about havin’ a home so clean you could eat off the kitchen floor?  I think that’s a bit cheeky.”

“Aye,” Molly agreed, “but you know how some of them are.  To them, we’re not just heathens.  We’re heathens of the unwashed variety.”

For the next couple of days, Uncle Seamus sequestered himself away in his workshop.  That Sunday morning, after church, The Reverend Mrs. Easterbrook and her husband returned home to find a large wooden crate on their front stoop.  Most curious, of course, they hastened to unbox it.

When they were done, what stood before them was a beautifully crafted sessile oak kitchen table just big enough for both the Rev. Mrs. Easterbrook and her esteemed husband, the Rev. Mr. Easterbrook.  Taped to its polished surface was a note written in a most elegant hand which read:

We heard that you were taking your meals on the kitchen floor.  Please accept this donation to the church, with our blessing.  Seamus Sean Padriac Finn Quinn Mulroney McGuire, XVII.

Yep, the Reverend Mrs. Easterbrook was so embarrassed that she paid Uncle Seamus a London price for it and refused to take a penny less.  That next Sunday, all of Uncle Seamus’ kids turned up at Mass with new shoes.


Is extra terrestrial life really out there?  Apparently the possibilities are as endless as the universe itself.  So why haven’t we discovered one another?  Or have we?  Or is it simply that we really haven’t been looking that long?  For a discussion of these and other intriguing possibilities, please go here.

Here’s another of those, “if they pose no threat, why are we being told about them,” stories about very large rocks in space.  This is beginning to rank right up there with sharks, politics and insomniac roosters as my unfavorite topic.  And of course, in a related story, we learn that there are companies which intend to mine the minerals on those very large rocks in space.  This is flipping insane.  I can just see them drilling into something they thought was a very large rock in space, only to discover it is sentient and not real happy about being disturbed.  “The Asteroid That Ate Australia.”  Just leave that stuff alone.

Well, here’s one that might start a new fashion trend.  They’ve apparently been able to recreate ~ in 3D ~ the elaborate hairstyle of a lady Egyptian mummy.


Robot Makers Spread Global Gospel of Automation

How to Get High-Speed Internet to All Americans

Recreating Ernest Shackleton’s Legendary Survival Epic

How Keys Work Inside Pin-Tumbler Locks (VIDEO)

Proton Radius Is Smaller Than Physicists Had Thought, New Research Shows

Strange Pulsar: Newly Discovered Spinning Star Baffles Astronomers


Mars Crater Held Ancient Lake & Possibly Life, NASA Photos Suggest

Curiosity’s Working Graveyard:  Check Out These Nocturnal Shots The Little Dude Got


David Attenborough Says Humanity Is a Plague

John Kerry: Climate Change Is A ‘Life-Threatening Issue’ (VIDEO)

Obama Climate Change Push To Tie Environment To Job Creation

Are Rain Gardens Mini Toxic Cleanup Sites?

Can Seeding the Ocean With Minerals Slow Global Warming?



Boost Metabolism: 10 Natural Ways To Boost Metabolism

Pregnancy Foods: 10 Foods To Eat During Each Trimester

Sex Tips Men: 20 Ways To Have Great Sex

High Mercury Fish: How To Eat Safe, Sustainable Seafood

Stop Headaches — and Keep Them Away

How to Improve Memory – Brain Boosters

Loneliness Bad For Health: Condition May Harm Immune System, Study Shows


‘Quadruple Helix’ DNA Found In Human Cells, May Aid Cancer Fight


Cancer:  What You Need to Know

American Cancer Society

Canadian Cancer Society


The battery problem with the Dreamliner not withstanding, more people than ever are flying so we thought we’d take a look at jet lag.  What is it?  What’s this weird thing called a “circadian rhythm”?  Is there any cure for it?  So yep, for more on this one, please go here.

Is America’s “gun culture” really that nation’s fault?  Marni Soupcoff doesn’t seem to think so.

Here are some cool ideas for re-using coffee grounds and tea bags.


Tiny Houses with Kids

Family Statistics: The Well-Being Of Families Around The World

What India Taught Me About How to End Hunger


Google Street View’s Accidental Animals

Check out these images of earth from NASA’s Earth Observatory satellites.

Humans Of New York In Iran: Street Portraits By Brandon Stanton (PHOTOS)

Ban Lifted on Women in Combat Roles – Video











Here’s another reason I love living in Wedgwood.  It’s an extremely pet friendly neighborhood and even those whose leases might preclude personal ownership still find ways to bond.  Now there’s a service which provides dogs to walk.  Yep, check it out here and thanks again, Shannon.  This is pretty cool.

Local climatologists are estimating how Seattle’s shoreline is going to be affected by climate change.  It looks like some of us are going to get wet if we don’t move.

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


I know we’re going to get mail on this one.  The entire planet is going to think this video of a seal down in the Southwest Pacific Ocean off Brisbane, Australia hitching rides on sailboats and other recreational craft is totally cute.  It was apparently a young one and photogenic as all get out.  The humans who gave it a ride got the impression it had probably done this before.  Of that, we have no doubt.  Seals are cute, when they’re small and on somebody else’s boat.  They do not remain small and sometimes ~ particularly when hungry, in heat or defending territory ~ they are not cute.  The water is their element but they’re also no slouches on land.  If this seal pup’s behavior is encouraged, one day ~ much larger than it is now and worse, perhaps also hungry ~ it will board a vessel like the animated buccaneer it can be and there better be fish onboard or someone’s going to be sacrificed to Neptune.  I have also noted that many Australians, for some reason, seem to feel like they have this weird genetic bond with all creatures great and small that exempts them from some pretty fundamental laws of nature.  They surf and swim with sharks, for instance.  And tread on golden shores where sting rays are often known to slumber.  And now, apparently, they’re contributing to the delinquency of a marine mammal.  This cannot possibly bode well.


Saving Tasmanian Devils From Extinction

Like to Walk a Dog But Don’t Have One of Your Own?

Floodwaters Allow 15,000 Crocodiles to Escape Farm

Tenacious Couple Soar To Record In State ‘Big Year’ Bird Count

New Zealand Economist Wants Cat Owners to Neuter Felines 

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


And then there were some men who wanted to better appreciate what childbirth feels like so they underwent simulated birth contractions


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.  And if you’d like to receive the graphically enhanced edition directly by email, please let us know at  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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