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Sunday, April 7, 2013
Volume 6, No. 14Published by Northstar Media Services Merritt Scott (Rusty) Miller – Editor Seattle, Washington firstname.lastname@example.org
THE PLANET’S LATEST ENFANT TERRIBLE
Hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea. Well, for this past week, I’ve been watching this sabre rattling leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un. Several things strike me about this.
Mr. Kim is a hereditary successor at a time in history when most royalty in the world does not actually lead the country, except by moral example. Given that his grandfather and father also ran the nation, “dynasty” is probably an appropriate term to use here.
Though educated in the West (in Switzerland), he was raised in an extremely insulated environment. The youngest of three brothers, he is the son of his father’s consort. Sheltered, protected, “educated” and prepared to do one thing and one thing only (lead a nation), he is very likely less in touch with the rest of life on this planet than the average North Korean rice farmer or factory worker.
His is a nation slightly smaller than the state of Mississippi, with a population of about 24-million, which would make it, behind California and Texas, the most populous state in America. By any standards, he is still very young to be leading it.
Mr. Kim, therefore, needs to prove not only that he can do job, but that his father made the appropriate choice, just as his grandfather did when he chose his father, who was the oldest brother.
My sense is that he also fully appreciates that he is politically vulnerable, particularly to a military coup de etat. He has some new war toys to play with and he’s back on the international playground with the big kids now.
He can fire missiles at countries he doesn’t like, just like all the other really cool nations of the world can and often threaten to do. It’s no longer a human wave thing. Now, he has the capacity to kill by remote control.
What may very well be Mr. Kim’s ultimate undoing is his lack of realistic perspective. America has enough firepower within a few minutes of every industrial center in his country to disable it very quickly. The United States also has drones that could eliminate Mr. Kim and his family before the first of any Pyongyang launched missiles ever left their launchers.
If I could, I’d offer Kim Jong Un a very large cup of Chill Out and an all expenses paid vacation to Disney World.
He really does need to find out just how small a world it really is after all.
IN OTHER NEWS
Well, if ever there was a story of the power of intent, it’s got to be this one about an eleven-year-old girl who joined a protest against the use of coyote fur by an apparel company which, in turn, met her with security guards instead of industry spokesmen. It appears she rather intimidated them. In all fairness, though, the company’s reaction was understandable. It was a Canadian eleven-year-old girl, after all. Yep, for more, please go here.
It’s been a real interesting week for the scientific community, I’ve noticed. This project for mapping the human brain so it can be imprinted onto a super-super-really super computer is catching on. And if you need something profound to worry about, here’s what our species faces over the next several billion years. In what could be a major advancement in the War on Cancer, biomedical scientists have found a way to transistorize a human cell and control its functions. Nice going, folks. We see at least a Nobel and a movie at least one of these.
Here’s yet another reason for all of us to exercise our minds more and try to avoid those substances and behaviors that are not good for it. The cost of caring for dementia patients is anticipated to double by 2040. That’s as things stand now, without doing anything about it. That’s a national health care bill Generation Y will be picking up. That in itself strikes me as unfair. There are fewer of them; times are economically much harder; and with climate change on top of persistent wars and genocide somewhere on the planet, they’ve got a lot more to deal with than the Baby Boomer generation did at their age. Yep, use it or lose it. But don’t make someone else pay for the choice.
Northstar Extra: There’s a surveillance system out now, developed by Microsoft and in place in New York City, which is credited with lowering the crime rate by linking some 3,500 cameras with license plate readers, other public and private security devices and the computer database of the NYPD. The City of New York is marketing it to other jurisdictions for 30% of the gross sales and it is predicted to become very popular. It sends an Orwellian chill through me though because it seems to answer the question of how much personal privacy are we willing to surrender in order to be safe. If Seattle finds it necessary to go back to 1984, we’ll be moving ourselves and this magazine further north and a bit west.
WORLD NEWS SHORTS
NORTH KOREAN SHORTS
CLIMATE CHANGE SHORTS
Where is the absolute worst place to work in Canada? The answer probably will not surprise you.
Statistics Canada says that the while the job market is improving, it appears that low level service positions are the main reason why.
Was Canada better off with private banks and commercial currency? Here’s a historical look back.
When India’s supreme court denied Novartis a patent, while it essentially protected its own generic drug industry, it also helped thousands of suffering poor. India is one of the major sources of relatively inexpensive medicine to fight HIV, cancer and other related diseases.
This one would probably better fit the Dubious category, if we had one. One major American university is using a new software program which scores essay examinations. The professor is totally out of the loop. Check it out and let me know if you think this is good for the species or whether it’s just a lit-tle on the Orwellian side.
Four hospitals in Canada’s Ontario province and one in New Brunswick are under investigation for administering watered down chemotherapy drugs to their cancer patients. Yes, for more on this, please go here.
Even in the midst of the 2007 Recession, with bank failures and bailouts, pay for the members of the board of directors of those financial institutions continued to rise. Yep, for details, please go here.
EXPLORATION, HISTORY, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Chinese scientists have created the lightest substance on earth. If a human being was made of it, they would weigh around 1/40th of a lb or 1/100th of a kilogram. Yep, for more, please go here.
Once the world’s fastest computer, the Roadrunner is being deactivated.
The legendary Pluto’s Gate, the ancient Greek portal to the Underworld, has been discovered. For details, please go here.
OUTER SPACE SHORTS
CLOSER TO HOME SHORTS
NORTHSTAR WEEKLY READER QUIZ
Okay, gang. Here’s a chance to see how much you and those you hang out with know about the universe with this quiz on the moon. I hope you do better than I did on this. I got 6 out of ten right.
THE GREEN AGENDA
Researchers have now determined that the fat acquired from over-eating and a sedentary lifestyle does, in fact, have an intelligence of its own and a life of its own. It also has a plan. Once enough of it is in the body, fat sets out first to take total control and then to destroy. The morbidity rate among the obese strongly suggests that ~ unopposed ~ it does that very effectively. It can, however, be defeated. For more, please go here.
We know stress can kill us if we’re not careful. What else do we know about stress? Or think we do?
RESOURCES AND RELATED LINKS:
ON THE CANCER FRONT
RESOURCES AND RELATED LINKS:
Should kids be allowed to choose their own rewards and punishments? That’s a question being posed to readers by the New York Times’ Room For Debate this week. I personally think that giving kids those sanctions is a lot like letting the inmates run the asylum. To see how others feel and to weigh in on this yourself, please go here.
BEST OF THIS WEEK’S NET MEDIA
Slide Show: ‘Photography and the American Civil War’ This exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art examines an early intersection of photography and political history. Warning: Some of these are battlefield photos and are quite graphic.
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.
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT FROM A WEDGWOOD NEIGHBOR
This is in response to a recent auto v. pedestrian family accident in our neighborhood. We strongly suggest that while the geography is specific to Seattle, the issue it addresses is not and the advice offered is applicable to this situation in general. Rusty
I attended the Ravenna-Bryant Community Association meeting last night. It was an informative meeting and well attended by members in our community, SPD, SDOT, HarborviewMedicalCenter, Seattle City Attorney’s Office, and local leaders.
The most important take-away I took from this meeting came from Dr. Beth Ebel, Director, Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center. She identified statistics regarding the fatality rate of pedestrians associated with vehicle speed.
Speed Fatality Rate
20 MPH 5%
30 MPH 40%
40 MPH 85%
50 MPH 100%
I found these statistics to be startling as well as informative. Upon learning this information I know I will double check my speed especially when children and pedestrians are present.
SDOT reported in 2012 that about 17,000 vehicles use 75th Street each day with most vehicles traveling at the speed of 37 MPH!
SDOT also reported that four children have been hit by cars this year around EcksteinMiddle School. These children were not hit by drunk drivers and they were not hit in 75th…which is why they are all still alive, but it points to the bigger issues at hand. This is not just an issue on our arterial streets. This is happening everywhere in our community.
We are only speeding to the next stop light or stop sign when we speed on our neighborhood and city streets, while putting people at risk. What is a life worth?
Please take these statistics, your speed and distractions into consideration the next time you drive. We share our roads with drivers, pedestrians, and bicycles alike. We need to work together to create safer roads for everyone.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Komo 4 News (ABC)
King 5 News (NBC)
ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL
To the cry of “Save the Tiger,” we can also add, “Save the Cheetah.” A century ago, there were an estimated 100,000 of them in the wilds. Now, there are less than 12,000 and they have become extinct in 13 countries. This is due primarily to a loss of habitat as Third World nations industrialize. There are 280 captive cheetahs in zoos across the United States. These, many born in captivity, are vulnerable. The fastest land animal, they are also perhaps the most skittish and they do not breed well in these facilities. These are the Sergeant Joe Friday facts. The good news is that they can be saved. Habitat can be set aside; interest in the fate of these magnificent creatures can be expressed by visiting sites and making comments. If you hit a good pull tab, or win at Church Bingo, throw a little of that to their cause. For more information, we urge you to go here. (At the end of this fascinating article is a real cool Huffington Post baby animal slide show.)
YOU GUYS THINK I MAKE THIS STUFF UP
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. If you’re reading this on our blogsite and would like the graphically enhanced edition delivered to you by email, please so inform us at email@example.com Until next week, cheers, then, eh? And stay well. Rusty
WRATH OF THE TESTAMENT, an exciting seagoing saga of war and rebellion, is now available.